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PRECIPITATION will spread across the region this afternoon and then diminish tonight, with another round of precipitation expected Wednesday and Thursday. A colder airmass will spread south across northwest California Friday through the weekend and aid in lowering snow levels significantly. Mountain roadways and highway passes will subsequently be impacted by heavy snowfall. (NWS)
32 NEW COVID CASES (since last Friday) reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
6.2 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE OFF CAPE MENDOCINO, 45 miles SW of Eureka. NO TSUNAMI THREAT. Moderate to strong shaking in parts of our area, especially Eureka south to Petrolia. Some minor damage reported due to fallen household objects. Did you feel it?
Quake by the numbers:
Time: Dec. 20, 2021, 12:10 p.m.
Coords: 40.3148346°N, -124.7391663°W
Depth: 5.80 miles
THIS MORNING'S 6.2 QUAKE OFF PETROLIA, Ernie Branscomb reporting: "Dateline, Benbow.
Yep. It felt like some giant grabbed the house and shook the living crap out of it. Very rapid and sharp shaking for @30 seconds. It shook a spice jar off the kitchen counter.
The good news is my emergency alert system on my cell phone sounded a few seconds before the Earthquake. I was busy trying ignore and reset it because I thought that it was another TEST. Then it hit.
The dog was cool, he jumped off his blanket on the couch ran around all over the house. When it was over he came to like to say “What the hell was that”. He jumped back on his blanket, but kept his guard up."
LAURA COOSKEY WRITES:
I was re-stocking a firewood box on the porch of my Tiny House. The house lives up to its name, being only 8 x 12 feet, and should hold together in any earthquake the planet can dish up. Even if it fell off its pierblocks, it wouldn’t have far to go, and would very likely retain its cubic shape, like a stout little box tossed to the ground. So there was no reason to be afraid when I heard it groaning and cracking.
But I was! This earthquake was a terrifying adrenaline-coax, oddly so considering that it was a gentle roller that really didn’t do much damage. I was carrying a load of wood toward the porch when I first heard it coming. I already knew it was a big one if I could sense it at all while moving around outdoors. I paused and waited, but it kept rumbling as I began to feel the motion. It wasn’t a really rough ride, but it was a bumpy road… maybe like a typical Mattole winter road, full of potholes, but not too bad with some decent shock absorbers. While it didn’t deliver any nasty, sudden jolts, things were shaking enough, and it was taking long enough, that I had time to think: “What if this is the big one… maybe not the 25-year earthquake, but the 300-year Cascadian Subduction Zone mega-event?” Indeed, as it kept up its menacing waves of energy, it seemed it might be. I was moving toward an open area, free of overhead branches and power lines, as I passed the house and tossed my firewood down. That’s when I heard the little cabin creaking. “Oh shit! Don’t jump around now, don’t manifest total disaster right before my eyes!” I remembered that my nervous little dog, Ginger, was inside. But every instinct I had drove me away from the noisy structure and its semi-attached porch roof; “Just ride it out, Ginger baby, you’ll be fine,” I thought; but by the time I realized I was a despicable coward and really ought to go up on the porch, despite everything careening around and the threat of its roof tearing away from the house and landing on me, Ginger had pushed the door open and come running out.
We had a joyful little reunion as I clasped a leash on her, concerned that in the chaos she might run off. The shaking had subsided a little, after what felt like 20 or 30 seconds. I wondered if this had been the fringe of a really huge and destructive earthquake somewhere else, and wanted to get online to find out. Already, the waves were sporadic enough that I guess they were technically aftershocks; between a few of them, I ran inside, grabbed my laptop, and ran out to sit on a rock and ask Facebook friends what in the bleep that was. I could barely type, as my hands were suffering their own little quakes.
As locals’ accounts poured in, and I checked the USGS site for official info, I saw that as usual, our earthquake was not the echo of a mega-event elsewhere, but was itself a medium-large quake that I happened to be almost on top of, being about four miles southeast of Petrolia while the epicenter was several miles west. An inspection of the other buildings and check-ups with the neighbors, as well as a visit from our trustworthy NEST (Neighborhood Emergency Service Team) coordinator, Harald, let me understand that as far as we could tell, most everyone in the Mattole Valley had a similar experience: shaking of a duration and saturation that called to mind big, destructive earthquakes (I had not felt anything like this since the 1992 Triple Junction triple-header)—and a lot of little stuff to pick up (papers, bottles, plants, anything not nailed down)—but little to no real damage or injuries.
Apparently the shallowness of the quake allowed this to happen… that’s one plausible theory I heard. Things shuffled around, but did not jump up and down. It’s also possible that it only seemed as frightening as it did because we haven’t had a good one for a long time, and feared that a lot of energy might be pent up, waiting to rend the earth into pieces. Whatever the explanation, I will always recall this 2021 earthquake as the one that was all ferocious bark, but pretty much no bite. It’s still nipping and snapping a bit, but I think will probably let us get a good night’s sleep.
Post Script: There did seem to be some bite to it in Fortuna and other points north and east. I don’t mean to diminish those troubles. But at this point, I believe the damage in the Lower Mattole Valley to be mild. It’s happened before, where the brunt of a Mattole event is felt miles away—often where there are more structures, vehicles, and people to be impacted, and often said to be because of the way the compression waves traveled from the epicenter.
WE HAVE JUST LEARNED (Monday) that the popular former Postmaster at Philo, Sheila Hibbs, has died. In her memory we are re-printing Steve Sparks’ interview with Sheila from 2010...
