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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023

Frosty Sunny | Dead Ray | Car Removal | Deter Woodpeckers | McGourty Report | Gravelly Valley | Stupid Caltrans | Candidate Rogers | Boonville Sky | Ed Notes | Watching Jake | Pet Honey | Ocean Dangers | Hunting Dog | Benefit Dinner | Giant Sequoia | Cooking Joy | Cord Trick | Frank Mendosa | Yesterday's Catch | Farmhouses | Marco Radio | Run CMC | Fisher Stinks | Henry Armstrong | Positive Step | Muffler Hanger | Prisoner Exchange | Last Election | Bombing Hospitals | Fiscal Cliff | Ukraine | Derby Winner | Human Connection | Old Album | TG Poem | Jayne Mansfield | Buffy Pretendian | The Chief | That Day | Roy Campanella | Bogus Officers | Intelligent Life

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DRY conditions with cool to cold overnight lows will persist through Monday, while daytime temperatures become increasingly warm and pleasant. Chances for light rain increase Tuesday for portions of the forecast area. Better chances for rain will arrive later next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Sunday morning I have another cold 36F under clear skies. We have another day of "sneaker waves" along the shore. Overnight temps will rise some Monday night. Rain arrives Tuesday night then we have erratic chances for rain into the weekend. Nothing big, just scattered chances of showers.

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Dead ray on the beach (Dick Whetstone)

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Johnson & Son Inc

Free Junk Car removal

CA-128, Boonville, CA 95415

(707) 272-8101

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JASON PATTEN: I’ve been struggling for years in the AV trying to deter acorn woodpeckers from damaging wooden buildings! I most recently tried spinning metallic disks, to no avail. Having metallic streamers worked in the past, but they deteriorated and left microplastics all over, and they are quite noisy in the wind. Does anyone have any methods that have worked? I have not yet tried imitation owls. Thanks!

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SUPERVISOR GLENN MCGOURTY (report to Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council, via Monica Huettl): “A perfect storm is brewing as we try to develop the 23-24 budget. … Sales tax, transient occupancy tax, and property taxes are down, and costs of all sorts are up due to inflation. There are cost overruns with the new jail construction. The agreement was made in 2016, to include a new wing for inmates with mental health problems. Inflation has driven up costs at the rate of approximately $1 million per year (the State Fire Marshall took two years to review the new jail plans). Measure B funds will be borrowed to build the jail. The BOS is seeking help with funding from State Senator McGuire and Assemblyman Wood. The employees need a raise, but there is no money for wage increases, and open positions in some departments will not be filled. The county is prioritizing public safety employees, such as the Sheriff’s department, and departments that bring in revenue. Some services will be curtailed. County vehicle, overhead, and utility costs will increase. 

The County has very limited staff to work on water issues, unlike Ukiah, Willits, and Fort Bragg, which employ professional water personnel. The County is responsible for everything from the new state laws requiring monitoring and reporting on groundwater and wells, to stormwater runoff and quagga mussels.

Amir Mani, PhD, EKI Environment and Water Consulting, prepared a report suggesting that the County form a matrix of expertise from across existing departments, rather than fund a department of water.

UC Cooperative Extension Hydrology and Climate Change Advisor Dr. Laura Garza will be starting in January to work with our community on water issues. I especially acknowledge Janet Pauli for extraordinary leadership and time dedicated to finding a solution to keep the Upper Russian River Watershed with a dependable water source.”

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JIM SHIELDS WRITES: Caltrans never ceases to amaze. Their so-called free dump day is false advertising. I tried to get it set up to have the drop-off point at the High School parking lot or Harwood Park parking lot, but the authoritarian brain trust at Caltrans nixed those sites and opted for 22-mile distant Willits. How many folks do you think are going to load up their Laytonville junk for a 44-mile-plus round trip to Willits. All the other free dump days on the Northcoast were held in the towns where the people actually live. Sheer arrogance, incompetence and stupidity.

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COUNCILMEMBER AND FORMER MAYOR of Santa Rosa Chris Rogers has officially announced his candidacy to succeed Jim Wood as the North Coast’s California State Assemblymember. 

Chris Rogers

Speaking from Ukiah, where Rogers spent the day discussing water, housing, and economic development with local policymakers, Rogers emphasized his public service and his roots in the communities of the North Coast. 

“For as long as I can remember, it has been my mission to serve the community where I was born and raised”, said Rogers. “The North Coast is incredibly unique and our next Assemblymember must know how to roll up their sleeves and deliver for the people they serve. They need to understand what it takes to rebuild communities devastated by wildfire, and they need to have proven experience on housing, homelessness, and drought. In my time as Mayor and my career working for Senator Mike McGuire in the State Legislature, I’ve done just that. From the Smith River to Sonoma County, I’ll work hard to be the voice for the people of the North Coast” 

Born and raised in Sonoma County, Rogers’s career in civil service began as a district representative for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey working on coastline protection. Rogers went on to serve as the Senior District Representative for Senator Mike McGuire and Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action. First elected in 2016, Rogers’s two terms as Mayor and Councilmember have been marked by commitment, accomplishment, and leading response to disaster. In the aftermath of the 2017 Tubbs Fire, Rogers worked diligently to rebuild the Coffey Park and Fountain Grove Neighborhoods that were all but destroyed by the wildfire. 

“As Mayor and Councilmember, Chris Rogers had a direct impact on helping the thousands of community members traumatized and displaced by the Tubbs Fire to return home,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Chris Coursey. “Chris Rogers’ leadership made sure our neighborhoods were rebuilt and that our community really recovered.” 

Rogers brings a proven track record of navigating challenges and delivering for the people he serves. During Rogers’ time as Mayor, he accomplished what hadn’t been achieved in nearly a decade: balancing the budget – and prioritizing the needs of working families, Rogers expanded access to affordable childcare and launched a first-time home-buyers program for low-income workers. 

“Chris Rogers is a committed and caring leader – and he knows how to get things done,” said former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. “When things have gotten tough, he’s proven over and over that he’ll step up and fight for the people he serves.” 

In his time as Mayor, Rogers also championed initiatives that met the needs of veterans, seniors, and youth, by providing no-cost access to public transportation and a groundbreaking first-time home-owners program for low-income workers. 

“Our communities deserve an Assemblymember who shares our roots and knows how to get things done,” emphasized Rogers. “As your Assemblymember, I will fight to make sure Sacramento hears the voice of the hardworking people up and down Highway 1 and 101” 

For more information on Chris Rogers’s campaign or to learn about Chris Rogers’ upcoming events in Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity counties, visit 

(Chris Rogers Presser)

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Sunset from the stage, SNWMF, Boonville Fairgrounds June 2023 (Steve Heilig)

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WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS STATEMENT: "Assemblymember Jim Wood appointed to Speaker Pro Tempore by Speaker Robert Rivas.'

CALL ME JUDGEMENTAL, but didn't Wood just announce he was leaving politics to care for his aged mother?


REMEMBER WHEN there were reminders like this one? “Register for this year’s Holiday Decorating contest by December 10th. The only way to get your business or residential holiday decorations considered for the AV Chamber of Commerce/AV Brewing Company’s Holiday Decorating Contest is to register at Leslie Montgomery’s All That Good Stuff in downtown Boonville. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in both commercial and residential categories will receive cash prizes from $50 to $150. All entries will get a special gift. Judging will take place on December 15th & 16th so don’t lollygag. (Where's the community gone?)

A FORT BRAGG man wrote in December of 1999: “Monday night, the 8th, I was watching Judge Judy on TV around 11:20pm and this guy by the name of Vince Sisco was suing the other guy for making him a terrible hair piece. I’ve lived in Fort Bragg for 40 years and I have seen Vince at the Wharf and the place by the bridge, but how many men have the name Vince Sisco? I am sure it was him, horned rim glasses and all. The other guy said he was from Rancho Mirage, California. I think that is the way you spell it. Just thought you would be interested.”

I WAS INTERESTED. Law enforcement and a posse of creditors were interested too. The guy should have been taking long, slow walks in a state prison yard, but here he was, one of the main conspirators in the destruction of the old Fort Bragg Library, the Piedmont Hotel, the Ten Mile Justice Court, at least two other restaurants, and probably sold cocaine to half the young people on the Mendocino Coast, and here he was yukking it up on national television. 

I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED why it was impossible to find a cup of hot chocolate like dear old mum used to make, and now I know I haven’t been alone: Donna Chabon of SF writes: “My mom made pretty good hot cocoa for us kids from scratch. But the best was in 1969 on my first trip to visit friends living in Mexico. They took me to breakfast at the Hotel Oceano in Puerto Vallarta. My friend Mirielle (a French Canadian whose husband just happened to own the hotel) said, ‘You have to have hot chocolate.’ She was right. In Mexico it is the best. So Idris, ask your mom to buy Abuelita or Ibarra Chocolate and some good canned evaporated milk with almost equal parts of water. Heat gently in saucepan. As it warms, drop in a wedge or two of chocolate to melt. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon to break up the chocolate. Once it’s melted (do not boil), use a wire whisk or handheld electric mixer to get it nice and frothy (if using a blender, pour carefully into only one-third of the jar as hot liquid splashes, and use a slow speed). Add a little whipped cream if you like, then tell us how it turned out. The ‘secret’ to Mexican chocolate is its almond and cinnamon flavoring.) Of course, the camaraderie of going out is what should make a meal/drink taste better, and for a mom to share with her daughter a meaningful moment over favorite hot drinks is very special. And, yes, it is disappointing and awful to spend $5 on a dud. I am sure other readers are responding, and I, too, want to know where we can go out to get really good hot cocoa, without having to travel to Mexico. Is this possible? 

