SPREY Student Run Magazine Fall 2017
Fighting Words Two witnessesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; unheard stories on the Josiah Lawson murder
Meet untamed artist Laurel Skye
Juicy, Nasty & Fabulous Thriving in the
Thriving in the Burlesque spotlight 1 | Osprey
Hills & Stairs
Table of Contents
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Letter from the Editor
Starting in early September, I would go to Laurel Skyeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house every Wednesday and sit with her. We would talk about art, music, traveling and owning a business. We would also talk about her cancer and what it was doing to her. The experience of working with her this semester changed my life. It put a lot of things into perspective and made me think twice about where I may go next in life. Skye never seemed sad or phased by our conversations about death and dying. She always shrugged off the weight of the question and answered while smiling at me from across the table. It was these moments that inspired me the most. To be in such a situation and not use it as an excuse showed me how strong she is and made me want to be strong too. The other stories in this magazine made me feel the same way. From the story on the struggles Renalyn Bobadilla went through after the murder of her boyfriend, Josiah Lawson, to the battle surfers face with the waves, these stories are compelling and filled with stories of strength. Read them with the intention of putting yourself in their shoes. I want to thank my staff and faculty adviser Vicky Sama for the support and encouragement this semester and everyone who picks up this issue. Enjoy! Sean Bendon
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Staff Page Editor-in-Chief
Ben Goodale Katherine Miron Monica Ramierez Selena Rose
Layout Editor Raymond Garcia
Copy Editors Erin Chessin Nikki Hummel
email@example.com Osprey Magazine c/o Department of Journalism & Mass Communication 1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA 95521
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Kim Haines dresses in drag as a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s pop princess, Brittain Spear Me. Photo provided by Kim Haines
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by Selena Rose
Story of a showgirl and manicurist
itting at the foot of her bed, burlesque dancer Kim Haines presses a cosmetic wipe to her dark, dramatic stage makeup as a souvenir of the night’s performance. It’s a ritual she does after every act, and on this Friday night, she performed on a newly built stage in Eureka’s Siren’s Song Tavern where she stripped down to nothing but her tassels. “I wasn’t nervous about being naked because I’ve always had an underlying confidence about my body, but I get more nervous about fucking up the technique,” Haines said. “For instance, I’ll look down and realize I missed my cue and I still have my fucking shoes on.” By day, Haines is a manicurist. By night, she is a showgirl. She graduated from Humboldt State in fall 2013 with a degree in theater arts.
“I was never a theater kid, but I loved being backstage doing makeup and hair,” she said. “I get along with anybody, yet could never relate to theater kids. I hated memorizing lines.” Haines says her theater arts major improved her skills in stage makeup, while also teaching her backstage etiquette. She created her own burlesque persona called Stevie Di’Luxe. “Stevie is totally me but is an amplified version of myself,” Haines said. Stevie’s jet black hair and sultry hazel eyes resemble the famous pin up model from the 1950s, Bettie Page. She
is the perfect blend of vintage and contemporary. Her bodacious body is painted with tattoos along her underarm and down both of her legs. “I have second character when I do drag shows and she is the polar opposite of me,” said Haines. “Her name is Brittain Spear Me.” Spear Me is a blonde, bubbly ‘90s pop princess. “She loves pinks, oranges and whites. She is just everything that I am not,” Haines said. “She’s like a backup dancer. She lives in a music video, that is her life.” Sometimes Haines will perform both characters in one night. “I don’t do a full makeup change, but I will always change my lipstick,” Haines said. “Brittain would never wear dark colors.” Haines’s life as a burlesque dancer began when she enrolled in a boot camp that formally introduced her to the world of showgirls. The six-week program meets twice a week at Blue Lake Casino. The course teaches character development, costuming and choreography, as well as stage makeup and hair. Haines left bootcamp and formed her own troupe with six other girls called the RagDoll Revue. They organize bi-monthly shows at venues around Arcata and Eureka. Kelly Ridgway, who goes by the stage name Jessica Pow!, is a dancer with Haines in the RagDoll Revue. Ridgway is also a daytime bartender at Sidelines on the Arcata Plaza.
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TOP LEFT: Haines wears her cheetah print pumps before an Austin Powers inspired burlesque act. BOTTOM LEFT: Haines sits at her station while showing off her two-and-a-half-inch pointed stiletto nails. RIGHT: Kim Haines in character as burlesque persona Stevie Di’Luxe. Photo provided by Kim Haines
“Her skills are unbelievable. She is such an inspiration,” says Ridgway. “I’m not great at makeup. I never used to wear much makeup before this so if I’m running late, I run to Stevie if I need my lashes put on.” Burlesque started in the 1840s as a form of political satire. It is a way for women like Haines to transform theater in a provocative way. Burlesque celebrates womanhood—it is satirical, sensual and a tad bit raunchy. And that’s what Haines likes about it. “Stevie is juicy, nasty and fabulous,” says Ridgway. “She has a real grasp on her character. She’s got this style about her that is so unique. She is super consistent with her character, yet every act is different.” Melinda Myers is the owner of Good Relations lingerie store in Old Town Eureka and a psychology professor at HSU. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialization in gender and sexuality. “Burlesque is very sex positive and body positive,” Myers said. “There is this natural energy between what they do and what we do at Good Relations.”
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Haines says her burlesque dancing can be inspired by a song or clothing. “One time I was thrifting and I found these ’70s leopard platforms, which sparked the idea to create an Austin Powers theme,” Haines said. “Shoes are one of my favorite accessories, as well as eyelashes and eyebrows.” In 2014, Haines went to cosmetology school at Frederick and Charles Beauty College and earned a manicurist license. Last April, she got her own station at Arcata’s Polished Nail Salon where Erin Noel is the owner. “She uses her creativity in so many ways, with burlesque and with makeup,” Noel said. “I’d even see her out running and she would always still be made up.” Haines files her clients nails down to a coffin shape and paints a black chrome ombré on the fingertips. Even with her own two-and-a-half inch nails, Haines never fails to keep the paint brush steady. “I have some clients who are not picky and trust me to do whatever,” Haines said. “But then there’s some that’s
like, ‘I want this nail like this, this nail like that.’ It is nice to have that yin and yang. I don’t have to think about it all the time.”
In 2016, Haines won Humboldt’s best exotic dancer for the second year in a row, while Polished won best salon from the North Coast Journal.
Haines’s long nails are an attribute to her persona on and off the stage. Noel said that Haines’s nails were just past her fingertips when she began at Polished.
“I always vote in that anyways online,” Haines said. “I saw it and I was like, what the fuck. I didn’t even know they had that category of exotic dancer.”
“She started filing her own nails and over time they slowly morphed into the finger length pointed stilettos that she rocks,” Noel said. “It would be so backwards now to see Kim without those nails.” Haines doesn’t have a personal Facebook but has one for her character.
Haines’s dedication to her craft is apparent in everything she puts her nails to. She is naturally theatrical, sensational and one of a kind. “Speaking through body language is powerful, we all understand it,” Haines said. “That’s all I want to do, make self-confidence contagious.”
“Once I created a page for Stevie people started believing that she was actually me,” Haines said. Now, clients call the salon and ask for Stevie. Her uniqueness extends to her love of animals. Haines has seven cats. She also adopted three pet raccoons that live under her house and named them Richard, Richie and Rich. “They have become my backyard friends who come through the cat door,” Haines said. Haines’s work is iconic and recognizable. One of her clients, Carmen Peña-Gutierrez, noticed that the fingernails of a Target cashier were also painted by Haines. “I had black cherries on my nails at the time and the cashier asked to see my hands,” Peña-Gutierrez said. “I looked at her nails and noticed the iconic pink glitter chrome Kim does and knew right away that was Kim’s work. This has happened more than once.”
