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BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES are expected again today in the interior, followed by hotter weather this weekend. Isolated thunderstorms will be possible in far northeastern Trinity County on Friday and Saturday, otherwise dry weather is expected for the next 7 days. Widespread and more persistent coastal stratus is forecast through Friday. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Thursday morning I have another foggy 54F. The NWS is calling for generally clear skies today but looking at the satellite I am not convinced. As always forecasting the fog is always difficult.
PATRICK HICKEY (County Employees Union SEIU Local 1021):
There is one group working for Mendocino County that is paid above the market average...
You guessed it. The Board of Supervisors.
If you use the “comparators” the county uses to determine market rate, the Supervisors are paid over 20% above market average. This while the average classification for County workers is 10-15% below market. Even if you take out the outliers (Sonoma and Sutter counties), the Supervisors are still 8% above market.
Average Supervisor Salary
El Dorado $82,904
ATTEMPTED MURDER IN FORT BRAGG
On Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at around 6:45 AM, The Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a 66-year-old adult male (victim) in the 31000 block of Highway 20 in Fort Bragg, regarding a trespassing/brandishing of a firearm incident. While on the phone with the 911 operator, the victim reported that he had just been shot at by the suspect, later identified as 35-year-old Vladimir Ginzburg of Fort Bragg.
While Deputies were responding, Ginzburg fired additional shots at the victim. Deputies arrived within minutes of the call being broadcasted and observed the victim had armed himself with a rifle and was taking cover behind a pickup in his own driveway. The victim advised Deputies that Ginzburg had fired multiple rounds at him, which had struck the victim's residence.
Deputies were pointed toward the last known location of Ginzburg, which was the residence directly west of the victim's residence. After surrounding the residence, Ginzburg ran from the rear of the residence into a wooded area. Deputies pursued Ginzburg and he quickly surrendered and was taken into custody.
Deputies observed bullet holes on the side of the victim's residence facing Ginzburg's last known location and expended shell casings in the area of a vehicle associated with Ginzburg. Deputies located approximately one third of a pound of cocaine in the vehicle associated with Ginzburg. Deputies sought and obtained a search warrant for the property, which was served, and Deputies located additional evidence related to the attempted murder of the victim.
Based on the above, Ginzburg was arrested for Attempted Murder and Possession of Cocaine for Sale. Ginzburg was transported and booked into Mendocino County Jail, where he was to be held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
THE GOOD NEWS: Geiger’s Market is coming soon to Hopland.
21ST CENTURY POT RAIDERS
It's pretty bad when you buy and own your home and pay a ridiculous amount of property tax, then the county thinks they have the right to search your property especially if their satellite image shows you have a greenhouse on your property. It doesn't matter if you have vegetables or weed in it, you’re a target.
I had a couple of code enforcement officers show up at my door and the first question was do you have a greenhouse?, we are inspecting properties for cannabis. I told them I did have a small greenhouse but recently took it down and hauled it to the dump.
They wanted to search my property and I welcomed them to do so. They said they were going to every resident to perform a cannabis inspection. This is where I found out that you couldn't have a $200,000 greenhouse on your property without a permit (bigger than 120 square feet), which I find is totally ridiculous. A permit would probably cost you more than you paid for the greenhouse.
I asked these enforcement officers a couple of questions and was surprised with their answers. I asked, Isn't it legal in California to grow six plants? They replied no. I asked if it was legal to grow a few plants if you had a doctor's prescription? Again they said no. I believe they said, not in Mendocino County. If you don’t have a permit from the county to grow, you can't grow anything even with a doctor's prescription.
This all started when the Board of Supervisors Permitted Commercial Grows close to residential areas, and the residents are complaining about the smell, and I don't blame them. So now they have come up with the brilliant idea that it's not the Commercial grows, it's all the mom and pops, or medical grows that are causing all the problems. This is why they have taken satellite pictures and are now searching your property for Cannabis.
I would think that would be an invasion of privacy, but that's just me. I did let them search my property, and now I'm not sure I should have let them.
MEDICAL CANNABIS paved the way for legalization in California. Now patients feel left behind.
Frustration runs deep among medical cannabis patients and advocates who — by persuading voters to pass Proposition 215 in 1996 — paved the way for legal weed in California, but now feel left behind in a post-Proposition 64 era. In a profit-centered system focused on recreational sales, they argue there is little consideration for patients and their unique needs. Medical identification cards, which can cost several hundred dollars to renew annually, confer few tangible benefits.
SONOMA, MENDOCINO COUNTY GRAPE GROWERS BATTLING NEW RULES designed to reduce sediment, pesticides in local waterways
The draft rules include reporting requirements, annual state fees, well and groundwater monitoring, ground cover requirements, and restrictions on wintertime operations that growers deem excessive.
by Mary Callahan
A new program targeting 1,500 commercial grape growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties and designed to improve water quality in local creeks and rivers is drawing criticism from members of the agricultural community.
The draft rules include reporting requirements, annual fees, well and groundwater monitoring, ground cover requirements and restrictions on wintertime operations that growers deem excessive.
Vineyard operators and agricultural representatives say the costs and mandates are overkill for an industry that is already working to reduce sediment runoff into waterways and protect fish habitats.
Small growers are especially likely to suffer because “their margins are really small, and the proposed permit is going to create costs that are significant to them,” said Robin Bartholow, deputy executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.
But staff of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board say the soil disturbance and chemical use in many vineyards, as well as potential disruption of riparian plants needed to shade fish habitat, can degrade water quality in creeks and rivers.
They say measures are needed to ensure current practices are sufficient to protect watersheds already impaired by human activity and to determine where more effort is needed.
“In general, the wine industry in this region really prides itself on sustainable practices, and its widespread enrollment in these (voluntary) programs,” said Brenna Sullivan, an engineering geologist with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, which is developing the rules.
”But we also wanted a program that would be able to effectively track if it’s working,“ Sullivan said. ”We wanted an order that assumes that everyone is doing the right thing and doing what they say they’re doing.“
The North Coast water board, one of nine regional boards in California, extends from Santa Rosa to the Oregon border. It is obligated under state and federal law to regulate, maintain and restore water quality in the region’s waterways.
That’s especially true for waterways listed as impaired under the federal Clean Waters Act.
Both the Navarro River watershed in Mendocino County and the Russian River watershed are listed as impaired for sediment and siltation, in part due to contributions from agriculture. So is the Gualala River, which is among the other watersheds where the rules will apply. Also included are the Big River and Garcia river watersheds, both in Mendocino County.
All but about 1.5% of the estimated 65,000 acres of vineyard in the North Coast region are in those watersheds, according to the regional board.
Vineyards occupy about 2% of the Navarro watershed, while in the Russian River, about 5% of the watershed is planted in grapes, though “numerous” sub-watersheds have vineyard density as high as 75%, the water board says.
About 80% of commercial vineyards on the North Coast already have conservation practices in place under voluntary sustainability programs, the board said.
“They won’t have to do a lot of extra, in terms their management practices,” said Valerie Quinto, executive officer of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
But the state mandates a “feedback mechanism” through which their success can be evaluated and, potentially, used to drive improvement, she said. Thus, periodic water monitoring is necessarily part of the program.
That includes stormwater monitoring at sites where runoff leaves a vineyard property, which would require testing of samples from every drainage site and structure on a vineyard every five years, Quinto said. Additional testing and pursuit of a remedy would be required if pesticide and sediment are above set thresholds.
Two sites within the Russian River and one in the Navarro River also would be used to monitor levels representative for the area, Sullivan said.
The 171-page draft includes allowances for vineyard operators to lean on approved third parties to enroll and implement requirements, as well as collect and pay fees to the state, as a means of reducing costs and individual effort.
A flat, 50-acre vineyard with limited drainage or discharge locations, no wells, streamside areas or agricultural roads, might cost $1,975 a year, under the rules, while the same operator enrolled in a third-party program might pay $467.50.
