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Mendocino County Today: January 29, 2013

WILLITS CROOKS maybe ought to stay in Willits. Ferndale police officers arrested two men from Willits early Sunday morning inside a bank in Ferndale. Sylvester Loren Vansickle, 56, and Larry Daniel Rodriguez, 39, were trying to blow torch their way into an atm cash box when  the cops appeared outside the bank. One of the two tried to run through the bank's reinforced glass door, but bounced off the door and, eventually, into the warm embrace of responding officers. Vansickle and Rodriguez were booked into the Humboldt County Jail on $100,000 bail each. The two Willits safecrackers have lengthy legal histories.


OBAMA'S IMMIGRATION REFORM will, if it becomes law, look like this:

—A path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here, contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.

—Reform of the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.

—An effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.

—Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn't recruit a US citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.


COMMENT OF THE DAY from Jim Kunstler: "I'm not even sure what to call the current disposition of unreality in the USA, though it is clearly tinged with different colors of grandiosity ranging from the plain dopey idea of "American exceptionalism" to the wishful claim that we're about to become "energy independent," to the lame assertion so popular in presidential addresses that "together we can do anything." Speaking of the inaugural, in all the Second-Coming-of-Lincoln-Meets-MLK hoopla of the grand day, with the national mall lined by gigantic flat screen TVs (an Orwellian nightmare), and the heartwarming displays of ethnic diversity, and the stridently inoffensive songs and poem, there was the genial Mr. Obama at the epicenter of the huge ceremony delivering a bouquet of platitudes so stale and trite that it could have been composed in a first-year Harvard Law School ethics skull session at a back table of Wagamama. Despite all the blather about his graying hair, and the wisdom of age, and the supposed music of his rhetoric, I couldn't detect a single idea in Mr. Obama's inaugural address that wasn't either self-evident, or devised to flatter some "identity" bloc, or an imitation of old tropes out of the "Great Speeches" book."


THE HUMBOLDT COUNTY CORONER, David Parris, has released the identity of yesterday’s Shelter Cove drowning victim was was taken out to sea by a killer wave.  According to Parris, Susan Kay Archer, age 32 of Shelter Cove, was walking the beach with her boyfriend and dog as they did almost every morning.  At the foot of Dolphin Drive,  which runs towards the ocean, there are rocks that go right down to the water.  They waited for the waves to go out. Archer went around a large rock followed by her male companion.  A wave came in knocking them both over. Parris believes that this was not a sneaker wave but “a typical wave action that caught them off guard.” Archer and the dog were swept into the water while the man was slapped against the rock.  According to Parris, he sustained “lots of lacerations” on his stomach and arms.  The man managed to pull himself up the rock and called 911. Even though local rescue crews and the Coast Guard believed at times that they might have to arrange a rescue from the rock, the man struggled to the top of the cliff where he met with rescuers. The Archer’s body was found floating about 300 feet offshore.  The dog eventually made it to shore and ran back to his home.

A HUMBOLDT COUNTY MAN calling himself Surfer Mike clarifies: "Black sands beach is no normal beach it is all massive shore break because it drops off very deep 10 feet out. ALL lagoons have this same feature, It can happen anywhere but those beaches are the worst.places like camel, state beach can all rush in as well but usually its not quite as bad. go to this site and check the surf size before you go to the beach. I would say surf under 5 feet has the least danger of sweep in while 6 to 10 feet their is a moderate danger and over 10 feet, esp. over 15 feet it is very dangerous to be closer than 50-100 yards from the water line. longer interval swells also tend to increase the tide surge chances ( its the part that says seconds, as in 10 feet @17 sec.).Tides are a factor to , try to go on a low tide , still going lower.Incoming tides can create surges. IF you happen to get swept in, the fiesrty rule is to relax, and if you can , remove shoes and jackets.Let it take you out past the break and then try to body surf in on a wave when the tide surges in . It may take several tries .You have to try to relax even though you are freezing and scared. IF help is near by and you cant make it in , try to swim out just past the break and float on your back, conserving energy till they can pluck u out w a copter. Be careful fam. 1 love."


DRIVING NORTH on 101 Sunday, I couldn't help see the redwoods Caltrans has slaughtered to make way for a new freeway interchange at Airport Boulevard just north of Santa Rosa. Caltrans claims the trees, some 600 of them, which have been in place for 40 years, will be used to restore fish habitat in Dry Creek and Mark West Creek. In other words, a thriving redwood grove on the now redwood-free Redwood Highway, has been clearcut for a freeway ramp. Way to go, Big Orange!




There we were, three women in one car parked at the Amtrak bus stop in Laytonville so as the bus would have to pull in somewhere behind us to board passengers.

