Highway 299 Will Open for Local Traffic Later Today, Should Remain Open Until Early Tomorrow Morning

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 2:10 p.m. / Traffic

Photos by Gregg Foster.

Highway 299 will be open for local traffic today at 4:30 p.m., and should remain open until 7:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Caltrans District 2 reports that there will be up to one hour delays between 6:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

Friend o’ the LoCO Gregg Foster sends these shots of driving down the temporary 299 detour last night

“It was huge and eerie,” he said.

Caltrans recommends giving them a ring at (530) 225-3452 before making the trek. These hours are subject to change at any time.


Van of Missing Children Last Seen in Humboldt County Found Safe and Sound Says Chico Police Department

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 11:28 a.m. / News

Photo by the City of Chico.

You may have gotten a dramatic phone message from the Chico Police department this morning asking you to be on the lookout for a van of children that went missing in Humboldt County last night.

Don’t be alarmed. The Outpost put in a call to the Chico Police Department this morning, and a dispatcher informed us that the six children have been located.

According to the emergency phone alert, the children were last seen leaving Humboldt State University yesterday at 8:30 p.m. Apparently the teens were overdue returning form a Boys and Girls Club field trip, but they have since been located safe and sound.

Downed Old Growth Redwood Triggers Earthquake Sensor in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 10:37 a.m. / Nature

Photo provided by Jamie Wayne.

If an old growth redwood falls in the forest, does it make an earthquake?

Yes! Well, it sure feels like one anyway. 

Local geologist and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park employee Jamie Wayne tells LoCO that he was woken up by what felt like an earthquake around 5 a.m. this morning.

“I awoke to a heavy squall of weather hitting my house at Prairie Creek,” Wayne wrote in a blog post about the incident. “It woke me up and the wind was very strong. Immediately after, I felt my whole house shake from an earthquake.”

Realizing the shaking was likely from a downed redwood, Wayne went to check on a small earthquake sensor in his garage, which he hosts as part of the USGS NetQuakes program. One of many sensors that help generate the shaking intensity maps which accompany USGS earthquake reports.

Wayne’s readings.

“The house shook pretty good, but it was very short lived maybe five seconds,” Wayne said. “My house is surrounded by old growth redwoods on all sides so I immediately thought one fell nearby. I quickly checked my seismometer data from my garage seismometer and it triggered and recorded the earthquake.”

According to Wayne’s readings, the tree triggered what is equivalent to a 2.1 in moment magnitude scale. But you can read more about the technicalities of it in Wayne’s blog post. 

 After taking the reading, Wayne set out for a hike, and was able to find the massive tree, which he estimates was over 300 feet tall.

“I Waited till sunrise to go hike and look for it, and I didn’t have to travel far!” Wayne said. “Its huge! A monster 15-foot-diameter old growth redwood! Right in the Atlas grove! This tree had to have been over 300 feet tall!”

Check out Wayne’s video footage of his findings below.


Barry Evans / Yesterday @ 8:24 a.m. / Growing Old Ungracefully

Last fall, before the election, I heard a lot of promises that — so far as I know — didn’t make the transition to reality: “If Trump wins, I’m going to move to Canada.” Or Mexico. Or New Zealand. Or Australia.

Been there, done that.

My ace in the hole, as it were, is none of those appealing countries. Nor can I see myself ever moving back to Britain — I’m still upset about Brexit. Nope, if everything went cattywonkus here and I had the means and the health to do so, Sri Lanka (aka Serendip and Ceylon), the island nation just south of India, would be my old age refuge. Somewhere in the south, in the hills, where I could ride the narrow-gauge railways along the ridges and through the tunnels, rattling past the endless tea plantations.

I was there twice, a month each time. The first, 1983, Louisa and I just missed the impending civil war. I went back alone in 2002, right after the war, having spent nearly 20 years dreaming about the places we visited. I wrote this about a week after my arrival.

Schoolteachers in Kandy [All photos by author]


At 6 a.m., I’m waiting for the “2nd and 1st Class” ticket window of Colombo Fort railway station to open. Already the dawn street is bustling with people and ‘tuk-tuks,’ Sri Lanka’s noisy-but-efficient threewheeler taxis. I landed two hours ago and now I’m feeling disoriented after 26 hours of flying, in four legs, from Arcata.

