Friday, August 31, 2018

SR 299 Lanes Reopen after Crash

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 at 8:49 PM

Berry Summit traffic cam. - CALTRANS
  • Caltrans
  • Berry Summit traffic cam.
At approximately 7:20 p.m., two vehicles collided at Vista Point on Berry Summit on State Route 299. Traffic lanes were reopened around 8:30 p.m. after being closed due to the accident, according to the CHP Traffic Incident Information Page.

A Toyota 4-Runner and a Chevrolet Silverado struck front ends, according to the same source. One was pulling a boat on a trailer.

Two ambulances were requested, according to a dispatcher speaking over the scanner.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was directing traffic.
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Tensions Mount in Rainbow Ridge Protests

Posted By and on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 at 3:46 PM

Several days of protests over plans to log in a grove that contains old growth Douglas fir on Rainbow Ridge reached a peak just before 3 p.m. yesterday after demonstrators blocked the southernmost exit/entrance from U.S. Highway 101 to Scotia and the Humboldt Redwood Company Lumber Mill.

Video by Earth First in Humboldt uploaded to YouTube and embedded above shows a trucker with empty trailers driving through a large banner — held by two protesters who were blocking Main Street — in order to enter the highway.

Another video uploaded to YouTube by Rick Shreve, an environmental activist, and embedded below shows a trucker hauling logs arguing with protesters, including one who stepped up onto the semi.

The California Highway Patrol incident page shows the agency received several calls about the blockade that forced truckers to stop on the exits. CHP also received reports that demonstrators were climbing onto the trucks.

Humboldt Redwood Company Forest Policy Director John Andersen said protests have been occurring on and off for the last week or so. But he said that when protesters started moving to block the freeway on and off ramps, safety became a concern and the company called police.

Several law enforcement agencies were dispatched to the scene but protesters dispersed before they arrived.

"We have no problem with people protesting," Andersen said. "But safety is very important to us."

Andersen said the company tries to be transparent, offering to take anyone who is curious about its operations "out to the woods to see firsthand what we do." As to Rainbow Ridge — an 18,000-acre swath of property located on the headwaters of the upper and lower forks of the Mattole River on which the company has approved timber harvest plans — he reiterated that no old growth trees or stands will be cut, though he said the company does have plans to begin logging in "late summer or early fall."

He also confirmed that auditors with the Forest Stewardship Council will be making a site visit in September, during which they will take a look at Rainbow Ridge and the company's harvest plans.

Editor's note: A version of this report first appeared on It is reposted here with permission.
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UPDATE: Fires Breaking Out Along SR 299

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 at 1:56 PM

According to CalFire Battalion Chief Paul Savory, the fire's forward progress has been stopped at 2.5 acres. Crews are currently mopping up but the threat to structures has been mitigated. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

According to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, westbound traffic on State Route 299 is currently being diverted due to the fire in the vicinity of Glendale Road. Motorists are also asked "to stay off Glendale Road while fire crews are working."

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Teen Arrested After 1.5 Pounds of Heroin Found in Hidden Car Compartment

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 at 12:34 PM

Heroin found in a hidden compartment of a car. - HCDTF
  • Heroin found in a hidden compartment of a car.
A 17-year-old boy who law enforcement officials believe was “employed by a drug trafficking organization” was arrested earlier this week after Humboldt County Drug Task Force agents reported finding 1.5 pounds of heroin in a hidden compartment of the car he was driving.

According to a release, the agents were conducting an investigation Tuesday at a residence on the 5200 block of Cummings Road in Eureka when the teen was seen parking in the driveway.

He was contacted by the agents and detained while an investigator from the district attorney’s office and a K9 were called to the scene. The dog alerted law enforcement to narcotics in the vehicle and a search yielded the false compartment with the heroin inside, according to the release.

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: The Essence of Eureka, 1990

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 3:50 PM

“The Essence of Eureka” captured on a single 35mm frame of film in November 1990. - DAVID WILSON
  • David WIlson
  • “The Essence of Eureka” captured on a single 35mm frame of film in November 1990.
In 1990, the LP pulp mill out on the Samoa Peninsula represented the essence of Eureka. Logging, of course — and the smell. Logging was economic king in those days, at least on the legal side. But I’m no historian, nor do I mean to stir up politics here. I’m a photographer, and this scene grabbed my attention for its striking light.

The attraction of night photography for me is the opportunity for unusual light. It grabs me, it pulls my eye, and it tugs at my imagination. Most photographs you see were shot in daylight. They are images so common that for me it’s a challenge to find something interesting to photograph in daylight, or some unique way to photograph it. While I acknowledge the benefits of a good challenge, I prefer that of finding and using light at night. Night light is more unusual to find in a photograph, and the camera sees it in such a unique way that people often think a photograph I shot never happened, or could never happen. Or that a computer generated it. It requires thinking differently, and I enjoy it. It doesn’t necessarily require a computer, either.

“The Essence of Eureka” is a photograph I shot on film in 1990 from beneath the north end of the Samoa Bridge, looking west-ish toward the peninsula. It’s a double exposure, made in-camera on a single 35mm frame of film. I was a photography student at Humboldt State University at the time.

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Eureka Sues Big Pharma

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 12:29 PM

The county of Humboldt, home to more opioid prescriptions than people, filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. Eureka has now followed suit. - FLICKR
  • Flickr
  • The county of Humboldt, home to more opioid prescriptions than people, filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. Eureka has now followed suit.
The city of Eureka has joined a host of municipalities across the country — including the county of Humboldt — by filing a federal lawsuit against the nation’s largest manufacturers of prescription opioids.

