Archive | Eel River Valley

Humboldt County Fair Board Violates Brown Act– Repeatedly

 

Small Town Politics and Secrecy by Some Abound in Ferndale

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

From the February 14 print edition of The Ferndale Enterprise, reported by Editor Caroline Titus:

The Humboldt County Fair Association board of
fair4directors Monday night voted 16-1 to appoint ten-year board member Tim Renner to the position of interim board president until the end of this year.

Meanwhile, at a February 5 meeting of the board’s new ad hoc committee — charged with finding an interim fair manager and permanent fair manager after an 11-8 vote on January 28 not to renew 22-year fair manager Stuart Titus’ contract — it was announced that the board had
hired former Humboldt County Chief Administrative
Officer Loretta Nicklaus as its interim manager. 

However, on Friday, committee member Johanna Rodoni said that Nicklaus had declined the job.

fairBoard member (Jeff) Farley made the announcement at the beginning of the ad hoc meeting (on Monday, February 11).  The meeting, held at the fairgrounds, was not open to the public and is not governed by the state’s open meeting laws.  A temporary advisory committee composed of less than a quorum of a legislative body that serves a limited or single purpose and will be dissolved once a specific task is complete, is not subject to the Brown Act.

Farley had notified KIEM News Channel 3 in an advance telephone call that the meeting was not open to the public, according to reporter Kelly May.  He informed The (Ferndale) Enterprise’s reporter at the beginning of the meeting
that it was closed, asked the reporter to leave, and handed out a document
signed by him as “acting secretary of the board.”

Under public comment, Ferndale resident John Maxwell spoke.  He clarified that he was also a member of several public agencies, including the Ferndale City Council, but that his comments were being made as a public citizen.  Maxwell said after attending the fair board’s special meeting the prior week, he felt that the board was “unprepared” for changes in leadership and recruitment of a new manager.

“This board should have countered Mr. Titus’ with
fair3a one-year contract,” Maxwell said. “It would have been a lot cleaner in the end.  “There’s a lot of bells you can’t unring,” he said, urging the board to operate with “professionalism and transparency.”

“Additionally, I hope this board can act with recognition of all aspects of the Brown Act,” he said, adding that he hopes that members consider whether it is in the best interest of the board to have the “venom and vitriol created in this room spill over into other public agency
meetings.”

Maxwell was referring to fair board members’ behavior at recent Ferndale City Council meetings.  Maxwell said “by fair time” he hopes that “all the wounds have healed” and that a recognition of Titus’ 22 years receives unanimous support from the board.

Before the board began discussion of the one agenda item — that of approving the nominating committee’s actions — board member Dave Mogni said he wanted to discuss appointing a board member to a volunteer position to supervise the fair’s office staff since Titus was on vacation until the end of his contract, February 28.

Rodoni said that since the issue was not on the agenda, per the Brown Act, it could not be discussed or action taken.  Mogni noted that the issue was perhaps an “emergency” situation.  Renner, now leading the meeting, said the issue would have to be noticed at least 24 hours ahead of time.  Mogni told Renner he wanted to “come back” to the issue after the meeting’s agendized item was taken care of.

After votes were taken on officer succession, Mogni brought up
tfair1he issue again with board members discussing who should be in charge of office staff if Titus is unavailable.  Board members reached a consensus after discussion that Renner as interim board president should be available if Titus is not.  Titus, in an email to board members, said that while he is taking earned vacation leave, he is available to office staff and will continue signing checks.

Jim Ewert, an attorney for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, said on Wednesday that the fair board discussing an item not on the agenda and reaching a consensus was “one of the most common and in my perspective, egregious violations of the Brown Act.

“The reason I say most egregious is that it is the intent of the Brown Act to allow the public to be informed of potential actions and items and give them the opportunity to weigh in,” said Ewert.  “The benchmark on that is giving a notice to the public of what the body is going to do. If the board, in this case, decides to take up items not on the agenda, discuss and deliberate and act on them, it is a brazen patronizing contempt of the public.”

At a April 30, 2012 executive committee meeting of the board, board member Olsen told General Manager Titus that he was to stop reminding the board of the Brown Act or it could “cost him votes” when it came time for his contract renewal.

mu10Olsen also told Titus that he was to make sure board members “did not look bad” in this newspaper, owned and operated by Titus’ wife and to stop electronically recording board meetings — or he could lose votes.

A review of several years’ worth of board minutes by The Enterprise reported on in last week’s edition, shows multiple alleged violations of the state’s open meeting law.

