Press "Enter" to skip to content

MCT: Monday, July 20, 2020

* * *

HOT AND MOSTLY DRY interior conditions will continue today and Tuesday, with only slight relief over the latter half of the week. Coastal areas will remain cool and mostly cloudy, with occasional clearing in the afternoon. Isolated thunderstorms will be possible in the Trinity Alps and Yolla Bollys each afternoon today through Wednesday. (NWS)

* * *


* * *


by Guy Kovner

A raging fire that investigators suspect was deliberately set destroyed four buildings early Saturday in downtown Covelo, including the rural Mendocino County town’s only full-service restaurant.

The North Fork Cafe, Western Auto Tire, which is a combination tire and automotive repair shop, a historic building housing the Round Valley Center of the Arts and an unoccupied home were burned to the ground, officials said. Four vehicles and a travel trailer also were destroyed.

There were no injuries and no one was inside any of the buildings when the fire broke out about 4 a.m. Saturday, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Chad Smith said Sunday. The blaze was extinguished by about 9 a.m. Saturday, he said.

The old, dry wood-frame buildings located in a row “went up really quickly,” Mendocino County Sheriff’s Lt. Shannon Barney said.

The blaze was “devastating to the community,” he said.

The North Fork Cafe is one of few restaurants in the Round Valley region and had been open for about 20 years, according to reporting by Matt LaFever, a Mendocino County journalist.

The historic building that was home to the Round Valley Center of the Arts was in the process of a remodel, Barney said.

The blaze also destroyed the telephone line serving Covelo, knocking out service to 628 landline phone customers.

Service was restored about 4:50 a.m. Sunday after crews replaced about 400 feet of line, the sheriff’s office said via Nixle.

A fifth building, an auto parts store, was saved by crews from Cal Fire and the Covelo Fire Protection District, an all-volunteer agency.

Covelo, with about 1,200 residents, is on Highway 162 east of Highway 101 in Mendocino County’s Round Valley.

Investigators from Cal Fire and the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority are attempting to determine the cause of the fire and its origin, while sheriff’s investigators are seeking witnesses and surveillance camera records that might help determine if it was a crime.

“It is being treated as suspected arson,” Barney said.

The fire did not spread to any vegetation.

Smith said he had no estimate of the loss, and Barney said the value of the buildings, all a total loss, would be determined by insurance company representatives.

(courtesy The Press Democrat)

* * *


Well, the North Fork Café is history now. 26 years. I would like to say a few things to the community of Round Valley about it. The North Fork Café has always been a labor of love on the part of my dear partner, Denny Lopiano. He sank every bit of his energy and talent and heart into it from the very first day. He worked 60 hours a week, always cheerful, sometimes a little tired but always game to go on. His talent made it the warm, welcoming, delicious place that it was. He made it Covelo’s living room, a place to celebrate, socialize, harmonize, romanticize and generally live better. He welcomed everyone and anyone in to his generous arms. He trained up many people in the art of cooking and serving. He cooked his heart out and introduced us all to more good wine and beer than we can remember.

The North Fork has never been much of a money maker. Denny is more interested in people being happy than making riches. I too, helped out a little by working my job and being the steady ship through stormy financial waters. But we both did this because we felt that Round Valley needed the North Fork, needed a nice place to go, a place to listen to music, to play music, to chat, to dine, to have parties. Round Valley deserved the North Fork. Our community should have the North Fork. It was a place to be proud of, right here in our remote corner of the world, with so many wonderful people, but so many problems. It was a refuge and a reminder that life can be good. And we are certain that our community is with us right now, grieving the loss of our community hearth.

I think what saddens me the most about this is the fact that it is likely that nothing will replace those buildings. Three businesses, the heart of the commercial part of town, leveled. Every time a building in Covelo burns, it is not replaced. Gaping holes remain, vacant lots of weeds and trash. It says volumes that no one has either the resources nor the will to rebuild infrastructure in the center of town.

If there is one legacy that I would like to leave this place, it is this: I would like to see the town come together to raise up some new buildings out of the ashes. Invest in our town. This town deserves better than vacant lots. Our kids deserve better than an empty downtown. Don’t let the anger and depression and destructive impulses win. I have no idea how it can be accomplished, but I really do hope that Round Valley can turn this corner.

Tekla Broz, Covelo

ON LINE COMMENTS on the loss of Covelo’s popular North Fork Cafe:

So sorry for Denny, Steve, Holly, and Dave Nixon, who purchased the old PO building, the Poli’s, and everyone else who lost their livelihood in this terrible fire. Fortunately no one was hurt. I just hope this doesn’t happen again, when will this stop? We definitely need to gather together as a community put our heads together to move Covelo forward. There are a lot of great and smart people in this town and it can and will happen. Covelo strong!

Prayers to you and Denny. I wish there was something I could say tha would help. When I saw Denny this morning I wanted to cry, cus and kick someone's ass. I think about fun dinners my family and I had at the north fork, a fun pizza party my sister Kathy Britton and Stanford hosted one year for our mom's birthday. Your open mike nights, Thanks to you and Denny for all you have done.

* * *


* * *

COVELO FIRE UPDATE: QUICK WORK by telephone line crews from the local Frontier Communications Internet Service provider in Covelo:

Via the new MendoFever website: “Sheriff Kendall has updated us that phone service [including 9-1-1] has been restored across Round Valley’s landlines.” (— ms)

* * *

KMUD REDWOOD COMMUNITY RADIO is now accepting submissions for its first-ever Virtual Talent Show. Children and adults who reside in Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte, and Mendocino counties who want to share their talent of any kind, and perhaps win a prize, are encouraged to enter. Submissions will be accepted between July 20th and August 2nd. KMUD will post its Virtual Talent Show for viewing and voting on August 10th. Go to, KMUD’s Instagram @kmudradio, KMUD’s Twitter @kmud or KMUD’s Facebook page to enter. For more information about this showcase, please email

* * *


* * *


MSP posted earlier today about a woman who took exception to a grocery store worker "only" wearing a face shield.

