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PRECIPITATION will begin during the morning commute on the coast and spread to the east by noon in the form of light snow at elevations above 2000 feet. Tuesday will be an even lighter event precipitation wise with an intense system arriving Wednesday through Thursday. This will bring high wind and flooding. (NWS)
TYPICALLY, annual rainfall in our area came during the three winter months of December, January, and February. Roughly, the average precipitation for each of these months would be about 10 inches. December 2022 came through for us, surpassing the ten mark throughout the Anderson Valley.
Monthly figures for the 2022-23 rain season (Oct-Oct):
LAKE MENDOCINO Before And After The Rains (photos by Jim Tuso)
BOONVILLE CELEBRATED, or viewed with alarm, depending on one's world view, the advent of 2023 with sporadic gunfire beginning about 8pm on New Year’s Eve and ceasing about 1am. The gunfire, coming from SoBo and NoBo, i.e., both ends of town, occurred in mostly single shots or short bursts although there was a dramatic burst of rapid fire from what sounded like an automatic weapon. There were also a few loud, echoing booms of some sort, perhaps M-80s which, as most 12-year-old boys can tell you, are larger versions of the super firecrackers called cherry bombs.
ANOTHER QUAKE FOR RIO DELL: A moderate New Year's Day earthquake rattled the region of Northern California where a stronger quake nearly two weeks ago killed two people and left widespread damage. The earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 struck at 10:35 a.m. Sunday about 9 miles southeast of Rio Dell, about 30 miles south of Eureka, in Humboldt County. A dispatcher with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from Sunday's shaker.
Rio Dell was the epicenter of a magnitude-6.4 earthquake on Dec. 20 that killed two people, injured more than a dozen others, shook homes off foundations, damaged water systems and knocked out power to thousands.
According to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office website, “There is no tsunami risk as a result of the earthquake. Community members are advised to be prepared to drop, cover, and hold on in the event of aftershocks.”
Authorities advised that as a precaution CalTrans has closed Highway 211 at Fernbridge Road to conduct safety inspections.
“There is no estimated time when the roadway will be reopened,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
For the latest CalTrans road conditions updates go to quickmap.dot.ca.gov or the CalTrans Quickmap app.
— Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services
AV FIREFIGHTER AWARDS
AVFD had a great holiday dinner a few weeks ago. We celebrated the men and women who commit considerable time and effort to make sure our community has a response on the other end of a 911 phone call.
Our crew nominates and votes to recognize fellow responders every year. For 2022, the results were:
• Nick Rhoades and Jareth Guzman tied for Rookie of the Year.
• Ambulance Operator of the Year: Fred Ehnow.
• Engineer of the Year: Tina Walter, who also bagged the EMS Leadership award.
• Moy Perez is Officer of the Year.
• Mike Zaugg is EMT of the Year.
• Gideon Burdick is Firefighter of the Year.
Thank you all for your dedication.
(AV Fire Chief Andres Avila)
KENYON’S FORT BRAGG DRUG RING
DUI Investigation Leads To Arrest Of Two For Narcotic Sales
On December 31, 2022 at approximately 8:00 AM, a Fort Bragg PD officer witnessed a vehicle fail to stop at two stop signs. After stopping the vehicle in the 300 block of N. Main St. and identifying the driver as Juba Kenyon Jr, 44, of Fort Bragg, the officer suspected he was driving under the influence of a stimulant. Further investigation resulted in the arrest of Kenyon for DUI/Drugs.
While conducting an inventory of the vehicle, officers saw a several packages of suspected methamphetamine. Kenyon also had nearly $1,700 of various denominations in his pocket. The car was towed to FBPD where officers sought search warrants for the vehicle and two addresses Kenyon was known to reside at.
Officers served the first search warrant in the 400 block of South Street. As they were arriving, Nathan Tupper, 28, of Fort Bragg, preparing to leave the residence. He was detained while officers searched the house. Officers located 83.74 grams (2.95 ounces) of suspected methamphetamine, 381 grams (13.4 ounces) of marijuana, 9mm ammunition and narcotics sales paraphernalia. Tupper was subsequently arrested and booked into MCSO jail on the charge of Possession of Narcotics for Sale. His bail was set at $50,000.
