New PBS Documentary ‘Tribal Justice’ to Feature Yurok Chief Justice Abby Abinanti

John Ross Ferrara / Saturday, July 15 @ 12:45 p.m. / Tribes

Tribal Justice

Yurok Chief Justice Abby Abinanti. | PBS

A new PBS documentary airing next month will tell the story of Yurok Chief Justice Abby Abinanti, as she works to preserve indigenous customs and beliefs through the tribal justice system.

The movie features Abianti, who became the first Native American woman admitted to the State Bar of California in 1974, and Quechan Tribe Chief Justice Claudette White. The documentary, named “Tribal Justice,” aims to show the struggles and triumphs these strong female leaders face as they work within their communities to overcome poverty and inequality.

“We are village people,” Abianti is quoted saying in the PBS film description. “We have village values. And those values compel us to take care of each other, our families and our country.”

Yurok fisherman Taos Proctor, who faces a 25-year prison sentence, is also featured in the film according to PBS’ summary of the documentary. Tribal Justice

Taos Proctor at his wedding. | PBS

“Viewers first meet Taos Proctor, a large and gregarious young man, in Abinanti’s tribal court in 2013,” the summary reads. “While out on parole from San Quentin State Prison, Proctor was arrested with methamphetamine on his person; he is facing a third-strike conviction and 25 years to life in prison. Over two years, the film follows Abinanti and her staff as they take on Proctor’s case and help him to complete court programs and rebuild his life.”

“Tribal Justice” will premier on PBS on August 21.


Hoopa Man Arrested After Officer-Involved Shooting Last Night in Weitchpec

John Ross Ferrara / Saturday, July 15 @ 8:54 a.m. / Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release:

On July 14, 2017, at 2157 hours, Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office were on patrol in the area Highway 169 North of Weitchpec. The Deputy Sheriffs observed a suspicious vehicle in the roadway on Martins Ferry Bridge.


The Deputies contacted the driver and solo occupant of the vehicle. He was later identified as George Robbins from Hoopa, CA. During the course of that contact an officer involved shooting occurred, wounding Robbins. Robbins was removed from the vehicle and first aid was rendered. He was cleared medically from the scene and subsequently transported to the Humboldt County Jail.

A firearm was located in the vehicle and seized as evidence.  The Deputy Sheriff’s on scene were not injured.  

The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response protocol was initiated. Members of the Eureka PD, Arcata PD, Humboldt County sheriff’s Office, District Attorney and State DOJ Criminologist are actively investigating the case. The Deputy Sheriff’s involved are placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.  

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.

(UPDATE) Pedestrian Sustains ‘Major Injuries’ in Traffic Collision on Eureka’s Fourth Street

Andrew Goff / Friday, July 14 @ 5:51 p.m. / Traffic

Photos: John Ferrara

UPDATE, 6:14 p.m.: CHP Officer Brandon Lale tells us that the witnesses said the male pedestrian attempted to cross the street when they were struck and sustained “major injuries.” There were no skid marks leading up to the point of collision.

“It seemed pretty dire,” Lale said.

# # # 

Original Post: A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle near the intersection of Fourth and K streets in Eureka just after 5:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

The patient was taken to the hospital via ambulance. No information on the person’s condition is yet available, but there was several patches of blood visible in the roadway.

One lane of Fourth Street is currently blocked off while officials process the scene. We will update when we know more. 

Arcata Man Attempting to Fly Out of ACV With 12 Pounds of Pot Has Pot Seized But Gets to Fly Anyway

John Ross Ferrara / Friday, July 14 @ 1:23 p.m. / Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release:

Once on scene deputies contacted Michael Mogensen (36 years old) of Arcata. Prior to deputies’ arrival TSA had located 12 one-pound bags of processed marijuana in Mogensens checked baggage.

On 07-14-17 Deputies responded to the California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport in McKinleyville for a report of an airline passenger attempting to board a commercial flight with a large amount of marijuana.

The marijuana was seized as evidence and Mogenson was issued a citation for transportation and possession of marijuana. Mogenson was then allowed to board the flight. This investigation will be forwarded to the DEA and the FBI for possible prosecution.

(UPDATE) Highway 101 FULLY CLOSED Near Piercy

Andrew Goff / Friday, July 14 @ 9:40 a.m. / Traffic

UPDATE, 10:40 a.m.: Caltrans spreads the good news:

US101 has been reopened to normal two-way traffic. Your weekend travel plans may proceed!

# # #

Original Post: Caltrans release:


U.S. Highway 101 is CLOSED approximately 5 miles south of Piercy in Mendocino County. A tree fell down onto power lines and both lanes of the highway are closed.

This incident is unrelated to construction or slide activity at the nearby Horseshoe Slide, which is located a little more than a mile south of the downed lines.

There is currently no estimated time to reopening.

