Monthly Archives: February 2009

Homicide Update




Photo of Ezra Charles Sanders, murder victim

This just in from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department:


The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation into the homicide of Ezra Charles Sanders.  Early yesterday morning Mr. Sanders was found deceased in front of the travel trailer in which he lived.  Witnesses reported hearing a gunshot at about 1:00 a.m. and then a car speeding away from the scene. 


Investigators have determined the incident was not a drive-by shooting.  Additionally, the preliminary evidence indicates that Mr. Sanders was inside his trailer when he was shot.  He then exited the trailer and expired near the porch.


Anyone with information regarding Mr. Sanders, locations he frequented, or his acquaintances should call Sheriff’s Detective Troy Garey at (707) 268-3643 or DA Investigator Steve Dunn at (707) 445-7411.  A photo a Mr. Sanders is being released to aid in this investigation.


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Mr. Mayo Goes to Washington

MCSD Board Approves Lobbying Agenda

By Jack Durham

Press Editor

A giant water tank, new sewer line, library expansion and a gobs of solar panels are among the projects that Dennis Mayo will lobby for this week in Washington, D.C.

The McKinleyville Community Services District Director is scheduled to leave early this week for five days of lobbying in the nation’s capitol, where he’ll attend the Association of California Water Agencies’ Annual Conference. Mayo has also scheduled numerous meetings with elected officials.

In preparation for his trip, the MCSD Board of Directors discussed its lobbying agenda at the Feb. 18 meeting. Projects that Mayo will lobby for include:

An upgrade to the Ramey Water Pump Station, located at North Bank Road and Azalea Avenue. The district has determined that the water pumps need to be upgraded at a cost of about $975,000.

McKinleyville’s entire water supply passes through this single facility, which pumps water to reservoirs near Cochran Road and above Beau Pre Golf Course.

An emergency water connection between the MCSD and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD). The district receives its entire water supply through a single pipe that crosses under the Mad River. Should that pipe break, it could take days, weeks and maybe even months to repair the line depending on water levels in the river.

The water connection would consist of a temporary line that could be hoisted over the river in an emergency and provide a small amount of water for emergency purposes. The project has an estimated cost of $150,000.

An emergency water connection over the proposed U.S. Highway 101 Mad River Bridge now under construction. The bridge would include a water pipe inside.

The district would purchase additional pipe to extend across agricultural fields and connect to the HBMWD supply line. The project has an estimated cost of $600,000.

A six-million-gallon water tank up the hill on Murray Road. The tank would provide water to serve new development and provide additional storage. The projected is estimated to cost $2.2 million.

A new sewer line under U.S. Highway 101 near Thiel Avenue and Railroad Drive. The line would increase capacity and serve future upstream development. The cost is estimated at $400,000.

A solar project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Hiller Park. The solar array would generate electricity for decades and decrease MCSD electrical bills. It’s estimated to cost $1.7 million.

McKinleyville Library Expansion, with an estimated cost of $100,000 (See related article, page 1.)

Along with these McKinleyville projects, Mayo may lobby for money to improve various HBMWD pipelines, including those serving Fieldbrook and the Samoa Peninsula.

Although the HBMWD is a separate agency, it’s financially tied to the MCSD as its wholesale water supplier. If money can be found to reduce the cost of HBMWD projects, those savings would be passed on to McKinleyville ratepayers.

A short presentation of the lobbying agenda was made by Mayo at last week’s meeting.

While most of the agenda remained intact, the board suggested that some language be removed, including a statement that the MCSD was challenged by “excessive regulatory constraints” and “high labor cost from prevailing wage.” That language, directors said, would be counter-productive to the district’s efforts to secure funding.

Director John Corbett also made it clear that in lobbying on the district’s behalf, Mayo has a “duty to the board.” “You can’t be representing yourself or others,” Corbett said.

Mayo is scheduled to give a report to the board about his trip when he returns.


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Holy smokes! Check this out

In today’s paper we have an article (see previous blog entry) about bad sportsman. This unedited press release just came in today from the EPD:


On February 17th, 2009 at about 8:29pm an officer from the Eureka Police Department was dispatched to a report of a disturbance at a basketball game at the Eureka High School.  Upon arrival the officer contacted the school principal who told him that a 17 year old student had been physically assaulted by a female adult later identified as Roseanne REDNER of Eureka.  Redner had confronted the juvenile after the basketball game in front of the gym.  Another female tried to break up the incident, allowing the juvenile to escape.  Redner then assaulted her.


The officer contacted the irate Redner who began yelling at members of the crowd – advancing on them and challenging them to fight.  Redner would not calm down and talk to the officer, and continued to try to advance on members of the crowd – again challenging them to fight.


