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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Sept. 10, 2021

Cool Sun | Rainfall | Lightning Strikes | 77 New Cases | Ukiah Covid | First Delivery | Curtailment Amendment | Naked Ladies | Haulers Needed | Arena Cove | Ed Notes | Hate That | Agenda Notes | Drive By | Bari Retrospective | Talmage Hospital | Bettega Murder | Produce Exchange | Yesterday's Catch | Water Hazard | Sociopath Heaven | Slick & Giggles | Winemobile | Dog Sweater | Lahn Art | Human Crime | What If | Finnish Band | Forks Support | Plague Mask | County Redistricting | Shaw Hut | Depressing Letters

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SKIES WILL CLEAR this morning inland from marine layer clouds and fog, with a mostly sunny and cooler day. The interior will heat back up this weekend through early next week, while typically cool weather with areas of morning clouds and fog persist along the coast. (NWS)

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SCANT as it was — a few hundreds of an inch — last night's rainfall was the first the Anderson Valley has seen in five months. Monthly figures for the 2020-21 "wet" season (Oct-Oct) thus far:

Boonville (16.6" total)
0.1" Oct
1.9" Nov
3.5" Dec
4.8" Jan
2.5" Feb
3.4" Mar
0.3" Apr
0.0" May
0.0" Jun
0.0" Jul
0.0" Aug

Yorkville (21.4" total)
0.0" Oct
2.2" Nov
5.4" Dec
5.9" Jan
3.3" Feb
4.4" Mar
0.2" Apr
0.0" May
0.0" Jun
0.0" Jul
0.0" Aug

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* * *

AT LEAST 2 DOZEN LIGHTNING STRIKES Confirmed In North Bay, Fire Officials Boost Staffing

by Emma Murphy and Colin Atagi

Sonoma County public safety officials called in extra personnel and readied emergency alert systems late Thursday into Friday morning as thunderstorms arrived in the North Bay and a broader swath of Northern California, posing an extreme wildfire risk at the height of a historic, drought-fueled fire season.

“This is an ‘all hands on deck’ event for us,” Sonoma County Fire District Chief Mark Heine said Thursday. “It’s a very high-impact event for us.”

As of 12:45 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service reported that at least two dozen lightning strikes had been confirmed in parts of Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.

“In our reality, the forecast is playing out as anticipated pretty nicely,” Roger Gass, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said. “Historically, late August into September are typically times we would have this setup develop. But it was obviously something we were mindful of and concerned about, given our dry conditions across the region.”

Lightning developed in the Santa Rosa area just before 9 p.m. and the National Weather Service confirmed eight cloud-to-ground strikes in Sonoma County, alone, as of 9:45 p.m.

Lightning strikes over Sugarloaf Ridge State Park near Kenwood, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021 in Sonoma county, Ca. In the foreground is Santa Rosa's Fountaingrove community that was burned during the 2017 Tubbs Fire. — Kent Porter

One strike was within the September 2020 Glass fire’s burn area east of Santa Rosa. It burned 67,484 acres and destroyed 1,555 structures.

Three other lightning strikes were east of Rohnert Park, but the other four locations weren’t specified.

There also were reports of fires across the North Bay late Thursday, but officials were slow in confirming whether any of them were caused by lightning.

Just before 11:30 p.m., fire and lightning activity was reported in the eastern hills south of Hopland in Mendocino County.

A small fire that was being called the Rock fire was captured on one of Alert Wildfire’s cameras in a grassy area purported to be in the eastern hills in Mendocino County.

Smoke and flames could be seen rising from the fire into the night sky, but it did not appear to be spreading.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that the fire “activity” was being assessed, but did not specify if lightning was the cause.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department tweeted out at 11 p.m. that there had not been any fires in the city. But around 11:30 p.m., there were unconfirmed reports that lightning caused a tree fire on Mountain Meadow Lane.

Cal Fire firefighters were investigating a fire on Wall Road in Napa County, but a spokesman said it was too early to say if it was linked to lightning.

Light amounts of rain also fell across the North Bay. Kenwood received a little more than a 10th of an inch, which was the wettest area, and additional measurable rain was anticipated throughout the night.

Conditions kicked off a weather event that had been anticipated all week and led to extra precautions by firefighters.

Increased staffing and patrols are expected to last well into Friday morning as the North Bay remains under a National Weather Service red flag warning that’s not scheduled to expire until 11 a.m.

Peak lightning periods were expected to last until then and fire officials across Sonoma County prepared themselves for fires that had potential to erupt overnight or Friday morning if lightning struck dry vegetation that’s spread across the North Bay landscape.

Gray, cloudy skies covered the North Bay Thursday night and thunder could be heard in Santa Rosa shortly after 9 p.m. The Weather Service confirmed some strikes in the Santa Rosa area at 9:20 p.m.

The first sign of a storm came around 5:30 p.m. when light rain fell onto Santa Rosa, and Weather service meteorologist Ryan Walbrun said that was to be expected and indicative of forecasted conditions.

Earlier this week, the National Weather Service had issued a fire weather watch that kicked in at 5 p.m. Thursday before it was upgraded to the red flag warning.

It covers all but the far western edges of Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties, all of Napa and Lake counties and much of the East Bay hills and valleys, extending north and east into the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills.