KULTURE NOTE, historical division. “Dear AVA. Would you please give me a mailing address or an e-mail address for Larry Livermore? I saw his letter in last week’s AVA. He’s an old buddy from Laytonville, and I’d like to say hello to him. Our band (which included Larry’s nemesis, Piano Jimmy) used to invite Larry’s band, with Green Day’s future drummer, to open for us around Laytonville. We had a lot of Laytonville gigs, but no one would hire Larry’s raw musicians. Now, twenty years later, Larry’s band are millionaires playing stadiums, and we are still headlining Laytonville. Sincerely, Bear Kamoroff Bell Springs.”

ED NOTE: We don’t have an email address for Livermore, but you can reach him via his website:

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Jake Louis Kooy

It’s been sometime since we have seen Jake Louis Kooy in the booking logs.

I have been curious where he has been. I often see him around but it’s been a bit. Usually he is quite disheveled and erratic and has obvious psychosis, always talking to the voices in his head.

He has been kicked out of most stores due to theft, Safeway, Rite aid Big lots and others. He was stealing from Walmart, his theft items are typically beer and ice cream.

I saw him late this afternoon, I was actually in shock seeing that he looked quite cleaned up, haircut and all. He was not having a convo with the voices but clearly not quite right in his mental capacity. I saw him from 10 feet away and decided I would have a chat with him. I turned to walk towards him in the ice cream aisle as I was doing so he opened the freezer and very non-chalantly grabbed a 1/2 gallon of frozen ice cream and shoved it down the front of his pants. He turned around walking funny and went into the next aisle, sheepishly looking at the sodas. I came around the other side, curious how he was gonna fit a 6 pack of pop in his pants along with the ice cream. He seemed to be waiting for the right moment to grab the goods, but before he could, the clerk saw him and told him he had to leave. He did not say a word, he complied with no trouble as she walked behind ushering him out the door with the ice cream in his pants that she had no clue he had stolen.

When I came out of the store he was long gone.

Interesting that it is freaking cold and of all the things to steal food wise, ice cream is the go to. Not really a rational choice, besides, he has no home, probably not even spoon to eat it with. Nor money or even food stamps to purchase food, makes ya wonder how he gets a hold of all the drugs and paraphernalia? His aunt provides him meals or did until she filed a restraining order against him.

Do you suppose he is stealing because he is hungry? Or possibly the theft is to get a jail cell and food? Or he is just compelled by an unseen force to snatch up something he likes and knows and is comfortable with?

Regardless, the fact remains he is a man with Schizophrenia and addiction who is in need of a serious structure of support and treatment that does not exist and that we are unwilling to provide.

Mazie Malone 


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Honey is one smart dog. She knows sit, shake and down! She enjoys going for walks and has wonderful leash manners. She’s mellow indoors and likes to be close to her people. Honey would like an active family with plenty of outdoor space for her to explore. German Shepherd dogs are smart, loyal and all around wonderful family dogs. If you love the breed, don’t wait! Make an appointment today to meet sweetl Honey. Our beautiful girl is 4 years old and 68 lovely pounds. Honey is spayed, so she’s ready to prance right out the shelter doors and into your life. For more about Honey and all of our dogs and cats on our website.

If you see a dog or cat you think might be the ONE, you can begin the adoption process on-line. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453. Check out our Facebook Page and share our posts! And, the shelter is exploding with the cutest puppies! 

Check out our Puppy Page.

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[1] Too many people come here, and go in the water regardless of weather conditions. This happens with Beachcombers, and recreational divers as well. That ain’t no lake folks. If the locals aren’t out there, there is a reason. Having crab for dinner is not worth your life I have often thought the Coast Guard should put a gate across the jetty, and keep fools in on bad days If you get in trouble in a boat, you have made an error in judgement.

[2] Yes, unfortunately true. Many arrive in the winter and head off into the wilderness or the ocean with absolutely no regard for the weather in the wilderness or weather and tides on the ocean. Everybody has a hand device and somewhere on your drive in you will have reception to get a weather or ocean advisory. No excuses. I am sorry for the life(s) lost, but if this is swept under the rug, it never ends.

[3] There was a sneaker wave warning out – not a good time to overload a little boat on the sea. I hope everyone made it home safely.

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Tickets are on sale now for Noyo Food Forest’s Annual Benefit Dinner: Dinner in the Grove. Join us at Mendocino Grove December 2, 5-9 pm, for a delicious evening featuring:

- Farm-to-table dinner

- Wreath-making with Golden Coast Florals

- Wine, beer

- Cider cocktails from The Farm

- Live auction including amazing packages of local experiences and adventures, and more.

Tickets are $85. Details and tickets are available at

We’re also offering a limited number of glamping tents for guests who wish to stay the night or weekend. Sleep in style while supporting Noyo Food Forest! Contact us:

December 2 from 5-9pm for an all-inclusive evening of Delicious Food, Live Jazz, Wreath-Making, Local Beer and Wine, live auction, and Fun. This annual benefit supports the good work of Noyo Food Forest.

5-6pm Live Music, Wreath-Making, Hot Toddies, IZ Jazz — Ira & Zida Piano and Vocal Jazz, Wreath-making with Golden Coast Floral, Appetizers, Winter Cocktails, Beverages

6-8pm Family-style Dinner: Chicken Tagine with preserved lemon, almond couscousâ, Vegetarian Tagine option, NFF Mixed Greens with pickled beets & shallots, Apple Cake with Creme Chantilly

Complimentary Beer and Wine from North Coast Brewery, Handley Cellars, Panthea, & Bee Hunter

Live Auction Highlights

- Garden Packages — full-season garden support: inspiration, consultation, seeding, weeding

- Anderson Valley for Two — dinners, wine tasting, and two nights at Anderson Valley Inn

- Much, much more!

Please note: dinner and activities are under a HEATED TENT


Special Opportunity

Mendocino Grove has offered us 20 of their fully-furnished glamping tents for the night. Enjoy the evening’s food, wine, and fun without worrying about driving home. Offered at an incredibly discounted rate while supplies last. All proceeds go to Noyo Food Forest. Call 707.357.7680 or email to reserve.


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Giant sequoia tree, estimated to be over 2600 years old. Logged in the 1890s.

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A cookbook taught me the joy of cooking for others

by Justine Frederiksen

When I graduated from college, a family member bought me some of her favorite kitchen essentials for my new home: three sturdy casserole dishes and two classic cookbooks.

At the time, I’m ashamed to admit, I wasn’t very appreciative of the gifts, as I didn’t really enjoy cooking and bristled at the expectation that I should. But decades later, her thoughtful gifts are not only still in my kitchen, they have become beloved members of my household.

The dishes, permanently stained from countless meals, are still used every week, and one of the books, the “Joy of Cooking,” is a trusted friend whose recipes have helped me make delicious food for more than 25 years.

And it all began when my husband opened it one day to help him roast a chicken.

That was cool.

Because the simple-yet-perfect instructions for cooking a whole chicken with only butter and salt created such delicious results, my husband began turning to the book for many more meals.

And while I don’t remember how many recipes my husband used from the book before I tried my first, I do remember which one it was: Beef stew, which I cooked for us one Christmas Eve.

1. Beef Stew, page 669

Of course there were a few more steps involved in making stew than roasting a chicken, much more than a lazy cook like me would like, but again the results were so delicious they made all the work well worth it — and turned my making beef stew on Christmas Eve into our new holiday tradition.

And while I can’t cook the stew in one of the casserole dishes that Sharon gave me with the book, I do cook them in another gift from a family member: A Dutch oven my father-in-law gave us one year for Christmas.

2. Scottish Shortbread, page 820

After such great success with the stew, I next tried a dessert, which I must admit I chose just for me: shortbread cookies, which remind me of the cookies my mother would bake — Russian Tea Cakes, which are also delightful mounds of mostly butter, sugar and flour.

But my mother didn’t make them very often, and when she did they were for her co-workers, because she did not allow her daughters to eat much sugar. So since I still vividly remember standing in a kitchen suddenly full of glorious smells and gazing longingly at those freshly baked cookies I could only eat one or two of, it gave me great pleasure knowing I could eat as much of that buttery Scottish shortbread as I wanted when I made my first batch.

Yet soon I got even more pleasure out of making the cookies for someone else. On a whim I made some for my boss, who not only said afterward that “shortbread cookies are one of my most favorite things ever,” but that the ones I made were particularly delicious — thanks again of course to the “Joy of Cooking,” which advises adding some rice flour to give the cookies a more delightfully crumbly texture.

So years later when her husband died, I knew exactly what to give my boss, who again sent me a nice note afterward to say that the cookies had come at a perfect time, because she was having a friend over for tea.

I smiled knowing she would be having company to enjoy the cookies with, but also smiled knowing that the book had helped me finally find a satisfying way to connect with people that didn’t leave them confused and me cringing.

Usually, my attempts at casual affection turn into an awkward dance that leaves us both uncomfortable, but with cooking I could offer friendly love to other humans without feeling like an alien — yet another way the “Joy of Cooking” gave me joy.

3. Basic Pizza Dough, page 752

Now with complete trust in the book, I decided to finally attempt a recipe I had wanted to make for my husband for years: pizza dough.

Though I had learned to roll out dough like an expert thanks to my years working at a pizza place after high school, I was too intimidated to make my own dough because all my prior attempts at yeast bread were miserable failures.

But of course, the first dough I made with the “Joy of Cooking” was a complete success, giving me the satisfaction of making one of my husband’s favorite meals, and reliving one of my favorite work memories: The mornings I spent alone in the restaurant rolling out dough with only the radio for company.

