Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Former Harbor Commissioner Banned for Life From Recreational Hunting/Fishing in California

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 4:35 PM

Aaron Newman
  • Aaron Newman
The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously in closed session this afternoon to permanently ban former Humboldt Bay Harbor, Conservation and Recreation District Commissioner Aaron Newman from obtaining a recreational hunting or fishing license.

The ban stems from a 2014 criminal case in which Newman faced allegations that he’d habitually poached abalone and lied to a state agency about it and ultimately pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges, including unlawfully obtaining more than one license in a year, lying to a state agency and failing to properly tag abalone.

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Huffman Applauds Allocation of $29 Million in Fisheries Disaster Relief Funds

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 3:16 PM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman announced today that the federal government has allocated $25.8 million in disaster assistance to those affected by the 2015-2016 closure of California’s commercial Dungeness and rock crab fisheries and another $3.9 million to the Yurok Tribe stemming from the collapse of the fall Chinook fishery in 2016.

“For far too long, the North Coast has been waiting for this federal support to relieve the economic burden from several disastrous fishing seasons,” Huffman said in a statement. “I know that the path to recovery for our fishing communities is long but I’m grateful to see some help is finally on the way.”

The federal allocation from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross comes after Congress passed a bipartisan budget deal in February that provided $200 million in fishery disaster relief.

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Detained Arcata Mom Back With Family

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 2:01 PM

A sign supporting Claudia Portillo's release. - TRUE NORTH ORGANIZING NETWORK
  • True North Organizing Network
  • A sign supporting Claudia Portillo's release.
Claudia Portillo is back with family.

Seven months after the Arcata mother of four was detained during a routine immigration check-in in San Francisco, the 33 year old was released Tuesday after posting a $12,000 bond.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Canada Legalizes Cannabis

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 7:29 PM

Canadians celebrate Cannabis Day in 2014. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Canadians celebrate Cannabis Day in 2014.
With a historic Senate vote today, Canada has legalized recreational marijuana use, becoming the world's largest nation to do so.

Today's vote means the legalization bill is headed to the governor-general, Queen Elizabeth's representative, for approval, which is widely considered a mere formality.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's initial goal had been to have legal recreational sales ready to roll out July 1, that has proven overly optimistic and local governments will now need up to three months to prepare retail systems and regulations. Under the new law, the federal government will set some overarching rules but Canadian provinces will have a lot of discretion in determining whether the cannabis will be sold by government shops or private sector retailers, whether the minimum age for purchase will be 18 or 19, and how it is grown.

The New York Times has a full rundown on today's vote and what it means.
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Judge Sets Hearing on Jury Misconduct in Goldberg Murder Trial

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 3:10 PM

Timothy Smith - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Timothy Smith
The man convicted of killing volunteer Fortuna fireman Tim Smith could receive a new trial after a judge today found the defense had presented enough evidence to call for an evidentiary hearing into jury misconduct, according to news reports.

Jon David Goldberg, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in March for fatally shooting Smith outside of his Rohnerville Road home, had been scheduled to be sentenced at today’s hearing. He faced 40 years to life in prison.

Instead, the Lost Coast Outpost and Times-Standard report, after reviewing a motion by Goldberg’s attorney Casey Russo alleging prosecutorial and jury misconduct, visiting Judge Graham Cribbs said there was enough information to hold an Oct. 15 hearing on the latter but found no indication of misconduct on the prosecution’s part.

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Arcata Rancher Charged on 35 Counts Related to Animal Cruelty Investigation

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 12:40 PM

UPDATE: According to Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, at this morning’s arraignment on animal cruelty charges Raymond Christie waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 60 days. A court date has been set for Aug. 14 and Christie is not currently in custody. The district attorney is filing a motion to increase bail, which should be heard sometime next week, according to Kamada.


Raymond Christie, the Arcata rancher arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty on Mar. 19, has been formally charged by the Humboldt County District Attorney's office on 35 counts, mostly related to animal cruelty and neglect.

Included in the charges are seven counts of felony cruelty by "failing to provide sustenance, drink, shelter or subject any animal to needless suffering" to cattle, a goat and a pig across different Christie-owned properties in Orick, McKinleyville, Trinidad, Arcata and Eureka.