MSP was sent a link and heard the OTHER side of the story from the grocery clerk:

"Most of you know where I work. A little mom and pop grocery store with a great deli.

Unfortunately, earlier today my coworker and I had a 'Karen' experience.

You all know face shields are acceptable without masks underneath unless you are working with food, hair, nails, etc.

I'm wearing my face shield behind the counter. When 'Karen' sees me and asks me where my mask is. I let her know I'm wearing the shield.

Apparently, it wasn't good enough for her.

She flips out on a rant. She says she's going to turn me in. I let her know if she doesn't like my shield she can leave. She proceeds to say what a great customer she is (no, she isn't based on past experiences and from other coworkers)

She looks at my coworker, who is not wearing a shield but a cloth mask. Karen requested an item and my coworker explained to her that she felt uncomfortable by her behavior and let her know she wasn't going to help her. She then narrows her eyes and tells my coworker she better help her. My coworker replies with or what...

Karen was getting louder and very rude by that point. Karen than pulls down her mask and says fine, makes a face and starts coughing on our plexiglass barrier. I told her she's not allowed in here anymore and to get out. She walks to the front door and yells 'Fuck you' at us and leaves.

Fortunately, my employers have cameras and we have a great angle of her doing that. My bosses are not going to tolerate that and one of them said that her coughing after pulling down her mask is assault.

This so-called 'Karen' most likely will blast us on Facebook like she has before and I'm just glad she won't be allowed back in. I'm tired of her attitude, complaints, and negativity.

If you're going to be a 'Karen,' we will kick you out. I'm also sorry for the actual Karen's who don't behave this way."

ON LINE/FACEBOOK COMMENT: That was me and slightly exaggerated on their part. I have acknowledged my disrespect and am publicly apologizing. There is nothing more I can do. But I don't understand the previous rudeness part. I have always shopped there and love the market and family. Again I cannot go back only apologize and learn. I feel sad. I didn't know they felt that way about me that I was a difficult customer. I can only think of one time when I had to return the tapioca pudding twice in a row becuz it had soured. But it wasn't like that was there fault. To think I would go happily into the store, shop and chat and all the while their underlying feelings about me were negative— sad. And I have asked for less meat on my deli sandwiches cuz there is SO much. Also I told them there is SO much cheese in the burritos. I open them, take a bunch out and it lasts me four days. I don't know. Sadness.

* * *


by David Wilson

If you have not seen Comet NEOWISE in the northwest skies after dark, then you really must treat yourself. It has rounded the sun in its orbit now, and the farther from the sun it travels the dimmer it will be. Though its closest approach to Earth will be on July 23, it will also be farther from the sun, with the net result that it seems to be dimming by my observations. Go see this amazing celestial object; you’ll wait around 6,800 years for its next pass.

Comet NEOWISE has been visible to the naked eye above the northwest horizon after dark for the last week or so, as seen from our position on California’s North Coast. Revolving around the North Star, in the evening we can find it beneath the Big Dipper as it slowly sinks in the northwest. The comet does set during the night a little after 1:00 a.m., so don’t be too late. Its movement continues beneath the horizon during the night, until later in the morning it is rising again to the northeast. It has been visible until dawn until recently, but no longer. To view it after sunset, be patient until after 10:00 p.m. The later the better, because while there is much sunset glow in the sky the comet blends in very well and is difficult to distinguish. After 10:30 p.m. is optimal viewing.

What is a comet, and why do we see it? Comets are made of ice, rock and dust, like a dirty snowball. The ice may comprise any of a number of gases, frozen into a solid state in the icy blackness of space. As comets approach the sun, the sun’s energy acts on the comet’s surface, causing molecules of the ice to sublimate, or become gas again without going through a liquid state. As this happens, some larger particles of dust and debris are blown outward from the nucleus. The combination of gasses and larger particles makes the hazy head, and forms the tail(s). 

We can see both tails of this comet once it is dark enough. The bluer tail is made up of those sublimated gas particles, and is pushed out into space by the pressure of the sun’s energy. This tail will always point away from the sun, as it is carried away in the solar wind. The brighter, whiter or yellower tail is made up of the more solid debris, the dust and particle that slough off as the comet disintegrates in the sun’s energy.

When you go out: The hills will be your best bet for the clearest air. Expect to find other people wherever you go. I have been to four different locations on four different nights, and there were always other stargazers, from one person at Friday night’s secluded location, to maybe 15 at another spot two nights before. Be ready to follow social distancing protocols; as I passed the turnout where the bigger group had been two days before, I saw that it contained many more people the second time. But in every case, it was rewarding to share this truly awesome celestial display with other people, whether or not I knew them.

NEOWISE is an acronym for Near-Earth Object Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer, the NASA kit that discovered the comet on March 27, 2020. 

I want to thank and acknowledge the help of my colleague, College of the Redwoods Astronomy professor Jon Pedicino, for providing clarifying technical details on this comet and comets in general.