Thanks to that cookbook, I could have those moments again in my own home, magnified by the joy of making something I knew would give my husband joy. And, to my surprise, I still enjoy making that pizza now, even though I can no longer eat it after discovering I am allergic to wheat.

But, again, the book helped me change — from a person who bakes a batch of cookies that she wants to eat every bite of, to one who gets even more joy from making a pizza she won’t even eat one bite of.

4. Galette, page 882, with cornmeal flaky pastry dough, page 864

But the recipe that inspired the most surprising — heck, downright miraculous — changes in me was something I never heard of until the “Joy of Cooking”: a galette.

I first made a galette, frankly, because it seemed much easier than a pie since there is only one crust, but it quickly became my favorite dessert to make, especially an apple galette with the “cornmeal flaky pastry dough.”

Not only full of butter like the shortbread cookies, it features cornmeal, so it is especially easy and tasty to make without wheat. But the best part about the galette is how it improved my most complicated family relationship.

Like many (dare I say most?) married women, I have a fraught relationship with my mother-in-law, whom I frankly have struggled to form warm feelings for that are separate from the love I feel for her son.

But her appreciation for the galettes is so complete, they began creating those warm feelings for me each time I baked one. Since I make them without much sugar and even without much fruit, most people don’t consider them the ideal dessert.

To another family member, the galette was so dry I bought her ice cream to eat it with, but my mother-in-law loves the galettes just as I make them.

So last weekend when I stopped by with a galette still warm from the oven, she opened the foil and started eating it immediately with her hands. And watching her sigh and sing with unabashed joy as she ate my baking — yes, that gave me joy, too.

And that was very cool.

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November 25, 1924 - Frank J. Mendosa passed away at his home on Little Lake Road at the age of 73. Born on the island of Flores in the Azores, Frank left Portugal at a young age, joining the crew of a whaling vessel and making several trips around Cape Horn. In his early twenties, he landed in Boston, where he worked for a short time as a longshoreman, before deciding to go to California.

Arriving on the Mendocino Coast, he worked in the Caspar woods, and then took a position in the Mendocino Mill. Once he had earned some money, he bought passage to California for his father and three sisters. In 1887, Frank married Isabel Jacinto Lopes, who had recently arrived from the Azores.

On June 13, 1902, Frank lost his arm in a tragic accident at the Mendocino lumber mill. Limited in what he could do to support his wife and eight children, he decided to open a saloon in a small building on the east side of Lansing Street across from Little Lake Street with the help of his eldest son, Antone. According to Frank’s son, William, “The first day in the business he sold one glass of beer for 5 cents.”

In time business improved, and Frank opened a restaurant where his daughter Mary cooked. The restaurant served chowder and later oysters and tamales. Frank was also assisted by his wife and the children who were old enough to help out. From this meager beginning grew a substantial merchandising business in Mendocino.

In 1909, alcohol sales were banned in Mendocino, and Frank converted his restaurant and saloon on Lansing Street into a grocery store which also carried some dry goods. In 1916, the store was considerably enlarged to carry a full stock of general merchandise, including groceries, hardware, enamel, tinware, and Sherman-Williams paint.

In the summer of 1920, Frank had a whole new store building put up, with 40 feet of frontage on Lansing Street, large plate glass windows, and a broad cement walk in front of the building. The stock of the old store was moved into the new building in September, 1920. Sadly, Frank’s health began to fail in 1921, requiring medical treatment in San Francisco.

Frank was survived by his wife Isabel; daughter Mary “Mamie" Lewis; sons Antone, Frank, John, Joe, Will, August, and Alex; and sister, Anna Gonsalves of Oakland. Funeral services were held at the Mendocino Catholic Church, with Rev. Father Kennedy officiating, and interment was in Hillcrest Cemetery.

Mendocino Mill Crew, 1897

Front row, left to right: William (Bill) Hines, George Knudsen, Frank Brown, Ernest Knudsen, Will Brown, Albert Gregory, John Salvador.

Second row: Henry Kleinschmidt, Joe King, Sr., John Ramus, Fred Halling (Mill boss), Albert Peterson, Frank Clement, Theodore Hansen, Sam Bever (planing mill foreman).

Third row: George Jarvis, Frank Mendosa, Tom Knudsen, John Larsen, George Marshal (sawyer), Unidentified, Isaac Silvia, Tom Richards.

Fourth row: Percy Daniels, Joe "Junior" Ramus, Steady Boy, Old Man MacDonald, Allie Grindle, Little River Smith, Charles Nystrom (engineer), Mike Vaughn, Gus Kontag, Charles Peterson.

(Visit Santa at the Kelley House Museum. Bring your family and your holiday good cheer to snap a perfect pic w/ Santa outside on the Kelley House Museum porch,)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, November 25, 2023

Aguilar, Arens, Bacon

DANIEL AGUILAR-MARTINEZ, Point Arena. No license, probation revocation.

CARMEN ARENS, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, failure to appear.

ALYSSA BACON, Willits. Domestic battery.

Cram, Elizabeth, Ezell

JENNIFER CRAM, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, no license.

VANESSA ELIZABETH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

STACY EZELL, Ukiah. Trespassing. 

Miller, Morris, Schneider, Smith


FRANKLY MORRIS, Ukiah. Felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, offenses while on bail.

MARIA SCHNEIDER, Redwood Valley. Protective order violation.

HEATHER SMITH, Diahold Springs/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, child endangerment, controlled substance without prescription.

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FARMHOUSES have always by far been my most favourite style of houses, homes I should say. I was born and brought up in one, and have been lucky enough to live in a couple since then. The house below, I should say the kitchen below, however, is not a farmhouse kitchen but that of a beach house; but it has the feel of a farmhouse.... warm clutter, a wood-fired stove with the old AGA kettle heating up for a cuppa, and the rocking chair where I can sit and cuddle my grandchildren. Brass saucepans collecting dust way out of reach, a double butler's sink, wood fronted cupboards and the lovely little curtain under the sink. I do all my washing-up by hand here, looking out at the various birds that come to eat at our birdtable. Believe it or not I have spurned a dishwasher: too noisy and a pain to fill and unstack. No! I'd far rather just do it myself, why not ? I love all the things I've collected and admire them while I wash them. For sure, my life is no longer hectic, my four children are almost all middle-aged, so yes, I have time to feed the birds, wash up, put more wood into the woodstove and wait for the kettle to boil. It's a romantic life that I 've always yearned for (but the necessities of earning a living often made that idea untenable), a life where I can read poetry, play the piano, paint an awful picture and make pancakes! And there in the corner is my dear husband, lifting the lid off the bread tin and making toast. Enjoy your kitchens, make them magical and the sustenance that they have to provide will work its magic too.

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MEMO OF THE AIR: A William S. Burroughs Thorgellen

"Their mainstream dogma sparked a wave of dogmatic revisionism, and this revisionist mainstream dogmatism has now given way to a more rematic mainvisionist dogstream.”

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2023-11-24) eight-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and

I'm happy to read your writing on the radio. Just email it to me and that's all you have to do.

Mike Sears walked in to talk about fracking, fishing, and engineering in general. He's got a good crackly deep radio voice. There are times when a listener might think he's having trouble with his teeth, but that's when he was talking while chewing on a cup of popcorn left over from the movie night a few weeks ago, and doing surprisingly well. A neat old-time radio trick. Rich Alcott used to do that every once in awhile on KMFB with an apple. Eleanor Cooney shared the first chapter of her next book. It has poet Bill Kovanda (R.I.P.) working up the lather he needed to write, by outraging himself with the commercial copy style of catalog magazines. Then there's the usual announcements section, the usual Middle-East-in-a-blender update, David Herstle Jones, Mitch Clogg, Flynn Washburne, Sebastian Iturralde from Ecuador, R.D. Beacon, jokes, dreams, poetry, recipes, science, medicine, space, disaster, synesthesia, Alex Bosworth's Thorgellen, seasonal JFK assassination revelations, and shot through all of that: William S. Burroughs on almost too many subjects to count.

Besides all that, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:

A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains. This video is like Asian slow-motion underwater Tai Chi Morris dancing. Really beautiful, Donna, thanks!

These young people just met. They never danced together before. She looks a little like Phoebe Waller-Bridge, doesn't she, not least because of her quirky smile.

And Coney Island at night in 1905. It's like photographs or video of playing with your first Tesla coils in the kitchen, in the dark. Pictures are not at all like being there. Imagine how magical this was back then. The strings of lights along Franklin Street outside KNYO are like this sometimes when it's foggy and I go out to get some fresh air. I often dream of this kind of light display, both up close and far away.

Marco McClean,,

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JOHN FISHER’S APPROACH with the Oakland A’s has been a bit different compared to Joe Lacob’s approach with the Warriors. At least Lacob has been willing to invest in building a good team and spend his own money to build the arena in San Francisco.

Despite being worth at least $2.3 billion, Fisher acts like the guy who says he can’t afford to have his house painted or his lawn mowed while thumbing his nose at neighbors who complain about his impact on the neighborhood. Fisher refuses to pay his players or fix the bathrooms at the Oakland Coliseum, and he laughs at the dwindling number of fans willing to pay higher and higher prices for tickets. Fisher has seduced local politicians to the point that former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf publicly justified the high ticket prices and lousy conditions at the Coliseum by saying that fans are just paying it forward for what will be a better experience when the promised new ballpark would be built at Howard Terminal (before Fisher up and moved the team to Vegas).

