Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Grand Jury Blasts Eureka Schools' for Lack of Transparency, Due Diligence in Jacobs Deal

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2024 at 3:30 PM

Eureka City Schools' main office. - FILE
  • File
  • Eureka City Schools' main office.
After investigating Eureka City Schools’ decision to offload its former Jacobs Middle School site in a property exchange agreement with a mystery developer, the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury has issued a report criticizing the district for a lack of transparency and due diligence.

“The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury concludes that the Eureka City Schools Trustees acted hastily and without sufficient due diligence,” the report states, adding that while the district appears to have complied with the “technical requirements” of California’s open meeting laws, it violated “the law’s general intent for public participation and transparency in decision-making.”

In investigating the Dec. 14 property exchange agreement between Eureka City Schools and AMG Communities-Jacobs, LLC, in which the district agreed to transfer more than 8 acres of the Jacobs site to the mystery developer in exchange for a residential property on I Street and $5.35 million in cash, the grand jury says it interviewed city officials and advisors, reviewed meeting agendas and minutes, as well as media reports, and consulted with an expert in California open meeting laws.


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Monday, June 10, 2024

A New Season and New Conference for the Crabs

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2024 at 5:31 PM

Like a lot of people, I drive by the empty Arcata Ball Park in the winter months, longing for sunny days at the yard. The Crab Grass Band plays in my head with the cheers of “Tip Tip Hooray,” the chanting of “Nanananana BATBOY!” and even our famous hecklers. The promise of summer and Humboldt Crabs baseball brings a smile. Last Friday night, on the final day of May, the North Coast’s greatest show on dirt returned for a landmark 80th season and our Crabbies did not disappoint.

Victor Castaneda slides in safe at home during a high scoring day for the Crabs. - PHOTO BY MATT FILAR
  • Photo by Matt Filar
  • Victor Castaneda slides in safe at home during a high scoring day for the Crabs.

Returning for his third year with the team, McKinleyville’s own Cameron Saso started on the mound. Pitching on opening night, in front of family and friends at the ballpark he grew up going to, Saso threw five shutout innings and picked up the first win of the summer. He did it in front of a crowd full of kids like he used to be. How can you not be romantic about baseball?

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Thursday, June 6, 2024

Journal Named Finalist for State, National Awards

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2024 at 3:46 PM

The North Coast Journal has been named a finalist in eight categories in the 2023 statewide California Journalism Awards, as well one category in the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards.

The California Journalism Awards are bestowed annually by the California Newspaper Association, which was founded in 1888 and has more than 500 member papers throughout the state. The awards contest is judged by volunteers from member newspapers’ newsrooms, with the top five submissions receiving honors and the winner announced at an event next month.

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards, meanwhile, have been held annually since 1996, with judging done by a “a panel of distinguished industry experts and academics” who evaluate each submission’s “journalistic integrity, originality, impact and contribution.”

The Journal’s submissions receiving recognition this year reflect the hard work of not just the editorial and design teams that produced them, but the entire North Coast Journal Inc., which works daily to put out two weekly newspapers and a variety of special publications. The honors also reflect the support of Journal readers and advertisers, who enable all we do.

With all that said, here’s a look at finalist submissions that will be in the running for top honors next month.


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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Eureka Schools Amends Property Exchange Agreement, Sets Escrow Deadline

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2024 at 2:54 PM

Eureka City Schools has entered into an amended property exchange agreement with a mystery developer looking to acquire its old Jacobs Middle School site that stipulates the parties should close escrow on the deal on or before July 11.

Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol seems to be back at the negotiating table for the old campus it had hoped to purchase and turn into its Northern Humboldt headquarters until the district, seemingly out of nowhere, entered into an exchange agreement with a newly formed company — AMG Communities-Jacobs, LLC — on Dec. 14.

CHP had not been included as an identified negotiating party in closed session agenda items regarding the Jacobs campus in the months immediately following the district board’s decision to exchange 8.35 acres of the Allard Avenue property for a small, residential property on I Street and a $5.35 million cash payment. But the district then resumed listing CHP as a negotiating party in April.