Officers then served the search warrant on the vehicle Kenyon was driving. In it they located: 268.8 grams (9.48 ounces) of suspected methamphetamine, 165.44 grams (5.8 ounces) of suspected fentanyl, Suboxone strips, 220 pills of varied prescription medication (not Kenyon’s), a Glock 9mm (ghost gun), ammunition, digital scale, and narcotics packaging paraphernalia.
A third search warrant at another address of Kenyon’s was served and officers found 126 grams of marijuana (4.4 ounces), 7.62mm ammunition, and narcotics paraphernalia.
Chief Neil Cervenka said, “While most Fort Bragg residents were preparing for a night of celebration to bring in the New Year, Fort Bragg police officers were busy making it safer for them. This traffic stop ultimately resulted in the seizure of over ¾ pound of suspected methamphetamine, over 1/3 pound of suspected fentanyl, several prescription pills, a ghost gun and the arrest of two suspected drug dealers.”
Kenyon was booked into MCSO jail on the following charges: possession of narcotic for sale, transportation of narcotics for sale, possession of controlled substance for sale, transportation of controlled substance for sale, prohibited person owning ammunition, possession of firearm and controlled substance, possession of unlawful paraphernalia, possession of marijuana for sale, felon or addict possessing firearm, and possession of switchblade on person). His bail was set at $250,000.
While officers were authoring search warrants, Kenyon’s phone received dozens of messages from people wanting to purchase narcotics. Another search warrant for the phone was issued and that information is pending.
The Fort Bragg Police Department urges those that are dependent on dangerous drugs to seek help. There are many options available locally. If you have difficulty locating one for you or just taking that first step, please contact the FBPD Care Response Unit at (707) 961-2800 ext 107.
Chief Cervenka said, “These dangerous drugs kill people and destroy lives – the lives of those addicted and the lives of their loved ones. We are ready to help you.”
Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact Officer Frank of the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707)961-2800 ext 139.
This information is being released by Chief Neil Cervenka. All media inquiries should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OPUS CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES PRESENTS: Santa Rosa Symphony Chamber Players
3pm Sunday, January 8, at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church
The instrumental combination of flute, viola, and piano creates a rich sonority that Santa Rosa Symphony Chamber Players, Kathleen Reynolds, Alex Volonts, and Kymry Esainko explore fully. Featured composers include Durufle´, Bloch, CPE Bach, and others. Ms. Reynolds is the principal flutist with Symphony of the Redwoods and Santa Rosa Symphony.
Tickets may be purchased in advance at Out of This World in Mendocino, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg or online at Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets may also be purchased At-the-Door.
NOTE: This concert was rescheduled from November 20. Tickets purchased for the November concert may be used at this concert.
symphonyoftheredwoods.org for more info
CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, January 1, 2023
THOMAS AKIN, Ukiah. Pot cultivation, diversion of state waters for pot cultivation, armed with firearm in commission of felony.
RACHEL BARITZ, Framingham, Massachusetts/Ukiah. DUI.
LAURIE BERTOZZI, Redwood Valley. Armed with firearm in commission of felony, conspiracy.
CHRISTOPHER CARTER, Covelo. Concealed dirk-dagger, stolen property, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
BRANDON COOPER, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
JESSE GURROLA, Covelo. Domestic battery.
MARA LAMBOY, Clearlake/Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, criminal threats.
SUSAN PORTER, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, misdemeanor hit&run, vandalism.
SETH SMART, Willits. Criminal threats.
DRINKING & DRIVING
I went to a Christmas/New Years Party last night. I had a few cocktails and a few shots. I had the sense to know that I was over my limit. That's when I decided to do what I have never done before: I took a bus home. I got home safe and sound, no problem. It was amazing. I had never driven a bus before!
13 NEW LAWS FOR CALIFORNIANS IN 2023
by Dustin Gardine & Sophia Bollag
Hundreds of new laws passed by the California Legislature will take effect in the new year, from legalizing jaywalking in many scenarios to a higher minimum wage for more workers. Most of them take effect on Jan. 1. Here are 13 laws coming to California in 2023:
Jaywalking: Pedestrians will no longer be cited for crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, unless they are in immediate danger of being hit. AB2147, by Assembly Member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, prohibits police officers from stopping or citing people for jaywalking “unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger” of a collision with a vehicle or bicyclist.
