Mendocino County Today: February 4, 2012

by AVA News Service, February 3, 2012

AS PART of the Fort Bragg Police Department’s all-out effort to roll back a gang foothold in the seaside Mendocino County town of 7,000, Alejandro Grijalba, 20, has been sentenced to a year in the County Jail and three years of supervised probation for a felony battery and attempting to dissuade a witness. District Attorney David Eyster congratulated Fort Bragg Police Chief Scott Mayberry and his officers for their work on the case. “We are getting multiple gang convictions because of their heightened efforts,” Eyster said. “The message needs to continue to get out that criminal street gangs are not welcome in Mendocino County.” Prosecutors Tim Stoen and Scott McMenomey jointly handled the Grijalba case. Stoen said Grijalba publicly renounced his gang ties during last Friday's sentencing hearing and, further, that Grijalba told Judge Ann Moorman that he intends to have his gang tattoos removed.

JUDGE MOORMAN has had a busy week. On Thursday she put on hold the state’s new rules on grape frost protection until a lawsuit challenging the rules is heard. It’s not as if the “rules” are particularly onerous since grape growers get to write their own frost protection plans, but in the frigid mornings of winter and early spring they often draw on the depleted Russian River and its battered tributaries for frost protection water, thus imperiling fish.  In a rearguard effort to protect what’s left of the river as fish habitat, the state has required wine country growers to submit water demand management plans and measure the cumulative effects of their water use on the river. Growers resent both the rules and the expense of drawing up the plans.

KELLY LYNN LORETZ, 25, of Ben Lomond was southbound on 101 at Santa Rosa on Wednesday afternoon when she suddenly swerved in front of a highway patrol officer who had to brake to avoid a collision. When Officer Brian Hiss pulled Ms. Loretz over and discovered she had multiple suspensions and convictions for driving without a license, it was also discovered that Ms. Loretz also had an outstanding $100,000 warrant in connection with a November 12th incident in which a Fort Bragg couple who went outside to find out why a neighbor's dog kept barking was pushed back inside and assaulted by three people, among them, apparently, Ms. Loretz. The victims were badly hurt and threatened with further harm if they reported the incident, though they did report it, Fort Bragg police said. Though the victims did not know their assailants, they provided information that enabled police to identify all three. Ms. Loretz is being held in the Mendocino County Jail as of yesterday (Thursday). The other two mopes are being sought.

GRAPE growers say too much it would cost

To use less water to protect against frost

Judge Moorman agreed

And so she decreed

That the rules be temporarily tossed

2 Responses to Mendocino County Today: February 4, 2012

  1. Whyte Owen Reply

    February 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Something I can’t quite understand: French and German grapes, and even Spanish and Italian, grow in climates with much colder winters than occur in Mendocino and Sonoma, including high ground vineyards. We have a few vineyards here in Minnesota and neighboring Ontario has a substantial wine country. How do they manage without frost protection?

    Whyte Owen
    Rochester MN

  2. Mark Scaramella Reply

    February 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Good question, Mr. Owen. The most likely answer is tactical pruning after a frost. Frost damaged young clusters can be pruned off and the vines allowed to regrow, a standard ag practice applied for centuries, well before the invention of sprinklers and pumps. It also requires a farmer’s knowledge of timing so that the pruning is done after the most likely last frost. Mendo growers don’t want to spend the money for their Mexican farmworkers on this simple practice, even though 1. seasonal labor is a very small cost component of grape growing and 2. immigrants who do the actual work are quite familiar with the technique and are very good at it. The varieties and hardiness of grapes that are grown can also be a factor, but tactical pruning is still the best approach.

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