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Mendocino County Today: Friday, March 24, 2023

Chilly | Aurora Alert | Fatal Collision | Sunset | Grange Breakfast | Earth Skills | Ukiah Inhaling | Milkmaids | AVUSD Update | Real Sarahs | Gov Agenda | Name Changers | Ford Residence | Ganja Dept | Feather Flags | Encyclopedic Cookbook | Stone Zone | Bridge Song | Dance Parties | Rock Fern | Pot Probe | Dog Atop | Chat Drama | Great Expectorations | Yesterday's Catch | Bud Break | Giant 49er | Racist/Elitist | Bee Flowers | PD Barred | Video Magazine | Blankfort Anniversary | Crusoe Harvest | Old Days | Twisted Tree | Speak To | Elian Election | Longbow Archers | Ukraine | Posting

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UNSEASONABLY COLD TEMPERATURES and a chance for light rain and snow showers will persist Friday through Sunday. A strong Pacific cyclone is projected to impact the area with strong winds, heavy rain and heavy mountain snow Monday and Tuesday. Drier weather is expected for mid to late in the week. (NWS)

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A severe (G4) geomagnetic storm alert in effect. Northern Lights (Aurora) may be seen tonight as far south as Alabama and Northern California. (NWS Sac)

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ANOTHER FATAL COLLISION ON RIDGEWOOD GRADE; three injured, two seriously. Bad weather.

On Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at about 4:11pm a silver Jeep driven by Jane Marisione, 70, of Willits, traveling south on Hwy 101 near the Ridgewood Scales at the top of the grade in inclement weather lost control and veered into the northbound lanes into the path of a silver Hyundai. The collision caused major injuries to two involved parties, Marisione, and Roger Marcus 74 of Lafayette; and minor injuries to James Barber, 39 of Willits. The driver of the Hyundai, an as yet unidentified 76 year old Arcata woman, succumbed to her injuries at the scene. The survivors were taken to Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits. 


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Mendocino Headlands Sunset (Jeff Goll)

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Get ready for a rare sunny day on Sunday. And before you head out for that hike...before you put that kayak in the water...before you run off to participate in hundreds of other activities here on the coast you might want to start out with a hearty breakfast - like the kind we serve at Whitesboro Grange every fourth Sunday of every month!

Join us on Sunday, March 26 at the Grange - 32510 Navarro Ridge Rd. in Albion from 8AM to 11:30AM for a traditional breakfast of pancakes with either maple or homemade berry syrup (or both!), ham, eggs YOUR way, orange juice and coffee, tea, hot cocoa or milk. All you can eat, only $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, and FREE if you're under 6 years old (but don't forget to bring your parents).

Located one mile south of Albion, turn on Navarro Ridge Road and head east for 1-1/2 miles then turn at the Whitesboro Grange sign. Grange proceeds are used to support local families in need as well as such community service organizations as the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District, Project Sanctuary, Redwood Coast Senior Center, 4-H, Hospitality House, Veterans and food banks.

Wendy Meyer <>

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by Justine Frederiksen

The Ukiah City Council voted 5-1 recently to move forward an ordinance allowing on-site consumption of cannabis at permitted retailers, with final adoption of the changes scheduled for its next meeting on April 5.

“I think we do have to recognize that it seems our two biggest industries are both intoxicants: wine and cannabis, and I don’t think it’s an unfair comparison to say that we let people drink in bars, and we let people do wine tasting, and people don’t seem too concerned about that,” said Council member Susan Sher. “I think we’re being very hypocritical if we allow people to drink themselves sick and get in their cars, and we don’t allow controlled consumption at dispensaries.

“I do have some reservations, and drug use is an epidemic, but I don’t think denying these applications is really going to solve any kind of addiction problem,” Sher continued, referring to concerns raised by members of the public about the ordinance’s effect on the issues of drug addiction and intoxicated driving.

“The problem of people driving while intoxicated is already with us, because people can just go to a dispensary and buy cannabis and use it and drive it away, or use it at home and then drive,” said Mayor Mari Rodin. “And it seems to me that just by allowing a few dispensaries within our city limits to have on-site consumption is such a minute portion of the use, it seems to me that it will be insignificant. And just like in bars and tasting rooms, people come with designated drivers. I think people are really aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated.”

“I’m a big supporter of freedoms, and we’re not talking about children here, we’re talking about adults, that can make their own decisions,” said Juan Orozco, pointing out that plenty of unsafe drivers are not intoxicated at all but distracted, often by their phones.

In introducing the ordinance to the City Council, Planning Manager Jesse Davis noted that “on-site cannabis consumption has been allowed in Mendocino County for quite some time, since 2018, and “it’s important to note that in the Ukiah Valley there are five to six cannabis retailers that facilitate on-site consumption: Kure Wellness on Lake Mendocino Drive; Revolution Emporium on North State Street; Plantshop on Wellmar Drive; Compassionate Heart on Kuki Road; Cannabis 21+ Dispensary on North State Street, and Perfect Union on North State Street (though that location is listed as “temporarily closed.”)

