ARCATA, APRIL 1 – Kevin Hoover has come a long way since the Arcata Eye era of being chained to a computer in a dark Jacoby’s Storehouse office for years on end. Now, he’s setting out on a Pacific Crest Trail hike for charity that will take him out of town for four months, and all Arcata is wildly enthusiastic about the prospect.
“My wilderness trek has clearly captured the public’s imagination, if the donations are any indication,” Hoover said.
The hike’s supporters confirm this. “I can pay that a#^%@& to leave town, and help little kids get their bad teeth fixed at the same time?” said one delighted downtown businessperson. “Where’s my checkbook? Where are all my checkbooks?”
While Hoover’s far-flung hike seems like a good idea to everyone, a citizen seated behind him at last week’s City Council meeting reports looking over his shoulder and seeing him book a stay at a luxurious Acapulco resort during the same time period he says he’ll be on the PCT.
Asked about the coincidence, the flustered newsman said, “Hike? What.. oh, right, that big Pacific Coast Trail hike. Right, I can’t wait. To go hiking.” He then went back to his computer, adding Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts to his Amazon shopping cart.
Destination aside, the old boy seems in need of a break. He’s frequently seen brandishing well-worn newspaper clippings from 2009, when the Arcata Eye’s grow house coverage drew the interest of major newspapers and TV networks.
“Look,” he pleaded to one passerby. “I was quoted in the London Sunday Telegraph! Fox News even called me Steve Hoover!”
The pathetic spectacle of the tunic-clad Hoover’s trying to re-live the glory days is topped only by the annoyance of citizens and the police department alike over his endless “investigations.” These involve prowling through garbage cans in Arcata neighborhoods in search of grow house evidence.
A recent journalistic foray through the Westwood neighborhood left Stewart Avenue awash in overturned trash bins, with pawed-through garbage strewn all over the street. “Look!” said an altogether too-excited Hoover, clutching a scrap of a magazine with what looked like a some dried pickle relish and a coffee stain on it.
“If you hold it up to the light, it looks like the Zig Zag man!” He exclaimed. “This must be a grow house!”
His subsequent call to Police Chief Tom Chapman went unheeded, however, as Arcata’s top cop saw the name on his caller ID and just let the phone ring.
“First, I never answer the phone while I’m knitting,” Chapman explained, pointing to a rack of Little Bo Peep-themed tunics he’s been crafting in his City Hall office over the past few years.
“Second, Kevin means well, but the other day he saw a cloud shaped like a doobie, and wanted us to arrest the sky,” Chapman complained. “So we’ve had to take… measures.” He directed further inquiries to City Attorney Nancy Diamond.
“It’s a little unusual for a police department to take out a restraining order against a citizen,” Diamond said. “But given the nature of the case, we feel it’s justified.”