Gunshot Victim Says He Wandered for Hours

Kym Kemp / Today @ 9:53 a.m. /  Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department Press Release:

On 07-26-2014, at approximately 12:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Jerold Phelps Community Hospital regarding a gunshot victim being treated in the emergency room. When the investigating deputy arrived he met with the 21 year old male victim, who was from Bremen, Georgia. The victim told the deputy he came to Humboldt County to visit with a friend, Robert, who is also from Georgia. The victim had been in Humboldt County about three weeks and was camping in the hills outside of Garberville.

The victim told the deputy he was with his friend, two other adult males and an adult female at a campsite on 07-25-2014. About dusk the two unknown adult males began to argue. The victim stepped in between two males to break up the fight, and the victim heard a gunshot. The victim ran off into the woods and then noticed he was bleeding from his foot. The victim walked through the forest for hours before being picked up by four unknown people in a white Toyota truck, who gave him a ride to the hospital. The victim told the deputy he had no idea who shot him, he did not know where the campsite was at and did not see any weapons.

The case is currently under investigation, the victim will recover from his injury. Deputies are currently attempting to locate Robert.

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 Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Vegetation Fire Near Bell Springs Road

Kym Kemp / Saturday, July 26 @ 7:17 p.m. /  Fire!

Smoke from the Bell Springs Fire can be seen from Windy Gap. [Photo provided by a reader.]

Cal Fire has responded to a vegetation fire near post marker 13 on Bell Springs Road. We have received a report of a spotter helicopter and scanner traffic indicates that multiple units were sent out.

However, most units have been asked to cancel their response. According to George Monroe, spokesperson for the Southern Humboldt Fire Chief’s Association, this means the fire is probably not large.

Crews Challenged by Sugarbowl Fire

Kym Kemp / Saturday, July 26 @ 6:25 p.m. /  Fire!

Six Rivers National Forest Service Press Release:

The Sugarbowl Fire on the Lower Trinity Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest remains at 10 acres as of 1:00 pm this afternoon. The triangular-shaped fire has been contained within its lines. 100% containment is expected early Sunday morning.

Firefighters continue to be challenged by the rough, steep, rocky area which has made it difficult to fight this fire. There has been one minor injury.

Cal Trans re-opened Highway 96 this morning to one-way traffic with a pilot vehicle; rocks and debris rolling down from the steep embankment still create hazards along the highway. Motorists should be aware of potential hazards and adjust their speed accordingly.

The fire is burning in grass, brush, snags and hardwood (the snags are from the 2001 Sugar Fire in the same area). No structures have been threatened; the fire is north of the Sugar Bowl Ranch.

Quick Facts:

Engines: 4

Crews: 3

Water Tenders: 2

Fallers: 2

The helitanker has been released.

We will continue to have crews and engines patrolling for any hot spots and doing mop up over the next few days,” said Forest Service Battalion Chief Paul Johnson.

Glean Gardens or Get Rid of Your Extra Produce to Help the Hungry

Kym Kemp / Saturday, July 26 @ 9:30 a.m. / Feel Good ,  Food

Apples being gleaned by Food for People from a Willow Creek property last fall. [Photo from Food for People’s Facebook page.]

Food for People Press Release:

Spring has already blossomed into summer, and Food for People, the Food Bank for Humboldt County, is looking forward to another bountiful growing season of working with local farmers and gardeners through their Gleaning Program. Food for People once again invites community residents growing food to make a difference and share the benefits of fresh, local produce with those in need by donating the surplus from their farms, gardens or fruit trees this season.

Food for People’s Gleaning program helps bridge the gap between food insecurity and abundant local food sources by collecting surplus produce from local farms and gardens that might otherwise go to waste, and making it available to our friends and neighbors in need. Last year Food for People’s Gleaning program brought in a total of 73,678 lbs of fresh, local produce from farms, gardens and back yards throughout Humboldt County. This produce was then distributed to over 12,000 people, many of whom are seniors or families with children, helping to make fresh, healthy, locally grown food available to folks who otherwise might not be able to afford it.

Food for People’s Gleaning program is composed of two primary elements –donations of produce from commercial farmers, and donations of produce from local residents with gardens or fruit trees. Food for People has long-standing relationships with many local farmers who donate extra produce because they know the food they grow will get to those who need it, as well as reduce farm waste. Typically, farmers will donate produce leftover from a farmers market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) distribution that has already been harvested but not sold for whatever reason. Other times farmers will invite food bank staff and volunteers to harvest items on the farm that are still perfectly edible but might not be worth the farmer’s time in the field, such as broccoli side-shoots left from a bed after the main heads were cut, or an old patch of green beans or spinach.


West Nile Virus Found in Local Bird

Kym Kemp / Friday, July 25 @ 5:07 p.m. /  News

Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services Press Release:

West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed in a raven submitted for testing from Humboldt County. This is the first WNV-positive bird reported in Humboldt County this year. A positive bird was confirmed in July 2013. 