BACKGROUND PHOTO: Kim Haines artwork, featuring her makeup wipes, displayed in Good Relations during Arts Alive in Eureka. | Stella Stokes RIGHT: Stevie Di’Luxe revealing her spiderweb tattoo under her left arm. Photo provided by Kim Haines
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Hills, S tairs & Umbrellas by Nikki Hummel
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The bottom of the stairs going up to Founders Hall from the UC Quad. | Stock
NUMBER OF INTERIOR STAIRS IN BUILDINGS
Student & Business Services
Humboldt State Library
Founders Hall Behavioral & Social Sciences
TOTAL NUMBER OF EXTERIOR STAIRS
4 136 144 1 169 6 186 264 7
Humboldt State University has long been nicknamed hills, stairs and umbrellas, but until you actually walk the campus, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to understand the sheer amount of steps there are. Osprey counted the steps of the buildings on campus and here are the findings:
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get Pitted! The joys and struggles of surfing in northern Humboldt by Ben Goodale
A friend of Lucas Bernosky shreds a crashing wave in Pismo Beach. FIlm photo taken by Lucas Bernosky
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five-foot wave speeds toward the Samoa North Jetty carrying longboarder Lucas Bernosky in its swell. As it draws closer, he realizes he’s on a direct collision course with a jagged, protruding rock. He bails, getting forcefully tumbled by the powerful pull of the ocean while the rising and falling waves loom and crash onto his uncovered head. As he recovers, he scans the horizon for his surfing buddy Naji. This is the first wave that Bernosky has caught in Humboldt waters. “It’s like taking a fatty bong rip for the first time,” Bernosky says. “You don’t think about anything else. You’re just in that moment and you feel so happy.” Bernosky, who is in his second year at Humboldt State, began surfing a year ago in the tamer tides and warmer waters of Pismo Beach. “When I was a kid, I used to go out surfing occasionally, but not like I am now,” Bernosky explains. “Now, every morning when I wake up, I’ve gotta check the waves to see if I can go out.” It’s a still Monday evening in early October and Bernosky and I are headed to Luffenholtz Beach in his faded gray minivan. Two surfboards and a still soggy wetsuit jostle in the back seat. The ocean reveals itself as we crest Highway 101 North. Bernosky lets out a battle cry, “Yes! It’s so glassy!” We pull into the parking area of Camel Rock swamped with surfers. After waiting for someone to leave, we secure a spot among the roof-racked cars. Bernosky slips into his damp and gritty wetsuit, peering down onto the ocean dotted with fellow surfers. We descend the cliffside path where fog and smoke from faraway wildfires have settled above the ocean, reducing visibility of the glaring sun behind the large rocks of Houda Point. Bernosky runs to the water and paddles
College Cove surfer (Paul) catches a prime wave on a Sunny October afternoon. | Ben Goodale
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out to join about 10 surfers hanging out along the break zone of the waves, known by surfers as the line-up.
sensation, ungloved for more dexterity with the camera. Bernosky paddles over to me.
After attempting to catch a wave for more than an hour, Bernosky sees a promising swell. He swivels with his longboard, the wave growing behind him as he hastily paddles to match its speed. Pushing up on his surfboard, he crouches and teeters, catching his balance as he shreds his best wave of the day into shore and triumphantly hops off into shallow waters. “Some days out there it’s so big that I spend more time just trying to stay alive and not get thrown around than I do actually surfing,” Bernosky says. It’s a foggy afternoon in late October and Bernosky and I are on the way to check out the surf for my first time out. We stop by Moonstone Beach, realizing that the tide is too high for us to safely paddle it. With our spirits slightly diminished, we cruise over to the barren parking lot of Houda Point. We are unable to see the waves from the van but decide we’re going to try surfing anyway, since we already made the trip.
“Not as cold as you’d think, right?” he asks. I awkwardly paddle in Bernosky’s wake, clutching an untethered boogie board while a heavy film camera dangles around my neck. We get to where the wave break looks most assuring and wait there, resisting the pulls every which way from the unpredictable waters. We wait, and we wait some more, until suddenly a rising wave begins to form. Bernosky turns his board and tries to paddle with the crashing wave as I fumble with the camera, trying to stay aware of the incoming wall of water heading our way. Bernosky is right about to stand up on his board but slips backward, consumed by the heavy, tumbling water. He surfaces and gives me an excitedly frustrated glance. “Damn it, I thought that was the one,” he yells. We float around some more.
After we squeeze into our wetsuits, we carry our boards down the steep path to the beach. There’s no one else in the water. We survey the waves through the thick mist, and although the tide is high, we paddle out. The wetsuits shield our bodies from the true temperature of the Pacific, however, my bare hands are tingling with a prickling
Lucas Bernosky prepares to hit the waves at Houda Point near Trinidad on a foggy day in October. | Ben Goodale
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“Most of surfing is sitting out here and waiting for that one good wave,” Bernosky says. “It’s actually really frustrating sometimes, but when you do catch one, it makes it that much better.”
Surfing surrounded by natural beauty on sparsely populated beaches can be enticing, but it can also be dangerous. That’s why Ventura surf instructor and HSU student Charlie Berry refuses to go surfing along the northern coast.
Tyler Boydstun gets down into a curling wave during a misty sunset at Houda Point. | Ben Goodale
“I don’t surf in Humboldt because it’s just way too dangerous,” Berry says. “My mom told me she’d kill me if she found out I was surfing here. So if I ever did, I’d probably hide it from my parents.” One risk factor for surfers is shark encounters, specifically that of the great white shark. “I’ve noticed that any time surfing is brought up, especially people who don’t surf will ask about sharks and if I’m scared of them,” Bernosky says. “I haven’t seen one myself, but I have heard stories of other surfers seeing evidence of a great white and then calling it a day.” According to the International Shark Attack File through the University of Florida, Humboldt County comes in second place for the most frequent shark attacks in California, with 16 encounters since 1926. San Diego County leads the list with one more attack. There is a history of secrecy within the Humboldt County surf scene about the best local spots, but that has changed with a quick Google search. Some of those best-known surfing areas include Patrick’s Point, Moonstone Beach, Camel Rock, Samoa Peninsula, Cape Mendocino and Shelter Cove. But even though they are well-known, they hardly get overcrowded like they do in Southern California and Hawaii. Brighton Hayashida, a 20-year-old HSU student born and raised in Honolulu, says surfing is a spiritual and meditative endeavor. He enjoys the sense of feeling alone in such a large body of water and being able to ride the ocean’s kinetic energy. “It teaches you that you can’t just live life according to your own rules,” he says. “Sometimes you just have to let it happen and go with the flow.”
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Fighting Words by Erin Chessin
Opposing sides speak out on the murder of HSU student David Josiah Lawson for the first time.
Renalyn Bobadilla holds a picture of her boyfriend, David Josiah Lawson, in the Redwood Park on Oct. 12, 2017. | Raymond Garcia
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enalyn Bobadilla lays in bed with her phone, scrolling through old videos of her boyfriend Josiah Lawson. She stops on one and presses play. “You’re velvet, you’re a red velvet cupcake,” Lawson is recorded saying to her and then throws her a kiss. “I wore my red velvet dress for him on my birthday,” Bobadilla says. “It was his favorite color, and then ‘red velvet’ became one of his nicknames for me.” On April 15, 2017, she found Lawson lying in a pool of his own blood on the lawn at an off-campus house party. He was stabbed three times and died as a result of his injuries. The case remains unsolved and the killer is still out there. Bobadilla and another witness named Naiya Wilkins were at that party. In the months since the murder, they have
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Bobadilla shows the tattoo she got to honor Lawson’s memory. | Raymond Garcia
not talked to the press until now. In separate interviews, both women open up to Osprey magazine and reveal what they saw that fateful night. Wilkins waits tables at Shamus T Bones in Eureka. She moved back to town from Fresno in January 2017. Just before her evening shift starts, she sits at a dimly lit table in the corner of the restaurant talking about the night of the Lawson murder. “I don’t remember much from that night, it was so long ago,” Wilkins said. “I had just moved here, and it was the second time I had gone out.” That night, Wilkins, 18, made plans to hang out with her relatively new friend Lila Ortega, 20, who also lives in Eureka. Ortega brought along her friends Casey Gleaton and Angelica McFarland, and introduced them to Wilkins.
