Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Arcata Rancher Charged on 35 Counts Related to Animal Cruelty Investigation

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 12:40 PM

UPDATE: According to Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, at this morning’s arraignment on animal cruelty charges Raymond Christie waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 60 days. A court date has been set for Aug. 14 and Christie is not currently in custody. The district attorney is filing a motion to increase bail, which should be heard sometime next week, according to Kamada.


Raymond Christie, the Arcata rancher arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty on Mar. 19, has been formally charged by the Humboldt County District Attorney's office on 35 counts, mostly related to animal cruelty and neglect.

Included in the charges are seven counts of felony cruelty by "failing to provide sustenance, drink, shelter or subject any animal to needless suffering" to cattle, a goat and a pig across different Christie-owned properties in Orick, McKinleyville, Trinidad, Arcata and Eureka.

The remaining 28 charges are misdemeanors under California Fish and Game Code 5652(a) related to disposal of litter or carcasses "within 150 feet of a state waterway." Christie is charged with disposing multiple cattle carcasses near waterways on most of his properties. The complaint specifies that more than 200 cattle carcasses were dumped near waterways on his Jackson Ranch Road property in Arcata.

In March, the sheriff's office confirmed to the Journal that Christie had returned to the Humboldt County Auction and picked up more cattle after leaving jail. HCSO spokesperson Samantha Karges explained to the Journal that Christie had bid on the cattle prior to being arrested and — once he posted bail — he was able to pay for the animals.

If Christie is found guilty in the present case, the court will have the opportunity to mandate whether he can purchase or keep animals in the future, according to Karges.

According to Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, if Christie is convicted of animal cruelty, the law allows for a person to be prohibited from "owning, possessing or having custody or control of any animals for a period of five years."

"Prior to a conviction, there are legal procedures that could allow authorities to seize a specific, individual animal from a person, albeit temporarily," Kamada told the Journal.

A felony conviction would also prohibit Christie from owning or purchasing firearms.

Christie's arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, June 19.
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Monday, March 19, 2018

UPDATE: HCSO Serves Warrants on Multiple Properties in Animal Abuse Investigation

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 2:21 PM


On Mar. 22 The Humboldt-Del Norte County Cattlemen's Association sent out a press release rebuking Christie, calling the scene "horrific and disturbing" and saying the Christie was not a member of their association.

Ray Christie - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Ray Christie
A press release sent out this morning by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Raymond Frank Christie was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, causing an animal to be cruelly killed, failure to provide proper care to an animal and disposal of a carcass within 150 feet of a state waterway. According to a Humboldt County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, officers served warrants yesterday on four properties across northern Humboldt associated with Christie.

Descriptions of what officers found on Christie's property are grisly, with the HCSO stating observations “validated community complaints that serious violations were taking place.”

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Locally Delicious Guidebook Drops

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 4:55 PM

  • Local Food Guide cover

The mantra of "eat local," isn’t just hipster folly — it's a critically important act of resistance against the corporate takeover of our diets, our bodies and our health. A dollar spent on local, sustainably grown food supports family-owned farms, reduces petrol dependency, can reduce the chemical contamination of your food and reinvests your money in the North Coast economy. Still, whether it’s fighting the convenience of living five minutes from Safeway or not finding cash in the budget for the farmer’s market, the challenge of eating local is real.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Food Sovereignty, Tribal Sovereignty

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Potawot Community Garden farm stand. - COURTESY OF POTAWOT COMMUNITY GARDEN, UIHS
  • Courtesy of Potawot Community Garden, UIHS
  • Potawot Community Garden farm stand.
When the Northern California Tribal Courts Coalition (NCTCC) was awarded a grant to improve tribal health last year, it didn’t hesitate in identifying food as the keystone. Spearheaded by Program Director Cynthia Boshell, NCTCC will roll out its first Tribal Youth Food Sovereignty Camps later this month. The all-day camps will consist of hands-on education, discussion and participation in growing and cooking native foods. In order to serve youth on the coast and inland, the camp will be repeated on consecutive days: Wednesday, Feb. 22 in Potawot; Thursday, Feb. 23 in Klamath and Friday, Feb. 24 in Orleans.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

