Monday, June 19, 2017

TL;DR: So Unpopular!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 2:17 PM


Busy week? We get it. So in the event that you haven’t been able to find the time to sit down and sludge through the 2,000 words of unpopular opinions that was last week’s cover story, we’ve got you covered with a brief synopsis. We’re also taking this opportunity to — perhaps unpopularly — announce that we’ve added a few more missives to the online version of the story. Without further adieu, eight unpopular offerings from this week’s cover:

1) Humboldt County’s beloved mustard dill sauce is, in fact, a crime against salmon.

2) I don’t like Eureka.

3) Attachment parenting is a half-baked farce that will leave you exhausted with self-neglect.

4) Despite what you think, you’re probably not a Warriors fan.

5) The widespread San Francisco Giants fandom in Humboldt reflects the region’s self-loathing tendencies.

6) Being from here does not make you a better person.

7) The Sequoia Park Zoo’s memorial exhibit for Bill the Chimp has run its course and it’s time to level the thing and move on.

8) This whole unpopular opinions thing is, in fact, a terrible idea.

Read the full feature here.
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Friday, June 16, 2017

Contest Countdown!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 11:57 AM

Hey, Shutterbugs, time is running out!

The deadline to enter the Journal’s 2017 reader photo contest is fast approaching. So, between now and midnight on June 19, grab your camera and document your community, whatever that means to you — your people, your neighborhood, your city, your ecosystem, your culture — and send us your photos. (Read more about it in the original post here).

The winning photo will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Journal, with the winning photographer getting dinner out on us, a bottle of wine and a little something for dessert. Photos should be taken during the contest period — between May 10 and June 19 — and submitted without Photoshop or filters; we need the real deal. Entries can be emailed to, and we encourage folks to enter as many times as they’d like.

For a look at last year’s contest — “Winter in Humboldt” — click here.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Up and Down Old Town with Officer Crnich

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 1:15 PM

Officer Cory Crnich - SAM ARMANINO
  • Sam Armanino
  • Officer Cory Crnich
Eureka Police officer Cory Crnich’s beat stretches from Eureka’s Fourth Street north to the bay, from East Commercial Street to the library. Being the Old Town officer is a specialty position, one Crnich applied and reapplied for. He took the job in May of 2016, one week after the PalCo Marsh eviction. There’s no pay bonus but there are, according to Crnich, “unique opportunities and difficulties” that make it different from a regular patrol position. Four days a week, beginning at 8 a.m., Crnich walks up and down his beat, checking in on the people  passed out in doorways, smoking at the Gazebo and making their way toward St. Vincent De Paul for food.

“It requires a little more patience than standard patrol work,” says Crnich. “There are two different extremes you’re working with, indigent folks and small business owners.”

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 2, 2017

A Band of Neighbors Successfully Sues the Squireses

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 2:07 PM

The now red-tagged home at 1635 G Street. - PHOTO BY THADEUS GREENSON
  • Photo by Thadeus Greenson
  • The now red-tagged home at 1635 G Street.
Residents along a stretch of G Street say they had one main goal in mind when they grouped together to take Eureka’s most notorious landlords to court: They wanted their neighborhood back.

Conditions at two buildings on the street owned by Floyd and Betty Squires had continued to deteriorate, becoming magnets for drug activity and police calls, neighbors say. They saw an uptick in crime and, at times, felt unsafe walking out their doors.

The last straw was a shooting in December at one of the residences that served as a rooming house. Shortly afterward, neighbors filed a series of small claims cases that — after being parred down — left 20 to be heard in court earlier this year.

The effort paid off this week with news arriving in their mailboxes that Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna awarded them varying amounts in damages — ranging from around $1,500 to $5,000 — after finding the Squireses failed to properly manage the two side-by-side buildings.

Continue reading »

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EPD Pitches Homeless Day Center

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 11:52 AM

J-son and Brittany sit across from St. Vincent de Paul's free dining facility in Eureka. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • J-son and Brittany sit across from St. Vincent de Paul's free dining facility in Eureka.
A recent entry by Eureka Police Department Chief Andrew Mills on the EPD blog addresses the issue of people loitering around the St. Vincent de Paul dining facilty at Third and Commercial streets. Local business owners have complained about an increase in vandalism, drug use and camping in the area. EPD data obtained by the Journal shows a sharp jump in calls to the eight-block area around SVDP immediately following the eviction of PalCo Marsh residents, although EPD officially says many of those formerly living in the marsh have been housed, and the people in the SVDP area are mostly new faces from out of town, drawn here by the promise of work in the marijuana industry. A group of business owners met with Mills and Councilmember Marian Brady to discuss their concerns on May 5.

