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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021

Cold | 13 Cases | Jerry Philbrick | Water/Jocks | 1897 Crew | Government Plan | Westport 1978 | Nuisance Dam | Albion 1930 | Slowing Boonville | Redwood Axemen | Murder Suspect | New Scam | F Line | Ed Notes | Recommended Reading | Meth Problem | Sorrell Corralled | Yesterday's Catch | John Madden | Tyson Tiger | Reagan Code | Windy Portrait | Weed OK | Navarro River | Unhappy Holidays | Tolstoy Search | New Laws | Music Afterlife | Chanticleer Ukiah | Toasty Snowman | Webb Telescope | Capitol Tour

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LIGHT SHOWERS will begin moving in later this afternoon, with lingering light rain chances into Friday morning. Another freeze will occur along portions of the coast on Saturday morning. A strong upper level low is projected to arrive later January 2nd, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and will enhance coastal flooding. (NWS)

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13 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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August 21, 1936 - December 16, 2021 

Well-known and respected Comptche logger and rancher, Jerry Philbrick, passed away in his sleep December 16, 2021, from congestive heart failure at age 85. 

Jerry Douglas Philbrick is survived by his wife of 32 years, Terri Philbrick; children, Karla Jackson Philbrick, Donald Philbrick, Stacy Kandel, and Lindsay Graham; siblings Karen Vann and Chris Philbrick, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents Donald and Betty Philbrick, a sister Donna, and a daughter Kerri. 

Born August 21, 1936, in Fort Bragg, he grew up near his dad's logging operations and attended the Comptche School through eighth grade. He graduated Mendocino High School in 1954 where he lettered in three sports and played football for Santa Rosa Junior College. Jerry served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and returned to the coast to be the fourth generation of his family in the logging industry. 

On January 22, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., a Celebration of Life will be held for Jerry at the Ukiah Fairgrounds Carl Purdy Hall. Attendees are invited to bring their favorite stories. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Comptche Volunteer Fire Department. 

To leave condolences, please visit this

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by Jim Shields

Winter Storm Packs Rain, Snow, Knocks Out Power

Thanks to another massive winter storm packing rain and snow, this week we blew completely by last year’s record-low total rainfall of just 29.41 inches. The 5.51 inches of precipitation for the week, some of it snow, that fell in the Laytonville area, pushed our rain season total after just 6 months to 34.70 inches, more than 5 inches above the entire 12 month total of last year.

The annual historical rain average for this date in December is 26.25 inches, so we’re 8.5 inches above normal.

What a difference a year makes when it’s wet.

The storm on late Sunday afternoon, Dec. 26, left Round Valley and 1,368 customers without electrical power due to storm-related damage to PG&E transmission and distribution lines. By mid-morning on Monday, 1,714 customers in the Laytonville area also lost electrical power.

PG&E’s Rich Noonan, Senior Public Safety Specialist-Mendocino & Lake Counties, does an outstanding job in keeping local governments, such as the Laytonville County Water District, up-to-date amd informed about electrical outages, by sending out twice daily reports, and always answering emails, texts, and phone calls. In other words, he’s somebody who actually does his job.

Noonan, raised in Laytonville and a firefighter by trade, explained in his Sunday night report that “a Transmission Level outage, that is when the power coming in to the substation is lost. The Transmission feed for Covelo is the Laytonville-Covelo 60KV that comes from Laytonville following Dos Rios Road to Dos Rios and then goes up and over Poonkinney ridge before dropping into the valley to power the substation. A Transmission Troubleman is enroute to assess and make safe or repair if possible. Any large problem will require a crew. That line covers a lot of difficult ground to assess so it may take some time to locate the problem, make repairs and patrol. There is not an estimated time of restoration listed yet, as the extent of the problem is not yet known.”

In the Laytonville area, 1,714 customers were without electricity from mid-morning on Monday until 7:45 pm that night. 

At 7;45 p.m., Monday night, PG&E crews had restored power to all but 110 Laytonville area customers.

On Wednesday morning, Noonan reported, “The Covelo area is restored with the exception of 20 meters in the outlying areas. Repairs on those areas are ongoing. The weather continues to be a challenge with continued rain and snow. Crews are continuing to assess and repair damage. Some of the remaining outages have ETORS (Estimated Time Of Restoration) and some do not due to continuing access problems, snow, downed trees, etc. Another factor that delays our ability to restore is that we cannot do patrols with aircraft due to the weather conditions. All patrols are being executed from the ground which takes a lot of time.”

Sierra Snow Lab Records Snowiest December on Record 

All the heavy snow falling in the Sierra Nevada has broken decades-old records.

Also as of Tuesday, Dec. 28, more than 202 inches of snow — nearly 17 feet — had fallen so far this month at the University of California, Berkeley's Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, at Donner Pass east of Sacramento. 

Snow geeks at the lab said this month is now the snowiest December on record for the location and the third snowiest month overall. The top month was January 2017 when 238 inches fell, and it's not likely enough snow will fall in the next three days to challenge that record. Records at the lab go back to 1970.

Lab officials said the snow was “deep and hard to get through,” and it took them roughly 40 minutes to get to where the measurements are taken just 150 feet away from the lab's front door.

As we’ve discussed in this column in past years, high-elevation snowpack serves as a Mother Nature’s natural reservoir storing water through the winter months and slowly releasing it through the spring melting season. Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada accounts in an average year for 30 percent of California’s water supply, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

Following The Jocks Lead 

Since this Pandemic descended upon us, I’ve relied on a litmus test to help measure its menace and spread.

The way I look at it, as a jock albeit a more mature one, the best indicator, for me anyway, is what’s happening with professional and collegiate athletes. After all, these are the cream of the athletic crop, each and every one of them (well almost all of them) are in their primes as physical fitness specimens at the top of their respective games.

So if pro and college athletes are contracting the virus, it’s a sign for me that all is not well.

At least one expert agrees with my thoughts on the situation.

“I do worry that it's possible — maybe not likely, but possible — that these sports leagues’ numbers are a bit of a canary in the coal mine for the rest of us,” Zach Binney, a sports epidemiologist at Oxford College of Emory University, said in a recent interview on NPR.

“We are seeing a fairly fast and sudden increase over multiple markets and multiple sports and multiple countries,” said Binney. “I think everybody's trying to figure out what's happening now, what's driving this?”

Keep in mind, that back in February of 2020 it was the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz that blew the whistle on COVID-19, after star players, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, tested positive for Coronavirus. Within a few days players from other teams tested positive which led to the NBA to suspend its season, which in turn provided the nudge to states to start issuing Public Health Orders to fight the Pandemic, with California leading the way, and that’s still the case.

This month, COVID-19 and it variants have once again become the main foe of pro sports leagues and college athletic programs causing cancellations of college football bowl games, basketball matches, and postponements of pro football, basketball, and hockey games.

Players get benched — actually quarantined — after testing positive and pro leagues and players’ unions have ratcheted up talks about how to proceed and hopefully keep apace with the ever-changing Pandemic landscape.

Scientists believe Omicron spreads faster than COVID-19 and other variants, and it is also more “efficient” in causing infections in vaccinated people. What's unclear is whether it's more or less severe than other variants, such as Delta.

