2009 – Crime, loss, election, adaptation – January 7, 2010
Kevin L. Hoover
ARCATA – It wasn’t the best or worst of years. No overwhelming milestones were achieved, nor huge disasters suffered.
But 2009 was newsy as usual in Arcata, and here’s some of what went down during the decade’s second-to-last year:
• January 6 A backpack full of tens of thousands of dollars in cash abandoned at the Veterans Hall Thanksgiving Dinner goes unclaimed, probably because of what police says is evidence of drug connections.
Sandy Giuntoli, who studied under Luther Burbank, passes away on January 4.
The United States of America sues Arcata and Eureka over The Youth Protection Act.
Economist and HSU Professor Jacqueline Kasun, who assisted with creation of the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary, passes away.
• January 13 Students of Sunny Brae Middle School travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
An elderly gentleman is struck and killed at 17th and H streets. No charges are filed against the driver.
As newspapers across the country collapse, Arcata Eye announces downsizing with smaller office, fewer pages.
• January 20: City Council renews Arcata Endeavor’s lease on Arcata Service Center through June, 2011.
Zelda Geren turns seven years old with a birthday party on the Plaza.
Arcata Eye holds rummage sale at its old office, sells one poster.
Thirty-five-year-old woman is severely injured in a bicycle accident on Fickle Hill Road.
• January 28: Arcata Eye switches to Wednesday publication.
Valley West citizens surround and detain purse snatcher.
Gene Joyce is named Arcata Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year.
Statue of William McKinley determined to be structurally sound despite cracks.
Police Log: A cow mooed in the 5000 block of Janes Road.
• February 11 Arcata Endeavor changes name to North Coast Resource Center and ends lunch service.
Foster Avenue site of Creek Side Homes subdivision is found sufficiently non-toxic to allow development.
Lawsuit against federal government over global warming in which Arcata participated ends with landmark victory.
• February 18 The Transactions and Use Tax Oversight Committee holds its first meeting to chart use of sales tax money. No citizens attend.
South E Street residents speak out against transitional shelter proposal at Planning Commission meeting.
Humboldt State University mounts effort to oppose state budget cuts to CSU system.
• February 25 City Council concerns over traffic access stall decision on Creek Side Homes subdivision.
Geronimo Garcia is arrested after vandalizing and bleeding on construction equipment in Valley West.
A man stabbed during a domestic dispute drives himself to the Arcata Police Department.
• March 4 Drug Task Force and Arcata Police take out grow house in Sunny Brae.
City Council approves Trillium Creek housing project.
• March 11 Plane crashes near Trinidad head with both passengers, Vladislav Milushev and Rick Gustafson, killed.
Sunny Brae Middle School gets a salad bar.
Mad River Community Hospital is fined $25,000 over MRI scan accident, announces intent to appeal.
• March 18 Arcata Scoop opens on I Street, immediately captivates populace with non-traditional flavors such as cardamom and honey vanilla lavender.
Elementary school teachers protest budget cuts as high school district lays off teachers.
Farmer-author Eddie Tanner holds first of two standing-room-only workshops on lawn-to-garden conversion at Redwood Coast Energy Authority.
HSU Faculty Senate votes No Confidence in President Rollin Richmond, asks him to resign.
• March 25 East Side Deli re-opens with an industrial pop theme under name of Blondie’s Food and Drink.
Arcata Theater Lounge reopens.
• April Fool’s Day Alternative medicine ambulance treats bicycle accident victim with coffee enema.
Arcata Plaza becomes City’s first dog park.
Plaza Grill converted into Plaza Girl strip joint.
Arcata Theater Lounge closes.
• April 8 Farmers’ Market bedeviled by vehicles left on Plaza Saturday mornings.
Los Bagels celebrates 25th anniversary.
Three men are sought in connection with a Bayside Road armed invasion of a grow house, Scott William Boileau, Jason Earl Stockey Dodge, Samuel Frederick Ruchte.
• April 15 Attempted McKinleyville home-invasion marijuana robbery results in gunshot wound. Suspects drop victim off at Mad River Community Hospital and flee.
A missing man, Laurance Whitlatch, is found dead by suicide in Arcata Community Forest. Recovery personnel have a difficult time removing the large body from the steep ravine in which it was located.
Geronimo Garcia pleads guilty to vandalism, gets 79 days in jail.
• April 22 Foster Avenue extension approved over fierce opposition by some area residents.
