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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Dec. 23, 2022

Warming | Shelter Dogs | Sandbar Back | Palace Hope | Navarro Mill | Blaylock Settles | Hendry Accused | Human Remains | Quake Apps | Ed Notes | Upside-Down Man | Youth Art | Sawyers Bar | Dem-abration | Yesterday's Catch | KMUD Censorship | Football Hero | Ghost Gunner | Christmas Goose | Cheap Wine | Nob Hill | Congressman Pander | Lighthouse | Landmined | Trump Cards | Zelensky Garb | Waiting Room | Ukraine | Boar | War Machine | Goodtime Charlie

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MILD TEMPERATURES with occasional periods of light rain will occur across the region through Monday. That will be followed by a significant rain storm impacting Northwest California during Tuesday. Additional wet weather will then continue during mid to late portions of next week. (NWS)

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WE'RE LOOKING FOR FOSTER HOMES for some lucky shelter dogs!

Can you make a shelter dog warm, cozy and very happy over the Christmas Holiday? If you think you can, please call the shelter right away to get set up to foster a wonderful dog!

The Ukiah and Ft. Bragg Shelters will be celebrating the Christmas Holiday on Tuesday, December 27, and will re-open for business on Wednesday, December 28.

For more information, call 707-467-6453 in Ukiah Shelter and 707-961-2491 for the Ft. Bragg shelter.

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Here's a link to a Navarro River mouth video I posted to YouTube on 12/17/2018 FOUR YEARS AGO:

That 2018 breach is very similar in size and location to the recent one on 12/10/2022, when the bar breached for the first time this rainy season.

A friend told me yesterday that the sand bar just closed in again after the breach two weeks ago. The river level dropped to the vicinity of 2 ft. due to the lack of rain.

UPDATE! MORE THAN 4 IN. OF RAIN IS FORECAST HERE NEXT WEEK, beginning Monday and continuing all week. If that forecast is accurate there will be a rapid rise in Navarro River level starting Monday.

However, in my opinion, IT IS UNLIKELY THERE WILL BE ANY FLOODING OR CLOSURE OF HWY. 128 because the height of the bar is still low, and it will probably breach when the river level reaches between 3 and 4 feet.

The two-day flooding and closure of 128 happened when the level rose above 4 ft. and ended when it reached 5 ft. and broke through the sand bar, allowing the floodwater to drain out on Saturday 12/10.

The NWS Navarro gage forecast now shows a modest rise forecast for Monday, but doesn't yet forecast the rest of next week.

Here's a link to the Weather Underground 10-day forecast for my location. It shows a daily rain forecast in numbers just below the cloud graphic for the day. Currently it predicts 2.0" rain on Monday, 1.12" Tuesday, and about 0.5" per day Wednesday through Saturday.

If the forecast is right, it will provide a wet ending for 2022, and maybe it will flush away all the leftover crud.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Cool Yule, Kwazy Kwanzaa and Solid Solstice to all.

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by Mike Geniella

Noted San Francisco architects and engineers who specialize in recycling historic buildings into new uses are pouring over restoration plans for Ukiah’s storied Palace Hotel.

Exploring the rooftop of Ukiah’s Palace Hotel are members of an architectural preservation team from Page & Turnbull in San Francisco: Clare Flynn, Elisa Skaggs, and Carolyn Kiernat. (Photo provided by Minal Shankar)

They are climbing onto the rooftop to see spectacular views of the Ukiah Valley and descending into dark corners where few people have been in recent years. Laser scans are being used to determine how it all works. In short, a team of historic preservation experts are probing the past, and contemplating possibilities for the future.

In January, this team expects to launch a preliminary review and permitting process to rehabilitate the venerable Palace with Ukiah city officials and the state Historic Preservation Office. The goal is for construction to begin in 2024.

It is the most significant effort in 50 years to rescue the dilapidated Palace.

New owner Minal Shankar said in an interview this week she believes “the moment” has arrived for the Palace.

“I am prepared to take this on, and so are the preservation and design experts working with me,” said Shankar.

The Palace is actually a collection of three brick and concrete structures constructed between 1891 and 1929. The original brick portion of the Palace is located on the northwest corner of State and Smith streets.

Palace Hotel, Ukiah, CA, 1915

Shankar said she is investing in a year-long effort to complete a workable plan and win regulatory approval from local, state, and federal agencies. The approvals are needed to secure historic preservation tax credits to help underwrite costs of reviving the forlorn Palace into a vibrant visitor and retail center.

“This is a very special project, difficult, and complicated but one that can be done based on our preliminary engineering, architectural and design assessments,” said Shankar.

Shankar said the team she has assembled is top rated, experienced, and convinced of the Palace possibilities.

The lead architect on the Palace project is Tommy Haddock, co-founder with Alex Spatzier of ALTO Architecture in San Francisco. Haddock holds a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University, and he is an adjunct studio lecturer at the University of California Berkeley.

Carolyn Kiernat, a 25 year principal with Page & Turnbull in San Francisco, is the historic preservation architect collaborating with Haddock on the Palace project. Page & Turnbull has a long list of restoration credentials including the Ferry Building in SF, the Leland Stanford Mansion in Sacramento, the Carson Block building in Eureka, and most recently the Hotel Tioga in Merced, a landmark downtown building on the scale of the Palace.

Shankar said she and the team are currently vetting structural engineering firms and general contractors in hopes of beginning construction on the Palace in 2024.

