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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Fortuna's Chief Dobberstein to Retire

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2019 at 5:51 PM

Fortuna Police Chief Willian Dobberstein. - FILE
  • File
  • Fortuna Police Chief Willian Dobberstein.
The city of Fortuna announced today that Police Chief William Dobberstein will be retiring next month.

Dobberstein, who started with the city’s force in 1994, has been at the department’s helm since 2011.

According to a release, Dobberstein was “instrumental in the department adding a drug task force agent, school resource officer, two police detectives,” as well as increasing community policing efforts.

“Chief Dobberstein is grateful to the Fortuna City Council, members of the Fortuna Police Department and our community for the opportunity he has had to serve as a member of the Fortuna Police Department and the chief of police,” the release states.

His official retirement date is Jan. 17.

Read the announcement from the city of Fortuna below:


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Monday, December 2, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Looking for a Monocerotid Unicorn

Posted By on Mon, Dec 2, 2019 at 10:13 AM

Reflections at Moonstone Beach. While we waited for meteors, a pair of helicopters skimmed the horizon as blinking dots sliding toward Trinidad’s glow. The rest of the galaxy hanging overhead didn’t notice us. Humboldt County, California., November 21, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Reflections at Moonstone Beach. While we waited for meteors, a pair of helicopters skimmed the horizon as blinking dots sliding toward Trinidad’s glow. The rest of the galaxy hanging overhead didn’t notice us. Humboldt County, California., November 21, 2019.
The other week I was finally made aware of the existence of an elusive annual celestial phenomenon nicknamed the Unicorn meteor shower, or Alpha Monocerotids. So dubbed in part no doubt for its mercurial habits, the name is also eponymous for the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn, from which the meteors appear to radiate. The constellation itself is faint and difficult to see, and the shifty meteor shower can vary widely in its intensity from one year to the next.

The Alpha Monocerotid shower occurs when Earth’s orbit takes it through the trail of debris left by an unknown comet at some point time in the past. It’s a narrow trail by cosmic standards, and we don’t always intersect with it perfectly as we ride our planet around the sun. This year Earth was predicted to hit the thick of it, but because the trail is so thin we would pass through it quickly and enjoy only a short window of possibly intense meteor action.
Hoping with family members to see the edge of the Monocerotid meteor shower from Moonstone Beach, instead we came back with the makings of our next album cover. (Not really.) We saw a couple meteors, maybe, but we missed the shower. Humboldt County, California. November 21, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Hoping with family members to see the edge of the Monocerotid meteor shower from Moonstone Beach, instead we came back with the makings of our next album cover. (Not really.) We saw a couple meteors, maybe, but we missed the shower. Humboldt County, California. November 21, 2019.
I’m not an astronomer, just an observer with an imagination. I imagine a comet’s trail of particles to be similar to a stream of water from a hose, except that it is fairly straight rather than bending down to the ground, and it’s not flowing because it was left behind by a comet rather than forced out of a hose. The debris trail is not absolutely straight, of course, as the comet is orbiting the sun, but still it is a path of particles that Earth passes through. Also, although water comes out of your hose in a solid column, the path of cometary particles is far less dense.

Now imagine passing a globe of Earth through the stream from your hose. As the stream of water splashes down onto the globe, so, too, does the stream of debris left by a comet. From the point of view of someone standing on Earth’s surface, this “stream” of particles will radiate from the point in the sky where the path is entering the atmosphere, which is called the radiant. What we see as meteors are the particles from the comet’s trail of flotsam burning up in our atmosphere. The radiant moves across the sky with the rest of the stars as the Earth revolves on its axis.
A few annotations to help you find your way. Trinidad glows to the north. November 21, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A few annotations to help you find your way. Trinidad glows to the north. November 21, 2019.
This year, the Monocerotid meteor shower was predicted to be fairly intense, but our part of the globe wasn’t predicted to see the best of the action. The radiant would be far out over the Atlantic during the shower, and the show would be over before it would rise here on the west coast of North America. The shower would begin around 8:15 p.m. for us and only last about an hour as Earth intersected the debris trail. The radiant, located in the constellation Monoceros beneath and a little to the north of Orion, wouldn’t rise in the east until around 9:30 p.m., after the shower’s peak. I knew we wouldn’t get a view of the radiant itself, but I had hopes that some outlying “earthgrazer” meteors would still be visible for us as they streaked a glancing arc through the atmosphere.

