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Mendocino County Today: January 30, 2013

OF COURSE you know that four of Mendocino County's newspapers are owned by an outside media chain. The interchangeable Fort Bragg Advocate and Mendocino Beacon; the Ukiah Daily Journal and the Willits News are the lucrative properties of an outfit called Media News Group based, based, based way far away. But rumors drifting out of the north say a group of Willits business people are poised to start a paper aimed straight at competing with the long established Willits News. Still in the talking stage, but Willits could soon be enjoying an old-fashioned newspaper war.


WHAT'S THE DEAL with the Point Arena basketball team? Very bad behavior in Mendocino where the PA boys were called for flagrantly deliberate fouls, which should get you kicked out of the game, and several technical fouls, which should also get you benched. The PA coach, Warren Galletti, who is also PA's high school principal looks on benignly while his players do and say whatever they want. The other night here in Boonville, one PA kid called Coach Galletti a “bitch.” And got away with it. Even fogbelt sports fans are wondering how outta control their basketball teams can get before the league steps in with serious sanctions.


SEEK, DIOGENES, SEEK! The Missus and I attended, gratis, last Wednesday night's gala opening of the SF Jazz Center, an event so far out of my league… My nephew's family had pretty much funded the building being celebrated; at $500 minimum a pop we would not otherwise have been present. I'd hauled my burial suit out of the bottom drawer, slapped a little Dye 'N Shine on my Nike walkers and headed out to the Civic Center Garage where it suddenly cost $15 to park because, the sign said, “Special Event Rates Tonight.” We footed it on over to Gough and Fell, and on into a very crowded tent where, if they could get to you through the massed bodies, attractive young people passed out free booze and tasty food morsels. I immediately rubbed elbows with Ronnie Lott, the famous 49er linebacker, to whom I said hello as if I knew him. He said hello back. He probably goes around all day saying hello to people he doesn't know, or want to know. I moved quickly on, not wanting him to even think I might try to bore him with some kind of turgid reminisce about The Catch etc. We soon saw Mr. and Mrs. Musslewhite, whom we know a little. Mr. M. told me he had more fun at Navarro than any place he'd ever performed, and told me to send along his best to Dave Evans of the Navarro Store. The new jazz auditorium is beautiful, and the sound so good you can hear every word wherever you're seated. A botoxed babe sat next to me, her cheekbones permanently raised to her temples and her vertiginous breasts spilling out of her dress. You don't see vistas like this around Boonville, and I confess I was getting dizzy. “So, where are you from, handsome?” she asked. I looked around to make sure it was me being addressed. Mendocino County I said. “I'm from Mill Valley, too,” she said, and commenced a free association monologue only parts of which were occasionally intelligible. Bill Cosby, the ostensible mc, walked on stage. He was painfully unfunny all night, although lots of lame brains laughed like he was hilarious. Cosby was obviously winging it and hadn't prepared even enough to fake preparation. The music? I didn't get it. I wasn't even sure it was music. I could see the old imperialist, George Schultz, nodding off in one of the thousand dollar seats. At the coat check Willie Brown was hassling the attendant. “You should have more than one person here,” badgering the harried girl working by herself to retrieve the garments of the great and the grand. It felt good to be back out on the street. Once all the swells are out of the way, the Center will be very good for San Francisco and very good for jazz music, some of which, I've got to assume, will be accessible even to squares like me.



Missing Teen, Katrina Hamilton
Missing Teen, Katrina Hamilton

Around 20 parents searched the blackberry bushes of Harwood Park in Laytonville yesterday (Tuesday). They were looking for some evidence that Katrina Hamilton had been there — a knapsack or other personal item. On January 12th, the 5 foot, 3 and a 1/2”, 132 pound, 17 year old had told family that she was going to the area to do some artwork. She has not been seen since. According to Angela Grimes, her stepmother, the teen has daily medication she should be taking. The last time she took it was on the 12th and Grimes is very worried about the possible consequences. Anna Salmeron, a local parent involved in the search said, “We searched the blackberry bushes, handed out flyers and set up an information station.” They are trying to get the word out to the Northern California community. Salmeron said she is worried. The teen has been known to disappear for a few days before, but the girl has been missing for awhile. If the teen has run away, Salmeron says she and the other parents want Katrina to know that even “if she doesn’t want to come home to her family, at least come home to us.”

Mendocino Co. Sheriff’s Press Release: “On January 16, 2013 The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by family members of Katrina Hamilton (AKA Katrina Bishop) to report that she was missing from the Laytonville, California area. On January 12, 2013, around 3:30pm, Katrina indicated to family members that she was enroute to Harwood Park to do some art work in the park. Katrina has not been seen since. Deputies searched the Harwood Park area but were unable to locate Katrina. 

Local residents have posted flyers for Katrina around Laytonville and on the internet. Deputies have continued the investigation, following up on numerous leads and searched several residences without success in locating Katrina. Leads have been followed up in Ukiah, Willits, Laytonville, and Kelseyville without success. 