“We were just looking for a party in Arcata,” Wilkins said. “We all wanted to go out. It was Friday night.” They ended up at a party on 1120 Spear Avenue. Lawson was a 19-year-old sophomore at Humboldt State University when he met Bobadilla, then 22, through mutual friends in August 2016. They spent a lot of time together, from eating lunch on the fifth floor balcony of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building to climbing trees in Redwood Park. “We were always together, we honestly were never not together,” Bobadilla said. They started out just as friends but fell deeply in love. “I learned more about love, life, honesty, loyalty and trust in eight months with him than I ever had
with anyone in my whole life,” she said. “It wasn’t about the time, it was about what was going on in that time. It’s crazy to think about how eight months felt like years to me. There are people who have been together their whole lives who don’t know each other like I knew him.” 10:30 p.m., April 14, 2017 Lawson and Bobadilla hung out at his house and made hamburger sliders. A few hours later around 12:30 a.m., they went to a friend’s house party on Lincoln Avenue. They clinked their cups, drank a little, danced to the music and laughed with one another. The night was promising. “He was very happy that night,” Bobadilla said. “He was stoked to go out, and that’s what breaks me.”
“We weren’t attached at the hip at the party,” Bobadilla said. “Josiah talked to his friends, and I talked to mine.” There was loud music and dancing. Some people went out into the backyard to escape the stuffiness of the house. An hour or so passed and Johnson told Bobadilla that she and the Castillo brothers were leaving. Bobadilla went to get Lawson. Weaving through the crowd, Bobadilla found Lawson in one of the rooms, smoking and kicking it with friends
Lawson and the Castillo brothers to empty their pockets to show they didn’t take it. Bobadilla says Lawson was calm when he told them he had not seen the phone. She said no one else was outside the front of the house except for Bobadilla’s group of four and Ortega’s group of five. Then things got tense. Bobadilla said Ortega raised her voice and shouted, “I know you have my fucking phone you piece of shit, empty out your pockets.” “That’s when I popped off,” Bobadilla said. “I told them, don’t talk to my boyfriend like that.”
I told them, don’t talk to my boyfriend like that.
They did not stay long. Lawson’s roommate Annalicia Johnson was also at the Lincoln house party and asked if they wanted to go to another party on Spear Avenue. “Had Annalicia not invited us to that second party, we would have stayed at that first party the rest of the night,” Bobadilla said. Some members from Brothers United--a HSU student cultural club of which Lawson was president of-were going to be at the next party. So Bobadilla, Lawson and Johnson wanted to go. Lawson’s friends Kris and Kyle Castillo tagged along too. The five of them got into Johnson’s car and drove to the house on Spear. 1:00 a.m., April 15, 2017 When they entered the party, Lawson and Bobadilla scattered around a room full of people.
- Renalyn Bobadilla
Bobadilla says she threw the first punch at Ortega because she accused Lawson and the Castillo brothers of stealing the phone. “To go up to the first black man you see leave the party, and tell him that he took your phone, that’s not okay,” she said.
“We’re going to leave,” she said to him.
Wilkins confirms that the fight started over the missing phone.
Both Castillo brothers and Johnson were waiting outside on the porch when Lawson and Bobadilla walked out the front door.
“We were just having a lot of fun, and then Lila lost her phone, which was a dumbass move on her part,” Wilkins said. “She was crying.”
“That’s when we were approached,” Bobadilla said. “There was about about five people who approached us.”
Wilkins said Zoellner was polite when he asked Lawson and the Castillo brothers if they had seen a cell phone, but describes Ortega as hysterical.
McKinleyville resident Kyle Zoellner, 22, Zoellner’s girlfriend Lila Ortega and her friends Naiya Wilkins, Casey Gleaton and Angelica McFarland confronted Bobadilla, Lawson and their friends about a lost cell phone. Ortega could not find her gold iPhone 7 and asked
“They got a little aggressive, and then Lila got mouthy like she does,” Wilkins said. “I’m not going to say she instigated the situation, but she did get mouthy. But they had no reason to get defensive.”
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Lawson stands outside of Bobadillaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Arcata apartment on Nov. 4, 2016. | Photo provided by Renalyn Bobadilla
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The house where the Lawson murder occurred as seen on Nov. 14, 2017. The car belongs to the current resident and has no significance in the case. | Raymond Garcia
Wilkins said that Lawson and the Castillo brothers started hitting Zoellner and his girlfriend Ortega. “Once they started hitting Lila, we couldn’t get them to stop,” Wilkins said. Then Zoellner was on the ground as Lawson and the Castillo brothers were punching him, according to Wilkins. She said McFarland pulled a can of mace out of her bag. “Angelica handed me a can of bear mace,” Wilkins said. “She has gotten jumped before. She was spraying it behind me so I grabbed it and started spraying it in front of me.” Wilkins said she aimed the spray at Lawson and the Castillo brothers. She sprayed it until the entire can was empty.
next to Lawson, felt her eyes sting and water. “I can’t remember when I was pepper sprayed,” Bobadilla said. “I just know my face was burning as I was leaving the fight. At this point, I can’t see, and it’s dark outside. I asked Josiah why my face was burning, and I realized that he’s not responding to me.” Bobadilla says she could barely see as she walked down the driveway to look for Lawson. Wilkins says that she, Ortega, Gleaton and McFarland were taking care of Zoellner who had been beaten up on the porch. “We didn’t run because Kyle was on the ground next to the car in front of the porch,” she said.
and the Castillo brothers had also been sprayed. Bobadilla ran back up the driveway to confront the Ortega crew and admits she instigated another fight. “I wanted to know who did this,” Bobadilla said. “I was livid. The second fight happened because I went back.” “What did you do to us?” Bobadilla yelled at Wilkins. “That’s when she said, ‘You did this to yourself.’ Then Lila said something else and that’s when I socked her in the face.” Bobadilla says she threw the first punch at Ortega. Then, she says someone used a sharp object like a key that left a deep laceration in her left arm. She doesn’t know who stabbed her. Bobadilla said Ortega dug her teeth into her breast. The fight continues and Bobadilla falls to her knees onto the pavement.
“After that, the guys ran down the driveway,” Wilkins said. “I think there was four, from what I remember. The whole thing happened in five minutes, it’s hard to say what happened.”
Bobadilla found Lawson at the end of the driveway on his knees, rubbing his eyes. “He was asking for water or milk,” Bobadilla said.
“Lila bit my breast and then Naiya knocked me out,” Bobadilla said. “That’s when everything went black when I hit the floor.”
Bobadilla, who was on the porch
That was when she realized Lawson
As she falls to the pavement,
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Bobadilla says she screamed Lawson’s name and heard him reply, “Babe!” She said she didn’t hear his voice again. “I was on the floor with my face in the pavement,” she said. “I couldn’t see anything as I was getting punched.” Bobadilla blacked out. Wilkins recalls the fight differently, describing it more like a hair pulling match between Ortega and Bobadilla. When she saw them hitting each other, Wilkins says she stepped in to break them up. “She came up the driveway and tried to start fighting Lila,” Wilkins said. “She was holding Lila’s hair and I told her that I was going to let go of her hair when she let go of Lila’s hair.” Wilkins did not know where Gleaton and McFarland were while she and
Angelica handed me a can of bear mace… I grabbed it and started spraying it in front of me.