A 200-acre hillside vineyard with multiple drainage structures, extensive streamside areas, agricultural roads that need improvement and only minimum management practices, might face more than $56,000 in one-time costs but pay $2,100 annually through a third-party, versus $8,107 as an individual.
Either way, said Alexander Valley grape grower Dennis Murphy, who farms about 150 acres of grapes, the monitoring requirements make for extra time and cost that is prohibitive to small operators.
“For large operations, it’s probably not a huge game changer for them, other than more paperwork. But for small vineyard owners, it’s probably several thousand dollars a year,” Murphy said. “I would honestly say that many of the smaller farms are on the verge of not being profitable.”
Additional requirements in the 171-page draft include:
- Submission of individual farm evaluations identifying the location and type of management practice used to minimize erosion and sediment, nutrient and pesticide discharges to waterways;
- Erosion control and storm-proofing of vineyard roads;
- Maintenance of ground cover vegetation at a minimum 75% coverage during the winter period from Nov. 15 to April 1;
- Allowance for native vegetation to become established along streams and minimum setbacks for new vineyards and replanted vines;
- Reporting of nitrogen applications.
Vineyard owners and operators outside specifically identified watersheds must comply with general operational requirements and prohibitions but are not required to pay fees, submit reports or conduct regular monitoring.
Bartholow, with the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, said the program is overly complicated and redundant, given what grape growers already are doing to steward their land.
But she also noted that it is far more burdensome than a program adopted for the Region 2, Bay Area water quality board in 2017, which established regulations for commercial growers with five or more planted acres in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds.
Moreover, while a remediation plan for the Navarro River was adopted in 2000, analyzing sources of sediment in the watershed, none has been developed for the Russian River.
The Navarro River plan attributed 7% of the human-caused sediment load to vineyards covering 2% of the watershed and assigned vineyards watershed-wide reduction of 80%.
Grape growers argue that they are being assumed to contribute significantly to sediment in the Russian River without a comparable study, in effect producing the data themselves through future, mandated testing.
But Quinto said many activities are covered by pollution-control regulations, including timber cutting, road building, construction, municipal stormwater and dairies.
“I wouldn’t claim that we have covered every single base, in terms of sediment in the watershed,” Quinto said, “but we do already have regulations for a variety of industries.
“I can see why they feel like they’re the only ones, but they’re not.”
Don McEnhill, executive director of the nonprofit Russian Riverkeeper, was among the conservation interests who served over the last year on a technical advisory group to the water board, which also included Bartholow and other agricultural representatives, grape growers, federal resource personnel and others.
He said a major bone of contention among stakeholders is the matter of what constitutes an effective best management practice, given how “thoroughly bleached” the term sustainable has become.
“We’re thrilled to see something finally come forward, but we know so much will change from now and when we bring a final permit to the (regional) board” for approval.
“Industry is going to push back on everything,” McEnhill said.
NAME CHANGE NITE
Change Our Name Debate
Hello Mr. Anderson,
The debate will be held at the Community Room of the Fort Bragg Library, 499 E. Laurel St., on Tuesday, August 22 at 7:30 p.m.
CAR WASH BLUES
What's with this town??
Yesterday I took my car to the car wash by Safeway. I drove up to have my 1999 Buick Century washed by the attendant. They couldn't wash it, they said. It was too dirty! Seriously! We hadn't used the car for about three months while my husband was in treatment for a quadruple bypass and it got leaves on it while it sat. They told me that the leaves and debris would dirty up their car wash and I should take it home and hose it down.
I kid you not! And, 11 months ago I attempted to have my Dodge Ram 2500 detailed at the Classic Car place, to include cleaning the seats and carpet. I made an appointment, showed up on time. I was told that the person who does that work, was not in and that when he returned, they would call me. That was 11 months ago. Seriously, what's with this town? Inadequate medical care! Ghost town for a Junior College! Absolutely NO after hours/emergency veterinary care…
Not to mention limited access to vets during work hours as well!
Now car wash services denied to dirty cars?!
I would like to extend my thanks for these and more to our Fort Bragg City Council for taking the needs of the electorate they represent so seriously.
After all, we do have a pool!
PG&E SCRAPS TREE-TRIMMING PROGRAM ONCE SEEN AS KEY TO FIRE PREVENTION
California utility spent more than $2 billion on effort it says was ineffective; focus now is on power-line settings
by Katherine Blunt
The California utility company PG&E spent about $2.5 billion on a yearslong effort aimed at reducing wildfire risk by cutting or clearing more than a million trees growing alongside power lines.
It now says that work was largely ineffective and is eliminating the program, according to an internal analysis reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with utility executives.
The strategy shift marks a calculated risk by the utility that new power-line settings will be more effective than the tree-trimming program that was put in place after a series of devastating wildfires. The program, which the company called “enhanced vegetation management,” was meant to supplement routine tree-trimming work required by regulators.
The pivot was the subject of considerable debate among the company’s board of directors, according to people familiar with the matter, and has invited scrutiny from California regulators.
The California utility giant says the program, which involved creating wide spaces between live wires and potentially hazardous trees, resulted in a 13% reduction in ignitions during periods when fire risk is highest, typically in autumn, according to the company’s internal analysis.
Measured across a full year, the work resulted in a 7% reduction in ignitions.
Instead, the company will rely more heavily on new power-line settings in areas at high risk of fire. The lines shut off within a tenth of a second when branches or other objects touch them, reducing the risk of sparks.
Industry officials say customers may experience more power outages in coming years if the company’s scaled-back approach to tree trimming results in more branches hitting wires. The company said it would work to assess outage-prone circuits and address the issues with targeted tree clearing and other safeguards.
PG&E says the new approach will be both safer and less expensive as it works to permanently reduce wildfire risk by burying 10,000 miles of power lines in the coming years, an ambitious plan expected to cost at least $20 billion. The company is challenged in its ability to raise capital following a complex bankruptcy restructuring and has been working to cut costs in order to fund the work.
The company expects to reduce tree-related spending by about $1 billion between 2023 and 2026 as a result of discontinuing the program and, to a lesser extent, other plans to cut costs. The company plans to increase its overall wildfire-mitigation spending in the coming years as it buries more lines and takes other risk-reduction measures.
PG&E is relying more heavily on new power line settings that stop the flow of electricity when an object touches a wire. The company last year saw a 68% reduction in ignitions on lines enabled with the technology.
Sumeet Singh, PG&E’s chief operating officer, said in an interview that the tree-trimming program was created using the best information the company had at the time, but that it fell short of the company’s expectations, in part because of challenges in identifying hazards during the inspection process, particularly when a tree appears healthy and unlikely to fall.
“Assume any tree can fail at any point in time,” he said. “When they fail, we have got to make sure the result is not a catastrophic outcome.”
Still, the shift in strategy represents a big bet for PG&E. Through the discontinued program, the company identified roughly 385,000 potentially hazardous trees that have yet to be trimmed or cleared, and it is relying on its new power-line settings to prevent ignition if any of them touch its power lines.
PG&E saw a 68% reduction in ignitions on lines that shut off on contact in 2022, the first year the settings were fully deployed. The company is piloting a program to focus on tree clearance in what it calls “areas of concern,” mostly heavily forested pockets of the Sierra Nevada foothills.
After its debate, the company’s board ultimately agreed the new line settings negate the need for the same level of tree work as in years past, according to people familiar with the matter.
The new strategy is being scrutinized by regulators evaluating the company’s latest spending plan, as well as a separate plan focused on reducing fire risk.
The California Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety, which evaluates the wildfire mitigation measures proposed by each of the state’s large utilities, in June expressed concerns about PG&E’s new tree strategy. The agency criticized the pace and scope of its proposed approach, including the company’s plan for addressing its backlog of trees. Though it discontinued the program, the company said it would spend the next nine years working through the backlog in batches.
“Until the work is complete in nine years, these trees will continue to stand on the landscape representing known risk for ignitions,” the department wrote.
