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MCT: Monday, November 18, 2019

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SOME LIGHT RAIN is expected in Humboldt and Del Norte counties later today and early Tuesday, and will be followed by gusty north and northeast winds Tuesday through early Thursday. A period of elevated to critical fire weather conditions is likely early Wednesday through early Thursday. Dry and mild conditions are expected Wednesday through the end of the weekend, with chilly overnight low temperatures in valley locations. (National Weather Service)

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: The offshore wind event has potential to trigger a power shut off mid-week. It's not certain, but the concern is credible. CEO Angelo has received confirmation that such an outage will likely include our coast. The forecast matches a previous weather system which resulted in a shut off of 180k customers (roughly 540k people), but specifics from PG&E are not yet known. Residents should prepare. Non-perishable food, water, medicine, fuel, batteries, good book, etcetera. During the outage, I'll submit updates to Facebook 5th district group, MCN announce list, KGUA and KZYX. I'm an avid texter, so don't hesitate to reach out this way for updates if you lose Internet. (Share your contact or name first so I can create a contact.)

707 / 972-3993 (county cell); 707 / 937-3500 (personal cell)

"Expect maximum temperatures away from the immediate coast to rise into the 70s to low 80s, which is 10–20 degrees above normal for mid-November"

CEO Angelo will be speaking at the Senate Energy Commission hearing tomorrow to advocate and share fallout of the past shutoff events. The reports provided by residents have furthered our ability to convey the extent of impact. Thank you.


PSPS Forecast (as of 9am Monday Nov 18)

Mendocino County is scheduled to be included in Time Period 1 with Colusa/Lake/Napa/Solano/Sonoma/Yolo.

Wednesday 4am - shut off
Wednesday 7am - wind event arrival
Thursday 8am - all clear
Some time after inspections - restoration

Only 70,391 customers are included in the Time Period 1 outage, including just 3,076 in Mendocino County. We're awaiting maps and remain aware that PG&E stories change. South Coast should prepare to be included.

There is still considerable uncertainty regarding the strength, timing and humidity levels with this system.

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

I was at Todd Grove Park, doing nothing, and spotted a big wooden sign on the western edge across from the golf course. I walked over and checked out various plaques honoring Ukiahans.

My eyes were drawn to one telling the world Rosie Marie Grover would never be forgotten. A few days later I was at McGarvey Park (West Clay, South Dora) and strolled over to a corner bench. I was mildly surprised to see a small bronze marker, top center, that reads:

Rosie Marie Grover 1970 - 1985

Your Light Still Shines

Rosie Grover, the teenager who in 1985 got off a Greyhound bus on State Street near Talmage Road well past midnight. She had no adult waiting to pick her up and was soon set upon by a stranger.

Rosie did the best she could. She went to the pay phone outside the old House of Garner restaurant (now Mountain Mike’s Pizza) and called 9-1-1 to plead for a ride. She lived half a mile south.

CHP dispatch said No. Violates our policy, she said.

And the instant Rosie hung up that phone what remained of her life would be nasty, brutish and short.

She was murdered in a small ravine 75 yards from the pay phone, her head bashed flat by a chunk of concrete. Crime scene photos were impossible to look at, and it was quick work flipping through them and leaving the room.

How do I know? I spent two years working with the team defending Richard Clark, a young man from Vallejo with no reason to harm Rosie Grover, and at that point in his life more likely to commit a suicide than a homicide.

I spent many months living off-and-on at a Travel Lodge Motel in the middle of Vallejo, combing Richard Clark’s background and rough neighborhood for clues to how he could have done something so wicked and deeply out of character.

Because that’s all I found: Richard Clark killed a girl for no reason? Naw. Nicest kid around. Best behaved boy for blocks in any direction. Everyone said the same thing. I’d knock on doors and people would say, Now did you know those kids got abandoned by their mother and their father was dead and Richard raised up his brother and sister all by himself? Richard wouldn’t hurt anyone. Murder?!?

One old guy lived two doors from the Clark wreck of a house on Magazine Street, and he argued with me, told me I was a lousy investigator and slammed the door because I was too stupid to understand the only Clark kid who’d act crazy and get violent was Robert Clark, the hell-raising younger brother. Richard? Nice kid. Not a chance.

I retrieved Richard’s school records, talked with his teachers, talked with a man who ran a small engine repair shop where Richard had worked after school.

A hazy picture came into semi-focus. Richard’s mother was an alcoholic, mean, ignorant and mentally ill. None of my diagnoses were documented by government agencies. The crippled family staggered along on Magazine Street, mom absent and finding new boyfriends to spend weeks with at a time. Dad died (suicide?) years ago.

Richard fed his little brother and sister, got them off to school and endured years of abuse from local delinquent kids. He washed sibling clothes in the kitchen sink. He knew one recipe: beans out of a can heated in a saucepan. He was 10 years old.

Neighbor kids urinated in his pots of beans; I know because I talked to them and they told me so. They threw rocks at the house and broke out windows. Little brother Robert often joined in the fun of destroying his own home.

Mom sometimes stopped by with boyfriends, one of whom repeatedly beat Richard with the tracks from his Hot Wheels car set, leaving bleeding welts on his legs and back. The kids told me that too.

Mom made her own children crawl on the floor, perform tricks and beg for leftovers she brought home from Denny’s and McDonald’s. She refused to come to court to describe Richard’s life with and without her. She never quit failing him.

The trial was held in San Jose and I lived there nearly a year with Ukiah attorneys Joe Allen and Ron Brown.

