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MCT: Saturday, July 18, 2020

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TYPICALLY HOT AND DRY CONDITIONS will continue throughout the interior for the next week, with cool and periodically cloudy conditions along the coast. (NWS)

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(photo by Carston Butters)

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Due to Recent COVID-19 Surge and Forthcoming Placement on the Statewide County Monitoring List

Post Date: 07/17/2020 3:43 PM

On July 13, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health announced a new State Order with restrictions that apply to ALL 58 counties for bars, restaurants and other indoor business operations as part of statewide actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Following the announcement, Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan issued revised orders aligning our local orders with the new statewide restrictions requiring all bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries to close all operations (except that they may only operate if offering sit-down, outdoor, dine-in meals) and requiring closure of indoor operations in all of the following sectors: 

  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food
  • Wineries and tasting rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Family entertainment centers (Example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
  • Zoos and museums
  • Cardrooms

The Governor and State Public Health Officer have also directed counties that have remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days to close indoor operations in additional sectors due to risk factors, which are exacerbated in indoor spaces where groups convene and mix (or where there is close contact) for prolonged periods of time. Based on the recent surge in Mendocino County cases and hospitalizations, it is likely the County will be added to the Monitoring List. In response, Dr. Doohan issued a revised order today, July 17, 2020, which will become effective at 11:59 p.m., next Friday, July 24, in anticipation of the State adding Mendocino County to the County Monitoring List. The deferred effective date is to provide businesses with time to prepare for the anticipated mandatory closures of indoor operations in these additional sectors. If the State requires County closures sooner than Friday, July 24, 2020, we will promptly update the public through a press release and revised orders.

The revised order effective, Friday, July 24, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., will require the following industries to shut down unless they can be modified to operate outside (under a canopy or other sun shelter for sufficient air movement) or by pick-up: 

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Places of Worship and cultural ceremonies, like weddings and funerals
  • Offices for non-essential sectors
  • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Indoor shopping malls

Dr. Doohan, Mendocino County Health Officer stated, “for six months the County and our partners have been tirelessly preparing for the inevitable arrival of COVID-19 in our rural county. We have flattened the curve and slowed the spread and given the hospitals and clinics and health care partners the time to prepare, now the virus is here and we must respond with strength and wisdom based on fact and science. Our placement on the State monitoring list is imminent and in order to retain local control, I am choosing to act ahead of the Governor by imposing the State monitoring list restrictions on Mendocino County.”

The Health Order is posted online at The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents and businesses to closely read the order and follow it.

For more on COVID-19:

Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email

The call center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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A 2nd COVID case was discovered among the Co-op staff late yesterday [Friday, July 17]. Our general manager has been working with the public health department and local officials to determine next steps. They will issue a joint press release later today. The Co-op will remain closed for the next few days. Please check back for details.

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Post Date: 07/17/2020 7:23 PM

Mendocino County regrets to confirm our 2nd death in the county due to COVID-19. A Mendocino County resident, passed away at the age of 63 at Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing Facility in Fort Bragg on July 16, 2020, after testing positive for COVID-19 on July 8, 2020. The individual had underlying health conditions, increasing the likelihood of complications due to contracting COVID-19. Mendocino County is deeply saddened by his passing, and will remember his life fondly alongside his family and community.

Regarding the recent outbreak of COVID-19 at Sherwood Oaks, Dr. Noemi Doohan commented, “My heart goes out to the family and I’m saddened to hear this news. We have been working with our Skilled Nursing Facility including weekly meetings for months to prepare for outbreaks in our Skilled Nursing Homes. There has now been 13 cases from the Sherwood Oaks outbreak. Sherwood Oaks has done an exemplary job responding to this tragic situation which has been occurring all across the county and in our region despite our efforts to slow the spread of this virus. We will continue to work closely with our Skilled Nursing Homes to respond and fight these outbreaks in our most vulnerable populations.”

This announcement comes during an unprecedented surge of COVID-19 in our County, as we have seen an additional 72 cases during the last week alone.

At the time of release for of the COVID-19 Update, Mendocino County COVID-19 statistics are as follows: 

  • 185 total cases 
  • 73 currently in isolation
  • 9 currently hospitalized (between all three hospitals)
  • 3 in ICU
  • 2 Deaths
  • 123 in quarantine
  • 98 cases have recovered 

Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan continues to align local health orders with the state, in order to best protect county residents in the weeks ahead. Today, July 17, 2020, Dr. Doohan issued a revised Health Order which will become effective at 11:59 p.m., next Friday, July 24, in anticipation of the State adding Mendocino County to the County Monitoring List. The deferred effective date is to provide businesses with time to prepare for the anticipated mandatory closures of indoor operations in additional business sectors. If the State requires County closures sooner than Friday, July 24, 2020, we will promptly update the public through a press release and revised orders. The Health Order is posted online at The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents and businesses to closely read the order and follow it.

Due to individuals presenting for testing at surveillance testing locations, such as OptumServe with symptoms of COVID-19 and/or identifying as close contacts of a known positive case, Dr. Doohan requires the assistance of surveillance testing staff to help serve the blanket isolation and quarantine orders so that persons suspected of having COVID-19 or who are close contacts are educated and responsible for preventing further community transmission of this illness. Public Health will be issuing a revised Advisory and Blanket Isolation and Quarantine Orders on Monday, July 20, 2020, to direct all COVID-19 surveillance testing staff to: 

disseminate blanket isolation orders to all persons being tested (or who present for testing) for COVID-19 who disclose they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, i.e., Flu-like symptoms; Sore throat; Coughing; Shortness of breath; Subjective fever or temperature of 100.0F or greater; Sudden loss of taste or smell 

disseminate blanket quarantine orders to all persons who present for testing for COVID-19 who disclose they believe they are a close contact of a COVID-19 case (such as a household member or being close than 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes).

Surveillance testing staff are directed to fill out and sign the "Documentation of Service" identifying the individual served with the order, the individual's address and phone number, and demonstrating that the individual verbally confirmed their understanding the length of time they are required to isolate or quarantine. In the case of Isolation, the Documentation of Service identifies that the isolation period lasts for 10 days after presenting for testing with COVID-19 symptoms. In the case of Quarantine, the Documentation of Service identifies that the quarantine period should be completed 14 days after the individual presented for testing OR 14 days after their last close contact, (whichever is later) and explains that only Public Health can release quarantine sooner (and only if County Public Health is able to verify an earlier date of the last close contact). 

With cases rising rapidly, personal responsibility is key. Maintain 6 feet between yourself and others outside of your household, and do not host or attend gatherings of any size. If you feel sick, stay home. Wear a facial covering at all times when in public to protect others. Remember, gatherings are not permitted in any size, as they have been known to help spread this virus.

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Fundraiser for Mendocino Icon Larry Fuentes Home/Art Studio Fire Fund

Iconic Mendocino artist Larry Fuente’s home and art studio were tragically destroyed in a fire on Friday, July 3. Nationally known for his elaborately adorned assemblage sculptures, Larry lost much of his life’s work in the devastating fire.

We send our condolences to Larry as we reflect on the magnitude of this loss within our local and national art community. Please join the Mendocino Art Center’s board, staff, artists and volunteers in support of Larry – donations at any level are greatly appreciated!

Help us reach our $10,000 goal!

Fundraiser through GoFundMe:

The Mendocino Art Center hosted Larry’s exhibition, “New World Hoarder,” August/September 2019.