The warning came on the one-year anniversary of what the weather service dubbed “Mars Day,” when wildfire smoke turned the Bay Area’s sky an ominous orange amid last year’s unprecedented siege of wildfires, including the August Complex, the state’s first million-acre inferno that burned for weeks over a half-dozen counties in Northern California.

The front moving into the North Bay was taking shape west of Big Sur in the Pacific Ocean and will head inland to the northeast.

“That should be making a bee line toward the greater Bay Area,” Walbrun said. “The ingredients are in place for it to blossom” Thursday evening.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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77 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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ACCORDING TO MENDOCINO COUNTY the Ukiah area population is 38,134 (this includes Ukiah, Talmage, Calpella, Redwood Valley, and Potter Valley). There have been 4,012 confirmed Covid cases for that area, which means that 1 out of every 9.5 area residents has had the bug.

* * *

THANKS TO THE EFFORTS and coordination of Mendocino County, the City of Ukiah, and the City of Fort Bragg, delivery of water to the City’s Summers Lane Reservoir is officially underway. The City received 5,000 gallons yesterday and is expected to receive 10,000 gallons today. As more trucks and drivers are procured, the volume of water will be ramped up to meet demand. The potable water will be re-treated by the Fort Bragg Water Treatment System and provided to water haulers who deliver much-needed water along the Mendocino Coast.

Water Truck at Summers Lane Reservoir

Fort Bragg declared a Stage 3 Water emergency and has implemented water conservation measures that target a 20-30% reduction in overall water use. Record-setting low flows in the Noyo River forced Fort Bragg to cease outside water sales on July 18 in order to provide water to its customers. The City is grateful to Ukiah and the County for supplying water so that it can restore the outside sales.

Water emergency related questions may be directed to or (707) 961-2823 Ext. 131. Additional information on Stage 3 Water Conservation Restrictions and other helpful conservation information is available on the City’s Water Conservation webpage.

(Fort Bragg City Presser)

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by Justine Frederiksen

To expedite the delivery of much-needed drinking water to coastal Mendocino County residents whose wells have gone dry, the California State Water Resources Control Board has amended its previous curtailment orders to allow the city of Ukiah to draw water from the Russian River for emergency supplies.

“The State Water Board has pre-approved a health and human safety exemption allowing the city of Ukiah to provide emergency supplies to (coastal Mendocino County communities),” said Erik Ekdahl, deputy director of the Division of Water Rights, explaining Wednesday that the board did not want “bureaucracy to get in the way of providing emergency drinking water to people who really need it.”

Ekdahl said representatives of the board and the city of Ukiah have been discussing for months how water could be provided to the coast, and that the city could have applied for the exemption itself, but “it has some philosophical differences” regarding the board’s ability to curtail certain water rights, specifically its pre-1914 right.

Ekdahl said amending the curtailment order allows water to be delivered to the coast without the city having to concede its position on whether the state has the authority to curtail its pre-1914 water right.

When previously discussing the city’s intention to violate the state’s curtailment order by drawing from the Russian River and face fines, Sean White, the city’s director of water and sewer resources, admitted that the State Water Board would have allowed the city to draw needed water without incurring fines, “but it would have been under a difficult premise” that the city was unwilling to accept.

White said that the premise proposed by the State Water Board would have required the city to impose conservation measures on its own residents that would limit water usage to 55 gallons per resident per day, measures that White described as “draconian,” which is defined as “excessively harsh and severe.”

Ekdahl said Wednesday that the amended curtailment orders allowing the city to draw water from the river do not impose a conservation mandate of 55 gallons of water per person per day on the city of Ukiah residents, only to the recipients of the water on the Mendocino Coast. Previously, Ekdahl had said that such a conservation mandate would not have applied to city of Ukiah residents from the beginning.

In terms of how much water total is expected to be provided by the city to the coast, Ekdahl said his understanding was it would not be more than “50 acre-feet over the next three months,” which he described as a relatively small amount. (One acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons of water.)

Ekdahl said the curtailment order exemption was “pre-approved based on information provided by the city” regarding how much water it intends to draw from the Russian River. White described that as “a very small amount” of water that is within the 1.4 cubic feet per second that the city describes as being allowed under its “water right that dates back to 1874.”

The city of Ukiah would not be delivering water, but would be providing access for approved water haulers to fill up their trucks — a typical water truck carries 3,500 gallons — then drive the water to Fort Bragg. From there the water would be treated and distributed to those needing water.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors last month approved allowing qualified haulers to drive water from Ukiah to the city of Fort Bragg, and just this week the deliveries began. On Wednesday, 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams confirmed that the first deliveries from Ukiah had begun.

“I am sure they will find somebody,” White said previously when asked if the discussions regarding the city providing water to the coast were in fact moot. If a hauler is indeed found and hired, White said the city would likely charge them three cents a gallon for what he estimated would be about 65,000 to 75,000 gallons a day, or about $2,000 worth of water.

When asked if the city could provide water to the coast without drawing from the river, White said no, that “we’re maxed out in our capacity right now. We’re meeting needs (for potable water) through our wells, but just barely. And it’s not a supply issue, it’s a pumping capacity issue.”

Last week, White told the Ukiah City Council that his staff will be using its existing equipment to pull water from the river “16 hours a day, one day a week, then putting that water into storage and drawing off of that for seven days.”

