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Mendocino County Today: July 20, 2012

THE JOHNSON RANCH, Boonville, is located on the Boonville end of the Ukiah-Boonville Road. Gary Johnson was driving past his ranch Wednesday afternoon a little before five when he spotted a camo-clad man with a hunting bow on Johnson's side of the ranch fence. A pick-up truck was parked nearby. As Johnson stopped to observe the intruder, he saw another man, also on the trespassing side of the Johnson Ranch fence. This second man seemed to be trying to hide, but soon vaulted the fence, climbed in the pick-up and drove off. When Johnson asked the remaining trespasser what he was doing, the man said he'd jumped the fence to urinate.

WHEN JOHNSON, a County trapper, tried to keep the intruder from leaving, it being evident they were poachers, the man took a swing at Johnson, ran to the truck, which had returned, jumped in and the two bow hunters roared off west toward Boonville. Johnson described the truck as “a 2010 or newer silver four-door Dodge Ram with a personal license plate similar to ‘SLRCLR’.” The man with the bow was described as a white man in his mid-20s, brown hair, 5-foot-9, about 180 pounds.The driver of the pickup was described a mustachioed white man, mid-20s. If you have any info on this incident or the poachers, call Deputy Walker at 463-4086.

AND DON'T FORGET to lipstick the pig! The ostensible owner of Ukiah's long-abandoned Palace Hotel appeared before the Ukiah City Council on Wednesday night as the Council considered a resolution that would turn over abatement of the stately old structure to the town's Public Works Department, which might result in demolition. The Palace's perhaps owner, Eladia Laines, of San Rafael, said she was still unable to provide clear title to the building and that the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District had not yet given permission for rehab work to proceed inside.

RIGHT ABOUT THERE one would have thought someone would have been thinking out loud, “If this person may not even own the building, and Air Quality's famously obstructionist jive-o one-man Ukiah office can't get off the dime to approve work on the place, and if the perhaps owner Ms. Laines seems to have fallen out with one contractor who'd started to do a few things but was stopped by the aforementioned Air Quality jive-o, and Ms. Laines has no firm plan or apparent financial ability to do much of anything at all, we better eminent domain this sucker and take it from there. After all, What To Do With The Palace Hotel has been under discussion now for what? thirty years, at least since Vince Sisco tried to burn it down for the insurance.

THAT'S NOT WHAT happened. What happened was a staggering conversation that saw the inevitable Ms. Rodin worrying about tarps on the roof of the Palace's crumbling edifice, and Ms. Laines assuring the Council that she'd kicked the project around “conceptually” with unnamed architects.

UKIAH'S Judy Pruden said she'd been working to get work on the Palace moving along, as most people in and out of Ukiah would like to see the Palace somehow restored, or at least preserved because it's in the center of town and is the neighborhood's sole, large-size structure we can look at without being hospitalized with suicidal thoughts.

BUT MS. LAINES said she was in the process of getting bids for work on the Palace's roof, and that pre-recession, she'd done “extensive conceptual work with architects” on an overall restoration plan for the Palace. Laines said work on the roof was her first priority, at which point, according to Ukiah Daily Journal reporter Justine Frederickson, councilman Mari Rodin asked, “What if the rainy season comes and we don't have a roof?” Rodin said she didn't want to see “blue tarps” up there.

THE COUNCIL will again discuss the future of the Palace Hotel at its August 1st meeting.

