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Sunday, April 11, 2021

'He's Not Forgotten': Vigil Planned for David Josiah Lawson

Posted By on Sun, Apr 11, 2021 at 8:18 AM

David Josiah Lawson - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • David Josiah Lawson
David Josiah Lawson's mother is intent on both making sure Humboldt County never forgets his name and giving back to the community that has embraced her, echoing her calls for justice.

Lawson, a 19-year-old Humboldt State University sophomore, was fatally stabbed at an off-campus party April 15, 2017, in a case that remains unsolved with charges dismissed against its only named suspect. To mark the fourth anniversary of her son's death, Charmaine Lawson has planned a day of events in the Arcata Plaza on Saturday, April 17.

Because her son ran track and loved the outdoors, Charmaine Lawson said she's been training to run the Los Angeles Marathon in his honor and decided to hold a 4-mile run/walk to mark the four-year anniversary.

"You can run, you can walk, you can skateboard — bring pets, kids in strollers — it's going to be a fun event," she told the Journal. "It's about being outside, exercising, making sure people are staying healthy."

The run/walk will begin at noon at Arcata City Hall before heading to the Humboldt Bay Trail and the Arcata Marsh.

Then, at 2:30 p.m. (once the farmers market wraps up, as Charmaine Lawson said she didn't want to interfere with people enjoying the market), there will be a vigil on the Arcata Plaza with a keynote speaker, music and outreach services to those in need.

Charmaine Lawson said she can't do the coat drive for the poor she's done the last few years because of COVID-19 but this year has packed 100 backpacks with toiletries, blankets and gift cards and plans to give them out to people in need during the vigil, which will also have food for those who are in need.

"I just want to give back, give back in honor of DJ," she said. "DJ was a giver. He had an amazingly big heart."

Anyone looking to contribute can bring a new sleeping bag or a gift card to a local restaurant or grocery store to donate, Charmaine Lawson said, adding that those looking to volunteer with the run/walk can show up at city hall by 11 a.m.

Charmaine Lawson said she's looking forward to being back in Humboldt County, where she says she'll never stop pushing to find justice for her son.

"I just want the community to come out and remember DJ and celebrate him and know that he's not forgotten," she said.
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Friday, April 9, 2021

One Lucky Cat: Fortuna Fire Comes to the Rescue

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 12:37 PM

FORTUNA FIRE FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Fortuna Fire Facebook page
Do firefighters really rescue cats from trees? In Fortuna, yes, they do.

A team from the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department came to the rescue of a wayward kitten that became stuck this morning.

According to a Facebook post, Capt. Kyle Kertscher along with firefighters Riley Cameron, Myles Borgelin, and Alan Agnone worked together to retrieve the little gray cat from high up in the branches and bring the feline back into the arms of its owner.

Who says firefighters rescuing a kitten from a tree is just an old cliché? Not us! This morning we were called to do...

Posted by Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department on Friday, April 9, 2021
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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Forum Tonight on Plan to Close Redwood Memorial Maternity Services

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 12:31 PM

Providence Health officials will be part of a 6 p.m. public forum tonight to discuss the healthcare provider's controversial decision to close down the obstetrics program at Redwood Memorial Hospital and shift all deliveries 20 miles north to St. Joseph Hospital.

It's the second time in less than a decade that the hospital system overseeing the Fortuna location, which has seen more than one generation of some Humboldt families born there, has discussed shutting down the maternity services.

In a Feb. 26 announcement, the health care system cited declining birth rates in the county, and especially the Eel River Valley, for the move slated to take place July 1, as well as a shortage of "women's services physicians."

Under an agreement with the California Attorney General's Office, which approved the 2016 merger between St. Joseph Health Care and Providence, the system was obligated to retain maternity service at Redwood Memorial for five years.

A similar move proposed back in 2013 was also met with strong objections, especially from the southern portions of the county, with concerns raised about potential risks to mothers and babies due to extended travel times those who live in the outer reaches of the county would face going to Eureka, especially if there was an emergency.