“Each of these sites feature a cannabis consumption lounge, or similar space,” continued Davis, explaining that city staff “reached out to the Ukiah Police Department and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office to determine if any of these facilities were generating complaints or other hazards, and their response was that they were not.”

Davis also noted he felt it was important to point out what the city’s ordinance will not do, which includes: not allowing “for separate cannabis events, only allowing for cannabis consumption at a permitted, retail facility; not allowing for public consumption, as the Ukiah City Code that currently prohibits consumption in public right of ways, public streets and parks would still be in effect; and it would not allow for residential consumption, as that is still under the discretion of the landlord or property owner.”

The city’s ordinance, Davis noted, was “solely focused on designated consumption areas at existing or permitted retail outlets.”

The City Council then voted 5-1 to introduce the ordinance and bring it back for adoption, scheduled for April 5, with Vice-Mayor Josefina Duenas abstaining from casting a vote.

The ordinance came before the City Council after being recommended by the Ukiah Planning Commission earlier this year, and the city began considering the change in large part due to the urging of one local business owner, Kyle Greenhalgh, who told city officials last year that offering on-site consumption would be crucial to the viability of his operation, the cannabis microbusiness Heritage Mendocino located on Cunningham Street near Talmage Road.

“We put $1 million into this building, my wife and I, and we have a wonderful location that we would love to turn into a safe space for people to enjoy cannabis,” said Greenhalgh.

When asked how his business and others would make sure that people do not over-indulge in cannabis and then, say, operate a motor vehicle, Greenhalgh said it will be with the same tactics employed by bars to combat drunk driving.

“We have on-site security tracking people’s consumption, and we will encourage people to have a designated driver, or to call a taxi, which we are happy to do,” he said.


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Milkmaids, Cardamine californica (photo mk)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

It was a very busy week in the district. I was delighted to attend the parent/guardian meeting hosted by Principal Thomas-Swett. It was great to see the adults there and involved. A variety of topics were discussed including our new Panther Squad of parent/guardian adult volunteers. I want to emphasize this is not replacing jobs at the school. It is providing more visibility, support and connection for our students on our site similar to having an adult volunteer in the classroom. Panther Squad is a chance for adults to be a part of the school community and reinforce to students that staff and community members love and care about them at school. If you are interested in this program, please come to the Safe Spaces anti-bullying and drug task force meeting on Tuesday, April 4 at five in the high school library.

We will also be rolling out the Stop It app which is a bullying reporting app for bullying. More information to follow related to this and how it will look at each site.

Our WASC visit at the high school starts this Sunday at the Boonville Hotel at 3 o’clock. This is an important accreditation visit to ensure that our students are receiving an appropriate education. The team will be on site for three days and talk with a variety of stakeholders to review our program strengths and areas that we have identified for intervention. If you would like to attend the visitor’s share out meeting on Tuesday at 3:30 in room one at the high school, you are most welcome.

I have a meeting in April with the CIF president and their legal council related to the gate fees and barriers of credit card access to buy tickets. I am hopeful they will understand the unique context that many rural schools face with these blanket policies that are inequitable to our students' and families participation in sports. If you would like to give me a letter of support related to that, please do so and I will hand deliver it. Things don’t change until people raise their voice and say they need to change. These exclusionary economic policies are bad for kids. CIF provides great opportunities for kids, and we hope they evolve their policy for equity and access for all kids and families. Kim Campbell wrote me a heckuva letter! CIF spends a bucket on commercials promoting sports. That is at the expense of my parents. We need to get real here.

The district is pursuing the grant for the all weather track and field. This would be available for school communities, as well as the community at large after hours. We will see how this unfolds. It could be transformative for the health and sporting opportunities of the Valley. The skate park is pursuing a concurrent grant to transform the community park. What a magical thing if Boonville has the cornerstone project approved. Time will tell. I am super bold in my philosophy of “it is okay to ask, and it is okay for people to say no.” ”Let’s hope they say YES”. How great for kids…

Related to construction, the county did approve our septic plan request. Thankfully, the cheapest model is being permitted. That will go out to bid soon. Concurrently, we are preparing the hardship request for the Office of the Public School Construction. There are some hoops to jump through for that and we are grateful that the people in Sacramento are meeting with us every other week to try and guide this process through fruition. Likewise, Congressman Huffman’s staff member has been in weekly contact with me, which I appreciate. We also have a request for qualifications out for a structural and seismic engineering firm, so we can try and pursue building replacement for the gym, agricultural buildings, and shop.

Our remodel plans for the science room and library at the high school were also submitted this week to the Department of State architects. The permit with fee for the project was $41,000. I know it’s hard to get a handle on how expensive public school construction is but that is just one example of the hurdle. We hope to have approved plans within three months.

