Friday, January 31, 2020

Board of Supervisors Candidate Forum (Video)

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 4:47 PM

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors District 1 and District 2 candidates prepare for the candidate forum at College of the Redwoods. - IRIDIAN CASAREZ
  • Iridian Casarez
  • Humboldt County Board of Supervisors District 1 and District 2 candidates prepare for the candidate forum at College of the Redwoods.
About 100 people filled a 312 seat theatre Wednesday night as College of the Redwoods hosted the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors District 1 and District 2 candidate forum.

All seven candidates running attended, with current District One Supervisor Rex Bohn running against local radio personality Cliff Berkowitz, while incumbent Estelle Fennel is challenged by Sean DeVris, Michelle Bushnell, Michael McKaskle and Rick French for her District Two seat.

The forum was moderated by Caroline Griffith and co-sponsored by 13 community organizations: The Mateel Community Center, Humboldt & Del Norte Central Labor Council, North Coast People’s Alliance, Cooperation Humboldt, Health Care for All Humboldt/Physicians for a National Health Program, Northcoast Environmental Center, Centro Del Pueblo, Move to Amend, Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, The Eureka Chapter of the NAACP, The Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaborative, Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction and the Wiyot Tribe. Each organization had the opportunity to ask the candidates one question, then each candidate was allowed one minute to respond.

The topics were diverse as they reflected each organization’s mission and focus area. The topics that drew the most questions were climate crisis action and racism.

Each candidate said they would declare a climate emergency as a supervisor when asked by the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities. Bohn and Fennel also spoke on Humboldt County's current climate crisis mitigation efforts, including the upcoming climate action plan, while other candidates presented their ideas.

Centro del Pueblo addressed racial profiling against Latinos in Fortuna and the Eureka chapter of the NAACP directly asked about the racist joke Bohn made at a fundraiser last March. Both organizations also asked what each candidate would do to address racism in the county.

Watch the full forum embedded below, courtesy of Access Humboldt:

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

County Climate Action Plan Plods Forward

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 8:51 AM

In the aftermath of the Board of Supervisors voting down the Terra-Gen wind project amid dire global climate forecasts, many have been asking what Humboldt County can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change.

Well, local governments are working on it and residents have lots of ideas.

The state is requiring every city or county to address the climate change impacts of projects that it approves. Local governments have the choice of doing this on a project-by-project basis or by creating a Climate Action Plan for the whole community that would enumerate the quantity of greenhouse gases being emitted and come up with plans to reduce that amount.
COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
Humboldt County, in cooperation with its seven incorporated cities, is slowly hammering out a Climate Action Plan, complete with goals, policies and specific changes that could be made. Several workshops on the topic have already been held and some cities have created their own plans.

Most recently, a Jan. 15 workshop at the Wharfinger Building was jointly sponsored by the county Planning and Building Department and the city of Eureka. About 50 members of the public gathered to hear county planner Connor McGuigan describe what the local community can actually do in the next 10 years to meet or exceed state requirements for greenhouse gas reduction.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Rio Dell Shooting Suspect Arrested in North Dakota

Posted By and on Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 1:07 PM

Police in North Dakota arrested Demetrius Coleman on Sunday and the Rio Dell Police Department announced today that he is the "primary suspect" in the fatal Aug. 29 shooting of Johnny Mack Renfro.


Renfro was fatally shot Aug. 29 while walking away from his vehicle on Monument Road in Rio Dell. Authorities were unable to locate Coleman after the shooting and labeled him a “person of interest” in the case and began tracking his movements, from Sacramento to the state of Idaho and — eventually — Fargo, North Dakota and contacted law enforcement agencies there to aid with the arrest.


According to Sheriff Paul A. Lies of Eddy County, North Dakota, several agencies helped apprehend Coleman. However, a woman known as Miriam or Alma Ahumada, a suspect with a warrant out of Humboldt County, was not caught and is still on the loose.

Lies said the Rio Dell Police Department contacted him with information that Coleman had family in the area and may be nearby. His department followed up on the lead and Coleman was located at the Bison Lodge in New Rockford. Coleman and a woman fled from officers, according to a press release issued by Lies’ department.

