Update- Jan. 10, 2014 - Ryan Grammer, 33, was located by family members yesterday afternoon, Jan., 9, 2014, according to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. Grammer, who was reported missing on Dec. 27, 2013, by his mother, was found at a bus stop in McKinleyville. He was taken by his family to obtain medical care. The press release did not contain any additional information. The original post on this missing person appears below.
Ryan Matthew Grammer, 33 years old, (shown in the photo) was reported missing from Eureka by his mother last Friday, according to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. Ryan, who does not own a vehicle and left his mother's residence on foot, has medical issues and is therefore is considered a high risk missing person. Grammer is described as a white male adult, 33 years old, 6’ tall, approximately 200 lbs, partially grey hair, hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a maroon sweatshirt, and a grey sweatshirt. Anyone with information which might help locate Ryan Grammer is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
HCSO press release:
On 12-27-2013, approximately 8:00 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a high risk missing person. The mother of Ryan Matthew Grammer, 33 years old, reported he was last seen at her residence on Nedra Avenue, Eureka on 12-15-2013 after they had been in an argument. Ryan left her residence on foot. He does not own a vehicle. His mother became concerned after he failed to return and left all of his belongings behind. She has checked with all of his friends who have not seen nor heard from him. His mother reported that he always contacts his children on Christmas, and this year he did not. She told the investigating deputy he has medical issues which need to be addressed and treated.
Ryan Grammer is described as a white male adult, 33 years old, 6’ tall, approximately 200 lbs, partially grey hair, hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a maroon sweatshirt, and a grey sweatshirt.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
One passenger (name withheld pending notification of next of kin) was killed, one sustained moderate injuries, and the driver, Chang Thao age 22 of McKinleyville, was severely injured as his Honda Civic (shown in the photo) spun out of control after passing another vehicle going northbound on US-101, south of Redcrest, Calif. According to a press release from the Calif. Highway Patrol, the accident happened around 7 pm last Fri., Dec., 26, 2013. The Honda was the only vehicle involved in the accident, and according to the press release DUI does not appear to be a factor in this collision. More details can be viewed in the press release below.
CHP Press Release:
On 12/26/2013, at approximately 1858 hours, Chang Thao, age 22, of Mckinleyville, CA, was driving a 2000 Honda Civic northbound on US-101, south of Redcrest, CA. The vehicle was traveling in the #1 lane, at approximately 60 mph. After passing a truck tractor towing a semi-trailer, the Honda moved into the #2 lane. As the Honda proceeded northbound it began to travel onto the shoulder of US-101. It then came in contact with the guardrail. Chang Thao steered the Honda to the left in an attempt to return the vehicle to the traffic lanes. Chang Thao lost control of the vehicle and it spun out of control northwesterly across all lanes of traffic. The Honda continued onto the southbound shoulder of US-101 where it stuck a raised asphalt curb. The impact caused the Honda to overturn. Ultimately, the Honda’s passenger side roof and door impacted a large diameter Redwood tree west of the west Roadway edge of US-101.
Due to the collision, the vehicle’s right front passenger, (name being withheld pending notification of the next of kin), age 58, unknown city of residence, suffered fatal injuries. The left rear passenger, Ampoung Lee, age 47, unknown city of residence, received moderate injuries and was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital. Chang Thao, driver, was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital with major injuries.
The Garberville CHP Office is handling the collision investigation, with assistance from the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.
DUI does not appear to be a factor in this collision.
The Elk River Watershed (shown in the image below) was heavily logged by Maxxam-owned Pacific Lumber Company and continues to suffer from those past logging practices. The condition of the river which is still plagued by flooding and heavy sedimentation prompted a meeting involving residents of the Elk River Watershed and other stakeholders. Held in Eureka on Sat., Nov, 16, 2013 and hosted by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, the meeting, dubbed the Elk River Forum, was an attempt to look for solutions to this on-going problem. The audio from the forum can be heard using the players below.
Use the player directly below to hear coverage of the Elk River Forum in a piece submitted by Kelly Lincoln and aired by KMUD News anchor Eileen Russell on the Local News, Mon., Nov. 18, 2013.
The map of the Elk River Watershed shown below, was designed by the
Redwood Community Action Agency Natural Resources Services, and appears on their website.
Audio from the forum and the audio descriptions were provided by Kelly Lincoln and can be heard using the players below.
HC Supervisor Rex Bohn defines the goal of the meeting as “working collaboratively to address some of the impacts to the Elk River Watershed.”
