Letters To The Editor

by AVA News Service, April 1, 2011

NO HYDRAULIC FRACTURING

Editor,

Several weeks ago, most likely due to the Academy award nomination of the documentary, Gasland, the New York Times had not one, but two, front page articles within a week on the topic of hydraulic fracturing and the lax regulation regarding it. Hydraulic fracturing is the breaking up of underlying rock bed using hydraulic pressure as an explosive force as a way to release natural gas. The news article gave specifics on how wastewater from the industry was being funneled through treatment plants not designed to handle the radioactive elements present in the fracturing wastewater. It also stated that much of the “treated water” was being released into rivers and streams and was causing alarm due to the very real possibility of contamination of public aquifers.

While this may not at first seem to be an issue of local concern, the air and water pollution that results from hydraulic fracturing observes no borders. It is already being practiced in this state, both in Humboldt County and in the Sacramento area. In light of the recent catastrophic 9.0 earthquake in Japan, it would seem that this form of gas extraction would be unfeasible anywhere in California. As a community, it would be wise to begin the work needed to declare Mendocino County off limits to the horrific damage hydraulic fracturing inflicts on our ecosystem — as once hydraulic fracturing gets close enough to raise a red flag of warning, the damage caused by it may very well be irreversible.

Common knowledge tells us that oil reserves are finite. As oil reserves become more scarce (a situation we may experience within a short span of a decade or two), gas extraction will rise to fill the void.

With 300 plus acres of industrial zoned, undeveloped land in Fort Bragg, now owned by Koch Industries — the corporate oil magnate ranked 10th out of 100 on a list of top US air polluters, it is not improbable that oil and gas development may be considered as part of that future site development.

Despite the advertising of natural gas as clean energy, that perception is far from the truth. As a way of raising community awareness, one of the Transition Town groups has been showing the Gasland documentary. Current plans are to screen the movie in Fort Bragg and Willits during the months of April and May.

Besides the shocking display of people’s water systems contaminated to the degree that their tap water could be lit on fire, what struck me as equally alarming was the fact that in states across the country, people who leased their land to gas companies believed it was safe due to state and federal oversight.

The truth is, the exemption in the Safe Drinking Water Act of 2005 allows a profitable free-for-all to all gas companies resulting in an unmonitored, unlimited breadth of techniques and fracturing fluid formulas.

This exemption was pushed through during Dick Cheney’s tenure as Vice President — with the emphasis on “vice.” Previously, Cheney had been a member of the Energy Task Force, an influential lobbying group with assets of over $100 million as well as the CEO of Halliburton, the first company to devise a fracturing fluid formula. Halliburton has refused to divulge the chemical content of the formula, claiming proprietary rights. What is known about the composition is that it contains over 200 chemicals, 95% of which have adverse effects on humans ranging from brain damage to birth defects and cancer. Cheney had denied any continued financial ties to his former employer while in office, however, a report by the Congressional Research Service states that Cheney has unexercised stock options and received deferred compensation from Halliburton. According to the Office of Government Ethics, such benefits constitute “retained ties” to one's former employer. Cheney also used his powerful influence as Vice President to persuade the Bureau of Land Management to lease public lands to gas companies. That means that public lands held for the public good, maintained by taxpayer dollars, did no monitoring of private companies allowed to make a private profit.

The EPA, the agency charged with the protection of the environment, is bound and gagged by the exemption in the Safe Water Drinking Act. Weston Wilson, a 20-year veteran of the EPA, stated that in a peer review panel, five of the seven members had conflicts of interest.

All is not doom and gloom. Currently, there is a bill before Congress, HR-2766 authored by Congresswoman DeGette of Colorado, requiring the disclosure of the chemical contents in fracturing fluid and, in a health emergency, the proprietary formula as well.

This is only the first small step in regaining the public’s right to information so blatantly disregarded through Cheney’s influence.

Once again we are made painfully aware of the toxic effects on an unsuspecting public of the prevalent practice of aligning corporate interests with the power of government office, predominantly at the federal level. The revolving door between the two entities continues to undermine the protections carefully designed into the democratic system to keep its citizens safe from the untenable practices of corporate profiteers.