“Deputies were able to surround a small building behind the lodge where they believed the individual was hiding,” the press release states. “The subject continually ignored commands to surrender and exit the building … deputies made entry into the building. Deputies were able to apprehend Coleman without force."

Coleman was arraigned today but Lies said he refused to be extradited so now Rio Dell will have to go through the process of extraditing him, which he said could take several months.

Alma Ahumada - RIO DELL POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Rio Dell Police Department
  • Alma Ahumada
In the press release, Ahumada is described as hispanic and around 5-foot-2-inches tall. According to the release, Rio Dell Police Chief Jeff Conner is traveling to North Dakota to assist area law enforcement.


Rio Dell investigators also suspect Alma Ahumada as an associate to the shooting. Ahumada is “currently a fugitive in this case and is on the run from North Dakota Police.”


Police ask that anyone with information or recent communications with Ahumada call the Rio Dell Police Department at (707) 764-5642.

Read the full press release below:


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Friday, January 24, 2020

North Coast Night Lights: Art Utility Boxes of Eureka: Marine Life Triptych

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 4:29 PM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
Wintertime has dampened my nighttime roaming and kept my photography a little closer to home of late. But as a famous photographer once said, though I can’t recall who it was, and I’m afraid I must paraphrase, “You can find plenty of beauty to photograph right in your own backyard.” That idea has stuck with me for decades.

It was easy to dream of faraway places growing up with National Geographic’s fantastic photography from around the world, and I did. But I live in a remarkably beautiful area right here in Northern California and hearing that idea expressed in an early photography class I was taking helped me appreciate the beauty already around me.

I’m usually drawn to the nighttime magic of our gorgeous North Coast’s natural landscape, out where the starry skies glitter overhead without the interruption of humanity’s ground lights. But it is also rewarding to direct some attention a little closer to my home, especially when the weather is inclement. I find myself attracted to the mural paintings on the utility boxes around Eureka, the many instances of public art beautifying the city as part of Eureka’s Strategic Arts Plan (https://www.eurekart.org).

On the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Fifth Street, just outside of Pacific Outfitters, is an undersea triptych painting on a trio of utility boxes that has attracted me for some time. Brought to life by the hand of local painter Dakota Daetwiler, the three-piece work of art creates an undersea world featuring local marine plants and animals in a joyous celebration of life. Dakota worked with the input of Pacific Outfitter management, who she said hoped she would represent the local undersea world off our coast.
Three electrical utility boxes form a canvas for Dakota Daetwiler’s undersea triptych mural featuring local marine life. Find it next to the Pacific Outfitters parking lot at the corner of 5th and Myrtle in Eureka, California. Photographed January 16, 2020. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Three electrical utility boxes form a canvas for Dakota Daetwiler’s undersea triptych mural featuring local marine life. Find it next to the Pacific Outfitters parking lot at the corner of 5th and Myrtle in Eureka, California. Photographed January 16, 2020.
Daetwiler is a self-taught painter born and raised in Humboldt County. Most of her inspiration has come from a fascination with reading. As a kid, she “read hundreds and hundreds of books.” Her artistic journey has rewarded her passion with success but it isn’t always easy to learn on one’s own. Her message to others finding their own way would be to not give up in the face of setbacks.

“This project was a huge learning experience for me,” she told me, “as the first time I put the wrong clear coat on them and almost a year later I ended up having to re-paint them entirely. I was in tears seeing how much they'd deteriorated. But I'm nothing if not persistent!”

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Safety Corridor Sees First Fatal Collision in Years as Project Gears Up

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 4:52 PM

A photo-simulation of proposed undercrossing at the Indianola Cutoff, one of the most dangerous safety corridor intersections. - COURTESY OF CALTRANS
  • Courtesy of Caltrans
  • A photo-simulation of proposed undercrossing at the Indianola Cutoff, one of the most dangerous safety corridor intersections.
Even on an already notorious section of road, the Indianola Cutoff on U.S. Highway 101 stands out as a dangerous crossing point, with a collision rate 200 percent higher the state averages.

Anyone who has lived in Humboldt County long enough likely knows the story of the safety corridor, with the short version being that a succession of horrific accidents led to the special designation in 2002.