Comet NEOWISE looking to splashdown in the Pacific somewhere outside of Arcata. The comet will not come near us, in reality. Humboldt County, California. July 14, 2020 at 10:13p.m.
Starstruck couple watching the magic over Arcata, Humboldt County, California. The camera picks it up a little better than the eye until it is a little darker. Don’t quit early! July 14, 2020 at 10:17 p.m. Humboldt County, California
A pair of stargazers watching comet NEOWISE soaring above Arcata, Humboldt County, California. July 14, 2020 at 10:40p.m.
NEOWISE brilliantly illuminated in the sky over the Pacific coast. Beyond the ridge lies Ferndale and the Pacific Ocean. Humboldt County, California. (Interesting note: this was photographed on a modern 2020 Nikon camera body with an old manual Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 lens from the 1960's. Amazing bridge through time. I bought the lens used as a starving Photography student at Humboldt State University from another starving student. It’s still tack sharp!) July 15, 2020 at 10:26 p.m.
Comet NEOWISE graces the darkening sky over California’s Pacific coast. The lights of Eureka on the left and Arcata on the right Illuminate the fog layer from beneath. To my right, a huge tower with blinking red lights cast a faint red glow on the foreground that I couldn’t even see with my unaided eye. July 16, 2020 at 10:30p.m. Humboldt County, California.
The International Space Station flies by Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) over the Eel River. July 18, 2020 in Humboldt County, California.

(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or purchase a print, visit or contact him at his website or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx , and on Twitter @davidwilson_mfx.)

* * *


The other day we received an email request for a shipment of our jams to a family in Boise. Before they moved recently, they used to buy them at the SF farmers market from our son, Cameron. The email read in part “We love your jam! We used to buy it every month at the Clement Street farmers market in San Francisco but we moved away this year. We are running out of our stockpile.” Attached was a picture of their young son with a big smirk on his face and holding a half-eaten jar of fig jam. I responded, sending our product list, thanking him for the love, and requesting he choose back-up items since many of them are sold out.

He sent his list and all but the four seedless blackberry jams were available. Since the blackberries are just ripening, Juan and I got to work in the “Blackberry Maze”.

The “Blackberry Maze” is literally that, a diabolical creation of Cameron’s originating from a small patch of Himalayan blackberry bushes growing in a boggy area at the foot of our fields. Normal people would have dug them up and used the space for crops. Instead, he propagated more vines around a wooden maze of his own design. Over several years the plants developed huge canes and in the summer when covered in leaves, flowers and fruit, it becomes impossible to see in. He spent endless hours pruning and shaping and when I was harvesting some crop or other in the nearby field, I would listen to the grandkids and their friends giggling and jabbering and daring each other to find the way out. It became so big and tall and appetizing to birds and Cam had just learned to weld, that he designed a cage of welded rebar covered with chicken wire, top to bottom, to keep the grackles from nesting in it and eating all the berries. It is huge, 54’x40’x12’ tall, and watching him and Juan put the top wires on was amazing. No one died but there was some blood!

So, Juan and I donned our elbow length thorn protection gloves and safety goggles and entered the maze, after which I wrote back to let the family know that the shipment would be delayed. Since we have no blackberry jam left, Juan and I went into the "maze" (an immense blackberry construction which I call my son’s "folly"), and picked 12 lbs which we will transform into jam for you later this week. Hold on. It's coming.”

The response was: “Wow that is incredible. Take the time you need.”

After well over an hour of picking, we brought the berries into the commercial kitchen and weighed and washed them. Steve then performed the strenuous task of deseeding by grinding the berries in the Vitamix then pushing them through a large metal cone sieve with a rubber spatula. We save the seeds to make blackberry margarita mix. When done, we had two large Cambros full for Aaron to can the next day and Steve had two sore arms and hands.

Blackberries are not the easiest thing to can, but Aaron is a fabulous canner and has the process and the art down cold. In 24 hours we went from having no jam to having a flat of the most intense, rich blackberry jam ever. It only took Cameron, Juan, Steve, Aaron, and me to produce it, a collaboration we perform daily for everything we grow here; in a fury during the main harvest season and in a more relaxed manner in the winter and early spring months. The joy comes from working together on a common goal with each of us doing what we excel at or enjoy doing, then sharing the pleasure of creating something excellent, real and nourishing. It doesn’t seem like much you might say. And it isn’t really. But it is everything.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg, Yorkville

* * *


* * *


by Katy Tahja

Matt Turner built schooners, brigs and barkentine vessels on California’s north coast 120 years ago to transport lumber and general merchandise. Why is this interesting? It’s the side story of how and why he became a master shipbuilder that is fascinating.

Learning his shipbuilding skills on the Great Lakes, Turner arrived in California during the Gold Rush. Earning enough money to return to the Atlantic coast he purchased a ship called the “Taranto” and sailed it around South America to California and engaged in lumber transport. Two years later he sold the vessel, went back East and purchased the” Louis Perry” and sailed it around the Horn to California and went back to hauling lumber. In what became a pattern four years later he was headed east again and brought the brig “Timandra” to San Francisco in 1860.

Ready to do something different he outfitted the “Timadra” for general cargo transport and took off for Siberia. Becoming ice bound for three weeks near the Amir River his crew fished off the side of the boat and caught BIG fish, later identified as Pacific Cod, and the first ever harvested and sold from the Pacific. Atlantic Cod had been fished from the time of the Vikings, but this was new.

Turner took the “Timadra” back to San Francisco, sold the cod, bought 25 tons of salt (for traditional curing of the catch as Salt Cod) and sailed to Sakhalin Island where he caught 20 tons of fish worth $6,000. In 1864 he secured 100 tons of fish but the word was out and more and more boats were fishing the area. Turner began developing trade routes in the South Pacific and began planning a shipyard to put his profits to use. In 1875 he opened his first shipyard in San Francisco and proceeded to build 56 exceptionally seaworthy vessels.

In 1883 he moved his shipyard to Benecia and built another 145 vessels through 1902 when he was 77 years of age. He also conducted ship repairs. In 1906 he began building his own yacht, the steam schooner “Hoquiam” and promptly had a stroke and died in 1909.

Yachts, brigs and schooners were his speciality. He built ships for the Hawaiian sugar trade and vessels for the Tahiti packet trade, and a boat for missionaries spreading the word of God in the South Pacific. His biggest yacht, the “Lurline” was built in 1883 for John D. Spreckles, who ran a sugar empire in Hawaii.