The officer attempted to take her into custody and tried to grasp her wrist to handcuff her.  Redner pulled away from the officer and tried to punch him.  The officer grabbed her by the upper body and took her to the ground in a second attempt to handcuff her.  She rolled onto her back and kicked the officer in the chest.


The officer deployed his taser on Redner, which had minimal effect due to the thickness of her clothing.  After a brief struggle, the officer was able to handcuff Redner and take her into custody.


After Redner was taking into custody some of the members of the large crowd erupted in spontaneous applause.  This angered other members of the crowd.  About 15-20 members of the crowd then began angrily advancing on the officer and Redner in essence demanding that he leave her alone.  Having no backup and fearing he was about to be assaulted by the angry crowd, the officer drew his handgun and pointed it at the advancing crowd, demanding that they stop.  They stopped about 20 feet from him and did not advance further. 


After backup officers arrived, Redner was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked on charges of Felony Child Abuse, Resisting Arrest, Challenging Another to Fight, and Disturbance of a School Function.





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Bad sportsmanship riles school board

By Elaine Weinreb

Press Staff Writer


Complaints of inappropriate behavior at high school basketball games were discussed at the Feb. 10 meeting of the Northern Humboldt Unified High School District (NHUHSD) board. 

Three board members said that they had attended a game between Eureka and Arcata High Schools on Feb. 6, and were appalled by the rude behavior and profanity which they observed.  

Board member Robin Marks said that she was offended by a large sign, saying “Arcata Sucks,” which was carried into the gym by an adult fan. 

Board member Dan Johnson also saw the sign, and wondered why Eureka High School administrators waited until the third quarter to have the sign removed.  

That was not the only thing he found distasteful.  

“They had some guy who must have weighed about 400 pounds, and he went out there and danced while their juniors were doing their routine and mocked it,” he said. 

“The players were inappropriate because of the way they talked back to the referees.  The chants – ‘Bullshit, bullshit,’ whenever the referee made a bad call – were inappropriate,” he said.

“The referees were inappropriate because they had lost control of the game,” he continued. “I was quite frankly appalled.” 

Board member Sarie Toste, who had also attended the game, said that although she admired the skill of the players, she was dismayed by the “inappropriate signs and inappropriate behavior” displayed by the fans. 

“This lack of respect just galls me,” she remarked. 

Marks said that the rude behavior was not limited to Eureka fans. 

“At a game between Arcata and Del Norte, our fans booed one particular student every single time he touched the ball.”  

She also observed a fan throw a water bottle at a referee.  

Some of the board members worried that the problem could worsen with coming games, as the end of the season approaches, and feelings run high.  

“When you have 2,000 people all together, things can get out of control,” said board member Dan Collum.  

“We need a police officer there,” said board member Mike Pigg. “The students might take things to the next level.” 

Marks said that at one time, all schools participating in the Humboldt Del Norte Basketball League had to meet certain standards of behavior. Signs were posted at each game outlining what was acceptable, and what was not. Rules of conduct were read aloud. 

But those standards, she noted, had apparently disappeared over the years. 

Superintendent Kenny Richards observed that some school districts avoid these problems by banning all fans from the games. 

“Nobody gets to go in except the teams. But we don’t want to go that far,” he said. 

Instead, he suggested writing a letter to the Eureka City Schools administration, telling them that Northern Humboldt wasn’t going to put up with poor sportsmanship. 

Arcata High School Principal Lisa Gray said that AHS tries to head off problems by reminding fans what the school guidelines are before each game. 

Last June, the NHUHSD board adopted changes to the district’s athletic policies, basically forbidding rowdy behaviors at games. 

Prohibited acts include yelling, booing, and chanting at opposing teams, noisemakers, rude signs, turning backwards during introductions, and displaying messages painted on bare skin.  


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Sayonara Analog TV

This just in from KEET:


February 6, 2009



After 40 years of broadcasting on analog channel 13, KEET-TV, public television for the North Coast, will cease transmission of its over-the-air analog signal after 11:59 p.m. on February 17, 2009. The analog shut-off will only affect viewers that receive their programming with an indoor or outdoor antenna. Cable subscribers will have no interruption of service.

Ron Schoenherr, KEET-TV’s Executive Director said, “There is some understandable confusion over the current legislation moving through Congress dealing with the possibility to continue analog broadcasting until June 12, 2009.  KEET-TV’s staff and board of directors made the decision to stick with the originally mandated shut-off date and stop broadcasting our analog signal on February 17.  The main consideration was a financial one.  To date, KEET-TV has spent almost $2 million to comply with the federally mandated digital conversion, and we are still seeking funds for its completion. The average monthly PG&E bill for operating KEET’s 23-year-old analog transmitter is between $3,000 to $4,000. We simply do not have the funds to continue analog broadcast for another four months.”