The board’s regular monthly meeting is schedule for Monday, February 25, at 7 pm at the fairgrounds.

 

* * * * * * * *

Disclosure: Enterprise owner and editor Caroline Titus is married to Humboldt County Fair General Manager Stuart Titus.

The above article has been abridged.  You can read the full article by Ms. Titus in The Ferndale Enterprise here.

Better yet, pick up a print edition.  We appreciate the Tituses advocating for transparency and openess, following the Brown Act and the law, and simply doing the right and honest thing.

Posted in Eel River Valley, Local4 Comments

Racist Trio Assault Women and Boy in Ferndale

 

–Riverbar Fun Goes Sour–

 

Authorities Seek Felon Curtis Flowers After He Flees Hospital

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Remember when riverbar parties and bonfires involved
hanging out, playing guitars, roasting marshmallows–
and not beating the crap out of people?

From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

bonfire2On Sunday, February 17 at approximately 1:00 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a citizen who reported three males were at a large party in the area of East Ferry Road in Ferndale and were assaulting several people.

Sheriff’s Deputies, California Highway Patrol officers, and Ferndale Police responded to the scene.  While deputies were enroute they were advised the three male suspects were attempting to leave the area in a dark colored KIA Rio.

A Ferndale Police Officer spotted the Kia SUV near
Fernbridge and stopped it.  Deputies and CHP officers
joined the Ferndale Officer and detained the three males
who were in the vehicle.

bridgeThe officers saw the occupants had fresh injuries to them.  They also showed signs of alcohol intoxication.  The officers could also see open alcoholic containers in the vehicle.

The three subjects were identified as:

  • Douglas Wayne Flowers, 43-years-old, and from Fortuna;
  • Curtis Flowers, 22-years-old, from Fortuna;
  • Christopher James Hanly, 23-years-old, from McKinleyville

All three men were were detained.  To note, Douglas Flowers is the father of Curtis Flowers; Curtis was the driver of the KIA Rio.  Medical personnel were requested to respond to the scene and treat them for their injuries.

Deputies then contacted witness and the victims.

They were told by the witness and victims that the Flowers and Hanly showed up at the party on the Ferndale River bar intoxicated.

The suspects shouted “White Pride”, as they walked around through
the crowd.  They were asked to calm down by party attendees; Curtis
Flowers started pushing people and challenging them to fight.

bonfire3An 18-year-old female attempted to leave the party in a Toyota Pickup truck
because of Curtis Flowers’ behavior.  As she got into the truck, Curtis Flowers
walked up to the truck and swung the truck door open.  In doing so, the door struck another 18-year-old female who was watching what was occurring and standing near the pickup truck.

When the female who was struck by the door made a comment about being struck by the door to Curtis Flowers, he punched her in the face with a closed fist.  When the injured female got back up, Douglas Flowers punched her in the face knocking her back to the ground.  The female immediately fell to the
ground a second time.

Meantime, the female who had been in the truck exited the truck to assist the assaulted and injured female.  She was punched in the face, too, which knocked her to the ground and unconscious.

A 16-year-old male was close by and came to both females’ aid.  He was was punched in the eye by Curtis Flowers.  Then all three suspects– Curtis Flowers, Douglas Flowers and Christopher Hanly– began punching him in the face after knocking him to the ground.

Deputies could see the 16-year-old’s eye was swollen almost shut.  One of the 18-year-old females received a broken jaw which required surgery at a local hospital.  The other female refused medical attention.

Curtis Flowers

Curtis Flowers

Curtis Flowers was transported by ambulance and admitted to Redwood Memorial Hospital for a cut on his neck; however he fled from the hospital the same day, February 17, at around 5:00 p.m.

Fortuna Police checked the area for him but were unable to locate him.  A ‘Be-on-The-Lookout’ was broadcast to local law enforcement for his apprehension.  Curtis Flowers is on State Parole for a conviction of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.  Now, he’s wanted for:

  • Assault Causing Great Bodily Injury
  • Driving under the Influence
  • Assault and Battery
  • Violation of Parole

Douglas Flowers and Christopher Hanly were both arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Douglas Flowers was booked for Assault Causing Great Bodily Injury and Public Intoxication.  His bail was set at $50,000.00.

stoopidMr. Hanly was booked for Assault, Probation Violation, and Public Intoxication.  For reasons we don’t fully understand given his probation status, he was surprisingly released on his own recognizance in spite of his apparent stupidity.

