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Letters (December 1, 2022)

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Peter Lit just called me to see if i'd read the latest AVA. I said I had just grabbed it out of my mailbox and had not. He referred me to the front page article, Holiday Frolic & Fun for Everyone, a great listing of things to do and see during this merry season. But alas, he pointed out, Elk was left out! But there were listings for Sonoma and Lake counties. Knowing me as a sometimes communications person in Elk, he thought I should be the one to get Elk on the list.

This is certainly not a criticism of Terry’s research and reporting, and all of the events and their sponsors are wonderful organizations. Just an oversight, I’m sure. But Elkians are your neighbors and friends! There is time for one or both Elk events to be listed in the paper and online versions of the AVA, if you are willing. Folks do like options. I’m copying the text from my posts on the MCN Announce Listserv and the Elk List. Snip out what you need.

1. Holiday Arts an Craft Fair

The Greenwood Community Church is sponsoring its 22nd annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday, December 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The fair will be held at the Greenwood Community Center in downtown Elk. Take home jewelry, pottery, wreaths, food products, bath & body items and other handcrafted delights for all ages. Come support your local organizations and artisans. Funds raised will help maintain the historic Greenwood Community Church. Snacks and lunch will be available for purchase from the Greenwood Preschool “family.”

For more information, contact Mary O'Brien at (248) 917-3369 or

Read more at 

2. Holiday Street Fair

Come and enjoy an evening of shopping, dining, and music in downtown Elk. On Friday December 9th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, businesses are staying open late for a festive holiday evening. Enjoy seasonal choral music, dine on tamales and tostadas at Queenie’s from 5:00 - 7:00 (reservations suggested), and do your holiday shopping at the Artist's Collective, Doug Browe Ceramics, the Elk Store, and Matson Mercantile. Visit and shop each local business to be entered into the holiday raffle. Get your packages wrapped and pick up postage stamps and flat rate boxes too!

Thanks for your consideration..

Cindy Johnson


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Albion’s Tom Wodetzki recently got a big surprise: He was honored by the Mendocino Land Trust for his 11 years of monthly volunteering at the Navarro Point Preserve with a new bench reading “Tom ‘Moonlight’ Wodetzki: A dedicated weed warrior and lifelong lover of the land.” It’s now installed on the Navarro Point headlands just south of Albion looking out over the Pacific. Below is his explanation of the event in the form of a Thank-you note followed by 2 photos taken of some MLT staff and co-volunteers sitting on the bench before starting their monthly shift of removing invasive thistles. 

Sharon Hansen

Tom Wodetzki Responds:

Hello Mendocino Land Trust staff and board members. 

As you may know, when I started my usual monthly volunteer stewarding shift at the Navarro Point Preserve Thursday (11/10/22), I was greeted by a dozen of you having an on-site “staff meeting” and admiring a beautiful newly installed bench near the headland’s edge looking out to sea. As I approached it I noticed a plaque, and looking closer I read its inscription: “Tom “Moonlight” Wodetzki: A dedicated weed warrior and lifelong lover of the land.” I was totally surprised, shocked to tears, and overwhelmed with this totally unexpected honor. So I'm writing you to thank you profoundly for your recognition of my efforts, and doing so by providing a seat for thousands of visitors to sit on while they soak up the Preserve’s awesome beauty.

After we all broke up, I returned to our monthly task of removing invasive thistles, ex-MLT staffer Matt Coleman strongly came to mind, feeling he was with me again and more deserving of your honoring than I.

Here’s why.

Soon after the Navarro Point Preserve was purchased and open to the public in 2011, MLT employee Matt Coleman put out a call for volunteers to help with projects like erecting signs, building boardwalks and removing trash and invasive species there. Having for years been on the MLT Board’s finance committee and living nearby in Albion, I happily volunteered. Matt, a longtime dedicated environmentalist, was my leader and inspiration. But, tragically, not for long; while doing his MLT work that included checking up on a Save the Redwoods property north of Westport, Matt was fatally shot by a deranged young local on 8/11/11. Upon learning of this, that Matt had lost his life doing MLT work, I decided to commit myself to continue Matt’s efforts by caring for this new Navarro Point Preserve. Which is what I have done monthly for the past eleven years, with the help of several other volunteers and support from the wonderful MLT staff.

Fortunately, the MLT has honored Matt Coleman with a dedicated bench at Mendocino's Big River haul road gate. And when I sit on this new bench at the Navarro Point Preserve, I feel Matt sitting there beside me enjoying the view.