The remaining 28 charges are misdemeanors under California Fish and Game Code 5652(a) related to disposal of litter or carcasses "within 150 feet of a state waterway." Christie is charged with disposing multiple cattle carcasses near waterways on most of his properties. The complaint specifies that more than 200 cattle carcasses were dumped near waterways on his Jackson Ranch Road property in Arcata.

In March, the sheriff's office confirmed to the Journal that Christie had returned to the Humboldt County Auction and picked up more cattle after leaving jail. HCSO spokesperson Samantha Karges explained to the Journal that Christie had bid on the cattle prior to being arrested and — once he posted bail — he was able to pay for the animals.

If Christie is found guilty in the present case, the court will have the opportunity to mandate whether he can purchase or keep animals in the future, according to Karges.

According to Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, if Christie is convicted of animal cruelty, the law allows for a person to be prohibited from "owning, possessing or having custody or control of any animals for a period of five years."

"Prior to a conviction, there are legal procedures that could allow authorities to seize a specific, individual animal from a person, albeit temporarily," Kamada told the Journal.

A felony conviction would also prohibit Christie from owning or purchasing firearms.

Christie's arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, June 19.
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Eureka Council Considers High-Priced Agenda

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 10:31 AM

A weighty $2 million in decisions are coming before the Eureka City Council today, including a proposed payout, a development loan and whether to sign on to certain conditions in exchange for funds to build a new Sequoia Park Zoo project.

But before diving into the regular agenda, the council will meet in a special 4 p.m. session to discuss the future of waterfront parcels that run from C Street to F Street. Described in the staff report as historically serving as “Eureka’s front door,” the properties were the subject of a 2015 design charrette and a market feasibility study.

Three options for the land’s developments — which staff emphasizes is inhibited by restrictive zoning that is currently in the laborious process of being updated — include a retail/residential development, a 100-room hotel and restaurant or a mixture of the previous two.

Staff recommends “pursuing a scaled-back version of Option 1, which could evolve into the realization of Option 3” while bringing in elements from community input at the charrette, including green space and a waterfront park. Read more on the options here.

$100K chamber payout: Staff recommends the city “compensate” the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce to the tune of $100,000 after the business organization signaled its intent to end a longstanding agreement between the entities for its Broadway location.

Long story short, the city owns the property but the chamber paid for the office’s construction and 60 years of upkeep and pays no rent. Under an agreement dating back to 1957, the city gains ownership of the building when the lease ends in 2033 and the chamber is seeking the $100,000 as a buyout for its remaining 15 years on the books, which would allow the city to sell or rent out the property.

According to the staff report, the current value of the land and structure is around $460,000 with a rental value of $3,136 a month.

Meanwhile, the chamber is looking to establish a business Incubator facility in the downtown area that would include its office as well as a “multi-purpose business training center, flex-workspace, incubator, and co-working space,” the agenda states.

The move comes one year after the chamber’s decades-long role of providing visitor’s center services for the city came to an end.

Danco loan: The council will also look at loaning Danco $250,000 to put toward a senior affordable housing development project for sites at Seventh Street and Myrtle Avenue and on Sixth Street.

According to the agenda, the council selected Danco to develop the $7.8 million project with 36 units for low-income seniors in December, along with approving a $377,500 loan for purchasing the parcels.

The agenda item states the combined $627,500 loan to Danco would come “with a term of 55 years at 3 percent interest, with repayment from residual receipts, with the city in second lien position on title.”

After Danco received additional funds to put toward a separate veterans housing complex on Fourth Street, the company withdrew a request for city monies for that project and asked to have that amount be put toward the senior housing development, according to the agenda summary.

Canopy Walk MOU: The council will consider entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Eureka Lodging Alliance and Humboldt Lodging Alliance for “funding and construction of the Redwood Canopy Walk at the Sequoia Park Zoo.”

The MOU would see the city pledge to met certain conditions for the project in exchange for grants of $1 million from the ELA and $500,000 from the HLA, including a spring 2020 deadline for completing the walkway some 60- to 95-feet up in the zoo’s redwood trees.

The city would front the cost with the ELA and HLA reimbursements being made in installments based on construction invoices, according to the MOU.

In other business, the council will consider inviting eight cannabis business to begin the conditional use permit process and approving a one-year exclusive right to negotiate agreement with Travis and Stephanie Schneider, who have proposed developing an upscale RV park and mixed-use development on what is known as the Samoa Bridge Properties.

