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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Shower Chance | AV Scholarships | Deer | Old Watertower | Beacon Light | No COLA | Laytonville Rodeo | County Dysfunction | Branscomb View | Ed Notes | Solstice Celebration | Museum History | Leaf | Nurse Midwife | Cruise Control | Rebuild Contracts | Yesterday's Catch | Remote Hell | Sonoma Exile | Alien Idiot | Roger Craig | Mitts | Clinton Role | Redenbacher End | Money Wins | Happy Hour | The Sixties | Waterfall Warning | Domestic Propaganda | Satanic Exorcism

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AFTERNOON AND EVENING SHOWER and thunderstorm coverage across interior portions of Northwest California will trend downward through Saturday, and then increase Sunday into early next week. Otherwise, temperatures will generally be seasonable during the next seven days. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A balmy 55F under foggy (& more?) skies this Humpday morning on the coast. We have 40% chance of rain this morning then gradual clearing later in the day. Partly to mostly cloudy is all the forecast offers going into the weekend. No rain in sight.

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AV SCHOLARSHIPS: It Certainly Doesn’t Get Any Better than This.

When in your life, do you see a crowd of people gathering together to pledge their time and treasure to make sure a group of senior graduates are launched into career and college? The answer is I have never seen before what I saw Monday night, and what I have viewed as a giving tradition for the past three years in Anderson Valley. This level of generosity is truly unparalleled in the educational world, and I just want to thank you all for recognizing the potential and supporting the dreams of kids.

On Monday night, more than $296,000 in local scholarships were awarded to kids. We had large awards by the amazingly generous Anderson-Miner Foundation and the AV Education Foundation, and then we had a plethora of hugely generous community organizations that stepped up and gave and gave and gave. Some of these were a group of members putting pledges of $20, $50, and $100 together to create a truly significant award combined. Do you know folks, this doesn’t happen in other communities. I sound like a broken record.

With grateful thanks to the following organizations:

The Mendocino Community Foundation


Anderson Valley Fire Department

American Legion

Unity Club

Lions Club

Anderson Valley Grange Dusenberry Memorial

AV Teachers Association

Michael L. Shapiro Memorial

AV Arts

Cheri Fish Memorial

Independent Career Women

AV Boosters

William Sterling Memorial

AV Education Foundation 

Robert Mailer Anderson and Nicola Miner Scholarships

When I was 18, I received a $5,000 scholarship (that was like a billion dollars in 1981) from a San Francisco carpenter named Peder P. Johnson who came from the old country and did well. As my parents were active in a Norwegian Heritage organization, I was eligible for that gift. That $5,000 made the dream of college a possibility. Thank you for making the dream of college a reality for kids like me. My hope is our students honor your gift by paying it forward for generation to come.

Sincerely yours

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District


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(photo by Virginia Sharkey)

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THE CITY HOTEL WATER TOWER is the oldest standing water tower in the Mendocino Historic District. Built about 1873, this tankhouse provided water for J. E. Carlson’s City Hotel, which was located at the western end of Main Street. Carlson originally installed a windmill to pump water to the tank at the top of the water tower. When a fierce windstorm destroyed the windmill in 1886, a Shipman coal oil engine was installed, and the pump was powered by steam. In 1888, J. D. Johnson replaced the engine with a Cyclone windmill, “the best windmill on the market,” according to the Beacon.

The Mendocino Lumber Company acquired the hotel property in 1917. Believing the abandoned hotel to be a fire hazard for their buildings on the west side of Heeser Street, company owners had the hotel building torn down and built a new bungalow in its place.

By 2002, the 130-year-old water tower leaned precariously to the east, and owners Rich and Carol Aguilar made plans to rehabilitate the structure. The Beacon reported on the restoration effort which began in 2003. “The present owner Rich Aguilar used the tank/tower until 1999 and has worked to stabilize it in the past with cables, steel “I" beam, 40-foot steel brace and screw jacks. Buried railroad ties that he put in 20 years ago under the redwood foundation had sunk nearly a foot into the old well. Wednesday, July 16, saw it picked up, supported and fitted with wheels ready to move Thursday. The movers, Walker and Sons, made it look easy as they winched it out of the way for foundation work. The lower nine feet of framing will be replaced due to rot, but the rest of the framing and siding will be reused as much as possible by Rosenthal Construction. It will then be rotated a quarter turn (windows to the bay) and replaced on the exact previous footprint.”

The following April, Mr. Aguilar announced that the tower restoration was complete. “The old tower stands straight and proud. The original framing was preserved, all but the bottom 3-4 feet which had to be replaced due to rot, and now it rests on a concrete foundation and has a new roof. About 65 percent of the old siding was repaired, oiled, and reused. The old redwood 8 x 8 beams and 3 x 14 joists were still solid and impressive, as were some of the old square iron nails. The intent is to utilize it as a shop, guest bedroom and studio. It has proven to be more costly than building all new, but she's extra solid, looks great, and should be good for another 100 years.”

City Hotel Water Tower, 2023. The bungalow built in 1917 is in the background on the left. (Photographer: Robert Dominy)

SATURDAY, JUNE 10TH Celebrate the Water Tower Wonderland exhibit opening.

4-5 pm: Kelley House members will enjoy a private preview and reception.

5-7 pm: General public invited for refreshments and cookies as part of the local art walk.

Quench your thirst and satisfy your curiosity about water towers during Mendocino's Second Saturday Art Walk. Using historic photographs, art from local artists, and small-scale models, the exhibit explores the majesty and functionality of many well-known towers, including several still standing and many that aren't. On display will be renderings of Mendocino water towers in several media, with serigraphs by Anne Kendall Foote and Bill Zacha, a quilt square by Dee Goodrich, and a woodcut by Emmy Lou Packard.

