ASSISTANT DA PAUL SEQUIERA issued this terse statement Thursday on the unprosecuted murder of Susan Keegan. “It's still under investigation.”
REALLY? We're not talking about the Kennedy Assassination here. We're talking about the highly likely murder of a woman committed by her husband, a woman bludgeoned to death in her South Ukiah home by her doctor-husband of 30 years. What's the hold-up? The DA might lose the case? This isn't a ball game. We're not compiling won-loss stats here. We're talking about an unprosecuted crime. It's way past time to arrest Doctor Keegan and prosecute him. Maybe he's innocent. We won't know until it's sorted out in a public way, but this “it's still under investigation” baloney has become insulting. If Joe The Tweeker's wife had been found bludgeoned to death in the marital bower under similar circumstances, you can be sure that Joe would already be in his third year in the state pen.
IS THE KEEGAN case as simple as that? Maybe the DA can tell us. The doctor said he found his wife dead in her bathroom of the home they shared. He said she'd fallen and hit her head. The wounds to Susan Keegan's head were not, however, consistent with a bathroom fall, hence the upgrade of the death certificate to homicide.
THE DOCTOR said his wife was a drunk and a pill-popper, an assessment that does not square with Mrs. Keegan's busy daily schedule. She was a woman who got up every morning and did things, as her many Ukiah friends are prepared to testify. Pill-popping drunks don't do much besides indulge themselves. If Mrs. Keegan was a drug-addled drunk the people she saw every day would have noticed. They didn't.
SUSAN KEEGAN'S death has been officially ruled a homicide. There was one other person in the house when she died. That person, Doctor Keegan, didn't offer any other explanation for his wife's death than that he'd found her dead in her own bathroom and had immediately slandered her to the police as likely having fallen under the influence. He didn't say he heard a possible intruder during the night or offer any other explanation for what might have happened to his wife. One death, one suspect, one death certificate that says homicide.
THE DA'S OFFICE under Eyster has yet to prosecute a single tough case. Sequiera was hired to prosecute tough cases. The endless delays in this one are starting to smell. How is it possible to have a homicide, one suspect — but no arrest, no prosecution? This kind of class-based prosecution policy has gone on for years in this county, most famously in the 1987 Fort Bragg Fires. In that one, a handful of crooks got away with burning the heart right out of the town. I could list a dozen major crimes from 1970 to the present that either went unprosecuted or some kind of cozy deal was worked out with the well-placed, well-connected perp.
SUSAN KEEGAN was a good person. She was prepared to leave the marriage and move on. Doctor Keegan was very angry, murderously angry, that half their property would belong to Mrs. Keegan, and he did what he did, which was to commit murder, a murder under investigation since November of 2010.
OUR LATE DA Norm Vroman even prosecuted egregious domestic violence cases, knowing they were iffy because the female victims refused to testify against the “man” who had beat them. Vroman prosecuted these cases anyway because they should have been prosecuted, win or lose.
EYSTER'S done some good things — his dope prosecution policy is a very good thing for the County — but letting woman killers slide because the cases aren't airtight is signing off on murder.
KEEGAN MURDER CASE TIMELINE:
• November 11, 2010 — Susan Keegan reported dead at her Ukiah home by her husband, Dr. Peter Keegan.
• November 11, 2010 — Family and friends call Sheriff’s office and explain why death should be treated as suspicious.
• November 13, 2010 (approx) — Body released to husband and cremated shortly afterward.
• Fall 2010, Winter/Spring 2011 — Family and friends begin calling the Sheriff’s office and the DA’s office urging a full investigation.
• June, 2011 — Search warrant executed at Keegan home.
• Summer/Fall 2011 to Winter/Spring 2012 — Family and friends continue to call DA's office inquiring about the status of the investigation. DA tells the public the case is “under investigation.”
• August, 2012 — The cause of Susan Keegan’s death is officially declared “Homicide.” Sheriff's office tells media “there is a person of interest.”
• Fall/Winter 2012 — Family and friends continue to call DA's office inquiring about the status of the investigation. DA tells the public the case is “under investigation.”
• January 2013 — Second search warrant executed at Keegan home. Family and friends continue to call DA's office inquiring about the status of the investigation.
• April 2013 — Assistant DA says case is “under investigation.”
MOVIE REVIEW: Check that. “Warning! Toxic Film Ahead.”
