Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sheriff's Office Asking SoHum Residents to 'Keep an Eye Out' for Arson Activity

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 1:16 PM

Evidence of a burn scar on a tree. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Evidence of a burn scar on a tree.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public's help after receiving “several calls” regarding possible arson activity in Southern Humboldt around Wilder Ridge Road and Dutyville, according to a Facebook post.

“Local fire departments have located multiple trees with burn scars and evidence indicating someone is trying to light trees on fire in the area,” the post states. “One report indicates a red Nissan Pathfinder with a grey/silver trailer was seen possibly fleeing from a tree on fire earlier this week.”


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North Coast Night Lights: Eel River Delta From Table Bluff

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 11:07 AM

A bench looks south from Table Bluff across the Eel River delta, where lines converge beneath the Milky Way at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The sun had set at 6:30 p.m. and this photograph was taken at 7:58 p.m., just catching the tail end of a colorful sunset along the horizon on Oct. 17, 2017. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A bench looks south from Table Bluff across the Eel River delta, where lines converge beneath the Milky Way at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The sun had set at 6:30 p.m. and this photograph was taken at 7:58 p.m., just catching the tail end of a colorful sunset along the horizon on Oct. 17, 2017.
If you have ever driven to the South Jetty of Humboldt Bay, then along the bluffs just before the road descends to the ocean level, you will have passed by Table Bluff County Park. The park is graced with trails, a broad field, trees, benches and, of course, great views over the Pacific Ocean and out across the Eel River delta. Information signs provide historical and ecological context. And at night you can see the Milky Way.

The clearest skies for stargazing usually aren’t along the coast, but coastal folks aren’t left entirely in the dark. I have found many a night sky crowded with stars along the Pacific, and when the Milky Way is out it is plainly visible, once one’s eye has become accustomed to the night.

On the evening that I took this photograph it was my pleasure to accompany Erica Botkin’s Digital Photography class from College of the Redwoods on a field trip to share my nighttime photography expertise as a guest photographer. We chose Table Bluff for its proximity, with the hope of catching a view from the bluffs of the stars over the Pacific.
Google Earth view looking south from Table Bluff County Park, in the foreground, with the Eel River delta in the distance. Google Earth screen shot fall 2017. - GOOGLE EARTH
  • Google Earth
  • Google Earth view looking south from Table Bluff County Park, in the foreground, with the Eel River delta in the distance. Google Earth screen shot fall 2017.
Much about night photography is different from shooting in the daytime, and there is a good deal of seat-of-the-pants estimation during shooting. I won’t attempt to teach the whole of it in these few words but I’ll mention some of the things that came up for us.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

UPDATE: GoFundMe Effort for Local Coasties Surpasses $10K Goal

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 4:15 PM

A rescue swimmer is lowered down 250 feet to a stranded hiker in this file photo. - U.S. COAST GUARD
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • A rescue swimmer is lowered down 250 feet to a stranded hiker in this file photo.
UPDATE:
Humboldt County made clear how the local community feels about its Coasties with a GoFundMe account surpassing the $10,000 fundraising goal to reach more than $12,000.

Over the course of the last five days, 130 people pitched in on the effort, with many leaving message about what the U.S. Coast Guard means to them and others condemning that these local service members and their families are being held “hostage” in the president’s bid for a border wall.

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Humboldt County residents are stepping up to help local Coast Guard members and their families who are facing financial uncertainty amid the government shutdown.

Just 24 hours after going live, a GoFundMe account set up by the city of Eureka — one of a select 21 Coast Guard Cities in the nation — was closing in on $7,000 of the $10,000 goal.

Many of the donors left comments about their deep appreciation for the men and women who serve here, noting their bravery and "selfless commitment" to protecting the North Coast community.

About 250 Coast Guard service members live in the local area, all of whom are working without pay as President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats continue to be deadlocked for a 28th day over nearly $6 billion in funding Trump wants for a highly controversial border wall.

Meanwhile, service members were told in a since deleted tip sheet by the Coast Guard Support Services, which was reported on by multiple media outlets, to inquire about getting short-term loans, forbearing mortgage payments and even having garage sales to make ends meet until the government re-opens.

Christine Tyson, the city’s executive assistant, says the community response to calls for donations of nonperishable good, cash and gift cards has been tremendous.

