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Mendocino County Today: March 30, 2013

WillisAlvarezSCOTTY WILLIS often slugs it out with his lady love, Miss Kalisha Alvarez. The two love birds are what the cops call “frequent fliers,” meaning they are constantly in and out of the Mendocino County Jail. Add them to the roughly hundred other frequent fliers of Mendocino County and you have a constant drain on public time and money.

IN THE FEW days Scotty spends in the County Jail before returning to the iffy embrace of Kalisha, he will meet the following FF's. Like Scotty, these people are arrested many times every year. Miss Colberg, some readers will recall, has described herself as “Fort Bragg's Dominant Female.” She was the victim of that gruesome ax attack two years ago in a gang-inspired mele in Fort Bragg.

DrunksCARRIGG (Willits); Holmes (Fort Bragg); Litzen (Ukiah); Donahe (Fort Bragg); Verville (Ukiah); Halvorsen (Fort Bragg); Hensley (Ukiah); Colberg (Fort Bragg); Hoaglin (Covelo).

ALL OF THE ABOVE are drop/fall drunks. Miss Colberg? Ornery, but too young and attractive for full Battle Ax status, but she's been through the system a bunch of times already.

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TERRY RYDER WRITES: Scott Johnston (Ginger and Goober's son) is doing his Senior Project around resurfacing the outdoor basketball courts at the HS. I had his mom take this picture and I thought you might be able to use it. I am sending you the flyer for one of his fundraising events as a separate e-mail.

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ThomasBurnapTHOMAS HENRY WARWICK BURNAP, 64, died on Sunday, March 17, 2013. He was born in Osaka, Japan, to American parents on Dec. 31, 1948. He was married briefly to Carol Arrowood and had one daughter, Marie Olsen. Tom was a longtime resident of Fort Bragg and had made many special friendships over the years. Tom was an accomplished artist and musician. His creativity knew no bounds. He loved animals and found happiness in his final years with his black lab, Trace. Tom is survived by his daughter, Marie; and two granddaughters, Shelby and Skyler. Also surviving are Tom's father, Ken Burnap and wife, Nancy; his two brothers, Mark and John; sister-in-law, Sheri; nephews, Jacob, Kenny and Austin; and his niece, Alison. He was predeceased by his former wife, Carol. A memorial service to celebrate this special man will be held at his friends' house, Mary Jane and Robert, at 32200 Highway 20, Fort Bragg, on Sunday, April 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. Please call Mary Jane at 964-6618 if you have questions. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Marie Olsen at the memorial service.

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CopDonutA PICTURE from early yesterday morning at the bypass protest site on Highway 101, taken by Willits photographer Ree Slocum, showing Save Our Little Lake Valley's Sara Grusky accepting a donut graciously offered by a CHP officer. Thanks to those on all sides of this bypass issue who debate and discuss with thoughtfulness and intelligence, with opinions and information, not name-calling, online and off. (Courtesy, Willits Weekly)

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WHAT'S THE HOLD-UP HERE?

Subject: Daoist Organizing

From: craigstehr@hushmail.com

Date: Fri, March 29, 2013 11:46 am

Warmest greetings from the Berkeley Public Library, Please appreciate that I just left an unscheduled meeting with the head of the Berkeley men's shelter. She has concluded that I have an impossible situation, because I am rejecting senior housing because at 63 years of age, I do not want to retire! I also do not have adequate money to rent a place, because I've been cultivating a spiritual life for the past 40 years, and my social security retirement check is too small since I oftentimes was not working for an income (such as when I performed 23 years of voluntary service work with Berkeley Catholic Worker and other groups like Food Not Bombs). She asked me what my plan is, considering that on April 13th the winter shelter at the Oakland Army Base closes, and I will be dropped off at a street corner in downtown Oakland at 6 A.M. to fend for myself.  I stated that I am only interested in making use of my considerable experience, and I belong on the frontlines of radical environmentalism and peace & justice, and that it would be an unimaginable waste to head for the shuffel board courts with others over 60. And besides, I am not going to creatively write more in such an environment, because one gets grist for the literary mill by being fully active on the earth plane. Who the fuck wants to read poetry or stories about dropping dead on the bocce ball court?  I just received my social security retirement check, and am presently able to relocate. I am seeking a place to go to initially, with others who have made the decision to continue being fit instruments for spiritual direct action, in opposition to the insanity of materialism. It's that simple! If this is your determination as well, then please contact me immediately. Do I really need to clarify this any further? What are we waiting for?