But in the end, my own tale of the meteor shower would reflect only the chase of a unicorn’s tail.


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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Photos from the Thanksgiving Vigil

Posted By on Thu, Nov 28, 2019 at 7:18 PM

This morning, while many were preparing for holiday feasts with friends and family, some 50 people gathered on the steps of the Humboldt County Courthouse to hold a vigil for those immigrant families and individuals who are spending Thanksgiving in detention centers. As attendees held protest signs, speakers from Centro del Pueblo the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous People and other organizations addressed the crowd, and a symbolic Thanksgiving table stood empty of guests. 
Brenda Perez emcees Centro del Pueblo’s demonstration. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Brenda Perez emcees Centro del Pueblo’s demonstration.

Organizers also announced a planned caravan to Yuba City Jail on Dec. 14 in support of ICE detainees there. See the slideshow below for photographer Mark McKenna's images from the vigil.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Celebrating Therin Brooks

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 3:21 PM

Friends and family of Therin Brooks, who died in a car accident on Nov. 15, gathered for a celebration of life in Redwood Park on Saturday, Nov. 23. As tribute to the 37-year-old Eureka artist's colorful style, attendees were asked to come in bright attire and they did — right down to their pets. See the slideshow below for photographer Mark McKenna's images from the event.
Therin Brooks at their May opening at Piante Gallery. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Therin Brooks at their May opening at Piante Gallery.
Brooks earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute of Art and Design. Paintings like "Dusk at Beltaine," which was part of the Mercurial show at Piante Gallery in May, embody some of Brooks' skill, playful spirit and imagination. However, Brooks was in the process of transitioning to a career as a therapist.
"Dusk at Beltaine" by Therin Brooks. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy of the artist
  • "Dusk at Beltaine" by Therin Brooks.


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FIFTH UPDATE: 101 at Miranda is Back Open After 'Multiple Collisions'

Posted By and on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 2:04 PM

One of the many trees that came down during the storm. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • One of the many trees that came down during the storm.
FIFTH UPDATE:
Caltrans reports at 3:30 p.m. that traffic on U.S. Highway 101 at Miranda is now moving. Southbound lanes have been moving, with northbound expected to open "any minute now," according to Facebook post.

FOURTH UPDATE:
Caltrans is reporting at 2 p.m. that “U.S. Highway 101 has closed in the Miranda area of Humboldt County.”

“Crews are responding to multiple collisions due to hail and icy road conditions,” the Facebook post states. “We currently do not have an estimated time of reopening but will update you here as soon as new information comes in. Please, please, please, slow down out there and drive for the conditions on the road.”

According to Caltrans' QuickMaps site, the closure is expected to last until at least 6 p.m.

THIRD UPDATE:

Snow plows were clearing roads across the region just before 12:30 p.m., with one operating on U.S. Highway 101 between Orick and Klamath, another between Blue Lake and Willow Creek as well as near Salyer on State Route 299 and another clearing State Route 36 around Dinsmore, according to the Caltrans QuickMap.

SECOND UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services says PG&E is reporting 19,500 customers were still without power this morning after wild winds hit the region.
“PG&E crews are beginning damage assessments and once complete will begin power restoration,” the OES post states. “There is no timeframe on how long restoration will take. It is possible that outages may continue into tomorrow.”

For updated information, visit PG&E at: www.PGE.com/outages.

UPDATE:

According to Samantha Karges, spokesperson with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, there were no reports of damage to critical infrastructure from the storm, but the office did receive reports of fallen trees and power lines. Karges also said that there were no reports of storm-related injuries made to the sheriff’s office.

As of 11:30 a.m., outages included 500 in the Freshwater area, another 550 in a swath stretching from Ferndale to the Lost Coast, almost 3,000 in McKinleyville/Clam Beach, nearly 2,000 in Blue Lake and around 1,400 from Patrick’s Point to Westhaven. Some customers are coming up on 24 hours without power, according to the PG&E outage map.

PREVIOUS:
Thousands remain without power this morning after the first major winter storm made its way through the region, leaving downed trees and causing dozens of accidents.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento reported the storm had undergone “Bombogenesis,” which is “defined as a mid-latitude cyclone that drops in surface barometric pressure by 24 or more millibars in a 24-hour period.“


While the sky is clearing, the National Weather Service warns that the storm will continue to bring snow to the mountains and low-lying areas may see hail through the afternoon.