Professional sports leagues haven't required players to be vaccinated, but a vast majority of players have experienced the Fauci Ouchi. Around 67% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control, while professional leagues such as the NBA, NFL and MLS have rates greater than 90%, with the NHL and WNBA at over 99%.

Some leagues resorted to financial pressure, i.e. loss of pay, to encourage players to roll up their jerseys and get jabbed. 

National Football League teams could face potential forfeits and lost paychecks for outbreaks among unvaccinated players. According to the NFL Commissioner’s Office, as of July 22, when the policy was announced, 75% of players were partially vaccinated. As of Oct. 7, a month into the regular season, 93.3% of NFL players were vaccinated, the league said.

Unvaccinated players in the NHL and NBA could also face docked pay if they are unable to play due to local COVID-19 regulations.

But pro leagues also often deployed vaccination campaigns early that relied heavily on education and opportunities for players to connect with trusted medical experts.

The pro leagues also have exacting testing protocols in place, and experts say that means it's possible the high number of infections they're recording now is a portent of what’s in store for the folk populace.

So take heed all, including anti-maskers/vaxers, if finely tuned athletes are contracting the virus forcing wealthy professional sports owners and vaunted collegiate programs to take extraordinary measures to combat the virus, what lesson is to be learned for us mere mortals?

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher,, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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Mendocino Mill Crew, 1897

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Friends. It’s almost the New Year and I have important information to share. Many times people will comment “When did THEY decide to do that.” Well this is it. The BOS is undergoing a strategic planning process and we need your input. Please read below and share: 

Mendocino County Leadership Requests Input On Five-Year Strategic Planning Process That Will Help Guide The Work Of County Government Through 2027

Post Date:12/09/2021 1:13 PM

The Board of Supervisors and other County leadership have been working with planning consultants since July to develop draft goals and objectives based on input from the Board of Supervisors, CEO, all Department Heads, staff from the Executive Office, interviews with individual employees, and employee focus groups. As a final step in this part of the process, we are scheduling virtual Town Hall meetings to solicit your input.

Each Town Hall will be held in a Zoom webinar format and focus on one foundational area of the Strategic Plan; the entire community is invited to attend any or all sessions.

Live-streaming will be available on both YouTube and Facebook.

A Safe and Healthy Community, Tuesday, January 4th from 5:00 – 6:15 PM

A Thriving Economy, Wednesday, January 5th from 5:00 – 6:15 PM

A Prepared and Resilient County, Thursday, January 6th from 5:00 – 6:15 PM

Follow us on Facebook at

To attend via Zoom, please register by email to:

Questions about these upcoming events may be directed to Anne Molgaard at or 707-472-2770.

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Westport, 1978

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by Katy Tahja 

In this day and age wars are fought about water use because too many users want to draw on too small a supply. In this look at Lake County history it was the other way around. There was too MUCH water.

Cache Creek is the exit for Clear Lake’s waters flowing down to the Sacramento River. Someone had the bright idea in the 1860’s to dam the outflow and use water power to run a grain mill and saw mill. The Clear Lake Company dam controlled the lake level but gave no thought to the consequences effecting property value and health.

All around Clear Lake homes had been built, orchards planted, and land planted to crops taking into account the natural high and low water levels. All of a sudden, with a dam in place, people were experiencing flooding in Lower Lake, Burns Valley, and other areas with cattle sickening, orchards destroyed, and water-born diseases killing people.

The old Fowler Grain Mill near Lower Lake had been purchased in 1865 by the company and they got a bill through the state legislature in 1866 allowing them to build a new solid stone dam, a larger lock, and they put in new cribs to place a new mill directly on top of the dam. It would be impossible to take down the dam without destroying the mill.

The bill had been cleverly constructed to allow the company to regulate the level off the lake water. The company wanted to sell water for irrigation purposes. The state had decreed water level could not vary more than once foot summer to winter. The years 1866 and 1867 had very wet winters and the water level the company chose as “normal” reduced farmers to destitution with flooded fields and rotting crops and people were dying of malaria and diphtheria.

People time and time again tried to take the company to court with legal challenges, but the company could buy jurors votes during trials because they were making money. By November 1868 all hope for a lawful resolution vanished and 300 local citizens decided to take action.

An action was planned at the dam site. The sheriff knew what was coming. The citizens allowed him to read the Riot Act to the crows, then did a citizens arrest on him, the superintendent of the mill works, and the mill hands. A local minister sanctioned the activity as a righteous deed and asked for blessings on all who participated. No one was harmed. Guards were posted while citizens dismantled the mill after carefully removing everything they could carry and barrels of flour and then demolished the dam. They worked a day and night and burned everything they could and Cache Creek ran unimpeded again.

In the San Francisco newspapers Clear Lake Water Company called the event a mob action and bemoaned the loss of the fine mill “one of the best in the state.” The company claimed (unsubstantiated) hundreds of tons of wheat went up in smoke, along with their saw and planing mill.

An 1869 court case said by law the government of Lake County was responsible since they allowed the dam destruction to happen and would have to repay the company. They court said “The dam was a nuisance, the people had properly abated said nuisance,” but they were still financially responsible.

It was decided Lake County would pay $20,000 to the company in a clever way. For the next 20 years everyone in the county would be charged a tiny fee on their tax bill, about the cost of a two pound bag of flour, to compensate the water company. Taxpayers agreed.

Clear Lake Water Company said it wasn’t their fault the dam kept backing up lake waters and flooding shorelines. The fault was that of Grigsby Riffle two miles downstream from the dam. Seigler Creek entered the waterway at that point at a sharp turning point, flowing faster than Cache Creek was. A build up in sand, debris, gravel and branches caused Cache Creek to back up into Clear Lake. A handy excuse for the company was to blame nature, not their practices.

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Albion, 1930

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CAN ANYTHING BE DONE about speeding traffic and other road hazards in downtown Boonville? A small impromptu committee of local residents has been discussing the possibilities for the last few weeks. Last summer the Community Services District received positive responses from the Sheriff’s Office, the Highway Patrol and Caltrans, but although there are anecdotal reports of a little more enforcement in Anderson Valley by both the CHP and the Sheriff, the basic problem remains. 

Options considered included:

  • Rumble strips at entry both ends of town. 
  • Radar speed displays (like Philo)
  • License plate camera(s)
  • Elimination of diagonal parking and paint shoulders to encourage parallel parking instead. 
  • Traffic calming, striping, lane width reduciton in town.
  • Better signage/warnings at either end of town. 
  • Enhanced Enforcement.
  • More Crosswalks 
  • A new speed survey with an eye for pedestrians, bicycles and speed reductions.
  • More public off street parking.

Of the options considered, two seem like the most practical, doable and effective.

1. Have Caltrans change the striping along the three blocks of downtown business where cars traditionally park diagonally (“angle parking”) creating a major traffic hazard when they back out to encourage parallel parking like everywhere else in town. A letter to Caltrans to this effect is being prepared.