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(photo by Randy Burke)

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by Mark Scaramella

Dozens of county employees and their union rep showed up at the Supervisors’ Tuesday morning budget hearing to ask that the County at least include a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in next fiscal year’s budget. After several hours of discussion, including some serious options as well as some very trivial ones, the Board agreed with CEO Antle that if they included a COLA there was no way to balance next year’s budget. To us, the employees seemed exhausted and demoralized, having already accepted the fact that there would be no raises and arguing only for a small cost of living adjustment to help the remaining employees keep up with inflation.

Topics discussed included use of more volunteers to replace county workers at some positions, use of GPS devices in County vehicles, fewer vehicles and more use of county garage/motor pool vehicles, reductions in facilities (nobody had any specific ideas), a reduction in the amount allocated to the tourism promoters, use of county reserves, the investment pool (the majority of which is money the County invests for schools and special districts), inflation rates, ongoing vacancies, layoffs, increased property and bed tax collection efforts (including using a consultant to help find and add untaxed properties to the County’s tax rolls), new/designated tax measures (that would require voter approval), increasing bed taxes on short term rentals, speeding up next year’s carryforward calculation, bumping up salaries for staffers who are paid with state and federal funds… 

But for one reason or another every idea which would translate into a COLA increase for this coming fiscal year fizzled. 

The Board liked the idea of hiring a consultant to help add untaxed property and buildings to the tax rolls and authorized an RFP for that purpose. But everything else dissolved in a haze of disagreements, confusion, generalities and bureaucratic obstacles, leaving County employees to status quo limbo for another year.

As far as we could tell, none of the officials in the room were on hand during the County’s last fiscal crisis back in 2008/2009. As a possible result, no one discussed or considered the unpopular measures taken at that time: Reducing office hours in most county offices with corresponding voluntary and mandatory time off and associated reductions in hours worked per week. At that time, right after former CEO Carmel Angelo was named CEO because she was the only official with the moxie to impose those steps, it was assumed that County workers who had to take cuts in their weekly hours could find side-jobs while their hourly pay remained the same. (Nobody was willing to attempt pay cuts.) Also at that time, three of the five sitting Supervisors — Carre Brown, John Pinches and John McCowen — agreed to take (mainly symbolic) voluntary pay cuts of 10% while they squeezed their employees. The two “liberal” supervisors, David Colfax and Kendall Smith, refused, insisting that they deserved their high pay despite imposing cuts on everyone else. 

Fast forward to 2023 and we didn’t hear a single word about Supervisors making any sacrifices themselves or imposing any on their senior staff, all of whose salaries and generous benefits packages seem exempt from the de facto inflation-driven salary cuts they say are necessary for their employees in these tight budget times.

Meanwhile, with labor contracts expiring at the end of this month, bargaining — i.e., the County telling union reps that they have no money to spare — with the County’s eight bargaining units continues. 

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Fix the System:

Agreed. The Board of Supervisors merged the Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector offices last year, losing experience and while still struggling with a new software program that still isn’t functioning properly, compounding the problems. The County is losing revenue and frustrating taxpayers with tax bills that are years late and inaccurate. The A/C/T/T office is understaffed but has expressed that some of the software issues are lessening.

If your tax bill is received several years late, the Treasurer will accept a 5 year payment plan for the taxes.

There has been a history of lack of communication between the Board of Supervisors and Department heads, compounding the problems.

It’s going to take some strong leadership to support and change the dysfunction that is our County. I want to be that change and make a difference for our County. I would love to hear what your concerns are.

Carrie Shattuck

Candidate for 1st District Supervisor


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Westward view from Branscomb Road (Jeff Goll)

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GREG KING is well-known on the Northcoast as an advocate for the forests, or what remains of them. He was one of the central figures in the fight to preserve the Headwaters stand of virgin forest 30 years ago. King has now published a self-aggrandizing book called “The Ghost Forest — Racists, Radicals, and Real Estate in the California Redwoods.” 

THREE QUARTERS of the book is a familiar rehash of demonstrations during the Redwood Summer period and the big shot political jockeying involved in preserving Headwaters; the rest is a party-line account of the car bombing of Judi Bari and its wholly implausible aftermath. 

THE PARTY LINE goes like this: Judi Bari, Darryl Cherney and, to a lesser degree, their friend King, were the targets of — take your pick — the FBI's disruptive Cointelpro program; berserk gyppo loggers; Christian fanatics, timber corporations. Or all of the above in one murderous individual. 

WRITERS from outside the area, and yours truly, have identified the perp as Bari's ex-husband, making the bombing and its cynical, post-bombing cash-in, a likely case — a fancy case to be sure — of domestic violence. King doesn't mention, or even hint at other theories of the bombing and its mercenary aftermath.

ALEXANDER COCKBURN and Jeffrey St. Clair summed up in one paragraph the Headwaters swindle that it takes King many pages to explain. David Harris's book, “The Last Stand,” covered the material 20 years ago. Cockburn, incidentally, described Cherney as “a rum character.” Ditto for Wavy Gravy.

“From December of 1995 through February of 1996, the [Bill Clinton] administration regarded the support of the mainstream enviro groups as of crucial importance in the 1996 [presidential] race… On Dec. 15, 1995 two corporate executives who sit on the board of the Wilderness Society sipped coffee with Clinton. One of them was real estate baron Richard Blum—husband of Dianne Feinstein—who is also a longtime friend and sometime business partner of Charles Hurwitz, the corporate raider from Houston who wanted the government to purchase from him at an exorbitant price the Headwaters Redwood Forest in Northern California. The other attendee was David Bonderman, a financier and chairman of Continental Airlines. Bonderman is based in Houston and is also a pal of Hurwitz. Six months after this session, Sen. Dianne Feinstein brokered a Headwaters deal for the administration that was highly favorable to Hurwitz. The Wilderness Society was the only national environmental group to praise the bailout.” 

THE REFERENCE to racists on “"The Ghost Forest's” jacket seems to have been placed there to make the book's contents seem more exciting; race was not a consideration during the timber wars except as the usual rote liberal assumption that the people threatening Earth First!s central figures were racists, although their threats, many of which I suspect were manufactured by Bari herself, were childishly homophobic. 

