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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, March 7, 2023

More Snow | Brooktrails Scenery | Herbstritt Found | Ukiah Barn | Snowbound Residents | PA Pier | Work Together | Big Jim | Feral Cats | Dog Scores | Guaranteed Income | Rock Thrower | Wildlife Films | Mary Stinson | New FNP | Clearlake Vista | Willits Farewell | Help Will | Daniel Jeans | Yesterday's Catch | Mystery Prices | 1971 Gas | Ripped Off | Country Kitchen | What Song | Bedouin | BidenCare | Israel Sermon | Perfect Subordinate | Intolerance | PNAC Attack | Ruthian Slide | Allegorical Intermezzo | French Protest | War Crime | Best People | Ukraine | Nickle Frankfurts | Last Person | Nausea

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ANOTHER WINTER STORM will bring a period of heavy snow for elevations above 1500 feet this afternoon through tonight. Cold and showery weather will persist into Wednesday before drier condition develop Wednesday night. An atmospheric river storm will bring heavy rain, higher snow levels and strong winds Thursday into Friday. Periods of heavy rain and gusty winds with high snow levels are forecast for the weekend and early next week. (NWS)

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Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office mounted a multi-agency campaign today to rescue a mother and daughter who went missing in the snowy hills above Laytonville last Friday, March 3, 2023. 

MCSO Captain Greg Van Patten has confirmed that Lisa Herbstritt was found by Mendocino County Search and Rescue in her vehicle near the top of Spy Rock Road. Her daughter Tabitha had made her way to a boyfriend’s sometime this weekend. Both are making their way down Spy Rock with rescuers…

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East Ukiah (photo by Mike Geniella)

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“When the snow comes, it’s a pain in the butt,” Sheriff Matt Kendall said. “We’re probably dealing with this for another week.”

Many area residents are still dealing with the fallout from last week’s storms, according to authorities.

Since last Monday, many Mendocino County residents have been trapped in their homes due to significant snow on their driveways, which lead to county roads, according to Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall.

The Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit is driving to residents’ homes on snow plows to provide emergency resources, if needed. A few residents have requested resources such as propane, firewood and medication, Kendall added.

Residents who decided to stay home, rather than staying with friends in town, to avoid being stuck are seeing about 2 to 4 feet of snow, Kendall said Sunday.

The county roads are plowed every other day but residents’ driveways, which are typically a mile long, are the issue.

For residents living at higher elevations in Mendocino County, they could potentially see 6-10 inches at 1,000 to 1,500 feet Tuesday into Wednesday and about a foot above 3,000, Jeff Tonkin, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Monday.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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"Snow" on the Point Arena Pier (Paul Anderson)

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I live 30 minutes from a county road. No plow is going up my mountain road either. The road is difficult even in good weather. It’s currently impassable. I only got out Friday by shoveling and bombing down the road at what would normally be reckless speeds to keep up momentum to bust through the drifts and deep slush and not get stuck. Terrifying my partner in the process. 

Because, despite our preparations, shit happens and we were running out of gas and propane. 

And it wasn’t just us. All the people in my subdivision are what might be described as radically self-sufficient. Some of them have been up there for 40 years or more. And they needed help this week. 

We started by helping one another. When that wasn’t enough the sheriffs helped. Because while self-sufficiency is a worthy goal, it’s also contrary to who we are as a species. Shit happens. It’s why we’ve banded together for our entire existence; we’re stronger when we work together. To tell people to be prepared for every possibility or die just isn’t how we’re made, you know?

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James Marmon: My friend “Big Jim" Shimmins Ridge, hang in there buddy.

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FELINES OF PHILO: Hey Valley Peeps!

On March 8th we will be trapping community and feral cats for Trap-Neuter-Return in the Lambert Lane area of Boonville. (Right after the first bridge.) We will be trapping on a property that we have been working with. All cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped and returned to the location. Please keep your pet cats indoors on March 8th. Contact us if you live in the area and are feeding community and feral cats that are not your pet cats, or if you have questions about TNR. Felines of Philo 707-684-9439

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ALL THE BENEFITS of The Great Redwood Trail for only one billion dollars! Such a deal.

PS. I think that if the Supervisors were interested in helping the economically disadvantaged they could do something like a minimum guaranteed income like Sonoma County. Their recipients get a $500/month grant and the County will follow the health outcomes for two years.

William Claus


PPS. Great Redwood Trail | Feasibility, Governance, and Railbanking Report

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On Sunday, March 5, 2023 at 2:07 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to an intoxicated person causing a disturbance at the Point Arena City Park near the public bathrooms.

As Deputies were responding, they were advised the suspect was now throwing rocks towards people, and later overheard fire and medical being dispatched to a nearby location for a person with a traumatic head injury.

Deputies arrived and observed Alejandro Ortiz, 34, of Point Arena, standing in the parking lot adjacent to the bathrooms, yelling at a person and holding a large rock.

Alejandro Ortiz

Deputies quickly disarmed and detained Ortiz, who was placed in the rear seat of a patrol vehicle. Deputies observed large rocks in the parking lot and two vehicles with fresh appearing damage, consistent with being struck by large rocks.

Deputies responded to the nearby medical call and determined a 67-year-old male had been struck in the head with a rock by Ortiz while near the bathrooms. The 67-year-old male was later transported by ambulance to the Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Emergency Room for medical treatment.

Deputies then contacted a 66-year-old male, who also had reportedly been struck multiple times by rocks thrown by Ortiz prior to the Deputies’ arrival. The 66-year-old male had visible injuries on his arm, knees, and back but declined to be transported to the hospital for medical treatment.

Based on the results of the investigation, Ortiz was arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury and Felony Vandalism.

Ortiz was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

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THE HEART OF THE SERENGETI: Wildlife Film Festival focuses on East Africa and its conservation heritage

The International Wildlife Film Festival continues its three-week run on Friday, March 10 at the Ukiah Civic Center, 300 Seminary Ave. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. with snacks and live music by Kim Monroe. Films will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children age ten and over.

Is there a place where wildlife is more enigmatic and more threatened than in the heart of the Serengeti? National Geographic Explorer, TV host and conservationist Paula Kahumbu brings this world to life in her documentary series "Wildlife Warriors," a nature show made by Kenyans for Kenyans. The series spotlights East Africa's conservation heritage and its heroes. Three spectacular 28-minute films from the series will be featured: "Making Way for Rhinos," "The Beautiful Bats of Kenya," and "The Royal Elephants of Samburu." These films are appropriate for children over 10, but parental discretion is recommended.

National Geographic Explorer Paula Kahumbu has her portrait taken amongst a herd of elephants in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. Paula holds a PhD from working with elephants and also works as a TV host and conservationist. (photograph by Charlie Hamilton James)

Proceeds from the film festival are an important funding source for the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP), a special program of the Ukiah Unified School District that provides outdoor environmental education programs to over 2,000 students each year.

For a full program of the film series and more information about the RVOEP, visit its website, For further inquiries, contact Erich Sommer, RVOEP Education Coordinator, at 707-841-7029.

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Mary and Glenn Stinson left Mendocino 10 years ago to spend the next stage of retirement closer to medical care in Santa Rosa’s Oakmont Community. As was the case on the coast, they made many friends and filled meaningful volunteer roles. This message is for those who ‘knew them when’ and who may want to participate in a memorial planned for March 29 (Mary’s birthday) at “The Better Place” memorial forest in Point Arena. Should you wish to attend, please contact Mary’s friend and fiduciary, Lori Beth Merrill at 707 931-9423.

Mary celebrated her 2022 birthday with our little group of Mendocino "ex-patriots" now living in Santa Rosa. Sadly, it was her last, as she was already experiencing the series of strokes that ultimately took her life on January 17, 2023. She was receiving Hospice care and was with her nurse at the end after weeks of daily visits from friends. Mary was still grieving Glenn’s death, three years earlier after a fall, and that of her brother, Eric, who died from the same congenital condition that took Mary’s life. Their ashes will be spread with hers in the peaceful place she chose.

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Pam DiFranco

MCHC Health Centers is excited to welcome Pamela Di Franco, a family nurse practitioner specializing in family medicine. Di Franco, who moved to Mendocino County from the Bay Area, started on New Year’s Day and primarily works at Hillside Health Center in Ukiah, while also seeing patients at Little Lake Health Center in Willits. She looks forward to advising people about their health, especially acute illnesses and chronic conditions, and making plans to help them feel better.

Di Franco has dedicated her career to caring for underserved populations in California, bringing nearly a decade of experience in community-based healthcare to MCHC. Most recently, she served as a family nurse practitioner at Davis Street Primary Care Clinic, a federally qualified health center in San Leandro. Prior to that, Di Franco spent nearly three years as the only nurse practitioner in a busy family practice in Antioch supporting an economically disadvantaged population. She started her career in 2015 as a clinic nurse manager at RotaCare Pittsburg Free Medical Clinic, where she managed the clinical nursing practice and supervised two dozen clinical volunteer staff members.