Ortega were fighting Bobadilla. Bobadilla said she could not tell who was beating her up at the time. “That’s what’s confusing to me,” Bobadilla said. “While I was fighting Lila and Naiya, where was Angelica or Casey or Kyle? They aren’t accounted for during that time.” “While Ren was fighting Lila and I, they kept kicking Kyle,” Wilkins said. “I could see Kyle getting punched
- Naiya Wilkins and kicked and hit on the ground. We ran back over to Kyle and tried to lay over him. That’s when we heard ‘someone got stabbed’ and we were still laying over Kyle. His eyes were half open and his eyes were rolled back into his head, and he wasn’t moving.” Wilkins’s account of that night differs from another witness, Lawson’s friend Paris Wright, who testified on May 2 during the preliminary hearing. According to the Lost Coast Outpost, Wright said he saw Lawson on the ground with Zoellner in a headlock. “Lawson was lying face-up in the grass with Kyle Zoellner lying face-up on top of him,” the Outpost quoted Wright saying during his testimony. “One of Lawson’s arms was around Zoellner’s neck, the other was pinning his arms.” In the Outpost story, Wright testified that Lawson looked at him with a “blank stare.” He said that Lawson wouldn’t let go of Zoellner and that he had to pry Lawson’s arm away. He said Zoellner rolled off, and then Wright reached out his hand to help Lawson up but Lawson didn’t reach back. Wright testified that’s when he saw blood. Bobadilla was in the courtroom when Wright testified.
Naiya Wilkins works as a hostess at Shamus T Bones in Eureka on Nov. 13, 2017. | Ian Thompson
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“Paris said he saw Josiah having Kyle in a headlock on the grass,” Bobadilla said. “That’s where I saw his body, in the grass. During the time I was getting jumped, he was getting stabbed. And I didn’t see any of it. I was in my own fight. That’s what’s really confusing to me. I had no idea what happened, but I was there. I didn’t hear anything. I just screamed when I was getting jumped. I screamed his name and that’s when I heard him say ‘babe’ and that’s it. I wish I remembered everything, the first fight, the second fight, specific details. I wish I could go back and remember.”
and then I would give him rescue breaths and then he would come back. And every time, I thought I would be able to save him.” University police were the first on the scene. Then Arcata police came. Zoellner had a black eye and his face looked severely beaten. He was shoved into a police car and taken to the Arcata police station.
“Knowing how long it took for the ambulance to get there, I had little faith,” she said. “I was praying for a miracle, but at the same time being a realist, there was a lot of blood.”
Bobadilla woke up on the ground, she doesn’t know how long she blacked out. She got up and saw her friend Lily Jasso, who asks her if she is okay.
While Bobadilla sat in the waiting room, a doctor came in and said they were able to revive Lawson’s heartbeat. Thirty minutes later, he returned to the waiting room to tell her Lawson was dead.
“I need to find Josiah,” Bobadilla said.
HSU student Elijah Chandler, Lawson’s friend and also a member of Brothers United, said he walked outside of the house party and heard Bobadilla screaming. He runs over and sees Lawson laying on the ground, bleeding. Chandler takes off his shirt and puts it over Lawson’s stab wounds to try and stop the bleeding. He asked Bobadilla to apply pressure to Lawson’s stomach while Chandler gave him CPR. “Right when I saw him I completely became aware and saw what was going on,” Chandler said. “I had someone call 911, did the two rescue breaths and then compressions on his chest. He would stop breathing
“I was feeling everything at once,” Bobadilla said. “Sad, angry, frustrated, confused, shocked--I was telling myself it couldn’t be real. I can’t be going through this.” Lawson was in the emergency room at the same hospital.
Approximately 3:00 a.m., April 15, 2017
Using Jasso’s iPhone flashlight, they find Lawson by the bushes, motionless. She notices he has multiple stab wounds to his abdomen and screams.
waited for an hour or so before she saw a nurse. She showed the nurse the large bite mark under her breast, only to find two other bite marks. She cried at the sight of all the marks, scrapes and bruises on her body.
Mugshot of Kyle Zoellner. | Photo provided by Arcata Police Department
About fifteen minutes went by before the ambulance arrived, according to Chandler. “It took them a while to get there,” he said. “The ambulance finally arrived, they could care less. They were afraid. They grabbed his body from where it was and dragged his body three or four feet. They were afraid to go where we were. They dragged his body and started doing CPR, but I had already seen him stop breathing.” Approximately 3:30 a.m., April 15, 2017, Mad River Hospital Jasso brought Bobadilla to the Mad River Community Hospital to have her injuries looked at. She says she
“I just remember falling to the floor and screaming,” Bobadilla said. “I fell to my knees and started punching the wall. My friends were just holding me, my friend Jaime, was there. Something I think about all the time is how I felt when they told me that, and how loud I screamed.” Lawson’s roommate Annalicia Johnson was in the waiting room when the doctor broke the news of his death. She called Lawson’s mother from his cell phone to tell her what happened. Bobadilla didn’t have the heart to call her own mother. Later that morning, she said HSU Dean of Students Randi Darnall Burke made the call. “Randi called her for me after we got out of the hospital. I just couldn’t break that news to her,” Bobadilla said.
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UPD Chief of Police Donn Peterson (LEFT) and APD Chief of Police Tom Chapman (RIGHT) were at the city hall meeting to provide an update on the Lawson investigation on Oct. 26, 2017. | Raymond Garcia
Bobadilla’s mother Jennifer drove fourteen hours from San Diego to Arcata to support her daughter. Bobadilla’s 24-year-old sister Jennilyn and her mother’s best friend Jeane also came. Bobadilla was excused from classes for the rest of the semester. “I didn’t go back home for a while, it was hard to leave this place,” Bobadilla said. “This is my home, and it was the only piece I had of him.” May 1, 2017, Hearings Start Two weeks after the murder, a preliminary hearing was held. The only suspect the police had was Ortega’s boyfriend, Kyle Zoellner. For the next five days, police officers and witnesses took the stand. Bobadilla gave an emotional testimony, shedding tears as she spoke about her boyfriend’s last few moments. Bobadilla said she was concerned about the testimonies from the girls who physically beat her that night. “Their stories weren’t consistent,” she said.
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Bobadilla said Ortega taunted her outside the courthouse. “She would say things like, ‘Come sit by us, we don’t mind, we don’t bite.’ You wouldn’t think that someone who had nothing to do with the murder would be acting like this,” Bobadilla said. Zoellner’s friends Ortega, Gleaton and Wilkins testified at the preliminary hearing. Wilkins said she went to court voluntarily to testify in support of Zoellner. She says they took her fingerprints and phone before she entered the courtroom. Arcata police returned the phone a month later. Wilkins says some people accuse her of being guilty by association, but she denies any part. “I understand people are really angry, but I did give all the information I had to police, and I testified,” she said. “I gave all the information I had on the stand.” Wilkins said she gave a statement to Arcata police at the scene but was never asked to come in for further questioning.
“I was one of the first people to give my statement to police,” she said. “Angelica’s mom took me home after that.” Wilkins said Ortega, Gleaton and McFarland also gave their statements to police at the scene. Then Wilkins went home. She said Ortega went to the police station, Gleaton slept over at Ortega’s house, and McFarland went home. “I think Lila came back to her house around noon the next day with Kyle’s dad. She was crying,” Wilkins said. Ortega was the first person to testify on May 1. Photos of Bobadilla’s injuries were presented in court. She had a small laceration in her arm, scrapes on her knees and teeth marks on her breast. Wilkins said she found out in court that Ortega was responsible for the bite mark. “I heard it during court and honestly, that makes sense,” Wilkins said. “I didn’t bite her. I don’t know who else would have. I don’t know if Lila would tell me the truth if I asked
her. I’m sure she would do whatever she could to protect herself.”
able to confirm who killed Josiah Lawson. The question remains.
