Have You Always Dreamed of Being a Eureka School Board Trustee? Guess What!

Andrew Goff / Monday, March 2 @ 4:45 p.m. /

Eureka City Schools is looking to fill a vacancy on its trustee board after the recent resignation Hank Beck, who has served since 2011. One catch: You gotta be a registered voter who lives in the sprawling “Area 2” conveniently labeled on the enlargable map above.

Is that you? More details in the Eureka City Schools press release below:

The resignation of the Trustee to Area 2 on the Eureka City Schools Board of Education has created a vacancy that the Board has chosen to fill.  The Board has voted to provisionally appoint a new member per Education Code 5091, 5093. The Governing Board cordially invites registered voters residing in Area 2 to apply for this position.  This position serves from April 2, 2015, through the expiration of the position’s term on December 4, 2015.

Trustee Area 2 includes areas within the city of Eureka and unincorporated areas to the east and southeast of Eureka.  Within the City of Eureka, Trustee Area 2 lies approximately between “J” Street and Harrison Avenue, south to Carson Street.  The unincorporated areas of Trustee Area 2 begin at Ryan Slough on Myrtle Avenue and extend east and north to the vicinity of Indianola Road.  This portion of Area 2 includes the vicinities of Upper Mitchell Road, Lower Mitchell Road, Walker Point Road, Pigeon Point Road, Freshwater Road, Kneeland Road, and Greenwood Heights Road. Rural portions of Trustee Area 2 include areas east and southeast of Eureka serviced by upper Fickle Hill Road, Butler Valley Road, Mountain View Road, Showers Pass Road, and Tom Shaw Road.  A map is available at the district office and on the district’s webpage at EurekaCitySchools.org, under Governance, Board of Education, School Board Ward Maps.

In order to apply, interested applicants must submit a resume and letter explaining their qualifications to the Superintendent Fred Van Vleck at Eureka City Schools District Office, 2100 J Street, Eureka, by 4:00 p.m., on Monday, March 16, 2015.    

On March 25, 2015, at 5:30 p.m., the Board will hold a special meeting to interview applicants.  On March 26, 2015, at 11:00 a.m., the Board will appoint a Trustee to Area 2.   The successful applicant will be seated and take the Oath of Office at the April 2, 2015 regular meeting.

The Board of Education views Board service as a voluntary contribution to the community and elects not to receive compensation.  Board members may participate in the health and welfare benefits program provided for district employees.

If you have questions, please contact the Superintendent’s office at 441-2414.


Eureka Needs Your Ideas About How to De-Uglify Its Southern Gateway

Hank Sims / Monday, March 2 @ 1 p.m. /

South Broadway is probably the most visually appalling stretch of Highway 101 between Santa Rosa and Coos Bay. If you’ve talked to passers-through, you know that it puts many people off the Queen City of the Ultimate West forever.

You can tell them: No, just turn off the main drag for a couple of blocks! Eureka is actually one of the most architecturally interesting towns in California! They don’t listen; all they remember are the fleabag motels, the jumble of strip malls and vacant buildings, the acres of asphalt. First impressions are powerful things.

City government and various business and tourism associations have long acknowledged the problem, and, with the support of Caltrans, they’re starting to tackle it. They’ve hired a Chico-based consulting firm – Greendot Transportation Solutions – to help come up with a plan, and they’ll be holding a public meeting at the Wharfinger Building next Wednesday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m., to solicit citizen input. At this point, they’re looking specifically at the stretch of road between the Herrick overpass and Pierson’s – not to replace the worst of the blight, but to present a nicer face.

They’ve set up a simple website – www.eurekasouthentry.com – to give you an idea of what they’re hope to accomplish. Excerpt:

  • Traffic calming to slow vehicles down as they enter the City on Highway 101 and thereby communicate a clear transition between the highway and Broadway speed limits;
  • A visual introduction which provides an aesthetically pleasing entrance to the City of Eureka and the Humboldt Bay area to visitors traveling to and through the region;
  • Creation of a system of local information that describes the City’s unique character and provides information to interested visitors, such as local attractions like hiking and biking trails, recreational opportunities, points of interest, historic and cultural references, lodging options, etc.

More of this at the site, along with some visual brainstorming from the consultant and imagery from successful “gateway improvement” projects elsewhere.

Remember: Next Wednesday. Your invite is below. And don’t just copy Friend o’ the LoCO Doug Shrock’s idea!

Squatchy Supertrail Planning Going Pretty Good

Mike Dronkers / Monday, March 2 @ 10:45 a.m. / Nature , Trails , wildlife

[Grizzly Lake: © Michael Kauffman]

Ask a seasoned backpacker about their bucket list and they’ll name-check some of North America’s most legendary routes. Pacific Crest Trail. Appalachian Trail. Continental Divide Trail.

