Catastrophic Natural Disaster? There’s an App For That! Sheriff’s Office Asks Residents to Register With Their Alert/Information System

Hank Sims / Today @ 2:49 p.m. / Emergencies

911. What is your emergency?

From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

Sheriff Honsal and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services strongly urge all Humboldt residents to register today for Humboldt Alert by Everbridge, in order to receive critical emergency information like evacuation orders. Registering only takes a few minutes, at

Humboldt Alert allows users to register whatever contact methods are best for them, including text messaging on cell phones, voice calls on cell and/or land lines, and email. Push notifications are also available when you install the Everbridge app on your smartphone. Most alerts are sent to a specific geographic area, based on addresses that users register. Not all registered users will receive all alerts. Registered information is confidential, and only used for emergency warning.

If you have not signed up for the new system in the last few months, then you are not currently registered to receive alerts on cell phones, unlisted land lines, or by email, even if you have received notification in the past. Information from the previous system could not be carried over, and only listed land lines were pre-loaded into the new system.

During the registration process, you will have the option to note any needs that first responders should be aware of in the event of an evacuation, like disabilities and medical conditions. Users can also register special skills and training that may be needed following a local disaster.

The events of the past week in neighboring counties are a terrible reminder that emergency conditions requiring immediate evacuations do not always allow time for door-to-door notifications. Having the ability to contact many people very quickly may be the most effective public safety tool available to first responders, to inform you of a rapidly developing emergency.

Humboldt County uses two evacuation warning levels, as follows:

  • Voluntary Evacuation Advisory – Evacuations may become necessary at any time. Please be prepared to leave, and await further instructions.
  • Mandatory Evacuation Order – Immediate evacuations are ordered for a designated area imminently threatened by a public safety hazard.

Please see the “Ready, Set, Go!” website from Cal Fire for more information about how to stay ready for evacuation, and the “Living With Wildfire in Northwestern California” publication, available in print locally and online.

For Humboldt Alert registration assistance, please call 707-268-2500.


Man and Horse Killed After Being Struck by Ford F150 on Bridge in Willow Creek

Andrew Goff / Today @ 12:36 p.m. / Traffic

California Highway Patrol press release: 


On the night of Sunday, October 15, one involved party sustained fatal injuries after a Ford F150 traveling northbound on Country Club Road, near Seeley McIntosh Road, collided into a horse being ridden by a male.

At approximately 8:13 p.m., 50 year old Timothy Robert Ulrich of Hoopa, California, was driving a 2012 Ford F150 northbound on Country Club Road, approaching Seeley McIntosh Road.  At the same time, 67 year old Kenneth Wayne Brock, of Willow Creek, California, was riding his horse southbound on the northbound side of Country Club Road along the east shoulder of the bridge.  

An unrelated vehicle was driving southbound on Country Club Road and entered the bridge as the Ford F150 drove northbound onto the bridge.  For reasons still under the investigation Ulrich observed the approaching vehicle but did not observe the white horse that was walking along the east side of the bridge.  Ulrich suddenly observed the horse and turned his pickup to the left in an attempt to avoid a collision.  This evasive action was unsuccessful and the front right of the pickup collided into the right shoulder and side of the horse.  This resulted in the rider (Brock) being ejected from the horse.  The horse was deceased immediately and Brock had sustained major injuries from the impact with the bridge.  Brock was transported to Mad River Community Hospital for medical treatment where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Ulrich was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the collision and DUI is not believed to be a factor.  The CHP Humboldt Area office is investigating this traffic collision.

Last Night’s Fire By Zane Middle School Held to a Quarter-Acre; No Obvious Cause Discovered

Hank Sims / Today @ 8:30 a.m. / Fire



From Humboldt Bay Fire:

Humboldt Bay Fire responded to an investigation of a smoke near the Eureka Dog Park, Units responding could see a large smoke column coming from the area between the dog park and Zane Middle School. Additional resources were requested. On arrival crews found approximately one quarter of an acre of grass and brush burning. Crews deployed hose lines, surrounded and extinguished the fire within 45 minutes. No structures were threatened and there were no reports of injury.

