(UPDATE) Man Stabbed Inside Amy’s Delight Restaurant; Police Tape Up Harris Street Eatery While They Investigate

Hank Sims / Today @ 4:45 p.m. / Crime

Photos: Andrew Goff.

UPDATE, 4:55 p.m.: Capt. Brian Stephens of the Eureka Police Department tells the Outpost that the victim was stabbed in the back, but his wounds are not believed to be life-threatening.

Stephens said that the stabbing was “not a random incident.” The suspects, who police number at two or three, have not been taken into custody yet.

Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to contact Detective John Gordon at 441-4300.

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A man was stabbed inside Amy’s Delight restaurant on Harris Street shortly before 4 p.m. this afternoon.

The man took himself to St. Joseph Hospital. His condition is unknown.

In the meanwhile, police have arrived at the scene — on the corner of Harris and Union — and taped off the restaurant while they investigate. 

Darrell Siggins, the restaurant’s owner, tells the Outpost that there was a couple eating in the dining room at the time of the incident. He says that he saw a group of three or four people, one of them wearing a monkey mask, walk past the restaurant. The group had some kind of visual interaction with the male diner, Siggins said, and they entered the restaurant.

He said that he heard a “pop” sound, at which point he and Amy fled out the back. He didn’t know where the “pop” came from — there is some construction underway across the street — but he didn’t stick around to find out.

Police are still busy with the investigation. We’ll update when we know more.




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Mendo Deputies End Search for Armed Home Invaders After Finding Nada

Andrew Goff / Today @ 3:50 p.m. / Crime

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On 9-29-2016 around 5:46 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center received a cellular 911 telephone call.  An exact location of the caller was not established.  A male caller advised that he’d fled his property, after being confronted by up to 7 armed males.  The caller suspected the persons were there to steal marijuana from him.  The caller stated the men shot his wife in the stomach and he suspected they may have shot his 16 year old son as well but he’d lost track of where his son was, suspecting the armed assailants might be chasing his son into the woods.

Approximately 30 Officers from Mendocino County Patrol Division, California Highway Patrol (CHP), Cal Fire Prevention Officers, and the Mendocino County Inter-agency SWAT Team responded to the call.  Once in the area officers were unable to locate the reporting party, any potential gunshot victims, or suspects.  Officers did find the possible crime scene but evidence of persons actually being shot was not found.  There were indications of recent firearms use present and several witnesses in the area reported hearing shots being fired, during what sounded like a possible verbal dispute, around 5:30 AM that morning. 

CHP Air Unit out of Redding was called to assist and a helicopter responded to assist with the search of the area.  By noon Officers called off the search after being contacted by an individual who stated there was no one shot a the location, no one was injured, and the suspects had fled.  The individual stated he did not know the identify of the suspects in this case. 

The case was turned over to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Investigations Unit.  Anyone with information related to this case is requested to contact the Tip Line at 707-234-2100.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol, Laytonville Fire and Ambulance, and Veri Health Ambulance for their assistance on this call.



Governor Signs Cottage Cannabis ‘Micro Farmer’ Bill

Ryan Burns / Today @ 3:34 p.m. / Government , marijuana

File photo.

Press release from Assemblymember Jim Wood’s office:

Sacramento – Today, Assemblymember Jim Wood’s “Cottage Cannabis Farmers Bill,” AB 2516, achieved a significant milestone when the Governor signed it. This bill creates a new medical cannabis cultivator license category for “micro farmers.”

Wood said, “We are so proud to have fought for this legislation and thankful to Governor Brown for his signature. This law will help ensure that small medical cannabis growers on the North Coast can comply with regulations as this industry moves forward, providing certainty and predictability. It’s just not fair to require the small farmers to adhere to the same standards as larger operations. Now the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will be required to develop regulations for 2018 that address the unique characteristics of small farm practices.”

The technical requirements for the new license type 1C, or specialty cottage cultivator license, are for farms with 2,500 square feet or less of total canopy size for mixed-light cultivation, up to 25 mature plants for outdoor cultivation, or 500 square feet or less of total canopy size for indoor cultivation, on one premises. CDFA will issue the licenses to qualified candidates as well as develop the requirements for each license type.

“Last year the Legislature developed the Medical Marijuana Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in an attempt to address the environmental, public safety and public health issues in the industry,” said Wood. “As this industry moves forward, we need to make sure that all farmers, regardless of size, can come into compliance – that’s what success looks like.”



