OBITUARY: Gregory Edward ‘Zog’ Boyle, 1969-2016

LoCO Staff / Yesterday @ 4:29 p.m. / Obits

Gregory Edward Boyle passed away on Jan. 25 at his home in Arcata due to health complications from brain surgery four years ago.

Greg, affectionately known as “Zog,” was born on March 18, 1969, in Boston, Mass. His parents, Evelyn Boyle and Edward Boyle, moved the family to Goleta, Calif., in 1977 when he was a young boy. He attended Ellwood Elementary, Goleta Valley Junior High and Dos Pueblos High School. He later moved to Humboldt County, where it was his dream to attend Humboldt State University. Humboldt became home to him the moment he saw the redwoods. As he told his Mother, “he was home.”

He met and married Diane Crow, whom he later separated from, and they had two children. His children, Jennifer and Edward, were the shining light of his life.

Greg worked in many different professions, opening up a sports collectibles shop in Arcata for a number of years, working for the mail room at HSU and later the postal service. He worked as an accountant and IT specialist for a number of businesses as well. Towards the end of his life he was working on finally finishing his college career, despite a number of health problems.

Greg was an ardent lover and player of games and loved spending time with his family playing sports from street hockey to football, board games ranging from Risk to Monopoly. He was a sports fan in every sense and followed his favorite teams, the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots in particular, fervently, and loved to discuss sports with friends and family. He was rarely ever seen in anything besides flip-flops, shorts (regardless of weather) and a sports T-shirt.

He is survived by his family: Jennifer Boyle, daughter; Edward Boyle, son; Evelyn Boyle, mother; Edward Boyle, father; Sean Boyle, brother; Darian Velasquez, nephew; Dillon Boyle, nephew; Christopher Minelli, lifelong friend; as wells as many other family and friends.

The family would like to express thanks for all of the support they have received after Greg’s passing. It has meant a lot to them through this hard time.

Per his wishes, Greg’s close family and friends had a small service on Feb 1st. There will be a memorial in his honor held at a later date. For information, please contact the family directly.

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The obituary above was submitted by Zog Boyle’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.


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Humboldt Bay Fire at Eureka High After Smoke Seen Emerging From Gym Basement

Hank Sims / Yesterday @ 3:26 p.m. / Fire!

Photos: Andrew Goff.

An appliance fire in the basement of Jay Willard Gymnasium drew multiple Humboldt Bay Fire engines to Eureka High a few minutes ago. 

Firefighters were called after someone saw smoke emerging from the basement of the the gym. The first units on scene quickly found the source of the problem: A dryer that, judging by the photographs below, may have been working on some mop heads.The gymnasium was evacuated, the fire was extinguished and fans were set to air out the smoke.

Sean Robertson of Humboldt Bay Fire told the Outpost on scene that no students were impacted.

Fortuna High crushed the Eureka High Loggers basketball team at home last night, 63-20. Like their gymnasium, the Loggers are still standing.

 



Gravitational Waves: One of the Minds Behind ‘the Scientific Discovery of the Century’ Came From HSU

Ryan Burns / Yesterday @ 2:50 p.m. / HSU , Science

Corey Gray, a lead operator at LIGO. | Photo courtesy Corey Gray

Humboldt State University just got something extra cool to brag about: One of the minds  behind “the scientific discovery of the century” was shaped up there, at our little university on the hill. Corey Gray earned dual bachelor’s degrees at HSU — in physics and applied mathematics — before landing a job at Caltech and going to work at the Washington observatory lab for LIGO, home of the scientists who yesterday announced that they’d detected gravitational waves. The discovery set off something of a media frenzy.

“It’s been a crazy morning,” Gray said by phone yesterday before quickly remembering that it was actually close to 4 p.m. “Or a crazy day!” he said, correcting himself with a chuckle.

Gray is a lead operator at the Hanford, Washington, observatory lab of LIGO, short for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. This observatory, along with one just like it in Livingston, Louisiana, allowed scientists to record the sound of two black holes colliding roughly 1.3 billion years ago.

