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Mendocino County Today: July 6, 2012

CORRECTION: County Counsel Doug Losak was in possession of 3-4 grams of marijuana when he was stopped at 2am the other morning for speeding, not 3-4 ounces as we reported yesterday.

ANOTHER INADVERTENT ADVERTISEMENT for careers in the drug trade occurred Tuesday in Mckinleyville when police raided a house on Halfway Avenue, McKinleyville where, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, they found 65 pounds of packaged bud, six loaded guns, two of them equipped with laser sights, a shotgun, six grams of heroin, more than 100 “controlled prescription tablets, scales, packaging material, a list of who owes who how much, and $68,657 in cash,” this last being the primary career inducement.

ARRESTED at the scene were Eric Daniel Culbertson, 41, the homeowner, and Andrew Petrone, 40, of New York. Culbertson was arrested for possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy, maintaining a residence for sales, armed in commission of a felony, and possession of a controlled substance. Petrone was arrested for possession for sale of marijuana and conspiracy. Culbertson and Petrone were transported to Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Bail was set at $75,000.

TRIPLE A says gasoline prices in Eureka are the highest in the United States at an average of $4.32 a gallon. The reason seems to be that Eureka is just a little too far from Bay Area refineries for tanker truck drivers who, due to the road rules they work under, have to rest up overnight; they aren't permitted to drive to Eureka and back to Richmond in one day.

BLUE WHALES, the largest whales of all, are being spotted in large numbers off the Northern California coast. Their favorite food — the shrimp-like creatures called krill, has appeared in abundance this year, hence the appearance of the great blues of whom only about 10,000 are left worldwide, 2,000 in our neighborhood. According to marine biologists the creatures maintain themselves far from shore, beyond the disturbing reach of whale watchers.

A READER WRITES: “The US Army has developed a new rifle. The ‘XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System’ has a range of roughly 2,300 feet and is to be deployed in Afghanistan soon. I would call it the ‘Equalizer.’ Some call it the ‘Punisher.’ The rifle’s gun sight uses a laser rangefinder to determine the exact distance to the obstruction, after which the soldier can add or subtract up to three meters from that distance to enable the bullets to clear the barrier and explode above or beside the target. Soldiers are supposed to be able to use them to target snipers hidden in trenches rather than calling in air strikes. The 25-millimeter round contains a chip that receives a radio signal from the gun sight as to the precise distance to the target. Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, project manager for the system, described the weapon as a ‘game-changer’ that other nations will try and copy. He estimates the Army bought 12,500 of the XM25 rifles in 2011, enough for every member of the infantry and special forces. Lehner told Fox News: ‘With this weapon system, we take away cover from [enemy targets] forever. Tactics are going to have to be rewritten. The only thing we can see [enemies] being able to do is run away.’ Experts say the rifle means that enemy troops will no longer be safe if they take cover. The XM25 appears to be the perfect weapon for street-to-street fighting that troops in Afghanistan have to engage in, with enemy fighters hiding behind walls and only breaking cover to fire occasionally. The weapon’s laser finder would work out how far away the enemy was and then the US soldier would add one meter using a button near the trigger. When fired, the explosive round would carry exactly one meter past the wall and explode with the force of a hand grenade above the Taliban fighter. The army’s project manager for new weapons, Douglas Tamilio, said: ‘This is the first leap-ahead technology for troops that we’ve been able to develop and deploy.’ A patent granted to the bullet’s maker, Alliant Techsystems, reveals that the chip can determine how far it has travelled. Mr. Tamilio said: ‘You could shoot a Javelin missile, and it would cost about $69,000. These rounds will end up costing $25 apiece.’ They’re relatively cheap. Lehner added: ‘This is a game-changer. The enemy has learned to get cover, for hundreds if not thousands of years. Well, they can’t do that anymore. We’re taking that cover from them and there’s only two outcomes: We’re going to get you behind that cover or force you to flee.’ The rifle will initially use high-explosive rounds, but its makers say that it might later use versions with smaller explosive charges that aim to stun rather than kill.”

ACCORDING TO a report by the very reliable Linda Williams of the Willits News, Caltrans’s motion to have the enviro lawsuit against the current design and route of the Willits Bypass dismissed was denied by the US District Court last week. The enviro groups — Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Willits Environmental Center and the Environemtnal Protection Information Center — say that Caltrans didn’t really evaluate a two-lane option (the current plan is for a four-lane Bypass, with a two-lane as Phase I). Caltrans says that their traffic studies show that they will eventually need a four-lane Bypass which is why they needed to buy up and clear four lanes worth of land over the five-plus mile route while only building two lanes until more funding becomes available. The enviros say Caltrans’ traffic studies are flawed. The enviro groups also say that the five-years worth of construction work in the area was not adequately studied or mitigated. And the enviros say that there was no evaluation of the impact of Caltrans buying up the 2,000 acres of ag land in Little Lake Valley for construction or mitigation. All of these failures (and other smaller ones) require a supplemental EIR, say the enviros. The suit will now move forward into the slo-mo “management conference” mode where a federal judge will try to get the two sides to settle their disputes before an actual trial.

One Comment

  1. July 6, 2012

    “He estimates the Army bought 12,500 of the XM25 rifles in 2011, enough for every member of the infantry and special forces.”
    I think there are currently over a million US infantrymen.
    The weapon costs about $25,000 and each round is now about $1000.
    Effectiveness reports vary between official and independent sources.

    The moderator is behind again.

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