The window opens and I ask the bespectacled clerk for a ticket in the observation coach on the 7 a.m. train to Kandy, the old hill-country capital.

“Window seat?” I ask hopefully.

“No window. One seat left only. Aisle.”

“OK, great, thank you.”

“230 rupees,” he says.

I hand him a 500-rupee note, the smallest I have, my dollars newly changed at the airport. He examines it carefully, squinting as he holds it up to the light, before handing it back.

“No change.” No change? I’m thinking, This is the main railway station in the capital of the country, I’ve handed him the equivalent of a $5 note for a $2.50 ticket, and he can’t make change! Then I remember, this has happened to me so often in third world countries, I’m surprised I’m still surprised.

Adopted by a picnic party at “World’s End”


“Need change?”

“Er, yes,” I reply warily, to the scruffy, unshaven young man, maybe 22 years old, who has appeared at my side. I’m still holding the 500 rupee note and watch myself do exactly nothing as he grabs it out of my hand.

“You wait!” he commands and sprints off around the corner.

I come to. What on earth am I doing? I’ve just been taken for five bucks. Not even taken, I’ve given it away! What an introduction to this country, fool! Me, the seasoned traveler, who just watched a stranger help himself to my money. And suddenly I’m laughing out loud, enjoying my own stupidity. This is traveling, I tell myself, I’m jet-lagged, this is a cheap lesson. From now on, I promise myself, I’ll be really careful.

I’m chuckling, letting myself off the familiar hook of self-criticism, when my new buddy comes running back and carefully counts five 100-rupee notes into my hand.

“You thought I would not come back,” he accuses me in his clipped English. Tactfully not waiting for my response, he adds sternly, “You must be more careful with your money!” I’m still laughing as I put a 100 rupee note into his shirt pocket — not just for his honesty, but for reminding me that traveling in a country like Sri Lanka isn’t predictable, but rather a string of encounters and incidents that I can’t easily categorize as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ like I tend to do back in the U.S.

The Intercity Express to Kandy.


As it turns out, the funky old observation coach is almost empty, a gay French couple and a local businessman the only other occupants as we wend up the long green hills to Kandy on the optimistically-named Intercity Express at an average speed of 25 mph.

Ten thousand miles from home and all is well in my world.

Heading down after a night pilgrimage to the top of Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak)

Highway 299 Will be Open for a Few Limited Hours This Weekend Caltrans Says

John Ross Ferrara / Saturday, Feb. 18 @ 11:26 a.m. / Traffic


Caltrans District 2 reports that Highway 299 will be open for a limited number of hours this weekend as crews continue to clean up the slide at Big French Creek.

The schedule is a bit confusing, but as of now, the highway will open up at 4:30 p.m. today, and will remain open until 7:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

However, expect up to one hour delays between 6:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

With all that said, these hours are subject to change at any time, as weather and safety issues may change. You can call the Caltrans District 2 hotline at (530) 225-3452 for the most current information.

(UPDATE) Subtropical Moisture Will Soon Dump Inches of Rain on Humboldt, Flood Watch in Effect Until Tuesday

John Ross Ferrara / Saturday, Feb. 18 @ 10:55 a.m. / How ‘Bout That Weather

National Weather Service of Eureka.

UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.:

Here’s the latest satellite imagery of the storm that’s about to hose Humboldt County. Enjoy the dry while you can. The NWS reports that we will have rainy weather again by this evening. 



A flood watch will be in effect in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties until Tuesday as subtropical moisture moves across our region, bringing moderate to heavy rainfall.

Check back for the latest storm information.

Read more from the National Weather Service of Eureka below:

A flood watch is in effect for Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and southern Trinity Counties Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon. Continue to monitor your local forecast for possible additional flood statements.


Subtropical moisture is forecast to spread across the region Sunday night into Monday, and will aid in the development of moderate to locally heavy rain. A second disturbance will affect the area on Tuesday, bringing an additional round of rainfall. Monitor your local forecast during the weekend into early next week for possible flood statements.

OBITUARY: Mary Lou Brewer Harrison Stine Benton, 1932-2017

LoCO Staff / Saturday, Feb. 18 @ 6:45 a.m. / Obits

Mary Lou Brewer Harrison Stine Benton (October 4, 1932 - January 8, 2017) passed peacefully in her sleep.