This is a very big deal in the world of science, a discovery that validates Albert Einstein’s final prediction about his general theory of relativity and opens up an entirely new field of astronomy. The New York Times phrased it poetically, saying “scientists have finally tapped into the deepest register of physical reality, where the weirdest and wildest implications of Einstein’s universe become manifest.”

In the video below, the Times explains the basic science behind this discovery:

Gray went to work at LIGO in the late 1990s, helping to build the seismic isolation system for LIGO’s hypersensitive L-shaped antennas, or “interferometers,” where lasers shoot back and forth through legs measuring 2.5 miles apiece. The system Gray helped assemble “acts like the shock absorbers for the machine,” he explained. The thick glass mirrors inside are the most important element. “We want those to basically float, so they’re mounted on tables that seismically isolate them from the ground,” Gray said.

Once the machines were built, Gray and his fellow scientists began running them and gathering data. “These data runs vary [in length],” Gray said. “Some were a few weeks. One was, I think, two years straight.”

The initial phase of LIGO lasted until 2010. A new interferometer came online last September, ushering in what scientists call “advanced LIGO,” which features much finer-tuned instrumentation. On Sept. 13, Gray worked as a lead operator from 4 p.m. to midnight, leading a team of nine as they helped to get the machine ready for its first run. The woman who came in to spell Gray around 2 a.m. “clicked the button to take [the machine] to observation mode,” Gray said.

Data from the machines was sent out to scientists around the world. On Sept. 14, about a week after the machine was turned on, a pair of scientists at the Albert Einstein Institute in Germany detected the gravitational waves. But the discovery was kept quiet. The entire LIGO team was sworn to secrecy for months while the data was verified.

Gray being interviewed.

Younger scientists were confident that advanced LIGO, which had improved sensitivity by a factor of 10 over the previous technology, had indeed captured this historic event. But more seasoned scientists like Gray were skeptical.

“For old timers like me, especially the physicists … we didn’t believe it could be an actual event,” Gray said. “We thought it must have been us.” Human interference causing a false positive, in other words. 

But it checked out. The gravitational waves were captured on both machines — in Washington and Louisiana. 

Before the discovery was announced, Gray came to HSU as a keynote speaker for American Indian College Motivation Day. Half Siksikáwa Indian and half Scottish, Gray told the Outpost he was “like a normal college kid” when he came to Humboldt in 1997. He knew he liked science, though it took him a year to narrow his focus to physics. And like most other college students, Gray got painfully homesick.

“I remember vividly being in Cypress Hall at a point where I was crying; I wanted to call my mom; I wanted go home,” he said. But then he discovered HSU’s Indian Natural Resource Sciences & Engineering Program, or INRSEP. “They were my family while I was there,” Gray said. “There’s not enough I could say about them and how they helped me stay in school.”

When Gray returned to HSU last November, he and the rest of the LIGO team were sitting on the biggest secret in the scientific world. “I was there to inspire these kids, and I gave a talk,” Gray said. “I so much wanted to tell them, but I couldn’t.”

When the news finally broke yesterday, Gray was able to take a step back and (if you’ll pardon the pun) consider the gravity of the discovery. “It’s just a trip to think about those days in Humboldt to today, that arc,” Gray said. When he and his fellow scientists got the email confirming the discovery, it changed everything. He realized that his work was tied directly to Einstein’s general theory of relativity. “That’s just a total honor,” Gray said. “It’s a trip being a part of history like that.”

Click here to watch Thursday’s press conference from the National Science Foundation.

Corey Gray posing with the report published yesterday in Physical Review Letters. | Courtesy Corey Gray.



Coastal-Dependent No More? County Looks to Ease Restrictions on Industrial Development Around the Bay

Hank Sims / Yesterday @ 1:38 p.m. / Local Government

Late last month, Harbor Commissioner Richard Marks wrote a LoCO op-ed calling on the county to think about easing up development restrictions on industrial development around the bay. Marks argued that too much land is zoned for “coastal-dependent industrial business.” You can’t currently do business in those zones — at least according to the strict letter of the law — unless your business is somehow dependent on the sea.

The problem is that there aren’t very many sea-dependent businesses knocking down the door to rent such land, Marks says. And so a great deal of former industrial land lies fallow, despite the fact that many manufacturers would like to locate there. They simply can’t demonstrate a dependence on the ocean.