One local group is trying to add another name to that list: The Bigfoot Trail, and they’re off to a strong start.

And after you poke around photos of the trail, you can see why.  

While savvy hikers with decent maps can already string the route together using existing trails and roads, organizers want to unify this unique part of the world by establishing a through-hike that travels through its best biomes. 

After the Bigfoot Trail Alliance Kickstarter campaign surpassed its goal three times over, author and organizer Michael Kauffmann is feeling confident that a 360-mile hike through the Klamath, Marble, and Trinity wilderness deserves a spotlight. 

Via BigfootTrail.org:

The trail begins on the subalpine slopes of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, traverses the Klamath’s most spectacular peaks, crosses all its wild rivers, and ends at the edge of the continent in the temperate rainforest.

The trail traverses at least six major watersheds and one national park.

“And then somebody pointed out…that if you end with a toe in the Pacific ocean, you’re in the California coastal national monument,” Kauffman told KHUM earlier today.

He said that the Klamath mountains offer a multitude of hidden gems, from caves littered with saber tooth tiger fossils to majestic trees that require marble in their diet. 

“You’ve heard of the Marble mountains. Well, Marble mountain is a giant chunk of marble. It’s been eroded for millions of years, there’re caves all over it.

There’s a relic stand of trees at the top called foxtail pines, which happens to be my favorite conifer. These things… it’s just like a museum.”

Although the fundraising goal was met, they will still absolutely take your donation. 

From their Kickstarter page:

All additional funds will go towards meeting the mission of the BFTA: creating a community committed to constructing, promoting, and protecting the Bigfoot Trail. We need a nest-egg to get off and running (or, hiking, for that matter). It has been beyond wonderful to see such support for the future of the Bigfoot Trail Alliance! 

Click below to hear Kauffman try to make you take a month off to hike the Bigfoot Trail. 

Michael Kauffmann interview


One Arrested For Allegedly Buying Booze For Youngsters During Eureka Police Decoy Operation

Andrew Goff / Monday, March 2 @ 9:51 a.m. / Crime

It seems like law enforcement conducts these stings pretty often these days (see LoCO‘s most recent documented examples farther down). Not buying alcohol for youngish looking people you just met outside a liquor store is probably a good personal policy going forward.

Eureka Police Department press release: 

On 2/28/2015, the Eureka Police conducted a program called a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation which targets adults who purchase alcohol for people less than 21 years of age. Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol.

The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adults agree to purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Statistics show they generally have a higher rate of drunken driving crashes than adults. Studies also show the combination of alcohol and youth tends to increase criminal conduct. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health, and result in unintentional injury and death.

Shanon Dennis Korb, 41 years old, of Trinidad was arrested during the operation for furnishing alcoholic beverages to the minor decoys.

The operation took place at several establishments licensed to sell alcohol. The Eureka Police Department wishes to extend its gratitude to the employees of the businesses that were alert and aware enough to run off our decoys from the front area of their businesses.

This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Minor Decoy / Shoulder Tap Grant Project, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Tips About Armed Standoff Prove False; It Was Just a Busted Glass Door

Ryan Burns / Sunday, March 1 @ 2:20 p.m. / Crime

Early this afternoon the Outpost’s Facebook page lit up with alerts about something serious going down at Dan’s Auto Electric on Broadway in Eureka — fire trucks, cop cars, an ambulance, police officers in riot gear. 

Turns out it was a false alarm.

The Outpost’s Hank Sims was on the scene and spoke with Eureka Police Sergeant Gary Whitmer, who explained that a call had come in reporting second- or third-hand information about two armed men holding an employee at gunpoint. 

In fact, someone had just thrown a rock through the glass front door of the business, which isn’t even open today.

Back to enjoying this gorgeous Sunday, everyone.

LoCO Says Goodbye to Kym Kemp

Andrew Goff / Sunday, March 1 @ noon / Housekeeping

Kym Kemp has decided to end her tenure writing for your Lost Coast Outpost. Needless to say, the rest of us here are all pretty bummed about it, but Kym feels that LoCO is no longer a good fit for her and we have to respect that. 

We all appreciate you, Kym. Thanks for working with us.

Though LoCO will obviously continue to cover all the topics that Kym wrote about, she cannot be replaced. Over the last three years she has logged countless hours, day and night, chasing down breaking details on everything from marijuana grow raids to school closures. In the dark ages before Thunderdome and Country Club divisions, no one was more of a mother to LoCO’s wild west comment section, a gathering of ragamuffins Kym spent much more time policing than she probably enjoyed. She was dogged in her pursuit of details about disappeared triple homicide suspect Shane Miller. And remember that time Kym coaxed selfies out of another wanted homicide suspect on the lam? 

