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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

Mostly Sunny | 223 New Cases | 3 More Deaths | Jackson Action | Stolen Trailer | AV Village | King Tide | Playoff Bound | Old Judges | Doggy Bag | Ed Notes | Company Coming | Dumbass Award | Sinker Log | Housing Ideas | Usal Rock | Broderick Items | Old Roads | Teens Arrested | Packed Jeep | Yesterday's Catch | Schats Banner | Hemp Hooray | Plastic Packaging | Omicron Stress | Crumb Blues | Another Shot | Opium Den | Two Futures | Chicken Hat | KZYX Election | Two Kings | Chaos Party | Couple Shoppers

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PLEASANT WINTER WEATHER continues as high pressure continues over the region. A weak weather system may bring some light rain or drizzle to the near coast Wednesday night. Then more dry weather is expected through the weekend.

HAZARDOUS SURF: There is the potential of sneaker waves along the Northwest California coast late tonight and early Tuesday. Do not let the ocean fool you. Long period waves can generate lulls of wave activity making the ocean look deceivingly calm and draw people closer to the water. These lulls end with a large set of breaking waves that will wash much farther up beaches, possibly knocking you down. Plan on keeping a safe distance from the surf.

(National Weather Service)

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223 NEW COVID CASES and three more deaths (since last Friday) reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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THREE MORE COVID DEATHS

Three Mendocino County residents recently passed away with COVID-19. Our thoughts are with all of their family and friends. 

Death #107: 47 year-old woman from the Ukiah area; fully vaccinated. 

Death #108: 68 year-old man from the North County area; unvaccinated. 

Death #109: 81 year-old man from the North Coast area; unvaccinated. 

Public Health asks all Mendocino County residents to think about the ways they are protecting themselves and their families from COVID-19. When in doubt, consult with and follow all CDC and CDPH guidance. Vaccination, masking, and social distancing remain the best tools for combating COVID-19. 

Fully vaccinated people over age 12 should strongly consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine booster to improve immunity. If you have questions about boosters or vaccines in general, speak with your doctor, or call Public Health at 707-472-2759. To find the nearest vaccine clinic in your area, please visit the Public Health website at: www.mendocinocounty.org/covid19 

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SPEAK UP AGAINST ACTIVE LOGGING IN THE RED TAIL TIMBER HARVEST PLAN!

Today [December 9], logging crews reentered the Red Tail timber harvest plan (THP) in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) to continue cutting large trees on public lands - despite a pending review of the management plan. Thanks to the brave forest defenders, logging has been start and stop all summer, and many trees have been saved. We need to urge our public officials to declare a moratorium on ALL LOGGING in JDSF until a full review of the JDSF Management plan, for Indigenous sovereignty and scientific. Call and write the Board of Forestry and tell them (nicely, as the person answering the phone is a secretary, not a policy-maker):

  • We need a Moratorium on Logging in Jackson!
  • Logging in Jackson is a bad faith negotiation tactic with the Pomo Tribes and their government to government consultations. 
  • Respect public opinion and Mendocino Board of Supervisors.

CALL: 916) 653-8007
EMAIL: PublicComments@bof.ca.gov

This specific timber harvest plan is in the largest affordable campsite in the area (Camp 1) and as many of you know, Jackson Demonstration State Forest is one of the top tourist draws in the county. (And tourism brings in over 4 times the revenue that logging does). This timber harvest plan (THP) is unique in that it has some of the highest board foot per acre plots of all the THPs currently open, thanks primarily to an abundance of very large Fir trees such as the one shown here. These trees owned by the public were sold for $40 per thousand board feet which is the price for “junk wood”. Their economic value for tourism is far higher than this and their value as carbon stores tower far above this number. They aren’t even selling these trees for the value of the carbon they will emit, all while handicapping the local economy in a community that is already struggling.

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KIRA BRENNAN REPORTS: Theft on Gschwend Road, Philo. 16 ft green trailer. Yoga studio interior with built in propane stove. Taken between Dec. 31st-Jan 4th. Looking for leads to bring back home. Very sad to think this would be a new reality. We are very trusting for a reason. We love and trust our community. Also: All PO boxes on Gschwend road down to 128 were stolen from during the same period.

Please keep your eyes and ears open. 

Please let me know if you saw this trailer being towed in the Anderson Valley area. It is a Salvage vehicle, has no lights, papers or registration and an eyewitness said they saw it going South towards Yorkville on Dec. 31st around 5 to 5:30. It is brown-green camo colors, 1965 Scotsman. It is completely empty, paneled, carpeted with a white wool, with my Yoga gear, and a steel Propane stove mounted on the wall. It is a vintage trailer, my Yoga studio, and was taken from Gschwend Road in the broad daylight it seems (after 4 pm Dec. 31st). I am actively looking to find my trailer and who did this. It is not ok. I will offer a reward and my gratitude if you can help me. Anonymity is guaranteed. I have posted in Valley Hub, Elk and Mendocino Trading platforms, Craigslist in Mendocino and Sonoma County. This is in addition to having all of our mail stolen for the 4th time from the mail-boxes on HWY 128.

Thank you Very much, Kira Brennan, kibrenn@yahoo.com, 707-321-8644 

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ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE VOLUNTEER TRAINING

Friday, January 21st, 10 to 11 am

The Mosswood Market — Join us for a short volunteer training and we’ll treat you to a coffee or tea - learn more about the Anderson Valley Village and how you can give back to the elders of our community. The work of volunteers is vital to our mission of supporting seniors as they age in place, providing all manner of help, from basic ch ores, transportation, tech support and errands to check-in calls and visits to skilled services. It’s up to you how, and how often, to volunteer. Because we are working with a vulnerable population, we require our volunteers to have the COVID vaccine, thank you (please bring your card). And if you would like to be a volunteer driver, please bring your Driver's License and proof of insurance card. Volunteer applications are available at the training, Senior Center, Health Center and/or our website: andersonvalleyvillage.org

Please RSVP with the coordinator Anica Williams, Cell: 707-684-9829, Email: andersonvalleyvillage@gmail.com

