Remote-controlled aircraft, known as drones, are seen by some police officials as aids in efforts to fight crime while keeping officers safer, and saving taxpayers money. Critics, however, worry that drone mounted cameras may result in privacy abuses and unwarranted surveillance of residents.

On Oct. 29, 2012, News Coordinator, Terri klemtson, aired interviews with Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey and Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman about the use of drones. Use the players below to hear the extended versions of those interviews.

Extended Interview with Sheriff Mike Downey:

Extended Interview with Sheriff Tom Allman

According to a press release from the Humboldt County sheriff's Office, dated Oct. 29, 2012:

On 10-27-2012, approximately 12:30 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a citizen that a male subject was acting suspiciously outside the Early Bird Café at Willow Creek. A deputy and California Highway Patrol officer responded to the scene and met with the subject described. While speaking with the subject they saw the subject had a green canvass bag at his feet. The bag was partially unzipped. The deputy could see the handle of a weapon inside the bag. The deputy retrieved the weapon which was a pump action shotgun with a pistol grip. The barrel of the shotgun appeared to be sawed off and less than the legal limit. The subject, Pedro Nicholas Vazquez Jr., 34 years old of Willow Creek, was arrested for possession of the illegal weapon. He was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $25,000.00.

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.

Pedro Nicholas Vazquez Jr.

    Marijuana agriculture and the environment were the focal issues discussed on Friday Oct 12, 2012 from 1-5 pm, at a symposium held at Humboldt State University and jointly sponsored by the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) and the HSU Sociology Department. Each of the two sessions in the symposium, titled, "Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition", featured panelists discussing issues ranging from the environmental impacts of marijuana growing to using a balance of enforcement and incentives to ameliorate the problems associated with marijuana agriculture. The Symposium was introduced by Dr. Tony Silvaggio, an Environmental Sociologist from HSU. Alison Sterling Nichols from the Humboldt Growers Association moderated the first session and Hezekiah Allen, from the Mattole Restoration Council moderated Session II.

KMUD Community Journalist, Kelly Lincoln, attended the meeting and recorded each of the panel presentations and the Question and Answer sessions following the panel presentations. The resulting unedited audio is available on this page and can be heard, or downloaded, using the players below.

Audio of Session I:

Use the player below to hear panelists Gary Graham Hughes - Executive Director,  Environmental Protection Information Center and Scott Downie (beginning at approx. 18 mins. into the clip) - California Department of Fish and Game Senior Biologist.

Use this player to hear panelists Paul Gallegos - Humboldt County District Attorney, Humboldt County Sheriff, Mike Downey, (beginning at approx. 14 mins. into the clip),  and  Scott Greacen (beginning at approx. 23 mins. into the clip) - Executive Director, Friends of the Eel River.

The player below can be used to hear the Question and Answer portions of Session I.

Audio of Session II:

Use the player below to hear panelists Casey O’Neill - Community Member/Farmer from Medocino County, and Tasha McKee (beginning at approx. 19 mins. into the clip) - Executive Director, Sanctuary Forest.

Use this player to hear panelists Mark Lovelace - Humboldt County District 3 Supervisor and Ryan Sundberg (beginning at approx. 14 mins. into the clip) - Humboldt County Supervisor, District 5.

The player below can be used to hear the Question and Answer portions of Session II.

   According to a press release from "Americans for Safe Access":

For the first time in nearly 20 years, a United States Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the federal government's classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medicinal value: Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration. This historic case will force a federal court to finally review the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic efficacy of marijuana. During a press briefing Thursday, plaintiffs in the case, along with leading medical researchers and clinicians, spoke about the necessity of the federal government recognizing current scientific data supporting marijuana rescheduling. Marijuana is currently classified in the same category as heroin despite calls from scientists, medical professionals, and policy makers to reschedule marijuana for medical use. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear opening arguments on the case the morning of October 16, 2012. "Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), who will be arguing the case before the D.C. Circuit. "What's at stake in this case is nothing less than our country's scientific integrity and the imminent needs of millions of patients."