2. Install automated license plate reader cameras downtown. The committee has reviewed the technical options and it looks like the relatively new so called “FLOCK” camera systems are the best available option. These cameras which have the ability to identify plates and car features in real time and can be programmed to flag cars and plates as they appear on the video, have been described by law enforcement as “a force multiplier,” which, given the Sheriff’s low patrol staffing, would probably be welcomed at the Sheriff’s Office. The cameras are solar powered and transmit their data wirelessly so not much infrastructure is required. A grant application might lead to funding the units if and when the Sheriff’s office finds an opportunity to do so.

If anyone has other practical ideas or if they want to volunteer as a possible site for a flock camera installation, contact me at or at 895-3016

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Axemen, Mendocino Woods

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NOVEMBER’S GANG-RELATED STABBING IN UKIAH ELICITS AN ARREST — Suspect With Violent Past Charged With Attempted Murder

About one month after a gang-related stabbing at a Ukiah Apartment Complex on November 28, a suspect is in the Mendocino County jail for his alleged role in the crime. As per a criminal complaint issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, 28-year-old Ukiah man Jaime Antonio Zambrano stands accused of attempted murder....

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I can easily relate to the letter from Ron Welch in the December 15 edition of the AVA discussing his attempt to report fraud to the Employment Development Department (EDD) of California. He was notified by letter and given only a phone number to call.

I was told by a local nonprofit agency that they had received a request for information from EDD because someone used my name and Social Security number to apply for disability benefits; their application stated I had been employed by the agency (not true).

EDD notes on their website that this is a new scam, perpetrated by organized crime, that appears to target healthcare providers. If you are a victim, reporting options include the fraud hotline at 1-800-229-6297 or the website at ""

Bruce Andich, M.D.


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"The F Line" oil painting by Jacob Dhein

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AMONG WEDNESDAY'S depressing catastrophe headlines, there was this one: “Kamala Harris turns to Wall Street and Silicon Valley CEOs for advice on the ‘root causes’ of migration and how to fix supply chain issues.”

RIGHT, KAMALA, go to the boys responsible for both. Certainly don't pay any attention to those pesky lefties who say the immigration prob is a direct response to years of American imperialism with a big recent boost from Clinton's NAFTA programs. Global destabilization has always been a bi-partisan project, compelling millions of desperate people to hit the road to have even a remote chance for a life.

HERB CAEN always called New Years Eve, “amateur hour,” the one time of the year non-drinkers have one or ten too many. 2021 didn't offer much to feel nostalgic about let alone celebrate, and given the givens of the leadership, 2022 isn't likely to be much better, but here's to those of you who soldier on managing to find joy and delight in the gathering gloom.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL has been found guilty of sex trafficking and other charges. After six days of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women found the British socialite guilty on five of six counts — all except enticing an individual under the age of 17 to travel to with intent to engage in illegal sex acts. She faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. It was a sensational trial filled with tearful testimony, a trove of never-before-seen photos submitted into evidence, and shocking claims that the British socialite was a “sophisticated predator.” From the beginning of the trial that kicked off on November 29, Maxwell remained relaxed and confident, giving hugs to her lawyers or waving to her sister Isabel in the public gallery. She wore a series of turtleneck sweaters and was noticeably tactile with her attorneys, often putting her arm around them in a gesture they reciprocated. Maxwell barely reacted when her accusers took the stand to testify of the horrific abuse at the hands of her and Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein's pilots Larry Visoski and Dave Rodgers told the court that in the 30 years they flew Epstein on his private planes, including the Boeing 727 known as the “Lolita Express,” they never saw him engage in sexual activity of any kind. But both men said that the door to the passenger cabin was closed at all times. (Daily Mail)

ED NOTE: Of course she's as sleazy as the rest of Epstein's crew — Bill Clinton; Prince Andrew; Trump et al — but Maxwell was prosecuted because lover boy offed himself before he could be tried. Cue conspiracy people who will argue that Epstein was murdered by his cellmate to protect all the big shot degenerates who were Epstein's frequent guests, which would also seem logical, but who knows? 

ON THE SUBJECT of institutional sadism, Mark Sprinkle, once of Ukiah, was finally granted parole only to have the Governor's parole review team veto it. (See the link below for the particulars of Sprinkle's case.) He's sixty, having been in state prison now for nearly a quarter century. Finally having gotten past the Parole Board, and sick with prostate cancer, Sprinkle was all set for a halfway house in Stockton, where he knows no one but a halfway house in hell is preferable to a quarter century in prison sleeping on a three-high metal rack in the prison gym at Chino. Sprinkle's medical records were also transferred to Stockton resulting in his prison treatment being canceled while all the paperwork makes its way back to the prison.

"Off The Record" (Feb. 29, 2012)

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von Braun

RECOMMENDED READING: "The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men." About ten thousand of them came to the United States after WW II, the worst, most prominent of them sponsored by our government because (1) they were scientifically useful, (2) they lied about their monstrous work as Nazis and for Nazis, (3) they were anti-Russia. Several became paid informants for the FBI, regularly turning over liberals to the feds, claiming the libs were communists, a practice freshly revived here in liberty land by fascist-oriented Trumpers.

The best known Nazi-American was Werner Von Braun, the brains behind Hitler's V-2 rockets. When he died, Von Braun was celebrated as the father of the American space program. The Russians also snagged their share of German scientists, of course, but the Russians executed thousands more than they employed. This book was most interesting in its case studies of fascists who became pillars of their immigrant, East European communities and were defended by those communities even after their wartime atrocities were exposed, not that the exposure was simple; for years major media were not interested.

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In all the discussion about solutions to homelessness, the epidemic of methamphetamine use in the cars and tent cities has not been mentioned. I have no idea what the solution should be. However, it seems that in every homeless reduction scenario, meth use or addiction would play a part. 

If we had people on this drug in shelters next to someone who is trying to sleep, I don’t see this working out very well. So when we discuss safe parking zones, which may be a great idea, then this addiction issue should be part of the discussion. 

I cannot say “here is the solution” to homelessness in California. But if we refuse to look at such a significant contributor, then the solution will elude us forever. 

Alan Petty

Santa Rosa

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On Thursday, December 23, 2021, Michael Sorrell, a 30-year-old, unlicensed, resident of Clearlake, allegedly smoked methamphetamine before driving in the City of Ukiah. 

Michael Sorrell

A Ukiah PD officer noticed Sorrell driving in the bicycle lane on the 100 block of N. Orchard Ave. Sorrell was driving erratically and the officer attempted to stop him by activating his emergency lights. Sorrell failed to yield to the officer and attempted to evade capture by driving in an unsafe manner, with wanton disregard for the public. Officers were led on an approximately 2.3-mile pursuit that exceeded 60 mph on city streets with speed limits of 25 mph. The pursuit ended with Sorrell attempting to go over a curb that separated two apartment complex parking lots. His vehicle collided with the curb causing front end and engine damage, halting his vehicle. Sorrell attempted to run from the pursuing officers. Sorrell ran into a blackberry bush and quickly gave up, surrendering to the pursuing officers. 

Sorrell was taken into custody without any reported injuries by anyone involved. The vehicle was searched and Sorrell was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia, weapons, and burglary tools. He was booked at the Mendocino County jail for the violations.