SHEILA HIBBS (interviewed by Steve Sparks)
Sheila was born in 1954 in Crescent City, California, the youngest of five children born to Samuel Monroe and Bernice Grimes. Her siblings are Shirley, brother Tony, Donna, and Inky (Patricia). Her mother, born in 1925, was the youngest in a family of ten who had moved to the Bakersfield area of California in 1937 from Oklahoma to work on whatever crop was available, figuring it had to be a better life than the one they had in the poverty stricken rural town of Tahlequah, south of Tulsa. Her father was from Arkansas and his family had moved to California earlier. Samuel and Bernice met and married in Bakersfield and later moved to Crescent City, but when Bernice was pregnant with Sheila they split up and her father returned to Oklahoma — Sheila would not meet him until twenty years later. Sheila’s pregnant mother was left alone to raise the family and then five days after Christmas 1953 their home burned down. “Mother sought help from the Salvation Army for clothing and one of the workers there also gave her a chalk painting of a deer. I still have it. It means a lot to me. She did meet another man, Lewis Hunt, whom she married and he became the only Dad I knew.”
Crescent City was a small coastal town, not unlike Fort Bragg today, and Sheila was born in the seaside hospital that was later destroyed when a tidal wave hit the town following the famous earthquake that struck Alaska in 1963. Lewis Hunt worked in the sawmills and the family moved to where he could find work, spending a year in Redwood Valley when Sheila was four, before settling in Willits where she went through elementary, junior, and high school. Here, Sheila’s stepfather, who knew everything there was to know about redwood trees, assisted Ed Burton who designed a recycling program using redwood bark in a filter system that was later used on the space shuttle.
Sheila loved school where she was an honor student and a member of the choir, the Glee Club, and the Pep Club. “I just soaked up as much knowledge as I could and my favorite subjects were math, civics, and music of course. In my senior year I was chosen to be one of the twelve girls in The Madrigal Group, an a cappella singing group that appeared at special events in town. I’d always enjoyed singing, sitting in front of my mother with my brother and sisters as she played guitar. In my teens I started to write all the lyrics of her songs down — thank God I did. As for the music itself, that’s in my head and I can play the songs on my banjo as long as it’s in C or G - I pretty much taught myself to play the banjo on my own. The banjo I have now is the one I bought in Oklahoma City for $50 on a visit there back in 1976. My brother was the ‘real’ musician though — he could play piano, accordion, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and my Uncle Henry, Mother’s brother, used to play gigs in Crescent City.”
Growing up, the family lived several miles out of town in a house that had been an old stage stop. “We had the freedom of the countryside and had all the usual country chores. We planted everything you could can — beans, tomatoes, apples, plums, and we all helped in the harvest and the canning. We also had chickens, goats, pigs, and occasionally a cow. Mother was a good provider and she’d spend all day Sunday baking bread and doughnuts for the week. My Stepfather, who I called ‘Lew-Lew’ (Lewis), was a curmudgeon but he was nice to me. He’d always make sure there was a tootsie roll in the glove compartment of the car for me. However, he’d drink and then get very mean, usually on paydays. We found out later that he’d had a successful trucking business back in Illinois but had drunk away the profits. When I was fourteen, mother and he split up and he left. My oldest sisters had left and Tony was in Vietnam so there was just Inky, mother and myself in the house. Lewis would visit sometimes and pay mother child support — we had his last name - but she wouldn’t let him get close enough to her to get back with her, as he would have liked. On one occasion, I remember he wanted her to sign off on the child support payment without actually giving her the money. She refused and her grabbed her. Tony was at home and he picked up my baton from Pep Club and hit Lewis with it, breaking his nose, and then he started to hit him. He broke two of Lewis’ ribs and gave him two black eyes.”
Sheila graduated in 1972 and had a scholarship to attend Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo to study to be a vet. “I had worked at a vets in my junior and senior years and had even assisted in some minor surgeries, but being a stupid seventeen year old I opted for marriage instead of college.” She married Kenneth Shannon (“an Irish boy”) who was three years older, and even though they could have moved close to where she would have studied, “he didn’t want to leave his mommy” so they stayed and got an apartment in Willits, both of them working in the saw mill, where Sheila worked as a trim saw operator. “My job at the dry cleaners, where I’d been part-time during school, did not pay enough so I worked at the mill for six months but then he decided he didn’t want his wife working and I was stupid enough to believe in that too. I was flattered I guess — ‘he wants to take care of me’, I thought. Yeah, right... I was eighteen and he was twenty-one and we were going to whip the world. It was young love and maybe I was afraid of being alone like mother. We had two kids — Brandie Lynn born in November, 1976 and Rebecca Kathleen born in October 1979.”
In 1974, when Kenneth got a drunk driving conviction he thought he’d get his license back sooner if they lived elsewhere so he and Sheila moved to Oklahoma City where he earned $2.50 hour at a ball-bearing factory and Sheila found work at Dairy Queen Restaurant — “it was o.k., I guess and you could get four chili dogs for $1.50!” While they lived there, Sheila’s biological father contacted her. “Mother had passed on our phone number and address to him so we went to see him — I was twenty and it was the first time I had ever set eyes on him. It was strange. When we met he shook my hand. He had photographs of all us kids as we went through school, sent by mother. He had remarried and I had three half-siblings. He gave me a sewing machine as a gift, which I thought was a strange first ever gift from my father — oh, well, I guess all the young women in Oklahoma had one!?... We spent the weekend there and visited the graves of various relatives and then went fishing. That was strange too. We didn’t take a picnic but instead took chicken and potatoes and cooked it right there on the riverbank. We also ate rattlesnake, turtle, and possum for dinner — now I knew why mother stayed in California! I kept in touch and visited every few months and two of my siblings, Tony and Shirley also visited him.”
Sheila and the young Brandie returned to California in early 1978 but Kenneth stayed in Oklahoma. Sheila stayed with friends for a time and then got an apartment in Willits and claimed welfare. Several months later Kenneth showed up and they lived together in a trailer in Willits. Their second child was born in 1979 but then they split up for good in 1980. “There were too many drinking episodes. For support I had my mother nearby in Willits, a sister in Ukiah, and several good friends. I returned to my job at the sawmill but this time I was on the night shift. Around that time I suffered toxic shock syndrome from which I could have died. That was a tough time in my life... In 1981 I met Alan Hibbs in Willits Park one Sunday afternoon when there was a country music band playing there. Some friends of our family passed by and this strange guy was with them. We all went back to my trailer and he later said that he was attracted by how clean it was! It wasn’t particularly clean but apparently his previous wife was a real slob. We started dating and I filed for divorce from Kenneth in 1982. Alan’s parents lived in Arizona so, along with his daughter from a previous marriage, we moved there in 1983, getting married in Vegas on the way.”