At the time, more than 1,500 people signed a petition calling for the maternity center and OB services to remain at Redwood Memorial. A petition currently being circulated has more than 4,000 signatures.

Questions can be submitted to norcalmarcomm@providence.org and the community forumc click here: http://provhealth.org/6189HIich



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Hoffman to Meet with LatinoNet Friday

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 7:00 AM

County Health Officer Ian Hoffman - HUMBOLDT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Humboldt County Public Health
  • County Health Officer Ian Hoffman
As part of Humboldt County Public Health’s ongoing effort to work with the local Latinx community, Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman will be meeting this Friday with LatinoNet, a nonprofit organization formed by a network of service providers for the Latinx community, to discuss county COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the county’s efforts with community partners to outreach the Latinx community.

“Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman is one of the guest speakers at the upcoming LatinoNet meeting April 9," Department of Health and Human Services Spokesperson Christine Messinger wrote in an email to the Journal. "Dr. Hoffman worked with the Latino community in the Bay Area for more than a decade prior to joining the county in December and looks forward to continuing to do so here locally,”

The LatinoNet meeting with Hoffman comes as Public Health is working to address health disparities in the county’s Latinx population, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In July of last year, Humboldt County’s COVID-19 dashboard highlighted the disproportionate COVID-19 case rates in the local Latinx and Hispanic communities, noting they accounted for 22 percent of COVID-19 cases while only making up 12 percent of the population. As of yesterday, Humboldt County Latinx people make up 25 percent of positive COVID-19 cases locally.

And now with vaccine rollout, Public Health is working to address health inequities and make sure all persons are able to receive a vaccination. In a media availability last Thursday, Lindsey Mendez with the Humboldt County Vaccine Task Force said that Public Health is working with community groups like Paso a Paso, the Promotores and TrueNorth to address language barriers and cultural competency within vaccine rollout.

“In an emergency response, which we are right now performing during the pandemic and doing vaccinations, we are always trying to do a check-and-balance system in the Public Health Department to ensure that we are vaccinating with equity and that we are using the right methods and the right partnerships to accomplish this goal,” Mendez said in the media availability. “We are currently using meeting and quality improvement tools and looking internally and allowing our partners externally to discuss with us how we are performing and how we can do better, right now and in the future.”

According to the county's dashboard, 8.46 percent of the local Latinx population has been fully vaccinated to date, compared to 16.45 percent of the general population, while 6.31 percent of the local Latinx population is partially vaccinated, compared to 10.57 of the general population.

Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman's meeting with the LatinoNet organization is scheduled for Friday from noon to 1:30 via Zoom, and can be viewed here.
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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

State Slated to Reopen in Mid-June, Humboldt Moves to Orange Tier

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 11:55 AM

Humboldt County has been moved into the state's "orange," or moderate COVID-19 risk ranking, after long stays in the more restrictive "red" and "purple" tiers.

The new status will allow more business sectors open and expand indoor operations capacity for restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, places of worship and other organizations. (Find more information here.)

The news comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that the tier system is slated to end June 15, with businesses and other activities across the state allowed to reopen to pre-pandemic levels, depending on two main factors: hospitalizations and vaccination supply numbers. Mask mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, he said.

"This disease is as deadly as it's even been, the thing we've done is suppress the spread," Newsom said at a press conference, noting health officials are mindful of variants and masks are an important part of controlling the disease's spread.

“California has made incredible progress controlling the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, masking, and getting vaccines out quickly to Californians in every corner of the state, including in those communities hardest hit by this pandemic,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghalys said in a news release. “In order to take the next step, we must continue to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and that means continuing to wear a mask and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine.”

By the end of the month, Newsom said he anticipates the state will have distributed 30 million doses.
California opened up the vaccine line to those 50 years and older on April 1, with residents 16 years and older able to receive a shot starting April. 15.

Humboldt County residents looking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine need to register through the state's My Turn site as part of a transition to Blue Shield taking over vaccine distribution and registration.