The Sheriff’s Office will be increasing patrols in the Eel River area for the foreseeable future to help curtail parties and other criminal activity.

We can only hope Probation and Parole Agents can supervise their clients as well.

 

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 Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539, the HCSO said.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley, Local2 Comments

Two Arrested After Cream City Bank Break-In

 

Ferndale’s Early Morning Excitement

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Cream City never sleeps.

Caroline Titus of the Ferndale Enterprise asked incredulously: 

“Doesn’t anyone know it’s Sunday?  Ferndale had a cat stuck on power pole, a medical call, and now a bank robbery.”

Yes, a bank robbery.  Only this time it wasn’t Guy Fieri.  It was the real deal.

Waking Ms. Titus out of her cozy bed in the wee hours of the morning, she dutifully reported:

Fferndale burgerndale police officers arrested two Willits residents early Sunday morning after they were found inside Ferndale’s U.S. Bank, allegedly trying to get access into the bank’s ATM.

Sylvester Loren Vansickle, 56, and Larry Daniel Rodriguez, 39, were booked into the Humboldt County Jail on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary with an acetylene torch, possession of burglary tools and possession of tools to break into a vending machine, according to Ferndale Police Department Chief Bret Smith. 

But wait, there’s more:  You can read the full details here at the Ferndale Enterprise.

* * * * * * * *

loud noiseYes, Ms. Titus, it was Sunday in Ferndale.  In fact, it was Sunday all over.

It’s high time readers wake up and smell Ferndale’s fresh dairy-aire, understanding what has happened to the normally quaint and innocent Victorian Village where residents see no need to lock their doors or license their Holsteins:

naked city“The question:  Do the machines in a factory ever need rest?  Does a ship ever feel tired?  Or is it only people who are weary at night?  There is a pulse to the Naked City and it never stops beating.  It takes a thousand questions to get one answer.

The Naked City takes on its own life, an asphalt jungle that is sleepless, merciless, corrupt.  Pulsating with a cold urban triumph, a black and white grid depicted from oblique angles which induce claustrophobia in the protagonists, and especially in us, the suspended viewers.

Perhaps in the country, the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile, and menacing.  It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time.

The Naked City never sleeps.

There are 8 million stories in the Naked City.  This is one of them.”

~Naked City, 1948

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

 

 

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments

Sheriff: Officer-Involved Shooting Justified

 

HCSO Officer to Return to Duty after Investigation

 

–Updated Below–

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey held a news conference today in the early afternoon concerning Saturday’s officer-involved shooting of a fleeing suspect’s vehicle.

This is the summary of what he told the press in attendance in a prepared statement:

The deputy involved in the officer-involved shooting has been cleared to return to full duty.  Sheriff Downey made the decision to return four-year veteran deputy Conan Moore, 31-years-old, to full duty after speaking with Critical Incident Response Team (C.I.R.T.) Investigators and the Humboldt County District Attorneys’ Office.

Sheriff Downey believes Deputy Moore’s actions were lawful and within policy.

C.I.R.T. Investigators continue with their investigation into this incident.

On January 23, a search warrant issued by Humboldt County Superior Court was served on the vehicle that (Elliot Michael) Walin was driving (and that the Deputy shot at).

When members of the C.I.R.T. searched the vehicle they located:

  •  A loaded .380 semi-auto handgun between the seats,
  • A sawed off shotgun in the rear of the car,
  • And suspected methamphetamine.

Additional charges against Walin are being sought.

These were the details of the incident previously given by the HCSO in their release:

On January 19, 2013, at approximately 4:15 a.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office deputy driving a marked patrol car was southbound on Thompkins Hill road when he saw black 2002 Honda two door hatchback driving erratically and over the double yellow line.

The deputy attempted a traffic stop on the Honda, but the vehicle failed to stop.

The deputy initiated a pursuit and followed the Honda which turned onto Hookton Road, then south on Eel River Drive reaching speeds up to 65 mph.  When the reached Loleta it attempted to turn onto Loleta Drive where it spun out of control causing it to strike the curb.

car bulletThe deputy exited his vehicle to apprehend the occupants. When the deputy exited his patrol vehicle he saw the male driver had a handgun in his hand.

The male driver then drove at the deputy who discharged his duty weapon at the vehicle, striking it.

The Honda ran over the deputy’s foot as it fled the deputy again.  The deputy re-initiated a pursuit of the vehicle which was now southbound on Eel River Drive.  The Honda lost control at Eel River and Copenhagen Road, Loleta, running off the road.

