A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center between March 13-17, among 1,501 adults, shows that for the first time in more than forty years of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing the use of marijuana. The survey indicates that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 45% say it should not. This represents an increase of 11 percentage points in those favoring legalization since 2011. Young people between the ages of 18 and 32 polled the highest, with 65% in support, up from just 36% in 2008.

Additionally, within the Baby Boomer group (those born between 1946 and 1964), 50% now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever. In past studies, statistics have fluctuated in the Boomer group. For example, in 1978, 47% of Boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support fell during the 1980s reaching a low of 17% in 1990. However, since 1994 the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has  more than doubled, going from 24% to 50%.

For further survey details see: www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/

Ree21Confrontation escalated this morning, April 2, 2013, between those protesting the Caltrans Willits Bypass Project and California Highway Patrol Officers, the agency charged with safety and enforcement at the project site. Using CHP SWAT Officers trained in climbing techniques, the tree-sitter known as Warbler, who was also engaged in a hunger strike, was removed from high in the tree that she has occupied for over two months. Additional tree-sitters were extracted by the CHP team later in the day.

In response to today's removal of Willit's Bypass Project protestors, by the California Highway Patrol, California Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) issued a statement which can be read below.

Use the player below to hear details on this story in a piece aired on the KMUD Local News on Tues., April, 2, 2013 by KMUD News Director, Terri Klemetson.

For more information, photos and video see the Save Little Lake Valley web site: http://www.savelittlelakevalley.org

California State Senator Evans' Statement, dated April 2, 2013:

CHP was deployed to remove the protestors of the Willits Bypass Project just hours before I was set to meet with the director of Caltrans to have my questions answered.  According to some reports, protestors in trees were extracted by CHP using "rubber bullets", and that CHP officers significantly outnumbered protestors.

I am shocked and dismayed at what seems to be an excessive use of force on unarmed protestors.

Thus far, I feel Caltrans and CHP have been slow to respond to my questions and quick to act regarding the Bypass Project. 

It also was extremely disturbing to learn that the press was excluded from observing the removal of the protestors.

I had asked to be kept informed on a daily basis prior to any extraordinary action on this project as I represent the 1.3 million Californians living in the Second Senate District where this project is taking place.  Regretfully that did not happen today. 

I met today with Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty to express my dismay at today's events.  I have additionally requested an immediate meeting with CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow. 

I urge everyone to remain calm and for protestors to remain peaceful in their opposition.


Photo below shows Warbler in her perch in March-Photo from Save Little Lake Valley Web Site.

Photo below provided by Jennifer Poole shows the remains of the Warbler tree-sit.


A study published this month in the Open Journal of Pediatrics indicated that just days after the meltdowns in the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima-Dai-ichi plant in Japan in March, 2011, Iodine-131 concentrations in US precipitation was measured up to 211 times above normal, and that the highest levels of I-131 were found in the five US pacific coastal states. The number of congenital hypothyroid cases in these five states from March 17-December 31, 2011 was found to be 16% greater than for the same period in 2010, compared to a 3% decline in 36 other US States. The authors' noted that In the Pacific/West Coast, the largest changes were in the California city of Eureka.

Joseph Mangan and Janette Sherman, the authors of the study, suggest that, "Further analysis, in the US and in other nations, is needed to better understand any association between iodine exposure from Fukushima-Dai-ichi and congenital hypothyroidism risk."

Click here for a pdf copy of the article.

A search warrant for a residence in Eureka resulted in the arrest of 19 year old  Matthew Mildbrandt for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy to commit a felony, being armed in commission of a felony and unlawful sexual relations with a minor. In the same case a search warrant for a residence in Fortuna and another property at the 2500 block of Burr Valley Road, Dinsmore, led to the arrest of Mark Mildbrandt 56 years old, and his wife Denise Mildbrandt, 54 years old, the parents of Matthew Mildbrandt. Mark Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony, and Denise Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony. The searches also turned up cash, silver, numerous weapons and suspected evidence of environmental damage.The full press release and photos may be viewed below.

