Friday, August 12, 2011

POP Unit Shutters Alleged Drug House

Three arrested, including homeowner, in EPD raid

By Charles Douglas

Humboldt Sentinel

EUREKA - A homeowner and two tenants were arrested yesterday for running an alleged drug house -- one visited three times before in the previous ten months by local law enforcement.

At about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Problem Oriented Policing (POP) unit of the Eureka Police Department executed a warrant to search a home on M Street, and detained five subjects, including two visitors who'd just driven up in a vehicle. In their subsequent search, law enforcement found small quantities of methamphetamine and heroin, along with meth pipes, needles, baggies, a scale and other evidence which EPD claimed in a release is "highly indicative of drug sales activity."

Constance Lee Foley, 58, was arrested for allowing her home to be used for drug sales. According to EPD Sergeant Steve Watson, Foley had been warned before that she could be held civilly and criminally liable for the drug activity at her residence -- the POP unit was on its fourth visit to the home since October of last year.

"Foley failed to take any steps to rectify the problem which had grown worse over time," Watson stated.

Her home was declared a nuisance property by Interim Police Chief Murl Harpham, who may then order corrective actions to be taken. The consequences of failing to comply with these orders may result in fines of $100 to $1,000 per day -- in addition, Foley's neighbors might also file individual civil suits under the city's nuisance abatement law and subject her to further costs to compensate them for damages, costs and attorney's fees.

Foley had at least four other individuals, all known drug users according to EPD, living in her two-bedroom home and paying rent -- including one who lived in the garage in violation of local building codes. Two of these -- Ronald Gene Elwell, 40 and Lola Anne Crothers, 49 -- were arrested on various drug charges. Elwell was also allegedly violating the conditions of his parole.

According to Watson, the investigation is ongoing and further arrests may follow. Local residents with information concerning suspected drug sales activity are encouraged to call the POP unit at (707) 441-4373.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sentinel Breaking News: Tsunami of March 11, 2011

By Charles Douglas
Humboldt Sentinel

This is Charles Douglas of the Humboldt Sentinel with a special report this 11th day of March, 2011.

As anyone who didn't sleep through the sirens in the Humboldt Bay area already knows, local public safety agencies were on full alert this morning and throughout the day as the North Coast braced for a tsunami resulting from the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck just off the coast of Japan near the coastal city of Sendai.

It's difficult to overstate the power of this megaquake, the 5th largest in world seismological history and the most powerful to strike Japan in modern history. This quake sent a 23-foot wall of water slamming against the Japanese coast, sweeping homes, factories and people aside and causing massive destruction, including a devastating fire at a petrochemical plant and even jeopardizing containment at a nuclear power plant.

The amount of radiation reached around 1,000 times the normal level in the control room of the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said. Another report from Mark Crispin Miller suggests that radioactive vapor is being released at the plant to prevent an explosion which might result from the failure of its cooling system. Thousands of residents in the vicinity of the Fukushima plant have been evacuated according to a report posted at

The earthquake was preceded by a series of large foreshocks over the previous two days, beginning on March 9th with an M 7.2 event approximately 40 km from the March 11 earthquake, and continuing with a further 3 earthquakes greater than M 6 on the same day. Over 123 aftershocks have already been recorded, and preliminary reports suggest that this event has literally moved the earth axis 10cm and the coast of Japan by 2.4 Meters.

Here in Humboldt County the first wave surge crossed Highway 101 at Freshwater. The surge at Eureka's small boat basin was reported at 5', and apparently tossed some boats against each other. Onlookers gathered at the mouth of the Mad River to witness a small swell come ashore, but we were spared the worst of this disaster, with no damage or injuries in Humboldt County, according to Chief Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Haynes, who was actually manning the phones at the Office of Emergency Services in Eureka where I spoke with him earlier today. Humboldt County opened an emergency shelter at Redwood Acres in Myrtletown and six evacuees were reported to be staying there earlier this afternoon.

Returning to town myself this morning, I noticed a stream of vehicles headed up State Highway 299, with Arcata Police Department roadblocks set up at the F, G and H Street intersections with Samoa Boulevard in an apparent evacuation of the low-lying South of Samoa neighborhood. Law enforcement also shut down westbound access to the Samoa Bridge this morning, but these evacuation orders have since been lifted. Nonetheless, business as usual was disrupted along coastal Humboldt County today, with many businesses in Old Town Eureka shut down due to fears of a larger evacuation order. I ran into Director of Public Works Tom Mattson in Old Town this morning, who said the county's emergency response system had swung into action before he even woke up this morning, with local beaches and coastal parks all rapidly sealed off by law enforcement, again with no reports of damage as yet.

Our neighbors to the north were not so fortunate, however, with several fatalities reported in Del Norte County, where the largest waves to hit the United States were recorded at Crescent City Harbor, topping 8 feet and crushing 35 boats along with the entire docking infrastructure, according to a report by our own Supervisor Mark Lovelace. The better part of the commercial fishing fleet put out to sea due to the warnings, and are on their way here to Humboldt Bay as they literally cannot return home to dock. The Coast Guard has an active search and rescue mission underway to look for an individual who was swept out to sea at the mouth of the Klamath River; two others who were also swept out were able to self-rescue.

Further south, at least 20 boats were sunk, 100 were damaged and $10 million worth of harbor infrastructure has been destroyed at Santa Cruz harbor. No reports of damage yet have come in from Mendocino or Sonoma Counties. The Associated Press is also reporting that four people were swept off a beach north of Brookings, Ore. Two got out of the water on their own and the others were rescued by law enforcement and fire officials. The Oregonian is reporting that 70% of the commercial harbor basin at Brookings has been destroyed.

Local viewers should be sure to tune in to Access Humboldt Channel 10 on Tuesday morning, as CAO Smith-Haynes has assured me that the local response to the tsunami warning will be on the agenda. While Phillip assured me that the overall response went pretty well, he noted that there were some minor glitches with local residents and even some county staff either not receiving the tsunami warning in a timely manner, or not being informed as to where they should evacuate to.

That's all for now from the Access Humboldt Media Center in Eureka. This is Charles Douglas of the Humboldt Sentinel reminding you to stay prepared. If there's an evacuation like this again, you need to know where to go, and you need to have your supplies ready to leave at a moment's notice.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Harbor seats won by Marks, Wilson

Incumbents holding in school board, service district races

Charles Douglas, Humboldt Sentinel


The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District dominated an otherwise sleepy off-year election on the North Coast in 2009, and results appear to guarantee continued power-sharing between hardcore environmental advocates and pro-development forces on the commission.

Arcata environmental engineer and ex-independent Mike Wilson appears to be cruising towards a second term representing the third district, holding a 72% to 27% advantage over former Dem Assemblyman Dan Hauser with 75% of precincts reporting.

The fourth district, an open seat covering most of Eureka which is being vacated by five-time incumbent Dennis Hunter, appears to be maintaining its pro-jobs tilt, with union organizer Richard Marks topping 47% support with 85% of precincts reporting. His challengers, lacking partisan distinctions with him between each other, appear to have effectively divided the enviro vote; architect John Ash nabbed 36% of the vote, while boatowner Susan Penn wound up with 17% in preliminary results.

