Tag Archive | "Ferndale"

Long Shaker Rattles Humboldt: A 6.9 Whopping Jolt

 

Many Small Aftershocks Following

(UPDATED) 

 

From the USGS website moments ago:

 

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake rattled Humboldt at 10:18 pm on March 9, 2014. 

The quake originated 77 kilometers West/NorthWest of Ferndale.

UPDATE:

12 minutes later, a second 3.4 earthquake struck 26 km
Southwest of Ferndale, @ 10:32 pm. 

A third quake– measured at 3.5– hit 77 km North/Northwest of Ferndale @ 10:41 pm; this was followed by
a fourth quake measuring @ 3.4 at 10:43 pm, centered 67 km West of Ferndale.

Eight more quakes in a cluster have followed.

 

As of 12:32 am March 10, there has been one large earthquake and 10 lesser aftershock quakes of varying degrees.

There have been no reports of major damage in the county, including road damage as reported by Caltrans.  The quake was felt as far away as Willits.  The USGS report a greater than 90% chance of a 5.0 aftershock or bigger in the next week.

Residents may want to stay atop of the news and the USGS website data

 

UPDATE:

It was a whopper. 

Fortunately, it rattled nerves more than it did property.

A very strong offshore earthquake shook and rattled the Northern California coast and was widely felt across the region Sunday night.

There were no reports of any injuries or damage, local authorities said.

The 6.9 magnitude quake struck at 10:18 p.m. PDT Sunday amid heavy rainfall.  Centered about 50 miles west of Eureka and 4 miles beneath the Pacific seabed, the large quake was followed by a series of twenty aftershocks, including several between the magnitude of 3.5 – 4.6, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

There was no danger of a tsunami as a result of the earthquake, the National Tsunami Warning Center reported.

Widely felt across the region, Humboldt fire and sheriff’s authorities said there were no reports of any damage or injuries early this morning.

More than 3,000 people reported on the USGS website that they felt the quake.  Some reported a long, rolling shake waking children or knocking items off shelves.  Some of those reporting on the site said they live in Oregon across the border.

“We had some alarms go off and other than that we dodged a bullet,” Humboldt County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Knight told the Times-Standard news this morning.

“This lasted longer than any earthquake I’ve ever felt,” one resident, who lives about a mile from the coast in Ferndale near Eureka, told The LA Times.  

“It just kept going and going, very slowly and softly.  It was not violent.  It almost felt like you were in a boat that was rocking,” she said.  “The quake felt like it lasted about 20 or 30 seconds.”

“The animals, they felt it,” she said. “My two horses were running around out by the barn, and my dogs, six dogs, were ready to get out of the house.”

Others, however, reported the earthquake was more than a moderate trembler.  “I’m tired and terrified of this,” another resident said.  “I’ve had it.  This is too much.  I thought my house was going to fall down into a pile of sticks.  It went on for what seemed like forever.”

Earthquakes are not unusual in Eureka.  The area experienced a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 1992 that left 95 people injured and caused millions of dollars in damage.  That earthquake was felt as far south as San Francisco.

It was followed by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake about 12 hours later, and a magnitude 6.7 earthquake a few hours after that.  Both caused additional damage.

The area had a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in February, 2012 that did not cause serious damages or injuries.  An offshore magnitude 6.5 quake struck offshore in 2010, breaking glass in some buildings and causing bumps and cuts among residents.

Given than Humboldt County is prone to earthquakes and faces tsunami, flooding, power outages and windstorm threats from time to time, local residents should be prepared. 

It’s time to once again review your emergency plans and evacuation routes, restock batteries and emergency kits at home, have cell phones and emergency lights ready with alternative capabilities for recharging available, and know how to shut off power and gas lines to your residence.

The good news?  The drought plaguing the rest of California has bypassed Humboldt.

* * * * * * * * * *

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Mismanaging the Humboldt County Fair

 

Deficits and Expenses Balloon Following Titus’ Resignation

 

Bad to Worse: Reserve Drops 59%

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The following excerpt from the Ferndale Enterprise concerning
the Humboldt County Fair budget didn’t exactly surprise us:

 

Hold all tickets.

Newly-released budget numbers show the Humboldt County Fair lost more in 2013 than initially reported last month. The year will now go down in the books as one with the largest loss in fair history, due to unchecked spending, a disappointing horse racing meet and budget overruns.