Here are some of the schooners he built that served ports on the Mendocino Coast. 

The most noteworthy was the “J.C.Ford” built for the Mendocino Lumber Company in 1882. Three hundred miles east of Honolulu a falling meteor hit the mainmast and staysail and caught everything on fire. Deck coverings, masts and sails were thrown in the ocean to put flames out, then rescued. The pieces of meteor were said to resemble burning lava. The ship was destroyed in 1893 near Grays Harbor WA when a cargo of lime caught fire.

Most ships were 80 to 90 feet long with two or three masts for sail and later many were converted to steam engines. The “Kodiak” and “Del Norte” were built in San Francisco, the “Chetco” and “Eureka” were built in Benecia. Many schooners Turner built, after useful careers as lumber transporters, became canneries. The “Antelope” became a salmon packet and cannery ship and the “Newark” which used to load firewood at Russian Gulch, became a sardine reduction plant. The “Seven Sisters” stopped often in Point Arena but was crushed by ice near Kotzbue Sound in Alaska in 1906.


To learn more about maritime traffic on the Mendocino Coast find a local museum with archives and ask to read Walter Jackson’s book, self published in 1969, called “Doghole Schooners”. The author explores their design, the men who built them, the captains who sailed them, where they wrecked, ports of call, who owned them, and a paragraph about each of almost 300 ships adventures. It’s exciting reading if you love the sea and ships.

* * *


* * *


by Jim Shields

As I predicted last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom is reclosing large sectors of the state’s economy due to C-19 surges.

Albeit reluctantly shifting into reverse, Newsom is probably hoping he will not completely take the bounce out the rebound the state’s economy was beginning to exhibit. His reversal follows similar U-turns in Texas and Arizona, as well as less severe turns in another dozen or so states.

Newsom said a number of times at his news conference Monday, July 13, that he was not shutting down the economy but rather turning on a “dimmer switch” including banning dine-in at restaurants and other indoor activities at wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums, and card rooms. At the top of the mandatory closures list were all California bars that had just recently reopened and now once again, are ordered closed.

The California Department of Public Health (DPH) warns that “bars are social environments where groups of people mix. In these environments alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing. Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets. These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce. Beyond the higher risk of transmission in bar settings, contract tracing, a key measure needed to control spread, is also more challenging in bars because of the constant mixing among patrons and a lack of record-keeping of those in attendance.”

And for all these years, I thought we all went to bars to just have fun.

This Thursday, DPH announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. California’s positivity rate — a key indicator of community spread — is trending upward in the 14-day average. Also hospitalization rates are trending upward in the 14-day average. The 7-day average number of new cases is 8,526 per day. The 7-day average from the week prior was 8,043. California has 356,178 confirmed cases to date. There have been 7,345 C-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The governor’s action additionally locks down indoor activities of malls, gyms, worship services, barber shops and salons in counties that have demonstrated a higher rate of coronavirus infections, that have been placed on a “watch list,” now comprised of 32 counties representing something like 85 percent of the state’s population.

If a county is on the watch list for three days or longer, the state will order them to roll back reopening their economies which most likely means that employees who have recently returned to work, will once again revert to stay-at-home status, a move that will surely result in creating mass public resentment against health orders and those who issue them.

By the way, our soon to depart County Health Officer, Dr. Mimi Doohan, announced on Wednesday, she had “issued revised orders aligning our local orders with the new statewide restrictions.”

She also advised, “Based on the recent surge in Mendocino County cases and hospitalizations, it is likely that Mendocino County will be added to the monitoring list in the next 48 hours.”

Doohan went on to say she “will issue a revised order requiring additional shut downs of activities that are currently applied to monitoring list counties on Thursday, July 16 with an effective date of July 17 at 11:59pm. The upcoming revised Health Order will require the following industries to shut down unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up: Fitness centers; worship services; offices for non-essential sectors; personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors; hair salons and barbershops, and malls.”

I’m not fully onboard with re-shuttering businesses, because the problem of surges and spikes lie elsewhere.

Simply put, it’s people behaving badly. And this misbehavior is coming at a high cost.

Without a doubt, the real problem is too many folks do not comply with mandatory facial covering orders, and they ignore bans against public gatherings as evidenced by huge weekend crowds celebrating Memorial Day and Independence Day, and hold large parties where celebrants mostly avoid masking up and maintaining social distancing.

So you can lock the doors on every business in the state, but if you can’t alter people’s poor judgement, you’ll find yourself in a locked vicious cycle. I believe education is the only cure for that problem, but it will take time, a commodity in short supply right now.

Keep in mind, there’s obviously a human side to shuttering businesses. By the end of the month, federal unemployment assistance to laid-off workers runs out. Second stimulus checks or some form of direct payment likely will be included in the next stimulus bill. Members of both parties and the president say they support second stimulus checks, but Congress doesn’t return from vacation until next week, and the sand is running out the bottom of the hour glass.

All I can say is they will need to hammer out something they can agree to PDQ, otherwise you-know-what will-hit-the-fan. And if you think life is barely tolerable now …

(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:

* * *


* * *

WE AGREE WITH AVA website commenters Judy Valadao and ‘Lazarus,’ who suggest that if the County ends up buying the abandoned nursing facility on Whitmore Lane in South Ukiah, that at least part of it would make a cost-effective Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF/‘Puff’):

Valadao: “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’.”

Lazarus: “Perhaps when, and if, the virus is defeated the property could evolve into a 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.”