Those who filled out the county's vaccine interest form will have to do so again on the state's My Turn website (which can be found here) as county information will not be rolled over to the state's database.

County residents who have already received one dose do not need to use My Turn for scheduling and should receive an email from Public Health or contact from the original provider about second dose information, according to a news release.

The state data released today shows Humboldt County with a test positive rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt daily cases rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

The move to orange brings Humboldt into the least restrictive zone since late November, when a surge in cases catapulted the county from the “minimal” risk tier, over the “moderate” and straight to the red zone before quickly moving into the "purple," or widespread COVID-19 risk rank.

Except for a brief stint in January, Humboldt stayed in the most restrictive tier before moving back to the red zone in late February.

Over the last few months, the county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent.

Humboldt's new ranking officially goes into effect at midnight.

Read the release from the governor's office below:
SACRAMENTO – As California surpasses a major milestone in the fight against COVID — administering more than 20 million vaccine doses, including 4 million in the state’s hardest-hit communities, and with hospitalizations continuing to steadily decline — Governor Gavin Newsom today outlined the state’s next step in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, moving beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. On June 15, California will fully open its economy if two criteria are met:

If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated; and If hospitalization rates are stable and low

Everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures, including encouraging all Californians to get vaccinated and mandating masking, to prevent illness and promote health.

The state will continue contact tracing and testing to detect cases early and contain spread of the virus. The entire state will move into this new phase as a whole. The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed.

“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy,” said Governor Newsom. “We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic. We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”

“California has made incredible progress controlling the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, masking, and getting vaccines out quickly to Californians in every corner of the state, including in those communities hardest hit by this pandemic,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “In order to take the next step, we must continue to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and that means continuing to wear a mask and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine.”

When California fully reopens the economy, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will end. However, common-sense health measures such as masking will remain across the state. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings. For more information on the state’s move beyond the Blueprint, click here.

All sectors listed in the current Blueprint for a Safer Economy grid may return to usual operations in compliance with Cal/OSHA requirements and with common-sense public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and with vaccinations encouraged. Large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements. California is able to reopen fully and safely because of our commitment to the equitable distribution of vaccines.

Today, the state reached a total of 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered to Californians in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities, less than a month after delivering 2 million doses to these communities. The state, in partnership with local government, health care providers and community-based organizations, will continue its extensive efforts to get eligible Californians vaccinated, including its support of expanded hours and access through community clinics and providers, public education campaign, and support for community-based strategies such as canvassing. Equity continues to be the focus of our vaccine efforts, especially as we prepare to fully reopen.

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state had set aside 40 percent of vaccine doses for the hardest-hit communities and established an equity metric to increase vaccinations in those communities. Doing so recognizes that the pandemic did not affect California communities equally.

Forty percent of COVID cases and deaths have occurred in the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index (HPI), which provides overall scores and data that predict life expectancy and compares community conditions that shape health across the state. California continues to plan for the vaccination of Californians under 16 years of age, protection against new variants and continued tracking and containment of spread. The state stands ready to mobilize additional resources if there is an increase in cases.
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Monday, April 5, 2021

McGuire Looks to Create Statewide TOT Tax Collection System for Short-term Rentals

Posted By on Mon, Apr 5, 2021 at 4:23 PM

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGure has introduced a bill that looks to create a statewide system for collecting taxes from short-term rentals to aid cities and counties in accessing "untapped revenue," according to a release from his office.

Senate Bill 555 would require short-term rental services like Airbnb and VRBO to collect the taxes from customers as they signed up the online platform, with those monies given over to the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration for distribution to the corresponding city or county.

“Hundreds of cities and counties don’t collect bed taxes from short-term vacation rentals and this is a simple statewide solution that will collect and invest in vital services that will help California cities and counties thrive,” McGuire said. “SB 555 will provide cities and counties the ability to opt-in to a statewide program to collect bed tax revenue from tourists, which will in turn be reinvested into fire and police services, local parks and libraries, and economic development projects. It also ensures that all short-term vacation rental platforms do their part and even the playing field.”