Bobadilla and Wilkins are both confused why McFarland was never brought in to testify at the Zoellner trial, especially since McFarland owned the bear mace.
The knife found under the red mustang was collected as evidence. The fingerprint and fibers found on the knife did not belong to Zoellner. No one testified they saw Zoellner with a knife.
“That was very interesting to me,” Bobadilla said. “That is one of the reasons why I think the police did a bad job with this investigation. They didn’t bring her in, they didn’t bring in a lot of people.” “I don’t know what she would have to hide,” Wilkins said. “It makes no sense why Angelica never testified.” Bobadilla was relieved to find out who was responsible for the pepper spraying, which Wilkins later told us was bear mace. “They admitted it in trial that they pepper sprayed us,” Bobadilla said. “Casey admitted it was Angelica who pepper sprayed us.” On May 5, after five days of hearings, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen came to a ruling and released Zoellner due to lack of physical evidence. Bobadilla left the courtroom in tears. “I didn’t want them to see me cry,” Bobadilla said. “I stood up and I walked out and cried in the stairway. I just didn’t understand, he had said the Kyle Zoellner party were the only people who had a motive. It was disappointing. It was shit to me. Their testimonies didn’t add up, and none of that was mentioned.” Investigation Update According to Bobadilla and Wilkins, more than a hundred people were at the scene, but most were inside the house when Lawson was stabbed and killed. Not a single witness has been
There are at least three agencies involved with the Lawson murder investigation, including the Arcata Police Department, the University Police Department and the California Department of Justice. The Osprey hoped to find out when the last time any officer reviewed the Lawson file. The magazine made several attempts to interview the Arcata police and each time, Chief Tom Chapman cancelled at the last minute. University Chief of Police Donn Peterson told us that his office is working with Arcata police on the investigation. When we asked to see the actual investigation file, he said it is in the hands of the Arcata police. Peterson would not discuss any details about the case but alluded to knowing something. “I think we all know what happened,” Peterson said. “And it’s really a matter of presenting a case that meets that beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt standard that is applied to criminal cases.” The lack of any news on the case is causing frustration among Lawson’s family and the community. A public meeting was held at Arcata’s D Street Neighborhood Center on Oct. 26, marking six months since Lawson’s death. Chapman responded to questions from an exasperated crowd but provided nothing new in the investigation. The crowd berated the police department for its lack of transparency. Chapman said he is confident that Tom Parker, the
private investigator on the case, will lead the police in the right direction. Parker is a retired FBI agent and has over 30 years of experience in homicide investigations, according to Chapman. “Mr. Parker indicated that his analysis is very in-depth,” Chapman said in that October meeting. “He does not want to short circuit or miss anything for the sake of expediency and this has taken several weeks longer than expected. We will have that soon, and he will present that investigative report to the department as soon as that is complete.” Chapman said the investigation is moving slowly because the department is waiting on what he called a critical piece of forensic evidence that requires additional DNA testing. “As of today, we are waiting for the Department of Justice,” Chapman said. “We are still probably a couple of months out for there to have the capacity for some additional DNA testing that the technology is still being developed. It’s complicated, but bottomline is there’s still critical evidence that needs additional testing and that is the last piece of the forensics that is outstanding in this case.” Chapman said he is confident that all key witnesses have been interviewed, however, he said there could be other witnesses to the homicide out there. “Potentially there are other witnesses that we believe exist who were at the scene that night who we want to come forward,” he said. Peterson said he urges partygoers who were there that night to talk to either police department. Even if they were not a sole eyewitness of the murder, he said it is imperative they are identified to help the police narrow their search of suspects.
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I don’t care if it takes a year for someone to come forward. I want to know what happened to my son.
“We want to be able to conclusively say that if there were 30 people at the scene for example, we’ve talked to all 30 people,” Peterson said. “It leaves stones unturned if you know 30 people were there, and you’ve only spoken to 25. That means there are five people there who you either haven’t identified or haven’t spoken to. That’s not ideal. Ideally you want to talk to everyone that was there, even if they were in another room or the backyard.” Lawson’s mother MichelleCharmaine Lawson was at the community meeting wearing her son’s high school football jersey. She has been coming up from Los Angeles to Arcata every month to promote the “Justice for Josiah” movement and to make sure the investigation is still active. “I will keep coming until I get justice for my son,” she told the crowd.
Flowers left at the site of the Lawson murder on the roundabout in front of 1120 Spear Ave. on Nov. 14, 2017. | Raymond Garcia
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The next day, she drove around King Salmon and Eureka for a few hours to put up flyers offering a reward for information about her son’s killer. I was with her in the car listening to stories about him while she stopped every few minutes to staple another flyer onto a pole or tape one to a window.
- Charmaine Lawson The flyer reads “Justice for Josiah” in bold, black letters, and underneath it, a picture of Lawson. At the bottom, the $50,000 reward amount is crossed out and has $55,000 written next to it. “It’s unfortunate a reward has to be incentive for someone to tell the truth, but that’s fine,” she said. “I don’t care if this reward gets up to a million dollars. I don’t care if it takes a year for someone to come forward. I want to know what happened to my son.” Where Are They Now? Naiya Wilkins says she rarely comes to Arcata because she still gets yelled at by strangers while walking through the plaza. She said strangers also come into the restaurant she works at to harass her. “The other day some girls came in asking for me,” Wilkins said. “I knew what was going on so I hid in the back room and they fought with my manager because they would not take any other waitress.” Two days after the hearing, flyers appeared around HSU’s campus with pictures of Wilkins, Gleaton, Ortega and Zoellner, saying the girls were associated with the murder,
and calling Zoellner the killer. The header read, “Humboldt County is NOT safe for you or your children. There is a murderer on the loose.” Wilkins thinks people might recognize her from those flyers. She doesn’t know who made them. “The flyer was everywhere,” Wilkins said. “My co-worker brought one into work that she found on the hood of her car. It was a picture of me, a picture of Lila and a picture of Casey. The picture of me on there was of me from that night. We saw girls taking pictures of us. It’s so illegal to put someone’s picture and their name on a flyer with slander on it. That’s not okay.” Wilkins does not believe Zoellner is responsible for the crime. “I think Josiah should have justice, just like anyone should,” Wilkins said. “But I wholeheartedly believe that Kyle didn’t do it just because he pulled up as our ride and he had keys and his phone in his pocket and nothing else.” She hasn’t talked to Gleaton and McFarland since that night. If Wilkins hangs out with Ortega, she says Zoellner is there too. “I talk to Lila every so often, but not frequently. Once every couple of months,” Wilkins said. “The last time I hung out with them was about a month ago.” Ortega and Zoellner were contacted by the magazine to be interviewed, however, neither responded. Wilkins lives with her father in Eureka. She plans on going to College of the Redwoods in the spring to major in psychology.
Bobadilla is back at HSU, also working toward a degree in psychology. She wants to be a therapist because that helped her overcome trauma. Bobadilla sees a therapist on campus a few times a week. “When I met Josiah, I was in therapy at the time for depression,” Bobadilla said. “I was going through a really rough time and therapy has helped me.” Bobadilla says she convinced Lawson to change his major from criminology to psychology months before he died. “I told him based off of our conversations that he would really like psych,” she said. “He would have been a great therapist someday because he is a people person.” At his funeral in his hometown of Moreno Valley, Lawson was posthumously granted a certificate of achievement. Bobadilla went to the funeral but has not returned to the house where Lawson died. “It could trigger my PTSD if I went back,” she said. “I don’t think I could do that. Everything would come back to me.” She says she feels the weight of losing her boyfriend every day. “I was so happy, I had never been so happy in my life,” Bobadilla said. “I had never felt so healthy, so honest, so obligated to tell someone the truth. I loved that man.”
