Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Cold Front | Poppies | Bessie Carine | Office Job | Native Clearing | Rental Home | Ed Notes | KZYX Hiring | Beerfest Tickets | Lighthouse Tours | Raven Takeoff | Earth Day | DUI Sentenced | Molester Sentenced | Trillium Cafe | Ivermectin Story | Olompali History | Yesterday's Catch | Women Firefighters | Old Shack | Adventure Gals | Giants Banner | Shooter Caitlin | Appliance Salesman | Bravado BS | Eddie Gaede | Ukraine | Forest Defenders | Nuclear Madness | Let's Bark | Eastertime Carol | Woke Quest | Conover Interview | International Day

* * *

A POTENT COLD FRONT is gradually moving across the coast this morning. Winds are beginning to diminish but rain and snow continues to fall across most areas of NW California. A brief break in the precipitation will occur this afternoon before another round returns tonight. Colder and drier conditions are forecast for Thursday before another weaker system brings lighter amounts of rain and mountain snow Friday and through the weekend. (NWS)

YES, THIS WINTER has indeed been colder than long-term average across most of CA. But it felt even colder (in relative terms) given how much warming we've seen in past decades. Across vast majority of CA, 2022-23 wasn't even among top 10 coldest winters in observed record. (Daniel Swain)

* * *

A happy splash of spring poppies from Ukiah valley (Dave Buerger)

* * *

BESSIE CARINE (August 2, 1932 - March 25, 2023)

Bessie Carine (Mama Carine) entered eternal rest and went to be with her Lord at the age of 90 on Saturday, March 25, 2023. Bessie was born on August 2, 1932 in Porticello, Sicily. She married Dominic Carine and came over from Provicia, Palermo, Sicily, Italy in 1949 at the age of 17 and joined him in Fort Bragg. They worked side by side at the restaurant Dominic had opened in Noyo Harbor on May 9, 1947 known as Carine’s Italian Seafood Grotto. Bessie was known to all her family, friends, community, and guests of the restaurant as “Mama Carine.” She practiced her English by reading the menu to local fishermen who came in for lunch and graduated Fort Bragg High School in 1950. She loved music and dance, and along with her husband was known to command any dance floor. She is perhaps best known for the love she exemplified and gave to all who knew her. To dine at Carine’s meant so much more than just a meal – those who dined in the restaurant were part of the family. When she would travel, she was always running into those who had dined at the restaurant and greeted with love, hugs, and requests for pictures which she happily accommodated with a smile and happy heart. She loved her family with her whole heart and soul, and happily retired in 2015 to spend more time with them. 

Bessie is survived by her three of her children: Thomas Carine and his wife Nina and their two children Thomas and Melissa; Anthony Carine and his wife Carolyn; and Grace Strom and her husband Kim Strom with her son William Raley. Her beloved son, Dominic Carine Jr. preceded her in death last year and was survived by his wife LaVaye and their two daughters Sabrina Carine and Stephanie Carine-Valdivia. Family also includes her beloved sister in love, Antonina D’Acquisto and her children Leonardo, Anthony, Salvatore, and Grazia along with cousins Grace Tubbs and Grace Tufi and her nephew Thomas Carine Jr. and niece Lisa Wiley. She also had two sisters and two brothers in Sicily. 

A private rosary will be held for family only on Friday, March 31 at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church at 7:30 p.m.

Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 1st at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church and is open to the public along with a public reception and Celebration of Life at the church hall following graveside services at Rose Memorial Park. The family welcomes all who knew and loved her to join us for the services on Saturday.

* * *


We’re hiring!

Office Assistant Position Available

Full or Part Time

Contact us for more info:

* * *



I have read your recent articles on various massacres of indigenous people in California with interest. In early 2020, our friend Elena Diaz Bjorquist, who used to live in the Valley and is now in Arizona, mentioned to me that while researching for a grant proposal in the Mendocino Museum in Mendocino's upstairs Archives, that she came across a reference to a massacre of local indigenous people in a corral next to the little red school house in Boonville. She said that she did not use the information for the grant proposal, but made notes of it. I mentioned it to Jerry Karp of the schoolhouse museum board. Unfortunately, Covid-19 had shut down the state for a while. Elena said that she could not find her notes, but she said that she thought that it came from a book or a journal that she had found in the archives. Might be an interesting research project. I do not know if the Museum that she referenced is the Ford House museum or the Kelly House.


Tex Sawyer


ED NOTE: I've heard of wholesale murders of Anderson Valley's native people in the Ornbaun Valley, but none in the Boonville area where federal troops had rounded up locals for re-location to Fort Bragg, then Covelo.

Prior to that, it's safe to assume, the first white settlers murdered everyone who got in their way, as settlers did everywhere in the West. I don't imagine the federal round-up process was a white glove operation, but a few Anderson Valley natives survived it, some of them making their way home to the Anderson Valley. The local historical record is sparse.

Who among the first settlers would be proud enough of what happened to the natives to make a record of it? We wouldn't know of the Eel River massacres if it weren't for a federal investigation authorized by Lincoln.

The diaries of inland settlers make for scarifying reading. Thanks for the heads-up on the perhaps atrocity in the area of the Little Red School house. Maybe someone will ferret out confirmation.

* * *

* * *


WITH MONDAY'S MURDERS in Nashville, America is on course for having the bloodiest year yet, as this shooting brings the grim total up to 129 this year. Last year, the US hit 100 mass shootings on March 19, almost two weeks after this year's date.

WHY? I'd say the cause of senseless violence is the whole show — disassociation from family and sensible friends in the overall context of an alienating media including the insanity of the internet, toxic popular culture, bad food, estranging architecture and its concomitant visual squalor, an utterly corrupt political system, the constant threat of violence, poor schools, unhealthy constant sexual imagery, materialism, poverty, and so on, the whole of it — the gestalt as the shrinks say — all of it constituting the way we live now.

WITH PUTIN again rattling his nukes, and some of the lunatics around him threatening to take out London, and worse, Putin's war on Ukraine seems more threatening than ever, especially since Ukraine has fought off the Russians and, from all reports, including Russian reports, Ukraine has inflicted huge losses on the invaders, so huge that Russia’s offensive is stalled as Ukraine is apparently poised to beat them back over the borders between the two countries. At which point, or just when it looks like the Russians know they've for sure suffered a great humiliation, out will come the battlefield satchel nukes, with the London-obliterating nukes coming right up.

I WAS so young and dumb and generally oblivious in '62 during the Cuban missile crisis that while everyone around me was bidding each other farewell, I was certain in my bones the nukes would remain sheathed. This time, though, I'm scared, especially when I look at what passes for leadership on our side. With Kennedy versus Kruschev it at least seemed like sensible people were in charge of the SS USA. Now? The Biden admin? Everything's in place for…The End of Days.

THE BIDEN REGIME, the wackiest, least competent in American history ought to be leaning on Ukraine to negotiate, which is what everyone else in the world is saying, before matters veer into catastrophe. We fund Ukraine, for chrissakes, which is all the leverage required to force Ukraine into a negotiation with Russia.

THE CURRENT dysfunction of the Mendo supervisors was caused by their spine-free capitulation to former CEO Carmel Angelo whose judgement, to put it gently, was flawed. Off the top, this is a short list of Angelo's legacy, or more accurately, the Angelo-Supervisors legacy. In no particular order:

THE SUDDEN and unecessarily brutal firings of competent management staff going back to Alan ‘The Kid’ Flora with its legacy of wrongful termination lawsuits yet to be settled, farmed out to City lawyers at great cost to Mendocino County.

