FPD: Car Thief Caught Stealing a Vehicle

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 7:59 a.m. / Crime

Fortuna Police Department Press Release:

On April 17, 2014 at about 2:50 AM, officers responded to the 2100 block of David Way for a report of suspicious noises in the area. Upon arrival, officers located a male subject attempting to steal a vehicle which he had forced entry into. Jesse Allen Hanson (Age 33 of Eureka) was detained while officers investigated.

During the investigation, officers located several additional vehicles which Hanson had forced entry into.

Hanson was arrested for three counts of Penal Code Section 459 (Burglary), California Vehicle Code Section 10852 (Tampering with a Vehicle) and PC 1203.2 (Violation of Probation) as Hanson was on Post-Release Community Supervision.

Hanson was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.


CR’s Journey Back From the Brink: Part Four

Ryan Burns / Yesterday @ 6 a.m. / Education

Note: This is the fourth of five parts in the Outpost‘s weeklong series on College of the Redwoods and its recovery from accreditation trouble. Today’s installment examines the reasons for CR’s recent downsizing.

In February, College of the Redwoods President/Superintendent Kathy Smith raised some eyebrows — and hackles — when she recommended to the school’s Board of Trustees that operations be suspended this fall at the college’s Garberville site and its Mendocino Coast Education Center in Fort Bragg.Last year CR closed sites in McKinleyville and Arcata. The news that Fort Bragg might be next didn’t sit well with that community. 

To understand the context of this downsizing, it helps to start at the national level and then zoom in. When President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, one of the first programs he announced was the American Graduation Initiative, which devoted $12 billion over the next decade to community colleges in the hopes of adding five million college graduates by 2020. 

Sounds like a bonanza for CR, right? Not exactly. When it came time to implement the initiative, the state government was in deep financial trouble. So rather than just throwing more money at community colleges, the California legislature tried to be more strategic. In order to achieve Obama’s goal of increasing college graduates, the state told community colleges to focus on three things:

1) Basic/remedial classes to get students up to college level
2) Career technical education designed to make students employable, and
3) Classes for students looking to transfer to four-year universities.

This was fine for students needing such classes, less fine for community members taking electives for fun or lifelong learning. As Smith phrased it in a recent interview, “The state said, ‘We’re not going to give you money for ceramics for seniors.’”

Many CR students had been taking certain classes for years — theater, band, figure drawing. etc. Now, once a student has taken a class three times, the state will no longer give the college apportionment money, which means tuition effectively skyrocketed for many longtime students. Rather than paying it, a percentage of those students simply decided to stop taking the classes.

That was bad news for CR because it contributed to the trend of declining enrollment. Other factors included CR’s accreditation troubles and changing demographics, particularly in Mendocino County. With the fishing and timber industries in decline, the North Coast has shifted toward a more service- and tourism-based economy, with more seniors and Hispanics, fewer families and young people.

The biggest chunk of the state’s increased community college funding gets awarded based on enrollment growth. So with CR’s enrollment in decline, the proposition of maintaining remote campuses becomes exceedingly difficult.

Smith said that her February recommendation to suspend operations this fall in Garberville and Fort Bragg was not a signal that those sites would be shut down. “The recommendation for suspension just means that we’re taking time to work through plans for other things,” she said.

CR purchased the old Garberville School along with three acres of property for $200,000 in 2010. The college has since spent another $1.6 million on upgrades to the site, including new wiring, a new roof and other renovations. “So we’ve got $1.8 million into it,” Smith said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to use it.”

They seem to have done so, despite the difficulty of funding staff and attracting students for the site (classes scheduled there this spring failed to enroll enough students to justify them). In a recent press release, Smith announced a hodgepodge of current and future uses for the Garverville site, including community education classes for the fall, a possible partnership with Jerold Phelps Community Hospital and rental tenants such as a children’s art group, a nonprofit theater company and the Garberville Community School, which has 17 students from seventh to 12th grade. 

The future of the Mendocino campus is less certain. The community there feels like the CR brass has mismanaged the campus, killing or wounding popular programs, laying off longtime faculty members and basically treating the place like a redheaded stepchild.

But Smith has argued — in the press and elsewhere — that it is no longer sustainable to run the campus the way it’s been operated historically. The CR Board of Trustees recently passed a resolution saying they’d be willing to negotiate with Mendocino Community College over a possible transfer of the site into that school’s district. 

Tomorrow we’ll wrap up our five-part series on CR by looking at how the college has changed as a result of its accreditation scare and what it has planned for the future.


[UPDATED] Law Enforcement Raid Near Fortuna Expected to Net Over 1,000 Marijuana Plants

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, April 16 @ 2:58 p.m. / marijuana

According to Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, deputies and the Drug Task Force have been serving a warrant on the 1000 block of Airport Road near Fortuna. 