At the elementary school, parent and Sensei Alex Korn teaches Aikido two days a week to all interested 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Students are learning the tenets of the Japanese martial art including how to roll and fall properly. So far - rave reviews from the students! The site will be expanding Aikido into ASP after Spring Break and hopefully into Summer School as well. Kudos to Principal Thomas-Swett for this offering.

We are working on a logo refresh for the district. A local graphic artist has generously discounted a fee and we are working to generate some ideas. I have to be frank I got more feedback about the logos then I’ve gotten on any of our instructional programs. That makes me happy in a way, but a little sad. We don’t want to change who we are or change our identity, but we do want to bring it into 2024 and be comparable with other school sites related to identity, website, etc. More news to follow.

The yearbooks are underway. Every student will receive a free copy at every site.

The high school will also be hosting an information session on Mendocino College Dual Enrollment and Special Admit opportunities which is a nuts and bolts one hour session on how does earning college credit in high school work? How do I sign up? What are the benefits? Join us on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:00 p.m. in the library.

Puerto Rico is calling under the guidance of Miss Cook. Can’t wait to see the pics of this epic opportunity underwritten with generous support of the ed foundation, the Mailer-Andersons, the school district, and numerous private donors. So good.

On a final note, Robbie Lane has generously agreed to speak to our students about the peril of drug experimentation. Parents/guardians will be invited to that session. I hope you will come. Powerful information.

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District

Cell: 707-684-1017

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The General Government Standing Committee Meeting Agenda for the Monday, March 27, 2023 Regular Meeting is now available on the county website:

The Zoom Webinar ID is located on the front page of the agenda for those wishing to make a live Telecomment during the meeting. You can also provide written comment on any of the items listed on the agenda by clicking the eComment link located in the far right column of the Agendas and Minutes page (linked above).

More information regarding the Telecomment and eComment processes can be found here:

Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707)463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message

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Name Change Letters In Thursday's Advocate

How cool to see letters in favor of the name change from Richard and Chas in today’s Advocate-News on page A-4

Philip Zwerling, Ph.D. 

Change Our Name Fort Bragg

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Ford Residence, Mendocino, circa 1868 (photo by M.M. Hazeltine)

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The County of Mendocino Cannabis Department will be hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (PST). No registration will be required for this meeting and the following link will be used:

The agenda for our meeting is as follows:

General Updates

Department Progress

Grant Programs

Q&A/Public Comment

If you would prefer to call in please use one of the following numbers and the Webinar ID listed below (for higher voice quality, dial a number based on your current location):

+1 669 444 9171 (San Jose)

+1 719 359 4580 (Colorado Springs)

+1 253 205 0468 (Tacoma)

Or One tap mobile:



Webinar ID: 897 1710 3012

If you would prefer to watch the meeting, but not participate, you may do so utilizing the following YouTube link:

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Grant Operations Update

For reasons beyond the control of the Mendocino Cannabis Department, grant operations within the Department are being temporarily suspended. The Department is developing a timeline for resumption with the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and the state’s Department of Cannabis Control. The Mendocino Cannabis Department will issue updates as they are received and will continue administering public meetings to address concerns of the community. The Department is aware of the potential impacts and is working diligently to restore grant operations.

Best regards,

Mendocino Cannabis Department

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Spring Ranch (Jeff Goll)

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by Katy Tahja

While I have written extensively about local history in Mendocino County there is another kind of history I enjoy delving into. Call it culinary history. I enjoy delving into what we eat, how we prepare it, and how we’ve done it for the last century.

Now having been in the 1970s a back-to-the-land hippie and a meat eater I’ll try just about anything edible once. I’ve gardened, raised chicken and goats, canned fruits and veggies and developed great respect for old-time recipes. Nothing went to waste and everything was used. As a senior now I look back at the recipes from the 1930s and 1940s when cooks used what was affordable and easily accessible. And where do you find a treasure trove of such recipes? In a series of 6”x9” paperback 48 page “cookbooklets” produced by the Culinary Arts Institute in Chicago.

I have more than 20 of these little jewels. They never had prices printed on them and each publication had more than 200 recipes. I have been collecting them from flea markets, thrift stores and used bookshops for 50+ years hoping to get a complete set some day. I looked on-line and the volume that collected them all together was called the :”Encyclopedic Cookbook” and prices started about $40 and went up. I found this book at the Hospice Thrift Shop in Ft. Bragg last week for $5.00. I was thrilled.

How about 1,014 pages and over 10,000 recipes (the publisher claimed) in very small print. It weights about five pounds. The index is 48 pages long and that in itself is impressive. Ruth Berolzheimer was the editor of the collected “cookbooklets” for a decade or two. Trained at the Univ. of Illinois as a chemical engineer in an interview her family said she wasn’t a great cook but she was really good at organizing things. Published in 1948 its consolidated 24 “cookbooklets” dating from 1940 forward.After this tome came out another 20 mini cookbooks were published into the 1960s, and yes, I’ve got some of those too.