WHEN BARI, who wrote for my paper and with whom I was close friends, told me she was getting “constant” threats, written and telephonic, I suggested she get a tape recorder and save the threats. I've only seen three written threats obviously drafted by the same moron. She said she wouldn't bother keeping a record of threats “because the cops won't do anything anyway.” Which was probably true, but still proof was important in view of what happened. When, post-bombing, she moved to a remote cabin east of Willits where an assassin could literally drive up to her door and open fire, I told her if someone is still trying to kill you, this address isn't wise. “Oh, if they're going to get me, they're going to get me,” she said. When she said that, it belatedly occurred to me she knew a lot more about who tried to kill her than she was admitting. Judi Bari was not suicidal, and her two very young daughters lived with her on String Creek. She would not have risked them. She later told Steve Talbot of KQED and PBS that she was certain her ex, Mike Sweeney, had tried to kill her.

A BOOK like King’s, and the way the lib media — KPFA, KMUD, KZYX, etc — prohibit open discussion of the Bari interlude reminds me of Stalin assuming power in Russia after Lenin's death. One of his first acts was to write Trotsky out of Bolshevik history, photos and all, and Trotsky, without whom there would have been no revolution, became a non-person.

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Tommy Wayne Kramer’s tiresome rants are well known, and typically ignored. I should do the same. Yet TWK, also known as Tom Hine, needs to be called out when his professed knowledge of all thing’s local falters.

For example, Kramer’s latest slam on the Grace Hudson Museum’s Wild Gardens project is recycled, ill informed gibberish he has written from the beginning about a state-funded project to highlight environmental practices of the native Pomo culture.

As a longtime Hudson museum supporter and current member of the museum’s Endowment Board, I suspect I will not escape Kramer’s wrath for daring to take him to task publicly. So be it. Who appointed TWK the “know it all” of the moment anyway?

For example, Kramer in his own words declares, “I don’t get why the museum would bulldoze a lovely, open, friendly landscape that served Ukiah citizens for many decades and throw up a big ugly brick wall. I don’t get planting weeds, ‘indigenous’ though they may be, visitors will recognize the dreary collection as plain old noxious non-garden variety weeds, regardless of pedigree. So instead of folks on lunch breaks having a sandwich at museum picnic tables or laying on lush lawns beneath big trees, they now pay admission, stand in line and shuffle along paths bordered by thistles, nettles, and foxtails. Indigenous ones, of course.”

Facts, however, tell a different story.

The 3.8 acres surrounding the Hudson Museum and the historic Sun House were only acquired by the city in 1975, after Hudson heirs deeded the estate’s property, including the historic Sun House, to Ukiah for public use. In less than 20 years, the so-called park had deteriorated into a gathering place for drunks, druggies and the homeless that Kramer complains about endlessly when writing of life in Ukiah today. A reality then were legitimate concerns among museum and city officials that the “open friendly landscape” that Kramer waxes on about was posing a real security threat to the museum, and its prized collection of Hudson painting, Pomo baskets, and historic artifacts. Discovery of the charred remnants of a fire along the edge of the museum put everyone on edge. It was time to enclose and incorporate the grounds, which had historically been part of the Hudson estate, into the museum campus for educational purposes and secure the facility.

Former Museum Director Sherrie Smith-Ferri recognized the possibility of securing a state grant to transform the grim situation into a community plus. Smith-Ferri is a descendant of Dry Creek Pomos and is recognized nationally as an expert on the art of Pomo basket making. She personally knows how it took native people generations of landscape management to perfect their way of life, and their art. The Pomo’s ecological awareness of the historic landscape of the North Coast, especially in wildfire control, is now being embraced.

Almost 10 years ago, the state of California awarded the city of Ukiah and the Hudson Museum a $3 million grant to develop nature education facilities on the surrounding land the museum and city already owned. The grounds surrounding the museum were enclosed to create a campus like environment for the museum, and the acreage was transformed into a series of native plant gardens, outdoor teaching spaces for local school children, and areas to host group events. The project models how to integrate modern environmental values and sustainable technologies with ancient landscape management techniques practiced by the Pomo people to cultivate raw materials needed for their acclaimed basketry. 

There is more: a new museum parking lot, complete with a central bio-swale and permeable paving to help capture and clean stormwater runoff, a rainwater harvesting and re-use system, and a boardwalk running through a bed of the native sedge and willow plants used in making Pomo basketry. 

Here is a link to a complete description of the Wilds Gardens’ project:

I don’t expect Tommy Wayne Kramer to do his own research. Clearly, it is too easy for him to sit back and shoot from the hip. 

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(photo mk)

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MCHC is excited to announce that Amita Graham, a certified nurse midwife, has been a wonderful addition to the Care for Her Team since joining in July of 2022. Graham works primarily at Hillside Health Center in Ukiah, supporting women through all stages of their pregnancies, including providing breastfeeding and lactation consultations.

Graham is excited to have joined an established team with strong roots in the community and values that align with her own.

“It was an easy decision to work here because my philosophy is the same as MCHC’s philosophy,” Graham said. “I believe in shared decision making and a patient-centered approach that takes the whole person into consideration when providing care.”

Graham was inspired to work in women’s health following a couple of formative experiences early in her life. While in her 20s, she worked as a nanny for a midwife who sometimes brought her along on at-home visits, giving her a first-hand look at caring for pregnant women.

“The opportunity to observe a midwife up close and personal really opened my eyes to the community, healing, and wellbeing that midwives participate in,” Graham said. “It really sparked my interest in women’s health and midwifery.”

Later on in life, during the birth of her own daughter, the team of midwives who supported Graham left a lasting impression on her.

“I received such excellent care, and just adored the way midwives helped their patients while making them feel so safe and comfortable,” Graham said. “That sealed the deal.”

Graham initially turned her passion for women’s health into a 16-year career as a birth doula, providing emotional and physical support to pregnant and postpartum women and their families. She also spent time helping mothers and families at community organizations like the United Way and the Arizona Children’s Association.