The trial took months; the verdict took hours. No surprises.

It’s both tragic and sadly inspiring that 35 years later Rosie’s life is remembered and her death lamented. Rarely are bright memories of crime victims kept alive in the aching hearts of those who miss them still.

For Rosie Marie Grover the world never delivered on the promise we make all our children, which is that they be given an opportunity, a future, the chance to live and learn and love. To grow and to grow old.

Richard Dean Clark, lost and abandoned as a little boy, was given little opportunity, not much of a future and never experienced love. He has been allowed to grow old, however, sitting alone for 30-plus years on San Quentin’s Death Row.

(Tom Hine lives in Ukiah and is mostly retired after 35 years as a criminal defense investigator. If he had an office TWK would answer phones. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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California has no statewide standard for emergency wildfire alerts and evacuations, leaving families, businesses and local authorities to learn through hard experience how to protect themselves during fires.

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DEJOA RAYSHAWN LARUE forestalled a jury trial Tuesday, November 12th, by pleading guilty to bribing a correctional officer to let him sneak dope into the jail. The details of the incident never comes out in a plea bargain, and perhaps that’s why both sides agreed to “a factual basis” for the plea to be put on the record, and Mr. LaRue’s lawyer, former prosecutor Kevin Davenport admitted, in so many words, that yes, his client had offered to pay Correctional Officer Lugor (sp?) $1,000 to let him bring the (unspecified) drugs into the jail.

LaRue, Watts, Strickland

Mr. LaRue and his co-defendants, Jakell Watts and Eural Strickland, were scheduled to be sentenced on this same day on the underlying charge — robbing the Rite-Aid in Willits of enough narcotics to anesthetize a heard of elephants — but the presentencing investigation and report needed a psychological evaluation of the defendants, so it was put over to December 19th, and Mr. LaRue will be sentenced of December 5th for both the underlying charge and the bribery charge.

(Bruce McEwen)

Previously: Desperado Deal Drama

Original Press Release

“On Saturday, February 16, at about 4:15 pm, the Willits Police department responded to a reported robbery at the Rite Aid Pharmacy, 1730 South Main Street.

During the investigation, the WPD officers learned the suspects entered the store wearing bandanas hiding their faces and made their way to the pharmacy inside the store. The suspects jumped the counter and demanded narcotic prescription pills. The suspects took what they could before fleeing the scene in a vehicle.

The suspect vehicle was spotted near Reeves Canyon (US-101 southbound). A WPD officer and a Mendocino County Sheriff deputy attempted to stop the vehicle near West Road. The suspect vehicle accelerated to speeds over 100 mph in an attempt to evade the pursuing deputy & officer.

The pursuit continued to the area of Burke Hill where the vehicle became disabled and wrecked.

Three suspects exited the vehicle and fled on foot to the surrounding hillside. The suspects were caught after a brief foot chase. All three suspects are from the Sacramento area.

WPD officers recovered several thousand narcotic prescription pills. The estimated street value is near $50,000. It was later discovered the suspect vehicle was reported stolen out of the Sacramento area.

The suspects, Dejoa Larue, age 23, Jakell Watts, age 21 and Eural Strickland, age 18) were booked into county jail for robbery, evading police with reckless driving, violation of parole, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.

Willits Police department would like to thank the MCSO and CHP for their assistance in this investigation.”

(Willits PD press release)

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NEIGHBORS of the Taj MaTrash proposed for Highway 20 a little east of Fort Bragg are probably the only people who remember that the multi-million dollar boondoggle seemed close to being built before Fort Bragg awakened to it to rise up and stop it. I asked Supervisor Gjerde about it the other day, and here's what he said, "It's in limbo, but work is underway to ensure the Coast will have a long-term solution to problems created by the cobbled-together transfer station off Road 409 [Caspar]. As you know, State Parks is no longer willing to participate in a land swap with CalFire, and CalFire only has legislative authority to provide the 12 acre Highway 20 parcel in exchange for a property deemed to be of comparable environmental value by Jackson Demonstration Forest. The Caspar Transfer Station, which was never significantly upgraded, has a tipping fee surcharge to ensure the Coast will someday have an efficient way to transfer solid waste, recyclables and organic waste to commercial facilities over the hill. With the tipping fee providing funding, the City of Fort Bragg and the County of Mendocino are in the midst of contracting for help, in order to take a fresh look at the fully enclosed transfer station proposed in the approved EIR. In addition to doing an updated fiscal review, the contracted help will speak with alternate landowners who could participate in a land swap and make the CalFire site available off of Highway 20. As directed by the City and County, the contracted help will also evaluate other back-up options, including the possibility of upgrading the existing facility off of Road 409."

AN UPGRADE OF 409 is also objected to by neighbors, and it doesn't seem wise over the long term to haul large bins of trash up and down a road not designed for it. The existing transfer station at Pudding Creek seems most reasonable since (1) it exists, and (2) it's the least expensive alternative.

THE HIGHWAY 20 transfer station was a deal cooked up by Mike Sweeney, former County trash czar with his self-created Mendocino Solid Waste Authority, and now an expatriate living in comfortable retirement in New Zealand where he is undoubtedly chuckling to himself about how he not only bamboozled law enforcement at all levels (assuming he wasn't federal law enforcement himself) in getting away with the 1990 car bombing of his ex-wife, as he simultaneously managed to become Mendocino County's ultimate Reinvented Man, moving seamlessly through violent prior lives as Maoist "revolutionary" to become Mendocino County's top garbage bureaucrat, using the County's Democratic Party to obtain the initial state trash grants he parlayed into a lush public position for himself. We certainly look forward to Sweeney's memoir which, we understand, is tentatively called, "See Ya, Suckas."