Well, it seems as though the county is listening. They’ve come up with a draft amendment to county code that would allow non-seafaring businesses to set up shop in coastal-dependent industrial land in King Salmon and Fields Landing and on the Samoa Peninsula, at least on an “interim” basis. County planners will hold a public workshop on the proposal Tuesday evening.

The land we’re talking about is shaded yellow in the map below:

If the county’s first-draft changes to the zoning go through, other manufacturers could be given five-year “interim permits” to conduct business on the bay, which will presumably be renewable if no genuinely coastal-dependent operations are clamoring for the site.

This is the first step in a long process. Even if county government opts to move forward, the land in question is covered by the county’s local coastal program, which means that the California Coastal Commission will have to sign off.

“I’m happy that the process is moving forward,” Marks told the Outpost this morning. “It’s moving forward in the face of government, which is too slow for me.”

Read the currently proposed changes to the county’s zoning ordinance at this link. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Wharfinger Building. Full press release from the county follows:

Humboldt County is considering changes to the Humboldt Bay Area Plan and Coastal Zoning Regulations (“amendment”) that would provide more flexibility in the uses allowed in the Industrial/Coastal-Dependent (MC) zone district. A public workshop to discuss these proposed changes will be held on Tuesday, Feb 23 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka.

Background

The principal use of the MC zone district is for coastal-dependent industrial uses that require access to a maintained navigable channel in order to function. Secondary or conditional uses also require channel access or are limited to coastal-related industrial uses.

Planning for coastal-dependent industrial uses was done in the 1970’s, when demand for land to accommodate these types of uses was much higher than it is today. Due to the current low demand for coastal-dependent industrial uses and the disproportionally large amount of vacant or underutilized MC zoned land around Humboldt Bay, the county is considering allowing certain noncoastal-dependent industrial uses in the MC zone district on an interim basis (“interim uses”). The goal of this proposed amendment is to allow for these interim uses while at the same time protecting the current and long-term use of MC zoned land for coastal-dependent industrial use.

Summary of Proposed Changes

 You can view the full text of the proposed changes to allow interim uses in the MC zone district on our website and at the Humboldt County Planning Department at 3015 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501.

Following is a summary of some key elements of this proposed amendment:

Interim uses proposed in the MC zone district are certain uses allowed in the Light Industrial (ML) and Industrial General (MG) zone districts that are not otherwise allowed in the MC zone district.

All interim uses will require a conditional use permit and a coastal development permit with coinciding term lengths that normally cannot exceed 5 years; a term of up to 10 years may be considered under limited circumstances. The length of a permit term will be based on project and site-specific factors.

Permits cannot be extended, but instead new permits will be required in order for an interim use to continue past the permit expiration date. Upon permit expiration, the site must be returned to its original condition, or to a condition that would preserve or enhance the project site for future coastal-dependent industrial use. A plan for such restoration will be required as part of the application.

Interim uses will be encouraged to utilize existing improvements at the site, and any new improvements will need to preserve or enhance the site for future coastal-dependent industrial use, or be relocated after the interim use ends.

All members of the public are encouraged to attend the workshop.



(VIDEO) Here is What Not Stopping in Willits Looks Like

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 1:15 p.m. / Traffic

We are still a little less than a year out from the Willits Bypass being open to the public — patience! — but that doesn’t mean we can’t all have a preview of what it will be like to drive by Willits without Taco Bell temptation creeping through your windshield. 

Behold! Caltrans files the following video tour of the bypass, pre-lines, reflectors and pesky other drivers. In case you are a busybody concerned that they are driving too fast on unfinished roads, Caltrans calms your fears:

Our vehicle could only travel at approximately 30-35mph in the construction area, so we’ve sped up the video to roughly simulate freeway speeds (it’s still a little bit slower). 

Yeah, chill out, strap in and experience the future of your drive to Giants games, you lucky taxpayer.  

