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A THIN LAYER OF STRATUS will persist along the coast through Sunday with warming temperatures in the interior. Triple digit temperatures will peak on Monday with even the coast clearing out to reach the 70s. Slightly milder weather is expected by mid next week. (NWS)
HERE COMES UGLY: State poised to seek bids for new $118 million Mendocino County Courthouse
by Mike Geniella
State court officials are ready to call for bids for construction of a planned $118 million new Mendocino County Courthouse in Ukiah.
The new court building will be erected on the south side of Perkins Street, on a four-acre site wrapping around the Ukiah Train Depot, a 1920s-era local historical landmark. Completion is expected in 2026.
The state project is a significant shift in the historic center of court operations. The new location means that for the first time since 1860 the Mendocino County Courthouse will be found out of Ukiah’s core downtown.
If the California Judicial Council acts favorably as expected this coming week the project will move into a final design and build phase. The action virtually assures construction of the largest public works project ever in Mendocino County. It also will redirect future commercial development in Ukiah to the east.
A call for bids to construct the new courthouse is a critical turning point in the state’s decade-long effort to move out of an aging 1950s-era building hampered by seismic issues, inadequate handicapped access, cramped offices, and failing heating, cooling, and air circulation systems.
“It is exciting. This project is finally moving forward,” said Kim Turner, Court Executive Officer for the Mendocino County Superior Court.
State plans for the new courthouse stalled in 2016 because of the lack of money. State court officials earlier this year revived the Ukiah courthouse project, labeling it an “immediate need.” It is the second highest priority on a list of courthouse construction projects planned statewide.
Project details are still sketchy, but some basics are outlined in a 175-page document that sets design and construction criteria for prospective bidders.
The proposed courthouse is contemporary in design, rising three stories above a surrounding landscape of mixed uses, some dating from a century ago. The old Northwestern Railroad tracks run along the western edge of the new courthouse site.
Planners envision rows of trees, native landscaping, and a boulevard-like entrance to soften the scale and overall appearance. A landscaped north public parking area will wrap around the train depot, with more public and staff parking on the south side of the new courthouse. Eventually Clay Street may be extended through the four-acre site to Leslie Street.
Infrastructure in the new building is to be designed with advanced heating, cooling, and water retention systems, and sophisticated building-wide communication technologies.
In short, it will be unlike any other building in Mendocino County.
Still unknown are any development plans for seven publicly owned acres east of the new courthouse site. The two parcels will be separated by a planned “Courthouse Drive,” and a new bridge crossing Gibson Creek will supply a new entrance from Perkins Street.
The defunct North Coast Railroad Authority originally owned the seven-acre site. On March 1, that agency became the “Great Redwood Trail Agency” which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It is charged with planning, building, and supporting a planned 320-mile hiking and biking trail from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay.
Mendocino County Supervisor Maureen Mulheren, a board director of the new Redwood Trail Agency, said she is unaware of any plans the trail agency may have to develop the property.
“I hope we learn something soon at one of our meetings,” said Mulheren.
There is speculation that the trail agency site will be developed to house critical court-related agencies that are not included in the state’s courthouse plans. Specifically, future locations of county offices like the District Attorney’s Office and Public Defender are at issue. The DA’s Offices historically have been found in the current county courthouse three long blocks from the planned new facility.
How county employees in the DA and Public Defender’s offices will interact with the new courthouse especially in inclement weather when it opens is unclear. There will be 160 parking spaces at the new site, but will dozens of county employees be asked to get in their cars and drive to the new site in the face of cold rainy weather, or scorching hot summer days?
“All of the options are being explored,” said Burton, the court Executive Officer.
The city of Ukiah is engaged with county and state officials in resolving such issues.
For the city, how to bridge the gap between the new courthouse site and the historic downtown area, and local businesses dependent on foot traffic generated by the current courthouse, still is an issue.
Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley said the perceived gap “has already been bridged somewhat by the recently completed Downtown Streetscape Project.’
Riley said the city is designing street improvements along Perkins Street between Main and Orchard streets.
“That project is likely to be under construction in 2023,” said Riley.
For the past decade the city of Ukiah has been engaged in planning for the new courthouse, and its effects on the core downtown area, said Riley.
“The stage was set in 2012 when a new ‘downtown zoning code’ was adopted. It addresses the downtown core, much of the new courthouse site, and the entire Perkins Street corridor and was developed with many years of community input,” said Riley.
Riley said the city believes the zoning will “help ensure that the entire area has a cohesive feel, similar landscaping, is walkable, and has compatible uses and business types.”
The zoning admittedly doesn’t have the “ability to change the entire area overnight,” said Riley but it will ensure that “each time a property within the zone is developed, it is developed to the approved standards, thereby making incremental progress toward fully closing that ‘gap’,” said Riley.
In the meantime, the city has a long-term lease on the historic train depot, first reached with the old railroad agency and now continued with the new state trails agency.
“Many years ago, we received a grant to complete its historic renovation, and the requirements of that grant will continue to determine how the facility can be used while ensuring that its historic design elements are maintained,” said Riley.
Riley said the city expects there will be “significant demand” for leased space in the historic building once the new courthouse is developed.
When the new courthouse is completed, the current structure which has been leased by the state will revert back to county ownership.
Its fate is uncertain. The state estimates the building needs at least $9 million in repairs. In reality, the current courthouse is two structures merged into one.
The rear part facing Ukiah’s School Street is a notable limestone clad building. The larger section facing State Street is a mish-mash of offices, and steep stairways. Only one elevator serves the public and staff.
Some civic leaders are suggesting demolition of the main building, creating a plaza in its place, and anchoring the west side with renovation of the older building facing School Street.
WATER RIGHTS MEETING
Reminder: Division of Water Rights staff will host the first monthly virtual meeting on July 11, 2022, 3:30-4:30PM, for Upper Russian River Voluntary Water Sharing Agreement (VSA) participants and interested parties to discuss the program and data on water supply and demand in the Upper Russian River.
Program participants and other interested parties can join the July 11th meeting on the Zoom platform at this link, which is also posted on the VSA webpage. The agenda can be found on the Russian River Voluntary Water Sharing Program webpage via this link. In addition to the Zoom meeting information, the agenda contains information on the discussion topics and presenters for each agenda item. The presentation will be followed by an open discussion with time allocated for public questions.
At the July 11th meeting, the Division will share how it expects VSA forbearance thresholds may change when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves a variance reducing flows from the Potter Valley Project to the East Fork of the Russian River. Water availability in the Upper Russian River Watershed depends heavily on Potter Valley Project flows, and the anticipated variance will greatly reduce available supplies for the watershed. Approval of the currently pending variance will very likely cause the VSA to be suspended until supply conditions improve.
FORMER UKIAH POLICE SERGEANT COPS A PLEA—May Only Face Two Years Probation
Kevin Murray, the former Ukiah police sergeant facing seven felonies and one misdemeanor, pled no contest to one felony and one misdemeanor at a pretrial conference late Thursday afternoon.… Judge Moorman says “she prefers the option of supervised probation.”
HELP WANTED IN CASPAR
One day per week, 4-5 hours @ $25 per hr.
Basic yard work and maintenance.
Call Bill 707 961 6127
RAT? YOU'RE SMELLING A RAT? We all are on this one. Former Ukiah police officer Kevin Murray, originally charged with seven felonies and a misdemeanor, emerged yesterday from the suspiciously generous superior courtroom of Judge Carly Dolan, Judge Ann Moorman (?) presiding, with a deal that will get him probation. Murray pled no contest to one felony and one misdemeanor. The other charges were dismissed. He, the Ukiah Police Department and the City of Ukiah, still face civil charges brought by another former Ukiah officer, Isabel Siderakis, who alleges she was sexually harassed by Murray with her superiors in the department doing nothing to protect her.
MURRAY had done a couple of months in the County Jail for violating the terms of his bail while he awaited trial on these now implausibly downsized charges. He will be back for formal sentencing on his depleted basket of felonies, which includes more possible jail time, as we pause here for hollow laughter. Judge Moorman said she wasn't inclined to add more jail time.
THE DEAL Murray pled to gets him off, a deal worked out with DA Eyster, presumably, the judge, presumably, and five out-of-town lawyers. Murray is now only facing a few years probation. Mendo being Mendo, a dangerous former police officer has managed to parlay serious felonies into probation.