(Ukiah Police Department Presser) 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 29, 2021

Chiles, Crane, Fine

CHRISTOL CHILES, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

TONIA CRANE, Lucerne/Ukiah. Stolen vehicle/failure to appear.

EMMY FINE, Fort Bragg. Battery, resisting.

Hilliard, Parker, Rilla, Smart

SEAN HILLIARD, Fort Bragg. Saps/similar weapons, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation violation.

MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation.

ANDREW RILLA, Hidden Valley/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

SETH SMART, Willits. Concealed dirk-dagger, probation revocation.

Teel, Thomason, Travis, Zambrano

CARRIE TEEL, Clearlake/Ukiah. Harboring wanted felon, child endangerment, no license.

JARED THOMASON, Covelo. DUI w/blood-alcohol over 0.15%, hit&run with death or injury, evasion, no license.

JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JAIME ZAMBRANO, Ukiah. Attempted murder with special allegation-use of weapon, parole violation.

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by CW Nevius

John Madden used to say he was “consumed” by football.

He even had a “Madden-ism” to describe what it means to be all in.

He said it is like eggs and bacon.

“The chicken is involved,” Madden said, “but the pig is committed.”

Hearing about such single-mindedness seems odd, because as devoted as he was to the game, Madden’s most endearing quality may have been that he was fascinated and curious about all manner of things.

During his 20+ years of morning appearances on San Francisco’s KCBS radio, he would wax away on any sort of topic, from small, local restaurants he discovered on one of his Madden Cruiser bus trips, to what makes up a proper sandwich.

Retired KCBS sports anchor Steve Bitker, who, with news anchor Stan Bunger, spoke to Madden nearly every weekday morning for “The John Madden Show,” recalls the first day. Just before airtime he asked Madden if there was anything “in particular” he’d like to talk about.

“And he just laughed,” Bitker said. “He said, ‘We’ll see what happens’.”

Which, you could bet, would be something entertaining, enthusiastic and — this gets overlooked — smart.

People didn’t like Madden on TV because of his everyday, frumpy appearance. But for over 30 years, on every major network, he drew audiences who watched and listened because the big guy was telling us stuff. Things we hadn’t noticed.

Madden was the one who came up with the yellow first down line on TV. He was the first to make the Telestrator actually seem useful.

And yet he was never too deep in football woods. One of Madden’s legacies is that he brought more women to the sport.

“My wife Alice is a great example,” Bitker said. “I don’t know anyone who knows less about football. But she still liked listening to John Madden.”

Everyone says Madden changed broadcasting and that’s true. But it wasn’t like he was trying. He genuinely seemed like a guy who enjoyed talking to people. And people enjoyed listening.

These days I wince when I see Terry Bradshaw playing the fool on Sunday pregame shows. That guy won four Super Bowls. A case could be made that he was the best quarterback of his generation.

And now he plays for laughs.

I mention it because there was a time when it looked like Madden might be headed to Yucksville too.

When he quit coaching the Raiders, after 10 years and a Super Bowl title, Madden was only known as an excitable sideline presence who became incredibly, and comically, agitated.

So he ended up in TV commercials where he’d burst through a wall or a door, wave his arms and yell “Boom!” It was funny, and he played along, but you had to think there was more to him than that.

And there was.

First of all, that sideline stuff was no act. I came to San Francisco to cover the Raiders in 1980, so I just missed Madden, who quit coaching in 1978.

But his legacy was still felt. Players said he’d go absolutely bonkers. He’d get so upset his face would turn red. Behind his back the players called him “Pinky.”

The losses absolutely devastated him. He couldn’t shake them.

In fact, coaching eventually made him physically ill. When he left he admitted part of the reason was a bleeding ulcer.

So broadcasting was nearly perfect for him. He got to stick with the game — he even enjoyed breaking down tape — but he didn’t have to endure the defeats.

And although he was deeply committed to what was going on the field, he was also likely to veer off into what someone in the stands was wearing. Or the merits of turducken, which is (as true Madden fans know) a meat dish in which a deboned chicken is stuffed inside a deboned duck, which is all stuffed into a deboned turkey.

Madden developed a style — loose, irreverent but still into the game — that made him a pleasant Sunday afternoon companion. Broadcasting was a perfect fit.


Madden developed a pathological fear of flying, brought on, he said, by his claustrophobia. Back in the 80s players would tell stories of him hyperventilating on a flight back to Oakland.

He would say later that his last flight was in 1979, when he experienced an episode on his way from Tampa. He got off the plane when it stopped in Houston and did not fly again.

The result was train trips to games, and then the Cruiser, his famous bus. (Paid for, by the way, by the bus company as a promotional item.)

The bus, the turducken, the sayings — “Don’t unroll your hose before you get to the fire” — all caught on. Eventually it wasn’t a big game if Madden wasn’t broadcasting it.

And that’s how he ended up as the face and name of EA Sports NFL football video game. At this point, he’s so identified with the game that people just say they are “going to play Madden.”

Madden stuck up for the game there too. Originally EA was going to make the game seven-on-seven. Madden insisted it be 11-man teams and even gave the programmers his Raider offensive playbook.

All in all, it was quite a run. Madden ended up both wealthy and respected and he never had to leave the game.

This week he was riding in a car when he fell asleep. He never woke up.

He was 85.

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I drifted west through the Black Belt via Demopolis, Alabama, and Meridian, Mississippi, past Collinsville, where I bought a drink at the Piggly Wiggly, noted Chunky Duffee Road and the crossroads at tidy Tucker, and drove toward Philadelphia, a place that had been on my mind for years.

In June 1964, near this small farming town, three civil rights workers were murdered by a lynch mob of the local Klan. The portion of Highway 19 that I would travel on was named the Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner Memorial Highway, for those activists who’d been killed during the Freedom Summer — a season of voter registration and protest, of running battles and bloodshed. I had missed that tragic time. I drove on this highway almost fifty years later in a spirit of catching up on unfinished business, with a suggestion of atonement, because in that summer I had been so far away, in Nyasaland, preparing to celebrate the independence of Malawi.

Philadelphia had earned another, later footnote in political history. In August 1980, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan flew there to give the first speech of his campaign, at Philadelphia’s Neshoba County Fair. It seems a wildly out-of-the-way place to kick off a presidential campaign: a small Mississippi town with one distinction in the history books, the site of a triple murder provoked by white supremacists.

But that was precisely why Reagan was there. He knew what he was doing, making a calculated, ingratiating speech to a large crowd at a county fair, and to white Southern voters in general, reminding them where he stood on the issue of civil rights. He stood squarely with the good old boys and the Klansmen.

He began by mildly mocking his opponent, Jimmy Carter, then he talked about the economy, and then he got to the point. He said, “I believe in states’ rights, and I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level.”

He then rubbished the role of the federal government in enacting laws that affected citizens at the state level. Speaking in a town that was the headquarters of the Mississippi Ku Klux Klan, he was saying: I’m on your side. Race was a factor in the 1980 election, which Reagan won.