The established order in minor special districts and school boards appears to be holding in what looks to be a very low turn-out for Humboldt County. Exemplifying this trend was the Area One seat on the Eureka Unified School District, where accountant John Fullerton rallied over 60% of the vote to retain his seat against his challenger, retired budget analyst Gayle Gerdts.

In the somewhat contested race for three trustee seats on the McKinleyville Community Services District, incumbents Dennis Mayo and Bill Wennerholm retained their seats with 22.4% and 21.6% support, respectively -- but in first place was challenger David Couch with 23%. Challenger Dave Varshock was within striking distance with nearly 16% support posted, while Penny Elsebusch received 9% and mystery candidate Jake Pickering garnering 8% in last place.

The only upset of the night appears to be taking shape in the Northern Humboldt Union High School District, which covers Arcata, McKinleyville and surrounding areas. While longtime incumbents Sarie Toste and Mike Pigg retained their seats easily with 29.1% and 28% of the vote, appointed incumbent and notorious local developer Dan Johnson, who lost in the same race against a teenager four years ago, is in deep trouble as of press time. In the final report for the night by the Humboldt County Elections Office and with 64% of precincts reporting, Johnson tumbled from his slim lead earlier in the night to fall 442 votes behind Dana Silvernale, who holds 22.7% of the vote to his 19.6%. Silvernale -- the controversial leader of the Humboldt County Green Party, which has seen widespread desertion and decline under her control after being hand-picked by Democracy Unlimited operative David Cobb and his girlfriend Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, the only elected Green left in office -- received some surprise last-minute backing from Arcata city officials disgusted with Johnson’s attempt to shove through a housing subdivision over the unanimous objections of the City Council.

Neocons flip gubernatorial seats in NJ, VA

Liberals capture two House seats, inequality wins in Maine

Charles Douglas, Humboldt Sentinel


A spate of off-year elections held today evidently produced mixed results amid low voter turnout amidst an atmosphere of anxiety over the economic crisis and wars overseas.

In New Jersey and Virginia, voters removed neoliberal Democrats from their gubernatorial spots, placed a pair of the same in two empty House seats in New York and California, and barely re-elected a billionaire big city mayor who overrode voter-imposed term limits.

Incumbent Governor Jon Corzine, pilloried for his ties to the “too big to fail” global investment bank Goldman Sachs, went down to defeat, 49% to 45% with most precincts reporting, against a neoconservative Republican and former U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie, with independent Chris Daggett denying him the majority by capturing 6%.

Retiring Dem state executive Tim Kane of Virginia was unable to hand off his seat to State Senator Creigh Deeds, who lost in a landslide to Bob McDonnell, 59% to 41% with almost all votes in. The GOP also looks set to capture the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General seats in Richmond.

House seats were not the scene of similar successes for the disorganized Republican Party. With 93% of the vote in, the 23rd Congressional District in upstate New York has witnessed an upset, with Bill Owens beating Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman 49% to 46% to become the first Dem to represent the area in over a century. Hoffman drove Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava out of the race, only to have her throw her endorsement to Owens, along with keeping 6% as holdover votes.

California’s 10th Congressional District, representing the northern East Bay area, saw an easy win by former Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi with 56% of the vote, overwhelming the 40% support for Republican nominee David Hammer in early results, with Green, Peace and Freedom, and American Independent candidates rounding out with less than 2% each.

The big ballot initiative of the night, Proposition 1 to repeal marriage equality for gays and lesbians in Maine, appears to be headed for victory, 53% to 47% with most ballots counted. The counter to this trend popped up across the country in Washington State, however, with Referendum 71 -- a voter review of the state legislature’s bill legalizing domestic partnerships -- winning 51% to 49% with all votes in.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HSU art professor passes away

M. Wayne Knight allegedly suffering from flu-related complications

Humboldt Sentinel staff


M. Wayne Knight, 60, a Professor of Art at Humboldt State University, died the morning of Oct. 21 at Mad River Hospital of complications brought on by H1N1 influenza. He had been hospitalized for a number of days.

Knight joined the Humboldt State faculty in 2002 and taught graphic design, graphic design program development and graphics lab management. His exhibits spanned galleries from Rome to Los Angeles. His works also were featured on the Redwood Coast at HSU’s First Street Gallery and Reese Bullen Gallery, the Morris Graves Museum in Eureka and the Grace Hudson Museum and Mendocino College in Ukiah, where his family resides.

Knight earned his master of arts degree at San Francisco State University and his bachelor of arts at UCLA. From 1996 to 2002, he was art director and graphics specialist at SoftMed Systems, in Sacramento. A long-time freelance artist, he engaged in a broad variety of projects, including computer and traditional graphic design, portraiture, set design, murals, architectural rendering, video production and photography.

In a message to the campus community, HSU President Rollin Richmond wrote, “We have lost a friend and dedicated professor who will be sorely missed. A number of individuals from our campus have been in close contact with Professor Knight's family, and we have conveyed heartfelt condolences on behalf of the University. I ask that you keep his family in your thoughts in the days to come.”

Memorial arrangements are pending.

For students needing assistance dealing with Professor Knight’s death, help is available through HSU Counseling and Psychological Services at 826-3236. Staff and faculty can obtain counseling services through the University’s Employee Assistance Program at 443-7358.

Humboldt State Student Health Center Director Rebecca Stauffer called Knight’s death a terrible loss for the campus, and said it was an important reminder about the seriousness of H1N1. She said this is an important new H1N1 warning for the small number of people who are severely affected by H1N1. Sick individuals, she said, are advised to seek medical care if they do not start feeling better after three to four days, or any time they become suddenly worse.

Stauffer issued a reminder to individuals with certain underlying health conditions that they might be at especially high risk. These include pregnancy, cancer, blood disorders (including sickle cell disease), chronic lung disease (including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver disorders and neurological disorders (including nervous system, brain or spinal cord), neuromuscular disorders (including muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis) and weakened immune systems (including people with AIDS).

Persons with these pre-existing conditions who become sick with the flu should call or visit their medical provider early in their illness to be assessed for possible anti-viral medication.

Precautions for all persons to stay healthy include frequent and thorough hand washing, coughing and sneezing into sleeves and avoiding contact with anyone who is ill. Individuals who suspect they have contracted influenza should stay at home until the fever has subsided for at least 24 hours without medicine to keep the fever down.

Depending on distribution timetables, H1N1 vaccine is expected to be delivered to the Student Health Center in mid-November, and an all-day campus vaccination clinic is being planned. All eligible people are urged to be vaccinated.

Updated campus news and information about H1N1 is available at

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Anti-war rally goes on despite rain

Afghanistan and Iraq occupations equally criticized by activists

David Courtland, Humboldt Sentinel


Peach activists from various anti-war organizations gathered for a rally in front of Humboldt County's courthouse at 1 p.m. Saturday despite rain.

“We're trying to redo the anti-war movement, it's dead in its tracks,” said rally organizer Jack Nounnan as he helped other protesters put up canvas shelters against the rain.