PG&E says it will give priority to the riskiest trees for removal, inspect those that remain twice a year and work to determine whether the work can be completed faster than anticipated.
Caroline Thomas Jacobs, the department’s director, said her office is now evaluating the data underlying PG&E’s assertion that its enhanced tree work yielded such limited risk reduction.
“I was astonished at that number,” she said, referring to PG&E’s analysis. “If you’re finding more potentially risky things, you have to imagine that there’s then a reduction in the number of times that stuff can blow into the lines.”
Filsinger Energy Partners, a consulting firm that monitors PG&E’s safety practices on behalf of the California Public Utilities Commission, said in an April report that it had requested more information about the company’s analysis of its tree-trimming program, as well as the chance to see a third-party review of the data. Filsinger declined to comment.
PG&E, which serves a 70,000-square-mile territory in Northern and Central California, has for years been working to make its system safer after its power lines sparked a series of major wildfires that collectively killed more than 100 people in 2017 and 2018. Most of them ignited when trees or branches collided with its wires.
PG&E began the so-called enhanced vegetation management in 2019 as a means of accelerating tree-related risk reduction and exceeding state regulations in doing so. As part of the program, contractors established 12 feet of clearance between branches and power lines, more than the 4 feet regulations require, and took extra steps to inspect or clear trees with the potential to fall onto the wires.
The program drew the ire of many California residents unwilling to part with the trees on their properties. The company said the work was critical to public safety.
At the direction of the CPUC, the company spent much of 2021 and 2022 refining the program to focus on clearing trees along the highest-risk circuits. The cost of the program increased as PG&E found more potential hazards. The company trimmed or cleared more than 700,000 trees during those years.
(Wall Street Journal)
* * *
A READER NOTES: This should be a good thing for Faulkner Park, although not definitively the resolution as the article mentions they still have trees they have identified for cutting that they may follow through on.
LOAD-IN! ANIMAL EXHIBITORS READYING FOR REDWOOD EMPIRE FAIR
It’s controlled chaos at the Redwood Empire Fair. On Tuesday, trucks and trailers were lined up from the animal barns to the entrance as they waited to have their animals weighed in and approved for exhibition.
4-H and FFA leaders along with family members accompanied exhibitors and their animals to their assigned pens, many of which were being decorated in the Fair’s “Jungle of Fun” theme. Animals were being washed, bedded down and fed, and families were unpacking - preparing for the long weekend of competition which culminates with Saturday’s livestock auction - one of the most successful in the state of California.
Natalie Johnson, 11 is bringing her market goat, Nyomi to the Fair. This is her 5th year with FFA and her second year raising a market animal. “Nyomi is super-friendly,” she smiles.
Christina Castro is with Potter Valley 4-H. She is bringing her steer Cich to the Fair. “Cich usually loves to be washed but I think this spray is a little too harsh,” she explains as she changes out a hose nozzle. “Cich loves to roll in the mud, so the first thing I had to do when I got here was give her a bath.”
Stuart Spacek is from Yorkville. He says his goat, Franklin is “super shy.”
“He just loves to be hugged like this, says Stuart, giving his goat a big “bear” hug.
This year’s Sheep Showmanship and the Market and Breeding Sheep Show takes place on Thursday, August 3rd at 8:00 AM.
The Market and Breeding Swine Show takes place Thursday, August 3rd at 8:00 AM, with Swine Showmanship scheduled for Friday, August 4th at 8:00 AM.
Beef Showmanship, Market and Breeding Beef takes place on Thursday at 5:00 PM. The Dairy Cattle Show starts at 1:00 PM on Friday, August 4th. The Beef Ultrasound Carcass Contest is on August 4th at 1:15 PM.
The Primary Goats and Breeding Goat events take place on Friday at 1:30pm, with the Pygmy Goat Show to follow at 2:00 pm. The Round Robin Large Animal Showmanship event is on Friday at 4:00 pm, and the Small Animal Round Robin Showmanship event is scheduled for Friday at 7:00 PM.
Saturday is the Community First Credit Union Ag Day, with the Junior Livestock Auction starting at 10:30 AM at the Racine Pavilion.
On Thursday, August 3rd, children 6-12 years old and seniors 65 and older are admitted to the Fair free until 6:00 pm. Children under 5 are always admitted free. Grandstand shows are always included with fair admission. The Redwood Empire Fair opens at 3:00 on Thursday and Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. For more information phone (707) 462-3884, visit the Redwood Empire Fair’s Facebook page or https://www.redwoodempirefair.com/summer-fair.
WEST OF NOWHERE TONIGHT AT THE NORTH COAST BREWERY PUB
Tonight, Thursday, August 3rd please join us for a very special treat as the Pub hosts one of the most exciting new bands on our Coast. West of Nowhere is a vocal-rich, power trio playing your favorite songs that will make you remember those special times while creating new and lasting memories.
In addition to the joyful sounds of West of Nowhere, the Pub will be serving its award-winning brews and delicious food with service that is friendly and fun.
Bring your friends and neighbors for an evening that will have you laugh, boogie and eat and burn a few calories.
OFF THE CUFF, and what else is new with Mr Him/His/He Editor? Democrats went way wrong first with Carter and then majorly wrong with the Clintons as the Democrats abandoned working people and the traditional FDR constituency. Teddy Kennedy, and a little later, Bernie Sanders, were and are in the Rooseveltian tradition in trying to represent the little guy against the low rent aristocracy that has always dominated the American economy but used to be a little more low profile about it. Also known as the oligarchy, both parties serve its interests, hence the increasing struggle of millions of people to afford food and shelter. With Democrats abandoning working people and insulting them along the way with loads of “woke” bullshit, millions of everyday people, understandably contemptuous of Democrats, are deluding themselves that Trump, an oligarch, somehow has their back. The '24 presidential election will pit the obviously incapacitated Biden against the blustering bully boy, both of them unthinkable only a few years ago.
TAKE THIS, Fort Bragg Name Changers. Younger old timers will remember Michael Berenz's Braxton's coffee shop on Laurel Street prior to the upgrade of the Laurel Street neighborhood. Berenz was an absolute hoot, gliding around behind the counter to classical music. His Braxton's was not celebratory. Berenz was a man of the left whose sly naming of his shop after the loathed general's given name seemed to go unnoticed in the pre-precious days of the town, but today? The Purple Posse would be on his case big time.
NEXT DOOR was Doug Roycroft's book store, Fiddler's Green, stacks of unshelved tomes haphazardly arrayed on sagging shelves, as many on the floor as up off it. Coffee from Braxton's, conversation with the erudite Big Doug.
DENIS ROUSE WRITES: “I liked the story of your recent Las Vegas visit. Wish I had a video of my times there as a kid in the Fifties with my parents and grandparents when the mob ran the place. The hotels were luxuriant, sanely scaled oases in the desert that stretched vast and beautiful, the entertainment, including popular Broadway dinner shows, was great, and it didn't cost a fortune assuming one's sensibility reigned in the casinos.You could make a case that contempo Las Vegas is a microcosm of pretty much everything that's gone haywire here in the land we love.”
GHASTLIEST goddam place I've ever been, with Phoenix running a close second. For some time now I've walked around with a kind of low intensity anxiety, a kind of non-specific dread that a deluge of bad can engulf us whole at any time. Vegas and Phoenix serve nicely as metaphorical manifestations of what I feel. I think a lot of people feel the same way, that something beyond the usual, predictable bad has snapped, that round the clock mass crazy is happening that didn't used to happen, or happened only rarely. The whole show has been precarious for a while now but it seems headed, crescendo-like, to an explosive breakdown kinda like in Nathaniel West's prescient novel, "The Day of the Locust." Biden vs. Trump just might bring down the curtain. Of course I'm older than I thought I'd ever be and maybe what I'm feeling is just old guy pessimism, but if I never had to leave Boonville, I might be a little more optimistic.
LIGHTHOUSE LENS TOURS ON AUGUST 12 AT POINT CABRILLO
Saturday, August 12, 2023
10am - 4pm
$5 for kids, $10 for adults
Climb to the top of Mendocino’s historic lighthouse!