The 6 p.m. meeting takes place at city hall, 531 K St., in Eureka. See the full agenda here
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Arcata Mom Granted Bail After 7-Month Immigration Detention

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 3:40 PM

An Arcata woman has been granted the opportunity to post bail by a federal immigration judge after a seven-month detention in Bakersfield.

Claudia Portillo, a 33 year old who immigrated to the United States from El Salvador when she was 7, was taken into custody and transferred to the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in November after she showed up for a “routine” immigration appointment in San Francisco, according to a press release from the  True North Organizing Network.

This morning, Judge Patrick O’Brien granted Portillo’s request to be released on $12,000 bond, though the Department of Homeland Security can appeal his ruling, which would delay Portillo’s release.

Portillo has four daughters, one of whom graduated from Arcata High School last week.

A community fundraiser held over the past week raised more than $8,000 and community groups are currently working to raise the rest of the money needed for Portillo’s bond with the hopes she will be able to return home this week.

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Aww, Shucks: Crabs Lose Two on Oyster Fest Weekend

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 1:43 PM

Crabs celebrate a run during Saturday's game. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Crabs celebrate a run during Saturday's game.

Well folks, I’ll be honest with you, it was a rough weekend. Beleaguered from a successful two-game road trip in the Redding heat, one they won in the 20th inning (yes, you read that right), our favorite crustaceans dropped two of three to the visiting Seattle Studs (yes, you read that right, too).

Friday, June 15
Alex Pham took the mound again, striking out 11 in six and two-thirds innings, while giving up six hits and tacking three runs onto his ERA. The Studs got on the board early, in the top of the second, after quickly loading the bases and using a well placed ground-out to their advantage.

Four innings of stranded baserunners and near-misses later, the Crabs got one of
theirs home. Connor Blair was walked, and McCarthy Tatum reached on a fielder’s
choice. After a cocksure two-out steal, Tatum was brought home by a booming
Jackson Kritch double. Tie ball game.

Sadly, though, the Studs refused to roll over and, with the help of some untimely
errors, took a two-run lead in the top of the seventh.

A leadoff single by Crab Otis Statum ignited the heretofore demure crowd and the resident hecklers started putting their diaphragms to good use. Things were looking up as Statum stole second and took third with ease on a wild pitch. Bronson Grubbs drove Statum home with a well-placed grounder and the stadium exploded like Krakatoa. But unlike the cataclysmic eruption, the Crabs-fan facsimile had no such lasting effect. Kellen Strahm grounded into a fielder’s choice and Koko Figueiredo drove one into shallow center and was tagged out on a questionable call at second base to end the inning.

Strong relief pitching from the Studs led them home and they won 3-2.

Saturday, June 16
In years past, the annual Oyster Fest Crabs game has been a bacchanalian affair bordering on riotous.

This year, however, it was surprisingly tame, with fewer than 500 people in attendance and only three fans getting the boot. Perhaps it was the allure of limited beer selection at the festival or perhaps this town’s first true marine love is the bivalve mollusk, but if you stayed on the plaza (or left before the top of the ninth was over) you missed what may have been the best game of the season thus far.

Debuting some extraordinarily sick tie-dye uniforms with nigh impossible-to-read names and numbers, our Dungeness dudes went down 2-0 in much the same way they had the night before. The 50-50s were not going our way this weekend folks (and I don’t mean the jackpots). Or so it would seem.

In the bottom of the second, the ever-clutch Jackson Kritch opened the inning with a double to center field. Connor Larsen reached on a dribbling grounder and a pitcher’s error on the throw to first. Catcher Jackson O’Boy walked in his
first plate appearance for the Crabs this year and just like that, the bases
were loaded with one out. Wesley Ghan-Gibson popped one into right field, but
it was caught and the runners had to hold. Outfielder Kellen Strahm, another
new face, got beaned and the Crabs were on the board. It was 2-1 Studs.

Two innings later, in the bottom of the fourth, the Crabs would tie it up. O’Boy
walked, but was caught stealing second for the second out (the trademark
aggressive baserunning of the Crabs has been backfiring this series) in the middle
of a patient and defensive at-bat by Ghan-Gibson. He, too, drew a walk.
Back-to-back singles by Strahm and Figueiredo drove home Ghan-Gibson.

Crabs starting pitcher Jared Milch found his form after the second inning and easily dispatched of the Studs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Reliever
Kenton Carruthers took over in the sixth and Seattle went three up, three down.
For their turn at the plate, the Crabs opted to load the bases and Blair brought
two of them home on a line drive single to right field. Crabs lead 4-2.