Alan found work as a brick-mason but it meant working in Laughlin, Nevada during the week and returning to Phoenix at weekends. Sheila raised the girls and found odd jobs so that they were able to buy land in Apache Junction outside Phoenix, living in a trailer with plans to build a home there. In 1985, she settled into a steady job with U-Haul where she worked in the warranty department. “I enjoyed the job. I had always been mechanically inclined and that helped. With my Dad watching from a lawn chair telling me what to do, I had overhauled our ’56 Ford pick-up when I was fourteen. I became the specialist for our G.M.C. vehicles when they need repair work done. There was far more repair work on those than the Toyotas, Fords, and international cars put together. G.M.C. were the biggest pieces of crap on the road.”
As Sheila moved a little way up the corporate ladder it took its toll on her health, not helped by the fact that she was also exposed to many ruthless corporate practices that annoyed her. She left U-Haul in 1989 and shortly after split up with Alan. “The house never did get built while I was there and I took my furniture and headed back to California with the girls. He kept the property and was supposed to buy me out — he never did. He died last summer and didn’t leave anything for me or the girls, despite what he’d promised us. His daughter got everything. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; after all, when we got married she had asked who would get the property if her Dad died. She was twelve at the time”... Sheila re-joined U-Haul in Santa Rosa, commuting from Ukiah but now on the desk dealing with the public on the retail side, rather than behind the scenes at the corporate level. “I stayed there for a few years but by 1993 my vehicle was on its last legs and I was a single parent with two teenagers and little money. Mother now had cancer and I needed to be with her so I quit the job. Unemployment and my savings got us through but those next two years are a blur. Mother died in January 1994.”
Sheila began to work part-time in catalog marketing and for Fetzer Winery during ‘crush’, driving a tractor for them. She had a third part-time job with U-Haul at night where she transferred trucks from one location to another. “1994 was a terrible year — mother died, twelve other extended family members passed also, I had double by-pass following a heart attack in April, my brother Tony died. My girls got to the point where they couldn’t cry anymore.”
However, in June of that year Sheila had taken and passed a test to work for the post office but it was not until two years later that she was finally offered an interview. Then, in the summer of 1996, following an interview with Philo post master Richard Shuffleton she was offered the job. “I had been interested in working for the post office since living in Arizona and so I was very happy to get the job with its good rate of pay and benefits”... Sheila did not know Anderson Valley very well at all. However, she had been to The County Fair here and had stopped at Gowan’s Oak Stand for fruit and produce on many occasions as she passed through on her way to the coast.
In April 1997 Sheila moved to Navarro and rented a place on Wendling Soda Creek Road where she stayed for over six years. “I had been commuting between Ukiah to Philo and then became a Deep Ender for six years or more. Navarro is a very colorful and interesting community, depending on what time of day or night you look out of the window. Brandie and her girlfriend at school, whose name was Brandy Lee, had tried to get me together with Brandy Lee’s father, Earl Schleper after he and his wife split up. He moved to southern California for a time and we kept in touch by phone. I had a boyfriend who I dumped and Earl moved back up and into the place in Navarro along with his three daughters and their kids, and his brother. Earl has four grandchildren and I have three through Brandie and another one who is Rebecca’s but who has been adopted out in Ukiah. It is a long and traumatic story, a very bitter pill to swallow, but hopefully one day it will have a happy ending for us all.”
From 2004 to 2007 Sheila and Earl lived at Tucker Court north of Philo on Hwy 128 and since then they have been where they live now. She has been pretty much a homebody for the last ten years, venturing out to play music at various gigs with Billy Owens or just sitting outside the ice cream store in Boonville strumming along with friends. “Captain Rainbow got Billy and me together for the Variety Show in around 2000 with Bill on guitar, me on banjo, and both of us singing. We practiced just before in the parking lot and I knew a lot of the songs he knew because Bill and my mother both grew up in rural Oklahoma. Since then we have also played at many birthday parties, house-warmings, funerals, at The Highpockety Ox in Boonville, Labor Day and Memorial Day events, and even at The Co-Op in Ukiah where they passed around the bucket and we made $150. Bill has lots of music in his head but I only know the songs mother passed on.”
Sheila has now been at the Philo Post Office for 14 years and expects to retire from there when she is 65. “I love my job and knowing people when they walk in the door. I talk to everyone who comes in and while I don’t need to know all of his or her business if someone has a problem it’s nice to know I could help if I was asked. Joe Dresch has been a great boss since he took over in 2000 and we moved into the new facility in 2001. We have a good time at work, with Ann Carr and Amy Bloyd too, and I will get a good pension and have other savings plans, so as long as the government doesn’t go broke I’ll be fine, otherwise I’ll be living under a bridge somewhere”...
I asked Sheila for her brief response to a few Valley issues.
The Wineries and their impact? “I love what they’ve done in terms of jobs and bringing in tourists but they have taken too much from the water table. There has been a drastic change in just the 14 years I’ve been here as wine has taken over from the timber industry and the apple and cherry orchards”
The AVA newspaper? “I read it and love that it tells the ‘other’ side of the story, even if some people might not like to hear it.”
KZYX local radio? “I try to support them when I can afford it. I do listen sometimes, especially to the bluegrass played by Jimmy Humble and Diane Hering,”
The school system? “I am indebted to the Rancheria Continuation School; they have helped many other people in the Valley too. Wendy Patterson does a wonderful job all by herself; thank god for Wendy.”
I posed a few questions from a questionnaire on TV’s “Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton” and some I came up with myself.
What excites you; makes you smile; gets your juices flowing creatively, spiritually, emotionally? “Grandchildren and animals — especially baby lambs. Music of course, particularly country and bluegrass, hillbilly stuff. And my sweetie, Earl.”
