PHOTO: Vehicle Engulfed In Flames On Highway 101

Ryan Burns / Today @ 5:16 p.m. / Emergencies , Random Sightings

Reader Lavivian Wright sent in these pictures showing a vehicle ablaze on the shoulder of Highway 101 near Miranda. 

In an email to the Outpost, Wright said she and her sisters were driving northbound around 2:35 p.m. near the Salmon Creek off-ramp when they saw “a [Chevrolet] K5 Blazer smoking and an older gentleman outside attempting to open the hood of his vehicle.”

About two miles up the road they turned around and came back to see if he needed help, Wright said. “By the time we got back we could see fire coming out from underneath the vehicle.”

Wright and her sisters reportedly checked with the driver of a big rig parked nearby to see if he had a fire extinguisher; he did not. But when they got back to the smoldering vehicle “a Caltrans worker and his female coworker had stopped and were attempting to put the fire out with their extinguisher,” Wright said.

However, it soon became clear that the extinguisher wasn’t going to extinguish the flames, so Wright and her sisters ran over to help the man retrieve his belongings from the vehicle. “The Caltrans worker busted the rear window of the vehicle with his fire extinguisher and we began to remove as many belongings as we could,” Wright said. “We were able to remove his guitar, his chainsaw, a bicycle a box of tools and a few boxes of his clothes before the vehicle became fully engulfed in flames and smoke.”

According to a Calfire dispatcher, the agency received a call about the fire at 2:37 p.m. Firefighters from Calfire, Miranda Volunteer Fire Department and Myers Flat Volunteer Fire Department responded, and the blaze was extinguished by 2:55, according to the dispatcher.

No one was injured in the incident. 

“My sisters and I feel very saddened by this but also very thankful that we were in the right place at the right time to be able to help this man,” Wright said. “I wish I would have gotten a Caltrans workers names for they not only stopped to help this man but also, after everything was done and over with, loaded his belongings up and gave him a ride to Fortuna, which was his final destination.”


Three Responses to LoCO’s Marijuana Ordinance Post

Ryan Burns / Today @ 3:19 p.m. / marijuana

The Outpost received a number of emailed responses to Monday’s story about political action committee California Cannabis Voice-Humboldt and its quest to pass a county ordinance regulating marijuana cultivation. That number was three — three emailed responses, which we’ve copied-and-pasted below. 

Part One: We Put the ‘Action’ in Political Action Committee

California Cannabis Voice-Humboldt (CCV-H) Over-Enthusiastic? Maybe. Getting it done? Definitely.

We all know what hasn’t been working for Humboldt County, the status quo. CCV-H is guilty — guilty of putting our passion for the bright future of Humboldt County into action. CCV-H strives to be a completely transparent and inclusive organization, whose members come from all walks of life in this unique community and is open to everyone who wishes to add their voice. All pertinent documents concerning the draft of the Cannabis Ordinance are available at [link], featuring a comment section where you can leave feedback as well as links to CCV-H’s Existing Debt and Three Month Expense Budget, and 2015 Operations Budget. Daily updates can be seen on our Facebook page.

Further, CCV-H held open public meetings regarding the ordinance in Blue Lake (11/6), Garberville (11/9), and Willow Creek (11/14), with a rollout of more public meetings on the way as the draft is modified through public input, all to be found on the Facebook page.

As for the environmental community, their level of participation is at their own discretion. The lines of communication at CCV-H have always been and continue to remain open to all who wish to use them, our contact information can be found through Facebook, the NationBuilder site as well as An alternate version of text, with clearly articulated specific policies would help promote collaboration and compromise. So far we have received only critiques, and most of them secondhand.

This process is ongoing and the draft, now in its fifth iteration, continues to evolve with public input. We at CCV-H desire above all else the passionate involvement of everyone who finds common ground in their love for Humboldt County, as a region and as a culture. Make no mistake, corporate interests are lobbying Sacramento to cut Humboldt out and replace small farmers with corporate mega grows. It is critical that our community work here in the county, but also engage in Sacramento if we are going to protect our future. It is time to dig deep and get engaged.

Do we have your attention yet?

—California Cannabis Voice - Humboldt

Part Two: The Aggrieved Hippie

California Cannabis Voice Humboldt has blown into town to sell a bill of goods. In my opinion they have never had an intention of crafting an ordinance that serves our county, but instead an intention of scooping up chips for the statewide game. Their style and their intentions are less than ethical, in my view.