Specifically, the complaint alleges the companies have violated federal racketeering laws and constitute a public nuisance. Keller Rohrback — the same law firm representing the county in its suit — is representing Eureka in the litigation on a contingency basis, meaning the firm will only be paid out of awarded damages if the suit is successful.

See the city’s full press release copied below:

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Flatmo's Dragon Slays at the Smithsonian

Posted By and on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Duane Flatmo, Tin Pan Dragon, 2006. - PHOTO BY LIBBY WEILER
  • Photo by Libby Weiler
  • Duane Flatmo, Tin Pan Dragon, 2006.
Editor's note: With Black Rock City once again rising up amid the great sandscape of Nevada’s desert expanse, we thought now would be a good time to take another look at the fantastical work of Humboldt County’s own Duane Flatmo, whose dragon creation is part of the Smithsonian’s No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man exhibit on the annual gathering.

The title is inspired by a longstanding “no spectators” saying at the event, according to curator Nora Atkinson, who organized the exhibit in collaboration with the nonprofit that puts on Burning Man, in an article on the Smithsonian website.

"It’s all about being there, being fully present, and not just observing,” Atkinson says in the article. “Two of the 10 principles of Burning Man are radical participation and radical inclusivity, meaning that there are no outsiders. Everyone is part of the experience.”

The reign of Flatmo’s dragon in the Renwick Gallery, located just steps from the White House, is drawing to end Sept. 16 but below you'll find a look back at arts and features editor Jennifer Fumiko Cahill’s coverage when the artist and B
urning Man aficionado was readying for the show in November of 2017.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Plea Deals Reached in 2014 Gang Stabbing of 14 Year Old

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 5:04 PM

Clockwise from top left: Joe Olivo Jr., Nicholas Leigl, Joe Olivo III, Mario Nunez. - COURTESY OF EPD
  • Courtesy of EPD
  • Clockwise from top left: Joe Olivo Jr., Nicholas Leigl, Joe Olivo III, Mario Nunez.
Three gang members facing murder charges stemming from the Dec. 16, 2014 stabbing death of a 14 year old in Eureka have reached plea deals with prosecutors.

According to a press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Joe Olivo Jr., Joe Olivo III and Mario Nunez all pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges, admitting that they participated in the fatal stabbing of Jesus Garcia-Romero in an apartment in the 700 block of P Street in Eureka.

Specifically, Olivio Jr., 39, and Nunez, 32, pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter committed in the furtherance of a criminal gang and will be sentenced to a stipulated term of 16 years in state prison at a hearing Sept. 17. Olivo III, who was 17 years old when he personally stabbed Garcia-Romero, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with personal use of a knife. He faces a maximum of 12 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 4.

Jesus Romero-Garcia - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Jesus Romero-Garcia
A fourth defendant in the case, Nicholas Leigl, who prosecutors were unable to present enough evidence to hold to stand trial on a murder charge, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of participating in a street gang last year.

For more information about the killing, see past Journal coverage here. And find the full press release from the district attorney’s office copied below.

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UPDATE: Warehouse, Dock Damaged in Fields Landing Fire

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 3:59 PM

Structure fire in Fields Landing. - PHOTO BY SERENA GIORDANO
  • Photo by Serena Giordano
  • Structure fire in Fields Landing.

Humboldt Bay Fire is reporting that the Fields Landing fire has been fully extinguished after 16 hours. There were no injures but the damage to equipment — including 250 crab pots —the warehouse and the dock is estimated at $750,000.

Humboldt Bay Fire responded to a large structure fire at the Olsen Dock in Fields Landing last night and had to call in a fireboat to help battle the blaze, which spread from a large warehouse structure to the dock itself.

The effort to control the blaze continued this morning, when crews were expected to take advantage of low tide to try to extinguish the fire on the underside of the dock.

The fire is considered “suspicious and human caused,” according to a Humboldt Bay Fire press release.

No injuries were reported and Humboldt Bay Fire says it will release more information as it becomes available.

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UPDATED: Divided Arcata City Council Stalls Student Housing Project

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 11:11 AM

Conceptual photo illustration of how The Village project would look from the perspective of the Westwood neighborhood. - CITY OF ARCATA
  • City of Arcata
  • Conceptual photo illustration of how The Village project would look from the perspective of the Westwood neighborhood.
The Arcata City Council, meeting this morning with Councilmember Michael Winkler absent, having recused himself from the issue, deadlocked on The Village, a controversial off-campus student housing project, leaving the development’s future uncertain.

The council voted 2-2, with Councilmember Paul Pitino and Mayor Sofia Pereira dissenting, on a motion from Councilmember Susan Ornelas that would have approved the project in principle while requiring Humboldt State University and the developer to modify their proposal to include family housing in the project, which as proposed would house 600 students. Earlier in the meeting, an HSU administrator told the council that including family housing in the development isn’t viable due to liability concerns and a lack of demand.

After Ornelas’ motion failed for lack of a third vote, Pitino moved to approve the project as proposed. But Ornelas abstained from the vote in “protest” of what she deemed a lack of willingness from the developer and HSU to think creatively and to compromise. Councilmember Brett Watson also abstained without explanation, halting the motion.

With the council having failed to come to a consensus, the project appears stalled and it’s unclear under what circumstances it could be brought back for further consideration.

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