HCSO press release, March 26,2013:

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Community Response Unit (C.R.U.) obtained a Humboldt County Superior Court Search warrant for two residences after an approximate month long investigation which began with a crime tip. The warrant authorized the deputies to search a residence in the 2100 block of Law Blvd, Eureka and a residence in the 1900 block of Scenic Drive, Fortuna. Deputies assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (H.C.D.T.F) served the warrant at Law Blvd first at approximately 7:30 a.m. on 03-25-2013.  When deputies arrived they located Matthew Mildbrandt, 19 years old and a 17 year old juvenile female. When deputies searched the residence they located ten one pound packages of marijuana bud, an assault weapon, 65 growing marijuana plants, approximately 10 pounds of processed marijuana, a US Postal Box containing approximately two pounds of sealed marijuana ready to be shipped via US Postal Service, paperwork indicating sales of marijuana, approximately $6000.00 in US Currency and evidence of Matthew Mildbrandt having unlawful sexual relations with a minor. Matthew was arrested for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy to commit a felony, being armed in commission of a felony and unlawful sexual relations with a minor. He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00. The juvenile female was released to her mother who responded to the residence and took custody of her. Mark Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony, and Denise Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony.

Deputies then served the search warrant at the Scenic Drive residence. When they arrived at the residence no one was home. The residence belonged to Mark Mildbrandt 56 years old, and his wife Denise Mildbrandt, 54 years old, the parents of Matthew Mildbrandt. They searched the residence and located two assault style weapons and nineteen other rifles and handguns. They also located paperwork indicating sales of marijuana and over 400 ounces of silver along withother precious metals and approximately 13,000.00 in cash. While at the home Mark showed up in his employer's truck. Deputies searched the truck Mark arrived in and found approximately 10 pounds of harvested marijuana in the truck. Mark Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony. He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00. Denise Mildbrandt showed up at the residence after Mark, and she too was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony. Her bail was set at $50,000.00.

Deputies were able to obtain information during their search which indicated Mark and Denise Mildbrandt had property in the 2500 block of Burr Valley Road, Dinsmore along with Mark David Mildbrandt. Deputies obtained a search warrant for that property and drove to Burr Valley
Road to serve the warrant on 3-25-2013, approximately 4:00 p.m. When the deputies drove up Burr Valley Road, they came across four fir trees that had been recently fallen across the road. The fir trees were approximately two feet in diameter and completely blocked the road. This not only blocked the deputies from accessing the search warrant location to be searched, but it also blocked other non involved residents from accessing or leaving their homes. Deputies were able to clear the road enough to pass after about thirty minutes using chainsaws.

Once at the search warrant site, deputies located a cabin that had been converted for cultivation of marijuana. There was a small living space, along with a drying and manicuring room. Deputies located a diesel powered greenhouse on the property that had leaked several gallons of diesel and oil onto the ground. In the greenhouse structure deputies approximately 300 growing marijuana plants approximately one foot high. They also located approximately 364 pounds of dried marijuana and three firearms including a shotgun. No one was at the structure when they arrived.

The Humboldt County Code Enforcement Unit and Environmental Health are being notified of the environmental damage that the deputies witnessed at the scene. This is an ongoing investigations with more arrests anticipated.

Photos below were provided by HCSO.


Suspects Arrested, left to right: Mark Mildbrandt, Denise Mildbrandt, and Matthew Mildbrandt, 


The protest against the Willits Bypass Project is escalating, and according to the KMUD Local News Broadcast, aired by News Director, Terri Klemtson, Thurs., March 21, 2013, the California Highway Patrol stepped up their presence at the project site, and as of 2:30 pm eight people had been arrested.

