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

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.

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.
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.

  • 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. 

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

Read the full CHP release below:

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Dramatic Video Shows How Sneaky Sneaker Waves Can Be

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 12:46 PM

The destructive power of sneaker waves was on full display this past weekend, with a near miss at Moonstone Beach in Trinidad and a heartbreaking tragedy in Oregon, where two children — one of whom died while the other is missing — were swept off of a beach with their father, who survived.

The Humboldt County coast is notoriously dangerous. Some beaches — those that are flat and have easy access to higher ground — are less dangerous but the cold water at each makes survival difficult for anyone carried out by the surf.

Many lives have been claimed over the years along with countless near misses, like the one Marcella Ogata-Day caught on camera in Trinidad while checking out the King Tides, which was posted on the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group Facebook page.

Noting she was in no way judging others, Ogata-Day says she wanted to help “illustrate the power of the water” that suddenly overtook some beachgoers watching the high surf on Jan. 11, all of whom were able to make it out safely.

“There is a perceived sense of being safe and there were plenty of times when the waves came up, then went back as expected,” she wrote. “But waves can double up with a strong surge coming to shore, which happened yesterday and knocked some people not even on the sandy part of the beach off their feet with water coming up to the parking area. Everyone was okay and a lot more alert."

Last March, a Bay Area man on vacation with his wife and children died on his birthday after being swept away by a sneaker wave north of Luffenholtz Beach near Trinidad.

In October of 2018, Humboldt State University student Key’Maan Stringer — an aspiring actor known for his bright smile — is presumed to have drowned after being swept off the North Jetty on Oct. 29 while trying to free a fishing line that had become entangled in the rocks. His body has never been found.

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

NWS is Looking for Snow Reports

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 3:46 PM

New snow accumulations ranged from 2 to 4 inches. - COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
  • New snow accumulations ranged from 2 to 4 inches.
The county of Humboldt is reminding travelers that there’s snow up in the mountains, including 4 inches of new snow on Titlow Hill Road — which is open to the towers — and 2 inches of new snow on Bald Hills Road.

Drivers are being advised to carry chains.

Meanwhile, the Eureka office of the National Weather Service is asking those up in the higher elevations that experienced flurries last night and into this morning to send in snow reports and pictures.
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10 Years Later: The Earthquake of 2010 (With Video)

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 1:16 PM

A house on California Street slipped off its foundation. - FILE
  • File
  • A house on California Street slipped off its foundation.
Ten years ago, at 4:27 p.m., the earth let loose a magnitude-6.5 earthquake — with much of the force directed at the city of Eureka — with a powerful ferocity that shook the ground and people’s nerves.

Thousands in Humboldt County lost power after the temblor hit and nearly 500 structures, including the historic Old Town Bar and Grill building, the Bayshore Mall and many Victorian home suffered various levels of damage in the most powerful quake to hit since the Cape Mendocino series rattled the region over two days in April of 1992.

Then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would declare a state of emergency for Humboldt County and pay a personal visit to Eureka to assess the damage, which measured in the millions of dollars.

Here’s a look back at the North Coast Journal’s staff coverage of that Saturday a decade ago:
On Saturday afternoon at 4:27 and 39 seconds, 18 miles beneath the surface of the ocean and 23 miles west of Ferndale, a vast slab of the earth's crust known as the Gorda plate slipped laterally along a vertical faultline, releasing years of accumulated pressure in the form of a 6.5-magnitude earthquake. For a fraction of a moment, no one knew.

Then customers standing in line at Staples in the Eureka Mall looked up in unison, suddenly curious, like they were trying to recognize a tune on the radio. And then the floor made a sudden lateral lurch beneath their feet, as if the whole building had been perched on a flatbed truck when the driver popped the clutch. Instinctively, everyone's knees bent for balance and their bodies went rigid, heads swiveling madly like startled animals. The ground quivered and rumbled briefly, but before anyone could move, the second jolt hit. "Angry" is how many would later describe it, like being rear-ended. It slammed the building violently, sending everything into cacophonous motion — lights popping, shelves sliding, office supplies crashing to the floor.

The young checker's eyes went wide, and she sprinted for the door, followed closely by the throng. A panicked man face-planted just shy of the automatic door, then popped up immediately and kept running. Crowds poured from Blockbuster, Rite-Aid, Michael's and Winco, flooding into the parking lot where streetlights swayed like ships' masts. Some people screamed; others, the seasoned earthquake veterans, walked calmly over the speed bumps or casually pulled out their cell phones. Some turned and stared back at the buildings, perhaps expecting them to fall. Others jumped into their cars and filed into the eastbound procession on Harris Street.

