The Humboldt Pride Runs Deep in These People: Video Sparks Trash Cleanup Revolution

Kym Kemp / Saturday, Jan. 24 @ 7:54 p.m. /


A homeless camp cleaned up on Friday. [Photo on the left pre-cleanup. Photo on the right post cleanup.]

Yesterday, 3600 pounds of trash went to the dump as part of a renewed support for a bi-weekly garbage cleanup in Southern Humboldt. Sickened by this video documenting trash which was posted on the Lost Coast Outpost last Saturday, PacOut Green Team member Amy Machado started the latest surge in cleanup energy and Humboldt Pride with a post on her personal Facebook page calling for people to organize and pick up garbage along the Eel River. 

She soon understood that there was a lot more garbage than she had expected but there was also an already existing effort to cleanup the area. “Once I realized the scope of the problem then I wanted to work with groups,” Machado explained. “Let’s get people on board with something that is already happening.”

The response to Machado’s call for action has been phenomenal. She started a Facebook page that already has over 600 members. On Tuesday and Friday of this week, people excited to help joined long time trash activist Mike Miller on his regular biweekly cleanups in Southern Humboldt. On Tuesday, 1800 pounds of trash were removed.

Southern Humboldt residents including Dusty Hughston and Kerry Reynolds pictured here joined with Mike Miller (far right) on Tuesday to pick up trash. [Photo from Eel River Cleanup Party.]

On Friday, 3600 pounds was taken out from an area north of Redway. The cleanup was hard, dirty work, said Chris Anderson who helped in the event. Some aspects, he said, were a little hard to deal with including a “bucket of human feces” and five to ten hypodermic needles strewn about. Anderson said there were also lots of little batteries. “In one camp, there were 40 or 50 little batteries,” he said. “These small batteries…can leach into the water supply.”

Anderson said that at this point most of the trash appears to be coming from homeless individuals. “We’re cleaning up after people living out there,” he said. He didn’t see many of the homeless who live in the area but the one he did see was “super helpful.” Mike Miller, the long time trash activist, he said, had been working with the individual in cleaning up the area previously.  “He has created relationships with the [homeless,]” Anderson said. “He is an amazing man.” 

Pictured are a few of the estimated 10-15 folks that helped pick up trash on Friday. [Photo from Eel River Cleanup Party.]

KHUM DJ and LoCO contributor Mike Dronkers said that he was pleased to see the video he posted on the Lost Coast Outpost generate such a positive response. “I’m very excited that just pictures can move people,” he said. He was so delighted with the results of this week’s trash removal that he declared, “The Humboldt Pride runs deep with these people.” [Hence, the title of this piece.]

Dronkers said that several weeks before he posted the video that moved Machado and others, KHUM was given a packet of photos by John Casali, a trash activist originally from Southern Humboldt. Dronkers said, “I cracked it open and thought ‘this is going to take time.’ We passed it around the KHUM staff. We didn’t know what to do.”

Finally, he decided he had to “let the photos speak.” He took the images and loaded them into a movie making program. The video, he said, “Unlocked a lot of enthusiasm” that already existed in Humboldt for getting rid of the trash. He mentioned that Surfrider and PacOut Green Team were recent forerunners of the current cleanups, too.

The packet of trash photos was spread out in KHUM for the staff to contemplate. [Photo provided by Mike Dronkers.]

Amy Machado, the force behind the recent efforts, eventually envisions trash cleanup parties with live music and a party atmosphere. Right now though the focus of the Eel River Cleanup group is on rolling up sleeves and getting rid of garbage on bi-weekly basis. On Tuesdays and Fridays volunteers gather in front of Tiger Lily bookstore on the north end of Garberville at 11 a.m. Can’t show up to shovel trash? You can donate money to help here at the fundraising page for the Eel River Cleanup Party.

Fired up to do something now? Be part of the LoCO Movement:

This Sunday, January 25, [today or tomorrow depending on when you’re reading this] at 10 a.m. Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue will be practicing their rescue skills and removing the large number of remaining butane canisters that were dumped near Alderpoint Road. Nocona Mendes who already worked on the site will be donating the use of his truck and trailer. Volunteers are needed to bag trash, puncture the butane cans (to reduce costs of dumping) and load the trucks. Money is needed to cover dump fees. Trucks and trailers would be useful, too.