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We understand why small fire departments throughout the county may be excited about the idea of an additional campground tax that will raise money — maybe as much as $1 million per year — for local fire services. But we are a little skeptical about the idea.

First of all, the last time the County asked for additional sales taxes we got Measure B, intended to build a badly needed locked psychiatric unit in the county. After more than two years, still nothing.

We also worry that the revenues won’t be enough and that the County will have to come back for other taxes later and rightly be refused.

Additionally, we think the County should be doing more to get money from our state legislators. Given the examples of the last three seasons of deadly wildfires, we think it’s high time the state recognizes the true value of our local fire services. These are the people who are first on the scene for all these wildfires — not to mention all emergency services — and need to be properly funded and not treated in any lesser fashion than the state’s own CalFire.

If the state is serious about preventing wildfires and responding to them as quickly and efficiently as possible, then the state needs to include all local fire services in the funding. It is the state that requires these firefighters to maintain the same training and equipment whether volunteer or not, and the state should be making it a priority to keep these small, local fire services active, fully staffed and fully equipped.

(The state should also be requiring all employers to allow workers to join and be active in local volunteer fire departments, but that’s another editorial.)

We are not against the idea that “outsiders and tourists” should pay their fair share of taxes for fire services, and goodness knows we all pay through the nose to stay in a hotel in San Francisco or other tourist areas we travel to. But lots of local Mendocino County residents use our campgrounds too, especially on the coast. How about an exemption from the tax for Mendocino County residents?

Overall we just think this is too simplistic an answer to an important problem and perhaps needs a bit more exploration before voters are asked once again to approve a new tax.

K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal

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To the Editor:

In my 35 years of working at MacNabs I’ve heard silly, dumb, and stupid ideas. Silly was the time when they wanted to take the block across from the courthouse and create a second story passway across State Street to the courthouse. Dumb is when they want to shrink State Street to slow traffic. Why not just take the street lights out on State Street and replace them with stop signs. Starting on Perkins south you have a three-way on Perkins, a three-way on Church, a four-way on Clay, a four-way on Mill, a four-way on Gobbi, a three-way on Frietis Cherry, and a three-way on Talmage. Now going north a three-way on Stanley, Smith, Henry, Scott, Norton, Clara, and Ford a four-way at Low Gap, a three-way at Magnolia Street next Big O, and then a three-way on Garret, and lastly a four-way on Ford.

With the extra stop signs the traffic will definitely slow down. People might not like it, and wind up on the freeway (but that is what an ex mayor told me that was what the city wanted). Stupid. Downtown has always complained about the lack of parking, so someone comes up with the idea of taking six parking spots away, three in front of the courthouse, and three in front of Mac Nabs, Rainforest Fantasy, and Ukiah Trophies. Just to put in a MTA bus stop so thousands of riders a day, week, or maybe a year have a place to get on board. Whoever came up with this idea needs to quit sneaking over to McGarvey Park to light up a bong, lay on the grass and look at the clouds for ideas without calling us to join in, might be the best thing we get from the city.

Robert MacDougall



To the Editor:

I would like to add my enthusiastic voice of support to the Downtown Streetscape Improvement Plan. I have walked and biked in our community for my entire adult life, and can see nothing but positive results once this plan is implemented.

Specifically, I look forward to being able to cross State Street without feeling like it is a life-threatening experience. I believe that easier crossings will integrate more of the east side businesses into our increasingly pleasant and walkable downtown. I think wider sidewalks and room for attractive street furniture (and maybe even sculptures!!!) will benefit businesses and pedestrians alike by attracting more people to get out of their cars, walk farther and linger to chat, eat and visit our locally owned shops.

I know that change and the disruption that comes with it is hard for many to embrace, but I hope you will be able to see this one through to a speedy completion.

Laura Fogg


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by Jim Shields

On a recent “60 Minutes” program, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said something that in effect nullified the county’s marijuana ordinance.

Allman responding to the interviewer’s question about why law enforcement doesn’t arrest unlicensed growers whose product is presumably pipelined to the black market, explained that “If I took someone in front of a jury for growing 1,000 plants illegally — no permits, no anything — I am telling you there is no way in hell I’m gonna get a conviction on cultivation of marijuana. Marijuana on its face is part of our social fabric. But if that same grower was stealing water and using pesticides and rodenticides and taking water from the river, that jury’s going to hang them.”

So according to the Sheriff, the approximate 90 percent of cultivators who have ignored Mendocino County’s mess of a cannabis ordinance are free to continue in their non-compliance mode as long the don’t commit environmental crimes or illegally divert water for their grows.

Given the total chaos the county has created with its beached whale of a pot ordinance, I can’t argue with his logic.

I know one thing, if I were a grower I’d make sure that I was in compliance with all of the state’s resource regulations, and I definitely would not illegally divert water, but I would not go anywhere near the county’s pot program.

It’s time for the county to repeal its unworkable, convoluted, patchwork of a weed ordinance and leave it to the professionals at the state level to deal with ganja regulating.

PUC Investigating PG&E Power Shutoffs

You might say it’s better late than never, but the normally inert California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) finally took some positive action this Wednesday, Nov. 13, when they voted unanimously to order an investigation into the planned blackouts by PG&E and other utilities that left millions without electricity over a series of power shutoffs in October.

