Ayer Found Guilty of Receiving Stolen Property, Possession of Heroin, Meth

Andrew Goff / Tuesday, Nov. 24 @ 4:51 p.m. / Crime

(Ayer’s mugshot taken after his June arrest.)

Humboldt County Office of the District Attorney press release:  

Today a jury found 25-year-old Michael Wayne Ayer guilty of receiving stolen property, a felony. The jury also found the defendant guilty of possessing heroin and methamphetamine, both misdemeanors, as well as displaying a false license plate, an infraction.  The jury was not able to reach a verdict on the charge of burglary in the first degree, a felony.

The charges arose from two separate incidents: On June 9, 2015, a deputy from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office made contact with the defendant near the intersection of Jackson Ranch Road and Old Samoa Road. The defendant was found to be in possession of property that had recently been obtained in the burglary of a nearby Eureka residence. In a second incident in the early morning of June 1, 2015, officers from the Eureka Police Department contacted the defendant outside of his car in the parking lot of a closed business.  The defendant’s car was displaying a false license plate, and he was found to be in possession of heroin and methamphetamine.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Whitney Barnes, with assistance from District Attorney Investigator Gary Cooper. Judge Dale Reinholtsen presided over the trial.

PREVIOUSLY: Weed and Stolen Goods! Perps Pay Price for Allegedly Breaking More Than One Law at a Time


No Tsunami Warning For West Coast After 7.6M Peru Earthquake

Andrew Goff / Tuesday, Nov. 24 @ 4:07 p.m. / Earthquake

Image courtesy USGS.

No giant tsunami waves are rolling toward Humboldt after a sizable earthquake struck Peru Tuesday. The USGS has updated its measurement of the quake, which struck near Peru’s border with Brazil at 5:45 p.m. local time, to a magnitude of 7.6.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center currently states that there is “no current warning, watch, or advisory.” Go back to worrying about snow, HumCo. 

YOUR WEEK IN OCEAN: Let’s Be Thankful We Live Near the Ocean, Humboldt

Delia Bense-Kang / Tuesday, Nov. 24 @ 3:03 p.m. / Ocean

This Thanksgiving as you sit with friends and family around your awaiting feast, let’s raise our glasses in a toast to the ocean. The air we breath, food we eat, water we drink, wildlife we love, and place we enjoy can all be traced back to the ocean. So this week let’s not only give thanks to the ocean and all it provides us with, but return the favor. Here is a short list of some of the reasons why we owe a thank you. 

The air we breathe: Did you know that oceans produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere? Phytoplankton are tiny ocean plants that photosynthesize (use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make food) and as a byproduct produce oxygen. Seawater also absorbs carbon dioxide we are putting into our atmosphere.

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The food we eat: The ocean is a primary source of protein for over 2.6 billion people

Not only do oceans provide us with delicious fish and shellfish, algae and kelp are used to make foods such as soy milk and frozen foods. Additionally, 36 percent of the worlds fish catch is used to feed farmed fish, chickens, and pigs. 

Tired of turkey and looking for a fish feast instead this Thanksgiving? Tryout your tastebuds on this Seafood Watch approved cioppino recipe from Monterey Bay Aquarium executive chef Matthew Beaudin.  The seafood in this dish are all on the “best choice” list from the Seafood Watch California guide.  


  • ¼ C olive oil
  • 2 large onions (small dice)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. chili flakes 
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper 
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. saffron (about 35 threads)
  • ¼ C tomato paste 
  • ½ tsp fresh oregano (fine chopped)
  • 48 oz. blended plum tomatoes (canned)
  • 2 C Pinot Grigio (or other dry white wine)
  • 4 C canned clam juice 
  • 24 clams (littleneck or cherrystone)
  • 1 ½ lb. shrimp (size 31/35, peeled & deveined)
  • 2 ½ lb. bay scallops 
  • 1 ½ lb. Pacific rockfish (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 C curley parsley (chopped)
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon zest

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The water we drink: The ocean is an essential part of the water cycle, providing us with drinking water. As it is a part of our water cycle it is important to prevent pollution and trash accumulation in the ocean. Effects of water pollution include; causing pathogens to concentrate in water resulting in beach closures, an oversupply of nutrients forming harmful algal blooms, and toxins such as mercury bioaccumulating up the food chain. 