After Lawson’s funeral, Bobadilla created somewhat of a shrine in her bedroom to commemorate him. On a desk, she put some of his things such as his clothes, watches, license, a cross, photo and candle, and a bunch of red roses that Lawson gave her a few months before he died. “I remember I had a really bad day,” she said. “I hid my tears from him a lot because I just like handling things by myself, but he knew I was stuck in this bad, depressive mood, and he sat there and held me through the night. He was slick, he said he needed to get something from my house so I gave him my keys. The next day when I came home from school, there were roses on my bed. He would just do stuff like that. That boy had a way of making me cry out of happiness.” Bobadilla went to Las Vegas in August to get a tattoo honoring Lawson’s memory. On her right shoulder lies a half open rose with a stem, and underneath is the name Josiah Lawson in elegant cursive writing. “I didn’t want it to be a bloomed rose,” Bobadilla said. “The rose is half open because he never got to fully live his life, and as much as I believed he was bloomed, I knew he was going to be a wonderful, grown man one day.” He was a rose that was picked too soon.
Lawson left a suitcase full of his clothes at her place before he died. She often wears his gold chain necklace and occasionally, clothes from that suitcase.
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A Year in Trump Protest Protests of Donald J Trump’s presidency have taken the form of walkouts, business closures, petitions, rallies and marches throughout the United States. In Humboldt County, residents from all around the North Coast adjoined at various locations to protest the newly elected president.
Courtesy of El Leñador | Estee S. Trevizo
Courtesy of El Leñador | Briana Yah-Diaz
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March for Sciences
As one of his first acts as president, Trump decided the United States would not go through with the Paris Agreement, a deal in which every country reports its contribution to global warming. An estimated 2,000 people in Arcata marched in solidarity, as reported in the North Coast Journal.
When: April 22, 2017 Where: Downtown Arcata
When: Nov. 11, 2016 Where: Arcata Plaza to HSU
Two days after Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States, Humboldt County residents took to the streets and protested the news. They marched from the Arcata Plaza to Humboldt State University holding up signs and voicing their opinions against the newly elected president.
by Katherine Miron
Women’s Rights Protest
The day after Trump’s inauguration, women all over the world marched in solidarity to protest Trump’s policies on healthcare and women’s rights. About 8,000 people from Arcata and Eureka took part in the protest, according to the Times-Standard.
DACA In one of his most controversial decisions of his presidency, Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which his predecessor Barack Obama created. The program allowed minors who emigrated to the U.S. to receive permission to work, study and obtain driver licenses.
When: Sept. 19, 2017 Where: Humboldt County Courthouse
When: Jan. 21, 2017 Where: Old Town Eureka
2017 Photos by Sean Bendon
Photos by Susan Fox
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Laurel Skye stands outside the doors of SkyeLab, which she personally mosaiced herself. | Raymond Garcia
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The Mosaic Life of
Laurel Skye by Sean Bendon
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A line of glass jars full of colorful tiles line the shelves in Skye’s home workshop, SkyeLab. | Raymond Garcia
aurel Skye is gluing small pieces of glass onto a vintage telephone. She works for hours on the mosaic in her home studio, a space she calls Skyelab. Shelves from ceiling to floor are jammed with plastic bins full of glass and tile from Morocco, Italy and India. Nothing is organized in a fashion that makes sense to anyone but Skye. As she works, she sings along to a Steve Winwood song playing from her stereo. “I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home,” Skye sings. “That used to be my motto for many years.” Skye is an artist who specializes in mosaics. Her long, frizzy orangeblonde hair sways this way and that as she talks about her art. At 71, she still wears ripped jeans with bedazzled jewels and studded boots with chains. She’s spent a lifetime traveling, living in New York, Montreal, Chicago and Los Angeles, among other places. She had a long history of drug use, overdosing on heroin when she was 18 years old. That same year, she was arrested for crossing the border with two guys smuggling drugs. She went to jail, then prison in Southern California, where she stayed for more than two months. When she was 19 and out of prison, her first child, a 2-year-old boy named Jogi, was hit and killed by a car while playing in the streets of Chicago.
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“It was devastating. I didn’t think I’d recover,” Skye says. “For three years I was a basketcase.” The death of her mother in 1997 and her third separation left Skye in financial ruins. “I was 50 and Dov and I just divorced, and I was in this house and the reality hit that I had to do something,” Skye says. “I had been a caregiver for four years taking care of my mom and I didn’t know what I was gonna do with my life or how I was gonna make money.” The day after her mother’s death, Skye entered an art contest at Los Bagels. “They gave me the Cadillac of toasters to use,” Skye says. “I took tiles from my backyard and decorated it, putting ‘Some Like it Hot’ on the side.” Skye won $25. “As I walked in, Dennis, the owner of Los Bagels, gave me a check and said I had won the competition for my toaster. And in that moment I had an epiphany and I thought, I can do this for money.” Within a week, Skye taught her first mosaic workshop with two nurses from Eureka. Soon her students asked for advice on how to tile other items like wine bottles and cups.
Robin Friedman, Skye’s former student and now a longtime friend, sits outside of Cafe Brio and talks about the connection Skye makes with her students. “She’s tough to please,” Friedman said. “But she’s the best resource and she’s always happy to help.” Friedman now teaches mosaics with the encouragement she found in Skye’s workshops. Before long, Skye realized she had limits. She had no formal training or experience in fine art or mosaics and was slowly amassing a steady flow of students. So on a whim in 2001, she withdrew her daughter Marley, then 14 years old, and headed to Ravenna, the capital of Italian mosaics. “It blew up really quickly,” Skye says. “It wasn’t a plan. I never expected it and then it expanded so quickly. There were a few years where the business was building and I was teaching and selling tiles, but then more people started coming and I realized I needed to learn a few things.” Skye’s Italian Adventure Lines of rock and glass snake through the cracks of the sidewalks in Ravenna, leading Skye and Marley around the medieval city. They are studying at the Scuola Arte di Mosaico under the tutelage of Luciana Notturni, an Italian mosaic
master who has been directing classes at the school since 1969. They spend six weeks in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, learning the tedious style and hoping to bring something back for their own students. “What I saw there was something called millefiori,” Skye said. “They’re long, 10-foot strings of glass, that anywhere you cut a cross-section, there’s a design in the middle. It’s almost like cutting a pencil in half and seeing the lead.” Millefiori is carefully made by expert glassblowers and is no bigger than a millimeter to an inch wide. Within each piece is a design such as flower patterns, swirls or stars. They are the same patterns you see in paperweights and are a staple of Skye’s current collections. Dusciana Bravura, an Italian mosaicist and glassblower in Murano, showed Skye how to use the material for her mosaics and sent her back with the building blocks to create new designs. “They showed me things I had never seen in mosaics before, ever,” Skye says.
Years later, Skye returned to Italy, not to learn but to teach. “To go to Italy to teach mosaics after knowing it was the seat of mosaics was life-changing,” Skye says. “I felt like I was going back to medieval times.” Evenings in Tuscany Standing at the entrance of an ancient monastery surrounded by lush gardens, Skye looks down into the valley at Cortona, a small town in the Tuscan countryside. She has been offered a teaching position at Toscana Americana, where she will be taking eight students on a mosaic journey. “Laurel took us out to a local thrift store to get supplies for our mosaics,” said Melissa Handler, who studied under Skye in Italy. “She’s an unconventional creator with a cult following.” Thrift stores were not the only stop for Skye and her students in Cortona. She also took them to small cafes and restaurants. In a small room with heavy curtains inside the monastery, Skye walks
around a table covered in glass pieces offering advice to her students about their work. She doesn’t hesitate to move parts around in someone’s project or tell them it doesn’t seem quite right. “Skye helped me have a creative epiphany,” Handler said. “She made space for me and took me from hobbyist to artist.” Jailhouse Blues Skye sits at a desk in a courtroom across from a jury and the condemning eyes of a judge in San Diego. It is 1964, and she faces a 10-year sentence on Terminal Island. The judge wants to make an example out of her since smuggling pot into the U.S. “I was shaking in my boots,” Skye says. The judge saw that Skye had no prior record, so he placed her on five years of probation, which forced her to check in monthly with a probation officer and let the county police know if she was heading out of town or getting a new job. She was drug tested frequently and had to ask permission when she decided to move back to Chicago in 1968. “I was tethered to the system for years,” Skye says. “I was still doing drugs and I had to be careful when they were around.” Skye struggled with drugs for more than 50 years, switching from heroin and acid when she was young to pills in her middle life. She explained that starting art helped her focus on something other than drugs and gave her a new drive to create. “I wasn’t an alcoholic,” Skye says. “I was a drug addict.”