After all these years I should know better than to believe a Chronicle movie review. The paper hasn't had a reliable reviewer since Judy Stone and the great John Wasserman. They knew a bad movie when they saw one. So did Pauline Kael and Dwight Macdonald. They've all been gone a long time. Now we have those academic twits on NPR trying to sound all Andrew Sarris about the dumbest thing going. Someone in the Chron's ad department had declared that “The Place Beyond the Pines” was “huge in its ambition and huge in its achievement.” I doubt even Mick Lasalle would go this far even about a bad movie, but Lasalle gave the movie a big thumbs up. What you have is story line with huge holes in it, a script full of people yelling “fuck you” at each other, no-talent young actors playing repulsive young people, a gaggle of crooked cops. The Mendocino County Courthouse plays better than this and does it every day. My excuse for paying $8.50 for two hours of filmic cretinism? I don't have one. I believed Lasalle and I believed the ads, and how dumb is that? I wondered, though, why I was watching, but I watched to the end, rationalizing my masochism as, “I wanted to see how stupid it could get by the time it ended in the usual tacked-on smarm that lots of violent movies end with these days.” It fulfilled all my expectations. Improbably stupid front to back. But no matter how depraved the story is it will end well because, I guess, the money people figure if it ends as hopelessly nihilistic as it began, idiots like me won't recommend it to our friends. If any of my friends said they were going out to see “The Place Beyond the Pines” I'd tackle them at their front doors. It should be called “The Place Beyond the Pale.” But nothing is anymore, and here we are.
A READER WRITES: “Not content with burying Democracy Now! in the mid-afternoon desert while dropping other shows like Counterspin that critique our rotten and corrupt Establishment, KZYX has just cut loose Alternative Radio, another syndicated program that presented speeches by telling-it-like-it-is radical thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Michael Parenti, Michael Hudson, and so on. Not to fret, AR has been replaced by (drum roll… cymbal clash) the TED Talks! Yes, Arianna Huffington's favorite pseudo-liberal present paradigm enablers! The TED Talks (Technology - Entertainment - Design), a self-proclaimed global set of conferences owned by a private corporation that purports to be “a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers.”
Recent TED Talk “inspired thinkers” include such establishment-challenging pit bulls as Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and Gordon Brown. TED Talk speakers might indeed elaborate on the myriad political, economic, social and ecological crises now confronting us, but one will never, ever, hear a TED Talker state the obvious: our present corrupt political, financial and militarist culture has spawned these crises and must be radically transformed if we are to go forward. (The TED Talks refused to distribute a speech in 2007 by a well known Indian economist who warned of an imminent global financial meltdown.) And the TED Talks are brought to us by (who else?) NPR. The downward spiral of KZYX to the seventh level of bland, centrist timidity and mediocrity continues apace…”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.” — TV listing for ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ from the ‘Marin Independent Journal’
ANDERSON VALLEY WILDFLOWER SHOW, April 27-28
These beautiful spring days bring out our spectacular wildflowers. Come see hundreds of specimens at the annual Wildflower Show put on by the Garden Section of the AV Unity Club on Saturday, April 27th and Sunday, April 28th at the Fairgrounds in downtown Boonville. Each day the show will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Colorful specimins will be grouped according to plant families, and experts will be on hand to identify local wildflowers you bring in. Plants for your garden, delicious food, and beautiful books will be for sale. Displays will include student artwork, invasive plants, and Lyme's Disease. Many wonderful raffle prizes have been donated. All proceeds will go towards student scholarships. This year's show is dedicated to the memory of three Unity Club members who gave countless hours of their time and energy to the Wildflower Show, Bobbie Peterson, Cleo Hixon, and Bobbie Hiatt. Come join the fun! Admission is free. Questions? Call Robyn Harper, 895-2609
COMMENT OF THE DAY: It is interesting to find out through Matier&Ross (SF Chron) that concessions at AT&T Park are operated by a firm in South Carolina. One would think there is a San Francisco or California-based firm out there to handle this big-money and big-profit operation. I would rather be gouged by a local firm, knowing my money stays in California and does not go to South Carolina. As much as I enjoy my Giants Dog, I'll be re-thinking purchasing food and drink at the ball park. (—Phil Points, San Francisco)
GROUNDBREAKING IMPROV COMIC JONATHAN WINTERS DIES. By John Rogers
Jonathan Winters, the cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, has died. He was 87. The Ohio native died Thursday evening at his Montecito, Calif., home of natural causes, said Joe Petro III, a longtime friend. He was surrounded by family and friends. Winters was a pioneer of improvisational standup comedy, with an exceptional gift for mimicry, a grab bag of eccentric personalities and a bottomless reservoir of creative energy. Facial contortions, sound effects, tall tales — all could be used in a matter of seconds to get a laugh. “Jonathan Winters was the worthy custodian of a sparkling and childish comedic genius. He did God's work. I was lucky 2 know him,” Carrey tweeted on Friday. On Jack Paar's television show in 1964, Winters was handed a foot-long stick and he swiftly became a fisherman, violinist, lion tamer, canoeist, U.N. diplomat, bullfighter, flutist, delusional psychiatric patient, British headmaster and Bing Crosby's golf club.