Cloudy, but, mild, the rear door was open to accommodate last minute nicotine boosting by our passenger to be. Time was passing, the bus was late. We'd arrived early and were getting antsy, i.e.: paying a lot of attention to traffic flowing by.

At 9:23 by my car's clock, a Preferred bus flew by, I reacted (not knowing if it was “our” bus or not) and managed to get a honk off just as the rear of the bus passed the front of my car.

The three of us were stunned. “Was that the bus?” It took about three minutes for us to digest that Amtrak does use Preferred and it actually really might have been what we'd been waiting, since 8:30, for... it's posted arrival was supposed to be 9:10, we had taken great pains to not miss it...

Fortunately, our passenger-to-be had her cell phone and the Amtrak number to hand and placed the call. It took about 10 minutes to exchange info with the lady at ControlCentral. We came away with the info that the bus was running 15 minutes late and had not stopped in Laytonville.

Now, mind you, you can't just get on a bus anymore. Amtrak demands reservations, you get a number. It's all very HomelandSecurity at this point. The driver and ControlCentral are in communication sync, GPS dots the map. No surprises allowed.

OK, so, ControlCentral gives our passenger- to-be a new reservation number and we head south 60 miles to catch the bus at the Burger King rest stop in Ukiah. (We're about 15 minutes behind as we pull from the curb at Pick and Pay.)

Needless to say we're pretty pissed, but, it's a beautiful day in paradise and we enjoy the eventless drive south. Fortunately, the bus is parked at its usual place in the BK parking lot and I pull up and park directly in front of it to await the return of the driver.

A working man with a van needed a jump, and I pulled over to get him started with my jumpers. Made it back to my spot in front of the bus before the break was over.

I was leaning against my car, facing the bus, away from BK. Our passenger-to-be quickly informed me that the driver was one she had ridden with before — and had gone out of her way to thank him for a safe ride, to which he had rudely grunted) as he headed back to his bus — our way.

I imagine he was about 20-foot away when he called out, “Hey lady, wanna move your car over there to the parking lot?” I didn't turn, but, as he rounded the back of my car and came into sight, I replied, “Not until you let her (pointing to our Passenger-to- be) on the bus! You passed right by us in Laytonville!”

“Where were you?", he replied. “I stopped.” “No you didn't,” I interjected. “Behind that truck", he continued to lie. “You're lying!” I continued to respond.

“That truck” was 15 feet behind us. If a bus had pulled in behind it, um, we would have noticed.

Son of a bitch got us flabbergasted again.

“You did not stop!, “I exclaimed, “We were right there!” “You went flying by, you did not stop!” (Thinking about the difference between stopping and making up time as I tried to imagine how to deal with this blatant asshole.)

He called to returning passengers to validate his statement that he had stopped in Laytonville. No takers. Folks sorta arranged themselves in a large loose semi circle, milling with big spaces between each one 15-20 feet away from the door of the bus.


As I was relentless, he turned to our Passenger-to-be and said, “I don't have you in my system, when did you make your reservation?” She had her old reservation number, her new reservation number, they were going back and forth.

It became clear our Passenger-to-be would get on the bus, Driver John, bus 901, had no interest in more of me, so I yelled a final, “Liar, liar pants on fire!” into the air, slid into my seat, and the remaining two of us headed to every thrift store we could find to put a new taste in our mouths.

OK, so, when it was apparent that the driver was not going to cop to the truth, The damnedest dynamic happened: my carmates began questioning their reality!

This nearing-retirement-age-angry-white man asserts an impossible lie, and these women try to accommodate him!!! “Could he have stopped and we didn't see the bus?” Denying their eyes, ears, and all other senses. I could hardly believe the transition from anger to, to, I don't even know what to call it.

I mean it was sick. Geezus H., mi amigas, not even Harry Potter's newest. largest, soundproof invisibility cloak could have made it happen. John wasn't stopping, he wasn't even slowing down as he made up time speeding through town.

When I was talking with my witnessing-but-cowed friend the next day, she was disturbed to reflect on her physical reaction to the confrontation which was to shrivel, staring at the ground, unable to speak. She'll be chewing on this one for a while.

Passenger-to be just wanted to get where she was going.

It's lonely on the front line.

— Linda Brekenridge, Leggett


AMERICA is ninth in the world in internet speed, and Mendocino County is undoubtedly lower in the rankings because many outback residents are still on dial-up. Fast internet connections are said to be linked to improved business and educational opportunities. As it stands, we're much slower than South Korea, our ranking falling between Latvia and Czechoslovakia.