“Community-based healthcare is my passion,” Di Franco said. “Even when I was working in a private practice, it was with a physician who shared my values around serving the underserved.”

After visiting family members in Ukiah, Di Franco and her husband began considering a move to the area so their daughters, now seven months old and three years old, could be closer to their grandparents.

“I grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains surrounded by nature, so relocating here wasn’t a tough decision,” Di Franco said. “While we were visiting my husband's parents in Ukiah, I realized that our kids would have a better childhood if we raised them around our family, so we went back to the Bay and started looking for jobs.”

Di Franco knew from the beginning that she wanted to work at MCHC. “From the time I first reached out, MCHC was my number-one choice,” she said. “They’ve been around for more than 30 years, so they’re an essential part of the community. Most importantly, the clinic’s commitment to providing high-quality healthcare to everyone who needs it aligns with my background and personal goals.”

MCHC’s team-based approach to care, which gives patients access to a group of dedicated providers and staff who collaborate to provide holistic care, is another reason Di Franco was eager to work at MCHC, especially after she met some of the providers and staff.

“As I interviewed with more and more people, everyone was so lovely, I couldn’t wait to work with them,” she said. “My work environment is really important to me, and since everyone I met during the interview process was so kind and like-minded, I knew that I’d be happy at MCHC.”

One of the people Di Franco met was MCHC Medical Director Justin Ebert, who is now her supervisor. He said, “We’re excited to have Pamela join the MCHC family. She brings a wealth of knowledge and an incredible passion for community health.”

When she is not busy helping people plan their way to better health, Di Franco enjoys spending time with her family. She also loves her animals, including four dogs and a flock of chickens, which she says are her latest obsession. Di Franco loves to garden, too, and enjoys having a little more room to grow fruits and vegetables in Mendocino County than she had in the Bay Area.

Di Franco earned two degrees from San Francisco State University: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2013 and a Masters of Science in Nursing with a Minor in Community Health in 2014. She also received a Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Masters Certificate from the University of California, San Francisco in 2019.

Learn more at

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Clearlake, Monday Morning (photo by James Marmon)

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by William J. Ray

My ad hoc midnight threnody serves as a collective farewell––

To Mark and Ina Walker and her sister Mabel Black, Mark told me how to grease a wagon wheel and sharpen a scythe, and he gave me Edith's, his first wife’s, carved missionary chest from Siam as a sign of regard,

To Ed and Mary Hayes and their daughters living and dead, 

Bertha Cook and Viva Pearson, Viva who foresaw she would die before her century-old mother after leaving their land on East Hill Rd., once a nursery below Hilltop,

And gentle Mary Pierson at Al's Redwood Room, giving us unclaimed pizzas,

Cliff Miller his Main St. barber shop, his wife Thomasina, and the profusion of flower beds behind the house, who commented, “Pretty little bastards, ain't they?”

Master mechanic Carl Carlson and his wife Wynne of far off Leggett who hid Judi Bari's Subaru, and their son Carl maintaining the heaps of the mountain poor, and dying too soon,

Janice and Frank Rust, the millionaire duPonts, he said that life makes so much more sense the second or third time around, and later it was Frank and Sylvia who moved on to Hawaii and she died there but left me a restored memory, the old Chesapeake Bay amusement park, Glen Echo, and its huge mechanical laughing lady saying Ha Ha Ha forever,

And Ellen Wormuth, in a dream she had reached Rome, just before her death, told me after by her caretaker the singer, the gentle poetess, Bonnie Coates Blackwell who herself has preceded us in departure, and it was her blonde cousin Faith who had been my first love in Washington D.C., 1954, ––

And dear Ruby and Earl Snook, so generous and mild on East Hill Rd., she signals me yet with the rare yellow tanager on the telephone wire in Springtime, and his huge metal gate now swings at my entry,

The old world Italian Deghi’s, Barrie Patch, and Oona Collins on State St.,

Mills and Suzanne Matheson saving the city from the biomass disaster without fanfare,

Elsie Allen the legendary Pomo basket maker who approved Judith’s beginning turn,

Self-reliant Mr. Owen and his World War I wooden camp box set out for sale at a swap meet,

Kathy Neff, her high religious devotion keeping Our Daily Bread going for years,

Doc Watson, his bride cutting irises every April and his overloud greeting (Hoi! Hoi!) an idiosyncratic coin of human discourse,

Skilled Dale Justus inevitably victim to Agent Orange and not one word of bitterness,

Zephyr Wagenet the sad child who haunts me still from those years,

Walter Camp who scoffed at the authorities ,whether the Bureau of Land Management or Sears & Roebuck, and died courageously at home,

Gerald and Miriam Ganley, their Ridgewheel Subdivision cabin in sight of the sea,

Dale and Lorene Cave, he who survived WW II and Korea and she who took U. of Portland chemistry classes from Linus Pauling in the ‘20’s, attending with his future wife to whom he would not give an A and risk his reputation,

Jeanette Foye and all the proto-Indian Roys under their diminutive matriarch, Mistu,

Jayne Harrah, the unassuming Pisces rancher and helicopter pilot who had assembled and catalogued a world-class seashell collection,

The German-born Johanna Burkhart of Shake City, who did not back down when a mountain lion trespassed her clearing; she said, “You're a beautiful animal but you're not wanted here,” It preened its tail and walked away,

Mrs. Sligh––when I said I was a Jew not a Christian, she replied, “Well yer a good ‘un”,

Steve Kaylor and Kenny Gaither who helped with the house then migrated like Randy Abbott, the Fliperts, and the Jim Gibbonses to Hawaii for good, their friends Ross Wilson and Doug Soehren gone back to the high country,

Brian Ardner hoarsely calling on the phone as he approached the exit and bequeathed us his car,

Helen Moore Bartow who took her horse to school in Willits before motor bussing had begun,

Bill and Marion Crispin, she newly married had given the then child Judith fresh cookies in 1950’s Boonville, and died in her sleep on the way home to Willits after visiting her mother,

The Krohs and Wagners, their uncanny tracking eyes and rifle-range judgment, hitting a plate at a mile, on Canyon Rd. and Pine Mountain, hunting bucks from Covelo to Cloverdale,

Ouida Mathews, her rings and earrings, silver threads and golden needles,

Mimi Sheiner making a cloisonne talisman for Avrah,

Katie Selover's straw-packed tomato vines and her Lauren Bacall voice,

Gordon Wagenet who watched the Empire State Building go up a floor every day and when he attended Oberlin the later great politcal philosopher Sheldon Wolin called him Tex,

Old Mr. Way offering his garage full of windows and doors, commenting that his younger wife “still thinks she's a bride,”

And John Philips next door giving me his sun-blanched all heart carriage-house doors for our Japanese gate,

Bob Brown witching our land to discover endless water throughout, then adamantly refusing the $50 fee,

Roy and Lorraine Sullivan with their olives, her poetry, their tragedies and loves,

Harold ‘Baldy’ Connerly at Ridgewood Ranch who was the undercard when Dempsey bested Tommy Gibbons at Shelby, Montana, 1923, Baldy born on my mother's birthday and dying on mine,

Frank Freitag another elder, the Noyo Theater projectionist who also died on my birthday, his wife following three days later,

The old man at the Seabiscuit ranch who told me in Arizona as a child in 1910, his parents woke him to watch Haley’s Comet filling the entire sky East to West, moving rapidly and gone,

The Colli's, all four, Alita, Nita, Lena, and Phil, caring to the end for the priests at St. Anthony's,

Gil Holmes, the AAA tow-truck driver who as a youth back in Clayton, New Mexico, captured a rustler on their land and at gunpoint made him take off his boots and walk the desert range back to town,

Jerry Colwell an inveterate political enemy but strangely later we became friends, before he slept and drove off the road near Garberville, no blame says the I Ching,

Mary Viox Davis and Beth Rockefeller, like archetypal aunts dying obscure, forgotten, and abandoned,

Mary Frenzel saving Avrah's high school career before uncomplaining she passed on,

Steve Geletko with his violin lessons for Hannah and his gift of an old iron porch swing for me,

Einar Erickson who was born in the redwoods near Albion and gave me my first Willits choker-setter job out on Sherwood,

Annetta Cory Kollin and her treasured pig Priscilla,

Bert Crowell, his Santa Claus-like florid countenance and unflagging cheer, born in 1903, before the airplane,

The urbanites Lynne and Beth Early making a Willits living with their cameras and pens on South Main St.,

The Ridgewood Restaurant waitresses Mary and Jo Plumlee embracing me the last day I drove the South 101 rural route in 1985,

George Davis, the far-sighted football/wrestling coach and English teacher including in ‘Propaedeutica’, his educational manual, a fictional protagonist based on our eldest daughter Lara and who ran across the Safeway parking lot to tell me what a great kid our Ken was,

And Martha Tuck, being decades before the hostess at Richardson Grove’s dining hall, who faithfully gave big tips to her postmen at Christmas,

Edith Page playing the piano at the Grange meetings and her husband Wilson running the dump up on Canyon complete with scavenging bears,

