Wednesday, April 26, 2017

101 Closure: Cleanup Begins Anew at Leggett Landslide

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 11:14 AM

Another landslide has closed the 101 north of Leggett. - COURTESY OF CALTRANS
  • Courtesy of Caltrans
  • Another landslide has closed the 101 north of Leggett.
Caltrans reported this morning that its contractor has been given the OK to begin slide cleanup after the hillside above U.S. Highway 101 just north of Leggett gave way again last night, a little over 24 hours after traffic had been allowed back through.

This is the third landslide in less than two weeks to plague the vital link between Humboldt County and points south, leaving travelers with no other option than to make lengthy detours of up to seven hours.

There is no estimate for when the road will reopen.

On the bright side, the National Weather Service is predicting that the wet weather will be tapering off today, with sunny skies in the forecast until at least Tuesday.

Check out this Facebook video by Wendy Kornberg, that was posted to the Caltrans page.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Update: Names Released in Apparent Murder-Suicide at Caltrans Yard

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 5:23 PM


The Humboldt County Coroner's Office has released the names of those involved in this morning's incident. From the press release, "The deceased male subject in this case has been positively identified as Terry Allan Hayse, age 57 of Rio Dell. The female subject has been positively identified as Annette Kaleialoha Brooks, age 61 of Carlotta."

Gov. Jerry Brown also issued a statement today regarding the death of Brooks, saying,

“The tragic death of this dedicated public servant is a shock to the entire Caltrans family. Anne and I send our deepest sympathies to Annette’s family, friends and her colleagues during this difficult time.”

The flags at the state capital will be flown at half-staff in honor of Brooks.


Two people are dead after an apparent murder-suicide at the Caltrans maintenance yard in Rio Dell this morning. According to the local Caltrans public information office, the employees are believed to belong to a paint crew from District 4, which serves several Bay Area counties.

The names of those involved have not been released, but the California Highway Patrol responded to the maintenance yard on Eeloa Avenue at 7:02 a.m. to find one person dead and another in critical condition. The altercation is believed to have taken place between a male employee and his female supervisor over a workplace dispute. The press release states that the man fired "several rounds at the supervisor, killing her, before turning the handgun on himself."

"News of this tragedy shocks and saddens everyone at Caltrans," said Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty in a statement. "Our thoughts naturally are with the families. The exact details are under investigation and Caltrans is cooperating with law enforcement."

From the California Highway Patrol:

On April 24, 2017 at approx. 0702 hours, Humboldt CHP was notified of a shooting incident with one subject deceased on scene at the Cal-Trans Maintenance Facility in Rio Dell, CA. CHP and Rio Dell PD responded to the scene and found one party deceased and another person in critical condition with a gun shot injury. The injured person was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital, but later died at the hospital.

At this point, investigators believe that an altercation ensued between a Cal-Trans supervisor and another Cal-Trans employee over a work-related issue. The employee retrieved a handgun and fired several rounds at the supervisor, killing her, before turning the handgun on himself.

The investigation is being handled by Humboldt CHP with the assistance of the the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County DA’s Office, and Rio Dell PD. The names of the deceased will be released by the Humboldt County Coroner after the notification of next of kin.

Any inquires regarding this incident should be directed to the Humboldt CHP office.

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Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 11:31 AM

The March for Science made its way through Arcata with a rising sea of signs. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • The March for Science made its way through Arcata with a rising sea of signs.

Local scientists, students of all ages and other advocates for science-based decision making joined more than 600 other March for Science events in cities around the U.S. to both celebrate Earth Day on Saturday and protest the Trump administration's policies and positions with regard to climate change and other issue.

The largely non-partisan Humboldt March for Science in Arcata, following a science expo and rally at the D Street Neighborhood Center, attracted an estimated crowd of 2,000 or more. The march from the Center to the Arcata Plaza and back was filled with creative signs with quotes that ranged from Aldo Leopold to Dr.Seuss. Others were filled with optimism ("Make America Think Again"), science advocacy and humor.
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Community Gathers to Mourn Slain HSU Student

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 4:08 PM

Lawson's mother is comforted by one of his friends. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Lawson's mother is comforted by one of his friends.
Katauri Thompson, a member of Humboldt State University’s Brothers United and close friend of David Josiah Lawson, asked all of the club’s members to join him on stage during a Thursday vigil for the slain 19 year old. Fighting back tears and holding one another, the group made their way up from the second row and stood around Thompson.

