School board candidate has been operating unlicensed fitness business with no COVID reopening plan

This was the banner of the Guns & Buns Facebook page. The gym, which had no business license or county-approved COVID-19 reopening plan, was open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The page was taken down sometime in the last few days. Update: It has reappeared.

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE/ARCATA – A candidate who is running for a seat on the Northern Humboldt Union School District Board of Trustees has been operating a fitness gym without a business license or a county certified COVID-19 reopening plan.

Janelle Jones, who is one of three candidates running for two seats on the board, was recently operating Guns & Buns Fitness Training at 2512 Dragonfly Place, located in a residential-zoned neighborhood in McKinleyville.

Janelle Jones

The gym includes weight lifting equipment and offered fitness classes for $10 an hour, according to the company’s Facebook page, which was taken down early this week. Update: the page has reappeared. The gym also sold hats and hoodies, and offered special rates for workouts for children.

Reached by phone Oct. 7, Jones said “I do have a business license.”

She then said Guns & Buns is no longer operating. Asked when it closed, she said “a while ago,” but wouldn’t specify when it closed.

Jones then said “Sorry, you’re breaking up,” and the phone call ended.  When the Union called Jones back, her phone went straight to voice mail.

The Union sought clarification, leaving Jones a voice message and sending her an email. Jones did not respond as of this morning.

The Guns & Buns Facebook page, which was deleted sometime earlier this week [and has since reappeared], showed that the business was open on Oct. 1 from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A Sept. 20 Facebook posting shows a photo of people working out with the caption “We tried some new exercises this week and I am still feeling it.”

In a candidate statement submitted to the Union last month, Jones references the business. “I have lived in McKinleyville for over 20 years and own a small business that promotes self-improvement, health and fitness,” Jones wrote.

Jones and two candidates for a different board – the McKinleyville Union School District Board of Trustees – are running a joint campaign emphasizing the importance of opening up schools to in-person learning.

One week after the county's March 11 Local Health Emergency was declared, Guns & Buns solicited new business.

Guns & Buns was established in 2014, according to its Facebook page, and celebrated its five-year anniversary in August of last year.

Michale Hale of the Humboldt County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office said that Guns & Buns has never applied for a business license. Hale recently referred the matter to a code enforcement investigator in the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department.

In 2015, Jones applied for a business license for an equipment rental company called Nelle’s Equipment Solutions, according to an application filed with the county. The application was denied after the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department determined that the business was not compatible with the area’s zoning.

It’s not clear whether Nelle’s Equipment Solutions was ever operating from the residence.

Guns & Buns has been a going concern up until very recently.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are required to submit reopening plans that must be certified and approved by the Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center. The approved businesses are listed on the county’s website. Guns & Buns does not appear on the website.

“We can find no plan submission in the name of either the business or the business owner,” stated Heather Muller, lead public information officer for the Emergency Operations Center.

The plans are intended to help protect employees and customers from the coronavirus and the illness that it causes, COVID-19, which has killed about 212,000 people in the United States so far this year. 

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“All of the businesses listed have submitted plans that ensure the safety of employees and customers alike with enhanced staff training, screening for illness, thorough disinfection and physical distancing,” states the county’s website. “Residents are encouraged to look for the certificate displayed near the entrance of certified businesses.”

Other McKinleyville gyms and related businesses that are certified are The Club for Fitness, HealthSPORT McKinleyville, McKinleyville Health & Karate, McKinleyville Parks & Recreation, Trinity Ballet Academy, Sweat Panda Fitness and The Art of Pilates.

The NHUHSD Board of Trustees oversees Arcata, McKinleyville, Mad River, Pacific Coast and Six Rivers Charter high schools.

Election Day is Nov. 3.

 







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