“Winds have generally diminished but will remain locally gusty through this morning,” the NWS weather advisory states. “Major travel impacts will continue today with many chain restrictions and delays, particularly across interior mountain roadways above 1,500 to 2,500 feet in elevation.”

Damage caused by the high winds includes the canopy at the Texaco Station in Eureka at 4th and R Streets, which was partially taken down by the storm, and a bayside billboard along the U.S. 101 Safety Corridor.
The California Highway Patrol reported a major uptick in calls for response during the storm. As of 10:30 p.m., CHP dispatch had more than 360 calls compared to 130 the day before.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) answered over 90 calls for service during yesterday’s storm in a 12 hour period.

According to a press release, the Cal Fire Humboldt-Del Norte Fortuna Emergency Command center dispatches for 36 agencies and ambulance companies throughout Humboldt County for all types of emergency services like vehicle accidents, power issues, fires and medical aids.

Cal Fire is urging residents to drive safely during harsh weather conditions.
A branch broken off a tree as a result of the storm. - KALI COZYRIS
  • Kali Cozyris
  • A branch broken off a tree as a result of the storm.
“Do not drive if you don’t have to,” the release states. “Be prepared in the event of a power outage. Have flashlights and food available.”

The Humboldt Bay bar entrance, which was closed last night, has been re-open but the Eureka office of the National Weather Service warns that waves are still in the 15-to-18-foot range.

This post will be updated throughout the day.
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Coasties Brave 'Extremely Dangerous' Conditions for Training

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 12:57 PM

When heavy seas hit the North Coast, the Coasties hit the waves. - U.S. COAST GUARD
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • When heavy seas hit the North Coast, the Coasties hit the waves.
When what the Eureka office of the National Weather Service deemed “extremely dangerous ocean conditions” hit the North Coast on Tuesday, local Coast Guard crews hit the waves.

According to a Facebook post by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay, crews set out to take advantage of the conditions for Surf Operations Training.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Winter Storm Packing a Punch on the North Coast

Posted By and on Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 7:10 PM

nwsstorm.png
The first real storm of the 2019-2020 season is slamming the North Coast – ripping off at least one roof, dropping snow, causing accidents and throwing large waves high onto the land.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento is reporting the storm has undergone “Bombogenesis,” which is “defined as a mid-latitude cyclone that drops in surface barometric pressure by 24 or more millibars in a 24-hour period.“

The Eureka office of the National Weather Service reports the “strongest winds” are expected to hit the North Coast between 7 and 9 p.m.
Kathleen Zontos, a hydrologist from the National Weather Service in Eureka, said “We’re looking at a major storm system. … It is kind of rare because it is intensifying so quickly. We are seeing gusts near 50 mph.”

Just before 7 p.m., thousands remained without power across a huge swath of Humboldt County, according to the PG&E outage map.


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APD Chief, Charmaine Lawson Ask Witnesses to Come Forward

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 4:01 PM

Charmaine Lawson speaks to the crowd gathered to honor her son and demands justice for him on the second anniversary of his killing. - FILE
  • File
  • Charmaine Lawson speaks to the crowd gathered to honor her son and demands justice for him on the second anniversary of his killing.
The mother of slain Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson has joined with Arcata Police Chief Brian Ahearn to tape a public service message asking for any witnesses to his April 15, 2017 stabbing to contact the department.

In the short clip, Charmaine Lawson says, “There is DNA evidence from the knife used to kill my son. Now we need eyewitnesses to come forth to help us get justice for Josiah."

Together, Charmaine Lawson and Ahern end the message by saying, “We need your help.” Listen to the audio below.
David Josiah Lawson - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • David Josiah Lawson
November marks 31 months since the 19-year-old criminology major was killed at a house party on Spear Avenue in Arcata.

Kyle Zoellner, a then 23-year-old McKinleyville man, was arrested at the scene and charged with Lawson’s murder, but Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen later found insufficient evidence to hold him and the charge was dropped.

In February of this year, a criminal grand jury convened to consider charging Zoellner declined to hand up any indictments in the case, a rare outcome in such proceedings.

Charmaine Lawson has remained outspoken in her quest to find the person who killed her son, traveling to Humboldt County from Southern California almost monthly to host vigils.

The APD release about the public service message states that the ongoing investigation indicates there are witnesses from the party who have not yet been interviewed.

“Those who were present but have not yet been interviewed may have information, unbeknownst to them, that could assist in the overall investigation,” the release states.