Sheila Dawn Tracy

Comptche

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THANKS FROM THE GOWANS

Dear Editor,

We wish to thank everyone from our community and beyond for their wonderful support with cards, letters and phone calls. Thank you also to those who brought something to share at the reception. All of the kind thoughts have helped us get through this time of sorrow. It is heartening to know that the man who was so special to us had also touched the lives of so many.

With much appreciation,

The James Gowan Family

Philo

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GOOD EGGS

Ye Editor of the AVA,

This is for the information of Mr. T. Vulture and that of your readers.

I know something about eggs that not many people seem to know which can clarify the whole issue of “what constitutes a good egg?” I have been sharing this knowledge sort of hit-or-miss and here-and-there for years and I see a chance here for wider dissemination. My source is the late nutritionist and writer Adelle Davis who gave me much knowledge on the subject.

The most important factor in a Good Egg is certainly not the shell's color nor even the chicken's diet, though this last can be important. The shell color — whether brown, white, blue or whatever — depends only on the breed of the chicken: Rhode Island Reds lay brown eggs, Leghorns lay white, and so forth. The main question to ask is, “Is the egg fertile?” Why? This is a little complicated, but not hard to follow.

Every egg of whatever size or origin contains a given amount of cholesterol, a substance that is only harmful if not emulsified, i.e., in a liquid state. Emulsified cholesterol is, or may become, big and clunky. Each and every egg also contains the right amount of a substance called lecithin to emulsify the cholesterol the egg contains. And lo! The process of fertilization activates the lecithin and Mother Nature takes care of your cholesterol. (She wouldn't have made eggs and made them tasty if she were unconcerned about your cholesterol.)

So how can you tell if an egg is fertile? Unfortunately, nothing in the egg's appearance or taste will tell you this. If you know the vendor and have reason to trust their word, you just have to ask. (Enter the local foodshed.) Of course, if you know this egg person you can drop by their chicken yard and see if it also contains a least one rooster. I know for a fact, having kept chickens, that a rooster cares nothing for anything beyond eating and screwing the hens. Basically, they do one or the other all day and sleep at night. Although more and more “real” eggs are appearing for sale in response to the increasing demand for good eggs, most of the eggs you find in supermarkets are not fertile and most are none too fresh either. (I remember an exception some years past called Herman's Happy Hens’ Eggs. Though I cannot say to what degree hens enjoy the rooster's embrace, the eggs weren't bad, and presumably fertile.) Generally, if “store” eggs are fertile the fact will be emblazoned on them.

How can you tell if an egg is fresh? I know of two ways; the only problem is you have to buy the eggs to find out. When you crack a fresh egg the white will plump up and retaine a shape. If it spreads all over thinly, it's not fresh. You can't poach or fry such an egg but if it's still fairly new you can scramble it or make an omelet (though like any food, eggs lose flavor as they age). The other way tells you if a hard-boiled egg is fresh. If so, it will be a bitch to peel and a lot of white will insist on coming off with the shell. This egg will make a lousy looking deviled egg but will be otherwise useful and tasty as in perfectly fine egg salad.

It is possible to alleviate this problem somewhat by taking the egg off the heat and immediately shooshing them thoroughly with cold water for several minutes, constantly changing the water in the pot, then immediately refrigerating them, covered with cold water. This will weaken the membrane between the shell and the white, making them easier to peel. Peeling under a cold running tap can also help.

Hope to have been informative.

Truly Yours,

Carol Pankovits

Fort Bragg

PS. Really glad to see if Sara Fowler got her hair cut and styled. I thought for years that she needed to ditch that 40s look for something more contemporary. She now looks better and younger. Here's to success for Sara!

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ON THE ROAD…

Bonjour Bruce,

As I sit here at my fourth floor apartment window at the Vieux Port in Marseille, on the Mediteranee, I am forgetting the woes of the world.

Yesterday, we went to the Chateau d'If on an island and found out that 6000 years BC people from Greece had settled in this area.

It makes the history of Bonnville and Upper Lake minuscule in my eyes.

The history of France and indeed most of the world is written with human bones.

Millions after millions of people have met their armageddon, each in their own way, much like the people in Japan.

And now, as some fear, in America if not the whole world.

As we are setting out to explore the Calanques and the beach of Cassis, I feel like Emperor Nero fiddling as Rome is burning!