“I think people are going to be really impressed with the caliber of this team, currently and as it grows,” said Shankar.

Shankar is a successful online financier who is a newcomer to the Ukiah Valley. In 2020, she bought a home overlooking Lake Mendocino after a random search across Northern California so she could be close to her parents in San Francisco and continue her professional career working remotely. 

Shankar is an engaging 30-something success story in the online banking world, a global citizen born in India, educated in the U.S., and introduced into the world of money management by her financier father. By the time she arrived in Mendocino County, Shankar had already made her professional mark in online banking services in Canada, and as a financial analyst for firms in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. 

In 2021 Shankar was honored by the Canadian Lenders Association for being a woman “Leader in Lending” for her role in founding and becoming CEO of Easly, a Toronto-based firm that in a few short years secured $77 million in research and development funding for startups.

Shankar is a graduate of Harvey Mudd College at Claremont, one of the nation’s premier engineering, science, and mathematics universities, and the prestigious Stern School of Business at New York University.

Shankar, after months of toying with the idea of using historic preservation tax credits to renovate the Palace, decided last April to enter into escrow to buy the Ukiah landmark, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

“I’m so grateful that someone had that foresight because it’s what is making this project possible now,” said Shankar. 

Shankar said besides collaborating with the architects and engineers to restore what is essentially three buildings that make up the Palace, she also is searching for partners for a planned boutique hotel operation.

“This is such a special building, I want to make sure its uniqueness is preserved, and it doesn’t turn into a generic hotel you could stay at just about anywhere,” she said.

Entrepreneur Minal Shankar in an old stairwell at the Palace Hotel, a landmark she has purchased and plans to renovate. (Photo provided by Minal Shankar)

Historically, the Palace is a 60,000 square foot structure that had 90 rooms plus a bar, restaurant, ballroom, barbershop and a few retail stores.

A successful similar restoration effort of the Hotel Tioga in Merced, overseen by Page & Turnbull, cost in the range of $15 million, according to city officials there.

Lead architect Haddock said he and partner Alex Spatzier spent the past summer doing due diligence, feasibility, and conceptual designs for the Palace project.

“We have had numerous on-site visits, and we have brought in engineers and laser equipment to assess in detail the condition of the Palace, and how we can restore it seismically during a renovation process,” said Haddock.

One of the first things done this past summer was a series of Locus Laser Scans to produce a 3D scan of the entire Palace Hotel building so the team of preservation architects, designers, and engineers “could better understand the layers of history and how each of the Palace’s distinct structural systems work together.”

With what they have learned so far, preservation architect Kiernat agrees it will be ‘full steam ahead’ in the New Year to plan the Palace’s revitalization. 

In January, Keirnat, Haddock and other team members will present their first draft of restoration plans for the Palace to the state Historic Preservation Office. It is an important first step in an expected year-long effort to win regulatory approval from local, state, and federal.

“Our hopes are high. We believe we can transform the Palace from its current state into a viable commercial business center,” said Shankar.

In the 1970s the Palace enjoyed a brief revival after restaurateur Pat Kuleto, who later went onto fame in SF, and crew did a cosmetic overhaul. It was short lived, and the Palace was eventually shuttered. A Marin County real estate investor bought it at a foreclosure auction but failed in her bid over the years to repair and restore the Palace to viable use.

The Palace has languished ever since, becoming a community eyesore and center of a debate among civic and business leaders about its fate.

It is the Palace’s original corner brick structure that is structurally on the edge. Even Shankar has acknowledged that portion is one step away from being too far gone.

Yet after a year of fact finding, inspections, engineering consultations, and design work, Shankar and her project team say they have determined the landmark can be rescued by literally building a block inside the walls.

They believe the Palace can be transformed into a viable boutique hotel, and a street-level retail complex housing specialty shops, a bar and restaurant, and other public areas including a glass covered courtyard that is currently hidden.

“We are very excited about revitalizing the Palace as a place that serves both visitors and the local community alike,” said architect Haddock. 

Haddock said the Palace needs new life, and not a return to some wispy notion of its grand but faded past.

“There’s an important balance to strike between keeping the core elements of the Palace as a hotel and town center while allowing it to evolve to meet the contemporary needs of the community of Ukiah and visitors alike.”

Architect Kiernat said she is seeing the Palace even in its current dilapidated condition as a “really special project.”

Kiernat cited the Hotel Tioga project in Merced, where once the local community realized what was going to happen ‘got behind the project in full force.”

“These kind of projects have the power to transform downtowns,” said Kiernat. 

Ukiah’s recently completed a $7 million streetscape and infrastructure improvement project in the downtown area, and an increasingly vibrant restaurant and small retail shop scene helps.

“This is the moment for the Palace. I believe Minal Shankar is the kind of person needed to galvanize what is needed. It is expensive. It takes time. But it can happen,” said Kiernat.

Shannon Riley, Ukiah’s assistant city manager, said the city feels ‘incredibly fortunate that there is a buyer who appreciates and wants to honor the significance of the Palace’s history to the community.”

The Palace is so much more than just a hotel to many residents, said Riley.

“It’s the place where grandparents got engaged, or their uncle had his first job, the after-work gathering place, stories of Black Bart, and a million other things,” said Riley.

Riley said a rejuvenated Palace “will be where the city’s past and future merge.”