Fisher's game was to play Oakland and Las Vegas against each other to see which city would make him richer. He said he would keep the A’s in Oakland and pay for that new ballpark at Howard Terminal in exchange for the whole city bending to his wishes about how to completely transform the Port of Oakland and a major chunk of West Oakland. He demanded that Oakland subvert its normal planning processes to gift him with the right to build 3,000 high-end residences, up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, 270,000 square feet for retail, an indoor performance center with 3,500 seats, and 400 hotel rooms. His plan gives no consideration to the impact of this “Fishertown” on the Port of Oakland, with its businesses and workers and major impact on the region’s economy. Nor does Fisher consider how his plan will impact the struggling businesses and real estate developments that already exist in other areas of Oakland’s barely surviving economy.

Oakland refused so Fisher moved the A’s to Vegas.

— Dan Siegel, Oakland Civil Rights Attorney

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HENRY ARMSTRONG: I had my first amateur fight here in 1929, right here in St. Louis at the old Coliseum. I knocked out a colored kid in the second round at the old Coliseum. What they were usually doing at that time, and I wouldn't subject myself to it, they wanted the colored kids to get in there and fight in what they call a Battle Royal, where they put a black towel around your eyes and put five, six, seven guys in a ring and let them fight against cach other blind and laugh at you. I wouldn't go for that. I was really too proud. So they finally give us a chance to fight on a card. They brought a bunch of Indians up here from the Haskell Institute that fought the white boys. These Indians was fighting the white boys, and some of the Indians was darker than I was but I couldn't fight! So they put me in there with a little colored kid, and I knocked him out. He was the only other one, so I was the colored featherweight champion of St. Louis with no place to go, nobody to fight.

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Dear Editor,

Middle Eastern mathematics:

Israel’s Palestinian prisoners + Hamas’, Israeli and other nation’s prisoners = A gGOD swap: one small POSITIVE (+) step forward for both nations.

A first OFFICIAL sign of the end of constant hatred and war?

Frank H. Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa

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* * *


by Aaron Boxerman and Patrick Kingsley

Hamas released a second group of Israeli and foreign hostages on Saturday night in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli authorities said Sunday morning, after an hourslong delay raised fears that a fragile truce in Gaza could collapse altogether.

Qatar, which helped broker the deal alongside Egypt, said that two mediators had managed to overcome an impasse between Israel and Hamas.

In the end, Israel confirmed that Hamas had handed 13 Israelis — eight children and five women — to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza. They were taken in a convoy across the Rafah crossing to Egypt, then transported to Israel, where they were delivered to hospitals, the Israeli authorities said. Four Thai nationals were also released.

Within hours, 39 Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel, Israel’s prison service said early on Sunday. There was a similar swap on Friday.

The prisoners affairs commission of the Palestinian Authority confirmed that Red Cross buses with detainees had left Ofer prison, outside the West Bank city of Ramallah, to take them to Al-Bireh Municipality.

The resumption of the deal late Saturday came after a tense day in which it appeared the fragile temporary cease-fire agreement might crumble.

Hamas had threatened to postpone the second hostages-for-prisoners trade, claiming Israel had reneged on parts of the agreement. The armed group, which controls Gaza, said Israel had not allowed enough aid to reach northern Gaza and had not released Palestinian prisoners according to agreed-upon terms.

In a news briefing in Lebanon Saturday evening, a Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, accused Israel of “playing with the names” of prisoners to be released, and criticized Israeli soldiers for allegedly shooting at Gazan residents who tried to return to their homes in northern Gaza on Friday. The group did not go into more details.

The agreement has never been published, making such claims hard to verify.

Israel denied it had broken the terms of the deal and hinted that the four-day cease-fire would end early if Hamas did not release a second group of hostages. Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said, “We are standing by our part of the framework.”

Then, on Saturday night, Hamas abruptly announced on its official Telegram channel that it would move forward with the release of the hostages after Qatar and Egypt passed along Israel’s commitment “to all the conditions detailed in the agreement.”

President Biden, who was briefed Saturday morning on the state of the hostage deal, spoke directly with the emir of Qatar and the Qatari prime minister on potential holdups to the deal and mechanisms to resolve them, said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

The brief truce — which took effect at 7 a.m. local time on Friday — is already the longest pause in a 50-day conflict that began on Oct. 7, when a Hamas-led assault on southern Israel killed an estimated 1,200 people and led to the abduction of roughly 240 people, Israeli officials said.

As part of the agreement, Hamas agreed to release at least 50 Israeli women and children held hostage in Gaza over the four-day pause, while Israel would free 150 Palestinian women and minors in its prisons, officials on both sides have said. On Friday, in addition to the 13 Israeli hostages freed by Hamas, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners. Ten Thai nationals and one Filipino were also freed.

Though neither side has released the full terms of the deal, both have said that it involves not only the exchange of captives, but also the delivery of more aid to Gaza, where the war has caused severe fuel and food shortages.

The aid was expected to reach both southern Gaza, which Hamas still controls, and northern Gaza, which has been largely captured by Israel and where the remaining Hamas fighters are under considerable pressure.


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by Stefan Tarnowski

In the summer of 2019, I took part in an investigation by the Syrian Archive into attacks on medical facilities in Syria, described by the Lancet in 2017 as “the most dangerous place on earth for healthcare providers.” The Syrian Archive verified 410 incidents of hospital bombings, and identified with confidence the perpetrators of 252 attacks. 90% of those were acts of aerial bombardment by Assad’s forces and their allies, in particular the Russian air force. Systematically targeting hospitals was one of their most ruthless tactics, a means to depopulate opposition areas.

There’s no starker asymmetry of power than the aerial bombardment of civilian areas by state and imperial air forces. The Syrian Archive decided that the most effective route to a prosecution would be through an investigation into hospital bombings. (The Yemeni Archive, a companion project, documented 133 attacks on hospitals and medical facilities in Yemen between 2014 and 2019, 72 of them carried out by the Saudi-led coalition, armed and assisted by the US and UK.) Hospitals and medical personnel are “protected objects” under international law. Since Syria was also the most dangerous place in the world for journalists – first because the state had banned and expelled foreign correspondents from the country; second because journalists had been kidnapped and executed by militant groups – the investigation relied heavily on footage produced, at considerable risk, by media activists and first responders.

For investigators, this was considered an opportunity as much as a constraint. User-generated content – such as videos shot on smartphones and uploaded on YouTube – could become a new form of evidence to hold states to account under international law, a step-change similar to the pioneering use of state documents as evidence at Nuremberg. Investigators hoped that this new kind of evidence – produced by ordinary citizens using cheap and accessible tech – would democratize international criminal law: “More video can result in more justice,” as one lawyer argued.

There were political, technical and legal hurdles facing the investigation. The way to an international criminal tribunal at The Hague can be blocked by veto at the Security Council, in Syria’s case by Russia and China. But there are workarounds, such as prosecution in a third country with universal jurisdiction legislation. Two Assad regime officials who had defected to Germany were put on trial in Koblenz and found guilty of torture.

Doubts concerning the reliability of user-generated content on social media made it seem unfit for admission to court as evidence, if it was even still available: following the Bataclan and Christchurch attacks, Western governments had put pressure on social media platforms to remove content that might radicalize viewers. But activists and investigators worked to restore the data and verify it. Investigators at the Syrian Archive liaised with platforms to recover deleted footage. First responders in opposition-held areas under bombardment were kitted out with GoPro cameras that automatically stamped footage with metadata to determine its location, date and time. And, thanks to the work of other organizations such as the UN International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism in Geneva, data is archived in ways that preserve a chain of custody.

Even when it was possible to prove not only that an attack took place but who the likely perpetrator was, in cases of aerial bombardment it was almost impossible to prove mens rea – that the act was intentional. If a case were ever to go to trial, the defense could always argue that the missile had hit the hospital by mistake, collateral damage in an attack on a nearby building that housed a militia and was therefore a legitimate target. The onus would then be on prosecutors to prove beyond reasonable doubt that every surrounding building didn’t house a legitimate military target: a close to impossible task.

What’s more, a medical facility is only a protected object under international law if it doesn’t house fighters or store weapons. The defense could always argue that the hospital concealed a military facility – a claim which Russian spokesmen would invariably fall back on in response to condemnation from the media or at the UN.

The Syrian Archive investigation assembled a mass of data showing that medical facilities were being bombed, often repeatedly, by state and imperial air forces. But a pattern doesn’t necessarily prove intent under international law. 

Libby McAvoy, the Syrian Archive’s legal adviser, proposed that if a medical facility was targeted twice in fairly quick succession, it might be possible to make a legal case that the hospital had been struck intentionally. There could also be cases in which the air force wasn’t only targeting the facility but also the first responders and medics who gathered at the scene of the first bombing and were hit by the second. The legal concepts she was carving out through these spatio-temporal criteria – multiple targeted strikes and double taps – could prove shades of intentionality. But the investigation couldn’t throw up an “open-and-shut” case; we can only know the probity of this kind of evidence if it’s tested in court.

So far, none of the incidents have gone to court. The investigation was published as a report on the Syrian Archive’s website. We have a lot of video and no justice. It may be that more evidence comes to light in future: documents, for example, that show pilots were obeying orders to target medical infrastructure, or audio recordings proving intent.

If there is a lesson to be drawn for the carpet bombing of Gaza and the targeting of its hospitals, it’s a bleak one. The videos released by the Israeli military and by embedded Western journalists following the ground invasion show what they claim is a weapons store at Shifa Hospital. It was hardly proof of the militia headquarters alleged to be underneath the hospital. Even the US deflated its language and has subsequently referred to the hospital as a “command and control node.” But the images may also make it impossible for lawyers to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the hospital should have maintained its protected status, and that its targeting was therefore illegal.

Between the constraints of international law and institutions, the prosecution of a state for bombing a hospital – even with a mass of verified data determining who committed the act – is practically impossible. 