A FALSE claim of a $20 million reserve that nobody can find.

LACK of budget and management reporting.

MUSICAL CHAIRS of pot program managers.

FAILURE to set up a permanent emergency operations center.

WASTING millions of Measure B dollars on facilities and architects.

PICKING an expensive fight with the Sheriff for no reason at all.

THE UNNECESSARY $400k Board chamber remodel.

FOSTERING ENDLESS back-biting among top staff and supervisors.

PRESIDING over the Aumentum property tax selection and implementation which doesn't work to this day.

THE ORTNER MENTAL HEALTH PRIVATIZATION DEBACLE which ended up costing Mendo millions of dollars, unresolved to this day and steered tens of millions in Mental Health Services to Angelo’s personal friend, Camille Schraeder with an ongoing, unquestioned sole-source contract. 

USING vacancies to balance the budget without consulting the Supervisors and without concern for increased workloads for remaining staff.

RETAINING an underutilized and costly Juvenile Hall.

USING an overpriced Sacto artichect-consultant for jobs that could be done locally, costing hundreds of thousands of extra dollars, raising the cost of construction, not supporting local businesses.

PUSHING for an inland ambulance service consolidation (“Exclusive Operating Agreement”) as a solution to the ambulance funding/response problem which never had a chance of working and died after four years of costly failed attempts.

CREATING a bloated Executive office and absorbing the Clerk of the Board function in blatant power grab.

AGAINST ALL ADVICE, supporting the consolidation of two separate county bureaucracies — Treasurer/Tax Collector and Auditor/Controller resulting in fiscal confusion, lack of independence and resulting in loss of revenue to the County.

* * *

* * *


The best deal on tickets ends March 31st

The 25th annual legendary Boonville Beerfest is right around the corner on April 29th! Tickets are going fast, so make sure to snag one for you and yours soon. Pro tip: Do it before early bird pricing ends on March 31st for the best deal.


* * *


Saturday, April 8, 2023, 10am - 4pm, $5 - $10


Join volunteer docents at Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park for the unique opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse tower and stand next to the historic 1909 Fresnel Lens. These tours happen rarely, and are always a delight!

- Tours are first-come, first-serve, no reservations

- First tour of the day goes up at 10am, last tour of the day goes up at 4pm

- $10 per adult, $5 per child (under 18)

- All children must be over 42″ tall to climb the stairs

- There are no babies or animals allowed on this tour

- Tour guests must be masked at all times

- Tour guests must be able to climb three sets of steep ladders

Don’t forget about the half mile walk from the parking lot to the lighthouse! Give yourself plenty of time to arrive before our last tours of the day head up the stairs.

Tours last between 20 - 40 minutes, and are led by the experienced docents of the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association. For more information, you can call the office at 707-937-6123 or email us at

There will be more lens tours on the second Saturdays of April through October 2023! April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9 and October 14, 2023.

* * *

(photo by Kyle White)

* * *

14TH ANNUAL EARTH DAY CELEBRATION, April 22, features activities, workshops, great food, and lively local music 

Noyo Food Forest’s 14th Annual Earth Day Festival will be held Saturday April 22 from Noon-4pm at The Learning Garden on the Fort Bragg High School campus at 300 Dana Street. This year’s festival will include a plant sale, a farmers panel, artisan crafts, mural painting, community nonprofits, delicious food, live music, and our famous bicycle-powered smoothies – all with a focus on regenerative gardening/farming and cultivating community.

* * *


A notorious DUI defendant’s bid for leniency and a grant of probation was denied Friday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court. Instead, he was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Tyson Young

Defendant Tyson Randall Young, age 41 of Fortuna, was convicted by plea in early February of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol causing injury to another and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater causing injury to another, both as felonies. 

He also admitted as true special sentencing allegations charged by the DA alleging that he inflicted great bodily injury on a victim, that he caused injury to an additional victim, that he had suffered a prior DUI conviction in 2014, and that had an excessive level of blood alcohol (.27/.27) at the time of the 2022 collision.

In August of last year, the California Highway Patrol determined that defendant Young crossed the double yellow lines while driving southbound In Mendocino County on Highway 101, slamming into a northbound minivan carrying a family of five returning home from a trip to Disneyland. 

While the mother in the van was also injured, one of the three daughters was the focus of the first responders as she was suffering from life-threatening injuries. 

The daughter’s leg was broken such that her injuries constituted a partial amputation by trauma. She was taken from the scene by air medevac and eventually admitted to UC Davis Medical Center, where her medical bills exceeded $1 million. 

Because defendant Tyson admitted he inflicted great bodily on the young victim, this crime is deemed one of the few violent felonies defined by the California Penal Code. 

As such, the early release credits that defendant Tyson may attempt to earn at the Department of Corrections are to be limited to 15% of the overall sentence, meaning the defendant should be required by prison authorities to serve 61.5 months of the 72 months ordered by the local court before being released on parole. 

Defendant Young is characterized as notorious due to a prior Humboldt County DUI arrest and conviction that garnered significant local and out-of-the-area media coverage. 

In 2014, a citizen observed a State Parks law enforcement truck pulled over on the side of Humboldt County's Avenue of the Giants with its engine running and lights on. 

The citizen stopped to make sure the vehicle's driver was okay and not having a medical emergency. What he found – and photographed – was defendant Young, an on-duty supervising state parks ranger, passed out in the driver’s seat with an open beer between his legs. 

Defendant Tyson, prosecuted in Eureka, was convicted in that 2014 case of driving with a blood alcohol of .24. Tyson was eventually terminated by State Parks, but managed to later get hired by Caltrans. 

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying the defendant’s Mendocino County convictions were the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire, and the Department of Justice crime laboratory.

Special thanks are extended to the caring individuals, which included a nurse, who stopped to help the family at the crash scene, the medical first responders, and the trauma teams that saved the daughter’s leg.

Special thanks also to the private law firm of Janssen Malloy in Eureka for providing additional information and assistance to Mendocino County prosecutors regarding the case.

The prosecutor who has been handling this case and who argued Friday morning for a state prison sentence was District Attorney David Eyster.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the Friday morning sentencing hearing.

(District Attorney)

* * *


Defendant Antonio David Borrero-Ginel, age 35, formerly of the Fort Bragg area, was back in court Thursday, March 23, 2023, for his stipulated sentencing hearing. 

As previously agreed, the defendant was sentenced to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for 18 years to life.

This sentence results from the defendant having been found guilty by an 11th hour plea to orally copulating a child 10 years of age or younger, a felony violation of Penal Code section 288.7(b). This crime carries a single punishment -- an indeterminate state prison sentence of 15 years to life.

The defendant was also found guilty by plea of a separate and distinct felony violation of Penal Code section 288(a), lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14 years. As for this crime, the defendant also stipulated to a state prison sentence of three years to run consecutive to the life sentence.

The law enforcement agency that investigated and developed the evidence underlying the aforementioned convictions was the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

The attorney who has handled the prosecution of this defendant from charging through sentencing is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the March 23rd sentencing hearing.