Use the player below to hear more including:

  • An interview with a CHP Officer
  • An interview with a Caltrans spokesperson
  • Opinions from a tree sitter ("Warbler")
  • An interview with a spokesperson from the Environmental Protection and Information Center(EPIC)
  • Information on the planned nude photoshoot

Links to more information:
Caltrans Willits Bypass Web Page
Previous KMUD News post Willits Bypass update
KMUD News Post detailing the background of this project and protests against the project
Related information contributed by Dan Roberts


The press release below dated, March 21, 2013 was jointly released by three environmental groups: Center for Biological Diversity, Willits Environmental Center and EPIC.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Two-dozen conservation and community organizations are joining together to take on irresponsible and damaging highway-widening projects around the state by the California Department of Transportation. The Caltrans Watch coalition cites wasteful spending, institutionalized disregard of environmental regulations designed to protect natural resources, and a pattern of refusal to address local community concerns. A dozen of the groups are calling on Caltrans to halt construction on the controversial Willits Bypass project in Mendocino County.
“With devastating budget cuts to education, health and social services and the state park system, how can Caltrans squander $350 million on five unnecessary highway widening projects in Northern California, with severe environmental impacts?” asked Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Someone needs to give ’em a brake. Where’s the oversight and accountability to rein in the pervasive problems at Caltrans, like refusal to consider reasonable alternatives to massive highway projects, shoddy environmental review, no transparency, faulty data and disregard for public input?”
"The Willits community is coming to realize what a disaster the Willits Bypass will be for our environment and our town,” said Ellen Drell of the Willits Environmental Center. “The project should be stopped until Caltrans adequately evaluates less damaging alternatives. We want our transportation dollars and construction jobs directed toward locally appropriate infrastructure that doesn't bankrupt the state, further trash our natural resources or ignore the $300 billion highway maintenance backlog.”
“From the wild canyons of the Smith River, through the redwood parks of Humboldt, to the wetlands headwaters of the Eel River at Willits, Caltrans is running roughshod over the North Coast,” said Natalynne Delapp of the Environmental Protection Information Center. “Local communities are trying to engage the agency to develop appropriate transportation solutions, but Caltrans continues to bulldoze us with archaic projects straight out of the 1950s, that benefit only a limited group of economic interests.”
Despite a pending lawsuit filed by conservation groups challenging the Willits Bypass — a proposed four-lane freeway to be built through sensitive wetlands around the community of Willits — Caltrans has stated its intention to cut down mature oak forests, remove brush and destroy riparian vegetation along critical salmon streams before the case can be heard in federal court this summer. State Sen. Noreen Evans earlier this month sent a letter to Caltrans echoing community concerns over whether there is a need for a four-lane project, why other alternatives or routes were not seriously examined, and if less environmentally destructive solutions to address local traffic congestion were feasible. For now, protestors and a tree-sitter in the path of Caltrans’ proposed superhighway have prevented tree and vegetation removal.
The Caltrans Watch coalition includes: Alameda Creek Alliance, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Campaign for Sensible Transportation, Center for Biological Diversity, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Environmental Protection Information Center, Friends of Coyote Hills Committee, Friends of Del Norte, Friends of the Eel River, Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont, Mendocino Group of the Sierra Club, Northcoast Environmental Center, Pacificans for Highway One Alternatives, Piercy Watersheds Association, Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club, Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment, Save Little Lake Valley, Save Niles Canyon, Save Our Sunol, Save Richardson Grove Coalition, Tri-City Ecology Center and Willits Environmental Center.
Caltrans has consistently refused to consider less expensive and ecologically damaging alternatives to highway widening projects that could accomplish safety and transportation objectives, and has ignored public concerns, input and opposition. The coalition points to half a dozen highway-widening projects being pursued by Caltrans that are not needed to achieve the stated safety or transportation access purposes:
* The $10 million Richardson Grove project to widen and realign Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County, damaging prized old-growth redwoods to supposedly increase access for large commercial trucks;
* The $210 million Highway 101 superhighway the size of Interstate 5 around Willits, not needed for local traffic volumes, requiring the largest wetlands fill permit in Northern California in the past 50 years and running through headwaters of salmon-bearing streams and habitat for endangered plants;
* The $19 million Highway 197/199 widening projects in Del Norte County along the “wild and scenic” Smith River to accommodate oversized commercial trucks, with impacts to old-growth redwood trees;
* The $76 million Niles Canyon highway-widening project in Alameda County, a “safety” project stopped by a citizen lawsuit. Caltrans now admits the widening is not needed and the Federal Highway Administration recently concluded it is not warranted by the state’s safety data. It would have cut 600 riparian trees and added four miles of cement retaining walls and rip-rap along a regionally significant stream for steelhead trout;
* The $50 million Calera Parkway project to double the width of Highway 1 in Pacifica, in San Mateo County, with impacts to endangered frogs and garter snakes.
The coalition supports safe roadways and sensible transportation planning. For each of these projects the organizations have expended considerable effort through the available public review processes to encourage Caltrans to pursue reasonable and effective safety or access upgrades that would avoid needless environmental destruction. These efforts have largely been frustrated by Caltrans’ refusal to even evaluate viable alternatives proposed by the affected communities.
The pattern of flawed decision-making and inadequate environmental review by Caltrans has forced community organizations to resort to litigation as the only remaining avenue to seek redress. The coalition cites systemic problems within Caltrans, beginning with the manner in which transportation infrastructure needs are identified, the proposed solutions to address those needs, incomplete and inadequate review of environmental impacts, and disregard for concerns of local communities.