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The wildlife we love: From Sea Snails to Blue Whales, the ocean is home to a wide variety of majestic wildlife.  These creatures inspire art, legends, and just plain brighten our day knowing they exist.  Not only do they embellish us humans but they are the heart of a healthy ocean and healthy planet. 

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The place we enjoy: Whether it be fishing, surfing, kayaking, sandcastle building, or simply taking a walk on the beach, the ocean is a special place we hold close to our hearts. Here in Humboldt County we are lucky enough to have access to some of the most pristine and dynamic coastlines.  

How can you show the ocean some love?

  • Keep trash and chemicals out of storm drains. Storm water caries water from storm drains to the ocean, carrying pollutants which can lead to beach closures.
  • Plant an “ocean friendly garden,” landscapes that utilize native plants, permeable groundcovers and water retention features to prevent urban runoff, create wildlife habitats and design beautiful spaces.
  • Recycle used motor oil and don’t let it spill on the ground where rain will wash into the storm-water drains, and from there out to sea, where it can harm or kill marine life. Find an oil-recycling center near you.
  • Dispose of household products such as paint, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, and batteries properly. 
  • Avoid products with excess packaging. Buy from bulk bins and avoid packages with individually wrapped items. Reducing excess packaging and plastics reduces marine debris!
  • Invest in a reusable items such as coffee cups, water bottles, and reusable bags
  • Keep our beaches clean! Participate in weekly beach cleanups with PacOut Green Team.
  •  Make smart seafood choices, reference the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch guide. 

Why are you thankful for the ocean? 

Surfrider Humboldt wants to see how you are giving thanks to the ocean this week and through the rest of November! Send pictures to humboldt@surfrider.org or #thankshumboldtocean. Top three pictures will be featured on the Humboldt Surfrider website and will receive a prize! 

Remember Snow? Chain Up, Thanksgiving Highway 299 and 36 Travelers

Andrew Goff / Tuesday, Nov. 24 @ 11:47 a.m. / Traffic

Caltrans’ view of Berry Summit Tuesday morning.

As we noted yesterday, Humboldt has some serious weather in store for it in the coming days. Thus, you’re going to want to click around for latest road conditions before you travel for turkey, especially if your journey takes you east — Caltrans notes that snow is present on sections of both highways 299 and 36. The screenshot featured in this post comes from Berry Summit and shows, currently, a mere dusting of snow, but Caltrans crews in the area say the flakes are coming fast and furious.

Remember, LoCO features live webcams from all over the county (and beyond) on our CAMMED page. Check your trunk and make sure you are still carrying chains and watch for falling white stuff. More tips, below, in the Caltrans Studios production starring Betsy Totten.

(VIDEO) Traveling YouTube Star Who Fled Eureka Finds Beauty, Bigfoot Sticker in Avenue of the Giants

Ryan Burns / Tuesday, Nov. 24 @ 9:59 a.m. / Humboldt , Internet


Over the weekend we shared a video from Eric “Nomadic Fanatic” Jacobs and his cat Jax, who had a legitimately terrible time on their way through Eureka. Yesterday, Eric sent the Outpost an email, saying, in part, “I make a lot of great videos about the good that arises from my travels, and I hope you can find my video tomorrow of much more value to the area as I tour the Redwood National Forest.”

Thanks, Eric. Glad you had some good times in Humboldt. Happy trails.