THE FORMER COP'S FELONIES included forced sex at gun point, while in uniform, with a Ukiah prostitute, and a sexual assault on another woman not a prostitute. The City of Ukiah, prior to yesterday's magical day in court for the defendant, had already paid the prostitute more than $200,000 for her encounter with Murray before the matter arrived in the magnanimous Mendo superior court. Prior to the big pay day for the presumed prostitute, the City of Ukiah had previously paid big time in federal court for a prior episode where Murray gratuitously bullrushed a Ukiah man, resulting in permanent injury to the guy.
FORMER SGT MURRAY is a resident of Lake County. He has been represented by a team of five — shades of OJ! — expensive out-of-town attorneys, including the regionally famous Santa Rosa criminal defense attorney Chris Andrian. One has to wonder who's paying for Murray's expensive defense? Is the City of Ukiah again picking up the tab for its troubled police department?
THE ONLY POSSIBLE mitigation in the Murray matter is his obvious crank addiction. He apparently functioned more or less normally prior to getting into the white powders, a felony amount of which was once found in his police locker, which Murray explained by saying he was storing it for “evidence.”
WHERE was the DA on this one? Or his top assistant, Mr. Trigg? Heidi Larson, one foot out the door to retirement, was in charge of Murray's prosecution? Did DA Eyster sign off on this rancid deal?
PORTER DINEHART'S COMMENT on the Murray matter represents the consensus opinion on the Murray case: “This is just outrageous! So he won’t be a registered sex offender even though the crimes he committed point to him being a predator. He pleads to lower level crimes so the DA gets a win! Where is the justice in this? This is not a victimless criminal! Putting him on probation with one of his peers, that’s great. He hid one of his weapons when he was ordered to turn them ALL over yet this is what he is offered! Seems like Special Treatment for this ex-Ukiah cop!"
(PROSTITUTES in Ukiah? I get the feeling we're not rural anymore. My sources tell me that Bay Area and Sacramento pimps regularly bring their captives to our depressing county seat to service local degenerates. I wonder if it has occured to Ukiah law enforcement that this sort of thing usually doesn't fly in small town communities.)
LAST NIGHT'S planned PG&E outage for "scheduled maintenance" kicked off almost a half-hour early, and kicked back on an hour late. Played havoc with Mendocino County's morning newspaper, I can tell you, and apologies to our readers for the delay this ayem. Played havoc with The Valley's restaurants and coffee shops who, because of the early afternoon's unscheduled power outage, took another beating in three years of beatings.
AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA confirmed Friday that Thursday's power outage in the Valley was caused by PG&E contractor crews working on branches. During the work a branch fell on a line causing a spot fire and the outage. The fire put out by the PG&E contractor crew using their on-board fire extinguishers before firefighters arrived.
On Friday there was another 2.5 acre grass fire on Indian Creek Road in Philo with Calfire and AV response (including chopper) in windy afternoon conditions. That fire was knocked down with no major damage, no structures threatened, no injuries. Cause unknown.
Soon after the Indian Creek road fire, a power line went down on Mountain View Road causing another spot fire. That one was caused by branch from a tree that was marked for removal but had not yet been removed. That fire was put out by locals backed up by quick AV Fire backup.
The Chief didn't know the reason for another power outage on Friday afternoon for upwards of two hours.
It’s been a hectic two days. The Chief is hoping for a few quiet days now as the temperatures rise on Sunday.
SOME THINGS CHANGE SLOWLY IN MENDOCINO
(via Marshall Newman)
AV UNIFIED WEEKLY UPDATE
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
Thank you for your understanding with the very unexpected power outage today. In my last district, we held school no matter what, even multi-day power outages, but with the challenges of well water and septic toilet systems, anything outside of an hour is not feasible for us to sustain and keep health and sanitation to standard.
A huge thank you to the staff, and the high school interns, that rallied the call for student pick up. Well done! A huge thank you to parents/guardians too. I know those unexpected changes are hard on work schedules.
Lots going on at the elementary and high school too with trips to Hendy Woods, art and personal care/cosmetic opportunities with Keystone staff, rocket building, and so much more.
We have a great vibe going this summer with circus, experiences, and academics. It is a model I would love to figure out how to do throughout the year!
A huge shout out to our custodial staff at both sites, Erika, Antonia, Amalia, Martin, and Marta, and Dennis, Guy, and Manuel for the amazing clean up and deep cleaning going on throughout the district. I almost feel like I am watching a metamorphosis in our sites, just like the butterflies! We are cleaning out, refreshing, washing, hosing, disinfecting, landscaping, Re-imagining.
The computer lab is refreshed at the high school, and painters will be coming for the hallways and middle school exterior by the end of the month. The kids are feeling the vibe too! I had students volunteer to help me clean the other day. You can’t beat that investment in their learning environment. I am proud of them.
The high school gym heater replacement is well underway with three units removed. We are still awaiting an update on the HVAC arrival for the unremodeled high school wing and science rooms. I don’t want to open the roof until we are good to go. The elementary library furniture is another space emerging from a transformative cocoon! Well done Kelsey and Cymbre! New furniture arrives next week. The high school library under the direction of Marcella is also transforming with new lounge chairs and a very curated book collection. And what can I say about Mr. Ballantine’s shop, except well done and keep going. It’s NO FUN, to clean years of accumulated stuff, but it is going down for kids in the most beautiful way. Intern Guy is making it happen too!
To our high school families, I want to be clear about our change in class transfer policies. We are a very small school. We often only operate one section of a class. Next year, the transfer policy out of a class will require Mr. Howard, the two involved teachers, and my approval prior to a transfer. Our primary duty is to ensure students have the required classes to graduate. The first week of school, no transfers will be granted, as we assess the current class rosters and determine any needed changes for graduation requirements. I don’t grant transfers so a kid can be with their friends. I think you will find this will benefit students. We are working hard to re-engage rigor and expectation post-Covid. We have an able and accomplished staff ready to engage in that effort.
I also want to mention that we have some staff on maternity leave this fall. We are working on a combination of in-person and on-line coursework to cover those critical areas. All will be well, it will just look a little different.
Just a reminder, the district office has relocated to the High School Counseling Office. I will be in the main high school office along with Vero Barragan. Vero will be assisting as a discipline liaison along with Ms. Ewing as Assistant Principal. The elementary powerhouse team of Cymbre, Belma and Mimi will return for a rocking year.
We are happy to be of assistance with anything you need.
Louise Simson, Superintendent
Anderson Valley Unified School District
AV 2ND-GRADERS release Student-raised Monarchs in their classroom
by Justine Frederiksen
Monarch butterflies raised in a Mendocino County classroom were released recently in Boonville, Anderson Valley Unified School District Superintendent Louise Simson reported.
“It is really pretty magical, especially as kids watch the newly hatched and grounded butterflies pump the fluid through their wings so they can fly,” said Simson, explaining that the project for the classroom of second-grade teacher Estela Espinoza began with the ordering of butterfly larva, which come with their food in a container.
“The kids watch the butterflies eat the food in the container and they form the Chrysalis in the cap of the container,” she continued, describing Anderson Valley Elementary’s summer program as being supervised by teacher Charlotte Triplett. “When the Chrysalis are solid, the teacher pins them to the butterfly net and the kids actually watch the metamorphosis in the tent house over a multi-day period.”
Simson described the day the kids release the butterflies as “magical,” even when not all of the butterflies survive, since such losses teach them that, “Nothing is easy in nature. A good lesson in perseverance and expectation!”
For those unable to raise a butterfly themselves, you can experience all of a Monarch’s life stages by visiting the new mural in the Alex R. Thomas Jr. Plaza in downtown Ukiah, located at 300 S. State St.
Painted onto the east-facing wall of the restrooms building by local artist Danza Davis, the mural features a caterpillar, Chrysalis, and an adult butterfly, as well as the Monarch butterfly’s main food source, milkweed.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
READER D.W. BRILEY WRITES: So, please clarify, the BOS is suggesting a 1/4% sales tax that will go into the general fund? Not dedicated specific to Fire/Emergency services? Correct? GENERAL FUND where it can be used for anything, correct?
MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES: Correct. We'll grant that they probably mean to do it too. But experience tell us that they've been stingy with their legal obligation to fund emergency services in the unincorporated areas. They made no attempt to honor Measure AJ, they hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars to Coastal Valley EMS and say that it's for emergency services, they talk about needing an allocation formula when one already exists (as if Fire Departments are going to waste the money — they should talk). It was pulling teeth to get a the small fraction of Prop 172 money. And if the budget is as bad as they say it is (and we're not so sure), they can say that their own budget needs are a higher priority than the fire services at some future time. I would trust them more if they at least included a provision/resolution requiring a 5-0 vote of the Board to allocate the 1/4 cent revenues to anything but the local fire services or fire safe council. I support a fire tax for fire and emergency services (especially nowadays), but since the Board has not exercised much fiscal oversight on some conspicuous spendthrift projects (CRT, Jail expansion, Whitmore Lane to name a couple), it's very hard to trust them with this one. In fact, when the tax was first discussed, Supervisor Haschak himself noted that the Board hasn't demonstrated an ability to implement such measures in the past.