“As a kid, I always wanted to be lots of things,” he told U.S. News & World Report in 1988. “I was a Walter Mitty type. I wanted to be in the French Foreign Legion, a detective, a doctor, a test pilot with a scarf, a fisherman who hauled in a tremendous marlin after a 12-hour fight.” The humor most often was based in reality — his characters Maude Frickert and Elwood P. Suggins, for example, were based on people Winters knew growing up in Ohio. A devotee of Groucho Marx and Laurel and Hardy, Winters and his free-for-all brand of humor inspired Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Tracey Ullman and Lily Tomlin, among many others. But Williams and Carrey are his best-known followers. “First he was my idol, then he was my mentor and amazing friend. I'll miss him huge. He was my Comedy Buddha. Long live the Buddha,” Williams said in a statement Friday. Williams helped introduce Winters to new fans in 1981 as the son of Williams' goofball alien and his earthling wife in the final season of ABC's “Mork and Mindy.” The two often strayed from the script. “The best stuff was before the cameras were on, when he was open and free to create,” Williams once said. “Jonathan would just blow the doors off.” Carson, meanwhile, lifted Winters' Maude Frickert character almost intact for the long-running Aunt Blabby character he portrayed on “The Tonight Show.” “Beyond funny. He invented a new category of comedic genius,” comedian Albert Brooks tweeted Friday. In other Twitter posts, Richard Lewis called Winters “the greatest improvisational comedian of all time” and Roseanne Barr added “a genius has vacated this realm.” Winters' only Emmy was for best-supporting actor for playing Randy Quaid's father in the sitcom “Davis Rules“ (1991). He was nominated again in 2003 as outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for an appearance on “Life With Bonnie.” He also won two Grammys: One for his work on “The Little Prince” album in 1975 and another for his “Crank Calls” comedy album in 1996. “I knew him for 55 years and he's always been silly, every moment of his life,” veteran announcer Gary Owens, who collaborated with Winters on four comedy albums, recalled warmly Friday in an interview with the AP. He spoke by phone with him just two days ago, Owens said, and although frail, Winters still broke into a routine in which he was being pecked in the head by a pet peregrine falcon he claimed to keep by his bed. Winters received the Kennedy Center's second Mark Twain Prize for Humor in 1999, a year after Richard Pryor. In later years, he was sought out for his changeling voice, and he contributed to numerous cartoons and animated films. He played three characters in the “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” movie in 2000. The Internet Movie Database website credits him as the voice of Papa in the forthcoming “The Smurfs 2” film. He continued to work almost to the end of his life, and to influence new generations of comics. “No him, no me. No MOST of us, comedy-wise,” comic Patton Oswalt tweeted Friday. Winters made television history in 1956 when RCA broadcast the first public demonstration of color videotape on “The Jonathan Winters Show.” The comedian quickly realized the possibilities, author David Hajdu wrote in The New York Times in 2006. He soon used video technology “to appear as two characters, bantering back and forth, seemingly in the studio at the same time. You could say he invented the video stunt.” Winters was born Nov. 11, 1925, in Dayton, Ohio. Growing up during the Depression as an only child whose parents divorced when he was 7, he spent a lot of time entertaining himself. Winters, who battled alcoholism in his younger years, described his father as an alcoholic. But he found a comedic mentor in his mother, radio personality Alice Bahman. “She was very fast. Whatever humor I've inherited I'd have to give credit to her,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2000. Winters joined the Marines at 17 and served two years in the South Pacific. He returned to study at the Dayton Art Institute, helping him develop keen observational skills. At one point, he won a talent contest (and the first prize of a watch) by doing impressions of movie stars. After stints as a radio disc jockey and TV host in Ohio from 1950-53, he left for New York, where he found early work doing impressions of John Wayne, Cary Grant, Groucho Marx and James Cagney, among others. One night after a show, an older man sweeping up told him he