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THE MILL AT NAVARRO BY THE SEA, 1880s (internet find via Marshall Newman)

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The Willits City Council and former Willits Police Chief Alexis Blaylock entered into a settlement agreement, effective December 21, 2022, for the dismissal of Ms. Blaylock’s lawsuit against the City in which she alleged that she suffered damages from racial and gender discrimination in her brief employment with the City. While the City disputes those allegations, the Council determined that the settlement, which avoids a potentially lengthy, uncertain and expensive jury trial is in the best interest of the community of Willits.

Under the terms of the agreement Ms. Blaylock releases all of her claims in consideration for the settlement and dismissal of the lawsuit…the City’s insurer will pay to Ms. Blaylock the sum of $250,000.

The Council met in closed session on December 14 and by unanimous vote “conditionally” approved the proposed settlement agreement that had been presented by Ms. Blaylock’s counsel. The approval was conditional because, under the terms of the agreement, Ms. Blaylock retained the right to reconsider her agreement and to withdraw her approval for a seven-day period following her signing, That period expired today resulting in the removal of the condition to the Council’s acceptance. The agreement is now fully executed effective today.

The entire settlement proceeds will be paid by the City’s insurer. As is the City’s practice involving personnel matters, no further comments will be made.

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MIKE GENIELLA: Whatever the facts are this is the THIRD police misconduct case put on DA Dave's desk. Several weeks ago.

"There are so many times that I wanted to kill myself rather than be afraid to walk out my door and get in my vehicle because he might be on duty, and he might want what he wanted. He's a monster."

— Lorna Allen, Derek Hendry's accuser

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The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether human remains found in Laytonville belong to a missing man, authorities announced Thursday.

The 58-year-old man, who lived in a van with his girlfriend in Laytonville, was reported missing on Dec. 11 after he left to walk into town and didn’t return after two to three days. Sheriff’s deputies searched for the man and came up empty, according to a news release by the Sheriff’s Office.

The county’s Search and Rescue Team was brought in on Wednesday and searched the vicinity of where the van had been parked in the 46000 block of Fox Rock Road in Laytonville. It recovered a human leg bone.

Later the property owner discovered more human remains believed to be associated with the leg bone, according to sheriff’s Capt. Gregory Van Patten. No specifics about them were released.

Further search operations are planned in the near future, he said.

The remains will require DNA analysis to determine whose they might be because of their condition, Van Patten said. The cause and manner of death is under investigation.

The missing person’s identity is not being released because of the possible connection to the recovery of the unidentified remains, he said.

(Press Democrat)

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GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: Earthquakes happen in California every week. Download the MyShake App to get early warnings before a major event happens.

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ANDERSON VALLEY, EYES ONLY: Quite a spectacular Christmas light show at the south end of Boonville (SoBo to locals). Load up the kids after dark and drive them on by this memorable display. Also check out the window at Rossi Hardware, an annual delight, and be sure to motor on down to the Deepend where Dave Evans and crew have again outdone themselves in Yuletide visuals.

GRIZZLED OLD TIMER at the counter, Philo Post Office, to female Asian fill-in clerk: "I wanna pick up a package." She says, "Box numbah?" He says, "Boffle nob?" She repeats, louder, "BOX NUMBAH!" He says, "Oh," and gives up the number.

AFTER A LONG DAY sending our faint daily squeeks up into the ether's media maelstroms, The Major and I are winding down with a 20-20 crime show when The Maj, a panicked look on his face, suddenly blurts, "My pulse is irregular." I reply, "Hell, my whole body's irregular, the way of all flesh and all that." But he's not joking. I call 911 where I'm transferred to "medical." Medical says she's dispatching Boonville's emergency crew as I explain my colleague's symptoms. In minutes there are 18 uniformed medical people on-site, a bunch of them, led by The Baroness — Antoinette von Grone — always a reassuring presence, are crowded into our cluttered living room surrounding The Major, who does indeed look "peek-ed," as my grandmother used to describe people who looked unwell. The Baroness correctly determines that The Major's condition, while worrisome, does not require a trip over the hill in the Boonville Ambulance, but he does need to be checked out pronto. I, also a person of advanced years whose night vision is seriously impaired, grandly volunteer to drive the emergency to the Adventists, a daylight drive that ordinarily takes forty minutes but on a dark night with tule fog reducing visibility to a few feet, we feel our way east for fifty minutes where, well, the patient can better describe what occurred amid the medical professionals.…

RURAL LIVING, a reader writes: I once ran into/over a 200lb +- pig on hwy128 in the middle of the night. Could not have been a minute past 4 am. Traveling with my family, headed home in our converted bus/rv. We were on the final leg of the trip and admittedly tired. Out of nowhere this massive creature dove into the road right underneath the rig! All of us, fully alert now had the same thought simultaneously… “was that a giant pig?!!!” Pork for dinner!! Followed by “can we keep driving this thing home?” But just as we pulled ourselves out of road weary fatigue alas another vehicle was coming in the opposite direction. The many, many brake light flashings seen through my rear view mirror indicated it was too shocking a scene to return to and explain ourselves. So in proper mendo-outlaw fashion I punched it! We still wonder to this day if that was the best meat we’ve never tasted.