White could not be reached for comment Wednesday on the State Water Board’s amended curtailment order. However, City Manager Sage Sangiacomo said that the city began providing water Wednesday, allowing access to 10,000 gallons of what he described as groundwater only.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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Photo by Kathy Shearn who notes: “A different color than Ukiah’s blooms which are a paler pink.”

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Post Date: 09/09/2021 1:44 PM

The County of Mendocino is seeking water hauling services from qualified water haulers to haul water from the City of Ukiah Water Treatment Plant at 935 River Street, Ukiah to the City of Fort Bragg’s Summers Lane Reservoir at 19701 Summers Lane, Fort Bragg.

The County is seeking trucks to haul a minimum of two loads per day (approximately 10,000 gallons). As the County ramps up the program, it is anticipated we will need an additional 3 trucks to haul a total of 40,000 gal/day. We will have a continued water shortage until we are able to secure more haulers.

For more information, please visit: 

General questions related to the drought emergency should be directed to

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POINT ARENA U.S. COAST GUARD LIFE SAVING STATION, circa 1910 (established in 1901).

More information here: Point Arena maritime history at Arena Cove

(via Marshall Newman)

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OUR NEW SCHOOL SUPE, the delightful and enthusiastic Ms. Louise Simson, reports that the resumption of in-person school is off to a roaring start. “The kids and staff are happy to be back and the learning and socializing are flourishing! We have two new playgrounds at the elementary that are awaiting final inspection. We are working hard to restore the school sites and refresh appearances. Staff are relishing engaging with students in person and innovating content to capture students' interest. Attendance has been very strong, and parents/guardians are mindful of keeping their students at home if they have cold/flu symptoms, which is a tremendous help. I have enjoyed attending sports events and thank the coaches for their commitment and care with the athletes. Beth Swhela's ag program is in full bloom, and I could not believe the amount of eggs her kids collected on Tuesday following the long weekend! We started our “pooled” Covid testing today. More than 200 students and staff participated in this weekly testing program offered by the State at no charge to our District, including providing the testing costs and personnel. In addition to the pool program, we are DEEPLY grateful to the Health Center Staff for their on-going commitment with providing PCR tests to our staff and for Leah and Fabi's collaboration and time." 

Below is our parent letter going out this week. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Louise Simson

September 8, 2021

Dear AVUSD Community,

Many thanks to all of our parents, guardians, students and staff that allowed participation in the first “pooled Covid-19 testing” on the site today. There are always some blips during on-ramp of any new program, but we are thankful for the information that this testing result will provide and today went very, very smoothly. If any sample in the pool comes up “positive,” medical staff will be on-site to administer rapid tests to individuals in that pool. If you want to add your student into the “pool”, contact your school office. Two Registered Nurses were collecting the samples today. They will return on Friday, if necessary and will reappear every Wednesday thereafter.

We thank parents/guardians who have kept their students out of school with any signs of illness. We appreciate your consideration of the other school members, and look forward to welcoming your students back to school when they do not exhibit symptoms of illness.

I want to reiterate any symptoms that require immediate testing:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of Breath
  • High Fever over 100.4
  • New cough

Please seek out a PCR Covid-19 test for these major symptoms, as you keep your student out of school.

Additionally, if you have two “minor symptoms in combination” such as a headache, chills, fatigue, muscle/body aches, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea, etc. Please consider getting your students tested. We are being vigilant in working together to keep everyone safe. 

If your student is age 12 or above, PLEASE VACCINATE. The health center staff make it super easy! There is no reason to say no. Parents/guardians please don't leave this decision to your teenager. This is an adult decision to make for the safety of your student. 

I know the fair is coming up and it is BELOVED. I just ask your help in making sure you follow safety precautions. Please vaccinate your students before you go (if they are age 12 or above); stay masked; and if they are exhibiting any signs of illness come Tuesday, September 21, STAY HOME. 

I stayed open in my last school district all last year for five day a week instruction for every kid, every day, as the staff and families partnered together for the greater good. Your help to keep other students and staff SAFE is the best gift of all. 

Congrats to Athletic Director, Arthur Folz, and our student athletes for an outstanding sports schedule! Join us for the following games: 

Please remember to remain masked at games!


  • 9/17 5pm against CSD
  • 10/15 6pm against Upper Lake
  • 10/22 6pm against Potter Valley


  • 9/16 6pm against Mendocino
  • 9/21 6pm against Point Arena
  • 9/28 6pm against Laytonville

Boys Soccer:

  • 9/17 4:30pm against Sonoma Academy
  • 9/29 4:30pm against Credo
  • 10/1 4:30pm against Calistoga

As always, the door is open. Call me with any questions or suggestions.

Take care,

Louise Simson


IT OCCURS to me that Rebecca Brendlin and I are just about the last people around the Anderson Valley who could, if we put on our thinking caps and thought real hard, list all the school superintendents back to Mel ‘Boom Boom’ Baker. Who else out there remembers Bob Vogen? John Peterson? Who can forget Superintendent Wobbling Eagle?

THERE ARE VIVID PERSONALITIES and then there's Oaky Joe Munson, a pot entrepreneur who has always somehow managed to emerge from numerous court appearances unscathed, although he's spent a night or two in various county jails. A natural raconteur, Joe, almost in passing, told me of his recent adventure in Roseland, the Mexican neighborhood in west Santa Rosa.