Willits Bypass Drive-Through 2/11/2016

SNEAK PREVIEW: This video is from our drive-through of the Willits Bypass in Mendocino County. This realignment of U.S. Highway 101 will drastically reduce congestion in the city of Willits and improve traffic conditions for travelers passing through Mendocino County.Our vehicle could only travel at approximately 30-35mph in the construction area, so we’ve sped up the video to roughly simulate freeway speeds (it’s still a little bit slower). The Willits Bypass is 87% complete, and is expected to open to the public in late 2016.

Posted by Caltrans District 1 on Friday, February 12, 2016

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UPDATE, 1:55: p.m.: Oh, was that too slow for you? Caltrans saw fit to upload a second version of this video, this one at an estimated 120mph. Zoom goes the progress!



Deputy Suffered Minor Injuries In Yesterday’s Willow Creek Crash, Says CHP

Hank Sims / Yesterday @ 9:45 a.m. / Traffic

 

Reader-submitted photo.

 

The California Highway Patrol, below, informs us that the deputy involved in yesterday’s single-vehicle rollover crash outside of Willow Creek was responding to a report of a fight in Hoopa at the time.

Rolling back the scanner recording shows that only a minute and a half passed between the time the Sheriff’s Office got the call on the Hoopa fight — seven to eight people, men and women, fighting in the Ray’s Supermarket with weapons including clubs and nunchucks, according to the intelligence at the moment — and the deputy crashing the vehicle. Audio follows:

audio

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Press release from the California Highway Patrol:

On the afternoon of Thursday, February 12, a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Vehicle rolled over causing minor injuries to the driver.

At approximately 4:58 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy was driving a 2013 Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Vehicle eastbound on SR-299, near mile post marker 32.  At this time the Deputy was responding to an in progress call of a physical altercation in the Hoopa Area.  For reasons still under investigation the Deputy lost control of the Patrol Vehicle.  The Patrol Vehicle left the roadway and collided with the dirt embankment causing it to roll onto its roof.  The Patrol Vehicle came to rest within the roadway.  The Deputy sustained minor injuries as a result of this traffic collision. 

Humboldt Area CHP is investigating this collision.



(UPDATES) Vegetation Fire in Fairhaven; Multiple Agencies Responding

Hank Sims / Thursday, Feb. 11 @ 3:23 p.m. / Fire!

UPDATE, 5:02 p.m.: As today’s blaze in Fairhaven was thankfully getting less interesting, LoCO spoke with Nate  Gonzalez, volunteer firefighter with Samoa Peninsula Fire District. We had snapped a photo of him surveying the flames with his nickname “Gonzo” emblazoned across the back of his helmet (he told us he picked up the moniker when he was in the Navy). As fate would have it, today’s little flareup just off New Navy Base Road occurred on Nate’s last day on the job — he’s shipping off to Astoria, Oregon “literally tomorrow” where he will be stationed as a member of the US Coast Guard. 

“I can’t believe I got a fire on my last day,” Gonzalez told us. 

Nate struck LoCO as a fine chap and is sorry on behalf of all of Humboldt to lose him to Astoria. All the same, good luck up there, Gonzo! 

—Andrew Goff

Photos: Andrew Goff.

UPDATE, 4 p.m.: The fire is contained, but firefighters are letting it burn to the edge of the roadway — a “preexisting fireline,” as one professional on the scene called it. 

Samoa Peninsula Fire District Chief Dale Unea tells the Outpost that the fire burned approximately 1 1/2 acres and tt is unclear at this time what caused it. 

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UPDATE, 3:32 p.m.: Kent Hulbert of Humboldt Bay Fire tells the Outpost that the fire is about an acre in size, and has been downgraded to a “slow” rate of spread. Luckily there’s not much wind on the peninsula at the moment, Hulbert said.

Firefighters just radio’ed in to dispatch that the fire has been contained.

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People from all around Humboldt Bay are reporting this large plume of smoke from the southern end of the Samoa Peninsula. 

The smoke is coming from a vegetation fire near the intersection of Simpson and New Navy Base roads, just outside of Fairhaven. The first firefighters on scene estimated the fire between one and three acres in size, and spreading at a “moderate” rate.

Calfire and Humboldt Bay Fire are among the agencies responding to assist local volunteer crews in battling the blaze.

The Outpost’s Andrew Goff is on his way to the scene. We’ll update when we know more.