YOUR BASIC DELICIOUS IRONY, historical division: The FBI, founded to hound the left, and faithfully hounded the left for decades under the old blackmailing cross-dresser, Hoover, is now the darling of the libs because the Hoovers are now hounding the right. The FBI handed nearly $3.5 million of taxpayers money to Twitter to get the social media giant to continue to do its bidding. In an email from February 2021, an unnamed Twitter employee estimated that the company's Safety, Content & Law Enforcement had 'collected $3,415,323' in less than two years from the FBI for 'law-enforcement related projects.' The staffer was emailing then-general counsel Sean Edgett and then-deputy general counsel Jim Baker in the damning message. The subject of the email read: 'Run the business - We made money!' It was Baker, a former FBI lawyer, who met with the feds to discuss suppressing and discrediting the Hunter Biden laptop story, a month before the bombshell New York Post article was published, despite the agency knowing the truth and legitimacy of the reporting. When Baker wanted the story squashed after it was published, Twitter's 'safety moderator,' Yoel Roth, said that he wasn't sure if the story violated any of the company's policies: 'This feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation.' An investigation into Twitter's behavior around the 2020 presidential election by the incoming Republican majority in the house has been promised with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy telling Fox News this week: 'This is going to be a much bigger situation than people realize.'

A READER WRITES: "Sometimes Bruce I wish it were our last year. The daily decline of civilization continues to accelerate coupled with decaying morality, and the erosion of foundational institutions that used to define society and governing. I guess those are all the signs of the coming fall of civilization. Actually, I'm still an optimist although I have to remind myself of that when I wake up everyday. Christmas is for kids, and for adults it's the opportunity to show appreciation to and for the good people in your life. Merry Christmas and the most prosperous New Year ever."

THE YOUNG ONES will be stepping into chaos, certainly, and it's painful to see and know so many people scared, barely getting by if they're doing that well, anxious all their waking hours, and saddest of all is most of us knowing in our bones that there is no improvement in sight. I look at these giggling fools claiming to be representing US, and only feel more despairing.

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by Lavender Grace Cinnamon

Thanksgiving Coffee has seen many changes over the past 50 years. The invention of the internet has been a big change that opened an entirely new territory where images are key to communicating with our customers, like you.

Since the first image was posted to the internet, approximately 54,400 images are now uploaded per second, or 4.7 billion per day. Thirty years later 91% of the world’s population has instantaneous access to approximately 750 billion images through their cell phones.

The “Upside-down Man” came just before the digital expansion. In the early ’90s, the North Bay artist Chris Blum was asked to make a new poster for our business. Long before the internet, Chris Blum developed his unique artistic style by devouring images from hundreds of magazines and newspapers. Chris believes “pop culture to be one of the best decoders of the cultural values of the times”.

As art director for the project Chris Blum brought in one of America’s most recognized illustrators and graphic artist Michael Schwab. Schwab’s art focuses on the interplay of positive and negative space to create strong and simple, yet always contemporary images. The resulting collaboration between Blum and Schwab is our iconic Upside - down Man, a timeless image with a message of who our company is.

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ART WITH JULIE — Youth Art Classes
Beginning in early January — Scholarships are Available

More information & activity schedules:

Each six-week session is packed with exciting art projects specifically designed for children in four different age groups: 2 to 4*, 6 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 to 15.

Each week we will focus on a different discipline, medium or technique, in a nurturing and positive environment. Students will create a different work of art each week. All activities are open-ended, and designed to encourage children to develop their individual creative imaginations and intellect. Each session promises to be an exciting artistic experience like no other! All supplies included.

For more information on scholarships, please email

* If you have a 5-year-old you would like to enroll, please contact the instructor, Julie Karlonas (, to determine the most age appropriate class for your child.

— Mendocino Art Center

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SAWYERS BAR is a very old camp, established in 1850 in the remote Salmon River District of the Klamath Mountains. The town was named after Dan Sawyer, a local miner during the 1850s. A post office was established in 1858. Sawyers Bar had seven saloons, three hotels, and three stores during its early days.… (

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COAST DEMOCRATS: Let's Celebrate Together!

When: Sunday, January 8
Where: Caspar Community Center
Time: 2 to 4 pm

Our Club Members Elected in 2022
Supervisor 5th District - Ted Williams
Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools - Nicole Gentzler
Healthcare District Board - Lee Finney, Susan Savage, Jade Tippett
Fort Bragg City Council - Jason Godeke, Lindy Peters, Tess Albin Smith

Discuss the Midterms: Celebrate The Work We Did

Prepare a 2023 Club Working Agenda on Issues of Concern: Housing, Health Care, Living Wage, Local Coastal Plan Update and more!

There's Work to Be Done: Join us!

Refreshments hosted by the Club Leadership Team.
Please RSVP:

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, December 22, 2022

Brown, Dawson, McGee, Nagy

GERALD ROBERT BROWN JR, Vallejo. Vehicle theft w prior.

RENEE ALETIA DAWSON, Ukiah. DUI alcohol/0.08 percent.

MICHAEL CHARLES MCGEE, Ukiah. Failure to appear on felony charge.

JASON GREER NAGY JR, Antioch. Probation revoked-misdemeanor.

Orr, Williams, Wood

ANTHONY RICHARD ORR, Antioch. Failure to appear on misdemeanor charge.

LEWIS CORBET WILLIAMS, Albion. Disorderly conduct: alcohol; contempt of court: disobey court order/etc; resist, delays or obstructs any public officer, peace officer or emergency medical technician.

KYLEE MICHELLE WOOD, Willits. Probation revoked-felony.

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I’m unpleasantly surprised to see how KMUD has changed, particularly how the feature “All Sides Now” is being run. Yes change is constant but when something has changed for the worse it should be noted, check to see if anyone cares and try to do something about it, or just figure c’est la vie and move on.

