Something You Just Might Not Know About Garberville

Kym Kemp / Today @ 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

Humboldt Students Enticed Into Math and Science Careers

Kym Kemp / Today @ 8:43 a.m. /  Education

Caltrans District 1 Training Officer Matt Philp helps Fortuna students refine their projects. [Photos for this story provided by Caltrans.]

What’s the big idea with bringing engineers into a Fortuna classroom? Getting middle school students excited about math and science. And the careers that need that kind of education.

How’s it being done? By enticing kids to enter a national contest with a big prize.

What’s the contest? The Garrett Morgan Symposium which is named in honor of an African American who invented the three-way stop signal among other things. The winners get $1,000 for their classroom. They get to attend a banquet in San Jose where they get the chance to meet senior transportation officials. (And the word is they’ll also get treated to pizza.)

Who’s sponsoring it? Caltrans (so possibly they have a nefarious secret agenda—they hope those students will seek careers in transportation.)

But no one in our little area is likely to win a national contest, right? Wrong! Local students have placed 3rd and first before! (See here for our 2012 winners.) Caltrans spokeperson Betsy Totten said, “Last year, the winner here won first place in state and another received an honorable mention.”

How’s this contest work? Caltrans explained,

Each year, the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) sponsors middle school classes that prepare and present their sustainable transportation projects in this annual competition. Caltrans’ District liaisons meet throughout the year with the Caltrans Headquarters project manager in the Division of Research and Innovation (DRI) to recruit, enroll, and assist schools as they prepare for the competition. Recruitment begins in May, just after the Symposium, and continues until October, when school registrations are due. The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) sends out the workbooks to each enrolled class in November, and district engineers and other transportation professionals begin to assist the classes as they prepare their projects. Projects are entered in February, and the competition, attended by dignitaries including the Secretary of Transportation, is held in late March. The winning school is selected in April and the Awards Banquet is held in their honor in June.”

Do they need help? Sure, that would be great.  Caltrans says, “If you have any sort of expertise or time to donate to helping Mrs. Fennell’s students, contact District 1 through our Facebook page or by calling us at 707-445-6600 for details on how you can help students design the next “big idea” in transportation!”

 Who knew math was such fun? Caltrans Transportation Engineer Sheri Rodriguez laughs with students.

 Mrs. Crystal Fennell, 8th grade teacher at Toddy Thomas explains a concept to a student.

Sheriff’s Office Seeking Fugitive Who Evaded Pursuit Today in Southern Humboldt

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 3:55 p.m. /  Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Southern Humboldt Division press release:

On 01-28-2015, at approximately 9:20 a.m., a Sheriff’s Sergeant with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to serve civil papers at a residence in the 100 block of Greta Lane, Briceland.

The Sergeant came upon an idling truck in the driveway and attempted to contact the driver. The driver, who was later identified as Dale Dodge Baldridge (age 37), sped out of the driveway and fled towards Old Briceland Road. The vehicle Baldridge was driving became stuck a short distance later and he fled on foot. The Sergeant pursued Baldridge who eventually came upon a small bridge. Baldridge jumped off the bridge and ran across a creek. Additional deputies responded to the scene but were unable to locate Baldridge.

During a search of Baldridge’s vehicle, deputies located a large amount of marijuana and suspected heroin.

Baldridge currently has multiple felony warrants for his arrest. Additional charges of resisting arrest, possession of suspected heroin, and transportation of marijuana from this incident will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


5.7 Earthquake Rattles the North Coast (MAGNITUDE UPDATEAFTERSHOCKS)

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 1:09 p.m. /  Earthquake

Man, you must have all felt that, right?

The preliminary USGS report has that earthquake we just felt as a magnitude 5.1 5.7 and centered 40km SW of Ferndale. Not too shabby.

UPDATE, 1:22 p.m.: A second, smaller quake measuring 3.3 in magnitude just hit 34km SW of Rio Dell.

UPDATE, 1:28 p.m.: And a third! Magnitude 2.6, 42km SW of Ferndale.

UPDATE, 2:27 p.m.: Annnnd a fourth! Magnitude 2.2, 40km SW of Fortuna.

UPDATE, 2:59 p.m.: Plead the fifth! Magnitude 3.0 21km SW of Rio Dell. Enough now!