At the same time, the regime of international law allows acts of aerial bombardment to be classified as “proportionate,” “legitimate,” “compassionate,” even “humanitarian,” whether they’re conducted by Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel or anyone else. With historic and ongoing failures of accountability, states will continue to bomb hospitals with effective impunity to drive the displacement of civilian populations.

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Russia has launched its biggest drone attack on Kyiv since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine began last year, the city's mayor has said.

Residents were woken by explosions before dawn on Saturday, and for more than six hours, the booms of Kyiv's air defences echoed through the city.

There was wave after wave of attacks from the north and east.

Officials said more than 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones were fired at the capital - all but one were shot down.

With Russia's dwindling missile stocks, Shahed drones are seen as a cheap alternative. They are slower than ballistic missiles and have a distinctive wingspan.

It was a night where the whines of their engines blended with the booms of the city's air defences.

As ever, even if a missile or drone is intercepted, the falling debris can be lethal too.

There have been no reported deaths from this attack, but at least five people were injured, including an 11-year-old child, Kyiv's mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said.

A kindergarten was among the buildings damaged.

For several quiet weeks, Moscow had been suspected of stockpiling missiles. That abruptly ended this morning.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the strikes an act of "wilful terror" and said that his country will "continue to work to unite the world in defence against Russian terror".

He is trying to secure continued Western support as well as negotiate Ukraine's path to being a possible member of the European Union.

President Zelensky also noted that the attack came on the same day that Ukraine commemorates the 1932-1933 Holodomor famine - brought on by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin - which killed several million Ukrainians.

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Beer Can Derby winner, SF, 1978

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WHAT RUNNING A COFFEE SHOP TAUGHT ME about our profound need for human connection

Cafes, parks and libraries all provide a “third place” for people to come together and build community. My shop showed me how desperate that need is.

By Ryan Khalil

Two years ago, at the start of the holiday season, a customer left a little white envelope with one of our baristas. “Thank you for making this space. It saved me. It was the one place we were allowed to be social in a social-distancing world.”

It wouldn’t be the last note of its kind.

Welcome to our new site design! We'd love to hear what you think about it.

Over the next year, our small team received similar little thank you notes, emails and countless handshakes from people who spent time during the height of the pandemic at our entirely outdoor Palo Alto coffee shop that I’d opened back in 2016. The gratitude took me by surprise.

We’d always prided ourselves in creating a space that felt welcoming — where people could come enjoy our in-house roasted coffees and actually talk to each other in real life face-to-face. It’s not a novel idea but nowadays, especially in the heart of Silicon Valley, it can sometimes feel that way.

It shouldn’t.

Cafes, libraries, churches and parks all serve as communal spaces that foster human connection. These third spaces, distinct from where we live and where we work, are foundational to a vibrant civic life and provide the setting for people to come together, forge new relationships and thrive.

I see it every day in our coffee shop. Two regulars slowly acknowledge each other with a polite nod only to eventually begin sharing a table and kicking off a friendly chess tournament. A group of weekend cyclists stop by for their regular post-ride coffee and inevitably bike-curious customers strike up conversations about their ride, the bikes and even score an invite to join. 

Researchers refer to these kinds of connections with people who are not your family or your close friends as “weak ties.” But in truth, there is nothing weak about what these relationships do for people.

Multiple studies have shown how weak ties increase our happiness, emotional and physical health, and sense of belonging. A 2014 study of undergraduate students, for example, found that those who had more interactions with weak ties on a daily basis were happier and had a greater sense of well-being than those who had less. The benefits apply to individuals later in life as well. A 2020 study of late adulthood found that the number of weak ties an individual had more strongly predicted their overall well-being than the number of close ties they had. Researchers think that a large network of weak ties may help older people compensate for the losses in the number of close ties they have as loved ones pass away.

Other studies have shown professional benefits to forging weak ties. In his 1973 groundbreaking paper on the subject, Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter showed that people often got jobs through friends of friends, not their close personal friends as people had assumed up until then. A recent large-scale study of weak ties on LinkedIn further confirmed Granovetter’s original findings. While the LinkedIn study focused on weak ties in the digital world, the fact remains that those connections usually will meet up in person if they can. Third spaces provide a convenient and safe place for those weak ties to build that relationship.

For so many, the pandemic left them feeling isolated and alone. It challenged their mental health and left them with few outlets to connect with others. The pandemic also taught us that Zoom wasn’t enough. At the end of the day, human beings are social animals who need to be around other human beings. Even just being in the presence of others in public spaces with minimal interaction — say, while sitting on a park bench or settling in at the library to read a book — can bolster our mental and physical health.

It’s also why pedestrian-only sections of streets, like the Slow Streets program in San Francisco, that popped up during the pandemic became so popular and why some of those streets have become semipermanent or fully permanent. John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park is just one of many examples. On the Peninsula, the section of Northern California Avenue in Palo Alto where our coffee shop is located, is another.

As we enter another holiday season, not everyone will have family or close friends to celebrate with. But that doesn’t mean they have to be alone. Sometimes, a simple nod or passing hello from a familiar face can make all the difference.

(Ryan Khalil is owner and founder of the Palo Alto coffee shop Backyard Brew.)

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When life grows shorter and daylightsaving dies —
God’s couples marched in arms to harvest-home
and Plymouth’s communal distilleries …
three days they lay at peace with God and beast …
I reel from Thanksgiving midday into night:
the young are mobile, friends of the tossed waste leaf,
bellbottom, barefoot, Christendom’s wild hair —
words are what get in the way of what they say.
None sleeps with the same girl twice, or marches homeward
keeping the beat of her arterial vein,
or hears the cello grumbling in her garden.
The sleeper has learned karate — Revolution,
drugging her terrible premenstrual cramps,
marches with unbra’d breasts to storm the city.

— Robert Lowell

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DIED ON THIS DAY: Britain's Jayne Mansfield, TV personality, b-movie starlet, pin-up, Stockport’s finest export and all-round glamour girl (when that was still a legit job title) – the fabulously ridiculous Sabrina (née Norma Ann Sykes, 19 May 1936 - 24 November 2016)! In her 1950s and 60s heyday, the sex kitten’s sensational 42½ inch bust and a 19-inch waist earned her lecherous publicity titles like “Britain's Finest Hourglass”, “Queen of the Big Top" and "The Juliet with the Built-in Balcony.” Sabrina also had great taste in men: she enjoyed a tempestuous fling with film noir tough guy Steve Cochran in the fifties. I treasure Sabrina’s gloriously awful performance in 1962 American sexploitation masterpiece Satan in High Heels. But I also clearly need to seek out The Ice House (1969) (aka Love in Cold Blood, aka The Passion Pit) in which Sabrina plays Venus De Marco, a role originally intended for Jayne Mansfield before her death. (The part was also offered to Mamie Van Doren, Diana Dors and Joi Lansing).

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SHE’S AN INDIGENOUS ICON and the first Native person to win an Oscar. Is she actually Italian American?

by Jacqueline Keele

Discovering evidence that the most famous Indigenous woman in Canada, Buffy Sainte-Marie, was neither Indigenous nor Canadian was not what I expected when I sat down with my son last year to watch her biography, “Carry It On,” on PBS. I had hoped the film would inspire him to learn about a successful Native musician.

I knew Sainte-Marie as a Cree folk singer who played alongside Bob Dylan in the 1960s. She was the first Native person to be a regular on “Sesame Street,” from 1976 to 1981, and in 1982 she became the first Native person to win an Oscar for co-writing the song “Up Where We Belong” for the film “An Officer and a Gentleman.” 

Sainte-Marie’s story was tragic, but for a generation of Native kids like me, it was inspirational. She said she was born on the Piapot Reserve in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1941. Claiming to be a child of the “Sixties Scoop” that saw the mass theft of First Nations and Metis children in Canada through forced adoption and foster care placement, Sainte-Marie said her young Cree mother died soon after her birth, and she was adopted and raised by a white couple from Massachusetts. (Métis are mixed European and Indigenous communities that emerged as distinct socio-ethnic entities during the fur trade and are politically recognized by the Canadian government.)

As I watched the biography with my son, however, I began to see red flags in her story.

The methodology I used to spot these flags were not of my own invention. In 2021, Jean Teillet, a Métis scholar, was commissioned by the University of Saskatchewan to identify warning signs of Native identity fraud after a 2021 Canadian Broadcasting Corp. investigation revealed that a health researcher and professor at the school, Carrie Bourassa, was white and had falsely claimed to be First Nations and Métis.

Drawing from Teillet’s report, the biggest red flag I saw with Sainte-Marie was that she never went back and found her Cree family, nor provided any documentation to prove the story of her adoption.

Census records indicate there were about 400 people on the Piapot Reserve the year she was born. The number of young Cree women who died that year would have been low. Even if every young woman of childbearing age died in 1941, Sainte-Marie could have still investigated each case and met with the families. Certainly, she had the resources to do so. It seemed to me that she could have easily found a match in Saskatchewan with DNA testing.

The Cree Piapot family adopted her in 1962 as an adult, but Sainte-Marie’s story was always that she was Cree by blood. Ntawnis Piapot, a member of the family who adopted her, described the adoption to the Canadian press as taking years “of getting to know each other and trusting each other and going to ceremony and getting her Indian name … to finally look at her and be like, I acknowledge you as my daughter, you’re officially part of our family.”

Saint-Marie’s birth story didn’t make any sense. So, I did some digging.

I had only her birthdate and her adoptive parents’ names. But within minutes I found her on the Massachusetts Birth Index: Beverly Jean Santamaria, born in Stoneham, Mass., 1941.