Jack Frost last of the Willits gunfight lineage,

Olaf Simonsen taking on drifters in Covelo during the Depression and all survived. He lived to be over a hundred, kissing young women to the end,

Charlie Marshall who in 1935 built what became our house using boards from a down the hill aging barn and who asked me for a bag of soft cobbed corn because his teeth were gone, He sang an old Italian air for Hannah that he had learned stationed at Naples in World War I,

Mavis Bromaghim leading the Lost Coast Wheeler pioneers who logged the coastal hills to ship home timber by boat, and Mike A'dair and David Drell, who trekked with me to the remains,

Luther Sherbourne posthumously providing for Ewart Emms, his old Canadian fox tanner friend,

Dolly Tyler's childish voice and joy at 175 South Humboldt Street,

The veteran Earl Spence and his constant companion, a silent forebearing little dog,

Al’s Liquors’ Eddie and Elvis Mills, she living on for decades more to die in a Ukiah rest home,

The Whiteds, the Cases, the Huffmans, the Sawyers up Sawyers Lane,

Del Weston selling his garden bounty by the road every year, making Jeri a widow so soon,

Frank and Cleva Sentelle, humble lovers of religion, whose grand-daughter gave the old Sherwood town fire bell to me as a family gift,

Ancient piano and violin-player Bey Barnwell, small and spry even as the fire went down, who saw William Jennings Bryan speak at the theater when he passed through Willits by train, decrying the crucifixion of the poor on a cross of gold,

And Lilburn Gibson who helped arrange the stop, remembered Bryan as an incomparable orator,

Willits pioneer scion Fred van Bebber living his last on California St., weakened by cigarettes,

The opera teacher Nadine and husband Bud Patton out Rock Tree Canyon, she called me a gentleman,

Mike Compton, schooled there in the ‘teens, who lost two fingers at the mill the night of the Grange meeting at the Farm Center which still stands now as a meditation center; he got us our homestead in the Roe tract along the foothills for $9,000,

Blanche Shelton's shut-off upstairs gone wild with bats, who never told her age,

The dime a dip Grange suppers picked and cooked by valley farmers until they became old,

Les and Zula Divine, he the war-era Oakland police chief who refused Warren’s decree to arrest all Japanese residents,

Old Joe Quadrio coming into the Happy Belly to buy pears and his son Joe Jr. driving out with Hugh Hinchcliffe to check our derelict electrical lines and mock exclaim, “Hugh, hold my hand!”

Ellis and Ethel Rugg delivering mail in a Model T out to Hearst in WWI––she demanded the government buy them one; he gave me his leather stamp pouch now over a hundred years old,

The Valloni's, their perfectly ordered mill shack house and garden on Madden Lane, lined with broad abalone shells,

Veva Erickson, Hattie London, Lillie Hines, -her lovely voice reciting the Grange initiations from memory,

Frontier Days Grand Marshal Ethel Clatty who stopped her horse in the middle of the July 4 parade one year to kiss me at the sidewalk in front of JP’s Bar,

Judge and Mrs. Foord's smiles and humble dwelling near the Carnegie Library,

And Mrs. Babcock's tipsy days alone after her husband had died,

Burdis and Minta Martindale, Opal's parents, riding horses above Covelo all summer,

Mrs. Cantrell, so warm and observing from her doorway with its authentic Bernard Maybeck light box, the redwood heaving up the sidewalk just outside,

The exemplary schoolteacher Thelma Sawyers and Mr. Bahn a distant relative, cared for by her according their country code of honor, and her confiding to me she loved her irises better than most people she knew,

Dink Persico who advised me to spur a bronc only when he was off the ground and Florence who outlived her sister and every friend she had known back in Salinas, dying at ninety-nine,

The Hinchcliffes just back from Nepal starting the Cymbals bookstore at the old soda works on San Francisco St., only to quit it when a night-life pick-up plowed the building off its piers,

Elbert Houx selling me can't bust 'em jeans which recalled Roy Sullivan's tale about his youthful cattle rustling in Laytonville in the ‘20’s when one night he packed a load of buckshot home in his butt,

The childless John Manganos, their immigrant Italian Catholic goodness first to last,

Ray Burris and Ruth, their new foals and leaping yearlings every Spring on Reynolds Highway,

Stella James, horsewoman and huntress out Sherwood,

The out on Hearst Road Ramsings, Frances coming North summers since her early childhood,

Clive and Jessie Adams at Emandal and Clive, Jr., the joyous and imperturbable, and Tamara, like newly baked bread,

The Fords, the McKinleys, the Munsons of Hearst Rd., John and Jeri a devoted team dry farming hay Spring and Fall, Jeri stripping down to glean the field one very hot summer, she was such a country joy,

Lowell Alpers, United Airlines pilot and navigator, chief petty officer at twenty in WW II, who told me he was born on the plains but only ever wanted one thing, the sea; who wrote his mother every week, and flying home from her funeral died in his sleep a week later,

Pre-WW I rodeo champion Don Coleman and wife Petey (whose Minnesota uncle had cut Jesse James’s saddle off his mount for a souvenir) detested their matinee idol rivals Rudolph Valentino and Pola Negri in the silent picture days. It was mutual, and who hosted their Montana friend Gary Cooper during the 1930's Willits' summers, Cooper busting down the bare dirt Hearst Rd. in his Duesenberg,

The Requas, the elder Pincheses, Lee and Chuck Persico, who told a good story,

Jessie Lawrason of the Sheltons way up on String Creek where the income tax would never find them, and a huge oak almost buried her while she was tying her boot straps one morning,

And Ron Berkowitz at the old log cabin school there, who met Henry Miller during the War, standing outside his Partington Ridge door, a courtesy about which Miller said, “you’re a nice man, come back any time,” and Ron went on to become a boy wonder on Wall Street and retire to the country hills, saying, “I wasn't the first, I won't be the last.”

––Goodbye old Paint, I'm leaving Cheyenne––so long, goodbye, take care,––farewell,––to the Willits of my youth.

— WJ Ray, 2020-2022

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Will and Marj Smith are long time residents of the Mendocino Coast in need of help with the costs of end-of-life care. The pair found their way to their beloved home in 1976, a culmination of life upon the "Road Less Traveled."


Will and Marj met in 1958 at the University of Michigan. He grew up in pre-integration Little Rock, Arkansas. She was raised in small town Fenton, MI. Their backgrounds could not have been more different, but those differences didn't matter when they ran into each other one evening at a party. Marj was wearing a pale blue sweater set and plaid poodle skirt. Will asked how she was "classified" and she worried that she seemed unsophisticated when she didn't know what he meant (he was asking what year she was at the university).  So began a relationship that would last them each a lifetime. 

Will and Marj's interracial relationship was exceedingly uncommon at the time, and the cause of much anguish and much beauty throughout the years. They were trailblazers in a time when their marriage was still illegal in some states. Despite the risk and fear involved, they were undaunted. They married and were blessed with children.

Will went on to play football in the early NFL. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears, then played for the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders, retiring in 1963 due to a strong belief that unfair contract terms were offered based not on his performance but rather his interracial marriage. They moved from the East Coast to West, then north to Berkeley, before joining so many others of their generation in a shift back to nature, landing once and for all in Mendocino in the mid '70s. 

The road less traveled is a lovely road, it turns out, but not without its difficulties. While the Smiths raised a family and made many ties that bind on the coast, they never realized a significant amount of material stability. They were blessed by great fortune in affordable housing situations, and lived modestly on a small income provided by Will's work first on the green chain at Georgia Pacific and later as a counselor and mediator; as well as Marj's work as a secretary and librarian for the school district, then later in her role at the Mendocino Art Center.

Accumulating wealth was neither a skill nor a priority, but they made things work.  The costly nature of living in such a beautiful area was worth it to them. Their love for their community was all consuming, and made any sacrifice worth it to be among the people and places that welcomed & accepted them in a way the outside world never had.

Sadly, this material lack has become glaring in recent years as their health declines. Marj has been diagnosed with Alzheimers as well as Diabetes. Will suffers many maladies associated with his early years of football at a time when the many dangers of the sport were unknown and unaddressed. He is no longer able to care for Marj's increasing care needs as his own become more pressing. They are facing their golden years in a financial position that does not afford them the support they require.

Their children and friends have watched their situation deteriorate in desperation for years but the couple's pride has precluded early intervention. Recently, medical emergency made intervention a necessity. Will was found unconscious and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital. Their separation was enormously unsettling for Marj and it quickly became clear to all of us that Marj is unable to live alone. Their reunion was emotional and moving, yet laced with anxiety regarding their future.

For the time being, the two are safe and well taken care of, however the costs of this arrangement are beyond their reach and both Will and Marj are ready to accept that they need help. They are scared, they are vulnerable, yet they maintain a sense of optimism that has carried them far. Family and friends are contributing to their support and care, but the financial mountain is tall and impossible for us to climb alone. We are asking for your help in allowing this beloved couple to spend their remaining years in a state of comfort and dignity. 

