Wrapping Up the Trash….

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 7:51 p.m. / News

Southern Humboldt has been working on its trash problem with renewed zeal this month. [Photo by Eddie Sanchez.]

After a video of trash along the Eel River was posted earlier this month, trash is being cleaned up at a phenomenal rate in Southern Humboldt!  Which is good and bad….

Here’s a update on the situation.

Eel River Cleanup Party (join the new group here) has been working with Mike Miller on his twice weekly cleanups (Tuesdays and Fridays meetup at 11 a.m. in front of the Tiger Lily Bookstore.) They’ve been incredibly successful which is good…and bad. On this last Tuesday alone 1500 pounds of trash were collected. However, the County allotted funds to pay for dumping for this project has been nearly demolished. In order for the project to continue, more money is needed. Eel River Cleanup Party estimates, at this rate of cleanup, they have raised enough to fund a couple more weeks but they will need more to keep going past that. Can you help? Here’s a link for donations

KMUD explored the subject of trash removal in this audio report here. At the end of the report, the problem of unpunctured butane canisters is highlighted when a fire at the Redway Transfer Station was started when one exploded while being compacted. (See photo below by Lori Wellborn)

Also, after Sunday’s cleanup at the site of an illegal dump where thousands of butane canisters were discarded last November, new fencing and a sign were installed this week. Another cleanup is currently being planned for next Sunday, Febuary 1 at 10 a.m. at the same site off the Alderpoint road by Carter Creek.

 A new fence discourages dumping at the Carter Creek site. [Photo by Eddie Sanchez.]



Yesterday: 14 felonies, 26 misdemeanors, 0 infractions


Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Yesterday


No current incidents


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City of Fortuna Update on Yesterday’s Star Hotel Building Fire

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 5:04 p.m. / Fire!

Star Hotel Building owner Robert Johnson takes a call near the wreckage.

See all of LoCO‘s previous coverage of the fire in the links that follow this City of Fortuna press release:

The Star Hotel building fire in Downtown Fortuna was extinguished after a herculean effort of many local firefighting agencies. The actual cause of the blaze is still not determined, however, early reports point to an electrical panel issue at the rear of the building. Unfortunately, the structure fire has destroyed the entire building. After approximately 24 hours of response, there have been NO injuries reported.

Downtown Fortuna vehicle traffic will remain closed until approximately 2:00 PM today to facilitate emergency services and clean-up efforts. Pedestrians are encouraged to stay away from the fenced off incident site. Many businesses in the downtown area will be open.

Please check the City of Fortuna web page www.friendlyfortuna.com for more details throughout the day.

The City would like to thank the Fire Crews from Loleta, Scotia, Rio Dell, Ferndale, Carlotta, Cal Fire, and Humboldt Bay. The California Conservation Corps have also played a huge role in the response efforts.


Near the rear electrical panel where the fire is suspected to have originated.




Alleged Burglar Thought She Was Stealing ‘High Value Computer Electronics,’ Not Cheap Plastic Toy

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 4:47 p.m. / Crime

Fortuna Police Department press release: 

On January 28, 2015 at about 6:36 am, Officers with the Fortuna Police Department responded to an alarm at a business in the 1600 block of Main Street in Fortuna. Officers located a broken storefront window. Upon investigation it was learned that a female suspect, later identified as Natasha Sue Kotterman (age 29) of Fortuna entered through the storefront window stealing a sealed cardboard box from the business. The stolen box contained a low value plastic toy. It is believed Kotterman thought she was stealing high value computer electronics. Within a short period of time Officers arrested three subjects associated with the crime.

Natasha Sue Kotterman was arrested on the following charges: 

  • 459 California Penal Code, Burglary 
  • 11350 Health & Safety Code, Possession of Narcotics 
  • 11364 Health & Safety Code, Possession of Paraphernalia
  • 470(d) California Penal Code, Possession of Counterfeit Currency
  • 1203.2 California Penal Code, Violation of Probation

Edmond Clifford Kotterman (age 31) of Fortuna was arrested on the following charge:

  • 496(a) California Penal Code, Possession of Stolen Property

Breanne Elizabeth Dunsing (age 28) of Fortuna was arrested on the following charge:

  • 32 California Penal Code, Accessory to a Crime

Fortuna Home Marijuana Bust Comes 12 Days After Suspect Had 11 Bags of Weed Seized From His Truck

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 4:27 p.m. / Crime , marijuana

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On January 17, 2015 a Bureau of Land Management, Law Enforcement Officer was making compliance checks at the Humboldt Bay Wildlife refuge when he contacted a Justin Christensen (29) in a full size pick-up truck. After receiving consent to search the vehicle the BLM Officer located 11 contractor size bags of marijuana and equipment commonly used for the production of Butane Honey Oil (BHO Hash). The marijuana was seized at that time by the BLM Officer.