Forest Management Committee visits acquisition sites off West End Road.
Tea Party protesters and Penny Poll participants hold simultaneous Tax Day events in front of the Arcata Post Office. Little to no communication takes place between the two groups, both of which ostensibly espouse fiscal responsibility by the government. One angry man of uncertain political leanings calls Arcata Eye “piece of crap rag,” promises to organize a boycott. A Tea Partier tries to calm him down.
Unknown suspect breaks into Bayside Grange the night before a scheduled breakfast and vandalizes food, rifles the suggestion box and cuts him or herself on the broken window.
Police Log: Rabid fox is dispatched in upper H Street.
Blue Lake Rancheria applies for gravel mining permit on Mad River.
Hundreds gather for annual 4/20 marijuana celebration in Redwood Park. The next morning, Parks Department workers take out truckloads of trash. Heaps of butane cyclinders from a hashish-making project are also discovered left behind in the woods.
• April 29 Timber Heritage Association secures locomotive named Big George, No. 15, in Samoa Roundhouse.
Jacoby Creek Elementary School breaks ground on new garden.
One man is injured and another is killed in unrelated solo bicycle accidents that occurred just minutes apart. Neither was wearing a helmet.
• May 6 Arcata Fire Protection District graduates nine new volunteers.
California Transportation Commission approves $350,000 grant for purchase of 25.5 acres in the Grotzman Creek watershed to be added to the Sunny Brae forest.
• May 13 Police Log: Man tries to grow marijuana in the shower of a Valley West motel room.
Man stabbed at 11th and J streets. Two suspects are arrested.
Humboldt Internet closes after 14 years.
Humboldt Pride Parade announces relocation to Eureka.
North Country Fair organizers protest new City rules for Plaza use.
• May 20 Medical cannabis pioneer Humboldt Medical Supply founder Erik Vaughn Heimstadt passes away.
• May 27 Cindy Condit’s Arcata High School Biology class cleans out truckloads of camper trash from Shay Park and Jolly Giant Creek.
LaVina Collenberg memorial held at Baywood Golf and Country Club.
City of Arcata releases ailing City Manager Michael Hackett from employment, names police Chief Randy Mendosa as interim City Manager
• June 3 Jacoby Creek Charter Schools buys two bullet proof vests for APD K-9 officers.
Drug Task Force takes out Ariel Way grow house.
Rabid fox attacks and bites kindergartner Heaven Martin, 5, at Trillium Charter School. Courageous little girl undergoes rabies treatment.
• June 10 Twelve-year-old girls steal Snowy Plover eggs from Clam Beach and later return them, infertile.
Arcata High School reopens kitchen after 30 years. Cindy Condit’s biology class cleans out numerous trash camp sites in the Arcata Community Forest.
City Council again rejects annexation proposal for Creek Side Homes on Arcata Bottom.
• June 17 Arcata United Methodist Church buys a John Deere tractor for a farm in Angola.
Following the lead of their buddy Tad, political protesters Geronimo Garcia and Brent also urge a boycott of the Arcata Eye based on the reasoning that “It’s bullshit.”
Scene editor Jennifer Savage leaves the Arcata Eye after eight years.
Former Jacoby Creek School aide and church youth leader Andrew Belant is convicted of child molestation and child pornography.
North Coast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy is ranked 30th best high school in the US and third best in California by Newsweek magazine.
North Coast Resource Center ends breakfast program due to “ hideous” conditions at Service Center, according to John Shelter, director.
Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church, destroyed by fire in 2003, gains new gateway designed by architect Martha Jain.
• June 24 Zoe Savetz performs an original composition, “Not Listed,” at Blue Lake Exploration Day.
Blue Lake Casino Hotel opens, bringing full-service lodging to Blue Lake.
Sculptor Brian Sproul’s art and arcane possessions are sold at an estate sale to benefit HSU’s Reese Bullen Gallery.
City resolves dispute over North Country Fair with Same Old People over Plaza use thanks to high-tech mats that will protect grass.
Federal judge overturns Arcata Youth Protection Act.
• July 1 Veteran Arcata police officer Brett Davie passes away.
Drug Task Force seizes 275 plants and four pounds of marijuana at a Bayside house.
Beloved Video Experience shop closes.
• July 8 City Council votes to appeal Arcata Youth Protection Act ruling.
Trumble Backhoe Service wins first place at Wes Green Backhoe Rodeo.