Click here to read more and listen to the  teleconference briefing with researchers, legal counsel and lawsuit plaintiff.

Use the player below to hear more about this issue, including an interview with Ed Densen, an attorney specializing in medical marijuana law and Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. This story was aired by News Coordinator,Terri Klemetson, on the KMUD Local News Thursday, Oct.25, 2012.

The seasonal salmon run up the rivers and streams is now underway in Northern California. For more information see the Eel River Recovery Project website at: http://www.eelriverrecovery.org/

Use the player below to hear more about this salmon run, including an interview with Fishery Biologist, Pat Higgins. This piece was aired on KMUD Local News Oct. 25, 2012 by News Coordinator Terri Klemetson.

Additional information sent to KMUD News by California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) Biologist Scott Downie indicates that after last week’s short term pulse in discharge due to the small storm system, flow is low in the Eel River and its tributaries. Prior to that slight increase in flow, the tidal reaches of the Eel River were holding very large concentrations of Chinook salmon.  

CDFG wardens were busy dealing with poaching efforts, and continue to be so occupied.  However, many fish have moved further upstream for the past few days, and are now holding in pools along the lower reaches of the South Fork and Mainstem Eel, but movement further upstream is curtailed for most of the fish.

CDFG migration controls in the lower Van Duzen are in place again this year due to the low flows.  When 150 cfs is reached in the Van Duzen, the controls will be removed and Van Duzen salmon will pass freely up the river.  Flows above the Middle Fork Eel are very low, and most upper tributaries lack adequate flow to allow passage for any arrivals that might occur.  CDFG observations indicate a very large run of Chinook in the system, and the public is cautioned not to disturb holding fish.

The river above the estuary is now closed to fishing and the low flow phone number, (707) 822-3164, should be consulted to see when the streams have adequate flow for angling.  In any event, please remember that the entire Eel system is a catch and release fishery.  Wardens are actively patrolling the river.

"Caught in the Act"

This pair of spawning salmon in the South Fork Eel River was photographed by Richard Potratz at milemarker .44 - half a mile South of the "Tree House" on Avenue of the Giants, Oct. 29, 2012


  According to a Cal Fire News Release, dated Oct. 22, 2012:
California’s first significant rainfall of the season, combined with cooler temperatures, has allowed CAL FIRE to lift the statewide burn ban effective Monday, October 22, 2012. CAL FIRE had suspended all residential burn permits and various types of outdoor burning within the 31 million acres of State Responsibility Area on August 15, 2012. While the statewide burn ban is lifted, local burn bans set by CAL FIRE’s 21 operational units may still be in effect. Each of the 21 CAL FIRE unit chiefs will determine when local weather conditions will allow for safe outdoor burning. Following the lifting of local burn bans, burn permits may be required in some areas so residents should always check with their local fire station and air quality district before burning.

“While the threat of wildfires has not diminished completely, many areas will be receiving enough rainfall to allow homeowners to safely burn outdoors once their local burn bans are lifted,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director. “It is still important that residents monitor the weather closely, as a warming trend could increase the fire threat.” This fire season has kept firefighters across the State very busy as fire activity has been significantly higher this year. To date, there have been over 5,500 wildfires in CAL FIRE’s jurisdiction that have burned nearly 130,000 acres, compared to last year when there were 4,100 wildfires during the same time period that charred over 55,000 acres. Even with the cooler weather, there is still the possibility of wildfires and CAL FIRE remains prepared to respond.