Minimum wage: California’s $15 minimum wage will expand to nearly all employees, including those working for small businesses. The hourly wage increase applies to employees of businesses with 25 or fewer workers. It’s the final step in a seven-year plan to phase in a statewide $15 minimum wage, which extended to employees of larger businesses in 2022. The minimum wage will rise an additional 50 cents, to $15.50, across the board, including an inflationary adjustment the state added this year. Legislators approved the wage increases with SB3 in 2016, by then-Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. Many cities in the Bay Area have ordinances that require a higher base wage.
Mental illness: By October 2023, San Francisco and six other California counties will begin to implement a new system called Care Court, which seeks to get severely mentally ill people off the streets and into treatment. SB1338 will create a new way for family, community members, probation officers and others to refer people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia into treatment. Under the law, judges will order people to participate in treatment plans and require counties to provide services to them. All counties must begin the program by December 2024.
Housing: Developers looking to build housing in sleepy commercial areas, such as vacant parking lots, strip malls and office parks, will have an option to fast-track their projects. AB2011, by Assembly Member Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, streamlines zoning and permit approvals for housing in many urban areas, as long as about 15% of rental units will be designated affordable. Wicks’ bill also allows developers to hire nonunion workers for the projects as long as they pay such workers prevailing wages and offer health benefits. The bill takes effect July 1.
Abortion: Nurse practitioners will be able to perform first-trimester abortions without a doctor’s supervision under another new law taking effect in 2023. SB1375, by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, is one of about a dozen new laws intended to increase abortion access in California, some of which have already taken effect.
Gunmaker lawsuits: Companies that make or sell illegal firearms in California could face a host of new lawsuits. SB1327, by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys (Los Angeles County), allows private citizens to sue firearm manufacturers and dealers in civil court, with a minimum bounty of at least $10,000, if they sell assault weapons or ghost guns, including precursor parts, in California. The bill’s bounty-hunter provision, using private lawsuits as an enforcement mechanism, is modeled on a restrictive Texas abortion law. A related bill, AB1594 by Ting, will allow California residents, its attorney general and local governments to sue gunmakers and sellers for harm their products causeif they break state law. It mostly takes effect July 1.
Criminal records: Many people with prior convictions or arrests will be able to shield their past from criminal background checks. SB731, by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, will not erase a person’s criminal record but will let people have their record electronically sealed from public view. Previous offenders qualify only if they’ve completed all terms of their court sentence, including any prison or probation time, and kept clear of the justice system. The option won’t be available to people convicted of a serious or violent felony, such as murder, kidnap, rape or any crime that requires a person to register as a sex offender. The law takes effect July 1.
COVID misinformation: Doctors who spread incorrect claims about COVID-19, including about the effectiveness of vaccines and untested treatments for people who get infected, will more easily face discipline. AB2098, by Assembly Member Evan Low, D-San Jose, makes it easier for the Medical Board of California to discipline physicians who spread incorrect claims about COVID-19 by defining such activity as “unprofessional conduct” under state law. The medical board is the state agency charged with licensing and disciplining physicians, and it can suspend a doctor’s license or mandate probation for misconduct. Two anti-vaccine doctors, backed by conservative activists and the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union, are already challenging the law in court.
ED NOTE: Now just a minute there, George. Sunday's Niner game, the best of the season IMO, filled the horizon of my mind for about 4 hours and twenty minutes, after which it returned to its usual dimensions — dinner and next week's Niner's game.
NOT HOW ANYONE EXPECTED, BUT 49ERS PULL OFF OVERTIME WIN VS. RAIDERS
by Eric Branch
LAS VEGAS - They were down 10 points. Their top-ranked defense was being bullied. And their rookie quarterback had never faced a second-half deficit.
Perhaps the only good news for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium: They were playing the 2022 Las Vegas Raiders, a team that has met few late-game leads they couldn’t blow.
On New Year’s Day, the Raiders kept doing what they have done for the final three months of the old year by squandering a second-half advantage. As a result, the 49ers continued to do what they did for the final two months of 2022: win.
The 49ers overcame a putrid performance by their top-ranked defense and rallied for their ninth straight victory, a wild, what-just-happened 37-34 overtime win over the Raiders, who had arrived with a dubious NFL record: The Raiders had lost five games this season in which they’d led by at least seven points at halftime.