In compliance with the federal mandate KEET began broadcasting a digital signal in 2003.  In 2007, KEET began broadcasting a high-power digital signal on digital channel 13-1, and added their second channel KEET WORLD, which airs PBS news, public affairs and documentary programming on 13-2. In January of this year, KEET applied to the FCC for permission to terminate analog broadcasting on the originally mandated date of February 17, and has been running public service announcements giving viewers advance notice of the analog cut-off date.

Viewers that receive an over-the-air signal will need to install a converter box that connects to an antenna and television set.  In many cases, “rabbit ear” antennas may not work well with digital broadcasting.  New digital set-top antennas may also need to be purchased. There is viewer information available on KEET’s website, and questions about the digital conversion may also be directed to Information is also available at A good site for antenna information

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Airport Business Park proposed as homeless shelter zone

By Daniel Mintz 

Press Staff Writer


Pressured by state law, the county has to identify areas where homeless shelters are unconditionally allowed, and one of them is at the Airport Business Park in McKinleyville. 

That triggered a strong reaction at the Jan. 29 Planning Commission meeting. 

When Community Development Services Director Kirk Girard said a new state law requires counties to identify zones where emergency homeless shelters are allowed without discretionary review, Planning Commissioner Bruce Emad objected to the Airport Business Park designation. 

“You’re proposing (emergency housing) on the Airport Business Park as a principally permitted use?” he asked. 

“Yes,” Girard responded. 

“That just boggles my mind,” Emad said. Girard began to talk more, but Emad talked over him. 

“Twenty miles from town, and we put homeless people right smack in the middle of a business park that we’ve spent all this time and money to develop and promote and be a showcase next to the airport,” he said. 

Girard told Emad that there’s “a disconnect” between sound planning and providing services to the homeless. 

“The normal approach we’ve had in this jurisdiction is that there are good places and there are bad places and to sort that out, you need a discretionary review process,” he said. 

“And that is good, sound planning, but as a practical matter, with that good, sound planning in place, the forces usually result in no place being identified,” Girard said. 

Objection from neighbors is an influential factor, Girard continued, and he said the state has reacted to the political obstacle by requiring homeless shelter zones by law. 

But Girard said commissioners can disagree with the location of proposed zones. 

During his presentation on the county’s seven-year Housing Element, the element of the General Plan which identifies housing needs and how to meet them, Girard also said a recent count of homeless people totaled about 700. 

“Suffice to say, we have a problem here,” he continued.

The preferred alternative in the county’s 20-year General Plan Update, Alternative B, mandates that emergency shelters “would be allowed, by right” in certain commercial, residential and industrial zones, he explained. 

Transitional housing also has to be zoned, and Girard said it could include areas for vehicle camping. 

The state is getting serious about low-income housing and has added a new category of it: extremely low-income housing.

Tougher enforcement of mandates for other low-income categories is expected, and Alternative B also expands the county’s land inventory for lower-cost multifamily units. 

As McKinleyville found out several years ago during debates on the Central Estates subdivision, development of multifamily units draws impassioned opposition. 

Girard said people fear property devaluation, and because“cultural issues” come into play, people will often “come out fighting against that rezoning.” 

As a result, the county’s production of multifamily units has “dropped dramatically in relation to the need and is not adequate,” he continued. 

Girard said the county has had better luck with affordable second units. 

The draft Housing Element includes a range of policy statements focusing on the county’s most pressing planning issue, low-income housing production. 

Commission Chairman Jeffrey C. Smith said it’s not reasonable to expect the private market to supply housing for poorer residents. 

“It seems counter-intuitive to think that we’re going to build brand new housing that’s affordable to the lower income levels – you wouldn’t do that in terms of thinking about automobiles,” he continued. 

“You don’t go and figure out, ‘How can I build a brand new car for poor people?’” Smith said. 

During a public comment session, developers and Realtors were at odds with low-income housing advocates. 

Representatives of Realtors and developers groups said requiring the construction of low-cost housing will drain profits and drive up the prices of market-rate homes. 

However, those who disagree said there would be no profit decrease because the cheaper units will cost less to build. 

Sensing that the formal format of hearings on the Housing Element has become somewhat stale, commissioners set Feb. 5 as the date of what Girard called “a free-form, town hall, question and answer” workshop on the plan.


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