The fair association, according to a newly-released operating budget, finished the year with a loss of $216,000…

The loss dropped the fair’s operating reserve — including the cash on hand it uses to pay the bills before the all-important revenue-generating month of August — 59 percent or from $494,108 in January of 2013 to $203,315 at the beginning of 2014.

The $216,000 loss of revenue compares to a profit of $98,000 at the end of 2012.

At an association Finance Committee meeting last week, fair directors blamed the loss mostly on others, and at a Monday night regular board meeting, when asked who was responsible for the loss and double-digit budget overruns, no answer was provided.

Former general manager of the fair, Stuart Titus, whose contract was not renewed at the start of last year and who left the fair with the largest reserve in history, said he was shocked and saddened by the numbers.

“It’s really too bad, because it took a lot of time and discipline to build the reserve to where it was, and we did it because we knew there were tough times coming,” said Titus, who managed the fair for 22 years and who voluntarily took a $10,000 pay cut in 2012 to help hold costs down and build the reserve.

“The directors are trying to write it all off to deferred maintenance and horse racing expenses, but that doesn’t hold water.  It’s pretty clear there was no chain of command and that they lost all control over expenses.  During my time and with former director Ken Christen as the chair of the Buildings and Grounds committee, we did almost $4 million worth of improvements on the grounds and kept perfect records on all of them.”

Titus said he is extremely concerned about the future of the fair and the $7 million economic impact the fair brings to the county.

“I knew they might run into trouble after I left and they hired someone with no fair management experience, but I had no idea it would be this bad,” he said…

An excerpt from “Humboldt County Fair Budget Goes from Bad to Worse; Reserve Drops 59 Percent in One Year” by Ferndale Enterprise Editor Caroline Titus, you can read the full article and details here.

* * * * * * * * *

We had an inkling this would happen after Stuart Titus, the successful and stalwart County Fair manager for 22 years, was drummed out by the Fair Association Board cronies last year. 

Why?  Because his wife, Caroline, ran the local newspaper and reported the news fairly and accurately as she saw it.  They didn’t like that in a small town and so they leaned on him after she refused to be railroaded.

They replaced Mr. Titus with a new fair manager– and with no prior experience– gave him a 20% raise right off the bat.

The proof is in the numbers and if it wasn’t any clearer it would bite you.

 

 

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A Cow Pie Smile

 

A Soon-to-Be Viral Video.  We Don’t Know Why…

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“Hey, let’s blow up a cow pattie with an M~80.”

“Whaddya think’s gonna happen?”

“I dunno.”

“Do you think it’s gonna blow up?”

“Maybe, maybe not.  But let’s see, we’ll find out.  Do ya think cow pie shit really can hit the fan?”

“Nah.  But let’s try it.  It’s better than cow tipping.  You go first, shit-for brains.  I’ll film it.”

“Uh… well …yeah, OK.”

 

…Silly sod farm boys looking for fun in all the wrong places.  LOL.  Silly people.  It’s going to be stuck in his braces forever.  Hope he didn’t have a date that night.

Who knew they could have so much redneck dairy fun in McKinleyville?

Ah, to be young and dumb again…

Posted in Media, SceneComments (7)

Suddenly Disconnected

 

10,000 Suddenlink Customers Affected by Latest Vandalism Incident This Morning

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The mysterious fiber-optic pirate has struck again,
this time severing Suddenlink’s cable, phone, and
Internet lines to parts of Northern Humboldt County
affecting 10,000 residential and business customers.

It is the fourth incident of vandalism in less than one week.  Despite a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Suddenlink’s serial slasher, the malicious slicing and dicing mayhem continues unabated throughout the County with the recent cutting of more fiber-optic lines early this morning.

Suddenlink Director of Operations Wendy Purnell said in a prepared statement today:

06-MS-147.RAMSlogo_ASuddenlink fiber-optic cable was cut in multiple locations early this morning in what appear to be further acts of vandalism.

We have again contacted the Sheriff’s Department and are offering a $5,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible individuals. Our technicians have been dispatched to the damaged areas and are in the process of restoring service.