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Hendy Woods activities — Free Entry to Hendy Woods State Park for local residents On the Second Sunday of every month in 2022, the Hendy Woods Community (http://www.hendywoods.org/) is covering the Hendy Woods State Park’s Day Use fee ($8) for local residents from the following communities: Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, Navarro, Comptche and Elk - Know your zip code. Enjoy a free visit to the park on us and stroll the old growth redwood groves and beautiful meadows, hike the trails, and unwind along the river! Note: Day use is from sun up to 1 hour after sunset 

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Invasive Plant Removal - Volunteers Needed! Saturday January 22nd 10 am to 12 pm Hendy Woods State Park. Please join us in restoring natural habitats by removing invasive plant species (mainly poison hemlock and Dock). Take local action and be rewarded with FREE entry to the park. ~ rain cancels ~ Meet at the Day Use Area of Hendy Woods State Park Dress in layers, bring gardening gloves with rubber palms, shovel or hand tools (some will be available) & a picnic lunch. 

Want to join our great team and support your wonderful park? We are always looking for motivated Volunteers to staff the Hendy Woods Visitor Center, remove invasive plant species and lead forest walks! Interested? 

Contact: Hendy Woods Community, Web: http://www.hendywoods.org, Phone: 707-895-3716, Email: hendywoodscommunity@gmail.com, Park Website: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=438

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King Tide, Mill Valley, 2021

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MIKE GENIELLA: I am not a die-hard football fan. But I watched today's game and Jimmy G, a college standout from the Chicago suburbs, is clearly not the inept NFL lightweight as suggested by critics. Jimmy G and the 49ers pulled off an amazing comeback and made it into the playoffs. Few thought that a serious possibility mid-way through the season.

Garappolo

ED NOTE: I'm a diehard Niner fan all the way back to Frankie Albert and Kezar. Sunday's game was one of the best ever. The Niners are dismissed as a playoff team but they won't be pushovers.

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OLD TIME JUSTICE COURT JUDGES

Sometimes needed help
With the law but boy they knew
The territory

— Jim Luther

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ED NOTES: 

CHECKING with Superintendent Simson this morning, the super Super reports that although attendance and staffing is down a little after the long holiday, not to mention the ravages of covid, when she did a “walk through” Monday morning staff was at their posts, some of them at two posts to fill in for absent colleagues, and the Good Ship AV Unified was sailing on. The Superintendent praised staff, students and student families for managing so well in a very difficult time.

THE TRUE STATE of the County, and the country for that matter, is neatly summed up by this letter from Mr. Eloherry:

Editor:

I saw your article about a housing crisis and had to write and tell you what happened to me. I went to High School here in Ukiah. Graduated from the class of 1979. My mom had a house here for 38 years. I rented apartments here for over 25 years and never had any trouble finding a place to rent.

About 11 years ago, I moved to Healdsburg. My mom was having health problems and her house burned down. She was 79 years old. So I moved home to Ukiah and lived with her to help her rebuild her house and stay in the home as long as she could. She went and had back surgery and came home and was not able to walk around and stay in the home any longer. We had to put her in a care home. She was a nursing supervisor at the hospital here for 35 years and she ran the Home Health agency in Mendocino County for 15 years. They did not have any spots available here for her in a nursing home. We had to put her in Cloverdale.

My family told me I had to move out of the family home, so we could pay 9k a month to keep her in a care home. I went to 3 different property management companies and paid them $45, $35 and $25 to run a check and pre approve me so I could rent one of their units. Then they told me there were other people they had to process in front of me. In other words, get in line. If my brother in law’s dad did not give me a little one bedroom apartment he had open, I would have been homeless. He had houses and apartments he rents out and had an empty unit that he could fix up and let me have.

I had lived in the units or complexes I was trying to get into before. They have raised the rent $400 since then or more. I could not believe the prices or the situation. There are not affordable housing units here any more. Your article was spot on. People that make $35k a year can not afford these units. I could afford one, but one was not offered to me. The situation is scary. That is all I can say. Please give this to the people who run our county. They need to fix this as soon as possible.

Jeff Eloherry, Ukiah

THE PEOPLE who run the County, like the people who run the country, are not the kind of people who have lived with the wolf at the door or, in my experience, people able to feel much in the way of basic empathy beyond the rhetorical. Not that suffering necessarily leads to sympathy. Hell, millions of Americans turn immediately to crime, a logical career choice given the rapid implosion of our society and governmental vacuum. 

WHENEVER the subject of housing comes up among Mendocino County's leadership, everyone laments the lack of basic shelter for working people like Mr. Eloherry and, as has happened, have even made vague statements about, say, tiny houses or low cost housing. And that's it. Nothing happens beyond a few pro forma plucks at leaden heartstrings, and Supervisor Gjerde’s 700-plus page Coastal Housing Plan that will go unread and disappear forever, unacted upon.

AS FORMER SUPERVISOR Pinches, the last practical-minded supervisor we've had, pointed out several times, the county has vacant land in various areas around the county. Pinches suggested hurry-up trailer parks which would quickly amortize their installation in return rents to the county, rents at affordable rates to working and retired people. Like most of his suggestions, Pinches ideas were ignored. Or Major Scaramella’s suggestion of taking an inventory of the many empty buildings in the County and telling the owner’s that if they don’t get them occupied within 90 days, they could be taken by eminent domain at market value and converted to housing.

ANOTHER IDEA of Pinches that died for lack of a second, and seemed to alarm his colleagues, was a re-negotiation of Mendo's water deal with Sonoma County. As some people are aware, Mendo (Supervisor Joe Scaramella dissenting) gave SoCo, in perpetuity, almost all the water piled up behind Coyote Dam to form Lake Mendocino. That deal was struck in the middle 1950s a full decade before Sonoma County, particularly Santa Rosa, grew to the unplanned, unanticipated suburban mess it is today. Mendo's free water made it possible. 