AMONG THE SEVERAL AD HOC committees “recommended” for “disbandment” — recommended by whom? they don’t say — on Tuesday at the Supervisors next Board meeting is the one from June of 2021 “to develop criteria for greater mental health services outcomes.” This ad hoc was made up of Supervisors Williams and Mulheren. What they did is unknown. No reports or recommendations were made, even though at the time Williams said he agreed with our suggestion that reporting the number of release plans and repeat 5150s would be a good indicator (as suggested by former County mental health staffer Beverly Bennett). According to the Board’s rules of procedure for ad hoc committees: “Status reports from ad hoc committees shall be made to the Board at each regular meeting.” We are not aware of any such “status reports,” nor of any final report on which to base the “disbandment.”
Among the ad hoc committees to continue is: “Formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to work on the CEO/CAO Ordinance development.” Another one with no regular status reports. The Board has casually mentioned a “hybrid” model with some Department heads reporting directly to the Board, but nothing specific. And no consideration has been given to returning the badly understaffed Clerk of the Board position to directly reporting to the Board.
VAN DAMME (Coast Chatline)
Shipping Container is Gone From Van Damme Beach Parking Lot
 Loved it or thought it was an eyesore, the green shipping container parked in the parking lot at Van Damme beach and owned by Kayak Mendocino is gone. The bus is back.
 Is everyone HAPPY NOW? Are we gonna have a big PARTY to celebrate? Jesus friggin’ CHRIST!
THE PILSNER: NOW AVAILABLE IN CANS AND NATIONWIDE
It’s been a Tap Room favorite for months now at Beer Park, and as soon as you try one gloriously golden, crisp, smooth, flavorful sip you’ll understand why. It’s good. Really, really, good. And, we’re not just saying that because it’s our baby. We love all of our fermented offspring, but unlike most parents we play favorites and we’re fine letting the praise for The Pilsner go to its hoppy little head.
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH MCN?
 MATHEW GRIFFEN: MCN is desperately seeking a Billing Manager. If we don't find someone in the next couple of weeks MCN will be shutting it's doors and all assets sold off to the highest bidder. I have a feeling that the majority of our customers are not aware of what's happening.... This all really sucks.
 I have a lot of questions about this, and I rec’d some, but not all answers from a great local activist. Here are some of them:
Does the sale of MCN mean they will no longer host the listservs? Is the dilapidated building and the land under it part of the sale? Was this meeting properly noticed? Is the amount of cash the sole qualification for the buyer, or will customer service, monthly costs to users, etc., be included in the RFP guidelines?
Does this mean dishes sprouting all over town?
One of our neighbors uses a nationally known company for Internet and TV, and their trucks are over there often. I can’t imagine what a s-storm this will be for us, and if the rates don’t go up a lot within a year or two of the acquisition, I’ll eat my nasturtiums.
 I got the questions, but none of the answers you received. I think we all need to know what is going on as it develops. Thanks, J.
* * *
KATHY WYLIE answers some MCN questions:
Re: Possible Repercussions of MCN's Sale
Q: (I watched the meeting last night, worked for MCN and have been following these issues since 1997). Does the sale of MCN mean they will no longer host the listservs?
KW: Doubtful - no revenue and LOTS of headaches and liabilities
Q: Is the dilapidated building and the land under it part of the sale?
KW: No Real estate for sale.
Q: Was this meeting properly noticed?
KW: Yes - it has been agendized for several different meetings
Q: Is the amount of cash the sole qualification for the buyer, or will customer service, monthly costs to users, etc., be included in the RFP guidelines?
KW: Sole qualification is highest bidder.
Q: Does this mean dishes sprouting all over town?
KW: The [school] board hopes to prioritize selling to a local ISP if possible, Continued mail server and web hosting and other services are an unknown.
Q: Does this mean dishes sprouting all over town?
INSIDE OUR LOCAL MEDICAL MONOPOLY:
Those curious about the “negative operating financial performance” of local Adventist hospitals can use Propublica’s Non-Profit Explorer for details about their income and revenue
Adventist Health Ukiah Valley
Most recent year, 2020, net profit of $11,169,407 on $210,547,210 in revenue
Adventist Health Mendocino Coast
Most recent year, 2020, negative earnings of -$720,815 on $28,140,651 of revenue
Adventist Health Howard Hospital
Most recent year, 2020, net profit of $5,615,023 on $86,405,980 of revenue
If you download the entire tax return, you can also see salaries for certain officers and directors
2019 is the last year the IRS released that information.
At that time, Jason Wells was the president of UVAH – his salary was 534,382. Judson Howe was the finance officer – his salary was 351,482. Howe has since been promoted to president of all 3 local Adventist hospitals.
Salaries for 2020 and 2021 are not available yet.
The tax returns also have a section (Schedule H) that lists their financial assistance and community benefit contributions. In 2019, they provided 2,101,265 in financial assistance, which is 1.08% of their total expenses. Other types of community benefit (health classes, health professions education, and subsidized care) raise their total financial assistance and community benefit contribution to 4.75% of their total expenses.
A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations this past Tuesday, July 5th, to announce the twelve were hopelessly deadlocked and would be unable to reach unanimous verdicts on all the charges and allegations pending against the trial defendant.
After making further inquiry, including how the jurors were numerically split, the Court declared a mistrial and the jury was excused.
The case has been continued to July 17th so the attorneys could check on the availability of witnesses before calendaring a retrial with a new jury.
Defendant Tomas Yah Pool, age 54, generally of the Sebastopol area, is charged with six felony counts and two special allegations relating to sex crimes involving children.
As always in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt.
The law enforcement agency responsible for investigating the alleged crimes is the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
The District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation also provided victim/witness support and participated in trial preparation and support.
Coastal Deputy District Attorney Eloise Kelsey is the prosecutor handling this case.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan was the bench officer who presided over the multi-week trial.
MICHELLE MCMILLAN: As you have likely heard, the California Coastal Commission is coming to Fort Bragg next week - July 13th, 14th, and 15th. To make matters even more exciting, the Noyo Headlands is on the agenda for the morning of Friday July 15th.
We are calling on the community to join in for public comment after the agenda item on the 15th, to encourage the Coastal Commission to support comprehensive cleanup and community led development of the old millsite.
You can register to comment via the agenda (https://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2022/7). Once you've registered, please reply to this email letting me know so I can count you in on our end.
We hope to highlight:
The diverse ways the future of the millsite will affect our community
The importance of a thorough cleanup
The increasing urgency of said cleanup in light of sea level rise
The community desire for a collaborative planning process rather than a corporate driven one.
For more talking points and information head to https://www.grassroots-institute.org/noyo-headlands.html.
Prefer to email in your comments ahead of time? Want to do both? You can find a full description of how to do that here (https://www.grassroots-institute.org/noyo-headlands.html).
There will also be a reception, co-sponsored by the Grassroots Institute, the Noyo Center, the Coastal Commission and the Botanical Gardens held at the Botanical Gardens on the 14th, starting at 5:30pm. They are asking that the event not include lobbying of any kind, or political handouts. You can find the full invitation attached below, please keep in mind attendance is limited so RSVP now if you are hoping to attend.
I have also attached some mini fliers for community use, feel free to post these to social media or forward to friends and family!
I hope to see you all next week,
Communications and Media Coordinator
I am happy to announce the publication of my new book Why You Are Here and other stories — fifteen tales of self-discovery, love, survival, friendship, creativity, and the quest for meaningful ways to spend this precious life. Set in the town of Mercy on the north coast of California, these stories may be read as stand-alone creations or as interconnected tales. The stories in Why You Are Here and other stories first appeared on my blog and were refined for this collection.
SECOND SATURDAY Hare Creek Stewardship Day & Early Bird Special!
Saturday is the annual PACK RAT SALE at the Botanical Gardens. The sale opens @ 8, so you can make some good finds before coming to Hare Creek, then go again before they close @ 4 to catch the closing discounts.
The regular 2nd Saturday Hare Creek workday is this Saturday, 7-9-22, from 9:30 - 12:00.
Whatever time you can arrive or need depart, your efforts at Hare Creek are appreciated.
While we have been recently blessed with heavy mist and even a slight rain, Weather.gov is currently predicting a temp range of 60-64 degrees with a faint breeze.