(District Attorney)

* * *

BILL KIMBERLIN: Went to Mendocino for lunch at Trillium Cafe. Exceptional food and a nice place indoors or in their garden. Can just see the Ocean here and there. The old wagon photo includes a memorial statement to a Hollywood film worker named Richard Agular, he was a "gaffer" (lighting guy) on many big movies like, "My Best Friend's Wedding", which is a very good movie if you haven't seen it. I assume this was his house.

* * *


Back in 1948 when I was born in Germany the world there was falling apart. The three of us children eventually lost our parents. Both died by the time I was 5. After that my brother and sister and I wondered on the streets. We had our parents’ home, but now it was not just ours. It was ours, but also the religious people would come by, the neighbors would come by and our ever-present “relatives” would also come by. Not to help us, but to rob us; to take from us the little we had left. I fully remember eating food off the streets. Mainly gum. And I fully remember, actually I will never ever be able to forget having a tape worm inside me. As we were starting to be recognized by the authorities, we were being told that we must go to school; we must go to an orphanage etc. We, my sister, brother and I, at this point were pretty independent and were not accustomed to being directed to do things. We did only what we deemed necessary for our survival. So beginning to go to kindergarten was questionable for me. One day at school I got very sick, was taken to the bathroom by a teacher and started throwing up a tape worm. I started pulling on it, yanking it out of me, pulling more and more and looking to the side of me, the teacher was pale white, ready to faint. Getting back to my mission, I continued to pull on the worm. and then it broke off, went back inside me. I was dumbfounded; I didn’t know what to do. The teacher was at her wits end and about to collapse, when again I got sick the worm started to come back out of me. And again I pulled and pulled… Finally the worm ended up in the toilet bowl. At this point the bowl was almost full of the worm, circular in shape around and around to take most of the bowl area. And at the end was the head. I’ll never forget it. I can see it to this day— a snake like head, two eyes, looking at me. Later, living in the hills of Mendocino we had many animals, goats, dogs, horses, etc. And we would continually worm them, every six months with ivermectin. Usually whenever we did the deworming I would also take some, and I have done this ever since. I take ivermectin on a regular basis. I have not ever had any bad reaction from it. And during the covid never really got sick. I had some mild episodes but nothing major and I never have and never will get the shot. I hope that helps many of you out there.

* * *


by Bruce Anderson

Olompali Village

Olompali, translated from the Miwok as “southern people” or “southern village,” lies just north of Novato, directly off Highway 101. It’s a state park these days but goes way back as the site of a large Miwok village, then the only California land grant made to a Native American, then sold to a pioneer family named Burdell whose magnificent old house became a hippie commune before it burned down in the late 1960s. 

A low-down murder by Kit Carson committed near Olompali led to the Battle of Olompali between a rag tag militia of Bear Flaggers and a Mexican army force of about 50 troops. Shots were exchanged and one Mexican was killed.

John Charles Fremont (1813-1890) was an American explorer, army officer, and politician. He mapped the Oregon Trail (1843-1844), was selected as one of the first U.S. senators from California (1850), and received the Republican Party nomination as candidate for the U.S. presidency (1856) but was defeated by James Buchanan (1791-1868).

When Fremont was in the neighborhood in 1846, Olompali was the property of Camilo Ynitia, a Miwok educated at Mission San Rafael. Ynitia had obtained a land grant from the Mexicans for several thousand acres at Olompali where he successfully grew wheat and raised horses. Fremont and his U.S. Army company had made their way south from Oregon with the aim of attaching California to the United States.

General Vallejo, who had a summer place just up the road in East Petaluma but whose primary home was in Sonoma, had declared that Bernardino Four-Fingered Jack Garcia “was the wickedest man that California had produced up to that time.” Which was 1846 when Garcia, a nominal citizen of Mexico, murdered four of John Fremont’s freebooting men near modern day Sebastopol whose “bodies presented a most shocking spectacle, bearing the marks of horrible mutilation, their throats cut, and their bowels ripped open; and other indignities perpetrated of a nature too disgusting and obscene to relate.”  The indignities suffered by Fremont’s men meant they had their private parts cut off and stuffed into their mouths, a desecration that was to re-occur in the American Civil War, World War Two, and by both sides in Vietnam.

Fremont, apart from his mission to make California part of the United States, was also looking for Four-Fingered Jack to finish him off or “do him up” as murders were euphemized at the time.

When Fremont’s grizzled soldiers got to Sonoma, they were met by a motley gang of drunks and miscellaneous freebooters who had taken General Vallejo prisoner. After drinking up the general’s wine cellar, the drunks had made a flag with a rough depiction of a pig on it they said looked like a grizzly bear and had declared California independent of Mexico. This was the Bear Flag Revolt. 

Kit Carson

Kit Carson was Fremont’s premier hitman and aide de camp, and a very tough guy who once eluded the Mexican army by walking barefoot through hostile territory from Salinas to LA. Fremont and Carson were fresh off retaliatory murders of an unknown number of Klamath Indians, several of whom had attacked them one night while Fremont and Company slept near present-day Klamath Falls. Kit Carson would write that the Klamath tribes were the bravest, fiercest Indians he killed anywhere in the country, and he’d fought Indians all over the West, including the Apaches of New Mexico where Carson eventually made his home near Taos.

When Fremont got word that Four Fingered Jack and a small Californio army — native Californians loyal to Mexico — were at Olompali, Fremont made the short ride down from Sonoma hoping to avenge Four-Finger’s murders of his four men in Sebastopol. 

The twin 20-year-old De Haro brothers and their uncle, Jose de los Reyes Berryessa, memorialized today by De Haro Street on Potrero Hill in San Francisco and a Napa County lake, had rowed over from San Francisco, then still called Yerba Buena, to see what was up at Olompali, scouting the scene for the main body of Mexican troops at San Francisco under a combat-averse Californio general named Castro. Castro had sent the three to negotiate with Fremont. 

Fremont saw the trio of would-be negotiators rowing toward Point San Pablo (more or less out where the Marin County Dump is now), and dispatched Carson, Granville Swift and Sam Neal to ride out and confront the would-be negotiators when they got ashore.

Carson and two other Fremonters, on Fremont’s orders, shot and killed the two boys and their uncle as they stepped out of their rowboat. Fremont blamed Indians for the killings. The great historian of early California, George Bancroft, called the killings of the De Haros and Berryessa “cowardly.” 

Soon after commenced the Battle of Olompali on June 24th, 1846, the only fight of the Bear Flag Rebellion, a running gun battle with Fremont’s ragtag army in pursuit of Castro’s ragtag army. One Mexican, Manuel Cantua was killed.

In 1853 Ynitia deeded a portion of Olompali to his adopted daughter and her husband, John Pinkston, a freed black man, one of nine Marin County men at the time licensed to sell liquor. 

Fremont and Carson never did catch up with Four Fingered Jack, but both died celebrated as heroes for their sanguine work achieving statehood for California. 

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, March 27, 2023

Cesaretti, Chi, Cooper


VICTOR CHI, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

ZACHARY COOPER, Fort Bragg. Unspecified misdemeanor.

Lamun, Munos, Velasco

MICHAEL LAMUN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.

STEVEN MUNOS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.


Warner, Winter, Woods

MALISSA WARNER, Ukiah. Under influence, county parole violation.

ANTHONY WINTER, Ukiah. Hit&run with property damage, no license.


* * *


YFD first tribal organization to host National Park Service program in California

Through the Yurok Tribe’s partnership with Redwood National Park, the Yurok Fire Department was selected to train four female firefighters for the National Park Service’s forward-looking Women in Fire Program. 