Rotary Cub of Arcata Sunrise donates $40,686.14 to Arcata Volunteer Fire Department for new fire station.
• July 15 Suspected pillhead crashes his tricked-out Beamer into Paul Pitino’s work truck on South H Street and is arrested.
Arts in The Afternoon Artists paint a mural on a trailer for the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center.
Blue Lake’s Stanley Mott passes away.
Arcata Mainstreet’s Picnics on the Plaza kick off with music by Woven Roots.
• July 22 Rotary of Arcata Sunrise funds a new flag security system at the Arcata Chamber of Commerce California Welcome Center.
Northcoast Environmental Center downsizes, moves into Arcata Eye’s old office in Jacoby’s Storehouse.
Cypress Grove Chevre and Desserts On Us win top honors in New York food trade show.
• July 29 La Dolce Video carries on Video Experience’s tradition with new shop in Northtown.
Hit-and-run driver strikes and kills Eliseo Angon Cervantes at Samoa Boulevard and K Street.
Illegal campers on Arcata Bottom attack farmer Kevin Cunningham.
• August 5 Danco clears vegetation and camp-infested Creek Side Homes site on the bottoms.
Courtyards At Arcata hold neighborhood Watch Festival.
John Toste is called before Planning Commission to explain violations of his Conditional Use Permit by storing multiple U-Haul trucks and trailers at his Gas-4-less station at Alliance Road and Spear Avenue.
Drug Task Force and APD take out alleged cannabis grow and hashish factory on Charles Avenue. Seizures include 92 plants, 30 pounds of wet leaves, 22 pounds of ground-up marijuana and 13 pounds of hash. The raid is filmed by a production crew and is later featured in the A&E TV special Intervention: Pot City USA.
City takes possession of 185 acres conservation easement in the upper Janes Creek watershed thanks to donation from BI Capital Investments.
Former City Manager Michael Hackett passes away.
Levee reconstruction gets underway at Marsh.
• August 12 Betty Jain celebrates 80th birthday with a bike ride to Trinidad.
Two men attempt to pass a stolen check, are arrested at Jacoby’s Storehouse with one found in possesion of heroin.
HSU announces that Natural History Musuem will close.
• August 19 Dan Hauser kicks off campaign for Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Third Division seat.
Autumn Holcomb, 8, raises money to go to Great America by selling homemade jam.
APD K-9 officer Cody passes away unexpectedly.
Natural History Musuem users mount campaign to keep facility open.
• August 26: Longtime Arcata residents Mike and Theresa McLaren give up on grow house-infested Arcata and move to Oregon.
Sunny Brae Middle School gets new computers to replace those destroyed in vandalism incident the previous September.
Fire Chief John McFarland and Fire Captain Curt Watkins win the fifth annual Firehouse Chef challenge at the California State fair with braised pork loin with fruit salsa and zucchini risotto.
• September 2 Police Log: A fox rests for a while in a Diamond Drive bird feeder
Barber, business leader and all-around wonderful person Bill Sacchi dies in car accident on State Route 299.
Arcata Forest Products opens at former Britt Lumber site in Aldergrove Industrial Park.
• September 9 Police Log: Criminal mastermind makes off with a disposable razor from a Uniontown supermarket.
Plaza police officer on bicycle patrol rolls up on two men and three pounds of hashish in Tavern Alley.
Alan Bear gets one year in jail for killing bicyclist Greg Jennings on State Route 299.
Drug Task Force and APD take out multiple grow houses all around Arcata.
• September 16 Beloved Muriel Hayes passes away at age 90.
Arcata Police and DTF take out grow houses on Janes Road and Coombs Court.
Foodworks Culinary Center tenants are reassured of City’s continued support of the facility.
• September 23 HSU declines a proposal by Friends Of The North Coast’s Natural History Musuem, citing financial reasons.
36th Annual North Country Fair takes place on the Plaza, grass survives.
• September 30 Cahill Park renovation gets underway.
Arcata Fire Protection District adopts funding cutbacks to balance budget. Essential services preserved.
• October 7 Arcata Plaza Cam is restored on the Stillman Building at 9th and H streets. aracataplazacam.com
Sunny Brae Middle School is named a 2009 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School.
APD and DTF take out grow house on Beverly Drive, confiscating marijuana, hashish, psilocybin, LSD and two handguns plus ammunition.
Nicole Quigley memorial service draws mourners to Boyd Road one year after the nine-year-old’s death due to reckless road racers driving her mother’s SUV off State Route 299.