If you would like to be part of helping to develop and maintain this little gem, or just come by and see what we're up to, you are most welcome! With the great-outdoors ability to socially distance, I invite you to come help on this Hare Creek volunteer work day.
Re Covid & masks: Please be respectful and compassionate toward others comfort and safety. Everyone /please,/ stay safe.
Pick your project. There's plenty of non-native invasives to continue eliminating. Ivy, ivy, ivy... While the ground may not be conducive to pulling Scotch Broom by the roots, let's at least cut off the seed-pod growth! This should be bagged and given to Lenny, NOT left to die (re-seed) on the ground.
Bring water, gloves, and your favorite tool(s), or borrow one of ours.
We meet at the end of the Mendocino College parking lot (look for Lenny's blue Forester), and wander across the field to the trail. Need directions? Please arrive by 9:30 or reply to this email (or phone Lenny at 1-707-962-0824)
In service to The Mendocino Land Trust,
Lenny Noack From: "Lenny" <Lnoack@mcn.org>
FIRST 5 STATE OF THE CHILD CONFERENCE
Celebrates Relationships and Community
On June 22 and 23, First 5 Mendocino hosted the State of the Child Conference, where approximately 100 Mendocino County professionals who work with young children heard from acclaimed speakers with messages of hope, resilience, and the power of positive relationships to nurture optimal growth and development during the first five years of life.
Nationally recognized Mendocino County speakers Dr. Art Martinez, a member of the Chumash Tribe and a clinical psychologist; Dr. Robert Sege, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine; and Dr. Ira Chasnoff, founder of NTI Upstream shared their expert opinions about how to lay the groundwork for a person’s future physical, mental, and emotional wellnessâ”and how to ameliorate the negative impacts of poverty; parental substance use; parental depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges.
From neighboring Humboldt County, Dr. Carrie Griffin extolled practices to support infants exposed to harmful substances and Julie Batimba from UC Davis educated attendees on sensory implications for children with early trauma. Workshop-style talks on a variety of topics were facilitated by local and regional experts, including a discussion on parent and infant mental health with Medie Jesena and Whitney Eads (Healthy Families Mendocino), housing solutions with Elizabeth Elliott (Northern Circle Indian Housing Administration) and Megan Van Sant (Mendocino County Social Services). In addition, there were workshops on movement for mental health and healing from trauma with Ozlem Ozdener (Sonoma County), building positive practices into our daily lives with Brian Williams, and Triple P Positive Parenting with Carlos Jacinto and Maria Avalos. All the workshops provided ample opportunity to dive in with small groups of community members to connect and inspire.
One conference attendee noted that now more than ever people need simple ways to maintain and reestablish calm. “We learned (and were reminded of) practices that we can share with the families we work with and the people in our lives,” she said.
The conference also celebrated the contributions of outgoing Executive Director Julie Fetherston, who assumed the reins in March 2020 and led the organization through the pandemic. First 5 Mendocino staff honored Fetherson at the event, thanking her for attuned and compassionate leadership style and for leading by example in every aspect of her work.
First 5 Mendocino works in partnership with the community to strengthen and nurture early childhood systems that promote optimal health and development, narrow disparities, and improve the lives of children through education, support, and advocacy. Prenatal through the first five years of a child’s life are the foundation for their future physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
When children are raised in a well-resourced family and community, these early experiences interact with genetics to provide the best opportunity for them to thrive, first in school and then in life. First 5 Mendocino is a chapter of First 5 California. Founded in 1998, First 5 California works to create and implement a comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated system for California’s children (prenatal through age 5) and their families. The Mendocino County State of the Child Conference was made possible through Title IV-E grant funds specifically allocated to the training and support of professionals who work with foster youth and/or youth who are at risk of entering the foster care system
First 5 Mendocino Community Education Manager Megan Carson said, “We were overwhelmed by the positive responses we got from attendees and we’re so grateful we could provide a chance to celebrate them and the work they do.” She said the conference not only provided professional development for colleagues, it also allowed people to “gather as friends and connect in deeper ways. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference.”
First 5 Mendocino and community partners will glean information from the conference to develop plans and strategies and to amplify parent voices. Alex Rounds, First 5 Mendocino Perinatal and Early Childhood Support Coordinator, said the relationships we build “help us feel seen and even nurtured. We all need this in our lives, and we can help build connections together.”
For more information about First 5 Mendocino, visit first5mendo.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 8, 2022
ROGELIO AVALOS, Winton/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
LAWRENCE BROOKS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, shoplifting.
KYLER CASEY, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.
CHEYENNE COLLINS, Fort Bragg. Disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
MARC FLORES, Fort Bragg. Cruelty to child-infliction of injury.
LAUREN GREEN, Ukiah. DUI.
RITA LAVENDUSKEY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSE LICEA, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
MATTHEW MATUSHENKO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
IVETTE MENDOZA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, harboring wanted felon.
TRAVIS MENDOZA, Ukiah. DUI..
ERIC MISKEY, Monterey/Ukiah. Assault on police officer.
ARTURO NAVARRO-SANDOVAL, Ukiah. False ID.
ARTEMIO ORTEGA-REYES, Ukiah. Vandalism.
KURTIS SMALL, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, evidence tampering, resisting.
MATT SWEET, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MARY FULLER MCCHESNEY, SONOMA COUNTY ARTIST AND ACTIVIST, DIES AT 99
by Dan Taylor
Sculptor, author and art historian Mary Fuller McChesney was more influential in the art world than she was famous, but the mark she made is evident, particularly in Sonoma County, where she lived for more than half a century.
Living atop the Petaluma side of Sonoma Mountain, where they settled in 1952, she and her husband, Robert McChesney, were a force in the art world for decades, and in other parts of local life.
She died May 4 at an assisted living center in Petaluma. She was 99. Her husband, a prominent painter known to friends as “Mac,” died in 2008.
“In spite of her salty sense of humor and rough personal style, she was a true intellectual and scholar,” said Dennis Calabi, owner of the Calabi Gallery in Santa Rosa and a longtime friend of McChesney.
“She swore like a sailor and talked a mile a minute,” Calabi said. “She was hilarious. She was the life of the party.”
Like Calabi, Daniel Lienau, owner of the Annex Galleries in Santa Rosa, met the McChesneys during the 1970s and became close friends.
“They were always protesting: anti-war, anti-bombs, anti-nukes,” he recalled. “Mary never minced words, and people still loved her for that.”
Unlike many of their neighbors on Sonoma Mountain, the McChesneys favored plans to open the nearby Lafferty Ranch property for proposed public use in the mid-1990s.
“They were the only ones up on the mountain to support public access to Lafferty Ranch,” said Sheri Cardo, former Sonoma Land Trust spokesperson. “Mary was such a phenomenon. She lived her values. She was so shrewd and smart, a total pleasure to be around.”
In the early 1970s, Mary McChesney, who went by her maiden name as an artist, outspokenly opposed the construction of conceptual artist Christo’s “Running Fence,” a 24.5-mile fabric fence that stretched across Sonoma and Marin counties.
“Her opposition to the Running Fence was largely because of environmental issues, many of which Christo did resolve,” Calabi said. “She also was active in the fight against the proposed installation of a nuclear power plant at Bodega Head.”
Calabi, close friends with the McChesneys since 1978, plans a tribute to Mary McChesney and an exhibit of her work in the fall.
Some of her statues are currently on display at the San Francisco International Airport, and there are permanent installations of her work scattered around Sonoma County and the greater Bay Area. Her sculptures also can be found across California in parks, private gardens and public plazas.
Mary Fuller was born in 1922 in Wichita, Kansas. The family moved to California when she was an infant, and she grew up in Stockton.
Largely self-taught as an artist, she studied philosophy at UC Berkeley. During the World War II, she was a welder in a Richmond shipyard.
In 1949, she married artist, printmaker and teacher Robert McChesney. Both left-wing artists, they faced pressure from anti-Communists in the early 1950s. Mary was fired from a job teaching adult education art classes in Point Richmond when she refused to sign an oath disavowing communism and other radical beliefs. They moved to an artists’ colony in Ajijic, Mexico, near Guadalajara, Mexico.
It was there she discovered the Mayan and Aztec mythology that became the theme of her sculptures, Calabi said. Until then she had been influenced by the contemporary abstract art of her time.
During her time in Mexico, she wrote murder mysteries, including “The Victim Was Unimportant” and “Asking for Trouble,” published under two pseudonyms: Joe Rayter and Melissa Franklin.