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MLK Events Highlight Minority Experiences in Humboldt (With Slideshows)

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 1:43 PM

Charmaine Lawson hugs Sadie Shelmire, 11, after Shelmire spoke of the racism she has experienced in Humboldt County. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Charmaine Lawson hugs Sadie Shelmire, 11, after Shelmire spoke of the racism she has experienced in Humboldt County.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse on Monday to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and listen to speakers from different backgrounds talk about the racial prejudices they have faced locally.

Charmaine Lawson organized the march — which led to the Eureka NAACP’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Adorni Center — after she learned the Eureka’s Women’s March had been cancelled, though it was ultimately put on by different organizers (read more here). She reached out to Renee Saucedo of Centro del Pueblo and together they recruited local organizations — including the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous People — that represent communities of color to join them.

Lawson’s son David Josiah Lawson,19, was a Humboldt State University sophomore when he was fatally stabbed during a fight at an off campus party April 15, 2017. Kyle Zoellner, a white Mckinleyville man, was arrested at the scene and charged with Josiah Lawson’s murder but the case was later dismissed when a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold him to stand trial.

Outwardly, there appeared to be little movement in the case at times until Nov. 6, when the Arcata Police Department turned its investigation over to Humboldt County’s District Attorney’s office, with then interim Chief Richard Ehle saying detectives had found physical evidence linking a specific suspect to Lawson’s killing. The district attorney is still reviewing the case, waiting for additional information on forensic testing from the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, frustrations continue to mount as Charmaine Lawson and others demand action.

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UPDATED: 101 Open After Pedestrian Fatality That Snarled Morning Commute

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 7:56 AM

The coroner is at the scene of the fatal crash. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The coroner is at the scene of the fatal crash.
FIFTH UPDATE:
A man was killed this morning on U.S. Highway 101 after being hit by a car in one of the northbound lanes just north of Humboldt Hill around 6:30 a.m.

His name is not being released pending notification of next of kin, a CHP release states.

According to the release, a 31-year-old Eureka man was traveling northbound when he looked over his shoulder to check for traffic before changing lanes then looked forward to see a man in the lane in front of him, whom he struck.

Read the full release from the CHP here.

FOURTH UPDATE: Caltrans is reporting at 10 a.m. that both lanes are now open. Readers report that traffic is moving normally through the area now.

THIRD UPDATE:
Caltrans reports U.S. Highway 101 northbound has one lane open.
SECOND UPDATE:

Traffic remains snarled on northbound U.S. Highway 101 closing in on 9:30 a.m. with cars still inching forward in the aftermath of a fatal pedestrian accident.
Law enforcement is controlling traffic to allow feeder roads access to U.S. Highway 101. They are alternating traffic, allowing a number of vehicles to travel north then they stopping to let vehicles from Humboldt Hill Road go and repeating the process.

UPDATE:

Commuters attempting to enter U.S. Highway 101 after a fatal crash closed the roadway are being stopped on the feeder roads, including what seems like “hundreds” of vehicles at Humboldt Hill Road and South Broadway, including a school bus, according to a Redheaded Blackbelt reader.

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Northbound U.S. Highway 101 came to a standstill this morning south of Eureka  after a person was hit on the roadway.

Lt. Bryan Quenell of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office told Redheaded Blackbelt photographer Mark McKenna that the Coroner’s Office was on scene just after 7:30 a.m. They hope to remove the body soon and get the road open.

The CHP CAD page indicates that at least six additional vehicles have hit the pedestrian including a big rig.

Caltrans is stating, “NB 101 at Spruce Point just south of Eureka is closed due to a fatal collision. Traffic is being diverted around the closure using local roads. Expect long delays for this morning’s commute.”
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Monday, January 21, 2019

King Tides Bring Coastal Flooding (with Video)

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 12:36 PM

A rainbow captured over Mad River Beach this morning. - COURTESY OF LYNETTE MATTHEWS
  • Courtesy of Lynette Matthews
  • A rainbow captured over Mad River Beach this morning.
A coastal flood advisory is in effect until 1 p.m. as those high astronomical tides continue along the coast for the next several days.
Known as the “King Tides,” Eureka office of the National Weather Service expects the water levels peak “between 9.2 and 9.4 feet” at the North Spit. The city of Arcata is asking for the public’s help in documenting 15 specific sites in the city, but welcomes other photos of the event. Find out more about the project and how to help here.
NWS
  • NWS

Meanwhile, most sunny skies are in the forecast for the rest of the week after the drenching rains that spoiled any chance of seeing the “Super Blood Wolf” moon on Sunday and the only lunar eclipse of 2019. Read previous coverage of the celestial phenomenon here.