Mendocino Art Center

Update (photos by Philip Stewart):

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by Chace Beech

Three churches in Northern California, including two in Mendocino County, have filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom, claiming a ban on singing in places of worship — implemented to help stem the spread of the coronvirus — violates their 1st Amendment rights.

"Singing in church is a biblical mandate," said Kevin Green, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Fort Bragg.

Churches, like all facilities in the state deemed nonessential, were closed in March amid the governor's stay-at-home orders at the beginning of the pandemic. But as restrictions were eased and more sectors of the economy reopened, houses of worship were allowed to welcome worshipers, beginning in May, provided they adhered to health and safety protocols, which limited attendance and, at the time, discouraged singing.

Since then, however, as the virus has surged across the state and Newsom enacted a second shutdown in much of California, the governor further tamped down on acceptable activities at church, specifying that "places of worship must ... discontinue indoor singing and chanting activities."

The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Redding, focuses on Newsom's support of recent Black Lives Matter protests, many of which were prompted by the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police. The plaintiffs — Green's church, along with Calvary Chapel in Ukiah and the River of Life Church in Oroville — say the governor has protected protesters' freedom of expression, but not that of churchgoers.

"It's the inconsistency," Green said.

"He wasn't singling out the church until he got to that singing thing," he said of the governor's latest orders, issued July 6. "When a man is that inconsistent, I can't believe him, and that's why we filed the suit."

The lawsuit argues that Newsom has specifically targeted churches as spaces where singing and chanting are not allowed, but he hasn't placed the same restrictions on other locations that remain open, such as shopping malls, child-care centers, and TV and film production locations.

"Banning singing in California churches is an unconstitutional abuse of power, and to do it in the name of a pandemic is despicable," said Jordan Sekulow, one of the plaintiffs, whose father, Jay Sekulow, is a member of President Trump's legal team. "This ban is clearly targeted at religion."

Court records cite the governor's endorsement of the recent Black Lives Matter protests as an example of his inconsistency when it comes to freedom of speech and crowds gathering, noting that "on or about June 5, 2020, Newsom tweeted that protesters 'have the right to protest peacefully,' showing further support of mass protests."

Tens of thousands have turned out across California to protest and other Black Americans at the hands of police, many singing and chanting together as they marched in recent weeks. Some demonstrations even turned into giant dance parties.

Such disparities prompted the suit, which notes that singing is an integral part of church services.

"According to sincerely held religious beliefs and the commands of the Bible, plaintiffs hold weekly worship services that consist of various forms of worship, including singing, prayer, recitation of Scripture and a sermon preached by the pastor," the document states.

The governor's office could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. The new guidance, released by the California Department of Public Health, notes that singing indoors can lead to an increase in coronavirus infection, even when proper social distancing is practiced.

Researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the virus spreads through respiratory aerosols, which can float beyond six feet — the recommended distance to maintain to avoid spreading the disease. While singing, people are often breathing more deeply than they normally would, inhaling more of the air around them, further enhancing the risk of infection.

The lawsuit is not the first filed by places of worship against Newsom. In April, three Southern California churches sued Newsom and other state officials, arguing that stay-at-home orders that forced their closure violate the 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion and assembly. Later that month, a small evangelical church in Lodi filed a similar lawsuit, saying that a ban on gatherings was unconstitutional.

In late May, however, just days before Newsom relaxed restrictions that allowed houses of worship to reopen, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the governor's ban on in-person church services.

"We're dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure. In the words of Justice Robert Jackson, if a '[c]ourt does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact,' " the justices wrote in a split decision on May 22.

Neither Mendocino County — where the two Calvary Chapel churches are located — nor Butte County, where the River of Life Church is, is currently on the state's watchlist, which contains more than 30 counties facing extended restrictions from the state, including the closure of indoor church services.

But on Wednesday evening, Mendocino County officials announced the first coronavirus-related death and said it was likely the county would be added to the monitoring list in the next 48 hours. Because of that Dr. Noemi Doohan, the county's public health officer, issued a revised order requiring the additional shutdown of indoor activities, including places of worship.

Green posted a notice on Calvary Chapel's Facebook page, saying, "Due to Mendocino County orders, Calvary Chapel Fort Bragg will be suspending all public meetings once again until further notice.

"We will go back to live streaming our services again."

(courtesy Los Angeles Times)

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November 7, 1924 — July 13, 2020

Paul Revere Burns, age 95 passed away on Monday, July 13, 2020 at his home in Hopland, CA. In spite of the various mistakes recorded on his birth certificate, his mother verified that he was born, the eighth child of 13, to Malachi Burns and Carrie Verdel Ryder, in Hope, New Mexico on November 7, 1924. His family, eventually moved to Bernalillo, New Mexico, when he was 11 years old, where he met Iva Marie Mitchell. They married on February 9, 1946 at the Baptist Church in Bernalillo, after he returned from service in the United States Army, in WWII.

He enjoyed retelling stories of his time in the service and his tour of duty through the South Pacific. When he returned, he moved with Marie to Richmond and he opened a furniture store with his brother. Eventually, he learned the trade of saw filer and then he moved to Johnsondale, CA to work in the mill. He was known throughout Northern California for his skills in the sawmill. 

He settled his family, in Anderson Valley where he and Marie raised their children, Paula, Ronnie and Loyce. He was also on the school board, operated a sheep ranch and continued his work as a saw filer. 

In 1969, Paul, along with his wife Marie, began a home for children with special needs, Circle B Ranch, in Redwood Valley. He was a strong Christian leader in his family, and the community, serving on the board of Deep Valley Christian School for many years, and as a Gideon for the remainder of his life, 55 years. He believed in God and the power of prayer. He welcomed family and visitors into his home and entertained them on his harmonica for many enjoyable evenings. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, and 12 brothers and sisters, his wife Marie, and his son Ronnie. He is survived by his brother-in-law, Jack Sparks, sister-in-law Sue Burns, his daughter Paula Burns-Heron and husband John Heron and their children, Barbara, Douglas, Lisa, Phoebe, Rachael, Corrie, Joseph, Jonathan, Benjamin, Elizabeth and Meghan; his daughter-in-law Lee, and her children, Paul, Heather, Isaac, Nathan and Joel; his daughter Loyce and her children, Sandra, Graeme and Jessi and 41 great grandchildren and 4 great, great grandchildren. 

He will be profoundly missed by all who knew him. A viewing will be held at Eversole Mortuary in Ukiah, California on Friday, July 24 from 2 to 8 pm. Graveside services will be at Boonville Cemetery on Saturday, July 25 at 10 am.

Memorial donations may be made to the Gideons International, c/o Paula Burns-Heron, P.O. Box 156, Redwood Valley, CA 95470. 

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I have decided to run for another term on the Fort Bragg City Council. Denis and I debated back and forth, and concluded we can’t leave the City in major crises and hope my experience on the Council will help us survive the economic calamity facing us right now. As public servants, we sacrifice a lot of time and energy for our community. It’s certainly not as easy as I imagined back in 2016.

We made a lot of progress in the last few years and our planning for the future and then came Covid, social unrest, and economic devastation. While we made immediate decisions to counter the blows to our General Fund, we must now navigate this uncertainty thoughtfully and carefully. We have a very competent City Council and a great City Manager right now and with all our skills leading the way, I am confident we will make it through this most difficult time for our City. It will take all of us involved and focused on economic and social recovery and growth for the people of Fort Bragg. 

We are proud to have adopted a balanced budget 2 years in a row; hired an amazing City Manager; City Attorney; and Chief Of Police; completing the largest public works project in the history of Fort Bragg - Wastewater Treatment Plant at $18 million; developing the Mill Site Reuse Plan and LCP; Millions in grants; 60 units of housing with Danco; facilitated thousands of Covid 19 tests locally and many many other projects. 