In 2008, Graham became a board-certified lactation consultant so she could help women breastfeed their babies, which continues to be a major passion and focus of her work at MCHC.

Soon after her daughter graduated from high school and left home, Graham went back to college at the University of San Francisco, earning a Master’s of Science in Nursing in 2018 on her way to becoming a certified nurse midwife and a women’s health nurse practitioner. She trained at several hospitals in the Bay Area while completing her residency, then worked at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson, Arizona before joining MCHC last year.

Graham also received a Master’s in Public Health in Maternal Child Health from the University of Arizona, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in 2015. During her studies, she learned about the great health disparities among people of color in the United States, where many marginalized groups do not have access to the care they need and deserve.

“There just aren’t enough providers who resemble the people who need the most help,” Graham said. “As a Black woman, it’s important to me to represent BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities, so they see that there’s someone who can support them and care for them. That type of familiarity has been shown to increase positive outcomes.”

Amita Graham

Even after moving to Mendocino County, Graham continues to work with BIPOC midwives in San Francisco, mentoring new midwives of color as part of a larger effort to improve health outcomes for marginalized communities.

During her first year at MCHC, Graham formalized Care for Her’s breastfeeding program, giving new moms the opportunity to meet with her or another midwife for a lactation consultation. Graham is also part of the Mendocino County Breastfeeding Coalition, helping Adventist Health Ukiah Valley work on their breastfeeding policy to meet state requirements.

Colleague and fellow CNM Devery Montano said, “Amita is the most experienced breastfeeding lactation consultant in either the clinic or hospital. She’s a great resource for the community and we’re lucky to have her.”

Personally, Graham enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time outside, especially cruising the waters of San Francisco Bay on her 25-foot sailboat. She loves to garden and make teas, ointments, and salves from plants she grows and forages. Graham and her husband have one daughter, who lives in Arizona.

In addition to her two master’s degrees, Graham received a Bachelor’s of Science in Community Health Sciences in 2004 from the University of Arizona, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Graham said that helping women through the major milestones of pregnancy and birth is a rewarding feeling that never gets old.

“There are so many things I love about my job, especially sharing the most intimate moments of people's lives with them,” Graham said. “It’s an honor to be present for people and hold space for them when they’re vulnerable, open, and need it the most.”

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Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire’s legislation that would stop mortgage companies from hoodwinking wildfire survivors overwhelmingly cleared the Senate last week.

Tens of thousands of Californians have lost their homes and businesses to wildfires in the last eight years. After facing the traumatic and life-changing experience of losing their home, survivors have to begin the challenging task of rebuilding their homes and lives.

Senator McGuire’s common sense piece of legislation, SB 455, will protect wildfire and other disaster survivors by keeping their home rebuilds on track and agreements with mortgage companies ironclad. The bill would mandate that mortgage companies honor existing rebuild contracts even when mortgages are transferred or sold to another mortgage vendor, a common practice in the banking industry.

Leading up to this legislation, hundreds of families had started rebuilding their homes only to have the terms of their rebuild changed when their mortgage was sold and the new mortgage company didn’t honor the previously agreed upon rebuild contract.

“Ensuring existing rebuild agreements aren’t weakened or changed when mortgages are sold is just common sense. Disaster survivors already face tremendous challenges to recover and rebuild after a wildfire or earthquake, and SB 455 will give homeowners certainty and peace of mind when they rebuild their home and lives.” said Senator McGuire. “Our legislation would make it illegal for this kind of hoodwink to ever take place again in California.”

In typical cases, survivors work closely with their mortgage company to negotiate the terms of their home rebuild and enter into a contract with a contractor to begin the rebuilding process. It’s a straightforward and seamless process for most.

But not for all:

• Some new mortgage companies have added additional terms to existing rebuild agreements such as requiring more inspections, significantly delaying the rebuild for months, even when the previous company had agreed to terms.

• An underinsured homeowner and their original mortgage company signed off on the rebuild of a smaller house, but the new mortgage company wouldn’t honor the agreement. The new company refused to release all of the remaining funds because the rebuild was different than the lost home.

• Other survivors have been forced to liquidate pensions and use hard-earned savings to finish rebuilding their home when their insurance funds are withheld by the mortgage company.

SB 455 will make sure that any agreements made between homeowners and their mortgage company on the rebuilding of their home after a disaster are ironclad and honored by any new mortgage company.

SB 455 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and is now headed to the Assembly.

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ERNIE BRANSCOMB COMMENTS: Wow. I could write a book about “transferable adjustable rate mortgages” and unscrupulous mortgage companies. Fortunately, all is well that ends well. We were able to, finally, pay our mortgage off.

It seems that as soon as some tin-horn dictator has any control over you they make a career out of it. Most people live on a financial edge that any disaster, whether or not you are insured, will push them over the precipice. Many, many lives have been ruined by delays in building permits, new codes that apply, and slow or inadequate insurance payoffs.

Hopefully McGuire’s legislation will do some good, but mortgage and insurance companies are like eels: If you squeeze them in one place they will slip though your fingers into an new place, usually worse.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Iversen, Lamun, Lewiskooy

KYLA IVERSEN, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery.

MICHAEL LAMUN, Ukiah. Burglary, grand theft, controlled substance, forgery, ficitious bill/check, use of personal ID without authorization, offenses while on bail. 

JAKE LEWISKOOY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation violation.

Radford, Vandermei, Vargas

JOHNNIE RADFORD JR., Oakland/Ukiah. Parole violation.

JERRY VANDERMEI, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, false imprisonment.

JOSE VARGAS-ENRIQUEZ, Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation.

Vikart, Wiley, Zarate

EDWARD VIKART, Ukiah. Disturbing another by loud and unreasonable noise, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

TRISTIN WILEY, Willits. Domestic battery, controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.