What annoys you; brings you down; turns you off creatively, spiritually, emotionally? “Screaming grandkids; people who let their kids scream or misbehave in public.”
Sound or noise you love? “Birds singing; water in the creek behind the house here; my collection of wind chimes.”
Sound or noise you hate? “Honking horns; rap music booming out of cars.”
Favorite food or meal? Your ‘last meal’ shall we say? “Fried chicken, mashed potato, and crackling gravy. It’s very bad for you so I rarely have it anymore. Earl’s pineapple upside down cake. Seafood.”
If you could meet one person dead or alive, one on one for a conversation, who would that be? “Shakespeare, I think. I really enjoyed reading him at school. And we have the same birthday, April 23rd.”
If you were to be left completely alone indefinitely on an isolated island in the ocean, what three possessions would you like to have with you? “My banjo; the complete set of books by mystery writer V.C. Andrews; and an unlimited amount of yarn so I could do my crochet work.”
Favorite film/song/book or one that has influenced you? “Films that have stuck with me are ‘Bridges of Madison County,’ ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Scent of a Woman.’ As for a song, it would be one I have been singing for many, many years and it means a lot to me, ‘If I could hear My Mother pray again.’ A book would probably be ‘Roots’ by Alex Haley.”
Favorite word or phrase? “Well I know ‘I’m hanging in there’ is something I say a lot in the post office.”
Least favorite word or phrase? “When people repeatedly say ‘err, err, err’ as they are talking.”
Favorite hobby? “Music; crochet work; my collecting — all sorts of things — salt and pepper shakers, eagle figures and pictures, chicken shaped candy dishes, clocks, dream catchers.”
Profession other than your own you’d like to attempt if you were given the chance to do anything? Your fantasy job, perhaps? “Veterinarian. I really wanted to do that at one point but got married instead. I used the wrong part of my brain for that decision.”
Profession you’d not like to do or are glad never to have done? “Work in a hospital or around sick people. I admire those who do.”
Happiest day or event in your life? “The birth of my children stands out. Being with family and friends. Playing in the Variety Show that first time. I hadn’t played music in about 20 years.”
Saddest? “The death of my mother. We had always been very close but it was for the best. When she went it was a relief after all her suffering over the previous two years but I couldn’t cry for a few days.”
What is your favorite thing about yourself, physically, mentally, spiritually? “That I am smarter than I let on; that I have a big heart and that my loved one’s needs are important to me. Friends have always told me I need to look after myself a little better.”
Finally, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “I think ‘Welcome home’ would be good.”
RALPH’S WANDERING DAYS
by Katy Tahja
Ralph Bostrom has been writing Letters to the Editor to the Anderson Valley Advertiser for years. Now in his 90s he’s an involuntary resident of a senior assisted living facility in Willits. For being an old dude who lived for years in the hills outside of Willits, he sure had some interesting travels before he settled down there.
Senior citizen readers may remember the quaint custom of having “pen pals.” You wrote letters to another individual you might never actually meet in person. Ralph Bostrom is my “pen pal” and we began writing after he expressed his frustration in a letter to the AVA about not being able to find large print books. Being a retired librarian I wrote him and told him how to access services for the visually impaired at the state library in Sacramento.
This man is a SERIOUS reader and I’m amazed at the scope of his reading. Talk about a self-educated man. He reminds me of author Louis L’Amour who was a merchant marine sailor traveling the world before becoming an author. (Read “Education of a Wandering Man” by L’Amour-it’s fascinating).
Ralph gifted me a subscription to the “New Yorker” which he reads so that we can discuss the stories in our letter exchanges. We both like to visit the homes of favorite authors and see the landscapes that influenced them. Gabriel Garcia Marquez took Ralph to Chile as Ivan Doig drew me to Montana.
As a journalist I think Ralph’s remembrances about travel conducted 70 years ago is worth sharing with readers. So here minimally edited are memories from his last letter to me.
“May 1947. I was on a boat taking a load of potatoes from Maine to Hamburg, Germany. The Limejuicers (British) had bombed the residential areas but largely left the commercial section alone as well as the St. Pauli district which was the nightclub and red light district. I had a chance to get on a berth on another ship leaving right away, the S.S. Jeanette, a Liberty ship. We were taking a load of coal to La Belle France.”
“We passed La Havre and steamed up to Rouen, the head of navigation on the Seine River. A heavy tide forced us to stand by the mooring lines and take the slack off during the tide changes. The first thing I noticed in France was the girls lifted their skirts and sat down on their underpants, if they were wearing any. I also noticed the telephone poles were made of cement. In Rouen the bridges across the river had been bombed but they had erected a temporary wooden foot bridge across the river.”
“Don’t expect me to remember too much, this was 74 years ago! The coal on our ship was loaded into barges. Each barge had living quarters for the family in the rear. I took a train to Paris and arrived at the Gare de Nord station. Along Rue St. Fauberg de Hoffman I saw a small hotel and rented a room. It had a heavy velvet curtain around the bed so no one could see who you had in bed with you, a French idea.”
“I saw the Paris Opera House. I got in a long line at the ticket window, not knowing what was being performed. It was “Fidelio” by Beethoven. And now- the local angle. Walter Green of Elk, a KZYX announcer, was in the Army and said he had attended a performance of that show in the Paris Opera in 1947! When you first see the Eiffel Tower it scares you it is so big. If you have to do a pee-pee they have booths on the street. You could see a person’s shoulders, legs and feet from the outside. It never occurred to me to ask if there were facilities for girls too.”
“Many years later I was in Miami and saw a real cheap excursion flight to Columbia and I wanted to do a pilgrimage to Gabriel Garcia Marquez home. I arrived in Bogota at one o’clock in the morning, rang a bell at a motel, and awoke the Guardia who slept on a cot inside the door, a common practice in Latin America. In the morning I saw my name on a display board with all the other hotel guest names. Many people say ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is the best book they ever read. In it he describes in detail the first time each of his characters had sex. I guess now in order to sell books you have to have plenty of sex in them.”