“It is a huge privilege to train these firefighters for the Women in Fire Program,” said Yurok Fire Chief Rod Mendes, who has trained hundreds of firefighters. “We look forward to providing four Native American women the skills and experience they needto acquire good-paying jobs with tribal, federal orstate wildland fire departments.” 

Yurok Fire Chief Rod Mendes

“It is the goal of this program to recruit, train, and offer exposure to multiple aspects of wildland fire in addition to exposure to the planning and implementation of prescribed fire projects,” said Redwood National Park Fire Management Officer Rick Young. “After completion of this program the participants will not only be able to compete for a career in wildland fire as a crewperson, but hopefully be inspired to continue on to become future leaders in the fire service. I’m excited to partner with the Yurok Tribe in this effort and I hope to expand the program in the coming years, creating more opportunities for a large segment of our community that is currently underrepresented within the fire service."

With $100,000 from the National Park Service (NPS), the Yurok Fire Department is recruiting four Native American women to participate in the paid program. Once hired, the Yurok Fire Department will put the women through an intensive wildland fire training academy focused on the fundamentals of wildland firefighting. Based out of the department’s headquarters on the Yurok Reservation, the comprehensive training will be comprised of classroom instruction and hands on skill-building exercises. The classroom part of the course will cover a wide variety of topics, such as wild land fire behavior, firefighting tactics and the Incident Command System, as well as communications, fire line safety and situational awareness. In the field, the four trainees will perform exercises with many different forms offirefighting equipment, ranging from fire pumps to chainsaws.They will also learn to work as a team.

The Yurok Tribe in-depth training will prepare program participants to pass the written and physical tests required to receive an interagency-certified Incident Qualifications Card, or Red Card, and aFirefighter 2 credential, which will qualify them to land firefighting jobs anywhere in the United States. 

After they complete the trainingand certification process, the four women will workout of the Yurok fire housein Tulley Creek. On a daily basis, the firefighters will be assigned duties and respond to calls for service as members of the Yurok fire crew until the end of the 2023 fire season. Their duties may include fighting local forest fires, participating in cultural burns on tribal lands and managing woodland fuels to protect elders’ homes. The female firefighters will also spend stints with Redwood NationalPark and US Forest Service fire crews, which will further expand their skillsets.

Yurok Firefighter Faith Tracy

The Yurok Fire Department is the first tribal firefighting organization to administer the transformational Women in Fire Program in California. The National Park Service launched the program in 2021 in an effort to make its workforce more resilient and encourage more females to pursue leadership positions within in the male-dominated profession. Women currently make up just 12% of the federal wildland fire workforce. The Yurok Tribe and the park service recognize that diversity drives innovation, which is needed now more than ever before as the land managers confront climate change, drought and longer, more severe fire seasons. Prior to partnering with the Yurok Fire Department, NPS implemented Women in Fire Programs with conservation corps in multiple states. 

The Yurok Fire Department is an all-risk, all-hazard organization that focuses on fire detection, prevention and suppression in conjunction with traditional and conventional fuels management. The chartered tribal agency fights wildfires in the local area and across the US.In addition to extinguishing fires, the Yurok crew conducts cultural burns to moderate forest fuel loads, improve wildlife habitat and increase access to traditional basket-weaving materials on tribal lands. When they are not contending withfires or performing controlled burns, the Yurok crew works onprojects thatreduce fire risk on the reservation. 

The Yurok Fire Department is led by Chief Rod Mendes. Chief Mendes has more than 35 years of fire officer leadership experience, including lengthy terms as a District Fire Management Officer for the Klamath National Forest and as the Chief of Fire and Office of Emergency Services for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, and over 20 years with Inter-agency Incident Management teams. He is also a governor-appointed member of California’s Homeland Security Advisory Committee. Chief Mendes will design and oversee the Women in Fire Program training.

“I can say from experience Chief Mendes is a tremendous resource for new firefighters, especially those who want to climb the ranks. The park service couldn’t have selected a better mentor for participants in the Women in Fire Program,” concluded Yurok Firefighter and Yurok citizen Faith Tracy. 

To apply for the Women in Fire Program on the Yurok Reservation, please fill out the Yurok Tribe employment application, which can be found here:

* * *

Navarro Beach Road (Jeff Goll)

* * *

LONELY TODAY? TAKE A HIKE: The Adventure Gals Builds Friendships Outdoors and Indoors, too

by Jonah Raskin 

“Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight,” Roy Orbison sang on his 1960 hit single. In Northern California and elsewhere, the lonely haven’t vanished, though loneliness is not an inevitable or a permanent condition, according to Olivia Mendoza who knows the territory and might be called an ex-Miss Lonely Hearts herself.

If you're reading this story you’ve probably survived the rain and the wind, and would enjoy a dose of happiness and togetherness. “The Bay Area Adventure Gals” might be the ticket you want and need. Mendoza hopes so. This winter’s storms have led to the cancellation of some of the organization's hikes, but women checked in with one another, made plans, and had dinner together.

A lawyer in Santa Clara and in her mid-30s, Mendoza is the brains and the heartbeat behind the sisterhood which she launched slightly more than a year ago on Valentine’s Day 2022. “The take away I’ve learned in the last year is that women are not alone in feeling isolated and lonely,” she tells me during a Zoom interview. “Also, they’re willing and eager to connect and to incorporate others in their lives and to create meaningful relationships.” Sounds good to me.

Soon after the group first launched, women celebrated “Galentines Day.” The word “gals”— which the online urban dictionary defines as "a girl or woman who influences everyone around themselves and always does things for the better”—seems to fit Mendoza’s concept of the adventurous group she founded.

It’s free, private and fast growing. The average age is 25-34, though some members are in their 40s and 50s and not ready to retire. Mendoza encourages women of all ages to sign up. To participate you do have to be healthy enough to stand and walk on your own two feet. 

Mendoza has sensible suggestions for the kind of lonely souls that Orbison serenaded years ago and that he still might serenade. Above all, Mendoza says, “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and reach out to others. Take the same leap of faith I took.” She adds, “The first and scariest leap is letting others know that you’re open to making meaningful friendships.” 

Mendoza has created 60 or so "Community Chats" that, she says, have, “provided a safe space to address feelings of social isolation and loneliness and build new friendships.”

She allows that the pandemic tested her own resources and prompted her “to turn things around.” A turn-things-around kind of gal, she got busy. Community and real connections had to be a priority in her life, she realized. Starting with about a dozen hikers, the core group expanded until the Bay Area Adventure Gals Facebook Group now numbers 15,000; about 3,000 live in San Francisco. There are Community Chats for women of color and those who identify as LGBTQ+. 

How does it work? Lonely souls in search of connections and friendships go to Facebook, click + Join Groups, read and agree to the rules, and be approved by Mendoza who serves as gatekeeper. She asks that members be kind, courteous, and respectful, reject hate speech and bullying, and avoid promotions, sales, and spam. Upbeat Marlo Thomas of "free to be you and me" fame would definitely cheer, as would Sierra Club co-founder John Muir who promoted the California wilderness as the cure for the blues and an antidote to the ills of a civilization that spawns loneliness.

“Joining is like picking up your phone and texting a few friends,” Mendoza explains, though it’s not always that easy. Sometimes, she adds, a lone post gets lost in a blizzard of posts and there’s a breakdown in communication. 