JEFF COSTELLO COMMENTS. “KQED is now hawking Anderson Valley as a wine destination. Almost makes one nostalgic for Wavy Gravy, doesn't it? Why are the winelibs so consistently, blandly devoid of personality? Maybe because it's such a dishonest form of drinking. No one with a real sense of self could tolerate the pretense.”


HUMBOLDT COUNTY, THE MOVIE (2008) — (from Netflix):

Netflix description: “After his father (Peter Bogdanovich) fails him, med student Peter Hadley (Jeremy Strong) spends a night drowning his sorrows and awakens in a tiny community on Northern California's Lost Coast, where his hosts, Jack (Brad Dourif) and Rosie (Frances Conroy), live off the grid and grow marijuana. Peter's totally out of his element in this town of counterculture horticulturists, which could prove to be the reality check he needs.”

• Anonyous Review: “We live in rural Mendocino County (below Humboldt County), where pot gardens are more common than rose gardens. The only thing that rang true about this movie was that here local law enforcement concern themselves only with large operations and care nothing about neighborhood pot growing as long as the garden cannot readily been seen from the road. The point being that in Northern California you don't have to live off the grid in deep forest--as did the characters portrayed in the movie--to make a living as a small grower. Many people here supplement their income as growers with little or no paranoia. Indeed in rural Mendocino County where good jobs are scarce, you pretty much have to grow pot just to keep up with the Joneses. Therefore in relation to the reality of Northern Calif. pot growing the movie was pretty laughable. Not that it was a comedy--it wasn't--it was laughable in the sense that it was kind of stupid. So much so that I apologized to the guests that I had invited over to see a comedy about growing in our area. Stoned or straight--this movie is only mildly entertaining. In other words--Not Recommended.”

• Another Anonymous Reviewer: “This movie is so bad it made me almost want to quit smoking weed. I also hate hippies due to this movie. The acting and dialouge is laughably lame and extremely over acted! It's so cliche and predictable too! Absolutely awful movie! Awful awful movie.”

• And Another: “There are two levels of dealing with this movie. First as a film, which many people have done well in reviews here. Then there is the pesky matter of "reality." Whose? I lived in Humboldt County for over twenty years before relocating to my home state, and those people who gripe here about how the culture in this movie doesn't ring true are only showing their insular inability to take a glimpse outside their narrow little realities. This IS the Humboldt County I knew living "behind the redwood curtain," as we called it. I wasn't involved in the dope-growing economy, but it existed much like it is depicted here. Some reviewers are more interested in trumpeting pet social and political theories than discussing the film. They remain outside the movie like the catatonic Peter who we meet in the beginning, and they miss their chance to cross the bridge to empathy with the Other. Putting aside the setting of Humboldt County (which functions in this film as a character in its own right), this is a story of change, growth, redemption. If those matters bore you, watch something else.”


MENDOCINO COAST TRANSITION TOWNS will be holding a public discussion about local investing on Sunday 17 February at 630PM at the Community Center of Mendocino, in the town of Mendocino. They will discuss why local investing makes sense, and also have an open forum where both entrepreneurs looking for capital, and investors looking for local investors, can also make brief statements. For more information contact Barbara Fishelson at 707 937 2834.



The DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse block serious research on medical uses of marijuana, creating a ridiculous circle of denials.

For a muscular agency that combats vicious drug criminals, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration acts like a terrified and obstinate toddler when it comes to basic science. For years, the DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse have made it all but impossible to develop a robust body of research on the medical uses of marijuana.

A pro-marijuana group lost its legal battle this week when a federal appellate court ruled that marijuana would remain a Schedule I drug, defined as having no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse. The court deferred to the judgment of federal authorities, quoting the DEA's statement that "the effectiveness of a drug must be established in well-controlled, well-designed, well-conducted and well-documented scientific studies.... To date, such studies have not been performed."

But guess who bears responsibility for this level of ignorance? The DEA itself, which through its ultra-tight restrictions on marijuana has made it nearly impossible for researchers to obtain the drug for study, and the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which controls the availability of the tiny quantity of research-grade marijuana that is federally approved for production.

The few, smaller studies conducted so far suggest marijuana has promise as a medicine, but they're far from conclusive. The National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Medicine support further research.

The judges had it right: In the absence of scientific evidence, they are not in a position to make medical decisions for the country or to set research priorities for the U.S. government. But the Obama administration can and should put the dark ages of uninformed fear behind us and release the death grip of the DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse on research-grade marijuana. President Obama then should direct the National Institutes of Health to fund worthwhile research, just as he recently ordered the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence.

Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., have medical marijuana laws, and last year voters in Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana to a limited extent. As a result, the president has expressed willingness to consider decriminalizing possession of small quantities under federal law. That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't address the need for legitimate research. Do the reports of relief from various ailments reflect real medical results or a placebo effect? Is marijuana perhaps as useful as other, more dangerous drugs — morphine and cocaine, for example — that already can be legally prescribed?

Marijuana is just another drug, no more, no less. The nation should treat it that way by evaluating the facts and the science instead of hiding behind myths and rumors. (Courtesy, the Los Angeles Times)


THREE TIMES BAD, the “hot new San Francisco string trio” (Hood River News), debuts at the Caspar Inn on Friday, February 1st, with a super fun set of “dirty American roots music” (The Source Weekly) that evokes “epic moustaches and bent bluegrass” (The Source Weekly). There’s also rural blues and old-school country in the band's sound, hillbilly swing and Appalachian rags, Gypsy jazz, freak preachery, murder ballads, folk punk, story songs, and hot singalongs.

ThreeTimesBadGearing up for the regional summer festival circuit, this band is really on the move — already confirmed to play all three days at the blowout Ink n Iron Fest in Long Beach with Iggy & the Stooges, NoFX, and the White Buffalo!

Friday, February 1, 2013
. Caspar Inn
, 14957 Caspar Road. Caspar, CA 95420. $8. 9pm




• Saturday Night Dance, February 2 — The community is invited to a dance with that fun loving group, The Beltones, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at Bartlett Hall, 495 Leslie Street, in Ukiah. This versatile group plays a little bit of everything. Price of admission is $10 at the door. For more information call 462-4343.

• Special Olympics Benefit, February 10 — The 9th annual Special Olympics of Mendocino County Benefit will be held on Sunday, February 10 from 2:00- 5:00 p.m. It’s all happening in Bartlett Hall, 495 Leslie Street with live music, a buffet, door prizes and a twist contest. Admission is $5 at the door. Special Athletes and children under 12 will enjoy free admission. Those who are not able to attend may still support these remarkable young athletes by sending donations to: Special Olympics of Mendocino County c/0 Ukiah Senior Center, 499 Leslie St., Ukiah CA 95482.

• Sunday Bingo Bash! February 17 — Bingo enthusiasts are invited to Ukiah Senior Center’s Bartlett Hall on Sunday, February 17, for a Bingo Bash day of games at 495 Leslie Street. This event is open to the community but participants must be 18 years or older to attend. Enjoy a meal of Chicken Chile Relleno, Green Salad and Fruit for $5.00, served from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Games begin at 1:00 p.m. and ticket sales start at 10:00 a.m. New games have been added and players will have a free chance to win prizes at intermission. Blackout pays $250. A Snack Bar will be open all day. Make the most of what might otherwise be a “nothing-to-do” Sunday and have fun supporting our local seniors at the same time. For more information call 462-4343

• Home Health and Hospice Classes, February 11 and 25 — Adventist Health Home Care will present a class by Tammy Long, Home Care Community Liaison for Adventist Health Home Care. It will take place in Bartlett Hall on Monday, February 11 from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Some topics covered will be the meaning of home health, the kinds of services provided, who may need this service and how to secure it, and the cost and what is covered by insurance. The second class will be offered on Monday, February 25 from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. through Adventist Health Home Care and Hospice Services of Mendocino County. This group, known as Phoenix Hospice, will address similar questions and concerns about Hospice. The Ukiah Senior Center suggests arriving a little early so all of your concerns can be addressed before lunch is served in Bartlett Hall at 11:30. Those with questions may contact Tammy Long at (707) 456-3235

• Ice Cream Social, February 25 — The Ice Cream Social will be held at the Ukiah Senior Center in Bartlett Hall on Monday, February 25, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. The community is invited to enjoy a dish of ice cream with toppings and pie for $2.00. Members over 90 and those having a birthday this month will enjoy free admission. The celebrity scoopers are Marilyn Gilbreath and Lovell Pratcher who will be representing our local Veterans Administration. Gilbreath and Park Optometry are the angel donors for the, “red ticket” fifty dollar door prize. Entertainment will be provided by local singer-songwriter and musician, Les Boek. For more information call 462-4343.

• Bunko Benefit, February 25 — An evening of Bunko will be held at Ukiah Senior Center’s Bartlett Hall, 495 Leslie Street, on Monday, February 25 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Admission is $12, which includes a Bunko game, fabulous food and beverages. Everyone wins a prize. Bring a guest and both of you will receive an extra entry for a prize. All proceeds will benefit The Ukiah Christmas Effort. For more information and to RSVP for this event, call Jan Tipton at 462-0004.

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