A total of 872 birds across the state have tested positive for West Nile virus so far this year, according to the California Department of Public Health. Fifteen people in California have been confirmed with WNV to date. There have been no reports of illness in humans in Humboldt County. 

We have had no human cases of West Nile virus originate in Humboldt County,” said Kevin Metcalfe, Consumer Protection Program supervisor with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Environmental Health. “Cases occur in areas of California with warm average daily temperatures for several consecutive days. Our local climate does not support disease transmission.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people get infected with WNV after getting bitten by an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can spread the virus to other animals and humans. 

Most people who become infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms. According to the CDC, about one in five people will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Less than 1 percent of those infected will develop a serious neurologic illness. 

Even though the prevalence of WNV is low in Humboldt County, local residents are still advised to follow safety measures, especially when traveling to areas where WNV is more common. 

One of the best ways to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites, according to the CDC. Avoid mosquito-infested areas especially at dawn and dusk when the insects are most active. People who are going to be outside during the early morning or early evening hours are advised to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks. 

The CDC also recommends using EPA-registered insect repellants such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus for long-lasting protection against mosquito bites. Always use repellents as directed by the manufacturer. 

People are also encouraged to mosquito-proof their homes. The CDC suggests people install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Also, help reduce the number of mosquitoes by emptying standing water from flower pots, gutters, buckets, pet water dishes, discarded tires and bird baths. 

Standing water is a breeding source for mosquitoes,” Metcalfe said. “People should limit the number of places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs by getting rid of items that hold water.” 

Residents are encouraged to contact the Division of Environmental Health at 707-445-6215 or toll-free at 1-800-963-9241 when high concentrations of mosquitoes or manmade/artificial breeding sources are encountered in Humboldt County. 

To report dead birds or dead tree squirrels, call the California West Nile Virus Surveillance Program hotline at 1-877-968-2473. Dead bird or tree squirrel reports are important because they can be the first indication of WNV in an area, according to the CDPH. For more information, visit

[OPEN to One Way Traffic Now] Hwy 96 Still Closed Due to Sugarbowl Fire

Kym Kemp / Friday, July 25 @ 4:51 p.m. /  Fire!

Burning debris and rocks fell unto the Highway 96 today. The road has been closed since this morning. Caltrans anticipates, “[A]fter fires alongside the highway are extinguished, they will be able to remove any damaged trees, clear debris from the roadway, and reopen the highway sometime in the afternoon.” [Photo provided by Caltrans.]

UPDATE 11 p.m.: CHP Dispatch is now reporting that Hwy 96 is open to one way controlled traffic.

Six Rivers Forest Service Press Release:

The Sugarbowl Fire on the Lower Trinity Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest is at 10 acres as of 1:30 pm this afternoon. Better ground observations reduced the size from what was originally thought earlier today. The fire was reported at 3:50 this morning near mile post 7.47 on Highway 96.

Cal Trans has closed State Route 96 from 6.5 miles east to 7.6 miles east of the junction of State Route 299 in Willow Creek due to rocks and rolling debris from the Fire. The road will remain closed until at least Saturday afternoon. Before re-opening the road, Cal Trans will inspect the road for any road-related hazards and take needed action.

The fire is burning in grass, brush, snags and hardwood. No structures are threatened; the Fire is north of the Sugar Bowl Ranch.

The fire perimeter is somewhat triangular, with the base near Highway 96. According to Forest Service Division Chief Paul Johnson, “the southeast flank has been lined in and the crews are working on the northwest flank. We have it about 75% contained,” he said.


Quick Facts:

Engines: 5

Crews: 5

Water Tenders: 3

Helitanker: 1 (1000 gallon capacity)

Air Attack plane: 1 (“eyes in the sky”, providing information to ground resources)

According to Johnson, resource plans for Saturday’s activities include:

Engines: 5

Crews: 5

Water Tenders: 2

Helitanker: 1 (1000 gallon capacity)

Crews will focus on mop-up and taking care of any “hot spots.”



Bottom photo and map provided by the Forest Service.

Deputy Nets Hundreds of Crabs During Traffic Stop

Kym Kemp / Friday, July 25 @ 1:33 p.m. /  Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

On 07-25-14 at about 0245 hours a Humboldt County Sheriff Office deputy conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle on US 101 near Murray Rd, Mckinleyville. While talking to the driver of the vehicle, who was identified as Pae Vang age 40 from Stockton, California, Vang told the deputy he had over a hundred crabs in the vehicle.  The deputy could see at least 4 large 80-100 quart coolers in the back of the van.  Vang gave the deputy permission to search the coolers.

The deputy located between 300-400 Dungeness crab in the coolers. California State law for the possession limit of crab is 10. Vang claimed to have caught the crabs in Del Norte County. An Officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Services was contacted and responded and took over the investigation.  All of the crab was taken as evidence by the Fish and Wildlife Officer.  Vang was cited and released [edit] on scene by the Fish and Wildlife Officer for over the legal limit of Dungeness crab, which is a misdemeanor.