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Local News

Neighbors rely on each other in historic storm

A reddish building with a long porch and a sign that says, "Harwood Memorial Park."
Laytonville Healthy Start website.
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Laytonville Healthy Start website.
Harwood Hall in Laytonville.

As storms continue to rage in northern Mendocino and southern Humboldt counties, locals are learning the limits of their self-reliance. Lifelong residents say they’ve never seen snow this heavy, and the National Weather Service in this part of the world doesn’t even keep records on how much snowfall we get.

Brian Paula grew up in Anderson Valley and now lives in southern Humboldt, where his small family-owned excavation business has been busy freeing community members so they can go into town and stock up on provisions. He says he is charging a nominal fee to keep fuel in his bulldozer.

Jayma Shields Spence and her husband Roland Spence also took extraordinary measures to help people who are stranded in the snow. They run the Laytonville Healthy Start and Family Resource Center, which they opened up as an emergency shelter on their own for three days during the first snowstorm that started on February 23rd. The 101 was closed north of Laytonville, and she and her husband ended up hosting about 25 travelers trying to get to Humboldt from the Bay Area. She spoke to us Monday, as one of her co-workers waited in Willits for the 101 north to reopen. You can read Shields Spence’s article on her experience, “We ran an emergency shelter by ourselves and all I got was this lousy pile of laundry,” in this week’s edition of the Mendocino County Observer.

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.