Mary was an accomplished singer and played the piano and organ. She was involved in many organizations including the PTA, Christian Women’s Club, Republican Party and Conservative Caucus. She enjoyed organizing and putting together large events. She enjoyed going to her sons’ many athletic events and was very proud of all of her children’s accomplishments. My brothers were all great athletes and placed in state in track and wrestling. They were all good in football. Rob Harrison was Sac Bee Athlete of the year at Sacramento State and then was drafted by the NFL, playing for both the Rams and Raiders. Rick played for De Anza Junior College. Rocky played at Sacramento State. Mom was very proud of them.

My mother was born Mary Lou Brewer in Thayer, Missouri. She, her mother, Cindy, and her younger sister, Kim, left Missouri when Mom was 12 and her sister Kim was six. Her mother, Cindy, met and married Charlie Duran then had two more beautiful daughters, Lynn Dennis and Debbie Duran. For as long as I can remember Charlie was our grandfather.

When mom went to high school she loved to write and wanted to be a journalist. As a senior in high school she became a contestant for the Miss Eureka pageant. Mom was always a very pretty girl. She met and married my father, Wayne Harrison, when she worked at Western Auto in Eureka. Dad pretty much fell head over heels and I think they married three months later. They had good years where they had a thriving logging business, but hit hard times. By the time she was in her early thirties she had six birth children — Nancy, Patti, Judy, Wayne Jr., Rocky, Rick and Rob Harrison. Mom and Dad took on 6 to 10 foster boys or girls. We always had a huge dinner table full of children. Mom was an excellent cook and taught us all to cook. I remember learning to bake a cake when I was five standing on a step stool. We all love to cook now!

One of my fondest memories of mom was her singing “The Lord’s Prayer” in a beautiful white chiffon dress with jade sash and long white opera gloves with her auburn hair piled up in French curls. She had a lovely high singing voice and played piano and the organ. She had a beautiful old Hammond organ and wherever we moved it was the centerpiece of the living room.

Our family lived at the Lighthouse Rancheria, which mom named. We lived there from 1961 to 1968, seven years before the Gospel Outreach. Some of my most fun times were climbing trees till almost dark. The view from my sisters and my room was amazing. I was always drawing the sunsets with the lighthouse in the background.

During the 1964 flood, our foghorn house was used for storing clothing for people who had lost everything during the flood. Helicopters brought big bales of clothing for people who had lost their homes during the flood. Mom loved to help people get clothing. They were strapped together like bales of hay and when you cut them open the clothing would fall out like hay. It was a lot of fun to watch and I think I remember jumping a few times on the piles.

There are a lot of memories but I am choosing to remember what good we either got genetically or by watching mom shine as a promoter, a cook, a leader and a generous person who would take in whole choirs and groups. Since we always lived in huge houses it seemed like a normal thing for us to do. So we would feed and meet lots of new people.

Mom would put together large events. God and Country Day in Eureka was one event. It included a parade sponsored by Harper Ford, who would be in the parade with his old Model T. The girls — my cousin Sharon, sister Judy, myself (Patti), my girlfriend Marie Werner — would dress in red, white and blue granny dresses and be the usherettes for all the events! It was fun. Mom’s good friend, Phyllis Nix, led the choir. She was so talented.

Mom was an event promoter and arranged for Billy Graham movies to be brought to the Eureka Theater for the first time ever. She also brought gospel singers to Eureka for concerts such as Pat Boone and Family, Danny Bells and André Crouch and the Disciples, my favorite gospel singer. Mom’s friend Audrey Mieir also visited us and shared her musical talent with Humboldt County. Audrey sang many beautiful songs like “How Great Thou Art” and “His Name Is Wonderful.” Mom also brought speaker, author and ex-gang member Nicky Cruz to Eureka High School Auditorium. He was one of the subjects of “The Cross And The Switchblade” the book by David Wilkerson, founder of Teen Challenge.

Mom continued to do foster care in her second marriage to Mr. Bill Stein and also volunteered for PTAs, caucuses and churches. Mr. Stein was a Marine veteran and Mom helped put together a huge reunion of his company from Korea. I believe it was a huge success. I saw pictures of it.

In 1968 we moved to Eureka into a huge house on F Street. It was gray and had 29 rooms, 17 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. My brothers and sisters and my father painted the house hot pink, my mother’s favorite color. She always wore hot pink lipstick. We went to school with pink and white hands for two years!