Jerry Martien of Friends of the Elk River, describes the issue and the motivations of Friends of the Elk River.
Craig Benson of Redwood Community Action Agency's Natural Resources Division is the day’s moderator. He introduces the topic, the panelists, the speakers and the goals for the meeting. The major point of interest is the sediment and the TMDL (total maximum daily load) released by the NCRWQCB (North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board) in the summer of 2013.
The first speaker of the day was Adonna White who coordinated writing the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the NCRWQCB. In the vernacular of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, when a stream has been determined to be “impacted” by a pollutant, then a measurement of the pollutant is taken and studies are done to determine how much of the pollutant can be allowed and still allow the stream to be moderately healthy. That measurement is called the TMDL. This audio is broken up into Parts 1 and 2 below.
Jack Lewis provided consultant services to the NCRWQCB in its statistical analysis phase. He explains what method he used and the results he obtained which backed the agency’s analysis.
Humboldt Baykeepers gives an overview of the role of the Elk River in providing sediment to the bay. There is a lot that is unknown about the health of the Humboldt Bay.
The forum moderator shows a slide of sediment build up over time.
Jim Robbins, CalFire Forestry Supervisor, explains the rules of forestry, how they are implemented, and that the level of sediment reduction being proposed by the TMDL far surpasses ordinary timber harvest plan control mechanisms for sediment control.
Darren Mierau of CalTrout explains Caltrout’s role in the feasibility study. They have been named the lead agency and are seeking the best possible site to locate the practice trial of physically removing sediment from the channel.
A Registered Professional Forester explains his perspective on the totality of the situation. He puts land-use conflicts into perspective with the statistic of how many board feet annually are not cut due to conflict with urban encroachment on the timberlands.
Update - Wed., Dec. 18, 2013: Ray Fidler, wanted by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office for suspicion of auto theft and assault with a deadly weapon (see the original post on this story below), was located in Fortuna by Fortuna Police Department officers and arrested on multiple charges. According to a press release from the Fortuna Police Dept., the arrest included recovery of two stolen vehicles and, "...hand guns, ski masks, gloves and other items consistent with committing thefts." Two other suspects were arrested along with Fidler: Blake Nicole Treadwell (age 25) and Anna Crowl (age 42). The FPD press release appears below.
FPD press release, dated Wed., Dec. 18, 2013:
Fortuna, CA - On December 17th 2013 at about 9:52 am, Officers with the Fortuna Police Department located Daniel Ray Fidler (age 40) in the 600 block of 15th Street. Fidler was known to officers and was wanted by the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office for suspicion of auto theft and assault with a deadly weapon. Fidler attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by officers. Daniel Ray Fidler (age 40) was taken into custody and he was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on the following charges.
• 496(a) Penal Code, Possession of Stolen Property
• 29800(a)(1) Penal Code, Felon in possession of Firearm
• 30305(a)(1) Penal Code, Felon in possession of Ammunition
• 148(a)(1) Penal Code, Resisting Arrest
• 1203.2(a) 4 Penal Code, Violation of Probation
• Also 836/245 Penal Code, Assault with Deadly Weapon and an outstanding Arrest from Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office for Auto Theft
In the course of the investigation two stolen vehicles were recovered, two handguns were seized and we believe further serious crimes were prevented. In addition to the seized handguns officers located, ski masks, gloves and other items consistent with committing thefts.
Two additional arrests were made along with Daniel Ray Fidler (age 40). Officers arrested Blake Nicole Treadwell (age 25) and she was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked on the following charges.
• 25400(a)(2) Penal Code, Possession of Concealed Firearms
• 11377(a) Health and Safety, Possession of 11.2 grams of Methamphetamine
• 11379 Health and Safety, Transportation of Methamphetamine
Officers arrested Anna Crowl (age 42) and she was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked for an outstanding arrest warrant for Burglary.
The original post on this appears below.
According to a Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Press release, a man identified as Danny Ray Fidler (shown in the photo) is wanted for allegedly using a suspected stolen vehicle to ram another man's truck - also striking another parked car and a tree - as he was attempting to flee the area.
Fidler is described as a White male adult, 40 years old, brown hair, hazel eyes, 5’8” tall, 130 lbs., and has several tattoos on both arms. He is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism, possession of stolen property, violation of probation and a previous felony warrant in another case. Anyone with information about Fidler is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff's Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539. See the complete HCSO press release below for more information.
