Terry Houser, 28 from Eureka (shown in photo), reportedly stole a radio-controlled helicopter from RC Hobby Tech in Eureka and then fled, on foot, running across 5th street where he was struck by a pickup truck. Houser was taken to Saint Joseph Hospital by ambulance where he was reported to be in stable condition with multiple abrasions, broken teeth, and a broken right femur. Houser, who is currently on probation for grand theft and vandalism, will be charged with theft. The complete press release appears below.

Eureka Police Department Press Release, dated Nov. 8, 2013:

On 11/7/13 at approximately 4:46 p.m. Eureka Police Officers were dispatched to 5th Street and E Street to the report of an injury traffic collision between a truck and a pedestrian.
Upon arrival officers found a white 2006 Ford F350 that was blocking the far right lane of 5th Street. Officers located a pedestrian lying in the far right lane of 5th Street in front of the Ford. The driver of the Ford was identified as forty-one year old Bryan Sanderson of McKinleyville. The pedestrian was identified as twenty-eight year old Terry Houser of Eureka.

Based on the driver’s and witnesses’ statements, Houser fled on foot southbound onto 5th Street, outside the crosswalk, in front of eastbound vehicle traffic, after stealing a radio controlled helicopter from RC Hobby Tech, located at 411 5th Street. Sanderson drove the Ford eastbound in the far right lane of 5th Street through the intersection of E Street on a green traffic control signal, when Houser ran in a southwest direction into the far right lane of 5th Street in front of the Ford. Sanderson was unable to stop the Ford before striking Houser.

Houser was transported to Saint Joseph Hospital by ambulance where he was determined to be in stable condition with multiple abrasions, broken teeth, and a broken right femur. Houser is on felony probation for grand theft and vandalism. Houser was recently released from the Humboldt County Correctional Facility after a felony theft related conviction. A warrant declaration will be submitted to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office due to Houser committing a theft from RC Hobby Tech.

Alcohol or drugs did not appear to be a factor in the collision.  The investigation into this collision is still ongoing.

Atmospheric Rivers (AR) are long corridors of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. They usually appear at altitudes of about one mile above the earth's surface, flowing for thousands of miles, and on average are 400-600 km wide. ARs can create extreme rainfall and floods, disrupt travel, trigger mud slides, and cause catastrophic loss of life and property. 

According to a Jan. 2013 Scientific American article, this atmospheric phenomenon was discovered about 15 years ago and given the name "atmospheric river" by researchers Yong Zhu and Reginald Newell who, "...noticed an odd feature in simulations of global wind and water vapor patterns that had been made by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts."

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) website, "Most flooding events that occur along the west coast of North America in winter are associated with the landfall of AR conditions." Although ARs can be detected by satellite instruments, a specialized atmospheric river observatory, or ARO, (see photo above/credit NOOA) has been developed which includes instrumentation uniquely adapted for capturing AR data. The Eureka Office of the National Weather Service, on Woodley Island, is slated to receive an ARO this coming January.

Just before Halloween KMUD News traveled to Woodley Island to learn more about Atmospheric Rivers and AR observatories.

Use the player below to hear this story, submitted by KMUD Community Journalist Bob Froehlich. This piece aired on KMUD Local News on Tues., Nov. 5, 2013 and includes interviews with National Weather Service Meterologist in Charge, Nancy Dean,  and Mel Nordquist, Science and Operations Officer.

The entire 25 minute extended interview can be heard below.


Mobile AR Observatory. Credit: NOAA

Additional Resources:

Photos/top to bottom: entrance to the NWS Woodley Island Facility, view of the facility's "Command Center", and meterologists Mel Nordquist and Nancy Dean.