I am very pleased that our Vice Mayor Bernie Norvell has also agreed to run for another term as well.

Thank you for your trust and your support. Public service is one of the greatest vocations, and God willing, I hope to continue as long as I can because I really love this City and the great people of Fort Bragg!

Will Lee, Fort Bragg

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OTHER NOTES from MSP, Mendo's breaking news center, include the possible departure of FB City manager, Tabatha Miller, which would be a big loss for the town. She's done a truly impressive job picking up the pieces from the previous administration. Also, the Hospitality Center's Carla Harris is apparently out as boss.

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"POT RAID GOING IN IN BOONVILLE AREA? (Late Friday afternoon) 'Cops chasing dudes through canyons and pot gardens and cop trucks and all - I saw this as I was leaving Boonville... Lots of cops whatever’s going on.'"

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(photo by Annie Kalantarian)

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FROM MENDO UNIFIED: Pandemic Schooling Update

"MUSD Parents,

The District reopening committee met often in June to break down the California Department of Public Health and California Department of Education guidance on what schools might look like in the fall. In addition, I have been meeting weekly with other Superintendents in the county as well as our County Public Health Department. 

We are planning on a flexible hybrid model of schooling to start the school year, which is a combination of site-based, in-person schooling coupled with a distance-learning component. This model will allow us to shift to additional distance learning or site-based learning in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation. In order to meet the guidelines for distancing in schools, we are anticipating that students will be split into two groups and will attend school on-site two days/week and distance learning the other three days. Students will be expected to engage in school and will be held accountable for all five days of the week. Here is an example of a possible schedule: 

Monday – Group A (minimum day)

Tuesday – Group A (minimum day)

Wednesday – Deeper cleaning of the schools, small groups/tutorials, distance learning connections

Thursday – Group B (minimum day)

Friday – Group B (minimum day)

- All K-8 classrooms will be self-contained (one teacher teaches all subject areas) and MHS students will have 3 scheduled classes per semester with a yearlong online class.

- Lunches at the K-8 would be served in the classroom and MHS would be served bag lunches at brunch. MHS will have a closed campus.

- Transportation – Busses will operate and students will be assigned seats as per CDE guidelines and required to wear masks during the bus ride.

- In the event that we will be required to return to full-time distance learning, parents and students will need to identify which method (paper packets or online) they prefer. Students will be held accountable for all distance learning. 

- No decision has been made regarding fall sports from the North Coast Section.

- School staff are currently tackling the scheduling of classes and logistics of dividing students into two groups.

 Health and Safety

- Health Screening – Parents will receive information about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and will be asked to screen students at home before sending them to school. Students would then be screened again at school before entering the building or classroom. Students who exhibit signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent home.

- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Students and staff will be required to wear an approved facial covering all day at school. In addition, the school has received thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, over one thousand facial coverings and gloves, and has ordered additional handwashing stations.

- Parents will be asked to remain in their vehicles during drop off times and will only be allowed in the main offices if absolutely necessary.

- Volunteers and visitors will not be permitted on campuses and indoor facility use for community groups will be put on hold. 

Parents were surveyed in June regarding distance learning and this hybrid model and that information was taken into account in the development of this plan. As always, parents are welcome to provide input or feedback. Please contact me at or 937-5868. 

In planning for the school year, parents should realize that the amount of on-site and distance learning could change as we respond to COVID-19. 

Stay safe this summer and “Mask Up Mendo!”

Mendocino Unified Superintendent Jason Morse

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by Mark Scaramella

This curious Closed Session Item appeared on the Supes agenda for next Tuesday:

Item 9b: “Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.8 - Conference with Real Property Negotiator - Property: APN 184-044-10-00, and Physical Address. 131 Whitmore Lane, Ukiah CA. Agency Negotiators: Carmel J. Angelo, Janelle Rau, and Darcie Antle. Under negotiation: Property Acquisition, Price and Terms.”

THIS is the “Alternate Care Facility” for quarantine and isolation that was originally leased for about $32k/month a couple of months ago but has not been used — yet. Lately there has been some informal mention of it being used to temporarily house infected or exposed inmates coming to Mendo from San Quentin on early release. There has also been discussion of staffing it, in part, with volunteers, particularly bilingual volunteers. But no staffing budget has been discussed in any formal budget meetings. Now the County seems to be considering buying the property outriight. 

It’s listed as “for sale” on with a total assessed value of almost $1.5 million:

“The building is single story. It has 39 units in a U-shaped configuration and two nurses’ stations. Shared sink and toilet facilities are located between all of the patient units. Of the four community shower rooms, one has been converted to a storage area. Adequate dining and activity rooms are available. There are two interior courtyards and a large, paved side yard on the south side of the property. An approximate 800 square foot detached building is utilized for storage and maintenance. The kitchen and laundry areas seem to be well equipped.”

According to another website it was purchased by the current Modesto-based medico facility owners for $700k in 2008. It has reportedly undergone several hundred thousand dollars in improvements since then. 

Back in May when the County leased it they also talked about making several hundred thousand dollars worth of additional modifications and improvements to make it usable as an isolation ward. It’s possible that the cost of those improvements has caused the County to consider outright purchase of the building since the combined cost of lease and improvements may be more than the facility is worth.

At the time of the lease, CEO Angelo said that the building was “ready to go now that work has been completed to re-establish utility services and ensure full functionality and that an after-the-fact authorization to establish a Capital Improvement Project for that work will be brought to the board at a forthcoming meeting.”

NEIGHBORS OF THE STILL-CONTROVERSIAL ASPHALT PLANT in the Black Bart Trail area near the top of the Willits Grade are going back to out-of-Mendo court again to appeal the Board’s approval of the plant’s operation and Mendo is planning to defend its decision with expensive outside counsel plus $85k for the Planning Department designated for the appeal:

Consent Calendar Item 4e:

“Approval of Second Retroactive Amendment to Board of Supervisors Agreement No. 19-240 with Thomas Law Group In the Amount of $280,000, for a New Agreement Amount of $365,000, to Provide Legal Services Related to Keep The Code, Inc., v. County of Mendocino (Mendocino Superior Court Case No. SCUK-CVPT-12-60196), Effective March 1, 2020, Through June 30, 2021; and Approval of Corresponding Request for Appropriation-Revision of Funds to Increase Planning Special Projects, Budget Unit 2852, Org Code PS 826184 in the Amount of $85,000 and PS 862239 in the Amount of $85,000.”

ALSO ON TUESDAY the Board plans to officially appoint a new Health Officer in Closed Session, after which some big announcement will be made. Rumor has it that a local doctor will be hired.

A CONSENT CALENDAR ITEM 4b on Tuesday proposes: 

“Disband the Climate Action Ad Hoc Committee Comprised of Supervisors Williams and McCowen, Formed on April 16, 2019 (Sponsor: Supervisor McCowen)”

It will be interesting to see if the nearly dormant Climate Action Committee of 15 appointed locals comes up in conjunction with the Climate Action Ad Hoc Committee (their only function was to lobby the creation of the useless committee and try to appoint Alicia Bales as its well-paid director. After Gjerde and Williams disagreed, the budget was reduced to about $8k (still a waste), and Ms. Bales was hired at KZYX. (As far as we can tell the committee has met a few times but they haven’t done much besides gab about irrelevant, silly or impractical ideas and organize themsevles with bylaws and agendas and minutes.)