OF COURSE, such ideas would have to go through the Measure B Committee where, as we have noted before, good ideas go to die. (— ms)

* * *

A LOCAL WOMAN sent us this photo of a fire warning sign on a Mendocino Redwood Co. timber harvest plan in the Navarro area recently, asking, “If these operations are this dangerous, why are they doing it now with the high fire danger? And who’s monitoring these operations to make sure they’re done safely, much less sustainably?” (— ms)

* * *

THERE WAS A BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTEST MARCH Saturday afternoon in Boonville, complete with yellers and a police siren that several locals mistook as actual cops patrolling the protest. The Saturday marchers were a different group from the earlier protest marchers. (— ms)

* * *


Board of Supervisors to Host Workshop with Mendocino County Latinx Alliance Regarding COVID-19 Impacts on the LatinX Community

El Consejo del Condado les Invitan al Taller con la Alianza del Latinx del Condado de Mendocino y el Relación de los Impactos del COVID-19 sobre la Comunidad Latinx

Post Date: 07/19/2020 12:17 PM

On July 21, 2020, the Board of Supervisors will host a workshop with the Mendocino LatinX Alliance focusing on COVID-19 impacts on the Latinx community. The workshop is scheduled for 3:30 pm – 5:30pm. The workshop will be streamed live on the Mendocino County YouTube Channel ( 

Commenting on the upcoming workshop, Supervisor John Haschak, representing the 3rd District and current Board Chair stated, “COVID-19 cases in the LatinX community is over 50% of all cases in Mendocino County. The Board of Supervisors looks forward to this presentation and discussion about health disparities, challenges, and ways to make our community safer and healthier.” 

Workshop Overview: 

While everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19, some people are more at risk. According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. Mounting evidence across the United States points to higher rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 for Native American Indians, non-Hispanic black persons, and Hispanics and Latinos than among non-Hispanic white persons.

In Mendocino County, approximately 50% of COVID-19 Cases so far have been in the Latinx community with a significant number being monolingual Spanish speakers. The workshop will include recommendations for immediate actions the Board of Supervisors can take to address these disparities, prioritize resources and improve outreach and communication in response to COVID-19. Recommendations will also consider longer term strategies to reduce health disparities and improve the health of our communities.

The Board Workshop will include presentations and information from:

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis

Noemi Doohan, MD, PhD, Mendocino County Health Officer

Roseanne Ibarra, MLS, Director of Community Integration for Adventist Health and founding member of Mendocino Latinx Alliance

Mendocino Latinx Alliance was formed in April 2018 by a group of local leaders interested in building bridges, inspiring leadership, sharing information, and creating a platform for the Latinx community to voice aspirations, needs and concerns. Mendocino Latinx Alliance’s vision for inclusion, collaboration and open dialogue among leaders was the impetus for the formation of this new group.

From their first meeting in 2018 Mendocino Latinx Alliance focused on demographics and relevant information to improve community wellbeing in Mendocino County, and explored unconscious bias and inequity issues that are deeply rooted within our culture, systems and institutions.

Due to COVID-19 Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meetings are conducted virtually and not available for in person public participation. The public may participate digitally in meetings by sending comments to, in lieu of personal attendance. All email comment must be received by 8:00 A.M. the morning of the meeting. Additionally, the public may speak during public comment via telecomment. Information regarding telecomment participation can be found here: For the latest available options by which to engage with agenda items, please visit:

* * *


* * *


PULL QUOTE: "Forget having a healthy dose of cynicism — trusting others could add years to your life, a study suggests. Men and women who believe in the kindness of strangers are likely to live longer." 

Trust but verify, as the sage advised, but still and all most strangers intend no harm. It's the people you know you should keep an eye on. Besides, studies suggest all kinds of things because, it seems, there's endless money available for them. How about a study of the obvious, that the curtain is ringing down on the old assumption of more stuff for more people forever? Recommended reading as a guide to the general disintegration we're presently witnessing if we're lucky not to be suffering it more directly, is Nathanial West's great novel, ‘Day of the Locust,’ an apocalyptic vision of LA published in 1939 but works well as applied to the much grander slo-mo apocalypse unfolding now. The author described citizens whose eyes are "filled with hatred" whose collective disappointments culminate in the burning of the city. And top this as a description of Trumpians: “Tod didn't laugh at the man's rhetoric. He knew it was unimportant. What mattered were his messianic rage and the emotional response of his hearers. They sprang to their feet, shaking their fists and shouting.” 

SERIOUSLY, is it wholly bad that the schools are closed? Monitoring my grandchildren's functioning without time spent squirming in their classrooms, they don't seem to miss the alleged socialization that the edu-bloc claims is vital to the formation of the functioning American. Looking around the American room… Well, if this is socialization the concept needs a serious re-think.

OVERHEARD at Boont Berry Farm, young woman to distracted (or wise) young man: "Men are so into the patriarchy." He says, "Yeah, whatever."

AS OF SUNDAY, the coronavirus has carried off 140,000 of US, as cases continued to rise in 42 out of 50 states. Since late June, the US has seen a resurgence in new cases and now, six weeks later, deaths have also begun rising, according to Reuters. Florida, California and Texas are the hardest hit. Arizona's Maricopa County, home to the state's largest city, Phoenix, is bringing in 14 coolers to hold up to 280 bodies and more than double morgue capacity ahead of an expected surge in coronavirus fatalities. In Texas, the city of San Antonio and Bexar County have acquired five refrigerated trailers to store up to 180 bodies.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has perfectly described the global state of affairs. "Covid-19 pandemic has been likened to an X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built. It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver health care for all, the fiction that unpaid care work is not work, the delusion that we live in a post-racist world, the myth that we are all in the same boat."

"FARRAKHAN'S decades of virulent bigotry towards Jews, whites and the LGBT community has been documented at length by the Anti-Defamation League. Even the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center has declared him a 'deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-gay' extremist who leads an organized hate group." Yes, yes, no argument there, but the Southern Poverty (sic) Law Center as "far-left"? More of a mainstream scam, I'd say, with a huge tomb of a corporate office and an endowment of millions piled up scaring the credulous. The above description of Farrakhan is hardly breaking news. Ditto for the other hate groups catalogued by one of the richest poverty centers in the South.