In Mendocino County a parallel effort is under way that began well before CCVH came along. It is an authentic grass roots effort and is likely to produce a genuine product. That product is very unlikely to be passed by the Mendocino Board of Supervisors but will probably be passed by the voters. CCVH officials cannot be bothered to use such a genuine process; they have bad-mouthed it and have insulted some of the principal persons involved behind their backs, according to multiple informants.

I work with a group known as HuMMAP, the Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, a group that has been active above ground for five years and that has written a draft marijuana ordinance for Humboldt County which went through a grass-roots drafting process, featuring many intense arguments and compromises that resulted in a consensus product. CCVH stepped right over our effort and I have to guess it is because they have a conflicting and hidden agenda. I for one (among others) predicted their plan would be to cut out the small grower while promoting much bigger grows. This is exactly what is happening. Is CCVH broadly inclusive? I hardly think so.

CCVH has sold many folks a huge bill of goods. With razzle dazzle and lots of money and some ego-hungry people they convinced many that they are here because the time is now and they will provide the answers — some other time. The drafting process [is] intended to get buy-in from anyone who will also let them have what they want. Most disturbing to me, they brought in Supervisor Ryan Sundberg, the person doing the most to block marijuana in Humboldt County. By getting his buy-in they hope to finesse it through our Board of Supervisors. Sundberg wants no growing in residential areas. CCVH provides for this by not dealing with anything under five acres, which allows Sundberg’s bad small-grow ordinance to stand.

Growing in residential areas? Take the many trailer parks for example. Who lives in them? People who live in small places like trailer parks are usually folks who cannot afford better, often due to disabilities. Many are on welfare of some kind, which in our culture is pathetically little. These include the people who are least able to afford dispensary prices and yet most needful of access to quality medical marijuana. A person named Steffani told our Planning Commission that at the trailer park she owns all residents are elderly, poor, and each grows a small amount of marijuana, and they cannot afford to grow indoors. They need to grow their own marijuana for strictly personal use, and there’s a whole lot of people in this situation, we’ve seen it first-hand. Sundberg blocked them. CCVH is endorsing this ripoff of the purest intentions of Proposition 215.

Humboldt is world-famous for its marijuana and that was due to the hippies. Hippies daringly smuggled in the best seeds from around the world and intentionally bred the best strains. For example, our hippies first developed the high cbd strains that are now being wildly sought after because of their therapeutic effects on pediatric seizures. Hippies are people with high integrity. If you are going to ripoff our marijuana you better also ripoff our values. We protect our poor. CCVH does not.

—Robert Sutherland, aka “The Man Who Walks in the Woods”

Part Three: The Agrarian Spirit Warrior

We are witnessing the logical results of a systemic failure to provide guidance and regulation to industry. The usual negatives of the cannabis industry are splashed across the headlines with morbid regularity. Environmentalists and law enforcement pit themselves against cannabis growers while a black market economy continues its relentless advances. It is time for consensus building; this morass must end.

America was built on farms, businesses and trade. We are a nation of people who hold a small farm in the country in our hearts. The homesteads of the Emerald Triangle exemplify the bootstrap American notion; carved from scratch on rugged, denigrated land. Cannabis has been especially responsible for the depth and strength of the lifeblood that now flows in our communities; as with all things powerful, it has a light side and a dark side. As a people, our ability to regulate for the positives is a true test of our future viability.

We must strike a balance; people need to be able to live and farm productively on the land they’ve invested themselves in, but we also need to honor the environment. A system of education and open-market access as incentive for good practice would yield dramatic results in the Emerald Triangle. The Emerald Growers Association has been actively promoting the education and normalization of cannabis growers; I am thrilled to sit on the Board of Directors and serve as Secretary for the organization.

The more we’re able to focus our energy on good, community values, the more effectively we can identify and remove the bad players. My argument is that most of the damage we see isn’t from willful destructiveness but more from a lack of knowledge concerning appropriate practices. The panels and discussions at various cannabis related events of late have been working to address this lack of knowledge in the community.

Unlike most forms of farming, cannabis farmers are often beginners. This means that there is a vast range of practices, some beneficial and some harmful. As a people, we have a duty to ourselves, to our communities and to the future of humanity to educate each other. We’ve seen an explosion in pests and diseases in the last ten years because the Emerald Triangle has become a monocrop reality. We have a cultural, social, spiritual and environmental duty to own this; it runs contrary to the deepest values of the back-to-the-land movement that the cannabis culture grew and flowered from.