Join volunteer docents at Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park in Northern California for the unique opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse tower, stand next to the historic 1909 Fresnel Lens, and see the beautiful views of the Mendocino Coastline. These tours happen only a few times a year, and are always a delight!
All the funds raised from these tours go right back into taking care of this park. Thank you!
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 inches tall to climb the stairs
There are no babies or animals allowed on this tour
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 email@example.com.
These are the last four lens tours of 2023! August 12, September 3, September 9 and October 14, 2023.
 Since no one here has given me an opening to brag about the garden, I guess I’ll have to take matters into my own hands….
Long story short: Every time I go out to pick a couple of tomatoes for breakfast, it’s ripe tomatoes as far as the eye can see (at least my eyes, which are in need of an ophthalmologist’s attention). Even with both my daughter and I canning as fast as we can, we can’t seem to keep up. And while we’re picking tomatoes, it is with a nagging feeling at the back of our minds that the peppers are groaning under the weight of big fat peppers that need to be picked, a bunch more eggplants have reached a good size (while my daughter and I each have six or eight sitting in our refrigerators and no time to process them), and the green beans require a third picking.
The tomatillos have been altogether neglected for now. While I’m trying not to look at them, I can’t help but notice that about a bushel of tomatillos seem to be ready to pick. Carrots that were seeded awhile back have not come up and need to be re-seeded. My daughter keeps up with the blackberries as best she can. (I suspect she was never able to get all the peaches canned.) The pear tree’s branches are all bent over with fruit. My daughter and her husband also have a pecan tree that rains pecans every year, and I think they’ve given up trying to figure out what to do about them. I had the same trouble with hazelnuts at my old house, so I get it.
Neither of us have ever experienced so productive a garden–and we didn’t even get the whole area planted. (Good thing we didn’t plant okra this year. It will make you crazy trying to keep up with it.)
Right now, I’m trying to get enough of my morning coffee in me to be ready to go out and pick another 40-50 pounds of tomatoes while it’s still cool enough to be outdoors–after picking about the same amount yesterday and only making it about halfway down the row. My daughter said last night that she plans to pick tomatoes and black berries this morning, so maybe I’ll have company. We should be able to pick 40-50 pounds each. There are a massive amount of small or cherry-size tomatoes that I’ve been dehydrating.
I suggested to my daughter that she ask relatives or neighbors if they wanted to pick tomatoes (till their eyes bleed), but she seems to want to set an olympic record for canning.
* * *
 Over the years we’ve had various bumper yields of tomatoes, squash and other seasonal vegetables. (I have photos of mounds of huge, heirloom tomatoes that often times we simply turned into puree for winter sauce.)
We also have a handful of fruit trees, and likewise certain years we have so much citrus that much of it goes into the compost pile. (We have a young Haas coming on line that will probably produce too much fruit as well.)
This year has been pretty sparse all around, even after the wettest winter in recorded history.
Sometime I think it’s the soil that is being depleted, yet I turn under both compost and plenty of chemical fertilizers in the beds. Sometimes it seems that there aren’t many bees – at least in the spring – but now that our flowering decorative plants are in full bloom, there’s bees (and hornets) buzzing everywhere.
I guess the point is that the world goes on. The only superficial moments that we record in our short life times tend to become exaggerated because it’s the only point of reference we have.
* * *
 When the kids were at home, I usually planted about 35 tomato plants, which I considered the minimum for a family–and that wasn’t enough for the canned goods to last through the winter.
Last year we grew about 75 feet of tomatoes, one 50-foot row and one 25-foot row. The short row didn’t do very well, as we didn’t apply fertilizer (Dr. Earth), but we probably harvested about 150 pounds of tomatoes. This year we have two 50-foot rows. So I think we have over 50 plants, most doing well. They are growing on two 50-foot lengths of fencing, which my daughter calls “cattle panels.” (They look like hog-wire to me.) This is a super-easy way to grow them, compared to stakes or cages. You just keep poking the vines through the fence–though they still fall over a lot.
I think we probably could be food self-sufficient, if we really had to be. But our diet would be a lot more limited than we’d like. Usually my daughter raises four hogs, and of course they have goats. But she started working full-time about a year ago, so no hogs this year or last year–and no milking the goats, either. But she quit her job about a month ago, just in time for a deluge of vegetables. And they also have a bunch of chickens.
Available in the next couple days on Amazon in Paperback and Digital
"Exploring 8-Man Football: An Introductory Look at an Exciting Format for America's Game" is a book written by John Toohey, dedicated to Coach Cap and Robert Pinoli. The book begins with a personal account of a challenging and emotional football game played in unfavorable conditions, setting the stage for the exploration of 8-man football.
The introduction discusses the author's experiences as a coach at a small school in northern California, facing declining participation and the need to make a transition to 8-man football to preserve the program. The lack of resources and literature specific to 8-man football motivated the author to write the book to provide guidance and insight for other coaches making the same transition.
The book explains that 8-man football retains the fundamental elements of the sport, but with some nuanced differences due to the reduced number of players on the field. The smaller field size and condensed formations lead to a quicker, higher-scoring game. Despite initial hesitations, the transition to 8-man football is presented as a positive change that offers benefits such as competitive equity, player safety, and opportunities for players to stand out and achieve recognition within the 8-man network.
"Exploring 8-Man Football" offers a comprehensive introduction to schematic strategies specifically tailored for the 8-man format, while also highlighting their relevance and adaptability to the more familiar 11-man game. Coaches will discover a wealth of tactical insights that bridge the gap between the two formats, empowering them to seamlessly integrate 8-man concepts into their existing coaching repertoire. From offensive formations to defensive alignments, the book presents these strategies in a clear and accessible manner, allowing coaches to understand how to leverage the condensed field and smaller roster to their advantage. By recognizing the similarities and differences between 8-man and 11-man football, coaches can effectively adapt their game plans to suit the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the exciting world of 8-man football.
Overall, the book aims to provide coaches with valuable insights and guidance on transitioning to and succeeding in the 8-man football format.
SUSAN LARSEN: Duke Snider was an avid golfer and played regularly at Little River with Jim Larsen, chef-owner of The Restaurant. They were pals in the best sense – laughing at each other’s foibles and mistakes, and considerate of each other as gentlemen. Duke loved it that Jim didn’t treat him like a sports celebrity, but teased him as a regular guy, just as he did everyone. They were a dynamic duo on the course. They had a really great friendship with mutual respect and admiration.
CHARLES ARTIGUES: BTW when Mike White ran Shooters Poolroom in Fort Bragg Duke Snider would stop by and sign baseball cards when he was in town.
NORMON SOLOMON ON KMUD
On Thursday, August 3, at 9:00 am, Pacific Time (12:00 pm EST), our guest at "Heroes and Patriots Radio" on KMUD will be Norman Solomon.
Norman Solomon is a journalist, media critic, activist, and former U.S. congressional candidate. He is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). In 1997, he founded the Institute for Public Accuracy, which works to provide alternative sources for journalists, and serves as its executive director.
Solomon attended the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions as a Bernie Sanders delegate. Since 2011, he has been the national director of RootsAction.org.
In June 2023, Solomon released his 13th book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine.
KMUD simulcasts its programming on two full power FM stations: KMUE 88.1 in Eureka and KLAI 90.3 in Laytonville. It also maintains a translator at 99.5 FM in Shelter Cove, California. We also stream live from the web at https://kmud.org/
Speak with our guest live and on-the-air at: KMUD Studio (707) 923-3911. Please call in.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, August 2, 2023
ANDREW CHAFFER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
BENJAMIN COBB, Ukiah. DUI.
JOSE COLLI-BLANCO, Fort Bragg. Battery with serious injury, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
CONRADO CONTINI, San Francisco/Ukiah. Suspended license, controlled substance, stolen property, false ID.
CHARLES DAVIS JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JESSICA DIAZ, Hopland. Narcotics for sale, paraphernalia.