Obviously Berolzheimer didn’t collect 10,000 recipes, but consider this: every special interest food producer, or cookware manufacturer, had recipes available featuring their product. She just collected them from 120 organizations and put them ing order. What? You’ve never heard of the Irradiated Evaporated Milk Institute, the Brazil Nut Advertising Fund, the National Shrimp Canners Association, the Winter Pear Bureau, the Lima Bean Growers Association or the Junket Folks? They all have recipes in the book.

From Anchovies to Zucchini and from all over the world you find recipes here. Some food stuffs appear over and over, like marshmallows and prunes (ready for Prune Ice Cream?), liver and kidneys, and sour milk. Remember, everything was used up in those days., Foodstuffs that are trendy today, like Kale and Jerusalem Artichokes show up here. How about a Chayote, Carrot and Avocado Salad?

Foodstuffs that made me cringe were things like cooking Calf Brain Fritters, or Tongue and Cheese Roll Hors D’oeuvres. If you saw a recipe for Vegetable Marrow, or Samp (pearl hominy) or Green Kern (unripe wheat) would you know what it was or where to find the ingredients? How about some Codfish Balls or Smoked Tongue Slivers to decorate your Lentil Soup? Would you like roasting instructions for opossum, venison or squab?

Get inventive. The book has five variations of catsup, and suggests adding Anchovies to your Beet Salad. Want to jazz up a peanut butter sandwich? Add banana, or onion/green pepper/celery, or bacon, or pineapple, or pickles. Like corned beef sandwiches? The book tells you how to corn the beef.

The “Culinary Encyclopedia” is full of handy tips on food facts, entertaining, canning and preserving, table setting, carving meat, and gives detailed precise instructions and diagrams on how to build a fireless cooker, how to build storage shelters and root cellars and dehydrators, and how to place your silverware for a formal meal. There’s menu suggestions too. If you serve Roast Rabbit serve it with Baked Carrots, Creamed Celery, Green Salad with Grapefruit, Spice Pudding, and if you made it in advance serve your own Dandelion Wine.

So now I have my very own “Encyclopedic Cookbook” and I need to rid myself of 20 “cookbooklets”. I had planned to take them to the book sale I curate at the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino on Memorial Day weekend, but I had an idea. For the first curious food loving reader of the AVA that contacts me at and offers me a $50 donation to the museum I will offer all 20 “cookbooklets” to you and we can meet up and exchange cash and publications somewhere in the county.

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HAVE YOU BEEN to this sweet sit spot by the sea at the Mendocino Stone Zone? If not, ask us about it the next time you’re here and we’ll take you there 

The Mendocino Stone Zone is starting tours every first Sunday of the month beginning April 2. 

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Singer/songwriter, Andy Mackey, wrote and performed this great song to help save the Albion Bridge.

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A READER WRITES: Hi! I've noticed over the years that the Mexican families in Boonville have put on some of the best dance parties I've ever been to. Wondering when they might happen again so I could stop by for a dance and maybe some good food/beer. Whilst some of these parties were for family events like Baptisms etc. and there was no charge for entry I'd always pay a donation in gratitude. I'm sure the families don't want a bunch of strange Gringos about but hey if they come bearing gifts/$ it shouldn't be too bad to watch them fail at dancing; right?! 

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Rock Fern (photo mk)

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To the Board of Supervisors: 

See link: California launches probe of cannabis licensing to 'clean house' of corruption | News | 

I have often wondered -- and I am not alone -- if pay-to-play, conflicts of interest and other misdeeds of public corruption have seeped into the Mendocino County Cannabis Department.

Mendocino County's cannabis permit rate only 1.4 % when the state average for California's 58 counties is 49% and Humboldt County is 65%. Why? Saying our ordinance is too complex and application fees are too expensive is a simplistic, flippant answer.

Additionally, the Department failed to report a $3.2 accounting error. It is also $662,000 over budget.

So, what's up?

I have often wondered if Department Director Kristin Nevedal has an undisclosed incentive to fail. 

I'll explain. 

Is Ms. Nevedal, and/or any third-party for which she may be fronting, snapping up bankrupt farms at discount prices -- the very farms she is bankrupting? 

It's a fair question.

A “vulture fund” could assemble a nice portfolio of properties right here in Mendocino County. Hundreds of black market cannabis farmers are just walking away from their farms, and hundreds more who want to be legal, and who are seeking permits in a broken system, will soon be “deprioritized”.

A vulture fund, you ask.

Yes. Vulture funds are a thing. In 2009, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced “The Stop Vulture Stop Funds” Act (H.R. 2932), but it didn't pass, although similar legislation passed in the United Kingdom. 

Since that time, vulture funds have carved out a big niche all across Corporate America. In our lifetime, the mortgage industry, coal, and manufacturing have all failed in large part. The hospitality industry, aviation, and retail all ran into trouble during the pandemic. 

So why not cannabis too? Why wouldn't the cannabis industry be prey for a vulture? 

Follow the money, I say. 

Who is benefiting from the gross, and perhaps deliberate, incompetence at the Mendocino County Cannabis Department?