Reagan was “tapping out the code,” as the New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote many years later. Herbert added a detailed list of Reagan’s opposition to civil rights measures while he was president: “He was opposed to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the same year that Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney were slaughtered. As president, he actually tried to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tried to get rid of the federal ban on tax exemptions for private schools that practiced racial discrimination. And in 1988, he vetoed a bill to expand the reach of federal civil rights legislation.”

Philadelphia, like many towns in Mississippi, had an old, decaying town center of dusty streets and defunct and picturesque stores, surrounded on a bypass road by a scattering of shopping malls, fast food outlets, the usual Walmart, pawnshops, and gun retailers. It was the county seat, altogether a rather bleak place, much bleaker and nakeder in the glare of noon. On the sunny day that I spent walking its streets I was reminded that Philadelphia is still the headquarters of the Mississippi Klan. I easily found the headquarters and the free leaflets.

“The Original Knights of America, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is a political activist organization,” one of the leaflets explained. “We follow in the footsteps of our ancestors who were involved in the political process. It’s a Klansman’s responsibility to register to vote, campaign, and vote for conservative pro white candidates who will put America first and defend our nation’s borders.” On another page: “We the Ku Klux Klan have been fighting for the White Christian Race for over 150 years. We are the longest lasting and most respected White Civil Rights organization on Earth. We are no compromise and that’s why we continue to be a feared organization.”

“Feared” was indisputable, “most respected” was questionable, but it was obvious the KKK was a defiant group and, judging from the heavy inventory in the gun stores in Philadelphia, well armed. I was not there to reform anyone but only to listen.

“The Ku Klux Klan is . . . more than the embodiment of a tradition,” Frank Tannenbaum wrote in an early and subtle analysis of the South’s hidden impulses, Darker Phases of the South (1924). Tannenbaum was an Austrian-born criminologist, sociologist, Columbia University professor, and political radical who, as a soldier in the US Army stationed in the South, looked closely at the Klan. “[The Klan] expresses a deep-rooted social habit — a habit of ready violence in defense of a threatened social status.” He explained the appeal, the grip, the danger of the Klan: “It seizes upon the monotony of a small town and gives it daily drama. It takes him who lived an uneventful life, one who is nobody in particular, and makes something of him. It gives him a purpose; makes him a soldier in a cause. The very existence of the Ku Klux Klan is proof of emotional infanthood. It would not be possible in a community where the people lived full, interesting, varied lives.”

— Paul Theroux, "Deep South" (2015)

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Across Oklahoma, a staunchly conservative state with a history of drawing people in search of wealth from the land, a new kind of crop is taking over old chicken coops, trailer parks and fields where cattle used to graze.

Next door to a Pentecostal church in the tiny town of Keota, the smell of marijuana drifts through the air at the G & C Dispensary. Strains with names like OG Kush and Maui Waui go for $3 a gram, about a quarter of the price in other states.

Down the road, an indoor-farming operation is situated in a residential area near mobile homes, one of about 40 in the town of just 500 residents. “It might look strange, but this is where the action is,” said Logan Pederson, 32, who moved this year from Seattle to Oklahoma to manage the small farm for a company called Cosmos Cultivation.

Ever since the state legalized medical marijuana three years ago, Oklahoma has become one of the easiest places in the United States to launch a weed business. The state now boasts more retail cannabis stores than Colorado, Oregon and Washington combined. In October, it eclipsed California as the state with the largest number of licensed cannabis farms, which now number more than 9,000, despite a population only a tenth of California’s....

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North Branch, North Fork, Navarro River

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Whew, looking at some news here, it’s been a bloody Christmas season. Families wiped out coast to coast — mostly by their own family members! On Long Island, in NYC, in Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico, California … mothers and fathers, and little kids waiting for Santa Claus to appear, shot and stabbed, sometimes the house burned down to cover up the crime. Not the Happy Holidays of days gone by. It appears the family unit itself has collapsed. Well, you have to admit, it’s been under assault for a long time. Now all the hard work is coming to fruition.

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SEVERAL TIMES I ASKED MYSELF, “Can it be that I have overlooked something, that there is something which I have failed to understand? Is it not possible that this state of despair is common to everyone?” 

For a long time I carried on my painstaking search; I did not search casually, out of mere curiosity, but painfully, persistently, day and night, like a dying man seeking salvation. I found nothing. 

—Leo Tolstoy 

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As we head into the new year, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is educating the public on traffic safety laws that were passed during this year’s legislative season and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The laws take effect January 1, 2022, unless otherwise noted.

Sideshow Definition and Penalties (Assembly Bill (AB) 3, Fong)

This new law strengthens penalties for those convicted of exhibition of speed if the violation occurred as part of a sideshow.

Beginning July 1, 2025, a court will be permitted to suspend a person’s driver’s license between 90 days and six months if the person is convicted of exhibition of speed and if the violation occurred as part of a “sideshow.” Section 23109(c) of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) (exhibition of speed) will define sideshow as an event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving for spectators.

The courts will be required to consider a defendant’s medical, personal, or family hardship that requires a person to have a driver’s license before determining whether to suspend a person’s driver’s license.

Equestrian Safety Gear (AB 974, L. Rivas) 

Requires a person under the age of 18 to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet when riding an equestrian animal, such as a horse, mule, or donkey on a paved highway. This bill also requires all riders or their equines to wear reflective gear or a lamp when riding after sundown. 

A person riding an equestrian animal in a parade or festival, or crossing a paved highway from an unpaved highway, is exempt from all helmet, lighting, or reflective gear requirements.

Tribal Emergency Vehicles (AB 798, Ramos)

This bill provides that any vehicle owned or operated by a federally recognized Indian tribe is considered an authorized emergency vehicle as defined by Section 165 CVC when responding to an emergency, fire, ambulance, or lifesaving calls.

Class C Drivers Allowed to Tow Trailer (Senate Bill 287, Grove) 

Effective January 1, 2027, drivers with a class C driver’s license may operate a vehicle towing a trailer between 10,001 pounds and 15,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, or gross vehicle weight with a fifth-wheel and kingpin or bed mounted gooseneck connection, provided that the trailer is used exclusively for recreational purposes for the transportation of property, living space, or both.

The driver will be required to pass a specialized written examination demonstrating the knowledge of the CVC and other safety aspects relating to the towing of recreational vehicles on the highway and possess an endorsement on their class C driver’s license.

Currently, this exemption is in place for drivers towing a fifth-wheel travel trailer provided the driver passes a specialized written exam and obtains a recreational trailer endorsement.

As a reminder, the following law took effect on July 1, 2021:

License Points for Distracted Driving (AB 47, Daly; 2019) 

Using a handheld cell phone while driving is currently punishable by a fine. As of July 1, 2021, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driver’s record. This applies to the violations of talking or texting while driving (except for hands-free use) and to any use of these devices while driving by a person under 18 years of age.