We, their children and grandchildren, are currently researching all options available to them moving forward in a very uncertain time. Every dollar of your donations (minus what GoFundMe takes) will go directly toward keeping Will and Marj safe, comfortable, and cared for in their final years. This may be in the context of a long term care facility, or it may entail extensive improvements to their home so they can stay there with caregivers. It will help ensure nutrition, medical and emotional support, and their safety. Most importantly, it will allow these two pioneering individuals to finally experience the peace that they have strived for along their very bumpy, yet beautiful, road in life.

If Will or Marj have ever touched your life - maybe Marj read your astrology chart, or you enjoyed listening to Will read on his KMFB radio show “Story Time” when you were a kid - or if their story just strikes a chord...please consider helping.

In Deepest Gratitude,

Will, Marj, Dorian, Brad, Nia, Dylan, Erik, Sophie and Families


Hello Dear Supporters,

I'm hopping on to let you know that after a difficult few months, my dad has relocated to a beautiful nursing home just down the road from his granddaughter, Sophie, in Sacramento. 

As many of you who visited him noted, he deteriorated significantly after the loss of my mom and in the untenable conditions of his home and caretaking situation. It was an extremely upsetting time for all of us and we appreciate all the alarms that were raised, knowing we were troubleshooting from a distance. Don't even get me started on the CA elder care system in this day in age, I won't be able to stop.

Suffice it to say that a short list of dedicated & caring folks helped us navigate this inhumane system and we are so grateful to see him already flourishing after just a few days in his new digs.

He receives daily physical therapy which already has him up and walking, and thrives on a new dietary regimen which sounds like it involves quantities of pizza & ravioli that would satiate a horse. 

His new home offers beautiful outdoor facilities, community areas and activities that we are optimistic will provide him with the quality of life he deserves. He enjoys his interaction staff and fellow residents, and reports that my mom visits him in his dreams. Our cup runneth over.

Please contact me if you are interested in visiting and I will give you the details. Thank you all, for everything. We love you.

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by Bruce Anderson

In Boonville, real wilderness can often begin a few feet from the pavement, as it does throughout the Anderson Valley and much of Mendocino County. I would hike due west from my house, down into the summer desert of the Anderson Creek stream bed, past the stilt house built for the Luffs, Anderson Valley’s last Indians, and on into the fertile little draw between the Rancheria and Anderson Creek where a black man named Daniel Jeans established a homestead in the 1870s. 

Valley old timers remember walking the short mile from the very west end of the Anderson Valley Elementary School to the Jeans place.

Daniel Jeans had been a slave. As a boy, the late Richard ‘Dick’ Day remembers Jeans as a large, strong man who would pull up his shirt to show valley youngsters the whip scars from his slave days.

Born in 1836, his place of birth not known, Jeans liked to boast that he could out work any two white men, which may have been more than a boast because Jeans’ labor was always in demand, and his homestead was a prosperous one that provided much of the Jeans family’s sustenance.

The Indians of the stilt house were neighbors of the Jeans whose homestead a mile west of the stilt house became known as Ham Canyon, the name perhaps both a specific site reference to the race of Mr. Jeans and the Old Testament designation of black people as the sons of Ham, the biblical slave. Jeans’ apple trees still bear fruit, and you can see from what's left of the Jeans’ hillside cabin what a productive and pretty little farm it must have been, tucked away in that little canyon in the big, wild county of Mendocino.

How Daniel Jeans came to then-remote Anderson Valley is lost to time and another matter for pure surmise. But he probably had some association, perhaps as a slave, with the valley’s first settlers, a preponderance of whom were from the slaveholding state of Missouri. Jeans married Mary Brown, a Native American, and in these two modest representatives of devastated peoples you could say that the entire bloody history of the early United States had survived and were prospering in a tiny settlement called Boonville.

The couple was accepted, if not embraced, by the isolated valley community, which was still difficult to reach up through the 1930s. There wasn’t much reason to come here in 1870 unless you had business or relatives here. It was so remote that Frank James, brother of Jesse, hid out in the Peachland hills with old friends from Missouri after the James’ brothers disastrously failed bank robbing foray into Minnesota.

Dan Jeans cleared the land for the Philo Methodist Church and the Con Creek School, for years known locally as the Little Red School House where my youngest son attended kindergarten in 1980s, the last year the structure was a classroom. 

Jeans had also worked the convivial hop fields of the Valley, where old timers remember him joining the evening storytelling and singing around the camp fires. Asked once about his religion, Jeans is said to have replied, “Abraham Lincoln is the only God I know.”

There were black people in Sacramento soon after the Gold Rush, and black people in San Francisco before the Gold Rush. The Clearlake Indians sheltered several black sailors who, along with their white mates, had fled the excessive brutality of certain Yankee sea captains. General Vallejo’s brother, Salvador Vallejo, is assumed to have murdered an awol black ship’s cook named Anderson Norris who had successfully sought refuge with Pomo Indians at Clearlake. There were Black people in Mendocino County from the early 1860s. Confederate sympathies ran so hot in inland Mendocino County additional federal troops were sent into the Eel River Basin to monitor the Confederate militia formed in and around Covelo. The fear was that militia might try to take Mendocino County when the war began.

There are fleeting references in local histories to Hiram Scott, who is described in one of those histories as “a huge, muscular Negro” who worked for white settlers, among them the infamous George S. White, “King of Round Valley,” an early cattle baron whose ruthlessness in the Eel River back country made him a national figure of sorts, as well known for murder plots against his wives as he was for so dominating the vast semi-wilderness from Covelo north to Weaverville that for a time White agitated for his own county. The “huge, muscular” Scott was one of White’s buckeroos, as cowboys were then called, and may have run criminal errands for his boss because thuggery was an important part of the job description for any buckeroo of whatever ethnicity working for the murderous White.

Jeans Place, Front Side

The Jeans family stayed on in Anderson Valley until 1946 when Albert Jeans, the last of the family, died at the Mendocino County Hospital in Ukiah at age 66. His brother George died at age 70 in Boonville, in 1940. The Jeans brothers are buried in Boonville’s Evergreen Cemetery a mile east of the family homestead in Ham Canyon. The Jeans patriarch, Daniel Jeans, died on May 10th, 1920, in Ukiah where he is buried in the Cypress Lawn Cemetery.

Mrs. Jeans was an Indian. Only Albert and George of her five children survived into adulthood, She and three of her children died of tuberculosis when she and the children were young. 

One of Jeans’ two sons, Albert, appears in an old elementary school class picture, his alert face dark among his Huck and Betsy classmates. Albert appears to be about ten in the photo. He does not appear in subsequent pictures, but he became locally infamous when, according to the Ukiah Republican of January 10th, 1926:

“Using a shotgun and causing a wound which resulted fatally 48 hours later, Albert Jeans, a colored man who lived on the road between Elk and Philo, shot his neighbor, G. Marcheschi, Sunday afternoon. There were no eyewitnesses to the crime and District Attorney L.C. Hurley is checking up the few facts he has been able to secure.”

Within days this initial bulletin was supplemented by a more complete version of Jean's arrest,

“Constable Apprehends Slayer,” reads the front page headline. “The murderer was arrested by Constable Buchanan after the slayer had fled the scene. It is understood the victim leaves a widow and three children at Cloverdale. After the shooting Mr. Marcheschi crawled a considerable distance along the road to the Schneider ranch before he was picked up by Ottavio Falleri and rushed to Greenwood where the injured man was treated by Dr. Sweet, who advised his removal to the hospital at Fort Bragg. In the meantime, a number of coast citizens, as a result of wild rumors that Jeans was on a rampage and was shooting at everything that got within range, armed and rushed to the scene of the trouble as there were a number of unprotected families in that neighborhood.

“Upon arrival they found the Jeans cabin deserted and a shotgun and two empty shells on the floor. Later they located Mr. Jeans at the Schneider Bros. ranch where he was placed under arrest and brought to Greenwood by Constable Buchanan who lodged him in jail until the following morning when he was sent to Ukiah.

“The stories of the slayer and his victim are decidedly at variance. Mr. Jeans claims the shooting was done in self-defense and asserts his victim had fired one shot at him from a rifle before he opened fire with the shotgun. He states further that, after shooting Mr. Marcheschi with one barrel of the shotgun, the latter again raised his rifle with the intention of firing a second shot when he, Jeans, told him to drop his rifle or he would finish him. Mr. Jeans claims he had no desire to kill Mr. Marcheschi and points to the fact he shot him in the leg whereas it would have been a simple matter to have shot him through the body had he desired to inflict fatal injury.

“As far as can be learned, Mr. Marcheschi’s version of the affair is to the effect the night before Mr. Jeans was in a dangerous mood and had done some wild shooting after which Mr. Marcheschi relieved him of his rifle. The following day Mr. Jeans was still in a belligerent state and Mr. Marcheschi went to the former’s cabin with the idea of gaining possession of Mr. Jeans’ shotgun to prevent him doing any serious damage. When within about 10 feet of Mr. Jeans, the latter is said to have exclaimed, ‘You fooled me last night and got my rifle but here is where I fool you,’ or words to that effect, and fired. The full charge of shot entered Mr. Marcheschi’s leg, inflicting a frightful wound.”