THE DAM was paid off years ago. SoCo takes Mendo's water and sells it at a profit throughout Sonoma County and as far downstream as Sausalito, thus banking many millions over the years. Even the water stored in Lake Sonoma mostly is fed by southern Mendo County, and mostly held in reserve by SoCo while Mendo water fills Marin swimming pools.

CEO ANGELO, in her interview with Matt LaFever, said that Mendo has $20 million in “reserves.” Which I seriously doubt because there is no reliable internal budget reporting, or any budget reporting, with which this windy claim might be verified. On the off chance there is a healthy reserve, which could be true since many departments suffer an unstated hiring freeze, why not spend some of it on creative housing? (CEO Angelo personally authorizes each new hire, a cockamamie way to staff a whole county, complicated by unattractive rates of pay and, it must be said, unhappiness among existing employees that causes constant turnover. Angelo was hired, we should remember, as a hatchet woman after the 2008 recession with direction from her alleged supervisors to lop off as many people as necessary, a task she proved perfectly suited for.

AS I'VE observed here many times, Ms. Angelo has always operated in a political vacuum created by successive weak boards of supervisors. Left to supervise herself with zero direction from the people theoretically responsible for providing policy direction — at one point three of the five supervisors functioned simultaneously as mental health clients — Angelo has seized the initiative, and woe unto you if you get sideways with her because you're instantly outtathere, hence several pending wrongful termination suits. But Angelo has been left to her own dubious devices by weak supervisors, and when March rolls around, and assuming she's not hired on as a lushly compensated post-retirement “consultant,” the County will stumble on somehow, rudderless in constant crisis mode.

AN AP-NORC CENTER POLL shows 37% of Americans name the coronavirus as one of their top five priorities in 2022 while 68% name economic concerns like inflation and the cost of living.

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GOOD WORDS FOR THE DA

To The Editor:

David Giusti brags that he “put the D in detective” in the December 29, 2021 edition of the AVA in explaining his reasoning for mail fraud against District Attorney Eyster.

No, Mr. Giusti, you put that D in Dumbass! You’re unnatural obsession with Mr. Eyster is obvious. You have some deep-seated issues. Mr. Eyster has a life in which he works 8-12 hours per day, a family and other responsibilities. I doubt you’re even an afterthought to him. This is a man who pays taxes and contributes to our society. You on the other hand spend your time by choice homeless and drunk. You exist by pushing a shopping cart full of dirty clothes around Ukiah. I’m not judging you. I’m just sayin’!

When you are not writing about your obsession with Mr. Eyster you’re writing wacky ass letters in which you talk nice about that scumbag Aaron Bassler and bad about ex-Sheriff Allman. Sheriff Allman, by the way, was and will forever be one of the most popular sheriffs in Mendocino County history.

Your best “Dumbass” letter to date was the one you wrote in which you condemn Mr. Eyster for the violence in Ukiah. You wrote that the Ukiah streets are so violent that you advise your daughters not to come here. This is where you officially receive the Dumbass award of all time. You are currently in jail for attempted murder, accused of beating half to death a senior citizen of your ilk.

You, your filthy shopping cart, and your propensity for violence are part of what makes Ukiah a disgusting place to live and visit. Your letter was beyond ironic and prove that you are worthy of the Dumbass Award of 2021.

In closing, I would ask you to leave the memory of Polly Klaas alone. You claim to know the “real story” behind her murder. Out of respect for her and her family, please shut up!

One more thing: no one gives a crap what the Fort Bragg High School baseball team scores were in the 1920s and 30s.

So please Mr. Giusti, wear your Dumbass Award of 2021 proudly, you’ve earned it!

Alan ‘Sunny’ Crow

Mendocino County Jail

Ukiah

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Sinker Logging, Big River, 2013

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CRYSTAL ROWLEY, responding to Chris Calder’s exit interview with Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller and her remarks about the importance of housing on the Coast:

“Perhaps if the city and or county didn't charge so much for permits, kept changing things, adding fees and making it harder to build or remodel we would see a few more houses. I hear contractors complain all the time about the fees and cost implemented on them. There are a few vacant, abandoned looking buildings in need of repairs or tear downs, why can't those property owners be contacted to do something. I'm aware some can't afford anything, but why not sell to someone who could do something…”

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Usal Beach, 1897

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BRUCE BRODERICK: 

I spent a lot of time and energy this year to make sure that my PV was sending electricity to the grid and not the other way around. I dropped my yearly True-up amount from $1500 to $196 which is due this month. But at the same time PG&E is undermining my efforts by adding a new charge this month. $506 in transmission fees. There is no explanation and while it shows on the consumption graph in the printable bill it doesn't show on the consumption graphs online. I guess they need to show their shareholders a profit at any cost.

PS. Attached are my agenda item comments for tonight's closed session meeting. Also attached is an internal letter greenlighting the process. Also attached is the Purchase (agreement?) with the property owner. Many more documents available.

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Please add this written public statement to the January 10, 2022 City Council’s record of non agenda items.

First, let me state for the record that I support the implementation of a modern efficient rail system in our community. I do not support the extra baggage in the form of a theme park or resort hotels that Mendocino Railway is attempting to inflict on us under the guise of a public utility.

I want to talk specifically about the 476 Alger St. Eminent Domain Taking by Mendocino Railway that was concluded on June 6, 2021.

It appears that, from reading publicly available documents, that a portion of the Fort Bragg City staff and the Chief of the Fort Bragg Police Department were knowledgeable about and assisted in the Taking of this residential property for the benefit of Mendocino Railway. I understand that the property Taking via eminent domain by Mendocino Railway was initiated based on the persistent transient traffic as well as squatters on the property which caused a visual problem for passengers on the Skunk Train when passing the property. It is my understanding that the transient problem was the source of dozens of police calls to the property over several years. It is also my understanding that the largest source of the calls to the police regarding transients was from Mendocino Railway. It is my understanding that this transient traffic began occurring after the property owner was hit by an uninsured motorist and permanently hospitalized due to her injuries.

On Oct. 20, 2020 the City Manager Tabatha Miller, Police Chief Onel and others were sent an email communication describing Mendocino Railways plans to start an Eminent Domain process on the aforementioned property for the purpose of creating an entrance to a paid picnic and hiking area.