Still, the Raiders, who led 24-14 early in the third quarter, had never lost quite like this. Has anyone? The game featured 954 yards, 23 points in the final 13 minutes of regulation and a missed 41-yard field-goal attempt by the usually reliable 49ers kicker Robbie Gould as time expired in the fourth quarter.
Gould quickly received a chance for redemption, however, after 49ers safety Tashaun Gipson returned an interception 56 yards to the Raiders’ 7-yard line on the fourth play of overtime. Two snaps later, Gould’s 23-yard field goal capped an afternoon stuffed with the unexpected.
The victory gave the 49ers (12-4) their first nine-game, regular-season winning streak since 1997 and brightened their playoff prospects.
They moved up a spot in the NFC playoff seeding, from No. 3 to No. 2, because the Vikings (12-4) lost to the Packers. In addition, their chances of swiping the No. 1 seed from the Eagles (13-3), who lost to the Saints, were kept alive. The 49ers can earn the top seed, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, if they beat Arizona in their regular-season finale and Philadelphia loses to the Giants.
The 49ers survived Sunday thanks to heavy lifting by All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, (193 total yards rushing and passing, TD), wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (9 catches, 101 yards, TD) and rookie Quarterback Brock Purdy. The seventh-round pick improved to 4-0 as a starter while completing 22 of 35 passes for 284 yards with a touchdown and one interception.
That helped overcome an uncharacteristic performance by the NFL’s best defense, which nearly had their New Year’s Day ruined by a new face: QB Jarrett Stidham, a four-year veteran who was making his first career start because the going-nowhere Raiders (6-10) benched Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr.
Stidham’s starting debut was dazzling: He completed 23 of 34 passes for 365 yards, tossed three touchdowns and had two interceptions.
The 49ers allowed their most first downs (29) and second-most yards (500) this season. The Raiders 34 points were also the second-most the Niners surrendered this year.
ALL THE DIRTY SECRETS ABOUT AMERICAN MEDICINE YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU DIE
by John Hayward
Good medicine is all about blood flow and organ failure, mutation and degeneration. Good medical care is all about trust, contact, communication, listening, figuring out your goals and being heard. For doctors, it’s also about danger — risking the dark microbial forces of COVID, staph, monkeypox, MRSA, C. diff and hardening of the arteries. Your first 207 antibiotics may transport you to a state of health. Your 208th may send you into anaphylactic shock.
Medical training is the science of pain.
Physicians don’t belong to a secret society, but they do comprise a quirky sect whose ancient rituals derive from the principles of Hippocrates. They face humiliation, injury, fatigue and the threat of contagious illness.
The members of a tight, well-lubricated medical team are a lot like a submarine crew. Confined for long working hours in spotless, white, blindingly illuminated spaces ruled by despotic leaders, they are contemptuous of outsiders and loyal to none but each other.
A good deal has changed since my medical training at USC in the 1980s, doing two 24-hour shifts a week followed by two 12-hour days. I slept in sweaty bunkbeds in the attic of the Los Angeles County General Hospital in a stuffy eight-bed room, humming with fans and generators in the dark.
I wanted it all back then: the emergencies, the gunshot wounds, the heart attacks, the flesh-eating bacteria and the camaraderie that flourished within rigid order and nerve-shattering chaos. I climbed the chain of command from lowly medical student to attending physician — doing whatever it took until I ran my own clinic, my own practice and had my own crew of staff.
I’ve been a doctor in San Francisco for more than 20 years and, in the decades before that, was a medical student, an intern, a resident, a postdoctoral fellow and a professor. I came into the business when my professors still smoked on the back patio of the hospital and wore aftershave and fat ties.
Things are very different now, and not in ways that are immediately obvious.
Say it’s a quiet Friday night and you’ve just checked into the new urgent care facility that opened in your neighborhood or the new emergency room at the hospital that opened downtown, and you’re looking to get seen for fatigue or a cold or sinusitis. The facility is brand-new and sparkling and looks high-tech, you think. Why not go for it?
If you like a $20,000 bill, be my guest.
