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Mendocino County Today: May 25, 2012

JUAN LERMA, 46, of Fort Bragg, has been identified as the man killed by a falling limb early Monday morning off the old Masonite Road near Navarro. An experienced faller with Shuster Logging, Lerma was struck by a “widowmaker,” as the sudden fall of unexpected tree limbs is known among loggers. Unheard by their victims over the din of a running chainsaw, plummeting widowmakers are a constant hazard in work full of hazards. Lerma is believed to have died instantly.

THE COUNTY’S budget report, released earlier this week, shows a balance of a little more $2 million due mostly to a one-time award of a $957,230 lump sum from tobacco settlement funds, $500,000 from a solid waste fee, $439,187 in replacement taxes from the Williamson Act and $187,256 from selling fixed assets. Staff layoffs, employee give-backs and a hiring freeze have also improved the County’s bottom line. At this time last year, the County was dangerously in the red and unable to borrow at other than ruinous interest rates.

BUT COUNTY RETIREMENT costs continue to increase as do employee health outlays. Tax revenues have not increased and, as always, employment in the County remains stagnant with virtually no new enterprise begun.


MAN BEATER of the decade? Kelisha S. Alvarez, 23, and Scotty L. Willis, 28, were both arrested last Friday when they went toe-to-toe at the Pear Tree Shopping Center, Ukiah. Kelisha is 5’2” and 385 pounds. She’s said to be enormously powerful, quite agile for her bulk and tends to resort immediately to violence at the slightest provocation. Scotty is literally and often love-struck, as he was Friday when he made the mistake of irritating his volcanic girlfriend. Kelisha quickly had Scotty on the run pounding on the door at Ross Dress For Less for someone to call the cops. Someone did, and soon the Ukiah PD was on-scene to arrest both of them for domestic violence.


KELISHA AND SCOTTY are well-known to Ukiah law enforcement. They were featured in a recent AVA when they were arrested in the hospital emergency room for roughing up hospital staff. They like to watch television at the ER waiting area, often appearing at the hospital from the various homeless camps around town where they live. They have also been carted off from the County Courthouse after claiming they’re either suffering or are about to suffer epileptic seizures. Kelisha regularly menaces the clerks and receptionists at local helping agencies. Episodes involving the couple have tied up Ukiah’s limited emergency services. The two of them, Kelisha and Scotty, eat up hours of police and court time, not to mention the pure anxiety the always belligerent Kelisha inspires in the men and women whose duty it is to work with her.

MENDOCINO BOOK COMPANY will host an author reading and cherry pie buffet on Saturday June 30that 2-4pm to launch Memories from Cherry Harvest by local author Amy Wachspress. In celebration of the publication of her book, Amy intends to open and share several jars of her long-hoarded Butler Cherry Ranch cherries, preserved in 1998, the last year the ranch was open for cherry-pickers. Amy says, “The Butler Cherry Ranch inspired my use of the cherry harvest to symbolize life’s abundance in my book. If you have never tasted a Butler cherry or you thought you would never taste one again in your life, then here is your unexpected chance to bite into one of George’s cherries. Never say never! Sometimes something we think is gone forever comes back to us.” … “When I remember Russia, I ache with longing for the village of my birth, where the beloved grandparents magically produced candy in a handshake and told stories of long ago when God spoke to humans and enchantments filled the world.” So begins Memories from Cherry Harvest, a family saga spanning 70 years painted on the broad canvas of nations at war and in peace. Despite the challenges and heartbreak of unfolding events, three generations of women insist on celebrating life’s bounty as babies are born, children raised, men loved, friendships forged, and cherry pies baked. Memories from Cherry Harvest is a spiritual quest that explores the physics of memory and demonstrates how the tenacity of the human spirit can ultimately withstand and overcome the memory of tragedy. On June 30th, Amy will share the story of her path to publication, which she characterizes as “miraculous.” Memories from Cherry Harvest is being published by Counterpoint Press of Berkeley, California as the 2011 winner of the Frances Fabri Literary Prize. A Holocaust survivor, Fabri spearheaded efforts in the US to record survivor stories, creating the interviewing protocols that were widely used to record survivor memories. Amy’s book, loosely based on family stories, is the first Fabri prizewinner to include a Holocaust theme as a central part of the story. Amy is the author of the award-winning children’s fantasy adventure The Call to Shakabaz (Woza Books, 2007). She and her husband Ron Reed (better known locally as “DJ Reed” for his KZYX Saturday night radio show “In the Groove”) raised their three children on 40 acres of remote forest at McNab Ranch. For more information about this event, contact Mendocino Book Company at 102 S. School Street in Ukiah; (707) 468-5940. For more information about Amy Wachspress or Memories from Cherry Harvest visit Amy’s website at


  1. burnunit May 25, 2012

    Sounds like Kelisha and Scotty need to be put away. Far away!

    • John January 16, 2015

      Scotty is my son and he has brain damage. So don’t be saying that cause you don’t know him.

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