Skye chats about her time in Italy with her cat, Dorji, sitting on her lap. | Raymond Garcia
Leaning back in her plush cashmere couch, Skye reflects on her life. She
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has come a long way since facing a felony charge at 18 years old. She chuckles at the idea of where her life has taken her since she got out. Now she faces a new challenge, one stronger than drug addiction. Shattered Glass In October 2016, Skye went to St. Joseph’s hospital for chest pains. They took X-rays and put her on an intravenous tube of Dilaudid, a sedative for pain. Skye rustles the sheets and stretches to try to get more comfortable. Dr. Michael Harmon, a radiation oncologist stands over Skye explaining her diagnosis. “You have stage four lung cancer that spread from a tumor behind your sternum,” the doctor said. “We have to start treatment immediately.” Skye was shocked. She thought that the pain was simply from injuring her sternum in a moving accident the week before.
Skye holds a pair of glass cutting scissors that say “Mine, Not Yours” in her home studio. | Raymond Garcia
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“I knew I was really sick, but I didn’t know how close I was until my friends started telling me they all knew,” Skye said.
“I remember at one point I heard the doctor on the phone,” Skye says. “He just kept saying I was very sick and might not make it.”
Skye’s world shifted from producing art and teaching workshops to battling cancer. She stopped traveling and put her commissions on hold.
Skye’s reaction to the first round of chemo was costly. She became weak and unable to eat. She lost weight and tremors took over her body, making even the simplest task difficult. Her hands became fragile. She was unable to cut glass. She didn’t pick up a pair of cutting scissors for eight months after she began treatment.
Two weeks after she entered the hospital for chest pains, she went back in to start radiation treatments. Days later, she got chemo. Reclined in an electric hospital chair, Skye tries to relax and let the chemo take its course. For a few hours, she shares a room in St. Joseph’s Oncology wing with other patients covered in blankets, all fighting their own battles. The room is dim with the curtains pulled to the sides and only a sliver of light shines through. Music from a reality TV show echoes from down the hall. The chemo machine hums as it pumps liquid into Skye’s arm. She does the same routine every week.
“Cancer has become my job,” Skye says. It took Skye nearly a year to regain the strength to cut glass and work on art, fitting in time between her weekly chemotherapy sessions and doctors appointments. She has not given up on her ability to create and teach an occasional workshop. “I’m learning that I want to live with cancer instead of die from it,” she says.
A collection of Skye’s work sits on shelves throughout her house. | Raymond Garcia
Gluing the Pieces Together The trash cans on each corner of the Arcata Plaza are covered in mosaics of birds and frogs. Tip jars at local cafes are decorated in glass pieces arranged as flowers. Nearby at Renata’s Creperie, the serving counter glistens in mosaic tiles. Those pieces have something in common: Skye made them all. “The trash cans were the first things I donated,” Skye says. “I was going to
secretly mosaic the roundabout on 12th and I Streets as well, but then the city just let me do it.”
said. “She taught me the art of being meticulous and anal, but to also love and embrace spontaneity.”
Dave Hanson met Skye eight years ago when he took a Rajasthani tapestry class in her house. He said by phone from his home in Arizona that Skye immediately took him under her wing.
Hanson now teaches his own mosaic class in Phoenix where he works to instill the same principles Skye taught him.
“Every time I would go to take a class with Laurel it would open a new set of doors and windows,” Hanson
“Her art is just hitting its peak,” Hanson says. “She has so much to offer the world.” Parting Shot of Coffee Each morning at about eight o’clock, Skye cruises into Jitter Bean coffee shop on the Arcata Plaza. For 10 years she has maintained this daily routine. On this morning like all others, she orders an extra dry cappuccino in a small cup that she personally designed. She pays, leaves a tip in the jar she made for the cafe and sits by the window. This is where I first met Skye when I was working as a barista in August. “I teach more than mosaics,” she said. “I teach experience and channeling energy. I teach patience and not getting attached to the final outcome. It’s not about the end result. It’s about the experience around it.”
A mosaiced skull with a brides veil sits atop a shelf in Skye’s house. | Raymond Garcia
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Local Startup Hopes to Improve Environmental Management From Above by MĂłnica Ramirez
Ben Neff maneuvers the drone to hover over a picnic table. | Monica Ramirez Â´
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ands on the remote connected to his cell phone, Benjamin Neff maneuvers a drone to rise slowly from a wooden picnic table in the park up into the sky. He is the tech manager for HumBots: Data and Analysis, a technology startup that is focused on achieving a new standard in forestry research. “I wanted to make a difference in how natural resources are managed, not just for us, but mostly for the earth,” Neff said. “Earth’s not doing great, that’s the main reason for doing this is to help the environment.” The group of seven first formed at Google Startup Weekend on March 3. Their team consists of Humboldt State and College of the Redwood students. Neff, Joe Snipes, Daniel Rodriguez, Danny Kelley, Tomas Jevons, Aaron Spurgeon and Alex Orozco are all the members of the HumBots team. Their idea of using drones to collect forestry data was discussed prior over pizza between Neff, Orozco and Snipes. “It started as a simple idea over pizza about using drones to fly LiDAR to replace commercial avionic platforms, but it’s now this thing where we have six different revenue streams using four different sensor types and four different drone packages,” Kelley said. Snipes is a co-founder of HumBots. He talked to a professor about using drones to collect forestry data. The professor then recommended Snipes present his idea at the Humboldt State University Google Startup Weekend. Snipes pitched the idea at the competition with Neff and Orozco. After pitching ideas, participants would place a sticker next to the design they liked best and whichever eight groups had the most stickers continued to the next round. “I had the least amount of stickers and only had Danny with me,” Snipes said. Kelley, another co-founder of the team, had pitched a self-improvement mobile app but only received one sticker, his own. He joined Snipe’s team in order to continue in the competition. “When nobody voted for my idea, I went and joined Joe’s team because I had some geographic information system background, which was similar to what he was doing,” Kelley said. “He and I got in a room to start working on an idea and I realized quickly that it was just two guys staring at each other.” Both Kelley and Snipes were not sure how they would begin the planning and research for the company.