The male driver fled the car still holding the handgun and the female passenger also exited the Honda.  They both ran off on foot in separate
directions.

Additional law enforcement arrived on scene and a perimeter was established.  A Eureka Police K-9 arrived to assist with the search of the area.

The K-9 located Elliott Michael Walin, 29-years-old, from Fortuna hiding in a nearby drainage and covered in mud.  Walin was wanted on a no-bail probation violation warrant and was arrested on that warrant, along with new charges of:

  • Attempted murder
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Resisting/obstructing an executive officer
  • Evading a police officer
  • Resisting arrestcar bullet3

Prior to be transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility, Walin was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released for the dog bite wounds sustained from the K-9.

He is being held without bail in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Deputies located Jill Deanna Winnop, 35-years-old and from Fortuna, hiding in bushes nearby.  She was arrested for resisting arrest.  She was booked into the
Humboldt County Correctional Facility.  Her bail set at
$10,000.00.

Walin and Winnop were not struck or injured by the deputy’s gunfire, only the vehicle they were driving was hit.

The deputy was transported to a different hospital and was treated and released for an injury to his foot.  He is expected to make a full recovery.

car bullet2The deputy was been placed on Administrative Leave which is standard protocol when they have been involved in an on-duty use of deadly force.  The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team (C.I.R.T.) was activated to investigate this shooting.

Investigators from the Eureka Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt County District Attorneys Office are investigating this incident.

Investigators were at the scene of the crime searching the fields for the firearm which Walin had– and has not been recovered as of yet.

Walin was recently released from California State Prison due to prison realignment (AB109). He was on Parole Revocation Community Supervision and
was wanted for violating those terms.

* * * * * * * * *

UPDATE:  Readers may be interested in knowing Mr. Walin’s prior history and sentencing contained in the comments below.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley, Local3 Comments

$1 Million Bud Bust

 

It’s All in the Pickle Barrel

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Rio Dell Police and the DTF did it again on Pearl Harbor Day, hot on the heels of last week’s marijuana bust.

On December 7, at 8:00 in the morning, Humboldt County
Drug Task Force and the Rio Dell Police assisted the
California State Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotics
Enforcement with a search warrant at a residence located in
the 1000 block of Riverside Drive in Rio Dell, the HCSO reported.

Officers detained a subject, who lived at the residence and
identified as Nikolai Kaley Erickson, 37.

When officers searched the residence they located 279 individual one-pound bags of processed marijuana bud.  Additionally, another approximately 40 pounds of loose marijuana bud was located in the residence hidden inside of pickle barrels.

Officers seized $12,482 dollars in cash from the residence for possible asset forfeiture.

Mr. Erickson was arrested for possession of marijuana for sales and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility in Eureka.  His bail was set at $ 75,000 dollars.

At the same time that officers were serving a search warrant at Erickson’s residence in Rio Dell, Humboldt County Drug Task Force
Agents assisted California State Department of Justice Officers with a
search warrant at two parcels located off Bear Creek Road in Dinsmore,
which were owned by Erickson.

At the property in Dinsmore, officers located evidence of an outdoor marijuana growing operation. Officers detained 9 subjects who told officers they were hired by Erickson to help manicure the marijuana.

Officers seized over 377 pounds of dried marijuana bud from the Dinsmore property.  The nine subjects were identified and release from the scene, the HCSO said.

A street value of the marijuana seized in this investigation is over one million dollars, they noted.

This case is still under investigation by the State of
California Department of Justice/ Bureau of Narcotic
Enforcement.

* * * * * * * *

Another bud bust?  700 pounds?  $1 million dollars?  Who buys all this weed?

 

 

 

 

 

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments

Deceased Man Found at South Jetty

 

Circumstances of Death Remain a Mystery

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A man was found dead at the South Jetty around 7:30 a.m. yesterday.

The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office says the adult male
was found by a passerby on a quad vehicle, just above the
surf-line near the parking lot area.  They believe the body
is someone who’s been filed with police as missing out of
Rio Dell since December 1.

Deputy Coroner Roy Horton responded to the scene Tuesday and has positively identified the man.

“There are no injuries that appear to have caused the man’s death,” Horton said.

Horton said the man was discovered by a citizen on an ATV, who was gathering firewood on the beach.  The driver of the ATV reported seeing the man alive last night, according to Horton.

The Coroner’s Office is investigating how the body got there.
 
Investigating officials say there is a question of how the body got to this location on the South Jetty.  They report there was no vehicle associated with him at the scene.