John Sakowicz


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MARIE MEYER WONDERS: Who made Anne Thorpe the admin for the private community chat for this group? They were being rude and vulgar to people invited to the chat yesterday. I asked a valid question about private parties happening at the fairgrounds and got cussed at and made fun of by this person who did not have information on the subject. Then somebody who did know about the subject commented and I was not able to converse with them because “Thorpe” removed me from the group. Was that just a scam to see who this person could troll or are there actual objective admins that run this group?

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Report from Ukiah, California: Bliss Divine in the Abominable Kali Yuga

Sitting here at the Ukiah Public Library listening to the live online satsang of Krishna das. Previously, I spent the morning at Adventist Health Center getting signed up with a personal care physician, which due to circumstances had not been done yet. And even more previously, Wednesday evening was spent coughing and going outside of the Building Bridges Homeless Shelter (where I've been living for the past year), to expectorate, and thus not sleeping at all, which naturally produced a condition of fatigue the next morning. In the midst of this mundane situation, continuing to identify with the Immortal Atman, and not the body and not the mind. There is no reason whatsoever to believe in the spectacle of this world. There is every reason to see through it and know the mystery. Enjoy being a Jivan Mukta. Sahaja Samadhi Avastha: the continuous superconscious state which is Bliss Divine. 

Craig Louis Stehr

1045 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482

Telephone Messages (707) 234-3270


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CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, March 23, 2023

Ambrose, Barrales, Cisneros, Glover

SEAN AMBROSE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

KEVIN BARRALES-GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, cruelty to child-infliction of injury.

HENRY CISNEROS, Willits. Probation revocation.

LATEEFAH GLOVER, Ukiah. Trespassing.

Hallock, Jacome, Knight

ZACKARY HALLOCK, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

ALEJANDRO JACOME, Covelo. On school grounds without lawful business interfering with peaceful conduct.

KATHERINE KNIGHT, Ukiah. No license, resisting.

Lane, Parker, Vassar, Whipple

CHRISTOPHER LANE, Ukiah. Attempted robbery, criminal threats.

SIMEON PARKER JR., Redwood Valley. Battery.

RUSTI VASSAR, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

TONI WHIPPLE, Covelo. Battery on peace officer, resisting, failure to appear, probation revocation.

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This weekend, some Wine Country grape growers may have to contend with an unwelcome adversary: frost.

It’s not a certainty, and it won’t affect all of the region’s vineyards. But for those grapevines that have begun to show signs of life, with little green buds starting to emerge, frost can be a major threat to the entire year’s crop. Those buds will eventually become grapes, and if frost kills them now, there won’t be anything to harvest in the fall.

This annual phenomenon, called bud break, signals the start of the growing season, the end of the plants’ dormancy period. It also brings fresh anxiety to farmers, who must now cross their fingers that they can make it to the balmier months of spring without sustaining any frost damage.

Bud break has just begun this week in certain parts of Wine Country, such as Carneros, the southernmost region of Napa and Sonoma counties. Forecasts show a cold front coming this weekend, with a low of 33 degrees in Napa on Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service. That’s put the stewards of budding vineyards on high alert.

“This is the time of year — we’re always worried about frost,” said Paul Hobbs, owner of Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol. His Russian River Valley estate is showing very early signs of bud break.

Until bud break occurs, freezing temperatures are of no concern for vineyards. In fact, unpleasant weather — cold, rain, even the Bay Area’s new favorite form of precipitation, graupel — may be advantageous to grapevines while they’re dormant, because they discourage the vines from waking up too early. A later start to the growing season means a later start to the harvest season, closer to mild mid-September than scorching early August. That schedule, many winemakers will tell you, tends to result in more balanced wine.

— Esther Mobley

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I see the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s regulation as tripling the cost to replace an end-of-life gas water heater. Few current installations will have an electrical circuit for a water heater if there is currently a gas heater installed. The cost to install a new electrical circuit will typically be $2,000 if the panel is full, on top of the cost of a new heater, which has doubled in price in the past decade.

This disproportionately affects mid- and lower-income families who would already be stretched to afford a new gas water heater. In my opinion, this regulation is virtue signaling, racist and elitist and will make it even less affordable and desirable to live in California. Workers will move out of state, making it harder for businesses to stay. The tax burden will fall to a declining population made up of poorer residents who cannot afford to move.

The 2029 effective date for furnaces will also be ahead of the electrical grid capacity to support this load. The grid already won't keep up with the exponentially increasing demand for vehicle charging. We will see more power supply failures in California due to increased demand and climate stress.

Tony Stephen


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Press Democrat editor in chief Richard A. Green said the county’s actions not only infringed on First Amendment rights but were also a breach of the county’s duty to be transparent to its taxpayers.

by Emma Murphy

Two Press Democrat journalists were barred from Sonoma County’s new homeless camp Thursday morning after county officials revoked access for them to cover the county’s latest multimillion dollar bid to address its homelessness crisis.