Update: April 11, 2013:

According to information received by KMUD News, Olivia Marquez-Sykes passed away early morning on Thursday April 11, 2013. According to the KMUD Local Newscast, aired by KMUD News Director Terri Klemetson on April 11, Olivia's mother, Julie Marquez, posted to her Facebook page: “Our dear sweet Olivia followed her own path and crossed over at 4 am this morning. She fought long and hard, but she is at peace now and flying free.”

KMUD wishes to extend condolences to Olivia's family and friends.

The original post on this story apperas below.


A Southern Humboldt teenager is in serious condition and being treated at U.C.Davis Medical Center after returning from a party in a daze and reporting to her family that she had taken the drug ecstacy.

Use the player below to hear more on this story, including friends and family rallying to support this much loved local young woman. This story was aired on the KMUD Local News,Tues., March 19, 2013, by KMUD News Director,  Terri Klemetson.

  • Donations to help Olivia's family with medical expenses may be made at: Garberville Community Credit Union Acct.# 16550
  • Cards and gifts may be sent to U.C. Davis Medical Center: 2315 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, California 95817
  • Click here for the Facebook Page: Loving Olivia



A recent Eureka Police Department press release describes a message popping up on local residents computer screens purporting to be from the “Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Division.” The message reportedly causes the computer to freeze and instructs the user that to “unlock” the computer they are “obliged to pay a fine of $300.00.” The EPD advises that anyone receiving this message should not make any requested payments and should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

According to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) website,  this type of cyber attack is called "ransomware" and results after an e-mail message, puporting to be from the Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Division or from other "official sources", including the FBI, is received by the victim. US-CERT gives information about avoiding cyber attacks and scams including not clicking on links or opening attachments from suspicious e-mails.

The full EPD press release may be read below.

On 3/20/13, the Eureka Police Department received a report of a computer-related scam now affecting some local residents.  Victims report a pop-up message will appear on their personal computer.  The message is purportedly from the “Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Division.”  The message, which appears to be a form of malware/virus known as “ransomware,” states: “The work of your computer has been suspended on the grounds of the violation of the law of the United States of America.”  It further declares, “This computer has been blocked.”  The message remains locked in the front of one’s screen and the user is unable to close it or access other programs.  It essentially freezes the computer. The message instructs the user that to “unlock” the computer they are “obliged to pay a fine of $300.00.”  It further states they must pay this fine through “MoneyPak” within 48 hours (Green Dot MoneyPak is available through Walmart, Kmart, Rite Aid and other major retailers).  If the fine has not been paid, it threatens the user will become the subject of criminal prosecution without the right to pay the fine.  The warning asserts once you pay the “fine” your computer will be unblocked. The “fine” is paid by entering your $300.00 MoneyPak code into a box on the pop-up warning screen and clicking ok.