Vintage Kym.

Kym fans should not don black garments just yet. She still plans to be a presence over at her resurrected Redheaded Blackbelt blog. She told us she’s not yet sure what her focus will be, but we would not be surprised if marijuana and other SoHum issues factor in. 

While LoCO mourns the loss of one of its own, we also have to look to the future. Thus, if you’ve ever wanted to work with us, now might be the time to reach out. We’re not sure at this time when we will be hiring someone else, but “pretty soon” sounds about appropriate. So this is not an official announcement of a position, but send us a note so you’re on our brains. We are fun people to work with and Humboldt seems to think we’re OK (37,135 Facebook fans can’t be wrong!).

Again, a big thanks to you, Kym. You made LoCO sweet.

DEAD RECKONING: Mystery Yet Lives. Long Live Mystery

James Faulk / Sunday, March 1 @ 7:41 a.m. / Dead Reckoning

A perfectly rational friend of a friend took a wandering stroll along the charmingly patched roads in her neighborhood. She’d just heard some bad news.

Her mother, distraught and shrill as usual only more so, had just called and left a breathless, agonizing message on Lucy’s answering machine. The words, if indeed there were any in the verbal avalanche, smashed one into another until there emerged a nonsensical pileup of sobs and syllables.

Lucy, an auto mechanic by passion and by trade, had heard the phone ring from the garage, which she had converted into a shop of sorts. By the time she’d extracted herself from the engine compartment and wiped her hands on the ubiquitous red shop rag, her mother was already halfway through her debriefing.

She held off on picking up the receiver. Sometimes, you get the feeling that suddenly stopping something with loads of momentum — a thick stick in bicycle spokes, for example — might cause more harm than good. Once Mom’s three minutes were up, the phone beeped and automatically flushed the call.

Before Lucy could even take a deep breath — she planned to take several, in a row if possible — the phone rang again. On the orange LED screen, “Warning: Mother,” and a familiar phone number flashed at her impatiently. Lucy’s mom was known for her episodes, and sometimes Lucy just wanted to change the channel.

By and by, Lucy clenched deep muscles and mindfully lifted the receiver off the hook. She relished the sudden quiet as she slowly raised it to her ear.

Again, the shrill accounting, then a pause to gasp. Shockingly, her mom’s antics made sense.

Wendy, their fox terrier family dog for just under two decades, had died. Old age had destroyed the dog’s hearing, and two years ago its world began to dim until it couldn’t navigate any unfamiliar space without colliding with chairs, tables, walls and people. But Wendy soldiered on until last week, when she laid down in the mud room one morning and refused to get up.

Unable to help herself, Lucy hung the phone up just as her mother had started recollecting Wendy’s best moments and frequent misadventures. Lucy cried. The grief was stunning in its depth and power. She needed to move, pump blue blood through the engine for oxygen, calm herself down.

So she walked down streets she’s seen many times before. The familiar Victorian framing of one house, square yet elegant; the porticos and embellishments of others; the wide porches and raised yards. She checked them off the list in her head, minding each one in particular to keep her mind on anything other than the grief that threatened to crack her chest open like a walnut to expose the raw meat of her heart.

She rounded another familiar corner, passed her favorite Queen Anne in the world — she’d had endless arguments with her husband over which precise shade of the rainbow laid claim to the title of umber, and this house was at root a spartan but appropriate umber tone, set off with seafoam green accents — then stopped. Where she expected to see an old yellow bungalow with its riotously overgrown yard and slightly wayward chimney, there was fence. Tall fence, still reeking of the wood yard and covered in sawdust, its nails gleaming in the sunlight, that reached six feet in heighth.

A libertarian in most things residential, Lucy hated the fence. It was out of character for the neighborhood. It was too tall, a fact that its builders tried to hide with two feet of base board. And it was different. Right now, as Wendy’s cold body lay bent and squeezed in a cardboard box under the plum tree in her parents’ backyard, different hurt. She muttered in frustration, glared at the rather nice wrought-iron gate, then promptly let it fall from her mind as she approached a cluster of Pierson homes, built after the Second World War, a rash of generic utility in building that ruined suburbs throughout Humboldt County.

Indignant is better than broken. Soon enough, she felt better. The dog was suffering, after all, and canine heaven promised a dog-bed in the clouds, treats every day, and petting parties on the weekends.

But she didn’t forget. It was three days later that she dragged her beau away from his new Xbox for a walk to witness the newest neighborhood sacrilege.