Here’s how things usually work — the ER, urgent care and the clinic make their money by squeezing your insurance beyond its maximum. Every Band-Aid and every stitch has a price. If you receive a local anesthetic, the needle has a price, the syringe has a price, the liquid inside has a price and the person injecting it does, too. The doctors assign you an ICD 10 code, which represents your diagnosis for billing purposes. For example, C50.411 is breast cancer, and a CPT code that determines the maximum reimbursement from your insurance. They might see you for six minutes and then they write a computer-generated note where they click a couple of boxes and charge you for a comprehensive visit — one that on paper is listed as having been face-to-face with you for 25 minutes. They click a couple of more boxes and say that they talked to you about your advance care planning, your surrogate decision-maker, your vaccinations and your allergies, your health maintenance, whether or not you’re being threatened or abused and that they gave you health tips like eating more fiber, smoking cessation and safe sex practices.
All you can remember is the doctor telling you his name and taking a quick glance at the broken ankle or stuffed nose or sore throat or cut finger that brought you in. The billing and coding office compiles a bill and submits it to your insurance that includes site fees, building fees, practice fees, emergency fees and access fees. You sign pages upon pages of forms, one of which has a sentence saying that you agree to pay the entire bill even though you don’t know what it is yet. If you get admitted, the hospital also submits a bill for the room, the bed, the paper cup the Tylenol comes in, the gown you wear, the blood pressure cuff on your arm, the intravenous needle, the IV tube, the IV bag, the IV pole, the nursing care, the pharmacy care and for the nutrition — even if it was just a cup of green Jell-O with some ancient fruit cocktail suspended in it.
You assume your insurance is going to cover what your insurance is supposed to cover. But it doesn’t.
The smart thing to do to avoid this scenario by going to your regular doctor’s office during the week. Weekends are the knife and gun club, the drunks, the overdoses, the pain-med seekers and the people who like to be in the hospital.
When I worked for the primary care provider One Medical, we used to call a certain class of patients the “worried well” — people who had no real medical problems but wanted to get every fleeting ache and pain evaluated. A doctor would sit with them for 12½ minutes, nod knowingly and then squeeze their insurance, sending them to our herbalist and to our naturopath and having them follow up with the physician assistant and get all their vaccinations up to date.
In other words, they paid for a hand-holding.
What these patients don’t think about is sharing an elevator, a waiting room, a clipboard and a pen with the last patient who came in. Sure, they pull the paper down on the exam table for every patient, but what about the exam table itself or your bare feet on the tile floor? I’m sure some janitor at night runs a dirty mop over it, but that’s about it. What about the tongue depressors? They’ve been in that jar for a year. Doctors who carry their own otoscope use the same speculum on every patient. And speaking of doctors’ offices, what about those magazines in the waiting room? Some of them are 20 years old and have been flipped through by people with syphilis and dengue fever. And the thing that always surprises me is that nobody thinks about the fact that most gastroenterologists only have one colonoscope and they use it on every patient.
So where do doctors like me go to access medical care?
Unfortunately, I have Kaiser Permanente and have had Kaiser for 10 years. I’ve never had my own doctor; I was assigned one twice and they both quit. What you get in that situation is an ever-changing pool of doctors who are on call responding to emails that were screened by office staff for the level of seriousness or urgency. Whenever you contact Kaiser, play up the urgency, the acuteness, the need for response, the need for a diagnosis. Only that will get you seen fast.
I love the strangeness of medical life: the weirdos, the introverts, those with delusions of grandeur, the entrepreneurs, the schemers, the back stabbers with whom I continue to work; the ever-present changing schedule, surprise being on call, the difficult patient left in your waiting room, the weekend rounds at the hospital, the nights on call for the medical group. Admittedly, it’s a life that grinds you down. Most of us who live and operate in the medical underworld are in some fundamental way dysfunctional. We’ve all chosen to turn our backs on the 9-to-5, on ever taking more than a week off, on ever having a normal relationship or a normal marriage.
To be a physician is to be a mom and dad, drill sergeant, detective, psychiatrist and priest. Year after year, physicians contend with administrative swaps, buyouts, mergers, resignations and Medicare regulation changes, all while navigating desperate health care companies looking for the masterstroke that will cure their hospital’s financial ills, like having valet parking or a farmers’ market or a water wall at St. Luke’s.
Since we work in close quarters with so many sharp surgical instruments and poisonous chemotherapy at hand, you’d think that doctors would kill one another with regularity. I have seen a heart surgeon smoke a cigar in an oxygen tent with the foot-tall flame coming out of the end of his stogie, but I’ve never heard of a physician strangling a colleague with IV tubing or inflating a blood pressure cuff around another’s neck. No, the violence is always financial and covert.