Breaking News: Accident on the Avenue

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Jan. 27 @ 10:56 p.m. /  News

UPDATE 11:13 p.m.: The ambulance transported two subjects to Redwood Memorial Hospital.


Original post: The California Highway Patrol dispatch is reporting an accident on the Avenue of the Giants. The incident, according to scanner traffic, is one mile north of Phillipsville. A vehicle has overturned and one person has injuries to their hand and their head, according to a man on the scene.


One Can at a Time: Butane Canisters and Tons of Trash Recycled by Crowd of Volunteers

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Jan. 27 @ 7:31 a.m. /  News

On Sunday, a crowd of around 25 volunteers gathered just east of Alderpoint at an illegal dump site on Carter Creek which flows into the Eel River. Over 4000 pounds of trash were taken out of the site. This included most of the remaining butane canisters which had been tossed there in early November and partially removed earlier this month.

By 10 a.m. the large turnout by the Carter Creek dump was filling to overflowing with cars, trucks, trailers and people willing to work. But, the Southern Humboldt Rescue Team, which had planned to rappel over the edge and retrieve the trash, was sadly called to the scene of a tragedy—a young woman kayaker had drowned and they must recover her body.

The cleanup plans had to change…and fast. 

The first look over the edge of the very steep hillside was daunting. How to get all those cans up to the road without the skills and tools of the Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue team?

One person, Chris Anderson, quickly volunteered to be lowered over the edge in rappelling gear. (If you look closely in the photo above, you can see Carter Creek with a log in it way down below.) First, trash bags and then later trash cans were lowered to him and filled one by one. 

Crews anchored Anderson who loaded each butane canister as well as other trash into the garbage cans which were hauled up to the road. He did this for four hours with few breaks.

On the flat next to the road, the garbage cans were emptied then sorted. The butane canisters must be punctured if they didn’t already have holes in them in order to be recycled. (The tireless individual sitting on the left whacked every can of the 800 pounds that needed to be punctured with a tool he invented himself. Then he and his wife hauled the whole thing to the dump!)

Meanwhile, those not needed for sorting and hauling began cleaning up the land all around the main area of the Carter Creek dump. 

In spite of the trash, families with their kids enjoyed a beautiful sunny day while they made their community a little cleaner.

Contentment and satisfaction showed when folks stopped for lunch.

Sunshine, fresh air, good deeds makes for great family memories.

After the work, it was almost beer thirty for this crew. When they’d finished tidying up the site, these workers hauled trash to the dump in Redway and then headed home to relax with the remainder of their Sunday.

The Result: a cleaner hillside.

Eventually, there were 800 pounds of butane cans waiting to be recycled at the Redway Transfer Station.

Multiple trucks and trailers streamed into the Redway Dump to offload the garbage and the grubby workers. Like a SoHum version of Rosie the Riveter, the smiling lady in the photo above hauled a load of 1080 pounds from the Carter Creek trash site.

The Lost Coast Outpost and their sister site the Redheaded Blackbelt went prepared to pay for the dump fees. However, multiple people donated money to cover the costs. There’s cash left over for next time to help clear out more of that mess. 

Plans are being made for the next foray into the massive amount of garbage still at the bottom of that hill by Carter Creek. Members of Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue team have offered to help. The Lost Coast Outpost will be there to document a community making a difference–one can at a time.

Can’t wait for a chance to get your gloves dirty? The Eel River Cleanup Party is meeting today at 11 a.m. in front of the Tiger Lily Bookstore at the north end of Garberville for another day of sunshine, laughter and making a difference. 

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. “
The Lorax


OBITUARY: John Van Meter, 1947-2015

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Jan. 27 @ 7:05 a.m. /  Obits

[Submitted to the Outpost by the family of the deceased.]

John Van Meter


On January 18, 2015 Johnny Leon VanMeter passed away surrounded by family and close friends. John was born August 29, 1947 in Scotia, California to Sidney and Doris VanMeter. He grew up and lived his adult life in Redway. He attended schools in Garberville, Redway and graduated from South Fork High in 1965. John loved growing up in Redway where he had many childhood friends who remained close throughout the years. He developed a good work ethic early in his life. By the age of 10 he had his own newspaper route and mowed lawns around Redway. His first part time job was for Bushnell Surveying and later while at the age of 15 worked at Chevron gas station in Garberville. John was a Boy Scout in his youth and participated in the order of the Arrow, which he maintained its principles of good stewardship throughout his life. 