Thanks again to all of you for your recognitions of volunteers like me and staff and donors, and for all you do to protect Mother Earth and provide ever more ways for people to access beautiful, healing nature.

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Dear AVA,

In the last year or so I have become a regular reader of the Mendocino County Today online feature and have a great appreciation for the timely and accurate reporting of the functions and dysfunctions of the County government by Mark Scaramella, the wit and insight of Bruce Anderson, and the general tone of a perhaps nostalgic celebration of what is left of small-town life.

I live in Covelo, have for 50 years now. Came here as a young hippie kid enthralled with the possibilities of perhaps living out some kind of utopian vision. I still have that enthusiasm and usually don't mind the work and hassle of dealing with the world as it presents itself.

Your publication, the real newspaper part, not just the daily online piece, helps me navigate through some of the challenges in continuing to try to stay positive and engaged. I serve as a trustee of the Round Valley School District, a board member of our Friends of the Round Valley Public Library, one of the programming and engineering volunteers of KYBU Round Valley community radio, participate on our Municipal Advisory Council and a handful of other random social activities.

There are a few of us who have recently been talking about the need to re-establish a local, Round Valley oriented, journalism project. Not another online page, but something you can hold in your hands. For many years we had the Round Valley news, a weekly, but for any number of reasons that publication has been absent for more than a decade. In our group's discussions we are realistic about the challenges, work-wise and money-wise, which are all very demanding. We will see how this goes.

At any rate, here's $50. Keep up the good work.


Lew Chichester


ED REPLY: Thank you for your kind words. The Round Valley is such a beautiful place, and communities beautiful or not are enhanced by a newspaper. Good luck to you on that front. I always tell people who move to Mendocino County that as soon as they're settled they should undertake a familiarization tour of their new home, and read its history and visit each of its far flung communities from Gualala to Covelo, and all points in between. I've especially enjoyed trips over the Mendocino Pass to Willows on I-5, east on 36 out of HumCo to Red Bluff, and north out of Covelo to Alderpoint. I used to get up to Petrolia when my late comrade, the sorely missed Alexander Cockburn, lived there. We took a couple of hikes along the Lost Coast, one on the inland trail, another a rather painful slog straight down the edge of the continent from Petrolia to Shelter Cove. And at least one overnight at Usal helps imagine and re-imagine the special hold this region has on all of us fortunate to live here, especially on soft fall afternoons like the poignancy one feels today (Wednesday last) as the sun turns the hills every shade of gold. 

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I attach no stigma to marijuana cultivation and seeing that the value of the crop in Sonoma County is approaching that of wine raises only one concern for me. In our time of drought and climate crisis, how much water does growing marijuana require? I did a little research online and could only find on cannabis industry sites rafts of confusing numbers. Apparently, a plant in our environment needs about two liters of water a day, but this (according to the marijuana sites) is less than wine grapes require and far less than cows.

Sadly, UC Davis has not, to my knowledge, done any studies that I would find more trustworthy. In reporting on the economic statistics of Sonoma County agriculture, I would like to see information about the environmental impacts of these valuable crops.

Charles Little


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The nation has just surpassed 600 mass shootings this year with another month and a week to go. Amongst advanced countries of the world, the United States still has the most lax gun laws. It is still unclear how Lee Aldrich, the 22-year-old who walked into Club Q, the LGBTQ night spot in Colorado Springs last weekend shooting a semi-automatic long rifle, obtained the weapons he used. Five innocent victims died within the first four minutes. Up to 25 others were wounded in this horrific, heinous act. 

Pray for the friends, associates, business partners, coworkers and family menbers slose to those five poor completely innocent men and women whose lives were taken away so cruelly and unnecessarily. 

Will Congress ever do its duty and pass a gun law with teeth making assault weapons illegal? You may have heard the one that goes something like this, “There are pros and there are cons. Then there is progress which is the opposite of Congress.” When, if ever, will such mass shootings stop in our beloved country? 

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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The Massive Mendocino Punishment Industry has run amok, gone awry, all askewed. Quite similar to the three ring circus act of MCOE!

I am a hopeless disabled senior and Vietnam era veteran suffering from a hideous case of PTSD and Agent Orange poisoning complicated by diabetes. While weakened from recent heart surgery at St. Helena I was assaulted at a homeless bridge off Orchard Street. An intoxicated man started screaming threats at me. He then chased me down the creek at the footbridge trying to burn me with a giant torch with a 2 foot flame while horribly laughing and screaming threats.