After she and her husband returned to the Bay Area, McChesney developed a technique in which she blended cement and vermiculite, a mineral that slows the drying process. She sculpted the pieces before the concrete could completely set, Calabi explained.
“It’s not an easy medium,” he said. “She had to work fast. Her sculptures were magnificent, but she wasn’t widely known. What gives her national importance is her work as an art historian and writer.”
In 1973, she published “A Period of Exploration: San Francisco 1945-1950,” drawing on interviews she had conducted with her artistic contemporaries. In the book, she argued for the importance of the Bay Area to early postwar art movements, especially Abstract Expressionism. Later art historians were inspired and influenced by her book, Calabi said.
The McChesneys were neither rich nor famous, but they were respected in artistic circles. Calabi believes her influence as an art historian will only grow in the future, although she lived through some lean periods during her life.
“During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Mary worked as a waitress at the Green Mill between Cotati and Penngrove,” Calabi said. “It closed down long ago.”
Age did not diminish her passion for art, life and the issues of the day. Even in her late 90s, Mary McChesney remained a powerful personality, her friends and admirers say.
“I only knew Mary in the last years of her life when I used to visit her at the nursing facility. She was still a spitfire. She was so feisty,” said Jonah Raskin, author and professor emeritus of communications studies at Sonoma State University.
“She was a great original talent. She didn’t care about being famous or making money.” he said. “She will be better-known someday than she is now. Someone will ‘discover’ her. That’s how it works in the arts.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
OUR SIDE IS LOSING ANOTHER GIANT (Mike Davis)
CAN’T GO BACK: SF MIME TROUPE’S 2022 SHOW
by Jonah Raskin
After a hiatus of three years because of the pandemic, the San Francisco Mime Troupe launched its summer 2022 season with a lively production that was staged outdoors in Dolores Park on July 4th. A musical comedy that veers into melodrama and that offers rousing songs, pointed dialogue – and some speeches— Back to the Way Things Were is quintessential Mime Troupe theater.
The small but versatile cast invited the audience to reject nostalgia, stay in the present, no matter how anxiety-producing it might be, and fight like hell for social, economic and political changes that might be called revolutionary. The SFMT has delivered that same message with variations for decades, though this season, like every previous season, it presents topical and timely material. The cast references Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, abortion, surveillance, fast food, the homeless, the obfuscations of language and the privitization of just about everything in America today.
Lizzie Calogero and Norman Gee gave stellar performances, especially when they belted out the theme song, “Back to the Way Things Were.” At least one of the main characters expresses major illusions and wants to go back to a past that never really existed. But he changes his mind and realizes that a return to yesterday wouldn’t solve any of the multiple problems of the present day. The upbeat SFMT Band Members — Will Durkee, Jason Young and Daniel Savio, Mario’s son — energized the crowd and enlivened the songs.
By turns sad and funny, frightening and inspiring, the musical dramatizes the dialectic between victims and change agents. The characters are prisons of the past and the present day, but also capable of liberating themselves and those around them. Michael Gene Sullivan authored “Back to the Way Things Were” with help from Marie Cartier. Daniel Savio provided the music and the lyrics to the songs. Velina Brown, the director, kept the production on track. A “magic gun” adds a strong comic book element by sending the characters forward and backward in time and thereby propelling much of the plot.
A large appreciative audience cheered, booed, laughed and seemed to leave Dolores Park and then scatter to destinations all over the Bay Area, with a feeling that the afternoon had been well spent under a blue sky and with the SalesForce Tower looming in the distance — a reminder of corporate America.
By all means, see this production even if you have to travel to SF. It’s free – though it depends on donations and on grants — and it’s a living part of our extended cultural revolution that made the July 4th crowd a tad uncomfortable without leaving anyone in a state of despair or hopelessness. It hit just the right balance.
I DON’T WANT TO SEE A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH PRAYING AT THE 50-YARD LINE
by Anne Lamott (for the NYT)
Many of us who believe in a reality beyond the visible realms, who believe in a soul that survives death, and who are hoping for seats in heaven near the dessert table, also recoil from the image of a high school football coach praying at the 50-yard line.
It offends me to see sanctimonious public prayer in any circumstance — but a coach holding his players hostage while an audience watches his piety makes my skin crawl.
We are fighting furiously for women’s rights and the planet, and we mean business. We believers march, rally and agitate, putting feet to our prayers. And in our private lives, we pray.
Isn’t praying a bit Teletubbies as we face off with the urgent darkness?
Prayer means talking to God, or to the great universal spirit, a.k.a. Gus, or to Not Me. Prayer connects us umbilically to a spirit both outside and within us, who hears and answers. Is it like the comedian Flip Wilson saying, “I’m gonna pray now; anyone want anything?”
I do not understand much about string theory, but I do know we are vibrations, all the time. Between the tiny strings is space in which change can happen. The strings are infinitesimal; the space between nearly limitless. Prayer says to that space, I am tiny, helpless, needy, worried, but there’s nothing I can do except send my love into that which is so much bigger than me.
How do people like me who believe entirely in science and reason also believe that prayer can heal and restore? Well, I’ve seen it happen a thousand times in my own inconsequential life. God seems like a total showoff to me, if perhaps unnecessarily cryptic.
When I pray for all the places where we see Christ crucified — Ukraine, India, the refugee camps — I see in my heart and in the newspaper that goodness draws near, through UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, volunteers, through motley old us.
I wake up praying. I say a prayer some sober people told me to pray 36 years ago, because when all else fails, follow instructions. It helps me to not fixate on who I am, but on whose. I am God’s adorable, aging, self-centered, spaced-out beloved. One man in early sobriety told me that he had come into recovery as a hotshot but that other sober men helped him work his way up to servant. I pray to be a good servant because I’ve learned that this is the path of happiness. I pray for my family and all my sick friends that they have days of grace and healing, and I end my prayers, “Make me ever mindful of the needs of the poor.”
Then I put on my glasses, let the dog out to pee and start my day. I will have horrible thoughts about others, typically the Christian right or the Supreme Court, or someone who has seriously crossed me, whose hair I pray falls out or whose book fails. I say to God, as I do every Sunday in confession: “Look — I think we can both see what we have on our hands here. Help me not be such a pill.”
It is miserable to be a hater. I pray to be more like Jesus with his crazy compassion and reckless love. Some days go better than others. I pray to remember that God loves Marjorie Taylor Greene exactly the same as God loves my grandson, because God loves, period. God does not have an app for Not Love. God sees beyond each person’s awfulness to each person’s needs. God loves them, as is. God is better at this than I am.
I lift up one of my grown Sunday school kids who is in the I.C.U. with anorexia. I beseech God to intervene, and she does, through finding my girl a great nurse later that day. (Nurses are God’s answer 35 percent of the time). My prayer says to whoever might be listening, “I care about her and have no idea what to do, but to hold her in my heart and turn her over to something that might do better than me.” And I hear what to do next — make her one of my world-famous care packages — overpriced socks, a journal, and needless to say, communion elements tailored to her: almonds and sugar-free gum. It’s love inside wrapping paper.
Especially when I travel, I talk to so many people who are absolutely undone by all the miseries of the world, and I can’t do anything for them but listen, commiserate and offer to pray. I can’t turn politics around, or war, or the climate, but in listening, by opening my heart to someone in trouble, I create with them more love, less of a grippy clench in our little corner of the universe.
When I get onstage for a talk or an interview, I pray to say words that will help the people in the audience who feel most defeated. When I got to interview Hillary Clinton in Seattle a few years ago, we prayed this prayer huddled in a corner backstage — to bring hope to the hopeless.
Do I honestly think these kinds of prayers were heard, and helpful?
On good days, I feel (slightly) more neutral toward Ginni Thomas and the high school coach praying after games. I pray the great prayer of “Thanks” all day, for my glorious messy family, husband and life; for my faith, my sobriety; for nature; for all that is still here and still works after so much has been taken from us.
When I am at my most rattled or in victimized self-righteousness, I go for walks, another way to put my feet to prayer. I pray for help, and in some dimension outside of my mind or language, I relax. I can breathe again. I say, “Thank you.” I say, “Thank you for the same flowers and trees and ferns and cactuses I pass every day.” I say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A walk is a great prayer. To make eye contact and smile is a kind of prayer, and it changes you. Fields and woods are the kingdom. You don’t say, “Oh, there’s a dark-eyed junco flitting around that same old pine tree; whatever,” or: “Look at those purple wildflowers. I’ve seen those a dozen times.” You are silent. There may be no one around you and the forest will speak to you in the way it will speak to an animal. And that changes you.