Thursday marked the second full day of operation for the county’s first sanctioned homeless camp, which will house 70 to 100 individuals on public property at the county’s north Santa Rosa campus.

The county’s health services director, Tina Rivera, cited unspecified complaints from site managers and tenants about the media’s presence.

Press Democrat journalists had been allowed access to the site on Wednesday. On Thursday, county officials cited no specific legal grounds for barring the journalists from public property other than vague references to privacy concerns and complaints about the journalists’ presence Wednesday.

Press Democrat Executive Editor Richard A. Green said the county’s actions not only infringed on First Amendment rights but were also a breach of the county’s duty to be transparent to its taxpayers.

“For years, Sonoma County officials have struggled, if not outright failed, to address the public health and safety issues related to the series of camps on the Rodota Trail,” Green said. “And now, they’re telling city residents and taxpayers, ‘Trust us. We’ll get it right this time,’ with a significant taxpayer-funded effort on public land.

“Doing the public’s business far from the scrutiny of journalists and residents is not good government. It’s outrageous. It’s offensive. And we believe there is no legal standing for it. Government works best in the transparent light of day with full access, not by limiting journalists to the perimeter of security fences. County officials must remember they work for the taxpayers of Sonoma County.”

Thomas Burke, a media law attorney who represents The Press Democrat and other media organizations, said there is no legal basis for the county’s actions.

“Sonoma County cannot, overnight, unilaterally and without notice, convert public property into a private space to prevent the media from carrying out its role to observe this homeless camp,” Burke said.

Rivera did not return calls Thursday seeking clarification on the county’s stance. County Counsel Robert Pittman also did not respond to requests for comment.

The Board of Supervisors approved the camp’s creation in February when it declared a shelter crisis on the Joe Rodota Trail, and equipped the camp with a $3 million budget.

The move marked a significant step for the county which has grappled with keeping the trail clear and providing sufficient shelter for unhoused individuals.

Thursday’s scheduled visit had been agreed upon Wednesday, during a supervised tour of the new camp by The Press Democrat with Dave Kiff, the county’s homelessness director and two employees from the county’s communications department.

But, upon entering the camp Thursday, security and a private contractor employee informed the two journalists they could not be there and escorted them to the front entrance to check in with security.

At security, a woman who identified herself as Michelle Patino, co-owner of DEMA Consulting and Management, which the county is paying $1.5 million to manage the site, said the journalists could not be inside the camp because of HIPPA and privacy concerns.

HIPPA is a federal law that protects patients’ sensitive medical information — the journalists were not asking residents for their medical information, only about their experience on the trail and in the camp.

Supervisor James Gore said he visited the camp Thursday around 9:30 a.m. Gore said he did not take a tour but spoke to residents as they entered the site.

Patino said if she had been at the site Wednesday she would not have allowed the reporter and photographer inside.

The journalists were then told to stand outside the camp’s perimeter fence and talk to residents there.

The decision to bar journalists from the site came from Rivera, director of Health Services, according to Paul Gullixson, the county’s communications manager.

In a media advisory released at 3:30 p.m., Rivera referenced unspecified “concerns raised by service providers and tenants” about the journalists’ presence and said “no supervised media visits will be allowed inside the shelter area for the time being.”

During their supervised visit Wednesday, the journalists spoke with one resident who agreed to an interview and photographs. They did not interact with any other residents.

“We are still in the process of relocating individuals to this sanctioned emergency shelter, and we are concerned that the presence of media could be a deterrent in the successful transition of these individuals,” Rivera said in the statement.

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JEFF BLANKFORT: Yesterday was an anniversary of a sort for me. On March 21, 1959, I exited the US Army at Ft. Ord, California, becoming, as I understood it, the first GI to receive an honorable discharge after refusing to sign the government loyalty oath when drafted into the army two years earlier, without having to fight for it in court.

What worked in my favor was that the army had violated its own rules that required anyone refusing to sign the noxious oath of two double-sided small print pages was to be sent home and investigated by the government before being allowed in the service. By chance, I needed to take a pee and since they wanted to test my urine specimen, they pushed me ahead in line and consequently I ended up being sworn in with a roomful of other draftees.

To make a longer story short, when I arrived at Ft. Ord, a clerk at the reception station noticed that I hadn't sign the oath. Specialist Kowalski, as I recall his name, then got up and left his desk, returning moments later to tell me to report to Warrant Officer Mueller whose office was in the back of the room.

“Warrant Officer Mueller?,” I asked. Whose army is this?

When I walked into his office, Mueller was sitting at his desk, head in his hands. On my arrival, he waved me to a seat. Then looking up, he declared in a friendly tone, “They fucked up in Los Angeles,” and when I asked how, he explained the regulation that required me to be investigated before being allowed to sign up.

“Fine,” I replied, “I'll just go home.” “That's not possible,” he replied, “since you've been sworn in” and that was Catch 22 long before Joseph Heller wrote his classic novel of that name.