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FATTEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD REVEALED: Kuwait is top of the list with the highest average body mass index. UK is 26th in the list with America second. Bangladesh is bottom along with some of the poorest countries in world. But the US is pipped to first place in the body mass index chart by Kuwait. This beats America in second place. The UK which has worrying rising obesity levels, particularly among children, is 26th in the list. Other countries which appear to be heavier than the UK include Germany, Greece and Argentina. Despite its reputation as a sport-crazy outdoor country, Australia is also higher than the UK —11th on the list, which was complied by Visual.ly. It is unsurprising that some of the world's poorest countries in Asia and Africa feature as the countries with the lowest BMI. People from Bangladesh have the lowest BMI. Other countries close to the bottom include some which have been riven by war and famine including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya and Eritrea. Some countries like Jamaica also have wide discrepancies between men and women. Similar trends are also noticeable in Lesotho, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti.

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A FEW MORE COMMENTS from members of the public at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting discussion of the Willits Bypass. One of the main themes that finds its way into most of the comments is the BAIT & SWITCH that Caltrans pulled by proposing a four-lane bypass that would solve all of Willits traffic problems, a proposal that in the last few years has morphed into the ridiculously pointless overpass project that began construction last week and is now lamely defended by supporters as an agency-approved done deal. Another theme that came up several times was what most Willits residents see as an underhanded restriping of Highway 101 as it approaches the Highway 20 intersection from the south. The restriping created a bottleneck that some think is now being used to make the bypass seem necessary when it’s not.

MADGE STRONG: I want to deliver some petitions to you all. I didn't make enough copies for everybody because it would destroy too many trees. This was the first over 1000 signatures which were delivered to the governor on March 8. And to various other elected officials. And this is another 600. And then there is at least another 200 out because I haven't xeroxed and yet. I would like to give you at least one copy of that and the letter that went with it to the governor and other elected officials. I would also like to give you copies of a very recent letter, as of yesterday, to Noreen Evans responding to Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty's letter to her and then attached are also her original letter and Malcolm Dougherty's letter. But this is a rebuttal all of the points that Malcolm Dougherty gave to Senator Evans. It is also a rebuttal to many of the points that I think have been raised in defense of, in support of the bypass. All of those 1600 signatures I'm handing in right now were collected locally, all by volunteers all in about the last six weeks. People are rushing up to our tables and asking to sign. This is not a fringe minority opinion. People are really not happy with this. Many of them have not been happy for decades, and some of them are just sort of learning about the things that have been pointed out by previous speakers. The lack of exits. The lack of safety. Etc. I want to add to all the data and arguments in those letters that those represent my rational self and I am a very rational person. There are so many reasons in my view to oppose this project. It's overkill. It destroys so much natural resources. It doesn't solve the traffic problem. You can go on and on. A rational approach would have been to start by restriping the part of 101-Main Street that is the bottleneck. That's 0.5% of the cost of the two-lane bypass, not even a four-lane bypass. The next step: put a Railroad Avenue-Baechtel Road connection. That would take at least as much traffic off of Main Street as the bypass would. Then there is also, slightly more complicated but certainly worth evaluating, the railroad railroad corridor truck route. Those were all summarily rejected. So these are the rational reasons. Why didn't we do that? Why don't we restripe Main Street first?! Before we build the bypass! All of those things. Besides being rationally opposed, I am angry because I think that we have been misrepresented and we have been fooled and led along and I'm also really — it be extremely sad if this thing goes ahead because it's paving paradise to put out an empty freeway.

BRYAN WELLER: Good morning, Chairman Hamburg and supervisors, and Sheriff, and of course most of Willits, it looks like. (Laughter). There are a lot of emotions around this issue. I think many of us — and I think there's well over 1000 if not 1400 local signatures to the petition — want you to think again. We certainly oppose the bypass in its current form. But we also propose that we rethink what a local solution or in-town solution look like might look like. We know from history that the past is no predictor of the future. Using past arguments to justify where we think we're going flies in the face of experience. So I urge you to think again. I think what is being committed in our valley is legalized lawlessness. We should not support that. Is it true? Well, it depends on your point of view. It's certainly true for Caltrans. They build big things. Is it true for us in our small community? I don't think so. So I urge you to think again. To question this. It's never too late. And yes, work did begin last Thursday — and I think that's appalling. We have a young woman in a tree facing noise from a generator and bright lights throughout the night. Is this kind? Does this support the rebel heart of Mendocino County? I don't think so. There is a better way. I urge you to think and feel with your heart what that might be.