The Nov. 5, 2013 Humboldt County election includes elections for the following positions:
-Bridgeville School District Governing Board Member
-Eureka City Schools Governing Board Member, Trustee Area 1
-Ferndale Unified School District Governing Board Member
-McKinleyville School District Governing Board Member    
-Northern Humboldt Union High School District Governing Board Member
-Redwoods Community College District, Trustee Area 2
-Manila Community Services District Governing Board Member
-McKinleyville Community Services District Governing Board Member
-Arcata Fire Protection District Governing Board Member, Division 1
-Arcata Fire Protection District Governing Board Member, Division 2

Click here for the for the Final List of Qualified Candidates to Appear on the Ballot -from the Humboldt County Election and Voter Registration Web site.

According to the County's Election Website, one measure will also appear on the ballot as shown below:

Fieldbrook Glendale Community Services District
Vote YES or NO
Measure K

Shall a special tax be levied for fire protection, emergency medical services and an expansion of the fire house by the Fieldbrook Glendale Community Services District of $75.00 per assessor's parcel in Zone Two (2) in the District, such tax to continue for ten (10) years?  If passed the special tax will supersede and replace the existing assessment.

In preparation for the upcoming election, students from the Humboldt Regional Occupational Program produced interviews with candidates for the Eureka City Schools Board of Trustees. The interviews were recorded in Access Humboldt's Community Media Center.
Click here for a link to the interviews.

On March 5, 2013 county staff presented, to the Humboldt County Board of supervisors, a draft for a proposed county ordinance that would regulate the outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana. Click here for the KMUD News web post on that meeting and here for a pdf version of the March 5 draft document. After hearing the presentation, the Board recommended public input be solicited on the draft proposal, and that was done in April by holding several public meetings.

The input from those meetings was reported back to the BOS on May 7, and at that time the Board voted to refer the proposal back to the Medical Marijuana Subcommittee to be reviewed and revised in two separate parts: Neighborhood Impacts and Environmental Impacts. The subcommittee worked with staff to develop a draft that would, "...curtail the neighborhood-level impacts of outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana.", according to a report delivered to the BOS on Tues., Oct. 22, 2013, by County Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Hanes. The resulting draft proposal titled, Update on Potential Ordinance Regulating Neighborhood Impacts of Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation futher states that, "The Subcommittee selected an approach of amending the County's zoning ordinance to define outdoor cultivation as a nuisance on small properties unless specified requirements are met." Click here for the Update Document.

Use the player below to hear a report on the Tues. BOS meeting submitted by Daniel Mintz and aired on KMUD Local News on Wed., Oct. 23, 2013.

Click on the Video Player below to hear the Smith-Hanes Presentation to the Board.



Two victims, both Humboldt State University students, were stabbed at a residence in the 1500 block of Stromberg Avenue, Arcata on Sun. Sept. 29. The suspect was described by witnesses as a white male adult in his early 20's, wearing a white long sleeve thermal shirt, a black baseball cap and a long silver chain around his neck. The suspect fled the scene in a silver vehicle (unknown make or model) prior to the arrival of police. The police are asking for the public's assistance in locating the man shown in the photo above, who was present at the time of the incident and may have information critical to the case.  The Arcata PD press release appears below.

Arcata Police Department Press Release, dated Tues., Oct 22, 2013:

The Arcata Police Department is requesting assistance in identifying witnesses to a stabbing that occurred on September 29th, 2013.
On 9/29/2013 at about 2:00 am, the Arcata Police Department responded to a residence at the 1500 block of Stromberg Avenue for a report of a stabbing that had just occurred there. Upon their arrival, officers learned that two male victims had been stabbed. The victims, both Humboldt State University students, were transported by friends to Mad River Community Hospital for emergency treatment.  Once at the hospital, officers learned that one of the victims sustained one stab wound. The other victim sustained multiple stab wounds.
The suspect was described by witnesses as a white male adult in his early 20's, wearing a white long sleeve thermal shirt, a black baseball cap and a long silver chain around his neck. The suspect fled the scene in a silver vehicle (unknown make or model) prior to the arrival of police.

During the course of the investigation, detectives developed information that the individual in the attached photo was at the party at the time of the incident and may have information critical to the case.  