It was a helluva two years and I'm glad I had that experience. By coincidence, From March 57 to March 59 was a rare period in which the US Army was not engaged in an imperialist war and consequently those who served in that period were declared by the government not to be entitled into any veteran's benefits. But whenever I see an empty parking space reserved for veterans I take it. 

A decade later, with a lady friend, we were arrested at the site of my former barracks, trying to convince the GIs there to resist orders and banned for life. As we drove off the base to nearby Monterey, we covered the Welcome to Ft. Ord billboard with anti-Vietnam Wa stickers.

P.S. Had they investigated me as the regulations required I never would have had those experiences.

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Robinson Crusoe and His Grain Field by N.C. Wyeth

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Remember the old days when we were growing up some of us went to church thinking it's the right thing to do, and one of the things I remember my childhood is the minister saying, he without sin cast the first stone, that stuck with me over all these years along with the other one thou shall not be thy brother's keeper, but in the case of government we have to be the keeper we have to be vigilant, and know what's going on to keep from being taken down the path that is not right, if our supervisors are not performing the way we think they should, we have the chance and the power to kick them out of office, the problem with politicians large and small that always promised things they can't deliver, and don't even try, with their good at is keeping a straight face while lying to everybody about what their true intentions are, and remember back when they were supposed to work with the County Sheriff to improve mental health in the county and do something about the drug problem, and I remember they detoured the money to some of their pet projects, and then when the tax was supposed to go away after so long a period of time, then they found a way to extend it for ever, they turned it into something else and now I will never go away but our former Sheriff did not yet what he wanted because of the supervisors own agenda, if you did this in the private sector you would go to jail probably for 20 years why are not the supervisors held to a higher accountability for what they do and why not send them off to prison when they lie to the public, while our nation we are not alone in these endeavors politicians elected and future elected, all have a personal agenda to go to the East Coast you'll find that the district attorney in New York City his agenda because he couldn't get a hot date, is to go after former president drop on his mighty woodchuck, even though crime is running rampant in New York city and not everybody is getting thrown in the bucket, this is the attorney that they have is too busy going up the former president to work than worrying about cleaning up the city of New York, and more than likely it's all because he can't get a hot date with some porn star, or maybe just doesn't like girls, there's a lot of that on the East Coast, but he shouldn't be wasting the city's resources on the witchhunt, Mr. Trump may not be the cleanest individual politically but at least he tried and that's a little more than a lot of letters of have done, you show me an honest politician somebody who's squeaky clean, and I will show you somebody that won't be there long although we did well when we had Ronald Reagan was president he was the best actor in the world on the screen but easterly took care of this nation and we are proud that he did so, it is truly a thankless job to end up as a professional politician and have people go after you all time for every little thing, the vastness of our country in comparison to others we will make mistakes but we need to correct the law shall we make less mistakes, as to the big drug problems that we have nationwide the Fed needs to move forward with seizing the assets of all marijuana growers so that poison. Killing our children, it is a class a narcotic and we need to push better legislation to end it, as to the migrant worker problem they need to have temporary work permits and the be required to go home so many months a year back across the border we need to employ a more rural people here, the reason people live under bridges have no work is because people from other countries, or taking the jobs take care of America first, no more bringing people in because it was silent they are stealing the jobs from the American people, and we need better screening the ones we do allow, if they've got anything wrong in their history that can't come here, we need to protect our country and our people they come first, and as to the problem in the Ukraine should never happened if our government would be at the border when Russia tried to cross it they would've turned around, and gone home but our administration is broken and will not hold the rights of our neighbors they were greatest throw money at him an old broken equipment instead, we need a stronger president one with some balls.

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“The twisted tree lives its life, while the right tree ends up in planks.” 

— Chinese proverb

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I’ve just been listening to Fed Chairman Powell addressing a bunch of financial talking heads and one of them, a woman, began her question “I wonder if you’d be willing to speak to blah blah etc. etc.” Moments later she again used the phrase speak to rather than speak about. How did this “speak to” bullshit ever get started. It annoys the shit outta me. I could even accept speak anent more readily than speak to. They are changing language all the time. It gets more and more stupid. I complained years ago when I started hearing the trend of everyone responding to questions (esp. in interviews) using “So….” but now everyone does it. I was told I was being a jerk for even noticing. Other annoyances are “top of mind” and other than language, vocal fry and autotune.

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ONCE CHERISHED IN MIAMI, Elián González Is Set To Become A Legislator In Cuba

Elián González, the Cuban boy found clinging to an inner tube near Florida shores who became the center of an international child custody dispute as well as a political battle between Cuba’s late leader Fidel Castro and Cuban exiles in Miami, is set to become a member of the island’s National Assembly after Cubans go to the polls Sunday…

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A top Ukrainian general says the depletion of Russian forces fighting for Bakhmut will allow Kyiv go on the counteroffensive in the eastern city “very soon.”

Nearby, the town of Avdiivka in Donetsk is being heavily bombarded by Russia, a local Ukrainian leader told CNN, amid concerns it could become the next Bakhmut.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is visiting the front line region of Kherson — months after parts of it were freed from Russian occupation.