So all I can say to those of “like mind” is: Hand me another match!

A la prochaine

Troll Brandon

Lake County/France

PS. Joelle likes to add that the gods and goddesses are part of the trip. The weather is summer-like, the people charming, helpful and friendly just like “real” French are supposed to be. Bacchus, God of good wine and good food, is venerated at every corner! The Mediteranee is so blue and the sailboats so white that it looks like a child’s drawing. Speaking of which, yesterday we also followed a sailing class for 4 to 6 years olds. It was 10 sailing prams, not bigger than two meters long, attached to each other in the middle of the channel, between the islands until the teacher released them and waited for them to regain the port by their own skill and intuition! That is showing trust in the new generation!

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ONE WAY STREETS

Dear Editor,

We humans take note of the damage we do to the planet. We should be looking for the lack of damage and leave it that way. Such important evidence is difficult to find, easy to destroy. We will never be able to put Nature back together again.

Carl Flach

Alameda

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REPUB DEMANDS

Editor,

California Republican Party set of non-negotiable demands required before they’ll talk with Democrats:

1) Free Jared Loughner.

2) All Californians must give 85% of their property to the billionaire who lives closest to them.

3) All men with a Latin/Spanish surname must return to their country of origin. If that country is the U.S., they must go to Mexico. Women with Latin/Spanish surnames must work as maids in the homes of Caucasians.

4) All African Americans, other than Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, must report directly to prison.

5) Public education will no longer be tolerated. All children either must attend religious schools at the Christian church of their choice or attend private schools.

6) All social services for the sick and elderly will be phased out over a period of weeks. The money that was provided for these services will go directly into the bank accounts of billionaire corporate executives.

7) Free health care will be provided to all Californians who are healthy. Sick people will have to give insurance companies all their assets if they need medical assistance.

8) All Californians must turn in the names of at least four Muslims per week to Homeland Security for surveillance purposes.

Then and only then will Republicans agree to speak with Democrats, or to the remaining 90% of the public that has rejected both parties as utterly corrupt and superfluous.

Luke Hiken

Berkeley

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YOU DON”T KNOW DINGY

Editor,

No Better Than Rain

What's going on here?

All afternoon you do nothing but waste time;

You're sick or nuts or lazy!

You lounge on the couch and doze off.

In between naps you try to slide into the sound of rain,

 

into each drop's heavy footfall, loud on the thin,

tarpaper roof that scrappy mill-end two by fours support,

sodden under redwoods,

while fat, trudging drops incessantly splat,

sluggish, lumbering, without slack.

 

And you yourself — no better than rain —

Can't, though you ought to

stop, sliding sideways; slipping, edging

into the drip drip drip of rain: some ambition!

You, for sure will never make money!

 

Might as well confess it:

you squandered the best part of a Tuesday

listening for the holes of silence

and the out-of-step marching thuds

bits of water make when let go of from a great height.

 

From just how far above the dingy roof? You don't know that either!

Virginia Sharkey

Mendocino

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THE $20-FOR-NOTHING OPTION

Editor,

Not missing a step in their arrogant callous corporate treatment of their ratepayers, PG&E’s power monopoly presented a devious option to their Smart Meter program to California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC,) headed by ex Southern California Edison President, Mike Peevey. This option allows ratepayers to opt out and receive the Smart Meter with the wireless capacity turned off. The ratepayer will then pay an initial fee of $135 and $20 per month for each meter they have. This clever move by the company whose equipment and plans never fail (according to them) is clearly created to kill any desire to opt-out for several reasons. It does not protect anyone in dense neighborhoods. No one would trust that PG&E would keep the meters off as they can be remotely turned on and off by PG&E. It also forces those of us who do not want to have the wireless smart meters to pay for them.

It is clear that PG&E’s not-so-smart meters have been assembled on the fast and cheap. The initial system, built in Kern County to run using their power lines, failed, requiring ratepayers to pay to replace them with the next cheaper version which was wireless.

This company that has lost pipeline work designs and burned down a community, then realized it forgot to install the Home Area Network, requiring a return deployment plan, rubberstamped by the CPUC and also paid for by the ratepayers. Bakersfield (a Kern County city) is now suing the utility for ongoing overcharges. Since installed, many have had problems, but the only acknowledged ones are those that caused fires or interfered with personal equipment, for example, turning off ground fault interrupters (those important electrocution protection devices near sinks and wet area.)