Redheaded Blackbelt and the Lost Coast Outpost are sponsoring the cleanup. Alderpoint Store is contributing gloves, bags, and water as well as the contents of a donation jar set up for the purpose of cleaning up this site.

LoCO will be there documenting and interviewing the participants. Come introduce yourself and join in the Humboldt Pride.

As Chris Anderson said, “It is a powerful thing to see the community coming together.”

Approximate location of the cleanup site.


Manhunt in Mendocino Yesterday for Man Wanted on Hum. Co. Arrest Warrant

Kym Kemp / Saturday, Jan. 24 @ 11:27 a.m. /

UPDATE 12:24 p.m.: Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office press release:

On 01-23-2015 at approximately 10:00 AM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies attempted to contact Riley Keisel at a residence located in the 44000 block of Crestwood Drive in Mendocino, California.

The reason for the attempted contact was that Keisel had a felony arrest warrant issued in Humboldt County.

When Deputies arrived at the residence Keisel fled on foot towards the Big River Haul Road in a heavily wooded area.

An extensive search was conducted for 1-2 hours with two Sheriff’s Office K9 teams and the aid of several allied law enforcement agencies (California Highway Patrol, California State Parks, California Department of Fish & Wildlife and Fort Bragg Police Department).  The search ended without Keisel being located.

A reverse 911 notification was issued at the conclusion of the search notifying the public that Keisel was wanted and at large in the area.

Keisel is a white male adult last seen wearing black jeans, a blue jacket, a large green back pack and a purple bandana.

Keisel is known to associate with a white female adult with short blond hair and having a heavy build.

Deputies developed information that suggested Keisel was in possession of a handgun although none was seen during the attempted apprehension, but the public is asked to considered him armed and dangerous at this time.

As of 01-25-2015 Keisel’s current whereabouts were still unknown.

Anyone with information as to Keisel’s whereabouts is urged to call the Sheriff’s Office dispatch center at 707-463-4086.


Original post: Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies searched yesterday for a man wanted in Humboldt County after the man, believed to be armed with a handgun, fled into a wooded area on the coast.  Riley Keisel (or “Kiesel” — his name is spelled differently in various reports) is wanted on a felony arrest warrant.

The Surfwood subdivision of the town of Mendocino was on lockdown yesterday while law enforcement scoured the area for the 31-year-old man. 

According to the host of the popular MendocinoSportsPlus Facebook page, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office sent him the following email:

[Yesterday] at approximately 10:00 am, Sheriff’s Deputies attempted to contact Riley Keisel, a 31 year-old white male adult, at a residence located in the 44000 block of Crestwood Drive in Mendocino. The reason for the attempted contact was that Keisel had a felony arrest warrant from Humboldt County.

When Deputies arrived at the residence Keisel fled on foot towards the Big River Haul Road in a heavily wooded area. 

An extensive search was conducted for 1-2 hours with the aid of several allied law enforcement agencies and ended without Keisel being located.

A reverse 911 notification was issued at the conclusion of the search notifying the public that Keisel was wanted and at large in the area.

Keisel was last seen wearing black jeans, a blue jacket, a large green back pack and a purple bandana. Deputies developed information that suggested he was in possession of a handgun, thus he is considered armed and dangerous.

Keisel was arrested in Arcata in 2013 after fleeing law enforcement. At the time he was arrested he also carried a hand gun.

See MendocinoSportsPlus’s Facebook page for more information.

Previously: Mendocino Man Arrested in Arcata Stabbed Another Man Last May

Home Invasion Robbery North of Ukiah

Kym Kemp / Friday, Jan. 23 @ 5:39 p.m. /  Crime

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department press release:

On 01/23/2014 around 0815 hours Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies received a report of a home invasion robbery that occurred earlier that morning in the 5300 Block of Lake Ridge Road in Calpella CA.  Deputies responded to the location where they contacted the victim who related, in essence, the following.  During the early morning hours of1/23/2015, while he slept in his home, two or more unknown persons entered his home, assaulted him, tied and blindfolded him and then ransacked his house and travel trailer.  According to the victim the suspects stayed at the location for approximately 1 hour.  The suspects demanded to know where the victim’s marijuana was and told him they had already located and stolen his cash.