The PUC voted 5-0 to initiate “an investigation into whether California’s investor-owned electric utilities prioritized safety and complied with the Commission’s regulations and requirements with respect to their late 2019 Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events,” according to a PUC statement.

The inquiry will “investigate whether California’s investor owned utilities’ actions to de-energize their electric facilities during hazardous weather conditions properly balance the need to provide reliable service with public safety.”

“It is important for the CPUC to determine if the utilities complied with using Public Safety Power Shut-offs as a last resort, and to collect the knowledge gained towards any revisions needed for next year,” said Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma. “It is essential that our protocols and the utilities’ practices provide the best service and protections for customers in the face of wildfires.”

The investor-owned utilities include PG&E, which shut off power for hundreds of thousands of homes and business during four distinct, massive-scale outage events in October, as well as Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

The vote allows the historically lax regulatory commission to formally proceed with an investigation ordered by PUC President Marybel Batjer. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who appointed Batjer to her position in July, has also called for the PUC to investigate the planned blackouts by investor-owned utilities like PG&E.

The formal investigation (called an Order Instituting Investigation) will assess whether the state’s investor-owned electric utilities properly balanced the need to provide safe and reliable service when planning and executing their recent PSPS events. In the first phase of the proceeding, the CPUC’s Safety and Enforcement Division will oversee an evaluation of the utilities’ actions prior to, during, and after the PSPS events that occurred in late 2019. The evaluation will include the quality of the utilities’ internal coordination, situational awareness, external communication, and pre-planning and execution for the PSPS events. The results of the Safety and Enforcement Division’s investigation will be presented in a public report.

The “D” Word

So here’s the latest weather outlook, and it’s not positive.

According to the Drought Monitor, just three months ago 4.32% of California was listed as abnormally dry. Now almost one-fifth of California is either abnormally dry or in moderate drought, as of the end of October. It’s abnormally dry in portions of the eastern part of the state south of Lake Tahoe, and in the central Sierra.

The Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service says that a “drought development is likely” for most of Northern California and the Central Valley, not to mention the southern half of the state.

In a L.A Times story this week, Bill Patzert, a retired climatologist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said drought is all in your definition. Although the reservoirs are generally pretty full, he says he looks at conditions in the wildlands and forests, and after almost no rain for the last seven months, “It’s not just dry, it’s incendiary.”

Falls are likely to be drier because of climate change, Patzert said. And we’re undoubtedly warmer than the average for the last 30 years, but a lot of that is due to suburban sprawl and the urban heat island, he said.

Forecasts for November are predicting warmer-than-normal weather in all of California, and drier-than-normal conditions in most of Northern and Central California. It is the northern Sierra Nevada that serves as a water bank for the state, where snow piles up at high elevations through the winter, then gradually melts and replenishes the state’s reservoirs as warmer weather arrives in the high country with the spring and summer months.

This natural storage system can be thrown badly out of whack if warm storms drop rain at high elevations, causing the snowpack to melt too quickly and pose a risk of flooding.

According to the National Weather Service, both El Niño and La Niña rain events are stuck in neutral.

When you combine all of the predictions for a drier — perhaps a much drier — late fall-early winter with high risk threat fire conditions, you don’t need a crystal ball to see more PSPS events in the near future.

And that is not good news.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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TED WILLIAMS has only been Supervisor for a year, but already he could give how-to lessons about the job. He brings an energy to the position that hasn't been seen in years around here, if ever. Fully informed, Williams is direct and unafraid to ask questions of the CEO and department heads as his colleagues sit mute. I hope Williams' energy doesn't flag; he sets a brisk pace. He also seems to have galvanized Supervisor Gjerde, although Gjerde's recent awakening may simply be due to being opposed by Lindy Peters for re-election. But after years of arrogant incompetence occupying the 5th District seat, Williams is truly a breath of fresh air, pardon the cliche.

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by Steve D’Agati

The Fieldbrook Stump with 60 Little Sprouts on it (Ericson Collection, Humboldt State University)

Steve D’Agati, a Freshwater resident tells us how he was inspired by an article posted on Redheaded Blackbelt to bring back a living Fieldbrook Giant to Humboldt County:

I knew about the historic tree…

David Heller’s story, A Fieldbrook Giant and the Astor Dining Table was a major break tracking this story down; and by doing so, he brought a living legacy back to Humboldt.

You may remember his August article posted here at the Redheaded Blackbelt: In 1896, one of the largest-ever known redwood trees in the world was unceremoniously cut down just outside the small town of Fieldbrook. Known as the Fieldbrook Giant from where it grew, or the Fieldbrook Stump after it was cut, it was a redwood the world would marvel over after hearing of its untimely demise.

The cutting of the Fieldbrook Giant captured the world’s imagination in newspaper stories from California to Europe. Redwoods were widely known throughout the world by this time, and the public was either enamored or dismayed by the falling of the Fieldbrook Giant. The base of the tree measured a colossal 32 to 35 feet across in diameter, and details of the tree’s age, height and circumference varied widely in sensationalist reports.

The Fieldbrook Giant was felled so a huge crosscut section of the tree—weighing in at 13 tons – could be shipped to England for the William Astor estate.

Drawing of the Astor Slab cut from the Fieldbrook Giant (San Francisco Call, January 15, 1899)

Supposedly William made a drunken bet that ‘trees in California were so large he could make a table seating 20 people around it.’ As the alleged story grew further, ‘the dining table sat 49 people’ around its tremendously wide girth and with space to spare.