The cuts affected service for about 10,000 customers in Big Lagoon, Trinidad, Big Lagoon, McKinleyville, Fieldbrook and parts of Arcata.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience, are working to restore service as soon as possible, and are supporting local law enforcement in their efforts to stop these crimes.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the multiple incidents that have caused upwards of $30,000 in damages and lost revenues to thousands of customers throughout Humboldt.  Suddenlink ground crews have been struggling to restore service to thousands of exasperated customers who found themselves suddenly and abruptly disconnected without warning.

cutting cableThe unknown saboteur has been deviously consistent in damaging and knocking out residential and business service.  He seems to know exactly where to strike, how to enter the secure underground vaults where the fiber-optic lines are, and identifying the appropriate lines to cut.

On Monday night he took out a four-foot section of Suddenlink’s line in Ferndale.  The previous Friday he struck twice in the Trinidad and Ferndale areas disrupting service.

HCSO’s Lt. Wayne Hanson said, “This is not a random act of violence.  Someone knows what they’re doing,” he told the
Times-Standard news yesterday.

cable guy“This could have been a former employee, an angry customer—we’re looking at all angles,” Hanson said.

Whoever it is, they have some misdirected anger and a serious grudge going on.  They also have more than a few screws and electrical  connections loose upstairs.  Not the brightest light in the socket, they’re a few bits shy of a byte and obviously played too much without a helmet.  Or stuck fingers in the outlet when the babysitter wasn’t looking.

 

The Sheriff’s Office is requesting that anyone with information about this case to call the HCSO at 445-7251, or the anonymous tip line at 268-2539.

Posted in Crime, LocalComments (2)

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, LocalComments (4)

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, LocalComments (2)

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 ValleyComments (0)

Mystery Surrounds Suspicious Centerville Beach Death

 

Strange Event Just Got Stranger

–Updated Below–

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

First we have the HCSO report today:

 
On January 20 at approximately 8 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office was called by a citizen who reported a male possibly deceased located at Centerville Beach near Ferndale.

centerville cliffsA deputy and medical was dispatched to the scene approximately 1/2 mile south of the parking lot.  When the deputy arrived he saw a male located in the area described between the cliffs and the water line.  Medical and the deputy determined the male was deceased.

Sheriff’s Detectives and the Coroners Office were summoned to the scene to investigate the death.  The death is determined suspicious at this time.  The identity of the deceased has not been confirmed.  Sheriff’s Detectives are requesting the public’s help with this case.

The vehicle described:  Blue with Tan Trim, Eddie Bauer 2000 Ford Explorer, with California Plates.

centerville beachDeceased male described: White male, late 40’s , wearing sweat pants, a sweat shirt, two scarf’s, a beanie and a hoodie.

Anyone who may have seen this man at Centerville Beach or has any information regarding this case is requested to call Detective Rich Schlesiger at 1-707-268-3642 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

The investigation is ongoing and further information may be released in the future.

 sealsSo who was this individual whose body was found just below the steep cliffs of the now-defunct Centerville Naval Facility?  Did he commit suicide or was he murdered?  

This is where it takes a turn for the truly strange.

Kym Kemp fills us in on the rest of the bizarre story with her link here:  “Centerville Beach Body Identified as Man Outed for Pretending to be Navy Seal”

And the Times-Standard link by Luke Ramseth:  “Man Found Dead at Centerville Beach was Navy SEAL Impostor; Officials say Densmore Likely in Humboldt for Several Days”

 

UPDATE, JANUARY 29, 2013The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reported the following brief information today:

On 01-29-2013 an autopsy was conducted on Ike Densmore.  The medical examiner concluded that Densmores death was self inflicted by a gunshot wound.

* * * * * * * * * *

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in LocalComments (1)

Guy Fieri’s Big Bomb?

 

From Cream City Donuts to the Big Apple Fritter

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

You know Guy Fieri.

The spiky-haired, flip-flop and shorts wearing 44-year-old Food Network star who travels the nation in search of the best greasy spoons for his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Owner of several restaurants like Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s, the casual and laid back Ferndale native has done well on the culinary road to fame, coming a long ways since his youthful days of growing up in Humboldt’s Cream City.

When he was young, Guy panhandled quarters from local passerby to buy the overwhelmingly delicious donuts from the local Ferndale baker.  When the money supply eventually dwindled out over time, he came up with a different idea:  He put his younger and cuter sister out on the sidewalk to beg for quarters instead, giving him the money so he could buy more donuts.