They also indicate the condition of his body is not reflective of having been in the water for any long period of time, considering how long he’s been missing.  The body had some unexplained minor lacerations.

A witness told the Coroner’s office he was at the same Jetty location on Monday and the body wasn’t there;  it appeared within 24 hours later, he said.

Horton said the identity of the deceased man will be released after the next of kin are contacted.

The KIEM-TV news report is here.

UPDATE:  The Coroner has identified the man as Judson Isaiah Nolan, 41, of Rio Dell.  There were no injuries found for his death.  The Coroner added it’s likely Nolan hitchhiked or got a ride to the area.

 (Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Eel River Valley, Local0 Comments

Marijuana and Weapons Arsenal Found Near Rio Dell

 

Details Scant:  Weed, Body Armor, Grenades, Assault Weapons, and Guard Dogs Found

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The Humboldt County Drug Task Force called in the bomb squad today at a marijuana grow behind the former Eel River Sawmill, north of Rio Dell, after grenades,
later found to be inert — were discovered at the scene,
 according to the Times-Standard.

 

Three people were arrested, including Nathan Titchener, 28, Ben Titchner, 21, and Beth Hendry, 28, according to law enforcement.

Officials said hundreds of plants, military grade body armor, and assault weapons were recovered at the scene.  The structure was protected by guard dogs, according to law enforcement.

Officials said they had received numerous complaints about the possible grow.

The Times-Standard reported they will have more information on this story as it develops.

UPDATE:  Kelly May of KIEM-TV news reports 567 plants were seized from a half dozen grow rooms that were converted from inside the old offices of the Eel River Sawmill.

The Titchener brothers and Ms. Hendry are renters and explosives found on the porch were found to be inactive.

10-12 firearms were seized along with thousands of rounds of ammo and ballistics vests.

Kelly May’s photo of the bust from the KIEM Facebook page appears on the right.

The KIEM-TV news video report describing more is here.

The Times-Standard article is here.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley1 Comment

Cannibal Island Junkie Jailed

 

And Then Promptly Released

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Today at approximately 3:15 in the morning, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen who reported seeing flashlights at her neighbors home in the 3000 block of Cannibal Island Road in Loleta.

The citizen told the dispatcher someone had burglarized that same home the day before and they had now returned. 

When a deputy arrived on scene, he saw two suspects inside the residence with flashlights.

When the suspects saw the deputy, one of them got into a Toyota Pickup Truck and attempted to flee.  The other suspect ran off on foot.

The deputy pursued the pickup truck approximately one mile until the suspect stopped and then submitted to arrest.

The deputy arrested Jill Deanna Winnop, 35 years old, from Fortuna.

During the search of Winnop’s purse the deputy located heroin.  Additional deputies, officers from the California Highway Patrol and Fortuna Police Department arrived on the scene and searched the area for the second suspect who fled but were unable to locate that suspect.

Winnop was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked on charges of:

  • Evading a police officer,
  • Possession of a narcotic, and
  • Burglary

She was booked– and then released on her own recognizance.  We don’t know the reasons why– nor do we understand the logic of releasing a heroin addict evading police after committing a burglary and likely to re-offend another day without help.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley, Local0 Comments

Car Theft Suspect Resists Arrest

Tim Vivian tasered, struck with baton

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A traveler from Sonoma County who allegedly lifted his ride without permission was spotted after causing a disturbance last night and eventually arrested after a high speed chase and subsequent violent altercation with police.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a disturbing the peace call at about 11 p.m. Monday and responded to the Phillipsville Trailer Park, where they found loud music coming from a 2003 blue Dodge pickup truck parked nearby. As the deputies parked, the idling truck drove off, and eventually went southbound on the Avenue of the Giants (State Route 254), during which time it entered the northbound traffic lane. The deputies began to conduct a traffic stop, but as the truck pulled off to the side of the highway and the cops exited their vehicle, the suspect suddenly sped away southwards at a high rate of speed.

Now informed by dispatch that the truck was reported stolen from Santa Rosa, the deputies pursued the truck, which had now proceeded northbound on Highway 101. The suspect allegedly crossed the double yellow line at various times while leading deputies on a chase which reached 100 miles per hour. As the truck reached the Salmon Creek exit, it took the turn off too fast and failed to negotiate the corner, running into the embankment.