MARIA ZARATE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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by Jonah Raskin

I recently spent three days in the town of Sonoma, visiting friends and revisiting familiar places like Oak Hill Farm that I wrote about in Field Days, my book about farms, farmers and field workers. Back in San Francisco, I told a longtime friend that I felt lost in The City. “You’re an exile from Sonoma,” he said. As soon as he said the words I knew they were true. Perhaps he knew me better than I know myself. I’m not surprised that he’d say I was an exile from Sonoma. After all, I lived in Sonoma County for 40 years. I’ve only been in San Francisco for three years. The climate here is different, the culture is different, the topography is different. 

A friend picked me up in San Francisco and drove me to Sonoma. As soon as we arrived at the edge of town, I felt like I was at home again and at peace with myself and my surroundings. I realized that there is a lot to be said for the familiar and the recognizable: the early morning chill, the heat at midday, the traffic on Sonoma Highway, the cars parked in Maxwell Village and the muffins and the coffee at Sweet Pea Cafe on West Napa. My friends arranged for me to stay in a vacant condo near the library that came with a hot tub and a pool. They invited me for supper on a Sunday and served locally raised beef and a green salad made from locally raised lettuces, radishes and onions that had been harvested the previous day. 

Produce in San Francisco is never that fresh, even when I buy it at my local grocery, a worker owned and operated coop; it feels good to eat beef from locally raised cows. I spent part of Saturday morning at Oak Hill Farm talking to Arden and Jimmy, and listening to their stories which reconnected me to the land I had grown to love when I worked in the fields, planting, cultivating and harvesting. No wonder I missed the place. It provided me with a sense of home and a family that I created and that meant more than my own biological family. 

I realized perhaps for the first time that exile can be a sad and lonely place. For years I had idealized exile and thought that it was a prerequisite for writing. After all, James Joyce, the Irishman who lived outside of Ireland—his birthplace—for most of his life touted “silence, exile and cunning.” Joyce had to be away from Ireland to see it, understand it and write about it with detachment and with passion, too. I’m not sure if I will write about Sonoma again. I wrote about it for years, sometimes for the Sonoma Sun, and knew that friends would read what I wrote. There’s a lot to be said for a local audience as well as local produce. 

More and more these days, I think that exile is a mental and physical condition that’s shared by many humans who don’t live and work in the places where they were born and raised. As a species we’re in a near constant state of flux. We’re all exiles in one way or another. Some of us are better than others at the art of adaptation. It took me decades to feel at home in Sonoma. 

I arrived in the winter of 1975-1976, which was during a drought and wrongly assumed it didn’t rain in Sonoma in winter. Years later, I understood the weather patterns, or thought I did. Drought came back, fires ravaged the landscape, smoke filled the air, and then the land was green again. The weather seasoned me. Working at Oak Hill with Mexicans from Jalisco, who were in exile, provided me with the final chapter in the saga of how I went from feeling like an outsider to a sense that I was local and an insider. 

I don't think I’ll move back to Sonoma. Upheaval disorients me. But I realized that it’s not that far from San Francisco. When I need a Sonoma fix I can find a way to get there and to visit with the likes of Paul Wirtz, who has been feeding Sonomans for decades, and Candi Edmundson whose art has captured the landscape. On my next-to-the-last evening in Sonoma I spoke my own words along with other poets at Bump Cellars on Broadway where I had performed for years. I saw familiar faces in the audience and new faces, too, and forgot that I had up and moved to The City. 

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by Ann Killion

I heard about Roger Craig’s death on Sunday, at age 93, when I was departing the corner of Third and King. That was fitting.

Because while the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark lives at 24 Willie Mays Plaza and is often called the House that Barry Bonds Built, in many ways you can trace its origins directly to Craig. To the Giants manager who revitalized a moribund franchise.

Craig brought sunshine back to the Giants, even in the fog of Candlestick Park. He brought joy and hope. He brought massive crowds. He brought proof: tangible evidence that San Francisco would support a competitive, interesting team, no matter where it played. That San Francisco could even support its team almost as well as those fans across the bay supported the Oakland A’s.

Yes, kids, it was a different time.

It seems like a particularly different time from today’s vantage point. On the day of Craig’s passing, I had covered a Giants game, which nowadays always feels like a scavenger hunt into the soul and character of an analytics-driven team.

Craig had his own version of analytics. He was able to measure joy and fun and find a way to enhance performance with his own personal sabermetrics of “Humm Babies” and daubers, which were never allowed to get down.

Craig knew the tried-and-true measurement of success: teams that play well and have fun also put butts in the seats. 

You didn’t have to live in the time of un-ironic fanny packs, tiny dolphin shorts and huge shoulder pads in women’s clothing to appreciate what a transformation Craig wrought in the mid-1980s. You just have to look across the bay at the state of the A’s.

In 1985 the Giants were wretched, headed toward 100 losses, when Craig was hired to manage the final 18 games of the season. They drew only 818,697 fans that year, not much more than the moribund A’s drew last season.

But the Giants had some pieces, including slick shortstop Jose Uribe, outfielders Chili Davis and Jeffrey Leonard, third baseman Chris Brown (whose value would be in what he was later traded for), and a veteran starting pitcher and light-hitting infielder who would go on to mean more to the franchise than just about anyone as the beloved broadcasting team.

The team was so bad that I used to be given tickets for free by my boss, good ones right behind the Giants’ dugout. That lack of interest continued into the early part of the 1986 season, so I got to see the kids I was told to embrace (“You’ve Gotta Like These Kids” was one of the most energizing marketing slogans the team has concocted), because fans hadn’t quite caught on yet to what the team would become.

Giants manager Roger Craig jokes before the start of the game on Opening Day at Candlestick Park on April 5, 1987. (Deanne Fitzmaurice/The Chronicle)

I went away to graduate school in New York while the Giants were transforming under Craig’s watch. By the time I was in my first reporting job in San Diego I was part of the coverage of the Brown-for-Kevin Mitchell trade. And I found myself in the Padres' clubhouse the night in 1987 that the Giants clinched the National League West for the first time since 1971, witnessing the spraying of Champagne and Will Clark screaming and Roger Craig hugging everyone, even reporters. 

No one was giving away their Giants tickets anymore.