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CHANTICLEER, February 6, 2022, 2:00 PM, at the Ukiah High School Cafetorium

The UCCA season launches with Chanticleer! Greetings! Excitement is building for the long-anticipated launch of our 21-22 concert season. Although 2021 will be in the rearview mirror when it finally happens, CHANTICLEER is coming to Ukiah on Sunday, February 6 at 2:00 pm! We have chosen the spacious Ukiah High School Cafetorium for this event and, of course, will adhere to Covid protocols. At this writing, there are no social distancing requirements, but rest assured that we will be following the situation closely through these weeks leading up to the concert, and will make the best possible decisions for your safety and comfort. Proof of vaccination will be required at the door. No exceptions. Masks must be worn throughout the concert. No exceptions. PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY It will take extra time to get your vaccination card checked and find your preferred seating. In case Chanticleer's fame hasn't reached your eyes and ears yet, it is a GRAMMY Award-winning vocal ensemble, hailed as the "world's reigning male chorus" by The New Yorker, and renowned as an "orchestra of voices" for its wide repertoire and dazzling virtuosity. 

There will be a limited number of individual tickets available on our website, and at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and Mazahar in Willits. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door (if seats are still available). Since this will be just the first of a full four-concert season (see schedule below) you can still buy a membership for the same low price of $100 up until the end of the Chanticleer concert, applying your ticket price to the season membership. Students ages 18 and under, and Mendocino College students 24 and under and enrolled in 12 units or more may reserve a $5.00 ticket in advance by calling 707-463-2738 and providing your name, phone number, and email. Discounted tickets are limited so call early to reserve. All must provide proof of vaccination and wear a mask during the concert. No exceptions. Find us at the ticket table to pay and receive your ticket. For questions or further information, call us at 707-463-2738. 

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JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE: an Astronomer on the Team Explains How to Send a Giant Telescope to Space and Why

by Marcia Rieke

The James Webb Space Telescope was launched into space on Dec. 25, 2021, and with it, astronomers hope to find the first galaxies to form in the universe, will search for Earthlike atmospheres around other planets and accomplish many other scientific goals.

I am an astronomer and the principal investigator for the Near Infrared Camera – or NIRCam for short – aboard the Webb telescope. I have participated in the development and testing for both my camera and the telescope as a whole.

To see deep into the universe, the telescope has a very large mirror and must be kept extremely cold. But getting a fragile piece of equipment like this to space is no simple task. There have been many challenges my colleagues and I have had to overcome to design, test and soon launch and align the most powerful space telescope ever built.

image credit: NASA/Desiree Stover

Young galaxies and alien atmospheres

The Webb telescope has a mirror over 20 feet across, a tennis-court sized sun shade to block solar radiation and four separate camera and sensor systems to collect the data.

It works kind of like a satellite dish. Light from a star or galaxy will enter the mouth of the telescope and bounce off the primary mirror toward the four sensors: NIRCam, which takes images in the near infrared; the Near Infrared Spectrograph, which can split the light from a selection of sources into their constituent colors and measures the strength of each; the Mid-Infrared Instrument, which takes images and measures wavelengths in the middle infrared; and the Near Infrared Imaging Slitless Spectrograph, which splits and measures the light of anything scientists point the satellite at.

This design will allow scientists to study how stars form in the Milky Way and the atmospheres of planets outside the Solar System. It may even be possible to figure out the composition of these atmospheres.

Ever since Edwin Hubble proved that distant galaxies are just like the Milky Way, astronomers have asked: How old are the oldest galaxies? How did they first form? And how have they changed over time? The Webb telescope was originally dubbed the “First Light Machine” because it is designed to answer these very questions.

One of the main goals of the telescope is to study distant galaxies close to the edge of observable universe. It takes billions of years for the light from these galaxies to cross the universe and reach Earth. I estimate that images my colleagues and I will collect with NIRCam could show protogalaxies that formed a mere 300 million years after the Big Bang – when they were just 2% of their current age.

Finding the first aggregations of stars that formed after the Big Bang is a daunting task for a simple reason: These protogalaxies are very far away and so appear to be very faint.

To fit inside a rocket, the telescope needs to fold into a compact package. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

Webb’s mirror is made of 18 separate segments and can collect more than six times as much light as the Hubble Space Telescope mirror. Distant objects also appear to be very small, so the telescope must be able to focus the light as tightly as possible.

The telescope also has to cope with another complication: Since the universe is expanding, the galaxies that scientists will study with the Webb telescope are moving away from Earth, and the Doppler effect comes into play. Just like the pitch of an ambulance’s siren shifts down and becomes deeper when it passes and starts moving away from you, the wavelength of light from distant galaxies shifts down from visible light to infrared light.

Webb detects infrared light – it is essentially a giant heat telescope. To “see” faint galaxies in infrared light, the telescope needs to be exceptionally cold or else all it would see would be its own infrared radiation. This is where the heat shield comes in. The shield is made of a thin plastic coated with aluminum. It is five layers thick and measures 46.5 feet (17.2 meters) by 69.5 feet (21.2 meters) and will keep the mirror and sensors at minus 390 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 234 Celsius).

The Webb telescope is an incredible feat of engineering, but how does one get such a thing safely to space and guarantee that it will work?

Test and rehearse

The James Webb Space Telescope will orbit a million miles from Earth – about 4,500 times more distant than the International Space Station and much too far to be serviced by astronauts.

Over the past 12 years, the team has tested the telescope and instruments, shaken them to simulate the rocket launch and tested them again. Everything has been cooled and tested under the extreme operating conditions of orbit. I will never forget when my team was in Houston testing the NIRCam using a chamber designed for the Apollo lunar rover. It was the first time that my camera detected light that had bounced off the telescope’s mirror, and we couldn’t have been happier – even though Hurricane Harvey was fighting us outside.

After testing came the rehearsals. The telescope will be controlled remotely by commands sent over a radio link. But because the telescope will be so far away – it takes six seconds for a signal to go one way – there is no real-time control. So for the past three years, my team and I have been going to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and running rehearsal missions on a simulator covering everything from launch to routine science operations. The team even has practiced dealing with potential problems that the test organizers throw at us and cutely call “anomalies.”

Some alignment required

The Webb team continued to rehearse and practice until the launch date, but our work is far from done now.

We need to wait 35 days after launch for the parts to cool before beginning alignment. After the mirror unfolds, NIRCam will snap sequences of high-resolution images of the individual mirror segments. The telescope team will analyze the images and tell motors to adjust the segments in steps measured in billionths of a meter. Once the motors move the mirrors into position, we will confirm that telescope alignment is perfect. This task is so mission critical that there are two identical copies of NIRCam on board – if one fails, the other can take over the alignment job.

This alignment and checkout process should take six months. When finished, Webb will begin collecting data. After 20 years of work, astronomers will at last have a telescope able to peer into the farthest, most distant reaches of the universe.