“I'd rather give my product away than be insulted by buyers offering me two hundred a pound,” Joe explained. “So I took a garbage bag of last year's down to Roseland to give it away to a group of homeless guys I saw standing on a corner. ‘Hey! Do you guys smoke pot?’ They all nodded yes. Just as I was giving them the goods, a cop rolls up. ‘What are you doing?’ I said I was giving these guys free marijuana. The cop was skeptical. ‘If you're selling it you're committing a crime.’ I repeated that I was giving it away. ‘Well, ok,’ the cop said. ‘Have a nice day,’ and away he went.” Joe concluded, “How times have changed. Twenty years ago that would have gotten me five years in the state pen.” 

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by Mark Scaramella

UNBELIEVABLY, THE SHERIFF’S LAWSUIT against the County/Board of Supervisors continues into its second month.

Item 9d on next Tuesday’s Board agenda: “Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1) - Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation: One Case - Mendocino County Sheriff Matthew Kendall v. Mendocino County Board of Supervisors - Case No. 21-cv00561.”

“According to the case records, various legal declarations and documents have been submitted recently by Darcie Antle (the CEO’s budget officer), Travis Forrester (the Sheriff’s computer guy), Juanita Dreiling (the Sheriff’s budget person), and Underdsheriff Darren Brewster, as well as flash drives full of legal stuff from County Counsel Christian Curtis. 

Previouly, declarations have been submitted by the Sheriff himself, Christian Curtis, Janelle Rau, and Doug Losak. One of the documents submitted on September 1 was entitled: “Board of Supervisor's Position Regarding the Conflict of Interest Issues and Response Regarding the Budget.”

But we are not going to pay $10 to read it because 1: who cares? and 2. The issue is ongoing so their “position” has obviously not mollified the Sheriff or his lawyers. The next hearing is now set for September 13 and is called “Continued Ex Parte Hearing re: Conflict of interest and appt of atty.”

Here’s a list of documents that this wasteful farce has so far produced:

  • Declaration of Matthew Kendall
  • Declaration of Duncan James in Support of Motion
  • Notice of Motion for an Exparte Order
  • Memorandum of Points & Authoritiesin support of Motion for an Order
  • Ex Parte Applicationfor an exparte order
  • Declaration re: Notice Upon Exparte Application for Order
  • Proof of Service of Proposed Order re: Conflict of Interest and Appointment of Counsel
  • Opposition to Petition and Request for Continuance
  • Declaration of Christian Curtis in Opposition to Exparte Application of Sheriff Matt Kendal
  • Request
  • 07/30/21 MINS
  • Court Reporter Services < 1 hr
  • Declaration
  • Declaration
  • Proof of Service
  • 08/04/21 MINS
  • County's Response re: an Ethical Wall and Selection of Counsel
  • Report on Board Action Regarding Existence of Conflicts
  • Declaration of Christian M. Curtis
  • Declaration of Janelle Rau
  • Request for Judicial Notice
  • Proof of Service
  • Court Reporter Services < 1 hr
  • Report
  • Declaration
  • Declaration
  • Declaration
  • Declaration
  • Request
  • Memorandum of Points & Authorities
  • Objection - No Fee
  • Exhibits Lodged By:
  • Proof of Service
  • 08/19/21 MINS
  • Request for Court Reporter
  • 08/23/21 MINS
  • Court Reporter Services < 1 hr
  • Proof of Service
  • Request for Judicial Notice - Filed by County Counsel
  • Regarding the Conflict of Interest Issues and Response Regarding the Budget
  • Declaration of Darcie Antle
  • Declaration of Travis Forrester
  • Declaration of Douglas L. Losak
  • Request for Judicial Notice
  • Declaration of Juanita Dreiling
  • Declaration of Undersheriff Darren Brewster
  • Sheriff's Supplemental Memorandum of Points & Authorities
  • Exhibit 1 To Request For Judicial Notice - Flash Drive Submitted

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Next Tuesday, Board of Supervisors Meeting, Consent Calendar Item 4e: “Adoption of Resolution in Opposition to an Application by “Coal Train” to use Rail Lines Through Mendocino County and Support the Surface Transportation Board to Grant the Request of the North Coast Railroad Authority to Railbank their Rail Line from Willits to Humboldt Bay (Sponsors: Supervisor Haschak and Supervisor Mulheren)”

[proposed] Resolution No. 21-____

Resolution Stating The Board's Opposition To An Application To Allow The Transportation Of Coal By Train Through Mendocino County 

WHEREAS, an anonymous corporation based in Wyoming has recently submitted paperwork to the federal Surface Transportation Board objecting to the Railbanking for the Great Redwood Trail and saying they intend to purchase the railroad; and 

WHEREAS, it has been widely reported and corroborated that this secret corporation is intending to use the railroad to transport coal mined in the Midwest; and 

WHEREAS, this company intends to transport this coal across the state of California to Marin County, and then haul it north through Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt counties to the port of Humboldt; and 

WHEREAS, coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change; and 

WHEREAS, the burning of coal is responsible for nearly 50% of the carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, and accounts for over 70% of the greenhouse has emissions from all electrical generation; and 

WHEREAS, coal contributes to a staggering health crisis which experts estimate leads to over 13,000 premature deaths, 200,000 asthma attacks, and more than $100 Billion in health care costs each year in the United States alone; and 

WHEREAS, according to railroad studies, somewhere between five hundred to two thousand pounds of coal and coal dust can escape from every single loaded train car; and 

WHEREAS, loose coal can cause devastating impacts to our drinking water, watersheds and surrounding environment; and 

WHEREAS, coal dust can cause devastating disease in humans and animals, cause spontaneous fires, and degrade and destabilize the rail bed; and 

WHEREAS, the Russian and Eel Rivers supply drinking water to nearly one million people of Northern California, and habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species. 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors that hereby notifies the Surface Transportation Board of our strong opposition to this application and declare that should be rejected outright; and 

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors encourages the Surface Transportation Board to grant the request of the North Coast Railroad Authority to railbank their rail line from Willits to Humboldt Bay. 