As they looked out at Lawson’s mother, there was a brief moment of silence. “You lost one son that night,” Thompson told her. “But you gained 15 more.”

The packed Humboldt State hall made it clear that Lawson was a friend and leader to many. His family sat in the front row, which faced dozens of flowers and a photo of the college sophomore.

The criminology and justice studies major died in the early morning hours of April 15 after being stabbed during an altercation at a house party in Arcata. Five days later, the Humboldt State University bell echoed throughout the campus as his family, friends, fellow students, faculty and community members filled the Kate Buchanan room to celebrate his life.

Sobs seemed to break out across the entire room as Thompson introduced HSU President Lisa Rossbacher. “It's beautiful that you could all come here,” she said.

Rossbacher noted that everybody in the room was standing on Wiyot land as she introduced Vincent Feliz, who led a group of 10 in a traditional healing song. “This is for the family here,” he said.

They sang a song about the willow that Feliz said represents the strength and endurance of the tree. “I sang that at my own mother’s funeral,” he said.

Corliss Bennett-McBride, director of the Cultural Centers for Academic Excellence and the faculty advisor for Brothers United, stopped to embrace Thompson before relating a story about how she ran into Lawson while out shopping one day.

“Stop by my office and say, ‘Hi,’ because I don’t have any friends,” she recalled telling him. Bennett-McBride said Lawson dropped in to see her at least two times a week that semester.

She also acknowledged that students of color often face struggles and culture shock after moving to this remote corner of California to attend HSU. “I am very familiar with the transitional piece students are experiencing,” Bennett-McBride said.

Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman appeared emotional as he stopped to embrace Lawson’s mother  before taking the stage.

“I want you to know,” Chapman said looking at her. “We will have justice for David, it will happen.”

Michelle-Charmaine Lawson was surrounded by her family and members of the Brothers United as she took the microphone at the gathering. “Thank you so much, Humboldt family, for being here and for celebrating my son,” she said fighting back tears. “My baby, my baby.”

Lawson’s childhood pastor, introduced as Pastor Phil, also spoke. He reminded the room that they had gathered together to celebrate a young man’s life.

“It's not about race,” he said. “It’s not about religion. It's about life. This is how I know he [Lawson] got it. I see every mix of race in this room.”

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct Michelle-Charmaine Lawson's name.

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UPDATE: CHP Reports Three Fatalities in State Route 299 Crash

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 2:22 PM

The Wood Family. - GOFUNDME
  • GoFundMe
  • The Wood Family.
Second Update:

The CHP has confirmed that 3-year old Aubrey, the Woods' daughter, has succumbed to her injuries.


The CHP has confirmed the name of the passenger in the Chrysler who died in the crash as 53 year old Janine Elaine Orcutt of Hoopa.


The California Highway Patrol is reporting two fatalities — including an unborn child — in last night's crash just east of Blue Lake on State Route 299.

According to a press release from the California Highway Patrol and a fundraising page set up to defer funeral costs, Yesenia Wood, 26, was driving her husband and five children from Oroville to visit family in Manila when their Toyota Sienna left its lane at about 6:30 p.m. and collided head-on with a Chrysler driven by 55-year-old Kevin Loren Orcutt, of Hoopa.

One passenger in the Chrysler, who is unnamed in the press release, sustained fatal injuries. Yesenia Wood, who was pregnant, lost her unborn child. The couple's 3-year-old daughter Aubrey was transported out of the area with major injuries.

According to the CHP, all the children were restrained in seat belts and car seats and impairment is not believed to have been a factor in the crash.

According to a family friend, community members have stepped up to provide new car seats for the grieving family.

Continue reading »

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101 Closed Until at Least Next Week; Rain Forecast to Return

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 12:27 PM

The slide north of Leggett. - COURTESY OF CALTRANS
  • Courtesy of Caltrans
  • The slide north of Leggett.
Caltrans is estimating a possible reopening of U.S. Highway 101 sometime mid-to-late next week and is warning travelers to expect detours of up to seven hours until the roadway can be safely reopened.