The Arcata Police Department requests that anyone who recognizes the man in the photo or any person(s) who may have witnessed the incident contact Detective Chris Ortega. The investigation is on-going and assistance is being provided by the Humboldt State University Police Department.



Update: Fri., Oct., 25, 2013 - Audio added, including an interview with Pat Higgins, Eel River Recovery Project Volunteer Coordinator.

Another fish count in the Eel River will take place this Sat., Oct. 26. The orientation will begin at 8:30 AM, at the River Lodge in Fortuna. Volunteers are welcome and, if interested, should contact Pat Higgins, at (707) 223-7200. See photos and more information about the fish survey in the original post of this story below.

Use the player below to hear the Pat Higgins interview. This piece was submitted and aired on the KMUD Local News Thurs., Oct 24, 2013 by News Anchor Christina Aanestad.

The original post on this story appears below.

Around 20 volunteers met at River Lodge in Fortuna on Saturday morning, Oct, 12, ready to embark on their Lower Eel River Fall 2013 Chinook Census Dive. This dive, sponsored by the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) and several other groups, covered the Lower Eel River, including 12th Street, Boxcar, Drake, and Worswick Pools - shown in the map above. According to USGS data, the flow of the Eel River at Scotia, before the September 20 rain, was down to 50 cfs, but subsequent rainfall brought flows up, making for ideal dive conditions on October 12. Click here for the complete pdf version of the report and here for additional spectacular photos.
The dive team counted 1854 fall Chinook in pools ranging from the Van Duzen River to just above Fernbridge. These numbers were similar to last year's count. In addition to Chinook, 15 adult steelhead and 90 half pounders were counted. Chinook salmon were more numerous in the 12th Street Pool and Van Duzen/Eel convergence than in pools or runs further downstream. No Coho were seen in this first fall dive.

According to the report, lessons learned in this dive include:

  • The rise of the Eel River with the September 20 rain event and the September 30-October 1 storm was sufficient for dispersal upstream and access to the lower Eel River pools for adult and jack Chinook salmon. Flows were also optimal for the dive (<200 cfs).
  • Holding capacity in the lower Eel River is restricted with only the Creamery, Drake, Boxcar and 12th Street Pools capable of holding large numbers of adult Chinook in 2013. The Worswick pool is compromised in depth as is the run above it.
  • Doing reconnaissance and mapping of pools helped to develop more effective tactics for dive team.
  • High turnout of fish professionals and experienced ERRP divers lead to very trustable data being collected.
  • Scorekeepers that walk the bank are a great help because it frees up all divers to be part of the team.
  • Team may have bunched on River Walk side in 12th Street Pool and we may have missed some fish. The Drake Pool is much shallower in 2013 and we may need to rethink tactics.
  • Count is comparable to 10/13/12 dive in gross numbers, but the Van Duzen Pool was not counted in 2012 and many more fish were counted in the Drake Pool and below last year.
  • ERRP and Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) dives are documenting the pre-pulse portion of run, if last year’s patterns hold, which means large counts are likely on subsequent dives (10/26 & 11/9 in Fortuna)

The next HRC dive is Monday October 21. Volunteers need to be in Scotia at Hoby's Market at 9 AM.  Call Nick Simpson at HRC to coordinate (764-4281).

Call Pat Higgins, ERRP Volunteer Coordinator (223-7200), if you want to help count fish near Fortuna on Saturday, October 26. Orientation will begin at 8:30 AM, at the River Lodge in Fortuna. Wetsuits are available, with advance request.

The photos below show adult Chinook and Jacks and a portion of the dive team after surveying the
Worswick Pool.



Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a disease that kills oak and other species of trees, has had devastating effects in some areas of California and Oregon. Symptoms of the disease, now known to be caused by the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, include bleeding cankers on the trunk of the tree and dieback of the foliage. Often the disease is fatal to the infected tree. The photo above (credit: U.C.Davis) shows a forest with oak trees dying of sudden oak death.