Judge Allows Eviction Proceedings to Continue Against Alleged Squatters at Former Senior Home

Ryan Burns / Today @ 2:40 p.m. / Community , Courts

The property at 4565 Lewis Ave. has become overrun with unsanctioned tenants. Neighbors complain of rampant crime, noise, graffiti and drug use. | Photo by Ryan Burns.

The landlord of a former senior living facility at 4565 Lewis Avenue, just outside Eureka city limits, can proceed with his attempts to evict a group of unsanctioned residents, a judge ruled this week. Local construction magnate and business owner Robert Figas, who is leasing the property, had filed an unlawful detainer against the current batch of residents, who neighbors accuse of destroying their peaceful neighborhood with violent crime, drug activity, trash and vandalism.

Figas and property owner Sandy Popko say the property, which used to operate as Mycroft Supportive Care, has been overrun by transients, with people living in the building and in unlicensed vehicles scattered around the parking lot.

The residents, however, have been fighting the eviction. (The Outpost reported on the initial court hearing last week.) With pro bono representation from Legal Services of Northern California, the tenants filed a demurrer, hoping to get the unlawful detainer order tossed from court. Legal Services attorney Gregory Holtz, representing the tenants, argued in part that the original eviction notice wasn’t valid because it lacked some legally required language. He also said the tenants couldn’t be sued as a group since they each have different circumstances.

On Monday, Judge Dale Reinholtsen rejected those arguments and said the case can proceed. In doing so, however, he noted that one of the complaints actually did have merit. The original eviction notice did indeed lack some required language notifying tenants of their right to reclaim personal property, he writes in his ruling. But he goes on to say that the point is moot because the defendants’ lawyer filed the wrong type of motion. 

The unlawful detainer summons was open to complaint, Reinholtsen notes. “However, that challenge must have been raised by a motion to quash, not by a general demurrer.” By filing the latter motion without the former, he says, the defendants inadvertently waived their objections to the eviction notice.

Read the full decision below. Neal Latt, the attorney representing Figas, told the Outpost that defendants must file their response to the unlawful detainer motion by this coming Monday, “after which I will be asking for a trial to be set immediately.”

DOCUMENT: Ruling and Judgment on Demurrer, Figas v. Seymore-Davis, et al.



(AUDIO INTERVIEW) Betty Chinn Speaks on the Blue Angel Container Village’s Upcoming Move Out of Old Town

Bayley Brown / Today @ 1:38 p.m. / Homelessness

Bayley speaks with Betty | Photos: Andrew Goff

(AUDIO)

On Tuesday the Eureka City Council unanimously approved $75,000 of funding and a new site for the Greater Eureka Community Outreach Program (GECOP), more commonly known as The Blue Angel Container Village.  

Yesterday we caught up with Betty Chinn and project manager James Rockwell to talk about the move, the extension of the program, and what’s in store for the future.  

In the special meeting the City Council voted to move the conatainer village to West Washington and Koster Streets. The city had also been considering sites on Marina Way (south of Dock B), the foot of T Street (near the Blue Ox), and the city-owned airport near the end of the Samoa Peninsula. Chinn and Rockwell were disappointed that Marina Way, their first choice, wasn’t ultimately chosen but they are regardless pleased with the outcome.  

“Well I’m really excited because at least we can help more clients; people that want to change,” said Chinn. The City Council expressed concerns over Coastal Commission approval of the Marina Way site which is why the council opted for the West Washington and Koster location.  

As for the possibility of staying where they’re currently located, Chinn says she could’ve approached Mercer-Fraser to ask if the village could stay there but she didn’t want to break her the earlier agreed upon six month residency she’d pitched to the community.

“Six months in this property. I don’t want to break my promise to the public. Even I do have some neighbors and businesses here ask me to stay.  A promise is a promise and I cannot break it,” Chinn stressed.  

The GECOP board estimates that they need $150,000 for next year’s operating costs.  Number of operating costs came from this year.  The Council agreed to send a letter to the Supervisors imploring the County to match funds. Betty also mentioned that they received a private donation.  

Since the program’s inception, the Blue Angel Village program has been widely praised for consistently getting people housing, mental health services, jobs, medical services and more.

“The last I checked I think in the beginning of September we’re up to 77 total people that have moved from the program since May 1 since we opened,” Rockwell elaborated. “Many have gotten housing, which is so cool. Two this week. One guy just moved to Rio Dell today, which is awesome.” 

When asked about the possibility of the program continuing past this year Chinn said “no comment.” 