Nounnan says the movement suffered a setback when people became complacent following the election of President Barack Obama, whom he says hasn't done enough to the movement.

“I think if he had shown some effort, we could have made things happen,” said Nounnan. “I'm not counting on that anymore.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Assault suspect arrested

Woman was stabbed in her motel room

Humboldt Sentinel staff


A Eureka man has been busted for attacking a woman who told Eureka police he stabbed her in a 4th Street motel room.

Robert Ranney, 51, has been jailed for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence. The woman, whom Eureka police did not identify, had scratches on the left side of her neck but declined medical treatment.

At about 10:30 a.m. Ranney was found walking near 4th and J streets, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eureka police looking for armed robbers

C&V Market on F Street held up for cash

Humboldt Sentinel staff


Police are looking for the two men who took cash from a clerk at an F Street market at about 10:42 p.m. Wednesday.

Brandishing a pump shotgun, the two fled west on Randall with the money in a white plastic grocery bag.

The man with the gun is described as white, 5'10” to 6 ft. with a medium build, wearing a dark trench coat, faded blue jeans, black and white athletic shoes and a ski mask with multicolored horizontal stripes, possibly blue, black and grey.

On October 14th at about 10:42pm the Eureka Police Department received a report of an armed robbery that had just occurred at a market in the 1600 block of F Street.

The second man is described as white, 5'8” to 5'10” with a medium build, wearing a dark blue or black hooded sweatshirt with a the hood pulled tight around his eyes and nose.

Anyone with information can call the Eureka Police Department Criminal Investigations Section at (707) 441-4300 or 707-441-4044.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Humboldt joins global day of climate action

One of over 3,000 October 24 events in 158 countries

Humboldt Sentinel staff


People from around Southern Humboldt will gather in Richardson Grove at 2 p.m. Oct. 24 for one of the largest days of climate change activism ever.

Participants will join more than 3,000 communities in 158 countries as part of a global day of action, coordinated by, to urge leaders to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions. The Southern Humboldt organizing effort has been spearheaded by Redway resident Aliana Knapp-Prasek, a Student Conservation Association climate activist.

"The earth can heal the wounds of industrialized society, including climate change, if we give them a chance," said Knapp-Prasek. "Decentralized organizing efforts like these can help the community come together to address the global issues, locally."

From capitols to the melting slopes of Mount Everest, even underwater on dying coral reefs, people will hold rallies aimed at focusing attention on the number 350—a reference to 350 parts per million, the most carbon dioxide scientists say can safely be in the atmosphere. The current CO2 concentration is 390 parts per million.

“That’s why glaciers and sea ice are melting, drought is spreading, and flooding is on the increase,” said Bill McKibben, founder of “And it’s why we need a huge worldwide movement to give us the momentum to make real political change. Our leaders have heard from major corporations and big polluters for a long time—today, finally, they heard from citizens and scientists.”

Locally action will take place at Richardson Grove State Park, once a protected stand of ancient redwood trees that is now threatened by a highway widening project.

Proponents of the project claim it is justified by increased truck access through the region.

Southern Humboldt organizers, who say the grove has trees over 1,500 years old, chose it to symbolize the threat of reckless planning and disregard for ecosystems.

"The planned widening of Highway 101 through Richardson Grove, to me, embodies a giant step in the wrong direction, as far as climate change, as well as for the people in our community who hold precious our way of life,” said Talia Rose, owner of Organic Grace in Garberville.

“If we are to have any hope of slowing down the effects that will devastate life on Planet Earth, we need to make some huge changes quick,” continued Rose, . “The tipping point is now--we need to live a little simpler now to ensure our children and grandchildren have a healthy planet to live on."

While a lot of attention has focused on the campaign to Save Richardson Grove State Park, large-scale clear-cutting continues behind the Redwood Curtain. One organization, the Environmental Protection Information Center, has spent 32 years addressing this issue locally.

“We depend on these forests to survive,” said Natalynne Delapp, policy advocate for the EPIC. “Outdated logging practices like clear-cutting continue to dominate the landscape of the Redwood region. We need the forests of our unique bioregion to function at their highest potential for all of the people on the planet, not just the few companies profiting off their destruction."

The global action comes six weeks before nations convene in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to draw up a new climate treaty. Eighty-nine countries have already endorsed the 350 target. It has also been endorsed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Sir Nicholas Stern and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.

Photos from around the world, including ones of the gathering in Southern Humboldt, will be featured on giant video screens in New York's Times Square as part of a countdown. They will be accessible at and will be delivered to the United Nations on Monday, Oct. 26.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Police make arrest in suspected homicide

William Wright turned himself in over death of homeless man

Humboldt Sentinel staff


On Monday, a man turned himself in at the Eureka police station for his involvement in the suspected murder of a homeless man.

William Harold Wright, 24, was jailed for manslaughter and jailed for $100,000 bail at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Details of the events which led to Borcalli's death are still being investigated, and an autopsy has been scheduled by the Humboldt County Coroner's Office.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Detective Harpham at 707-441-4305.

Hawaiian Chieftain makes surprise stop

Old-fashioned wooden ship offering tours today

Humboldt Sentinel staff


The tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain, which is in transit from Westport, Wash. to Oakland, made an unscheduled stop Tuesday in Eureka to avoid a Pacific weather system expected to arrive on the North Coast.

The ship tied up safely at Adorni Center on the Eureka waterfront, and it will open to the public for walk-on tours Wednesday from noon to 5 p.m. A $3 donation per person is requested.

The Hawaiian Chieftain is a frequent visitor to the North Coast, where it offers educational programs to local K-12 classrooms and home school groups. The ship is scheduled to return to the region March 6-16, 2010, which will include stops in Eureka and Crescent City.

Educators and home-school groups interested in a program should contact Reasa Shuck, programs manager,, (360) 589-2299. The ship will also offer three-hour public sails. For information, call (800) 200-5239, or visit

The ship is expected to depart for Oakland Wednesday night or Thursday morning. The Oakland visit is the first during a six-month tour of California ports, themed "California 2009-2010: Hands-on History for Youth."

The tour emphasizes the Hawaiian Chieftain’s mission of delivering valuable educational experiences for young people, many of whom go on to careers in the maritime trades, the Navy, and the Coast Guard.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Homeless man found dead on M Street

Murder suspected in the case of Michael Borcalli

Humboldt Sentinel staff


Police are asking for the public's help in solving the suspected murder of a homeless man whose body was found yesterday in a vacant lot on M Street.

The body of Michael Anthony Borcalli, also known as Michael Anthony Dragon, was found at about 2:20 p.m. near a trail in the wooded area between 15th and 17th streets, where he is thought to have been living.

Anyone with information about Borcalli or the circumstances of his death can call Eureka Police Department detective Murl Harpham at (707) 441-4305.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another cell tower permit approved

City of Eureka "will be sued" according to opponents

David Courtland, Humboldt Sentinel


Eureka's city council granted a conditional use permit for construction of a 50-foot T-Mobile cell phone tower on Dean Street at its Oct. 6 meeting.