AN ON-LINE PETITION is calling on Trader Joe's to end its "racist" branding of food products as Trader Ming's and Trader José's for products from other countries. The great cleansing has now spilled over into self-parody, as an academic crackpot somewhere is in the news aiming at a re-boot of Adam's Apple as too gender-specific a ref to the phallocracy.

* * *


* * *


by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Having shuffled past the open casket and dabbed sufficiently at their watery eyes, the six buddies gathered at a dusty edge of the parking lot at Eversole Mortuary.

A couple wives stood among them and the conversation, as expected, was all about their dear departed friend.

“Jeez what a guy,” said the balding fellow in a tan sport coat and a green tie. Nobody like old Arvis. Nobody.”

“Can say that again!” said a heavyset man who coughed a bit and choked up a little and snuffled as he turned his head to the side. “Best guy ever. You ever hear him tell about Vietnam, the crazy stuff? Still had shrapnel in a leg from a land mine or something.”

“Never talked much about it to me,” said a tall gent in a gray blazer and a tall wife at his side. “I knew ol’ Arvis since high school and he never said nothin’ about Vietnam.

But you ever hear the time he was over in Tahoe getting drunk with a whole bunch of us and someone reminded him he had court in Ukiah the next day?

“And Arvis, drunker’n six sailors, got on that old Triumph motorcycle of his that didn’t have no brakes and rolled out sometime after midnight. No helmet either.

“Made it to court on time. Said he never realized he didn’t have a helmet ’til he was past Sacramento. Helluva guy, ol’ Arvis.”

They stood quiet a minute or two, dragging the toes of their shoes around in circles in some dirt.

“Yeah,” sighed someone. “I heard that story too. Said the only times he stopped was to do lines of coke, then back on the road. And that old Triumph didn’t have a headlight either. British bike, right? Definitely no lights.”

Nobody answered but they all nodded.

The tall guy’s tall wife asked if Arvis ever got married, had any kids.

“There was Mindy from high school, before he went to ‘Nam,” said the heavyset man. “Couple kids. Divorced. Think that was it. But there were always women.”

“Hoo boy,” said a guy wearing a Giants cap. ‘Ol’ Arvis walk into a bar and the chicks were on him like flies. In 10 minutes he’d be out in the parking lot with some bimbo, then go home with a different one. Only about seven nights a week.”

Someone else remembered when Arvis was doing roofing up in Willits and got strung out on meth for a year or two. Lost some teeth, did some jail, did some rehab, switched to oxycontin.

Yeah yeah they all chuckled. Remember the AIDS scare? And then he comes down with Hep C but got cured with some miracle drug, which was about when he got cirrhosis. And that gnarly bike wreck out on Highway 20 back in what? ’98? ’99?

“But for all ol’ Arvis went through it still seemed he had good luck, huh?” asked the guy in the tan sport coat. “And he never worried. Always knew things was gonna turn out alright. Nobody else like him. Kept right on howling.”

A short blonde woman who might have been with a quiet bald guy over toward the back finally interrupted, sort of, and asked a fairly obvious question.

“So, ahh, what did your friend Arvis finally die of anyway? His liver, the cirrhosis thing? Stroke? Heart blow up?”

The guys looked at each other a little bit puzzled, and they shrugged and sighed and made thoughtful faces. It was like they were stumped.

Finally one of them said “What I heard is that it was from touching his face.”

Things were quiet for a long while, and then the woman tilted her head to the side and slowly repeated: “Touching his face.”

“It’s what I heard.”

She stared some more and she took a deep breath and then she said “So you’re telling me that after 50 years of heavy drinking and doing drugs, crazy driving, sex with strangers, a war where they’re shooting at you every day and putting land mines in the ground, a guy who’s a meth addict and goes to rehab and gets hepatitis and cirrhosis, but then he somehow dies from touching his face? Oh please. What are we talking about?”

More toe scuffling in the dirt.

The heavyset guy said “Well, infection then. The COVID stuff. Had it on his finger or whatever and then he touched his face. Got an infection. Died a week or two later.”

The tall gent nodded. “So yeah, ol’ Arvis died from touching his face,” he said with a grin. Then he laughed.

”Proves God has a sense of humor, huh?”

(Tommy Wayne Kramer, Ukiah’s most popular and well-loved columnist, is available for speaking engagements and intimate social gatherings among local therapists, community activists and other progressive organizations. Call Tom Hine at 1-800-DIVERSE.)

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, July 19, 2020

Anderson, Duman, Ferrill

DEBORAH ANDERSON, Ukiah. Under influence, paraphernalia, disobeying court order, resisting.

MARCUS DUMAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, felon-addict with firearm, concealed firearm in vehicle with prior, no license/suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

JODY FERRILL, Ukiah. Suspended license, disobeying court order, resisting, failure to appear.

Freeman, Hampton, Klein

MICHAEL FREEMAN, Covelo. Under influence.

LEONARD HAMPTON, Berkeley/Redwood Valley. DUI.

ERIK KLEIN, Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation. 

Lidell, Martin, Nace


BRANDON MARTIN, Willits. Felony hit&run resulting in death or injury, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, ammo possession by prohibited person, criminal threats, probation revocation.

THOMMY NACE, Ukiah. County parole violation.

Scott, Shaw, Treadway

DARIN SCOTT, Laytonville. Disobeying court order, probatioin revocation.

KEVIN SHAW, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.


* * *


The pathologies are there for all to see, including a manhood that isn’t worthy of the name as witnessed by a seemingly endless parade of women claiming sexual abuse by powerful and not so powerful men, which inevitably leads to a question: where were the men in these women’s lives, you know, the fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, that should have delivered knuckles and boots to the chins and nuts of those doing the abusing? 