Anyone with information in regards to the possible whereabouts or disappearance of Katrina are asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Tip-Line at (707)234-2100.



Mendocino County, like a lot of counties in California, has a serious marijuana problem. Commercial growers with ties to organized crime have invaded the Mendocino National Forest, making parts of this beautiful backcountry unsafe for the public. Federal authorities are responding to this threat, but not to the degree that many north state residents would like to see. What is apparent, unfortunately, is the time and resources that federal prosecutors are devoting to a legal battle with Mendocino County. As The Bee's Peter Hecht reported on Jan. 4, a federal grand jury has subpoenaed all records kept by Mendocino County as part of its program to license medical marijuana growers. Mendocino County set up this program in 2010 in response to California's medical marijuana law. The county wanted to cut down on a rash of illicit growing that was occurring partly in response to the growth of medical marijuana clinics. To ensure growers were only growing for dispensaries, the program requires growers to accept limits on the numbers of plants grown, undergo inspections and install fences and security cameras. In 2010 and 2011, nearly 100 pot farmers were granted county permits to grow as many as 99 plants. Another 400 were issued those years for growers with fewer than 25 plants. Faced with warnings from federal prosecutors, Mendocino County stopped issuing more permits in March. But Melinda Haag, US attorney for the Northern District of California, didn't stop there. At the urging of her office, a federal grand jury in October subpoenaed the county's records of licensed growers. The county has fought back, attempting to quash the subpoena and calling it “burdensome and oppressive.” Supporters of the program say that if federal prosecutors are successful, they will drive Mendocino's pot growers back underground, adding to the lawlessness and potential for violence that pervades California's pot trade. Running for president in 2008, President Barack Obama made clear he wanted to strike a balance between abuse of pot laws for recreational use and the needs of patients and doctors. Is cracking down on Mendocino County's program part of that “balance”? County supervisors don't think so. “Why are the feds spending their resources to apparently go after people who participated in this program?” asks Supervisor John McCowen. “Why aren't their resources going after outlaw growers who are trespassing on public and private lands, trashing the environment and endangering the public?” Federal prosecutors have reason to be frustrated with California. As we've stated previously, California's medical marijuana law is too vague and needs to be amended. Until the feds cracked down, the law was spawning a multitude of dispensaries far beyond the legitimate demand for medical marijuana. But if California can be faulted for failing to fix a dopey pot law, the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder can be faulted for overreaching with federal prosecutions of those attempting to comply with this law. In the November elections, both Colorado and Washington State legalized recreational use of marijuana. Asked about it in December, Obama said, “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal.” If it doesn't make sense to go after recreational users, why are federal prosecutors going after a California county that is attempting to comply with a much less expansive state law pertaining to medical marijuana? Is this equal application of the law?


THE MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS proudly announces a major sponsorship by Friedman’s Home Improvement that makes possible an exciting new event – My Garden. This fundraising event is expected to become one of the top three annual fundraisers within Mendocino County. My Garden will take place on Saturday, May 25, 2013, Memorial Day Weekend, in the beautiful MCBG Perennial Garden. Enjoy award winning premium local wine, beer and cocktails while strolling through the beautiful scenery of the gardens and previewing the brilliantly hand crafted one-of-a-kind items built exclusively for My Garden 2013 by local Mendocino County craftsmen. The afternoon will culminate with a live auction of the craftsmen items and a delicious sit down gourmet farm-to-table dinner for 300 people which will highlight the best of what Mendocino County has to offer.

FriedmanCheck-FinalIn making this announcement, MCBG Board member and event originator, Michael Greene, states that this fundraiser will not only help to fund enhancements to the gardens, but it will showcase MCBG as one of the jewels of Mendocino County. Bill and Suzie Friedman of Friedman’s Home Improvement, known for their philanthropic contributions, are excited to be part of this great event that continues Friedman’s long standing support in the communities where they do business. Funds from this first annual event will provide crucial funding for the renovation of the Gardens loop trail that will make it safer and ADA accessible, so more visitors can enjoy the full beauty and inspiration of the Gardens. The generosity of Friedman’s Home Improvement is joined by other notable sponsors such as Yorkville Cellars, North Coast Brewing Company, Swithenbank General Building Contractors, Mendo Lake Credit Union, Savings Bank of Mendocino County and Harvest Market. MCBG is particularly pleased to have a major sponsorship by the Friends of the Gardens (FOG) which demonstrates their full endorsement of this effort. Wonderful music, food, drinks, garden beauty, craftsman projects, and entertainment combine for a special evening of fun and inspiration. Contact: Tracy Wolfson, Events Coordinator, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens,


  1. wineguy January 29, 2013

    Ms.Haeg is doing her JOB, albeit annoyingly uneven in regards to drug crimes. Obama/Holder could call her off

  2. James Marmon January 29, 2013

    “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

    — Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787

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