THE MEASURE B COMMITTEE is asking the Board to approve $430 for weed work at the County-owned parcel next door to Camille Schraeder’s Mental Health operation on Orchard Avenue in Ukiah. What’s next? A $42.72 request for paper towels and disinfectant for when/if the Measure B Committee meets in person?

“Approval of Use of Measure B Capital Facilities Funds in the Amount of $430 for Sonoma Sweeper’s, Inc. to Provide One-Time Landscaping Maintenance at the Proposed Location of the Measure B Crisis Residential Treatment Facility Located at 632 South Orchard Avenue, Ukiah, as Recommended by the Mental Health Treatment Act Citizen’s Oversight Committee”

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HENDY WOODS: Good news! The general area of the water system leak has been located and staff is working to isolate the problem. Day Use will continue to be open and camping may be able to resume next week, but the decision on that will await more information. Here's what the Navarro River near Big Hendy Grove looked like early last week. 

SPEAKING of Hendy, I took a long look at the Navarro from the road on the Greenwood Bridge, but it was so murky I couldn't gage the depth from up top, but from appearances it would seem to be deep enough, and apparently is deep enough since no one's died jumping into it from the bridge. I was tempted myself but wasn't dressed for it, and have never cared for forty-foot drops ever since "abandon ship drill" when I was a gyrene. We lined up to walk off a diving board into the deep end of a pool at Camp Pendleton, fully clothed, left arm curled up and around the crotch. stepping off without looking down, a long drop, long enough to sting the bottoms of your feet through your boots when you hit water. Coupla guys hesitated and were shoved off, one of them hitting the water spread-eagle knocking himself out, to great guffaws all-round. 

MAJOR EXCITEMENT in Fort Bragg today with the grand opening of a downtown donut shop. Lots of reviews on social media, most good, although a couple of gourmets had some texture quibbles, and a couple more killjoys complained that some of the people lined up down the street didn't appear to be socially-distanced, as if the self-appointed covid cops knew for a fact the alleged violators were not families or conscientious pod-pals. 

STILL AND ALL, Fort Bragg donuts are up against Mendo's finest, the Boonville Donut, sold exclusively at the Redwood Drive-in, the classic no-frills American donut. 

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Skunk Spray Odor Remover:

  • 1 Quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Liquid Soap (Dawn liquid dish detergent works best)

You may have to lather up your pet more than once. The peroxide and baking soda neutralize the odor, the soap removes the oil that holds the smell. Be careful though, this solution might bleach hair and deck wood or other materials. It was developed by a chemistry professor at Humboldt State College in Arcata.

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Candidate filing for Special Districts and School/College Districts began Monday July 13 and will continue through August 7, 2020 according to Assessor-County Clerk Recorder Katrina Bartolomie.

We are trying to do as much of the candidate forms via email and the USPS to reduce the in-person filing. Appointments can be made for those who would prefer to come into our office.

Please call or email our office for additional information or to receive an Application for Declaration of Candidacy at 707 234-6819 or

(County Clerk’s Office Presser)

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Face masks continue to be available for those that need them; that would be any that don't fit snugly around the nose, cheeks and chin. 

For those around you please consider a mask replacement if: 

* Your mask has a one-way vent that exhausts your breath out to everyone else.

* Most bandanna face masks are not snug around the chin and let your breath out through the bottom, and the fabric is too thin to be protective of others. 

* Many people are wearing sagging, drooping and just poor fitting masks.

* Most fabric masks that are commercially sold at stores are not the minimum of 2 layers of cotton. A single layer of synthetic knit does not protect others. 

* Large people need L, XL or XXL masks, children don't fit in adult size masks.

Anderson Valley Mask Makers are willing to assist. Please contact me by private message, call my local land line at XXX-3249 or comment here.

Anyone who wishes to contribute cash may, the funds will go towards supplies.

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Today and tomorrow (7/17 and 7/18) we will be making hamburgers, veggie burgers and portobello burgers with all the fixin's to order! Call in (707 894-9456) or come down and pick up the best burgers in town. In our deli case we have salads, deviled eggs, and a batch of delicious chicken enchiladas ready for you to grab and go. We also have cottage pies, and sausage with peppers and polenta in our freezer.

Enjoy the beautiful summer weekend!


Lisa Walsh

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Construction Update – July 18 – July 24

Trenching and replacement of water lines will continue over the next 3-4 weeks between Church Street and Henry Street; then the crews will shift to the south end of the project between Mill and Church. 

Pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained at all times. Please note that, while we make our best effort to forecast construction impacts, this is inherently messy work that is subject to change based on conditions in “the field.”

Where will the work occur? 

Replacement of water lines and other related construction activities will occur on State Street between Church and Henry Streets.

What are the construction days/hours? 

Next week’s construction days/hours are scheduled for Monday-Friday, 5:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Will there be night work? 

No. There is no night work scheduled this week.

Will there be dust and noise? 

Yes. There will be ongoing dust and noise due to the water line trenching and truck and equipment activity in the construction area.

Will there be any disruptions to parking access or streets?

Yes. Through traffic will be maintained on State Street, but will be reduced to two lanes with limitations to parking on South State Street between Church and Henry Streets.

• Portions of State Street between Church and Henry Streets will be closed this week in the early morning from 5:30 a.m. - 7 a.m.

• Perkins Street will remain open this week

• Standley is expected to reopen Tuesday, July 21st or Wednesday, July 22nd

• Smith and Henry Street will be closed this week

More information can be found online on the City’s website at, or follow our Facebook page for updates and photos at

If you have any specific questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly. Have a great weekend!

Shannon Riley

Deputy City Manager

City of Ukiah

300 Seminary Avenue

Ukiah, California 95482

w: (707) 467-5793

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 17, 2020

Bowman, Chavez, Chavez-Chavez

JENNIFER BOWMAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

REINA CHAVEZ, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, battery on peace officer, resisting.

YOVANI CHAVEZ-CHAVEZ, Riverbank/Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, criminal threats.

Cook, Southern, Endan

CANDACE COOK, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

STEVE COUTHREN, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).

CALEN ENDRAN, Cape Coral, Florida/Ukiah. DUI.

Horn, Marrufo, McKee, McOsker

SHAWN HORN, Ukiah. Felon-addict with firearm, vandalism, probation revocation.

NATHAN MARRUFO, Stewarts Point/Gualala. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

BRUCE MCKEE, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, no license.

JEREMIAH MCOSKER, Ukiah. Under influence, county parole violation.

Piceno, Russell, Sharp

SOPHIA PICENO, Ukiah. Vandalism, probation revocation.

MATTHEW RUSSELL, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

DONALD SHARP, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, transportation, paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.

* * *


by Janet Balicki

It almost seems unbelievable, an heiress converted into a revolutionary terrorist? But in 1974, Patty Hearst’s shocking transformation from a Berkeley co-ed to a radical bank robber grabbed front page headlines. The story of Hearst and her kidnappers-turned-comrades is interesting enough, but it also has a Sonoma County connection.

One of Hearst’s captors was Nancy Ling Perry, a Santa Rosa native who graduated from Montgomery High School and taught Sunday school at her local church. Born Nancy Ling to a middle-class family, Perry was a good student who campaigned for Republican Barry Goldwater in her teen years.

After high school she left Santa Rosa and attended Whittier College and UC Berkeley, it was there that she became interested in prison reform and her beliefs turned radical. She had a failed marriage with jazz musician Gilbert Perry, experimented with drugs and became a topless blackjack dealer in San Francisco.