HCSO Press Release-Fri., Dec., 13, 2013:
On 12-7-2013, approximately 9:00 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the theft of a vehicle from a garage on Akerman Lane, Carlotta. The victim told the investigating deputy he exited his home at 6:30 a.m. on 12-07-13 and noticed his garage door was open and his forest green 2011 Jeep Wrangler, California Plate 6PZA957 was missing. The victim also saw his truck which had been parked in front of his residence had been ransacked, and his garage door opener was missing. The victim had parked his Jeep in his garage the evening before and closed the garage door.
On 12-12-2013, at approximately 12:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of an assault with a vehicle which just occurred in the 5400 block of Highway 36, Carlotta. A deputy and California Highway Patrol officer responded to the scene. When the investigating deputy met with the 36 year old male victim and witnesses, he learned the Jeep that was stolen on 12-7-2013, was the vehicle involved. The victim told the deputy he was working on a private driveway that leads to several residences in the 5400 block of Highway 36. The victim was aware of the stolen 2011 Jeep Wrangler, because it belonged to a friend. The victim saw the Wrangler drive past the location where he was working. He called his friend and confirmed the license plate and that it was still stolen. The victim saw the Jeep park in the driveway of a nearby residence. The victim had a co-worker call 911 to report finding the stolen Jeep, while the victim drove his Ford 350 truck to where the Jeep parked and attempted to block it in until law enforcement could arrive.
When the victim started to block the Jeep in, the driver of the Jeep put it in reverse and rammed the victim’s truck to escape. The Jeep rammed the victim’s truck, and also struck an unoccupied parked 2008 Nissan Altima and a tree before fleeing the area.
The victim was uninjured; however, his truck and the Altima sustained several thousand dollars in damage. Deputies located witnesses who also saw the intentional ramming.
Deputies learned during their investigation, the person driving the stolen Jeep was identified as Danny Ray Fidler, 40 years old. Fidler has an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest for violation of Post Community Release Supervision. He is also on felony probation for stealing a vehicle, fleeing a police officer and transportation of a controlled substance.
A be-on-the-lookout for the Jeep and Fiddler was issued to area wide law enforcement. Besides the arrest warrant, Fidler is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism, possession of stolen property and violation of probation.
Danny Ray Fidler is described as follows: White male adult, 40 years old, brown hair, hazel eyes, 5’8” tall, 130 lbs. He has several tattoos on both arms.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
Community members rallied after hearing about the possible closure of the Obstetrics Unit at Redwood Memorial Hospital (RMH) in Fortuna. About 200 members of the public attended an afternoon public meeting on the issue held last Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. The objective of the meeting was to explain the situation and get feedback from the public to help inform the St. Joseph Health/Humboldt County Board of Trustees as they consider several options, including consolidating the Redwood Memorial and St. Joseph obstetrics programs.
According to Redwood Memorial Foundation President John Egan, coverage issues and lack of recruitment, not lack of money, were the reasons for considering eliminating the obstetrics program at Redwood Memorial. Use the player below to hear more on this story, aired by Terri Klemetson on the KMUD Local News Friday, Dec.6.
Use the players below to hear audio from the public meeting. KMUD thanks Precision Intermedia and the McLean Foundation for providing us with the audio recordings.
RMH Public Meeting part 1: Introductions and Comments
RMH Public Meeting part 2: Health System Presentation
RMH Public Meeting part 3: Comments
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period has begun and will run through Dec. 7, 2013. According to a press release from David Sayen, Medicare Regional Administrator, if you want to change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, now is the time to do it. Any changes in coverage will then begin as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Click here for more information and comparisons of benefits. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for around-the-clock assistance to find out more about your coverage options. For more information see the complete press release below.
Medicare Press release:
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period has begun, and I want to encourage everyone with Medicare to review their current health and prescription drug coverage. Open enrollment runs through Dec. 7, 2013. If you want to change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, this is the time of year to do it. Any new coverage you select will kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.
If you have Original Medicare and you’re satisfied with it, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment. Also, Medicare’s open enrollment has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act’s new Health Insurance Marketplace. If you have Medicare, you don’t need to worry about Marketplace plans.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, announced recently that the average Medicare Advantage premium for 2014 is projected to be $32.60. CMS estimated that the average basic Part D drug premium in 2014 would be $31 per month, holding steady for four years in a row.
Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, average Medicare Advantage premiums are down by 9.8 percent. The deductible for standard Part D drug plans in 2014 will be $310, a $15 decline. Meanwhile, the quality of Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans continues to improve, with more than one-third of Medicare Advantage plans receiving four or more stars (out of a possible five stars) in 2014 -- a 28 percent increase over last year. Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans with five stars are allowed to enroll beneficiaries at any time during the year.
Medicare plans’ coverage options and costs can change each year, and Medicare beneficiaries should evaluate their current coverage and choices and select the plan that best meets their needs. If you think your current coverage will meet your needs for 2014, you don’t need to change anything.
For more information on Medicare open enrollment and to compare benefits and prices of 2014 Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans, please visit: www.cms.gov/Center/Special-Topic/Open-Enrollment-Center.html.
A variety of resources are available to help people with Medicare, their families, and caregivers compare current coverage with new plan offerings for 2014. You can:
- Visit www.medicare.gov to see plan coverage and costs available in your area, and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change. Open enrollment information is available in Spanish.
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for around-the-clock assistance to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Counseling is available in a wide variety of languages.
- Review the 2014 Medicare & You handbook. This handbook has been mailed to the homes of people with Medicare and it’s also online at: www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf.
- Get one-on-one counseling assistance from your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Local SHIP contact information can be found:
- At www.medicare.gov/contacts/organization-search-criteria.aspx or;
- On the back of the 2014 Medicare & You handbook or;
- By calling Medicare (contact information above).
People with Medicare who have limited income and resources may qualify for Extra Help paying for their Part D drug plans. There’s no cost or obligation to apply for Extra Help, also called the low-income subsidy. Medicare beneficiaries, family members, or caregivers can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) to find out more.
Please watch out for scammers during Medicare open enrollment season. Don’t give personal information to anyone who shows up at your home uninvited or makes an unsolicited phone call to sell you Medicare-related products or services. If you believe you’re a victim of fraud or identity theft, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE. More information is available at www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
The State Water Resources Control Board's Division of Water Rights today (Nov. 26, 2013) issued a Cease and Desist Order to the Benbow Water Company, in Benbow Calif., requiring the company to stop water sales outside the district's area of service, according to a press release from the State Water Board. The release cited possible negative impacts on fish and wildlife as a rationale for the order which was reportedly triggered by a public complaint.
The Cease and Desist Order, requires the Benbow Water Co. to immediately stop the bulk sale and delivery of water outside the authorized place of use, including some local community-sponsored events. However, the order allows the water company to choose to continue to provide bulk water sales outside its authorized place of use, when the water is needed for emergency domestic water supply. More details appear in the press release below.
Hear more on this story in a news piece aired on the KMUD Local News on Wed. Nov. 27, 2013 by News Director Terri Klemetson.
Press Release from PIO Office, State Water Resources Control Board:
To prevent possible negative impacts to fish and wildlife, the State Water Resources Control Board's Division of Water Rights today issued a Cease and Desist Order to the Benbow Water Co. in Humboldt County to halt water sales outside the district's area of service. Under the order, the Benbow Water Co. must stop selling bulk water for use outside the area of service defined in the water district's permit, and take actions to correct permit violations involving service to 20 homes outside of the service area. Violations were discovered as a result of a public complaint.
The water district has a State Water Board permit to draw water from the East Branch of the South Fork of the Eel River, and it also claims a riparian right to water from the river. The water right permit defines the uses for the water, the amount that may be diverted and the area in which the water may be used. Water diversions under riparian rights do not need a permit, but the water must be used on land contiguous to the water body. The continued sale of bulk water outside the area of service of the Benbow Water Co. poses a threat to public trust resources and fisheries, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The South Fork of the Eel River is a designated Wild and Scenic River, and supports Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Trout, all listed as threatened species. The unauthorized diversion of water reduces the amount of water available for fisheries and other riparian habitat.
Under the Cease and Desist Order, Benbow Water Co. must immediately stop the bulk sale and delivery of water outside the authorized place of use, including some local community-sponsored events, until the State Water Board considers a petition for change in the water right permit; and stop all other sale of bulk water outside the place or season of use within 30 days. The Order allows Benbow Water Co. to choose to continue to provide bulk water sales outside its authorized place of use, however, when the water is needed for emergency domestic water supply.
The water company is ordered to keep accurate records of bulk water sales within the area of service, detailing the name of the water hauler, the volume of water sold, the date, purchaser, purpose and place of use. Separate records of bulk water sales for emergency domestic water use must be kept. Within 60 days, Benbow Water Co. must file a petition for change in place of use to include areas now receiving water diverted under the Benbow permit, and keep monthly records of the water served to areas outside the authorized places of use.