"Business owners, manager[s], and residents have complained of the high level of disorder including drug use, discarded needles, fights, disorderly conduct, large amounts of litter, and bodily waste left in the alleys and surrounding properties," a memo from Mills reads. "People block sidewalks, graffiti buildings and harass pedestrians and motorists. Business has suffered from lost customers, vandalism, and theft. In addition, businesses are concerned for the safety of their employees."

To address this problem, EPD is recommending a multi-phase plan that will include meeting and communicating with the 30-40 people who tend to congregate in the area, then using diversion techniques to reduce complaints. That might include suspension of services from St. Vincent de Paul for some individuals for a temporary period of time. Police may also ask people to clean up an area or perform other tasks to get a voucher that they can exchange for "meal privileges." SVDP may also shut down the facility during a "crisis period."

"To restore services, the individual may be required to perform a community service: clean up trash, pull weeds, paint out graffiti, etc.," Mills states in the blog. "Once completed, they can get a voucher to re-establish services."

The city is also soliciting proposals for a new "day use" area, where people can stay during the day and store "limited amounts of private property." The six-month pilot project "must be easily accessible to the city by foot or bus, but does not have to be in the city." Proposals are due by July 1.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Redway Man Killed in ATV Accident

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 5:12 PM

A Redway man was found dead this morning from injuries he suffered in an ATV accident on an unmarked trail south of Briceland Road.

A group of concerned residents located the body of David J. Dresser, 59, trapped under the vehicle after searching in the area where he was last known to be, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.

It’s unclear how long Dresser had been missing. His death remains under investigation by CHP and it’s unknown if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Read the full CHP release below:
At an unknown time, between the Saturday May 27, 2017 and the morning of Wednesday May 31, 2017, David J. Dresser of Redway, CA was driving a 2005 Yamaha ATV east on an unmarked Jeep trail approximately one quarter mile west of Barley Road and south of Briceland Road. For reasons still under investigation, the ATV overturned and Dresser was ejected. The ATV came to rest on its right side and Dresser was trapped underneath the ATV. Dresser was located, deceased, on the morning of Wednesday May 31 at approximately 7:30 am by local concerned citizens who were actively searching the area where he was last known to be.

Agencies who assisted with the investigation include: Southern Humboldt Tech Rescue, Briceland Volunteer Fire Department, Humboldt County Sheriff Department and the California Highway Patrol.

This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. At this time, it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in this collision.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Judge Denies Skilled Nursing Defendants' Change of Venue Bid

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 3:50 PM

  • Shlomo Rechnitz
Judge Timothy Cissna denied skilled nursing magnate Shlomo Rechnitz’s request for a change of venue in a wrongful death and elder abuse lawsuit following a short hearing today, rejecting claims that he couldn’t get a fair trial in Humboldt County.

Cissna said the case should be tried locally because it involves a substantial personal injury that occurred in Humboldt County and a recently named defendant lives in the area.

The judge also dismissed arguments made in the change of venue motion that contended “negative news articles” would taint the local jury pool, saying there hadn’t been a showing of “undue prejudice.”

The civil case before the judge — one of three currently pending against Rechnitz and the skilled nursing facilities he owns in Humboldt County — alleges low staffing levels at Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center contributed to the death of Ralph Sorensen. The 76 year old died in January of 2016 from complications related to an infected pressure ulcer.

Seaview, Rechnitz, Brius and administrative services company Rockport are named in the lawsuit. (Read more about the case here.)

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Arcata Moves Forward With Sanctuary City Status

Posted By on Sat, May 20, 2017 at 11:56 AM

The Arcata City Council took the first steps toward becoming a sanctuary city this week in a reversal of position from one month ago when a divided board stopped just short of the declaration.

After the 4-1 vote on May 16, Councilmember Michael Winkler stated he supported the body of the ordinance but cast his dissenting vote due to fears the specific wording of sanctuary city would “put a weapon in Trump’s hands.”

He emphasized that he was adamantly opposed to the “fascist (President Donald) Trump regime and all its immigration policies and many other policies.”

“I don’t want to give them the power to punish us and the people of Arcata,” Winkler said.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ocean View Cemetery Workers Accused of Golfing on Graves

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 11:40 AM

Ocean View Cemetery - FILE
  • File
  • Ocean View Cemetery
A video of what appears to be maintenance workers golfing in the veteran's section of Ocean View Cemetery has stirred up some controversy.