She became romantically involved with escaped prisoner Donald DeFreeze in the early 1970s and formed the Symbionese Liberation Army with him and other Berkeley activists.

Unified under the mission of improving the lives of disenfranchised groups across the nation, their goals were admirable at first but soon turned deadly. They murdered two people, robbed banks and committed other criminal acts.

In February 1974, they kidnapped Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of newspaper tycoon William Randolf Hearst. As part of her ransom, they convinced the Hearst family to donate over a million dollars for food distribution to the needy.

One of the four pickup sites was in Santa Rosa at the Christian Life Center, now the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. The gesture was highly publicized and inadequately executed. On March 27, 1974, several hundred area residents were still standing in line when the food supplies ran out. At some locations there was even rioting.

While Hearst’s family met her captors’ demands, the 19-year-old “freed” debutante shockingly announced to her parents that she would not be coming back. She joined the SLA, took the name “Tania” and was present at the April 15, 1974, robbery of Hibernia Bank in San Francisco.

On May 17, 1974, six members of the SLA including Ling Perry and DeFreeze were killed in a shootout with police at a residential home in Los Angeles.

The group went on after that. Hearst drove the getaway car for the Crocker National Bank robbery in Carmichael in 1975. The feds caught up to Hearst and four others shortly thereafter. Hearst’s kidnapping is widely regarded as a case of Stockholm Syndrome, and she was fully pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001.

upper: Willie Wolfe, Nancy Ling Perry, Patricia Mizmoon Soltysik
middle: Bill Harris, Patricia Hearst, Donald Cinque DeFreeze
bottom: Emily Harris, Angela Atwood, Camilla Hall

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *


In a dangerous authoritarian move, federal agents in camo and without badges are rounding up American citizens

* * *


Blaming the calamity that has been on the make for a few generations now on the orange man seems silly to me. The problems in this land are far larger than a single unlikely chief executive and his greatest faults are shown in his inability to change course, not his inability to maintain it.

His few good ideas were the ones which were a large departure from business as usual in the post-WW2 era and they were the ones most kneecapped by the power centers and administrators.

We are staring down the barrel of strife and hardship here at home, perhaps made into ethnic strife thanks to the rise of Wokeness and the victory the critical theory that forms the core of it in the universities and, now, the other power centers.

His incompetence is a real fact but I believe it hardly matters relative the full picture. The most competent man alive wouldn’t have been able to keep the Titanic from sinking after it had already hit the iceberg.

The tragicomedy is larger than suburbia, after all.

* * *


by Manuel Vicent 

Translated by Louis S. Bedrock 

If one day, after many years, you decide to return to the sea of your childhood, you should realize that the sea has not forgotten you. Like a family mirror that retains on its surface the complete evolution of your face through your entire life, so is the sea, a substantial form, always the same, always different; blending into your consciousness as you observe it, as you sit on the dock of the bay that Otis Redding sang about. 

You're that kid who is, at this moment, building castles in the sand and who cries when they are knocked down again and again, without understanding that this is the first lesson of history. You are that boy who struggled furiously against the entire sea in an extremely rugged fight—as if swimming were a principle. 

The vanity of that insolent, youthful body is still on the beach: the vanity that made you feel like the horses that used to paw the surf; and when the surf crashed against their bodies, it would cover them with foam. 

"Free man, you will always love the sea," says a verse of Baudelaire. During the times of the dictatorship, only the sea was liberty. You remember the morning when you were on the beach and the belfry of the oratory sounded, summoning the faithful to mass. That was the moment when you decided that the sea, which at that time was so very pure, so very blue, also was a true god with aroma of salt, and that embracing it under the light of mid-afternoon was a more religious act than kneeling before a confessor who threatened you with hell during the peak of the summer's glory. 

After many years, no matter how many circles you have woven around the world, the sea will always retain you in its memory and, in spite of your falls from grace, it will never condemn you. 

At the end of the confinement imposed by the plague, during your reunion with the sea, while you are sitting on the dock of the bay, you will notice at that very moment a ship that is sailing away. It is possible that, as part of its cargo, it is carrying the memory of that remote happiness as well as the spirit of the struggle in a war that was lost before it had begun. 

* * *


Lyman Alvinson Rundell in mining-themed shirt, circa 1855

* * *


by James Kunstler

Baluchitherium. Gone but not forgotten.

The Covid-19 virus itself didn’t run the United States into a ditch but it exposed the weakness and rot in the nation’s drive-train, and now all of us passengers on that disabled bus must decide whether to stay helplessly inside the smoldering wreckage arguing over who’s to blame, or begin a long, uncertain march down the road on our own two feet to a place of new arrangements.

In 1918, the country was lashed by a far deadlier pandemic disease at the same time it was fighting a world war, and daily life barely missed a step. The economy then was emphatically one of production, not the mere consumption of things made elsewhere in the world (exchanged for US IOUs), nor of tanning parlors, nail salons, streaming services, and Pilates studios. The economy was a mix of large, medium, and small enterprises, not just floundering giants, especially in the retail commerce of goods. We lived distributed in towns, cities not-yet-overgrown, and a distinctly rural landscape devoted to rural activities — not the vast demolition derby of entropic suburbia that has no future as a human habitat. Banking was only five percent of the economy, not the bloated matrix of rackets now swollen to more than forty percent of so-called GDP. Government at the federal and state levels was miniscule compared to the suffocating, parasitic leviathan it is now.

What happened? Like Hemingway’s old quip about a man going broke slowly and then all-at-once, we allowed everything in American life to creep into hapless giantism too cumbersome to adapt to new conditions, and suddenly conditions have changed. And now it’s all coming apart: the dying chain stores, the giant zombie companies that can only exist by borrowing money to buy back their own stocks, the auto-makers who have run out of lending schemes for non-creditworthy customers, the shale oil fracking companies that could never make a red cent, the agri-biz farmers grown morbidly obese on a diet of credit and government subsidies (just like their end-customers grew obese on engineered snack-foods), the Wall Street lords of financialization hypothecating fortunes by leveraging the stripped assets of everything not nailed down from sea to shining sea, the swelling underclass conditioned to helplessness, addiction, and vice, the inescapable ambient tyranny of media hype, propaganda, and disinformation, and, of course, the catastrophe that government has become.

Get this: none of these things now wobbling and staggering will be resurrected. They’re all going extinct, like the Baluchitherium of the Oligocene. To keep propping them up — as the Federal Reserve sedulously props up financial markets — will only promote the illusion that we don’t have to move on and conduct daily human life differently. A worldwide contraction was already underway before Covid-19 stepped onstage. The contraction was sending a very loud and clear message: gigantism went as far as it could go and now it’s up to the smaller and nimbler to carry on. Beware the promises of the sclerotic authorities asking you to remain in thrall to them — and dependent on them.

Expect these authorities to screw up even the next big exercise in their own franchise: the 2020 election. It will be the climax to a season of political hysteria and will complete the chapter of our history that left us on that smoldering big bus in the ditch. The scramble away from that disaster scene will be frightful and desperate. No matter who ends up in control of the government — or pretends to be — the same forces of contraction and decomplexifying will actually rule and you will have to act accordingly.

Many people will seek to escape the places they live now to find new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. These demographic movements are already underway. New York City is hemorrhaging much of its tax base as the wealthy flee, Chicago too, and the whole state of California. These places will be overwhelmed by functional bankruptcy, even if legal legerdemain allows them to avoid declaring it. Other states, counties and municipalities — including many suburban blobs — will also founder, meaning all the usual support systems and safety nets vanish. Many supply chains will break. Money may either be scarce or worthless, which are two ways of going broke.

