(VIDEO/PHOTOS) Monster Sinkhole Closes Highway 101 in Harbor on the Oregon Coast

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 28 @ 8:32 p.m. / Traffic

UPDATE, 8:57 p.m.: OK, LoCO has a confession to make: We do not spend a lot of time in Harbor, Oregon. Thus, we must hang our head in shame and correctly state that the photos below illustrate sinkhole damage to Shopping Center Avenue which runs parallel to Highway 101. Now, 101 did have a chunk taken out of it — as you can see in the video above — and a detour is in place, but we can all agree that it’s a less dramatic chunk. 

LoCO apologizes to the people of Harbor for not visiting your shopping centers more frequently. 

Photos: Oregon Department of Transportation

Original Post: Holy hole! Check out the big ol’ sinkhole that ate closed Highway 101 in Harbor, Oregon — about 100 or so miles north of Eureka — Thursday night. Ack!

Yeah, you can’t drive there. The Oregon Department of Transportation says they will have a detour set up by 9 p.m. tonight. Take note, Coos Bay-bound truckers! 


DOES THIS SUCK? Humboldt County Library Offers Free Digital Magazines for All

Hank Sims / Thursday, Jan. 28 @ 3:05 p.m. / Does This Suck?

Today the Lost Coast Outpost is pleased to launch the Internet’s newest feature: Does This Suck? This will be where the Outpost takes a very close look at some new service or product offered to Humboldt County residents and makes the call — does it suck, or does it rule?

Here’s your first installment.

WHAT IS IT? The Humboldt County Library announced today that it is offering free digital downloads of over 100 different magazine titles. It’s doing this in conjunction with the NorthNet Library system and Zinio, a tech company that bills itself as “the world’s largest news stand.”

WHICH MAGAZINES? Surprisingly good selection, actually! We count 120 titles currently on offer, with presumably more to come, covering all sort of subjects and aimed at every level of taste and sophisticationeverything from The New Yorker to High Times.

MAYBE YOU WANT TO GO AHEAD AND GET YOUR SHITTY STAFF PICKS OUT OF THE WAY? Alphabetically, and apart from the aforementioned: The Atlantic, Cricket, The Economist, Esquire, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, Wired.

WHY IS THIS A DEAL? A lot of this stuff you can’t get otherwise without coughing up cash. For instance: Try reading The Economist on its website, and you run smack into the paywall after just a couple of articles. With this you can get not only the current issue but the most recent 12 back issues, free, with just a click.

IS READING A MAGAZINE ON YOUR PHONE A TOTALLY MISERABLE EXPERIENCE? Despite the impressive titles on offer, and despite the attractive price of $0.00 with a Humboldt County library card, your Lost Coast Outpost fully expected this thing to suck hard. This is because Zinio delivers its magazines in the dreaded “flippy-PDF” format so loathed by everyone everywhere, in which the text, pictures and ads on your screen are laid out to replicate those of a print product, forcing you to pinch-zoom on each bit of text you want to consume and generally turning the act of reading into a tedious chore.

We downloaded the latest issue of the Economist to our tiny, cracked Samsung and headed out to pizza for a lunchtime test drive. We flippy-paged our way to the table of contents and noticed – first good sign – that the articles inside were hyperlinked, meaning we could zip directly to articles of interest. We landed on the Lexington column, which this week discusses what the portrait of William McKinley in Karl Rove’s new book has to say about current Republican presidential primary.


Pinch-zooming onto the first column, we soon discovered that the text could not be made to fit the width of the screen at a legible font size. So we read with thumb planted firmly on the screen, scrolling right and left to complete each line. Only when we reached the second column did our eye fall on the “TEXT” button at the bottom of the screen. Problem solved! When you click “TEXT,” it turns out, Zinio app will lay out the article in a sensible fashion – that is to say, as a web page.


HOW DO I GET IT? Really easy sign-up process. Click here. Browse the magazines on offer. If you like what you see, pull out your Humboldt County library card and click “create new account” in the upper right. Fill out the forms. You’re in. You can start reading right away, right there on your computer. To read on the go, download the “Zinio for Libraries” app to your iPhone, iPad, Android or Kindle Fire device.