In 1966 he and one of his childhood friends Robert Barnett joined the United State Marine Corps. He served his county from May 1966, was promoted to Staff Sgt. in 1967, and was honorably discharged in March 1969. A true American Hero he earned several medals: The Silver Star, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, The Purple Heart , Presidential Unit Citation Medal, Meritorious Mast Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medal, The Vietnamese Service Medal, and The Vietnamese Campaign Metal. 

John married his childhood sweetheart Pamela Bowman in 1968 and they lived on the base at the Naval Weapons Station in Concord, California. In 1969 they moved back to Humboldt County where he began his career as an independent logger. His first introduction to logging was a job with his father-in law Casey Bowman. He later formed his own company Van Meter Logging, Inc. in 1971. During his 40 years with the timber industry he formed a unique and close relationship with his good friend and falling contractor Will Edgins.

There wasn’t anthing he wouldn’t do for his children, Brett and Katherine. He appreciated Brett’s wife Suzanne for helping with VanMeter Logging’s daily operation and Katherine’s husband David for his handy skills. He was enormously proud of their achievements and supported them always. John was extremely proud of his four grandchildren: Konrad, Konstanze, Victoria and Christopher John (C.J.) It didn’t make any difference if it was a baseball game, piano recital in Santa Rosa, a soccer or baseball game in Southern Humboldt, John was there. He had the grandchildren’s complete interest at heart. After retiring John spent much of his time at his cabin in Eel Rock. He loved to develop his property and plant trees for the next generation. John spent hours in his gardens and orchards, his dog Bullet, always by his side. He and his wife enjoyed taking their four grandchildren on summer trips that took them all over the United States. He looked forward to March each year when the whole family would travel to Scottsdale, Arizona for Spring baseball training.

John had a great commitment to his community. He was a retired Redway Volunteer Fireman, Was a member of the honor guard for the VFW and life time member of the South Fork Booster Club. He was honored to be named the Grand Marshall of the Garberville Rodeo and was honored at the Rhododendron Parade in Eureka. John was instrumental in the development of the Southern Humboldt Little League field. He belonged to the Redwood Regional Logging Conference for years. He helped his wife manage their laundromats, apartments, and was proud of the success of their retail store, the Paper Mill. John had a real commitment to his family. Family meant so much to him. He was proud that he had a large, loving family both immediate and extended. His family was especially supportive during his struggle with cancer. They were always there to help him every step of the way, and he knew he was well loved.

John was preceded in death by his father Sidney VanMeter; mother Doris VanMeter; father- in-law Casey Bowman; mother-in-law Priscilla Bowman. He is survied by his wife and best friend of 47 years Pamela; son, Brett VanMeter and wife Suzanne, their daughter Victoria and son Christopher John (C.J.) of Garberville; daughter Katherine Franco and husband David, their son Konrad, and daughter Konstanze of Santa Rosa. John had five brothers and sisters. Sister, Norma Allman of Fortuna; sister Betty Partain and husband Jerry of Bayside; brother Alvin (Bud) Slagle and wife Dianne of McKinleyville; brother Ronnie VanMeter of Fortuna and brother Timothy VanMeter of Stafford. He is also survived by numerous cousins, neices and nephews; his extended loving family Keith and Trudy Bowman of Piercy, Linda and Ron Presswood of Vancouver, Washington; Sherrie Finney of Las Vegas and Kenneth and Donna Bowman of Miranda.

His family would like to express the deepest gratitude to the San Francisco Fort Miley Hospital. The care and devotion given to him was nothing short of remarkable. All of his doctors, nurses, and assistants were of the most professional and compassionate possible. A special thank you to Erin Bowman, FNP who helped John in his final days. We would like to thank Mt. Zion Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, and Heart of the Redwoods Hospice (Suzanne & Jill). 

A public remembrance will be held in late March at Cook’s Valley Park, Piercy. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, South Fork High Booster Club, Heart of the Redwoods Hospice, Redway Volunteer Fire Department.