William Astor, however, said the ostentatious story was untrue—and, demanding retractions, he’d sue any newspaper repeating it. Nonetheless, the weighty slab had been shipped from Humboldt to San Francisco, sailed around the Cape Horn to New York, freighted to London over two days, and arduously hauled up the Thames by a team of 16 horses to the Astor Estate. The slab now sits at the former Astor garden in Cliveden, now part of the National Trust. Surprisingly enough, there is also a crosscut section of the Fieldbrook tree locally on display – in Eureka at the Blue Ox Millworks.

Blue Ox’s Crosscut section of the Fieldbrook Giant. [Image from the Blue Ox]

I’d heard the rumor about the tree, too. Someone, many years ago, located the Fieldbrook Giant and extracted its still-living tissue. Through David Heller’s story, I found this was not only true, but the article contained the exact information I needed: David Milarch, a fourth-generation arborist, found the tree, extracted living cells or cuttings from its basal roots or shoots, and propagated clones of the Giant in his Michigan lab.

Milarch’s company, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, finds, preserves, and propagates what they term rare ‘champion trees.’ A former biker, ex-heavy drinker, and nearly dead from renal failure on the operating table before being brought back to life, Milarch’s mission now is to preserve the genetics of these ancient old growth trees in “living libraries” before they disappear forever. The Giant was one of his missions. In fact, it was his very first cloning experiment.

Having David Heller’s information in hand, I contacted the Archangel company.

One of the cloned saplings ready for planting (Archangel Ancient Tree Archive)

Their website doesn’t readily indicate they give or sell any of their trees away to the public and their business model is unusual to say the least. But at least I had a lead.

An online search indicated the Fieldbrook Giant (or Stump, whichever you like), never made its way back to Humboldt. Had no one done this before? Talking to many residents of Fieldbrook, some remembered playing on the stump when they were young and now bringing their children and grandchildren to play on it, too. They were completely surprised to find out it still lives — albeit in clone form, and in Michigan.

I asked the Archangel company if they would send me the Fieldbrook clone. I assured them we had the right growing conditions and made the strong case of it coming home.

I waited. I contacted the company again several times. I heard very little, if anything, in reply. It just wasn’t looking good.

Then, in a sudden confirmation phone call, I was told they would indeed send a Giant clone.

It would be at the end of October, their only delivery window for shipping. I’d have to pay a small amount for Michigan inspection and treatment and the FedEx shipping. I’d have to be on the porch when delivery came, immediately take the tree out of the shipping box and give it some water, and promptly transplant it into the ground or a larger container. I readily agreed.

Then, almost haphazardly, I thought I’d go for broke. “Could you send me five trees?” I politely asked, the amount they said the state inspector would allow without getting too cranky. I thought this dicey last-ditch effort would nix things entirely. Apparently, it didn’t. Yes, they would.

“Get them into the ground and give them life,” Don Smith, the company volunteer, told me.

The five little trees arrived two weeks ago. Alive and well.

The Fieldbrook Giant– minus 1,750 years– returning home (Photo by Steve D’Agati)

They certainly didn’t look like behemoths. The 18-inch trees came in a packing container filled with Styrofoam peanuts and small air holes punched into the sides. ‘Live Trees’ were emblazoned on the box along with the State Inspector’s required paperwork.

I carefully took them out of the box, noticing their main stems were attached to supporting sticks and the fragile branches delicately taped for shipment. They were in surprisingly good shape. I brought them over to the barn for some water and slowly acclimatize them to natural sunlight. The following day I transplanted them into larger pots.

It’s taken the Archangel company 2 ½ years to grow these small trees from micro-cuttings to their 18” size. It will take another 1,750 years for them to grow as large as the original Giant did. I don’t think any of us will be around.

A label of ‘Stump’ authenticity (Steve D’Agati)

So now what? Where will these trees go?

Here’s the idea: I would like one of the trees returning to Fieldbrook. That’s very important. I’m looking for an individual or organization with a suitable site who would like it—and a place where the Fieldbrook community can see it. I haven’t decided on a spot yet. Do you know of one?

Another tree has been accepted by an exceptional organization in Eureka that I hope you will hear more about soon. [Note: the Blue Ox Millworks accepted the care of one clone this last Wednesday.*]

Steve D’Agati hands one of the seedlings to Eric Hollenbeck of Blue Ox Millworks. [Photo provided by Steve D’Agati from Blue Ox Millworks]

And still another will grow at an undisclosed location in Freshwater. As for the other two trees, I’m still undecided. I’m not sure where they will go.

Think of it. 120 years after being cut down and thought to be gone forever, The Fieldbrook Giant is back by a miracle of modern science. It’s almost like something out of Jurassic Park.

Thanks to David Heller’s story in the Redheaded Blackbelt, The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, and simple persistence, the Fieldbrook Giant (or Stump, whichever name you prefer) has returned,…I believe, for the first time to Humboldt County. Coming full circle, this wouldn’t have happened if not for this.

I thought the readers of Redheaded Blackbelt should be among the first to hear about this.

If you have any helpful suggestions or comments, please leave a reply. I would like hearing it.

Thank you,

Steve D’Agati

Note: Steve D’Agati told Kym Kemp:

Eric [Hollenbeck of Blue Ox Millworks] also said he has the original saw used to cut the Giant down up in his rafters. It is quite the saw to see. It’s 20 feet long and was custom-made for the tree by the Holmes Lumber Company’s machine shop specifically for the Vance Lumber Company. It blew me away to hear he had the actual saw. Eric said it’s most likely it took two sawyers working 10-hour days for one week or more to fell the tree, and they may have used dynamite inserted into the tree to initially weaken its fibers for easier cutting and felling.

