Freedom Baby Born on Tompkins Hill Offramp

John Ross Ferrara / Saturday, July 4 @ 11:38 a.m. / Emergencies

A baby yearning for freedom was born on the Tompkins Hill offramp around 10 a.m. this morning. A green Ford Escape driving on U.S. Highway 101, parked on the offramp when the 26-year old mother began to deliver the baby. Humboldt Bay Fire and an ambulance were dispatched and the baby was delivered on scene. Don’t tread on that baby!


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Sheriff’s Office Arrests Three People in Three Towns Today, All on Stolen Vehicle Charges

Hank Sims / Friday, July 3 @ 6:15 p.m. / Crime

Kenneth Burns

Aronis Waters

Jeremiah Johnson

From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On the morning of 07/03/15, at approximately 0757 hours, a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Deputy was on patrol in the Loleta area, when he observed a stolen vehicle parked in front of a residence in the 100 block of Bayview Drive. HCSO Deputies responded to the residence, where 31 year old Loleta resident Jeremiah Johnson, was contacted and arrested for possession of the stolen vehicle. The vehicle was recovered and towed from the scene. Jeremiah Johnson was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF) for booking.

At approximately 1356 hours, a suspicious vehicle in the 30000 block of Hwy 254 was phoned in to the HCSO dispatch center. Upon arrival, Deputies determined the vehicle was stolen and had been painted and “cold plated”, which means the wrong license plates had been affixed to it. The vehicle was recovered and towed from the scene. HCSO Deputies continued with follow up investigation throughout the day, and developed, 30 year old Eureka resident Kenneth Burns, as the suspect.

At approximately 1418 hours, HCSO Deputies noticed a suspicious vehicle in the 400 block of Maple Lane in Garberville, which was possibly related to a separate investigation. HCSO Deputies contacted the female occupant of the vehicle, and simultaneously determined the vehicle was reported stolen. HCSO Deputies arrested the sole female occupant, 42 year old Redway resident Aronis Waters, for possession of the stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia. The vehicle was recovered and towed from the scene. Aronis Waters was transported to the HCCF for booking.

At approximately 1745 hours, HCSO Deputies responded to the 3800 block of “F” Street in Eureka, and arrested Kenneth Burns for possession of the stolen vehicle. Kenneth Burns was transported to the HCCF for booking.

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 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.



Vegetation Fire Burning Near Benbow in Garberville

John Ross Ferrara / Friday, July 3 @ 4:31 p.m. / Fire!

UPDATE 4:45 Fire crews have fully surrounded the blaze with fire retardant.

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A vegetation fire about three acres in size being referred to as the “Reed Incident” is currently spreading at a slow to moderate pace on Reed Mountain Road near Benbow in Garberville. According to units on scene, there is a 1,000-gallon fuel tanker fully engulfed within the fire. Power lines are also down and burning within the fire.

Three air tankers have been dispatched, but are having trouble dropping due to a thick canopy of brush obstructing their view. At least three structures are threatened by the fire, one being fully involved. According to scanner reports, crews have laid down a line of retardant on one side of the fire.



SoCal Senators Get to Know the North Coast

Jennifer Savage / Friday, July 3 @ 1:34 p.m. / Culture , Government , Politics , Sacramento

Senator Ricardo Lara, Senator Connie Leyva, Senator Mike McGuire. By Jennifer Savage.

While some of Humboldt’s workforce enjoyed today as an Independence Day “Observed” holiday, local political reps and other notables spent the day explaining the uniqueness of the North Coast to a trio of state senators.

Our own representative, Senator Mike McGuire, is hosting Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) through a series of meetings with timber industry representatives, local law enforcement, marijuana growers, and local elected and tribal leaders, plus a tour of the Port of Humboldt Bay.

The journey northward was prompted largely by interest in Humboldt’s port – McGuire, Lara and Leyva are all members of the Select Committee on Ports & Goods Movement, which focuses on economic development initiatives, oversight on the state’s ports and goods movement, and research.

After a rainy tour of the bay aboard the Madaket – whose tiny bar provided shelter from the occasional rainy outburst – the senators gathered in the Woodley Island conference room for a press conference with members of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Commission and staff. McGuire opened by emphasizing the uniqueness of the district and admiration for the bay, “this amazing resource that we have in our backyard.”

He also referenced his pending bill to regulate medical marijuana, repeating several themes from his Sacramento hearing earlier this week, but quickly moved on to introducing Lara, who gave an overview of the role California’s ports play in the state – and global – economy. Forty-four percent of goods entering the U.S. do through through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, “touching every congressional district in the country,” he said.

While the “megaports” are seeing container numbers rise, smaller “niche ports” like Humboldt’s “continue to struggle in these difficult times.” The answer, Lara said, is diversification. Smaller ports have an advantage in this because they can implement new projects much faster, take advantage of their unique natural environment “and excel in that,” he said. The key is to maintain those attributes which make a port distinctive, while still pursuing diversification into the global economy. 

Leyva, whose Southern California district encompasses California’s largest land port, joked about the rain – “we don’t know about that” – but followed up with a serious acknowledgment about how living wage employment impacts communities. “Good jobs fix a lot of what ails us in this society,” she said.

The tour impressed her, especially the marina, which she called “gorgeous,” and learning about Humboldt’s importance to West Coast aquaculture. “There’s so much opportunity here,” she finished.

Senator Connie Leyva, Senator Mike McGuire, Harbor Commissioner Mike Wilson, Harbor Commissioner Richard Marks, Senator Ricardo Lara. By Jennifer Savage.