OBITUARY: Yurok Tribe Leader Troy Fletcher, 1962-2015

Ryan Burns / Tuesday, Nov. 24 @ 9:07 a.m. / Obits

Photo courtesy the Yurok Tribe.

It is with deep despair and a heavy heart that we announce the untimely passing of Tribal luminary Troy Fletcher.

“This is a tragic loss for the Yurok people, so tragic that words cannot express how we feel,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Troy accomplished things that many people thought were impossible. We will forever be grateful for Troy’s tremendous contribution to the Tribe. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

“We are all devastated by the passing of our friend, brother and colleague,” added Susan Masten, the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chair. “Troy dedicated his life and put his heart and soul into his effort to protect and restore the Klamath River. He will be greatly missed by all.”

Fletcher, a longtime Executive Director for the Yurok Tribe, passed away on Friday evening, after suffering from a heart attack. He started his career with the Yurok Tribe as the first Tribal fisheries manager in 1994.

The Yurok Tribal member and visionary leader ran the day-to-day operations of the Tribal government. He played a prominent part in nearly every important Tribal policy decision, land acquisition, litigation and legislative effort in the last 20 years.

Fletcher, a tenacious Tribal advocate, accumulated a long list of history-making accomplishments, such as sowing the seeds that started the Tribe’s natural resource protection programs, during his time working for the Tribe. While the truly humble human being would never take the credit, Fletcher was responsible for ending a generations-long conflict between many competing Klamath River-based interests, including: farmers, commercial fishers, a power company, environmental groups and other Tribes. Turning this group of fierce, former adversaries into a cooperative coalition, focused on removing four Klamath dams and creating a plan for equitable water use, was just one the many achievements in his storied career.

“Troy’s integrity and innate leadership skills made him a magnet to all,” said Dave Hillemeier, the Yurok Fisheries Program Manager. “We have lost a beloved friend, father, son, husband, mentor, leader, boss and a person respected by those from all walks of life.”

The benevolent boss instilled many positive principles into his employees and empowered them to achieve greatness. He valued initiative and preparedness. Fletcher treated all of the staff fairly and with respect. He emphasized the importance of developing meaningful relationships with representatives of outside agencies. In Fletcher’s opinion, the Tribe had a right and an obligation to manage all of the lands within Yurok ancestral territory and places that affect the Tribe, such as upriver from its borders. He saw those who opposed him as an opportunity to build a bridge. Before making any decisions involving natural resources, he first asked, “Does this work for fish?”

The leading figure in the campaign to solve the Klamath water crisis also filled an irreplaceable role in the Tribe’s effort to reacquire substantial swaths of land within Yurok territory. His behind-the-scenes work paved the way for the Tribe to procure more than 35,000 acres in the Pecwan and Blue Creek watersheds. Both of these drainages, located in the Tribe’s traditional territory, are culturally invaluable and incredibly important for fish and wildlife populations.

In 1999 Fletcher transitioned to the Executive Director position. As the Fisheries Manager and then as Executive Director, he established the Tribe’s award-winning Watershed Restoration and Environmental Programs and expanded the Fisheries Program. Today, these programs have more 70 staff that are committed to improving environmental conditions in Yurok ancestral territory.

The universally respected administrator managed more than a dozen departments and 300-plus personnel. Most recently, Fletcher was shepherding a strategy to spur the United States Congress into creating legislation that would broaden the Reservation’s boundaries to include the recent land purchases and increase the Tribe’s role in managing the lands within Yurok ancestral territory. He was also working with representatives of the federal government to release the remaining elements of the Hoopa/Yurok Settlement Act.

The distinguished director worked his way from a fisheries technician to overseeing the fast-growing Tribal government. On behalf of the Yurok people, Fletcher testified before Congress, presented to numerous state and federal regulatory committees and travelled to Washington, D.C., many times to advocate for Tribal rights and to improve conditions on the Klamath River.