The warning screen is very convincing with logos from Homeland Security as well as major retailers such as Walmart.  Walmart and the other retailersare not associated with this scam.  Alternate versions of this same scam may use the FBI’s logo  Anyone receiving this message should not enter a MoneyPak code or any other payment method into the screen.  Users should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.  The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).


A Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputy, patrolling the area of recent fiber optic cable vandalism in the Rio Dell area (click here to see that story), resulted in a vehicular pursuit which was eventually terminated for public safety concerns but later picked up by the California Highway Patrol. After crashing and rolling the car he was driving, 29 year old Michael Joseph Petersen, was arrested for felony evasion, possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, possession of illicit drugs, possession of hashish, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, driving unlicensed and driving under the influence. According to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office (see the press release below) there is no indication Petersen was involved in the Suddenlink vandalisms.

HCSO Press Release, dated March 18, 2013:

On 03-18-2013, approximately 1:00 a.m. a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff patrolling in the area of Blue Slide Road and Price Creek Road, Rio Dell area, saw a grey 1989 Toyota pickup truck parked in a turnout in the area where the Suddenlink Fiber Optic vandalisms had been occurring.  As the deputy drove by he saw a subject standing outside the trucks driver side door wearing a black backpack.  When the deputy made a u-turn to investigate what the person was doing the truck sped away, south on Blue Slide Road. The deputy sheriff attempted to pull the car over and the truck failed to yield. Instead the pickup sped up to speeds in excess of 60 mph. The deputy initiated a pursuit as the truck accelerated to 70 mph as it approached Rio Dell City limits. The truck failed to stop for a stop sign then entered US 101 southbound vary speeds of 50 to 80 mph. The truck then exited US 101 at Pepperwood exit continuing southbound on State Route 254 (Avenue of the Giants). While traveling southbound on State Route 254 the truck weaved into both lanes of traffic. Due to public safety concerns the deputy terminated the pursuit.
A few minutes later California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officers who were responding to assist the deputy spotted the pickup truck on Dyerville Loop Road, Garberville area. The truck again started to flee from the C.H.P. car, however lost control and crashed in the 2700 block of Dyerville Loop Road. The pickup truck rolled over during the crash and traveled approximately 400 feet down a hillside. The driver, who was the sole occupant in the pickup truck was taken into custody by C.H.P. He received minor injuries in the collision. The C.H.P. Officers located a loaded Colt handgun in the vehicle, along with a variety of illegal drugs.

The deputy joined the CHP Officers on scene and the driver, Michael Joseph Petersen, 29 years old from Garberville was arrested for felony evasion, possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, possession of illicit drugs, possession of hashish, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, driving unlicensed and driving under the influence.  Petersen was taken to a local hospital for his injuries and was treated and released. He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00.

There is no indication Petersen was involved in the Suddenlink vandalisms.

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.

Michael Joseph Petersen shown below.


NOAA's National Weather Service in Eureka informed KMUD News that the annual Tsunami Warning Communications Test, for 2013 will take place on Wednesday, March 27th between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon. To insure that the Tsunami Warning System works properly in case of a real tsunami emergency, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties will all participate in this test by interrupting TV and Radio Stations, and activating NOAA Weather Radios and Outdoor Sirens. However, not all Cable and Satellite TV Stations may be able to participate.

Remember when you hear or see the warning test on March 27 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon:

    • You do NOT need to take any action  
    • Do NOT call 911 or local authorities  
    • Do NOT evacuate your home or business.  


For more information see the flyer below.

In a letter addressed to Caltrans Director, Michael Dougherty, dated March 5, 2013, California District 2 Senator, Noreen Evans, communicated concerns and asked a number of questions, on behalf of her constituents, regarding the current Willits Bypass Project.

KMUD News Director, Terri Klemetson, aired the piece below on the KMUD Local News, Tues. March 12, 2013, featuring a report on the Evans letter by Jennifer Poole, Editor of the Willits Weekly and KMUD News Correspondent.

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