GREG KANNE. I live in Dos Rios, about 30 miles northeast of Willits. I did a Willits-Dos Rios commute five days a week, 52 weeks a year for nearly 20 years. I know Willits traffic, I know north of Willits traffic. I know a boondoggle when I see one. I know what a bridge to nowhere is. And a waste of tax dollars when I see that. I am opposed to the Caltrans bypass as currently designed. But you are not voting on the bypass. You are voting on a letter of support stating virtual unanimous government endorsement of the project. From my point of view, this is disingenuous and misleading. By no means is endorsement unanimous. The mayor of Willits and the newest councilperson are on record opposing the bypass as currently designed. I served on the Willits Council from 2006-2010. I was then and I still am opposed to the plan as currently designed. Had I not moved out of city limits and had served another term the Willits City Council would actually have a majority opposed to the plan as currently designed. The letter you are being asked to support is superfluous and misleading. Ask yourself if this letter is true, is it kind, is it necessary? And then reject it. Thank you.

JOHN WAGENET: I am going to read this letter I wrote this morning. I do not presume that your minds would think this way, but it is what came to me and I feel it's important to say. This is a letter addressed to Malcolm Dougherty, Department of Transportation and the Transportation Commission: The Board of Supervisors of Mendocino County has had an epiphany. We have been misled by 20 years of rhetoric from opinions by various factions, but most of all the California Department of Transportation, Caltrans. We have been manipulated into thinking that Willits has a severe traffic problem. This manipulation started when Caltrans restriped the road from Frank Howard Memorial Hospital to Highway 20. Where once there was a minor slowdown of traffic, that created a bottleneck. This angered motorists and caused some pressure on us and Caltrans to fix the problem. There were the usual trucks and folks who thought it would be a good idea to get them off Main Street while fixing that restriping problem. Time went on. There were many great proposals by experts who were brought in by the community of Willits. Caltrans was supposed to study these alternatives and actually pretended to do so but in the end rejected them all because they didn't meet their “project objectives.” I will get to that at the end of this. The Caltrans project objective was an outdated model of a passive four-lane freeway bypass that had worked in other areas in the past. They settled on this, then rammed down our throats, abetted by a misled Mendocino Council of Governments who committed $31 million of money that was supposed to go into various infrastructure elements of the towns and cities around our county. Here's the part that really frosts our collective banana. Caltrans could not get funded for their project because unfortunately their freeway footprint would knife through extremely sensitive wetlands and riparian habitat and made the previously unheard of 10-1 mitigation — unheard of! — measures too costly. So within a few months of being rejected by the CTC for funding, they changed their plan to a dangerous two-lane freeway but retained the four-lane footprint so they could garner precious federal bonds needed for this now almost $400 million project, including the 20% or so of cost overruns which are still not regulated. They were now proposing a two lane, a dangerous two-lane plan that they refused to study earlier. We thought this was the end of the bad news but then we learned that the real reason for the bypass of Willits was to transport hazardous materials from Humboldt Bay through the 101 corridor through the Little Lake Valley wetlands. Willits is one of the last few bottlenecks in achieving this. We no longer support this Caltrans bypass as an alternative to some minor traffic problems in Willits. We would like MCOG to stop the hemorrhaging and spend the $20 million left on realistic traffic solutions starting immediately with the restriping of Willits Main Street with the cooperation of Caltrans.

JEFF HARRIS: I think Caltrans has really pulled a fast one on Willits by doing that restriping and making that into a bottleneck. But I don't want to address that issue here. That was very well addressed previously. I am addressing the possible dewatering of the Willits aquifer. I spoke with Global Hydrology who are based in California and who have 40 years of experience from Alaska all the way to Australia, with extensive experience in California. These wicking drains are not a proven thing at all. They form a risk to the aquifer in the Willits Valley. There are many of them. People have their wells and Caltrans plans to put, I forget the number, but I believe it's in the hundreds – [someone shouts 65,000!] — 65,000…? 5500…? [Others shout numbers] 55,000…? [Laughs.] A lot! A lot of them! These will be pounded 85 feet into the soil. They've done a lot with the hydrology, the surface water. But not very much with the hydrogeology, what lies beneath. And the record on that is that you really don't know what's down there very accurately. So these wicking drains have all the possibility of destabilizing the aquifer. You can punch holes straight through an aquifer and drain that water into an aquifer below. That happened to the city of Paso Robles where they drilled down to improve the city water and they went through the aquifer and entered a zone which had a lot of the stuff which gives you the rotten egg smell, that's why that whole town stinks like that. Hydrogen sulfide. So what I urge you to do, please, is not to rush into this. You can abstain from this letter. Wait for better information. Because it has been snowball and Caltrans rushed in with this striping to force this issue and now they have revealed it. That's laughing in our face! Please abstain or postpone this letter.