When the City approached Chinn about moving the village, one condition was that she had to talk to the neighboring businesses, a task she enlisted the help of Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills for. Area businesses were agreeable, thinking it would be better than the existing unattended-to temporary camp. The container village will be 24/7 monitored program. Chinn stresses that being a good neighbor is a top priority.  

Rockwell said that the City Council seemed fairly confident that it will get the Coastal Commission Emergency permit approved in time.  

“[It will require some] logistical acrobatics to try to move the whole facility there.” Chinn said, but she is confident they can get the whole operation moved in one day “We can do it.” 

Below is an edited interview that aired on KHUM

(AUDIO)

Entire interview:

(AUDIO)

Current site of the Blue Angel Container Village

Bayley, Betty and James.



Three Skilled Nursing Homes Closing: Rockport Receives Approval from State Regulators

Ryan Burns / Today @ 8:48 a.m. / Government , Health Care

An image from the Rockport website for Eureka Rehabilitation & Wellness Center.

PREVIOUSLY:

Despite efforts from our state representatives, Rockport Healthcare Services has received approval to close three its five local skilled nursing facilities: Eureka Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, Pacific Rehabilitation & Wellness Center and Seaview Rehabilitation & Wellness Center.

Assemblymember Jim Wood called it “devastating news.” Senator Mike McGuire said in a press release, “I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated that our hands have been tied and that Rockport will be allowed to close these facilities – this plan is completely irresponsible.” 

McGuire’s press release follows the one immediately below from Wood’s office:

Sacramento – Today Assemblymember Jim Wood received word that the California Department of Public Health has approved Rockport Healthcare Services plan to close three of its five skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County.

“This is devastating news,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood. “We are beyond disappointed that, after numerous attempts to prevent this closure, Rockport remained steadfast in walking away from more than 200 vulnerable residents and their families.”

Wood says that dozens of meetings, both public and private, with Rockport, elected officials, community stakeholders and Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) have been ongoing since Rockport’s original announcement. PHC is the health plan responsible for much of the contracted Medi-Cal coverage in the county, including nursing home services in the North Coast area. “Partnership’s willingness and commitment to find solutions to keep these facilities open has been unprecedented,” said Wood.

Rockport had said its ability to remain financially sustainable has been jeopardized by staffing challenges and a Medi-Cal reimbursement formula that assumes lower operational costs in rural areas, which Rockport has said has not been the experience in Humboldt County. But even after PHC made several generous offers to increase reimbursement rates, the actions of Shlomo Rechnitz, the majority owner in the facilities managed by Rockport, have clearly shown that it was not enough.

“Partnership had been exploring a number of options to keep SNF services in Eureka,” said Liz Gibboney, Partnership’s CEO, “including the potential for PHC to purchase and run one or more of the Eureka Rockport facilities. We inquired with Rockport about the potential asking price of their Eureka buildings and determined the estimated cost was untenable.”

“The fact that Partnership was willing to explore the purchase or management of one or more facilities, but Rockport wanted an unreasonably high amount, is unconscionable, especially since they plan to close them” said Wood. “I just can’t believe it.”

Wood has previously said that although the Department of Public Health may not have the authority to prevent the closure, he is committed to introducing legislation to revisit the criteria for skilled nursing facility closure plans as well as the reimbursement formula for skilled nursing facilities in rural areas.

Here’s the press release from Senator Mike McGuire:

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire released the following statement regarding the decision made today that closure and relocation plans submitted by Rockport Healthcare Services for three of its Humboldt County skilled nursing facilities have been accepted by the California Department of Public Health.

“I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated that our hands have been tied and that Rockport will be allowed to close these facilities – this plan is completely irresponsible,” Senator McGuire said. “Rockport’s devastating closure plan is unprecedented – and will impact the lives of patients and their families, putting the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents at risk. We worked hard to bring all sides together and find common sense solutions, but, in the end, we did not have a willing partner in Rockport Healthcare Services.”

Over the last several weeks, Senator McGuire has hosted several meetings in Humboldt County with community members, families, patients, advocates, health care providers and staff of the impacted skilled nursing facilities and will continue his ongoing efforts to find long term options and solutions for skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County.

Over the next two days, Senator McGuire will again be in Humboldt County working on these issues and in the weeks to come, McGuire will be fighting to ensure patients health and safety is the number one priority.

Note: This post has been updated to include the statement from Senator McGuire.