Benbow Water Co. must demonstrate a valid basis of right to deliver water to the 20 homes outside the authorized service area or file an appropriative water right to cover the diversion and use of water; and immediately discontinue adding new residential or commercial water service connections to parcels outside of the authorized place of use or without a riparian claim of right. If Benbow Water Co. fails to comply with the order, it could be subject to civil liability fees of up to $1,000 for each day of violation, or referral to the Attorney General for further enforcement action.
To learn more about the State Water Board's protection of public trust resources,visit: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/public_trust_resources/
The Community Journalism Project (CJP) took shape in 2009 under the direction of Terri Klemetson who is now News Director at KMUD. Initial goals of the CJP included getting more voices on the Local News, and more multi-media collaboration within the KMUD listening community. Participation in the program does not require prior knowledge of journalism or radio broadcasting. The CJP training component covers the basics of broadcast journalism, including: ethics, interviewing techniques, recording equipment basics, writing for radio, story composition and editing.
Terrri Klemetson describes her vision in this way, "I wanted listeners to understand journalism ethics, and I wanted to create a space for open dialogue about why and how the KMUD Newsroom picked stories to air. It was a great forum for open discussion, critique and skill sharing. I also firmly believe that KMUD is more than a radio station - our newsroom needs to adapt to the changing media world and the expansion of social media as a news source and communication tool."
A spin-off from the CJP was the Emergency Response Team (ERT), which evolved in 2010 to enhance the coverage of emergency events such as earthquakes, major slides, fires, and floods. ERT members come from those who have already gone through the Community Journalist training and then receive additional emergency preparedness training and participate in practice sessions.
Another round of Community Journalist training classes has been scheduled between now and the end of the year. All classes are free (donations welcome) and are held at the KMUD studios at: 1144 Redway Dr, Redway, Calif. For more information call the KMUD Office at (707) 923-2513 or the KMUD News Room (707) 923-2605.
The current 2013 class schedule appears below:
- Nov. 24 – (Everyone invited!) - 1:00-3:00. This class will teach audio editing, using both Audacity and Sound Studio. Both Monique Rowan and Terri Klemetson will be teaching. Newsroom reporters, producers, and anchors will be attending to share audio editing tips.
- Dec. 1 – (Everyone invited!) - 1:00-3:00. This class will include information about investigative reporting, Public Records Act (PRA) , and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
- Dec. 15 – (Everyone invited!) - 1:00-3:00. Emergency Response Team class will cover winter disaster preparedness.
- Jan. 5 – (Everyone invited!) - 1:00-3:00. This class will focus on audio editing.
- Jan. 19 – (Everyone invited!) - 1:00-3:00. This class will present information on investigative reporting.
According to a press release from the Calif. Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, ten non-approved private health insurance websites have been shut down. Harris stated, “These websites fraudulently imitated 'Covered California' (the state’s official insurance marketplace for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) in order to lure consumers away from plans that provide the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.” Harris added, “My office will continue to investigate and shut down these kinds of sites. I urge Californians to avoid healthcare scams by visiting coveredca.com.”
The complete press release appears below including a list of the deactivated sites and tips on how not to get caught up in health coverage scams.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the removal of ten private health insurance websites that misled Californians by imitating Covered California, the state’s official insurance marketplace for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Attorney General Harris also released tips to help consumers avoid insurance scams.
“These websites fraudulently imitated Covered California in order to lure consumers away from plans that provide the benefits of the Affordable Care Act,” Attorney General Harris said. “My office will continue to investigate and shut down these kinds of sites. I urge Californians to avoid healthcare scams by visiting coveredca.com.”
In September, the California Attorney General’s office began an investigation into websites that imitate the state’s Covered California website (www.coveredca.com). Multiple website operators were sent cease and desist letters informing them that their websites were in violation of state law and demanding the immediate removal of the website or transfer of the domain name to the state’s official exchange.
These websites were operated by private health insurance brokers or companies that were not affiliated with Covered California. The websites have domain names similar to the state’s official healthcare exchange and contain unauthorized references to the official exchange’s trademarked logo and name. In several cases, websites used the phrases “Get Covered,” “Covered California” and “California Health Benefit Advisers.”
The California Affordable Care Act forbids individuals or entities from claiming to provide services on behalf of Covered California without securing a valid agreement with the State Exchange. (Gov. Code, § 100510.) State law also prohibits solicitations that falsely imply a governmental connection (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17533.6), the use of a domain name that is confusingly similar to another entity (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17525), making or disseminating untrue or misleading representations with the intent of selling goods or services (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17500) and unfair competition through untrue or misleading advertising (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200).