At this point the driver jumped out of the truck and fled on foot with an object in his hand while the truck was still rolling. Chasing the suspect through the brush, the cops ordered him to leave the brush, show his hands and drop to the ground. The man instead came towards the deputies, who then used a taser against him, causing him to fall to the dirt. According to a statement by lieutenant Steve Knight today, the grounded suspect continued to fight and violently resist the deputies, to which the cops responded by “utilizing their baton on the suspect” until he was handcuffed.

Upon the suspect’s arrest, the stolen truck was searched; four large ziplocked bags of processed marijuana were found, along with a six-inch long knife. Identified as 44-year-old Timothy Vivian of Rohnert Park, an active parolee, the suspect allegedly told deputies he was trying to “train them” by evading and resisting them. He was taken to a local hospital and medically cleared before being booked into county jail on charges of felony evasion, resisting arrest, driving under the influence, possessing stolen property, violating parole and transporting marijuana.

Due to his parole status, he is being held at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility without bail.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley5 Comments

Loleta Party Stabbing Fracas Details Released

Five Victims Brought to Hospital; Deputy Injured in Alcohol-Fueled Brawl

Staff Report

Humboldt Sentinel

 

We’ve heard of dancing on the tabletops and swinging off the chandeliers– but this takes the frisky cake.  Swauger’s Station sure knows how to throw down a wild party and pull out all the stops.

On Sunday, June 24, at approximately 12:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a loud party at 591 Cannibal Island Road in Loleta with as many as fifty vehicles reported to be associated with the party, according to the HCSO.

Deputies responded and met with the occupants of the residence who agreed to quiet their party down. The occupants were family members and their friends, determined to be adults.  Rather than quieting down, the party escalated into a brawl shortly after officers left.

Two and a half hours later at 3:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Fortuna Police returned after being dispatched to a fight in progress involving numerous people at the residence.  The Humboldt County Sheriff Dispatch center had received a call from a hysterical female at the location stating that several people had been stabbed.  Medical personnel were also dispatched to the scene.

The scene was described as chaotic as HSCO and Fortuna officers arrived.  What they found was horrific:  initial reports indicated that at least seven victims had been stabbed, some of them teens.

Deputies found victims on the ground in various locations around the residence.  Several were screaming for help.

At least one victim was found inside the residence with serious stab wound injuries.  Several people were still fighting as officers arrived.  Deputies were breaking up fights while simultaneously trying to attend and treat stabbing victims.

Deputies learned that at least thirty people had been involved in the fight while many more had attended the party.  The party had been posted on Facebook and while it was initially just for family members and friends who were attending, both the party attendees and tempers quickly grew out of hand.

Alcoholic beverages were being consumed at the party and contributed to the violently wanton actions taking place, officers reported.

At least thirty people were determined to be involved in a physical fight at one point, with many fights breaking off into smaller groups, according to the HCSO.  While the fights were occurring, at least two or three people brought out knives and began stabbing people indiscriminately.

At least five people treated at the scene were treated for stab wounds.  There are believed to be at least two more victims that were stabbed, and possibly more.  All five stabbing victims were treated and released from local hospitals.  Some victims received numerous stab wounds to various parts of their bodies.

 

Two of the stabbers were taken into custody and more arrests are possible according to the Sheriff’s Office.  Those suspects arrested were identified as:


Kurtis Shane Day
, 20 years old from Rio Dell arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Resisting Arrest; and

Aaron Storm Eubanks, 19 years old from Fortuna, for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Attempted Murder.

Both Day and Eubanks were booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.  Bail for Mr. Day was set at $50,000; Mr. Eubanks, $500,000.

The Sheriffs Office is not releasing booking photos of the suspects because detectives are still interviewing witnesses and victims who are being used to assist with identification of suspects.

A Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff received a five inch laceration to his arm when he tackled Eubanks who tried to run from the deputy while taking him into custody.  It is unknown how the deputy was injured.  The deputy was treated and released.

Detectives are assigned to this investigation which is still ongoing.  The Sheriff’s Office is seeking information regarding this case.  Detective Sergeant Diana Freese is the lead investigator and she can be reached at 707-268-3639, or messages can be left at the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

* * * * * * *

Well, at least no one was gunning for a fight.  Just a little early Sunday knife-play melee, nothing to see here folks, might as well move on along.  Party’s over, time to go home.  Thanks for the good times and memorable moments– and for calling deputies out of their beds to assist at 3 am.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments

Burglars Lift $50k From Ferndale Area Home

Black Honda Civic on the loose along with seventeen firearms

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Law enforcement is looking for the looters of a home just outside the city limits of Ferndale, where robbers ransacked a residence for at least $50,000 worth of property.