Inside the Henderson Street branch of Papa Murphy's Pizza, some smiled at the first few shock waves. They had all the characteristics of an average 3 or 4 quake. The windows rattled, the adrenaline level rose a touch. There was a split-second pause when it seemed like it was over, and then everything was chaos — the walls moved back and forth, and the building roared with sound. "Up" and "down" became variable for a few seconds, and people splayed their legs wide to keep their footing.

Fear was still visible as the quake subsided. The cashier, a young woman, paced directionlessly behind the counter, her hands clutched at her chest. "I'm scared. I'm scared," she repeated to herself.
Earthquake damage in Old Town, Eureka - FILE
  • File
  • Earthquake damage in Old Town, Eureka

All over Eureka, residents emerged from their homes and stood dazed on the sidewalks. They called out to neighbors, "You OK?" "That was a big one!"

The sky glowed peach and gray, and then dimmed. A group of neighbors chattered excitedly outside their homes on a K Street block not far from downtown Eureka. A woman came out of her house with a small dog clutched in her arms and walked up the street calling out worriedly for another pet.

From a nearby alley came the crash-clink of falling glass. A woman was throwing out the remains of her blown-glass collection, which had shattered in the quake. Lights came on in the houses; this block hadn't lost power. But farther up and down the street the other blocks were dark. And the other streets, dark — except for the occasional orange flicker of candlelight in windows, revealing drunken walls where pictures clung at cockeyed angles.
People came out of their dark houses. They stood on the sidewalk talking to their neighbors. Some talked on cell phones, standing on the sidewalk looking around, or hunched on their porches. On K Street, near the corner of 14th, a woman stood on the sidewalk and said loudly into her phone, "I lost all my dishes. All the cupboards flew open and everything flew out. All my dishes are broken." Her next-door neighbor pulled up to the curb and got out of his car. "Is everything OK at your house?" she called to him. He said he didn't know yet, and went up his walkway.

On I Street, a woman walked quickly up and down, talking nervously to other people doing the same thing. A man came around the corner. "What's the news?" he asked. "I don't have power. I don't have radio or TV. What's the news?" He said he didn't have earthquake insurance.

Other people sat in vehicles, talking on their cell phones.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Eureka, There's a New City Manager in Town

Posted By on Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 3:31 PM

  • Dean Lotter
Dean Lotter will be sworn in tonight as Eureka’s new city manager, the latest in a series of milestones for him in recent weeks, including moving into a new home here in town with his wife Wendy and their rescue dog Queso, as well as celebrating his 50th birthday.

Hailing from the Midwest, Lotter comes with 23 years of city management experience, last serving in New Brighton, a suburb of the Twin Cities.

In an interview before landing permanently in Eureka, Lotter told the Journal he is not "naïve" to the many issues facing the city but also sees great potential in the seaside town.

“I wouldn't invest the later portion of my career in a city I didn't feel had opportunity," Lotter said.

Read the full story here.

The 6 p.m. Eureka City Council meeting takes place at City Hall, 531 K St. Click here for a link to the agenda.
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North Coast Night Lights: Vacancy at 4th & E Streets, Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 10:21 AM

For years, driving by, I would see her lonely figure sitting on the bench. I never stopped, but in time I grew used to her presence there and I would look to touch base visually when I passed. Huddled inward and completely covered, she had erected a shell between herself and the outside world, perhaps retreating to the safety of her own thoughts to live in a world of her own choosing. I could identify with that on some level.

I don’t recall ever seeing what she looked like, for in my recollection she was always completely covered. She was consistently there for years, eventually becoming a part of that corner. And then, without realizing when exactly the transition occurred, I began noticing that she was no longer there. The bench was empty. A part of the corner felt missing.