The seventh inning was more of the same. Carruthers sitting down three straight

Pitching Coach Eric Giacone congratulates Jackson Kritch. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Pitching Coach Eric Giacone congratulates Jackson Kritch.

The Studs were looking more like geldings and the Crabs putting runs on the board. Kritch started off the inning with a thunderous triple, and he would stroll home on a Larson double. O’Boy singled to put Crabs on the corners and a saucy sacrifice bunt by Ghan-Gibson gave the Crabs a commanding 6-2 lead.

McCarthy Tatum took the mound in the eighth and, for the fourth straight inning, only three Seattle players saw an at-bat. The game was all but over and many in the stands opted to make last call at Oyster Fest. And then the ninth inning happened. Seattle had a walk, two singles, and two doubles to tie the game and earn their name again. An ineffectual half of the ninth for the Crabs and this game was going to extra innings!

In both the 10th and 11th innings, the Studs quickly put runners in scoring position. The Crabs, in turn, ratcheted up their defense and escaped both innings unscathed.

Bottom 11. Tatum burns a line-drive single to center field on the first pitch. Kritch
takes his stance in the batter’s box and does the exact same thing. Two men on, none out. The bleachers thrumming from hundreds of pounding feet. Santiago Cantu pinch hits, his first plate appearance of the day. It’s a sacrifice bunt, a little dribbler to the pitcher. Tatum is screaming towards third and with a bad throw to first he rounds for home and scores! Crabs win 7-6 on a walk-off error on a sacrifice bunt in the 11th inning.

Sunday, June 17
The final game of the series could not have been more different than Saturday’s extra-inning heartstopper. It was an hour and 52 minutes long. I’m not kidding. Far and away the shortest baseball game I’ve ever seen. Some 1,150 people packed themselves into the stands for the Father’s Day affair, more than the first two games combined. 

Studs pitcher Alex Spahman threw a two-hitter complete game shutout. Our 

White on white ... why? - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • White on white ... why?

Crabbies put their bats to the ball all game, just every time they did it went straight to a Studs defender.

As is tradition on Father’s Day, the game was replete with giveaways sponsored by
Pierson Building Center (and one from the North Coast Co-op). The 50-50 winner
took home a cool $1,074 and a $250 gift card to Pierson’s. A bright spot in the gloomy game.

An interesting note: The starting pitcher for the Crabs, Alex Trautner, is
ambidextrous. He can pitch both left and right-handed. Though on Sunday, he only threw righty as it’s his strong side. Rules state that Trautner can switch his throwing hand each new batter but must stick with his chosen side throughout the at-bat.

Alex Trautner's ambidextrous glove. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Alex Trautner's ambidextrous glove.

Upcoming games: Crabs head out on an extended road trip this week (the only weekend they’ll be gone all season), first to Healdsburg to play the Prune Packers — an early contender for best most ridiculous team name — and then down to San Luis Obispo for the weekend. They return Tuesday June 26 for a Battle of the
Safety Corridor against the B-52s.

Cheers and Jeers

Cheers to the Crabs Queens and their fuzzy pink regalia! Y’all looked stellar.

Cheers to Pierson’s for their continued largess.

Jeers to the Studs for wearing white on Sunday. On Sundays, we wear white. White on white makes for a ridiculous-looking field.

Cheers to the mini-conductor miming along at Sunday’s game. You did good, kid.

Jeers to yours truly (second week in a row!) for not being cranky and cynical enough to come up with more jeers. I’ll be in a worse mood next week. Promise.

A friendly reminder that if you hear a good heckle or have anything you want me to know, I can be reached at

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Eureka High Gifted Strings and Things from Sara Bareilles

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 3:28 PM

Sara Bareilles chats with Eureka High School students on Skype. - VIA INSTAGRAM
  • Via Instagram
  • Sara Bareilles chats with Eureka High School students on Skype.

The music department at Eureka High School has a little more string in its step after a gift from a famous alum yesterday. Music, Broadway, TV and soon-to-be Apple TV star Sara Bareilles teamed up with Yamaha Entertainment Group and Eastman Strings to send her fellow Loggers some string instruments and audio equipment. Bareilles posted a video about the donation and her Skype chat with students on Instagram (watch below) in which you can hear the EHS band cranking out her hit "Love Song."     

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