Right now, start planning where you might go and what you can do. The turmoil will be filled with opportunity to find ways to be useful to other people, to devise work-arounds for ruptured systems and relationships, in getting food to people, making things they need, distributing them, fixing things that are broken where possible, and moving people and stuff from point A to point B. There will be plenty of work for people who are willing to do it. Keep in mind that it’s entirely up to you to make good choices.

Don’t despair, and if you find yourself veering toward it, get over yourself. It’s just part of becoming stronger than you thought you could be, and the times will require it of you anyway. The offices that gave out brownie points for avouched victimhood will also be shutting down. Won’t that be a relief? Welcome to the joyful illumination that life is difficult for everybody. Who is ready for this epic journey?

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

* * *


by William Grimes

See George Will's satirical video on "progressives" in America seeking changes in names of people and places because of the (newly-found) assault on their feelings, the offensiveness of so many words we "traditional" Americans have taken for granted, and of their, these progressive's as Will labels them, unhappiness with America and he suggests, with themselves.

I have one more very objectionable name that must be changed, one Mr. Will somehow overlooked. If I were an African American, Hispanic, or Asian with skin not white enough I'd be leading the charge for immediate change. Many of white color would (and will?) happily join them. 

It's the name of a building. A house actually. With a bombshell of a name in these days of Will’s progressives, these days when those claiming to know a more perfect union are just getting started to remake America word-by word and name-by name, the easy stuff first. It’s…

The White House: This name is totally wrong, offensive, a daily reminder of white, Caucasian, supremacy in our great land. The term has nothing to do with the color of the paint on the house where our presidents live. Not in the progressives mind. It means skin color, like in white supremacists. After all we've had 45 presidents and though only one has been non-Caucasian the name offends those caring, sensitive white progressives--and all those of a different skin color. No empathy. No caring about their feelings, self-ascribed victims in this white nation.

The name must be changed.

 I tried to come up with a more fair and balanced word. Taking the white out of the house. But most come out "fake," just not finding the right word. Perhaps you can help make a better name. If you and we don't someone else soon will.

Here's what I came up with. Began with color. Gray, The Gray House didn't do it---that would mean old which would upset the progressives and those with black, brown, yellow, and red skins. Rust? The Rust House is a no-starter. Sounds corrosive, like ruin happening--white progressives would kill it. “Beaver” shown in online site as an illustration of mixed colors: shades of black and brown and a tint of yellow but The Beaver House might suggest other thoughts that women of all colors might feel very offended by. So many to find so much to be offended by. Maybe Chestnut. The Chestnut House. But chestnuts are small and presidents are large and anyway chestnuts have their cultural niche in being roasted at Christmas time---oops sorry to use the word Christmas----separation of state and religion---and our presidents are roasted enough by the media. Maybe Tan, The Tan House, works best but somehow it suggests a passive, unimaginative color, lacks the giddy-up our presidents' residence needs.

How about a word combining color and metal, lustrous metal indeed. I’m thinking The Gold House or The Silver House, both representing value, strength, and attraction. Yep, but exploitation comes to mind, and even the hurt to nature by mining these beutiful materials. Won’t do. 

So I think I've exhausted the colors that might substitute for White in The White House. But maybe people's names could be the answer. Could do King for MLK. The King House. No way, we killed the monarchical system, yes? And the red states would go wild. Which includes, or precludes The Queen House. Just kidding, of course. 

Mr. Will suggested San Francisco be changed to Nancy Pelosi City because religious names of saints go against the First Amendment which relates to the separation of church and state. There are dozens of such cities and towns with the name of a Catholic saint and all must be changed. I see a new career opening up, a sort of ad agency enterprise that will create new jobs for those college grads who majored in Liberal Arts. And a number of new words will have to be created to satisfy progressives' demands for a truly fair United States of America. 

Bring it on.

Yet I’m not through yet. Maybe The America House, though the word "America" was derived from the name of Spanish explorer and map maker, Americus Vespucci, who was a citizen of the nation that raped and plundered South America. Afraid that'll never do. Which by the way means Columbus, the Ohio city, and Columbus Square and Avenue in NYC must have name changes. Christoper was a colonizer for his employer nation, Spain again. Maybe Franklin. The Franklin House. But he was too white and his very name calls to our mind his affiliation and affection for Paris and all things French. I'd be a progressive and work to veto this recommendation. The Great Alexander, Hamilton of course. The Hamilton House. But the play and now streaming soon to you carries too much baggage. Is it pro black? Is it too black? Seems so. Finally since the world sport is now soccer—-where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?—-Maybe The Soccer House. No, I give up. Too frivolous.

My limited creative wordsmanship is exhausted. Did I say words-man--ship. Forgive me, women. Wordpersonship, and don’t forget it. My bad.

* * *

* * *


Freedom of the press is one of the foundations upon which America was born. That said, those freedoms are under attack here in 2020.

Intentional attacks or detainments of reporters and members of the press in the United States in 2020 have increased significantly, particularly during the nationwide anti-racism protests, according to the US Press Freedom Tracker, the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

During recent protests reporters have been hit by rubber bullets, struck with batons, sprayed with tear gas, and detained, all while performing their critical role of documenting and informing the public of current events. 

Senator Mike McGuire introduced SB 629, which will enhance and extend access and protections to members of the media who are attending demonstrations in order to gather vital information.

“Members of the press risk their personal health and safety each time they attend protests or rallies to get the public the information they need and deserve. Rubber bullets, tear gas, and even detainment cannot be the new norm for an essential pillar of our nation’s democracy. California must lead the way to ensure the right of the press and the First Amendment are protected and held to the highest standard,” Senator McGuire said. “SB 629 - The Press Freedom Act - will help ensure journalists can perform these critical roles while being protected under the law from any law enforcement officer intentionally assaulting, obstructing or interfering with their duties while they are gathering the news.” 

SB 629 - the Press Freedom Act - will ensure that journalists are protected as they attend demonstrations, marches, protests, and rallies. It will prohibit law enforcement officers from obstructing, detaining, assaulting or otherwise preventing the press from fulfilling their constitutional mandate in reporting on these events by making it a misdemeanor for any peace officer to do so. 

Recent police action demonstrates that these statutory protections are critical to ensure our democratic system has access to newsworthy information to inform the discussion on the crucial issues that California and the nation face.

During protests throughout California in May, numerous reporters were injured during incidents with law enforcement. 

For example, a reporter for KCRW, a Santa Monica NPR affiliate, was reporting at Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue when she was hit by a rubber bullet. She was holding her press badge above her head at the time. 

A Buzzfeed News reporter was detained by the Santa Monica Police while documenting a protest. 

A KPIX CBS affiliate reporter was detained by law enforcement while reporting on protests in Oakland. 

A San Diego Union-Tribune reporter was shot with pepper balls while he was documenting protests in La Mesa.

While California law allows reporters and members of the press to enter natural disaster emergency areas for the purpose of gathering information, these protections do not expressly extend to protests. SB 629 provides these protections.

The legislation is supported by the California News Publisher’s Association, The California Broadcasters Association, California Black Media, Impremedia, Ethnic Media Services and the First Amendment Coalition. 

The legislation is co-authored by: Senators Hertzberg, Hill, Wiener, Gonzalez, Portantino and Skinner and Assemblymember Wicks.

SB 629 will be heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee in the coming weeks. 

(Presser from Senator McGuire’s office)

* * *

(photo by Susie de Castro)

* * *


From: [Lake County] Sheriff Mack <> 

Subject: re: my last email... 