However, The Eminent Domain ruling for the aforementioned property signed by Judge Nadel on June 6, 2021 states, and I quote: “that the Mendocino Railway’s acquisition of the Subject Property is necessary for maintenance and safety of its railroad operations adjacent to the Subject Property (“Project”), a public use.”

The court ruling states that the property is necessary for maintenance and safety of its railroad. It doesn’t say “an entrance to a paid picnic and hiking area”. The statement in the court document, in my opinion was an untrue statement made in a court of law in order to acquire a necessary piece of property to further Mendocino Railways tourist trade interests and aid in the creation of a theme park in our Pudding Creek watershed area. The court ruling also states that the Taken property is adjacent to railroad property. At the time of the Taking of the Alger St. property, there was no adjacent railroad property. Adjacent property did not exist until the conclusion of the Georgia Pacific Eminent Domain ruling on Nov. 17, 2021 when around 70 acres of Pudding Creek watershed was Taken by Mendocino Railway for purposes other than necessary maintenance of railroad property.

If Mendocino Railways plans for Alger St. are allowed to move forward, what is to become of the quiet neighborhood? Customer parking for tourist trade will become a priority while the residents learn to take a back seat to private corporate commerce. Quiet weekends will suddenly become increasingly chaotic as Skunk Train customers compete for available parking spaces on East Laurel St. and Alger St. while at the same time further stressing the City’s resources by overwhelming Otis Johnson Park.

Was Robert Pinoli telling the truth when he stated in a Mendocino Voice article on Dec 17, 2021 that and I quote: “The city, for nearly a decade, had done nothing about it,” Pinoli said. “They could’ve taken the property, but literally the problems would spill over the hillside onto the railroad’s property so the city actually encouraged us to take that property.” 

The City needs to reconcile its involvement with Mendocino Railway regarding its involve with this Taking of property.

The majority of residents are on your side in the coming litigation over the Public Utility status of Mendocino Railway. And the fewer things that are hidden the better.

— Bruce Broderick

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DANGEROUS RECKLESS YORKVILLE TEENS

On Sunday, January 9, 2022 at about 3:16 PM, Ukiah PD Officers were on a traffic enforcement stop at the intersection of So. State St. and Washington Ave. The Officers noticed two vehicles traveling southbound at a high rate of speed and they appeared to be engaged in a speed contest. An Officer left the scene to conduct a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicles. While following the vehicles, the Officer observed one vehicle commit other violations which rose to the level of reckless driving. One of the two vehicles came to a stop in the 200 block of Tedford Avenue. The other vehicle was not able to be located. Officers contacted the four occupants of the vehicle. The occupants were two male juveniles, one female juvenile and an adult male. The driver was identified as a 17-year-old male from Yorkville (Suspect#1). The front passenger was identified as a 14-year-old male from Yorkville and the remaining occupants were under the age of 21-years-old (Suspects#2). The Officer observed a bottle of liquor on the floorboard of the vehicle. Suspect#1 was placed under arrest for violations of speeding and reckless evasion without incident. Another Officer arrived to assist. As the Officers had the three other subjects exit the vehicle, as it was going to be released to a towing company, they observed the handle of a firearm protruding from under the front passenger seat. Due to the dangers involved with firearms, all of the other three occupants were detained. Officers conducted a search of the vehicle and removed an Intratec Tech-9 illegal firearm from beneath the front passenger seat. The firearm had a threaded barrel tip and met the requirements for an assault weapon. Further investigation revealed Suspects#2 possessed a loaded high capacity (30 round) magazine and a barrel extender, both of which were components of the aforementioned assault weapon. Suspects#2 were placed under arrest without incident. The female juvenile was released to her legal guardian and the adult male was released from the scene. The vehicle was impounded. the adult suspects were subsequently booked for the above-noted violations at Juvenile Hall. 

(Ukiah PD presser)

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HOW JEEPS WERE PACKED For Shipping During World War Two

Jeep Packaging, WW2

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 9, 2022

Arnold, Ellis, Maciel

DEWAYNE ARNOLD, Willits. Failure to appear, evasion.

TYMONN ELLIS, Vacaville/Ukiah. DUI.

RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-solicitation of lewd act. (Frequent flyer.)

Maki, Milberger, Moore

CHRISTOPHER MAKI, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

STEPHANIE MILBERGER, Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.

NATHAN MOORE, Welcome, Minnesota/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.

Ohler, Parrish, Sheehy

LUKE OHLER, Healdsburg/Ukiah. Controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person.

DONAVAN PARRISH, Ukiah. Stolen property, offenses while on bail.

BRADLEY SHEEHY, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, probation revocation.

Shipman, Simon, Stockton

DAVID SHIPMAN JR., Ukiah. Felon with firearm, failure to appear.

ZACHARY SIMON, Willits. Burglary, possession/sale of organic drug.

AMANDA STOCKTON, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun. 

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HEMP, an on-line comment: 

Young-timers might want to find a copy of Chris Conrad’s book “Hemp-lifeline to the future.” Farmers were encouraged to grow hemp for the U.S. military during WWII. George H.W, Bush, the one with courage, is said to have survived the crash of his WWII fighter plane, borne to the ground on parachute cords of hemp. His Navigator didn’t make it. There’s a great U.S. gov’t film from WWII extolling the virtues of hemp and encouraging farmers to grow it to help save democracy. Current events show efforts may have been futile, but I digress. Feral hemp is a boon for wildlife, sheltering and feeding mammals and birds alike. Hemp can be soft and strong as silk or rough as burlap.

There is no reason why large, nutritious seeds, excellent meds, great fabrics and rope, and great events of enhanced perception can’t be combined into one plant. Well, no reason except deeply ingrained fear and loathing, excessive regulation and onerous taxation which is destroying the California industry, especially mom-and-pop ops, while States like red Oklahoma beat us at our own game.