wasn't breaking any new ground by mimicking the rich or famous. “He said, 'What's the matter with those characters in Ohio? I'll bet there are some far-out dudes that you grew up with back in Ohio’,” Winters told the Orange County Register in 1997. Two days later, he cooked up one of his most famous characters: the hard-drinking, dirty old woman Maude Frickert, modeled in part on his own mother and an aunt. Appearances on Paar's show and others followed and Winters soon had a following. Before long, he was struggling with depression and drinking. “I became a robot,” Winters told TV critics in 2000. “I almost lost my sense of humor ... I had a breakdown and I turned myself in (to a mental hospital). It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do.” Winters was hospitalized for eight months in the early 1960s. It's a topic he rarely addressed and never dwelled on. “If you make a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year and you're talking to the blue-collar guy who's a farmer 200 miles south of Topeka, he's looking up and saying, 'That bastard makes (all that money) and he's crying about being a manic depressive?’ ” Winters said. When he got out, there was a role as a slow-witted character waiting in the 1963 ensemble film “It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” “I finally opened up and realized I was in charge,” Winters told PBS interviewers for 2000's “Jonathan Winters: On the Loose.” “Improvisation is about taking chances, and I was ready to take chances.” Roles in other movies followed, as did TV shows, including his own. While show business kept Winters busy, the former art school student was also a painter and writer. His paintings and sketches were often filled with humor. “I find painting a much slower process than comedy, where you can go a mile a minute verbally and hope to God that some of the people out there understand you,” he said in the 1988 U.S. News and World Report interview. “I don't paint every day. I'm not that motivated. I don't do anything the same every day. Discipline is tough for a guy who is a rebel.” Among his books is a collection of short stories called “Winters' Tales” (1987). “I've done for the most part pretty much what I intended — I ended up doing comedy, writing and painting,” he told U.S. News. “I've had a ball. And as I get older, I just become an older kid.” Winters' wife, Eileen, died in 2009. He is survived by two children, Lucinda Winters and Jay Winters. (Courtesy, AP Wire Service; AP Writers David Zelio and Robert Jablon and AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle contributed to this story.)
ON APRIL 10, 2013, at approximately 1pm, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic enforcement stop of a speeding vehicle on Highway 162 in Covelo, California. Upon contacting the occupants of the vehicle the Deputy determined that the driver, Javier Alvarez, 31, of Hopland, had two outstanding warrants (controlled substance use and domestic violence) for his arrest totaling $25,000 in bail. Following Alvarez’s arrest, the Deputy conducted a search of the vehicle. During the search the Deputy located a marijuana smoking pipe and a methamphetamine smoking pipe.
The Deputy also located approximately 1.8 grams of methamphetamine in individual plastic baggies inside the vehicle. Meliton Rangel, 24, of Stockton, and Jeff Carver, 30, of Willits, both passengers in the vehicle, were then placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell (methamphetamine). Rangel and Carver where transported to the Mendocino County Jail where they both were to be held on $35,000 bail. Alvarez was also transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on $25,000 bail for his outstanding arrest warrants. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
TWO OBAMAS, TWO CLASSES OF CHILDREN
By Ralph Nader
An Associated Press photograph brought the horror of little children lying dead outside of their home to an American Audience. At least 10 Afghan children and some of their mothers were struck down by an airstrike on their extended family household by order of President Barack Obama. He probably decided on what his aides describe as the routine weekly “Terror Tuesday” at the White House. On that day, Mr. Obama typically receives the advice about which “militants” should live or die thousands of miles away from drones or aircraft. Even if households far from war zones are often destroyed in clear violation of the laws of war, the president is not deterred.