Fortuna City Manager Mark Wheetley Arrested for DUI, a Year and a Half After His Last DUI Arrest

Ryan Burns / Friday, July 14 @ 8:37 a.m. / Crime , Local Government

Mark Wheetley, the city manager of Fortuna and former Arcata councilmember and mayor, was arrested yesterday evening on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The arrest happened a year and a half after his previous DUI arrest, and in roughly the same location.

Shortly after 7 p.m. last night, Wheetley was driving on State Route 255, just north of New Navy Base Rd., when he was pulled over for speeding, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Cy May. Wheetley’s registration tags were also expired. 

“An officer contacted him and observed signs and symptoms of alcohol inebriation,” May said. 

Wheetley was given a field sobriety test and then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more. 

Wheetley, a former environmental specialist with the state of California, served three and a half terms on the Arcata City Council, including two stints as mayor, left halfway through his fourth term to take the job of Fortuna city manager. 

In 2015 and early 2016 Wheetley mounted a campaign for Humboldt County supervisor,  but he withdrew his candidacy less than a month after his previous DUI arrest, citing “personal and professional obligations.”

In California, a second DUI can result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A conviction carries a mandatory jail term from 96 hours to one year, though that term can sometimes be converted to house arrest or work service.

The Outpost reached out to Wheetley via email and will update this post if we hear back.

OBITUARY: Eleanor “Joyce” Bottemiller, 1930-2016

Andrew Goff / Friday, July 14 @ 8:30 a.m. / Obits


Eleanor “Joyce” Bottemiller passed away on April 5, 2016 in the comfort of her Bayside home. Born on June 13, 1930 in Havre, Montana, her family moved to Portland, Oregon when she was in grade school. She met Fred Bottemiller in the 7th grade and they were married on September 13, 1952. She attended college at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington until they moved to California. They moved to Humboldt County in 1956 and have made this their home base since. Together, they owned and operated Barnes Family Drug Store on the Arcata Plaza for many years in addition to Mad River Hospital Pharmacy and Willow Creek Pharmacy. She supported the pharmacy business and was a devoted home maker for many years while raising their 3 children. She had a knack for style and one of her favorite things was attending out of town gift shows; picking out all the latest items that they would sell in their stores. She also enjoyed her ladies trips to the city where she and her friends got dressed in their finest, went shopping, enjoyed season tickets to theatre shows, and explored new restaurants.

She had incredible musical talent and was a classically trained pianist and organist from the time she was 7 years old. She would often play for weddings, funerals and other community gatherings, and was even invited to play for the Queen of England while attending Pacific Lutheran University. Her love of music and ability to play anything by ear made her the center of her family growing up and carried on to her children and grandchildren. Her annual Christmas Eve party was a big tradition, always filled with crab, friends, family, and of course Joyce playing the piano while everyone gathered around close and sang together.

In 1974, they purchased property in Willow Creek and built their vacation home and what would become a hub and gathering place for friends and family. Many happy days were spent gardening, reading, golfing, and just floating in their pool. She loved to travel and through the years, enjoyed countless journeys and amazing destinations, exploring almost every continent and hundreds of different countries throughout the world. She especially loved to cruise and genuinely appreciated learning about different people and cultures. She was always planning her next venture.

For many years, Joyce and Fred spent winters down at their other vacation home in Mesa, Arizona as “snow birds” and reveled in the warm climate and endless parties and activities. She was appropriately nicknamed “Sparky” by what would become some of her closest friends. She loved being the life of the party and was always happiest in a social atmosphere. Her annual St. Patrick’s Day party was a highlight for many and of course, featured music, great food, and wonderful friends. She was also very proud of her lucky streak and enjoyed playing quarter poker in Reno and Laughlin, on their way back and forth to Arizona. We lost count but know she won at least 33 royal flushes throughout the years.

Joyce loved people and people loved her. She was well read, a remarkable story teller, and had an amazing way of connecting with others that made everyone in her presence feel important and valued. She was a strong woman, with a bit of a stubborn streak, but always knew what she wanted, even in her final months. She will be fondly remembered as a wonderful friend, loving wife, caring mother, role model to her grandchildren and matriarch of our family. Her quick wit, contagious smile, magnetic personality, and musicality will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. We like to think that her new journey takes her to a wonderful place where she is reunited with loved ones and where she will continue to be the life of the party; socializing, dancing, gardening, and reading to her hearts content, where music will continue to be front and center and laughter and love are guaranteed.

She is predeceased by her parents, Joseph and Katherine Larson, her brothers Joseph, Howard, and Norman Larson, and son Cary “Jay” Bottemiller. Since her passing, her other son, Craig Bottemiller also passed away. She is survived by her husband and love of her life for 63 years, Fred Bottemiller, daughter Karen Jackson, granddaughter Jenny Bowen (Greg), grandsons Justin Jackson, and Ryan Jackson (Josie), and 3 great grandchildren, Ashlyn, Taylor, and Boyd. She is also survived by many caring cousins, nieces, nephews and family members.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, July 15 at the Lutheran Church in Arcata on 16th Street at 1 p.m. There will be a reception at the church following the ceremony. All who knew and loved her are invited to attend.