But all is not lost! “You always have your community and connections accessible to you,” Mendoza says. Outdoor activities, especially hikes, are the lifeblood of the organization. Members have trekked at Castle Rock in Saratoga, on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, at The Pinnacles National Park, which straddles San Benito and Monterey counties, the Marin Headlands North of the Golden Gate Bridge, Portola Valley in San Mateo County as well as Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. 

Women also get together for bingo, food, drink, and laughter. Roy Orbison would cheer the women who break the cycle of loneliness and blossom in the California Great Outdoors which has long had the power to heal lost souls and mend broken hearts. If I were a woman I’d join in a flash.

* * *

(photo by Norm Clow)

* * *


by Kris Rhim, Bedel Saget & Marco Hernandez

Caitlin Clark’s long-distance shooting prowess has made her one of the most electrifying players in college basketball. The Iowa star scored 31 points in the Hawkeyes’ round-of-16 win over Colorado on Friday night; we tracked her well-balanced attack, which included long 3-pointers, layups and jumpers, from all over the floor.

Clark is at her most lethal when shooting from far beyond the 3-point line, sometimes setting her feet just inside a halfcourt logo — as she did once on Friday night — and sending the ball over the outstretched arms of defenders.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) poses for a photo during Hawkeyes women's basketball media day, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. 2210120 Iowa Media Wbb 041 Jpg

Clark shot 11 of 22 from the field on Friday and 4 of 9 from 3-point range. She added eight assists and three rebounds and committed only four turnovers in Iowa’s 87-77 win.

Defenders hound Clark when she is close to the 3-point line — the arc is 22 feet 1¾ inches from the rim — so she often finds her best looks farther back. She has a better 3-point shooting percentage when attempting them 25 to 30 feet away from the rim than on her shots closer to the line, according to CBB Analytics.

Clark has made 11 3-pointers in three games this tournament — from an average of 27 feet.

Her favorite time to shoot is when the game is in transition: off a rebound, a steal or even an inbound pass if she can quickly push the ball up the court. But on Friday night, she hit her four 3-pointers in halfcourt sets.

Iowa will play Louisville on Sunday night, with a trip to the Final Four on the line. There’s no doubt that Clark will be shooting from everywhere — so keep an eye out for another logo 3-pointer.

* * *

* * *


I was born in 1954 so I was not around for what went down in the Korean War, but from what my Dad told me, it was 3 years of bravado followed by a bullshit result. I grew up waiting to be sucked into the 10 years of bravado of the Vietnam War, which culminated with another bullshit ending (I was blessed to be able to avoid that while still fulfilling my responsibilities). America went on to propagate many more bravado wars, all ending in bullshit, capped off nicely by the Afghanistan debacle in which our leaders were stupid enough to repeat lethal errors made by both the British and the Russians. Now our brain-dead leadership engages us in another bravado nightmare replicating lethal mistakes made by both the French and the Germans that will clearly end in bullshit regardless of whether or not it culminates in WWIII.

On the political/leadership front during that same lifetime I have witnessed a slow, methodical degradation in those who rule us, all based in bravado, and all headed towards bullshit endings. “Wait till the midterms”, “Wait till the house changes hands”, wait till this, wait till that, wait till the fucking cows come home, all ending in bullshit, sorry. Words on paper, words in media, words spoken by clowns to gatherings of clowns, all bravado, all resulting in the same bullshit ending.

“Words are for lovers, Merlin. I need a sword!” Sorry Uther Pendragon, your sword did not save you and it shall not save us and neither will words. In the end it shall only be bullshit. Hope? You all know where my hope lies, and until He returns, we are going to have to learn to live on a steady diet of bullshit.

* * *

1951, Eddie Gaede was hired by Bill Veeck to play for Veeck's St. Louis Browns

* * *

UKRAINE, Monday, March 27, 2023

At least two people were killed and dozens wounded in Russian missile strikes Monday against the eastern city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian officials said.

Several explosions were reported in the occupied southern city of Melitopol on Monday, and a Mariupol police chief's car was blown up, says Russian state media.

The Kremlin has dismissed Western criticism over its plans to station nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus. The US said there are no indications Russia will use nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut is entering its "most intense phase," says a top Ukrainian official. It comes as the Russian mercenary group Wagner says it captured a metal plant near the besieged city. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus. Putin said his forces would retain control over any weapons in its ally's territory.

The US downplayed the move, saying there are no indications Russia will use nuclear weapons. Ukraine, NATO and the EU's top diplomat condemned the plan.

Putin's move appears designed to attract the world's attention as the Russian president faces mounting problems elsewhere.


* * *

* * *


There’s always an excuse for nuclear madness, and the United States has certainly provided ample rationales for the Russian leader’s display of it.

by Norman Solomon

The announcement by Vladimir Putin over the weekend that Russia will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus marked a further escalation of potentially cataclysmic tensions over the war in neighboring Ukraine. As the Associated Press reported, “Putin said the move was triggered by Britain’s decision this past week to provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.”

There’s always an excuse for nuclear madness, and the United States has certainly provided ample rationales for the Russian leader’s display of it. American nuclear warheads have been deployed in Europe since the mid-1950s, and current best estimates say 100 are there now—in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Count on U.S. corporate media to (appropriately) condemn Putin’s announcement while dodging key realities of how the USA, for decades, has been pushing the nuclear envelope toward conflagration. The U.S. government’s breaking of its pledge not to expand NATO eastward after the fall of the Berlin Wall—instead expanding into 10 Eastern European countries—was only one aspect of official Washington’s reckless approach.

During this century, the runaway motor of nuclear irresponsibility has been mostly revved by the United States. In 2002, President George W. Bush withdrew the U.S. from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a vital agreement that had been in effect for 30 years. Negotiated by the Nixon administration and the Soviet Union, the treaty declared that its limits would be a “substantial factor in curbing the race in strategic offensive arms.”

His lofty rhetoric aside, President Obama launched a $1.7 trillion program for further developing U.S. nuclear forces under the euphemism of “modernization.” To make matters worse, President Trump pulled the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a crucial pact between Washington and Moscow that had eliminated an entire category of missiles from Europe since 1988.

The madness has remained resolutely bipartisan. Joe Biden quickly dashed hopes that he would be a more enlightened president about nuclear weapons. Far from pushing to reinstate the cancelled treaties, from the outset of his presidency Biden boosted measures like placing ABM systems in Poland and Romania. Calling them “defensive” does not change the fact that those systems can be retrofitted with offensive cruise missiles. A quick look at a map would underscore why such moves were so ominous when viewed through Kremlin windows.

Contrary to his 2020 campaign platform, President Biden has insisted that the United States must retain the option of first use of nuclear weapons. His administration’s landmark Nuclear Posture Review, issued a year ago, reaffirmed rather than renounced that option. A leader of the organization Global Zero put it this way: “Instead of distancing himself from the nuclear coercion and brinkmanship of thugs like Putin and Trump, Biden is following their lead. There's no plausible scenario in which a nuclear first strike by the U.S. makes any sense whatsoever. We need smarter strategies.”

Daniel Ellsberg—whose book The Doomsday Machine truly should be required reading in the White House and the Kremlin—summed up humanity’s extremely dire predicament and imperative when he told the New York Times days ago: “For 70 years, the U.S. has frequently made the kind of wrongful first-use threats of nuclear weapons that Putin is making now in Ukraine. We should never have done that, nor should Putin be doing it now. I’m worried that his monstrous threat of nuclear war to retain Russian control of Crimea is not a bluff. President Biden campaigned in 2020 on a promise to declare a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. He should keep that promise, and the world should demand the same commitment from Putin.”