In the five years prior, there had been 85 accidents along the 5-mile stretch between Eureka and Arcata, including five fatal crashes, with the vast majority — 83 percent — occurring at one of roadway’s intersection, according to a Caltrans report.

Interim measures to reduce the collision rate were implemented — including a headlights-on requirement and lowering the speed limit from 60 mph to the current 50 mph.

Still, accidents continue to occur on the short span, the most heavily traveled of any highway in Caltrans District 1, which includes the counties of Del Norte, Lake and Mendocino.

On Jan. 14, William Clymer was killed while attempting to turn onto the Indianola Cutoff from the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101. His GMC Jimmy was hit on the passenger side by a vehicle traveling northbound and overturned. He was 42.

According to CHP Officer Paul Craft, Clymer’s death marks the first fatal car crash along the stretch in at least five years, although there have been countless accidents and close calls.

A month earlier, another car overturned at the same intersection, sending at least one person to the hospital.


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Friday, January 17, 2020

UDPATE: Outage Due to Down Transmission Line, PG&E Says Restoration Likely by Late Morning

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 7:12 AM

UPDATE:
According to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, PG&E has confirmed that the cause of this morning’s widespread power outage is a transmission line impacted by winter weather.

“PG&E has stated that restoration work has already begun and that most of Humboldt County should regain power by mid-late morning,” OES wrote in a Facebook post.

PREVIOUSLY:
A widespread power outage hit much — if not all — of Humboldt County early this morning for unknown reasons.

PG&E is working to find the cause of the outages, which began to hit around 5:40 a.m., according to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services. Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal says the county is in touch with PG&E but because the company doesn’t know the cause of the outage or the location of any potential equipment failure, there is no timetable for restoration.
screen_shot_2020-01-17_at_7.04.25_am.png
While this is not a planned Public Safety Power Shutoff, the outage is widespread enough that the Humboldt County Office of Education is updating its school closures spreadsheet, which can be found here.

OES advises residents to only call law enforcement for police, fire and medical needs and emergencies, and to direct any outage related inquiries to PG&E.

We’ll update with more information as we get it.
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Thursday, January 16, 2020

North Coast Night Lights: Harry the Honorable Hound Dog

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2020 at 2:32 PM

Complete with 3-D ears, tongue and bone, “Harry, my Honorable Hound Dog” watches the cars go by from his spot on Buhne Street at the corner with Harrison Avenue. He never chases, barks or bites. Utility box painting by Benjamin Goulart, photographed on January 1, 2020. Eureka, Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Complete with 3-D ears, tongue and bone, “Harry, my Honorable Hound Dog” watches the cars go by from his spot on Buhne Street at the corner with Harrison Avenue. He never chases, barks or bites. Utility box painting by Benjamin Goulart, photographed on January 1, 2020. Eureka, Humboldt County, California.
Growing up, I didn’t think of Eureka as beautiful. Never mind that I was a kid, and what would I know about that? Maybe I simply wasn’t tapped in to the art scene, I don’t know, but I don’t recall driving down the street and seeing so many interesting art pieces, or art being as accessible in so many venues as now. I remember the larger than life sculptures on the bay side of U.S. Highway 101 north of Eureka. They fascinated the kid I was. But with apologies to the current Eureka in which I live, the feeling that would greet me as a child when my family drove us to town was a depressing dinginess. Permeating everything, standing out from my memories of those times, was the plume of vapor ever rising from the pulp mill on the peninsula, the pall that quite literally put the “reek” in Eureka.

But Eureka has metamorphosed. Now, driving through town one sees many murals, painted utility boxes and sculptures sprinkled about, and despite relying on kid memories for comparison, it feels as though a lot has changed inside Eureka. A great many businesses display local art and the people come out in droves for Arts Alive every month. The transformation of Eureka has largely been organic, changed gradually and inexorably over decades by the huge numbers of creative people living here. I’m glad to be one of them. The city of Eureka itself has helped spur the change, especially recently, and is now one of fourteen officially designated California Cultural Districts.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

With Foundation Report Still Outstanding, Another Justice for Josiah Vigil Planned for Today

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 3:40 PM

Despite continuous inquiries from news outlets and community members at city council meetings, the city of Arcata still has't received the $30,000 National Police Foundation review of the city's emergency response to David Josiah Lawson’s fatal stabbing on April 15, 2017, and officials still “don’t have a firm timeline” of when the report will reach their desks.