The shooting occurred on the last day of 1925, New Year’s Eve. Marcheschi was a bootlegger up on Greenwood Ridge where quite a number of Italian immigrants had settled. He also maintained a home and family in Cloverdale, much as latter day marijuana growers maintain dual households — one where they produce their illegal substance, the other where they manufacture respectability.

When word got around after the shooting that Albert Jeans, a black man, had shot the bootlegger, a white man, and that Jeans was still on the loose and was a raving maniac besides. Lynch mob fever rose on the Mendocino Coast. Jeans was not merely taken into custody. He was hunted down and nearly hanged when he was discovered, trembling and terrified, hiding in a water tower on the Schneider ranch. The press accounts of his arrest make it sound as if the constable simply walked up to Jeans and took him into custody; in fact the constable rescued Jeans from his captors.

A white jury — Indians and other persons of color were prohibited from serving — several of whose members were ranchers from Anderson Valley who knew the Jeans family well, rendered a verdict of manslaughter, much to the disgust of popular opinion, which was then nearly as anti-Italian as it was hostile to the darker races.

“The verdict in the case of the People vs. Albert Jeans convicted of manslaughter by a jury in the Mendocino County Superior court was upheld by the appellate court. The appellate court in its decision held that while there had been misconduct on the part of the district attorney, it had been corrected by Judge Preston’s instructions to the jury. The appellate court stated also that Jeans was lucky to have escaped with manslaughter as the evidence warranted a conviction of murder.”

Albert Jeans went off to San Quentin for ten years just as the Fort Bragg Advocate of Wednesday, July 8th, 1925, was reporting, “A beautiful ceremony and a beautiful setting over which a full moon shone, marked the open air initiation of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Anderson Valley near Boonville last Saturday evening. To the casual onlooker it was solemn and impressive and the white robed clansmen, moving about in the glare of the huge fiery cross lent an air of ghostliness to the affair. Over two hundred autos loaded with those who held invitations were present. Three initiatory ceremonies were enacted on that evening: the first being the Women of the K.K.K. and second the Knights who were then followed by the American Krusaders.”

At a time and a place when a black man might well have been hanged for so much as a perceived crime, and Indians could not testify against white people, and there were fewer than twenty black people in Mendocino County, Albert Jeans, a black Indian, received a sentence from a jury of his non-peers which seems to have been proportionate to his crime, an unpremeditated shooting death by a thirsty man.

Albert returned to the Anderson Valley from prison in 1935. He worked at the Clow Mill in Philo and earned a small income from an apple drier he built on the family homestead in Ham Canyon. His obituary appeared in the May 8th, 1946 edition of the Ukiah Republican Press: “Albert Jeans, colored, dead. Anderson Valley Long Time Resident Died Last Week. Graveside services were held Thursday afternoon for Albert Jeans, 67, at the Evergreen Cemetery. Reverend C.L. Goodenough officiated and Eversole Mortuary was in charge of arrangements. Mr. Jeans was a resident of this valley almost his entire life, having been employed in San Francisco for a time when a young man. He was born here December 28, 1878, and attended local schools, and although of the colored race, he numbered many of this valley’s residents among his friends.”

Reno Bartolomie served as Sheriff of Mendocino County for many years. His terse comment on race and class relations from the late 1920s until the early 1960s included a brief anecdote on another black resident of the county.

“I think the County was fair in the thirties and forties. Them days, people lived on honor. But them days, poor people never did get a fair shake. Colored people didn’t have much chance. Joe Perry lived in Fort Bragg, and he had to leave. They accused him of burning something down, so he moved to Ukiah. When I was a deputy sheriff in Ukiah he was still working at the Palace Hotel. He was quite old. He must have left Fort Bragg in the twenties. He made a living being a boot black. Everybody, them days, used to have their shoes shined, even the women. He was the only bootblack in town. He had a girlfriend in Richmond. He went down and visited her. He would give her all this money he made. Then her boyfriend came home and he killed Joe.”

Mendocino County has always been a violent place. Two sons of prominent early Anderson Valley families fatally met in the schoolyard one afternoon at the little red school house that Daniel Jeans had cleared the land for. The graceful little structure is now a museum devoted to celebrating the valley’s pioneer families, deserving or not. But the little red school house remains a landmark sight on Highway 128 between Boonville and Philo.

The Clows were ranchers, the Irish family ran a sawmill and lived in the fine big house that would later be owned by, among others, John Scharffenberger, who became a well-known wine and chocolate entrepreneur. Scharffenberger settled in Anderson Valley in the late 1970s when he was in his late 20s when the valley became rich with wineries and three million dollar men — a mil for the land and the house: a mil for a small vineyard for bottles of wine with Three Mil’s name on the label; a mil for Three Mil to live out his life on.

But on a fatal afternoon in 1877 in the little red school house’s boisterous but peaceful playing field, young A.E. Irish and young John Clow were arguing, about what nobody knew. Clow punched Irish, and Irish pulled a knife and slashed at Clow whose brother, Jim, alarmed at the sight of the knife in Irish’s hand, ran up shouting, “Boys, he has got a knife!” Irish moved uncertainly backwards but threatened by Clow, cut Clow deeply above the hip. The bleeding couldn’t be stanched and Jim Clow died where he’d fallen beneath the big pine that still shades the school room.

Two comments from ‘Mendocino County Remembered’ reflect both the times and the community opinion of Daniel Jeans, the first from Tom Ornbaun of the pioneer Ornbaun family who first settled what is now known as the Mailliard Ranch northwest of Yorkville on Fish Rock Road: 

“…My father had an innate lack of discrimination. I remember as a small child I couldn’t even have been in grammar school, we were going from Ornbaun Valley to Boonville. We were in a horse and buggy, I think. At this time there was one colored man, black man, in Boonville. And he was called, as usual, Nigger Dan. I think he married an Indian girl. As we were coming along this stretch where you get to Boonville, Dan was in the front and my father saw him. He stopped the horses and he turned around to John and me and said, ‘Son, I want to stop and say hello to my friend. He’ll be different from the other people you see. You don’t pay any attention and just treat him nice.’ So he stopped and introduced us to Nigger Dan. He just called him Dan. I think everybody said ‘nigger’ then. There was not any derogatory sense to it. That’s just what they did. But I think he just said Dan. He knew this instinctively because we had no black people. None. This was the first and probably the last for a long time that I ever saw.”

And from an interview with Alice Gowan in Mendocino County Remembered:

“I was going to mention Nigger Dan as we called him. He was Dan Jeans. I knew him. Nice old colored man. My father had some of the boys work for him. We always liked him just as well as anybody else, the same way with the Italian people up here on Signal Ridge. We never called them Dagos like lots of people did. My goodness! They were just as good as we were. They never came to the Valley but they stopped at our place. They had to walk clear down to the store after we had a store for their mail.”

George and Albert Jeans lived their lives in and around Boonville. Daniel Jeans left his estate to George and Henry Jeans, excluding Albert, his youngest son. 

When the old man died at age 85 in May of 1920, he was remembered by the Ukiah Dispatch Democrat as “well thought of in the community and many an expression of sorrow was heard at the funeral.”

The Jeans home had burned to the ground in 1914, and the family eventually moved to a new home on Anderson Valley Way now occupied by Karen diFalco. 

Jeans Place Now

That home may have been built by Henry and George Jeans — their father was already elderly in 1914 and largely looked after by George until his death. The Anderson Valley Way property was well known locally in the 1960s and 70s for the spectacular summer flower beds planted facing the road by then-owner, Delitha Clark.

It’s fair to assume that Albert Jeans was left out of the patriarch’s will because he’d become something of an embarrassment to his highly regarded, church-going father. Although a hard worker who was always employed, Albert became notorious in lightly-populated Mendocino County when he was twice the subject of scandals that found their way into court, and in-between his major scandals he logged a Santa Rosa citation and fine for “buying an Indian alcohol.” 

And, on the morning of 17 March 1934, a man named Charles Miller, already drunk despite the early hour, loudly announced in the busy Boonville Post Office that he was going to kill Albert Jeans because, Miller alleged, Jeans was “annoying” Mrs. Miller. But ancient whispers explained the relationship more explicitly than newspaper euphemism. Those excited whispers said that Jeans and Mrs. Miller were regularly intimate in an uncoerced relationship discovered by Mr. Miller one afternoon when he spotted Jeans climbing, shirtless, out of Mr. and Mrs. Miller’s bedroom window.

Later that day, about 4 in the afternoon, Jeans was working as part of a hop-planting crew on the Boonville ranch of Jesse Ginochio when Miller appeared some three hundred yards from Ginochio carrying a .22 rifle. Jeans was another few yards beyond Ginochio, but having spotted the armed Miller, and knowing he was the target of Miller’s wrath, Jeans promptly fled into the nearby hills.