Harbor Commissioners Richard Marks and Mike Wilson followed up with an overview of how the harbor district has expanded its interests over the past several years. Wilson, currently the longest-sitting member of the commission, expounded on the promise of the biomass, renewable energy and aquaculture industries on the bay, and pointed out the unusual combination of responsibilities Humboldt’s district manages. “We’re so different than others… We have to take into account traditional shipping, but also our culture and natural resources.”

There’s been growing recognition that diversity of economic opportunities is key, he continued. “It feels more like we’re in a growth phase,” Wilson said. “When I first started, we were on the tail end of a collapse.” Now we’re seeing aquaculture thrive, an increase in biomass exports and recreational uses on the rise, he said. “There’s a real positive outlook.” 



Humboldt Live Sessions: The Painted Horses

Andrew Goff / Friday, July 3 @ 8:55 a.m. / Humboldt Live Sessions

Let’s start our Friday with a Humboldt Live Sessions, shall we? This time out, local videographer Chuck Johnson has seduced Santa Cruz indie folkers The Painted Horses to the beach up near Big Lagoon. Soak up some harmonies with their song “Daisy” below.

Humboldt Live Sessions music videos are produced by Chuck Johnson and feature local/travelin’-through musicians in non-traditionally musical Humboldt locations.

Previous Humboldt Live Sessions:



Eureka is Going to Try a Weekly, Rotating Homeless Encampment Cleanup Schedule

Andrew Goff / Thursday, July 2 @ 7:36 p.m. / Homelessness

 

After announcing last week it was ditching its exploration of plans to build a homeless camp, the City of Eureka today revealed it will hold weekly cleanups in various sections of the bay front greenbelt that runs from Del Norte Street to back behind the old Ray’s Food Place building. (Read more in the press release at the bottom of this post.)  

The new schedule went into effect today.

This morning, LoCO made yet another visit to the bay front marsh adjacent the Del Norte pier where crews with the City of Eureka were cleaning up debris associated with the numerous transient and homeless encampments there. The scene was similar to previous outings we’d visited: giant industrial-sized dumpsters were hauled to the area while SWAP inmate work crews and the city’s front loader filled them to the brim. Some residents moved their tents and belongings out to Del Norte Street during the cleanup. Feeling they had nowhere else to go, a few we talked to planned on returning later that evening.

“They’re cleaning it out and later all these people will move right back,” said one man who declined to give his name — he was there helping his friends move their stuff while the work was done. 

Eureka City Councilmember Kim Bergel was at the site of today’s cleanup hoping to get a better grasp of the situation. She said she regularly rides bikes with her daughter in the area and has worked to build relationships with the residents. As the garbage-hauling front loader growled in the background, Bergel was kind enough to speak to us about how she views Eureka’s homeless situation and what can potentially be done to address it, audio below: 

(AUDIO) Bergel

City of Eureka press release on the new weekly cleanup plan: 

Property Maintenance The City of Eureka has established a maintenance/clean-up schedule for City owned marsh areas beginning Thursday, July 2, 2015. The areas targeted for clean-up are outlined in the attached map and these areas will have routine maintenance including trash and invasive vegetation removal on a rotating basis every Thursday.

EPD will provide not less than 72-hour notification to illegal encampments and be present to ensure compliance during each clean-up. Illegal campers must remove any personal belongings while the area is cleaned. No personal belongings will be discarded or impounded during this clean-up. During the initial clean-ups, a front loader will be used to remove trash for efficiency. Heavy equipment will not be used to remove any living vegetation. Living vegetation removal will be limited to invasive species only (pampas grass, fennel, non-native berries, spartina, hemlock, etc.) using a weed whacker.

This routine clean-up program is not for criminalizing houseless or solving our homeless issues. This program is designed to address the City’s responsibility as a property owner. Those illegally camping on City property will now be on notice that every Thursday is the day routine maintenance will occur and to pack up all personal belongings during this clean-up period. Parks and Recreation is responsible for maintaining the greenbelts and will be the lead on illegal dumping abatement and encampment remnant clean up. EPD presence is just to insure compliance with the notification process and make sure order is maintained.

The City has recently improved the PALCO Marsh interpretive walk and intends to extend public access along the railroad corridor and adjacent properties with the extension of the Waterfront Trail. The City intends to make the existing public access at PALCO Marsh and future Waterfront Trail clean and safe for appropriate uses. This on-going program is important to address the City’s responsibility as a property owner and to address the environmental damage resulting from existing inappropriate activities.

The clean-up and maintenance will be done by SWAP with assistance from City staff. The clean-up schedule for those impacted areas will be posted on the City’s web site and social media outlets.

 

During the cleanup today, a camper started a small fire that was quickly put out

A memorial marks the site of a recent death in the area

 



Mountain Lions Stalk Campers Near Redwood Creek Trailhead

John Ross Ferrara / Thursday, July 2 @ 4:08 p.m. / Animals

This is not one of the lions seen on Redwood Creek Trail.

A pair of mountain lions stalked a couple for several hours as they camped about five miles into the Redwood Creek Trail in Orick Tuesday night.

Redwood National and State Parks Wildlife Biologist Kristin Schmidt said despite the couple’s attempts to frighten the lions by screaming and waving their arms, the predators continued to close in on their campsite.

After nearly two hours, another couple camping nearby responded to their cries and likely created a large enough presence to scare off the lurking cats, according to Schmidt.

“Mountain lions aren’t really common anywhere at any time, but we certainly know that we have a fair number of lions in the park,” Schmidt said. “Most likely they’re out there not being observed because they are quiet and hide themselves.”

Schmidt said the couple did not return her calls seeking further information, but she did receive an eyewitness account from the second pair that arrived on scene.

The park has not issued any search for the cats and there have been no additional sightings in the area. Information has been posted at nearby trailheads and visitor centers.