When those quarters also began to dwindle, Guy came up with an even better and brilliant idea.  He robbed a bank.

He held up Ferndale’s Bank of America with a toy gun and demanded… quarters.  It was a sugary-glazed crazy kind of idea only a kid could dream up.

The bank manager came out, promptly took young Guy aside, confiscated his plastic weapon, and called his mother.  Mom came down, picked up the young would-be-robber-for-tasty-treats, and admonished him appropriately.

Enough was enough, Mom thought, and she took it one step further from ever happening again.  She went down to the pastry shop and gave the baker a crystal-clear directive:  “No more donuts for Guy.  Cut him off from all the donuts now.  He isn’t to buy any more.  Period.”

Guy’s donut caper came to an end with both a flambé finish and fizzle.  That’s the story told to us on good authority by the Ferndale blacksmith, anyway.

Thus, a great star was born.  Humboldt’s beloved Guy Fieri started a pretzel cart in Ferndale, got himself off to culinary school, started some great eateries, won the Food Network audition, and became nationally famous foodie— and the rest is history.  Guy’s been on an uphill swing ever since.

But alas.  There’s big trouble in Flavor Town, folks.  All is not going well for Guy in the Big Apple.

Guy’s recently opened New York City restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, was viciously scorched by the New York Times in a burning review published a few days ago.  Some are calling it the Big Apple Bomb.

“Why is the kind of cooking you celebrate on television . . . treated with so little respect at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar?” food critic Pete Wells scathingly wrote of the Triple D host’s venture in Times Square.  Wells sniped:

“GUY FIERI, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square?  Have you pulled up one of the 500 seats at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar and ordered a meal?  Did you eat the food?  Did it live up to your expectations?”

“Did you notice that the menu was an unreliable predictor of what actually came to the table?” 

“Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?  If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds?  Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?”

Ouch.  These NYT food highbrows don’t mess around.  They mean business.  And they can be sharply to the point.

Wells writes that the watermelon margarita “glows like nuclear waste” and “tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde.”

He describes the fried calamari as “a plate of pale, unsalted squid rings next to a dish of sweet mayonnaise with a distant rumor of spice.”

The critic adds that the eatery manages to “mess up” nachos. “Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil?”

“Does this make it sound as if everything at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar is inedible?  I didn’t say that, did I?”  Wells opined, praising the ”appealing main dishes” marred by “ruinous sides and sauces.”

Holy moly, Stromboli.  “The sauce is money,” Guy always told us.

Bemoaning the cold french fries, vegetable sides that taste “deadened” and “overcooked” like “school cafeteria vegetables,” and toasted marshmallow that “taste like fish,” critic Wells gave the eatery a “poor” rating with a “chaotic” atmosphere.

Without mincing words, he added of the service:  ”The well-meaning staff seems to realize that this is not a real restaurant.”

Double ouch.

We’re familiar with these New York City types.  You better be who you say you are.  If you claim to be a baker, for example, you better be a proven, skilled, and damned good baker able to deliver the goods every time– or you won’t be in business long.  The same goes for a chef or any other professional.

New Yorkers don’t tolerate pretentions, assertions, casual complacency, or anything less than the genuine article.  Brutally honest and equally abrasive in a New York minute, they take their food seriously
and will tell you about it, in your face.

If it ain’t Gotham magic, it’s tragic.

Guy responded to the searing review last Thursday.

“I just thought it was ridiculous,” the host said.

“I’ve read reviews.  There’s good and there’s bad in the restaurant business,” Fieri explained.  ”That one went overboard.”

Fieri charged that Wells “came in with a different agenda.”

“I’ve been in the restaurant business 25 years.  Do we do it perfect?  No.  Do we strive to do it perfect? Yes,” he said.

“Do I think I’ve fallen short?  By no means.  But do we make mistakes?  Absolutely.”

“People see me as a TV guy.  I’m really a chef,” he added.

We hope so.  We love our own local donut and pretzel boy gone good.

Those New Yorkers are a tough bunch with pretty high standards.  And not the type of high that Humboldt County gets away with in its sloppily haute cuisine. 

They need to know that Guy Fieri isn’t simply a passenger going along for the ride.  He drives that bus home to Flavor Town.

*  * * * * * * * *

You can read the full scathing, boiling, and humorously seething New York Times food review here.

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