It is an unbelievable dereliction, maybe historic, because when in history have we seen its like? Since when have sports coaches and movie-makers held such life and death power that they couldn’t be brought to heel by well-placed punches and kicks from outraged male relatives of these women? And what police force and judiciary worth their salt would dare prosecute such guys as protect their women-folk?

A flapping-fish economy, a judicial branch that likewise isn’t worthy of the name as evidenced by a deluge of investigative malpractice, prosecutorial misconduct and a politically partisan judiciary that doesn’t even pretend to be objective. Is justice blind? Maybe, but not in a good way. 

* * *


California miner with pan of gold, circa 1852

* * *

I AM NOT among those mourning the passing of John Lewis, who unlike his fellow leaders of SNCC back in the Sixties who continued the fight against racial injustice, decided to join the system and do what was required of every new member of Congress, regardless of their color or their gender, genuflect to the Israel Lobby and pledge allegiance to Israel. Lewis did that, unfailingly, not being even able to bring himself to sign on to HR 2407, a bill sponsored by Betty McCollum (MN) that would protect Palestinian children that several other members of the Black Caucus have done.

Back in 2004, when Cynthia McKinney was running to regain her old House seat in Atlanta, Maxine Waters flew in from LA to campaign for her and I interviewed her there for my radio program. Where was her fellow Atlantan, John Lewis? Not to be found.

— Jeff Blankfort

* * *

* * *



It’s true that cows fed on corn belch up large amounts of methane, but cows raised entirely on grass don’t produce nearly as much. 

The American bison is an even better alternative; it produces no methane and doesn’t destroy the grasslands it grazes on, but improves them.

Its wool can be spun, its hide makes better leather than cattle. Veganism is not a fact-based movement but an ideology, and as such it conveniently ignores the fact that without manure from farm animals, an all plant-based diet is actually worse for the environment.

Such a world would require even greater fossil fuel-based fertilizer and pesticide use, and more plantation-style monoculture, thus more pressure on both the bees we need to fertilize them as well as the wild-animal populations displaced to grow crops. More food would be flown huge distances to the consumer, releasing more carbon dioxide.

No wool or leather means more unbiodegradeable clothing in landfills. The real solution is a smaller population, abandoning industrial agriculture, and eating less meat, more fruits and vegetables, all grown the symbiotic, Polyface Farm’s way.

Wiley Jackson

San Francisco

* * *

MENDO COVID, JULY 19 (another fatality)


  1. Eric Sunswheat July 20, 2020


    RE: Without a doubt, the real problem is too many folks… (Jim Shields)

    —> July 17, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
    A new app that can detect respiratory symptoms using a simple, six-second voice sample was created by a Boston company in hopes of helping employers safely reopen offices during continued uncertainty in the coronavirus pandemic.

    All users have to do is say “ahhh” for six seconds into the app, said Sonde Health CEO David Liu, and the app, called Sonde One, can pick up on symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing…

    The voice analysis is about 75% accurate, said Liu, but it’s paired with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention questionnaire and a body temperature reading which increases accuracy about a person’s condition.
    The full assessment takes about a minute to complete and will tell the user whether they have a low, medium or high risk of respiratory symptoms.

    Employers who deploy the app can create their own rubric of criteria needed to enter the workplace, and the app will tell a worker if they can come into the office or if they should stay home.

  2. Susie de Castro July 20, 2020

    I used to be able to Download fotos, easily, but, now, I’m required to Upload fotos, and, Uploading them involves an extra step, grr.

    An Upgrade? No, a Downgrade, in my book.

  3. George Hollister July 20, 2020

    “I think what saddens me the most about this is the fact that it is likely that nothing will replace those buildings. Three businesses, the heart of the commercial part of town, leveled. Every time a building in Covelo burns, it is not replaced. Gaping holes remain, vacant lots of weeds and trash. It says volumes that no one has either the resources nor the will to rebuild infrastructure in the center of town.”

    This is a direct result of the shut down of Forest Service logging 25 years ago. Covelo was once a mill town. To “save the spotted owl”. Covelo was destroyed in order to save it. This is story that was played out all over western United States.

    • Bruce McEwen July 20, 2020

      George, I’ve planted trees and burned slash piles on clear-cuts from Coo’s Bay, Oregon to Spotted Bear, Montana — clear-cuts that boggle the mind by the scope and scale of the rapacity involved (and hidden from public view behind locked gates) — and if the spotted owl was something of a tear-jerker hoax to get the usually complacent Libs to put their political foot down on logging, well, something had to be done, something drastic, even.

      Look on the bright side, though, George. We’ve still got all these little hometown museums, like the one in Ft. Bragg, and the one here in Ferndale (closed today), to celebrate what larger-than-life heroes all you big tough lumberjacks once were! And, too, there’s still lots of eye-sores like the Paul Bunyon in Willits and bits of rusting junk left by loggers here and there — one at Boonville fairgrounds, another on Highway 20; not to mention the old-timey pictures of choo-choo trains and lumber ships posted with such nostalgic sentimentality on this site daily, all those heroic days of yore, remembered wistfully, so the younger crowd can fantasize about setting chokers, felling timber, fist-fighting in the barrooms, and retiring to a big Rancho Costaplenty on the proceeds, like you and Philbrick did.

      • George Hollister July 20, 2020

        “Look on the bright side, though, George. We’ve still got all these little hometown museums, like the one in Ft. Bragg”

        Yea, Bruce and we still buy lumber from 40 year rotation clear cuts in Oregon, Washington, and Canada. So what’s with that? What we would be getting from our local Forest Service, we now get from Canada. Meanwhile, our Forest Service becomes a place that burns catastrophically. But that is OK, because we hate loggers, and corporate profits, and places like Covelo can be damned.