(NYT)

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CALIFORNIA WEIGHS ORDER CANCELING ELECTIVE SURGERIES AS COVID SURGES

by Barbara Feder Ostrov

In Los Angeles, a severely ill patient has to wait for a new lung after his transplant, scheduled for last Friday, was canceled.

In San Diego, brain surgery to ease the chronic pain of a 7-year-old girl was called off last week.

In Arcadia, as many as 60 patients will likely have their surgeries canceled this week. In Folsom, at least 11 operations already were scrapped last week. And at one hospital in Anaheim, a patient waited on a gurney for back surgery for three hours before he was sent home because of lack of staff. 

Throughout California, as COVID-19 infections deplete their staff of nurses, anesthesiologists and other essential workers, hospitals are canceling or postponing so-called “elective” surgeries to repair injured knees and aching back, remove kidney or bladder stones, and repair cataracts or hernias, among other procedures.

Alarmed by a growing shortage of specialized health care workers, the California Department of Public Health is evaluating whether to issue an order to hospitals statewide to suspend elective surgeries in cases in which patients wouldn’t be immediately harmed.

For now, the decision is voluntary for hospitals. But the state health department’s chief deputy director, Susan Fanelli, on Thursday told a meeting of county health officers, “We know (a directive on elective surgeries) has to be on the table.” Officials with the public health department did not respond to CalMatters’ requests for more information.

“Elective” means a surgery is not an emergency and can be scheduled in advance; it does not mean it’s optional. Waiting in some cases can be life-threatening.

Hospitals are carefully weighing which surgeries can be delayed, executives say. A cataract surgery or knee replacement might be canceled, for example, but not heart surgery or a breast cancer biopsy.

In response to the shortages, the state health department on Saturday issued controversial new guidance to hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Workers who are infected with COVID-19 but have no symptoms may immediately return to work without isolation or additional testing. Exposed health care workers may also work. The new guidelines remain in effect until Feb. 1.

Health workers immediately attacked the new policy.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers member Gabe Montoya, an emergency room technician in Downey, called the policy dangerous and disappointing.”

“No patient wants to be cared for by someone who has COVID-19 or was just exposed to it,” he said.

Many surgeries already scrapped

On Friday, a scheduled lung transplant at a University of Southern California hospital had to be delayed for lack of specialized staff, according to Michael Simonton, a USC intensive care unit nurse. Further details were unavailable.

Also on Friday, at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Anaheim, Joe Sanders, a 74-year-old retiree from La Habra, waited on a gurney for three hours after being prepped for surgery to treat serious lower back pain. He dozed until his surgeon appeared at his bedside. 

“I have some bad news for you,” the surgeon told Sanders. There wasn’t enough staff for the operating room so the long-awaited procedure, scheduled two months earlier, would have to be postponed several days, Sanders told CalMatters. 

“I was disappointed, my wife and I were looking forward to this. I’m in pain all the time,” Sanders said. “But I knew the pandemic was raging and we hadn’t reached the zenith of this thing. I knew it was going to be touch and go.”

At Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, east of Los Angeles, nearly a tenth of nurses were out sick or isolating last week. Only 17 of its 40 licensed intensive care beds could be staffed – and all of them were full, Clifford Daniels, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, told CalMatters on Friday.

Starting this week, the 348-bed hospital will cancel elective procedures such as gallbladder surgeries, joint replacements and colonoscopies, but not cancer treatments, Daniels said.

“We’re using every resource we can possibly find, including traveler and registry nurses at extraordinary costs,” he said.

In the Sacramento region, at least 11 elective procedures at Mercy Hospital of Folsom had to be postponed last week because of staffing shortages, said Dr. Brian Evans, CEO of the Folsom facility and Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento. Evans could not provide details about the types of procedures that will be canceled.

The two hospitals, both owned by Dignity Health, had about 54 patients admitted specifically for COVID-19 on Friday, but “we’re seeing many of our workers and health providers getting sick as well. We expect next week to be worse,” Evans said.

More than twice as many California hospitals reported critical staffing shortages last week than last summer — although not as many as a year ago. 

Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto has about 5% of its total workforce out sick, spokeswoman Julie Greicius said Saturday. “We have seen a doubling of nurses calling off per shift, reporting that they are ill,” Greicius said.

California ranks fifth in the nation in the percentage of hospitals reporting severe labor shortages.

Hospitals in Florida, New Jersey and Missouri have canceled surgeries, and Massachusetts state health officials last month directed hospitals to postpone all elective surgeries if they have less than 15% capacity. 

A year ago, during the last surge, the state health officer directedhospitals for about one month to cancel certain procedures if their intensive care capacity was less than 10%.

Since then, the highly contagious omicron variant has transformed California’s COVID-19 landscape and hospitals’ decision-making. Omicron appears to cause less severe disease, but it’s more likely to infect vaccinated people than the original novel coronavirus and the delta variant. As a result, even though about 71% of eligible Californians are vaccinated and 38% of them are boosted, more people – including health care workers – are becoming infected, many with mild or no symptoms.

“This is not about beds, this is about the staff to care for the patients in those beds,” said Kiyomi Burchill, group vice president of policy for the California Hospital Association. 

Exacerbating the problem: labor strife and an exodus of nurses and other hospital staffers who have quit or retired, citing burnout and lack of protections on the job.

Fanelli told county health officers last week that the state is working on other measures to support hospitals as they cope with yet another surge. The state health department predicts as many as 53,000 hospitalizations a day in the coming weeks.

A $614 million funding proposal

In response, the state plans to send up to 1,500 health care workers to hospitals with staffing shortages and has stockpiled oxygen, saline and other supplies ahead of the surge. Officials also are working with hospitals to help them adapt spaces to triage patients and more quickly find placements for patients ready to be discharged, she said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new proposed emergency funding package, revealed Saturday, includes $614 million to help hospitals and other health facilities augment their staff.

“The bottom line is that we are worried about the…level of staff infections and the need for isolation and quarantine among the staff,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told reporters last week. 

(CalMatters.org)

* * *

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I took my two shots and felt wonderful, invigorated, brimming with vitality. I will be taking my booster shot just as soon as the bartender gets back from his break.