Read the full release from the Arcata Police Department below:


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FIFTH UPDATE: Thousands Without Power as Strong Winds Arrive, Snow is Falling

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 12:14 PM

A downed tree at Humboldt State University covered at least two cars. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PEGGY METZGER
  • Photo courtesy of Peggy Metzger
  • A downed tree at Humboldt State University covered at least two cars.
FIFTH UPDATE:

The CHP is reporting multiple incidents of trees or poles down in roadways, including on U.S. Highway 101 at Big Lagoon, Eel River Drive at Table Bluff Road, Old Arcata Road at the Bayside Cutoff and the State Route 255 offramp, among others.

Large swaths of Humboldt — from the Garberville area to Orick and inland to Hoopa and Willow Creek — were without power as of 3:15 p.m., leaving thousands with no estimated time of restoration, according to the PG&E outage map.

An injury accident on State Route 299 around 1:30 p.m. sent a vehicle over the embankment, according to the Caltrans Quick Map page, which reports the “road is snowy.”

The CHP incident page also indicates that heavy snow is falling in the Laytonville area.

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services notes: “There is potential for unexpected power outages and downed power lines from the winds. It is best to stay indoors on lower levels of your home and avoid being around windows.”

THIRD UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services reports that snow has been falling at the top of Berry Summit on State Route 299, with the National Weather Service calling for 4 to 12 inches on the highway’s summits.

State Route 36 is expected to see 8 to 15 inches on its summits.

For information on chain requirements and other road conditions, visit Caltrans website at: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/.

Just before 2 p.m., thousands in Humboldt County were without power, according to the PG&E outage map, including nearly 2,500 in Arcata, 1,800 in Blue Lake, 1,300 in the Indianola/Freshwater area, 700 in the Loleta area and almost 400 in Rio Dell.

The Eureka office of the National Weather Service calls the storm "unforgiving weather" in a tweet that trees are down across the region and there are reports of structural wind damage in Crescent City.

Like Redwoods State and National Parks, which closed earlier today, the Sequoia Park Zoo reports gates there will be closing at 3 p.m. due to safety concerns.

SECOND UPDATE:

Winds are already in the 20 mph to 50 mph range in the region and will continue to increase over the next few hours, according to the National Weather Service office in Eureka.

The PG&E power outage map is showing scattered outages across Humboldt just before 1:30 p.m., including one in the Loleta area that has left nearly 700 customers without power and another in Ferndale that has 800 out.
PREVIOUS:

A major winter storm began making its way into the region this morning, with the most damaging winds expected to hit this afternoon and continue into the night.

The Eureka office of the National Weather service is urging people to “travel with extreme caution” today and Redwoods National and State Parks is closing down due to safety concerns over falling trees and branches.
Gusts of 45 to 65 mph are possible in coastal areas, while ridges and mountain passes could see speeds in the 55 to 75 mph range.

On top of it all, this wild weather coincides with some of the year’s highest tides.
Tides ranging from 7.9 feet to over 8 feet began hitting the coastline Sunday and will continue through Thanksgiving, which — combined with elevated surf and southerly winds — could result in “some minor coast flooding,” according to NWS.
Centerville Road may need to be shut down Tuesday to mid-day Wednesday, according to the county of Humboldt.
That system is expected to bring rain and mountain snow Tuesday and the possibility of hail showers, most likely on Wednesday morning. Travelers are advised to carry chains on Mattole Road/Bull Creek and chains are required on Bair Road between Hoopa and Redwood Valley.

Posts from the National Weather Service in Eureka:


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Monday, November 25, 2019

Snow, Hail, Strong Winds and High Tides Forecast to Hit this Week, May Close Centerville Road

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 10:14 AM

Centerville Road overrun by surf last winter. - COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
  • Centerville Road overrun by surf last winter.
With the arrival of some of the year’s highest tides, Centerville Road at Centerville Beach may be shut down Tuesday to mid-day Wednesday, according to county.

Tides ranging from 7.9 feet to more than 8 feet began hitting the coastline Sunday and will continue through Thanksgiving, which — combined with elevated surf and southerly winds — could result in “some minor coast flooding,” according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm is also slated to hit this week, with “very strong winds” forecasted to hit the region Tuesday afternoon and evening. That system is expected to bring rain and mountain snow Tuesday, and the possibility of hail showers, most likely on Wednesday morning, the NWS forecasts.

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