Arcata Police Raid Todd Court Marijuana Grow Op

Andrew Goff / Today @ 4:11 p.m. / marijuana

Arcata Police Department press release: 

Officers from the Arcata Police Department served a search warrant at a residence in the 2500 Blk of Todd Court on Wednesday morning.

Upon searching the property, officers located a marijuana growing operation encompassing the majority of a detached mother-in-law unit, several rooms of a detached garage and two greenhouses. Officers seized nearly 300 growing marijuana plants, approximately 40 pounds of dried marijuana in various stages of processing, approximately one pound of concentrated cannabis along with over $10,000 in cash. 

The growing operation that was being conducted inside the home consisted of numerous 1000 watt grow lights, and was utilizing nearly six times the electricity of a typical Arcata family home.

Ryan Barker, 37, of Arcata,was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:

  • 11358 Health & Safety-Cultivation of Marijuana        
  • 11359 Health & Safety-Possession of Marijuana for Sale

City of Arcata Building Inspectors along with Arcat aFire Protection District Personnel responded to assess the unpermitted wiring modifications that had been made to the home.

It was determined the wiring posed a significant hazard that necessitated the disconnection of electrical services.


Today: 17 felonies, 10 misdemeanors, 0 infractions


Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Today


Us101 / Sarina Rd N (Crescent City office): Trfc Collision-1141 Enrt


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They’re Angels in My Eyes: Henry Shares a Smile and Shows His New iPad

Kym Kemp / Today @ 2:31 p.m. / Feel Good

 Henry Stratman whose iPad was stolen is shown here with his new treasure in front of Simply Macintosh in Arcata. [Photo provided by Wendy Kerr.]

“I can’t thank the anonymous donors enough,” said Wendy Kerr the mother of 15-year-old Henry Stratman whose iPad was taken in a robbery on July 14. “They’re angels in my eyes.”  Her son, she said, had been devastated when his device was taken. He had used it for educational games, music, and movies. After reading about his loss in the Lost Coast Outpost, a group of mostly anonymous donors banded together and purchased Henry a new iPad. [See photo above.]

When mother and son showed up at Simply Macintosh to pickup the new iPad, “Henry was so nervous and excited he couldn’t communicate,” Kerr explained. The two went outside to take a photo in front of Simply Macintosh whose owner, Simeon Tauber, had helped with the purchase of the item. Kerr said that they got to feel like celebrities because “a woman asked, “Aren’t you the kid who got his iPad stolen?” Again, Henry was too excited to talk.

But he did talk to her when they got home. There, he asked her about the new iPad. Kerr said she explained that he had gotten a new one because “there are a lot of people who really care about you and like you. They think what happened to you was wrong.” He grinned at the answer.

But, not much later, he told her, “Mom, we have to find a really good hiding place.”

Kerr said she answered, “Yes, we do.”

As Kerr explained to the Lost Coast Outpost, “I’m so happy Henry has his iPad back, but what I want back is that feeling of security.”

Isn’t it wonderful that people can do so much to heal the wrongs that happen? …Isn’t it sad they can’t fix everything?

For those interested in helping other children with disabilities purchase iPads, donations can be made to Families Advocating Autism Now at this link. Or, Wolf Dawg, the Vance Hotel’s Hot Dog Joint will be donating 10% of their proceeds on their anniversary, August 2nd, from 12 p.m. til 9 p.m. to Families Advocating Autism Now. There will be contests and challenges from 12- 2 p.m. at the store as well as face painting, animal balloons for kids, contests and raffles for adults and for kids. For more details see Wolf Dawg’s Facebook page.


Driver Allegedly Evades Spike Strips and Pursuit/ Eureka Police Put Out a BOLO

Kym Kemp / Today @ 12:49 p.m. / Crime

Eureka Police Department Press Release:


On 07/22/14 at approximately 5:24 p.m., Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Detectives were conducting an investigation on a “Problem House” in the 800 block of “O” Street. A detective observed a 1993 blue Dodge van park approximately a half block from the “Problem House.” When detectives attempted to contact the driver of the vehicle, the driver fled in the vehicle in an aggressive manner.