In some cases the meters were just removed. In other situations whole neighborhoods were redeployed. In San Francisco the CBS News station reporter requested a check-up by PG&E of an overcharging complaint on a gas meter. The technician found a faulty meter or installation.

PG&E’s press relations department said it was the first known error. It’s laughable. Anyone dealing with equipment knows that no equipment is 100% functional. The comment ignored the 40,000 plus complaints to that date, which is probably tripled now.

When entire communities, cities and counties say no to wireless Smart(?) Meters, what part of “NO!” doesn’t PG&E understand? Why does the CPUC say our city and county laws will not hold up as CPUC has jurisdiction over them? What right do we really have?  How does an entire city or county opt out?

Too many problems, too many overcharges and an intrusion into our privacy and home sovereignty. Several years ago, Italy installed a monitor meter system using low voltage modems that are wired instead of wireless. They work! Californians expect excellence and safety, not subterfuge, callousness and rate gouging.

Greg Krouse

Philo

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COVELO: AN APPRECIATION

Editor,

Finally, a letter of Appreciation

March 15, 2011 was the day my precious Daughter, Stephanie Joy Edwards was laid to rest at the Headquarters Cemetery at Covelo.

Her daughter Jordan McCoy, along with the Brothers and Sisters Rosalie and Jill all agreed a letter needed to be written to let everyone know just how much WE appreciated everything relatives, friends and community members did to ease our pain of grief.

Aunt Kimmee and children, Uncle Anthony, came with support, stayed hours and through the late night hours for their niece. Support and open arms at the hospital, making sure they did all they could to share in the pain and grief. These special relatives showed their love so tremendously, family, either paternal or maternal stayed by Jordan’s side.

The delay in getting this letter out is, exactly a week, later three of our relatives, native Americans crudely broke her (Stephanie’s) bedroom window with an ax and went into her home. They stole many valuables including a gun which belonged to her 92 year old grandfather. To top it ALL off, in the midst of their thievery, the starving thieves ate a stick of salami and had some fried chicken.

The day after the funeral Sheriff Tom Allman came to bring a beautiful card of condolence from him and the folks of the Sheriff’s Department. In his sharing a cup of coffee with my two aunts and I, we talked of how Covelo always seems to get a bad rap in the media. I told him “if only the media could have seen the out pouring of love” from the many, many folks who did attended the funeral of our Stephanie. They braved the storm, and I do mean Storm. The heavens opened up and the rain came down by the buckets full. They say when a “Big” Indian dies they bring the rains.

After the service folks were informed right next door to the church was our Senior Center, they could go there and we would be sharing food after interment. My family and I felt they needed not go to the cemetery because of the rains that did not stop.

As we neared the cemetery cars were lined up on both sides of the road! The rains did not stop them. If that isn’t a show of love I don’t know what is. When we returned to the Senior center it was packed with folks and I want to say and packed with Love.

This I shared with Sheriff Allman and I told him that our Round Valley/Covelo folks have hearts and that’s what counts. He agreed, I made him a believer. THEN… On March 23, in the early morning hours, thieves broke into her and Jordan’s home.

Some may ask, Did I have to eat my own words or do I take back my words to Sheriff Allman? The answer is straight up “No.”

No thieves can ever take from us all the love and care that folks showed us during our loss of our loved one. Folks came from near and far, others sending kind words to help us, and the food folks shared was out of this world. The monetary gifts made it so that every bill relating to or loss is covered. The flowers were all so pretty as only our “Steph” deserved.

Not that any one person or entity was considered more than the other, we do wish to thank and let the folks of the local Methodist Church know how very much we appreciate the allowing of the service to be held there along with providing the kitchen for the Wake.

Sometimes naming names can lead to problems, as for sure we will forget the most important one. But let us just say that Stephy did have friends in high places: Supervisor Dan Hamburg along with wife Carrie, Attorney Phil DeJong, Girl Scout leader Samantha Burkey, Bohemian Grove/Activist Mary Moore, Author of the book “Stolen Lives,” Karen Saari of Bodega, who battled the many waterfalls coming, almost, down on them as she and Mary drove in on our beautiful Highway 162.