We need courageous lawmakers to finally create a single-payer insurance system without succumbing to the whims of rich insurance lobbyists.
That said, it’s not all doom and gloom.
My career has recently taken a turn: These days I’m the medical director of the much-loved, old-school community-based hospice where patients and staff really communicate about every part of the patient’s care — the spiritual side, the psychological side, the social aspect of their disease, the financial concerns. It’s all done through face-to-face visits, house calls, visiting nurses, multidisciplinary meetings, interdisciplinary teams and family meetings where everybody gets to speak and the real goals of care are delineated.
It’s too bad that most patients have to wait until they’re at the edge of death to get the care they deserve. Better late than never.
(John Hayward is director of palliative care for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Hospice Medical Director.)
OREGON’S FINAL RULES FOR ADOPTING PSILOCYBIN SERVICES ARE SET
by Amanda Arden
Oregon’s final administrative rules to implement the Psilocybin Services Act have been set, the Oregon Health Authority announced Tuesday. The state is days away from becoming the first in the U.S. to offer controlled use of the psychedelic mushroom to the public.
OHA released its draft rules on Nov. 1 and the public had 21 days to provide feedback.
The rules were created by the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Committee, which compiled useful information from Oregon’s cannabis rules, indigenous communities and other people who have been practicing psilocybin services around the world to craft the rules.
Oregon Psilocybin Services received more than 200 written comments and six hours of comments in public hearings on the draft rules.
“These comments helped to further refine and improve the rules, which have now been adopted as final. The final rules are a starting place for the nation’s first regulatory framework for psilocybin services, and we will continue to evaluate and evolve this work as we move into the future,” André Ourso, administrator of the Center for Health Protection, and Angie Allbee, section manager of Oregon Psilocybin Services, wrote in a letter to the public.
The rules implement the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act, otherwise known as Ballot Measure 109. The act is now codified in Oregon law and the rules will be adopted starting Jan. 1, 2023.
The Oregon Health Authority plans to start accepting applications for psilocybin services or manufacturing licenses on Jan. 2, 2023.
Already, students are training how to accompany patients tripping on psilocybin — otherwise known as magic mushrooms.
The Oregon Health Authority will regulate the licenses and anyone who operates psilocybin facilities or who provides psilocybin services outside the licensed system could be subject to criminal penalties.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, anyone 21 and older in Oregon may access psilocybin services. They will be required to complete a preparation session with a licensed facilitator before participating in an administration session.
Clients will only be allowed to access psilocybin at a licensed service center during an administration session. Afterward, clients can attend integration sessions to provide further support.
Psilocybin products must be grown and processed by licensed manufacturers and tested by licensed, accredited testing labs in Oregon before they are sold to licensed service centers.
Licensed service centers are the only facilities in Oregon that are authorized to sell psilocybin products to clients. The products must be consumed on location at the licensed service center while the client is being monitored by a licensed facilitator.
The Oregon Health Authority expects it will take some time for the four license groups to become established and set up their operations.
Once a service center is licensed, the licensee will determine the cost of their service and will be responsible for scheduling clients when they are open for business.
In their letter, Ourso and Allbee said some frequent themes that were addressed during the rulemaking public comment period include equity and access, public health and safety, operational flexibilities, and affordability.
The two officials said these concerns have been addressed in the final rules.
When it comes to the topic of equity, the final rules adopted a requirement that service centers must provide translated materials upon request. Oregon Psilocybin Services will make forms that state the rules in both English and Spanish.
Anyone applying for a license will be required to submit a social equity plan as part of their application.
Oregon Psilocybin Services said after hearing many concerns about client confidentiality and client data, it has made several rule changes to address the issue.
Another change made to the rules states that clients may not receive psilocybin services if they are having thoughts of causing harm, or wanting to cause harm to themselves or others, or if they’ve ever been diagnosed with active psychosis or treated for active psychosis. This is in addition to the rule that was already included in the draft that states clients cannot receive psilocybin services if they have taken the prescription drug Lithium in the last 30 days.
The final rules also include reduced license fees for applicants who are veterans, receiving social security income, receiving food stamp benefits, or who are enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan.
WESTERN GOVERNMENTS KEEP ASSIGNING THEMSELVES The Authority To Regulate Online Speech
by Caitlin Johnstone
Depending on what political echo chamber you’ve been viewing it from, the ongoing release of information about the inner workings of pre-Musk Twitter known as “the Twitter Files” might look like the bombshell news story of the century, or it might look like a complete nothingburger whose importance is being wildly exaggerated by the far right.
