Heroes of the Redwoods | Michael Winkler nominated for helping clean up Arcata’s graffiti

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories on local residents who have been nominated as Heroes of the Redwoods. The first five stories will highlight nominated individuals. The sixth story, published on Sunday, will name the winner. 

Former Arcata councilman and former mayor Michael Winkler was nominated by Carol McNeill, who admitted that she might be a bit biased because Winkler is her partner.

McNeill said Winkler’s efforts to clean up graffiti is a great thing for the city.

“He’s just devoted to getting rid of graffiti in Arcata,” McNeill told the Times-Standard.

He started cleaning up graffiti and stickers, carrying tools with him.

“Michael walks around town with paint, solvent and a scraper,” she said in her nomination letter. “He has a stepstool and a pole with a scraper or a brush on the end that he often carries with him. He removes small stickers and removes or paints over graffiti and tags. He has painted over entire walls of graffiti.”

She said that he has racked up a massive list of removals.

“Over eight years, he has without pay traveled the streets of Arcata and removed more than 20,000 stickers or graffiti,” she wrote.

The effort was started while Winkler was still serving on the Arcata City Council. While he is no longer a member of the council, he continues with his civic activities and his current passion, McNeill said, he is focused on energy issues. He is a member of the city’s Energy Committee with a term expiring in 2024, according to the city of Arcata’s website.

“He’s very much into energy and preserving using less energy and less destruction to the environment,” McNeill said. “He’s an engineer and energy engineer.”

She said the work brings Winkler a level of satisfaction.

“He actually has a way to deal with it and make a change,” she said. “And so saying this is a really tough thing in our community. He now has been working on making a change.”

Nominated individuals

Nominees are listed alphabetically by the first name of the individual or the business.

• Amy Chastain

• Arcata House Partnership’s staff

• Dave Goodman

• Doyle Bradshaw

• Elijah Brunson

• Eric Nelson and Nancy Bailey

• James Killfoil

• Jan Carr

• Josephine Silva

• Leslie Castellano

• Marsha Hays

• Meredith Maier

• Michael Winkler

• Michelle McKeeghan

• Nezzie Wade

• Rex Bohn

• Sue Lee Mossman

• Tom Renner

• William Honsal

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