Resources used. 2 engines, 1 water tender, 1 squad and 1 Battalion Chief. 12 personnel in total. Eureka Police assisted with 3 officers that responded to a verbal fight in the wooded area behind McFarland Street.

Arcata Fire Protection provided an engine to cover Humboldt Bay Stations.

During the fire several 911 calls were received for smoke and ash in the Eureka and Cutten areas. No additional fires were found.

Investigation of the fire was conducted and electrical lines and lightning were ruled out. No obvious cause was found.

Until rain is received fires can easily start in dry grass or brush. Humboldt Bay Fire reminds our citizens to be aware of current burning restrictions and high fire danger in the state, as well as calling 911 if a fire is seen.

HARDIN: Please Don’t Scare the Trimmigrants

John Hardin / Today @ 7 a.m. / Marijuana and/or Cannabis

The trimmigrants really snuck up on me this year. A few Fridays, maybe a month, ago we were all talking about how dead it was in town. I recognized every face in the Garberville Town Square that day. Strictly locals. The following Thursday evening, however, at home, almost 20 miles from town, three miles from the nearest county road, I heard a faint “halo” outside my window. I looked up to see two young women with big backpacks, looking at me with hopeful eyes.

“Do you think you could maybe, please, give us a ride to where the dirt road meets the paved road?” one of them asked with an accent I didn’t quite recognize. It was about 7 p.m., dusk. I asked them what they planned to do when they got to the end of the dirt road. “Hitchhike back to town.” she told us. I advised against hitchhiking after dark. I told them that they were welcome to camp around our place until morning, and that we had planned to go to town ourselves the next day. “No” she replied, “We want to get out of here now.”

I could tell she was frightened. I asked her how they got here. She told us that one of our neighbors had hired them. He told them he had a few weeks work for them, but after two days and one night he had completely freaked them out. He had scared them so badly that they decided they would rather hitchhike back to town, after dark, than spend another night at his place. We understood completely. We gave them a ride to town.

By Southern Humboldt standards, we live in a pretty good neighborhood. We don’t know everyone in our neighborhood, and there’s some we know that we wish we didn’t, but I do know that we have a lot of dangerous men around here, who live alone on large tracts of land. I believe these women had good reason to be frightened, and we were happy help them get away from a scary situation.

On the way to town they filled us in on more of the details. One of them was from Belgium and the other, Argentina. They had met in Mexico, and came here together looking for work, in hopes of extending their travels. Originally, they were a group of five, with three guys, but my neighbor singled out the two women, and they got into his car. He told them he lived on a “peace community” where they “practice permaculture and green building techniques.” They became suspicious when they didn’t see anyone else there. He also became more unpredictable, and went from peaceful, green eco-hippie, to angry psychopath without warning, and at the slightest provocation.

They both seemed very shaken by the experience, and were kicking themselves for their poor judgment. I could tell that they had never met anyone like this guy before, and he really scared them. We commiserated. I explained that a lot of people who live out here, alone, on large tracts of rugged land, do so because they don’t get along with people very well, and living out here doesn’t really help them develop those skills. We warned them that there are more guys like our neighbor out in these woods, and encouraged them to be more careful.

We wished them luck as we helped them unload their packs in Redway, where they headed straight into Deb’s for the wifi and something to eat. All around us there seemed to be dozens of young, hopeful-looking people with big backpacks getting in and out of vehicles. Suddenly, we have trimmigrants everywhere. Since then, several people have asked me, in a variety of accents, if I know where they can find work. I’ve seen people hitchhiking at every conceivable intersection, and there’s a lot more young people in town, not as many as in years past, I think, but still a good showing.

