Young Couple Lose All Their Personal Belongings in Rio Dell Vehicle Fire: One Puppy Rescued, One Dead

Kym Kemp / Today @ 9:16 a.m. /  Fire!

A young couple traveling from Santa Monica lost everything they owned in a vehicle fire which occurred in Rio Dell last night including one of their Chihuahua puppies. The fire started about 7:40 p.m. in their Subaru which was parked in front of the Rio Dell Laundromat. Shane Wilson, the Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Chief, said that according to the couple they had dropped an ember from an incense stick into their floorboards. He said that they thought they had retrieved it all and went to the store.

The car was pretty heavily packed with a lot of debris,” he explained. “[The fire] had a good ignition source. [It] quickly traveled into the dash area and spread through the fuel lines.”  All their personal belongings were destroyed.

Fortunately, a Rio Dell Police officer, Ray Brady, discovered one of the two Chihuahua puppies struggling to get out of the back window as the car was on fire. According to Wilson, Brady was able to reach in and rescue the pup. The other puppy didn’t make it out of the front seat area and perished.

According to Wilson, the laundromat received some minor heat damage blister the paint. It was in danger of catching on fire. However, the first engine on the scene was able, he said, “to control the spread of the fire very quickly.”

The fire department arranged for the couple to stay in the Humboldt Gables motel which donated a room for the night.Today, Wilson said, the fire department will work with the couple putting them in touch with local resources—the Red Cross, etc. “There is a clothing program with the Baptist Church,” he said.

We’ll see what their plan is,” he said, “and see what we can do to help.” 

Previously: Vehicle Fire in Rio Dell


Photo provided by Hali Southard.

Did You See It? Meteor May Have Passed Over Humboldt Before Crashing into Sonoma County

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 2 p.m. /  News

UPDATE 2:16 p.m.:A woman who witnessed the possible meteor described coming into Ferndale and seeing a bright light going fast and low along the hill line. She said it was headed east to west and appeared to disappear over the ocean. She said she saw it for four or five seconds —a bright light with a tail on it that dissolved in a “poof of smoke.”

If you’ve witnessed this event, you can report it here.


Original post:

The Lost Coast Outpost received a report of a “meteor that…streaked east to west over bear river ridge” about quarter to 1 p.m. For fun we searched to see if there were any other reports. To our surprise, we discovered a report in the the Sonoma County Press Democrat. It said, 

… emergency dispatchers have received multiple reports of an object falling from the sky and crashing in a field west of Valley Ford.

The first reporting party, who called dispatchers around 1 p.m. Saturday, said they had seen what looked like an airplane crash west of Valley Ford Road. At least two other callers reported seeing a bright flash of light and said what fell may have been a meteor, dispatchers said.

Units from Valley Ford Fire, Bodega Bay Fire, Gold Ridge Fire and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s helicopter, Henry 1, were dispatched by have not yet located the object.

Our local emergency dispatch center did not receive any reports. But, the US National Weather Service out of Eureka said they had gotten a report around 11:30 a.m. of something bright in the sky over Humboldt Hill but nothing around 1 p.m.

We’re curious. Did any of you see something odd?


Image from here.

US Attorney’s Office Charges Fortuna Woman with Identity Theft and Mail Fraud

Kym Kemp / Friday, Jan. 30 @ 7:30 p.m. /  Crime

In 2011, Fortuna was rocked by what could be the biggest fraud case in Humboldt history. Delores Reeves, who operated a lending company off of Main Street, is alleged to have convinced at least one woman to lend money to credible borrowers but then Reeves appropriated the victim’s money for her own use. The lawyer of one victim believed in 2011 that about 2.5 million dollars was taken.

Today, Delores Reeves appeared in Federal Court and was released on bond. Her bail was set at $50,000. 

Below is the press release. We have not been able to reach either Ms. Reeves’ attorney or the US Attorney’s Office for comment.

United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of California press release:

A federal indictment charging Delores Reeves with three counts of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft was unsealed this afternoon in federal court, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.

Reeves, 59, was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 27, 2015.  According to the Indictment, Reeves operated iServe Residential Lending, LLC. Through this business and in her personal capacity, Reeves acted as a broker for “hard money” real estate loans, where she would purportedly match borrowers who needed cash loans with lenders who wanted to invest in loans secured by real estate. The Indictment alleges that Reeves defrauded one of her lenders by falsely soliciting three loans that Reeves represented would go to three borrowers and would be secured by real property owned by those borrowers. According to the Indictment, those borrowers knew nothing of the loans, and Reeves used their personal information without their consent to create fraudulent loan documents that she sent to the lender to make the transaction appear legitimate. After the lender paid Reeves the money for the loans, Reeves fraudulently retained the money for herself.

Reeves was arrested and made her initial appearances in federal court today in Eureka before the Honorable Nandor J. Vadas, U.S. Magistrate Judge, where she was released on bond.  Bail was set at $50,000.  Reeves is next scheduled to appear before the Honorable Joseph C. Spero, U.S. Magistrate Judge, at 9:30 am on February 4, 2015, for identification of counsel.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341, is 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, plus restitution.  The statutory penalty for each count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, is a mandatory minimum of 2 years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C.§ 3553.