The foregoing Resolution introduced by Supervisor __, seconded by Supervisor ___, and carried this __ day of __, 2021, by the following vote: __ x __

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On Monday I attended the Inland Mendocino Democratic Club Virtual meeting. We heard from Congressman Huffman, Senator McGuire and Assemblymember Wood. When it was my turn to give an update I realized that in 9 months we have come a long way. It’s hard to remember that when you’re caught in the weeds and the weeks seem to go by so fast. I’ll try to write up a recap for you all or do a video. 

* * *

Item 4j on the CONSENT Calendar (!) is “Approval of Retroactive Amendment to BOS Agreement No. 21-086 with Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC, Increasing the Total Compensation by [a whopping] $250,000 (!) For a New Total of $300,000 for Legal Services”

And what does the County intend to pay this law firm $250,000 more for?

“Litigation legal services, advisory and representation services … with respect to the lawsuit ‘Ezekial Flatten, et al. v. Bruce Smith, et al.,” (a Mendocino Court case) and “Anne Marie Borges, et al., v. County of Mendocino, et al.” (a federal case).

Despite Supervisor Mulheren’s recent declaration that all agenda items will have a budget note about where the money is coming from, there’s no such note here (or anywhere else on the agenda, for that matter). 

It’s interesting that the County is handing off both these cases to expensive outside counsel together as one combined item. We don’t know what the connection between Mr. Flatten’s case is with the Borges case (other than they both involve marijuana). Flatten is suing the County in the outgrowth of the well-publicized shakedown of pot growers on Highway 101 by a couple of Rohnert Park cops. Borges is suing over an allegation that the County singled her and her husband out for a pot raid on the Boonville Road back in 2018 that destroyed their pot garden even though they were nearly legal with the County.

* * *

* * *

SWINDLE WEEKS at the County Museum

Saturday, Sep 18, 1-3pm. Redwood Summer Retrospective with Naomi Wagner, Karen Pickett, Dave Walsh, Mickey Dulas, Tracey Kattleman, Darryl Cherney and Pam Davis.

Friday, Sep 24 5:30-7:30pm. Remembering Judi Bari with her friends and comrades, Alicia Littletree, Naomi Wagner, Daphne Martin, Larry Evans, Linda Perkins and Bill Heil.

Friday, Oct. 1, 6-8pm. Songs by and about Judi Bari: A live concert with Alicia Littletree, Francine Allen, Mokai, Rosebud Ireland, Bear Dyken and Darryl Cherney with Edie Morris.

Sunday, Oct. 10, 1-3pm. Judi Bari versus the FBI: Discussion with the legal team. Attorneys Dennis Cunningham and Ben Rosenfeld, Legal Assistants Josh Morcell and Alicia Littletree, Juror Mary Nunn and Plaintiff Darryl Cherney.

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 5:30-7:30pm. The Day of the Car Bombing of Judi Bari: firsthand accounts with Darryl Cherney, Karen Pickett, and others.

Sunday, Oct. 24, 1-3pm. Building Bridges: with timberworkers, union organizing and Earth First! with timberworkers Ernie Pardini, Art Harwood, IWW union activist Steve Ongerth, and Darryl Cherney.

Wednesday, Oct. 27, 6-8pm. Book discussion of Timber Wars by Judi Bari with Cultural Services Agency Director Deb Fader via Zoom.

Friday, October 29, 6-7pm. Special Appearance by Mike Sweeney via zoom from New Zealand: “How I Almost Committed the Perfect Crime.”

DOES IT EVEN NEED SAYING that these events deliberately exclude the alternative perspective? And this sad line-up of dupes and scammers is sponsored by the taxpayers of Mendocino County. Will Mendo give me, Diogenes himself, an hour some afternoon to present the proposition that the crime against Judi Bari was committed by her ex-husband?

* * *

Mendocino State Hospital, Talmage, 1950s

* * *


On Saturday, Septmeber 4, 2021 at about 1:30 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center began receiving calls for service concerning a reported assault and possible kidnapping in an unknown area of Covelo.

The reports initially identified cousins Christopher Bettega and William Bettega as being the reported victims. At the time of the call, the location of William Bettega was unknown.

Christopher & William Bettega

Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies began to respond to Covelo and while responding, a separate call for service regarding a located deceased person was dispatched.

The Covelo Fire Department had been dispatched to an injured male on the roadway near the intersection of Crawford Road and Henderson Road. Upon their arrival, it was determined the death was obvious and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was requested to respond.

When Deputies arrived at the deceased male's location, it was believed based on evidence located at the scene that the person, later identified as William Bettega was struck by a motor vehicle.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detectives were dispatched and assumed control over the investigation.