Knight says that he expects that the operation will yield in excess of one thousand marijuana plants.

UPDATE 3:18 p.m: The Times Standard is reporting that one person was arrested and more than 2000 plants seized in this raid.

Car Flipped on F St Near Downtown Eureka; Driver Extracted

Hank Sims / Wednesday, April 16 @ 11:40 a.m. /

Lost Coast Outpost readers (as well as special correspondent Nick Adams) are informing us that F Street (between Eighth and Ninth) in Eureka is currently closed, after a single-vehicle accident that ended with a car on its roof. 

Firefighters have extricated a person from the vehicle.

UPDATE, 1:40 p.m.:


UPDATE, 12:10 a.m.:


Lost Coast Outpost contributors Nick Adams and Mark McKenna were both at the scene, and both sent photos, and did Outpost reader/Frederick & Charles student Bridget McManus. :

Photo: Mark McKenna.

Photo: Mark McKenna

Photo: Nick Adams

Photo: Nick Adams

Photo: Bridget McManus

Photo: Bridget McManus

Photo: Bridget McManus

Woman Sought in Yesterday’s Armed Robbery Case

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, April 16 @ 10:39 a.m. / Crime

A woman is sought in Tuesday’s armed robbery case. (See story here.) In that incident, two women reported being robbed at knifepoint while in a vehicle by two other women. There is a BoLo for Candice Swain who is known to be a transient between Humboldt County and Crescent City. Details about Swain and the case are provided by the Sheriff’s Office below.

Deputy Matt Helm is the lead investigator on this incident. Anyone with more information should ask to speak to him.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Press Release:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the armed robbery which occurred on 04-15-2014 and has identified the driver of the vehicle. She is identified as Candice Keshan Swain, 25 years old who is a transient. She is described as Native American, 5’ 4” tall, approximately 145 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes. 

The lead investigating deputy is still actively working on identifying the second female who was the one identified by the victims as holding the knife. She is known as, “ Sonya “. 

Sonya is described as Native American, approximately in her 30’s, heavy set, about 250 to 300 pounds, dark short hair pulled into a bun, was last seen wearing dark clothing and in possession of a 4” to 6” blade knife. She is possibly from the Hoopa area. 

A be-on-the-lookout to area law enforcement has been issued for Swain who is wanted armed robbery. 

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251, McKinleyville Sheriff Station at 707-839-3857 or the Sheriff’ s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified the woman as having been arrested but, instead, she is currently being sought by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

[UPDATED with Info on Sonoma Co. Crime] Attempted Murder Suspect Arrested in Weott Last Night

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, April 16 @ 9:46 a.m. / Crime

UPDATE from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office below the Humboldt County Press Release:

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

On 04-15-2014, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the 16000 block of State Highway 254, Weott in regards to an unwanted subject. While enroute to the call, the female caller told Sheriff’s Office Dispatch the unwanted subject was Juan Luis Ayala Jr., 20 years old from Modesto, California, and he was wanted for attempted murder from Sonoma County. Sheriff’s Office Dispatch confirmed with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office that Ayala was wanted for attempted murder and vehicle theft. Dispatch also learned from Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office the weapon used was a hammer.

When Deputies and California Highway Patrol Officers (C.H.P.) arrived at the residence where Ayala was at, the female caller met them outside. She told the deputies she did not want Ayala at her residence and Ayala was willing to surrender peacefully. Deputies entered the residence and took Ayala into custody without incident.

C.H.P. located the vehicle Ayala stole, a black 2000 Ford Echo in the South Fork High School parking lot. The vehicle was stored and Ayala was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail is set at $500,000.00.

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

UPDATE 10:58 a.m.: Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

On 4/15/2014 at approximately 11:00 am, deputies were dispatched to Bailey Avenue in Petaluma regarding a victim that was attacked with a hammer. The victim was repairing chicken coops at a ranch when the suspect attacked him with a hammer. The attack was unprovoked and the victim had no idea why the suspect attacked him. The victim was struck in the face with the hammer and immediately lost consciousness. The suspect then attacked the victim again while he was on the ground. Two other workers at the ranch tackled the suspect and tried to detain him while law enforcement was called. The suspect was able to break free and fled on foot out of the area. 

Arriving deputies requested an ambulance and the victim was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with several injuries to his face and head. The suspect was identified as Juan Luis Ayala, 20 years old from Modesto, California. 

Deputies along with officers from the Petaluma Police Department and the California Highway Patrol began searching the area for the suspect. 

At approximately 11:40 am, a Petaluma Police Officer was flagged down by a citizen on Pine Lane in Petaluma stating that their vehicle had been stolen. The suspect who stole the vehicle was identified as Juan Ayala who had just committed the assault with the hammer. Ayala was able to escape the area in the stolen vehicle. 