The Massachusetts vital records office confirmed to me that only live births in the state would be found in the index. This seemingly ruled out Sainte-Marie’s birth in Saskatchewan.

I followed up with a call to Doug Bucholz, an adoptee himself who documents fake Abenaki Tribes in Vermont and who is familiar with genealogical records in New England. He called the town of Stoneham, and after paying $22 he received a copy of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s birth certificate. It recorded that the Santamarias, who are Italian American, also had a son, Buffy’s older brother Alan.

Bucholz and I also found a 1964 letter to the local paper written by one of Sainte-Marie’s uncles stating that she “had not one drop of Cree” but was the natural child of his brother and sister-in-law.

We clearly had a strong case that Sainte-Marie was a fabulist. But after the global backlash I faced for outing Sacheen Littlefeather as a pretendian in 2022 in the Chronicle, I was frankly reluctant to be seen “taking down” another icon, even if the truth seemed to be on my side.

So, we turned the story over to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s Geoff Leo. On Oct. 27, his investigation, alongside reporters Roxanna Woloshyn and Linda Guerriero, was broadcast by “The Fifth Estate,” the CBC’s version of “60 Minutes.”

In addition to reconfirming the information that Bucholz and I uncovered, CBC spoke to Buffy’s niece, Heidi Sainte-Marie, and her cousin, Bruce Santamaria. Heidi showed the CBC letters written by Buffy and her high-powered Los Angeles lawyers threatening, Buffy’s brother Alan Sainte-Marie, in 1975.

That year, a PBS “Sesame Street” producer called Alan and asked if he was Buffy’s brother by blood. Alan told the producer, yes, they shared the same parents. Shortly after, Alan received a letter from his sister’s attorneys (who also had represented the Rolling Stones) saying that she would pursue all legal avenues to sue him for interfering with her employment opportunities. Also enclosed was a handwritten note from Buffy alleging he had sexually abused her as a child. If he persisted in telling people they were related, she would share this with his employer, his wife and his children.

Heidi, Alan’s daughter, tearfully presented on camera a letter her dad had written to his parents, sharing the threats. In it, he wrote that he decided to drop the issue because his sister had the deep pockets to tie him up in court for years.

Buffy’s cousin Bruce told the CBC that the entire Santamaria family feared ruinous lawsuits from the wealthy singer. Bruce said he was warned not to mention she was his relative on the playground as a kid because his family might lose their house if she sued them.

After the CBC show aired, Sainte-Marie’s sister posted on social media that Buffy was only adopted into the Cree as an adult, not adopted out.

Confronted with such damning evidence, the response to the investigation from Sainte-Marie’s fans seemed to follow the path of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, for some, acceptance.

With that final stage now comes a reckoning with the full implications of her actions. In the real world, fairy tales aren’t just harmless little stories. They have consequences. 

In Canada, Sainte-Marie had spent the past 30 years receiving awards meant for First Nation, Inuit and Metis artists, including a Polaris Music Prize in 2015 that came with a 50,000 Canadian dollar honorarium (about $38,000). Sainte-Marie even was made a Companion to the Order of Canada, an honor generally reserved for Canadian citizens.

Soon after “The Fifth Estate” broadcast, calls came from First Nation/Metis Canadians for Sainte-Marie to return her Juno awards meant for Indigenous artists. Some of the artists who lost to her described their feelings of being deceived and cheated.

“Juno winners have toured the country and the world, and the runners-up get to play the neighborhood pubs and occasional summer festival,” Billy Joe Green, an Anishinaabe musician who lost Indigenous Music Album of the Year in 2009 to Buffy, told a Canadian news agency.

Karmen Omeasoo (aka HellnbacK), a First Nation hip-hop artist from Maskwacis, Alberta, who lost to Sainte-Marie as part of the group Team Rezofficial, said, “I’m feeling very duped. Like something was taken from me. Something was taken from all these other artists. I could have brought that hardware back home to my mom, my dad, my grandma, my kids.”

But most poignant was a post by Issiqut Anguk, the sister of Inuk performer Kelly Fraser, who took her own life at the age of 26 in December 2019. Frazier also lost a Juno award to Sainte-Marie in 2018. Alongside a screenshot of her late sister that showed Frazier congratulating Sainte-Marie for winning Indigenous Music Album of the Year, Anguk wrote:

“My heart.

“I’m all over the place. I try to stop grieving then I start thinking what if. I know I can’t bring my baby sister back but this could’ve been life changing and I’m heart broken all over again. I miss my baby sister so much. She respected Buffy so much and it hurts to hear that maybe, just maybe it would’ve changed Kelly’s life. If she won the Juno award and Buffy didn’t.

“Bleh. I can’t. My plate is full and it’s been full for too long. My heart hurts. Why does this keep happening. Imagine

“Kelly Fraser! Wins the Juno award for Indigenous album of the year!”

Anguk clarified in a later post that she was not blaming Sainte-Marie for her sister’s death. She was just wondering what it might have been like if her sister had won. After losing to Sainte-Marie, Fraser tried to raise 60,000 Canadian dollars ($48,000) for her next album. However, despite her enthusiastic and upbeat fundraiser video, her efforts only garnered about 2,648 Canadian dollars.

Fraser hoped that her music would give hope to other youth in Nunavut, where Inuit death by suicide is up to 25 times higher than the Canadian average. Tragically, hopelessness overtook her as well. 

Despite all this, Saint-Marie still has supporters in Canada. One is the Piapot family that claimed her as an adult. The family had previously signed affidavits that she had been born on their reserve.

Another key supporter has been the National Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation, a private nonprofit that oversees 50 million Canadian dollars in funds dedicated to Sixties Scoop survivors. The Sixties Scoop, incidentally, began about 10 years after Sainte-Marie was born.

“If she is not even a Canadian citizen, that is hugely problematic,” Crystal Semaganis, a Scoop survivor who has called for the resignation of the foundation’s board members, told me. 

“There’s a lot of records, many records, that exist for children that were scooped. If you are a status Indian and scooped from a reserve you exist in a very special index in Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Every child who is scooped remained in an Indian registrar by birthday only. That is how we can go at 18 and get our status back.”

Of course, if Sainte-Marie is telling the truth, the easiest method for her to prove it would be to take a supervised DNA test with her Massachusetts family. That doesn’t appear likely to happen.

On Monday, nearly a month after the CBC report, “Carry It Home,” the documentary that set me on this path of discovering Sainte-Marie’s true origins, won an International Emmy. The film’s Anishinaabe executive producer Lisa Meeches thanked the Creator and elders in her acceptance speech. She also thanked Sainte-Marie saying, “Buffy, thank you, thank you, thank you. She’s lifting us all up where we belong, each and every person in this room.”

Do I feel uplifted by Buffy Sainte-Marie? To where I belong?

No. I feel betrayed and let down.

Sainte-Marie’s music allegedly helped answer our problem of Native invisibility. Her fame created a space for our voices to be heard. She proudly told interviewers in 1964 that her song, “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone,” drew attention to the flooding of Seneca land by the Kinzua Dam — something unnoticed by most New Yorkers.

My husband’s grandfather, a Mohawk Bear Clan Chief from Six Nations, was a leader in the protests against the building of that dam. My mother-in-law remembers standing in the cold day after day to fight the dam as a young teen.

The land was flooded anyway.

Does professional redface help us, really? I’m not so sure.

Jacqueline Keeler is a Diné/Dakota writer living in Portland, Ore., and the author of “Standing Rock, the Bundy Movement, and the American Story of Sacred Lands.”

(SF Chronicle)

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The chief by Jane Head (Randy Burke)

* * *


by Byron Spooner

That Friday, the day Kennedy was assassinated, a day most Americans my age remember vividly, Robin had to fill me in on why we’d been dismissed early while we were walking home from Whittier Elementary.

“The president’s been shot,” she said, all braids and saddle shoes, “Weren’t you listening?”

Robin liked to know everything and she made a big point of paying attention in class. “Your friend Robin,” my father would say, “she doesn’t miss a thing.”

“Is he dead?” I said. I was wearing, like every other goofy-looking kid in the state of New Jersey, a hand-me-down short-sleeved shirt I was supposed to grow into and a light brown zip -up jacket with a pizza stain on the cuff.

“Probably. I don’t think they’d send us home if he was only wounded.”

On TV, guys got shot all the time and turned out, usually after the commercial, to be ‘only wounded.’ They’d get up off the floor and go right back at it— ‘It’s only a scratch’ they’d say—so I guessed Robin was right as usual.

“What’re we supposed to do about it?” I said.

“Nothing,” she said in the annoyed tone she’d developed, and apparently practiced, to use exclusively on me.

“Then why did they send us home?”

“I don’t know,” she said, same tone.

“My father curses every time Kennedy comes on,” I said.

“Your father curses at everything,” she said and I guessed she had a point.


Miss Barnwell had been busily chirping and clucking to her three or four favorite third graders, all of them girls, stringing our classroom with orange crepe paper streamers and tacking up cardboard turkeys and pilgrim hats. Debbie Traill—an enthusiastic wagon master on the President’s New Frontier, determined to change the world for the better before the school year ended, and chief among Miss Barnwell’s pets—was helping her, getting the classroom ready for Thanksgiving, a big holiday on every nine-year-old’s calendar. She and her tiny front-row cohort showed up early most mornings and stayed late afternoons to help her. Something even Robin wouldn’t do.