Coast Flood advisory from the National Weather Service:
* COASTAL FLOODING...High astronomical tides will cause moderate flooding in low lying areas along the Redwood Coast. The water level is expected to peak between 9.2 and 9.4 feet MLLW at the north spit tide gauge.

* TIMING...High tide is at 11:11 AM at the Humboldt Bay north spit tide gauge. Flooding may begin an hour before or continue for an hour or two after high tide.

* IMPACTS...Low lying areas will experience minor flooding including...but not limited to...roadways in King Salmon and the Arcata bottoms.
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Don’t Rain on Their Parade: Women’s March Trudges Forward Despite Weather, Controversy

Posted By on Sun, Jan 20, 2019 at 3:09 PM

A marcher with a "Resist" sign. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • A marcher with a "Resist" sign.

Under a slew of multi-colored umbrellas and layers of winter clothes, community members hit the streets of Eureka on Saturday to take part in the third annual Eureka Women’s March. At the Madaket Plaza on Saturday, people rallied alongside one another despite the whirlwind of recent controversy surrounding the event, steady rain and the march’s main organizer suffering a medical emergency just days earlier.

An original organizing committee for the event announced last month it was canceling the annual march held in conjunction with hundreds of others throughout the country due to concerns the committee lacked diversity, and would instead look to put on an event in March in conjunction with International Women’s Day. That spurred former Eureka City Councilmember Linda Atkins to announce Jan. 4 that she would step in to organize the Women’s March. But Atkins then suffered a heart attack, prompting Kathy Srabian to step in to lead the organizing effort. With all the turmoil and confusion, it was anyone’s guess who would show up Saturday.

“This year we’re talking about a lot of changes in our society,” said Srabian. “How to be more inclusive, how to deal with different levels of sensitivity and there’s a lot of levels of sensitivity out there. All along, I just thought, ‘It’s going to be what it’s going to be and it was.’”

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Photos from the 2019 Women's March

Posted By on Sat, Jan 19, 2019 at 5:21 PM

Jennifer Be of Eureka held up her sign during the Women's March. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Jennifer Be of Eureka held up her sign during the Women's March.

After an initial cancelation due to lack of diversity among the all-white organizers, weeks of controversy that made national headlines and a change in organizational teams, the Eureka Women's March made its way in the rain from the foot of C Street, through Old Town and past the Carson Mansion. An estimated 700 to 800 participants came out to protest the Trump administration and its policies. See photographer Mark McKenna's slideshow of the protest below.

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Eclipse of the 'Super Blood Moon' is Coming Soon

Posted By on Sat, Jan 19, 2019 at 12:13 PM

The supermoon lunar eclipse captured as it moved over NASA’s Glenn Research Center on Sept. 27, 2015. - NASA/RAMI DAUD
  • NASA/Rami Daud
  • The supermoon lunar eclipse captured as it moved over NASA’s Glenn Research Center on Sept. 27, 2015.
The sun, moon and Earth will align Sunday in a celestial phenomenon known by the ominous moniker “super blood moon” — the only total lunar eclipse of 2019 — with all of North America set to receive a full view, depending on the weather, according to NASA.

“Super” refers to the moon being closest to the Earth during a full moon and “blood” comes from the reddish hue the orb will take on during event, which begins 6:36 p.m. local time with the “moment of greatest eclipse” taking place at 9:12 p.m., according to NASA.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

'Everyone is Welcome': Charmaine Lawson on Why She Organized a Eureka MLK March

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2019 at 2:17 PM

Charmaine Lawson places roses in two hearts drawn in the sand at a recent vigil held for her son. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Charmaine Lawson places roses in two hearts drawn in the sand at a recent vigil held for her son.

When Charmaine Lawson, the mother of a slain Humboldt State University student, read that the Eureka Women’s March was cancelled amid concerns that it had been “overwhelmingly white,” she was surprised.

Organizers cancelled the march Dec. 28, released a statement saying their committee needed more diversity to proceed. They are now planning a new march in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 9. In the wake of the cancellation, new organizers, including former Eureka City Councilmember Linda Atkins, took it upon themselves to coordinate this years Jan. 19 Women's March.

“This is Humboldt County,” Charmaine Lawson said. “There are so much more diverse groups living here We have many communities. There needs to be a march.”

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