* * *

Opium Den, San Francisco, 1880

* * *

HUMAN EQUIVALENT AI is slated to hit the world in the early 2030s, and shortly after that all jobs that can be done by a human being will be done, better, faster, more reliably, longer, without breaks, sleep, vacations or sick time, by machines. Let me repeat that. There will be no job a person can do that a machine won't do better, cheaper.

So we will all be out of work. All of us. There will be two divergent options;

It will either be a golden time for humanity, liberated from labor, and subsidized by autonomous corporations who pay citizens a stock share at birth and whose dividends sustain them throughout life, people will be free to learn, play, and create, and become whatever they dream of becoming.

OR

The wealth will concentrate into the hands of several thousand godlike humans, and they will see to the extermination of the surplus population to prevent possible class war.

Those are kind of the two game plans... sure there are variations on the theme, but they end in the same place.

The worst part being, the folks in charge are not wise, not learned, not morally superior, not deeply educated on what will make the world a better place. They are simply wealthy and have the power to get what they want over the bleaching bones of the rest of us... and in the process of blindly gratifying their bottomless appetites, they'll burn down the planet, and bring an end to sentient life here.

And that will be the end to the possibility that humanity presented. Or we'll get on the stick, and make a better world, but it's getting way late boys and girl, tick tock... no time to hang out and ponder.

— Marie Tobias

* * *

* * *

AN ELECTION? WHERE? WHY?

KZYX Board Elections Coming Up for Mendocino County Public Broadcasting 

Hi Everyone,

KZYX is holding elections for its Board of Directors. There are four positions open: one each for Mendocino County Supervisor Districts 2 (Ukiah), 3 (Willits), 4 (Fort Bragg) and 5 (Anderson Valley). To fill one of these positions you must be a member in good standing by January 31st, 2022, and be able to carry out the responsibilities of the Board of Directors. A list of responsibilities (contained in the bylaws) is available on the KZYX Elections webpage, along with application forms. If you cannot access these materials online, please call the station and we will send you a packet.

Candidates must submit an application by 5PM on January 31st, 2022. You may submit the application with your ballot statement by email to elections@kzyx.org, or by regular mail to PO Box 1, Philo CA 95466.

Questions may be sent to bod@kzyx.org, or by leaving a message at the station, 707 895-2324, during regular business hours.

The election will be held in March.

Thank you for your interest and support.

— Johanna (Wildoak) <Johanna@wildoak.org> 

* * *

Two Kings: Elvis & BB King

* * *

THE PARTY-OF-CHAOS (the one headed by the ectoplasmic “Joe Biden”) does not want to let go of Covid-19, its Swiss army knife of destruction. With Covid-19, you can push people around and mess with their lives every which way, shut down their businesses, lock them in their homes, screw them out of their livelihoods, delete their reputations, board-up their social venues, cancel their careers, revoke their licenses, drag them into court, fine them into penury, cram them into prison camps, and much more.

If Covid-19 actually does make that move to exit the scene, the Party-of-Chaos will have to find a new focus for its anxiety-driven lunacy. And if the front page of The New York Times is the party’s id, a signifier of intent, then the focus will shift to fomenting war with Russia. Notice today’s lead headline, top left above the fold (as we used to say when the darn thing was printed on paper).

“…in a bid to avert war in Ukraine…” the headline declares. Dunno about you, but to me that suggests the USA sees war as a possibility, something we’ve already gamed into our plans, like it would be something we could… handle. Forgive the rather glum reality-test, but war with Russia over Ukraine is for sure something that the USA probably can’t handle. The most likely outcome would be a king-hell embarrassment on the battlefield, not just because we would be fighting on Russia’s door-sill where sheer logistics favor our adversary (with ready re-supply and all), but because our pussified military — with gal bomber pilots in pregnancy flight-suits and other novelties of “diversity & inclusion” — will result in the most ignominious ass-kicking in our history… following a 50-year string of prior embarrassments. The second most likely outcome of this face-off with Russia would be that old familiar nuclear World War Three, with everything from Bangor to Pacific Heights turned into one big smoldering ashtray.

Underlying this lunacy is The USA’s perverse wish to enlist Ukraine in NATO — Ukraine, that mighty economic powerhouse (not). What Ukraine is… is a super-sized version of Detroit, a hollowed-out shell of place whose mojo left on the 9:10 train to Palookaville decades ago, and has been on international life-support since the DC Deep State ran its 2014 “color revolution” in the Maidan Square. The Russians object to American huggermugger in Ukraine because following the implosion of the Soviet Union, we promised the Russians no expansion of NATO in the direction of their border. Yes, we did. We said that.

Well, sure, you may be thinking, countries make all kinds of insincere cockamamie agreements all the time, in the darkness of bad faith, and so what? This is geopolitical hardball. Grow up! We want Ukraine on our side now and Russia can just go pound sand…. Okay, forgive me… that may be what Secretary of State Tony Blinken and his genius deputies in Foggy Bottom are thinking… not you. But is it really a good idea? Ukraine, when not actually a part of greater Russia, has been in its acknowledged sphere-of-influence since before George Washington even thought about chopping down any cherry trees. Russia, which has been invaded and torched by European invaders twice in modern history (Napoleon, 1812; Hitler, 1941), does not want NATO lodging missiles, troops, and Gawd-knows-what-all else right on its border.

And, by the way, Does the USA need another faraway failed state to support? We can’t even take care of the junkies, psychotics, and misbegotten lining the sidewalks of a dozen American cities, and now we propose to adopt the poorest country in that remote corner of the world? While beating down our own once-productive people, inflating away our savings, taking away our natural liberties to work, move about in a free society, and the right to decide what pharmaceuticals we can decline to put in our bodies? 

— James Kunstler

* * *

30 Comments

  1. Marmon January 11, 2022

    RE: 223 NEW COVID CASES

    Notice the County reported that 3 people died “with” Covid, not “from” Covid. They’re very careful with that.

    Marmon

    • Kirk Vodopals January 11, 2022

      Covid doesn’t kill people. People do. Just like the gun rights argument, right?

