Friday, August 30, 2019

Warning: Dam Releases Mean Swift, Cool Waters on the Trinity

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 10:05 AM

With Labor Day weekend marking the official end of the summer season, the National Weather Service is asking those headed for one last hurrah at the Trinity River to use extra caution.
The Trinity River in Hoopa. - FILE
  • File
  • The Trinity River in Hoopa.

Flows will be running higher and colder than usual this time of year, starting Sunday, due to scheduled releases from the Lewiston Dam.

With that said, the NWS also reminds those heading for some water fun to wear a life vest, keep an eye on the kiddos no matter where they go for a swim and to avoid alcohol.

Read the NWS Facebook post below:

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UPDATE: Victim in Fatal Rio Dell Shooting ID'd

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 9:02 AM


The man killed last night in a Rio Dell shooting has been identified by officials as Johnny Mack Renfro.

According to a release, video surveillance cameras captured the incident and police are searching for a suspect driving a dark colored car that is believed to have one or more broken or missing windows.
The car believed to belong to the suspect. - CITY OF RIO DELL
  • City of Rio Dell
  • The car believed to belong to the suspect.

The Rio Dell Police Department is investigation the death of a 26-year-old man who was shot after he pulled over on Monument Road around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The suspect in the case, who was described by witnesses as a black male with dreadlocks, remains at-large.

According to a release, the victim had to pulled to the cub and was walking away from his car when another driver pulled up in a two-door car (believed to be a Honda or maybe Saturn or Acura) and opened fire.

The scene of the shooting. - CITY OF RIO DELL
  • City of Rio Dell
  • The scene of the shooting.

The victim, whose name is being withheld pending notification of family, was shot once in the abdomen. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“The Humboldt County Major Crimes Task Force was requested to assist the Rio Dell Police Department with the investigation,” the city’s release states. “Detectives and evidence technicians from numerous Humboldt County law enforcement agencies congregated in Rio Dell to help canvass the neighborhood and gather evidence.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Rio Dell Police Department at 764‐5642.

Read the full release below:

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Tule Fog on Humboldt Bay

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 2:15 PM

  • David Wilson
Apparently, the term “tule fog” is specific to a particular seasonal low fog in the Central Valley, but we sometimes see a similar blanket of ground fog around the lowlands and bottoms of coastal northern Humboldt County. Low and mysterious, the veil of mist hugs the contours, it pools in pockets and reduces visibility to nil as wispy strands slide silk-like across the landscape. It’s the kind of fog that makes you throw a backward glance over the shoulder for the Baskerville hound.

Our version of tule fog always brings to mind the sharp features and long nose of Basil Rathbone’s 1939 Sherlock Holmes stalking his foe across the grey, misty moor. The night that I made this photograph I had set out to capture an image that might evoke a similar feeling of foreboding mystery.
Low fog hugging the ground along the Bayside Cutoff on Humboldt Bay. U.S. 101 passes from left to right in the distance. The insanely bright light on the right is a bright yellow LED road sign warning of two-way traffic on the highway at the end of the cutoff. The planet Mars is the brightest point in the sky. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Low fog hugging the ground along the Bayside Cutoff on Humboldt Bay. U.S. 101 passes from left to right in the distance. The insanely bright light on the right is a bright yellow LED road sign warning of two-way traffic on the highway at the end of the cutoff. The planet Mars is the brightest point in the sky.

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Charter Schools, Unions Call a Truce in an Epic Battle as Newsom Brokers a Deal

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 8:59 AM

Gov. Gavin Newsom, flanked by authors Sen. Connie Leyva and Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, prepares to sign a charter school transparency bill earlier this year. - PHOTO FOR CALMATTERS BY RICARDO CANO
  • Photo for CALmatters by Ricardo Cano
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom, flanked by authors Sen. Connie Leyva and Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, prepares to sign a charter school transparency bill earlier this year.
Gov. Gavin Newsom brokered an agreement Wednesday on a high-profile charter-school regulation proposal at the center of this year’s contentious battle between teachers unions and charter advocates, removing a key hurdle for its passage this session.

The compromise on Assembly Bill 1505 comes after months of lobbying by the state’s two most influential education interest groups and several impassioned hearings over sweeping proposed changes to how the publicly funded, independently managed schools operate in California.

Initiated in the early 1990s as a way to bring innovation into California’s K-12 school system, charter schools have sharply grown over the years, primarily in the state’s urban school systems, and have become a flashpoint for unions, who contend they draw enrollment away from traditional public schools, depriving them of critical funding and resources.

In a joint statement Wednesday afternoon, Newsom and Senate and Assembly leaders characterized the deal on AB 1505 as one that “significantly reforms the Charter Schools Act to address long-standing challenges for both school districts and charter schools.”