To date, all website operators who have been contacted by the Attorney General’s office have complied, and the following websites have been either deactivated or redirected to the official exchange website:
The California Health Benefit Exchange is charged with implementing the ACA and is the operator of California’s online health insurance marketplace known as Covered California. California consumers who purchase health insurance policies through this marketplace receive protections guaranteed by the ACA that may not exist in policies outside of the exchange.
Health insurance plans sold outside the official exchange on the individual market before January 1, 2014 do not qualify for federal subsidies and do not have the guarantees provided by the ACA’s consumer protection provisions. Major consumer protections include: no denials based on preexisting conditions; no rating differences based on factors other than age, geography, and family size; issuers may not impose any annual dollar limits for covered services; and all qualified plans must cover essential health benefits identified under the ACA.
The California Attorney General’s Health, Education and Welfare Section, in conjunction with Covered California and the California Department of Insurance, will continue to monitor these and other potentially fraudulent sites.
To avoid scams related to California’s health insurance marketplace, Attorney General Harris has released the following tips for consumers:
- California’s only official health insurance marketplace is www.coveredca.com, which is where individuals, families and small businesses can get information, compare plans and enroll.
- Be wary if you receive a call from a representative claiming to be a government official asking for your personal information like Social Security number or Medicare card number. You should not provide personal or financial information over the phone and should instead contact Covered California directly.
- If you are approached by someone offering assistance from Covered California, verify that they are a Certified Enrollment Counselor by asking to see their required ID badge or by contacting Covered California directly.
- Never pay someone for assistance with healthcare enrollment. Free enrollment assistance is available by contacting Covered California directly.
- If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, please report it by contacting Covered California directly or by filing a consumer complaint with the California Attorney General’s office at: http://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company
Assistance by phone is also available in the following languages:
Update March 4, 2014 - Elan Firpo launched her election campaign for Humboldt County District Attorney last Thurs., Feb. 27, 2014 in Eureka. Firpo's platform includes strengthening the management of prosecutors, in the D.A.'s Office, and focusing on serious crimes in collaboration with law enforcement.
Hear more on Firpo's campaign launch in the report below submitted by Daniel Mintz and aired by Kerry Reynolds on the KMUD Local News Mon., March 3, 2014.
Update: Feb. 17, 2014 - So far four candidates, Allan Dollison, Elan Firpo, Maggie Fleming and Arnie Klein, have entered the 2014 race for Humboldt County District Attorney after last November's announcement, by sitting D.A., Paul Gallegos, indicating that he wouldn't run for another term. Gallegos was first elected to the office in 2002. During the last election cycle, he faced three challengers: Allison Jackson, Paul Hagen and Kathleen Bryson.
KMUD News Correspondent, Daniel Mintz, aired reports on the campaigns as they kicked off, and those audios, candidates photos and website links appear below, as does the original post made after Arnie Klein, the first candidate to enter the race, made his announcement.
The submission below, from Daniel Mintz covering the Dollison campaign, aired on the KMUD Local News Jan. 21, 2014.
The news piece below was submitted by Daniel Mintz and aired on KMUD Local News Jan. 29, 2014
See the original post below on the D.A race, including KMUD News audio on Arnie Klein candidacy
The 2014 race for Humboldt County District Attorney received some added interest last Wed, Nov 13 when Arnie Klein came out of retirement to announce his challenge to incumbent D.A. Paul Gallegos. Klein served as Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney from 2006 until he retired from that position in 2012. According to his election web page Klein, "...has served as deputy district attorney in four California counties and has built a legacy of championing social justice, whether for the indigent or the high profile. His convictions have gone beyond the confines of the courtroom and into the community where he has created educational programs that changed the way sexual assault victims are treated throughout the country."
Klein's experience, before joining the Humboldt County D.A.'s Office, ranges from working as a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles, as well as in Tulare County, to serving as senior trial lawyer in the Monterey County District Attorney’s office.
Daniel Mintz attended Klein's candidacy announcement event and submitted the news piece below, which aired on the KMUD Local News Wed., Nov. 13, 2013.
- Arnie Klein's facebook Page
- Times Standard Article on Klein's retirement
- Recent North Coast Journal article on Klein
The photo below was taken by Daniel Mintz at Klein's annoucment event