One thing that was always fun in Eureka was every Christmas my brother Rocky would build a live nativity scene. I was in charge of making the costumes and kind of directing it. My girlfriend, Marie Werner, loaned us her sheep and I had collies that would sit in front of the nativity. My cousin Brenda and my foster sister took turns playing the parts of Mary and my brothers played shepherds and kings and I think Rocky was Joseph. We would play old Christmas LP’s on top of the nativity scene and it was funny because it would get foggy and the moisture would make the LP’s drag so you would have to dry off the vinyl records so you could listen to the music. Also, mom would make hot chocolate and cookies. People would drive by. It was quite unique at the time and was in the paper almost every year. Choirs from some of the churches would come by and sing carols. It was fun and a wonderful memory.

I really appreciate mom’s entrepreneurial spirit, which she passed on to everyone in the family. With Rocky it was his business with cars and auto parts, with Judy it was her talent with helping people in business, with Nancy it was restaurant management, cooking and baking, with Rick it’s his business in San Diego renovating properties, with Rob it’s real estate and rentals and with Patti, it’s In-Home Care and Outreach Services for veterans. For several years mom worked for United Way and Arcata Chamber of Commerce. Mom was involved in many organizations in Loleta, Fortuna, Eureka, Terra Linda and Yreka.

She also was involved in the church in Armenia for eight years. I know she enjoyed leading Bible studies with women’s groups there.

Most of her adult life she was taking on leadership roles in the PTA, Christian Women’s Club, Republican Party and the Conservative Caucus. Quota Club honored her with Woman of the Year award in the early 1970s. I know there were other awards but we couldn’t keep track of it all. She was always active in churches including Loleta Evangelical Church, Eureka Covenant, Redway Baptist, Lutheran in Eureka, the Mission Covenant in Eureka, Eureka Faith Center with Pastor Briney, Covenant Church in Terra Linda and Yreka Baptist and the Berean church in Yreka and Berean in Armenia.

Mom continued to care for the last three foster children until the youngest had grown, graduated high school and joined the Army. He is now a staff sergeant and has been deployed five times to Iraq. He is Sergeant Jordan Carlson. She was very proud of Jordan. Randy Carlson lives in Georgia; Amber married and had three children and now lives in Florida. Mom loved helping the kids in their talents and sports and music.

Mom fell ill to congestive heart failure, diabetes and dementia approximately five to six years ago and lived with her son Rocky the last three to four years in Loomis, near Sacramento. At first we all helped care for her — Patti, sister Judy, brothers Rocky and Rob. Then Rocky took over the primary care so that Mom could be near her primary healthcare facility. Myself and my husband Steve and my brother Robbie all helped care for Mom, along with Rocky and his son Cole.

I heard somewhere that when we leave this life we leave memories. Sometimes we leave them to our families and friends. Sometimes we have opportunities to leave a better memory — like when I was getting ready to leave Mom a few months ago and she stroked my hand like she was aware of my presence. Mom and I would do her hair and nails in the kitchen, which we called the “kitchen beauty parlor.” She always felt much better afterwards. We became more than mother and daughter, so much closer than ever before in my life. She always used to say she was going to write a book, but never did, so I guess it’s up to us to write down our memories.

Mary, my mom, is preceded in death by her mother Cindy or Goldie Duran, her father Albert Brewer and her stepfather Charlie Duran. Mary is survived by her six children — Nancy, Patti, Judy, Rocky, Rick and Rob Harrison. Her three sisters, Kim Brown, Lynn Dennis and Debbie Duran also survive her.

She is preceded in death by Wayne Harrison her first husband, her second husband Bill Stein and Roger Benton, her third husband. She is survived by 13 grandchildren 5 great grandchildren. She is also survived by Sergeant Jordan Carlson, Randy Carlson, Amber Porter and her husband and three children.

Mary had as many as 400 foster children over a 50-year span.

I would just like to say that in this life sometimes we are in pain for one reason or another and sometimes that pain can go away and in its place can be the person that we were always meant to be. I am thankful that I got a chance to know my mom the last two years that she was in this world. Rest in Peace…. Mom.

A memorial service is planned for Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. at the Faith Center in Eureka, 1032 Bay Street.


The obituary above was submitted by Mary’s daughter. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here