  2. George Hollister January 11, 2022

    Marie Tobias:

    “HUMAN EQUIVALENT AI is slated to hit the world in the early 2030s, and shortly after that all jobs that can be done by a human being will be done, better, faster, more reliably, longer, without breaks, sleep, vacations or sick time, by machines. Let me repeat that. There will be no job a person can do that a machine won’t do better, cheaper.”

    I am trying to imagine how many jobs in the woods will be done by AI. Falling timber? Running a loader? Setting chokers? Watering a road? Flagging a new road? Building a road? Marking a tree? Driving a log truck? Running a log skidder, or a dozer? I don’t think so.

    • Harvey Reading January 11, 2022

      If the species doesn’t die off first (in part from poor forest “practices”, approved by pseudoscientists) you will be proven wrong. Robots will be doing the work. And, they won’t have to be worried about being crushed because some incompetent human bulldozer operator made a dumb move.

    • chuck dunbar January 11, 2022

      You are right, George, and of course there are a myriad of other jobs that cannot be done better than a caring, sensible, practical and knowledgeable human being. How about these: Teacher-Doctor-Nurse-Caregiver-Judge (and Juror)-Social Worker-Therapist-Journalist-Newspaper Editor… the list could go on and on. And these are only the ones easily judged to require such human qualities. I don’t wish much for an AI world–it won’t work-out well for us. And what will most humans do without the essential well-being that comes with performing some kind of work well and with a respect for duty and perseverance. Not a world I want to see.

    • Kirk Vodopals January 11, 2022

      Hopefully AI can take over some of the senior management positions. Lots of cost savings there

      • George Hollister January 11, 2022

        LOL. Speaking of anybodies who are easy to replace.

    • Marco McClean January 11, 2022

      By 2030, what trees, George, what logging? They already have machines that knock over and strip pecker poles by the acre in an afternoon. Here’s one type:

    • Tim McClure January 11, 2022

      Those job’s will most certainly be in the dust bin of history by then!

  3. chuck dunbar January 11, 2022

    Sorry–Old man brain: ” that cannot be done better than by…”

  4. Harvey Reading January 11, 2022

    Looks like the Romans built roads with potholes and roughness as a design feature. Sort of like the rethuglican way of solving social problems.

  5. Harvey Reading January 11, 2022

    “With Covid-19, you can push people around and mess with their lives every which way…”

    They do that just fine without covid…

  6. John Robert January 11, 2022

    Bruce B.

    Would be great if you directed your efforts and energy into ideas good for our community.

    The quote from Mr. Pinoli was spot on. The property in question after years of neglect was and is the main access point trail head hidey hole for a growing crowd of undesirable transients moving around and hiding in our woods. The woods that surround our town.
    Yes, read that again if you must but, the “skunks” as you call them are trying to secure and protect thier property. In so doing they are helping secure our neighborhood.

    Anyone with a google map app can see the property is at the corner of our elementary schools north east corner. The hideyhole gateway transient trailhead is only accessible by walking thru large areas of school grounds and children’s athletic fields. This corridor will be secured now thanks to the “skunks” without having to tie up our already small yet effective FBPD.

    How is it your perspective can be so distorted?
    Nuff said,

  7. Joe January 11, 2022

    It takes a special kind of stupid to want to fight a war with Russia in their own back yard in the middle of the winter.

    • Harvey Reading January 11, 2022

      Lyin’ Biden and Trump fill the bill. Oh, wait. I forgot Reagan, the Bushy-Heads, Obama, and the Clinton scum.

  8. Dave Smith January 11, 2022

    I’m a Fair Weather fan. ?
    Go Niners!

  9. k h January 11, 2022

    I’m thinking about Covid this morning.

    As of 1/10/2022, 9183 Mendocino County residents have been officially diagnosed with the illness. One hundred and nine folks – friends, neighbors, family matriarchs and patriarchs, caregivers – have died from COVID.

    This is approximately a ratio of 1.187 deaths for every hundred people infected.

    Think about those odds for a moment. If I had a one in a hundred chance of being killed by a stray bullet, I wouldn’t like the odds. If I had a one in a hundred chance of winning a million dollars, I might take them. The outcome is what makes the odds attractive, or unattractive.

    In the case of COVID, there’s no million dollar prize. But you might wind up with a million dollar hospital bill, a dead spouse or parent or child, a long term illness for yourself or severe side effects from being intubated and anesthetized for weeks. Your kidneys or other organs may be permanently affected. You may need dialysis.

    The best case scenario is you are asymptomatic and you don’t suffer – but possibly make others ill. The second best case scenario is having a mild case – which in the case of people I know meant nausea and diarrhea, horrible headaches and fever, and struggling to breath, eat and sleep for a few weeks. Some lost their sense of taste for weeks or months. Some food still does not taste right. Some are still fatigued easily, months later.

    This new viral disease was discovered in Dec 2019. In April of 2020, our county saw the first case. It has taken 21 months but now we are up to 9183 cases.

    I know masking and vaccinations and safety precautions are tiring. I know people want to “get back to normal.” But the only reason we have only lost 109 people is because the 9,183 positive cases have been spread over 21 months. If all of these people had gotten sick at the same time, our health care system would have collapsed long ago.

    As it is our healthcare teams are exhausted and strained and burning out from 25 months of stress and illness and hard work. Health care workers are caring for ill people – while doing all the juggling that regular people are doing and complaining about: helping others deal with the stress and worry of a changed society, sorting out childcare and schooling, delaying vacations and family events, working longer hours and covering extra shifts because their coworkers are ill or in quarantine.

    Yes, it’s frustrating that this seems to go on and on. But that seems to be the best way there is of managing this. The alternative is medical system collapse and all the accompanying social side effects of that – including many preventable deaths, closing of all public facilities and other places of business where people gather, and high numbers of sick or dead neighbors, families and friends because there is no functioning health care system.