Date: July 17, 2020 at 10:23:09 AM PDT 



Hey Betsy,

Sheriff Mack here and I need your help...

As you probably know, there's so much craziness going on in the US and around the world right now.

 Because of this, it's time for We The People to stand up for our rights!

I'm working on creating a 6 Week CSPOA Specialist Class that you can take online with me.

 You'll get to learn about the freedoms that are guaranteed to us in the Constitution and what to do about the tyranny going on right now with the government!

 I'll be teaching a specific topic each week, as well as answering questions from the group.

 I'll be sharing things such as:

Applying The US Constitution To Today's Society How To Create True Police Reform (The Constitution Is The Best De-escalation Training)

How To Create A Constitutional County In Your Area Case In Point; Would Your Sheriff Have Arrested Rosa Parks? What Does A Real Constitutional Sheriff Do?

The reason I need your help is because I'd like to know what YOU would want to learn about!

 You may want to learn about something specifically that my team and I haven't thought of.

 We created a quick survey, which you can see here...

It's a simple survey hosted through Google Forms.

I'd really appreciate it if you would complete it to let me know what you might be interested in learning.

 And if you'd like to take this class with me and a few select others, you can let us know in the survey also.

 Here's the link to complete it.>

 I'll be sharing more with you soon.

Thank you, Sheriff Mack

P.S. Because time is critical, we want to get this virtual class started ASAP.

 If you could help us out by filling out this survey, I would really appreciate it.

 It will only take a couple minutes.

Here's the link to it...

* * *

'THE TRUNK MURDERESS': The forgotten tale of California's first black widow killer

by Katie Dowd

Emma LeDoux, the Trunk Murderess, in her prison mugshot. LeDoux was convicted of murdering her second husband and stuffing him in a trunk bound for San Francisco. The image is courtesy of the Haggin Museum in Stockton.

(Photo Courtesy of the Haggin Museum)

* * *

When the 4 o’clock train to San Francisco pulled away from Stockton station on March 24, 1906, a large trunk was left behind on the platform. A check of the trunk showed no tags, so the station workers dragged the heavy case to the baggage room.

By half past 8, they noticed an odor filling the room. One worker commented he’d smelled a decomposing body before; it smelled just like the trunk. They went straight to the police.

An officer soon arrived with a chisel. He pried off the lock and popped the trunk open. The first thing he saw were two bare feet.

Folded into the large piece of luggage, fully dressed except for his shoes and socks, was the body of a dead man.

Police summoned the delivery boy who’d brought the truck to the station. The boy told them he was hired by a female guest at the California Hotel. The proprietor of the hotel was brought in to identify the body. She referenced the guestbook to confirm his name: Albert N. McVicar, who had checked in to room 97 a few days prior with his wife. The wife was gone, but in the room was a critical item she’d left behind in her haste. Inside a forgotten valise was a photograph of a woman. She was striking, with her pale skin, dark hair and arched brows.

A description was wired to every town in the Bay Area. On March 26, police found her in Antioch. When they asked Mrs. McVicar to come with them, she shot back, “My name is Mrs. LeDoux.”

They already had a body in a trunk. But this was their first hint that there was something exceptionally strange about their suspect, Emma LeDoux.

* * *

Emma married for the first time when she was 16, but it didn’t last long. She divorced in 1898 and then married a miner named William Williams. Emma and William moved to Arizona where, in 1902, she regretted to inform their families he had died. Luckily for Emma, he’d left her a $10,000 life insurance payout. That sum — and his cause of death, gastroenteritis — would soon take on a suspicious pallor.

Two months after William died, Emma married Albert McVicar in Bisbee, Ariz. He was apparently besotted with his young bride, but Emma wasn’t as keen. They stayed married, but Emma moved back in with her mother in Amador County. Back in California, Emma got busy finding new paramours. She flirted with Jean LeDoux of Woodland, and then met Joseph Healy, a plumber in San Francisco, who she also courted. She got engaged to both, for good measure.

In August of 1905, Emma and Jean LeDoux were wed. Unbeknownst to LeDoux, his new wife was now a bigamist.

For six months, Emma was married to two men. For six months, she wondered how to solve this problem. And after months of plotting, this is the comically terrible plan she formulated:

First, she asked McVicar to join her in California; prosecutors later speculated she framed it as a reconciliation between man and wife. He arrived in Northern California in early March 1906, and the pair enjoyed trips to San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. On the second-to-last day of McVicar’s life, he and Emma went furniture shopping. They picked out a few items and asked the salesman to have them shipped to their new home in Tuolumne County.

They went back to their hotel in Stockton, where Emma dosed McVicar with enough morphine to kill 10 men. In the morning, with his body still in the room, she ran a series of errands. She returned to the furniture store to ask if the shipment could be changed. She wanted it sent to Jean LeDoux instead. She also purchased a large trunk, which she had sent to the hotel. After stuffing her dead husband into it, she paid a delivery boy to take it to the train station. Everything was done using her real name.

The trunk gone and the furniture sorted, Emma left the city — but not before buying herself a new hat for $8. Two days later, police arrested her. The press was already calling her "the Trunk Murderess."

* * *

Emma was preternaturally cool under pressure, but she was not a gifted liar. She admitted to police she’d been present during the murder of her husband. The real killer, though, was an acquaintance named “Joe Miller,” who poisoned McVicar with carbolic acid in order to steal the remainder of Emma’s $10,000. Panicked by the death of her husband, Emma said she agreed to help Joe cover up the crime. Police put out a half-hearted APB for Joe Miller, dubious he even existed. He didn’t.

  • In court, Emma and her lawyers switched tactics. They argued McVicar had forced Emma into a life of prostitution and drugs. McVicar himself either accidentally or intentionally overdosed on morphine. Emma was a blameless victim.
  • The prosecution countered that narrative with another theory: Emma needed to get rid of her husband after marrying Jean LeDoux. They entered a series of Emma’s letters into evidence. They were brimming with “endearing terms and declarations of undying love” to LeDoux, the San Francisco Call reported. LeDoux, who was illiterate, said his 19-year-old brother read them to him.
  • With little to bolster their case, the defense refuted the love story with one of the most brutal burns in California legal history.
  • "She didn't love LeDoux,” Emma’s lawyer claimed in court. “She could not love that pop-eyed woodchopper, who could neither read nor write, and was as deaf as a post. Women don't love men like that!"
  • It took the jury six hours to find Emma guilty of first-degree murder. The judge sentenced her to hang on Oct. 19, 1906. She was the first woman in state history to be given the death sentence.
  • “Except for a slightly crimsoned face and throbbing bosom she displayed no emotion,” the Call reported, “and the curious spectators who had gathered to see her break down at the critical moment went away declaring, ‘Mrs. LeDoux is a game little woman.’”
  • Emma had reason to be calm. Her appeal worked its way through the court system, and she was granted a retrial four years later. To the surprise of everyone, Emma pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence. She served the next 10 years in San Quentin before being granted parole in 1920.
  • And boy, how she utilized freedom.

* * *

Never one for solitude, Emma quickly jumped back into the dating scene. In 1925, she married Frederick A. Crackbon, a printer from San Francisco. Considering she had regular meetings with a parole officer, his wife’s homicidal past could hardly have been a secret. Perhaps Fred thought it had all been a terrible misunderstanding.