CHARLIE DELFINO OF CLOVERDALE writes of his son Mitch's signing with the Giants: “Mitch has signed with the Giants and it's been an amazing ride already! We are so excited! The day he was brought into the organization was the day that Matt Cain pitched his perfect game! The Giants invited him to go that day to get his physical, and sign his contract. We showed up (Debbi, Mitch, myself, and Mitch's agent) to the executive offices as we were told and the ride began… Bobby Evans, the guy Mark knows who is the right hand man for General Manager Brian Sabean and the one who negotiates all the contracts, etc. met with us and gave us all day passes that gave us access to the field, the dugout, the announcer’s booth, and all the executive dining, media dining, etc! They took Mitch down into the locker room and started on his physical while Deb, the agent, and I were on the field watching the batting practice, etc. Then Mitch came back out as we stood at the dugout watching player after player came up to Mitch to shake his hand and congratulate him and welcome him to the organization. They all shook our hands as well. Buster Posey came over, Brandon Belt came and asked Mitch what position he played and when he said third, he laughed and said ‘Good, as long as it's not first base.’ Pablo Sandoval came over and shook our hands and then threw Mitch his baseball glove and said ‘Go on out there, I hear you are the guy who is going to take my position some day,’ and hung out for awhile. Bruce Botchy came out and said he remembers watching Mitch play at AT&T Park when Cal played there two years ago and that he had quite a day against Rice. (That's when Mitch went 4 for 5 and hit a ball off the left field wall.) He asked Mitch if he thought he could hit one out of here and Mitch said absolutely! Botchy told Bobby Evans to take him down and get him in a uniform so he could hit in batting practice. Bobby had to remind him that Mitch hadn't completed his physical yet and he'd have to wait. Botchy told Mitch anytime he wants to come hit with the team he is welcome :-) They took Mitch down again and while he was down there he saw Matt Cain all focused and watching TV by himself, so he said ‘Hey Matt, good luck tonight’ and Matt said, ‘Thanks.’ So of course Mitch feels he's a part of the perfect game. LOL. Then, as he's walking down the hall he hears, ‘Hey Kid, come here.’ It's Willie Mays! Willie asked him to sit down with him and talk some ball. He asked Mitch what position he plays, etc. Then he asked a lady to get him a baseball and he signed it for Mitch. Then, he asked the same lady for his silver pen and then asked Mitch to sign his table! Mitch looked down and saw all these hall of famers’ signatures and he signed his name next to Johnny Bench's signature! They gave us tickets in row 4 behind the owners and we saw the perfect game up close. He passed all the physicals but they found a little heart murmur and wanted to have him come back the next day to have it checked. He had the same thing when he was young but it went away. The next day they had Debbi park in the players’ parking area and he checked out fine and signed his contract! The Giants agreed to pay for the rest of his Cal education whenever his career is over! He considered going back to Cal for his senior year but found out just how bad the draft can be on Seniors. Our catcher from Petaluma was drafted in the 13th round his junior year and was offered $75K but he came back his senior year in hopes of being drafted higher. He was… the 9th round. He was drafted in a $135,000 slot but the team only offered him $10K and said take it or leave it because he was now a senior and he had no negotiating power, etc. They pay him the $10K and use the rest of the slot money for their higher round picks that were juniors, etc. Plus, Mitch had his best year at Cal, he was drafted by the hometown Giants, etc. So he chose to sign and start his career with the great Giants! He was flown out first class, given a hotel room with another player, meal money each day plus they feed them steak and potatoes and other meals as well. He is loving it! He has started out slow hitting, but he's only five games into it so far and getting used to the wood bats again. He's been hitting some shots for outs and in his debut he hit a double that bounced off the top of the wall almost a home run! He's in Arizona with the rookies and they said they will be moving him to Salem, Oregon at some point for low A ball and he'll work his way up.”


JUST IN FROM KEVIN HOOVER of the Arcata Eye: “Cannabis-related raids in progress today in various Humboldt County locations include two sites in Arcata. One is at 1171 Old Arcata Road, the other on Grotzman Lane. The raids are under the auspices of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the enforcement action. ICE HSI issued the following statement: ‘Special agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in California and South Dakota, in cooperation with local police, are engaged in a law enforcement operation in Humboldt County, Calif. As the matter is considered an active, on-going investigation no further information is available for release. Future inquiries should be directed to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota.’ Humboldt Sheriff’s Sgt. Wayne Hanson said the raids are cannabis related. He said his officers had detained subjects at the Old Arcata Road residence, which is owned by Brett McFarland of the same address. In a June 15 post on McFarland’s Facebook page, he states that he is headed for Blue Lake from South Dakota after Father’s Day. This afternoon, Hanson said that HCSO was assisting ICE with the raids. ‘It’s their case,’ he said. Hanson said that deputies had secured the Old Arcata Road residence, had established probable cause, detained three subjects there and were headed back with a signed search warrant. Called on his cell phone mid-afternoon — apparently during the period he was detained but not yet arrested — McFarland told a reporter, ‘I don’t want to talk to you.’ A large U-Haul truck which was parked across the street on Anderson Lane reportedly smelled of cannabis. It was removed at about the time HCSO returned with the search warrant. Locations in Salmon Creek and Petrolia have also been swarmed by police and federal agents. Hanson said that HCSO had been involved in four raids today and two yesterday, including one on Sunny Brae’s Grotzman Lane. The operation was somewhat reminiscent of Operation Southern Sweep, a coordinated raid in 2008 that involved mostly Southern Humboldt locations as well as one Arcata address. Thursday: HCSO Sgt. Wayne Hanson declined to provide the address of the Grotzman Lane residence visited Tuesday. He said it could place the residents at risk for home invasion. Hanson said the Sheriff’s Office is not assisting the federal agents with any action today, but that he believes that they are still in the county. Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said Arcata Police provided one officer to assist during the raids to ensure adequate personnel were on hand. ‘When you have multiple search warrant locations like this, typically there’s a connection to a bigger case,’ he said. ‘It’s not several individual cases, but one big investigation covering several states.’ He referred all further inquiries to federal authorities.”

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