Patrol Deputies contacted the Mendocino County Detectives Unit who responded to assist with the investigation.  It was discovered the suspects stole approximately $3000.00 in cash, less than one pound of marijuana, and a Subaru Sedan.  The Subaru was later located, by the victim, on another area of his property, stuck in the mud.  The marijuana that had been stolen was recovered in the vehicle.

The victim received numerous abrasions and bruises but did not require medical treatment for his injuries.

Mendocino County Detectives are continuing to investigate this case and request that anyone who might have information about this incident to please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 707-234-2100.  

Fish and Wildlife With Law Enforcement in Sproul Creek Again Today, Other At-Risk Watersheds Slated to Get Similar Visits

Kym Kemp / Friday, Jan. 23 @ 11:55 a.m. /  News

California Department of Fish and Wildlife press release:

Multi-agency Cannabis Pilot Project Finishes Successful Three-Day Inspection of Marijuana Grows in Eel River Watershed

Effort intended to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and minimize harm to wildlife and state waters

An innovative multi-agency partnership involving state and local agencies today finished inspections of 14 private properties with active marijuana grow operations along Sproul Creek within the Eel River watershed. The three-day effort, which began Jan. 21, is intended to ensure existing and future marijuana grow operations on private lands aren’t impacting nearby waterways and wildlife. 

The partnership includes staff from the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, biologists and wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt County staff.  

Sproul Creek is home to five endangered salmonid species, including one of the most important populations of coho salmon in the Eel River watershed. This stream went dry last year for the first time in many years. This is most likely a result of water diversions for marijuana cultivation combined with the ongoing drought conditions. 

In addition, the agencies are concerned about potentially significant pollutants entering the watershed from sediments, pesticides, fertilizers and other contaminants that, when not properly regulated or monitored, degrade the environment and threaten native plants and wildlife. 

Sproul Creek is one of several at-risk watersheds this multi-agency partnership will be visiting and inspecting in the weeks and months ahead where known grow operations exist,” said Cris Carrigan, Chief of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement, which is specifically focused on compliance with existing environmental regulations. “What we are seeking from the growers is a commitment to work with us to solve the water quality and water supply problems in the watershed.” 

Carrigan said the goal of the integrated effort is to be proactive with our enforcement resources in acutely impacted watersheds and hold those responsible for existing environmental damage accountable, while providing a pathway toward compliance for those operators who want to cultivate in an environmentally sound manner. 

The Water Boards and CDFW hope that most or many of the growers will be interested in working with state and local agencies cooperatively to prepare for and then enroll in permits that may be required, such as a conditional waiver of waste discharge requirements and/or streambed alteration agreement. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is creating a conditional waiver to better monitor and regulate activities associated with cannabis cultivation much like it regulates and monitors other activities on California’s North Coast. Currently, grow operations are not regulated for potential environmental impacts.  

Voluntary compliance with the law is the best-case scenario and we expect to see an increase in the number of permit applications following these inspections,” said Lt. DeWayne Little of CDFW’s Watershed Enforcement Team. “We do have the authority to serve search warrants, cite those who are damaging the environment and confiscate crops. We hope to not have to resort to those measures, but it is imperative that we take every precaution to avoid the loss of the coho run for a second year in a row.” 

Following this inspection effort of the 14 locations, state and regional water board staff observed a variety of potential and actual violations that will be addressed in the coming weeks. Possible violations appear to be unlawful diversion and storage of water for growing operations, and discharge of waste to waterways including some indications of the use of pesticide or fertilizers in ways that could degrade nearby waterways.  

Individuals on site at a majority of the inspected parcels gave consent for the team to look at the operations and were cooperative in identifying areas of interest for the inspectors, negating the need to serve administrative warrants to enter properties to perform the inspections. 

The state and regional water board staff will be studying the evidence, and providing inspection reports to the property owners detailing any issues that need to be addressed. Those reports should be finalized in the next several weeks. Following issuance of those reports, formal enforcement orders may follow from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and/or State Water Board to ensure compliance with all applicable Water Code provisions.   

During this inspection effort, no grow operations were eradicated and Proposition 215 cards were not reviewed.   

For more information on the activities of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement efforts relative to cannabis cultivation, please visit our resources page here.

Convoy Headed South on Hwy 101

Kym Kemp / Friday, Jan. 23 @ 9:09 a.m. /  News

A number of vehicles were left at the Garberville airport, not far from Sproul Creek, this morning after their drivers got into Fish and Wildlife vehicles. [Photo provided by a reader.]