My thanks to Ralph Bostrom for giving me a glimpse into the world as it existed just before I was born.
MO MANDEL, born and bred in Boonville will be headlining his comedy show in a venue close to you.
On Thursday December 30, 2021 — the night BEFORE New Year’s Eve Day — he will be be performing at Sally Tomatoes, 1100 Valley House Dr., Rohnert Park CA 94928, from 7-9 pm. Dinner is available that night too at the venue, Tickets are available through eventbrite.com.
COME ON IN!
Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - November 2021
We left our farm recently for a two day retreat on the coast. On the second night we were feeling morose, the news and the human world’s lack of foresight depresses us at times, but nevertheless we drove out to look for a place to have a bite to eat and a beer and scope out a breakfast restaurant for the following morning. On our way to dinner we noticed a cafe in a very short string of shops along the dark road and made a note to check it out on our return if we didn’t find anything else. We didn’t and after a quick dinner we stopped at the small shopping strip and parked. The cafe sign wasn’t visible so I got out and walked down to the end of the pavement where we thought we had seen it.
The last shop’s door was wide open exposing a long table disappearing into the brightly lit interior and laden with dishes of food. Along both walls of the shop were tables filled with merry looking people eating and drinking and chatting animatedly. I was sure it was the cafe but could see no sign.
I leaned in from the dark doorway to speak with a passing Chinese woman and asked if this was a cafe and if it was open for breakfast tomorrow.
She said it was a cafe but she didn’t know its hours and peered at the open door to read the sign. First she said yes it was, but oh, no, it wasn’t, it was closed on Thursdays which in our mood we felt was just our luck the next day was Thursday. But then she exclaimed, sparkling with excitement and thrusting her arm out to indicate the tables full of dishes (and reminding me so much of a long ago friend), look at all this food which is not going to be eaten. Please come in and pack yourself a breakfast from the bounty. I was startled… amazed...and as I stepped from the dark cold outdoors into the bright room full of food and strangers I felt transformed and started to “come alive”. I asked what occasion they were celebrating and was told this was a local group’s monthly pot luck and I was very welcome to eat. She found me a container and said to select anything that appealed. But won’t folks want to take home their leftovers I protested. No, no take what you need for breakfast. And here try this, it’s the dish I made. I was putting two pieces of quiche in the container while she dolloped some of her homemade salad into a bowl, when I glanced up to see S in the doorway looking bewildered and I’m sure wondering where I had disappeared to.
When I waved him in, the woman saw me and went over and took his arm leading him into the light telling him what she had told me, please, choose what you want for breakfast. She waited while we did then we exchanged identities...who we were, what we did, where we lived...and promised to be in touch. She was soon to start her acupuncture practice nearby and live part time on the coast, and we were only an hour away so we invited her to visit our farm and she said she would love to.
What started as a gloomy night turned into an enchanted one. As we drove away we exclaimed aloud how wonderful that experience had been; how unexpected and renewing. We went from feeling pessimistic and down to hopeful and elated in all of fifteen minutes. The next evening we received an email:
“It’s nice meeting you at the White Cap Coffee & Tea. Hope you’re Thursday breakfast is ok.”
It certainly was and so were we.
We hope your holidays will be more than ok. All the best to everyone.
Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Kreig
MENDOCINO LAND TRUST RE THE MILL SITE
From the LT website:
To Our Fort Bragg Supporters
We were surprised to see our logo appear in the recent “Little Stinker” mailer distributed by the Skunk Train; this was not an advertisement placed by us and we were not consulted about its inclusion. While we have worked with the Skunk Train in the past on conservation projects, we have no involvement in their Fort Bragg Mill Site plans. We have serious concerns about the development of the Mill Site. We believe plans for the future of the Mill Site should be community driven and subject to local and state environmental regulations and permitting procedures.
WANNA BE A COUNCILPERSON?
The City of Point Arena is accepting applications for a vacancy on the City Council.
Why is there a Vacancy on Point Arena City Council?
The vacancy was created when only one person ran for two open seats at the upcoming February 22, 2022 Special Election. The person selected will serve a term until the end of 2022 and will need to run for reelection in the November 8, 2022 general election.
Qualifications for City Council
Qualified candidates must:
- Be a United States Citizen
- Be over the age of 18
- Reside with the Point Arena city limits
- Be a current registered voter in the City of Point Arena.
Process for Filling the Vacancy
The City Council will follow the process outlined below:
Application Period: Applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. January 6, 2022.
City Clerk Transmission of Application Materials. The City Clerk will provide each City Council member with all applications at the close of the application period.
Review of applications. Council members will review all applications and may conduct interviews.
At a Special Meeting at 6 p.m. on January 11, 2021, the City Council will appoint for the vacant seat.
Applying for the Council Appointment
To be considered, a completed application must be received by the City Clerk at Point Arena City Hall, 451 School Street, Point Arena, CA. Applications received after 4:00 pm will not be considered.
The City Council will make an appointment to the City Council at a Special Meeting on January 11, 2022 at 6:00 pm.
Email: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Web: pointarena.ca.gov <https://pointarena.ca.gov/>
ON-LINE reports of the 6.2 earthquake off Petrolia (Monday, 12:10pm) also report that telephonic warnings beat the quake by about 3 seconds. One guy said he yelled “Earthquake” then it hit just as his son replied, “Yeah, sure.” The warning system works but is a couple of seconds enough for even the fastest-reacting person to get off a ladder or roll out from beneath a vehicle?
“A DANGEROUS PLACE” by the late Marc Reisner is the definitive California earthquake book. Not for either the faint of heart or paranoid personality types but this brilliant little book tells you everything you need to be fully informed. Part one is a technical delineation of the phenomenon, the second a frightening literary projection of what a big quake of the '06 intensity would do to the Bay Area. Reisner points out that if large quakes occurred again with the regularity they occurred in the Bay Area in the 19th century, San Francisco would become uninhabitable.