OVERALL VERDICT? Doesn’t suck at all! Totally worthwhile. Thanks, Humboldt County Library!

Two Arrested After Counterfeit Operation, Heroin, Meth, Stolen Vehicle Discovered in Fortuna, Says Sheriff

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 28 @ 2:38 p.m. / Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, at approximately 10:39 p.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Fortuna Police Department Officers were conducting follow up to a vehicle investigation on the 2100 block of River Walk Dr, Fortuna. It was determined the license plates on the vehicle were stolen and did not belong to the vehicle. Deputies contacted the occupants of the residence, 38 year old Dale Baldridge, and 26 year old Natashia Aspinwall. Baldridge had several outstanding warrants for his arrest, and is on the Southern Humboldt’s Most Wanted poster.

Deputies entered the residence per the suspect’s probation search clause, and located approximately 35 lbs of shake and processed marijuana bud, approx. 4 grams of suspected methamphetamine, approx. 12 grams of suspected heroin, keys for the stolen vehicle, drug paraphernalia, suspected butane hash oil, several canisters of butane, counterfeit currency, a printer with $100 bills on the copying screen of the printer, and credit cards not belonging to Baldridge and Aspinwall. After further investigation, it was determined the vehicle was also listed as stolen out of Crescent City.

Baldridge and Aspinwall were transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and booked for manufacturing counterfeit bills, possession of counterfeiting equipment, possession of a stolen vehicle, manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of concentrated marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and violation of terms of probation. Baldridge was also booked on his outstanding warrants. Dale Baldrige’s bail has been set at $500,000, and Natashia Aspinwall’s at $500,000.

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.



Legislature Repeals March 1 Deadline for Local Weed Regs, Two Days After County Passed Local Weed Regs

Ryan Burns / Thursday, Jan. 28 @ 10:30 a.m. / Government , marijuana

Less than 48 hours after the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed a rushed ordinance to regulate commercial cultivation of medical marijuana locally, the California state legislature agreed to delete the March 1 deadline that inspired the county’s rushed process.

[ADDENDUM: After this post went live, Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace posted the following message on Facebook regarding the deadline: 

The dreaded March 1st deadline has always been a bit of a red herring. This erroneous date had been flagged even before the MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act) was signed, and Assemblyman Jim Wood had pledged to introduce legislation in the new year to repeal it. The bigger driver has always been the need to get some form of regulation in place for the start of this year’s cultivation season, which generally corresponds to that same time of year. Full implementation of the County’s ordinance will take time, and the State licensing with which it must interact will not come into play until 2018, but we are still in a much better position for the future by having something on the books today.]

Humboldt is so far the only county in the state to pass such regulations. Many other local jurisdictions — also motivated by the March 1 deadline — elected to enact an outright ban on commercial medical cultivation. Thanks to a drafting error, the deadline made its way into Assemblymember Jim Wood’s AB 243, part of the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. 

After discovering the error, Wood worked to introduce emergency legislation, AB 21, to redact the deadline. Now that the legislature has passed it, the bill just needs Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature and it will become law. In the meantime, all the local bans enacted over the past weeks remain in effect.

Here’s the press release from Jim Wood’s office:

Today the California State Assembly unanimously (66-0) passed AB 21, Assemblyman Wood’s emergency measure to repeal the March 1st deadline included in last year’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. 

AB 21 removes the March 1st deadline ensuring local jurisdictions maintain the authority to develop their own rules and regulations for cultivating medical cannabis indefinitely.

Assemblyman Wood said, “I am not advocating for or against a particular position on medical cannabis. I am advocating for local elected officials take the time to engage in a process that results good public policy, not knee jerk reactions.”

“Despite the people who said it couldn’t be done, this fix took the Legislature less than a month.  As a result the burdensome March 1st deadline will be repealed nearly a month before it would have gone into effect,” said Assemblyman Wood.  “Unfortunately cities were advised to act as fast as possible to ban activities of this industry because it was the easiest thing to do.  I have already spoken to the executive director of the League of California Cities, expressing my hope that they will join me in encouraging locals to develop thoughtful, reasonable regulations moving forward.   I hope they will work as vigorously to stop and undo placeholder bans as they did to roll them out.”