At bedtime I pray again for my sick friends, and the refugees. I beg for sleep. I give thanks for the blessings of the day. I rest into the vision of the pearly moon outside my window that looks like a porthole to a bigger reality, sigh and close my tired eyes.
I have the theological understanding of a bright 8-year-old, but Jesus says we need to approach life like children, not like cranky know-it-alls, crazily busy, clutching our to-do lists. One of my daily prayers is, “Slow me down, Girlfriend.” The prayer changes me. It breaks the toxic trance. God says to Moses the first time they meet, “Take off your shoes.” Be on the earth. Breathe with me a moment.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Remember a few years ago when swarms of locusts headed from Saudi Arabia to India and the Chinese sent India millions of ducks?
I remember because someone said “Wait! The Chinese have an army of ducks? Shouldn’t we build up our duck army?”
I never heard the outcome, but I have to assume that the ducks prevailed and the crisis was averted.
SIGN 'EM UP for Mandatory service
One way to stop many of the mass shootings is to institute two to four years of mandatory military service, starting at 18 years of age, for all males. Upon completing their service, they would have the GI Bill for education and GI loans for housing. The most serious students at college that I met were on the GI Bill. I believe that Israel has a similar program that also includes women.
by James Kunstler
It looks like someone has called room service in a certain Swiss Fortress of Solitude and ordered der Schwabenklaus’s ass to be handed to him on a platter with a side of sauerkraut. The assisted suicide of Western Civ, Euro division, has been interrupted by peasant uprisings, first in the Netherlands, now spreading to Germany, Italy, and Poland. The farmers are on the march. They are coming for you, Klaus, and your World Economic Forum’s legion of implanted government goblins.
The governments of virtually all the nations of Western Civ have become enemies of their people. It’s been obvious in the USA for quite some time, but our preposterous attempt to turn Ukraine into a forward NATO missile base next door to Russia finally revealed the villainous rot in Euroland, too. Cut yourselves off, Germany, from Russian oil and natural gas? Whose bright idea was that? (Hint: Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who else? He supposedly runs that joint, doesn’t he?) Plan B, you Deutsches Volk now realize, is to burn your furniture to stay warm at Christmas.
America’s gambit to goad Russia into a Ukrainian quagmire turned into such a mighty fail that the US news media doesn’t even report on the doings there anymore. Which are: the Russians sent in their junior varsity and systematically wiped up the floor with Ukraine’s 250,000-man, NATO-trained (ha!) army of neo-Nazis. That is not an empty pejorative, by the way. They really are explicitly true believers in old Adolf’s mid-20th century program of exterminating the Russ people next door. Mr. Putin wasn’t kidding around when he highlighted that feature of his operation.
So, now the heart of Euroland looks forward to a new era without energy and without modern industry, meaning what? Well, without modern life (maybe without life, period). Der Schwabenklaus outlined that pretty clearly, too, with the by-now shopworn slogan that “You vill own nussing and you vill be heppy.” It was such an absurd maxim that many who pretend to think took it as a sort of joke. And, let’s face it, Klaus really does appear to be a comic figure — the weirdo tunic he sometimes wears, the Hollywood B-movie accent. But not so many are laughing now as the lights go out from Galway Bay to the Gulf of Riga.
If not the sinister Schwabenklaus, then, who or what entity is behind this world-ending mischief remains a matter of baffling consternation? Quite a few people, otherwise not insane, say we’re in thrall to some hovering alien presence not-of-this-Earth somehow directing our own destruction. Personally, I find that a bit silly. The most persuasive real-world clues point to China’s Communist Party (the CCP). Where did the “Wuhan Flu” (Sars C-19) emanate from? (Trick question.) At whose 2019 Wuhan World Military Games did the first outbreak occur? (Ditto.) Whose policy model was adopted in the US and Euroland for dealing with that punk-ass virus with lockdowns? Which current President of the USA has been on the payroll of the CCP for nearly a decade via shady business deals grifted up by his son? Hmmmm.
This latter saga of R. Hunter Biden is so well-publicized in its grotesque details — smoking crack and cavorting with Russian whores on-camera — that it seems like just another Netflix series. But guess what? It’s really real. And so are all the deal memoranda and emails on Hunter’s laptop, which has been in the passive possession of the FBI for three years. And you mean to tell me that no one has done anything about it? How is Director Chris Wray still walking around a free man?
Meanwhile, the very people who helped engineer the Wuhan Sars C-19 virus — and the mRNA “vaccines” now proving way deadlier than the virus — are still in the employ of our government: Anthony Fauci and former NIH Director Francis Collins (currently “Joe Biden’s” chief science advisor in the White House at $300+K-a-year). The effrontery! Notice, too, that, having winkled the Pentagon into “vaccinating” all our troops (including our military women-with-penises and men-with-vaginas), we now have an army programmed to drop dead on any battlefield they find themselves at without an enemy firing a shot. How do we even propose to defend North America if, say, China took a notion to seize our land by main force?
These quandaries and conundrums form a toxic cloud of cognitive dissonance blanketing America like a cosmic miasma of wickedness. We have got to turn the tables on these ghouls running things.
This week, a serious rebellion has sparked off in Europe. The Dutch government moved to seize the land belonging to about a third of its farmers, supposedly to cut nitrogen-oxide emissions so as to satisfy WEF-inspired EU 2030 climate goals. There is more horseshit in the government’s policy pretexts than there is on the farms of Holland, so the farmers have formed a tractor army of rebellion, blocked highways and border crossings, and mixed it up physically with the police. As I said at the beginning, the revolt against official climate change psychosis is spreading quickly to other European countries.
Perhaps the non-elites of Europe have realized that they were played for chumps. (They were.) They went along with the “vaccine” mandates only to learn now that their countrymen are dropping dead at suspiciously alarming rates, and maybe it has something to do with those shots they lined up for so obediently. And they can see the vast loss of jobs and income ahead as their industries have to shut down for lack of fuel. And they can see how their governments seek to starve them and force them to freeze to death a few months from now. So, it’s game on and governments are about to fall across Europe, and God knows what kind of strife will erupt out of that. BoJo is going in the UK… Holland’s PM Mark Rutte may be next… Olaf Scholz after him… and Mario Dragi in Italy. Look out below.
As of this writing Friday morning, we have no idea what the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might signify — except, perhaps, the ominous beginning of a global trend.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
HE JOLLY WELL WOULD HAVE
by Paul Foot
Whether or not Shelley had sex with Claire Claremont, he certainly thought about it and yearned for it.
“My heart is quivering like a flame: / as morning dew that in the sun dies, / I am dissolved in these consuming ecstasies…”
He wrote that in “To Constantia.” Judith Chernaik's novel 'Love's Children' is a series of fictional diary entries for 1816 and 1817 by four women — Mary and Fanny, the daughters of Mary Wollstonecraft; Claire, their stepsister; and Harriet, Shelley's first wife who drowned herself in 1816. In an entry (entirely fictional, it must be stressed) dated October 9, 1817, Chernaik solves the central question in a meeting between Claire and Shelley in the woods near where they were living at Marlow. They fondle each other a little, and then “he spread his cape on the fallen leaves and when we lay together it seemed very natural and inevitable. We were entirely private and what passed between us had nothing to do with anyone else, it was between the two of us only, and I felt loving and content.” That is probably as close to the truth that it is possible to get, not the least because it clears the way for the discovery of Claire Claremont as a real person rather than a plaything of the poet.
TO GROW AN ALMOND in Lost Hills in the southern San Joaquin Valley, the farmer has to import water, men, and bees. The water crosses the delta border in the north. The worker crosses the desert border in the South. The bee crosses the Rocky Mountain border in the East. Two million colonies — nearly 60 billion bees — are packed into the backs of semi trucks in Florida, Minnesota and North Dakota each winter and hauled to California to pollinate the Valley's almond bloom. The beekeeper refers to it as “the world's biggest brothel for bees.” The insects pick up all kinds of nasty things in their flights from field to field. The early death rate of bees has climbed to nearly 50% from “attrition,” he says. The die-of used to be at 10% before the almonds took over. Is there a connection? No county in California relies more on Lorsban — Dow Chemical's insecticide tied to Parkinson's disease and lung cancer — than Kern County where Lost Hills resides. With the rise of nuts and mandarins, the use of Lorsban here has climbed from 207,000 pounds to 285,000 pounds over the past decade. The beekeeper, in deference to the nut grower, doesn't want to talk about the links between pesticides and herbicides and the collapse of his bee colony. The neurologist calls the valley “Parkinson's Alley,” but he doesn't want to talk about any link either.