LOTS OF COMMENT about the relative hazards that can be swerved up by Mother Nature, with most locals saying they prefer potential earthquakes to tornados, but excluding fire and flood as if they were unnatural. The 1906 earthquake destroyed structures and killed people from the Bay Area north to Eureka, many of the fatalities by the ensuing fires.
SF'S INEFFECTIVE MAYOR, London Breed, has declared a state of emergency aimed at getting the homeless — crazy people, open air drug addicts, drop-fall drunks, and criminals out of their sidewalk tents and off the downtown streets. Sort of. The mayor said she was tired of “this bullshit,” apparently meaning the entire homeless fiasco. (Removing the bullshit from this country and everything collapses like a giant, failed souffle, but the bullshit problem is here to stay. This system runs on it.)
THE PROBLEM with the mayor's bold intentions is that, at bottom, they depend on the people and institutions that are themselves a large part of the homelessness dilemma in San Francisco. She talks social worker talk about “linkage,” a site where all the dysfunctional street people — vaguely estimated at between 8,000 and 12,000 — would be sheltered, sorted out, and placed in specific places where they could get help.
“LINKAGE” SITES do not exist, and crazy people don't know they're crazy; drug people may want to quit but in the meantime they're happy to live for shooting up; drunks can stop drinking if they're locked away and weaned off the bottle; criminals of the street type have no fear of jail or the justice system through which they've been already processed for many years. The mayor isn't about to deploy the necessary compulsion. And the helping professionals live off all of the above. We have here a perfect entropy.
THE ONLY ANSWER is drug and alcohol hospitals along the lines of the former state hospital system with massive housing construction to shelter the homeless and the millions of Americans who are a paycheck away from the streets. (The respectable homeless are invisible. They live in their vehicles but keep up appearances and are mostly employed. There are thousands of them in the greater Bay Area.) Habitual criminals have to be locked down for much longer periods.
IN OTHER WORDS, democratic socialism, with socialist strategies, the only strategies which can end homelessness. Why won't it happen? Joe Manchin and the rest of the people leading us over the social-political cliff to even more chaos and, perhaps, civil war.
HOLIDAY UPDATE from AV Unified
Best wishes to you and your family!
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
I hope this message finds you safe and well, as you start your holiday plans. It has been a privilege to serve your students in our community this school year. I just want to take a few moments and update you as to our plans ahead as we move into the New Year.
As you know, the campuses of Anderson Valley were built more than 60 years ago. The infrastructure is failing at a catastrophic rate. Just this week, all four of our high school gym heaters have become irreparable. I expect we will be replacing those through the use of developer fees and seeking hardship replacement funds from the State. We have septic lines that are failing, roofs that are leaking, parking lots that are deteriorated, HVAC that is ancient, and classrooms that need updating. This is a well-loved educational institution, but it is worn out. We are looking at next steps about how to move forward with repairs. We need to have a plan moving forward, so we can continue to serve generations of students with safe and quality educational facilities.
I am proud of our students, staff, and families for the return to in-person school this year. We have some students that are exhibiting low stamina and below grade level academic abilities, and we need to meet them where they're at, but not lose the rigor and expectation of what we know they can become.
I am grateful for our parents that allowed their students to participate in our pool testing program by allowing their students to test. This is a cutting-edge program in the State, and we've had relatively low infection rates because of the high participation in the program. If your student is not enrolled in the weekly testing, please contact your school office. The two-weeks following the return to school, we are expecting some additional Covid positives, and the more people we can get to test in this easy program, the better off our community will be. It will be an added layer of protection to ensure not having to face school closure in the event of a widespread infection. The kids administer this test themselves and it takes just a couple of seconds once a week. Help us, help your kids stay safe and school stay open by participating in this program. Our school district was featured in a video and educational trade journals because we're on the leading edge of using science to monitor infection–please let your child be a part of this. I am hopeful that at some point we can use this program to lower vaccination requirements for families opposed to them or revise mask restrictions based on the data. That's a long time off, but it is important to get this program up and performing at its best.
As I'm sure you saw in the media last week, there were some Tik-Tok threats. This has been an on-going problem related to school vandalism. Kids in our own school district have been vandalizing our restrooms, so they can post things on social media. Last week's threats nationwide were more sinister involving violence. I really struggle with cell phones. I know they are amazing to keep us connected to kids and families. But, I also don't think they're always helping our students be responsible and interactive people that can hold a conversation or engage in critical thought. I think there needs to be a balance. I urge you to look at your students' social media and ensure they're not participating in this senseless nonsense that costs our district time, money, and more importantly, educational opportunities because it takes resources (ie. money and staff) away from your kids, as we have to repair the vandalism and investigate . It is also important to note that when there are credible school threats, the most important deterrent is people coming forward and reporting what they know or what they've read. It takes a village to keep us safe, and we need you to be part of that village.
On a positive note, I want to thank the staff, students, and parents for a strong return to school this year. I know it was exhausting to get back into the swing of things. I know we're all struggling with meeting the needs of children that have not had school for 15 months. We've made some great strides in returning students to expected behaviors. On our short list of what we celebrate that has been accomplished through the collaboration of staff, students, and community:
Returned to full-in person daily school
Installed two new playgrounds, permanent fencing, and removed unsightly and unsafe stumps at elementary driveway
Implemented Barton Reading intervention at the elementary school
Fostered special ed inclusion in the pre-school
Increased mental health support
Installed new carpeting projects in the high school
Replacement of solar inverters at the high school in process
Begun septic and drain line repair studies
Successfully closed negotiations with all bargaining units
Began hardship and modernization applications with the State for facility money
Improved campus appearance with the removal of the blue drapes and blind replacement at high school
Returned to regularly scheduled in-person, School Board, ELAC and Site Council committees
Study Committee formed for the Water District Project
Implemented pool testing district-wide to prevent spread of Covid-19
Implemented weekly communication from sites to ensure our parents are on aware of our district’s goals, successes and challenges
Return of sports–including a volleyball team progressing deep into the Championships
Continued our healthy food programs despite food ordering challenges and shortages
Moved forward with designs and funding to replace the HVAC systems in the high school expected this summer through Federal funding
Moving forward with identifying scope and funding for a substantial remodel of the High School Shop Building
Resetting expectations that vacations are during scheduled periods and not before and after scheduled dates to ensure maximum educational opportunity and achievement for our students
Building a relationship with Mendocino College for course offering extensions in high school
Started the process for new curriculum adoptions
Campus appearance push including hauling off decades of collected junk and getting kids to pick up after themselves
Refreshed the farm with a new road and a donated livestock pen,
Administrator commitment to be in classrooms often from the Superintendent level down to ensure quality instruction is in place.