        • Bruce McEwen July 20, 2020

          It was your hero Ronnie Reagan who went up to Ottawa and cut that deal w/ Mulroney {or was it Treadeau?} to bring in all the Canook’s lumber and beef (let’s not forget the beef), thereby selling out his base constituency, your heroic timberman and cattleman, all the fine fellows you so admire, the mythical protagonists from Sometimes A Great Notion and Lonesome Dove.

          At risk of repeating your most tedious critics, Harvey Reading and Louis Bedrock — well, enough said.

          • Louis Bedrock July 20, 2020

            Two excellent, remarkably coherent (especially for an alcoholic) take downs of Mendocino’s own robber baron.

            But you couldn’t stop yourself from adding the silly, cheap putdown.

            Grow up.

          • George Hollister July 20, 2020

            At this point, lumber from Canada is needed to meet US demand, that otherwise would be have been met with US lumber from the now mostly gone FS timber program. The loggers, and cattleman have not gone, they just move. And the demand for meat and fiber in the US continues to increase. If an anti-logger wants to be consistent, stop buying lumber, and anything that is made from wood fiber. And the same for the anti-cowboys, stop eating beef.

      • sam kircher July 20, 2020

        So, you landed in the victorian village of Ferndale? I enjoyed a year or so there in my college days. Your court reporting is sorely missed here in Mendoland. Hope you are well.

      • Lazarus July 20, 2020

        “And, too, there’s still lots of eye-sores like the Paul Bunyon in Willits and bits of rusting junk left by loggers here and there”

        Au contraire, us Willits folk call that giant at the rodeo grounds, Cowboy Willie…!
        Be Swell,

  4. George Hollister July 20, 2020

    “A LOCAL WOMAN sent us this photo of a fire warning sign on a Mendocino Redwood Co. timber harvest plan”

    All THPs are required to post this sign, and to have a firebox with required tools. From my observation, over the years, the primary ignition source for fires from logging is from crew members. There are other known potential sources coming from equipment that can be readily addressed, but the indiscretion of a single individual is hard to control. Just because there is a sign, doesn’t mean there is an imminent threat from a fire, it means the sign has to be there to avoid a potential CalFire code violation.

    The person who took the photo of the sign should read it, and post the same at their home. There is some good advice there for anyone living in rural Mendocino County, whether you are a logger or not.

    • mendoblather July 20, 2020

      #TrumpBodyCount ???

      • James Marmon July 20, 2020

        Trump’s body count is well under the 2.2 million that Fauci and Birx first warned him of. Over a 90% reduction so far. 10% of 2 million is 200,000 and we’re not there yet. For anyone who believes he could have stopped the Pandemic from entering the United States you should contact the Schraeders and get some help. I’m sure they have some interns standing by who need their hours towards licencing.


      • Louis Bedrock July 20, 2020

        Murder is as American as being fat, shopping, and defiling the environment.

        Trump is a thug: but so were Obama, both Bushes, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Kennedy, Eisenhower, and Harry “A-bomb” Truman. And this list only includes the presidents during my lifetime.

        If God existed, they’d all burn in Hell.

        • George Hollister July 20, 2020

          And Alexander The Great, too.

          • Louis Bedrock July 20, 2020

            When was he President?

      • Joe July 20, 2020

        Amazing how they catch the guy and have the whole story right there for you within 24 hours. Nothing to see here, move along. Just like Epstein hung himself, I’m sure the judge won’t see this as any kind of warning, her son dead and her husband in critical condition.

  5. Joe July 20, 2020

    Twitter and faceplant use SPLC to police “hate groups” .

    “But to keep the money flowing, the SPLC kept insisting hate groups and white supremacy were expanding. To do this, an ever-widening definition of hatred was required. The SPLC expanded its list of “hate groups” to include not just the shrinking numbers of vile KKK and neo-Nazi groups, but groups that were merely controversial and even harmless.”

  6. James Marmon July 20, 2020


    The second death reported today at Sherwood Oaks Nursing Home makes me wonder if these individuals died because of Covid or just with Covid. We know that many of the folks that are sent to nursing homes are sent there to die in the first place. In order to have a better understanding of the causes of death in Nursing homes prior to Covid I pulled up an article published in January 2020, just days before the virus attacked us. The two leading causes of death were sepsis and falls.

    Sepsis, A Leading Killer In Nursing Homes

    Roughly 1 to 3 million serious infections occur in nursing homes each year across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As much as 380,000 nursing home deaths occur each year due to sepsis caused by infections.

    Falls The Leading Cause Of Nursing Home Deaths

    According to the CDC, millions of people ages 65 and older fall each year. About 3 million of these falls result in emergency room visits each year. Fall-related deaths among older adults have increased by 30 percent from 2007 to 2016. They now account for 62 deaths per 100,000 older adults.

    James Marmon MSW
    Critical Thinker


    Do yourself a favor, ask questions, think for yourself, and evolve.

    • chuck dunbar July 20, 2020

      Perhaps the medical experts– local doctors and the county coroner– are actually qualified to make the call as to cause of death…

  7. Whyte Owen July 20, 2020

    Correction: Rainbow over Gualala estuary, not Big River.

    • Louis Bedrock July 20, 2020

      It’s written for Yahoos.

  8. Joe July 20, 2020

    “Despite being charged with the responsibility of investigating and improving vaccine safety DHHS has apparently failed to meet even the most basic aspects of this duty by failing to file a single report for the past thirty years. Three decades have passed since NVICA was put into place, and DHHS has never so much as raised a finger towards vaccine safety — an issue which should be a top priority, especially given the fact that NVICA erases industry responsibility regarding vaccine injuries.”

  9. James Marmon July 20, 2020

    “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

    -Abraham Lincoln

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.