Saturday, May 27, 2017

[Audio] Community leaders share experiences with bullying; Humboldt’s last week of news

Episode sponsored by Bongo Boy Studio, Jitter Bean Coffee Co. and Los Bagels

In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week (12:20): At least two reported incidents spawned a community conversation about bullying last week. Many saw the viral video of what’s now being investigated as an assault at Zane Middle School in Eureka, as well as a report of another alleged assault of a Fortuna High School student.

A fact page at DoSomething.org suggests 3.2 million kids are bullied each year in the U.S. and 90 percent of kids from fourth through eighth grade report being victims of bullying. Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical health, mental health, and educational issues. The award-winning 2012 documentary “Bully” demonstrated arguably the worst impact of bullying, suicide. Those that are bullied are up to nine percent more likely to consider suicide, according to a study by Yale University.

We all have a bullying story. Whether as victims, witnesses, or perpetrators, the majority of us have memories that will stay with us forever. In the interest of delving a little deeper into the memories and lessons associated with the subject, community leaders such as Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal, Humboldt County Supervisor Virginia Bass, philanthropist Betty Chinn, and HSU President Lisa Rossbacher open up about the issue.

The story begins at 12:20.

Also covered

Preliminary hearings for an alleged murder with a truck in Shelter Cove, sentencing for an assault on an elderly restaurateur, charges added for Marci Kitchen, an inmate firefighter died on the job, car racing, ticks, a soap opera actor trying to make some Humboldt weed money, lasers, movies at the park, a fight over 420 is reignited in Arcata, possibly Humboldt’s first openly transgender school administrator, a person played by Hilary Swank, and so much more.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beloved local zebra pointlessly shot and killed; Humboldt’s last week of news

Episode sponsored by Bongo Boy Studio, Jitter Bean Coffee Co. and Los Bagels.

In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week (10:55): A beloved local zebra was shot and killed near Petrolia along our beautiful Lost Coast for no apparent reason and the Sheriff's Office is investigating. According to officers the father zebra whose name was Randy was found dead in a hay field around 20 yards from the roadway with what looked like a single gunshot wound.

“(That area is) just one of the more beautiful, breathtaking, undeveloped pieces of coast in California and then as you jut in off the coast on the two mile stretch into Petrolia you’d get this nice finale -- if you’re lucky and if they’re close to the fence -- of these zebras,” said Andrew Goff of the Lost Coast Outpost who covered Randy’s slaying and has in the past taken stunning photographs of the three-part zebra family which now only consists of the mother and her offspring. “...This was one of those cool little Humboldt eccentricities…Just a cool, random thing, and now it will always have this veil of something sad that happened over it. And that sucks.”

In the podcast Goff discusses what he learned from his conversation with Randy’s caretaker Josh Griego and the caretaker’s growing reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the killing.

Kym Kemp reported on May 17 that local realtor Jim Redd also added to that reward and is coordinating the effort to raise more money. On that post local CPA John Fullerton pledged an additional $500 making the total at least $6,000. An address to send checks is noted here. Redd says checks will be returned if not used.

Years ago the North Coast Journal chatted with a Petrolia resident who said the zebras were owned by fashion designers out of LA and came from a ranch in Oroville.

Also covered

More developments on the stabbing death of an HSU student at a house party last month, the DA says cops were justified in killing a man in McKinleyville last year, the body of a small aircraft pilot was found, Arcata’s alleged tree destroyer is arrested, a former Humboldt Crab is doing big things in the pros, golf on graves, allegedly less homeless people, reportedly more employed people, upcoming evening fun, and much more.

Photo by Andrew Goff of the Lost Coast Outpost

Photo by Andrew Goff of the Lost Coast Outpost


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Jury to decide fate of mom accused of multiple deaths; Humboldt’s last week of news

Episode sponsored by Bongo Boy Studio and Jitter Bean Coffee Co.

In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week (10:04): After preliminary hearings last week a judge ruled to let a jury decide if a mom is guilty of drunk driving and killing her own teenage daughter as well as her daughter’s teenage friend. 39-year-old Marci Kitchen has plead not guilty to all charges and allegations. Last summer the 14-year old victims, Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas, were skateboarding on a rural road just south of Fortuna city limits when they were struck and tragically killed by a vehicle.

“(Faith) was a very intelligent, thoughtful, and caring,” said someone close to her wishing to remain anonymous. “She loved sports and she was good at everything she did… She was a little bit mischievous but in a good way, a funny way. She was always smiling. Happy to be alive… Her mother is a culinary graduate, and Faith always helped her (make food).”

“(Kiya) was a beautiful soul full of life and love that loved the outdoors and everything that it had to offer,” reads her obituary. “From riding motorcycles to hunting and fishing and riding long boards with her brother and friends… Kiya was an amazing artist that loved to paint and draw. She had an amazing voice that only few were lucky enough to hear.”

Reiterating info made available to the public last summer, CHP spokesperson Cy May said Kiya and Faith were struck by what they believe was Marci’s Jeep and that the vehicle fled the scene. Faith died at the scene and Kiya died that next morning at the hospital in Oakland. May says the Jeep that allegedly killed the girls was found at Marci’s house the next day.

“...This is an unbelievably tragic incident and it’s unfortunate that two young lives were lost,” May said. “In the wake of the aftermath the community is going to be shaken for a very long time.”