For more information on Burn Permits and restrictions in your area see the Cal Fire web page at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/fire_protection/fire_protection_burnpermits.php

Humboldt-Del Norte Information:

Information released on Oct. 25, 2012 from the Humboldt-Del Norte Unit indicates:
CAL FIRE Unit Chief Tom Hein is formally cancelling the suspension and also advises that the declared FIRE SEASON has ended for the Humboldt – Del Norte Unit. People wishing to burn are required to obtain a burning permit from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District (NCUAQMD). They can be contacted at (707) 443-3093. Safe burning still requires a minimum of 10’ clearance around the 4’ piles and an adult must be in attendance at all times. Chief Hein warns people to still use caution when burning, and to pay attention to changing weather conditions. For these permit applications and information, you can contact your local CAL FIRE Station. Burn day information is available at 1-866-287-6329.

Mendocino Information:

CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Chief Christopher P. Rowney has declared the 2012 Fire Season in Mendocino County will end Friday, October 26, 2012 at Midnight.

This year on State Responsibility land in Mendocino County there were 123 wildland fires burning approximately 11,400 acres.  In addition to the 123 wildland fires, CAL FIRE, along with local fire departments, responded to 95 structure fires and 482 other fires.    

Winter burning season will also begin Friday, October 26, 2012 at Midnight.  CAL FIRE will not require burning permits until approximately May 1, 2013.  Residents are reminded that BURNING MUST COMPLY WITH MENDOCINO COUNTY AIR QUALITY REGLUATIONS.  For more information or to obtain a burn permit visit the MCQAMD web site at www.mendoair.org or call the District office at (707) 463-4354.  Recorded Burn Day status is available 24/7 on the Burn Information Line at (707) 463-4391.

According to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, dated Oct. 22, 2012:

On 10-20-2012, approximately 7:45 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 cell phone transfer from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. The 31 year old female caller told the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher that she and her 16 year old daughter were lost. The call was dropped during the conversation. The dispatcher attempted several call backs with the victim to determine where they were at. The dispatcher was able to get a GPS Coordinate however off the cell phone and sent deputies to locate them.  Deputies responded to the area of the GPS Coordinates and located the lost females on a roadway. The deputy had to drive into Trinity County via Van Duzen River Road and then back into Humboldt County to access the location near Coffee Pot Road, the Blocksburg Area of Humboldt County. Both females were found by the deputy curled up in the roadway trying to stay warm. They were in good health and required no medical assistance. They were transported by the deputy to their vehicle. They had been hunting in the area and became separated from their party. Meantime their cell phone's battery had died during the calls to a friend and 911 seeking assistance.

The Sheriffs Office would like to remind hunters and hikers to tell family and friends where they are hiking, when they expect to return, bring appropriate equipment and clothing. This time of year the weather conditions can change rapidly. A cell phone, map or GPS is also very helpful. Keep in mind not all rural areas have cell phone coverage and a cell phone batteries need to be fully charged.

Use the player below to hear an interview with Lt.Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office regarding this incident. The interview was aired on the KMUD Local News by KMUD Newscaster Dave Brooksher on Oct. 22, 2012.

According to a press release from the Eureka Police Department, dated Oct. 10, 2012:

On 10/18/12, the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit, assisted by patrol, conducted a “prostitution sting” in Eureka’s Old Town area.  This operation was in response to complaints of prostitution activity along 3rd Street west of the Humboldt County Library.  Officers utilized male decoys or “Johns” (undercover officers) driving undercover vehicles.  Three women were arrested after soliciting the “Johns” to pay them money for sexual acts performed upon them.   A female decoy was also used, and three men were arrested after they offered to pay the officer money to perform sexual acts upon them.  Additionally, a male contacted the undercover officer and discussed prostitution related topics with her (price of acts she might perform).  He left the scene prior to agreeing to pay money to the officer. He was later contacted and warned about soliciting acts of prostitution.   

During the course of the approximately 4 hour operation, the following suspects were arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional facility: 

  • Kristen Leilani Hill, 39, was arrested for loitering with intent to commit prostitution and soliciting an act of prostitution. 
  • Heather Deanne Amador, 42, was arrested for loitering with intent to commit prostitution and soliciting an act of prostitution. 
  • Casey Marie Hunter, 31, was arrested for loitering with intent to commit prostitution and soliciting an act of prostitution.  