We appreciate the Minister Rev. Leland Muro who traveled from Santa Rosa to officiate at the service. Our kin, Priscilla Brown accompanied by Brothers Danny Figuero and Rick Hoaglen; we so appreciate the beautiful songs. LaVee Hinze-Martin of Redding was another soloist who did a wonderful song entitled “Send Me An Angel.”

Our church, the Faith Tabernacle members said many Prayers and Sis. Bertha, Glenda and Lisa offered their prayers right beside Steph at the hospital. The three traveling together never gave up. Our Pastor Rev. Robert Anderson and wife Bobbie visited ICU so that they too could say prayers with and for Stephie.

Our local people, we will LOVE you forever, in our hearts is where you will stay. You were with us during the greatest storms of our lives. It is literally still storming and you all still are with us. Every day still, we have folks dropping by with kind words that give us strength to endure. Phone calls are still coming in and we appreciate every one. All our relatives, you are the best.

So to end this lengthy letter, rest assured, three thieves and their families can never take from us what the folks of Round Valley/Covelo, along with the many others gave us — LOVE.

Cora Lee Simmons

Covelo

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EASY, CRAIG, EASY

Warm spiritual greetings,

What I really feel like doing is punching the postmodern consumerist dumb ass mind as hard as I can. So give me some cooperation to relocate to the Washington DC area as soon as possible, for the expressed purpose of annihilating the motherfucking shit out of materialism. What is so difficult for the postmodern American Washington D.C. area political left wing to appreciate about this? Of course I can get there from Oakland.

What is so difficult about getting cooperation (i.e., solidarity) for me from you so that I may stay active in terms of radical environmentalism, peace and justice, and [BLEEP!] MATERIALISM! I repeat: I'm spiritual! Okay? Is this difficult to understand on the east coast? [BLEEP!] MATERIALISM! Okay? Is this difficult to understand on the east coast? Contact me here: craigstehr@hushmail.com

Craig Louis Stehr,

593 62nd Street,

Oakland, CA 94609-1246

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SUPPORT ANIMAL RESCUE

Dear Valley folks...

Let me inform/remind you of the upcoming fundraiser to benefit the Animal Rescue of Anderson Valley that will take place at the Anderson Valley Brewery this coming Saturday, April 2nd from 2pm to 6pm. This is the first such fundraiser, the venue is a lovely setting, and we are hopeful of good weather and therefore a large turnout for this special event...

We shall have the A.V. Lions Club crew there doing what they do best — on the bar-b-que, featuring chicken, tri-tip, and veggies; beer and wine from the Valley; live music from the Valley's Peanut Butter Jam Band, and some dog obedience and other dog/cat related events... There will also be a rafflle with some great prizes; and special edition t-shirts for sale, designed by local animal artist Paula Gray... Oh, yes, and dogs are welcome too! (on a leash please)...

There is no admission charge although donations would be greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday,

Kind regards,

Steve Sparks, AV Animal Rescue Fundraising Committee

Boonville

PS. Animal Rescue of Anderson Valley was founded in 2001 and has provided a number of services to Mendocino County residents, cats, and dogs for the past ten years.  AVAR provides assistance with spay/neuter of cats & dogs, adoption outreach for homeless cats & dogs from the county shelter, a working barn cat program, a senior cat placement program, and much more. In 2010 we started an intensive program to provide affordable and even free spay/neuter for all Mendocino County cats with our focus being on Trap, Neuter & Return (TNR) of community cats.  We expect this effort will see a significant decrease in the flow of unwanted cats to the local kill shelter.  This program has been met with much support from the citizens of Mendocino County and in 2010 over 35% of the cats we assisted with spay/neuter were community cats (free roaming/feral).

Highlights from 2010: 630+ cats adopted through our various adoption programs. 80 dogs adopted through our adoption program. Cat adoptions increased by 100+ cats from 2009. 2,800+ cats were spayed/neutered with funds provided by AVAR... 70+ dogs were spayed/neutered with funds provided by AVAR.