We can make a difference—maybe even the difference—to avert global nuclear annihilation. This week, TV viewers will be reminded of such possibilities by the new documentary The Movement and the “Madman” on PBS. The film “shows how two antiwar protests in the fall of 1969—the largest the country had ever seen—pressured President Nixon to cancel what he called his ‘madman’ plans for a massive escalation of the U.S. war in Vietnam, including a threat to use nuclear weapons. At the time, protestors had no idea how influential they could be and how many lives they may have saved.”

In 2023, we have no idea how influential we can be and how many lives we might save —if we’re really willing to try.

(Norman Solomon is the national director of and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His next book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, will be published in June 2023 by The New Press.)

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

After wolfing down a heartburn-inducing Popeye’s Shrimp Tacklebox Combo for supper, Manhattan District attorney Alvin Bragg retires to his four-poster Sleep Number bed beset with anxiety about the grand jury he has convened for fulfilling his campaign promise to stuff Donald Trump into a state prison cell. From the wall-mounted flat-screen across from his bed, the specter of a of giant rabbit emerges, gaunt and grizzled, draped in chains and weighty padlocks.

“Who are you, spirit?” Bragg asks.

“I am the ghost of prosecutions past,” it moans. “This night you will be visited by three other spirits: The ghost of what you wish to be, the ghost of what should be, and the ghost of actually what-it-is.”

Oh, Gawd,” Bragg groans, his esophagus on fire with acidified hot-sauce residue.

The DA falls back into a febrile sleep, but wakens minutes later. The bedroom of his condo has transformed itself into a sunny street scene. He is riding an open limousine down Broadway through a blizzard of tickertape, the sidewalks filled with cheering citizens. Beside him sits a nubile person of the birthing persuasion, with supernaturally large infant-feeding glands, not unlike a certain star of adult films at the center of his brilliant case against the former president.

“I am the ghost of what you wish to be,” she says, her breath warm in his ear. “You’re a bigger star now than ever I was in life, and without all the mess.”

“Yeah? What’s that up ahead?” he asks.

“The steps of City Hall where you will receive your Nobel Peace Prize and be handed the nomination for governor, your stepping stone to the White House.”

“We gonna have to change the name of that place,” Bragg grumbles.

Suddenly a box appears on Bragg’s lap. It contains two McDonald’s Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddles® plus an apple fritter and a caramel macchiato. No sooner do his teeth close on that first delicious bite, when the confetti in the air turns to pixels, which dissolve along with the street scene, and then Bragg is back in his bed. Laughter rings across the big room, but with a demonic dissonance. A large white man with a silvery mane of hair and a nose like an Appalachian dulcimer, draped in black judicial robes, sits up behind a lofty bench, wearing a scowl of privilege.

“What do you want?” Bragg asks.

“Your law license, asshole.”

“Who do you think you are?”

“I am the spirit of what should be,” the judge-like figure growls.

“This is a racist ploy!” Bragg barks back. “Plus, you got no standing!”

More fiendish laughter from the bench, joined suddenly by a chorus of a million other laughers, people of all sizes, genders, and colors, a collage of Manhattan humanity, each one pointing a finger at Bragg, who retreats in terror under his king-size duvet. The laughter dissolves into Bragg’s own blubbering wails of despair.

The DA wakes a third time, trembling, to the sound of the doorbell, which he tries to ignore, but it keeps on ringing and ringing. Finally, Bragg kicks off the duvet, plods over to the door, and throws it open. A tall, stout, white man with a mystifying platinum hair-doo stands framed within.

“DoorDash, at your service,” the ghost of actually what-it-is says.

“Oh, no….” Bragg cries out, as he is handed a paper bag. He opens it and peers in, only to loose a nauseating stench that instantly fills the room. “Hey, this is not the Build Your Crème Brûlée Pancake Combo from the IHOP,” Bragg complains.

The DoorDash looks at his phone. “It says here you ordered the shit sandwich.”

Bragg feels like his head will explode. He reaches out to strangle the malevolent specter but wakes up choking his Saatva premium pillow instead. Eventually, he comes back to his senses, but feeling utterly drained from the night’s visitations. He washes the night-sweats away in the shower, dons a fine chalk-strip suit the size of a Coleman six-person tent, and meets his driver waiting at the end of his building’s canopy. In the backseat of his city limo there is a bag with his usual breakfast: two Starbuck’s Double-Smoked Bacon, Cheddar & Egg Sandwiches, a blueberry scone, a glazed donut, and a Starbuck’s Reserve® Hazelnut Bianco Latte. He horses it all down in traffic on the way to the DA’s headquarters on Hogan Place.

It is Monday morning, of course, roughly a week after the world was expecting him to issue an indictment against former president Donald Trump for writing off payments to a porn star as a campaign expense. But there was much to think about as the week marched along, much to mull over, many options to consider…the future to assess. The office is spookily quiet as Bragg strides in. An attractive blonde of a certain age approaches him warily.

“Ready to rock and roll, boss?” asks Lisa DelPizzo, Chief of the Trial Division, expecting Bragg to make his historic announcement shortly to the dozens of assembled reporters waiting in the press lobby.

“Get me a ham sandwich,” he grunts. “And bring it down to the grand jury chamber. We got work to do!”

* * *

* * *


by Carl Karlsson

Ted Conover is widely considered America’s reigning master of immersion reporting. During a career spanning nearly four decades, he’s gone undercover as a prison guard, inspected poultry as a USDA employee, crossed the border with Mexican refugees and hopscotched around the country as a railroad hobo.

Conover’s trademark style of writing, which straddles memoir, ethnography and journalism, has earned him the National Book Critics Circle Award and a place as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. 

Ted Conover

In his latest work, he joins a community of off-gridders on the plains of the American West, where disaffection and exile co-exist with perennial dreams of self-determination and starting fresh. “The American firmament was shifting in ways I needed to understand,” Conover writes in Cheap Land Colorado: Off-Gridders at America’s Edge. During five years’ time, roughly spanning the Trump administration, he explores a forgotten, cut-off slice of the country that reminds us both of the enduring force, and failure of, the American dream. 

We spoke to Conover about his experience covering the fringes of American society, the changing landscape of journalism, social media, the financial challenges of young reporters today, and his experience as a teacher at New York University. 

Let’s start off with some background and how you got into journalism. You studied anthropology I think?

Well before that, back in high school, I was among a small number of students who were bussed by court order from our neighborhood school to one where white people were in the minority. At the time, we had a lot of trepidation about it, but it turned out to be a good thing—and a great education. I often look back and think that I learned as many important things, things that have informed my career, as I did later in college and graduate school. You know, just the whole way in which your standing in society affects your understanding of it, how your group is decisive in so many ways, as well as the question of whether you can ever transcend your group and achieve some sort of larger understanding of the social world you’re in.

When I got to college and discovered anthropology, I was interested in some of those same questions — questions of people and groups and what we have in common, what we don’t, and the possibilities and limitations of crossing social borders and getting to know somebody else. Somebody unlike you.

I think anthropology showed me the way to a deeper kind of journalism, one that can transcend the five Ws. It also showed me the importance of trying to achieve some objectivity about your point of view, or — perhaps a better way to put it — the subjectivity of all points of view.