A nearby officer observed the driver commit a traffic violation and attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver briefly yielded but then fled and a pursuit ensued with speeds reported to be approximately 35-55 mph. As the pursuit approached the Henderson Center area an officer attempted to deploy spike strips but the driver was able to avoid them.

Officers discontinued the pursuit when the suspect drove the wrong way on “H” Street between 10th and 7th Streets. Officers spotted the vehicle traveling southbound on Myrtle Avenue but eventually lost the vehicle near the Myrtle Avenue Market. The vehicle was later located and towed near Myrtle and Pennsylvania streets.

The driver has been positively identified as John Wayne Ellis, 34 of Eureka. Ellis has two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest for possession of a stolen vehicle, misdemeanor warrants for eluding in a vehicle, resisting arrest, and possession of a controlled substance. Ellis now has an arrest warrant issued by the Eureka Police Department for felony evading and driving on a suspended license from this incident. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Ellis contact the Eureka Police Department at (707)441-4060.


Victim Named in Monday’s Rancho Sequoia Homicide

Kym Kemp / Today @ 9:41 a.m. / Crime

According to Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the victim in Monday’s homicide in Rancho Sequoia is Scott W. Johnson, age 57. Johnson was a resident of that area. Hanson said that there was only one victim on Monday night not two as initially reported. “There were no other victims,” Hanson said.

He also said an autopsy is scheduled today. Normally, a forensic autopsy in this area can take over a week to occur. However, because a forensic pathologist was already in the area to perform an autopsy on the victim of Friday night’s homicide, Neil Decker, then Johnson’s autopsy can take place relatively quickly.

Hanson was unable to go into details about Monday night’s homicide yet. However, he did say that two deputies had been assigned out in the Alderpoint area because the suspect of Friday’s shooting, Matthew Brown, had been sighted in the area.

On Monday night, Hanson said, the two deputies were west of downtown Alderpoint when they heard some gunshots. 911 calls started coming in.” The officers were able to arrive at the scene with only a “10 to 15 minutes response time.” This, Hanson said, is very quick for that remote area. Meanwhile other officers had been dispatched from Eureka. So, at this point, the deputies in Alderpoint, “used common sense and waited for more resources to get there.”

Hanson described the deputies in a situation that was “very tense.”

More information should be forthcoming in a press release later today.



Thunderstorm Warning for Northeastern Humboldt

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 5:19 p.m. / Weather

National Weather Service press release:  

A severe thunderstorm warning remains in effect until 5:30 p.m. PDT for northwestern Trinity and extreme northeastern Humboldt counties.

At 5:01 p.m. PDT, national weather service doppler radar continued toindicate a severe thunderstorm capable of producing quarter sizehail and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph.  This storm was located over northwestern Trinity County, or 17 miles east of Hoopa, moving north at 25 mph.

The severe thunderstorm will otherwise remain over mainly rural areas of the indicated counties.

In addition to large hail and damaging winds, continuous cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm. Move indoors immediately! Lightning is one of natures number one killers. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

Supervisors Renew Contract With Wildlife Services, Move Forward on Plastic Bag Ban

Ryan Burns / Yesterday @ 5 p.m. / Animals , Environment , Government

In an impassioned and well-attended afternoon session, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to renew the county’s contract with the increasingly controversial Wildlife Services, a federal agency that has recently been accused of overzealous and brutal animal control methods.

Local wildlife advocates showed up in droves to urge the board not to renew the contract, and an attorney from the Center for Biological Diversity threatened a lawsuit if the contract were renewed. But a number of ranchers said the agency provides an invaluable service by removing or killing dangerous predators that threaten livestock.

In all, more than two dozen public speakers took turns at the lectern with the majority urging the board to find an alternative method of wildlife management. Many of the speakers represented local nonprofit the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, which offers nonlethal animal control methods.