Superintendent Gary Storts said the district continues to work toward closing the exchange with AMG but the district remains in contact with CHP because it “has continued to express interest in the property.”


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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

UPDATE: Pedestrian Killed in Last Week's Crash ID'd

Posted By on Tue, May 28, 2024 at 5:26 PM

UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Corner's Office has identified the 66-year-old pedestrian killed May 22 as Eureka resident David Sprague, according to a news release from the Eureka Police Department.

The multi-car crash remains under investigation, the release states, and witnesses are being asked to
 contact the Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) at (707) 441-4300.


PREVIOUS:
The Eureka Police Department's investigation into a multiple-car crash on I Street yesterday that left a pedestrian dead and multiple people hospitalized remains ongoing, the department announced this afternoon.

According to a press release, EPD responded to a report of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian collision at around 1:45 p.m. yesterday in the 900 block of I Street, which was followed moments later by multiple reports of multiple collisions on I Street near Seventh Street.

A 66-year-old male pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, and several people from involved vehicles were transported to a local hospital for treatment, the release states. The accident is being investigated by EPD's Major Injury/Fatal Traffic Investigation Team, with help from department detectives and evidence technicians.

According to the release, the cause of the crashes remains unclear, saying only that "it appeared a vehicles was traveling north on I Street, collided with the pedestrian in the roadway near Ninth Street, continued traveling north, collided with additional vehicles near Seventh Street, and then collided into a building."

Police are withholding the pedestrian's name until the Humboldt County Coroner's office notifies his family of his death. EPD asks anyone with information about the crash to call (707) 441-4300.

Find the full press release here.
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Judge Kreis 'Censured and Barred' in Agreement to Close Ethics Case

Posted By on Tue, May 28, 2024 at 3:53 PM

Judge Greg Kreis
  • Judge Greg Kreis
Former Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Greg Kreis has resolved the ethics complaint lodged against him by the Commission on Judicial Performance, admitting to 17 charges that he violated the code of judicial ethics and agreeing to be publicly censured, resign his position and never seek judicial office again.

Kreis, whose campaign to retain the seat he was appointed to in 2017 was rocked by the commission’s case against him and was soundly defeated at the polls in March, declined to comment when reached by the Journal.

The stipulation resolving the ethics case, which was approved by a unanimous vote of the commission, sees Kreis admit to 68 specific allegations of misconduct, though not the most salacious ones in the complaint initially filed against him.

“Much of Judge Kreis’ misconduct relates to his failure to disclose his relationships with seven attorneys; his familiarity with individuals involved in matters before him; or the extent of his relationships with the individuals, in at least 44 cases over which he presided,” the stipulation states. “This type of misconduct is serious. The purpose of California’s statutory disclosure requirements is to ensure public confidence in the judiciary. A judge’s persistent failure to comply with these requirements reflects an unacceptable lack of concern about the public’s perception of the integrity and fairness of the judiciary.”

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cal Poly Readying to Turn Protest Police Reports Over to DA

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2024 at 5:04 PM

Students and community members gather outside Siemens Hall amid a standoff between police and protesters occupying the building on April 22. - PHOTO BY ALEXANDER ANDERSON
  • Photo by Alexander Anderson
  • Students and community members gather outside Siemens Hall amid a standoff between police and protesters occupying the building on April 22.
Cal Poly Humboldt’s University Police Department is wrapping up its criminal investigation into the week-long occupation of Siemens Hall by pro-Palestine demonstrators and associated vandalism, and expects to turn the case over to prosecutors tomorrow, a university spokesperson tells the Journal.

At least 33 people were arrested in association with the demonstrations on campus that began April 22 and prompted administrators to shutter the campus, threatening students, faculty and staff who violated the “hard closure” order with citation or arrest. While those arrested were booked into jail on suspicion of trespassing, resisting arrest and unlawful assembly, all have since been released from custody and Humboldt County District Attorney Stacey Eads tells the Journal no charging decisions have yet been made, as she’s still awaiting investigative reports. Cal Poly Humboldt spokesperson Aileen Yoo says those will mostly likely be turned over to Eads’ office tomorrow.

At its May 7 meeting, the Cal Poly Humboldt University Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a resolution calling on Eads not to prosecute the students and professor arrested during the protests.


