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Mendocino County Today: September 24, 2012

POINT ARENA'S PERENNIALLY TROUBLED school district naturally comes with a perennially incompetent school board whose utter inability to manage any school district let alone one always teetering on the edge of state conservatorship was on full display recently when it gave its superintendent ten thousand more on her already lush $120,0000 annual contract. “Dr.” Colleen Cross was poised to leave for the top job at Willits if her trustees didn't dump a whole lot more sweetener into her annual take, some of that ten grand rewarding Ms. Cross for her edu-doctorate, a diploma requiring zero academic persistence, hence its ubiquity among Mendocino County's educational leadership. The doctor's extra dough will come out of an already strained PA school budget.

BOTTLE CAPS AND BROOCHES: Artist Dana Driver probes line between jewelry and sculpture, by Roberta Werdinger.

On Friday, October 5, from 5 to 8 pm, the Grace Hudson Museum will host an opening reception for the unique metal-crafted creations of Albion artist Dana Driver. This intimate exhibit, which will line the Foyer Hallway of the Museum, is part of Ukiah's monthly First Friday program, when the Grace Hudson is always open free to the public. Driver, who will be present at the opening, is a member of the North Coast Artists Collective and has shown her work widely at galleries from coast to coast. Dana Driver makes jewelry, toys, and sculpture that transform ordinary objects into assemblages displaying exacting craftsmanship and a lively whimsy. Small sculptures resembling birds, insects and animals are fashioned from rocks, bottle caps, bits of rusting metal, and other natural and man-made objects that Driver finds during her daily walks by the ocean. She explains, “I pick up rocks that have an interesting shape or anomaly, bring them home and cover a studio table with them. I’ll stare at them for weeks, months … push them around.” Eventually, an idea takes hold, and then she gets to work. Bottle caps are embossed with a pattern and then overlaid with a special dioxide patina before being set into the sculpture. An old metal screw is set into a rock to become a bird's eye.

Stating, “I like doing things I haven’t done before, where I have to figure out how to make it work,” Driver sometimes creates a special dye just for one piece and has developed a technique for inlaying metal into stone. Driver, who has been creating jewelry for many years, began producing sculptures about six years ago and got the idea to join the two when she worked on a pin called “The Ladybug Vignette” that seemed to crawl out of its case. “I wanted to create an environment for this pin…I believed it should live outside the jewelry box,” Driver comments. “I’m sorry it took so long to give myself permission.” The exhibit of Dana Driver's work will be on display through November 4. Her jewelry is also on sale at the Museum Store. This exhibit helps to inaugurate Mendocino County Celebrates American Craft Week, running from October 5-14, featuring special shows, events, and demonstrations honoring the art of handmade craft throughout the county. (Please go to or the Arts Council website,, for more information.) The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30pm and from 12 to 4:30pm on Sunday. For more information please go to or call 467-2836.

JEFF COSTELLO WRITES: “I happened upon a book of Mormon in Poulsbo Washington. Inside the front cover was a photo of the missionary who had left it. Pictured with him were his wife and two kids, the wife kneeling by his side, at equal height with the children. To illustrate the appallingly bad writing in the text, I recall this sentence, about the ‘Lamanites,’ referred to as ‘cursed by God with dark skin’: ‘…and the number of the Lamanites was great in number because of the greatness of their number’.”

LETTER OF THE DAY: Nancy Ludgus of Los Altos writes: “Let me get this straight: I'm a moocher and freeloader because I was lucky enough to go to public schools paid for by the government because the local taxpayers believed in an educated citizenry? Because I had student loans and government grants and scholarships while I attended a public university and law school, always holding down a part time job? (By the way, those loans to this freeloader were paid back religiously; thankfully, they weren't more than my rent.) Because I had the temerity to collect unemployment after I got laid off after 26-1/2 years while I looked for another job (which, thankfully, I was able to locate)? That makes a moocher? Let me tell who I am. I am a hard-working American who pays her taxes at a higher rate than Mitt Romney. I am grateful for the opportunities and advantages that government was able to provide for me so that I could be that hard working American. And I am proud to be one of the 47% who would never vote for Romney. Anyone who holds a job pays payroll taxes. Anyone who buys essentials such as clothes or shampoo pays sales taxes. And anyone who is lucky enough to own a house pays property taxes. But somehow we're transformed into moochers and freeloaders because we use government services? Romney has shown his true colors. For that we should be thankful.”

SAMPLE BALLOT BOOKLETS and vote by mail ballots for the 2012 Presidential general election will begin to be mailed out September 27, 2012 to each voter in Mendocino County. The Secretary of State’s office reported the Voter Guides have been put in the mail; and the Vote By Mail (VBM) ballots will begin to be mailed Tuesday October 9, 2012. VBMs will be available on that date in the County Clerk's Office, for the Presidential General Election to be conducted on November 6, 2012, according to Susan M. Ranochak, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. Due to the closure of several USPS sorting facilities, we anticipate ballots may arrive later than expected. If you haven’t received your VBM ballot by Friday, October 19, 2012, please call our offices. Susan M. Ranochak reminds voters that the last day applications may be received for a Vote By Mail (Absentee) Ballot is 5pm on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, however voters may come into our office until Election Day, November 6, 2012 to apply for and receive their VBM ballot. If for any reason a voter will be unable to appear at their polling place and vote on November 6, 2012, they may apply for and vote a Vote By Mail Ballot. The last day to register to vote in the November 6, 2012 Presidential General Election is October 22, 2012. If you have moved, you must re-register – the deadline for reregistering is also October 22, 2012. It is not necessary for one to receive their sample ballot before requesting a Vote By Mail Ballot. A voter may apply in person at the County Clerk's office and receive their ballot. If this is not convenient, a voter may submit a written request to the County Clerk, Room #1020, 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482. Such request must contain the voters residence address, mailing address where the Vote By Mail Ballot is to be mailed, if different from residence, and must be signed by the voter. For additional information please contact the County Clerk’s Office at 707 463-4371.

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