Monte Merrick, the co-director of that agency, said volunteers answer hundreds of calls for animal control. “We’ve never had to kill or even trap an animal,” he said, adding that three quarters of calls can be handled over the phone. 

Several speakers accused Wildlife Services of being a rogue agency whose default solution is to kill troublesome creatures, often catching unintended animals in its traps. Amy Atwood, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, was perhaps the fiercest critic of Wildlife Services. “We maintain that Wildlife Services is a rogue federal program that kills millions of animals every year, including hundreds in Humboldt County, without transparency or accountability,” she said. Atwood added that her organization is poised to file a lawsuit if the contract were renewed.

“And if we do that and we win,” she said, “you will have to conduct a comprehensive review of the status quo. We know that if you do that, you will conclude that the most reasonable course is to move toward a nonlethal program. But we — believe it or not — would rather not sue you,” Atwood said. “We’re hoping we can convince you. But in order for us to step back from that threat, we need you to either reject renewal today or commit to taking steps toward a nonlethal program.”

Natalynne Delapp, executive director of the Environmental Protection Information Center, urged supervisors to consider alternatives. “We know there are creative local solutions that exist,” she said. “They only need to be give an opportunity to take hold.”

Those speaking in favor of contract renewal included current and former employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retired Patrol Captain Nick Albert said Wildlife Services employees are trained professionals, “not some yahoo out there with a gun who wants to kill everything.” He argued that the agency is essential for dealing with rabid animals, wayward mountain lions and coyotes.

Contract renewal also got approval from local ranchers such as Johanna Rodoni, a former county supervisor, and Eel River Organic Beef owner Clint Victorine, who said Wildlife Services has helped him deal (non-lethally) with the massive flocks of of Aleutian geese that descend on his field each year, consuming roughly $45,000-worth of feed each time.

When the issue was brought back to the board for discussion, Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace suggested that there is room for compromise on the issue. “Wildlife Services and Humboldt Wildlife Care Center both work on this, and yet there seems to be zero relationship, coordination or familiarity between the two. It seems to me that one possible outcome is to recognize that there should be a working relationship there.”

He added that there is no alternative to Wildlife Services immediately available and suggested possibly extending the contract for merely a year rather than the four that were on the table, thus giving the county time to potentially work on transitioning to another agency or approach.

Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell addressed Ms. Atwood’s threat of litigation, suggesting that if the Center for Biological Diversity were to sue anybody it should be the federal government, since Wildlife Services is a federal agency. “Why bring [a lawsuit] against Humboldt County? Because we’re small?” Fennell asked. “I don’t like it.” She went on to say that, while a lot of people gave heartfelt testimony, Wildlife Services provides an important service. And sometimes death is inevitable, especially in rural areas like Humboldt County. Mother Nature, Fennell said, “is not exactly tidy and kind all the time, and living with nature is not always simple.”

Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg made a motion to approve the contract renewal, and Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass seconded the motion. There was a brief testy exchange when Supervisor Lovelace again brought up the idea of a shorter, one-year contract extension, to which Sundberg replied, “I heard your comments the first time” and held firm on his motion.

In approving the contract renewal, several council members said that, while Wildlife Services may have problems elsewhere, there have been few if any complaints specific to Humboldt County. The motion passed unanimously.

After the decision, Atwood, the attorney, expressed her disappointment, saying that at the very least the county should have tabled the issue to allow for more conversation. As for the threatened lawsuit? “We haven’t made a decision yet,” she said. But she insisted that the county has a responsibility under federal law to review the effectiveness of its wildlife management program.

Galvin, also of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the county had basically turned a blind eye to wildlife. “Going in we felt like, if the county was making progress, we were prepared to hold off on litigation,” he said. “Given that the county has basically rubber-stamped [the contract], it doesn’t leave a lot of options for people who care about wildlife.” 

Earlier in the meeting the board also voted unanimously to have staff develop a draft ordinance banning single-use plastic bags, though the local ordinance may be held back until the fate of a statewide ban is determined.