“This agreement focuses on the needs of our students,” the statement from the Governor’s Office read. “It increases accountability for all charter schools, allows high-quality charter schools to thrive, and ensures that the fiscal and community impacts of charter schools on school districts are carefully considered.”

Under the latest iteration of AB 1505, which lawmakers are expected to vote on in the two weeks remaining before the end of the legislative session, local school boards would have more discretion over approving new charter schools, including the ability to factor in a new charter’s impact on a district’s finances — a criterion that districts were not allowed to consider for prior charters.

All charter school teachers also would be required to hold some sort of state credential along with a background check, though uncredentialed charter teachers leading “non-core” classes would have five years to meet that requirement.

The state would also impose a two-year moratorium on non-classroom based and online charter schools under the proposal. But a pathway toward appeals to county and state boards for charters denied by local school boards would remain in place under the proposal.

Unions representing teachers and classified school employees celebrated the agreement, touting it as “significant progress on behalf of our students.” The California Teachers Association, which backed Newsom during the election, spent $4.3 million this year lobbying for more restrictions to charter schools.

“All along, our goals have included ensuring locally-elected school board members have the discretion to make decisions to meet the needs of local students … and holding all taxpayer-funded public schools to the same high standards,” the CTA and a coalition of unions said in a joint statement.

The California Charter Schools Association removed its opposition — formally shifting to a “neutral” position — on AB 1505 after it said it secured “significant protections” for charter schools, including some preservation of appeals to counties and the state, as well as granting high-performing charters a fast track toward renewal.

“For 25 years, California’s charter public school movement has relentlessly run towards the greatest challenges in public education,” Myrna Castrejón, president and CEO of the state’s charter association said in a statement.

“Far too many of our most vulnerable students have been underserved by our current public school system, which is exactly why we’ve engaged in thoughtful conversations and shown a willingness to compromise on this important legislation.”

News of the agreement marked a striking departure from previous sessions in which teachers unions and charter advocates bitterly fought the opposing sides’ proposals to a legislative stalemate.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

HSU to Offer Immigration Legal Services to Staff, Employees

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2019 at 2:01 PM

Humboldt State University announced today that it is included in a California State University systemwide plan that will provide immigration legal services to its employees and the estimated 100 undocumented students currently enrolled at HSU.

“I am delighted that we will be able to increase the availability of immigration legal services to the California State University community,” writes CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White in a press release. “We remain committed to ensuring that all CSU students have the opportunity to pursue their higher education goals regardless of their country of origin."

The program will see an immigration lawyer from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights on HSU's campus for a few days each month to provide legal assistance through the through HSU's Educational Opportunity Program office. HSU has pledged to keep its appointment calendars confidential, adding that while students will receive priority for the appointments, they will also be made available to students who are U.S. citizens but from mixed-status families, as well as employees.
  • FILE
“We don’t have immigration legal services in our region, as far south as Santa Rosa and east to Redding,” says EOP Director Dan Saveliff. “We have advocacy and support programs on campus and in the local community, but immigration law requires expertise that’s not accessible. Oftentimes students have to figure things out on their own and can receive incomplete or inaccurate information. So we’re excited the campus will have access to that expertise.”

According to a press release, the lawyer's first trip to campus will be Sept. 16 and 17. For more information or to make an appointment, students and faculty can call the EOP office at 826-4781.

For more information, see the full HSU press release copied below:

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Former Trinity Hospital to Become HSU's Children's Center

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2019 at 1:12 PM

Rendering of the west elevation of the Trinity Annex. - HSU
  • HSU
  • Rendering of the west elevation of the Trinity Annex.
Humboldt State University has announced plans to renovate the Trinity Annex —the former Trinity Hospital property adjacent to campus on 14th Street between B and C streets — to house the university's Children’s Center.

Once slated for demolition, the 1944 building will now undergo “extensive work,” which will help preserve the “aesthetic of the west, original building,” according to the university.

The project became possible after recently receiving a $8.6 million financial boost  in one-time funds allocated by the California State University System’s Office of the Chancellor from state budget monies, according to a release from HSU.

The project will breathe new life into the structure — which was a working hospital until 1972 — by bringing the Children Center’s operations together under one roof, with the possibility of the Child Development Laboratory also moving in at some point.

“Faculty and staff at Child Development Department and Child Development Lab are excited about this proposal,” Hyun-Kyung You, Child Development Lab program leader, says in a press release. “Overall, this potentially helps us continue our vision and mission and do even better what we have been proudly doing.”

Not only does the project “preserve that beautiful building to a degree” but it also opens the door to the creation of an enriching environment from a blank slate, says Steve St. Onge, HSU’s executive director of Housing and Residence Life, adding there are no plans for “expanding right now.”