Eric also told of the unusual transport of the slab to Blue Ox in his truck. He called the police for help because the slab overflowed five feet in each direction from the bed of his truck (affectionately named ‘Ophelia Bump’) and wasn’t sure how he was going to drive through town. He was sternly told by the police, “Don’t move! STAY RIGHT THERE!” Eric thought he was going to get busted for sure. He was worried. He was relieved to find out that they were giving him two police escorts instead, one in the front, the other in the back, all the way to Blue Ox. You gotta love small town Humboldt back in the day…


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Question: Do you use or know of a good "life alert" type system (a pendent or watch that you wear and press if you have fallen and can't get up) that works well in Anderson Valley? Please let me know so I can share this info with our members and the rest of the community.

Below is a link to all of the calendar events for the next two weeks that are hosted by The Anderson Valley Village as well as events in our community at large. Plenty to keep you busy! Note: We try to maintain this calendar as events change, especially AV Village events. Other events listed here are subject to change without notice so contact the particular organization or venue for the latest information.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us:

Anica Williams, 707-684-9829

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At Tuesday's board meeting, we review the budget with $5.4 million carried forward from last year, available for highest priorities.

When you combine the growth in reserves with the story that Mendocino County has taken numerous steps to curtail future pension costs, eliminate its retiree healthcare costs, and secure new funding for County roads and other infrastructure, there is really no dispute that Mendocino County is in a substantially better financial position than at any other time in a generation.

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THE MENDOCINO COUNTY CLIMATE ACTION Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda for the November 21, 2019, meeting is now available on the County website:

Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

Supervisor Dan Gjerde adds:

Here is a list of the MCCAAC members showing the staggered terms for each member of the Climate Action Advisory Committee.

District 1 (Terms Expire December 31 of listed year): Cathy Monroe (2020), Macadam Lojowsky (2021), John Mickerson (2022)

District 2: Raul Gardea (2020), Susan Sher (2021), Jade Swor (2022)

District 3: Walter Smith (2020), Javier Silva (2021), Ellen Drell (2022)

District 4: Tess Albin-Smith (2020), Michael Potts (2021), Marie Jones (2022)

District 5: Jennifer Mayne (2020), Shai Larson (2021), Patrick Hentschel (2022)

Background information on the committee members was posted online with the board of supervisor's agenda at the time of their appointment. These 15 members were appointed at five board of supervisor meetings: August 6, 20 and 27; and October 1 and 22.

Climate Action Agenda:

“Committee Matters”

3a) Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Selection of Interim Chair

3b) Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Brown Act Regulations and Other Legal Requirements

3c) Introduction of Meeting Facilitators and Purpose Thereof

3d) Introduction of All Members, Interests, Skills and Areas of Expertise

3e) Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Review of Foundation Documents and Relevant Questions to Consider

3f) Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Future Pre-Meeting Preparations and Expectations

3g) Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Development of Future Meeting Agendas

3h) Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Selection of Future Meeting Dates

* * *

THE LOW COST BUENO YABBELOW MUSIC SERIES, hosted by the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, is back!

It has been a rough fall for northern California, hasn’t it? If you could use some TLC administered by the sounds of classical guitar, with and without a beautiful vocal, then please join us for our one and only fall event “A Bard Meets a Guitar.” Grammy-winning guitarist Manuel Barrueco and Grammy-winning singer, Tony Arnold, will be on hand, richly assisted by a studio of their top students, the next generation of talents who hail from the US and abroad, including Spain and Latin America. We will also have a surprise appearance by a local favorite and his colleague (Hint: Might have had something to do with a… silent musical…?), and the emerging composer fellows enrolled in GLFCAM. As always, our musicians are warm and generous, happy to tell a tale or two in a space where they can actually see each member of the audience (instead of playing to an anonymous blackened-out theater.)

You are very warmly invited!

Sunday, November 24th, 7pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)

Anderson Valley High School Cafeteria

$10 at the door

Free for 18 and under; students of AV High and their families

For more information, please visit

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* * *



I have lived in Fairfax for 55 years on top of the hill, which is not an ideal place for the less young — 93 years old in my case.

During the recent power outage my neighbors gave me their time and concern. I have seen my neighbors growing from babyhood to adulthood and they are now busy with their own lives, but that didn’t stop them. We may not see or speak to each other during the weeks or months, but I am grateful we got to know each other and appreciate the value of a good neighborhood.

Thank you, dear neighbors.

Yvonne Beller


* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, November 17, 2019

Anderson, Braziel, England

BRIAN ANDERSON, Fort Bragg. Battery, probation revocation.


ERIC ENGLAND, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Fowler, Harbour, Hernandez-Lopez

CAREY FOWLER, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license.

CLINT HARBOUR, Willits. Leaded cane or similar, probation revocataion.


James, Joaquin, Linde-Carnes

SHANNON JAMES, Willits. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

DAVID JOAQUIN, Covelo. Attempted murder, burglary, vandalism, felon-addict with firearm, parole violation.

MALIA LINDE-CARNES, Willits. Paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.

McCann, Mora, Phinezz

ROBERT MCCANN, Willits. Stolen vehicle, probation revocation.

PABLO MORA, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

ALICIA PHINEZZ, Ukiah. Under influence.

Richards, Reeves, Sanchez, Viale


CECELIA REEVES, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

ROBERT VIALE, Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, petty theft with priors, paraphernalia.

* * *


Dear Editor,

I am a citizen of Hong Kong, writing about the recent protest in Hong Kong and requesting your help.