Sara Pfeiffer and four other residents of the commercially zoned street fought against the permit, appealing a Planning Commission decision made at a meeting they said wasn't conducted fairly. Councilman Larry Glass agreed, saying developer Tom McMurray would be the one appealing if the meeting had been conducted properly.

Pfeiffer and others argued the tower would be the tallest structure on the street and would obstruct the flight path of helicopters landing at St. Joseph Hospital's heliport, but McMurray noted the project had to meet federal guidelines before it could be brought to the city council.

Glass and Linda Atkins cast the 'no' votes in a 3-2 split decision that opponent Sue Brandenburg guaranteed the city would be sued over. Councilman Jeff Leonard's motion to approve the project included Glass' amendment to reimburse Pfeiffer for the cost of her appeal.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

HSU aims $25,000 at food security

AmeriCorps grant to help meet "community identified needs"

Paul Mann, Humboldt State University


Humboldt State University’s Service Learning Center will collaborate with community partners on green initiatives and food security via a $25,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America programs, through the California Campus Compact.

The compact is designed to build collective commitment and capacity of colleges and universities throughout the state to advance civic and community engagement for a “healthy, just and democratic society.”

The Service Learning Center will join together with a full roster of Humboldt community and campus partnerships, which are based on helping to meet community-identified needs. Some of these partnerships include Eureka city schools, Food for People, local community garden projects, Redwood Community Action Agency, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers’ Farm-to-School Program and many others. Each partnership will have its own unique outcomes, intended to foster a commitment to increasing social and environmental responsibility.

Humboldt State is one of six California colleges selected for the $25,000 grant in connection with Social Innovation Generation (SIG), the California Campus Compact’s three-year initiative to aid the state’s economic recovery and renewal through institutions of higher learning that offer service-learning programs and inventive solutions to social problems.

The six-campus collaboration spans green-collar job training, inner city microfinance and entrepreneurialism and student-led projects, among other ventures across the state.

HSU’s Service Learning Center enables students to link academic content with direct service projects that equip them with practical experience while meeting local needs. The center supports faculty implementing service learning classes on campus, and helps find community connections that foster student civic engagement and provide a framework for engagement in issues of social and environmental justice

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beverly Drive grow house raided

Police find LSD, $10,000 amongst booty

Humboldt Sentinel staff


Three suspects are sought by police after a search warrant resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs and weapons along with the chop-down of a marijuana garden.

Arcata Police Department officers served the warrant at a home on the 400 block of Beverly Drive yesterday after receiving complaints from nearby residents of suspected drug activity, according to an APD release.

In their search, APD seized approximately 150 marijuana plants, a half-ounce of concentrated cannabis, suspected psilocybin mushrooms, four pounds of processed marijuana, suspected LSD, two firearms and $10,000 in cash.

Adam Steven Pokorski, Jacqueline Ann Pokorski and Jeremiah Funk are being sought on what is expected to be a laundry list of warrants for felony drug and firearm violations.

The electrical wiring in the home had been modified to facilitate an in-door marijuana growing operation, according to Building Department officials summoned from Arcata City Hall due to what police claim were "hazardous conditions in the electrical wiring" which were unpermitted. Power to the home was cut, as demanded by the City of Arcata, and the electric meter was removed by Pacific Gas and Electric until the home's electrical wiring is in compliance.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Arcatan busted for DUI, hit and run

Benjamin Batini allegedly struck pedestrian, drove off

Humboldt Sentinel staff


An Arcata man is sitting in county jail today after a hit-and-run incident early yesterday morning landed a local woman in the hospital.

At about 2:00 a.m. Arcata Police Department officers responded to a reported traffic collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian at the four-way stop at 11th and F Street. Upon their arrival, responding APD units found a pedestrian who had been struck and suffered an injury to her wrist.

The victim described their assailant as driving a black Chevrolet sport utility vehicle and heading eastbound on 11th Street. In the course of their investigation, officers located the vehicle parked on the 1200 block of Spring Street, and were approached by the owner of the vehicle, 21-year-old Arcata resident Benjamin Batini. He was promptly arrested and booked on charges of felony hit and run and felony driving under the influence.

The pedestrian, a 21-year-old female not identified by the release issued by APD, was transported to Mad River Hospital by ambulance, treated for a fractured wrist, and later released.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Merle Haggard’s haunted microphones

Old school country legend toughs through rocky upbringing, crappy CenterArts techs

David Giarrizzo, Humboldt Sentinel

"They just don't make music like they used to," according to this legend of America's vibrant tradition of country music, and boy did he show them how on Sunday in Arcata.

Listening to Merle Haggard is like listening to the ghosts of the Dust Bowl rising forth to take vengeance on the watered-down, issue-free, emotionless pop that has watered down what's called 'country' into a morass of drivel. Thankfully for contemporary audiences, he still remembers his roots.

Merle Haggard was born to James and Flossie Haggard on April 6, 1937. His parents moved from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression, converting an old boxcar into a home. Before their marriage, James played fiddle in local honky tonk bars. Flossie was a member of the Church of Christ, which led to her forcing her husband to stop playing the honky tonks. James died from a brain tumor when Merle was nine years old.

After his father's death, Merle became rebellious. In an attempt to straighten her son out, his mother put him in several juvenile detention centers, but it had little effect on Merle's behavior. As a teenager, he fell in love with country music, particularly Bob Willis, Lefty Frizzel, and Hank Williams. When he was 12 years old, Haggard was given his first guitar by his older brother; Merle taught himself how to play by listening to records that were lying around the house.

Even though he had begun to pursue music, Haggard continued to rebel, running away with his friend Bob Teague to Texas when he was 14 years old. A few months later, the pair returned to California, where they were arrested as robbery suspects. After the real thieves were caught, Haggard was sent back to juvenile hall, but he and Teague took off to Modesto, CA. For a brief time, he did manual labor, was a short-order cook, drove a truck, and committed a series of small crimes. Soon after he moved to Modesto, Haggard made his performing debut with Teague at a bar named the Fun Center; the two were paid five dollars and given all the beer that they could drink.

By the end of 1951, Haggard had returned home and he was again arrested for truancy, as well as petty larceny. In the beginning of 1952, he was sent to Fred C. Nelles School for Boys in Whittier, CA; again, he ran away. This time, the courts decided he was incorrigible and sent him to the high-security Preston School of Industry; he was released after 15 months. Shortly after his release, he and a boy he met at PSI beat up a local boy during an attempted robbery, and Haggard was sent back to PSI.

After getting out of PSI for the second time, Haggard had the first major event in his musical career. He went with Teague to see Lefty Frizzle in concert in Bakersfield. Before the show, he went backstage with several friends and he sang a couple songs for Frizzle. Lefty was so impressed he refused to go on-stage until Haggard was allowed to sing a song. Merle went out and sang a few songs to an enthusiastic response from the audience. Yet, even with the acceptance of his idol, Merle continued the path of self destruction .

