Measure X: Slim 18 Vote Loss in June Leads District to Place Another School Renovation Bond on Ballot

Kym Kemp / Sunday, Nov. 2 @ 2:29 p.m. /  News

Measure X is a $10 million dollar general bond placed on the ballot this year by the Southern Humboldt Unified School District (SHUSD) in order to fund renovations and finish projects for the schools under its direction—Redway, Whitethorn, Weott and Casterlin elementary schools, the Miranda Junior High School, South Fork High School and the Osprey Learning Center.

SHUSD estimates that this measure will add an additional $43 per every $100,000 of assessed value (not market value but what the property is assessed by the County for tax purposes.) Thus a property taxed at a value of $200,000 will have an additional $86 added.

If Measure X passes, School Board members, Blake Lehman and Thomas Mulder, say that the school will not only be able to finish projects already begun but SHUSD will be able to borrow money at lower interest rates which will save taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run.

In the election held June 3 of this year, Measure N, a bond that Lehman says was very similar to Measure X, failed to pass by just 18 votes. Lehman and other supporters of Measure X are counting on Southern Humboldt residents to turn out in support of fixing up the schools.

There is no organized group fighting Measure X. However, some residents have complained that the language of the measure does not match promises that Board has made regarding retiring debt from earlier bonds. (Listen to KMUD’s excellent report on Measure X here.)

In an interview, Lehman and Mulder spoke about why they believed this current bond measure should pass. Lehman said, as a whole, school buildings in the district are “very old.” He said that over the years, “We haven’t had the money to put into them that other districts have.” However, in 2010 a school bond passed that allowed the new junior high to be built in Miranda. It allowed for extensive work done at Redway and Whitethorn elementary schools as well as at South Fork High School.

One of the projects funded by the 2010 bond.

Mulder explained that prior to the 2010 bond, “We haven’t passed a bond in almost 50 years.” Infrastructure suffered during this extensive time both he and Lehman pointed out.

The work started with the bond passed in 2010 is not yet finished in all the areas. In part, Mulder said, it is because “property values haven’t risen as much as projected.”

The bonds issued if Measure X passes would have much lower ratios. This, Lehman said, would allow the District to “sell the bonds more quickly. It will allow us to access the money earlier.”

We have everybody in place to work now,” Lehman said. If the district has to wait to access more money from the earlier bond to complete construction projects, he explained, “construction costs will go up.” Lehman worried that local residents don’t understand how the measure will help area schools.

Mulder agreed and added, “Try to search out the facts. All the board members are available…I encourage people to get educated. Learn what is going on…and go and vote.”

Pro Measure X website here.

Humboldt County Woman Who Crashed With Two Children Off Hwy 1 Earlier This Month Arrested for Attempted Murder

Kym Kemp / Sunday, Nov. 2 @ 1:07 p.m. /  Crime

Yesterday, a McKinleyville woman, Athena Renee Doyle (age 35,) was arrested for attempted murder in charges resulting from a traffic collision October 3 off of Hwy 1 north of Fort Bragg. (See press release below.) Doyle was the driver of a 1992 Isuzu Rodeo that crashed with her and her two young sons off a 300 foot cliff in the area. The three weren’t found for several hours. In an article earlier this month, a man who found the injured children and their mother described what he saw. The children and their mother were all transported to hospitals to be treated for serious injuries.

The vehicle after the victims were removed. [Photo by Guy Casey]

Earlier this year, Doyle had been sought by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department because it was believed that she might harm her sons. In August, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release stating that they were looking for Athena Doyle, and her two children. According to the statement, the woman’s mother believed Doyle was having mental health issues. Doyle was contacted by law enforcement and according to the press release, “The deputy determined she was not having any mental health issues.”

According to Lt. Steve Knight speaking generally about welfare checks but not this specific case, “When law enforcement contacts someone for a welfare check…[we look for whether] the individual is a danger to themselves, to others…If the person displays none of those criteria, there is nothing [law enforcement] can do.”

Evaluating mental health is hard for a trained medical professional and law enforcement officers have little training. Knight said that mental health welfare checks can be “a tough call.”  Deputies, he said, “make the best judgement they can at the time.” He also pointed out that individuals with mental health can seem fine at one moment in time and then “things can change.” 

According to a witness at the scene of the crash of Hwy 1, one of the children had a broken arm and a broken femur as well as a head injury. The child, the witness said, was injured but didn’t appear to be in a lot of pain.