DONNA KERR: I am a resident of Little Lake Valley in Willits. On my land we graze cattle, horses and harvest a thousand bales of hay each year. The impending demolition of Little Late Valley's ecology, and its ranching economy to make room for what ultimately requires no more than one or two well-placed, well-planned lanes of traffic is neither progress nor improvement nor growth. Rather it represents an utter lack of imagination, vision, courage, and political will. The things we all need most now, especially from the officials we elected to represent us. The bottom line is that Caltrans is a state agency mired in the concrete planning of the 1950s whose purpose is to move trucks through Mendocino County. But you, our elected officials, are here to represent the people of Mendocino County, not the interstate trucking interests. These interests are now at odds and you need to make a choice. We support a fix to the traffic problem in Willits. We support a building project and the jobs that it would bring and the short-term cash that it would put into our local businesses. But only for a project that is appropriate to the size of the problem and which actually solves the problem. This Caltrans bypass does neither. Alternative proposals have been offered and repeatedly dismissed and suppressed by Caltrans since the 1990s. Not the only one, but the most promising of these being the Baechtel Road-Railroad Avenue corridor which supervisor Pinches supported. You have a choice to support Caltrans and go for the tempting cash of transitory, out-of-area jobs that will give us a short-term economic punch and then leave us literally high and dry with a broken economy and a gutted community. Or you could choose the legacy of a long-term sustainable community which is not the quick fix which can only be built on a foundation of local people who choose to work here and live here and teachers who even in tough times make a personal investment of raising families, paying taxes, starting businesses, ranching the land. Signing this letter would be an abrogation of your responsibility to us. Please work with us instead. Thank you.

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POST OFFICE BLUES: After several AVAs addressed to long-time subscriber Ken Ellis in New Bedford, Massachusetts were returned marked “NSN” (No Such Number) by the US Postal Service, we emailed Mr. Ellis to verify that his address was correct.

MR. ELLIS REPLIED: Yes, that is the correct address, and the house has not once ever gotten up and moved to a different part of the city since it was built, and my family moved in, way back in 1954, just in time for Hurricane Carol to try to whack us, and whose high waters came up to the edge of the house before receding. It can be nice living near the coast, most of the time. The incompetence of the mail carriers is amazing, but I may finally have figured out what the problem might be. I live on a corner, but every other house on my block is numbered less than 100. My house is the only anomaly, in that respect. To reach a house numbered HIGHER than 101, a busy street must be crossed, and the next block proceeded to. The trouble with the carriers is that they ASSUME that every house on my block MUST be numbered less than 100, simply because every other house on my block is thus numbered. So, because my house is numbered the way it is, and they simply are too lazy to do any research, they therefore regard my mail as undeliverable. Things were fine in the distant past when a carrier could be counted on to do a regular route for years at a time, but nowadays the carrier looks different just about every day, almost. Perhaps my only recourse is to move to a different house in the MIDDLE of a block somewhere. Thanks for letting me know about the problem. Perhaps I will have to put up a big sign on the house, one with a big 101 on it. Maybe you Californians could send me a good used “Highway 101” sign. The size that graces a Hwy 101 overpass ought to be big enough to catch the eye of a semi-alert carrier. — Ken

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CALIFORNIA INDIAN GAMES, foods, stories at next “Family Fun at the Museum” event

by Roberta Werdinger

The Grace Hudson Museum continues its popular series of workshops for adults and children, “Family Fun at the Museum,” from 1 to 3:30 pm on Saturday, April 6, with an afternoon of California Indian-related activities. These will include making Pomo Indian stick dice, a guessing game, out of wood. Participants will then team up and try their hand at the game, under the guidance of White Wolf James, Manchester Pomo. Instruction and materials will be provided for crafting pine nut bead necklaces. Children will also have the chance to make and enjoy manzanita berry cider, along with acorn mush, working with Grace Hudson Museum Director Sherrie Smith-Ferri, Dry Creek Pomo. White Wolf will also be on hand to tell some Pomo stories. This workshop is the perfect companion for the Museum's current exhibit, “Natinixwe: The Hupa People,” featuring ceremonial regalia by Hupa tribal member Bradley Marshall and historic photos by his grandfather, Ernie Marshall Jr., of life and culture on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in northeastern Humboldt County. The workshop is free after Museum admission, and pre-registration is encouraged, as space is limited. To register call the Museum at 467-2836. The Family Fun at the Museum program is made possible with a Community Enrichment Grant to the Museum’s Sun House Guild by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County through support provided by the Jonathan Gibbs Memorial Fund, along with a grant from the Rotary Foundation. The Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and from 12 to 4:30 pm on Sunday. General admission is $4, $10 per family, $3 for students and seniors, and free to members or on the first Friday of the month. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org.

One Comment

  1. wineguy March 30, 2013

    Our favorite North Korea head nut job has been displayed in his war room with maps of the US where his missles are aimed. From the News feed it looks like Willits is a West Coast ground zero target…so after the war the US just builds a bridge over the big hole that was once Willits?

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