According to witnesses, approximately a dozen law enforcement and Department of Fish and Wildlife vehicles were headed south on Highway 101 near Myers Flat at about 8:30 this morning.

We have requested more information on this situation from both the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Previously this week there was a similar operation on Sproul Creek Road (See 12 Warrants Being Served in Sprowl Creek) where at least 25 law enforcement and 20 plus Fish and Wildlife personnel inspected properties in Southern Humboldt.

Willits Bypass Falsework Collapses, Three Injured

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Jan. 22 @ 11:16 p.m. /  News

Falsework collapsed on the Willits Bypass this Thursday afternoon. [Photo courtesy of The Willits News.]

A section of the Willits Bypass viaduct crumpled underneath workers on Thursday afternoon as concrete was being poured by the contractor, Flatiron. Several workers were caught in the collapse. One had to be extricated from the ruins. Three of the contractor’s employees were hurt and taken to the hospital—at least one with major injuries. Caltrans spokesperson Eli Rohl said this evening, “Everyone’s injuries appeared to be non-life-threatening as they left the scene. We don’t know anything beyond that…Flatiron West will have the latest on the workers’ conditions.”  

Flatiron, the contractor, was not reachable for comment at the time of the writing of this article. It received a safety award in December.

Caltrans photo of Flatiron West employees pouring concrete on the viaduct earlier this month. [Photo from the Willits Bypass Project News.]

According to the Willits News (see their extensive coverage and photos here,) concrete from the pour flowed into Haehl Creek. The Willits News learned from a Mendocino County department responsible for cleanup of hazardous materials 

…that wet concrete is extremely alkaline, with a pH of up to 13 or 14. Electric meters, which are in the creek at all times measured pH in the creek water near the debris at 11. A pH that high will quickly kill fish and other aquatic animals.

Cal/OSHA (California Department of Occupational Safety and Health) will be investigating the incident. Caltrans spokesperson Eli Rohl said, “Bridge experts from Sacramento are …en route to Willits.”

Caltrans released this statement on its District 1 Facebook page:

This afternoon, falsework collapsed while contractor Flat Iron was pouring concrete along a section of the viaduct at the Willits Bypass Project. Three Flat Iron employees were injured in this collapse and have been transported to the hospital with moderate to major injuries. CALOSHA will be conducting a full investigation into this incident. We will be reviewing all appropriate safety protocols, and cooperating with state occupational safety regulators. Our hearts go out to all who have been affected today and our priority right now is to provide assistance to our contractor and make sure everyone is safe.

Cannabis Consciousness News—First Chance to Hear the New Program Tonight

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Jan. 22 @ 7:33 a.m. /

A freshly minted news program focused on marijuana is airing tonight at 5:30. Kerry Reynolds, the host of both KMUD’s once a month talk show, Cannabis Consciousness, and KMUD’s The Cannabis Report which summaries relevant news for five minutes every Friday, will begin a four week pilot radio program that has spun off from her first two programs. The latest show known as Cannabis Consciousness News (CCN) will feature a half hour of Reynolds reporting on marijuana stories every Thursday evening on KMUD.

CCN - Cannabis Consciousness News - will be an amalgam of both [original shows,]” Reynolds explained. She intends to cover various aspects of the plant. “I definitely want to include science and medicine news on every show, something I wasn’t always able to do on The Cannabis Report,” said Reynolds. The show will also continue to include a weekly cultivation tip from Kevin Jodrey (See photo below.)

This won’t be a call in program, Reynolds said. “I feel like I’m ready to be focusing on the news,” she explained. The talk show format of Cannabis Consciousness, she felt, didn’t occur frequently enough to stay on top of the large number of stories coming out. Reynolds said she wanted to explore marijuana pieces, both nationally and locally, in more depth.

In the few years since Reynolds began hosting her shows, she has helped make changes to this community. The change she says she is most proud of is “raising awareness of the rodenticide issues.” 

The Cannabis Report, which only runs five minutes has been picked up by a variety of radio stations from Peoria, IL to Takilma, OR. Reynolds hopes that her new half hour news show will be picked up by these stations and more.

The current Cannabis Consciousness show will continue for another two months. When the last episode airs in March, Reynolds will have completed forty shows. “That was a nice round number. I’m forty so it is one for every year of my life,” she said. 

Listen to January’s show here. (Listen to January’s show here.)