The release states the program would be opt-in. SB 555 past the Senate Governance and Finance Committee in a 5-0 vote and is headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Read the release from state Sen. Mike McGuire's office below:

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire’s bill that would create a new, innovative system for collecting and dispensing revenue from Transit Occupancy Taxes (TOT) for short-term vacation rentals has passed its first committee in the Senate.

The bill is a critical step in supporting local governments as they try to collect tens, and very likely, hundreds of millions in revenue statewide to support vital city and county services like fire and police, public health, good roads, and for parks and libraries.

In California, nearly every city and county levies TOT, and the revenue collected is typically used to support essential government services. Unlike with hotels and motels, local jurisdictions often have an incredibly difficult time collecting TOT on short-term vacation rentals because hosts are not always aware of the requirement to collect and remit these taxes, and local governments do not always know what properties are being used for short-term vacation rentals.

SB 555 will help cities and counties collect this untapped revenue by creating a statewide TOT collection program administered by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) for local jurisdictions who choose to participate.

This program would require short-term vacation rental platforms, such as Airbnb or VRBO, to collect the appropriate TOT from customers when a short-term rental is booked through the platform. The platform would then remit the funds collected to CDTFA, who would then distribute the revenue to the city or county.

“Hundreds of cities and counties don’t collect bed taxes from short-term vacation rentals and this is a simple statewide solution that will collect and invest in vital services that will help California cities and counties thrive,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “SB 555 will provide cities and counties the ability to opt-in to a statewide program to collect bed tax revenue from tourists, which will in turn be reinvested into fire and police services, local parks and libraries, and economic development projects. It also ensures that all short-term vacation rental platforms do their part and even the playing field.”

This program would be an opt-in for local municipalities, and those municipalities would be required to enact an ordinance to participate. This bill does not prohibit local agencies who want to continue with their own Voluntary Collection Agreements with platforms from doing so. Rather, SB 555 gives jurisdictions who have not found success in entering Voluntary Collection Agreements, which are the majority of cities and counties across California, with hosting platforms the ability to collect this vital and untapped revenue.

SB 555 passed unanimously, 5-0, last week in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. It will head to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.
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Thursday, April 1, 2021

DA Names New Chief Investigator

Posted By on Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 3:45 PM

Kyla Baxley is sworn in as the chief investigator by District Attorney Maggie Fleming. - COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
  • Kyla Baxley is sworn in as the chief investigator by District Attorney Maggie Fleming.
The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office announced today that Kyla Baxley has taken on the role of chief investigator, having previous served as the senior district attorney investigator, replacing Wayne Cox, who retired on Tuesday.

Baxley, who joined the office in 2013 after five years with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, grew up in Eureka and received a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida after also attending Humboldt State University.

“I recognize the vital role the District Attorney Investigations Division can have on the cases our office receives for prosecution,” Baxley said in a news release. “I have always valued the opportunity to interact and build professional relationships with the allied agencies and our community. I feel fortunate I am in a position to continue to do this and look forward to leading the Investigations Division with honesty and integrity.”

Cox — who served as chief investigator for eight years —is widely known for his work in solving the murder of 14-year-old Curtis Huntzinger, a Blue Lake boy who was missing for 18 years before his body was found in a shallow grave in December of 2008, and bringing his killer to justice.

The next year, he was named the California District Attorneys Association’s first-ever “Investigator of the Year” as well as received the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s annual Law Enforcement Excellence Award.

“Among many other valuable qualities, I appreciated Wayne Cox’s willingness and ability to handle an incredible variety of tasks (at all hours) and the value to our Office of his amazing network of connections to people throughout the county and state,” District Attorney Maggie Fleming said in a release. “I also look forward to Kyla Baxley’s service as chief investigator, because her track record gives many reasons to anticipate that she will be excellent in her new role.  Humboldt County has greatly benefitted from the service of Wayne Cox; we are fortunate to continue benefitting from the service of Kyla Baxley.”