It used to be if you wanted to get your opinion or announcement out on the air you called in (932-5276) and recorded it, or came into the station to record it in the studio, and the message would go out to the community after the evening news at 6:30, or at the latest the next day. Everyone was free to say whatever they wanted except for the seven deadly words (shit fuck piss cunt cocksucker motherfucker and tits) that the FCC banned after George Carlin did his thing on WBAI. (The other rules are don’t mention another community member by name and keep it to two minutes or less.)

Now when you call in and record your opinion they may or may not air it and if they don’t, they refuse to tell you why, and if they do air it, it may be in a few days or a week. If the news runs over with extra fire, weather, or covid updates, they won’t play it just after the news, as it had been for decades.

They will not air your opinion if they deem it “inappropriate,” and what does that mean? Whatever they want it to mean. If they don’t like you, your opinion, or how you express it they won’t air it. I find this odd because there is a lot of free speech on regular programming and with the call-ins on the talk shows, yet this feature, All Sides Now (ASN), is brutally censored, ie, KMUD doesn’t respect its listeners, members, or the community, in this instance.

(ASN started in 1989 when there was a fight after a Too Short concert at the Mateel in the liquor store parking lot, rumors and gossip about what happened flourished, and the spot was created to let people talk about that and other issues.)

I’d like to see ASN respected as the most important two minutes on KMUD, and become once again the coolest feature at the station, a place where everyone can express themselves without having one unqualified guy deciding what is “appropriate” for everyone to hear. Believe me, we love to hear what our neighbors have to say in this format and don’t need a gatekeeper protecting us from, umm, what? Having to decide for ourselves if we agree or disagree with our neighbors’ opinions?

I’d like to see ASN return to being a shining jewel of free speech, allowing all voices to be heard, and airing right after the news every night. Is this too much to ask?

I understand that censorship is perfectly legal (because the “Fairness Doctrine” was repealed in the late eighties), KMUD can silence and ban whomever they want for any reason and they don’t have to say why, but I just don’t think it’s a good look for our local station. (For example that irrepressible and talented force of nature, the advocacy journalist and investigative reporter Nikki Norris has been cancelled and not allowed to have a show, and why is this? Limited First Amendment rights for a badass like her? It’s been a year now — is she banned forever? She is tenacious, staff and management is adamant, and it’s probably a lack of clear communication and mutual respect, as in most disputes, which keeps this stalemate unresolved.)

KMUD shouldn’t be afraid of airing dissenting opinions, contrasted to this site, Redheaded Black Belt, which is an example of robust free speech where no voices are silenced, even ones Kym disagrees with. (A staff member at the station recently told me emphatically that “KMUD is notfree speech radio,” which was shocking to hear.)

I’d like to see All Sides Now blossom again and return to be the free-for-all which the founders created. One reason management and staff have been able to get away with this unimaginative policy of neglect is that there seem to be few people who actually want to express themselves on ASN. It would be nice if there were a revival of interest and people were actually encouraged to give their opinions, and tell their stories, instead of being discouraged by the “appropriate police” in charge of what we’re allowed to say.

In conclusion my observation about how the station has changed is that before there wasn’t much difference in the community and KMUD, it merged together. Now a layer of bureaucracy seems to exist which is intent on exercising their power to silence voices they don’t agree with. Is it possible to change it back to a radio station which encourages more freedom of speech instead of discouraging it? (How?)

Does anyone know why or when KMUD became this tightly controlled “community organization” which would rather say no than yes?

— Paul Modic

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CHRIS SKYHAWK: Well, one of my childhood heroes has passed - guess I must be getting old…Franco Harris - I was a HUGE fan as a boy - I would often hold a football in my bedroom and pretend to be  Franco gloriously running for touchdowns, and smashing through would-be tacklers - I remember the Immaculate Reception (1972) I was at my pal Mike McGarrity’s house when Franco snatched that deflected ball out of the air and scored the touchdown that launched a 1970’s dynasty And Franco’s Italian Army; being 1/2 Italian I was intrigued by the biracial man - well everyone dies even our heroes.

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Seizures made related to "ghost gun" manufacturing investigation:

On December 21, 2022, Detectives from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, along with agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), served a search warrant at a residence located in Hidden Valley Lake, within the County of Lake. The search warrant was part of an ongoing investigation into criminal activity involving the importing, manufacturing, distribution, and purchasing of unlawful firearm components.

A large quantity of firearm components were located at the residence, along with equipment indicating Justin Spillers, 35, was actively manufacturing non-serialized handguns and assault rifles, or “ghost guns”. Additionally, Spillers purchased and imported “Glock switches”. These particular firearm components are prohibited in the U.S. and the State of California, pursuant to California Penal Code 32625, as they convert a handgun to a fully automatic firearm or “machinegun”.

An assault weapon lower receiver was also located at the residence, which was being manufactured and assembled unlawfully. There was also evidence recovered indicating Spillers was manufacturing suppressors (aka silencers) for the firearms.

It was determined that Spillers had the capability to not only assemble unlawful firearms but also had the ability to design and manufacture completed firearms, as the necessary materials and tools were located at the residence.

Large capacity magazines were also located inside the residence, and evidence indicated they were also being assembled through parts shipped to that address. These large capacity magazines were capable of holding an excess of thirty (30) cartridges of live ammunition.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is committed to keeping our community safe and keeping non-serialized or “ghost guns” off our community’s streets and out of the hands of criminals. In 2022, the California Department of Justice awarded the Lake County Sheriff’s Office with a grant to fund a position dedicated to the Gun Violence Reduction Program. This case is a representation of the work being done within Lake County utilizing the grant.