    Getting back to normal is not happening this year. That’s obvious from some very simple math. This thing needs to run its course, and that will take time, as there are still many people it has not reached yet. As the virus mutates, we can only hope it continues to evolve into a more systemic but less deadly variant. In the meantime, wear a mask, get vaccinated and please be kind and supportive whenever you can to whoever you can.

    • Marmon January 11, 2022

      “Think about those odds for a moment. If I had a one in a hundred chance of being killed by a stray bullet, I wouldn’t like the odds”

      Your numbers are misleading. The CDC Director stated today that the majority of people who died with covid so far had at least 4 comorbidities.

      So unless you have at least 4 comorbidities, your odds of surviving are pretty good.

      Marmon

      • k h January 11, 2022

        A lot of ill people are surviving because we still have functional hospitals.

        If a large number of people in our county fall ill around the same time, co-morbidities don’t matter. There will be no quality care for anyone.

        People comfort themselves by thinking they won’t be the ones who die because they don’t have multiple co-morbidities. But in an overwhelmed system, co-morbidities don’t matter. People with even mild Covid will die from simple things, like a lack of supplemental oxygen, as in India last year. There will not be enough respiratory therapists to administer the treatments.

      • k h January 11, 2022

        Here is a small list of some co-morbidities

        Migraines or headaches
        Iron deficiency
        Asthma
        Anxiety
        Seasonal allergies
        Lactose intolerance
        Acne
        Overweight
        Vit D deficiency
        Caffeine reliance
        Autism spectrum
        High cholesterol
        Vitamin B deficiency
        PTSD
        Digestive ailments
        Constipation
        Insomnia
        Depression
        Chronic pain
        Any injury
        Chronic lower back pain
        Visual impairment
        Hypertension
        Alcohol abuse
        Tobacco dependency
        Sleep apnea
        Acid reflux
        Diverticulitis
        Rheumatoid arthritis
        Gout
        Urinary tract infection
        Fatigue
        Atrial flutter
        Diabetes

        Its a very long list if you’d like to review it yourself
        https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/health_policy/covid19-comorbidity-expanded-12092020-508.pdf

        • Marmon January 12, 2022

          Your list of comorbiliities is just as misleading as your math is. Here’s a list based on evidence.

          Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19: Information for Healthcare Providers

          Summary of Conditions with Evidence

          Comorbidities that are supported by at least one meta-analysis or systematic review or by review method defined in Scientific Evidence brief.

          Cancer
          Cerebrovascular disease
          Chronic kidney disease*
          Chronic lung diseases limited to:
          Interstitial lung disease
          Pulmonary embolism
          Pulmonary hypertension
          Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
          Bronchiectasis
          COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
          Chronic liver diseases limited to:
          Cirrhosis
          Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
          Alcoholic liver disease
          Autoimmune hepatitis
          Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2*
          Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies)
          Mental health disorders limited to:
          Mood disorders, including depression
          Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
          Obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2)*
          Pregnancy and recent pregnancy
          Smoking, current and former
          Tuberculosis

          https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-care/underlyingconditions.html

          Marmon

          • k h January 12, 2022

            So it seems that your argument has changed. Are you now saying that underlying conditions matter more than co-morbidities?

      • chuck dunbar January 12, 2022

        James, you way are out of your league here (see, for example, the list of co-morbitidies below–many far from serious– and bite your tongue), and you lack any level of expertise on this issue. Your covid comments get just plain tiresome.

        We may have to send you to China, or maybe just France, where Macron will really “piss you off.” And yet you might enjoy that–just imagine the heated letters or emails you could send him every day of the year!

        • chuck dunbar January 12, 2022

          Should be: “James you are way out of your league…”

          • Bruce McEwen January 12, 2022

            I roll my eyes, I grit my teeth, but then I remember Laz’s comment, that we’re all just making sport of James — like hecklers at the Special Olympics — and I bite my tongue. You are much more even tempered in these matters, and answer w/ more civility and grace than I’m capable of. Thank you, Chuck, you’re the man!

      • k h January 12, 2022

        Mr Marmon, I don’t really feel the need to continue this discussion, we are plainly going to disagree here, but I feel there’s one point worth making.

        You state “Your numbers are misleading. The CDC Director stated today that the majority of people who died with Covid so far had at least 4 comorbidities.”

        That is a logical fallacy. The second thought does not follow the first in a logical pattern, nor does it rebut the first statement. It is completely unrelated in fact.

        My math is not misleading. You seem to simply be rejecting it, and choosing to believe that only sick people get sick and thus the vast majority of people are safe.

        Here is my math, broken out for you.

        As of the Jan 11 public health dashboard, 9183 people have tested positive for COVID in Mendocino County.
        109 people have died
        109 divided by 9183 = .011869759337907
        Which is a rate of 1.1869759337907 per hundred people.
        This is the average for the population, regardless of underlying conditions or co-morbidities.

        You can use the same math for the US population as a whole. If the medical system implodes, the rate will increase accordingly. Instead of 4 million deaths, there may be 8 million, or 12 million, or more, depending on the severity of the breakdown in health services.

    • chuck dunbar January 11, 2022

      Thank you much, k. h., for a lucid, thoughtful take on where we’re at with Covid, and what we need to do to help all be as safe as can be.

      • k h January 11, 2022

        Chuck you’re such a kind thoughtful commenter, it’s appreciated.

  10. k h January 18, 2022

    The top item in the “Fact Check” section on Googlenews today is this link to the well regarded Snopes fact checking site:
    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/covid-deaths-4-comorbidities/

    Do 75% of All Covid Deaths Involve People With 4 Comorbidities?
    Snopes rates this claim as false, saying that “Important context was edited out of a viral video featuring CDC director Rochelle Walensky.”

    In January 2022, a number of conservative commentators started posting messages falsely claiming that 75% of all COVID-19 deaths involved people with at least four comorbidities.
    …….
    In the clip’s full context, however, it’s clear that Walensky wasn’t talking about all COVID-19 deaths, but COVID-19 deaths among fully vaccinated individuals.

    Is Marmon just reiterating junk claims from Donald Trump Jr and other conservative commentators? I don’t know. But I found this story interesting.

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