Sunday, April 30, 2017

Eureka Council Code Outlines How to do Unto Others, Each Other

Posted By on Sun, Apr 30, 2017 at 8:56 AM

The current Eureka City Council. - COURTESY OF THE CITY OF EUREKA
  • Courtesy of the city of Eureka
  • The current Eureka City Council.
Eureka councilmembers would be expected to use their words wisely — but not in support of a candidate running for council or in off-the-record conversations with journalists — under an ethics and conduct code under consideration at Tuesday’s meeting.

Adopted from the city of Sunnyvale, the 20-page document outlines how Eureka’s elected and appointed officials are expected to act with the public, the media, staff and each other — apparently the result of councilmembers raising the subject during a strategic visioning session.

The council has seen some fiery discussions erupt at the dais over the last year or so, especially when weighing such contentious items as homeless encampments and human rights resolutions.


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Saturday, April 29, 2017

UPDATE: U.S. Highway 101 Now Open

Posted By on Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 12:08 PM

The slide north of Leggett. - COURTESY OF CALTRANS
  • Courtesy of Caltrans
  • The slide north of Leggett.
2nd UPDATE: U.S. Highway 101 is once again open north of Leggett, with one-way, controlled traffic passing by the slide that closed the highway for the better part of two weeks. Caltrans crews got the stretch of road re-opened last night but urge folks driving through the slide area to exercise caution and keep an eye out for spotters and roadworks. Motorists should also anticipate delays.

UPDATE: Caltrans reports that work was suspended at the landslide just north of Leggett due to increased activity at the site this afternoon.

The agency states in a Facebook post that the hope is to have the roadway open to one-way traffic before the weekend but that timeline could be pushed back depending on slide conditions.

From Caltrans:
The slide north of Leggett in Mendocino County has been much more active this afternoon. Currently, operations have been suspended at the site and no work will be permitted to take place tonight out of concern for worker safety.
We still hope to reopen the highway to one-way traffic before the weekend, but continued slide activity may further delay a reopening.

PREVIOUSLY: 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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State Lawmakers Look to Protect Coast from Trump Orders

Posted By on Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 7:51 AM

Trinidad Head - DREW HYLAND
  • Drew Hyland
  • Trinidad Head

California’s iconic coast and offshore waters came under new threat not once, but twice this week as President Donald Trump signed executive orders aimed at undoing both land and ocean protections along the state’s coastline.

On Wednesday, Trump directed the Secretary of the Interior to review all or part of 24 monuments created by presidential proclamation since 1996 that make up 100,000 acres or more. North Coast residents wondering if the three Humboldt locations — Trinidad Head, Lighthouse Ranch and the Lost Coast Headlands — added by President Barack Obama to the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) back in January would be affected don’t have a clear answer. While the CCNM isn’t expansive enough to be on the initial list, a second part of the order calls for review, "where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.” So, while not immediately on the chopping block, California’s protected coastal lands aren’t exactly off it, either.

A similar announcement Friday morning that Trump signed an executive order opening the door to expanded offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the California coast prompted even more immediate pushback from state leaders, lawmakers and coastal advocates. The move wasn’t unexpected — Just a few days ago North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman was asked about the possibility at a town hall meeting in Mendocino.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

'Heart' of Palco Marsh Case Allowed to Proceed

Posted By on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 9:44 AM

A camp in the PalCo Marsh. - FILE
  • File
  • A camp in the PalCo Marsh.
A federal judge dismissed portions of a lawsuit claiming that Eureka’s ordinances against camping and the storage of personal items in public spaces violate the Constitutional rights of homeless individuals but is allowing an amended complaint to be filed.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White also found the civil suit filed against the city by attorney Peter Martin could proceed on the Eighth Amendment claim that outlawing public camping without providing adequate shelters amounts to cruel and unusual punishment by making homelessness itself a crime.

Martin’s law partner Shelley Mack says a decision is still being made on whether to refile on the issues the judge left the door open to — allegations that the city's ordinance violate due process rights, protection against unreasonable search and seizure and the right to privacy.

“The Eighth Amendment claim is really the heart of the case and that is the claim that we are really focusing on,” she says.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Eureka Rehabilitation Accused of Dumping Patient

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 12:23 PM

FILE
  • FILE
Local law firm Janssen Malloy LLC, which recently filed two complaints alleging patient neglect and abuse against local skilled nursing facilities, has added another case to its slate, accusing Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center of discharging a dependent adult into a hotel without proper medical care in October of 2016. The man, who was blind and had a host of behavioral and physical problems, died four days later.

In a complaint filed March 10, Janssen Malloy alleges that a 65-year-old dependent adult, Alan Dewey, died of neglect after being discharged from Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center on Oct. 14, 2016. Filed on behalf of Dewey's sister, Sherri McKenna, the complaint describes Dewey as having a "seizure disorder and multiple complex medical problems, including bi-polar disorder, chronic pain, anxiety, blindness and encephalopathy due to hypertension and [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]."

Dewey was initially admitted to the facility Dec. 22, 2014 from the Humboldt County jail. The complaint states that he suffered a significant brain injury in 1975 and also suffered from dementia, and that he was prone to becoming easily agitated, with "angry outbursts of behavior."


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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

Update:

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.

Previously:

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.
chp-patch.gif

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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Science!

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.

Update:

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.

Previously:

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.

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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.

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