At about 6:45 p.m. on Friday, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received word from a local man who said his parent’s house on the 100 block of Port Kenyon Road had been burglarized. Apparently his parents were on vacation and a caretaker called their son to report the incident, which supposedly happened between 4 p.m. on May 24 and 9 a.m. the next day.

Amongst the take was a cache of 17 firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns. Also missing are chainsaws, tools, laptops, video equipment, a Honday 6500 cc generator, jewelry and a black 2002 Honda Civic with plate number 4ZPE306 — which was taken right out of the carport, according to a released statement by HCSO lieutenant Steve Knight.

Members of the public with information for the HCSO regarding this case or related criminal activity are encouraged to call (707) 445-7251 or their Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments

Loleta Father Arrested For Stabbing Son

Floyd Bowen was allegedly wrestling at home before using broken bottle

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A man is sitting in county jail with bail set at $50,000 after he allegedly stabbed his adult son in the chest with a beer bottle.

At about 1:45 a.m. on May 5, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a stabbing victim was under treatment at Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna. Upon arrival, the deputy met with the 22-year-old victim, a resident of Loleta, who was being treated for a deep stab wound in his chest and a small laceration to his arm.

According to the victim’s statement, the man had been wrestling with his 46-year-old father at their Loleta residence when his father stabbed him with a broken bottle. The dad, Floyd Monroe Bowen, was being treated at the hospital at the same time for scratches to his face and was also complaining of throat pain.

After the elder Bowen was treated and released by hospital staff, he was arrested by the HCSO for assault with a deadly weapon and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments

County Drops Charges Against Sterback

Fernbridge Cafe free of any further regulatory snafus

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A sad interlude of bureaucratic intransigence and red tape-slinging has come to an end as Humboldt County officials announced today the dismissal of all criminal charges against Steve Sterback, the owner of the Fernbridge Market and Cafe.

“Ultimately, the District Attorney’s Office determined that dismissal of the pending charges would be in the interest of justice, given the fact that the issues identified by the County have been addressed and the Café has been legally open and operating for some time,” Deputy District Attorney Kelly Neel stated in a release today.

It all started over a year ago, when the Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health suspended Sterback’s food facility permit due to water quality issues — despite the assurances of the owner that he was using bottled water during the period that a nearby water supply was temporarily contaminated by runoff. After the March suspension, the DA pressed charges in April 2011 on three counts of operating a food facility without a permit, which would constitute a violation of California Health and Safety Code section 114381.

Numerous attempts to set the case for trial, only to be frustrated by the lack of an available courtroom and unavailable witnesses; during this time, the county was under public pressure to allow Sterback to stay in business, and with the water quality issue cleared up, Sterback had re-obtained his permit and was legally open and operating for several months.

The case was set for trial numerous times, but each time was continued for reasons that included lack of an available courtroom and unavailable witnesses. In the meantime, the People and Mr. Sterback worked at trying to resolve the case. Ultimately, the District Attorney’s Office determined that dismissal of the pending charges would be in the interest of justice, given the fact that the issues identified by the County have been addressed and the Café has been legally open and operating for some time.

“At this point, the County is satisfied that Mr. Sterback is operating in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations and continues its oversight of the Cafe’s operations,” Deputy District Attorney Christa McKimmy, who handled the prosecution for the People, stated today.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley2 Comments

Home Invasion Suspects Strike Near Fortuna

Two men tie up, sexually assault and rob woman

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Local law enforcement are asking for the public’s assistance in response to a brutal home invasion robbery which took place this morning outside of Fortuna.

It all started at about 9 a.m. this morning, when a 38-year-old resident at her home on Drake Hill Road encountered an unknown man in her home.

According to her statement, he demanded money, drugs and knowledge of the location of an indoor marijuana grow — after which she was covered with a sheet by another unseen man. After tying her to a chair with electrical cord, the victim was sexually assaulted, then burned with a lit cigarette by the suspects who demanded to know where the money and drugs were. The woman continued to tell the men she had no drugs or marijuana grow operation.

In the course of the robbery, the victim’s husband called her; she was able to answer the telephone with her foot despite being tied up. When he answered, she began screaming into the phone to her husband about what was occurring. The suspects apparently heard the victim calling the husband, and fled the home prior to the arrival of police — they were able to make off with some of the victim’s cash and jewelry.