Justin Spillers wasn’t present during the service of the search warrant and has yet to be contacted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone with information about this investigation, or other individuals manufacturing firearms, is urged to contact Detective Nate Newton at 707-262-4236 or

This case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review.

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by Esther Mobley

It’s that time of year when many people want to make mulled wine, a beverage that I’ve always felt ambivalent about. 

The best thing about mulled wine, hands down, is the smell. Cloves, cinnamon, anise, citrus — those steamy aromas wafting off the stove are better than any seasonal-theme scented candle you could buy. The sensory symphony is even better if you’ve got a Christmas tree nearby, another smell I adore.

So the lead-in is great. But every time I actually get to the point of drinking mulled wine, it feels like a letdown. By the time it’s been sweetened, flavored, heated and fortified with brandy, the wine itself no longer tastes like good wine (if it was even good wine to start with, which it usually isn’t). It ends up expressing traits that I go out of my way to avoid in wines: It tastes jammy, baked and boozy.

As someone who has preached the virtues of serving all red wines slightly chilled, I am always reminded, upon first sip, that I don’t really like hot wine.

Mulled wine is not very different from sangria, which also calls for brandy, sweetener and various flavor enhancements (where mulled wine calls for spices, sangria typically calls for fruit). I’m not that interested in sangria, either, but I’d still take it over mulled wine, even in December.

But! I know many of you feel differently about mulled wine, and I hope you won’t let my curmudgeonly ways influence your holiday drinking. So for those of you who plan to embark on a hot-wine journey this Christmas weekend, allow me to offer a few pointers, for whatever that’s worth.

  • Use cheap wine. Don’t break out a special bottle for this. Cooking the wine will change it: Some of the alcohol blows off (hence the need for added brandy), the wine may taste more acidic (hence the need for added sugar) and any of its delicate, nuanced aromas will become largely undetectable. Leftover wine, boxed wine, $6 wine — that’s all fine here.
  • But if you’re putting some thought into it, opt for a fuller-bodied, lower-tannin red. Mulled wine is not a delicate beverage, so I wouldn’t choose a delicate wine like Pinot Noir or Gamay as the base. At the same time, I would steer clear of wines with lots of grippy, astringent tannins, like Nebbiolo or Cabernet Sauvignon. To my mind, the ideal mulled wine candidate is a lower-tannin, full-bodied, fruity red like Zinfandel or Grenache.
  • Off-dry wines are fine. You’re going to be adding some sort of sweetener to it anyway — whether in the form of sugar, honey, simple syrup or maple syrup — so don’t stress out if you’re throwing a slightly sweet red blend into the pot, which to be honest you’re likely to end up with if you’re spending $6 on this bottle.  
  • Consider making it … cold. Take a cue from the drinks writer Rebekah Peppler and shake up a cocktail that mimics the flavors of mulled wine, but in a refreshing, chilled coupe glass. Her recipe, published in the New York Times, calls for brandy and sweet vermouth to strengthen the red wine, plus she’ll have you making a spiced simple syrup that’s versatile enough to use in other applications. 


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Night Scene in Nob Hill by Fred Lyon

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Press release from the Office of Congressman Huffman:

Today, Rep. Jared Huffman’s (D-San Rafael) legislation The Katimiîn and Ameekyáaraam Sacred Lands Act passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives and is on its way to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. The legislation will place federal lands located in Humboldt and Siskiyou counties in California into trust for the Karuk Tribe.

“Today, we can finally correct a historic injustice and return sacred land to its rightful owners, the Karuk Tribe. Thanks to the partnership of Senator Padilla and the Karuk’s tireless work, our Sacred Lands Act will now become law. These lands, known as Katimiîn and Ameekyáaraam, are not only majestic, they are central to Karuk history, religion, traditions, and identity. Placing them in trust ensures that the Karuk culture and way of life can endure for future generations,” Rep. Jared Huffman said.

“For Karuk people, the lands covered by our bill represent the center of the world, which is why they deserve unrestricted access to these ancestral sites in order to practice their religion and preserve their customs for future generations,” said Senator Padilla. “Restoring these lands to the stewardship of the Karuk Tribe is a long overdue moral imperative, and I look forward to the President singing our bill into law.”

“It means the world to have our most sacred sites returned to us. The Karuk Tribe appreciates the hard work of Congressman Huffman, Senators Padilla and Feinstein, and their teams. This accomplishment is great for the Karuk People and all of Indian Country,” said Karuk Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebery.


For Karuk people, the land identified in this legislation is the center of the world. The historical village and ceremonial site of Katimiîn is the location of a final series of annual Pik-ya-vish world renewal ceremonies. Pik-ya-vish translates as “to fix it,” how Karuk people approach their responsibility to keeping these places in balance with their cultural and spiritual values. Ameekyáaraam, just down river from Katimiîn, is the site of Jump Dance and First Salmon Ceremony – both vital components of world renewal ceremonies and for pre-contact inter-tribal coordination of fish harvest up and down the river to ensure long-term sustainability of salmon runs. These ceremonies were also ways to keep the world in balance between individuals and families. This area is essential to inter-generational teaching and learning needed to ensure future generations of Karuk people know and understand Karuk culture and customs.