These Obama airstrikes are launched knowing that very often there is “collateral damage,” that is a form of “so sorry terrorism.” How can the president explain the vaporization of a dozen pre-teen Afghan boys collecting firewood for their families on a hillside? The local spotter-informants must have been disoriented by all those $100 bills in rewards. Imagine a direct strike killing and injuring scores of people in a funeral procession following a previous fatal strike that was the occasion of this processional mourning. Remember the December 2009 Obama strike on an alleged al-Qaida training camp in Yemen, using tomahawk missiles and – get this – cluster bombs, that killed 14 women and 21 children. Again and again “so sorry terrorism” ravages family households far from the battlefields.
If this is a war, why hasn’t Congress declared war under Article 1, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution? The 2001 Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force is not an open-ended authorization for the president. It was restricted to targeting only nations, organizations or persons that are determined to have been implicated in the 9/11 massacres, or harbored complicit organizations or persons.
For several years, White House officials, including ret. General James Jones, have declared that there is no real operational al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan to harbor anyone. The Pakistani Taliban is in conflict with the Pakistani government. The Afghan Taliban is in brutal conflict with the Afghanistan government and wants to expel U.S. forces as their members view occupying-invaders, just as their predecessors did when they expelled the Soviet invaders. The Taliban represent no imminent threat to the U.S.
President Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, used to complain to his colleagues about the CIA’s drone attacks saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people.” He knew how such attacks by whining drones, hovering 24/7 over millions of frightened people and their terrified children produce serious backlashes that fester for years.
Even a loyalist such as William M. Daley, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff in 2011, observed that the Obama kill list presents less and less significant pursuits. “One guy gets knocked off, and the guy’s driver, who’s No. 21, becomes 20?” Daley said, describing the internal discussion. “At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?”
Yet this unlawful killing by a seemingly obsessed Obama, continues and includes anyone in the vicinity of a “suspect” whose name isn’t even known ( that are called “signature strikes”), or mistakes, like the recent aerial killings of numerous Pakistani soldiers and four Afghan policemen – considered our allies. The drone kill list goes on and on – over 3000 is the official fatality count, not counting injuries.
In a few weeks, The Nation magazine will issue a major report on U.S.-caused civilian casualties in Afghanistan that should add new information.
Now switch the scene. The president, filled with memories of what his secret drone directives as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner have done to so many children, in so many places, traveled on Monday to Newtown, Connecticut for the second time. He commiserated with the parents and relatives of the 20 children and six adults slain by a lone gunman. Here he became the compassionate president, with words and hugs.
What must be going through his mind as he sees the rows of 10 Afghan little children and their parents blown apart in that day’s New York Times? How can the president justify this continued military occupation for what is a civil war? No wonder a majority of the American people want out of Afghanistan, even without a close knowledge of the grisly and ugly things going on there in our name that are feeding the seething hatred of Obama’s war.
Sometime after 2016 when Barack Obama starts writing his lucrative autobiographical recollections, there may be a few pages where he explains how he endured this double life ordering so-called precision attacks that kill many innocent children and their mothers and fathers while mourning domestic mass killings in the U.S. and advocating gun controls. As a constitutional law teacher, he may wonder why there have been no “gun controls” on his lawless, out-of-control presidency and his reckless attacks that only expanded the number of al-Qaeda affiliates wreaking havoc in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, North Africa and elsewhere.
Al-Qaeda of Iraq is now merging with an affiliate called “al-Nusra” in Syria that will give Obama more futile exercises on Terror Tuesdays. The CIA calls the reaction to such operations “blowback” because the unintended consequences undermine our long-term national security.
Obama is not like the official criminal recidivist, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, who misses no chance to say he has no regrets. Obama worries even as he greatly escalates the aerial attacks started by George W. Bush. In his State of the Union speech he called for a “legal and policy framework” to guide “our counterterrorism operations,” so that “no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.” Granted, this is a good cover for his derelictions, but it probably reflects that he also needs some restraint. Last year he told CNN it was “something you have to struggle with.”
Not that our abdicatory Congress would ever take him up on his offer for such legal guidance should he ever submit a proposed framework. Nor would Congress move to put an end to secret laws, secret criteria for targeting, indefinite imprisonment, no due process, even for American citizens, secret cover-ups of illegal outsourcing to contracting corporations and enact other preventive reforms.
Mr. Obama recognized in his CNN interview that “it’s very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means. That’s not who we are as a country.”
Unfortunately, however, that’s what he has done as a president.