Although Fortuna Police fielded the initial call from the 3000 block of Drake Hill Road, they immediately notified the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, as the crime occurred in their jurisdiction. Upon their arrival, deputies found evidence consistent with the victim’s account; they also found no indication of any illegal drug activity or marijuana cultivation at the residence.

The victim refused medical treatment, and promptly provided descriptions of the two suspects, one of whom was described as a white man in his early 20s, approximately 5’10″ tall, 150 pounds with a slender runner’s build. He also had straight dark brown hair below the ears and was wearing black wranglers and black suede-type shoes with ‘E’ written on them. The other man was not seen clearly by the victim and was only described as another white male.

Members of the public with information for the HCSO regarding this case or related criminal activity are encouraged to call them at (707) 445-7251 or their Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments

Gambler Catches The Wrong Ride

Short-lived success at Bear River Casino ends in assault, robbery

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A local man’s successful night of gambling ended with a trip to the hospital yesterday, with several suspects involved in a vicious assault under Fernbridge.

At about 11:10 p.m. yesterday, emergency service personnel and a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to the Renner Fuel Station, where a 42-year-old man was found bleeding from his head and face and also had a swollen left eye.

According to the unnamed victim, he had enjoyed some cash winnings while gambling earlier at Bear River Casino, and called a friend named “Brodie” at 10:50 p.m. for a ride. When his supposed friend arrived, the victim got into Brodie’s grey 1980s Toyota Celica, which was also occupied by an unknown blond female. Although the victim asked to be driven to Fortuna, “Brodie” drove as far as Fernbridge and told the victim to get out of the car, after which “Brodie” drove off.


A short time later, according to the report disclosed by lieutenant Steve Knight in a press statement, an unknown male and two females contacted the victim and forced him to walk under Fernbridge. Once underneath the bridge, the male assailant struck the victim with a bat while the females kicked him repeatedly. After assaulting him, the assailants stole the victim’s wallet with his cash and cell phone — they also allegedly threatened to shoot the victim if he got up, although no firearm was displayed by the suspects.

Further descriptions of the attackers were not forthcoming due to the darkness, and the victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Members of the public with information regarding this case or criminal related activity are encouraged to call the HCSO at (707) 445-7251 or their Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments

Sheriffs Take Down Hydesville Hash Trio

 

Guns, Pot, 141 Empty Butane Bottles Near Day Care Center

 

Staff Report
Skippy Massey, Humboldt Sentinel

 

Three Hydesville residents are in the slammer on half a million dollars bail after an alleged drug manufacturing house was taken down yesterday morning.

At about 7:45 a.m. on Jan. 31, the Community Response Unit of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant issued by the local Superior Court at a residence at the 3100 block of Greybrook Lane in Hydesville.  Law enforcement acted on a series of complaints about drug activity at the home, which is located near a daycare center, according to a press statement by lieutenant Steve Knight.

Upon entering the residence, deputies found 113 growing marijuana plants, 33 pounds of bud packaged for sale, a scale, a rifle, a handgun and $3,800 in cash, along with items consistent with hash manufacturing, including 141 empty butane bottles.

The charges stacked up against the three residents included manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.

Arrested and imprisoned in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility were: 31-year-old Matthew Gary Caston, 58-year-old Thomas Dennis Miranda and 31-year-old Sarah Rachel Miranda.  Their bail was set for $500,000 each.

Members of the public with information regarding this case or criminal related activity are encouraged to call the HCSO at (707) 445-7251 or their Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley20 Comments

Hydesville Probation Seach Turns Up Crank

Glenna Morrison also had hash, 15 pounds of bud

 

Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A resident of Hydesville, subject to unannounced police searches due to her probation status, was popped for drug possession and sales just after dawn today.

At about 7:45 a.m., the Community Response Unit of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office conducted a probation search on 55-year-old Glenna Morrison at her residence on the 3200 block of A Street. The HCSO had been tipped off by local residents concerning allegations of drug sales occurring at the home.

In the course of their search, deputies found over 15 pounds of processed marijuana, an unspecified amount of hash and two grams of methamphetamine. While Morrison told the cops that the cannabis was actually medical marijuana, law enforcement found items consistent with the sale and packaging of marijuana, according to a press statement by lieutenant Steve Knight.


Morrison was arrested without incident and booked into county jail on charges of meth possession, marijuana cultivation and possession for sale, possession of concentrated cannabis and violation of her probation conditions. Her bail is set at $25,000.

Members of the public with information on this case are asked to call the HCSO at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley0 Comments


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