A
FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
rcata City Manager Karen Diemer said the foundation is working on fact checking and “final crafting of the language of the report,” adding that the foundation calls the city every other week to confirm specific information.

“I have trust in the police foundation’s accuracy of the report,” Diemer said. "My assessment is that [the foundation] is doing one more pass through [the report], and I do expect the report this year, hopefully in the first half rather than the second.”

In the early morning of April 15, 2017, Lawson was fatally stabbed at an off-campus party after multiple fights broke out over a lost cell phone. A suspect, Kyle Zoellner, of McKinleyville, was arrested at the scene and charged with the Lawson’s murder. However, a Humboldt County Superior Court judge later dismissed the charges saying there was insufficient evidence to hold Zoellner to stand trial. Last March, a criminal grand jury assembled to review evidence in the case decided not to indict Zoellner or anyone else anyone in Lawson’s killing, sending the case was back at the Arcata Police Department for further investigation.

In a Sept. 10, 2018 memo detailing what the city hoped to get out of the National Police Foundation review, then-Mayor Sofia Pereira and Diemer stated the nonprofit will "review the police department's response to make recommendations for improving major criminal events, including response to, and investigation of, catastrophic, multiple-victim and/or multiple-witness incidents in the future.”

Diemer also said that she expects the report to look analytically at what the city can do better in its emergency responses and how it can follow the best protocols moving forward.

“This was a case of lessons learned,” she said, anticipating some of the contents of the report. “We’re expecting it to be critical in regard to the city’s response of that night.”

In the meantime, the Justice for Josiah committee continues to hold monthly vigils observing the anniversary of Lawson’s death and to remind the community his killing remains unsolved. The 33rd such vigil will be held at Arcata City Hall today at 5:30 p.m..

Charmaine Lawson, Lawson’s mother, continues to visit Humboldt County regularly, vowing to find both justice for her son and answers as to what went wrong the night he was killed.

“Happy Justice Year to all!” reads a Justice for Josiah Facebook post. “I will not stop coming to Humboldt County until justice is served for my son.”
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Eureka Man Killed in 101 Crash

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 11:54 AM

A Eureka man was killed last night in a crash on the U.S. Highway 101 safety corridor.

According to CHP, William Clymer, 42, was attempting to turn onto the Indianola Cutoff from the southbound lanes when his GMC Jimmy was hit on the passenger side by a vehicle traveling northbound and overturned. 
chp.jpg


Emergency personnel responded to the 6:10 p.m. crash and Clymer was pronounced dead at the scene despite attempts to provide medical aid.

Neither the driver nor the passenger in the other vehicle was injured. All of the parties involved were wearing seatbelts and alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

CHP ask anyone with information to call 822-5981 or email humboldt_area.humboldt_area@chp.ca.gov.

Read the full CHP release below:


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Governor Looks to Get CA into the Rx Business

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 8:51 AM

In a bold strategy to drive down prescription drug prices, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing that California become the first state in the nation to establish its own generic drug label, making those medications available at an affordable price to the state’s 40 million residents.

The proposal, part of the new state budget Newsom sent to the Legislature on Friday, would authorize the state to negotiate contracts with drugmakers to manufacture selected prescriptions on behalf of California. Such a disruption of the pharmaceutical industry, proponents say, would leverage the state’s massive market to increase competition and lower generic drug prices nationally.
CALMATTERS
  • CalMatters
The strategy is one of several the Democratic governor's plans aimed to lower the cost of healthcare for Californians. The administration indicated the proposal is part of a multi-prong effort that includes strengthening the state’s public option for health insurance and increasing drug pricing transparency.

Newsom will also continue last year’s push to establish a single market for drug pricing, direct the state to ask for more rebates from drug manufacturers and open a new health care affordability office sometime this spring.

“The cost of health care is just too damn high, and California is fighting back,” Newsom said in a statement. “These nation-leading reforms seek to put consumers back in the driver seat and lower health care costs for every Californian.”


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