Some facts: Spaying a female cat cost AVAR an average of $90. Neutering a male cat costs AVAR an average of $50+. Female dogs over five years of age can cost well over $500 to spay. Community cats (free roaming/feral) can produce kittens 2-3 times a year with an average litter size of 3-5 kittens. Of note, in 2010, many of the ‘feral’ kittens we helped off the streets were from large litters of 7 siblings!

In 2011 we anticipate continuing our aggressive spay/neuter campaign as well as increasing our foster care and adoption outreach programs to accommodate the kittens/cats & dogs that would otherwise lose their life at the county shelter if not for rescue.  We have operated for the past ten years on donations from our community. The need for animals to be spayed/neutered and rescued continues to grow while our funds to provide these services have dwindled.

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LYRICAL

Editor,

You Were The Song—

(For Fritz Kuny)

You were the Sun,

And I am the Moon.

You were the Light,

And I am the Night.

You were the Leader

And I tagged Along.

I am the Chorus,

But YOU WERE THE SONG.

Lorna

Navarro

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ESPLANADE CORRECTIONS

Editor,

Who did you interview for your story a few weeks back about the problems at Esplanade internet service provider?

1. “Thousands of customers?” Dont I wish. We had a maximum of a lttle over 300 customers.

2. “$2 million in gross sales?”, “$400k to local workers?” I would cut that statement down at least a third.

3. “Customers paid $75 to $150 per month.” Nope. The base rate was $49.99 per month to $75 per month for businesses.

Just thought you would want to get the truth.

Teri Saya

Gualala

Ed note: Most of the background information in that item was gleaned from the internet about Esplanade.us over prior years. Thanks for the corrections.

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NAVARRO RIVER THANKS YOU

Dear Editor,

We would like to send out a huge thank you to all those that showed up to support the Navarro River Resource Center on Saturday Night at Lauren’s Restaurant. Tommy Brown and the Smokin’ Mirrors rocked the house as promised, with special guest Michael Hubbard joining in on baritone sax. We raised $1000.00 for the River Center, between the door and the silent auction. We are very grateful to all of the merchants that donated items to the auction: Wax & Bing Studios, Laughing Dog Books, the Farmhouse Mercantile, Anderson Valley Nursery, Handley Cellars, Navarro Vineyards, the Salsitas, Rachel Lahn, Rainbow Hill, and All that Good Stuff. The Band played gratis with all of their heart and soul, with a great dance groove that kept people dancing all night long. The proceeds will go toward paying a student intern to help maintain the AV Jr./Sr. High School Creek Trail this summer, and will allow the River Center to help the teachers at the Jr./Sr. High School implement the Connecting to Creeks streamside curriculum again this year, for the 4th year running. It is a beautiful thing, this community, connecting in with the kids, critters and the creeks!

Sincerely,

Linda MacElwee & Patty Madigan

Navarro River Resource Center

Boonville

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FEINT HOPE

Dear Bruce,

Last week I wrote, and you printed, my rant against religious faith.  However, the title you put on it was misleading.

The title was, “No faith-No hope.” That is not the case.  Faith implies that the object of faith is there, that it exists. Hope does not do that. Hope is based on a maybe, not a surety.

When one says, “I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow” there is an element of maybe; it may rain, but it may not, and one hopes that it will.

It is quite possible to have no faith and still have hope. I have no faith whatsoever that God is there and that He will fix the problems of the world.  But I have hope that people will wake up and demand the changes that are needed to fix the problems of the world. Not a lot of hope, but some.

Lee Simon

Far 'n Away Farm, Virginia.

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MARIBEL’S TOY DRIVE!

Editor,

My name is Maribel Benitez and for my senior project I am doing a Toy Drive for children at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. I desided to focus my Toy Drive on UCSF because my twin brothers have been hospitalized there for haveing Nephrotic Syndrome.I have seen how many of the children can't go out of their rooms to play because of their condition. For that reason I want to bring a little joy into their life's. If there is anyone who could  help by giveing toys I would gladly apreciate it. The toys would have to be new to avoid any bacteria. They do not have to be expensive and can not be stuffed animals. If easier I will receive money donations aswell. Toys or money can be droped off at the High School and given to the Site Secretary, Veronica or at the Redwood Drive In and given to Susi.