Read the full release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office below:

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office announced Kyla Baxley has been promoted from Senior District Attorney Investigator to Chief Investigator.  Chief Baxley grew up in Eureka and attended both Eureka High School and Humboldt State University before graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.  She joined the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in 2007, where she worked as a patrol deputy and later as a detective before joining the District Attorney’s Office as an Investigator in 2013.  Chief Baxley has served as a member of the Child Abuse Services Team throughout her tenure as a DA Investigator.  Her selection as California Sexual Assault Investigator of the Year in 2017 indicates the excellence of her work and level of commitment.  Following her selection as Chief Investigator, Kyla stated: “I recognize the vital role the District Attorney Investigations Division can have on the cases our Office receives for prosecution. I have always valued the opportunity to interact and build professional relationships with the allied agencies and our community. I feel fortunate I am in a position to continue to do this and look forward to leading the Investigations Division with honesty and integrity.”

Chief Baxley replaces Wayne Cox, who retired on March 30 after serving as District Attorney Chief Investigator for the past 8 years.  Former Chief Cox worked in law enforcement for over 30 years, including service with the Eureka Police Department and the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement before he joined the District Attorney’s Office in 2007.  The California District Attorneys Association recognized Chief Cox’s outstanding work by selecting him as Investigator of the Year in 2009.  His many contributions to law enforcement include recognizing the need for, and leading the establishment of, a Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) for Humboldt County.  Established in 2018, the MCTF has already made key contributions to several investigations.

District Attorney Maggie Fleming shared her perspective on the change in Chief Investigators: “Chief Investigator for the DA’s Office is an exceptionally challenging job.  Among many other valuable qualities, I appreciated Wayne Cox’s willingness and ability to handle an incredible variety of tasks (at all hours) and the value to our Office of his amazing network of connections to people throughout the County and State.  I also look forward to Kyla Baxley’s service as Chief Investigator, because her track record gives many reasons to anticipate that she will be excellent in her new role.  Humboldt County has greatly benefitted from the service of Wayne Cox; we are fortunate to continue benefitting from the service of Kyla Baxley.”
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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Cooperation Humboldt Plants Fruit Trees for Everyone

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 1:50 PM

Eva Hogue, a Cooperation Humboldt garden installer, planting a fruit tree. - COOPERATION HUMBOLDT
  • Cooperation Humboldt
  • Eva Hogue, a Cooperation Humboldt garden installer, planting a fruit tree.
Cooperation Humboldt's mission to make food more available to all is steadily growing, with the local nonprofit planting an additional 130 fruit trees throughout the county this year.

“We believe that nutritious food is a fundamental human right, and our projects aim to put that belief into practice in very tangible ways,” said Tamara McFarland, who coordinates the Cooperation Humboldt's food program. “Growing public food in common spaces is an important step toward our goal to return Humboldt County to the regenerative, life-sustaining food forest and ecological haven that it once was.”

This year marks the third round of fruit tree planting. In 2019, 23 trees were planted and 56 trees last year, totaling around 209 public fruit trees. Once the trees begin fruiting, neighbors will be able to visit the tree and harvest.

Cooperation Humboldt's mission is to create a more equitable economy and empower people to learn skills that were once necessary for basic survival, like gardening and harvesting.

“Cooperation Humboldt's community fruit tree program has helped Two Feathers NAFS move toward Food Sovereignty, which we believe is an inherent right of Native Peoples — to self-determine food systems that rebalance healthy communities and Mother Earth," said Amy Mathieson, a family support coordinator and member of the Food Sovereignty Team at Two Feathers Native American Family Services (NAFS). "Over 40 youth joined us in both Hoopa and McKinleyville to plant 20 trees. They were able to learn how they can be active participants in Food Sovereignty, but just as importantly they were able to connect with nature, their community, Two Feathers staff, and each other. These connections are vitally important to the mental health and wellness of our youth and families.”