Based on the suspected nature of the death, Sheriff's Detectives requested and were assisted by an Investigator from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Northern Division Investigation Services Unit.

CHP Officers assisted in documentation of the death scene.

A Patrol Deputy assisting Sheriff's Detectives located a vehicle in the Short Creek drainage just east of Biggar Lane in Covelo.

Evidence consistent with a recent collision involving a pedestrian was located on the exterior of the vehicle. The vehicle was identified as being primarily utilized by Christopher Bettega, 23, of Covelo.

Several people were contacted and interviewed over the next four days during the course of this investigation.

On Wednesday, September 8, 2021 Sheriff's Detectives and Patrol Deputies served a search warrant at a residence near the intersection of Biggar Lane and Mendocino Pass Road in Covelo. At the conclusion of the search warrant (based on the information learned during the investigation) Christopher Bettega was arrested for Murder.

Christopher Bettega was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.

While this investigation is ongoing, there is no information suggesting the existence of any additional suspect(s). At this time, there is no evidence to support the initially reported kidnapping incident.

This investigation is still active and Sheriff's Detectives are asking anyone with information related to Christopher Bettega and William Bettega's activities on the night of 09-03-2021 and during the early morning hours of 09-04-2021 to contact the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's Detectives ask any person(s) or business with surveillance video which depicts a lifted White Chevy Silverado traveling on downtown Covelo roads between the hours of 12:00 AM (midnight) and 1:30 AM on 09-04-2021 to contact Sheriff's Detectives.

An anonymous message can be left on the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the California Department of Justice Eureka and Santa Rosa Bureau of Forensic Services Criminalists; CHP Garberville and CHP Ukiah Offices; CHP Northern Division ISU and Multi Disciplinary Investigation Team (MAIT) and the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office Investigators for their continued assistance during this investigation.

* * *


Our next free community produce exchange will take place Tuesday, September 21st, from 5-6 pm in the community park! Everyone is welcome! Feel free to come load up on locally grown produce and/or bring anything you have to share from your own garden.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, September 9, 2021

C.Bettega, M.Bettega, Byrne, Hodges

CHRISTOPHER BETTEGA, Covelo. Murder, probation revocation.

MARIJANE BETTEGA, Covelo. Harboring wanted felon, conspiracy.

KYLE BYRNE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

JODI HODGES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Johnson, Leggett, McOsker, Mendez

DAVID JOHNSON, Covelo. Probation violation.

SHELLY LEGGETT, Covelo. Burglary, obstruction, probation revocation.

REMO MCOSKER, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

CODY MENDEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment. 

Silva, Sparks, Wright

HALEY SILVA, Willits. Vandalism.

LORI SPARKS, Wheatland/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DOREEN WRIGHT-HOAGLIN, Dos Rios. Placing pollutant near state waters, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

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Most pathological personalities act entirely rationally, other than the fact that they have exactly zero empathy for anyone else. They objectify everyone and everything and reduce things to cold hard calculations of net value. The business and political worlds are chock full of these characters, with Wall St and DC being their heaven. And the best are utter chameleons as well, able to alter their colors according to their environment at will. I’m sure they view the current scamdemic as one of the more humane ways to go about their little project and would readily say so behind closed doors. Personally, I think total nuclear war would be a lot more fun, but then that wouldn’t leave much for big boys to enjoy after the dust settled.

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COULD DISCARDED MATERIALS from the winemaking process — like the pressed-off grape skins and spent yeasts — help move us away from fossil fuels? A French company is experimenting with using these wine byproducts in racecar fuel, writes Mike Pomranz in Food & Wine. (Esther Mobley)

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The Artists' Collective in Elk is featuring Rachel Lahn for the month of September. "My recent work has been deeply influenced by Covid and global warming. I build Bas Relief paintings and freestanding sculptures with recycled packing material; cardboard and styrofoam. I call these pieces 'The Compartment Series'. They are reflective of the many inner compartments I’ve had to create to emotionally survive the pandemic and and our warming planet." A selection of this series will be shown at the Artist Collective in Elk in September. Rachel Lahn BFA, MAT, Rhode Island School of Design. Rachel will be at the gallery on 2nd Saturday Sept.11 all afternoon, come meet Rachel and see her work. The Artist's Collective in Elk Gallery is open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. 707-877-1128 

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What if you could save a child from losing a parent? Keep a family from financial ruin and homelessness? Make schools available for all children? Ensure that seniors could live out their lives without anxiety? Keep small businesses thriving? Support a global economy? Show compassion for the health of other countries? Prevent heartbreak too vast to even imagine? Just by getting a vaccination.

Would you?

Leal Reinhart


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Finnish Band, Fort Bragg

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FORKS RANCH MARKET CONTINUES LEGACY Of Supporting Redwood Valley Calpella Fire Department Volunteers

Since 1996, when Randy and Nancy Hoover bought the Forks Ranch Market from Nancy’s parents, the couple has helped safeguard their community by donating to the volunteers of the Redwood Valley Calpella Fire District (RVCFD) and encouraging other businesses to do the same. According to Fire Chief Kerry Robinson, this type of community support has enabled volunteer firefighters to provide life-saving support to thousands of local people since the fire department’s founding in 1938.

Currently, RVCFD has four full-time paid employees and 19 volunteer firefighters who respond to everything from vegetation and structure fires to medical calls, traffic accidents and hazards, downed trees and power lines, flooding, and other emergencies.