Sincerely,

Maribel Benitez

Boonville

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DANGEROUS FLOWERS

Editor,

A shipment of dried flowers from Siberia is being held by USDA and customs officials after being discovered to contain a biting wasp. The dried flowers that were first imported last year turn out to carry a tiny wasp that delivers an itching bite. Many cases last year were misdiagnosed as lice and the pest went undetected.

Officials said this was the second shipment consisting of 20 or so containers. They were tracking down the previous shipment of the new crop saying: “They just got in the pipeline. We'll get most of them.” Larger shipments arrived this year after the successful introduction of Siberian Astor to the dried flower part of the florist trade. Martha Stewart featured them in her magazine.

The strange new parasitic wasp was only discovered last year after a noted entomologist saw them in a junior high science fair project. Reports had surfaced last year, especially in toney areas like La Jolla and Carmel, of an annoying scabs on the heads of people. Even then it took a chance encounter at a wedding in August with another entomologist who had actually collected the pest off a florist and his family for the connection to be made.

The flightless wasp creates a wound and then waits for insects attracted to the wound. At first the wound goes unnoticed because of the numbing effect of the wasp's saliva. the numbing last a few hours and if the host starts scratching the wasps moves over and starts a new wound.

In it's native habitat it then lays an egg in flies that visit the wound. The flies then visit the Siberian Astor, a tall showy flower that they would otherwise visit for a bit of nectar to bring about sexual activity as many insects do. For some unknown reason the fly stays in the flower and many other flies bearing the wasp egg are attracted to the same flower making detection hard because a few flowers are very infected. The flower dries and turns inside out. Becoming the nice attractive oval sphere with the tiny holes the seeds came out of and a dozen or more larvae inside.

The wasp pupae goes dormant after devouring the fly. The wasps hatch matured the next spring when it warms. They have sex with each other, and being both male and female are all pregnant. Wingless, they resemble ticks or more accurately, chiggers. Normally they infest the moose and musk ox of the region.

Siberian locals collect the dried flowers on snowmobile after the ground freezes and travel is possible in the swampy area that drains north to the Artic Sea. The four foot flowers stand above the snow and resist the icy winds make them easy to find and ideal for dried flower arraignments.

Officials said they would announce on April 1, if fumigation attempts have been successful or the shipment is to be destroyed.

Bill Harper

Philo

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THE BUDGET & THE K-9

Letter to the Editor,

The County CEO’s office describes the Mendocino Sheriff’s office as the major financial problem for the County’s discretionary General Fund expenditures in the County budget this year and next.

Viewed from a different perspective, the Sheriff’s Office should use the majority of such fundraising because it is the highest priority for taxpayers, roads would be second. This core service and public need does not make the Sheriff, his staff or deputies the “bad guys.” Is spending elsewhere the problem? Probably.

The Sheriff’s budgeting is crucial to all of us, not just for the threat of losing safety and emerge4ncy services, but for the very real fact that Deputy Craig Walker is number 3 on the civil service list of Sheriff’s employees who will be possibly included in the County CEO’s plan to reduce deficits by eliminating 75 positions. This option is one of the strategies suggested to cut costs — so far much of the focus has persistently stayed on reductions in the Sheriff’s office. This option may not be sleected but the Sheriff will still have to cover pension amounts next year to the tune of $2 million. The residents of Anderson Valley are fully aware of the consequences of us not having resident deputies on site and on patrol.

Meanwhile, in order to defray costs, especially for things like the K-9 unit, the Sheriff is looking for donations for his Special Projects Fund. It is hoped that the K-9 unit will stay intact so that our Anderson Valley funds collected for a K-9 dog for Deputy Craig Walker can be moved forward to a dog purchase. Our collected funds at the Sheriff’s office and in the Unity Club’s K-9 account are still intact and waiting. We are in a holding pattern.

If you would like to show further support for the Sheriff’s office, you may send donations in care of the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office 589-A Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482, or go to mendocinosheriff.com where you can use PayPal or donate by credit card. Make the notation: “Special Projects.”

As with our K-9 project, the Valley can show the Board of Supervisors, County Admin and the Sheriff’s Office that our highest priority is the Sheriff’s office, especially the patrols. We need the Board’s continued vigilance, influence and support to maintain this priority. Your donation can help. The wording on the thank you card is worth reading.

Beverly Dutra

Philo

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