  • Jason Garrett Shields, 40, was arrested for loitering with intent to solicit prostitution, soliciting an act of prostitution and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.
  • Alexander Joint Smith, 25, was arrested for loitering with intent to solicit prostitution and soliciting an act of prostitution. 
  • Luis Carlos Valdez-Leal, 21, was arrested for loitering with intent to solicit prostitution and soliciting an act of prostitution.

Use the player below to hear an interview with EPD Sgt. Steve Watson, on this incident, aired by KMUD newscaster, Dave Brooksher, on the KMUD 6 pm local news -Oct. 22, 2012.

Update - Oct. 24, 2012

On the  Oct. 24, 2012 edition of the KMUD Local News, Terrri Klmetson provided an update on this case and aired an interview with Mendocino County Investigative Services Bureau Lt.Greg Van Patten. Use the player below to hear that audio.



Update- Oct. 20, 2012

According to a second press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, dated Oct. 19, 2012:

During the morning of Oct. 19, 2012 Sheriff's Detectives identified 23-year-old Celso Madueno and 19-year-old Abel Madueno as being the victims of the shooting incident reported below. At this time Abel Madueno is recovering from a non-lethal gunshot wound while Celso Madueno was pronounced dead at the shooting scene.

Anyone having information in regards to this incident is urged to call the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

Original Post

According to a press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, dated Oct. 19, 2012:

On Oct. 19, 2012 at 2:44 am the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office dispatch center received a 911 call from a person who resided in a residence located in the 10000 block of East Road in Redwood Valley, California. The caller reported that two unknown individuals had entered the residence with firearms and that two of the caller's family members had been shot as a result.

Patrol Deputies responded to the residence where they located a deceased adult male with apparent gunshot wounds.  Deputies also located another adult male who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds during the incident.  This adult male was transported to an out of county hospital for treatment of his injuries.

During an initial interview of family members, Deputies learned one of the suspects was described as wearing a red hoody sweatshirt and black bandana covering a portion of their face.  Both suspects were last seen leaving the residence Northbound on East Road in a black Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Sheriff's Detectives were called to the scene and are conducting further investigations into the circumstances of the shooting.

Anyone having information in regards to this incident is urged to call the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

The Google Map below shows the location of the 10000 block of East Road in Redwood Valley

View Larger Map

   According to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, dated Oct. 16, 2012:
On 10-15-2012 at about 6:30 pm the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence located in the 2200 block of McKinleyville Avenue, McKinleyville regarding a marijuana investigation. Sheriff’s Office Deputies discovered a large moving van that was parked near the front door to the residence. Deputies could smell the strong odor of marijuana coming from the moving van.  Deputies then knocked on the front door to the residence and contacted three subjects who were in the house.

Deputies identified the occupants as Jeffrey Donald Halverson age 25, Lee Dennis Wilson age 27 and Fredrick William Nicholas age 28. When deputies were speaking to the three subjects they could detect a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside of the residence. Deputies then detained the three subjects and secured the residence for a search warrant.

Humboldt County Drug Task Force Agents were then contacted and responded to the scene to take over the investigation. A search warrant was signed by a Humboldt County Superior Court Judge for the residence at approximately 8:30 pm. Drug Task Force Agents then searched the residence and discovered approximately 210 pounds of drying marijuana plants located in both bedrooms. Agents located marijuana, butane hash lab in the residence. It appeared to the Agents that the marijuana plants were brought into the residence from the moving van that was parked outside of the residence.

Agents arrested Lee Wilson and Jeffrey Halverson for cultivation and possession for sales of marijuana, conspiracy to commit a crime, manufacturing of a controlled substance and maintaining a residence for distributing of a controlled substance. Wilson and Halverson were both transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and their bail was set at $500,000 dollars each. Fredrick Nicholas was arrested for cultivation of marijuana and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $25,000 dollars.

This case is still under investigation by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force.

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