At approximately 11:30 pm, the suspect Juan Ayala was arrested by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. Ayala traveled to his aunt’s residence in Humboldt County and he began telling her of the crimes he committed. The Aunt in turn called the Sheriff’s Office and Ayala was subsequently arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, vehicle theft and possession of stolen property. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office responded to Humboldt County to transport Ayala to the Sonoma County Jail where he will be booked for the above charges. 

The Violent Crimes Unit will be conducting follow up investigation on this case. 

For further information contact Detective Sergeant Shannon McAlvain at 565-2185.

CR’s Journey Back From the Brink: Part Three

Ryan Burns / Wednesday, April 16 @ 7:52 a.m. / Education


A maintenance worker fixes a lamp in CR’s new quad.

Note: This is the third of five parts in the LoCO‘s weeklong series on College of the Redwoods and its recovery from accreditation trouble. Today’s installment looks at the nitty gritty of how CR addressed its deficiencies.

In February 2012, College of the Redwoods found out that it had an important deadline. By October 15 of that year, school officials had to submit a report to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the body that was threatening to revoke its seal of approval, a move that would likely have closed down the college. This report had to show, in detail, how the school would address its identified shortcomings and, furthermore, how it was meeting every single one of the commission’s standards. And after the commission received that report, a team would come visit CR for a closer look.

That looming judgment day created an “extreme sense of urgency,” said Geoscience Professor David Bazard, who served as co-chair of CR’s accreditation committee. Along with his fellow co-chair (initially Keith Snow-Flamer, CR’s vice president of instruction and student development, and later Interim President Utpal Goswami), Bazard put together groups and sub-groups to deal with each of the commission’s recommendations and articulate the logic behind each response.

In its Feb. 2012 letter to the college, the accrediting commission had identified eight shortcomings. One concerned documentation of student learning outcomes; another touched on strategic planning; and another pertained to employee diversity. Some of the issues were fairly straightforward — making sure students get an adequate syllabus for each class, for example. Others, such as creating “a comprehensive professional development program,” would be more time-consuming.

Looking for some wisdom on this type of predicament, CR’s accreditation oversight team brought in outside consultants and asked for advice from other community colleges that had successfully recovered from “show cause” sanctions, including Diablo Valley College and Solano Community College.

“It was a considerable amount of work,” Bazard said.

Over the summer of 2012, the various subgroups worked separately to address each problem and then fed information back to the accreditation oversight committee. Together the teams developed new policies and procedures, methodically assembling a response to the accrediting commission in the form of a 372-page report (which is available here under the link called “10/15/12 Show Cause Report,” in case you’re the kind of scholar/masochist who enjoys reading that sort of thing).

CR President/Superintendent Kathy Smith said that some of the underlying issues at the college hadn’t been identified in any report or checklist.

“One thing I was surprised at when I got here [in May 2012] was the lack of trust, because I’d never worked in a place like that before,“ she said.

Under former President Jeff Marsee, relations between campus employees had become mired in suspicions and territorial defensiveness. In 2010 the faculty union, College of the Redwoods Faculty Organization (CRFO), filed two lawsuits against the administration alleging that Marsee had made unilateral decisions that amounted to unfair practices and bad-faith bargaining.

The cases have since been resolved, but in working to address CR’s sanctions, Smith found that faculty and staff were still wary.

“One of the things that kept coming up, they wanted all of the policies to be ‘president proof,’” she said. “I was like, ‘OK, what does that mean?’” Eventually she figured out that that there was a lack of trust in the college’s so-called “participatory governance” system — an organizational setup that incorporates checks and balances between staff, faculty and administrators.

Gradually, through the process of discussion and negotiation, that trust was rebuilt. “We finally said — instead of, ‘What would protect us?’ — ‘What would a healthy college’s policy look like?’” Smith said.

The oversight committee made the Oct. 15 deadline, submitting its lengthy report to the ACCJC, and last November a two-person team from the accrediting commission made a follow-up visit. In February, CR got word that it was being removed from all sanctions.

Looking back on the process, Bazard said the work was valuable.

“I think in many cases it made CR a better place,” he said. “We work in a state institution. You need to be able to show what you’re doing, document it.” One example of improved accountability: CR’s webpage now features a syllabus for every course offered on campus, and Bazard said there’s better documentation and communication from the Board of Trustees, which helps hold the president accountable. And as a result of one of the faculty union lawsuits, CR’s faculty now has the right to address the board directly at each meeting.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at how and why CR has downsized, with its controversial decisions to eliminate certain classes and programs, suspend operations at its Garberville site and potentially stop offering classes altogether at its Mendocino County instructional site in Fort Bragg.