FRANKIE ESQUIVEL, Redwood Valley. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.
PAIGE FINLEY, Arcata/Willits. Forgery, paraphernalia, false personation of another.
VLADIMIR GINZBURG, Fort Bragg. Attempted murder, narcotics for sale.
SKYLER GOODWIN, Willits. Probation revocation.
ADAM LAFLIN, Willits. Petty theft with priors.
STEVE LEARD JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, under influence.
JASON PITT, Fort Bragg. Unspecified offense, probation revocation.
JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Vehicle tampering, resisting, probation revocation.
MARKAUS VINING, Clearlake/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
I had just started carelessly administering this week’s time-delayed dose of the AVA (… it only takes 6-8 days of completely exhausted horses & slightly underpaid, part-time pony express riders working up a full time sweat to get these bundled dispatches of out-dated, west coast news & views all the way to Olde Detroit which is fine with me because it makes the same ol’ unremarkable, regular stuff glacially going on HERE as usual, seem VERY exciting by comparison… just because everything here happens on the SAME day I find out about it!) when I realized Miles Davis’ very cool trumpetless musings, Bruce Anderson’s dry account of his tawdry Vegas sojourn, and Malcolm X’s tragically prescient take on what really sucked around here even way BEFORE Biden or Trump had successfully pulled off their respective lab escapes… ALL these were featured and I wasn’t even a quarter of the way deep-skimming thru the 12 crinkly paper pages!
I laughed out loud at Davis’s great portraits of Charlie Parker and his un-pulled jabs at Ornette Coleman & the hip dorks (me, too) who hastily styled themselves as fans.
Unbelievable. I’ve read every biography of Charlie Parker & I never pictured him blowing in that borrowed suit with his ankles showing!
Thank you & suerté,
John JJ Joslin
Detroit, life’s sold-out Toy Dept. near Canada…
IMPORTANT LEGISLATION FOR OLDER ADULTS, CAREGIVERS, AND IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES
Dear Outreach Advocates,
On behalf of Lake County’s older adults, caregivers, and service providers, KPFZ’s weekly “Senior Moments” broadcast Thursday, August 3, will focus on important legislative issues described here:
The California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA) is sponsoring a very important Resolution that has been moved to committee level at the State Senate (Senator McGuire is one of the sponsors), addressing the privitization of services that will reduce levels of care (to maximize the profits at expense of service costs) for “Traditional Medicare” enrollees, placing their care into the hands of private health care corporations without their knowledge. [See the attached factsheets.]
Participants in today’s “training” meeting of the California In-Home Supportive Services Consumer Alliance (CICA) received an in-depth report on the proposed Resolution, and the need for calls to ask our representatives to support the Resolution.
Links to these organizations and their proposals and ongoing discussions about the state’s IHSS system being “transitioned” from local (County) IHSS Advisory Committees as bargaining units to the state (CDSS) are among the resources listed on the blog for our KPFZ “Senior Moments” program coming up tomorrow evening.
One issue of extreme importance to all members of these organizations is th continuing option of conducting meetings via Zoom (or equivalent) for disabled members who cannot travel. The impacts of AB 2447, modifying the Ralph M. Brown Act after the pandemic emergency declaration was rescinded, are impinging on the ability of volunteer appointees to local boards, committees, and commissions, as well as advocates from these alliances. CICA’s guests today included representatives from the California Association of Public Authorities (CAPA), which is following all of these critical pieces of legislation affecting In-Home Supportive Services providers and “consumers.”
Please reach out to your vast network of public service advocates and let them know about the “priority legislation” supported by CARA, and the issues related to local residents in need of in-home supportive services and protection from avaricious private companies given the power to reduce their Medicare benefits.
The Essential Public Information Center
Upper Lake, CA
Salutations from the frontlines of spiritually sourced direct action,
Upon awakening at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center in sunny Ukiah, California today, ambled to Plowshares Peace & Justice Center (picking up all of the litter along the way), and after enjoying a sumptuous free meal, took an MTA air conditioned bus to the Ukiah Public Library. Having just read the New York Times, I don’t give a pile of fecal pig matter who the next President of the United States of America is. And global climate destabilization is not freaking me out at all. I know what I am, which is other than the body and the mind. I know that nothing affects one’s true self. I am eager to be more active on the frontlines of direct action, in particular performing spiritual rituals and acting in a “no compromise” manner. What would you do in this world if you knew that you could not fail? Thanks for listening.
Craig Louis Stehr
1045 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
HOW A SELDOM-USED PITCH Landed Ukiah, Santa Rosa JC Alum Devin Kirby A Professional Contract With The Minnesota Twins
by Gus Morris
Devin Kirby’s life has changed dramatically in the last two-plus weeks.
The Ukiah High School and Santa Rosa Junior College product, who just finished his second and final collegiate season pitching at UConn, capped off a whirlwind weekend by signing with the Minnesota Twins as an undrafted free agent Monday.
It was just last Wednesday when Kirby made his final start for the Healdsburg Prune Packers in front of an area scout for the Twins. Impressed by what they saw — namely, Kirby’s knuckleball, his seldom-used signature pitch — the Twins decided to give him a shot.
“Just the phone call in general with my agent and my pitching coach, then going to the assistant GM, was very surreal,” Kirby told The Press Democrat last Thursday. “It was something I’ve always dreamed of. After the draft and my last year, it was really tough to grasp the idea of going professional still, but I was working, trying to do it.”
Kirby has had a winding road to even reach the first stages of professional baseball.
After a standout three-year prep career at Ukiah, Kirby continued his success at SRJC, where he was named a First-Team All-American along with earning All-Conference, All-State and All-Region honors as a sophomore in 2019. In 28 appearances out of the bullpen that year, Kirby had 17 saves, a 79-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 1.09 earned run average in 49⅔ innings pitched.
He originally committed to Tulane, but an error in his transcripts forced him to decommit and ultimately choose UConn for his next destination. He didn’t appear in a game for UConn until March 2022 because of the pandemic and a UCL injury that required Tommy John surgery, keeping him out for the entire 2021 season.
In his two seasons at UConn, he went 8-1 in 41 appearances, sporting a 4.04 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 75⅔ innings pitched. He was a key arm out of the bullpen both years — over which time UConn won 94 games, the most in program history in back-to-back seasons.
Kirby went undrafted in 2022 and 2023, which wasn’t a surprise to him, and was talking with his agent about playing independent league baseball next year as a primarily knuckleball pitcher in the hopes of getting noticed by pro teams. In the meantime, he joined the Prune Packers for summer ball while he mulled his options.
About two weeks ago, UConn’s pitching coach said that the Twins were interested in his knuckleball. He quickly sent over video and analytics. They were intrigued by what they saw and sent a scout to watch him in person. That was last Wednesday.
“The knuckleball did what it needed to do to get me signed,” Kirby said.
The pitch has been in his repertoire since high school — he first started throwing it during warmups for practices — but he rarely used it in games in college or high school for several reasons. His coaches say the slow, erratic pitch was so effective that catchers had a hard time catching it.
Plus, he didn’t need it to be successful. Along the way, he also developed a two-seamer, change-up and slider. He touches low-90s with his fastball and he consistently throws his knuckleball in the low- to mid-70s, a bit faster than recent MLB knuckleballers.
“It’s something he seldom threw, but we knew it was a high-level pitch,” said Mickey Coughlin, a pitching coach in Ukiah who has worked with Kirby since he was 14. “With most pitchers, the knuckleball is kind of a joke pitch, but his is the real thing. The difference is he can also pitch with his fastball and slider.”
“It’s a real knuckleball,” Coughlin added. “He threw one the other day that had 63 RPM,” or rotations per minute.
For context, R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2012, threw his around 150 RPM.
“I don’t know how I developed it,” Kirby said. “I just know that I had the pitch grip, my arm releases it the way it does, I don’t try to do anything special, other than throw it as hard as I can at times. … It was just an experiment, really, an experiment that I developed over time.”