Volunteer RVCFD emergency medical technician and firefighter Megan Turner Brown said, “Most of the time when people call 911, it is because they are experiencing a terrible event, possibly the worst moment of their lives. Our job is to make the situation better: put the fire out, extricate victims from a car, provide medical assistance, or comfort family members. Often, a member of our department has some connection to the people we are called to help. I think this is a great comfort to the community.”

Because Redwood Valley and Calpella are such small towns, residents get to know each other. Turner Brown explained, “That really makes everything we do personal and special. [As volunteer firefighters,] we form such close bonds with each other that we truly are like a family, and the community is like our extended family.”

In December, this close-knit community unexpectedly lost one of its most beloved, Forks owner Randy Hoover. Friends and family were heartbroken and community members wondered about the future of the Forks Ranch Market.

Store manager Desiree Brown shared a little of the history of the Forks, and why the loss of Randy was so difficult for so many. On Labor Day in 1962, Nancy Hoover’s parents bought the Forks Ranch Market, so named because it is located where Highway 20 and the old Redwood Highway diverge. For thirty-four years, their small grocery and deli was known for its friendly service and high-quality products. When Nancy and Randy bought the store from her parents in 1996, they kept the quality and added their own brand of service.

Brown said, “Randy was a hardworking, loyal, dedicated family man. He worked at the Forks seven days a week, but he really didn't mind because this was his home. The store was his pride and joy. He would go above and beyond to serve any customer in the store. Also, Randy was also the ultimate prankster. Employees were always on their toes and if you scared him, you never knew when the revenge would take place. Nancy was Randy’s main target for pranks and scaring. She doesn’t like to be the center of attention, but she always has a witty comment to add. Her and Randy were a perfect pair.”

Even though the Forks requires a bit of a drive for some, people come from all over inland Mendocino County to take advantage of its meat selection, deli sandwiches, local wines, and craft beers. When Randy died, Brown joined with the market’s meat cutter Brandon Johnson and the rest of the staff to jump in and keep the store operating, while owner Nancy mourned the loss of her husband.

When it came time for the store’s annual donation to RVCFD, Johnson wanted to keep the tradition going. “It’s what Randy would have wanted,” he said. Nancy agreed and even though there was uncertainty about how things would turn out, especially in the middle of a pandemic, the Forks Ranch Market continued to financially support the fire department.

Chief Robinson thanked the Forks Market employees as he reminisced about stories of Randy encouraging others, through guilt trips if necessary, to make sure RVCFD received support. This year, major donations have included $1000 from Forks Ranch Market, $500 each from the Savings Bank of Mendocino County and Valley Paving, $200 from Tollini Distributing, and $100 from Mia Bea Wines.

In addition to major business donations, RVCFD depends on two major fundraisers each year: a beef barbecue and Christmas tree sales. Gary Dogali, RVCFD secretary/treasurer, has been the barbecue master for years. He said, “The RVCFD volunteers hosted the first annual barbecue in 1958. The barbecue has always been a huge success. Good food, live music, and a chance to visit with the community.” More than 20 years ago, RVCFD began selling Christmas trees at the firehouse to augment their budget.

The RVCFD is a special district, but it is community donations that enable the volunteer firefighters to supplement the district's budget by purchasing safety gear, equipment, and contributing to large expenditures such buildings and fire apparatus, according to Turner Brown.

She said, “We have always been very grateful to our community for their extremely generous support. We didn’t know how things would go during COVID, but once again the community stepped up and we have had very successful fundraisers.” Because of the pandemic, this year’s barbecue was a drive-through event with all proceeds going towards the purchase of new extrication tools. The extrication equipment includes battery-operated cutting, spreading, and stabilizing tools that will allow firefighters to safely remove people from vehicles involved in traffic accidents more quickly. The price for the equipment is more than $40,000.

Chief Robinson said, “Many local individuals and businesses contributed to our fundraiser. We especially appreciate the generosity considering how many businesses have struggled during the pandemic.” This year’s drive-through barbecue contributors included Forks Ranch Market, Slam Dunk Pizza, Raley's Supermarket, Schat’s Bakery, Chadwick Armory, DFM Auto Repair, Mendo Mill, Coyote Valley, Lindberg Lumber, Cal Fire Parlin Fork Conservation Camp, North American Organics, Ron's Quality Construction, Daniel and Susan Pollesel, Redwood Valley Gravel Products, Valley Paving, Tollini Distribution, and Mia Bea Wines.

Anyone interested in donating to RVCFD can contact the station at 707-485-8121 or via email at

(Redwood Valley Calpella Fire District Presser)

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NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will conduct a virtual public workshop per Elections Code section 21607.1, on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 1:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard, at which the Board of Supervisors will receive an update from staff and the Advisory Redistricting Commission, and conduct a public workshop to receive public input on communities of interest and potential district boundaries.

Effective March 20, 2020, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meetings will be conducted virtually and not available for in person public participation (pursuant to State Executive Order N-29-20). Meetings are live streamed and available for viewing online one the Mendocino County YouTube page, at or by toll-free, telephonic live stream at 888-544-8306.

The public may participate digitally in meetings in lieu of personal attendance. Comment may be made in any of the following ways: via written comment to, through our online eComment platform at, through voicemail messaging by calling 707-234-6333, or by telephone via telecomment. Information regarding telecomment participation can be found at:

For further information call (707) 463-4441.