I eventually made my way back to the Bay Area, and Craig was one of the first baseball managers I covered with any regularity (I was never a beat writer, but a fill-in and then a columnist). He seemed so old-school, so grandfatherly, that I laugh now to realize that he was still in his 50s. In contrast, Bruce Bochy is now managing the Rangers at 68 and Dusty Baker is a World Series champion at 73.

Craig was demanding in his own way. He could be hard, in an old-school way. He could bark at reporters — and then apologize to them later. But he was fundamentally a funny, gentlemanly guy who changed a culture.

That first full season under Craig, the Giants drew almost double what they had the year before, hitting over 1.5 million. They never again drew fewer than 1.4 million at Candlestick except the year after the strike, when all of baseball’s numbers were depressed. Even when then-owner Bob Lurie kept trying to move the team, it wasn’t because he didn’t think fans would support it, it was because he wanted a new stadium. At taxpayer expense.

In 1993, a new ownership group bought the team, signed Bonds, elevated Craig’s hitting coach Dusty Baker to manager and said farewell to the man who had changed everything.

I wrote a column back then thanking him for what he’d done, the transformation he had wrought. He called me later to say he appreciated my words. Like a gentleman.

The real appreciation should be for Craig, for all he did for a franchise. And for his special kind of analytics. Don’t let your dauber down.


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DURHAM IGNORES CLINTON ROLE, and new holes, in Russian hacking allegation

While faulting the FBI, John Durham ignored damning evidence he unearthed about the Clinton campaign's role in the core allegation of Russian hacking -- including potential perjury.

by Aaron Maté

Special Counsel John Durham’s final report faults the FBI for opening the Trump-Russia collusion investigation on baseless grounds and relying on Hillary Clinton-funded material to pursue it, all while ignoring a warning that Clinton was plotting to frame Trump as a Russian asset. Yet Durham does not address the Clinton campaign’s equally central tie to Russiagate’s other foundational allegation: that Russia interfered in the 2016 election by hacking Democratic party servers and releasing the material through Wikileaks to help elect Trump.

Durham’s silence on the Clinton team’s role in generating this unproven claim comes despite his unearthing of evidence that newly calls it into question.

Material obtained by Durham’s team shows that the Clinton campaign and its contractor, the cyber-firm CrowdStrike, stonewalled the FBI’s requests for critical data about the alleged Russian hack. Two key Clinton associates who were integral to the Russian hacking claim also appear to have perjured themselves before Congress.…

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by David Leonhardt

After the Saudi government created an upstart professional golf tour in 2021 to compete with the PGA — the world’s most prestigious tour, based in the U.S. — top PGA executives set out to destroy the new venture.

They banned golfers who signed up with the Saudi tour, known as LIV Golf, from PGA events and put intense pressure on other golfers not to join LIV. PGA executives also complained to members of Congress about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Anybody ignoring that record, said Jay Monahan, the PGA commissioner, was “living under a rock.”

Monahan went so far as to suggest that LIV golfers were betraying the victims of the 9/11 attacks (an allusion to the fact that most of the attackers were Saudi citizens). “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” Monahan asked on national television.

It was all part of a campaign to undermine LIV, even if doing so required damaging the reputations of leading golfers.

Then, yesterday morning, to almost everybody’s surprise, the PGA reversed its position. It offered little explanation for the turnabout.

The PGA announced that it would merge with LIV and accept a large investment from a fund run by Saudi Arabia’s government. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who runs the fund, will become the chairman of the combined tour, while Monahan will become the chief executive. As part of the deal, the Saudi investment fund will have the right of first refusal for future investments in the tour, allowing it to expand its stake.

The merger is the latest sign that money can overwhelm almost any other force in professional sports. “The PGA Tour succumbed to the Saudis,” Brody Miller of The Athletic wrote. “In the end, Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour had a price tag.” Monahan and his fellow executives evidently decided they would rather join forces with the Saudi government than continue to bid against it for golfers.

The winners from the deal include those golfers who had left the PGA for LIV, and typically received enormous payments for having done so. Two days ago, the PGA was still treating them as traitors who were trying to ruin professional golf. Yesterday, they were welcomed back.

“Awesome day today,” tweeted Phil Mickelson, one of the LIV golfers, alongside a red-cheeked smiling emoji. Brooks Koepka — another LIV golfer, whose victory at a major event last month, including golfers from both tours, seemed to legitimize the Saudi tour — mocked a golf announcer who had criticized LIV.

Golfers who had remained with the PGA Tour, by contrast, reacted bitterly. Some of them had turned down multimillion-dollar deals from LIV, as Monahan and the other PGA leaders had urged.

Rory McIlroy had reportedly turned down a $300 million contract. Afterward, McIlroy joined the P.R. campaign against LIV saying “there’s no room in the golf world” for it. Of the golfers who left, like Mickleson, McIlroy said, “Their best days are behind them.”

Wesley Bryan, another PGA golfer, wrote on Twitter, “I feel betrayed, and will not be able to trust anyone within the corporate structure of the PGA Tour for a very long time.” Collin Morikawa, ranked 18th in the world, suggested it was “the longest day in golf.” Athletes in other sports also took to social media to point out how angry the PGA golfers must be: They were effectively punished for their loyalty.

Scott Van Pelt, a longtime ESPN anchor, summed up the frustration in his own tweet: "So, you preach loyalty to a tour and convince guys not to take 8 and 9 figure deals based, in part, on that loyalty and, in part, on the source of the money. Then those guys find out on Twitter YOU took the very same money?"

One of the few people who accurately predicted the outcome of this saga was Donald Trump, who remains close to Saudi officials and whose clubs hosted several LIV events.

“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA,” Trump wrote in an online post last summer, “will pay a big price when the inevitable merger with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials.”

Now Trump stands to benefit from the merger. The PGA Tour suddenly seems more likely to hold events at his courses.


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by Warren Hinckle

Beware the caption writers of the sixties. They lump it all as a decade of protest and malcontent, which it of course was. But to sloganize the whole slurs the very parts that make it understandable. The beginnings of the domestic wars of the sixties were considerably different from the end—as different in their way as the 20s from the 50s, goldfish swallowers from Joseph McCarthy followers.