Began the process to create a bond campaign to ensure our students can attend school in facilities that are safe, modern, and equal to the other campuses in the county.
Looking forward to our partnership together to create all that AVUSD WILL BECOME.
Have a wonderful holiday, and we look forward to welcoming your student back on January 10, 2022.
THE DIVERTED EEL
Almost daily you read letters clamoring for maintenance of Scott Dam and the Potter Valley Project. The claim is that we need that water to fill Lake Mendocino. That water, diverted from the Eel River, is “waste” water derived from a hydropower plant that PG&E is shutting down due to inefficiencies and yearly money losses.
Maintaining the project would be hugely expensive and risky. The benefits do not outweigh the costs and risks. It is unlikely that you will ever see a drop of that water, as most of it is used by agricultural operations downstream of the diversion.
The project amounts to supporting low-cost water for agriculture — not you — where you pay for it. This seems to be the model for the state — where ag uses 80% of the available water and you pay for the dams and infrastructure. Agriculture is less than 3% of the total state economy. If agriculture conserved 10% of its 80% current use, there would be significantly more water available for urban use.
I’m looking for equity in the division of resources. Not to mention what is needed for fish and wildlife.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 20, 2021
LELAND BEAN, Willits. Protective order violation.
ALICIA BRICENO, Fort Bragg. DUI, pot possession while driving.
CALVIN SISAVAT, Crescent City/Ukiah. DUI.
BRANDON STRASSER, Laytonville. Suspended license, disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
WALMART SUED FOR ALLEGEDLY DUMPING OVER A MILLION HAZARDOUS ITEMS A YEAR
California filed a lawsuit against Walmart Monday for allegedly disposing of hazardous waste at a rate of "more than one million items each year," the state's Department of Justice announced. The lawsuit alleges Walmart (WMT) has illegally dumped 159,600 pounds of hazardous waste a year in landfills in the state that aren't equipped to handle the materials, including lithium batteries, pesticides and cleaning supplies, according to the complaint…
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Red Badge of Courage?
Just got a video from a younger family member of their extravaganza church Christmas program. Floods of singers and dancers next to one an another without any masks for over half an hour. The church is a conservative one with seemingly people younger than middle age, although there were gray haired folk smiling folks sprinkled about in the crowd too. I read that conservative republicans have a much lower percentage getting immunized and more deaths from the virus.
My brother, a 60 year old Republican, admitted he and his wife contracted the virus and how they couldn’t taste the spice in their food. This was reported in a light and kind of humorous way, right after reporting that some people they know have died from the virus. I mentioned that we do not know any friends who died from the virus and he was astounded.
It strikes me that getting the Covid might be a “Red Badge of Courage” a way to show manliness or womanliness. I know it is the book title that almost every high school student was assigned to read in my day. These rites are pointed out in the article below: https://medium.com/hoftalk/the-red-badge-of-courage-and-the-modern-rite-of-passage-cfff05238ab4
You’d think there would be a crashing reality that something like 800,000 who have died included many who were in denial. I guess believing in the science and not having leaders who take us away from realities is the answer.
ONE USEFUL IDEA floating around the Internet lately is for a nationwide general strike to take place on January Fourth, the first back-to-work day after the holiday. It’s simple: don’t show up for work and don’t spend a nickel. The message will be clear: Just stop it! Stop the coercion, stop the lying, stop the shenanigans, and stop the mind-fuckery. If that event comes off, a lot of people will be free for the day — maybe a few days — to take to the streets and demonstrate their principled opposition to illegitimate political leadership. ”Joe Biden” and company will jump up and down, calling it another “insurrection.” Guess what: nobody will believe them.
— James Kunstler
SOMEONE NEEDS TO POINT OUT the growing similarities between North Korea and The United States... The life of the common man in North Korea is nothing short of horrific. To afford weapons of mass destruction, the North Koreans accept a quality of life that's just slightly higher than starving to death (with far too many not even reaching that minimal threshold). So up until now one the big pluses for the Military Industrial Complex was the number of people it employed. Sadly like every other field, growing technology keeps cutting the head count, and the impact that the MIC has on middle class economics shrinks with each passing year, as it continues to take a bigger and bigger slice of our economy to hold our "Enemies" at bay (doublespeak for making the wealthy wealthier). As Joe Manchin stonewalls Build Back Better and Voter Rights, in a thinly disguised attempt to serve his corporate masters, we see the problem with a government that has been bought and sold. Clearly one of the owners and arguably the biggest is the Military Industrial Complex.
— Marie Tobias
THE PENTAGON’S 20-YEAR KILLING SPREE Has Always Treated Civilians as Expendable
by Norman Solomon
Top U.S. officials want us to believe that the Pentagon carefully spares civilian lives while making war overseas. The notion is pleasant. And with high-tech killing far from home, the physical and psychological distances have made it even easier to believe recent claims that American warfare has become “humane.”
Such pretenses should be grimly laughable to anyone who has read high-quality journalism from eyewitness reporters like Anand Gopal and Nick Turse. For instance, Gopal’s article for The New Yorker in September, “The Other Afghan Women,” is an in-depth, devastating piece that exposes the slaughter and terror systematically inflicted on rural residents of Afghanistan by the U.S. Air Force.