I was in mortal danger in fear for my life. I barely outran him. I reported this to several Ukiah police and one Ukiah police detective. Four days later I was visiting a veteran at the Live Oak Apartments on Orchard Street in Ukiah. Suddenly this same person knocked on the door. I opened it and this Howard character started shouting threats at me, swinging his fists, shuffling his feet. He had something in his hand. I tried to ask him to leave. He immediately lunged into the apartment trying again to hurt me. Engulfed in fear for my life with no back exit I defended myself with numerous blows. As soon as I felt he was subdued I quickly reported this violent assault on me to the manager and the security guard. I have been held at the Local Gap jail since October 8 with a court date at the very end of January, January 23. I face a serious felony charge.

Case in point: Our almighty, untouchable district attorney Eyster grants probation to a Ukiah a police officer, Kevin Murray, for multiple felony charges involving rape and methamphetamine possession! The Mendo Bendo Revenue Intake Center, aka. the Ukiah Courthouse, where they target minorities, poor people, the homeless and disabled veterans. This is a true mockery of the United States justice system and needs a total rebuild ASAP.

Sincerely skewered,

Charles A. Nickerman, disabled, homeless Vietnam era veteran of the US Army. 293rd Engineering Battalion

951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah

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We bought a blue 1965 Volkswagen bug for a low price because it had a white front trunk.. We were driving along a rural highway and saw a white VW bug approaching. As we got close we saw that it had a blue front trunk lid. I jammed on the brakes and saw that the driver of the white bug was doing so too. We both backed up and pulled off the road. Without any discussion we unbolted the four bolts of the each hood and switched them. Big smiles all around -- and away we went.

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Neil Blackfield and some of his buddies went up to Lake Tahoe to party during Christmas vacation. They were smoking pot in their motel room and somebody called the police and Neil threw the bag of pot out the window where it was caught by the policemen waiting there. They took Neil to jail. Neil called me to come and get him out and bring him home. I did, and we set off down the mountain in a blizzard. The snow was coming down so heavily that I couldn't see the center of the road clearly enough to proceed safely. So I pulled over. Soon a car pulled in behind us and a guy appeared at my window asking if we needed help. I explained about the visibility problem. He said they had chains on and if I stayed close behind him we would get down safely. So I did, and finally the snow turned to rain and all was well. I pulled over to thank him and he handed me his business card and drove away. On the card was printed, "You have just been assisted by Captain Oh Wow."

Michael Nolan


PS. I've come to the conclusion that the American president who made a decision that damaged our country the most from the moment he did it until today was Abraham Lincoln.

Eleven states in the 1860s decided that they were so culturally, economically and religiously different from the other states that continuing to be in the same country together was impossible for them. They announced that they would leave the union and form their own government. They did so -- and they elected a president, created a military, a Congress, a currency, postage stamps, and made diplomatic outreach to European governments. They called their new country the Confederate States of America. Abraham Lincoln thought that was a bad idea and it cost 600,000 dead and undying animosity from the losers.

Imagine our United States of America today without Alabama. Or Mississippi, or Georgia or Kentucky -- or all of the Confederate states. Look at any metric you care to: poverty, smoking, obesity, educational performance, political preference, occupation, religious belief, etc. compared to the rest of us. What heavy manufacturing exists is mostly by foreign corporations seeking low-wage workers unprotected by unions. Retirement income from northerners is an industry. Southern Universities produce excellent football teams, but for science or engineering or leading edge instruction in almost any profession you go north and/or west.

Observe the eastern seaboard: the economy of the northern half is driven by science, art, finance, educational institutions, etc. but below the anomaly of the DC government area, the economy is military bases and tourism all the way down.

But the biggest drag on the United States from the Confederate States of America is political. Every CSA state gets two senators and together they get 152 representatives in our Congress. So 22 senators and 152 represenatives are elected by people who would be more comfortable in their long-lost country than in ours. And they vote and delay and subvert every progressive idea. And cost the rest of us not just our endless tax dollars in support, but our best possibilities as a nation.

The Confederate States of America today would be an oil-rich theocracy something like a Baptist Iran. They would export oil, winter vegetables and sea food. They would import almost everything else. They would be highly militarized. They would be no trouble to us. Disastrous decision with endless for consequences, Abe.

ED NOTE: Oh hell yeah. It would have been great for black people, too.