Here’s why farming in the hills is viable and valuable:

Farming in the hills provides a different microclimate than the much colder valley floors. It is a direct trade-off; the land is more difficult to work but the growing potential is better. On our farm, we strike a careful balance between cropping and protecting our soil from erosion. The terraces we’ve put into our steep slope capture rainwater and filter it slowly into the groundwater. Our outflows are clean and slow, filtered through multiple straw-filled basins and check dammed as they march down the slope.

Our temperatures are consistently 15 to 30 degrees warmer during the winter than the valley floor. During the summer we top out 10 degrees cooler with an afternoon breeze, but it doesn’t cool off at night. These factors mean that we can produce summer hot crops that won’t finish on the valley floor (large watermelons, okra, prodigious tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), and grow winter vegetables with fewer frosts and freezes. Our south-slope full sun terraces at 3,000-feet elevation produce unique, boutique cannabis that we use for myriad medicinal, spiritual and social purposes.

It takes all types of farms, farmers, microclimates and ecosystems to produce the needs of a populace. Most of the cannabis farmers I know fall somewhere in the 3,000-10,000 square-foot of canopy, but a diversified homestead landscape is much more than just cannabis canopy. We grow approximately an acre of food crops and cannabis, working scrupulously to control our outflows. Our farm stores all of the water for our food crops and our cannabis harvest in ponds and tanks that we’ve put in over the years. We do honor to our future potential when we work together to grow our food, fiber and medicine with the use of compost, cover crops, mulch and bio-char to create more bounty over time.

A Cannabis Carrying Capacity Matrix designed by a broad coalition would seem the most logical place to start. Permits and regulation should focus on upholding the needs of the environment and our rural communities as a direct quid-pro-quo for white market access. Permits must be issued with workable compliance windows established so that we create incentives for the good players.

It is my opinion that regulation often hampers good people who follow the rules while allowing unscrupulous people to run amuck. It is my fervent hope that a regulated cannabis industry would explicitly include a triple bottom line understanding that honors community and ecology on an equal balance with economics.

As a people, we have the deep, truthful opportunity to replicate the good things that cannabis brings to our communities. The transmutation of cannabis into water tanks, tree plantings, beautiful homesteads and gardens has been a magical thing, supporting happy families and the rural economy. It gives me deep fulfillment and spiritual satisfaction to participate in the good energetics that cannabis has the ability to represent. When we’re able to focus on consensus, education, good practice and healthy communities, the economics will sort themselves out.

—Casey O’Neill

APD: Kids Robbed of Their Skateboards at Knifepoint; K9 Finds Thief in Bushes

Andrew Goff / Today @ 11:20 a.m. / Crime

Arcata Police Department press release:

On 11/24/14 at 1556 hours, the Arcata Police Department received a report of two male juveniles being robbed of their skateboards in the 1700 block of Alliance Rd. The juveniles stated that they were walking on the west sidewalk of Alliance Rd, when a male subject stepped out of the wooded area and brandished a large hunting knife. The suspect, later identified as Stephen Noble (18) of Hoopa, demanded the juveniles give him their skateboards and a backpack.

Noble was last seen running northbound on Alliance Rd. Officers arrived in the area and began checking for the suspect. An officer spotted Noble in a field located at Foster Ave. and Q St. Noble fled when the officer attempted to contact him and was last seen entering a wooded area behind the 2300 block of Westwood Ct. A perimeter was set-up by officers and an Arcata Police K9 Team began searching the area.

The K9 located Noble hiding under foliage in bushes west of the 2200 block of Alliance Rd. The K9 officer ordered Noble out of the bushes and Noble complied and was taken into custody without incident.

Noble was booked and lodged in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for 211 PC, robbery and 148(a)(1) PC, resisting or obstructing an officer.   


Voter Transparency Project Initially Comes Up With Very Slighty Different Bergel/Newman Results

Hank Sims / Today @ 10:53 a.m. / Elections

Everyone check out this post by sometime LoCO commenter Mitch Trachtenberg, a volunteer for and co-instigator of the groundbreaking Humboldt County Election Transparency Project.