Turse, an incisive author and managing editor at TomDispatch, wrote this fall: “Over the last 20 years, the United States has conducted more than 93,300 air strikes -- in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen -- that killed between 22,679 and 48,308 civilians, according to figures recently released by Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group. The total number of civilians who have died from direct violence in America’s wars since 9/11 tops out at 364,000 to 387,000, according to Brown University’s Costs of War Project.”
Those deaths have been completely predictable results of U.S. government policies. And in fact, evidence of widespread civilian casualties emerged soon after the “war on terror” started two decades ago. Leaks with extensive documentation began to surface more than 10 years ago, thanks to stark revelations from courageous whistleblowers and the independent media outlet WikiLeaks.
The retribution for their truth-telling has been fierce and unrelenting. WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is in a British prison, facing imminent extradition to the United States, where the chances of a fair trial are essentially zero. Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning spent seven years in a military prison. Former U.S. Air Force analyst Daniel Hale, who revealed murderous effects of U.S. drone warfare, is currently serving a 45-month prison sentence. They had the clarity of mind and heart to share vital information with the public, disclosing not just “mistakes,” but patterns of war crimes.
Such realities should be kept in mind when considering how the New York Times framed its blockbuster scoop last weekend, drawing on more than 1,300 confidential documents. Under the big headline “Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes,” the Times assessed U.S. bombing in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan -- and reported that “since 2014, the American air war has been plagued by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and imprecise targeting and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children.”
What should not get lost in all the bold-type words like “failure,” “flawed intelligence” and “imprecise targeting” is that virtually none of it was unforeseeable. The killings have resulted from policies that gave very low priority to prevention of civilian deaths.
The gist of those policies continues. And so does the funding that fuels the nation’s nonstop militarism, most recently in the $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act that spun through Congress this month and landed on President Biden’s desk.
Dollar figures are apt to look abstract on a screen, but they indicate the extent of the mania. Biden had “only” asked for $12 billion more than President Trump’s last NDAA, but that wasn’t enough for the bipartisan hawkery in the House and Senate, which provided a boost of $37 billion instead.
Actually, factoring in other outlays for so-called “defense,” annual U.S. military spending is in the vicinity of $1 trillion. Efforts at restraint have hit a wall. This fall, in a vote on a bill to cut 10 percent of the Pentagon budget, support came from only one-fifth of the House, and not one Republican.
In the opposite direction, House support for jacking up the military budget was overwhelming, with a vote of 363-70. Last week, when it was the Senate’s turn to act on the measure, the vote was 88-11.
Overall, military spending accounts for about half of the federal government’s total discretionary spending -- while programs for helping instead of killing are on short rations for local, state and national government agencies. It’s a destructive trend of warped priorities that serves the long-term agendas of neoliberalism, aptly defined as policies that “enhance the workings of free market capitalism and attempt to place limits on government spending, government regulation, and public ownership.”
While the two parties on Capitol Hill have major differences on domestic issues, relations are lethally placid beyond the water’s edge. When the NDAA cleared the Senate last week, the leaders of the Armed Services Committee were both quick to rejoice. “I am pleased that the Senate has voted in an overwhelming, bipartisan fashion to pass this year’s defense bill,” said the committee’s chair, Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island. The ranking Republican on the panel, Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma, chimed in: “This bill sends a clear message to our allies -- that the United States remains a reliable, credible partner -- and to our adversaries -- that the U.S. military is prepared and fully able to defend our interests around the world.”
The bill also sends a clear message to Pentagon contractors as they drool over a new meal in the ongoing feast of war profiteering.
It’s a long way from their glassed-in office suites to the places where the bombs fall.
(Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
MARCO ON QUAKES AND LANDLINES: Mysterious voices and thumps and trumpets and snare drums from the aether.
Lee Finney wrote of Monday's quake: "Yes - felt in Mendocino - Little River - one thing fell over in kitchen."
Marco here. Lee, I'd like to know what fell over, if you don't mind saying.
When I was little in L.A. the dishes would rattle, accompanied by a deep thump, or not, and I always enjoyed deciding whether it was an earthquake or a sonic boom. I knew all about both of them because of reading, and because of a wonderful motorized fault map of Southern California in the Griffith Observatory, where you pressed red buttons around the edge of the demo case to make the faults move.
Just after the earthquake today I tried to connect via dialup (the Fort Bragg dialup number) to get my email and, as often happens anymore, no connection but, as sometimes happens, after the dialup squeal, the modem sounded like someone was talking. I picked up the phone, switched the modem off, and heard garbled conversation of many people talking at once, then a young man's tenorish voice, like a twenty-year-old Lindy Peters, chirped loudly and clearly and enthusiastically, "I feel pretty Brady Bunchy right now. If we were on video right now we'd be way more Brady Bunchy. I know you do lots of video...", then hiss, then CLICK, then silence. In the old analog days of the early 1960s, that sort of thing happened pretty much all the time: you'd go to use the phone and hear someone talking, mostly just one side of a conversation with pauses, but sometimes you could talk to them and they'd hear you and order you to get off their line and you could swear at them and blow a raspberry and laugh. The best was when the talking sounded ghostly and far away and mysterious and felt like The Outer Limits.
An hour after today's quake, my dialup connected properly and normally.
Probably unrelated, but I'm reminded of it now: One of the problems with rural landlines is that when your phone goes out and it's in the connection heads, the little light-green plinths by the side of the road every few hundred yards, they have to fix it by opening that plinth and pulling out into their lap a rat's nest of hundreds and hundreds of fragile little wires to identify what's going on, and every time they wiggle everything in there to fix your problem something can wrong for someone else. The wires and connections are all very old now. They haven't put any new landlines in the ground for decades. There's corrosion wherever metals touch, and metal fatigue in every wire from every bend and unbend in all the pulling out and re-stuffing.
UK DOCTOR REVEALS TELLTALE NIGHTLY SYMPTOM OF SURGING OMICRON VARIANT
A noted British doctor is highlighting several symptoms that distinguish the Omicron variant from the common cold and even other strains of COVID-19 — including drenching night sweats....