Protests of anti extradition law bill and anti-police brutality has been taken place in Hong Kong for 5 months. The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) was being increasingly brutal, using unreasonable force and weapons against the protestors. The HKSAR government was still turning a blind eye towards the protestors' demand, as well as the improper behaviours of the police. Seeing how our freedom of speech deprived gradually, we are angry and helpless.

At the moment, the police are trapping hundreds of protestors in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). The protestors have no way to leave because the police have blocked all the exits and are arresting people who left the PolyU. Meanwhile, the protestors are suffering a shortage of supply. Some of them are injured but failed to receive proper medical treatment. Comparing with the force of the police, that of the protestors is asymmetrical. What they are facing is not just being arrested, but also threats to their lives.

We do not know what will happen to the protestors. This is a repression, and may even turn into a massacre. May you please investigate the issue and report about it. Increasing people's awareness of the Hong Kong Protest will definitely help. If you have any doubts, please feel free to contact me. I would do anything possible to help.


Xenia Yip

Hong Kong

* * *


* * *

* * *



Another day, another school shooting — an event that occurs with such numbing frequency that the phrase “school shooting” has merited a Wikipedia entry. These tragedies expose one of the most intractable of the manifold divisions that are tearing apart our country. Simply put, there are too many people who are more concerned about protecting unfettered access to guns of any kind than they are about protecting children.

Major news organizations’ coverage of the latest of these attacks confirmed this reality. MSNBC and CNN focused on the problem of our gun culture and the fact that adults are failing our kids. Fox News stressed the need to arm school personnel and to train them in the use of those weapons. This would suggest that the answer to the problem of too many guns is, of course, more guns.

Mark Wardlaw

Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *


The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
I crossed the line

I was not caught
Though many tried
I live among you
Well disguised

I had to leave
My life behind
I dug some graves
You’ll never find

The story’s told
With facts and lies
I have a name
But nevermind

The war was lost
The treaty signed

There’s truth that lives
And truth that dies
I don’t know which
So nevermind

Your victory
Was so complete
Some among you
Thought to keep

A record of
Our little lives
The clothes we wore
Our spoons, our knives

The games of luck
Our soldiers played
The stones we cut
The songs we made

Our law of peace
Which understands
A husband leads
A wife commands

And all of this
Expressions of
The sweet indifference
Some call love

The high indifference
Some call fate
But we had names
More intimate

Names so deep and
Names so true
They’re blood to me
They’re dust to you

There is no need
That this survive
There’s truth that lives
And truth that dies

I live the life
I left behind

There’s truth that lives
And truth that dies
I don’t know which
So nevermind

I could not kill
The way you kill
I could not hate
I tried I failed

You turned me in
At least you tried
You side with them
Whom you despise

This was your heart
This swarm of flies
This was once your mouth
This bowl of lies

You serve them well
I’m not surprised
You’re of their kin
You’re of their kind

I had to leave my life behind
The story’s told

With facts and lies
You own the world
So nevermind


I live the life
I left behind
I live it full
I live it wide

Through layers of time
You can’t divide
My woman’s here
My children too

Their graves are safe
From ghosts like you
In places deep
With roots entwined
I live the life I left behind

The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
I crossed the line

I was not caught
Though many tried
I live among you
Well disguised

— Leonard Cohen, Patrick Leonard

* * *

* * *


He held up a book then. "I'm going to read it to you." "Does it have any sports in it?" "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Pain. Death. Brave men. Cowardly men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles." "Sounds okay," I said and I kind of closed my eyes.

The recording of last night's Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here:

Paula Glessner (I hope I have the name right) and her mostly silent partner showed up with a box of thousands of tiny sculptures, archeological evidence of a culture of Girl Scouts in what's now the American Georgia. And they spread them out on the table and talked about what they all mean. I can't sum it up quickly and do it justice, but it's about the sign of the giant chicken, a campground outhouse, a spirit journey across the continent in a van with a big dog, and a wicker flying saucer with five blue eyes. And you can too.

Besides all that, at you can find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:

I love this kind of animated graph. Here, as you watch this, what year does it get to before you realize you don't know who half of these people are, much less what their famous song is or what they even sound like, or who they just got divorced from to get back together with whom? (See? Whom.) (Say that: whom. Whom.) (Just keep saying it. You sound like Laurie Anderson, who is not shown on the graph.)

A short clip from the surprisingly historically accurate documentary film Flying Saucers Over Istanbul. It amazes me that this sort of thing is going on all around us all the time, the truth is out there, and it's pushed to the back burner as all the media can think of to plaster everywhere is the noteworthy but vastly less significant discoloration of Trump's wattles by his rancid racist lies and the black blood, or perhaps it's child-slave-produced Hershey's syrup, seeping out of the pentagram on his skin-suit forehead, mixing with the lies and continuing on below, creating a world-permeating narcissistic effluvium of eldritch doom. A little of that goes a long way.

And bless you. (via Everlasting Blort)

Marco McClean,,

* * *



  1. Marco McClean November 18, 2019

    Web editor, I see I carelessly left dated text in the template I use to start my radio show email list letters. If it’s a hassle then just leave it as is, and I appreciate your posting it, and it ain’t the end of the world, but if it’s no trouble please reach in and remove this text:

    Pre-Armistice Day Sale (2019-11-08)

    Thanks again for your paper and your hard work.


  2. James Marmon November 18, 2019

    Kaeperdick showed his ass again Saturday by not showing up to the NFL’s workout. Besides not being able to throw, he also has a screw loose.