Currently the tribe has a Special Use Permit with the United States Forest Service (USFS) that allows access to the grounds for ceremony. This access is not guaranteed and in some years the tribe is interrupted by public intrusions during private and sacred components of the world renewal ceremonies. Only USFS lands will transfer to the tribe; all private lands, allotments and existing rights associated with those will be excluded.

A copy of the legislation can be found here. A map of the Katimiîn area can be found here.

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Lighthouse (1880) by Henry Farrer

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Any doubt of President Putin's and the Russian military's responsibility for the heinous way in which its war in and with Ukraine is being conducted? Today is the three hundredth day since Russia invaded its sovereign independent neighbor Ukraine (Feb. 24, 2022). While each side in this first large scale European war since the end of WWII in Europe (May 7, 1945) each side has lost an estimated 100,000 killed or wounded combatants on the battlefield. This is where equal comparisons end.

When he was forced to leave his vehicle in May during the battle of Kharkiv, Fedon, age 22, nearly died when he stepped on a Russian landmine. His shattered legs and the bleeding might have ended his life. He used two tourniquets he applied himself. Taken off the battlefield by Ukrainian medics quickly evacuated him to Landstuhl, the US base in Germany. After surgery he went into recovery in Maryland where he recently is using new carbon-fiber devices to walk. Probably to run again. He is determined to return to a Ukrainian Army unit the war against Russia is won. ("Washington Post," Dec. 15, 2022).

— Frank H. Baumgardner, III, Santa Rosa

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I think Zelensky wearing the sweats is in order to get folks to emulate him. He looks like he’s wearing prison garb. Kinda goes along with our prison mentality. Prison-looking schools, prison-looking stores, prison-looking churches, prison-looking hospitals. 

Why not just dress the part as well? We’ve seen where personal pride in dressing has gone in the past few decades: Down the drain. Sure it’s one thing to be dressed that way doing manual labor, chores, etc. but getting on a plane or going on vacation? Really? Have some pride in yourselves, people: Stop dressing like you’re in prison (even if we are).

* * *

* * *


A Russian official has warned Moscow may cut oil output next year in response to price caps on its crude and oil products introduced by the EU and G7.

President Volodymyr returns to his office after a trip to the US, his first overseas venture since the war began.

Shelling of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has “almost stopped”, a Russian-installed official in the region says.

Russia to expand army as war drags on

Russia has this week announced plans to form 17 new divisions and a new army corps as it continues to wage a relentless battle for Ukraine’s eastern territories in the 43rd week of its war. Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu unveiled plans on Monday to expand the army from 1.15 million to 1.5 million, citing the imminent expansion of NATO to include Finland and Sweden.

Russia has made progress towards ‘demilitarising’ Ukraine: Kremlin

The Kremlin says Russia has made significant progress towards “demilitarising” Ukraine, one of the goals President Vladimir Putin declared when he launched his war more than 10 months ago. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov offered the assessment of Russia’s military progress when asked during a news briefing about comments by Putin, who on Thursday said that Ukraine’s defence potential was close to zero. “It can be stated that there is significant progress towards demilitarisation,” Peskov replied.

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The Boar by Rosa Bonheur

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At this very moment Congress is rushing through a 2023 budget bill that will send Ukraine another $50 billion for war against Russia. That will bring the total to more than $100 billion this year, more than the entire US Federal Government's spending on housing assistance, labor, science, the environment, and transportation. 

We have had it with these damn wars blowing up the cost of food and gas, burning American resources, killing people abroad, and being used to take our civil liberties. For decades democracy in this country has been a sham. We all know that this country is actually ruled by a military-industrial deep state. They murdered JFK when he tried to disband the CIA. Now with the rise of China and the BRICS nations, the neocons at the Pentagon have brought us to the edge of a nuclear WW3 in Ukraine in their insane quest to maintain US hegemony at all costs.

That's why on February 19, the anniversary of the war in Ukraine, we are partnering with the Libertarian Party and uniting people across left and right to Rage Against the War Machine! Join us for an anti-war rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. We'll be joined by veterans, speakers, rock bands, comedians, and more. Jimmy Dore, Medea Benjamin, Scott Horton, Garland Nixon, and many others will be there. 

We will demand that not one more penny go towards war in Ukraine and that the US negotiate peace. We will also demand the abolition of NATO, the CIA, war, and empire entirely. After the rally we will march to the White House to deliver our demands to Warmonger in Chief Joe Biden. 

Every week now there is some new shocking provocation against Russia, some of which were unthinkable even during the Cold War. The Ukrainian missile that hit Poland nearly triggered NATO's Article Five. Ukraine bombed Russian nuclear airbases and got US permission to keep attacking mainland Russia. The US is surfacing nuclear subs to menace Russia.

This is why even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says we need to negotiate an end to this war. It's why NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he fears that we are heading for a direct war with Russia -- right before saying that the solution is to escalate faster and harder. And it's why you need to join us at the Lincoln Memorial to Rage Against the War Machine.

— Nick Brana, National Chair, People’s Party

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  1. Marmon December 23, 2022

    “The FBI used Twitter and Facebook to bludgeon the 2020 Election to Biden. Nothing Negative could be said about him, especially as it related to Hunter’s Laptop From Hell, and ONLY Negative could be said about me. They were illegally after “Trump” at a level of ferocity, hate and yes, desperation, that has never been seen in our Country before. Other Media companies were involved also. The change in the Election was Complete & Total, with Millions of votes switched, at least 17%. TRUMP WON, BIG!”