From where I’m sitting, the Twitter Files look like entirely newsworthy revelations which add new detail to information that had already been spilling out about the way government agencies have been inserting themselves into Silicon Valley’s processes of regulating online speech. Right wing punditry has of course been exaggerating the significance of the releases and spinning them in all kinds of disingenuous ways, and Musk himself plainly has a partisan agenda in releasing the information in the way that he has been, but it’s not actually difficult to separate that from the value of the information being released.
Many liberals and leftists have struggled to grasp this (in my view simple and obvious) distinction, but we’re now seeing articles coming out in publications like The Guardian and Jacobin explaining to their respective audiences that it should actually concern anyone who opposes government tyranny to see secretive agencies taking it upon themselves to control the way people talk to each other on the internet.
“Make no mistake: while some criticisms of the project coming from left of center certainly have merit, that doesn’t mean the disclosures aren’t important, or that the accuracy of the information contained in the files is somehow undermined by the political slant of some of those reporting on it,” writes Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic. “The Twitter Files give us an unprecedented peek behind the curtain at the workings of Twitter’s opaque censorship regime, and expose in greater detail the secret and ongoing merger of social media companies and the US national security state.”
The Twitter Files show an outrageous and unacceptable amount of overlap between Twitter management and many US government agencies — including the CIA — in not just the censorship and shadowbanning of unauthorized speech but also whitelisting and amplifying actual psyops of the US military. The justifications for this have ranged from fighting “Covid misinformation” to combating “foreign influence” (the latter of which is odd because those efforts seem to have focused primarily on domestic speech), but what apparently went completely unquestioned the entire time was whether these government institutions have any business inserting themselves into the regulation of public speech at all.
This bizarre assumption that governments need to involve themselves in policing online speech has been rapidly normalizing itself around the western world. Here in Australia we’ve got government officials suddenly babbling about the need to restrict the spread of “conspiracy theories” after a shooting that left two police officers dead. The EU has its controversial Digital Services Act, which Elon Musk is interestingly an enthusiastic supporter of despite being publicly warned that Twitter could be banned throughout the European Union if Twitter doesn’t sufficiently restrict speech on the platform.
(Musk has, while we’re on the subject, continued the practices of branding media figures as “state-affiliated media” if they’re associated with empire-targeted governments, banning people for questioning official narratives about the war in Ukraine, and restricting the visibility of state mediafor empire-targeted governments while letting western propagandists run rampant. So while some are falling all over themselves in fawning hero worship of the billionaire Pentagon contractor, I personally am not expecting to crown him a free speech warrior anytime soon.)
And what’s important to remember about the Twitter Files is that Twitter has historically been the least compliant with government demands for speech regulation of all the major platforms. Everything we’re learning about what’s been happening in Twitter has surely been happening to a much greater extent with Google/YouTube and Meta/Facebook/Instagram.
Do you remember voting for government agencies to insert themselves into the regulation of online speech? I don’t remember any such vote. I don’t remember any politician campaigning to do this or any part of the public being asked for their permission at all. It sure seems like they appointed that authority to themselves without the permission of the electorate, solely for their own benefit. It’s almost like democracy is an illusion and our rulers do whatever they want to us, up to and including restricting the ways we’re allowed to communicate with each other, in whatever way benefits them and their agendas.
Online speech has nothing to do with the government. Nothing whatsoever. Governments have no more business regulating online speech than they have regulating what consenting adults do in the bedroom, and until very recently this was universally understood as one of the fundamental tenets of liberal democracy. But with a little narrative-diddling over the last few years they’ve managed to intertwine themselves with the online platforms we use to communicate with each other worldwide.
And as all this information comes out we’re seeing imperial narrative managers working to manipulate the debate into an argument about what kinds of government interventions in public speech are acceptable and how far they should go, rather than whether the government should be involving itself in the business of online speech regulation at all. One of main jobs of an empire propagandist is to get people arguing over how ugly imperial agendas should be rolled out, rather than if they should.
This is insane. Let the powerful involve themselves in the regulation of public speech and they will regulate it to their advantage every time. This should be obvious to everyone.