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Friday, May 17, 2024

Cal Poly Humboldt Protester Featured on New York Times Podcast

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2024 at 2:50 PM

The Gaza demonstration at Cal Poly Humboldt and the blockade in front of the main entrance to Siemens Hall on April 23. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • The Gaza demonstration at Cal Poly Humboldt and the blockade in front of the main entrance to Siemens Hall on April 23.
A Cal Poly Humboldt student was among three people interviewed on today’s edition of the New York Times podcast The Daily, which discusses the pro-Palestinian demonstrations that have gripped college campuses across the nation.

The episode, which includes some nuanced discussion of the protests, their inspiration and how they are viewed by students of various backgrounds, features three students, including 25-year-old CPH early child development student Jasmine Jolly, Mustafa Yowell, a student of Palestinian descent at University of Texas at Austin, and Elisha Baker, a Jewish student at Columbia University.

Jolly, who was raised and identifies as Jewish, talks about her family’s history of anti-war activism, her faith, her experience in local protests and how her views of the Israel-Hamas war might differ from those of her grandfather. The episode as a whole addresses the students’ opinions of the protests, as well as their conflicting views on the use of slogans like “Intifada” and “from the river to the sea.” It’s a conversation with more depth and nuance than typical coverage of the protests and worth a listen on whatever podcast platform you prefer.

An interesting post purporting to be an interview of an anonymous Cal Poly Humboldt protester also appeared yesterday on a website offshoot of a site urging people to boycott the New York Times, “divest” from writing for the publication and unsubscribe to the paper and its offerings. The interview touches on everything from the notion that Humboldt became the “militant front” of the campus movement and why students might have been “ready to fuck the school up” to how the original April 22 protest grew and what might come next.

Meanwhile, we’ll take this opportunity to point you back to a couple pieces in this week’s print edition: our cover story featuring an interview with Cal Poly Humboldt Chief of Staff Mark Johnson, and a views piece from a university professor defending the occupation.
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Monday, May 13, 2024

Sheriff's Office IDs Deputy Who Shot Suspect

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2024 at 4:28 PM

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has identified the deputy who fatally shot a shooting suspect last month as Lt. Conan Moore, who remains on paid administrative leave.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Moore was responding to the scene of the report that a 75-year-old woman had been shot in Cutten and arrived to find Kevin Jeffrey Burks, who matched the suspect description, fleeing the scene. Burks reportedly then entered a residence, after which deputies set up a perimeter. Burks, 32, is alleged to have exited the home a short time later, "pointing a firearm in the direction of deputies." According to the Sheriff's Office, Burks "refused commands" before Moore shot him in the chest. He died about a week later in a local hospital.

The 75-year-old woman was transported to an out-of-area hospital for treatment for her gunshot wound and has since been released to a rehabilitation facility to undergo continued treatment, according to the release.

Moore has been with the Sheriff's Office for 15 years, according to the release, which is copied in its entirety below.


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Sunday, May 12, 2024

CPH Graduation at the Courthouse and the Casino

Posted By on Sun, May 12, 2024 at 5:30 PM

Cal Poly Humboldt graduating senior Angel Barker wasn’t expecting to receive her diploma at a casino.

“My high school graduation was a drive-thru in the parking lot because it was in 2020 at the beginning of COVID-19,” Barker said. “I was really excited to have my family see me walk across the stage at the Redwood Bowl. Graduating at a casino wasn’t what I expected at all.”

Cal Poly Humboldt graduate Violet Zoe Becerra waves to the crowd while receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree at Blue Lake Casino. - PHOTO BY GRIFFIN MANCUSO
  • Photo by Griffin Mancuso
  • Cal Poly Humboldt graduate Violet Zoe Becerra waves to the crowd while receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree at Blue Lake Casino.

In lieu of hosting graduation at the Redwood Bowl in the wake of student protests over the Israeli-Hamas war and the subsequent campus closure, CPH decided to hold local commencement ceremonies at three different locations on Saturday, May 11: the Eureka Theatre, Eureka High School and the Sapphire Palace Event Center at Blue Lake Casino, with a schedule of ceremonies for different disciplines.


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