Jesse Ginochio, owner of the hop field, was the Anderson Valley’s resident lawman, his rank being that of constable. Miller strode straight at Ginochio, pausing while still some distance away to load his rifle. When Miller reached Ginochio he was yelling curses and threats at the back of the fleeing Jeans, but never did raise his rifle to shoot. The intrepid constable simply grabbed the rifle and placed the irate cuckold under arrest.

Miller was duly convicted of attempted murder but won his appeal on the grounds that he never did either raise or fire his rifle at his wife’s playmate.

George Jeans was clearly his father’s favorite son. Born and raised in Ham Canyon, he lived all his life in the Anderson Valley and, like his father Daniel, enjoyed a reputation as a solid citizen, as reflected in the newspaper notice of his passing.

Ukiah Republican Press, June 5, 1940. Wednesday.

Kind Colored Rancher Died As He Slept 

Body is undiscovered for two days after passing 

George Jeans Taken 

Glasses in hand, he expired painlessly, belief is 

Special correspondence of the Press 

Anderson Valley, June 4, 1940. — Death came silently and swiftly to George Jeans, 71, colored, and the time of its coming can only be estimated but it is thought to have been Tuesday evening. He appeared asleep. J.H. Lockard was to have helped him cut wood Thursday but when he called at the Jeans home he found him apparently asleep with a newspaper over his face and did not disturb him. While he while in town late in the afternoon someone asked if he had seen Mr. Jeans and suggested he go back and see if anything was wrong as he had not been seen since Tuesday. Died peacefully. Mr. Lockard drove the three quarters of a mile north of Boonville to the Jeans home and found what he had taken for sleep was death instead, but death that came so quickly and painlessly he still held his glasses in one hand a newspaper in the other and his crossed feet showed there had been no death struggle. He had apparently retired for the night and was reading in bed and his kerosene lamp had burned dry and gone out. Has two brothers. George Jeans was a native of Anderson Valley. His father, the late Daniel Jeans, was in early life a slave and to his death carried the scars of lashes on his back. Two brothers survived him: Albert Jeans of this place (Ukiah) and Henry Jeans of Yakima, Washington whom he had been visiting and only recently returned to his home here. Funeral today. At 10 o’clock this morning funeral services will be held at the Boonville Church with the Reverend Glenn Akers officiating. Eversole Mortuary is in charge. Brother collapsed. Albert Jeans was in Cloverdale having dental work tended to when advised of his brother’s death. He caught a ride home but was in such condition due to shock he had to be taken back to Cloverdale for medical attention as Dr. Robinson of this place was out of town. K. B. Wallach and B.M. Brinegar took him down during the night and Dr. Sohler treated him and he is being cared for by a colored friend here.

The Jeans’ 160 acres, tucked away at the north end of Ornbaun Road, was long ago absorbed by the June Ranch, and much of the June Ranch subsequently absorbed by the Wasson Ranch. All that remains of the Jeans place is a remnant apple orchard and a collapsed outbuilding. It is not known what became of Albert Jeans, the last of the Mendocino County Jeans, but on clear summer nights, standing where the Jeans home once stood, you can imagine yourself welcomed by this uniquely American family who made their lives in the long gone Anderson Valley, a beautiful place gone corporate, transient, anonymous, only remnants of true community remaining.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, March 6, 2023

Arancibia, Butt, Esquivel

DANIEL ARANCIBIA, Willits. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%. 

MUHAMMAD BUTT, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.

MIA ESQUIVEL, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Lamarr, Lopez, McMurphy, Ortiz

JARED LAMARR, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

ESTEBAN LOPEZ-JIMENEZ, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery, false imprisonment,

JEROME MCMURPHY, Ukiah. Parole violation.

ALEJANDRO ORTIZ, Point Arena. Assault with deadly weapon other than a gun, battery with serious injury, vandalism.

* * *



Gasoline costs about $1 more even after accounting for California’s taxes and summer blend. Natural gas costs about 25% more than a few months back. Gasoline prices in Petaluma are 25 cents to 50 cents higher than other Bay Area cities.

California gas price have for years had about a 60-cent mystery price difference compared to other states. The state has supposedly been investigating with each price spike to no avail.

Commodity oil prices have been at midrange for months, well below highs. Natural gas prices are down on the commodities market. Gasoline in Butte County was selling recently for $3.85 a gallon vs. $5.05 in Petaluma. No, it’s not the cost to rent station property alone.

What’s wrong with this picture at the federal, state and local level?

Monopolies, price fixing and collusion. Big oil, utilities and local dealers fund our politicians for reelection and pay lobbyist to ensure their voices are heard.

We keep electing these same politicians. It’s on us, sadly.

David Lehman


* * *

1971, San Antonio

* * *

HE WROTE ‘SIDEWAYS,’ which became the most influential wine movie ever made. Now he says he was “completely ripped off.”

“Sideways,” the 2004 Oscar-winning movie in which Paul Giamatti experiences a midlife crisis while on a wine tasting trip through Santa Barbara County, made some people lots of money — not only the production company, but also countless American wineries.

Yet one person claims he never got his fair share of the “Sideways” gold rush: Rex Pickett, who wrote the novel that inspired the movie. Now, 19 years later, Pickett is trying to change his fortunes. He’s hoping that collectible editions of the book and public appearances will reignite interest in his work, this time on his terms…

* * *

In the kitchen of a Montana farmhouse, 1900.

* * *

ON THE OTHER side of town, where other people lived, a man named Noel and a woman named Nitchka were in an apartment, in the kitchen, having a discussion about music. The woman said, “So you know nothing at all? Not a single song?”

“I don’t think so,” said Noel. Why was this a problem for her? It wasn’t a problem for him. So he didn’t know any songs. He had always been willing to let her know more than he did; it didn’t bother him, until it bothered her.

“Noel, what kind of upbringing did you have, anyway?” He knew she felt he had been deprived and that he should feel angry about it. But he did! He did feel angry about it! “Didn’t your parents ever sing songs to you?” she asked. “Can’t you even sing one single song by heart? Sing a song. Just any song.”

“Like what?”

“If there was a gun to your head, what song would you sing?”

“I don’t know!” he shouted, and threw a chair across the room. They hadn’t had sex in two months.

“Is it that you don’t even know the name of a song?”

At night, every night, they just lay there with their magazines and Tylenol PM and then, often with the lights still on, were whisked quickly down into their own separate worlds of sleep—his filled with lots of whirling trees and antique flying machines and bouquets of ferns. He had no idea why.

“I know the name of a song,” he said.

“What song?”

Open the Door, Richard.”

“What kind of song is that?”

It was a song his friend Richard’s mother would sing when he was twelve and he and Richard were locked in the bedroom, flipping madly through magazines: Breasts and the Rest, Tight Tushies, and Lollapalooza Ladies. But it was a real song, which still existed—though you couldn’t find those magazines anymore. Noel had looked.

“See? I know a song that you don’t!” he exclaimed.

“Is this a song of spiritual significance to you?”

“Yup, it really is.” He picked up a rubber band from the counter, stretched it between his fingers, and released it. It hit her in the chin. “Sorry. That was an accident,” he said.

“Something is deeply missing in you!” Nitchka shouted, and stormed out of the apartment for a walk.

Noel sank back against the refrigerator. He could see his own reflection in the window over the sink. It was dim and translucent, and a long twisted cobweb outside, caught on the eaves, swung back and forth across his face like a noose. He looked crazy and ill—but with just a smidgen of charisma! “If there was a gun to your head,” he said to the reflection, “what song would you sing?”

— Lorrie Moore

* * *

Bedouin woman, Palestine, 1910

"IN THE ARABIC LANGUAGE 'bedu' refers to one who lives out in the open, in the desert and the word 'badawiyin' (of which the English word Bedouin is derived) means desert dweller. In ancient times people settled mostly near rivers but Bedouin people preferred to live in the open desert.

"There are Bedouin communities in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Altogether the Bedouin population is estimated at around 4 million people only. Bedouin are seen as Arab culture’s purest representatives. They are continued to be hailed by other Arabs as 'ideal' Arabs because of their rich oral poetic tradition, their lifestyle and their code of honour.

"Egyptians refer to Bedouin as 'Arab' (which is synonymous with the term 'Nomad' since the beginning of Islam), but Bedouin are distinct from other Arab’s because of their extensive kinship networks (which provide them with community support and the basic needs to survive) and their rich culture. These networks are traditionally to ensure safety of families and to protect their property. Today only an estimated 5% of the Bedouin people still live as pastoral (semi)nomads in all of the Middle East."

* * *


Millions of Americans work their whole life, paying into Medicare with every working day — starting with their first job, even as teenagers. Medicare is more than a government program. It’s the rock-solid guarantee that Americans have counted on to be there for them when they retire…

* * *

“IN TAKING AIM at Israel’s government from the pulpit, the rabbis were veering close to what many in their field consider a third rail. “You have a wonderful community and you love them and they love you, until the moment you stand up and you give your Israel sermon,” Rabbi Sharon Brous told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The phenomenon even has an informal name, she said: “Death by Israel sermon.”