While he was working during the day in oil fields and farms, he performed at local Bakersfield clubs. His performances led to a spot on a local television show, Chuck Wagon. In 1956, he married Leona Hobbs; the couple moved into his family's old converted boxcar. Throughout 1957, Haggard was plagued by financial problems, which made him turn to robbery. At the end of the year, he attempted to rob a restaurant along with two other burglars; the three were drunk at the time. Believing it was three o'clock in the morning, the trio tried to open up the back door of the restaurant. However, it was 10:30 and the establishment was still open. Although the trio fled the scene, Haggard was arrested that day. The following day, he escaped from prison in order to make peace with his wife and family; later that day, he was recaptured. Haggard was sentenced to a 15-year term and sent to San Quentin prison.

Nearly two years into his sentence, Haggard discovered that his wife was pregnant with another man's child. The news sent Haggard over the edge. Soon, he and his cellmate began a gambling racket and brewing beer in their cell. Before long, Haggard was caught drunk and was placed in isolation for a week. During his time in isolation, he had several conversations with Caryl Chessman, an author and a member of death row. The conversations and the time in isolation convinced Haggard to turn his life around.

After he left isolation, he began working in the prison's textile plant and took some high school equivalency courses; he was also allowed to play in the prison's country band. At his second parole hearing in 1960, Haggard was given a five-year sentence -- two years and nine months in jail, two years and three months on parole; he left prison 90 days later.

Flash forward. After almost fifty years of playing hit songs in the finest halls, for two US Presidents, receiving 18 awards from the ACM, including male vocalist of the year, and to top that off, had requests for songs on the Apollo 16 mission. He is revered by Rock stars and Country stars alike. His genuine style of singing from the soul reaches out to you. The man is a legend, and he was gracing us with his family and friends for an intimate evening of perhaps the most genuine American music alive, "Old School Country."

The John Van Duzen Theater is a moderate theater, seating a few hundred people. It was built about the same time Merle was gaining popularity amongst the severely commercialized hippy era. (They even got Tricky Dick to say "Sock it to me?," on Laugh In). I remember the sixties because I was a pre-teen and the underground psychedelia was surfacing more and more on television, in the clothing stores, and on the binders of my classmates who, for some un-godly reason, thought Daisies and Smiley faces were cool. This small, drafty theater with no lighting booth (just spot lights mounted behind the balcony seats) and barely the capacity to make a trip up here worth while to a 72-year-old legend and his family of extremely talented players. But this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The opening act was the Noel Haggard Band, Merle's oldest son and his brother Bennie on lead. These guys were so nice, they didn't even flinch when the vocals were down too low and the instruments mixed loud. This became a theme for the evening as each act came up to the stage only to battle the evil Feedback monster with the haphazardly placed monitor speakers. They played some great standards, which is the best way to describe them. The Haggards were joined by a pair of Elvis clones, clad in black embroidered jump suits, the Malpass Brothers, who sang as sweet as the Everly brothers. They laughed about the monitors, saying "We really don't like our own voices, so you can turn them (the monitors) down." Despite the challenges, they put on a good show doing an upbeat version of "Hello Wall" and many others.

During the intermission, you might think the CenterArts sound person would have figured out the problem with the monitors and the microphone placement. But, no. I was livid in my seat as the rest of the evening progressed even worse. By the time Merle sang through one song with the bats of Michael Moore Jr.'s crappy monitor speakers, the man stopped and looks at the audience. "The best sound between Fort Bragg and Crescent City? If I had known it was this bad, I would have brought my own PA! I men, we have been playing together for 30 years and ever since we started using monitors, our sound has gone to hell, Lets just shut them off and see what happens?" From then on, the sound was great, the vocals were heard, the bats were gone.

Merle even gave us an encore with "Okie From Muskogee." The audience was pleased and warmed by his stories, occasionally getting in a pot comment or two. He even put it to a vote whether or not marijuana should be legalized. The nays had it. Surprisingly, I saw many young faces in the audience. It seems a new generation is appreciating the classic Country melodies and leaving Billy Ray Cyrus in the dust. Cool.

Twin pot busts in Ferndale

Sara Farley arrested, Jason Farley still at large

Humboldt Sentinel staff


Plants, bud, shake, money and guns were seized during a busy day yesterday for the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, which served dual warrants in Ferndale against properties owned by Jason Oscar Farley and his wife.

Sara Diane Farley, 30, was arrested at her home on the 500 block of Shaw Avenue on cultivation and possession charges, but her husband was nowhere to be found and is wanted by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office on similar charges. In the course of their search of the home, law enforcement discovered $7,200 in cash which was seized for asset forfeiture, along with three handguns and two rifles.

Prior to the arrest, officers arrived at the Farley’s 158 acre parcel off Crosby Road, where they seized 44 marijuana plants growing outdoors, each approximately four to six feet in height. The weight of these plants combined was 660 pounds, according to HCSO sergeant Wayne Hanson. Officers also seized 34 pounds of marijuana shake and 22 pounds of drying bud from the property.

An arrest warrant is expected to be issued today by the District Attorney against Jason Farley, while Sara Farley was transported and booked into county jail yesterday on $50,000 bail.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fortuna cops get stimulated

Feds allocate $350k to help hire staff, upgrade equipment

Humboldt Sentinel staff


The needs of rural law enforcement are apparently a part of the economy deserving of stimulation.

As part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the “stimulus bill” pushed through Congress by the Obama Administration this last spring, a program targeting rural areas has awarded $350,000 to the Fortuna Police Department. This funding will be used to hire two additional staff members, create an Investigations Department and provide upgrades to departmental equipment.

“Rural areas of our district need as much, if not more help from the stimulus act,” Congressman Mike Thompson stated in a press release. “When I voted for recovery funding for our country, it was for projects like this that will create and preserve jobs while improving our communities.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a comprehensive economic recovery package designed to jumpstart the economy, provide tax benefits for families and small businesses, and invest in infrastructure and innovation, according to Thompson spokesperson Laurel Brown. Developed with the Obama Administration, this package will create an estimated 3.5 million new jobs, give 95 percent of working families an immediate tax cut, shore up the nation’s aging infrastructure and help our country shift to green energy technology, claim its authors.

“The community is pleased to be awarded this grant,” said Fortuna city manager Duane Rigge. “It will help us to provide services to the community that are much needed, including the current back log of cases the department has accumulated. This is something that will serve our community well and provide the level of safety for our citizens that we would like them to enjoy.”

To track the stimulus spending in your community, visit

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Arson reported outside Redwood Fields

Picnic tables, garbage bins piled up and burned at Cutten sports complex

Humboldt Sentinel staff


Local law enforcement is looking into an act of arson responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage on the grounds of Redwood Fields sports complex in Cutten.

At about 10:20 a.m. this morning a deputy from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was flagged down by two unnamed residents who informed him of a fire at the sports complex. Upon arriving on scene, the deputy found a smoldering pile of debris, the remains of five picnic tables and four plastic garbage bins piled together on top of the cover of a sewage lift pump.

The fire destroyed the pump, tank, bins and tables, three of which were solid redwood, according to HCSO public information officer Brenda Godsey. The estimated damage to the facility tops $18,000, according to Redwood Fields president Rex Bohn.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the HCSO at (707) 445-7251.

HSU attracts $892K for biology mentoring

National Science Foundation grant targets underrepresented groups

Paul Mann, Humboldt State University


Humboldt State University will enroll its first group of under-represented students next summer under a five-year, $892,000 National Science Foundation grant to mentor undergraduate research in the biological sciences.

Of the nearly $900,000 total, $318,000 will be awarded the first two years. Preference will be given to students entering their sophomore or junior years, particularly Native American and Latino/Latina students.

The official name of the HSU initiative is the Undergraduate Research Mentoring in the Biological Sciences (URM) Program, aimed at increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups who graduate in the biologically-related sciences. It is also designed to expedite the transition into graduate studies.

The URM Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds HSU’s counterpart, was established to broaden the participation of historically underrepresented groups in science and engineering. The NSF defines the historically underrepresented in those disciplines as African Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Pacific Islanders and persons with disabilities.

Biological Sciences Professor Bruce O’Gara said, “One of the great things about this program is that the students will be involved in an intense, long-term mentoring and research relationship with an individual HSU faculty member. This experience will give them a competitive advantage when they apply to graduate school. Another thing I’m very happy about is that we can pay the students a stipend that will put a substantial dent in the financial burden of paying for a college education.”

Added Wildlife Management Professor and Chair Matthew Johnson, “This program provides $24,000 scholarships to help undergraduates finish their degrees and conduct collaborative research with a faculty mentor. The research and training opportunities in this program will provide a springboard for students to launch their careers as biologists.”

Twenty-three students will be enrolled in four cohorts, five of them in the first year and six in each of the succeeding years. Each student will receive financial and research support for a period of two calendar years, with most students starting the program at the beginning of their sophomore year. A stipend of $1,000/month will be paid to each student during the 24 months of his or her participation. Students will enter the program in the summer and proceed through a series of three rotations to explore various research projects and meet prospective research mentors. During their first fall semester, students will enroll in a Research Methods Course that will cover the scientific method, study design, proposal preparation, scientific writing and presentation. Each student will develop a detailed research proposal for a project to be pursued for the remainder of the program. Student research will be mentored individually by one of 16 faculty from six departments (Biological Sciences, Fisheries, Forestry and Wildland Resources, Mathematics, Oceanography and Wildlife) in HSU’s College of Natural Resources and Sciences. Faculty research areas will be grouped in three categories: ecology and evolution; physiology, cell and molecular biology; and natural resource management.

Students will be offered a variety of courses, seminars, workshops, presentations and activities that will comprise the foundation and structure to foster success.

Details are available from Dr. O’Gara at The program Web site is at

Monday, September 21, 2009

HSU to test emergency system

Thursday's exercise to include texting registered cell phones

Paul Mann, Humboldt State University


Humboldt State University will conduct a 15-minute test of its Emergency Alert System on Thursday, September 24, from 10:45 to 11 a.m. Thursday’s exercise will be a drill only and no evacuations will be ordered.

Special red “Test Today” signs will be posted at key locations around campus, HSU’s clock tower bells will sound from 10:45 until 11 a.m. and registered cell phones will buzz with simulated text messages.

The same signs, ringing and messaging would be used in the event of an actual emergency.

As part of the drill, University authorities encourage everyone to use three additional sources of information: via the web at, by telephone recording at 707/826-INFO (4636) and by tuning in KHSU 90.5 FM.

Maximum use of these sources will enable campus administrators to evaluate the Emergency Alert System’s capacity and improve its operation as appropriate.

At the conclusion of the drill, comments on the system’s operation and effectiveness can be submitted at a dedicated web address,

Instructions for registering cell phones to obtain emergency text messages are available at

Friday, September 18, 2009

Decommissioned naval base looted

$39,000 worth of heavy equipment stolen

Humboldt Sentinel staff


Local law enforcement is investigating a grand theft reported this weekend at the decommissioned Centerville Beach Naval Station west of Ferndale.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was contacted on Monday by a demolition crew hired by the feds to continue decommissioning work. Over the weekend while the crew was off-base, several vehicles and pieces of heavy machinery were stolen, likely through a security fence which had been cut, according to HCSO public information officer Brenda Godey.

The crew estimated the value of the stolen property at approximately $39,000. This includes a 1991 Bobcat 553 Skid Steer Loader, colored white, orange and black. The Bobcat had an attached custom-made grapple bucket, and the tires on the Bobcat are Setco brand solid (hard rubber) tires. Also stolen was a Multiquip 25KVA generator on wheels, and a 1998 Towmaster trailer, 24 feet long with a bamboo deck, black in color, with "NWDD" on a stainless steel plate that is attached to the front frame rail of the trailer. The trailer displays Oregon License plate HS34108. The trailer is used to transport the Bobcat.

Anyone with additional information on this case can contact the HCSO at (707) 445-7251.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eureka residency rule sinks Mayor's nominees

Councilmembers Glass, Atkins block appointments to Planning Commission, Housing Board

David Courtland, Humboldt Sentinel


An ongoing battle over appointments to city commissions dominated Tuesday's Eureka City Council meeting, as Linda Atkins and Larry Glass teamed up to kill several of Mayor Virginia Bass' nominations to key boards.

Atkins said she had a problem with appointing non-residents and Glass protested two veteran planning commissioners should have been reappointed, prompting them to cast several critical votes against some of the nominees.

“"I'm concerned we're breaking precedent by not reappointing two people who served and wanted to continue,"” said Glass. “While I rarely agree with them I would say they have served admirably and they bring a lot to the table.”"

Bass and councilmembers Mike Jones and Frank Jager, who had interviewed candidates, countered that the nominees were as knowledgeable as the two who hadn't been reappointed, and hadn't been chosen lightly.

“"This is certainly not to say we weren't satisfied with what (incumbents) were doing, but giving somebody else a chance is one of the reasons we have term limits,"” said Jager. "“It was just our opinion these individuals should be given a chance.”"

But the city's rule that non-resident nominees need four votes in support instead of a simple majority of three worked against Roger Peters, Andrew Redden and Lee Ulansey as Atkins and Glass voted against their nominations. Jones, Jager and Jeff Leonard cast the votes in support. Bass could not vote for her own nominees.

County residents who own businesses in Eureka or live in the city's community services district can serve on city commissions and boards. Peters had been nominated for the Housing Authority Board and Ulansey for the Planning Commission.

Atkins and Glass also voted against Jeff Regan's appointment to the Planning Commission, but since he is a Eureka resident, votes to approve from Jones, Jager and Leonard carried. The council also voted 4-1 with Glass dissenting to appoint Sue McDonald to the Open Spaces, Parks & Recreation Commission.

Kay Escarda, James Matthias, Richard Muse, Robert Fasic and Lance Madsen all got unanimous votes. Escarda, Matthias and Muse were appointed to the Housing Authority; Fasic and Madsen will keep their seats on the Redevelopment Advisory Board, which has only met once this year.

In addition

Glass agreed to table his rental housing license bill until the first meeting in October. Glass and a task force have been working for months on the ordinance, which aims to reduce blighted housing that contributes to crime.

Jones, Jager and Leonard raised concerns that it wasn't clear whether people who rented rooms in single family homes, mother-in law units and flophouses were excluded from the licensing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the stir for breathing air

Tad Robinson presents a case study in Humboldt County’s government-by-fear

Vagabond Journalist
By Charles Douglas

“Liberty is the soul's right to breathe and, when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight. Without liberty, man is in a syncope.”

-Henry Ward Beecher, Life Thoughts

Sitting in Courtroom 5 this Monday watching homeless agitator Tad Robinson get his thirty-days-for-thirty-seconds violation of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors’ oft-unenforced three minute speaking rule (a dictum which, sadly, is seldom applied against their sycophants), I was reminded of my days in Arcata watching another local government ratcheting up the mania in increasingly desperate attempts to make the poor sit down and shut up.

In Arcata City Hall, just as in Supervisors’ Chambers, the progression of rich man’s inhumanity to poor man eventually involved the armed forces being called in to forcibly remove people who exceed the paltry three-minute rule, a rule these self-same elected officials would find it impossible to obey themselves. Needless to say, the so-called Greens like Harmony Groves left their commitment to “grassroots democracy” at the door and sat silently as a homeless man back in 2006 was drug out by the gendarmeries for violating the inviolable terms of local government -- namely that money talks (and for as long as it likes) and the penniless are right-less when it comes to any of their pathetic attempts to influence public policy away from putative revenge fantasies against the least among us.

When the blatantly ridiculous claims of Arcata’s liberality are voiced in my presence, I only need remind them of how the “Green majority” allowed the press box at Arcata City Council meetings to be removed, without notice, to be replaced by an armed police officer, hand on holster, seated and staring at the public address podium situated two feet away, an obvious display of state authority and local officials’ willingness to resort to violence (or the threat of such) to compel consent.

The press table turned goon squad guard post is still there to this day, a testament to how “progressive” Arcata is ruled by fear, and how the high ideals of the Green Party were absolutely polluted and perverted by the very same officials who still claim to have accomplished something. It’s just the sort of self-aggrandizement still practiced by the aforementioned ex-Mayor, since absconded to San Francisco with another content-free notch in her belt to brag about, regardless of how little her one-term-and-out service actually did to help the working people of her short-lived constituency. As with so many of the self-styled “successful activists” turn out, it’s the window dressing on their resumes that count with them, on-the-ground evidence be damned.

Throughout history as in the present day, the real activists take on the longshot or “impossible” causes, and get fined, jailed, beaten and killed for their efforts. Such is the case with Tad, someone I’ve had no shortage of head-shaking moments in relation to – sometimes even I find him to be strident and doctrinaire in his efforts to humanize the homeless. His past and mine aside, his actions in this case are indisputable: He was interrupted repeatedly by elected officials who didn’t like what he had to say in relation to a child labor camp (an incredibly creepy outfit the county contracts with), he went a half-minute over his time limit trying to finish his interrupted statement, and he had already sat down when the goon squad came to grab him. The idea that the meeting was interrupted shock-and-awe style, complete with Lady Liberty weeping tears of blood and American flags spontaneously combusting, doesn’t stand up to the evidence as witnessed by the non-government shills present, who clearly noted that the next speaker strode up to the podium and proceeded to address the Supervisors normally (and for over five minutes, a blatant example of selective enforcement).

I’ve wanted Tad to shut up myself once or twice (I’m sure he’s thought the same of me), but it’s never crossed my mind that he should be fined and thrown in jail for the offense of annoying me or anybody else. For the stupor-inducing Supervisors to conspire with Humboldt County’s bureaucracy, bailiffs and judiciary to make this sick joke come true -- it's enough to make Kafka blush. I can already envision a “Free Tad” benefit concert with a local John Lennon aspirant or two singing a takeoff of “Ten For Two” to decry the treatment of this John Sinclairesque poster boy for open government.

Any amount of peace poor old Jimmy Smith thinks he will spare for his fellow nest feather collectors will be far exceeded by the echo this will send to local activists of every stripe -- at least the ones who claim to care about free speech. The decent, who I’d add include conservative or libertarian types like Rose Welsh, Tom Frederickson and Jeff Lytle, not to mention others more akin to my sort of radical journalist like John Osborn, are suitably outraged by this government-run abuse of the justice system. The authoritarians among us are mostly clustered amongst the fake left pseudo-liberals, who are uniform in their cowardly use of psudeonyms such as Humbug, Not A Native and so forth. Somehow this doesn’t seem to be a coincidence.

Years ago, when I still thought people in Arcata might care about having a decent local government, I proposed an initiative seeking the usual populist political reforms like term limits, public election of the Mayor and Vice Mayor, and access to time on the City Council agenda by any of its members. There was also a provision which doubled the three-minute limit on speaking time, and applied it to the politicians and bureaucrats equally. If it’s good enough for the rest of us, it’s good enough for them, my thinking was. While there’s enough on my plate to preclude the hatching of ballot initiatives these days, perhaps some other idealist out there might consider a little restorative justice for our power-mad Humboldt County Supervisors.

“It ain't fair, John Sinclair
In the stir for breathing air
Won't you care for John Sinclair?
In the stir for breathing air
Let him be, set him free
Let him be like you and me

They gave him ten for two
What else can the judges do?
Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta set him free

If he'd been a soldier man
Shooting gooks in Vietnam
If he was the CIA
Selling dope and making hay
He'd be free, they'd let him be
Breathing air, like you and me

They gave him ten for two
What else can the judges do?
Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta set him free

They gave him ten for two
They got Ali Otis too.
Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta set him free

Was he jailed for what he done?
Or representing everyone
Free John now, if we can
From the clutches of the man
Let him be, lift the lid
Bring him to his wife and kids

They gave him ten for two
What else can the bastards do?
Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,
gotta, gotta, gotta set him free.”

-John Lennon, Ten For Two (John Sinclair)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heroin, coke found on fleeing suspect

Michael David Woody attempted to speed away from Third Street bust

Humboldt Sentinel staff


A man who fled after a Eureka police officer stopped him for a traffic violation has been jailed for drug charges.

Michael David Woody has been busted for transporting a controlled substance, resisting arrest and evading a police officer who pulled him over near K and Third streets. When Woody admitted having marijuana in the car, the officer opened the driver's side door so Woody could step out while the officer searched the car.

Woody instead slammed the door shut and started the ignition, speeding off as the officer fired taser darts at him. After a short chase Woody and his passenger were arrested at S and Sixth streets. The passenger was later released.

A search of the car turned up four bindles of heroin and three bindles what is thought to be cocaine.

Grow house triple bust in Arcata

Grow house triple bust in Arcata
Residence on Janes Road within 150 feet of school

Humboldt Sentinel staff


Even under the Humboldt County ordinance protecting the right of patients and caregivers to grow medical marijuana, it’s not supposed to be done near an elementary school.

This provision apparently escaped the attention of Steven Robert Malocq, who police are looking for in connection to a string of grow houses raided by the Arcata Police Department in coordination with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force on Wednesday.

The old Bloomfield Elementary School, still considered an educational facility even though it no longer serves students in the Arcata School District following budget-induced consolidation, is less than 150 feet from a house Mialocq owns on the 3000 block of Janes Road. His other house at the 3700 block of Coombs Court was also searched, and approximately 270 marijuana plants were seized from the homes. Each house had converted living space into marijuana grow rooms, with unpermitted electrical modifications made at both places, according to APD captain Tom Chapman.

Mialocq was not arrested and is apparently out of the area, and an arrest warrant is being sought against him on charges of cultivation, possession for sale and drug house charges. He may face additional charges due to his home’s proximity to the closed school.

Officers also served a search warrant in the 200 block of G Street after it was discovered that power to the home was being obtained illegally by tapping into an electrical line. APD and DTF officered discovered 163 marijuana plants and five pounds of processed marijuana, although none were present on site. APD considers this an ongoing investigation, and have declined to disclose the name of the homeowner or renter involved in this grow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gunshot victim from Trinidad identified

William Lundy’s vehicle found in Kansas, driver arrested

Humboldt Sentinel staff



A man now identified as 59-year-old William John Lundy was shot dead, according to an autopsy conducted Monday by the Humboldt County Coroner.

Meanwhile, Sheriff’s investigators are flying to the Midwest to follow up on their ongoing homicide investigation in light of the Kansas Highway Patrol discovering Lundy’s car and arresting the driver on purportedly unrelated charges.

It was the welfare check request by Kansas troopers that led California State Park Rangers to pay a visit on Saturday to Lundy’s residence, a fifth-wheel travel trailer, where they found him dead. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office subsequently obtained a warrant and recovered further evidence from the trailer, according to public information officer Brenda Godsey in a release.

The HCSO is not releasing how many times or where on his body Lundy was shot. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call detective Cheryl Franco at (707) 268-3644.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One reason Democrats don’t do better

Voters don’t like being called stupid for holding legitimate concerns

Sam Smith, Progressive Review

Someone in Obama Spin Central made a bad mistake: attempting to push a politicized lesson plan for elementary school kids to use following the president's speech to them on TV. It wasn't all that important in itself but symbolizes an apparent desire in some quarters to replace Muzak in our lives with the sound of all Obama all the time.

The lesson plan included such tacky political recommendations as having students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

Elsewhere the lesson plan suggested sample questions including, "Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything?" and, "Is he challenging you to do anything?"

Once the plan was exposed (and the Review was about the only progressive journal to help in this), The White House quickly dumped some of the objectionable language. For example, the plan now suggests that students "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals."

The spinmeisters pulled out a classic non-apology. Said one, "That was inartfully worded, and we corrected it."

But other Democrats were not content to correct and move on. Instead they tried to rewrite the script so that it was only about the president giving a speech. Nothing about the crummy lesson plan.

And the liberal media joined the fray. MSNBC's John Harwood, for example, badly misstated the issue by claiming, "I’ve been watching politics for a long time, and this one is really over-the-top. What it shows you is there are a lot of cynical people who try to fan controversy, and let’s face it, in a country of 300 million people, there are a lot of stupid people too, because if you believe that it’s somehow unhealthy for kids, for the president to say "work hard and stay in school," you’re stupid." Nothing about the lesson plan.

Now it's true the Republicans and conservatives leaped on the issue as could be expected. But the Democratic and liberal media tried to argue that all those opposed were in this camp as well.

This reflects a growing Democratic tendency, whether the issue be end of life decisions, gun control, or politicized lesson plans issued by the president's staff, to treat all those opposed to the Democrats as stupid conservatives.

And since that isn't true, the Democrats end up insulting an awful lot of people who just don't happen to agree with them on one issue. People like school superintendents who have decided not to run the speech because of its political context or parents who are also troubled by it.

Take for instance Vasselboro Maine parent, Micki Stetson, whose two children attend Vassalboro Community School. According to the Morning Sentinel, "Stetson said it's great that the president is giving a pep talk to students and that children will look at this as 'sort of a good thing, something they will remember,' but that 'the department was overstepping its boundaries. I believe the questions asked were advocating an ideology, as opposed to a critical approach. They shouldn't be asking a child how this figure inspired you. What if the figure didn't inspire them? That's political propaganda, and I don't believe that should be portrayed in the school."

Do John Harwood and the Daily Kos think Micki Stetson is stupid?

What good does it do to assign such a name to those who happen to disagree with you on one issue? Especially when even the White House tacitly admitted they were right by removing the objectionable language?

And if they do think they were stupid, would this category include the former Democratic House majority leader Dick Gephart who in 1991 said of a George H. W Bush speech at a Washington junior high school, "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students."

You start calling people stupid for disagreeing with you on a few issues and there's no telling who will end up in the pot. And every one is less likely to vote the way you want after they've heard your low opinion of them.

Study highlights transit barriers to care

Poor are more than five times as likely to go without health care

Paul Mann, Humboldt State University


The Redwood Coast’s poor people, non-whites and thinly populated areas suffer disproportionately from transportation problems that diminish their access to health care, according to data drawn from the four-county region by the California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP) at Humboldt State University.

The center has published a new research brief, one of a series, that documents transportation disparities among 43 communities surveyed in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties. Those canvassed who have transportation problems were 2.6 times more likely to go without the health care they needed for themselves and their children, versus respondents free of transit obstacles.

Redwood residents below the federal poverty level ($20,444 for a family of two adults and two children in 2006) were 5.2 times more likely to do without health care and 11 times more likely to report no vehicle in the household.

Native Americans and non-whites were 1.7 times more likely to miss out on care and 2.5 times more likely to have no vehicle compared to white respondents. Other transportation obstacles included unreliable vehicles, lack of a driver’s license or telephone, no public transportation, insurmountable distances and weather and road conditions.

Survey respondents in low population areas—fewer than 50 people per square mile—were 1.6 times more likely to encounter transportation problems in obtaining care. One respondent said, “Can’t afford the gas, road trips are very rough on me and [the] baby at times, there is no public transportation and no babysitter.” Another said, “[I have to] travel to Santa Rosa (two tough hours) to get good quality specialty care.” A third commented, “Can’t afford to keep up on registration, insurance and gas.”

Rural residents usually must travel longer distances than urban populations to get treatment and the rural elderly are particularly hard hit, according to the CCRP’s brief, which was drawn from extensive findings of the Rural Health Information Survey that the CCRP conducted in the fall of 2006. Transportation shortages were long known to block access to health care, but the 2006 survey will enable political leaders, planners and policy makers to quantify the extent of the problem and pinpoint those populations and communities most in need.

The research brief says that in dealing with unmet transit needs, community leaders will have to balance the advantages of expanded availability—better access not only to health care, but also to jobs, goods, services and education—with drawbacks: vehicular accidents, noise, air pollution and lack of physical activity.

As the population ages, the brief states, innovative ways will have to be found to improve rural transportation and delivery of services, “since the elderly have the greatest difficulty with personal transportation and have the greatest need for frequent health care visits.”

The report recommends better coordination between transportation planners and health care facilities. It cites Indian health care systems, including Mendocino County’s Consolidated Tribal Health Clinic, which is financed through general funds from an eight-tribe alliance that provides trips to its clinic in Ukiah, Calif., to the Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., and to the University of California Medical Centers in San Francisco.

CCRP research data are available at