I'm thinking of the bees because they've made such a fine crop in this orchard along the main road to Lost Hills. 640 acres doesn't look like 640 acres — a full square mile — until they start ripping out the trees on a spring day. The white flowers have set into nubs and the nubs have become baby almonds covered in fuzz. Now it's the bobcat's turn. Even as farmers across the valley continue to plant almonds in new ground, the biggest farmer of them all is in retreat, just as Gustavo had told me, tearing out as many as 10,000 acres. He doesn't have enough water to cover the nuts to harvest. Since the middle of the drought the price of almonds has dropped almost in half. Maybe when the flood returns and the water bank fills up again he will plant the ground in pistachios. Or maybe it will stay bare. For now, in a region of wall-to-wall plantings, one of the walls is crashing down. The way the Bobcat goes full speed it takes but a few seconds of splendid violence to uproot a tree. The farmer isn't here to smell the cracking open of wood, the ripping open of warm, secret earth. No farmer ever is. The sentimental ones stay away. The bloodless ones stay away. On the day the trees fall quietly upon the orchard floor, no one is here but the Mexican on his tractor.
— Mark Arax, 'The Dreamt Land'
THE INCREDIBLE VANISHING MR. HEIM
by Lawrence Reichard
In the June 22, 2021 AVA, I wrote about Nordic Aquafarms trying to sink its fangs into my home state of Maine and into my midcoast home of Belfast - just as it's doing in Humboldt County. Even the price tag's the same: $500 million each. And that was pre-pandemic.
In dollar terms Nordic's Belfast plant would be the biggest industrial infrastructure in Maine, and physically bigger than Fenway and Gillette Stadium combined. And it would destroy 56 acres of mature forest, wetlands, a popular hiking trail and the habitat of at least one threatened species, the extraordinary bobolink bird.
Ever since Nordic began to seduce Belfast's shot-callers five years ago, its Belfast schemes - like those of Humboldt - have been run by Erik Heim, a sports-shirt, middle-age Norwegian who always looks like he can't decide whether to zip his fly now or wait till no one's looking. And Heim's wife, Marianne Naess, ran Nordic's delightfully incompetent PR department, which once sent a letter to every postal patron in Belfast, population 6,700. Four pages. Single-spaced. Misspellings. Tortured syntax. Bizarro layout. According to a recent Gallup poll, four people read it.
Before going public with its Belfast plans four years ago, Nordic and the City of Belfast wooed each other in a very effective echo chamber. Nordic said it was green and sustainable, and the city said there would be only a few crank opponents - everyone else will love you. It was love at first sight.
Five years and millions later, not one shovel in the ground. Oops.
And now Heim and Naess are suddenly gone. They announced their departure in a Facebook post that gushes about how they look forward to petting their pet chihuahua Harry, but it says squat about why they are actually leaving Nordic. And after four-plus years of pitting neighbor against neighbor here in Belfast, there will apparently be no farewell tour. Just post to Facebook and go back to, well, whatever.
It's hard to avoid thinking Heim got the guillotine for failing to deliver on Belfast. Five years in and they're still facing various lawsuits and permit appeals. Like black flies in a Maine spring, the opposition just won't go away.
I was there when Nordic went public in Belfast in February 2018. I entered the public information meeting in favor of the project, and I sat next to a wall sporting a big Power Point projection of the proposed plant area, around the southernmost mile of my beloved five-mile Little River Trail. The map showed the trail ending a half-mile before its current southern terminus. I asked Heim about that, and from across the room, with an arrogant chuckle and smirk, he said the map - right next to me - didn't show that.
That was the first of many Heim mistakes I would see over the next four years.
Like the time in his office in Fredrikstad when, without thinking, he gave up the name of Bent Urup, who designed, built, owned and sold to Nordic the company's plant in Hanstholm, Denmark. Heim's eyes immediately betrayed his regret at surrendering Urup's name. Heim stumbled and stuttered. "I don't know whether you'll find him. Last I heard he was bouncing around Southeast Asia." Google gave me Urup's phone and email in less than a minute, and a week later in his Fredericia, Denmark office, Urup said he had been following Nordic's Belfast hires and they simply weren't up to snuff.
When I published, a Nordic-Urup food fight erupted in the ubiquitous aquaculture trade journals. It was johnny-come-lately Nordic against the best land-based aquaculture designer, engineer and entrepreneur in the business.
But Nordic and Urup finally figured out they were both getting covered in flying food, so they kissed, made up and trained their guns on me. In another public information meeting Heim said I had misquoted Urup. I stood up, held my iPhone high and said, "It's all right here, on tape." Heim stood there wordless. Game. Set. Match.
But Nordic wasn't completely inept at PR. On that same 2018 trip to Denmark I interviewed a 14-year-old kid who had worked for Nordic, cleaning out empty fish tanks with Virkon S, a highly toxic industrial cleaner made by our good friends at DuPont. I asked the kid whether he used protective eyewear. No. So I called the Danish equivalent of OSHA. Under Danish law it's illegal to handle Virkon S without protective eyewear, and it's illegal for minors to handle it at all.
When I published that, Nordic said it had never hired underage workers - which I never alleged. Intro to PR 101: if you have no defense to the charge made, defend yourself from a charge that wasn't made.
Then there was the time Erik Heim filed an official court affidavit saying firebrand Nordic opponent Paul Bernacki had so intimidated the Maine Department of Environmental Protection that it, the DEP, canceled an official visit to the site where Nordic wants to spew 7.7 million gallons of effluent a day and disrupt and disperse God knows how much relatively settled and inert industrial mercury.
The only problem is DEP didn't cancel the visit. It was delayed one day by rain. And Heim was at the visit, as was I. I saw Heim there and his name is to this day on the official list of attendees, landing Heim's later affidavit somewhere between wildly incompetent and quite bizarre.
But blaming all of Nordic's chronic ineptitude on Heim and Naess would be a disservice to surviving Nordic officer Bernt Olav Rottingsnes, who was recently quoted as saying Nordic needs bank loans but banks are reluctant to lend to Nordic. Interesting approach: try to get a loan from Bank D after telling reporters banks A, B and C won't lend to you.
Not to mention the failure of Nordic and the City of Belfast to square their story when the city tried to soothe an ever-louder Nordic opposition by wasting $8,000 on a puff-piece report on Nordic by global consulting firm Deloitte - which had repeatedly done work for Nordic. Then City Manager Joe Slocum said publicly he had never before hired a consulting firm. Indeed, Slocum didn't even know how to call Norway. Slocum nonetheless insisted he found Deloitte all by himself, but then Heim later told me in his Fredrikstad office he had given Slocum a list of consulting firms and Deloitte was on the list. Oops.
But don't worry, Nordic's endlessly amusing incompetence will likely survive after Nordic Chief Financial Officer Brenda Chandler takes the helm. In sworn testimony in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast, Chandler wandered way off company script and said ownership of intertidal land Nordic needs for its project was unclear. If the Maine Department of Environmental Protection played by the rules, Chandler's sworn testimony would have been enough to throw out Nordic's 2,000-page DEP permit application, for which one must - theoretically - demonstrate clear title to all needed lands. Fortunately for Nordic, DEP rules are strictly for suckers and losers, not alleged fat cats parading about with burgeoning wallets no one has ever seen.
So we'll miss you, Erik and Marianne. Just about as much as we miss Joe Slocum. And just about as much as we'll miss Brenda Chandler when she's gone.
(Lawrence Reichard is a freelance writer and editor in Belfast, Maine. This article was adapted from an article in the July 7, 2022 issue of Counterpunch (counterpunch.org).)
ARE THE UN REPORTS WATERED DOWN?
The following article addresses the issue of tampering with UN reports: Nafeez Ahmed (special investigations reporter – Byline Times) UN Warns of ‘Total Societal Collapse’ Due to Breaching of Planetary Boundaries, Defend Democracy Press, 26 May 2022
Nafeez Ahmed, a British investigative journalist and a former Visiting Research Fellow at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Anglia Ruskin University (est. 1858) Global Sustainability Institute authored the referenced article in Democracy Press. The following commentary comes directly from his article:
But there are reasons to suspect that a collapse process has already started, even if it is still possible to rein in.
A senior advisor to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and contributor to the Global Assessment Report who spoke to Byline Times on condition of anonymity, claims that GAR2022 was watered-down before public release.
The source said that the world had “passed a point of no return” and “I don’t feel that this is being properly represented in UN or media as of now”.
“The GAR2022 is an eviscerated skeleton of what was included in earlier drafts.”
The UN GAR2022 is a landmark document. It is the first time that the United Nations has clearly underscored the impending risk of “total societal collapse” if the human system continues to cross the planetary boundaries critical to maintaining a safe operating space for the earth system.