Kirby’s been told he’ll be throwing it a lot more as a pro. The Twins are looking to develop him as a knuckleballer, which has become a bit of a rarity in today’s game. Matt Waldron made a start for the San Diego Padres in late June and threw 13 knuckleballs, becoming the first pitcher in more than two years to throw one in an MLB game.
Kirby told The Press Democrat on Tuesday that he’ll likely start his pro career at the rookie ball level and could potentially see game action as soon as this weekend.
“I had dreamt of this for so long and I finally accomplished my dream of being a professional baseball player,” he said. “I know there’s still a long road to go, but it’s just pretty awesome.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
DON’T CALL IT ‘TOILET TO TAP’ — California Plans to Turn Sewage Into Drinking Water
by Rachel Becker
Waste would undergo extensive treatment and testing before it’s piped directly to taps, providing a new, costly but renewable water supply. The state’s new draft rules are more than a decade in the making.
Californians could drink highly purified sewage water that is piped directly into drinking water supplies for the first time under proposed rules unveiled by state water officials.
The drought-prone state has turned to recycled water for more than 60 years to bolster its scarce supplies, but the current regulations require it to first make a pit stop in a reservoir or an aquifer before it can flow to taps.
The new rules, mandated by state law, would require extensive treatment and monitoring before wastewater can be piped to taps or mingled with raw water upstream of a drinking water treatment plant.
“Toilet-to-tap” this is not.
Between flush and faucet, a slew of steps are designed to remove chemicals and pathogens that remain in sewage after it has already undergone traditional primary, secondary and sometimes tertiary treatment.
It is bubbled with ozone, chewed by bacteria, filtered through activated carbon, pushed at high pressures through reverse osmosis membranes multiple times, cleansed with an oxidizer like hydrogen peroxide and beamed with high-intensity UV light. Valuable minerals, such as calcium, that were filtered out are restored. And then, finally, the wastewater is subjected to the regular treatment that all drinking water currently undergoes.
“Quite honestly, it’ll be the cleanest drinking water around,” said Darrin Polhemus, deputy director of the state’s Division of Drinking Water.
The 62 pages of proposed rules, more than a decade in the making, are not triggering much, if any, debate among health or water experts. A panel of engineering and water quality scientists deemed an earlier version of the regulations protective of public health, although they raised concerns that the treatment process would be energy-intensive.
“I would have no hesitation drinking this water my whole life,” said Daniel McCurry, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Southern California.
This water is expected to be more expensive than imported water, but also provide a more renewable and reliable supply for California as climate change continues. Most treated sewage — about 400 million gallons a day in Los Angeles County alone — is released into rivers, streams and the deep ocean.
The draft rules, released on July 21st, still face a gauntlet of public comment, a hearing and peer review by another panel of experts before being finalized. The State Water Resources Control Board is required by law to vote on them by the end of December, though they can extend the deadline if necessary. They would likely go into effect next April and it will take many years to reach people’s taps.
Heather Collins, water treatment manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said the regulations will give the district more certainty about how to design a massive, multi-billion dollar water recycling project with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. The district imports water that is provided to 19 million Southern Californians.
The joint effort, called Pure Water Southern California, has already received $80 million from the state. The first phase of the project, which could be completed by 2032, is expected to produce about 115 million gallons of recycled water a day, enough for 385,000 Southern California households.
Most is planned to go towards recharging local water agencies’ groundwater stores, but about 20% could be added to drinking water supplies upstream of Metropolitan’s existing treatment plant for imported water.
“We’re excited,” Collins said. “It helps better inform us on what our project needs to include, so that we can have a climate-resistant supply for our agencies in Southern California.”
The new rules come as endless cycles of drought leave California’s water suppliers scrabbling for new sources of water, like purified sewage. In 2021, Californians used about 732,000 acre feet of recycled water, equivalent to the amount used by roughly 2.6 million households, though much of it goes to non-drinking purposes, like irrigating landscapes, golf courses and crops.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for increasing recycled water use in California roughly 9% by 2030 and more than doubling it by 2040.
“Water recycling is about finding new water, not just accepting the scarcity mindset — being more resourceful in terms of our approach,” Newsom said last May in front of Metropolitan’s Pure Water Southern California demonstration plant.
Some recycled water is already used to refill underground stores that provide drinking water, a process called indirect potable reuse, employed beginning in the 1960s in Los Angeles and Orange counties. But a water agency must have a clean and convenient place to store the expensive, highly-purified water. “You don’t want to inject this recycled wastewater that you’ve spent all this effort cleaning into a dirty, polluted aquifer just to ruin it again,” McCurry said.
To expand these uses, state lawmakers in 2010 tasked the water board with investigating the possibility of adding recycled water either directly into a public water system or just upstream of a water treatment plant. In 2017, they set a deadline to develop the regulations by the end of 2023.
California won’t be the first; Colorado already has regulations and the nation’s first direct potable reuse plant was built in Texas in 2013. Florida and Arizona have rules in the works.
California’s statewide rules, however, are expected to be the most stringent, said Andrew Salveson, water reuse chief technologist at Carollo Engineers, an environmental engineering consulting firm that specializes in water treatment.
“They are more conservative than anywhere else,” he said. “And I’m not being critical. In the state of California, because we’re in the early days of (direct potable reuse) implementation, they’re taking measured and conservative steps.”
Removing viruses and chemicals
The water that flushes down toilets, whirls down sinks, runs from industrial facilities and flows off agricultural fields is teeming with viruses, parasites and other pathogens that can make people sick. Chemicals also contaminate this sewage, everything from industrial perfluorinated “forever chemicals” to drugs excreted in urine. Bypassing groundwater stores or reservoirs to funnel purified sewage directly into pipes means that there’s less room for error.
The new regulations would ramp up restrictions on pathogens, calling for scrubbing away more than 99.9999% of diarrhea-causing viruses and certain parasites. Also a series of treatments are designed to break down chemical contaminants like anti-seizure drugs, pain relievers, antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals. Medications can bypass traditional sewage treatment so they are found in low concentrations in recycled sewage and groundwater.
The added technologies are good at washing away pharmaceuticals, McCurry said, so having them “back-to-back introduces a ton of redundancy,” he said. “Any pharmaceutical you could think of, if you tried to measure it in the product water of one of these plants, is going to be below the detection limit.”
The new rules call for extensive monitoring to ensure the treatment is working. Some harmful chemicals, such as lead and nitrates, which are dangerous to babies and young children, will be tested for weekly; others, monthly. And water providers must also monitor the sewage itself before it even reaches treatment for any chemical spikes that could indicate illegal dumping or spills.
“We think we’ve got the chemical classes covered in the treatment processes, so that we’re removing materials that we don’t even know are there,” the water board’s Polhemus said.
Jennifer West, managing director of WateReuse California, a trade association for water recycling, said she was happy to finally see California’s regulations, though she hopes the state will build in more flexibility for water providers to alter the suite of treatments as technologies change.
Richard Gersberg, San Diego State University professor emeritus of environmental health, said he supports using highly treated waste for drinking water. But he suggests that the state fund long-term studies comparing health effects in people who drink it to those whose drinking water comes from another source, such as rivers, “which might end up being worse. Probably is,” he said.
Given the vast and changing cocktail of chemicals constantly in use, “we don’t know what we don’t know,” Gersberg said. “If this becomes huge in California, and it will, I believe … we should at least spend a little money.”
Who will be first?
All this treatment and monitoring is likely to be pricey, which is why Polhemus expects to see it largely limited to large urban areas that produce a lot of wastewater, such as Los Angeles County. The Metropolitan Water District’s $3.4 billion estimate for building the project dates back to 2018, and has likely increased since then, according to spokesperson Rebecca Kimitch.
For small and medium communities, Polhemus said, “it doesn’t pencil in a small scale type of arrangement.”
The Orange County Water District, which has long been a leader in purifying recycled water, has concluded that piping it directly to customers doesn’t pencil out for them, either, because they’ve already invested so heavily in refilling their carefully tended aquifer.