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I think most of us are grateful that many Donald Trump acolyte far-right Republicans were defeated in the recent election, especially those running for crucial swing state secretary of state positions. I’m even more grateful that most of them, including the worst election-deniers, graciously conceded. Even more amazingly, there were no Trumpian claims of “election fraud” and “vote-rigging” offered to explain their losses.

Let’s hope the worst of the Trump-driven madness of these past several years is over. But before we rest too comfortably thinking normalcy has returned, I think it’s important to remember that most of the election-denying, MAGA candidates (like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan) running for Congress or top state offices were elected — almost all winning handily.

How could so many prefer those far-right candidates — some even espousing QAnon beliefs? As comforting as these midterms have been in restoring our faith in Americana, it’s important to realize lancing this Trump boil is far from over.

Rick Childs


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Press Democrat Editor’s Note: The Press Democrat published a letter to the editor Monday, Nov. 21, that drew a parallel between the Republican Party and Florida’s governor and slavery. This letter should not have published. It violated our own standards about only sharing readers’ opinions that do not use hate speech, make personal attacks, spread disinformation or use a disrespectful tone.

Our Editorial Board’s desire is to be a catalyst for thoughtful, pragmatic conversations across the North Bay, and that commitment means we choose, but do not substantially edit, readers’ letters sent to our Opinion Page editor. This letter should have been rejected. We apologize for our shortcoming and will be even more vigilant in the selection of future letters we choose to publish.

— Richard A. Green, Executive Editor, The Press Democrat; Chief Content Officer, Sonoma Media Investments

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Taco Bell, Ukiah 

Don't tell my wife that I took my two kids to Taco Bell to get junk food. We went in and ordered our food then went to a table to wait. We found a table but we were short one chair. I told my daughter Millie (10 years old at the time) to go ask the very large Harley-Davidson lady if she could borrow a chair. Millie went over and said, “May I take one of those chairs?” The lady said, “Five bucks, little girl.” So Millie laughed at her and grabbed a chair.

About that time the lady's husband was headed back to their table with their order. So I send my son Milo (six years old at the time) over with a message. Milo told the six-foot-six close to 300-pound man, “I have a 50 and I will smoke you.” That man laughed so hard he almost dropped his tray full of food.

It is a good thing those Norcal Harley riders have a good sense of humor. It could have gotten ugly!

One day Derrick and I were driving around and hanging out in the Pines near Ukiah when I saw Keith Faulder in his Mercedes. I said, “Watch this, Derrick,” and I beeped my car horn. When Faulder looked our way flipped him off with both hands. It took Faulder a second to realize that it was just me. You should have seen the look on his face for just an instant. Derrick's reaction was even funnier because he had no idea who it was or why I flipped off a suit in a new Mercedes. When I told him it was Judge Faulder he was dumbfounded!

So I stopped and talked to Faulder and introduced him to Derrick and then Derrick and I went and got super stoned on his water bong that he usually carries around with him. I will bet money that Derrick can take a bigger bomb hit than you or anyone else. After Derrick got over the shock and saw that he was not going to jail he calmed down and we laughed our asses off.

Sorry Keith, just having a little fun, Your Honor!

Your friend, 

Oaky Joe Munson

Monte Rio

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Aquifers in the Central Valley have been shrinking for 150 years. When I was in fourth grade in the 1950s we learned California history. Textbooks used to show how much the land mass had subsided due to emptying aquifers. To better understand this, place a wet sponge in a sink. Put a brick on it and water will gush out. Even if you fill the sink, the sponge will never regain its lost water. Storage in aquifers is finite, and once the water is gone not much can be done to change that.

I lived in Cloverdale when Gallo bought and re-engineered the land west of Asti. They put in four wells on the valley floor for grapes they planted. Then the well serving the community of Palomino Lakes on the east side of the valley started to dry up. Result was drilling a deeper well.

Until there is a better solution, folks will continue to drill wells. California needs more storage for water. Desalination plants along the entire coast would solve the problem of saltwater intrusion into local aquifers, which is happening around Monterey Bay and other locations.

Plainly put: There is no single solution to the water crisis. All options should be explored.

John Travinsky


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There seems to be a problem in Taiwan. I have solved it. Taiwan placed itself on the market asking Mexico, "Wouldn't you like to have us?" Mexico replied, "Yes, but you are too expensive." Switzerland asked for a discount and monthly payments. A merger was obtained with the ABC countries. Now known as the Republic of Argentina — Taiwan, Brazil — Taiwan and Chile — Taiwan. Following was the greatest migration since Mississippi Delta to Chicago and Detroit. Thousands of Latinos moved to Taiwan and thousands of Taiwanese moved to South America each month. Don't hesitate to call upon me for international unsolved problems. Two day service in Willits. Elsewhere one week.