The Mendocino sheriff’s Department said that though all three had to be transported to out of the area hospitals they are “expected to survive their injuries.”


Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department press release:

Suspect #1:
Name: Athena Renee Doyle
Age: 35
City/State: McKinleyville, Ca

On 10-03-2014 at 12:19 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to the scene of a possible vehicle accident in the 33000 block of North Highway 1 in Westport, California at the request of the California Highway Patrol.

Upon arrival Deputies learned the vehicle, a 1992 Isuzu Rodeo, had travelled off of the roadway of North Highway 1 and down an approximately 300 foot cliff coming to rest on the sands of Chadbourn Gulch/Blues Beach.

The possible vehicle accident was not witnessed and it was suspected the vehicle had been on the beach for several hours before being seen by a passing motorist.

Deputies learned a responding CHP Officer had contacted the driver, Athena Renee Doyle, at the scene and received information that suggested she had intentionally crashed the vehicle.

All occupants of the vehicle were significantly injured during the incident which included Doyle, her 4-year-old son and her 2-year-old son.

All three occupants were transported to an out of county hospital by air ambulance where they were treated and expected to survive their injuries.

Sheriff’s Detectives took over the investigation into the incident and later submitted their investigative reports to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for review of potential criminal charges.

As a result, on 10-28-2014 a felony arrest warrant ($500,000.00 bail) listing 2 counts of attempted murder was issued for Doyle.

On 10-31-2014 Doyle was arrested in Humboldt County by local law enforcement and subsequently booked into the Humboldt County Jail awaiting extradition back to Mendocino County.


Halloween Dance in SoHum

Kym Kemp / Saturday, Nov. 1 @ 3:08 p.m. /  PSA

Five Arrested in Alleged Rio Dell Burglary Case

Kym Kemp / Friday, Oct. 31 @ 4:58 p.m. /  Crime

Law enforcement detained one suspect after an alleged burglary in Rio Dell on Wednesday. [Photo provided by reader.]

According to Rio Dell Police Chief Graham Hill, in the afternoon of October 29, folks returning to a home within that town were surprised to discover their safe outside on the ground, a window broken and a burglary in progress. Suspects scattered. Two fled into a nearby creek.

The residents immediately called 911. Hill said that Rio Dell Police arrived on scene within a couple minutes and quickly located a suspect in the area. Then they captured another two subjects a half mile away from the alleged break in.

All three were arrested. In the course of the investigation, Hill said, others were implicated and arrested. At least some of the people involved in perpetrating the burglary knew the victims. The suspects apparently believed the victims owed them money. Five people were ultimately arrested for burglary and conspiracy. Those arrested were

Christopher Benham age 37 Rio Dell

Austin Humphrey age 21 of Rio Dell

Charles Uber age 38 of Rio Dell

Joleen McClellan age 22 

Sharena Holcomb age 21 Rio Dell

State Parks Ranger Detained for DUI Received Unusual Treatment

Kym Kemp / Friday, Oct. 31 @ 10:37 a.m. /  News

On August 15, this photo of State Parks Ranger Tyson Young with an open Keystone Light beer between his legs was snapped by a Humboldt County resident. In what appears to be an unusual procedure, Young was cited that day but not booked for more than two months. [Photo taken by Jack Hurst]

On August 15, local business owner Jack Hurst allegedly discovered a State Parks Ranger apparently under the influence of alcohol beside the Avenue of the Giants with his truck still running and his head lolling against the doorjamb. Though the ranger, Tyson Young, was arrested soon afterwards, he was not booked or arraigned until this last Wednesday — several months later. Usually those arrested (for driving under the influence or for any other offense) are booked and appear in the public record the next business day. Instead, Young was released to a State Parks supervisor and given a notice to appear in court. His name did not appear in the booking logs for August 15. In fact, it didn’t pop up until Oct. 30:

The record of Tyson Young being booked into the Humboldt County Jail was released on Thursday, October 30th. Here is a screenshot of the information. Note: the other individuals booked are shown as having been arrested the day before, Wednesday, October 29. Young’s time is left blank.

The Lost Coast Outpost‘s Ryan Burns broke the story almost two weeks after the incident, on August 28. However, we’d been following the incident since soon after the officer was discovered by Hurst when this reporter received a report of “cops arresting cops” in Myers Flat. By the time we were able to get to the area, only a State Parks vehicle remained. 