Russia launched another round of deadly strikes across Ukraine, killing at least nine people in the Kyiv region and one in Zaporizhzhia, officials said.

New Zealand national who fought alongside Kyiv's forces dies in Ukraine

From CNN’s Sahar Akbarzai

New Zealand national Kane Te Tai has died in Ukraine, a spokesperson from New Zealand’s government said in a statement to CNN.

Ukrainian authorities confirmed Te Tai's death, New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said Thursday.

“The New Zealand Embassy in Warsaw is in contact with the Ukraine authorities to confirm further details. For privacy reasons no further information will be provided,” the spokesperson said. According to previous CNN reporting, Te Tai fought with Ukraine's International Legion, a band of foreign fighters who have bolstered the Ukrainian military.

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  1. Kirk Vodopals March 24, 2023

    Good luck Mr. Sackowicz… Mendo County government was never interested or capable of successfully orchestrating a weed permitting program. Many of us predicted that they would eventually bail out and let the state take over, thus forgoing any County revenue from the Devil’s lettuce. That seems to be rolling into that direction now.
    But Mendocino County, as a place, also suffers from its own inherent challenges: steep topography, distance from major cities, redwood forests full of sensitive species and a culture of folks never wanting to be part of the system (three cheers for that!).
    “Well Humboldt County, particularly Southern Humboldt, is just the same,” one might exclaim. Not really, Humboldt gave out permits to relatively large grows many of which were politically connected. Hoards of Southern Humboldters fled to Oregon or other nether-regions.
    Please show me the national stats on how small-craft weed competes with large-scale Okie indoor. I’d be willing to bet that it doesn’t and never will. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

    • peter boudoures March 24, 2023

      It’s seems like all your info comes from what you overhear at the coffee shop

      • Kirk Vodopals March 24, 2023

        That’s the only source of reliable info…

    • Mark Scaramella March 24, 2023

      Mendocino County also suffers from a County Counsel who can’t get out of his own way. While the Supervisors may be “rolling” in the direction of giving up on pot and letting the state take over, they’ll first have to first get past Mr. Curtis who will present legal obstacle after legal obstacle, each one at considerable cost. Since this Board is incapable of doing anything without first getting County Counsel approval, it’s likely that the rolling will be diverted to a side track in the shape of a mobius strip.

      • Kirk Vodopals March 24, 2023

        How long can both sides play the “provisional game”?
        Probably indefinitely in this County.

  2. Bruce McEwen March 24, 2023

    MARIE MEYER: Isn’t “Ms. Anne Thorpe” just a sly way to say, “misanthrope”?

  3. Chuck Artigues March 24, 2023

    Since some of the good people of Mendocino feel it necessary to suggest that Fort Bragg should change it’s name, because they ‘love the little burg’ . How sweet. Tell ya what, if the Village of Mendocino will build a water system and affordable housing, I will support the name change.

  4. Lew Chichester March 24, 2023

    For those who note, and complain, that school construction is so expensive please be aware that in perhaps the last 100 years not a single school child has been killed in an earthquake causing their school building to fall down. California has the most rigorous and demanding building codes governing school construction and this quality involves engineering, inspection and, yes, higher wages to the construction workers. This is all for the social good. Schools do not use crappy materials typical of the residential building trade (the cheapest lumber, oriented strand board, etc.) and usually have a code and quality assurance inspector on site all day, every day. It costs a lot to build a school in California, but they don’t fall down in earthquakes. That’s the trade off.

  5. Chuck Dunbar March 24, 2023

    Rant on, R.D. Beacon. And consider getting someone to help edit your writings…

    • George Dorner March 24, 2023

      It’s too bad Mr. Beacon renders his prose unreadable because he is ignorant of simple punctuation. As it is, I skip his run-on effusions as worthless.

      • Marco McClean March 24, 2023

        I enjoy them because they’re fun to read aloud. Try it in the quavery-comic voice of William S. Burroughs. See if that doesn’t transform or even exalt the experience for you. I read them on KNYO –in my own voice, which as I get older sounds more and more like William S. Burroughs anyway, so.

        Or internally re-title them /The Last Words of Dutch Schultz/.

      • Chuck Wilcher March 24, 2023

        RD said: “…no more bringing people in because it was silent they are stealing the jobs from the American people”

        Next time one of those folks ‘steal the jobs’ let’s hope its the SVB bank’s board of directors. How could they bumble it any worse?

    • Jim Armstrong March 24, 2023

      About 50 years ago, Beacon fired a shot over our heads and threatened to shoot my dog for chasing livestock on “his” beach.
      There was no livestock present and the beach was not posted.

  6. Margot Lane March 24, 2023

    Hey Stone Zone folks, I don’t Facebook! How do people reach you otherwise?

  7. Craig Stehr March 24, 2023

    Samadhi (Poem by Paramahansa Yogananda)

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