It would “require adding more treatment processes and increasing operating expenses,” board president Cathy Green said in a statement. “Local water agencies are currently well-equipped to continue to supply drinking water to customers in our service area at a low cost using the Orange County Groundwater Basin.”
For other regions like Silicon Valley, though, the costs may be worth it as climate change continues to shrink state supplies.
“At this point, it’s more expensive than water we might import during a drought. But who knows what will happen in the future,” said Kirsten Struve, assistant officer in the water supply division at the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which serves approximately 2 million people.
“That’s why we need to get prepared.”
The Santa Clara water agency, known as Valley Water, is planning a $1.2 billion project in Palo Alto to produce about 10 million gallons a day of water for groundwater recharge, but Struve said she hopes the plant also will be used for direct potable reuse in the future.
The timing of the regulations has butted up against the realities of planning for Monterey One Water on the Monterey Peninsula as well. The utility has been injecting purified wastewater into the seaside aquifer for three years, producing about a third of the local supply, said General Manager Paul Sciuto. It is working on expanding the project by 2025, Sciuto said.
“I get that question of, ‘This water is so pure, why do you put it in the ground? Why can’t you just serve it?’ ” he said. “And I always fall back on, well, there’s no regulations that allow us to do that at this point.”
Now that the state is closer to finalizing them, he said, “there’s a point on the horizon to shoot for.”
JAN. 6 INDICTMENT
At the last minute
When we’d lost all sense of truth
Jack Smith saved our ass.
— Jim Luther, Mendocino
REVERSE ROBIN HOODS
I see Republicans use the S-word — Socialism — when opposing health care for all, minimum wages and aid for poor people, but they don’t call bailouts to Wall Street and ag giants socialism. And they don’t call huge subsidies to gas & oil corporations and war industries socialism. Hmmm. Yes, the GOP can be relied upon to give taxpayer money to the already wealthy & giant corporations and oppose helping the middle and working classes. They believe it’s best to give to the rich and take from the rest of us.
HUNKER DOWN, SAKO SAYS
Dear friends and family,
Today was a bad day. Today, Fitch Ratings downgraded its U.S. credit rating to AA+ from AAA. The downgrade reflected the expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years, growing government debt, and erosion of governance related to peers.
"The repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions have eroded confidence in fiscal management," the ratings agency said. "In addition, the government lacks a medium-term fiscal framework, unlike most peers, and has a complex budgeting process."
This is very bad news.
As of today, the U.S. national debt is $32.675 trillion, and it rises every second. every minute, every hour, every day.
This debt will never be repaid.
Likely scenarios? Rates will continue to rise, as underlying Treasury securities continue to degrade, until such time as the U.S. will ultimately default on its debt. Then, the U.S. dollar will be massively devalued. The U.S. dollar will lose its supremacy as the world's reserve currency, further pushing the U.S. deeper into a death spiral.
We are on a death watch.
We are not at the edge of the abyss. We have fallen into the abyss. Let me repeat: We have fallen into the abyss.
There is no walking back. There is no backpedaling. As we fall, we are flailing and swimming in air as we disappear into the black.
What to do? What are some immediate survival strategies?
Buy gold and silver. Buy farmland. Buy water rights and timberland and real assets. I don't like cryptocurrencies. Crypto is dependent on technology and technology has failed us.
Remember: Nothing around you is sustainable. Not one square inch of it. It's all built of illusion. It's all build on debt and government dysfunction. It's all built on our infatuation with technology and our obsession with war, sex, and violence towards women and children.
Therefore, reject it.
Become as self-sufficient as possible. Make "sustainability" your watchword.
Learn new skills.
Learn how to build basic structures. How to build a fireplace. How to build a root cellar. How to garden. How to build soil. How to make compost. How to cook and preserve food. How to can. How to source and drill water wells and make it safe for drinking. How to collect and store rainwater. How to collect your homestead's greywater. How to make rain barrels. How to dig a pond. How to raise and care for animals for meat, dairy, and eggs. How to make butter, cheese, and yogurt. How to slaughter and butcher animals. How to smoke, salt, and cure meat. How to render fat. How to make candles. How to make soap. How to become a bee farmer. How to provide basic first-aid, medical, and dental care. How to make natural remedies. How to grow herbs. How to make salves, remedies, and tinctures. How to make cloth. How to sew, knit, and crochet. How to make a hide. How to make shoes. How hunt and fish. How to forage. How to tap trees. How to ferment. How to homeschool your kids. How to build and operate a simple printing press.
Learn to live with less.
Never be too proud to ask for help.
Think about pulling your kids and grandchildren together and living on family compounds.
Together with your family, survive the coming day of reckoning...and, believe me, my friends, it's coming. Earth needs a massive reboot, or we all face the next great extinction.
Today's credit degrades of U.S. debt is just the beginning of what must be the next chapter of human evolution. Things must change or we will die.
Today, in real-time, we witnessed the "trigger" to end-stage capitalism -- credit rating downgrades.
Here's the U.S. Debt Clock: U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time (usdebtclock.org)
The U.S. Debt Clock is just one of three Doomsday Clocks. The other two doomsday clocks, of course, are the global warming clock and the nuclear war clock.
This afternoon, as we sit blithely by our swimming pools with a cold drink in hand while playing with a new app on cell phone, thinking about tonight's pickleball game at the club, please think seriously about what just happened today.
co-host, co-producer, "Heroes and Patriots Radio"
A "Russian Dissent" contributor is arrested
by Matt Taibbi
Roughly a week ago we here at Racket got bad news from our partners at the Substack site “Russian Dissent.” Boris Kagarlitsky, a soft-spoken academic and writer I met in the nineties who is a primary contributor to the “Dissent” site, has been arrested by the FSB. I made calls to Russia today and an initial report in the Moscow Times is true: Boris has been removed to a facility in Syktyvkar, in the republic of Komi, 1300 kilometers from his home in Moscow. The offense is supposedly “justifying terrorism,” based on a short, unremarkable article he wrote on Telegram last October.
Boris has supporters in Moscow and a lawyer. We’re trying to arrange additional aid, and will have more information soon. Our world grows more ridiculous by the hour.
UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, 2ND AUGUST
A Russian drone strike overnight "deliberately" targeted infrastructure on the Danube River, Ukrainian forces said Wednesday. The attack led Romania's leader to denounce it as “unacceptable," citing the close proximity to a NATO member.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the strike on the Odesa port infrastructure an attack on "global food security." This comes as Zelensky's aide said his team is preparing for an upcoming peace summit in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces claim they have been able to drive Russian troops from their positions in the eastern part of the country. But elsewhere, Kyiv officials claim Moscow’s armies remain mostly on the defensive.
Nearly half of Ukrainians held in detention centers in Kherson by Russian forces were subjected to widespread torture including sexual violence, according to a new report released Wednesday.
DRONE ATTACKS IN MOSCOW
As the Ukraine War continues, with increased military and civilian casualties among the Ukrainian population, there is a new war zone, the streets of Moscow itself. Within the last week several drone attacks have been made on buildings in Russia’s capital city, right under President Putin’s nose and his Kremlin cronies.
These attacks are not the official work of the Ukranian military. As long as the mystery persists, it bodes well in many observers’ opinions because it leads to at least two, among many, conclusions.
1. Maybe Russian or Russo-born actors who are unafilliated with the CIA or the official Ukrianian government who want to end the conflict.
2. Possibly former Wagner Group soldiers who simply wish to halt the pointless bloodshed.
It could be they might start to bring about the kind of domestic popular uprising in Moscow and possibly across Russia that might bring about the kind of government change which precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991. Even the end of the autocratic rule of Putin which brought about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Frank H. Baumgardner, III, MA
I USED TO WORK IN A BARBIE DOLL FACTORY. It Was No Malibu Dream House
by Carolyn Said
“Barbie” is a blast. Besides the fabulous eye candy of costumes, choreography, cute actors and set design, the film makes incisive points about patriarchy, feminism, consumerism, ageism, corporate greed and more. However, there’s one important social aspect of toys that it doesn’t touch on: manufacturing.