The Newtons, a vlogging family whose YouTube channel features stories of dog rescues, vegetarian cooking and kids' Christmas hauls, all here in Humboldt County, uploaded the video on May 17. In it, two men can be seen carrying golf clubs. When the Newtons' car rounds the corner, the men hustle off a grassy knoll to a waiting maintenance truck.

Reached for comment, cemetery administrator Don McCombs gave the following statement:

"We are appalled, we are looking into it and we will take appropriate action up to and including terminating any employee involved at any time."

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

$5M Awarded for Last Chance Grade Studies

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 4:03 PM

A tractor trailer passes one of the retaining walls on the grade. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • A tractor trailer passes one of the retaining walls on the grade.
The California Transportation Commission has allocated $5 million to fund the environmental and geotechnical studies needed to build an alternative route around Last Chance Grade, the long-failing portion of U.S. Highway 101 just south of Crescent City.

The offices of Congressman Jared Huffman and state Sen. Mike McGuire announced the development today, the first step in what is expected to be a lengthy planning and construction process that currently has an estimated completion date of 2039.

“I thank the California Transportation Commission for recognizing the importance of finding a long-term and durable solution for Last Chance Grade and for providing the much-needed support to move this process forward,” Huffman states in the release.

The 3-mile stretch of highway, which has shifted 50 feet since 1937, has been plagued by landslides since the first wagon road was cut there more than 120 years ago.

“Due in part to the support of the community, lawmakers, and stakeholder groups, Caltrans is now a step closer in the development of a long-term solution at Last Chance Grade,” Caltrans District 1 Director Matt Brady states in the announcement from Huffman’s office.

There are currently six proposed alternative routes for the vital link between Crescent City and points south, with price tags ranging from $300 million to $1 billion. Each one comes with its own set of major obstacles, including old growth redwoods, challenging terrain and sites of cultural significance to local tribes.

Read previous North Coast Journal coverage of the challenges facing the project here and here.

Read the full release from Congressman Jared Huffman's office below:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today announced that the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has awarded $5 million in funding for Last Chance Grade, the slide-prone stretch of U.S. Highway 101 between Klamath and Crescent City.

“Resolving the issues at Last Chance Grade is vital both for my constituents’ safety and to keep California’s far North Coast connected to the greater region,” said Rep. Huffman. “I thank the California Transportation Commission for recognizing the importance of finding a long-term and durable solution for Last Chance Grade and for providing the much-needed support to move this process forward.”

“Due in part to the support of the community, lawmakers, and stakeholder groups, Caltrans is now a step closer in the development of a long-term solution at Last Chance Grade,” said Caltrans District 1 Director, Matt Brady. “While this amount is not enough to complete all of the studies required, it is positive movement towards developing a project that meets everyone’s needs.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Huffman was joined by Assemblyman Jim Wood and Senator Mike McGuire in sending a letter to the CTC supporting Caltrans’ request for funding.

This letter was accompanied by dozens of additional support letters from local governments, tribes, environmental groups, landowners, businesses and transportation interests who rely on the integrity of this stretch of the highway.

The funding will allow Caltrans to begin conducting the necessary environmental and geotechnical investigations of potential alignments of the highway around Last Chance Grade. This is a critical step to protecting the safety and economy of Del Norte County and the people and commerce that travel U.S. Highway 101.

Read the release from state Sen. Mike McGuire's office below:
Sacramento, CA – The California Transportation Commission voted today to approve $5 million for initial environmental work related to the permanent solution for Last Chance Grade. Senator McGuire, Assemblymember Wood and Congressman Huffman have been fighting for these funds for the past many months.

“Advancing a permanent solution – moving the Last Chance Grade off of the coast and constructing an inland route – is a top priority to all of us,” Senator McGuire said. “This has been a team effort with Congressman Huffman, Assemblymember Wood and Caltrans to advance these funds which will kick off the process to evaluate alternative proposed routes for Last Chance Grade and we are excited that after decades of work, we are finally taking steps to make a permanent fix.”

Assemblymember Wood, Senator McGuire and Congressman Huffman have been working closely with Del Norte County Supervisors, Crescent City leaders and state transportation officials, and earlier this year hosted on-site meetings at the Last Chance Grade after portions of the highway collapsed, closing and damaging the road.

“It’s unacceptable that it has taken decades to get Del Norte County residents a safe and reliable highway, and it’s our top priority to get this permanent solution moving,” Senator McGuire said.

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