That is very much a part of anthropology, and as I continued my career, it seemed to become more and more a part of my journalism. Over the years, journalists have stopped aspiring to pure objectivity and trying more to be fair. We’re trying to be transparent about where we’re coming from.

You mention early on that part of what drove you to write this book was the 2016 election. As I understand it, you wanted to better understand why so many people feel… perhaps “cut off” from society. Did you come to any kind of conclusion?

As I write in the book, there’s a myriad of reasons that people move out into the prairie, to this off-grid place — many more reasons than I would have guessed. But one thing they have in common is disaffection. To want to live like that, I think you have to be tired of trying to do what you’re supposed to, you have to be tired of the normal kind of workweek and the normal kind of job, which I think has left many feeling poor and alienated. I think a lot of them have failed to make ends meet with the kinds of jobs they’re able to get. They’ve lost houses. They’ve lost loved ones. There’s often a sense of personal failure that sends people out there.

But then there’s a more positive side, and that’s the idea of ownership. It’s the fact you can buy your own land, which gives you this real autonomy, right? Even if you don’t have much money to spend, even if you have to live in the most humble way possible, at least you’re making decisions about when the heat comes on in your room, for example, about how you’re going to keep warm when it gets cold. It’s about self-sufficiency and self-determination. 

One of the commonalities between your books, as several critics have pointed out, is that you approach your subject with a certain openness. There’s a reliable absence of judgment…

I worked for an outreach group out there called La Puente, which tries to keep these off-gridders from becoming homeless when the weather gets cold. I liked their approach, and I learned a lot from them about listening and not judging. The fact is that we live in a very stratified world. We judge each other in so many ways — from income and education to politics and ethnicity. There are just so many ways people size each other up. And many people on the prairie really do feel a stigma that stems from not being able to keep clean because they don’t have much water, or not having teeth. A lot of them have lost their teeth. They of course believe that the more prosperous people in the nearby towns look down on them — and they’re right. So the prairie becomes a place where they’re free from judgment. 

Essentially, passing judgment on people like that gets in the way of helping them and understanding how they ended up there. That’s kind of the posture I take when I’m reporting a book like this: I try to position myself as a student, learning from somebody who knows the things I want or need to know. For example, when I was trying to make my own household out there, I needed to know how to keep warm at night, how to keep the water from freezing, how to keep safe. Do I need a gun? And of course I’ve got all these strikes against me in their eyes: I’m from New York, I’m a professor and — probably worst of all — I’m a journalist. But by spending time with them and showing I was sincerely interested in learning, I was able to make some connections. 

Do you think we judge more now than before? I mean, we frequently hear about our society becoming more polarized. But are we? Or has social media just put it on greater display? 

That’s such an interesting question, and one I don’t know the answer to. In a sense it would seem that way, you know, at least in the world I’m a part of in New York. But I also think the world I’m a part of in Colorado is more accepting of people’s differences than ever before. Out on the prairie, 50 years ago, there wouldn’t have been the kind of acceptance you see today of gay people or just people who aren’t on the gender binary. I’ve never heard those people mocked out there.

So I think in a way, society is moving forward. But on the other hand, yeah, there’s this huge political gap and social media is partly to blame. But there are also mainstream politicians who – until the rise of Trump – didn’t listen to many of the voices in society. Who were simply not interested in knowing more about the people Hillary Clinton called the basket of deplorables, if you remember that. Language like that is divisive and unhelpful. 

I agree. It seems, in both Europe and the US, we’re making pretty amazing progress when it comes to identity, race and inclusiveness. But perhaps one major difference is, unlike many countries in Europe, I often experience a reluctance in America to talk about class. 

I think you’re right. In fact, I think class distinctions seem to be getting worse in the United States. Or rather, the gap between the very poor and very rich is broader than ever before, mostly, I think, because there’s so much concentration of wealth at the high end. 

On that note, back in journalism school, I took a narrative writing class with Dale Maharidge, who I think has a somewhat similar reporting style to yours. I liked the class as it was also a sort of life-hacking course, with tips and tricks about how to construct a life as a writer. I think he’d picked up on the fact that some of the old career avenues are closed to journalists today, and perhaps especially if you’re looking to do longform stuff, the economic barriers are higher than before. 

Yeah, I think the changes since I began have made it harder to do the kind of thing I do or what Dale does. To grow as a longform writer you need places to publish. Of course, the rise of the internet means you can now publish however long stories you want. But then there’s the new calculus: Can you get people to pay you for it and can you get readers? When Dale and I started out, those things went together. If you got a long piece published, people were going to read it.

Today, most of my students who head into journalism get jobs in the digital sphere where they’re typically under a lot of deadline pressure and constantly need to be on call. And that’s a real challenge; how do you find the time and space to turn off the noise, develop your own thoughts and cultivate your own projects? It’s definitely gotten harder.

But one thing I’ve always done to make ends meet is work where I write, as I did for my book Newjack when I got a job as a correction officer at Sing Sing prison. That actually paid me a salary and got me benefits. Or when I wrote my book on Aspen, I got a job as a cab driver and worked at the local paper on a temporary basis. Other projects haven’t been very expensive to report, like riding freight trains when I was writing Rolling Nowhere. But yeah, writing books, whether fiction or nonfiction, has always been a tenuous economic proposition, and there’s no question that people who aspire to do longform writing today will have to find new ways to support themselves. 

Have you considered writing fiction yourself?

I have—stories are my thing. But I have yet to finish a piece of writing that I like.

Spending months, or years, reporting a story as an immersive journalist, does it get lonely? I guess you’re always surrounded by people, but they’re not necessarily close friends.

Loneliness has definitely been a problem—in the years before I was married, mainly. I frequently got lonely. In fact, a number of the sort of immersive experiences I’ve had would have been hard to manage without a partner to lean on. So apart from all the economic challenges of this work, there are emotional ones. They are particularly acute with undercover reporting, such as I have practiced for my book Newjack, or for an article I did in Harper’s Magazineabout becoming a government meat inspector. It’s a big emotional challenge not to be able to connect with your coworkers in a healthy way. Withholding basic facts about yourself and your activity is isolating and difficult.

I guess with the internet, and social media in particular, public criticism, or even shaming and aggression, are additional factors that have made the profession more challenging. I have several colleagues who have chosen not to tackle topics they’re passionate about, fearing online harassment and condemnation. 

Yes, I’d say that’s harder today, and I think it’s smart to worry about it to some extent. But at a certain point you have to realize that some journalism is going to upset some people. Even truthful, ethical journalism will bring out those who disagree. Where that becomes a serious problem is when it turns toxic, and I know some of my female colleagues and students have a rougher experience than men do. A lot of the trolls seem to go after women, so I think women often have to be extra careful in terms of privacy or sharing personal details. There are malevolent forces out there. 

I believe your resume would appear somewhat intimidating to a lot of journalists. Are there any failed projects you’d like to share to make us feel better?

Good Lord, I have a whole file cabinet full of ideas that didn’t work out — and many of them didn’t work out for a good reason. All I can say is that I’ve had more bad ideas than good ones, no question about it. I won’t embarrass myself by going into details in the short amount of time we have. But, you know, part of finding a good idea is considering bad ones, since brainstorming or just thinking creatively by its nature involves dead ends. It involves ideas that in retrospect, don’t look so good.