He describes the annex’s renovation and consolidation of the childcare program into one location as a “win-win” for the community and the families served by the center.

“That give us the opportunity to continue to offer a really solid program,” St. Onge says.

While rumors have been floating around social media that the building was in foreclosure due to an erroneous listing on a website that describes it as a “single family residence,” university spokesperson Grant Scott-Goforth said that would be impossible, considering the property is owned by the state via the university.
He adds that attempts have been made to “correct” the listing.

Classes were last held in the building in the early 2000s and it's sat all but abandoned since then with just a single wing being used for storage.
The annex doors facing C Street. - FILE
  • File
  • The annex doors facing C Street.
The Children’s Center currently serves around 90 youngsters, down from more than 120 in 2017, when the program was cut amid budget and staffing woes, and was under consideration for more changes, including privatization, last year during another rounds of campus reductions.

At the time, the budget plan described the Children’s Center as “an important service” but stated “having a Children’s Center operated directly by the university is financially challenging to sustain.”

Things appear to be on more solid footing this year.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Best Of Buyer Beware

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 1:04 PM

It has come to our attention that someone is making the rounds, calling winners of our Best of Humboldt contest and trying to sell them pricey plaques celebrating the victory. We want you all to know that someone is not us.

We’ve received a handful of phone calls from folks reporting that they’ve received congratulatory calls that quickly devolve into a sales pitch, urging them to commemorate the victory with a plaque ($170 for a small, $230 for a large). We have no idea whether the telemarketers make good on the promised plaques or this is some kind of phishing scam. Either way, we’d urge caution to anyone considering giving a credit card number over the phone. And again, that friendly/demanding voice over the phone is not ours.
  • Sonny Wong
Other papers have reported similar doings with similar contests. Buyer beware.
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Eureka Woman Killed While Walking on 101 in Fortuna

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 11:40 AM

A 55-year-old Eureka woman was killed just before 1 a.m. today after being struck by a truck while walking on northbound U.S. Highway 101 south of the Main Street exit for Fortuna.

According to CHP, the truck driver stopped a short distance from the incident and called law enforcement. Emergency responders located Margery Wells, who died at the scene.

The California Highway Patrol release states that impairment is not
 considered to be a factor. Few other details were immediately available.

“At this time, it is unknown why Ms. Wells was in the roadway,” the release states.

The incident remains under investigation.

Read the full CHP release below:

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Altercation in Humboldt Linked to Apparent Homicide

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 10:00 AM

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the apparent homicide of an Illinois man whose family last heard from him after he was reportedly in an altercation with a man he’d been traveling with at a campground in Humboldt County.

According to a press release, a car connected to Grant David Whitaker, 25, of Mackinaw, Illinois, who had been reported missing, was found near a Dollar General Store in Clearlake Oaks on Aug. 24.


The next evening, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office "obtained additional information" that the man Whitaker was traveling with, Mavrick William Fisher, 21, Elko, Nevada, had admitted killing Whitaker and were given “detail directions as to where Whitaker’s body could be located.”

After serving a search warrant on a property in Upper Lake, detectives with the Major Crimes Unit located what is believed to be human remains in a remote area on Aug. 26.

Fisher was contacted by Mexican law enforcement officials in Rosarito the same day. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office release states efforts are underway to extradite Fisher to the United States.

Read the full release below:

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Vehicle Thefts in Humboldt Declined Last Year

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 2:07 PM

Fewer vehicles were stolen in 2018 than the previous year, according to statistics released  by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, with Eureka leading local cities in the highest number of incidents.

There were a total of 569 vehicles reported to county’s law enforcement agencies as stolen last year compared to 721 in 2017, according to the release on information from earlier this year. Of those, 64 were in Arcata, 253 occurred in California Highway Patrol or HCSO jurisdiction, 203 were in Eureka, 0 in Ferndale, 34 in Fortuna and 14 in Rio Dell.

The release notes that “a significant number” were taken using the vehicle’s key, often after being left running unattended or with a spare left in the car.

The HCSO also states that “pre-1999 Honda and Toyota passenger cars, along with Toyota trucks, are being stolen with a similar worn key due to their worn ignition switches.”

Among the latest trends is stealing vehicles via residential burglaries, with thieves entering homes and taking keys that are hanging on racks or lying on tables near the entryway, the HCSO reports.

“Approximately 80 percent of vehicles stolen out of Humboldt County are recovered, however they are usually stripped of anything valuable,” the release states. “Garage door openers are also stolen at the same time making victims more susceptible to future home burglaries.”

Read the full release and a series of tips from the HCSO below:

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