Nine days after the incident CHP asked the public for help locating Marci and her boyfriend as “persons of interest,” saying they made several failed attempts to contact them for questioning. Marci’s lawyers took issue with that saying Marci immediately opened lines of communication with law enforcement, made her Jeep available, and was prepared to surrender upon request. It’s not known if Marci was only available for arrest, but not available for interviews. She surrendered months later after the investigation was concluded and an arrest warrant for her was issued. She was released a little over an hour after she was booked and posted bail.

Lost Coast Outpost reporter Rhonda Parker covered the preliminary hearings last week, which were pushed back multiple times from the original date in late November. One of the most memorable moments from the hearings came from Marci’s son Jevin, who said when she returned home in her wrecked Jeep her passenger said they had hit two girls and he could “easily” tell she she was drunk. Her son also noted that he refused to crash her Jeep into a basketball hoop to make it seem like that was the cause of front-end damage. The prosecution argued the girls would not have been killed had Marci not been drunk and speeding. Marci’s lawyers have maintained that from the beginning she made it clear to all involved that she initially thought she had hit a deer, these girls didn't have enough room to skateboard on the side of the road, and they noted the girls -- who had THC in their systems -- were partially at fault for being in the middle of the road. It’s disputed how much Marci had to drink that night, how fast she was driving, and what was said in the aftermath of the incident. A judge ruled there was enough evidence to go to trial and soon a jury will decide if the charges can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Parker stressed that less evidence is required for a trial than a conviction.

Some have had a hard time understanding why Marci’s preliminary hearings were pushed back so many times and have criticised her use of free plane tickets to travel to Mexico and Colombia in recent months. She eventually had to surrender her passport to the court.

LA-based psychiatrist Dr. Judy Ho -- known for recurring appearances on “Crime Watch Daily” and “Dr. Drew” among other national news shows -- delved into Marci’s case a bit and said she hopes those impacted by the events prioritize their mental health. She spoke about how average people dealing with trauma experience and show grief. With the disclaimer that she hasn’t evaluated Marci as a patient, the Ph. D. wondered if some of her alleged behavior is indicative of antisocial personality disorder.

“I just wonder if she might fit that type of profile,” she said. “Somebody who just doesn't really have a ton of remorse -- isn't all that connected to human emotionality -- and that's the kind of person that would be okay with taking trips afterwards and pretending like nothing happened.”

While the court process continues Marci is dealing with the loss of her child and the loss of her child’s friend. She does have friends continuing to show support for her. Camille Riggs has been friends with Marcy since their freshman year of high school. She said she knows Marci has a good heart and is a good person. That she always wanted to be a mother and she’s someone who cares enough to remember to ask you about specific details of your life. Someone who even left jobs so she could spend more time with her family. Early on in their friendship Camille says Marci suffered a trauma that solidified their friendship.

“When (Marci) was 16 her sister was killed in a car accident -- it was a really tough time for her and her family,” Riggs said. “...She’s devastated by this horrible accident and it’s changed everyone involved forever. She’s so sorry the pain caused to all the family members and it’s been extraordinarily hard for her to be restricted by the legal process and to not be able to talk about that evening at all or reach out to Faith’s family to apologize. This absolutely changed her and it’s devastating.”

Again, Kitchen has plead not guilty to vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence causing death. She has denied fleeing the scene causing harm to multiple victims. Her next court date is May 25.

The much more in-depth story begins in the podcast at 10:04.

Also covered: Other top stories from last week.

Marci's booking photo, Kiya, Faith, and a Facebook photo of Marci








Saturday, May 6, 2017

Eurekan recounts helping cops arrest large man hulking out on drugs


In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week: The city of Eureka honored a man for helping cops arrest a large man -- possibly 6-foot-4 -- who was on drugs and violently resisting. They even gave him a rare award for helping officers after they struggled with the suspect for two-and-a-half minutes. The story begins at 12:36.

“I kind of hesitated but it wasn’t a very long hesitation,” said honoree Tom Sanders. “Five seconds and I just jumped in. And I got (residually) tased in the meantime. It was nothing like a house shock -- it was more like a 220 (volt) shock. So we got him stuffed and cuffed and more officers showed up, helped out, and got him in the (police) vehicle.”

“Sergeant Ed Wilson and I were beyond exhausted, and if not for Tom’s assistance, there is no telling how much longer the suspect would have continued to fight us,” said Officer Greg Hill in a release.

In the podcast, Sanders recounts the events that occurred the morning of the incident after police received a call about a suspect siphoning gas. He also comments on helping others and receiving EPD’s rare Valor-Service Challenge Coin Award.

“We’ve only handed out a few of these awards since the program’s inception,” Captain Steve Watson told Redheaded Blackbelt. “It’s a rare and well-deserved honor for which Tom was nominated by the officers whom he helped.”

Also covered

The suspect in a controversial Arcata stabbing saw murder charges dismissed due to lack of physical evidence, ABC in the Bay Area covers Humboldt’s sometimes rapey trimmer culture, how people want to spend weed-tax money, good samaritans, a campus cub, HSU going tobacco-free, a face-tattooed man’s alleged wild string of incidents, new Humboldt beer, a sad plane crash, more crime, people that pick fights over smiling, some upcoming fun, and more.

Tom Sanders with EPD staff