In an update on the spread of SOD on the Mendocino Coast, KMUD News Correspondent Dan Young conducts several interviews, including an interview with U.C. Berkeley Professor and Statewide Forestry Pathologist Matteo Garbelotto.

This report can be heard using the player below and was aired on KMUD News on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Additional Resources:

Previous SOD News Web posts:


    An earthquake, first reported as magnitude 5.0 and later downgraded to 4.9, struck off the coast (52km west north west) of Eureka (32 miles WSW of Trinidad) this Fri. Oct. 11, 2013 at around 4:05 pm. The quake, was reported to be at a depth of 10.9 km., and, according to earthquake-report.com, was experienced by many as two strong jolts.

For some, this trembler came as an earthshaking reminder of the importance of being prepared for a major earthquake in our area, and it occurred less than one week before the planned Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills which will take place this Thurs. Oct. 17 at 10:17 am. According to the Great ShakeOut web page, last year 9.4 million people participated in the drill. The ShakeOut began in California and has also been organized in many other states and countries, resulting in millions of people worldwide now  practicing how to Drop, Cover, and Hold. See the information summarized below for reminders about earthquake safety. KMUD will participate in the Great ShakeOut Drill. Tune in Thurs. Oct. 17 at 10:17 am to participate.

Use the player below to hear more about the earthquake, in a story submitted by KMUD News Director Terri Klemetson and aired on the KMUD Local news Fri., Oct 11, 2013. The piece includes an interview with Humboldt State University Geology Professor Lori Dengler.

Additional Resources:

General Guidelines for Earthquake Safety:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room just to get under a table.

These are general guidelines for most situations, depending on where you are (in bed, driving, in a theater, etc.).  Click here for more information.


Today, Friday Oct. 11, 2013, is day 11 of the partial Federal Government Shutdown and although the White House and Congress have been recently engaging in staff-level negotiations, the impasse, with Obamacare at its focal point, has not yet been resolved.

According to a press release from 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman, he will hold a Telephone Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, October 15 at 7:00 p.m. Huffman will take questions regarding his efforts to end the government shutdown, as well as his other work and priorities representing the North Coast in Congress.

In the release Huffman stated, “I’m looking forward to discussing with Northern Californians about what exactly I’m doing to end the government shutdown. We need to reopen our government, and I am looking forward to discussing that and other issues with my constituents.”

Click here to sign up for the Telephone Town Hall Meeting.


Update: Mon., Oct 14, 2013 - Missing Hunter, Gene Penaflor, found alive

After spending a total of 19 days lost in the Yuki Wilderness area, missing hunter Gene Penaflor was found this Saturday (Oct 12) about 3 miles from the point where he was last seen by his hunting partner . From his hospital bed Penaflor reported being knocked unconscious by a fall, while hunting, and awakening disoriented and engulfed in a thick bank of fog. Penaflor was able to use his survival skills to keep alive for 19 days until he was heard shouting for help by a group of hunters and was subsequently located and rescued.

Details on the disappearance and rescue of missing hunter Gene Penaflor can be found below in the press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

On the morning of 9/25/2013, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a report from a deer hunter that his hunting partner, Gene Penaflor, had gone missing in the early morning hours of 9/24/2013 in the area of Bloody Rock in the Mendocino National Forest. This area of the Forest was determined to be in Lake County and the case was referred to the Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Lake County Search and Rescue Unit (SAR).  By late afternoon the Lake County Sheriff's Office had located the hunters camp and found it was well inside the County of Mendocino, so the case was transferred back to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.  The Lake County SAR Unit continued to assist with the search that was conducted throughout the night and into the following morning but Gene was not located.