All the Barbie hoopla has rekindled my memories of the summer of 1977 when I was a college student working on an assembly line at the Mattel toy factory in South Plainfield, N.J. Housed in a low-slung brick building, the atmosphere was gray, gritty and dreary, with thrums from the ever-rolling conveyor belts and thumps from the machines that stamped out toy parts. The stench of melted plastic hung in the air. The toys’ vibrant colors — even Barbie’s aggressively cheery pinks — seemed dingy there, as if they’d been transported to a dystopia.
I always referred to it as the Barbie doll factory and it did crank out the iconic dolls, but my job was to help make a Hot Wheels racing set. Specifically, I inserted a plastic widget in another plastic widget. Over and over and over and over again for eight hours a day.
About a quarter of the workforce were college students like me, on summer jobs during what is the Christmas rush season in the toy industry. The rest were people doing it for real — local residents, supporting their families, many of them Latino.
We made minimum wage, $2.30 an hour. Union dues were deducted from my paycheck, but we never had any union meetings or heard about any negotiations. Theoretically, after six months, you would get a raise of a nickel an hour and another raise after a year.
There were about two dozen people on my line. A woman in her 50s with a shellacked helmet of blonde hair was our boss, called the lead lady. She also acted as a floater, filling in when folks were out sick or there was a bottleneck. Music was not allowed in the factory — except for the day Elvis died, when workers spontaneously brought in their transistor radios and assembled toys with tears streaming down their faces.
Our daily quota was several hundred boxes but we always fell short. Partway through the summer, though, our line started working together in better sync and eventually a day came when it looked like we might actually meet our quota. For a week or so, we came close several times. Then it finally happened: We made our quota around 3:30 p.m. Quitting time was 4. Our reward was we got to punch out right then and go home 30 minutes early but get paid for a full day.
Everyone was ebullient. Our lead lady was so proud that she baked us a cake the next day.
But we would never meet our quota again that summer. The next week, management set a new quota, far higher than what we’d had before.
During winter break, I went by the factory to visit. The Christmas rush was over. The parking lot, which had overflowed during the summer, was only about a third full. Many of the lines were shut down.
“Where were all the other workers?” I asked my lead lady.
The answer: Laid off. The factory would get rid of scores of them every six months, so they wouldn’t get the nickel-an-hour raise.
Mattel shut down its last U.S. factory — in Murray, Ky. — in 2001. Barbie, Hot Wheels and other Mattel toys are now made in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand. It’s a familiar narrative. The U.S. has lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs to offshoring since 1998, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and the impact has been particularly hard on workers of color.
But globalization has certainly helped Mattel rein in costs. Its median annual worker pay in 2021 was $5,963 while its CEO made 2,705 times more than that, according to the compensation reports that public companies are required to file. That’s because the vast majority of its workforce is employed overseas.
While the factory where I worked all those years ago was a far cry from Barbie’s dream world, the workers still were protected by U.S. labor laws. As recently as 2016, however, investigators from China Labor Watch have documented Mattel workers who put in 10-hour days, six days a week, often with about 80 hours of overtime a month to meet their production targets — all for less than $2 an hour.
Sensitive to accusations that it’s running sweatshops, Mattel says it monitors its factories for child labor and human rights violations, and it has given some watchdogs access to its factories.
Still, as I watched “Barbie” and its array of dolls from various professions — diplomat, judge, doctor, physicist, writer, journalist, U.S. president — I couldn’t help but wonder: For the ultimate mash-up, maybe they should take a page out of another film, the 1979 classic “Norma Rae” about a textile mill worker who toils long hours in poor conditions and is inspired to rally her fellow workers behind the cause of unionism.
But something tells me that getting Mattel to create a Norma Rae Barbie might be harder than crossing from Barbie Land into the real world.
HARRIET SKYE, ONE OF BISMARCK'S REMARKABLE WOMEN IN HISTORY
Harriet Skye (1931–2018) was a multimedia journalist who worked in print, radio, television, and film. A graduate of New York University film school, she became the first Native American woman to have her own television show. “Indian Country Today”, which first aired in 1972, a public-affairs show that ran for 11 years on KFYR-TV in Bismarck and was televised across five states.
Skye’s Lakota name, Makhpiya To Win, translates as Blue Skye Woman. She was a Húŋkpapȟa Lakota and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In in addition to her television program, Skye had a career in print media, editing the Standing Rock and United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) newspapers. She frequently served in key leadership positions on city, state, and national boards that promoted the advancement of Native American people. Dr. Skye was inducted into the North Dakota Native American Hall of Honor in 2016 in recognition of her educational leadership.
LATE NIGHT RADIO
You’ve heard that old late night sound
When the stars stare down from space
With no one else at all around
And the sun just hides his face
Life’s rhythms then begin to slow
But those lonesome feelings won’t let go
So I get up late at night sometimes
And listen to the radio
The sounds will come in clear,
A sad song from long ago
Then just like folks you once called friends
They fade into time’s flow
But you’ve felt that loose connection
With others of your kind
Who sit up late at night some where
With too much on their mind
Somewhere there is a trucker, out on that lonely road
Along with what his semi hauls, he bears a heavy load
He worries about his missus, how the kids will do in school
He wonders about the turns he took, was he right or just a fool
He’s driving down life’s highway with nowhere else to go
And he’s not switching stations on that late night radio
On a ship out on the ocean, the wheel watch begins
At 0300 hours, the radar’s light is dim
And a hot black cup of coffee fills the senses from within
The stars are staring down from space
The sailor’s thoughts will spin
Like the compass needle pointing north, back home he’d like to go
But he steers his ship through late night fog and hears his radio
Yes we’re all out on that ocean, on that highway of the soul
We’ve got our destinations, and we’re caught up in the flow
Underneath soft starlight, when the winter winds blow cold
There’s a burning like young summer love, onto which we hold
A restlessness that wakes you up, somewhere in cosmic flow
Hold it there, don’t touch that dial
You’re on the radio
* * *
ED NOTE: Who wrote this fine poem?
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“Kesa, were you ever a hippie chick?”
I’m 56 ,
So I remember when your typical male officer worker , in East Germany or the United States, wore a tie and a jacket.
I remember when nine out of ten women , blue collar or white collar, young or old, wore dresses or skirts.
Before dresses and skirts dropped out of use pretty much entirely, they got really, really, short as the norm.
This post – WW II era may be ending in raging Puritanism ,
with Jane Fonda and Hillary Clinton masquerading as Carrie Nation, which all just shows how dishonest it is.
Because the 1970’s certainly were not like that.
In any case, I remember that so acutely because I miss skirts and dresses, and jackets and ties, so acutely.
I can’t remember precisely when that ended , but it seemed pretty abrupt and universal the decision for everyone to start slumming it.
I remember when at least one out of four people smoked, and I barely remember shoeshine stands in both countries, and there were still public spitoons, same as public ashtrays, when I first came to the Southern United States in 1976.
For whatever reason my recollection of them is about the same as a 20 year old of 2023.
I have seen pictures and movies with hippies.
You might think that because my mother is a Black Southerner , and my father a White Southerner , who got together when that was NOT cool in the South, and who went to live and work in East Germany for a decade, that they are progressive , or even Liberal ?
Not at all.
I would say that as Baby Boomers are as a general rule self – absorbed to a fault, my parents are merely more so.
Their world is very much their own world, and they are privileged enough to get away with that.
As insulated in their way, as the denizens of Versailles were before the shit hit the fan in 1789.
”Do your own thing,” indeed .
I sometimes wonder if the so common alienation, dissaffection , and stark isolation , though in a crowd of people, of this time, has far less to do with technology, and far more to do with culture ?
Anyway, again, no, despite my age, I have no recollection of Hippies.
They are as historical to me as are Victorians.