Benjamin Kingsley is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Jessica Meegan.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Reeves must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Foster Families Needed

Kym Kemp / Friday, Jan. 30 @ 2:10 p.m. /  PSA

Department of Health & Human Services Foster Care program press release:

The Department of Health & Human Services Foster Care program is experiencing an urgent need for emergency short-term foster homes in addition to an ongoing demand for long-term foster care families throughout Humboldt County.

There are many circumstances that make it difficult for biological families to safely care for a child,” said Stephanie Weldon, DHHS deputy director of Children and Family Services. “In a county as small as ours, it doesn’t take much to overwhelm the number of homes we have available.”

When safety concerns require that a child be removed from his or her birth family, social workers first attempt placement with a relative, someone known to the child, or a Tribally-approved home (for a Tribal child). When this is not possible, a stable, loving foster home is needed for placement.

Children who are taken into foster care become the responsibility of their entire community,” said DHHS Assistant Director Barbara LaHaie. “It’s up to all of us to make sure they have safe, loving homes.”

There are many reasons to foster a child, the most important being to help a child in need. Providing care for a foster child allows Humboldt County children to remain in their community. Additionally, keeping siblings together can help lessen the trauma experienced by children, so families who can provide a home to sibling groups are being sought.

Foster families are needed for various lengths of stay, from one night of emergency shelter care to permanent placement. Adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and families of all compositions are encouraged to apply.

DHHS staff provides applicants with extensive assistance navigating the licensing process. Children in foster care are eligible for Medi-Cal, which includes free medical care and counseling services. Monthly stipends are provided. Because many of the children who enter foster care have experienced trauma or neglect, additional supports are available, including foster parent mentoring and support groups.

Currently, there are 367 children in foster care in Humboldt County. The county has 167 active relative, non-related extended family or Tribally-specified foster homes and 50 active, licensed county foster homes.

For more information about becoming a foster parent, call DHHS’s foster care hotline at 499-3410.


Wrapping Up the Trash….

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 7:51 p.m. /  News

Southern Humboldt has been working on its trash problem with renewed zeal this month. [Photo by Eddie Sanchez.]

After a video of trash along the Eel River was posted earlier this month, trash is being cleaned up at a phenomenal rate in Southern Humboldt!  Which is good and bad….

Here’s a update on the situation.

Eel River Cleanup Party (join the new group here) has been working with Mike Miller on his twice weekly cleanups (Tuesdays and Fridays meetup at 11 a.m. in front of the Tiger Lily Bookstore.) They’ve been incredibly successful which is good…and bad. On this last Tuesday alone 1500 pounds of trash were collected. However, the County allotted funds to pay for dumping for this project has been nearly demolished. In order for the project to continue, more money is needed. Eel River Cleanup Party estimates, at this rate of cleanup, they have raised enough to fund a couple more weeks but they will need more to keep going past that. Can you help? Here’s a link for donations

KMUD explored the subject of trash removal in this audio report here. At the end of the report, the problem of unpunctured butane canisters is highlighted when a fire at the Redway Transfer Station was started when one exploded while being compacted. (See photo below by Lori Wellborn)

Also, after Sunday’s cleanup at the site of an illegal dump where thousands of butane canisters were discarded last November, new fencing and a sign were installed this week. Another cleanup is currently being planned for next Sunday, Febuary 1 at 10 a.m. at the same site off the Alderpoint road by Carter Creek.

 A new fence discourages dumping at the Carter Creek site. [Photo by Eddie Sanchez.]


Breaking News: Major Injury Accident Near Shelter Cove

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 3:30 p.m. /  News

A spokesperson for the Garberville California Highway Patrol has confirmed that there was a major injury accident near the corner or Parsons Road and Olson Road in the Shelter Cove area around 1:30 p.m. today. A motorcycle and a vehicle collided. One male is being airlifted to an out of the area hospital. 

We will update with more information when possible.

Something You Just Might Not Know About Garberville

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Jan. 29 @ 1:19 p.m. / LoCO Theatre

Photos from the December performance.

Redwood Community Theatre press release:

There’s a new theater in town! Well, not exactly new. Many of us knew it from the ‘80s as the Redwood Playhouse at 286 Sprowel Creek Road in Garberville. Now it is named the Redwood Community Theatre (RCT), and if you haven’t actually enjoyed being inside it yet, you can visit it at our Facebook page, or search us at Redwood Community Theatre. 

We’ve formed a non-profit, the Redwood Community Theatre Board, to lease the theater from the College of the Redwoods and to create a functional and enjoyable performance center. In December we had our first dance performance, with more performances to come: drama, dance, music! What’s more, community members are interested in renting the space for many different types of events, not just performance—meetings, memorials, rehearsals, celebrations. Ongoing events at the RCT include an art class, Tabata fitness classes, silks classes, open mic (on the last Friday of each month, from 7 pm to 10pm), and ping pong (the last Saturday of each month, from 2pm to 5pm). We will always be open to community needs and visions. 

To stay tuned to what’s happening at the theater, check out the Events section of the website. To find out more about RCT, the activities, or to inquire about renting the space, call Dan Miller at 932-0932 or email him at