OBITUARY: Roger Allen Barnhart, 1933-2016

LoCO Staff / Today @ 6:45 a.m. / Obits

Roger Allen Barnhart of Bayside was born October 25, 1933 in Lafayette, Indiana. He went on to be with Jesus peacefully on September 14, 2016 at St. Helena Hospital, St. Helena, California after a long battle with heart disease.

Roger dedicated his life to Christ at age 12 in the Church of the Brethren in Lafayette, Indiana. He graduated high school in Elkhart, Indiana, and even then he was a serious fisherman.

At age 16, he and his friend Ted Shroyer, built a boat in the Shroyers’ garage. They fished the lakes all over northern Indiana, and southern Michigan. His love of fisheries was the reason he chose to go to college in Colorado. He entered the University of Colorado in Ft. Collins because they had a renowned fisheries program. Howard Tanner was his major professor throughout his college career in fisheries biology.

The day after he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, he and Shirley Bassett married June 12, 1955. He continued at the same college, working to earn both his Master’s degree, and his PhD. They moved to Georgia where he taught Fisheries Science at the University of Georgia.

In January 1967, they moved to Arcata where he taught graduate level courses in Fisheries at Humboldt State University as well as heading the Fisheries Research Unit for the US Fish and Wildlife Service base at HSU for 28 years.

After Roger’s retirement in 1995 he spent more time enjoying fishing, especially fly fishing on the Klamath River for steelhead. He loved tying his own flies, building and stringing his own fly rods and being out on and wading in the river. He really enjoyed the wide open spaces and the untouched wildness. He had a small “fleet” of boats; one for the ocean, one for the river and a small dory that he hand restored for fishing lagoons. He also had a fold-up boat at one time.

He continued to love family camp-outs at Ruth Lake and all family get-togethers, & road trips. He and Shirley traveled to the Cook Islands, Victoria BC, Israel, Egypt and Greece enjoying his retirement together. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Roger and Shirley have been active at the Faith Center of Eureka since January 1979. He recently had been unable to attend but still watched the live-stream internet broadcasts every Sunday. He served on the church council for a time, and he and Shirley taught classes for new believers, and were active in the seniors group at church called Prime-timers.

The Barnhart family has been long time residents of Bayside and Roger enjoyed doing home improvement projects, tending his gardens and apple trees and doing all his own vehicle maintenance!

The last couple years he had been slowly declining and had to sell his boats and much of his gear, but several friends still took him fishing so he could go but they did all the work. He had a heart attack at age 47, in 1980, and had quadruple bypass grafts in Santa Rosa in 1988 at age 55. He changed his eating habits and lifestyle so many times and worked to stay healthy. In the last year he had several stent or stent clean-out type procedures but none of them worked for long. In September 2016 he was offered one last option: to have another open heart bypass surgery, where they would also fix some of his problem heart valves. Since the only other option was sitting in his armchair — miserable and dying by inches – Roger chose to have the surgery. The surgery was 9-14-16 and was long but successful at St. Helena Hospital. After the first 24 hours his other organs began failing rapidly and he passed peacefully away on 9-14-16. A heartfelt thank you to all the doctors, nurses and healthcare providers and support staff at St Helena Hospital! They provided the best technical and human care imaginable!

Roger will leave a long lasting influence on everyone who knew and loved him. His beautiful spirit and his dedication to God will be cherished forever!

Roger was preceded in death by his parents, Galen and Doris and his brother Joe Barnhart, all tragically from heart disease that runs so strongly in the family. Roger is survived by his sister Janice Barnhart, niece Maria Chevalier, both from Jacksonville, Florida, and nephew Jeff Washburn.

Roger is survived by his loving wife of over 61 years, Shirley Barnhart, daughters Cynthia Spangler, Lisa Harder and Elaine Barnhart, and their spouses Michael Spangler and Myrd Harder. Grandchildren and their spouses are: Nathan Spangler, Christopher Spangler, his wife Chloe, Jason Spangler, Katie Harder and Sarah Harder. Roger and Shirley have one great grandson, Lucca, son of Christopher. He is also survived by brother in law Roger Bassett (Shirley’s brother) and good friend, in Colorado and his nieces & nephews Laura, Dale, Gene, Judy, & Teresa in Colorado. And of course numerous fishing buddies, peers, ex co-workers, dear neighbors, and good friends!

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Eureka Rescue Mission. www.eurekarescuemission.org or (707) 445-3787.

The family will be having a memorial service at Faith Center Church in Eureka on Bay Street, on Tuesday October 4, 2016 at 11 am. An informal reception will follow the service.

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The obituary above was submitted by Roger Barnhart’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.