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  1. Lew Chichester December 30, 2021

    Regarding the attempts to mitigate speeding, unsafe driving in downtown Boonville we have a similar condition in Covelo, on State Highway 162 and the county roads in town. Our local Municipal Advisory Council has conducted a number of public reviews trying to figure out what can be done. These meetings have been attended by the sheriff, the county transportation director, and CalTrans representatives. Here’s where we are so far:
    CalTrans is proposing to construct a series of “traffic calming” measures on SH 162 in the main part of town. You have seen these in other places lately: the so called “bulb outs” at intersections making the road narrower. Supposedly these help slow down traffic. And parallel parking should be part of the plan. That also allows for the road to be a bit narrower.
    As far as the cameras, we were informed by the sheriff that this kind of tactic is not allowed in California, even though it is effective it violates some state law protecting privacy. I don’t have that completely correct but your Anderson Valley group should contact Matt Kendall directly, or the CHP, about this idea. In Round Valley we were told “can’t do that.”
    On Howard Street, which is perpendicular to SH162, and connects through town past the PO, towards the schools, and on to a residential zone, we requested a traffic study and it was found that although the posted speed limit is 25, the average speed was more like 35 and way too many drivers are going 65, even 80mph right through the middle of town. We couldn’t come up with any acceptable solutions to this problem other than “more enforcement” and we don’t have nearly enough police presence in this out of the way place. More stop signs, crosswalks, or a few speed bumps to slow people down were not acceptable to the county roads authority. Don’t remember why, still seem like some good ideas, but “can’t do that.”

    • Jim Armstrong December 30, 2021

      Off the top of my head, it seems the speeding problems in Boonville and Covelo are very different.
      AV’s are caused by out-of-towners, RV’s by locals.
      Old timers will remember the dairy rancher on 101 near the Sonoma/Marin line (crisscross fence) who bought retired CHP cruisers and parked them along the road.
      It didn’t fool locals, but sure slowed down tourists.

      • Mark Scaramella December 30, 2021

        We think the speeding problem in Boonville is about half visitors and half local kids, many of whom are Mexican with their smallish loud speed burners, others with older pickups, some of them young women with lead feet. The hope with the license plate cameras is that semi-official notices can be sent to registered owners of problem vehicles telling them that they have been spotted and are now programmed into the system for alerts in the future. (We can hope, can’t we?)

    • Mark Scaramella December 30, 2021

      According to this recent Foster City video/FAQ the Flock cameras are in lots of places in California. They (the Flock rep) say they’ve addressed many of the privacy questions. Some of those questions are legit, but not on a state highway (in my opinion). Cameras in local neighborhoods watching comings and goings 24/7 could generate legitimate privacy issues. The effectiveness still comes down to how the systems are implemented and what procedures are put in place. I am under no illusions that much can be done, especially when the agencies involved include CalTrans. But we’re still working on it.

  2. Eric Sunswheat December 30, 2021

    RE: In all the discussion about solutions to homelessness, the epidemic of methamphetamine use in the cars and tent cities has not been mentioned. I have no idea what the solution should be. However, it seems that in every homeless reduction scenario, meth use or addiction would play a part.

    ->. November 3, 2021
    Opioid prescriptions have fallen by at least 60 percent from a decade ago, but demand didn’t suddenly end with the lack of supply.

    Those seeking similar effects are increasingly turning to the highs of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. These street drugs are ubiquitous because they deliver a wallop to the body and are cheap to make.

    Starting a few years ago, traces of fentanyl started showing up in meth, cocaine, and heroin to make those drugs stronger — what Quinones calls a “street dealer’s magic dust.”

    The new crop of synthetic street drugs themselves are especially harmful to the human body. Quinones argues that they’re currently ravaging the nation’s brains, leading to a rise in mental illness and a steep uptick in homelessness.

  3. Nathan Duffy December 30, 2021

    RE: Madden had a voice that had an all American plumpness to it, that’s for sure. Did he just need to clear his throat? We’ll never know.
    RE: Mike Tyson said on Joe Rogan Experience that he was absolutely out of his mind in that picture. He has calmed down quite a bit.
    RE: Jan 6 and such events, It is extremely funny when my generally cream puff nonviolent liberal friends will start to allude to violence ie. “That Kyle kid sure is gonna get his when antifa catches him!!!” It’s kind of like a faux outrage that makes them feel like they are active and participating. The worst is when they are pressured by their wife or girlfriend to take the strong stance as performance. I think its how some guys get laid in their relationships, honestly.

    • Bruce Anderson December 30, 2021

      Mendolib, generally speaking, is absolutely volcanic with undifferentiated anger but, beguiled by the NPR world view, keep it strictly pass-aggresso. On the other hand, it was funny that during the big Earth First! demos in Samoa and especially Fort Bragg, a whole lotta fighting’ libs showed up to, if it came to it, disabuse the ‘necks of their libs-as-wusses notions.

      • Nathan Duffy December 30, 2021

        From what I gather that is generally what those Weathermen kids did was do their utmost to prove that they were manly too. I mean with all the posturing going on then. They skipped out on the war so they had to prove to their ladies that they weren’t wuss ass libs.

        • Harvey Reading December 30, 2021

          LOL. Pure bullshit.

  4. Kirk Vodopals December 30, 2021

    Re: Oklahoma weed…
    I was told by a native Oklahoman that many of the former gas fracking employees have now shifted over to the weed industry.
    But I bet, even with federal legalization, there may still be a hot market in Salt Lake City. I don’t see the Mormon church ever acquiescing.

    Re: Madden…. I’ll always enjoy the sounds of him and Pat Sommerall on a Sunday morning game. Al Michaels will always hold Monday nights.

  5. George Dorner December 30, 2021

    The first step in the county’s strategic planning process should be to have the Chief Executive Officer work for the Board of Stupes, instead of the Board rubber stamping her decisions. Of course, that would require a Board capable of running the county.

  6. Craig Stehr December 30, 2021

    ~In this World but not of this World~
    The electric power went out around noon on Tuesday and came back on sometime Wednesday night. Garberville California was darkened, except for the gas stations which had backup energy generators. Put on a wool shirt for another layer, and sat on the big green couch simply witnessing the situation. Andy Caffrey was reading “The Revolution of Everyday Life” utilizing a flashlight as needed. The two cats chased each other around the apartment. Tuesday came and went, falling asleep early.
    Awoke Wednesday morning without electricity, thus no hot shower nor coffee. Brushed teeth and shaved using cold water, and then dressed for a dark rainy cold day outside, with almost everything closed. The Chevron station was open, so hot coffee and a chocolate covered king size Payday candy bar broke the fast. The entire day was spent slowly walking around mindfully picking up recyclables and trash, depositing same into the appropriate containers.
    As night time approached, noticed that Stone Junction Bar was open. This was like finding an oasis in the midst of the bleak hell of powerless Southern Humboldt county. The bar was warm inside, filled with other grateful patrons enjoying cold local beers and mixed drinks, plus pizza and empanadas and assorted snacks. The juke box featured an array of blues and rock ‘n roll. Televisions were on. The pool table was in regular use. Sipped three beers along with two shots of whiskey, ate three empanadas, tipped the bar maid twelve bucks, and left feeling thoroughly rescued from the existential dead zone outside. Ambled up the street to the Chevron station for a bean & cheese burrito, followed by an It’s It ice cream sandwich.
    Returned to The Earth First! Media Center and got under the blankets on the big green couch and fell asleep. Andy Caffrey was continuing to catch up on his reading, since video related work was not possible without electricity. The cats were asleep in the bedroom.
    Awoke Thursday morning with electric power restored. The mind was repeating Catholic prayers, obviously going on while asleep. Did not have a hangover. Fell back asleep and awoke to find Andy making coffee. I informed him that we are in this world but not of this world.
    Meanwhile, the social security money is incoming, raising the bank balance to two thousand dollars. I am ready to leave Garberville, California. I am ready to go elsewhere and do whatever I can to be helpful in this abominable crisis of a civilization on planet earth. I receive telephone messages at (213) 842-3082. I receive email messages at I receive money at Thank you for your love and all of the good that you do.