On 9/26/2013 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office called for Mutual Aid resources from allied SAR units as the search continued over the next three days.  The Search and Rescue teams developed a missing persons profile with the assistance from the hunting partner and members of the Penaflor family to assist in the search.  The search area, ranging from 5000 to 6200 feet above sea level, was covered extensively but Gene was not located.  The search was suspended due to no clues beign found to suggest the whereabouts of Gene and due to a significant incoming storm. Members of the following agenices assisted with the search in the first four days: Lake County SAR, Marin County SAR, Sonoma County SAR, Tehama County SAR, Glenn County SAR, Siskiyou County SAR, Salano County SAR, Monterey County SAR, Contra Costa County SAR, San Mateo County SAR, Sutter County SAR, Bay Area Mountian Rescue Unit (BAMRU), California Explorer Search and Rescue (Cal ESAR), California Rescue Dog Associ!
ation (CARDA), CHP Air Operations Redding Unit, United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers, and the California Office of Emergency Services Law Enforcement Division.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reactivated the search on 10/12/2013 and again called for Mutual Aid resources.  The following agencies responded to assist: Marin County SAR, Lake County SAR, Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit, California Rescue Dog Association, Monterey County SAR, and US Forest Service Law Enforcement.  Around 8:30 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch received a call from a hunter in the area of where the search was being conducted.  This caller reported he was with a large group of hunters and someone from his group could hear someone calling for help in the bottom of a canyon nearby.  He said members of his party were trying to locate the person.  Due to poor cellular telephone service the call was lost numerous times and his exact location was not known.  The caller was instructed to dial 911 and the GPS coordinates were obtained for his postion.  SAR units were then dispatched to his location.

The hunter later called to say that his hunting group had located the person calling for help, determined it was Gene Penaflor, and were rendering aid to him.  The group of hunters then rigged a makeshift stretcher from their coats and several poles they cut in the area.  They then started to carry Gene up the steep hillside towards recue teams decending to the location.  It took several hours for the rescue units to make it to the hunters due to the difficult terrain.  Gene was then evaluated medically and it was determined he should be extracted via helicopter.  SAR units located a suitable landing zone and Cal Star 4 Air Ambulance was called to extricate Gene to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center for medical treatment.

Gene was located approximately 3.25 miles from the point where he was last seen by his hunting partner. He spent a total of 19 days lost in the Yuki Wilderness area.  During this time it snowed numerous times, temperatures ranged between 25 and 70 degrees at times.  He was later interviewed at the hospital where he said he travelled further away from the road than he had planned on his hunting excursion.  At one point on the first day he fell and hit his head, rendering him unconscious for an undetermined amount of time.  When he awoke he was disoriented and a thick bank of fog had enveloped him.  He walked for a time but eventually stopped as he did not know where he was at.  He was able to make a fire and warm himself with leaves and grasses that he packed around his body.  On days when it rained or snowed he was able to crawl under a large log to stay dry.  He was able to kill and eat several squirrels in the area and there was plenty of water in a nearby drainage to sustain himself.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the group of hunters who suspended their efforts to hunt and go above and beyond in trying to locate the person calling for help. Their quick thinking to notify rescue teams and seek assistance while also rendering aid to Gene was critical to his being rescued and returned alive to his family.  We would also like to thank all the volunteer SAR members from so many agencies who responded to assist in this case. 

The original post on this story appears below.

 Gene Penaflor, a 72 year old man, went missing during a hunting trip on Sept. 24, 2013 in the Mendocino National Forest. Penaflor, an experienced hunter possessing survival skills and excellent knowledge about wilderness areas, was hunting with a partner the day he went missing. As was their custom, the two hunted separately and then planned to rendezvous for lunch together around noon. However this time, Penaflor did not show at the rendezvous point, as planned, and has not been seen since.

Gene Penaflor is a father and grandfather, and the family is asking for assistance from the public in providing any information regarding this missing person case.  Anyone with information that may help is asked to please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department at (707) 463-4411 or Jeremy Penaflor, Gene’s son, at (415) 533-0000.

Use the player below to hear more on this missing person case, including an interview with Jeremy Penaflor, the missing man's son. This story was submitted by KMUD News Anchor Eileen Russell and broadcast on the KMUD Local news Mon., Oct. 7, 2013.

Additional Resources:


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