Through their food programs, Cooperation Humboldt has provided Little Free (Blue) Pantries to facilitate neighborhood food sharing, converted unused front lawns into gardens, empowered inexperienced gardeners to learn to grow food through free mini gardens, published the annual Community Food Guide and offered a variety of educational opportunities relating to food production.

To learn more about Cooperation Humboldt and their work, visit their website at www.cooperationhumboldt.org.

Read the full press release below.
LOCAL GROUP PLANTS FRUIT TREES FOR THE FUTURE

EUREKA, CA (March 31, 2021) –Local nonprofit social change organization Cooperation Humboldt has kicked off 2021 by planting over 130 fruit trees throughout Humboldt County. The trees were planted in publicly accessible locations with the specific intent of making food available to anyone who wants it. Everyone who received a tree has agreed to share its fruits with their neighbors once the trees begin to produce, and signage will be added to that effect.

“We believe that nutritious food is a fundamental human right, and our projects aim to put that belief into practice in very tangible ways,” says Tamara McFarland, who coordinates the organization’s food program. “Growing public food in common spaces is an important step toward our goal to return Humboldt County to the regenerative, life-sustaining food forest and ecological haven that it once was.”

“This opportunity means much more than just planting fruit trees for me. It is so valuable to connect with people by growing something together to empower our community,” reports Saimie Koontz, a garden installer for Cooperation Humboldt. “Working towards food sovereignty during a pandemic gives me hope for a stronger, kinder Humboldt.”

Amy Mathieson, Family Support Coordinator and Member of the Food Sovereignty Team at Two Feathers Native American Family Services (NAFS) shares, “Cooperation Humboldt's community fruit tree program has helped Two Feathers NAFS move towards Food Sovereignty which we believe is an inherent right of Native Peoples - to self-determine food systems that rebalance healthy communities and Mother Earth. Over 40 youth joined us in both Hoopa and McKinleyville to plant 20 trees. They were able to learn how they can be active participants in Food Sovereignty, but just as importantly they were able to connect with nature, their community, Two Feathers staff, and each other. These connections are vitally important to the mental health and wellness of our youth and families.”

This year’s undertaking builds on the success of the organization’s first two rounds of planting, which resulted in 23 trees planted in 2019 and 56 trees in 2020. A map of all locations can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/coop-humb-fruit-trees. The significant growth of the program this year was due to Cooperation Humboldt’s participation in the 2020 Disaster Recovery COVID National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG). The grant provides disaster-relief and humanitarian assistance employment to dislocated workers to minimize the employment and economic impact of the COVID Pandemic, and is administered through the Smart Workforce Center at The Job Market.

Cooperation Humboldt’s food team also provides Little Free Pantries to facilitate neighborhood sharing, converts unused front lawns into productive gardens, empowers inexperienced gardeners to learn to grow food through their free mini gardens, publishes the annual Community Food Guide, and offers a variety of educational opportunities relating to food production. Learn more at cooperationhumboldt.org.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Drug Task Force Reports Seizing 5K Fentanyl Pills

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 11:08 AM

Fentanyl, cocaine and firearms seized as a part of a weeks long investigation stemming from a string of fentanyl overdoses. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE
  • Humboldt County Drug Task Force
  • Fentanyl, cocaine and firearms seized as a part of a weeks long investigation stemming from a string of fentanyl overdoses.
The Humboldt County Drug Task Force reported today making a handful of arrests and seizing more than 5,000 counterfeit Percocet pills containing fentanyl after a weeks-long investigation initiated after multiple fentanyl overdoses were reported in the Hoopa Valley.

According to a  press release, the investigation started March 5 when a Humboldt County Sheriff's deputy working in the Trinity Valley reported to the task force a potential overdose death attributed to pills known on the street as "perc30," which were allegedly being sold by Christian "Punky" Colegrove, 23, and a 17 year old. A little more than a week later, a 13 year old reported overdosed after taking the same pills but was revived when responding officers used Narcan.