AB 21 is now on the Governor’s desk for signature. The Governor has publicly indicated he would sign a legislative fix to the March 1 deadline. Upon receiving the Governor’s signature the legislation will take effect immediately.


(VIDEO) Masked, Armed Men Go On Gas Station Robbery Spree

Hank Sims / Thursday, Jan. 28 @ 10:18 a.m. / Crime

A strangely polite duo of masked robbers is believed, by two law enforcement agencies, to have undertaken a series of gas station robberies this morning.

They drove a green Honda Civic, and police are still looking for them. More below.

From the Eureka Police Department:

On 01/28/16 at about 5:36 a.m., Officers with the Eureka Police Department responded to a gas station on the 3500 block of Broadway for the report of an attempted robbery that had just occurred.

The employee told officers that two males wearing masks entered the gas station and told him to open the cash register. One male brandished a small silver semi auto pistol while the other attempted to open the cash register. After a short time, the two males left the store empty handed in an unknown direction. Prior to leaving, one male said, “Have a good day.” Officers checked the area but were unable to locate any suspects.

Both males were described as light skin with black masks. One male was wearing a gray horizontal striped hooded sweatshirt and shorts over pants. The second male was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to call Detective Cosetti at (707) 441-4315.

From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On today’s date (1/28/16) at approximately 6:50 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a robbery that just occurred at the 76 Gas Station on Central Ave, McKinleyville. Deputies arrived on scene and spoke with two of the victims. They stated two white males with ski masks entered the business. Supsect #1 brandished a small silver semi-automatic handgun at the victims and demanded money from the cash drawer. The second suspect grabbed cartons of cigarettes from behind the register. After the suspects were given the cash they left on foot southbound through the parking lot and got into an older green Honda Civic and drove off.

Suspect #1 is described as a white male adult, 5’8” in height, wearing a hooded sweatshirt with light gray and dark gray horizontal stripes, dark shorts, long socks, and a black ski mask.

Suspect #2 is described as a white male adult, 5’5” in height, wearing a black hoodie, light green pants, black shoes, and a dark gray ski mask.

These suspects possibly match the description of the suspects in the robbery that occurred in the city of Eureka this morning. Please see EPD’s press release for further information.

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-

Photo of one suspect from the McKinleyille robbery.

Highway 96 Rock Slide Delaying Traffic

Andrew Goff / Thursday, Jan. 28 @ 8:52 a.m. / Traffic

Photo: Caltrans

Outpost readers, Caltrans and CHP Watch report that a slide is affecting traffic on Highway 96 about three miles south of Hoopa. If you’re headed that way, you could be looking at delays in the half hour range while intrepid Caltrans crews figure this thing out. 



EPD Arrests Suspect Wanted for Evading Authorities, Possessing Stolen Revolver and Seven Pounds of Weed

John Ross Ferrara / Wednesday, Jan. 27 @ 6:04 p.m. / News

Hiller’s car. Photos provided by EPD.

Jesse Curtis Hiller

On Sunday, Eureka police arrested Jesse Curtis Hiller, the suspect wanted for fleeing sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol during a traffic stop in November.

Concurrent with the November traffic stop, officers anticipated serving a search warrant at a McKinleyville residence. The home was believed to contain a large quantity of methamphetamine for sale. 

However, Jesse Curtis Hiller fled from authorities at speeds in excess of 100 mph, and was able to evade arrest.

Later that day, a search warrant was served at Hiller’s temporary residence in Loleta. There, Humboldt County Drug Task Force Agents discovered seven pounds of processed marijuana packaged for sale, scales, packaging consistent with methamphetamine sales, and a loaded .357 caliber revolver linked to a Pacific Outfitters burglary.

Eureka Police Department Public Information Officer Brittany Powell told the Outpost that an EPD officer spotted Hiller’s vehicle on Sunday at the intersection of 5th and I streets.

“Our officer recognized the vehicle and observed a traffic violation and made the stop,” Powell said.

Hiller was arrested and booked at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for warrants relating to these previous events.

The stolen revolver recovered during the November search.