Unless the American people come to realize that a president must be subject to the rule of law and our Constitution, our statutes and treaties, every succeeding president will push the deficit-financed lawlessness further until the inevitable blowback day of reckoning.
That is the fate of all empires.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of ‘Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!’ He is a contributor to ‘Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion,’ published by AK Press. ‘Hopeless’ is also available in a Kindle edition.)
SECOND ANNUAL UKEFEST on the Mendocino Coast.
To launch the second annual UkeFest, Mendocino Stories and Music Series will host a ukulele variety show at the Community Center of Mendocino. The UkeFest Kick-Off, on Friday, April 26 will begin at 7:30 PM with performances, followed by a ukulele jam session and sing-along. Proceeds benefit CCM, located at the corner of School and Pine Streets in Mendocino. Performers include Sarah Wagner, Dennis Hudson, Pattie DeMatteo, members of the Mendocino Ukulele class and many of your friends and neighbors. Members of the Mendocino Coast Ukulele Club will lead the jam session in the second portion of the evening All ages and levels of interest are encouraged. Doors open at 7PM for snacks and beverages. $10 at the door, $5 if you bring your uke. For more info on this event call Pattie at 937-1732 or visit www.mendocinostories.com/events_info.html. Then on Saturday, an all-day ukulele festival is planned when Mendocino Stories and Music Series joins The Caspar Community to celebrate the ukulele as a friendly and playful instrument. Instructional workshops, jam sessions, open mic and evening performances, complemented by “...fresh, local, and gourmet cuisine prepared by the volunteers in Caspar's kitchen.” This is an “All Ages, All levels of interest and expertise” event. The day’s activities start at 10AM and will finish by 10PM at Caspar Community Center. Ukulele workshops will begin at 10AM, with instructors for beginners, intermediate and advanced players. After a break for lunch, jam sessions will start out in small break-out groups followed by an open mic before the dinner break. Evening performances starting at 7PM will include Sarah Wagner, The Ukeholics, Hui Arago and special guests. All ages and levels of interest are encouraged. Ticket prices are $30 All-event pass, $20 Instruction only, $15 evening performances only. All afternoon activities are free of charge. Tickets are on sale at BrownPaperTickets.com and by phone at 707 937-1732. — Pattie DeMatteo, Mendocino Stories and Music Series, PO Box 432, Comptche, CA 95427. 707-937-1732. Pattie@MendocinoStories.com, MendocinoStories homepage. Follow us on Facebook
YASKI ROUNDS OUT ROUNDABOUT
Public Art Project At Simpson Lane Roundabout
The Arts Council of Mendocino County, Mendocino County Department of Transportation, Mendocino Council of Governments, Community Foundation of Mendocino County and community leaders are engaged in a project intended to result in a work of sculpture at the Simpson Lane Roundabout, just south of Fort Bragg, CA on Highway 1, through which approximately 19,000 people travel per day.
Earlier this year, artists between Westport and Elk working in three dimensions were invited to submit design proposals for the site. A Simpson Lane Public Art Committee reviewed and evaluated artists’ proposals against eight criteria established through consensus in response to the question: “What will constitute a successful work of art at this site?”
The desired criteria in the application guidelines included: (1) Reflects Local Culture, History and Spirit of Place; (2) Uses Local, Environmentally Responsible (Up-cycled or Recycled) Materials; (3) Integrates Well with Site and with Surrounding Landscape; (4) Simple / Dynamic Design; (5) Professional Artistic Quality; (6) Engages the Community & Youth / Community Participation in Design or Construction Process; (7) No Maintenance Required (water or electricity for lighting or kinetic features is not available); (8) Durable – Ages Well; Able to Withstand Marine Environment.
After evaluating the four entries received, the committee determined to move forward with a design proposal submitted by sculptor Richard Yaski of Little River. Yaski’s proposed sculpture will evoke the history of the area through materials used: fragments of ships and trunks of redwood to evoke the region’s logging and fishing history. The artist also plans to incorporate some traditional Pomo Indian basketry designs in the metal work. Yaski will invite a select group of seniors from the local high schools to participate in this project from the design phase, including meeting with the local government officials, to installation.