GMO Salmon Spawns Huffman's Ire

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Thinkstock
Congressman Jared Huffman is not having the fish. According to a press release, Huffman is "deeply concerned" about the Food and Drug Administration's approval of genetically engineered salmon. He cites the engineered salmon's potential to damage wild salmon populations, ecosystems and the fishing industry, as well as the lack of labeling requirements for producers. The congressman is co-sponsoring legislation to ban GE fish.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Humboldt County Releases a Draft Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 11:24 AM

  • Grant Scott-Goforth
Just weeks after the board of supervisors agreed to take on the creation of an outdoor medical marijuana cultivation ordinance, county staff has released a detailed draft ordinance that would create a strict permitting plan for the county's cannabis cultivators.

It’s a remarkably fast turnaround for a staff that shared concerns that it would be able to get a law on the books by next year when California Cannabis Voice Humboldt handed its draft ordinance over to the county on Sept. 15. During that board meeting, CCVH treasurer Luke Bruner urged the county to take action to regulate outdoor cannabis grows, while saying his organization would relinquish its year-long, multi-draft attempt to create a law — which at one point CCVH said it would put before voters if the county didn’t approve it.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

UPDATED: Gavin Newsom to Talk Pot in Humboldt

Posted By on Sun, May 24, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman issued a press release this afternoon inviting the public to join he and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in Garberville on Friday afternoon to talk marijuana policy (full press release copied below).

And Huffman spokesman clarified for the Journal that Friday's forum isn't officially part of Newsom's committee work on the subject of marijuana regulation, but that Newsom plans to report back to the committee whatever he learns during his stay in Humboldt.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is headed to Humboldt to talk marijuana policy.

Newsom, who’s leading a committee looking at regulations for potential statewide marijuana legalization in 2016, is slated to appear at a “public forum on marijuana policy” being put on by North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman on Friday afternoon in Garberville. But, it remains unclear if the event will be open to the public, as Huffman’s spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment and calls to Newsom’s office went unreturned Friday.

It’s also unclear whether Friday’s meeting is a part of the official listening tour being carried out by Newsom’s committee — which includes former Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos. The committee hosted its first forum back in April at the University of California Los Angeles.

Rumors of Newsom’s visit have been swirling since late last week, when Huffman’s office sent out invites to Friday’s event. The invitations — one of which was obtained by the Journal — ask folks to RSVP to Huffman’s office, and bill the forum as a discussion of “the unique public policy challenges related to marijuana legalization affecting California’s North Coast.”

The visit comes on the heels of one in April by members of the State Board of Equalization, who spent a couple of days in Southern Humboldt touring marijuana farms and Wonderland Nursery to help inform potential future tax policies. Huffman and Newsom’s forum also comes as California Cannabis Voice Humboldt is putting the final touches on the latest draft of its land use ordinance initiative, which seeks to regulate and legitimize outdoor marijuana cultivation on large parcels within the county.

The following is the press release from Huffman's office:


Huffman to host public marijuana policy forum with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

GARBERVILLE - Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) will host Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss the unique public policy challenges related to marijuana legalization affecting California’s North Coast.

Huffman and Newsom will meet with a diverse group of stakeholders, including local governments, marijuana advocates, law enforcement, environmentalists and regulators to explore concepts for a common sense framework for marijuana, post-legalization.

WHAT: Marijuana policy forum and public meeting

WHERE: Redwood Playhouse, 286 Sprowel Creek Road, Garberville

WHEN: Friday, May 29, 1 to 2:30 p.m. PT


From Hwy 101 North: Take 1st Garberville exit, continue onto Redwood Dr. through town, and turn left at the stop sign onto Sprowel Creek Rd. Cross over highway and theater will be on your left attached to College of the Redwoods Instructional Site.

From Hwy 101 South: Take 2nd Garberville exit for Sprowel Creek Rd. and turn right at top of off ramp. Theater will be on your left attached to College of the Redwoods Instructional Site. 

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Everyone's on Board with Regulation

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2015 at 4:59 PM

Mark Lovelace addresses the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Mark Lovelace addresses the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
“If you put marijuana on the agenda, they will come,” whispered the ghosts of old policy makers. And, lo, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board listened.