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UNTIL TODAY, the most depressing letter I've ever read was the one I received from Arsenal Football Club informing me I had failed in my application to be the new 1st team manager. Admittedly, I was only 11 years old at the time and Arsenal were one of the biggest clubs in the world, but still, the rejection stung. However, the pain and anger I felt then paled into insignificance compared to the contorted rage and dismay I experienced when I read Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian's public letter of resignation. Sometimes, even in these increasingly absurd woke-ravaged cancel culture times, I still physically shudder at a particularly awful example of the way free speech is being annihilated at the altar of political correctness. This was such a time.

—Piers Morgan


  1. Craig Stehr September 10, 2021

    “The true person is
    Not anyone in particular;
    But like the deep blue color
    Of the limitless sky,
    It is everyone,
    Everywhere in the world.”
    ~ Dogen (1200-1253)

    • chuck dunbar September 10, 2021

      Thank you, Mr. Craig, an uplifting message to begin the day. It’s a message for our times…

  2. Rye N Flint September 10, 2021

    re: “pathological personalities act entirely rationally”

    Studies have shown that most CEOs are sociopaths. Why is that? Because corporations operate under an exemption called “Corporate personhood” that allows a group of people to have the same rights as a living breathing person. When your only goal and motive is more profit, what do you expect this kind of “person” to be?

  3. Harvey Reading September 10, 2021


    Did the powers-that-be give the nonexistent god of the Jews, Christos, and Muslims a ticket for allowing fires to burn before fire season began?

    • Cotdbigun September 10, 2021

      According to St. Biden they are called ‘ The Thing’ aka the power-that-be , even though Christos thing was a curtain.

  4. Rye N Flint September 10, 2021

    re: “A French company is experimenting with using these wine byproducts in racecar fuel, writes Mike Pomranz in Food & Wine.”

    You mean grappa?

  5. Marmon September 10, 2021

    RE: OBEY!

    ” We are going to protect the vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers.”

    -The Tyrant Joe Biden

    That ought to give the unvaccinated complete confidence that the vaccines really work.


    • Harvey Reading September 10, 2021

      You betcha!

    • chuck dunbar September 10, 2021

      James, your assigned task for the next 7 days is to sit in silence and contemplate this short but meaningful thought from Dogen . That silence, by the way, includes no AVA posting on Covid issues. Good fortune in this venture of mindfulness! (And you ask, who gave you this assignment? That dang “tyrant” Joe Biden, President.)

      “The true person is
      Not anyone in particular;
      But like the deep blue color
      Of the limitless sky,
      It is everyone,
      Everywhere in the world.”
      (Dogen, via Craig S).

      • Marmon September 10, 2021

        Maybe Biden teased this illegal, tyrannical idea of vaccines mandates so we would all lose focus on the fact that 13 troops died and hundreds of Americans were left stranded in Afghanistan because of his incompetence.


  6. Stephen Rosenthal September 10, 2021

    President Biden (oh, how those two words must cause Moron’s and Cotdbigun’s blood pressure to rise to stroke levels), did two things in the past two weeks despite knowing full well that each one would rankle more than a few feathers and cause him and the Democrats to take a political hit. He ended our 20 year (!) occupation in Afghanistan and issued a nationwide vaccine mandate. Why? Because enough is enough. That, to me, is the courage of a leader.

  7. Stephen Rosenthal September 10, 2021

    “White said that the premise proposed by the State Water Board would have required the city to impose conservation measures on its own residents that would limit water usage to 55 gallons per resident per day, measures that White described as “draconian,” which is defined as “excessively harsh and severe.””

    Draconian? Harsh and severe? The Redwood Valley Water District imposed just such a measure months ago. And, even earlier, shut off the spigot on ALL ag water. Guess you gotta appease the West Side Ukiah wine coterie.

    • Bruce McEwen September 10, 2021

      A leaky faucet is like an old man with a malign prostate. Draconian measures are called for: You can’t just replace the flat washer in the hose; you have to turn off the main, take the faucet apart and replace the conical washer, too. As for the prostate problem, better stay away from the celebrated proctologist, Dr. Marmon.
      — Grandpa McEwen

  8. Marmon September 10, 2021


    4 Days to VOTE YES. If you’re not happy with:
    -The price of housing
    -The homeless encampments
    -The crime
    -The failing schools
    -The unbreathable air
    -The water shortages
    -The rolling blackouts
    -The fires
    …VOTE YES.

    California needs you.


    • Harvey Reading September 10, 2021

      Oh, yes, things for you folks will be so much better under fascist rule. Trust all that that the great Marmon preaches. His are the words of a great, beneficent seer. Bow before him and chant hosannas.

      • Bruce McEwen September 10, 2021

        Green w/ envy, eh?

        • Harvey Reading September 11, 2021

          Of coarse, other wise one; uv corse.

    • chuck dunbar September 12, 2021

      Dang, already voted, but in the wrong way! I should have waited ’til your post to take your advice! Too late, Mr. James….

  9. Marmon September 10, 2021

    One of the best things about Biden’s draconian actions is that its going to piss off a lot of young people. God bless America, the home of the free.


    • Harvey Reading September 11, 2021

      Ah, yes, free to be idiots.

    • Jim Armstrong September 12, 2021

      Pissed off or not, they will be alive.

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