By that point in the year, late November, I’d managed to tune out both Debbie’s cheerful brown-nosing and Miss Barnwell’s drone almost completely—in my little world no small accomplishment—

and was so lost gazing out the window that when the voice of the principal, Mrs. Curb, crackled onto the Depression-era PA, Debbie barely got my attention by dropping her end of a crepe-paper streamer, going white, and plopping into Miss Barnwell’s wide-bottomed chair with a wrenching cry of despair. Mrs. Curb could’ve been announcing an unplanned assembly, a surprise duck-and-cover drill, or a full-scale A-bomb attack, and it wouldn’t have registered with me. All I knew was Miss Barnwell—“Old Iron Tits” me and my friends in the back of the room called her— had for once stopped her incessant bustling and bright, pointless twittering and that Debbie was suddenly being fanned and fussed over like a distressed queen by her worried-faced ladies-in-waiting.


Earlier in the Fall, at their last parent-teacher conference, Miss Barnwell had told my mother that the main reason my grades weren’t better was I didn’t pay attention in class.

“He’s not stupid, but he lives in a dream world,” she’d said. It was not the first time my mother had heard this.

“Oh, bullshit,” my father’d said that evening, with a degree of pride, “she singles him out because he’s a smart ass. Just like his old man.” They made my mother attend parent-teacher conferences by herself since the time, a couple years back, he’d shouted at my kindergarten teacher, “Of course he’s ‘immature,’ he’s five years old for fuck’s sake.”


Most afternoons, Robin and I would plop in front of the TV and snicker through the Mickey Mouse Club and comb through her mother’s Harold Robbins novellas, looking for the dirty parts, but that day, when we turned the last corner, we saw my mother and Robin’s mother, who usually hardly spoke to each other, and a bunch of the other neighbors, standing out on the sidewalk talking among themselves despite the chill in the air. I could tell by the way they were standing they were talking about important things. Some of them had been crying. Some still were. My mother’s best friend, Mrs. Kaplan, from down the street was bawling with abandon, covering her face with her handkerchief. She was the neighborhood Democratic Party leader—‘The local ward heeler,’ my father called her. Old Mrs. Greenhouse, who had recently caused a neighborhood-wide hubbub by painting her house lavender with purple trim, slipped her arm around her shoulders, trying to comfort her.

My mother was even talking to Mrs. Scarpella from across the street. She never talked to any of the Scarpellas, except to berate Mrs. Scarpella about the latest crap her bullying lummox son, Anton, had gotten up to. My standing instructions had always been to retreat into the house immediately if I saw any of the Scarpellas out wandering around. This time, obviously, was different. The Scarpellas were devout Catholics who constructed a Disneyland-scale creche on their lawn every Christmas, complete with a lit-from-within baby Jesus and three life-sized camels, and had Kennedy stickers all over their car.

“Poor Jackie,” she wailed, turning back to my mother, “and those poor, poor children.” She clutched her rosary beads to her bosom.

I tried to come up with a joke—something about how could the Kennedys be fabulously rich and poor at the same time?—but I couldn’t get it to work. If my father had been there, he’d have come up with something and you could bet it would have been funny.

But my father was still in the city, looking for work, or, more likely, sitting in a bar somewhere.

“He’s on his way home right now,” my mother said as if to reassure everyone, “everybody in the city’s heard about it already, probably before us. He called.”

“My mother says Kennedy was a bad man and I’m glad he’s dead,” Carrie Flowers, another nine-year-old who lived a couple blocks away, said as she went past.

“No matter what you think of the man, you should never wish anyone dead,” my mother corrected her, taking her by the arm and detaining her for a second, “Go home and ask your mother how she feels about it now, I’ll bet you get a different answer.”

“He was a ba-a-ad man,” she taunted over her shoulder as she headed for home.

Mrs. Scarpella blocked her way, bending over nearly double so she could look Carrie right in the face as she went by.

“Git outta heah, ya snotty little twat,” she snarled, bluffing a step in the girl’s direction and raising her right as if to deliver a backhand.


The weekend passed with the whole family—me, my brother and sister, my father and mother—in front of the TV, watching a series of events each more astounding and unimaginable than its predecessor. The whole time my mother never once yelled at us to turn the damned thing off as she normally would have. Life had stopped all over the country, said the reports, some people went to church Sunday but mostly everyone else— “The intelligent ones,” my father called them— stayed indoors.

My father’s business partner, Garnett, and his wife, Eva, were over, watching with us. Garnett and my father were launching yet another of their non-profits—American Truths, American Triumphs, this time—to fund building a kindergarten in Havana that would teach American History and English to Cuban children, if it ever got off the ground.. No one, outside of the two of them, was sure where the little money they were raising was going but so far not a spadeful of ground had been turned anywhere within Cuba’s borders and it had been the better part of a year. They hadn’t gotten around to filing the paperwork with the government either.

“These things take time,” my father always said when someone, usually my mother or Eva, pointed this kind of stuff out.

It turned out Eva had voted for Kennedy. Which came as news to my father. And to Garnett, apparently. My father looked at her as if she’d just confessed to having it off with Alger Hiss.

“I liked Kennedy,” Eva said brightly, as if he had left the room a minute before, “So handsome and dashing. Nixon reminded me of my sister’s ex-husband, I never liked the guy.”

“He is a shifty bastard,” Garnett said.

“Which one?” my father asked, “Nixon or the ex?”

“Both, though I was talking about my brother-in-law. I voted for Nixon; I didn’t care how shifty he was.”


My mother was warming pastrami in a double-boiler to make sandwiches from a loaf of supermarket rye bread. We kids milled around in anticipation, smelling the meat as it warmed when Dad erupted in the living room.

“Oh, my God, they’ve shot him!”

We all tumbled back into the living room and reassembled around the grainy black-and-white image of the man named Oswald doubling over, over and over again. My little brother started to cry. A few minutes later Robin came running in to tell us she’d seen Oswald get shot on the TV in her parents’ room. Apparently she was so obsessed with the whole spectacle they’d sent her upstairs, so she’d be out of their hair. I told her we’d already seen it.

“It was disgusting,” she said, “The most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”

Mother didn’t have to invite Robin to stick around for lunch; she just stayed.

“My mother buys our pastrami at Ratner’s,” Robin told her, “She says it’s leaner than the crap they sell at Foodtown.”

“Well, we’re having the crap from Foodtown today. You’re welcome to some as long as you’re not compromising your high standards.”

We ate around the cocktail table, something none of us could ever remember doing before. My father liked to call it the ‘cocktail table’ instead of the ‘coffee table’ like the rest of the world. He said it sounded classier.

We kept watching all day Saturday and on into Sunday. Nobody went to school or work on Monday, the day of the funeral. We didn’t want to miss anything, we kept watching even though they kept showing the same stuff over and over again: The President lying in his coffin with a line filing slowly past; boots, backwards in the stirrups of a black horse; the boy, saluting; the grave.

I always thought people didn’t die until they wanted to. I figured Kennedy knew he was going to get shot when he went to Dallas and figured there wasn’t anything anyone could do, so what the hell.

“That’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Robin said in that tone she had.


On Tuesday, after the funeral, my mother lined us up in the living room, the three of us in a row on the couch. We were in our jackets, all set to head off to school. My father had left for the city twenty minutes earlier. We looked at each other; this was only the latest strange thing that had happened over an extremely strange weekend.

“Now, I want you kids to be careful for the next few days. I know you’ve heard a lot of things around this house, especially from your father and Uncle Garnett, about what’s been going on. I want you all to remember—not everyone agrees with your father and the things he says. I want you to be careful what you say for the next few weeks. It would probably be better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing. I’m only saying take it easy, let people mourn and get over this. All right? Understand?”

We sat there glumly, nodding, getting hot and sweating in our heavy clothes.

“All right, give mommy a kiss.”


When I got to school, Debbie Traill and her little gang of toadies were already there, helping Old Iron Tits hang the streamers they’d left dangling and the Pilgrim hats and the turkeys they’d abandoned, still furled, on the teacher’s desk. They seemed bent on finishing the project, as if the success of all our Thanksgivings depended on getting the job right. Even though it would probably be, as Debbie called it, ” the saddest Thanksgiving in the history of America.”


Later in January two men came to the door right after dinner. My mother immediately shooed us upstairs.

“Go on, scoot.”

We were already in our pajamas; it was the dead of winter and black and ground-frozen outside. The men wore suits and ties under their overcoats.

I got into bed even though it was early for me. I waited a minute or so, hoping to hear the conversation from my bed, but it was too far away. I crawled soundlessly from under the covers and across the floor to the top of the stairs. I laid on the floor and hung my head at the triangle where the stairs met the living room ceiling. From there I could watch and listen undetected.

They sat around the cocktail table on the couch, leaning forward from the edges of their seats, huddled elbows on knees, not casual at all. My father in his chair.

No one had a drink, though my father offered.

“The letters started coming in, when?” the older one was saying. They had various-sized pieces of paper and envelopes, torn open, spread on the cocktail table between them.

“Oh, pretty much the next day,” my mother said, “the day after the letter was in the paper.”

“And the phone calls?”

“That evening, suppertime,” my mother said.

“So, as soon as the paper was delivered, the calls started, and there had never been anything like this before that evening?” the younger one said.

“Never,” my father said..

“You didn’t call anyone?”

“We thought it would blow over,” my mother said, “Though I thought the whole idea of sending a letter like that to the paper was pretty misguided.” ‘Misguided’ was one of her favorite words, especially useful when it came to dealing with my father and his various ‘shenanigans.’ His ‘schemes.’

“I talked to them at the Post Office and they didn’t seem particularly interested,” my father said.

“On the contrary,” the older one said, “It was Mr. Mueller down there who contacted the Bergen County Field Office about this.”

“Well, the cops didn’t do a Goddammed thing when we finally did call. Those bastards…” my father said.