On January 29, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. BLM Officers assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, served a search warrant at the home of Justin Christensen which is located at the end of Pinecrest Drive in Fortuna.

Justin was located in the home , detained and interviewed regarding the Marijuana and Hash making equipment found in his truck on the January 17th.

During the search Agents found an additional (12) twelve pounds of processed marijuana packaged for the purpose of sales, several ounces of concentrated cannabis, weight scales and equipment used for the purpose of chemically extracting THC from dried marijuana.

Drug Agents also found (4) four firearms in the home and Christensen s vehicle.  Over $13,000 cash was also located stacked on top of the kitchen counter.

Christensen was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Jail and booked on the following charges:

  • 11359 H&S-Possession of Marijuana for the purpose of sales.
  • 11357 (a) H&S Possession of concentrated cannabis.
  • 11379.6 H&S Possession of Chemical extraction Lab.
  • 12022(a) PC Possession of firearm during the commission of a felony

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.

Breaking News: Major Injury Accident Near Shelter Cove

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 3:30 p.m. / News

A spokesperson for the Garberville California Highway Patrol has confirmed that there was a major injury accident near the corner or Parsons Road and Olson Road in the Shelter Cove area around 1:30 p.m. today. A motorcycle and a vehicle collided. One male is being airlifted to an out of the area hospital. 

We will update with more information when possible.

Two Eureka Police Officers Injured During Skirmish with Pants-less DUI Suspect At Dutch Bros.

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 3:01 p.m. / Crime

Numerous LoCO readers alerted us to a major law enforcement presence at the Dutch Bros. on Fifth Street in Eureka. LoCO reporter Hank Sims hustled to the scene. Our man reports that Eureka Police received a call from employees of the drive-thru coffee joint reporting that a customer was acting erratically.

Also he was (allegedly) wearing no pants. Then he (allegedly) tried to steal their tip jar.

Officers responded to the scene and took the man into custody, but he somehow broke free of his cuffs injuring two officers in the process. A nearby citizen helped re-subdue the suspect and he was ultimately taken to St. Joseph Hospital for clearance due to his perceived level of intoxication.

The suspect’s vehicle — still in the drive-thru, pictured below — was towed. 

UPDATE, 5:23 p.m.: Eureka Police Department press release on the incident:

On 01/29/15 at about 2:15 p.m., Officers with the Eureka Police Department responded to Dutch Brothers on the 400 block of N Street after employees reported that a male, later identified as Dario Padilla (28) of Los Angeles, appeared to be intoxicated in the drive through.  The caller said that Padilla had exited his vehicle, attempted to hit an employee, and was throwing milk crates.

Officers evaluated Padilla for possible DUI and determined that he needed to be transported for a mental health evaluation.  Padilla was detained and officers attempted to get him in the patrol car.  Padilla became combative and was able to slip the handcuffs in front of him.  Padilla continued to fight with officers and ultimately broke free from the handcuffs.  

Additional officers responded, requiring 4-5 officers to restrain Padilla.  Based on Padilla’s extraordinary strength and possible signs of excited delirium, he was transported to the hospital for precautionary reasons.  Two officers sustained minor injuries including a laceration to the face and cuts to arms and hands.  

Once Padilla is medically cleared he will be transported to the Humboldt County Jail and booked for felony assault on a peace officer, felony resisting, and possible additional charges.  This is the third encounter with Padilla in just over a year where he acted with violent resistance towards local law enforcement.  

The Eureka Police Department would like to thank a citizen who rushed to help officers while they were waiting for backup.  


Dumpsters Back at Devil’s Playground; City of Eureka’s Latest Crack at Homeless Encampment Cleanups

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 2:46 p.m. / Homelessness


Beginning around 9 a.m. this morning, City of Eureka workers returned to the greenbelt adjacent to the foot of Del Norte Street this morning as part of the latest attempt to cleanup the area and discourage camping there. Several industrial-sized dumpsters were scattered throughout the area while SWAP inmate work crews and a front loader scrambled to fill them with trash and unclaimed camping equipment.

Numerous campers hauled their personal belongings out of the greenbelt and out to the sidewalk, forming large piles while they tried to figure out what to do for shelter and transportation.

Members of the Eureka Police Department were on scene for security purposes According to EPD investigator Neil Hubbard, residents were given several days warning that this latest cleanup was imminent. Everyone seemed to cooperate this morning: no citations or arrests, according to Hubbard. 

Most of the labor for this and previous cleanups has been provided by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP). According to Lieutenant Wayne Hanson, every Thursday the city of Eureka contracts with the Sheriff’s Office to have a crew of 8-10 inmates and a supervisor work for them cleaning up an area.

LoCO attended a nearly identical operation in the area last month. Only one day later, many of the campers had returned. Hubbard said the city and his department will continue to chip away at the encampment despite limited resources.

“We’ll come down and clean it again,” he said. “Everytime we do that there’s a little less.”