In the beginning, we all believed. We believed in many things, but mostly in America. If the decade must be summarized, it could be said that the youth of America, who had so recently studied it in civics classes, tested the system—and it flunked.

It was the peculiar nature of my initiation into the disappointments of the decade that, for me, the bloom was first to come off the rose of the Catholic Church. But the early sixties were, for the most part, a study in progressive disillusion. Almost everyone started off believing in something — moral persuasion, civil disobedience, education, gradual progress, voting rights, effective new laws, good will toward men — but those beliefs all ended as rumpled illusions.

It is not oversimplifying the history of this country to suggest that the system had really never been tested before the sixties. The past great debates in American politics, such as they have been, took place within the framework of what is fashionably called the “consensus” — a figment of political theory similar to, but far frailer than, the social contract, and as difficult to locate as the Garden of Eden — which was the textbook basis of liberal democracy: The idea was that interest groups are supposed to trade off issues, like haggling housewives at a garage sale. But in the 1960s two moral issues arose, tornadoes through the dust bowl of theory, that proved to be beyond the capacity of the atrophied “consensus” to cope with: the demand for racial equality, and the war in Vietnam. It is fair to observe that perhaps nobody on either side of these battles knew the system couldn’t handle the problems; probably, everyone was surprised.

The protest movement of the early sixties was permeated by the overall sense of good feeling that one was helping one’s fellows (or, subconsciously, one’s lessers). It thrived on the optimism which is the blood plasma of liberalism — confront evil authorities and evil laws, show the people the wrong, and with adequate political pressure and education, the right law will be passed to correct the evil.

If that summary of the ethic of the early sixties sounds patronizing, it is not meant to be; that is simply the way we thought then. It is now easily forgotten that the beginnings of the New Left were as liberal and innocent of the ways of power as Doris Day is presumed to have been of the ways of sodomy. Even the feared Students for a Democratic Society crawled from under a liberal rock. Tom Hayden’s 1962 Port Huron manifesto launching SDS reads today more like Eisenhower's farewell address than a revolutionary tract; it even warns against the military-industrial complex and calls for a program to abolish poverty.

As late as 1964, when myopic television coverage of the Free Speech Movement was giving adult viewers the erroneous idea that four and ten letter words were coming from the mouths of babes on campus, SDS was still hanging in there with the system, opting to go at least “part of the way with LBJ” against the Hun, Barry Goldwater.

In 1964 Ramparts magazine ran an election cover, which we thought daring at the time, portraying Goldwater as a rattlesnake. But Lyndon Johnson had barely got his automatic root beer machine and triple TV screen installed in the oval office than he turned and, viperlike, bit us all sorely in our collective liberal ass. The cynicism and despair in the democratic process that began to hang over the land like a tule fog were only partly of LBJ’s immediate doing. They were the residue of lessons I had learned while banging about the country for several years as a domestic war correspondent.

That John Kennedy’s, then Lyndon Johnson’s much ballyhooed civil rights legislation amounted to a ton of horse feathers; that legislation without enforcement was Camelot without Merlin; that electing a peace President could get you a bigger war; that people in power would use the most reasonable arguments for the necessity of order and stability to maintain the most inequitable imbalance in a status quo of which they owned a piece, or hankered to…

While we whites in our fashion were learning these and other lessons, the blacks had already suffered the results. And at a point, somewhere after Selma and before Watts, a curious bump was reached in the roller coaster politics of the sixties. Just as it appeared that many white activists were psychologically and politically prepared to join with more radical blacks in revolutionary approaches to political change — there was suddenly no more room left at the inn. While white students had been learning the hard way that there was little difference between the ways of power in Birmingham and Berkeley, the more oppressed black militants had abandoned the civil rights desk entirely to the likes of the NAACP.

The early sixties “We Shall Overcome” thing of black and white together was but nostalgia after Watts. There was considerable confusion and bleeding of hearts among white liberals by the ensuing period of “Thanks, but no thanks” to Whitey. The roots of that tension are deep, and were apparent earlier in SNCC, when black men began to take reasonable umbrage at well-meaning and well-stacked white coeds from Columbia and Brandeis who came South to help their movement by running their act. This black and white trauma occurred at a time when activist whites were undergoing the now popular phenomenon of being radicalized, and it is anyone’s guess what would have happened next had not Lyndon Johnson, the deus ex machina of the Pedernales, intervened to reprogram white activists by escalating the war in Vietnam from a tea dance to a Wagnerian opera.

Along with a lot of Vietnamese over there, LBJ managed to kill off civil disobedience here. (That on the face of it is not something which the National Review might wish to cheer, as the idea of civil disobedience entailed an acceptance of the legitimacy of the institutions which the civilly disobedient were seeking by their example to change.) Sacrificial arrest made sense only as long as the people getting arrested thought the system could eventually effect the redress of their grievances. By mid-decade, it had become apparent to most that there just wasn’t any give left in the old girl’s girdle. It was a twice-told story, seemingly new to America, of the failure of the orderly process giving rise to the disorderly.

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SO MUCH IS LOST due to the fact that modern science and academia don't research western domestic propaganda and its effects, because they don't acknowledge the existence of western domestic propaganda. As a result, there are no studies or data anywhere on the most sophisticated and widespread psychological operation of all time. And this is of course because our academic fields are captured by the same influence interests as our media and tech and every other means of controlling the information westerners ingest.

This leaves us unable to scientifically study how we're being programmed at mass scale. Because there's not research and data, we can't even talk to most people about the most significant thing that's happening in our society. Unless you've spent countless hours researching the many systems of imperial information manipulation, it's hard to believe it's even happening.

This is the only reason those who talk about western propaganda and Silicon Valley information manipulation get branded conspiracy theorists. It's not because the evidence for our position on those issues isn't abundant, it's because it's not officially acknowledged and studied.