The supes told staff to model its draft plastic bag ban on both the pending Senate Bill 270 and the City of Arcata’s Reusable Bag Ordinance. Both measures ban single-use plastic bags at supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, large retail stores and liquor stores and include small fees for paper bags. 

The pertinent questions before the county, staff explained, are (a) when should the ban go into effect, and (b) which department should be in charge of enforcement. It could be assigned either to the Department of Public Works or the Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Division, explained Assistant County Administrative Officer Cheryl Dillingham.

Jennifer Savage, the coastal programs director for the Northcoast Environmental Center, said she personally has been speaking about this issue for at least three years, and meanwhile lots of other jurisdictions have passed plastic bag bans. “We are long overdue for some kind of ordinance addressing this pervasive problem,” she said.

Peter Galvin, director of programs for the Center for Biological Diversity, said that a ban would benefit the fishing industry by improving the ecology of local waterways and help tourism by reducing ugly roadside garbage.

While all five supervisors were supportive of a ban, there was some disagreement about whether or not to include a small fee for paper bags. Staff had explained that such fees, which vary from three to 10 cents per bag, serve to further motivate consumers to choose reusable bags. But Fennell and First District Supervisor Rex Bohn were resistant to the idea, with Fennell calling it an attempt at “behavior modification” and Bohn saying fees would just mean more profit for store owners.

Bass and Lovelace, on the other hand, voiced support for a small fee for paper bags. “I think in some ways this is reminding people that there is a social responsibility to get rid of [plastic] bags,” Bass said.

Sundberg said that, if there is a fee, it should only be enough to cover the actual cost of the bag. Staff pointed out that it would be very difficult to determine exactly what each store pays for each bag.

In the end, the supervisors left it to staff to research the issue and provide more info when it comes time to present the draft ordinance, at which point the Great Paper Bag Fee Debate will likely resume.

HUMBOLDT APPROVED: Who is Humboldt’s Best Singer?

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 3:54 p.m. / Humboldt Approved

LoCO would like to thank everyone who voted in last week’s highly contested and very important “Best French Fries” popularity contest. In the end “The Trailer” in Arcata just edged out the far more established Mike’s Drive Up in the metro category. (Fortuna’s Bob’s Footlongs marched to an easier victory in the rural category.) We have not been to The Trailer. We will be going to The Trailer. 

Now. If you’ve paid attention to how Humboldt Approved works, you know we are required to follow up a very crowd pleasing category with one where feelings and dreams are mercilessly trampled upon. Thus, this week we want to know, in our readers’ always humble opinion, which local vocal cords do you most enjoy granting access to your earholes. Who is Humboldt’s best vocalist? 

(Please remember that Humboldt Approved polls — and especially this one — are just dumb fun and, like, art can never truly be compared and … beauty … eye … beholder … OK.)

Anywho, here’s your weekly reminder on how to make your vote count. Don’t mess up this very important duty, HumCo: 

To vote, look through the comments of this Humboldt Approved poll. If someone has already nominated the answer you would give for this week’s category, click the upvote arrow. If you don’t see your desired Humboldt Approved answer nominate it in a comment for others to upvote. (Please be careful to not duplicate answers; redundant answers will be deleted and potential associated upvotes will be lost.) Feel free to make your case by replying to/cheering on the answer you love most, but again the number by the arrows on the initial nomination is what counts.

You can vote for as many nominees as you deem worthy but, of course, the more you do that the more watered down your initial vote becomes. That’s math.

We reserve the right to delete superfluous/lame comments that make the voting/comment section hard to sift through. Please try not to get offended when your comment battle reply is deleted. We’re trying to do something here.

While many weeks we look for two winners — one winner from the metropolises of Eureka and Arcata, and one from Humboldt’s smaller communities — due to the nature of this category, this time we’re gonna limit it to one. Voting closes next Friday at noon and soon after a winner will be declared.

Get to nominatin’ voices, LoCO readers!