Rabbi Brous

"Brous would know: A decade ago, she was the target of sharp criticism after she encouraged her congregants at IKAR, a nondenominational congregation, to pray for Palestinians as well as Jews during a period of conflict in Israel. The incident didn’t end her pulpit, but she has come to understand why many rabbis choose what she called “the path of silence” when it comes to Israel.”

This is long, too long IMO, but provides a hint at the growing crisis among one element of Jewish Zionists. 

(via Jeff Blankfort)

* * *

BUT HOW were such negative conclusions to be brought home to this superior of superiors? [Himmler] When I had committed these two objections to paper in plain language and proposed to send them for consideration “at top level,” I was simply laughed at. Anyone could see I was a novice, I was told. I must learn the whole tricky business of handling those above me. The first thing was to display immense enthusiasm for any plan, however idiotic, which they put forward, and keep on reporting progress. Only later, and then in small doses, could one inject the truth. One became a master of the diplomatic art only when one managed to allow the plan to get completely forgotten—the royal road to enrollment in the ranks of the perfect subordinates. 

— Otto Skorzeny, ‘Autobiography’

* * *

* * *

EVERY NOW AND THEN I like to highlight the fact that all this China stuff was forcast way back in 2004 by Michael Parenti, who said that the unipolarist neoconservative ideology that had hijacked US foreign policy envisioned a massive strategic confrontation with Beijing.

"The PNAC plan envisions a strategic confrontation with China, and a still greater permanent military presence in every corner of the world," Parenti wrote in his book Superpatriot. "The objective is not just power for its own sake but power to control the world's natural resources and markets, power to privatize and deregulate the economies of every nation in the world, and power to hoist upon the backs of peoples everywhere — including North America — the blessings of an untrammeled global 'free market.' The end goal is to ensure not merely the supremacy of global capitalism as such, but the supremacy of American global capitalism by preventing the emergence of any other potentially competing superpower."

"PNAC" refers to Project for the New American Century, the wildly influential neoconservative think tank whose members played a critical role in pushing the Iraq invasion. Since that time PNAC's vision for the future has quietly become the mainstream US foreign policy consensus.

After the fall of the Soviet Union the US government espoused a doctrine of securing US unipolar planetary domination by ensuring no rival superpowers develop, nicknamed the Wolfowitz Doctrine after the Pentagon official who supervised its drafting. Paul Wolfowitz would later become a PNAC member.

What we're witnessing now is this doctrine of maintaining unipolar hegemony at all cost colliding with the emergence of a multipolar world order, carried largely by the rise of China toward superpower status. Parenti saw this coming because like PNAC he saw that these two factors must necessarily collide.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *

Babe Ruth slides (1925)

* * *


by James Kunstler

Imagine that on an April evening in 1912, the captain of the RMS Titanic had announced a grand ball at which the male passengers were asked to wear their wives’ clothing and vice-versa…. That was approximately the condition of Western Civ verging on springtime in 2023: preoccupied with silliness while the iceberg awaits.

But who would have thought the sinking of civilization would occur with such fantastic comic ornamentation? Men, in more ways than mere costuming, pretending to be women… incompetence honored, feted, even worshipped… intellect reduced to anti-thinking… anything of value thrown overboard in some weird post-modern potlatch ceremony of twisted moral righteousness…? But the hour is late, the party is near its end, and the iceberg is struck. The rest of the story will be you holding onto a few valuables, including your life, while the lifeboats get lowered.

From here forward, things get pretty interesting. And from here on, nobody is really in charge. The vacuum of leadership we’ve been living in becomes impossible to ignore, and nature (it’s rumored) hates a vacuum. For the moment, circumstances are in charge, not personalities.

Look no further than the fiasco in Ukraine, engineered by geniuses of the US foreign service in some daft exercise to show the world who’s who and what for. And, remind me: what was the basic idea there? To hamstring and hogtie Russia so badly that her people would overthrow the only rational head-of-state in Christendom, a figure who makes the presidents, chancellors, and prime ministers of Western Civ look like a troop of gibbering mandrills, with painted faces and blue butts, the ass-clowns of geopolitics.

Something tells me that this gang will not make it to the lifeboats. They’ll be left on deck gripping bottles of single malt scotch whiskey, singing Don’t Cry for me Argentina as the band plays, while the whole wicked colossus slides beneath the moonlight-tinted green waves. All of which is to say: these perilous and confounding times we live in are coming to a climax. Events are afoot now, choices must be made, truths will emerge, no one will be untouched, be careful who your friends are.

We’re waiting for financial markets, banks, and monies to blow, as an engine will when submerged in water. It can’t not happen, though every known device has been deployed to keep up appearances. The credibility of finance was thrown overboard a long time ago. Capital was sloshing around in the bilges as the ship heaved and pitched in the angry waters, and it had to go somewhere. The next turn will be when you go looking for where it went and you discover to your nauseated chagrin that the capital is just… gone! Through some legerdemain of physics, it disappeared… turned into a kind of anti-matter… fell through a black hole (possibly ripped by that iceberg), or up the smokestacks, like it was never there at all.

When that happens, our collective attention finally gets galvanized as by no shock before. When capital is truly gone, transmogrified into a whole lot of nothing, the time for standing by making faces and whining is over. By the way, this is the way the world ends for the vacuum known as “Joe Biden” and the Party of Chaos he is propped up to represent. Chaos, we will be astounded to learn, is not your friend, is not the solution to anything, least of all a polity that is floundering in lifeboats over cold, dark, deep water a thousand leagues from dry land. What’s more, there are no ships coming to the rescue. Guess why they put oars in the boats. Get set to pull, me hardies!

Yes, we’re at sea now, without a compass. Yet the stars sparkle dazzlingly above, and some aboard can actually read what they say and what they point to. If safety and sanity will not find us, maybe we can pull together toward wherever they wait. My gawd, it’s going to be a long haul, but have a little faith — remember what that is? (It’s the conviction that all of us together stand in some meaningful relation to existence.) Even if you’re too mentally drained to believe it, act as if it is so. Or, in post-modern parlance, fake it till you make it.

Didn’t think it would come to this when you signed on to the voyage? I guess so. You were comfortably ensconced one winter night in the mini-McMansion, on the overstuffed sofa, entertained by some Netflix inanity, scarfing down the microwaved cheeze morsels… when the wife said, “Hey, let’s book a cruise!” Seemed like a good idea at the time, which is what everything in the annals of history is and was. And now, look at where you are!

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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Idle trains, closed ports, empty schools, canceled flights, uncollected trash, shuttered refineries.

That is what France was experiencing on Tuesday as labor unions vowed to bring the country “to a standstill” and send more than a million people into the streets to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the legal age of retirement to 64 from 62…

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DID WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS CONSPIRE To Destroy Nord Stream A Year Before The Russian Invasion? 

by Dennis Kucinich

The Global Energy Conference meeting this week in Houston will find the United States has risen the top position of world exporters of LNG (liquefied natural gas), in no small part due to aggressive US tactics such as sanctions against oil and gas producing countries and the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines.

The thoroughly-documented revelations of world-class investigative reporter Seymour Hersh (September 26, 2022) of how top US officials conspired to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines has profound market implications as well as legal entanglements which could rock the foundations of American government and international legal systems.

The blowing up of Nord Stream was not a retaliatory act for Russia’s invasion, it was a market heist. The prohibition of, and ultimately the destruction of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines were contemplated for years as official Washington nervously watched Russia’s rise as an energy provider to Europe.

Low-cost energy provided to Germany, for example, help stabilize the German industrial economy, enhance German-Russian relations, enable Germany to resell gas throughout western Europe and extend Russia’s economic reach west through Europe. But it also became a factor in revisions of the National Security Strategy of the United States which derived from the ill-fated (for Americans, that is) ‘Project for A New American Century,’ an ideological cabal dedicated to doing whatever it takes to destroy economic competition to keep the US the number one geopolitical power.

The end of Nord Stream was both predicted and proudly celebrated by the Biden Administration, carefully linking it in the public mind to a retributive action for the war in Ukraine.

Confession is the ultimate evidence and President Biden practically confessed when he said on February 7, 2022, many months prior to the bombing of Nord Stream: “If Russia invades… Ukraine…there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2, we will bring an end to it… I promise you we will be able to do it.

But when Seymour Hersh’s report surfaced, concerning top White House officials conspiring to destroy Nord Stream, a year before the Russian invasion, White House denials gushed like Russian gas spewing from ruptured pipelines along the Baltic seabed. Confession might be good for the soul, but convictive for the Biden Administration.

Presidential National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, chief concoctor and purveyor of Russiagate nonsense, placed the blame for blowing up Russia’s pipelines…..on Russia. Yes, we are led to believe by America’s top expert on national security that Putin destroyed billions in Russian pipeline infrastructure, cut his country off from a growing market in Europe, and by implication blew up his own economy, just to spite…. whom?

I was chair of a congressional investigative subcommittee. Every investigation is begun with a theory, then documents are gathered, timelines are established, questions are asked, hearings are conducted, testimony is taken under oath, reports are issued and further legal action can ensue.