The investigation reportedly led to Anthony Dion Medina, 24, of Eureka, who was allegedly picking up "large quantities" of pills in the San Jose area and then selling them in Humboldt County. After as surveillance operation, task force agents reported observing Medina returning from a trip to San Jose along State Route 299 when he stopped in Willow Creek to meet Colegrove and Warren "Pops" Sloan, 23.

Agents contacted the men and served as each warrant on Medina's vehicle and reported finding a total of 5,002 "perc30" fentanyl pills. A passenger and an infant were also in Medina's vehicle, according to the press release.

When agents served a search warrant at Medina's residence in Eureka, they reported finding a number of firearms — including a 9 mm "ghost gun" with a 30-round magazine drum — and more than 8 grams of cocaine.

Local officials have become increasing concerned about fentanyl locally, as it has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths, following a national trend. After being found in one overdose victim locally in each 2016, 2017 and 2018, the coroner's office found fentanyl in at least seven of the county's 46 overdose deaths in 2019.

"Something changed," Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Lt. Sam Williams told the Journal last year. "It's a marked difference."

Fentanyl is considered to be especially dangerous because of its potency. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, a lethal dose of heroin is generally considered to be roughly 30 milligrams, while a 3-milligram dose of fentanyl — which looks like a few grains of salt — is enough to kill an average adult male. That potency makes it attractive for drug traffickers, officials say, as a tiny bit can be used to stretch illicit street drugs or counterfeit pharmaceuticals. But if the drug isn't blended sparingly, thoroughly and evenly, it can prove deadly.

Read more about local officials' concerns about fentanyl in the Journal's Feb. 6, 2020, cover story "Third Wave."

Sloan was issued a misdemeanor  citation on suspicion of loitering with intent to purchase drugs, while Colegrove was taken into custody on active warrants. Medina and his passenger were arrested on suspicion of possessing and transporting a controlled substance for sale, child endangerment and conspiracy.

The task force asks anyone with information related to this investigation to call 267-9976.

See the full task force press release copied below.


Continue reading »

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Monday, March 29, 2021

Volunteers Needed for Expanded COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2021 at 2:35 PM

Dale Stocky celebrates his 75th birthday by getting the COVID-19 vaccination he'd newly become eligible for at a Mad River Community Hospital vaccine clinic Jan. 23 at Pacific Union Elementary School. - FILE
  • File
  • Dale Stocky celebrates his 75th birthday by getting the COVID-19 vaccination he'd newly become eligible for at a Mad River Community Hospital vaccine clinic Jan. 23 at Pacific Union Elementary School.
With California residents 50 and older becoming eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine this week, and then residents 16 years and older a couple of weeks later, Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center is going to need all the help it can get to vaccinate the majority of adults in the county.

The EOC is currently looking for volunteers to help facilitate the upcoming expanded COVID-19 vaccine distribution at public health clinics.

Last Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine is expanding, beginning with California residents age 50 and older this week on April 1, and a couple of weeks later those 16 years and up. However, officials warn that it will take time to get all California residents vaccinated.

Those with medical licenses are preferred but there are also non-medical positions that need to be filled, including checking in appointments, paperwork and directing people.

“People who want to help their community and can be flexible in their roles are encouraged to reach out to us,” said EOC Logistics Chief Natalie Chapman. "The need will become greater as more supply becomes available, which will enable us to hold more clinics and vaccinate our community faster.”

According to the release, more than 120 Disaster Health Care Volunteers (DHVs) have been sworn in so far to assist with the ongoing vaccination effort.

EOC Director Ryan Derby said this is the largest and most prolonged disaster volunteer effort in Humboldt County history. “Despite there being a large pool of volunteers, we’ll need additional personnel in the coming weeks and months as vaccine becomes increasingly available to residents,” he said. “People answering the call to help their neighbors, friends and loved ones is how we’ll end this pandemic. I couldn’t be more thankful for our volunteers.”

Read the full press release below:


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