    • Bruce Anderson November 18, 2019

      For a guy who’s blackballed by the County of Mendo, you oughta be more sympathetic to a fellow blackball-ee. The NFL will now use Kap’s failure to appear before their scouts as a reason to continue non-personing the guy.

      • James Marmon November 18, 2019


        • Lazarus November 18, 2019

          Kap looked puffy to me, perhaps a little out of shape and the media drama did not go as he planned.
          I wondered after all that how much he really wants it, or is this just another publicity stunt. When Jim Harbaugh was the coach he seemed ok when Harbaugh left, he and the team went in the tank…
          As ole Jerry Glanville said, the NFL stands for, “Not For Long”…
          As always,

    • Professor Cosmos November 18, 2019

      You just completely destroyed your credibility as an observer: we saw him make many throws!

      The public seeing him make these throws was the main point of him changing the venue. Many teams have deficits with people on the injured list…hope he gets picked up.

      • George Hollister November 18, 2019

        I can only think of one game where Kaepernick consistently threw the ball accurately. That game was likely a fluke. He’s not that good, or someone would have picked him up. Remember too, Kaepernick was the one who opted out of his contract with SF. Then no one offered him an option, including SF. I have to assume Kaepernick is sincere, in which case he is delusional about his abilities.

        My suggestion for Kap is try Canada. And whatever happens there, no one can say it has anything to do with his ability to kneel or stand. If he’s good, every team there should want him.

        • Stephen Rosenthal November 18, 2019

          I’ve seen him throw accurately in more than one game, George. Otherwise I agree with your overall assessment of Kaepernick. I always tend to side with the millionaire players over the billionaire owners, but I understand not wanting to take on the distracting circus that would come with signing Kaepernick. Not only did he opt out of his $14 million contract with the 49ers, he rejected a reported $6-8 million contract with the Broncos after opting out. To his credit, Jed York was very accommodating of Kaepernick during the whole brouhaha; I suspect much more so than any other NFL owner would have been. A stint in the Canadian Football League is a great idea, but I doubt Kaepernick would consider it. Not enough money and not enough exposure. Another alternative would be as a backup on the Baltimore Ravens, reuniting him with his former 49er Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. Don’t see it happening, though.

    • Marco McClean November 18, 2019

      Thanks. The speed of light: not just a good idea; it’s the law.

  3. Craig Stehr November 18, 2019

    Meanwhile, at The Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley, California…

    ~Eight Awakenings of Great Beings~
    All buddhas are great beings. What great beings practice is called the eight awakenings. Practicing these awakenings is the basis for nirvana. This is the last teaching of our original teacher Shakymuni Buddha, which he gave on the night he entered pari-nirvana.
    The first awakening is to have few desires. To refrain from widely coveting the objects of the five sense desires is called “few desires”.

    – Eihei Dogen (1200-1253) (Founder of Soto Zen Buddhism)

  4. Lazarus November 18, 2019


    Go home Jane, just go home.

    As always,

  5. George Hollister November 18, 2019

    Lowell Cohn was the best sports writer in the Bay Area during the time he wrote for the PD. (No one has come along any better since he retired, either.) This is what he wrote about Kaepernick in his last year with the 49ers. Kaepernick had been benched and replaced with Blaine Gabbert. Cohn had Kaepernick pegged. He predicted exactly what Kaepernick would do, play the victim.

    “There’s more. Kaepernick is competing to be the 49ers starting quarterback with Blaine Gabbert. Think about this. Sports has many bad clichés. A top one is: “Don’t lose your focus.” A variant is: “Don’t get distracted.””

    “Of course, when the 49ers get rid of him next week, Kaepernick will say, “It’s not because of my play. It’s because I took a political stance.””

    “On one pass he hit a Bears linebacker in the back of the helmet. This was a beauty of the silly-pass genre. His running back Shaun Draughn, a pretty good receiver, was running downfield. The linebacker ran after Draughn. The linebacker was not looking at the ball. Draughn was open. Clunk. Ball to the helmet. What a surprise.
    On another throw, tight end Vance McDonald was open deep. Kaepernick overthrew him by about a mile. No touch on long passes.
    And then Chip Kelly benched Kaepernick. Benched him for that other guy, poor Blaine Gabbert. At which point, Kaepernick’s stock went into the dumper. His value disintegrated.
    Which means the 49ers may have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Cue the laugh track here. No controversy exists when neither quarterback should be a starter. It’s questionable either should play in the league.
    In case you are a Kaepernick supporter — one of the few remaining — he has the worst completion percentage among qualifying quarterbacks. Ranks 32nd. Lives in the basement of the house where he wants the condo, sleeps next to the coal furnace and the old discarded mattresses.
    Some will say I write this stuff about Kaepernick because I am a hater. “Hater” is a frequently-used internet word. I hope I’m not a hater. But I sure am a sports writer, one who has covered the 49ers for 37 years. And I know the genuine article and I know a fraud —“

    • Jim Armstrong November 19, 2019

      Lowell Cohn is where he should have always been, retired and silent.
      The huge majority of his output was about his favorite subject: Himself.

  6. Jeff McMullin November 18, 2019

    George, I agree with you that Lowell was and is a great sports writer. He is in my great 3 NFL writers for the Chron with Ira miller and Glenn Dickey. I miss them all.
    Lowell’s son Grant has blossomed into a real NFL seer himself. Should be the Chron’s lead writer, too good for the PD.

    • Stephen Rosenthal November 18, 2019

      “ Should be the Chron’s lead writer, too good for the PD.” Actually too good for either. Should write for The Athletic.

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