When he died in 1929 of natural causes (we think), Emma launched her next scheme: She set up a marriage bureau. Lonely men were encouraged to write in, and the bureau would set them up with eligible bachelorettes. But there was only one bachelorette — Emma — and she was of most questionable eligibility. Someone tipped off her parole officer, who staked out the bureau office. He watched in amazement as a man approached the door. When he stopped the would-be beau, the man said he had $3,000 in-hand to give to his beloved.

She was a “woman of almost 58 who had all the lure and fascination of a girl of 18” marveled the San Francisco Chronicle.

As a result of her marriage scheme, Emma was sent back to prison in 1931. She was “constitutionally incapable of living within the law,” the parole board ruled, some years too late for the many men Emma tricked.

The rest of Emma’s life is of little note. In 1941, she died in a women’s prison in Kern County. Her body was buried in an unmarked grave at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.

She was survived by her mother, the only person Emma truly loved. During her 1906 trial, Emma was unshakable. But whenever her mother was mentioned, she burst into tears. One hot June day, her mother fainted in the courtroom. Emma jumped up from her seat and rushed to her side, sobbing uncontrollably.

“She was soon herself again, however,” the Call wrote.

“The extraordinary calm of the woman leads to the suspicion that she is not sane.”



  1. Eric Sunswheat July 18, 2020

    July 17, 2020
    Immune cells may recognize the coronavirus years later.

    Researchers in Singapore are not worried that antibodies to the novel coronavirus fade quickly. More important, they said, is that immune system cells called T cells and B cells “remember” the virus and can trigger an immune response.

    As reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature… there may be some pre-existing immunity to the new coronavirus in the general population. “We find the present discussion about ‘antibodies are fading away’ a little pointless,” three of the researchers told Reuters in a joint email.

    “What is important is that a level of B and T cell memory remain to be present to quickly start an effective immune response able to stop viral spread,” said Anthony Tanoto Tan of Duke-NUS Medical School, along with colleagues Nina Le Bert and Antonio Bertoletti.

    T cells can kill infected cells to slow the virus down, and they also help instruct B cells to produce antibodies, the researchers said.

  2. George Hollister July 18, 2020


    This recipe works better than anything I have tried. The key ingredient is the hydrogen peroxide. One problem is dogs often get sprayed in the face, around the eyes and it’s important to avoid getting the neutralizer in the eyes. Also the neutralizer works best if the dog gets a bath first, to get rid of anything else that might reduce the effectiveness of the hydrogen peroxide. All this usually requires is bathing the parts of the dog that have been sprayed.

    The dog I had before the one I have now learned that skunk = bath, and that meant avoid skunk. I am not sure my current dog has learned that lesson yet.

  3. Judy July 18, 2020

    The “Alternate Care Facility” sounds as though it could have been a perfect Mental Health Care facility. 1.5 million for 39 units.

    CEO Angelo said that the building was “ready to go now that work has been completed to re-establish utility services and ensure full functionality.”

  4. Lazarus July 18, 2020

    Perhaps when, and if, the virus is defeated the property could evolve into Mental Health Facility.
    Realistically, mental health will likely never be completely defeated. Such a facility would be an asset to those impaired with mental issues and their families.

    Be well,

  5. Joe July 18, 2020

    We did not shut down entirely,’ Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. ‘We need to draw back a few yards and say, “OK, we can’t stay shut down forever.” …You’ve got to shut down but then you’ve got to gradually open.’

    “This product is an ear loop mask. This product is not a respirator and will not provide any protection against COVID-19 (coronavirus) or any other viruses or contaminants,” states the packaging on a standard set of cloth masks currently being sold.

  6. Bob Abeles July 18, 2020

    A Public Service Announcement for those tempted to click on random links appearing in the comments section: Stop, Think, Protect Yourself, and only then Click.

    Stop. Don’t just reflexively click.

    Think. What is my level of trust for the website in the link?

    Protect Yourself. If you are not already running an ad blocker then install one RIGHT NOW. Many malware and adware infections start with an advertisement. In some cases you may not even need to click on the ad to get infected. My adblocker of choice is uBlock Origin. If your privacy is important to you, check out Privacy Badger, which can squelch the cross site data harvesting that’s all the rage these days. Both are available as addons for all major browsers.

    • Louis Bedrock July 18, 2020

      Good advice.
      Thank you.

      I use Adblock, Adblock Plus, and UBlock.
      And I have Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

      I often click on links recommended by commentators like Joe; however, I try to ascertain the source beforehand.

      • Bob Abeles July 18, 2020

        Malwarebytes is an excellent recommendation. It’s one of the first tools I reach for when an infection strikes. Well worth downloading and running, even if you don’t think that you’re infected. I wish human maladies were as easily dealt with.

        Oh yes, Never, Ever run one of those “Free PC Scans” that show up on questionable websites.

      • Steve Heilig July 18, 2020

        “Joe,” a cowardly anonymous troll, constantly offers posts from zerohedge, a far right Bulgarian propaganda/garbage site banned by Twitter and Google for lies and “fake news.” Best to ignore him altogether.

        • Louis Bedrock July 18, 2020

          Hi Steve,

          You’ve correctly called me out for name-calling.

          Please don’t do it yourself.

          Joe provides links to a variety of sources.

          I find some very interesting, others less so.

          I read a variety of magazines and on-line blogs including some neo-fascist ones. I read the NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist—albeit with many grains of salt.

          I enjoyed your series on science. I disagree with you about Obamacare and vaccines but like your articles on animals, the scientific method, physician assisted death, and other topics.

          A lot of the people who signed the Harpers’ letter against Cancel Culture are hypocritical assholes. But I agree with the spirit of the letter. I enjoy the variety of opinions in the AVA—in both the paper and the comments’ columns.

          I don’t want anyone to be muzzled even if they have the bad taste to joke about feeding me, my people, or transies to polar bears.

          • Steve Heilig July 19, 2020

            Hi Louis – thanks for all that, but, nope – anonymous posts are just cowardly trolling, akin to graffiti, and should be ignored. It’s not censoring or “cancelling” to call that out. If one won’t even use their name, and spreads “fake news” to boot, it’s just a waste of space – at best.
            (Really liked your latest “Sea” translation)

        • Joe July 18, 2020


  7. Bruce McEwen July 18, 2020

    I remember in the old days before we had a good malwarebyites and my old dog would click on those smelly baits and get sprayed all over and all we had was tomato juice and clothespins for our noses — technology is always advancing! A miracle happens every day!

    • Bruce McEwen July 18, 2020

      Privacy Badger?

      Considering what we learned from Snowden and Greenwald, I was sure we had no more privacy; and if the notion that we still had any had come from any source other than the trusty Bob Ables, I would have gasped and stretched my eyes like those who used to listen (with mock credulity) to the famed Matilda!

      • Bob Abeles July 18, 2020

        Sadly, not privacy in the 4th Amendment sense, that bus left the depot some time ago. All we can hope for out of Privacy Badger is some bare shred of modesty that keeps personal matters like a cancer diagnosis from spawning banner ads.

  8. James Marmon July 18, 2020


    Trump administration pushing to block new money for testing, tracing, and CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief bill.

    I agree with him, both the CDC and all this testing is nothing but a waste of time, money, and resources. Money could be better spent combating this virus and treating those who get sick. We’re not going to test our way out of this and we certainly don’t need another government agency knocking on people’s doors, end of story. The CDC proved to be useless and full of lies.

    James Marmon MSW

  9. George Hollister July 18, 2020

    Kunstler:”Get this: none of these things now wobbling and staggering will be resurrected.”

    What things? At some point government, and all it’s financial dependents will have to face the music, but government will not go away, but it will change. Change in what way? I don’t know. But maybe that change will be called a resurrection.

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