Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Multiple Agencies Investigating Fatal Fortuna Fire

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 9:18 AM

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Humboldt County fire officials and the Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the cause of a fatal blaze that broke out in a Fortuna mobile home park early yesterday morning.

According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, the fire claimed the life of 76-year-old Martha Ann Robertson, who died of smoke inhalation in her residence. Multiple fire departments responded to the report of a structure fire in the Royal Crest Mobile Estates at about 5:15 a.m.

Fortuna Fire Chief Lon Winburn told the Journal that rescue efforts were hampered by a significant amount of debri in the house, which blocked most points of entry. Firefighters also had to respond with a water tender due to low water pressure in the park's hydrants, although Winburn said this was not a contributing factor to Robertson's death.


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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

UPDATED: Chief Mills' Last Day Set for July 21

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 11:51 AM

Mills in cooler days. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mills in cooler days.
UPDATE: The Eureka City Council is not currently slated to discuss the process for replacing police Chief Andrew Mills at the July 18 meeting, which comes just three days before his last day on the job.

City Clerk Pam Powell said more information on the process may be announced next week and the appointment of an interim chief is likely to come before the council at the beginning of August.

PREVIOUSLY: It’s now official: Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills’ last day with the city is set for July 21.

After nearly four years on the job, Mills is heading south to Santa Cruz, where he’ll take on the same position 10 days later in a city that's double Eureka’s size but faces many of the same issues, including a sizable homeless population.

Mills announced he accepted the position back in early June but the offer was contingent on his passing an extensive background check, which was recently completed.

“It’s bittersweet,” Mills says, adding praise for the men and women of his department. “We truly love the people of Humboldt and we’ve found many like-minded friends and people with similar interests, like grandchildren, and many salt-of-the-earth people who are just fantastic.”

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Fourth Flashback

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 9:51 AM

Dressed up as Uncle Sam, Josephine and John Silva, of Eureka, took a late afternoon stroll through Old Town. They had spent their afternoon visiting patients in the hospital, a volunteer activity they replicate each holiday while dressed in the appropriately themed costume for each holiday.  Married for 62 years, they have been volunteering for the past 13 years since they moved to Eureka. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Dressed up as Uncle Sam, Josephine and John Silva, of Eureka, took a late afternoon stroll through Old Town. They had spent their afternoon visiting patients in the hospital, a volunteer activity they replicate each holiday while dressed in the appropriately themed costume for each holiday. Married for 62 years, they have been volunteering for the past 13 years since they moved to Eureka.

Eureka's Fourth of July Festival brought a huge crowd to Old Town, drawn by live music, lots of clothing and food vendor booths, classic and electric cars, a motorcycle show, Madaket cruises in the bay and rides on a speeder car or horse-drawn carriage.

The performance of the belly dancing company Sassafras also brought in a large crowd under bright sun after lunchtime, as did the piercing sound of bagpipes played by the Humboldt Highlands Pipe Band. People were still up and dancing as The Undercovers played in the late afternoon under foggy skies.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Two Killed, Three Seriously Hurt in 101 Crash at Weott

Posted By on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 5:56 PM

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Two women from Pennsylvania were killed and several passengers — including two teenagers — received major injuries in a single car accident on southbound U.S. Highway 101 near Weott this morning.

The California Highway Patrol reports that, for unknown reasons, the 2004 Lincoln they were riding in went down the embankment near the town’s off-ramp before hitting a redwood tree and overturning.

A 52-year-old passenger, who was not using a seatbelt, died at the scene while the 21-year-old driver died from her injuries at the hospital. Their names were not released pending notification of next of kin.

Two girls, one 14 and the other 17, who were also unrestrained in the backseat, and a 25-year-old man, Angel Carrera of Puebla, Mexico, were all seriously hurt.

With the exception of Carrera, who was wearing a seatbelt, all of the travelers were from Auburn, Pennsylvania.

Alcohol or drug use doesn’t not appear to be a factor, according to the California Highway Patrol, which is investigating. A total of 19 people have now been killed on Humboldt County roadways so far in 2017.

From the CHP:
On July 10th 2017, at approximately 0944 hours, a 2004 Lincoln was being driven southbound on US-101 just north of Weott. For reasons still under investigation, the driver allowed the Lincoln run off the west road edge down the embankment adjacent to the off ramp and collided with a redwood tree. The Lincoln overturned and came to rest on its roof blocking the off ramp. One of the passengers sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver was transported to St. Joseph Hospital where she was succumbed to her injuries. Three additional passengers were also transported to St. Joseph Hospital with major injuries. During the investigation it was determined all three rear passengers were not restrained.

The US-101 southbound off ramp to Weott in addition to the southbound slow lanes were closed for scene investigation.

The names of the deceased as well as the two juvenile passengers are being withheld until notification to family members can be made. Alcohol or drug use does not appear to be a factor in the collision.

The California Highway Patrol, Redcrest Volunteer Fire Department, Miranda Volunteer Fire Department, Cal Fire, City Ambulance of Eureka, and Cal Trans all responded to the scene. This collision remains under investigation by the Garberville CHP.

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Silly Bear Locked in Car Freed by Deputies

Posted By on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 3:50 PM

The bear can be seen just to the right of the car. To watch the video, scroll down. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
  • The bear can be seen just to the right of the car. To watch the video, scroll down.
A wayward — and apparently grumpy — bear that found itself locked inside a Kneeland neighborhood car was freed unharmed today after responding deputies were able to open the door from a safe distance by tying a rope around the handle.

In a video of the rescue posted to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, a voice can be heard urging, “come on bear,” before the animal jumps out of the four-door sedan and makes a run for it into an adjacent wooded area without a backward glance.

Still unknown is how the “gray faced adult black bear” got into the car in the first place.



Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:
On 07-10-17 Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence on Greenwood Heights for a call of a bear locked in a vehicle. Once on scene Corporal Borges, Deputy Crotty and Lieutenant Fridley found a gray faced adult black bear locked in a vehicle. The bear was very aggressive and snapped at the window anytime someone would get close to the vehicle. With the help of vehicle owner the vehicle was unlocked. Deputies tied a length of rope to the door handle, wrapped it around a tree and fed it back to a patrol vehicle. From a safe distance the rope was pulled which opened the door and allowed the bear to exit the vehicle. It is unknown how the bear was able to get into the vehicle. The bear was unharmed and last seen running into the brush.

To view a video of the bear rescue go to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office face book page located at www.facebook.com/humboldtcountysheriff .
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Myers Flat Man Dies While Surfing Off Shelter Cove

Posted By on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
A Myers Flat man died Sunday after apparently suffering a medical emergency while surfing off of Shelter Cove, the third drowning death in Humboldt County in less than two weeks.

Michael Allen Byerley, 51, was pulled out of the water by fellow surfers and taken to the Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department, where he was pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m. after unsuccessful attempts to save his life.

This summer has already proven to be a deadly one in local waterways. On June 30, a fisherman discovered the body of Arizona resident Joshua Aldon Hammond, 45, in the Klamath River. A few days later, on July 2, the body of Shane Barbion, 47, who officials think was from Eureka, was pulled from Humboldt Bay. No foul play is suspected in the drownings.

Byerley's family has been notified of his death and an investigation is underway. This is the county's sixth drowning death of 2017, according to information from the coroner's office.

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
At about 1215 hours on Sunday July 9th, a Humboldt County Deputy Coroner responded to Shelter Cove for the report of an apparent drowning victim. Fifty one year old Myers Flat resident Michael Allen Byerley (DOB 08/13/1965) had been surfing when he experienced medical difficulties while in the water. Fellow surfers pulled him out of the water and immediately took him to the Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department where unsuccessful life saving measures were taken. Byerley was pronounced deceased at 1215 hours. Byerley’s family has been notified of the tragedy, and the investigation continues to determine if there was a medical issue causing the drowning.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Eureka Police Seek New Leverage Against Homeless on Third Street

Posted By on Sat, Jul 8, 2017 at 10:00 AM

LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
A recent pair of break-ins to Betty Chinn’s warehouse on West Second Street has drawn attention to the Eureka Police Department’s efforts to address crime and loitering in the area. On Wednesday, under the direction of the Public Works department, employees of Mercer Fraser erected a fence that effectively cordons off the west side of Third street across from the St. Vincent de Paul dining facility, an area that, in recent months, has been a place where many homeless and transient people have spent the day. Local business owners have complained about problems with theft, vandalism, violence and other issues, and have been meeting with the chief of police and other officials in order to discuss potential solutions.

The break-in and theft from Chinn’s warehouse appears to have been the tipping point for public sentiment, but plans to disrupt the gathering have been in effect for several months. With arrest serving as insufficient leverage, EPD has instead developed a multi-part plan, announced in May, that will “improve the overall business climate in the surrounding area.” But how exactly the plan will be implemented and enforced, and its efficacy, might raise more questions than it answers.

In the memo titled “Crime and Blight at 3rd and Commercial,” authored by Chief Andrew Mills on May 8, Mills references a 30-year history of people gathering adjacent to St. Vincent de Paul, where meals are served daily.

“However, in the past year the number of people spending the day on the sidewalk and street has grown,” Mills continues, referring to a surge in activity at the location since the city evicted a long-standing homeless camp in the PalCo Marsh on May 6, 2016. According to data analyzed by the Journal, there was a steep increase in police calls for service to the eight-block radius around the area in the months immediately following the marsh eviction.
EPD Capt. Steve Watson says both logged complaints and anecdotal evidence, as well as observations by officers, has supported the idea that there are “increasing crowds of homeless, increasing crime and disorder” in the area.


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Friday, July 7, 2017

Coroner Identifies Man Pulled From Humboldt Bay

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 4:08 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Coroner's Office today identified the man whose body was pulled out of Humboldt Bay on July 2 as Shane Christopher Barbion. He was 47.

Officials believe Barbion, who was identified using his fingerprints, was living in Eureka at the time of his death. Family members in Nevada have been notified. No foul play is suspected in what appears to have been a drowning.

Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
On Sunday, July 2nd, at about 1100 in the morning, a Humboldt County Deputy Coroner responded to Waterfront Drive regarding the report of a deceased individual floating in Humboldt Bay. An autopsy of the individual, identified by fingerprints as Shane Christopher Barbion (DOB 11/30/1969), was completed today.

There were no signs of foul play observed and the cause of death appears to be drowning. Biological samples have been sent to the lab requesting a toxicology analysis. Barbion appears to have been from Eureka with past addresses in Trinity County and Nevada.

Next of kin has been notified in Nevada.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Drowning Victim Identified

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 5:05 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has confirmed the identity of a man found drowned in the Klamath River on Friday, June 30. Joshua Aldon Hammond, 45, was found by a fisherman near Young's Bar at around 4:40 p.m. An autopsy conducted today confirmed no foul play.

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Cutten to Pay ECS $260K Over Interdistrict Fracas

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 2:35 PM

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The Cutten School District has agreed to pay Eureka City Schools $260,000 to avoid a potential lawsuit over failing to report all interdistrict transfers for several years, according to a settlement announced by ECS today.

An estimated 25 percent of Cutten students — and 74 percent of that district’s interdistrict transfers — come from ECS, which is supposed to be notified.

“I am pleased they recognized the situation as serious and worked with us to allow the continuous placement of students already attending a Cutten school,” ECS Superintendent Fred Van Vleck says in the release.


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