Richard Yaski, a coastal resident for 43 years, has experience working on large-scale projects, as well as a background in construction. His sculptures are in corporate and private collections internationally including the Children’s Library in the Kremlin and the Bosporus Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. The minimalist nature of his work, described by the artist as corresponding to the Japanese term shibui -- a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty -- was felt to be appropriate for the site. According to Yaski, objects that embody shibui are ones we have lived with. They have earned their beauty, their patina, and their presence through the passage of time.
Public Art within roundabouts has been found to enhance safety and serve other community objectives such as strategically shaping the physical and social character of a place. Support in the form of an artist’s stipend of $5,000 will be made available to the artist through the A.D. Abramson Fund at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, following approval of the design and formal acceptance by the artist. The cost of materials, fabrication, installation, traffic control, and expenses such as engineering, will require community support. The artist is requesting donations of old steel parts of fishing boats, plate steel, boulders, mixed concrete, logs and equipment to deliver and help install the piece. Financial contributions are needed for installation and other expenses. All donations will be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law and all donors from the private and corporate sector will be acknowledged for their generosity. To support this project, or for more information, please contact the Arts Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707.463.2727. — Alyssum Wier, Executive Director, Arts Council of Mendocino County, http://www.ArtsMendocino.org
A WORLD OF MUSIC BENEFIT CONCERT
A concert benefiting the youth of Mendocino County featuring renowned acoustic guitarist Enrique Henao (pronounced ³hey-now²) will be held on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 PM in the Mendocino College Little Theatre. Joining Enrique on stage will be local artists Alex de Grassi on guitar, Paul McCandless on woodwinds, and the dynamic Ukiah High School song and dance troupe The Beatniks. Proceeds from this event go directly to support Redwood Children¹s Services, Arbor on Main--Teen Peer Court project; CASA‹Court Appointed Special Advocates, mentoring program; and Nuestra Casa¹s after school tutoring sessions. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 18 and are on sale at the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and Mazahar in Willits. Seating is limited. Colombian composer, singer and storyteller, Enrique has performed benefits for youth from Tibet to the Sudan, Thailand to Uruguay. Touring 85 countries with his message of peace in the world through music, he has captivated audiences with his performances. This concert is presented by the Mendocino County Delinquency Prevention Commission and the Children¹s Action Committee in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention month. With his father as his mentor, Enrique started his studies of guitar at a very early age and at 13 performed his first professional concert. His music has taken him to more than 85 countries and his extensive career of 50 years has given Enrique a great knowledge of the world¹s music, as well as a sense of respect and understanding of all people. This experience makes him not only a versatile artist, but a true citizen of the world. Enrique is one of the world's best-loved, free-spirited acoustical guitarists. Originally from South America, Enrique has continued to bless us with his energy and passion for life. His performances are joyful and he keeps audiences spellbound with his seemingly infinite skill and the sweet notes from his guitar. In addition to symphony concerts, radio and television appearances, worldwide, Enrique has shared his music with the school children of the State of Washington as a touring artist for the Washington State Arts Commission Cultural Enrichment Program since 1981. This opportunity has amplified his love for children, emotion that it is very obvious in the dedication of his efforts, time and donations to numerous foundations and organizations that directly benefit them. His commitment to use his talent to help the youngest victims of poverty - the children - is evident in his support of a Children¹s Henao hospital in Manizales, Colombia, and his benefit concerts on behalf of children around the world, as orphanages in Tibet, Ghana, Sudan, Cambodia,Thailand, Guatemala, Honduras, Uruguay, as well as, Habitat for Humanity, Clothes for Kids, Operation Smile, Hearts in Motion, Hands and Hearts, Teen-Hope, Benarroya Cancer Research, Friends of the Orphans, Club Michin, Providence Children Hospital, Orthopedic hospitals, Shriners Hospital for Children, Children¹s Hispanic Club. Combining his mastery as a composer, arranger, singer and guitarist, all of Enrique¹s creations and interpretations have a distinct sound of unique and sensitive character, placing him among the ranks of world¹s top musicians. With impeccable elegance, warm personality and great ability to communicate, Enrique captivates his audiences with his charismatic performances and his sound demonstrates the true freedom of music. Appointed as a Global Ambassador of Peace for the Children of the world by the Board of Directors of POP ROX and Dr. Michael Nobel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Enrique¹s vision amplifies to the heights level in his path of reaching his greatest dream “Peace of the world through Music from the heart and soul of all Children.”