According to Hurst, the incident began close to Miranda on the Avenue of the Giants. Hurst said he was driving southbound when he noticed a State Parks pickup stopped on the opposite side of the road facing northbound. Seeing the ranger’s head at an odd angle and realizing the truck was running, Hurst thought the man might be ill. Hurst turned around and pulled in behind the vehicle just north of Miranda. He said he tried to wake Young. 

Sir,” Hurst said he called while standing away from the State vehicle. Then he said he got closer. “I yelled, ‘sir.’ I shook the tailgate,” he explained. Then he “slapped” the driver’s side fender. Eventually, he approached the open window and “grabbed his shoulder and shook it.” Hurst said he got “no response.”

Then, he said, “I looked inside and saw beer.” Young had a Keystone Light been between his legs and, Hurst said, an empty vodka bottle on the passenger-side floorboards. “It was a plain clear bottle of vodka,” Hurst explained. 

Hurst was afraid Young would wake up and drive off in what he believed would be an unsafe state. “I wanted to take his keys and turn off the truck,” Hurst said. “[But] I was intimidated by the fact he was law enforcement.”

Hurst called 911 and reported the incident. Then, he said, he snapped the above photo because he was afraid that no one would believe him. He was afraid that Young, being a peace officer, might not be treated the same as anyone else if there wasn’t proof. After waiting awhile, Hurst dialed 911 again. 

As I was talking to someone [at dispatch], he woke up and drove off,” Hurst said. Young headed quickly northbound on the Avenue. Hurst said that he followed but soon lost sight of him. Just before Myers Flat, Hurst said he gave up trying to find the ranger and exited the Avenue, taking an onramp to Highway 101.

Meanwhile, Young was spotted and detained at the north end of Myers Flat by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). As reported in our earlier story, CHP Officer Patrick Bourassa said, “Young displayed objective symptoms of intoxication and was detained for a DUI investigation.”

 Tyson Young’s mugshot. He was initially charged with resisting arrest as well as having a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.

About 5 p.m. on that same day, Jack Hurst said he was contacted by the CHP, whose officers took his statement and copies of the photos he had taken.

Over the next week or so, Hurst said Young’s boss at the California State Parks contacted him several times wanting the photos and asking Hurst to remove them from his phone. “He wasn’t threatening,” Hurst said. “He didn’t want the bad publicity for the State Parks. He was trying to protect his employee, the State Parks, him and the agency.”

Initially, Hurst said that he would remove them. However, he became concerned as Young did not appear in the Booking Logs. He began to believe that Young would not be charged. Originally, he had refused to release the image to the media, citing concern for Young’s family. By late August, however, he feared that the incident was being “swept under the rug.”

On August 28, almost two weeks after the initial incident, Hurst agreed to let the Lost Coast Outpost publish the photo he had taken of Young. He said he hoped that the attention would ensure that Young could not continue to endanger the safety of others.

Ryan Burns, who wrote the Outpost‘s original story, determined that Young had been “stripped of his peace officer status and placed on administrative leave” soon after the incident. But Young was not publicly booked until this Wednesday when records show the initial charges of resisting arrest were dropped.

Tyson Young’s Humboldt County Jail Report from October 29.

Dan Noyes with ABC Channel 7 News revealed in a broadcast last night that, when detained, Young had a blood alcohol limit of 0.24 — three times the legal limit. Noyes said that this year the Garberville CHP arrested 234 individuals for DUI, only five of whom were cited and released instead of booked through the Humboldt County Jail. (See the broadcast with more information here.)

I honestly feel like they were trying to sweep [Young’s behavior] under the rug,” Hurst said. “It is ridiculous taking two months.”


Haunted House in SoHum

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Oct. 29 @ 10:03 p.m. /  Community

Are you a haunted house connoisseur? I hear this one is very spooky.

Plus, there is a costumed dance on Saturday. 

Support a local Volunteer Fire Department while having a creepy good time.

This Cute Pup and Her Mom Are Lost…Help?

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Oct. 29 @ 2:14 p.m. /  Animals

Hey, do you know this little cutie? She and her mom were found walking down the street near the Avenue of the Giants on Forest Grove Lane in Miranda on Monday.  The mom (see below) has a collar but no tag. She is not chipped.

Today, the super helpful people at the Garberville Vet gave the pup a Parvo shot for free today. The Humane Society of the Redwoods is willing to pay half to get them both spayed so if you are willing to donate or have information contact the Miranda Market at 707 943 1927.

Currently, the nice folk at the Miranda Market are taking care of them both—employees are bringing them home at night but this darling duo need to go home. Failing that, maybe you’re interested in adopting?