The process is all about taking a chance. And part of that, one of the chances you take, is the chance of looking a little bit foolish for having had a particular idea. But you have to do it; there’s no way around it. Hopefully, you have some friends or advisors who can tell you if you’re on the wrong track. We all need a sort of panel of advisors to help, to help us in our quotidian ambitions. Is this interesting? Is this a good idea? And you especially need a couple of those people who can tell you: no, that’s not a good idea.

On a last note I want to ask about your students. I’ve interviewed other professors who’ve pointed out that they’ve seen a shift in mindset, with younger pupils being more value and purpose-oriented than before. Is this a shift you’ve experienced?

I think there’s always been an altruistic element to the desire to pursue journalism; the idea that that — possibly — this could end up doing some good in the world. But a change I’ve noticed in the last few years is my students being more cooperative and mutually supportive of each other, which has been a lovely thing to find because a lot of my education took place in this sort of cutthroat, competitive atmosphere. Now I see students trying to help each other with their reporting and pretty much everything else, and I think it’s a really good sign. Have you noticed that as well? 

I have. And I’ve been surprised to have found so many online groups where journalists aren’t only posting job ads but sharing their networks and giving each other advice and support. Say what you want about social media, but I’ve definitely found a lot of generosity in those groups. 

Yes, and it’s happening in a digital landscape where there are, in fact, more solo practitioners, right? People doing their Substack and who aren’t in a newsroom with other journalists. But somehow there seems to be an underlying esprit de corps… a sense of shared enterprise and shared values. While I don’t understand all of it, I feel it’s a harbinger of something good. And that’s especially important as I believe that journalism, in order to remain vital, needs to reinvent itself. Every generation has to find its own path, and we’re in the middle of a period of upheaval and reinvention.


* * *

International Day at the AVA


  1. Steve Heilig March 28, 2023

    PETE Gregson’s tapeworm story is a good disgusting one. It’s rare they emerge in that manner but it does happen. And he correctly identifies what Ivermectin actually works for – deworming! But to then leap to taking it regularly and thinking that helps him avoid serious Covid is just silly delusion. Ivermectin has been conclusively studied now and does nothing for Covid. Misinformed humans consuming it for Covid have caused shortages for those animals who need it.
    He’s wrong about vaccines too. Those w/o them, especially folks of his advanced age, are much more likely to get seriously ill and even die if unvaccinated. That’s what the shots work for.
    Not that I suspect anybody would be naive enough to take health advice about serious issues from a random guy online but…. but… oh never mind.

    • Falcon March 28, 2023

      CORRECTION made to

      WAGON story in the Village of Mendocino
      by Bill Kimberlin

      AGUILAR is the correct spelling

      “Spanish, Catalan, and Jewish (Sephardic): habitational name from any of numerous places called Aguilar, from Latin aquilare ‘haunt of eagles’ (a derivative of aquila ‘eagle’), for example Aguilar de Campo in Palencia, Aguilar de la Frontera in Córdoba, and Aguilar de Segarra in Catalonia” Google

    • Cotdbigun March 28, 2023

      On the other hand is Joe Rogan and non-random doctors. Never mind indeed.

      • peter boudoures March 28, 2023

        And with your left hand you’re holding down your 6 year old for a jab so they don’t get Covid. Definitely interesting times.

        • Lynne Sawyer March 29, 2023

          It took a couple orderlies to hold me down at 5 for my polio jab for which I am eternally grateful. -Tex

  2. Grapes March 28, 2023


    “Mamma, you fed me, good.”

  3. Marmon March 28, 2023


    Fox News just reported this from the Nashville chief of police:

    The shooter’s parents knew she was being treated for serious mental illness.

    Her parents knew she had firearms.

    But her parents didn’t report this to the police???


    • Kirk Vodopals March 28, 2023

      From Uvalde to Parkland to Charlseton… all the perps were on the authorities radar but nothing substantial was done. Our gun-loving culture let the cat out of the bag from the onset of American exceptionalism. It’s a disease our culture suffers where gun nuts claim with a straight face that Democratic politicians kill more babies than their precious firearms do. This country is a shitshow of moral hypocrisy. Treating guns like toys, penises or security blankets has negative consequences. And banning them at this point will not decrease the violence. It’s a self-defeating downward spiral where “the good guys” load up on more guns in fear of “the bad guys” and claim the “no one died atthat mass shooting. It was a hoax designed to take our guns away.” And the worms ate into their brains….

      • Kirk Vodopals March 28, 2023

        Maybe the gun nut culture will finally get on board with some progressive regulations now that gender issues are involved? Nah, this is just another hoax staged by the anti-gun commies, they’ll say

      • peter boudoures March 28, 2023

        Read the editors notes. Maybe he can help you understand the issues.

        • Kirk Vodopals March 28, 2023

          Ah, another pearl of wisdom from my internet troll. Thank you, good sir

          • peter boudoures March 28, 2023

            I’ll stop giving you a hard time. It’s tough to see rancho navarro go through this transition. Have a good day.

    • Grapes March 28, 2023

      Mr Marmon,
      This month we celebrate Social Workers, and I am honored to be addressing one of the greatest, you. However, I am surprised at your response, here.
      Our young people are SCREAMING: “I AM BEING BULLIED, and harassed”, and no one is listening!
      This shooting, and most of the other shootings are a result of INTOLERANCE!

    • Marmon March 28, 2023

      Nashville police reveal trans-killer’s religious family did not accept she was gay and trans, and that she had planned to kill her relatives and shoot up a Nashville mall. Her church coordinator mother refused to let her dress as a man in their home. She turned trans 18 months ago.


      • Marmon March 28, 2023

        Mass shootings started when we celebrated, instead of treated, mental illness.


  4. Donald Cruser March 28, 2023

    Thanks to Norman Solomon for providing us with insights into how the US has provoked this war in Ukraine. He was ny first source on how the our out-of-control military-industrial complex has dumped well over a trillion dollars worth of weapons into the former Soviet Union countries. Can you imagine our military response if Russia did that in our hemisphere? Actually, we don’t need to imagine since history tells us we were ready to go to war over Cuba, went to war in Central America, and have done everything possible to cripple Venzuela. Why should we expect anything different from Putin when we move into Ukraine?

  5. Randy March 28, 2023

    Oh Lord, at least there is a great photo of the timekeeper of the AVA. Headed to England in April, so I’ll send photos of front row seats of Armageddon should London be decimated, Unless Rishi Sunak cuts and runs with Kier Starmer hot on his feeble, Lisa Truss , Boris Johnson tenure. Thank you Bruce, Major Scaramella, Mike Kalantarian, and supporting writers for keeping me somewhat radically informed as the only news I really pay attention to…Long live Cockburn.

  6. Marmon March 28, 2023


    Mendocino County Cannabis Director Kristin Nevedal resigns

    MENDOCINO Co., 3/28/23 — Kristin Nevedal, the program director for Mendocino County’s cannabis program, has resigned effective today, according to a report from closed session made by Mendocino County’s Board of Supervisors Chair Glenn McGourty. McGourty announced at the end of the closed session at the start of the regular meeting that the board would be accepting Nevedal’s resignation…”


  7. Randy March 28, 2023

    Just thinking as the sun goes down and 5 planets align, isn’t it time we got out of a gun mentality? Comments?

    • Marmon March 29, 2023

      The gun didn’t do it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *