Far North

Coasties Brave ‘Extremely Dangerous’ Conditions for Training

When what the Eureka office of the National Weather Service deemed “extremely dangerous ocean conditions” hit the North Coast on Tuesday, local Coast Guard crews hit the waves. According to a Facebook post by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay, crews set out to take advantage of the conditions for Surf Operations Training. “The crews train in these conditions so they can safely respond to mariners in distress through heavy surf,” the post states. The NWS predicted waves could reach heights of 30 to 40 feet, with “breaking waves” of 30 to 35 feet in the surf zone. Conditions became so dangerous yesterday that the Coast Guard shut down the harbor to mariners but reopened the entrance this morning, according to the NWS. …

SECOND UPDATE: Thousands Still Without Power, Some Maybe Until Tomorrow, After ‘Bomb Cyclone,’ Conditions to Improve ‘Gradually’

THIRD UPDATE: Snow plows were clearing roads across the region just before 12:30 p.m., with one operating on U.S. Highway 101 between Orick and Klamath, another between Blue Lake and Willow Creek as well as near Salyer on State Route 299 and another clearing State Route 36 around Dinsmore, according to the Caltrans QuickMap. SECOND UPDATE: The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services says PG&E is reporting 19,500 customers were still without power this morning after wild winds hit the region. “PG&E crews are beginning damage assessments and once complete will begin power restoration,” the OES post states. “There is no timeframe on how long restoration will take. It is possible that outages may continue into tomorrow.” For updated information, visit PG&E at: www.PGE.com/outages. UPDATE: According to Samantha Karges, spokesperson with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, there were no reports of damage to critical infrastructure from the storm, but the office did receive reports of fallen trees and power lines. Karges also said that there were no reports of storm-related injuries made to the sheriff’s office. As of 11:30 a.m., outages included 500 in the Freshwater…

Winter Storm Packing a Punch on the North Coast

The first real storm of the 2019-2020 season is slamming the North Coast – ripping off at least one roof, dropping snow, causing accidents and throwing large waves high onto the land. The National Weather Service in Sacramento is reporting the storm has undergone “Bombogenesis,” which is “defined as a mid-latitude cyclone that drops in surface barometric pressure by 24 or more millibars in a 24-hour period.“ The Eureka office of the National Weather Service reports the “strongest winds” are expected to hit the North Coast between 7 and 9 p.m. Kathleen Zontos, a hydrologist from the National Weather Service in Eureka, said “We’re looking at a major storm system. … It is kind of rare because it is intensifying so quickly. We are seeing gusts near 50 mph.” Just before 7 p.m., thousands remained without power across a huge swath of Humboldt County, according to the PG&E outage map. The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services notes: “There is potential for unexpected power outages and downed power lines from the winds. It is best to stay indoors on lower levels of your home and…

APD Chief, Charmaine Lawson Ask Witnesses to Come Forward

The mother of slain Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson has joined with Arcata Police Chief Brian Ahearn to tape a public service message asking for any witnesses to his April 15, 2007 stabbing to contact the department. In the short clip, Charmaine Lawson says, “There is DNA evidence from the knife used to kill my son. Now we need eyewitnesses to come forth to help us get justice for Josiah.” Together, Charmaine Lawson and Ahern end the message by saying, “We need your help.” Listen to the audio below. November marks 31 months since the 19-year-old criminology major was killed at a house party on Spear Avenue in Arcata. Kyle Zoellner, a then 23-year-old McKinleyville man, was arrested at the scene and charged with Lawson’s murder, but Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen later found insufficient evidence to hold him and the charge was dropped. In February of this year, a criminal grand jury convened to consider charging Zoellner declined to hand up any indictments in the case, a rare outcome in such proceedings. Charmaine Lawson has remained outspoken in her quest…

FIFTH UPDATE: Thousands Without Power as Strong Winds Arrive, Snow is Falling

FIFTH UPDATE: The CHP is reporting multiple incidents of trees or poles down in roadways, including on U.S. Highway 101 at Big Lagoon, Eel River Drive at Table Bluff Road, Old Arcata Road at the Bayside Cutoff and the State Route 255 offramp, among others. Large swaths of Humboldt — from the Garberville area to Orick and inland to Hoopa and Willow Creek — were without power as of 3:15 p.m., leaving thousands with no estimated time of restoration, according to the PG&E outage map. An injury accident on State Route 299 around 1:30 p.m. sent a vehicle over the embankment, according to the Caltrans Quick Map page, which reports the “road is snowy.” The CHP incident page also indicates that heavy snow is falling in the Laytonville area. The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services notes: “There is potential for unexpected power outages and downed power lines from the winds. It is best to stay indoors on lower levels of your home and avoid being around windows.” THIRD UPDATE: The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services reports that snow has been falling at the…

Four Pounds of Heroin Seized by Humboldt County Drug Task Force

The Humboldt County Drug Task Force apprehended 4 pounds of “suspected heroin packaged for sale” during a traffic stop last week in Southern Humboldt. Jessie Kate Hawk, 38, and David Eugene Couch, 62, were identified as suspects and detained. The two were stopped on U.S. Highway 101 near Miranda after agent were able to secure a search warrant “for vehicles occupied by Hawk.” The warrant was obtained after a “multi-week investigation,” during which HCDTF agents received information that Hawk had been suspected of distributing heroin in Humboldt County.  According to the release, Hawk and Couch both have medical conditions that would not allow for booking and they were released from the scene. However, HCDTF agents will be submitting their reports to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution for transportation and possession of controlled substances for sale. Read the full press release below: PRESS RELEASE Last week the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF) seized approximately 4 pounds of suspected heroin in Southern Humboldt County. The suspects in the case were identified as Jessie Kate Hawk (aka “JK” age 38) and David Eugene Couch…

THIRD UPDATE: Thousands Without Power as Strong Winds Arrive, Snow Falling on Berry Summit

THRID UPDATE: The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Service reports that snow has been falling at the top of Berry Summit on State Route 299, with the National Weather Service calling for 4 to 12 inches on the highway’s summits. State Route 36 is expected to see 8 to 15 inches on its summits. For information on chain requirements and other road conditions, visit Caltrans website at: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/. Just before 2 p.m., thousands in Humboldt County were without power, according to the PG&E outage map, including nearly 2,500 in Arcata, 700 in the Loleta area and almost 400 in Rio Dell. The Eureka office of the National Weather Service states in a tweet that trees are down across the region and there are reports of structural wind damage in Crescent City. SECOND UPDATE: Winds are already in the 20 mph to 50 mph range in the region and will continue to increase over the next few hours, according to the National Weather Service office in Eureka. The PG&E power outage map is showing scattered outages across Humboldt just before 1:30 p.m., including one in the…

McKinleyville Again Mulling Town Center Plans

McKinleyville is once again in the process of reimagining itself and that again means envisioning a Town Center. Town Center plans were the focus of a Nov. 13 community meeting, with additional conversations slated for December, January and February. Some McKinleyville residents have long dreamed of a time when their town will be a beautiful, lively place where people want to live and work, not just a bedroom community for Arcata and Eureka. Some have worked toward that goal since 1965, crafting one plan after another, which have generally ended up on a shelf somewhere in the county Planning and Building Department, and seemingly have had little effect on what actually happens in the county’s third-largest population center. The last McKinleyville Community Plan was written in 2002 and a lot has changed since then. The Senior Center, a sheriff’s office sub-station, the new fire station, the library and Eureka Natural Foods did not exist in 2002. Now that the county’s 2017 General Plan has been adopted, various unincorporated communities are being encouraged to come up with their own visions of the future, and McKinleyville residents…

High Tides, Stormy Weather on Tap for Thanksgiving Week

Extremely high tides and stormy weather are set for the week of Thanksgiving, according to the National Weather Service office in Eureka. Tides ranging from 7.9 feet to more than 8 feet will arrive from Sunday to Thursday, which — combined with elevated surf and southerly winds — could result in “some minor coast flooding,” according to NWS. Meanwhile, a winter storm is expected to hit mid-week, bringing rain and hail to the coast — and snow to the mountains — along with cold temperatures and strong winds. Read the NWS posts below: Some of the highest tides of the year are expected next week due to the perigean spring tide. There is the potential for southerly winds which could increase water levels above already high tides. This may cause some minor coastal flooding in low areas around Humboldt Bay and along the coast. Elevated surf may increase the impacts along the open coast. Coastal flood advisories will be issued if flooding is expected within 24 to 36 hours and can be found on www.weather.gov/eka. For more information on the perigean spring tide visit: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/perigean-spring-tide.html.…

Rio Dell Mayor Asks Supes to Move Terra-Gen Appeal Meeting Down South

Rio Dell Mayor Debra Garnes has sent a letter to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors officially requesting a change of venue for any future meeting on Terra-Gen’s proposed wind farm. The Humboldt County Planning Commission voted 4-2 Thursday, with commissioners Mike Newman and Alan Bongio dissenting and commissioner Brian Mitchell absent, to deny the proposal to erect massive turbines on Monument and Bear River ridges south of Rio Dell. In the letter with today’s date, Garnes writes that it is her understanding that Terra-Gen is prepared to appeal the planning commission’s decision to the board of supervisors. Garnes notes that previous meetings had overflowing crowds, which included elderly and handicapped individuals who were “denied entry for safety considerations.” “They were instead forced to stand for hours on end and listen to a small, dated speaker suspended from the ceiling,” Garnes wrote. “At one point, the crowd, which was composed of supporters and opponents of the project, chanted in unison ‘Let us in! Let us in!’ I know you can do better!” She signs off by offering to help the board of supervisors secure an…

Planning Commission Denies Wind Farm Project

The Humboldt County Planning Commission voted 4-2, with commissioners Mike Newman and Alan Bongio dissenting and commissioner Brian Mitchell absent, to deny a proposal to build a wind farm on Monument and Bear River ridges south of Rio Dell. An initial vote on a motion to accept the project stalled with a 3-3 vote, which prompted commission Chair Robert Morris to ask Terra-Gen’s representative if he would be OK delaying the vote a couple of weeks until after the Thanksgiving holiday when the full commission would be available. The representative — Terra-Gen Senior Director for Wind Development Nathan Vajdos — replied that he wanted a clear answer then and there, prompting the vote on whether to deny the project. (Bongio, who had voted for the motion to accept the project was the swing vote in denying it, but offered no explanation for the change.) The proposal brought forward by Terra-Gen, a subsidiary of Energy Capital Partners, would see 47 600-foot wind turbines erected on the ridge lines, each placed on a large concrete platform. Proponents of the project conceded it would bring unavoidable environmental consequences…

St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood Memorial Hospital Healthcare Workers on Strike

Employees at St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals donned red shirts and held picket signs demanding fair labor practices as they crowded the corner of the  entrance into St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka yesterday. They were protesting the hospital’s staffing shortage and the state of new employee salary negotiations, according to a press release sent by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents about 500 healthcare workers in Humboldt County. According to the release, 92 percent of caregivers at the two hospitals reported that “their shifts are understaffed at least once a week” and that “nursing assistants reported having to care for as many as 20 patients at a time.” The release also states that the hospital’s health system, Providence St. Joseph Health, made more than $197 million in operating profits (including $63 million from both hospitals in Humboldt County) in the last year but isn’t investing its resources to alleviate staffing problems. The release also alleges Providence is also looking to cut employee health benefits, reduce vacation time and offer just a 1.5 percent raise in each of the next two years. “We…

ode to surfer dave

I didn’t really know him to be honest his life story what I knew of him was from our acquaintance out at the beach our conversations I always felt a deep kinship now that he’s gone I can hear his voice in my head it’s calming he left doing what he had spent so much time and energy learning, knowledge the ocean, its subtleties and unrelenting wildness I feel saddened and a little afraid he was a kind soul I don’t have a cynical word to say it’s a great loss to those of us who shared his company I liked his dog, she was like my dog: a wolf and his weird, translucent homemade board his shiny red coup, stacked on the roof to the brim his pink hoodie he was older than me by a few years which is pretty damn impressive he didn’t give it up I admire him Matt Durham…

Nuna’s Frozen Cheesecake

My maternal grandmother ‘Nuna,’ otherwise known as Elinor Walker Flinn, was born in the Tennessee mountains but lived her adult life in Columbia, South Carolina. An upright, dignified woman, she embodied a word we don’t use much anymore: lady. She was married to Pappy, my colorful grandfather, a binge drinker with a wooden leg — a source of great entertainment to his grandchildren. He had lost his leg in Labrador during a hunting accident. Nuna was the quiet, steadfast understudy of the marriage, the dutiful mother, a professional seamstress who sewed her daughters’ clothing during the Depression and kept the family alive when Pappy disappeared on drinking bouts. It was Nuna who showed me that, although I have an outgoing personality, I’m often drawn to introverts. As my cousin says, “She was quiet and calm. I always felt safe with her.” I grew close to her during my teenage years, when most of my family was halfway around the world living in Pakistan, where my father had been posted on his latest State Department assignment. In 1967 and 1968, during my last two years of…

The Donbass Saga

A recent essay on the Clarke Historical Museum’s website about how Eureka came to be electrified attracted a single, terse comment: “Nothing beats the story of the Donbass.” Although the essay didn’t mention the Donbass, old-timers will surely know what’s being referred to. It’s quite a tale. Prior to Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to assist the Allies’ fighting ability without actually bringing the U.S. into the war. His main way of doing so was via the Lend-Lease Act of March, 1941, which permitted the president to make “any defense article” available to — originally — Britain and, later that year, China and the Soviet Union. The latter was important to Roosevelt, since he believed that if Germany defeated the U.S.S.R., the Allies would probably lose against the Axis powers. Which is how the oil tanker SS Beacon Rock, built in 1944 at industrialist Henry J. Kaiser’s Swan Island shipyard outside Portland, Oregon, morphed into the Donbass III, flying the red hammer and sickle of the Soviet Union. According to a Nov. 2, 1946 article in the Madera Tribune, it carried “aviation gas and…

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