“I honestly thought that we would have somebody there who would tell me, ‘Hey, so and so is doing this in Fortuna,’ it was kind of like I needed to figure out who’s out there doing it,” Snipes said. “I had no idea it would go this far.” Most of the ideas that were pitched at Google Startup Weekend were related to improving social aspects of college campuses. HumBots focused their idea on sustainable technology with a mission to protect the environment. Their idea won first place. “Our idea was really kind of the big picture, we’re going to have a huge impact to really understand the environment and help the future of the environment.” The HumBots team of six carpooled to Sacramento to present their idea at the Future Four and More Competition. Rodriguez represented HumBots and was to present his team’s idea to six judges. He presented in front of bankers, business owners, professors and students from other competing teams. There were eight California State University schools that competed at the competition. Rodriguez said his team rushed to finish the presentation. “It was nerve racking, at least for me it was, since I had to present,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t finish the presentation until the day of.” Rodriguez said the experience was stressful. He worried he would not be able to present all the information they gathered. “I kinda got in my own head for this presentation but once I got up there, time really flew by because I only had five minutes to present,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said he was not able to finish the presentation due to the strict time limit. He said it was one of the fastest presentations he had ever been through. Despite not being able to finish the presentation, HumBots won the competition. “We won $3,700. That is probably the largest thing I’ve ever won in my entire life,” Rodriguez said. “To me, that kind of gave me a real big signal that this is something that could really have a huge impact. This is a real thing.” Kelley said the win was also a new record. “The best part was that we were representing two local colleges, Humboldt State and College of the Redwoods, and we beat those other guys,” he said. The team also received the Most Sustainable Business
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Award at the competition and won an extra $700. “We’re all students. Most of us are forestry majors. We have Danny who is the only one who had business experience and an economics student who should be familiar with this stuff but really is not. Humbots goes by a holacratic system, which means each member of the team has partial ownership and has a say in the management of the company. Kelley said the diversity of skills amongst their team made their business model strong.
One of the goals for Humbots is to have the drones use LiDAR technology to scan large spaces, such as forests. LiDAR stands for light detection and ranging, which means the drone uses a laser to measure ranges and provide data. “What it does is emit pulses of light and records the time it took to send and receive the light and with it, can figure out how far away that surface is from the LiDAR sensor,” Neff said. For example, if they were to scan the entire expanse of the Redwood Forest, that scan would provide them with a colorful photo resembling the temperature across the trees. Having that visual would give data collectors, also known as timber cruisers, the ability to see the habitats above compared to having to climb each tree, which would be nearly impossible to complete.
“Joe has some small business experience now and he’s got some forestry background like Aaron does,” Kelley said. “He’s kind of a translator sometimes between Aaron and I. Ben’s got more of the technology background with forestry experience. Daniel really cares about our image and how to make the website look good. A lot of businesses have one person and it’s really hard to do especially - Daniel Rodriguez when you need other Humbot team member perspectives to make it the best.”
We won $3,700. That is probably the largest thing I’ve ever won in my entire life.
Their most recent projects have been focused on drone-captured video footage and photos for real estate companies in Humboldt County to give potential buyers a better visual of a property. HumBots is targeting multiple industries who could utilize drones, such as timber, public land agencies, utilities, municipality and construction. “We’re just scratching the surface with drones and remote sensing and there’s so much good that can be done with this and there’s so many technologies that haven’t even been explored using drones,” Kelley said.
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Spurgeon said timber cruisers go over measurements, identify species and even look for potential damage in forests.
“With drones you can get basically inches away from a tree if you want so you understand and capture more accurate data,” Rodriguez said. “You can even go under the canopy and get a 3D model from the air and a 3D model from the ground.” The $3,700 prize money HumBots won from the Future Four and More Competition was handed over to Henry Witherspoon, a drone racing fan who told them he would be able to customize a drone that could fit a LiDAR sensor. However, after going through three motors and two drone propellor packages during multiple test drives of the homemade drone they named Juan, Witherspoon realize there is still more research and development to be done before a LiDAR sensor can be installed. Until then Humbots uses a commercial drone
named Mauricio to do aerial photography of commissions they have received.
this technology really excites them and that excites me,” Rodriguez said.
Along with being a public benefit corporation, the team’s goal is to inspire others to want to better preserve the environment or consider better management of environmental practices. They hope that eventually the public will be able to use this technology but at a lower cost.
Fully autonomous cars are what most people are currently focused on, but Kelley believes that the focus could be switched onto drones within the next few years.
Since the competitions, HumBots has made connections with local companies who are interested in the future of the forest industry. “We’ve had a lot of good feedback and have been able to communicate with Green Diamond and Humboldt Redwood Company,” Neff said. “They seem very enthusiastic and want to be a part of this so that is kind of what excites me the most...their interest is validation for us.” Rodriguez said he loves discussing the potential of HumBots with classmates and friends. “Everyone I speak with, even if it’s at school or outside of school, I tell them a little bit about HumBots and what we’re doing, even if they don’t understand the technology. But just describing to them what this is capable of,
“There’s a whole market waiting to happen,” Kelley said. “Most of the drones right now carry sensors for cameras and are observing, not integrating with our environment, so there’s just so much potential of what these things can do and we might be on the cutting edge of that and we want to explore those capabilities, expand those capabilities and bring new solutions to the world.” One of Kelley’s goals is to double his initial investment in the company and then reinvest that money into two more companies. “Someday I want to open up in Forbes magazine and I want these guys to be a part of the Fortune 500, while being a company that has a flat management style like a holacracy and a public benefit corporation,” Kelley said. “There aren’t enough large companies whose purpose is to bring good into the world.”
Ben Neff and Daniel Rodriguez fly the drone at the North Jetty. | Monica Ramirez ´
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5 2017 Top
by Stella Stokes
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I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO This documentary is based on an unfinished manuscript of “Remember This House” by James Baldwin, a memoir of the assassinations of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. This is not a biography of Baldwin himself but a representation of America unable to shake its racist culture. Actor Samuel L. Jackson narrates the story with a weary voice that gives a sobering depiction of the assassinations of the civil rights leaders. One scene shows vintage footage of 1960s civil rights riots with one of Baldwin’s college lectures playing in the background. Another scene shows the 2014 Ferguson riots. Documentaries adapted from books often feel more like textbooks than films, but this one was more like a poem.
GET OUT This film was a mixture of thriller, horror, comedy and science fiction, and the writing exceeded in all of these genres. Although the family appeared to be friendly, the main character faced microaggressions that made him uneasy. The overt symbolism was clever and appreciated, instead of having the characters lecture about systemic racism. The suspense stretched to an uncomfortable tension, slowly building the untrustworthiness in the family to finally learn their intent with him.
LOGAN “Logan” is an emotional neo-western film about aging men past their superhero prime as they help a young girl seek revenge in the likes of “True Grit” and “Shane.” This original story in the Marvel X-Men universe is unlike any comic book movie released. It features Logan (Hugh Jackman) forcing Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to take his epilepsy medicine paired along with plenty of fighting scenes. Despite the hardcore violence, this was a refreshing version of a superhero movie.
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WONDER WOMAN I’ve been waiting for a Wonder Woman movie since Catherine Zeta-Jones was rumored to play the lead more than 10 years ago. Diana (Gal Gadot) is determined, curious and empathic to everyone around her as she navigates through World War I. The action sequences are well-choreographed, however the villains were unrealistic and boring. It reminded me of 1978s Superman, a hero with a heart and a laughable villain (not to mention an awesome theme song). In the height of the Marvel Cinematic Universe lead mostly by men, this DC installment featuring Wonder Woman who can be unbroken and hopeful is a fresh take.
THE BIG SICK This movie is based on the real-life story of how Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani and met his American wife Emily Gordon. met and XX their relationship troubles before Gordon suddenly falls into a coma. Nanjiani proved to be genuinely funny, especially when dealing with the culture clash of the white and Pakistani families. There should be more interracial romances like this with believable chemistry. I don’t usually like romantic comedies but liked this one.
Movies to look forward to in the future: LADY BIRD Saoirse Ronan in yet another coming of age story. DARKEST HOUR Gary Oldman as World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill in this season’s most Oscar-baity movie. STAR WARS EPISODE XII: THE LAST JEDI Satisfaction will be determined by how much they show BB-8. THE DISASTER ARTIST True story on how the worst movie of the 21st century, “The Room,” was made.
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So Local You Can Taste It For forty years and counting, North Coast Co-op has prepared tempting eats in our bakery and deli using local products and produce. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a difference you can taste.
Humboldtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organic, member-owned grocery store since 1973.
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