I see them shopping all over town. Local merchants should be happy about that. Things had been pretty slow in town, for a while, before all of these kids arrived. Trimmigrants have got to make up a significant portion of the tourist dollars spent here in SoHum. Still, I see “No Trimmigrants” bumperstickers all over the place. How bad do things have to get, economically, before we start to appreciate the people who come here and spend their money in our stores, restaurants and hotels? I’ve got a feeling we’re going to find out. Let’s hope we haven’t scared them all away by then.


John Hardin writes at Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do.

Sector Humboldt Bay Rescues Teen Fall Victim Stranded Along 300-Foot-Cliff Face in Crescent City

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 6:55 p.m. / Emergencies

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay press release:

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a 16-year-old boy who fell from the Coastal Trail on Highway 101 and was stranded 300 feet up from a cliff face near Crescent City, Saturday night. 

The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers called Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders around 10 p.m., to request a helicopter hoist for a boy who was stuck on a cliff near Highway 101.
The boy had reportedly been hiking along the trail when he fell over the edge and caught himself 300 feet above the ocean on a one-foot-wide ledge.

Watchstanders dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay, who arrived on scene around 10:45 p.m. and found the boy after he flashed his cell phone light at the helicopter. The helicopter crew assumed a 240-foot hover over the boy and used all 245 feet of the hoist cable to rescue him.

The Dolphin crew transported the boy to Del Norte County Airport in Crescent City, where Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office emergency medical services personnel were waiting to transport him to a local hospital. 

“This case is a great example of the interagency efforts that go into a successful rescue,” said Capt. Greg Fuller, the commander of Sector Humboldt Bay. “The entire rescue team did an excellent job working together to get our crews in place and get the boy back to safety.” 

Kneeland Toddler Who was Hospitalized After Nearly Drowning at Shasta Lake Has Died, Parents Say

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 5:40 p.m. / Feel Sad

A houseboat on Shasta Lake. Wikimedia.

Talya Benzinger — the Kneeland toddler who was hospitalized after a nearly drowning at Shasta Lake last month — has died, her parents say.

The child’s mother Sicily Benzinger told the Outpost today via email that she died Friday evening.

“With great sadness, my husband and I would like to let the community know that little Talya passed away,” Benzinger said. “We are greatly appreciative of the community support, thoughts, prayers and help that everyone showed us during this difficult time.”

Employees of the Mercer-Fraser Company publicly showed support for the family by posting a message of love on the hopper that holds Humboldt Bay’s harbor dredge earlier this month.

The child remained hospitalized for nearly a month at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento before passing away.

The drowning incident occurred while the Kneeland family was vacationing with friends on a houseboat in late September. After the child was missing for several minutes, father Mark Benzinger managed to locate her in 70 feet of water and bring her to surface, where paramedics were standing by.

“She was her daddy’s littlest, biggest fan, and momma’s buddy,” Sicily Benzinger said. “She will be missed forever, and never forgotten.”

Santa Rosa Transient Arrested for Allegedly Ransacking Homes of Wildfire Evacuees, Found in Possession of Jewelry, Cell Phones, Gun

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 2:23 p.m. / Crime

Photos provided by SRPD.

Santa Rose Police Department press release from yesterday:

Today at approximately 1:45pm, Hillsborough Police Department was assisting SRPD with extra patrols in the evacuation zones of northwest Santa Rosa.

The officers stopped Anthony Happel, a 50-year-old transient from Santa Rosa. He was acting suspiciously in the area of Cleveland and Industrial Drive, near the evacuation zones.


The officers located property in his possession that was believed to have been stolen from evacuated residences. The property included jewelry, cell phones, and other valuables.

Happel was arrested for charges that included Felony Grand Theft during an Emergency, possession of a concealed weapon, and possession of Narcotic Paraphernalia.

Great work Hillsborough Police Department! Thanks for looking out for the citizens of Santa Rosa!

SRPD has zero tolerance for looters and thieves. All caught will be prosecuted!