• October 14 A vehicle and bicyclist collide at 11th and J streets with the cyclist head striking the windshield and creating a pretty spider web pattern of cracks. Since the biker was wearing a helmet, she and the driver hug and go their seperate ways.
APD Park Ranger Kevin Stonebarger begins patrolling Arcata forests.
“Capped” toxins underneath Blue Lake Forest Products begin migrating toward the Mad River.
Proposed Segway tours of the Arcata Community Forest and Arcata Marsh meet with mixed reception.
• October 21 Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District holds scoping session at D Street Neighborhood Center to ascertain public opinion regarding water use and rights.
Intervention: Pot City USA debuts on A&E Network, with a network TV-style take on Arcata’s grow house problem. Reviews are mixed.
• October 28 HSU professor M. Wayne Knight dies of H1N1 flu.
Escarda Court is dedicated in honor of housing advocate Kay Escarda.
Dr. Rudolf Becking passes away.
City Council begins consideration of panhandling ordinance.
• November 4 Old, asbestos-laden Little Lake Industries kilns on South I Street are finally demolished.
City installs new dock on the South I Street boat basin.
APD takes out grow house in Antoinette Court.
Theodore L. “Tad” Robinson goes to Humboldt County Jail for resisting arrest at a Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Geronimo Garcia begins vigil on the Plaza with cardboard signs proclaiming “Free Tad” (see page 10).
Bay Commissioner Mike Wilson wins landslide victory over challenger Dan Hauser.
Erin Taylor, Steve Steinberg and Jennifer Berube win seats on the Arcata School District Board.
Sarie Toste, Mike Pigg and Dana Silvernale win seats on the Northern Humboldt Union High School District Board.
• November 11 Arcata High School class of 1959 celebrates 50th reunion.
• November 18 Forest Management Committee inspects site of summer timber harvest in Jacoby Creek Forest.
County officials study Arcata’s medical cannabis policies for possible adoption.
Planning Commission approves multi-use Zanzi project on Mad River.
City unveils draft Parks and Rec Master Plan at Community Center.
The Rag Man, Pete Villarreal, is held in protective detention in Umatilla County Jail.
Eccentric octogenarian Herbert Hilton passes away.
• November 25 HSU student activist and conspiracy theorist Jason Robo says Arcata Eye has “no right to exist,” undertakes boycott campaign with calls to advertisers and a Facebook page.
Marino Sichi, 89, meets international exchange student Laura Monti, 17, for bellissimo talk of the old country. Perhaps because of this, Robo describes the Eye as “geriatric gentrification.”
Attorney Steven Schectman subpoenas Eye Editor Kevin Hoover for reporter’s notes and other confidential materials that he and his client, accused grow house operator Daniel Carbonneau, will never see.
New Locally Delicious cookbook debuts.
City Council discusses hiring of a new city manager.
Thirtieth annual Farmers’ Market wraps up successful season.
• December 2 Matt Filar is named President of the Humboldt Crabs.
• December 9 City Council again considers panhandling ordinance.
Santa Claus arrives on the Arcata Plaza.
Drug Task Force takes out psychedelic pharmacy across from Pacific Union School. Along with two pit bulls, agents find 279 pot plants, 24 pounds of hanging plants, 2.5 pounds of bud, 80 doses of LSD, 6 vials of LSD, 400 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, two grams of cociane, three grams of DMT, a gram of ketamine and 250 grams of hash.
Jason Whitmill and Anthony Flores plead guilty to criminal charges in the October, 2008 death of Nicole Quigley. Whitmill gets 14 years, eight months in prision. Flores gets three years.
• December 16 Alexadra Stillman is elected mayor and Susan Ornelas vice mayor, giving women Arcata’s two top leadership posts for the first time in history.
Four new APD officers sworn in.
Sean Bohannon passes away.
California Transportation Commssion funds Samoa Boulevard Gateway Project with $1.3 milllion. Construction to begin this summer.
DTF and APD raid two more Sunny Brae grow houses, seizing pot, guns.
• December 23 Body found on Mad River is identified as David Earl Sanford, 47, of Fieldbrook. The death is ruled a homicide.
Ed Subkis is named new general manager of KHSU 90.5 FM
City Council doesn’t approve restoration of lunch service at North Coast Resource Center.
• December 30 Recycling toters are delivered all over town.
Bay District Commissioner Pat Higgins announces run for Fifth District Supervisorial seat.