My theory, based in part by the comprehensive work of Seymour Hersh, (and my own direct experience with Executive Branch lies which brought us to war against Iraq) is that the Biden Administration took it upon themselves to use a NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea as a cover to achieve the goal of destroying Nord Stream pipelines to obtain a powerful hold on the lucrative western Europe energy market, inflicting economic damage to Russia, filling the vacuum created in the lucrative German and associated markets and then rocketing to the top of the global gas industry, a kind of stolen energy valor.

How does one test such a theory, or more importantly definitively confirm or dismiss Hersh’s provocative report? 

Congressional investigations must ensue. The bombing of Nord Stream, (owned 51% by Russia’s Gazprom and 49% by four European partners) instantly cut off an energy supply for 83 million Germans, and destroyed a multi-billion dollar infrastructure was clearly an act of war. Under the United States Constitution, Article One, Section 8, the war power is clearly vested in Congress. 

If any President proceeds to commit an act of war, absent congressional approval, it is an impeachable offense. Likewise all top officials in an Administration who participate in the planning and execution of such action are similarly vulnerable to impeachment. 

Article Two, Section 4 of the Constitution states impeachment can reach not only the President and Vice President, but also “civil officers of the United States,” easily implicating everyone involved in a Nord Stream conspiracy at the executive level. 

It is vital for the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, all prominently mentioned both in Hersh’s account, and in news reports both prior to and subsequent to Nord Stream, to be called before Congress to testify about what they knew and when they knew it.

Let’s suppose for a moment that Congress, for whatever reason is reluctant to peer into the Executive conduct regarding Nord Stream. In that case, this matter clearly comes into the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, Rome Statute, which permits investigations of war crimes if the act occurred in a country which was a signatory to the statute. 

The attack on Nord Stream occurred off the coast of Denmark’s Bornholm Island, within that country’s territorial waters. Denmark was a signatory to the ICC Rome Statute in 1998, so the matter would property present to the ICC.

It is noteworthy that neither the UN Security Council, nor the US, nor Germany, nor Sweden, nor Denmark, nor any other country having investigated the Nord Stream pipeline destruction has produced any public report on their findings, further making the case for the necessity of an ICC public investigation.

If the Nord Stream bombing remains unquestioned, US Constitutional checks and balances and international structures of law will be severely eroded. We must get the facts and follow where they lead.


* * *

* * *


The fall of Bakhmut wouldn't constitute "an operational or strategic setback" for the Ukrainian military, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military said it destroyed a surveillance tower in the Russian border region of Bryansk, using a Kamikaze drone. 

Intense fighting is raging around the city, as Russian forces seek to encircle Ukrainian units.

In southern Ukraine, Russian shelling killed at least four people in the Kherson region and the death toll rose to 13 from an earlier strike in Zaporizhzhia.


* * *

Hot dog stand in North End, Boston, 1937

* * *


by Aaron Mate

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine hit the one-year mark last month, John Sullivan, the now former US ambassador to Russia, shared a corrective with his new employer CBS News. The Kremlin, Sullivan complained, asserts that the “United States is already waging” a war on Russia “through its Ukrainian proxies.” Worse, Moscow even dares to suggest that the “United States wants to fight against Russia to the last Ukrainian.”

To Sullivan, such talk is nothing more than Russian disinformation. “It's all made up,” he said.

Perhaps unbeknownst to him, one of the Ukraine effort’s most vocal champions in Washington had already celebrated what the US diplomat now dismisses as “made up.”

“I like the structural path we’re on here,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham declared in July 2022. “As long as we help Ukraine with the weapons they need and the economic support, they will fight to the last person.”

Graham’s enthusiasm for using Ukraine to fight Russia to the last person offers a stark contrast to the lofty rhetoric emanating from the Oval Office. Officials like Ambassador Sullivan stick to the official White House script about a “struggle for democracy” and “defending sovereignty and territorial integrity” (void in Syria, as Gen. Mark Milley’s surprise visit to cheer on the US military occupation newly underscores). Meanwhile, their more candid neoconservative compatriots have no need for such pleasantries...

* * *


  1. Nathan Duffy March 7, 2023

    The billboard in Berkeley that recently stated
    Which I found to be an odd statement being that the leading pro-Israel Zionist Scholar in the West by the name of Bernard Lewis has clearly stated as much that criticism of the State of Israel IS NOT ANTI-SEMITISM and to conflate it as such is anti-intellectual and serves no purpose. I am paraphrasing of course. Now that was in a book of his from 20 or more years ago so these rightwing politics shift of course and clearly a ‘purpose’ for ridiculous statements has been found.
    As has been reported, some monkey wrenchers changed the first billboard to read
    The new billboard just went up 30 minutes ago stating,
    I literally put my hand on my face. Who do they let write this stuff???
    The Jews, who by my witness possess some of the sharpest minds, wits and intellects that history has produced clearly have some dullards in their mix.
    I find it fascinating that in 2023 late capitalist left coast we find this rigorous ‘debate’ being had on a Billboard. Absolutely fascinating!!! I just genuinely wish the right wingers chose some more intelligent things to say.

  2. Nathan Duffy March 7, 2023

    RE; Arabs, Bedouins, Nomads…. Once I saw the term “NOMAD” I saw just another of the million striking parallels between Arabs and Jews or Muslims and Jews. They are nearly an identical people in so many regards right down to reading the Jewish Talmud and the Sunnah of the Prophet which have many identical concepts and teachings that are peppered throughout both traditions. The parallels and similarities are fascinating and striking when you dig a little. Calling Mohammed a Jewish Prophet who was rejected by the Jews and proceeded to make a mass amount of non-jews follow a very Jewish like tradition is not a stretch of the imagination.

    • Sarah Kennedy Owen March 7, 2023

      From what little I understand, the Muslim faith is a branch of Christianity, as is the Jewish religion, though actually Christianity is a branch of Judaism, making the Islamic religion a branch, ultimately, of Judaism. If you have studied the Christian religion much, you will note that despite the fact that Catholics and Protestants have some similar beliefs (because they are the same religion but tweaked a bit) they have been (maybe still are?) at each others’ throats since the time of Henry VIII. Much violence and even terrorism there. Humans can’t get it together regarding what this religion thing is all about. That’s not anti-Jew or anti-Muslim or anti-Christian. It just is. And is one of the saddest aspects of our world.

  3. Marmon March 7, 2023


    Remember when McConnell condemned the J6 protest as a ‘violent insurrection,’ then defended Cheney & Kinzinger’s selection on the J6 clown committee. Mitch was IN ON IT ALL!

    Tucker Carlson’s release of the hidden Jan 6 tapes has exposed the truth about what really took place that day. Dems and RINO’s have some explaining to do. Defense attorney’s are going to have a field day when they get their copies.


  4. Marmon March 7, 2023

    BREAKING: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calls it a “mistake” for Tucker Carlson and Fox News to release the never-before-seen J6 footage.

    Big mistake by McConnell.

    This needless gift to Democrats indicates to me that McConnell is hiding his own role on January 6, when he backed Pelosi’s refusal to give Capitol Police chief Steven Sund the National Guard backup he was begging for.


    • Bruce McEwen March 7, 2023

      If you can handle the recoil — guarangoddamnedTEED< to knock your hat off and make your hair fly — the .416 Rigby or the .378 Winchester magnum would be just what you need for rhino hunting.

      • Bruce McEwen March 7, 2023

        Just keep in mind they’re still on the endangered species list and behave yourself accordingly…

    • sam kircher March 7, 2023

      Pretty clear that pseudo journalist Carlson cherry picked the bits from over 40,000 hours of video handed over that day to suit his personal propaganda narrative.

      Begs the question, why not hand that footage over to all media outlets?

      And why call out the national guard if the whole thing was just a harmless picnic for tourists?
      Oh yeah, James wants to have his cake, and…

      There’s what some plain old midwestern republican legislators (and the current capitol police chief) have to say about Tucker’s latest Orwellian crusade. But, oh yeah, rinos or something (a term essentially coined by a man who registered and voted democrat his whole life until he realized that Barnum’s proverbial suckers tend to belong to that other party.)

      There’s one born every minute. And as the great Tom Waits once said, “you just happened to come along at the right time,” James.

      That’s one of the ways you can attribute a quote or a source, Marmon. You should try it sometime.

  5. Nathan Duffy March 7, 2023

    RE; Donner Party.
    I told my wife today about the heroic John Stark of Donner Pass rescue fame.
    Thank the AVA for relating that story in the past.
    Here is the “Ballad of John Stark”

  6. Jim Armstrong March 7, 2023

    An AVA MCT of record length today I think.
    I may be getting too old for it.

  7. Lazarus March 7, 2023

    by William J. Ray

    Well done, Mr. Ray,
    For the thoughtful prose that roams the time of your youth.
    Although some of the remembered live now and have even thrived.
    But no doubt the friends and family of all are smiling… from somewhere.
    Be well,

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