Yet, despite this urgent warning, not only has it fallen on deaf ears, the UN itself appears to have diluted its own findings. Like the fictional film Don’t Look Up, we are more concerned with celebrity gossip and political scandals, seemingly unable – or unwilling – to confront the most important challenge that now faces us as a species.
Either way, these UN documents show that recognizing the risk of collapse is not about doom mongering, but about understanding risks so we can make better choices and avoid worst-case outcomes. As the report acknowledges, there is still much that can be done. But the time for action is not after 2030. It’s now.
Postscript: Effective Monday, July 4, the Italian government put restrictions on water on cities and towns in the north. The Po River, a source for agriculture, is at a 70-yr low. Global warming is hammering the country as drought has started to affect south-central Italy as well. Meanwhile, in South America the city of Santiago is rationing water to a population of 6.8 million, as human-caused global warming knows no boundaries. China has reduced water usage from January to October 2022 for Guangzhou (15M pop.) and Shenzhen (12.5M pop.) because the East River is down 50% The US Bureau of Reclamation is rationing some of the seven southwestern states as Lake Mead approaches the Dead Pool, getting frighteningly close! Only recently the Bureau demanded cuts by all seven states w/i 60 days in what’s considered an emergency situation.
For additional factual evidence of spreading drought worldwide, Google these articles: (1) World Drought Gets Worse, Cities Ration, May 8, 2022 or (2) Drought Clobbers the World, August 27, 2021.
The world climate system is no longer normal.
What does it take to get governments of the world to unify a global plan to combat their own destruction? For decades leaders of the world have failed to take global warming seriously. What now?
Then again, as suggested by Professor Chomsky, we’ll find out if the Fermi Paradox holds true for modern humans, as it has, in theory, for advanced (higher intelligent) civilizations over eons. But, that’s lights out, so what’s to find out?
DESTROYING THE DEMONIC
Seeking Spiritual Opportunity in a Pointless Postmodern World
Warmest spiritual greetings, Presently I am of course identifying with that which is prior to consciousness, because that is what I am. I am not identifying with the body nor the mind, because 1. whereas it is possible to witness thoughts, obviously nobody actually is the mental factory which cranks out those thoughts, but instead, is the observer of those thoughts, and 2. the body over time changes, but the knower never changes. Indeed, the knower, or real you, is not affected by anything at all.
That said, I am seeking an appropriate spiritual opportunity to destroy the demonic and return this world to righteousness. I have no further reason to be living in Mendocino county in northern California, where I am safely indoors at the Building Bridges homeless shelter, my dental work is recently completed, $1500 is in the bank checking account, and am eating well using the food stamp card plus free meals at the Plowshares kitchen and cash. Due to voluntarily bottom lining the trash & recycling at the homeless shelter, I have inadvertently gotten physically fit again.
As I await the moving on to my next highest good materializing, I am playing three lotteries twice weekly, and constantly chanting mantrams and reciting prayers for the purification of this world and of the planet earth. You are invited to contact me at your earliest convenience, for spiritually focused direct action. Meanwhile, stay centered!
Craig Louis Stehr
My Birth State can’t possibly drive interest
by Tarik Dobbs
My Birth State can’t possibly drive interest
-ed parties, I insisted, on walking most days
Across the freeway medianed grocery store.
I wrote toward whatever fed my timed
Stays at universities. With this padded resume, I resumed
Polite laughter in the next Zoomed room.
I watched some professors write from East
Villaged, a Vermont Somewhere’d
West of Hollywood, in a Martha’d
Vineyard. This year I read applications to be fellowshipped
— This particular, endowed lifestyle
forbade applicants outside of the officially boroughed
New York Cities. My aunt asked how I lived,
I mentioned $300, gigged. For years I’ve ripped
All labeled information from my tagged seams,
Inched holes through every collar I hampered.
Years ago, I shared an attic’d bedroom. My piled clothing
On the floor next to my younger brother’s bed. Unlaundered.
I was so depressed once I googled: Maybe this Lake isn’t
Oceaned. I told a novelist this and they flew to a Flyover State,
Then wrote sadness imaged. On a flight into Romulus, Michigan
A man called A City, Deteriorated. A professor lectured in Dearborn
And Called it Detroit. My mother lifted your luggage
At the appropriate countered space. A patron noticed
My mother wears her repetitive motioned injury.
Two doctors say it would be reparative if she quit her gigged
Life. Became a companioned, a
Compassioned transfer if she airported
To another airport. The benefited, most days,
I fly for less than a hundred dollars on a policy
Where I wear a pressed shirt and talk about the weathered,
Pardon. And I pardoned my way to the first-class lavatory
— The first classed lavatories always have hand lotion —
Or the main cabin is never lotioned. On the mini television,
Scientists are saying flying causes, for most, delayed bowel movements.
There was always a man who coughed in the front row.
A slowed, white deathed. This man always thanked
In grand cabined speeches of diamond and medallioned. For safety,
My mother called me from the parking lot of a Home Depoted. A man calls
My mother beddable, men bother her at every aged year.
If my mother isn’t beautiful, men still decided it.
Once I walked through the Beiruted terminal and tried to bribe an officer.
At 3 a.m., I walked through luggage unclaimed and found a pile of boxed cats,
Their gridded homes meowed forever into our quiet machined bunker.
Forever would be forevered if Another Country hadn’t bombed the shit
Out of this Country’s people’s airport in 2006. Around 4 a.m. another plane
Landed. Ssssssssssssssssss, My Sitto shushed the cats. Her gesture
Still Arabiced after being half-centuried in America.
One morning I telled Sitto,
Before Colonizers said The Ukraine, they The’d Libnan.
A disambiguation — Nationed.
My mother said when she grew up the people of America forgot her placed.
She slept in an attic bedroomed and always jobbed. In memory,
My mother still her old passported. In the old Country,
The passport officed into a coffee shop, really, write this down:
There’s poor recorded keeping with lots of emptied shelling.
I am the best cased scenario among many Countrymen. Men,
I learned them. Knew them.
Much of my decision making is ruled,
Is laid across a tabled thought.
I am a poor scholared,
A brain correctly informationed. I used
To smoke Spice out of plastic bottles and printed paper,
I remember my sixth-grade apple bonged. It was all so organics,
So earthed. The winded said something to me like,
Weak lunged. I swallowed the roach
And clung toothed to a faucet head.
The fired fire it’s evocative,
Each cigarello’d breath, breathed away. My
Mother at the café smiled into a webcam neither modern nor vintaged.
My mother sparkles like a mothered.
During one physical, a doctor held down my feet while I struggled
Into a sit-up. Once he said, faster. He come on’d
Me, as he gripped me. It endlessed.
My mother stands smiled into the morning afternoon evening’d.
Once I was so happy I ringed my own finger,
Stoned so bright, I couldn’t see the flesh behind.
I worry about these deadened people.
Us dogged people.
In the American terminal’d, it sounds like a dog is laughing.
The dogs victoried. Yes,
it snows in the old Country.
And I know
What I wasn’t supposed to do here.
(Tarik Dobbs (b. 1997; Dearborn, Michigan) is a disabled, SWANA American writer and artist. Their poems are anthologized in Best New Poets 2021 and Best of the Net 2020. Tarik received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and is an incoming MFA fellow in Art, Theory, Practice, at Northwestern University. Their chapbook, Dancing on the Tarmac (Yemassee, 2021), was selected for publication by Gabrielle Calvocoressi.)
MOTA: GOOD NIGHT RADIO live from Franklin St. all night Friday night!
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 5:30pm. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.
Plus you can phone during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of KNYO's storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 1-(707) 962-3022. If you can't control yourself from swearing like a sailor, wait until after 10pm, so not to agitate the weasels.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128 (That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.) (Or just go to KNYO.organd click /Listen/. And the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.
Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there.
Besides all that, there you'll find an inexhaustible cornucopia of educational items to stuff your mind with until showtime, or anytime, such as:
Contemporaneous with the flappers and their flapping, these kids were doing whatever you'd call this. (via Everlasting Blort)
Whomp your partner with all your might. (This is from the old cartoon days, before all the violence and cross-dressing and disturbing homoeroticism of today's cartoons.)
And, speaking of the old cartoon days, it turns out that there were no especially bad neighborhoods in glorious ancient Rome. They were all equally bad. Consequently the police would beat you up and stab you as soon as say how-dee-doo, sir, if you were behind with your protection money, or if you broke and ran. Though, then, if you ran well you might actually tire them out and get away.
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com