In short, the Election Transparency Project’s first run through the squeaky-close Bergel/Newman Eureka City Council race came up with slightly different numbers than the elections office did. The project calls two more votes for Bergel and four fewer votes for Newman than the election office’s semi-final report did on Friday.

How can this be? Is our tallying software broken? Are our officials corrupt?

Not at all. What Trachtenberg shows is what your Lost Coast Outpost witnessed Friday, as elections manager Kelly Sanders and county clerk-recorder Carolyn Crnich prepared to publish an election update: A surprising number of people completely mess up their ballots. When they do, a surprising amount of human judgment comes in to play. Did this voter intend to vote for Candidate X or Candidate Y? Or neither? Or (erroneously) both?

When an ambiguous case like this arises, a human being must attempt to discern the intent of the confused voter. They study the ambiguous ballot, then they make a snap call.

Take a look at the ballot below, which Trachtenberg posted as illustration. Do you call it for Newman, Bergel or neither? What was the voter’s intent?

Trachtenberg thought Bergel, because of the “no” next to Newman’s name and the arrow pointing to Bergel. Myself, I would be tempted to call it for Newman, on the theory that the “no” goes with the arrow because the Bergel box is barely marked. But it’s all largely guesswork.

The relief is that there are not enough such ambiguous cases to change the results — this time around. But what do you say? How would you call this vote?

APD: Eureka Man Rams Patrol Car With Vehicle Stolen From Car Dealership in Escape Attempt

Andrew Goff / Today @ 10:53 a.m. / Crime

Arcata Police Department press release: 

On 11/25/2014 at about 3:30 am, an officer with the Arcata Police Department conducted a registration check on a suspicious vehicle entering southbound Highway 101 near Samoa Blvd. The vehicle returned as reported stolen from a Eureka car dealership.

The officer attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle near Bayside cutoff. The driver immediately fled, turning east on Bayside cutoff and then south on Old Arcata Rd. The officer pursued the vehicle south on Bayside Rd. As the driver of the stolen vehicle reached the round-a-bout at Indianola Rd, he lost control of the vehicle and collided with the center median. When the officer stopped his patrol car behind the stolen vehicle, the driver backed up his vehicle, ramming the patrol car. He repeated this several times in an attempt to free his vehicle and presumably flee.

The driver of the stolen vehicle, Eureka resident Anthony Lee Hamilton (age 27), was arrested for CVC 10851- Vehicle Theft, CVC 2800.2 - Evading a Peace Officer, and PC 245(A)(1)- Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

Hamilton was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment of minor injuries he sustained in the collision, before being booked into the Humboldt County Jail.


Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Searching for Missing Woman

Andrew Goff / Today @ 10:06 a.m. / Missing

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release:

On 11-23-2014 at around 10:45 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office took a missing person’s report of a female, 32 year old Ashley Hatter. The reporting party, Jason Hatter, told the deputy on Friday.

11-21-2014 at around 7 p.m. his wife Ashley had taken their daughter to a friend’s house, then was going to buy cigarettes. Hatter did not return to her home in Willow Creek. On Saturday morning, Jason found their Ford pickup parked at the Willow Creek Post Office parking lot.

Ashley Hatter is described as a white female adult, 5’3”, 160-180 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Ashley Hatter is asked to call Investigator Greg Musson at (707) 268-3643.



Is Your Subaru Station Wagon Sinking into the Marsh Behind Blue Ox Millworks Right Now?

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 2:31 p.m. / Non-Emergencies

A cameraman with North Coast News perfects the shot

LoCO is calling it: Slow news day, everyone! Yay!

Eureka Police, Humboldt Bay Fire and other emergency personnel as well as every media outlet within earshot of a scanner rushed the marshy area at the foot of Y Street in Eureka. Why for? A call had come in from someone at Blue Ox Millworks that a car was submerged in the bay.

Well, not so much, turns out. 

Yes, there is a green Suburu stuck in the mud but, at this point, Eureka Police at the scene didn’t even think it warranted action on their part.

“We don’t know if the vehicle is abandoned or if someone is coming back to get it unstuck,” EPD officer Greg Hill told LoCO. Hill noted that the car had not been stolen and was not close enough to pose a risk of leaking fluids into the bay.

We’ll give it 24 hours then send down an abatement officer,” Hill said.

So, in the event this is your rig, you should maybe come get it. You might get a ticket soon.