The corner has long called to me to come photograph it some night. The street corner itself is stylish as street corners go, now that the utility box near the bench has been painted as part of Eureka’s utility box beautification project (its handle is at the right edge of the image). The curved wood and iron bench is fashionable and smart. There is a small shade tree, which was out of view behind me, and beneath everything a classic brick sidewalk ties it all together. I had thought to photograph the scene in its entirety, but looking into the camera’s viewfinder it felt like something was missing from the composition. It was the woman on her bench. What ever became of her? I didn’t know. And then oddly, almost by necessity, everything fell away as the mystery of the empty bench drew me to it. The missing element became the subject, and I photographed an empty bench.
I shared the image in one of Humboldt County’s Facebook pages, thinking maybe someone would see the empty bench and remember the person who used to occupy it. I was amazed to find an outpouring of heartwarming stories from people who had noticed her there and remembered her. In a flood of personal tales, people told their stories of meeting the woman or simply of being accustomed to seeing her there. Many shared feelings about the empty bench left behind. It touched the humanity within me that so many people had noticed her, and that she had become such a part of that place for so many. The corner without the woman is an outdoor art exhibit, a living installation with its shade tree, a brick sidewalk, a three-dimensional mural and a pretty bench — and for a long time a living human was a part of it, and her absence was felt by many.

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Sunday, January 5, 2020

HSU Wildlife Professor and Arcata Marsh Pioneer Stanley "Doc" Harris Dies at 91

Posted By on Sun, Jan 5, 2020 at 9:14 AM

Stanley Harris at a scholarship reception at Humboldt State University. - HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY
  • Humboldt State University
  • Stanley Harris at a scholarship reception at Humboldt State University.

Stanley “Doc” Harris, a retired Humboldt State University wildlife professor, passed away Dec. 27. He was 91 years old. In addition to having inspired thousands of students, Harris helped establish Arcata's wastewater facility as a wildlife sanctuary and shared his love of ornithology with birdwatching hobbyists in the North Coast.

Harris ,who worked as a professor at HSU  from 1959 to 1992, helped shape the wildlife department into the renowned department that it is today as “he quickly assumed leadership in the department and was one of the early members who grew it to the size that it is now,” said Mark Colwell, a a fellow wildlife professor at HSU and good friend of Harris'.

Harris also contributed significantly to bringing the ornithology program to the university, said Rick Botzler, a retired HSU wildlife professor who also worked with Harris.

Botzler and Colwell both said Harris cared tremendously for his students and wanted to see them succeed, adding that he was also a big influence on them.

“If you look across the western United States, you’re likely to encounter people who were influenced by Stan,” Colwell said. “Fifty-plus graduate students finished their Master’s degree with him.”

On top of teaching waterfowl and wetlands classes, Harris played a significant role in creating the Wildlife Museum that houses more than 14,000 species in the wildlife department building.

“In my opinion, he more than anyone was responsible for the development of the museum,” Botzler said. “Lorie, his wife, also contributed. She was an artist who helped paint the finishing touches and put together the museum. They were a team.”

Colwell said that to the end of his days, Harris was still a part of the department, adding that not too long ago Harris visited the museum to meet with its curator and offer advice on the live mount of the California condor that was going on display.

“He took great pride in the department and always showed his inquisitiveness for wildlife,” Colwell said.

During his time at the university, Harris was a strong believer in and advocate for field-based learning. He believed in incorporating practical experience in his teachings to give his students hands-on experience. According to Botzler and Colwell, Harris took his students on field trips to local national and state wildlife refuge centers, the Arcata Marsh and wherever there were waterfowl or wetlands, so much so that in 2001 the city of Arcata dedicated a low-lying pond at the Arcata Marsh in his name.

According to the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary map and guide pamphlet, No-Name Pond — which was named by Harris and a few of his students — was dedicated to Harris to honor his work in local ornithology and wetland ecology.

Harris was also one of the “original proponents” who sought to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility into a natural wetland, said Julie Neander, the deputy director of the Community Services department for the city of Arcata — who also grew a relationship with Harris over the years.

A bouquet of flowers sits below the No-name Pond plaque at the Arcata Marsh days after Harris' passing. - IRIDIAN CASAREZ
  • Iridian Casarez
  • A bouquet of flowers sits below the No-name Pond plaque at the Arcata Marsh days after Harris' passing.

“He was instrumental in [the city] having good data to continue to make the marsh better,” she said, adding that, like many other professors and students at HSU, Harris played a pivotal role.

Along with helping create the Arcata Marsh, Harris also brought the world of ornithology to people outside of the professional realm of HSU. Botzler said that Harris spent time identifying and documenting which species lived in the North Coast.

“He opened up the opportunity for them to understand each species, habitats and the larger species composition,” Botzler said. “He was a good person and he will be missed.”

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