The initial slide that closed down both lanes north of Leggett on April 16 was followed a few days later by another that dumped as much — if not more material — than the first one, according to Caltrans. Special equipment is being airlifted into the area next week.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service is forecasting another storm system to move into the area on Monday and Tuesday with 1 to 3 inches of rain expected in Del Norte and Humboldt counties and a half-inch to 1 inch of rain in Mendocino County.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pitch and Pour

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 4:15 PM

  • Thinkstock
Meeting a journalist in a dark parking garage is so Nixon era.

Besides, it's far less creepy to meet up with the Journal's editors over a beverage. On Thursday, April 27 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. share your hot leads and a cold beer with news editor Thadeus Greenson and arts and features editor Jennifer Fumiko Cahill at the Eureka Inn's Palm Lounge. It's a chance to tell us what's on your mind regarding local stories, issues and people in the paper and out in the community — no trench coat required.  

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Not Guilty Plea Entered in Fatal Stabbing of 19-Year-Old HSU Student

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 5:32 PM

  • Gofundme
  • Lawson
The 23-year-old McKinleyville man accused in the fatal stabbing of Humboldt State University sophomore David Josiah Lawson pleaded not guilty to murder and a related weapons charge at his arraignment today.

A preliminary hearing for Kyle Christopher Zoellner is set for May 1, District Attorney Maggie Fleming stated in an email to the Journal. His bail is set at $1 million.

HSU President Lisa Rossbacher said in a statement released this afternoon that “we remain focused on supporting our students and doing all we can for Josiah's family.”

“Our University Police are continuing to assist the Arcata Police Department, which is leading the investigation,” the statement reads. “Looking ahead, we will insist that everything 
  • Arcata Police Department
  • Kyle Zoellner
possible will be done to pursue justice for Josiah."

The criminology major was apparently stabbed after a fist fight broke out early Saturday morning at a house party, possibly over a missing cell phone. The university and the Arcata Police Department have made repeated appeals asking everyone who was in attendance to come forward.

Yesterday, the APD specifically urged the sender of an anonymous email with details about the crime to talk with investigators. APD Chief Tom Chapman also said he plans to investigate and address concerns about the timeliness of the emergency response when it is appropriate.

A vigil for Lawson is set for Thursday.

From Humboldt State University:
A celebration of life in remembrance of David Josiah Lawson will be held on Thursday, April 20, at 5 p.m. in the Kate Buchanan Room.

The family of David Josiah Lawson and the HSU community will gather to to remember the life of Lawson, who died Saturday.

Lawson was a sophomore studying criminology at Humboldt State University and had recently been elected president of HSU’s Brothers United. He's remembered by his family for his warm smile and his kindness.

For support: Office of the Dean of Students at 707-826-3504. Counseling & Psychological Services at 707-826-3236. Employee Assistance Program at 707-443-7358.

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Talking Transparency

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 4:04 PM

  • Access Humboldt
Sunshine Week, that celebration of journalistic freedom and the public's right to know, may be well over, but you can keep the spirit going. If you missed Access Humboldt’s March 20 “Transparency and Privacy Roundtable” hosted by Sean McLaughlin and featuring Shahid Buttar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills and the Journal's own news editor Thadeus Greenson, no worries. You can watch it right here. Look at us, sharing footage just like that.

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Share Your Stories About The Two Days That Shook Humboldt

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 1:14 PM

A brick wall crushes a car in Ferndale. - COURTESY OF REDWOOD COAST TSUNAMI WORKING GROUP
  • Courtesy of Redwood Coast Tsunami Working Group
  • A brick wall crushes a car in Ferndale.
With the 25th anniversary of the Cape Mendocino earthquake coming up next week, the Journal invites our readers to share their memories of those two days in 1992 when it almost felt like the earth would not stop moving.

The magnitude-7.2 temblor followed by a series of strong aftershocks, including a 6.5 and 6.6, caused millions of dollars in damage and brought new attention to the immense power of the Cascadia subduction zone lurking off our coast.

To submit your story or pictures of the aftermath for our April 27 edition, please email by 10 a.m. on Monday, April 24.
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