Domestic propaganda is the most overlooked and underappreciated aspect of our civilization, because it causes people to think, speak, work, shop and vote in ways that perpetuate the status quo. You should be able to get a PhD in its study, but you can't even write a thesis on it.

The most important thing you need to know about our society is that all our means of understanding our world are being aggressively and continuously interfered with by powerful people who benefit from the status quo. They're actively meddling in our perception of reality.

— Caitlin Johnstone

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    • Steve Heilig June 7, 2023

      Written by and for gun merchants, trying to sell more to the gullible/scared.
      Like tobacco companies saying their stuff isn’t dangerous.
      In short, garbage.
      (NRA-trained marksman)

  1. Eric Sunswheat June 7, 2023

    RE: Sacrificial arrest made sense only as long as the people getting arrested thought the system could eventually affect the redress of their grievances.
    — Caitlin Johnstone

    —>. June 6, 2023
    A pair of former executives at OneTaste, the sexual wellness company that’s been described as an “orgasm cult,” was hit with a stunning federal indictment Tuesday accusing them of running a toxic community in which members were forced into sex and manipulated to the point they relied on OneTaste for even their most basic needs…

    “Under the guise of empowerment and wellness, the defendants are alleged to have sought complete control over their employees’ lives, including by driving them into debt and directing them to perform sexual acts while also withholding wages,” Breon Peace, U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

  2. Stephen Rosenthal June 7, 2023

    Re Professional Golf: I’d rather watch grass grow.

    If you want to experience unadulterated sports, check out the Women’s Softball College World Series Tournament. Even if you don’t have a rooting interest (I don’t), it’s just so pleasurable to watch these incredibly skilled young women play with such joy and sportsmanship. I played baseball and softball at a fairly decent level into my early twenties, but I couldn’t make a junior varsity team against the likes of some of these gals. And I’m not ashamed to admit it!

    • Mark Scaramella June 7, 2023

      I watched some of that and was similarly impressed. Of particular interest is the smaller diamond and associated pitching mound placement, which means everything happens in very quick timeframes and reactions have to be lightning fast.

  3. Justine Frederiksen June 7, 2023

    Especially good cartoons today! Thanks for the laughs.

  4. Craig Stehr June 7, 2023

    The Honey of Nonduality | Swami Sarvapriyananda LIVE June 11, 2023
    The very warmest spiritual greetings,
    Please know that Swami Sarvapriyananda of the NYC Vedanta Society will present the most essential spiritual teaching, on the crucial subject of nonduality. This is a welcome oasis in this civilization’s desert of global chaos, bankruptcy, environmental meltdown, and madness. Please identify with the Divine Absolute, which is working through the individual’s body-mind complex.
    Yours for Self Realization,
    Craig Louis Stehr
    1045 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
    June 7th, 2023 Anno Domini

  5. Jim Shields June 7, 2023

    I want to acknowledge and express my appreciation to Mike Geniella, Mike Williams and Bruce McEwen for taking the time over the past few days setting us straight on recent changes to the grounds and landscaping at the Grace Hudson Museum. It all makes perfect sense now. Just goes to show, you still can’t beat the facts and an accurate accounting of current events to better understand what’s happening all around us. That’s a vital connection in this ever-increasing disconnected world. As Mike G recommends, “Take a walk through the Wild Gardens at the Hudson. Don’t miss the Evert Person Courtyard, where native landscaping and stone benches provide a serene retreat from the outside world.”
    Thank you, Gents.
    Jim Shields

  6. Marmon June 7, 2023


    Fox News says Tucker Carlson breached his contract by releasing his first show on Twitter. But Carlson’s lawyers told
    Axios that any legal action by Fox would violate his First Amendment rights.


  7. Eric Sunswheat June 7, 2023

    Stone benches: Lipstick on an Indian Taco eating pig?

    RE: Just goes to show, you still can’t beat the facts and an accurate accounting of current events to better understand what’s happening all around us. That’s a vital connection in this ever-increasing disconnected world.
    As Mike G recommends, “Take a walk through the Wild Gardens at the Hudson. Don’t miss the Evert Person Courtyard, where native landscaping and stone benches…
    – Jim Shields

    —> March 18, 2020
    In other words, resting in chairs with our legs inert, as most of us do for most of our days, most likely contributes to our risks for the kinds of health problems that are so rare among the Hadza…

    Such variations in muscular activity could have meaningful health implications, Raichlen says. In past research with animals, he says, when muscles were immobilised with casts or other contrivances and did not contract, the tissues produced less of certain enzymes that break down fats, leading to buildups of cholesterol and other markers of cardiovascular problems in the animals…

    When the tribespeople squatted, their readouts pinged, indicating that their leg muscles were contracting far more than when they sat, and almost 40 per cent as often as during walks. (The researchers did not compare squatting and standing, but believe that squatting requires more muscular activity than standing does.)

  8. Eric Sunswheat June 7, 2023

    Stoned benches: Lipstick on an Indian Taco eating culture?

    RE: Just goes to show, you still can’t beat the facts and an accurate accounting of current events to better understand what’s happening all around us. That’s a vital connection in this ever-increasing disconnected world.
    As Mike G recommends, “Take a walk through the Wild Gardens at the Hudson. Don’t miss the Evert Person Courtyard, where native landscaping and stone benches…
    – Jim Shields

    —> March 18, 2020
    In other words, resting in chairs with our legs inert, as most of us do for most of our days, most likely contributes to our risks for the kinds of health problems that are so rare among the Hadza…

    Such variations in muscular activity could have meaningful health implications, Raichlen says. In past research with animals, he says, when muscles were immobilised with casts or other contrivances and did not contract, the tissues produced less of certain enzymes that break down fats, leading to buildups of cholesterol and other markers of cardiovascular problems in the animals…

    When the tribespeople squatted, their readouts pinged, indicating that their leg muscles were contracting far more than when they sat, and almost 40 per cent as often as during walks. (The researchers did not compare squatting and standing, but believe that squatting requires more muscular activity than standing does.)

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