Ralph Bostrom


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I heard Bill McKibben, a longtime climate activist and founder of and the Third Act, express cautious optimism that we may be turning a corner in the battle against climate change. This from a man who has warned us for years of the dangers we are facing. One reason for his upbeat message — the soaring popularity of rooftop solar and improved battery technology.

As he put it, “People love their solar.”

People might love their solar, but the California Public Utility Commission is about to throw rooftop solar off the cliff. Its proposal coming to a vote Dec. 15 would slash the value of solar energy 75% overnight while boosting utility profits at the expense of the public. Solar would become 50% more expensive starting next year.

The idea is to free up more money for everyday families to purchase rooftop solar. Huh? Raising the cost by 50% is making solar more affordable? That’s what the commission claims. Does anyone believe it?

McKibben is right. Rooftop solar and batteries are the way to go. The CPUC’s proposal makes no sense. Please let Gov. Gavin Newsom know that we must make rooftop solar and batteries more available for all Californians. Our future depends on it.

Jane Bender

Santa Rosa

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At midday on Nov. 15, I drove to six Petaluma gas stations (both east and west side) after my car’s tire pressure indicator light went on. Three stations had signs on their pumps that read “out of service/broken.” Two had attendants who told me the pump was free, but the pumps barely pushed any air out, and one station right off the freeway was unattended and had a malfunctioning air pump with no warning sign. Lord help electric vehicles drivers who are going to need service station assistance when California cars convert to electric only.

Jeanine Michaels


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That Cloverdale residents have voted to continue the personal use of fireworks in yet another drought year means the common good has lost out to selfish special interests again. Thanks to those who wanted to join all the other Sonoma County cities in such a ban. Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and pets will endure yet another year of terrifying noise, and the threat of fire will be greater for all of us in Cloverdale and the surrounding areas.

Sally C. Evans


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My husband and I are two of the many people who have left California for Florida. This decision I’ve never regretted. Although we are third-generation Californians, we came for the climate and, yes, the safety of an adequately funded and trained police force that doesn’t send you a form when your car gets broken into.

With no state income tax, we’re saving money, too. We bought a house at a price we haven’t seen in California in 30 years.

Yeah, that’s freedom, plus the fact that if we fly an American flag in our yard or have a sticker on our car, we don’t get things thrown at it or our car keyed.

It’s sad to move from family and loved ones we will miss and not see as often. But it came down to where we wanted to live in our retiring days — nice weather, great health care, friendly people from all over the world, new history to learn, diverse opinions that are discussed, not shouted at each other. I feel free from the cancel culture here. I can just be myself. And that’s what I call freedom. It has nothing to do with slavery, except perhaps how I felt trying to make a living being retired in California.

Sharon Hamilton

Clearwater, Florida

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I finally got here to Vacaville where I will probably spend the next 18 years or leave in a pine box.

I had real trouble getting my paper at North Kern prison. I left Alan Crow there in protective custody where that professional con artist belongs. I wonder how many of us he's informed on in his letters and in his work for the District Attorney Dave Eyster?

I missed the August 1 edition, three in September and three in October and none so far in November so I'm shy at least eight editions that I paid for! It's probably just that chintzy North Kern prison. They're probably too cheap to hire full-time mail workers. Anyway, hope you can make it up to me. I still enjoy reading the Advertiser, a touch of home, and writing stories.

I have to buy a television now. Money really tight with me. Could you or any reader that believes me pay for my next year's subscription? One thing for sure since my arrest, Mendoland is minus two pervs (and possible killers of hobos and homeless people) who were protected by informing to the Ukiah police on mostly homeless people. I will find justice in the appellate or supreme court system.

David Giusti BS 7708

PO Box 4000, 2100 Peabody Rd

Vacaville, CA 95696

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An Open Letter to Mr. David Giusti:

I have a tremendous amount of compassion for your continued mental and emotional suffering. Sitting in a cell facing the realization that you will never see freedom again no doubt compounds the issues you suffer from. I have known you many years and am saddened at your impending demise and unfortunate legacy you leave your family and children. It is my sincere hope that you can find some peace in spite of the adversity you face. I enjoy your broad knowledge of baseball and hope to read more of your commentaries in the future. Take care, my old buddy, my prayers are with you

Alan Crow


PS. To my brother with that million-dollar smile, Patrick Redmill, I love you my brother. And we'll see you back home.

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