    Craig Louis Stehr
    December 30th, 2021 Anno Domini

  7. Jim Armstrong December 30, 2021

    John Madden didn’t claim he seldom did a load of laundry, he often boasted he NEVER did one in his life.
    I put that in the untrue or unforgivable column.

  8. Lee Edmundson December 30, 2021

    RE: The Strategic 5 year Plan…
    To cite Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you are, it doesn’t matter where you’re going.”

    What the County ought to do before the public-input Zoom meetings is to first publish on its website the input they’ve already received from the BoS, CEO, Department Heads at alia, so that those of us of the general public have an idea of where they are thus far.

    Will this happen? Probably not. Which renders their public-input process a charade, window dressing. Phony baloney posturing.

    Also, when is the County going to revert to in-person hearings again? Zoom by its very nature is undemocratic.

    And a Happy New Year.

    • Mark Scaramella December 30, 2021

      I agree with the (approximately one-third of) County employees who told the consulting Strategic Planners that the Strategic Plan was “a waste of time.” Official Mendo is the tail end of a stray dog. Anything that they might “plan” to do will be overcome by events and orders from the state and feds. Very little of what they do is even discretionary and even that they turn over to the CEO. As to returning to in-person hearings, if it happens at all it’ll be after the CEO is gone. She decides when the remodel is “done.” She decides if Supervisors can even return to their own offices at County HQ. And only if they pass through her fancy new metal detector.

  9. Marmon December 30, 2021


    Through reliable sources I have learned that Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren has a big picture of Bernie Sanders hanging in his office. I shit you not, Mendocino County is doomed, but hasn’t it always been?

    I’ve tried to help.


    • Bruce Anderson December 30, 2021


    • chuck dunbar December 31, 2021

      The sharp-eared local Fox News correspondent saves Mendocino County from the dangers of progressives in our midst. And this update to us comes via “reliable sources!”

      • Harvey Reading December 31, 2021

        Bernie: the great pretender. He’s little more than a typical democrap pol. I would not trust him any farther than I could throw him!

  10. Debra Keipp December 31, 2021

    “Women with lead feet”?! Christ, Mark!! Is that biological? Women much?

    One of the worst spots in town, ON 128(!), is Boontberry Mkt. and Boxcar Depot, as far as potential big crash zones go. As a matter of fact, I think it was the same spot where Judi Bari was intentionally rear ended by a Fort Bragg logging truck years ago…

    One day while trying to drive into my office at Boxcar Depot, I came upon a f-pile of Boontberry patrons parked and blocking the driveway into the HUGE parking lot next to Boxcar Depot. First of all BERT’S BOONTBERRY HAS NO PARKING!!! NONE!! NOWHERE!!! NADA!!! NUNCA!!!! If you notice, most patrons of Boontberry use Boxcar Depot parking nearest Boontberry to park while shopping at the market, TAKING UP ALL NEARBY PARKING INTENDED FOR BOXCAR DEPOT PATRONS. This is not only discourteous, but dangerous, as Boontberry patrons car-block line of vision up 128 when parallel parked on shoulder (not parking spaces, either; if you ask Cal-Trans) directly in front of Boontberry. Cars exiting the Depot cannot see out when driving onto 128 when cars park on the shoulder of 128 directly in front of the Bert’s market. Huge liability for those property owners because CHP won’t write tickets for accidents happening on private property – off highway: Accident victims must duke it out as to who’s in right/wrong, and liability with owners of property (in this case Shapiros and Bert).

    Over the last nearly three years since four new businesses have moved into Boxcar Depot, I’ve asked many patrons of Bert’s Boontberry to use the ample parking lot adjacent and alongside Boxcar Depot, leaving the nearby Boxcar parking spaces in front of caboose, for Boxcar Depot patrons. Twice we’ve had medical emergencies at the Boxcar Depot where the ambulance could find no parking because Boontberry patrons were using all of our parking in front of caboose. In fact, it would be beneficial if the handicap space directly in front of the caboose could be used for such – folks who have handicapped plates patronizing the Depot, emergencies, and/or need to use the ramp for wheel chairs, or because of limping gate, and in order to access the businesses at Boxcar Depot, of which there are now seven open businesses, four of which are relatively new businesses, which have begun in the last nearly three years.

    To those of you Boontberry-ers who have begun parking in the larger lot area, thank you! Appreciated!

    But the bunch that continues parking, blocking our entrance, palease THINK!, and have some consideration so that 2 vehicles can get in and out at the same time, passing one another!!! Please be aware that you aren’t blocking vision, as well, while trying to pull out especially from Boxcar Depot. Several big trucks, vans and such like to sidle up beside the picnic table directly in front of Boontberry, and park there, making it impossible to see speeding vehicles coming down 128 – some at 60 mph or more, while trying to pull out BLIND onto 128 from our parking at Boxcar Depot. I’ve asked the Depot’s property manager to open the other gate on 128, as another option, so we have safer egress and ingress from Boxcar Depot property, but somehow, that safer access remains closed as well while everyone crams themselves into the fuckpile directly in front of the caboose.

    (Forgive the use of the perfectly descriptive word fuckpile, but I first learned the use of that term while reading the AVA, and I remain unapologetic …for reading the AVA.)

    Unfortunately, I await the inevitable day when a vehicular accident occurs directly in front of Boontberry and Boxcar Depot for not having the ability to see oncoming traffic hurtling down 128 as drivers attempt to pull out at 5-10 mph from Boxcar Depot’s singular driveway at the entrance to their huge parking lot.

    Please no speed bumps. Berkeley gave up on speed bumps quite a few decades ago. Found out that the City vehicles (fire, ambulance, city vehicles) suffered too much undercarriage/transmission damage from hopping speed bumps. However, check out Port Road in Point Arena – 4-5 speed bumps. You can pick up a hole bucket of rattled-off car parts around those speed bumps in Point Arena! ‘Does slow down traffic, tho. And if vehicles are flying through town doing 60-80 mph, it could be amusing watching how their “units” remain one, while they try and manage speed bumps at those speeds.

    As far as gettting rid of parallel parking all up and down 128 in Boonville – or leaving it… I’ve never seen such a town as Boonville with its funny rules about how to park, and how that all changes at about 3 p.m. every day. Half cars will be “nose-in” and the others, parallel, which really makes it a mish-mash… Changing that would be like trying to extinguish …Boontling.

    • Bruce Anderson December 31, 2021

      Judi Bari was accidentally rear ended in Philo by a Boonville log truck driver at the crest of the hill almost opposite Lemons Market. The driver was not cited, and soon after the traffic-calming measures still in place were instituted.

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