The response to all this should not be mitigated. The response should not be to get bogged down in partisan bickering and culture war distractions. The response should not quibble about whether this or that activity was technically legal or a breach of the First Amendment or not. The response should be an unequivocal, “No. This is not your area. Out. Now.”
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
If I had taken the money that I didn’t spend on a down-payment for a house in December 2011, and invested it in only Tesla and Apple stock, I could have, only four years later, bought that same house with the increased value of my stock purchases – no mortgage. … If… Same thing is going on now. If you’ve got money, you can rob everyone else.
CABELL "CAB" CALLOWAY III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was a jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, where he was a regular performer.
Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States' most popular big bands from the start of the 1930s through to the late 1940s.
Calloway's band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, JANUARY ONE, 2023
Russia’s war in Ukraine has proven almost every assumption wrong, with Europe now wondering what left is safe to assume.
Its invasion in February managed to startle in every way. To those who thought Moscow was sane enough to not attempt such a massive and foolhardy undertaking. To those who felt the Russian military would waltz across a land of 40 million people and switch to clean-up operations within 10 days. And to those who felt they had the technical and intelligence prowess to do more than just randomly bombard civilian areas with ageing artillery; that the Kremlin’s military had evolved from the 90s levelling of Grozny in Chechnya.
And finally, to those who felt nuclear saber-rattling was an oxymoron in 2022 – that you could not casually threaten people with nukes as the destruction they brought was complete, for everyone on the planet.
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Russia spent billions of dollars apparently modernizing its military, but it turns out that it was, to a large extent, a sham. It has discovered its supply chains don’t function a few dozen miles from its own borders; that its assessment of Ukraine as desperate to be freed from its own “Nazism” is the distorted product of nodding yes-men, feeding a president – Vladimir Putin – what he wanted to hear in the isolation of the pandemic.
Russia has also met a West that, far from being divided and reticent, was instead happy to send some of its munitions to its eastern border. Western officials might also be surprised that Russia’s red lines appear to shift constantly, as Moscow realizes how limited its non-nuclear options are. None of this was supposed to happen. So, what does Europe do and prepare for, now that it has?
Key is just how unexpectedly unified the West has been. Despite being split over Iraq, fractured over Syria, and partially unwilling to spend the 2% of GDP on security the United States long demanded of NATO members, Europe and the US have been speaking from the same script on Ukraine. At times, Washington may have seemed warier, and there have been autocratic outliers like Hungary. But the shift is towards unity, not disparity. That’s quite a surprise.
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Declarations that Russia has already lost the war remain premature. There are variables which could still lead to a stalemate in its favor, or even a reversal of fortune. NATO could lose patience or nerve over weapons shipments, and seek economic expediency over long-term security, pushing for a peace unfavorable to Kyiv. But that does, at this moment, seem unlikely.
Russia is digging in on the eastern side of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine, and has the advantage that the Donetsk and Luhansk frontlines in Ukraine’s east are nearer its border. Yet its challenges are immense: poorly trained, forcibly conscripted personnel make up 77,000 of its frontline troops – and that’s according to the glossy assessment voiced by Putin. It is struggling for munitions, and seeing regular open, internal criticism of its winter supply chain.
Ukraine is on home territory, with morale still high, and Western weapons still arriving. Since the collapse of Moscow’s patchwork of forces around the northeastern city of Kharkiv in September – where their supply lines were cut by a smarter Ukrainian force – the dynamic has all been against Moscow.
The prospect of a Russian defeat is in the broader picture: that it did not win quickly against an inferior adversary. Mouthpieces on state TV talked about the need to “take the gloves off” after Kharkiv, as if they would not be exposing a fist that had already withered. Revealed almost as a paper-tiger, the Russian military will struggle for decades to regain even a semblance of peer status with NATO. That is perhaps the wider damage for the Kremlin: the years of effort spent rebuilding Moscow’s reputation as a smart, asymmetrical foe with conventional forces to back it up have evaporated in about six months of mismanagement.
The question of nuclear force lingers still, chiefly because Putin likes regularly to invoke it. But even here Russia’s menace has been diminished. Firstly, NATO has been sending unequivocal signals of the conventional devastation its forces would mete out were any form of nuclear device used. Secondly, Russia’s fairweather allies, India and China, have quickly assessed its losing streak and publicly admonished Moscow’s nuclear rhetoric. (Their private messaging has likely been fiercer.)