She knew precisely where she was going. From the set of her chin and the tightrope her mouth had become, Beaux knew better than to ask too many questions. Soundlessly, he composed several “I feel like” sentences and did his best to eradicate “you always” from his vocabulary. He didn’t know for sure that their ridiculously brisk evening walk would culiminate in some kind of argument, but at this late stage in their marriage, and judging from the angry way her long strides were unfolding, it was best to be prepared.

They passed the Queen Anne and slowly at first, then all at once, the wind fell out of their sails. Sneaking a sidelong glance at his lovely, if mercurial, bride, Beaux had to stifle a laugh. As if some carpenter had knocked the pin out of the hinge of Lucy’s jaw, her mouth hung wide open.

She turned to him, snapped her mouth shut as if to stop something unthinkable from falling out, then shook her head. She looked back at the weed-weary bungalow, the green tentacles of its untamed foilage crowding onto the narrow, cracked sidewalk.

Beaux desperately wanted to tap her on the shoulder, direct her back home so he could commence the gleeful killing of other people’s avatars, but he restrained himself. This was uneven terrain, he knew.

Patience, young Jedi, he whispered to himself.

Finally, with resignation, she turned back to him and searched his face anxiously. He smiled nervously, then shrugged.

After a long moment, she smiled back. She had an arsenal of expressions he’d come to know, and this was one that said, “Everything’s fine. I’m fine. Don’t ask questions.”

So he didn’t. They started home at a more laggard pace, now holding hands and talking about nothing important, the way it was supposed to be. She leaned in to him, tired and strung tight with emotion.

I know what I saw, and it’s gone, she thought. No trace remains, and even in the unlikely scenario that a fence had been built and then inexplicably removed, there would have been some mark of its presence. Holes in the ground. Hedges cut or bent where the fence had recently stood. Something, right?

There was nothing.

She related the tale to my wife, who later — as always happens, ladies, just so you know — caught me up on the relevant gossip. Lucy later blamed the episode on the dying dog and her grief at its passing, but I’m not so sure.

Mystery lives.


Another example: One morning several months ago, my wife and I stopped by Ramone’s on Harrison Avenue in Eureka for breakfast and coffee. As we came in, my wife glanced at two gentlemen conversing quietly at a table near the door. Strangely, Amy saw what appeared to be a kind of yamulke on the man nearest her. Yet, it seemed to shine in some strange way, and looked as if were floating, just slightly, off the man’s head. A halo, of sorts.

Once her mind caught up to her eyes, she looked back. No hat. No gloriously glowing halo of heavan. Just a man. With male pattern baldness and accidental gray accents here and there, his mouth was overflowing with muffin as he conducted his otherwise inane conversation with the other perfectly normal man across from him.

Mystery is alive and well.


I’ve described my father’s death in this space before, but neglected to highlight one detail that sticks out even today. At around 10:15 a.m. on March 6, 1992, as I sat in the first class after morning break, an irresistable urge to be home suddenly caught hold of my Lizard Brain, buried deep beneath all the wrinkles where reasoning never ventured, and got me moving.

There was no reason. I hadn’t been working myself up to that decision, or toughing out a bad day until I couldn’t stand it. In fact, there really was no decision. Suddenly, as I sat in class listening to yet another outstanding history lesson from Mr. Chegwidden, I had to go.

Those were the very words I used in the office to explain my need to leave. I had already been out several days here and there because of my dad’s battle with cancer, so the office staff was privvy to my situation. Mercifully, they didn’t ask any questions. Working their way down the contact list, they finally reached my Aunt Joan, who was happy to pick me up.

We drove home without saying a word. I was floating, it felt like. The normal running dialogue in my head had gone quiet, like a bomb had gone off and stuffed my ears with ash and silence.

Once at the house, I climbed the porch steps and hesitated for a second before opening the door. I felt my aunt’s hand on my shoulder. As I reluctantly stepped into the empty, dim living room, the phone rang.

My mother, laying down in her bedroom to rest after another night spent at the hospital, said, “I got it.”

It was the hospital. Dad had died scant seconds before the call was made. My mother cried, as did I — both of us grieving the loss, and struggling with the guilt of being relieved by it.

The timing of my need to come home, the lack of rationale, the call that came as soon as I crossed the threshold?

Mystery yet lives. We often tell ourselves otherwise, that modernity has wiped all magic and mystery from the canvas of human experience. Yet a lot of us have stories like these, moments when rationale explanations break down and we’re confronted with something we can’t explain.

I like it that way.


James Faulk is a writer, cemetery worker and family man. He can be reached at faulk.james @yahoo.com.