    -Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump


    • Marmon December 23, 2022


      The scariest thing about living in America right now is the sheer number of people who won’t believe anything unless ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or MSNBC tells them to believe it


      • Chuck Dunbar December 23, 2022

        Add the AVA to that list. Rant on, James, and Merry Christmas to you.

      • Harvey Reading December 23, 2022

        One of the scarier, perhaps scariest, things about living in the US right now is the sheer number of people who truly believe anything the orange hog says.

        • Marmon December 23, 2022

          Spoken by a man who only accepts news from the Communist news outlet Counterpunch. Open your mind Harv. The truth shall set you free.


          • Bruce Anderson December 23, 2022

            Counterpunch is not a communist “news outlet,” which I happen to know for a slam dunk fact because I know the principals. Thank you.

          • Harvey Reading December 24, 2022

            You forgot to mention Consortium News and Common Dreams, along with Ms. Johnstone. You wouldn’t know a commie if he came up and kissed you on the lips!

        • Stephen Rosenthal December 23, 2022

          Second that.

    • Michael Geniella December 23, 2022

      Hope the Major is back on his feet, because with him down you and the AVA are in deep trouble. Best.

      • Chuck Wilcher December 23, 2022

        Second that. I hope the Major’s health has been restored and he’s in happy spirits.

      • Marshall Newman December 23, 2022

        Best wishes to the Maj for a speedy and full recovery.

  2. Kirk Vodopals December 23, 2022

    All these old-timers waxing on drearily about how civilization has gone to hell in a handbasket… I wonder if they ever ponder the fact that they raised these beasts who are now running our world (or milking it for all its worth).
    This then makes me think about Native American societies that dealt with this issue in a way that we will never fathom: if you killed a man in war you were responsible for his kin. On the flip side, apparently, some families would take out some of their own kin if they were causing too much trouble for society.
    Merry Christmas Everyone!

  3. Steve Heilig December 23, 2022

    “Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity pushed the idea on air that Trump had won the 2020 election even though, as he said under oath, “I did not believe it for one second.”
    -Heather Cox Richardson, historian, on Trump suckering his own supporters as always. (Send money! Happy Holidays!)

  4. Lazarus December 23, 2022

    Best wishes to Mr. Mark Scaramella. Candle-lite for a swift return to his normal activities.
    Be well,

  5. Marshall Newman December 23, 2022

    Nice to see a Fred Lyon photograph. He passed away on August 22, 2022 at age 97, but his photographs will endure.

  6. Craig Stehr December 23, 2022

    ~The Tantric Solution to the Global Quagmire of Samsara~
    The way is the path of Tantrism. This is the way, in response to this earthly civilization’s descent into madness at an accelerating rate, as evidenced by global ecological collapse, economic implosion, the specter of nuclear war, and the insanity of everyday life. You know that this is true! Anybody who can read a newspaper is fully aware of this situation, and you are living in the midst of it. I ask: “What are we to do?”
    I am hereby advocating the performance of tantric rituals for the expressed purpose of destroying the demonic. This, in association and solidarity with practices from other traditions, which are similarly purposed. All are welcome. As previously stated, I am available on the planet earth for spiritually focused direct action, and ask simply: “What are we waiting for?” If bringing in the spiritual mojo interests you, please contact me. Let’s lead a spiritual revolution! This is beyond individual enlightenment, and this is the reason that we are all here. Thank you very much.

    ~Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundaye Vicce~–415175659378415459/

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270
    Snail Mail: P.O. Box 938, Redwood Valley, CA 95470
    da blog:

  7. Chuck Dunbar December 23, 2022

    “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues”

    Marcus King’s got soul–Thanks for this one, AVA.

  8. Stephen Rosenthal December 23, 2022

    Here’s hoping The Major has been pronounced fit and the two of you are safely back at the compound fanning the flames of discontent.

  9. Donald Cruser December 24, 2022

    Here is some recommended reading for the major: “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Dr. Caldwell Esseldtyn. He was Bill Clinton’s doctor and it worked for Bill even after quadruple-bypass surgery. You remember Bill, he was our president who liked to jog down to McDomald’s for a Big Mac grease burger. The principle is a simple one: You go on a no fat diet. We need a certain amount of fat in our diet so when you are not taking in any your body will find it elsewhere. The most readily available seems to be that fat plugging up your arteries. Unplugging the arteries is fundamental since this is the primary cause of high blood pressure and if pieces break off and flow into the small vessels of your heart or brain it can give you a heart attack or stroke. The hard part in going no fat is giving up animal products. That is where most of the saturated fat is found. I have over simplified most of this and I am not a doctor so I would encourage you to go to youtube and search out Dr. Neal Banard who can explain it down to the cellular level. Dr. Banard is the head of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) which is an organization of 12,000 doctors nationwide who are dedicated to preventive medicine. Another doctor who also works for PCRM is Milton Mills who also has some relevant videos on youtube. The most interesting is where he does a detailed comparison of human anatomy to mammal carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores. He will make it clear that we evolved and adapted for well over a million years in equatorial Africa as plant eaters. The best commercial video on heart disease is “Forks over Knives”. It will give you a first hand look at plugged arteries opened up during open heart surgery. Other relavant videos are “What the Health” and “Cowspiracy”. The best advice I can give you is to inform yourself and take responsibility for your health. You do a great job on the AVA and we need you.

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