Fletcher was raised in Pecwan, which is where he spawned a lifelong connection to the Klamath River. He committed his entire adult life to restoring the river, preserving Tribal culture and returning the Tribe to its rightful role in Yurok Country. He leaves behind his parents, Jacqueline and Don Winter, his sons Troy Fletcher Jr., Cody and Zachary, grandchildren Cody Jr. and Raa-yoy, as well as his wife Kari. Services will be held on Saturday, Nov., 28 at 10 a.m. at the Yurok Tribal office in Klamath. The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Aawok Troy Fletcher Memorial Fund, through the Humboldt Area Foundation. HAF’s address is 373 Indianola Rd., Bayside Ca 95524. There will be an opportunity to make a donation at the Saturday service. 

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The obituary above was submitted by the Yurok Tribe. For more information, see the Aawok Troy Steven Fletcher Facebook pageThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.

(AUDIO) Dengler, Miller, Uyeki Discuss the Japanese Tsunami Boat’s Journey to Northern California

Mike Dronkers / Monday, Nov. 23 @ 5:31 p.m. / Through The Eyes Of Women

[The following was produced by Brenda Starr of KHSU’s “Through The Eyes of Women” and originally appeared here.- MD]

How did a barnacled boat touch so many lives of people from an ocean away and give hope and courage to two tsunami vulnerable cities and bring together two cultures who found out they had more in common than they thought?

This beautifully illustrated bilingual children’s book tells the true story of the small boat swept away by the March 2011 Japan tsunami that was found in April 2013 on Crescent Beach and started an exchange between high school students in Japan and Crescent City.

(AUDIO) Kamome the Boat Of Hope

On April 7, 2013, a little over two years after the magnitude 9 Japan earthquake triggered a massive tsunami off the coast of northeastern Japan, a lone boat washed up on the shores of Crescent City, California. The confirmation of the boat as belonging to Takata High School in the city of Rikuzentakata was first step in an amazing story that has connected two tsunami-vulnerable cities.

Dr. Lori Dengler, an expert in tsunami science and hazard mitigation, first visited Rikuzentakata six weeks after the tsunami as part of a post-tsunami reconnaissance effort. She continued to follow recovery efforts through the Rikuzentakata Facebook page. Two years later, Dengler was one of the experts called to examine a small barnacle- encrusted boat that beached in Crescent City. Japanese characters painted on the boat linked it to Rikuzentakata and Dengler posted its picture on the city’s Facebook page.

Amya Miller managed the Rikuzentakata Facebook page at the time. Ms. Miller was born and raised in Japan. After the March 2011 earthquake, she returned to Japan to volunteer as an interpreter to provide post-disaster assistance. She became the Special Adviser to the City of Rikuzentakta, facilitating communications between the tsunami-ravaged city and international media and aid organizations. After seeing Dengler’s boat photo on the Facebook page, she was able to quickly connect the boat found in Crescent City to the one lost by Takata High School. When a group of Del Norte High students wanted to raise funds to send the boat back to Japan, Miller was able to facilitate the return and initiate exchanges between the two high schools.

Illustrator Amy Uyeki and co-author Lori Dengler

When asked why write a chidren’s book, Dengler who was the recipient of HSU’s 2008 Scholar of the year award and has authored more than 70 professional papers responded, “When a story as extraordinary as Kamome comes along, one has to do whatever you can to move it forward. This tough little boat that went all the way across the ocean and came back to Japan. It is a positive story of survival and hope that everyone can relate to.”

Amy Uyeki, an Arcata artist, was the last onboard of the three collaborators. She created the illustrations and the layout for the Extraordinary Journey of Kamome. Uyeki, a mixed media artist, had produced published works of her artwork, but this was her first foray into children’s book art. She was familiar with the story, having read about the beached boat in Crescent City and its subsequent return to Japan. After reading the initial draft of the story and watching a Facebook account of the actual events, she was immediately drawn into the project.

To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link:

(AUDIO) Kamome the Boat Of Hope