At a packed meeting this afternoon, the board discussed its proposed regulations for Northern California cannabis cultivators. It was the second time this week, following the board of supervisors hearing on a marijuana statement on Tuesday, that the halls of government hummed with an unusual presence of life.

During today’s meeting, water board staff outlined its proposed regulations, part of an ambitious permitting plan to bring private-land growers into compliance with water quality laws. The self-enrolled program would categorize growers into tiers based on the size and water impacts of their operations. Read more about the draft regulation here.

Perhaps even more remarkable than the attendance of perhaps 100 interested stakeholders, was the near universal support for the water board’s proposed regulations from environmentalists, government officials, and marijuana industry types.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

On the Klamath dams front

Posted By on Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec. - PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
  • Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec.

Former Oregon state senator Jason Atkinson has co-produced a new documentary about the conflict between users of the Klamath River and how they finally hashed out the historic Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement to take out four dams and restore salmon and other habitat. The agreement awaits Congress' approval. The film, by Atkinson and filmmaker Jeff Martin, is called A River Between Us and comes out this spring.

High Country New interviewed Atkinson about it, and notes that he was the "first Republican to ever receive a 100 percent approval rating from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters."

"Atkinson, a fifth generation farmer along the Klamath, has a long personal history with the river. He has fly-fished there since he was old enough to hold a rod and learned from his grandparents — one an Eisenhower Republican, the other, a Reagan-hating liberal — that restoring the Klamath did not have to be a polarizing issue.

HCN reports that Atkinson "hopes the film will help spur Congress to authorize the agreement — what he calls 'the greatest conservation opportunity in America.'” Atkinson, in the interview, says that it's wrong to think of the Klamath River battle as "right versus left, dams versus fish":

"HCN: But today’s political climate makes that kind of model look almost unattainable. Why is it that so many environmental initiatives have become lightning rods for partisanship?

"JA: In my mind it was 1973 when the Endangered Species Act was passed—by a Republican no less. People had no idea what the unintended consequences of that would be. Ten years later, that Act was seen as a declaration of war on small communities across the country, and I would argue that that’s when partisanship really stepped in for the first time in the conservation debate.

"The thing that frustrated me was that having grown up in agriculture, I know that every year, once harvest is done, all the farmers go fishing. Everybody does. So in my own mind, I couldn’t reconcile a narrative that makes those kinds of distinctions — and one that discounts an entire swath of Americans from the public land debate."

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Ready, set, squash

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM


Time’s a’creepin’ up on you Humboldt gardeners planning to put a little GMO oomph into your winter gardens — some genetically modified beans or broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower, perhaps? (We’re mainly looking at you, rebel Nathan Rex, and your promised GMO squash garden.)

On Dec. 2, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is set to certify the results of the November election. Measure P, which bans the growing, cultivation or propagation of genetically modified organisms, passed with 61 percent of the vote. Ten days after the board certifies the vote (Dec. 12, if all goes as planned), the ban goes into effect. Nobody is permitted to grow new GMOs — except in a controlled laboratory setting — after that. However, those who already have crops growing before the ban date will have until Jan. 1, 2016, to eradicate them.

Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf — whose department is in charge of enforcing the new law — told the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors recently that he’s still refining the details of the new enforcement program and will report back in early 2015. 

“There is still a lot for me to work out in terms of reviewing the language of the ordinance,” he said, adding he’s consulting with counsel as well as with a geneticist.

Opponents to the ban have said that the ability to vaccinate animals might be impacted by it. Dolf said he’s pretty sure state law trumps local ordinances in that regard, in particular state law require rabies vaccines for dogs and brucellosis vaccines for female bovines. But he's double-checking.

Enforcing the ban, which will be complaint-driven, could get expensive if enough complaints come in that require laboratory testing. But Dolf said he doesn’t have cost estimates. Looking to Trinity and Mendocino counties isn’t much help, he added — they’ve had bans in place for years, and there’s been just one complaint, in Mendocino, which proved unfounded. Those counties were not known for growing GMO crops in the first place, he said, whereas Humboldt has grown GMO silage (corn feed for livestock).

We haven't heard of other GMO crops being grown here in Humboldt. And we tried, to no avail, to reach Rex, the would-be ban-defier who raised $800 from sympathizers in a gofundme campaign so he could plant genetically engineered squash. 

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