“One of the officers said not to sit in front of the window, that they know where he sits, they can see him through the window,” my mother said.

“Like I said, ‘no Goddammed help,’” my father said.

“This was one of the callers?” the younger man said.

“Uh-huh. I mean, yes,” my mother said with a look at my father that said, ‘Shut up already.’

“Well, they were right; keep your drapes closed, the way you have them now, day and night. When we came up the walk we looked things over and those drapes don’t let much through. No one from outside can see enough to…” the younger one said.

The older one said, “You should change your number to an unlisted one right away and only give it to people you know and tell them not to give it to anyone else. We’ll talk to New Jersey Bell and put them on notice that this is going on, that’ll expedite things, that’s all we can do there.”

“They’ll probably figure out a way to charge me extra, knowing those sonsofbitches,” my father muttered.

“What about the car? They said…” my mother again.

“Was that a call? One of the letters?”

“A letter,” my father said. He shuffled through the papers, found it, and handed it to the older man.

“Sometimes we can get fingerprints off these, but not very often,” he said, “besides, this usually isn’t the work of anyone we have in our files. It’s usually normal, solid citizen-types going a little off the rails,” the older one said.

“Keep the car in the garage and keep the garage door locked,” the younger man said, talking over his partner, “If it doesn’t lock, fix it so it will.”

“You can hardly open the doors as it is,” my mother said rolling her eyes, “they stick so.”

My father had driven his Buick Roadmaster into the garage doors one night when he came home late. Not enough to wreck them but enough that they never lined up quite right again.

“We’ll go to the police station after we’re through here and arrange to have them run some extra patrols past here, keep an eye on the place, especially after dark.”

“The police seem to think he hated Kennedy or something, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” my mother said. I almost laughed but didn’t want to give away my position.

“Those bastards were no help at all. They laughed at us, treated us like we were the ones in the wrong.”

“We’ll make sure they’re a little more helpful in the future,” the older one said, “no matter how they feel about you, that’s what we’re here for, partly at least. We’ll talk to the Captain or the Lieutenant down there. Whoever’s in charge.”

My father gave them a look that said, “I’ll believe that when I see it.”

“What about the kids?” my mother asked.

“Some of the other children are bullying them, threatening them,” my father said.


Indeed, Anton Scarpella had kicked my little brother’s ass pretty thoroughly the day after they printed the letter but drawing an airtight correlation between the two was a job since Anton generally beat up some kid or another in the neighborhood at least once a week and usually for no particular reason. I’d written an assignment on the assassination echoing some of the stuff my father had put in the letter and after Old Iron Tits read it for the class Debbie Traill said she would never speak to me again. She never talked to anyone but ‘A’ students anyway, so it was hard to detect any difference before-or-after. Robin laughed as she told me her mother didn’t want her ‘palling around’ with me anymore. Robin’d told her to mind her own beeswax—something I never would’ve dared to say to my mother—and she went on as always, doing whatever she pleased. Palling around to her heart’s content. Putting ‘palling around’ into every sentence she could conceivably stuff it into.


“Talk to the principal tomorrow. Tell him what’s going on…” the older one said.

“…her…” my mother blurted, as though it was important.

“…tell her what’s going on. You might want to keep them out of school a week or so until this blows over, he…she…might even recommend that.”

They talked some more, going over details. They all sounded and looked worried.

“Look, I was only trying to make a point about the way we talk about this thing,” my father said, “About getting our terminology right. The Record edited it in a slanted and unfair fashion until it was robbed of its original meaning. They changed the punctuation, left parts of it out.”

“Still, did you really think you could write a letter like that, at a time like this, and not provoke a reaction?” the younger of the two asked.

“Well, yes. I…I thought I’d get a reaction, certainly, along the lines of angry letters to the paper, shit like that. I never expected anything like this.”

The two men got up to leave, their hats in their hands. My mother and father thanked them; they said all the expected stuff about just doing their jobs.

“It seems to me people used to be more civil to each other,” my father said.

“Well, I don’t know about that,” the older one said. “In this job we see both the good and the bad side-by-side all the time.”

“I mean as opposed to years ago,” my father said. “It seems things have coarsened.”

“I know,” the older guy said, “it does seem that way sometimes.”

“A lot of the time,” the other one said.

I crawled back to bed and fell asleep thinking of what Robin would say about these two men when we walked to school in the morning, how envious she’d be. It was a good bet the FBI had never been to her house.

* * *

ROY CAMPANELLA...November 19, 1921 – June 26, 1993.....

Campy tagging out Richie Ashburn

* * *


by Mark Scaramella

Probing obscure episodes in American History has become a hobby of ours. A rich and fascinating trove of amazing quirks and coincidences can be found in the life story of Thomas Paine alone: His time as a member of the French parliament which ended up getting him sentenced to death during The Terror, his then barely escaping the guillotine; his sparking the Louisiana Purchase upon returning from France, thus avoiding a war with France; his refusal to accept any of the proceeds of his life’s writing work, turning it all over to the nascent American government, only to discover that most of it was stolen by his printer; his time as a soldier in the Revolutionary War; his life of near poverty in the interest of the country he adopted but never was citizen of; his energetic advocacy of universal suffrage, universal healthcare, abolition, public education, property and progressive income taxes, social security, … way before others jumped on those bandwagons; his betrayal by the ungrateful Founding Fathers who had most depended on his revolutionary writings, some of them even calling him “dangerous”; and perhaps the most interesting (to us), his short and controversial tenure as America’s first Secretary of State. (During the Revolutionary War, before the Constitution was ratified, Paine was appointed Secretary to the Continental Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Philadelphia, which seldom met, meaning he ran the important office most of the time before it later became part of the Cabinet).

Conventional shallow histories of that time don’t provide enough detail (or fairness) about the time when the highly principled (some would say “radical”) Paine outed a Revolutionary War profiteer and spy named Silas Deane for profiteering off of a complicated deal that Deane had inserted himself into to secretly provide vital French war materiel to George Washington’s Continental Army. But that’s a story for another time.

Among Deane’s side schemes while in France that Paine became aware of was the selling of high-ranking officer commissions in the Continental Army to wealthy retired French officers on his own. Deane didn’t know art from artillery so most of whom were unqualified, to put it mildly. There were a few like Lafayette, who were pretty good. But he only got his commission as a 19-year old Major General by first volunteering to be an unpaid private, thus demonstrating his commitment to the Revolutionary cause.

As early as December 2, 1775, Congress had asked Deane’s Secret Committee in France to find four “able and skillful engineers” for the Continental Army. But Deane went far beyond his authority in making contracts with foreign officers who wanted, and would pay for, Continental commissions. Deane had no qualifications for sorting out real soldiers from mere opportunists, but went right ahead and sent a stream of ambitious French officers to Philadelphia for duty. When Paine noticed how many were arriving in Philadelphia, he became suspicious of what Deane was really up to in France.

A few of these officers were competent, most notably the self-proclaimed “Baron” Johann de Kalb and the Marquis de Lafayette (Gilbert du Montier), but most of them barely rose above the level of blowhards. South Carolina slave trader and rice plantation owner Congressional representative Henry Laurens (who later succeeded John Hancock as President of the Continental Congress) wrote that Deane apparently “would not say nay to any Frenchman who called himself Count or Chevalier” and solicited (i.e., bought) a high commission in the American army.

Benjamin Franklin was also in France at the time and at first tried to explain the excessive commissions this way:

“Frequently if a man has no useful talents, is good for nothing and burdensome to his relations, or is indiscreet, profilgate and extravagant, they are glad to get rid of him by sending him to the other end of the world.”

Anyway, soon after Deane started selling high-ranking commissions, the parade of French officers started appearing in Philadelphia (some even appeared at George Washington’s field tent) demanding assignment, raising significant eyebrows. Neither Washington nor his command staff wanted them. Most didn’t speak English well or at all, couldn’t do an officer’s primary job — recruit soliders into regiments — and didn’t know the land or the maps. Not only that, but Washington’s own officers didn’t much appreciate the idea of a hoity-toity Frenchman suddenly becoming their superior officer. 

Imagine George Washington sitting at his camp desk in New Jersey as a foppish French officer in full regalia strides right through his door flap, slaps some paperwork on his desk, snaps to attention, and asks for an assignment. Imagine the second one, the third…

“I do most devoutly wish that we had not a single Foreigner among us,” grumbled Washington, “except the Marquis de la Fayette who acts upon very different principles than those which govern the rest.”

Perhaps the most notorious example was Philippe du Coudray, grandly appointed commander of the Continental Army’s artillery by Deane in France. Upon arrival in Philadelphia with his retinue, the pompous du Coudray impressed Congress with his self-promoting rhetoric and self-serving resume. So the Continental Congress ratified him as a Major General with seniority that raised him in rank over several senior American generals, including Washington’s top artiillery officer Henry Knox, fresh off his leadership and ingenuity which expelled the British fleet from Boston Harbor. Knox was unhappy, to say the least. Knox and his American colleagues recoiled at the appointment and challenged it vigorously. Not only was du Coudray very full of himself, he arrived accompanied by a cadre of more than 20 other commissioned retired French officers who had also paid Deane for Continental Army commissions. They all expected to be rapturously greeted by the Americans. 

Knox and his colleagues complained to Washington and Congress and threatened to resign. But just before the affair elicited mass artillery resignations, du Coudray, “a poor judge of men and horses,” according to his critic Knox, “rode into the Ferry Boat [across the Schuylkil River] and out at the other end into the River, and was drowned.” (His defenders said his horse was spooked and he got tangled up in the stirrups.)

Either way, Washington breathed a sigh of relief. But the problem wasn’t solved.

Washington soon wrote a letter to the Continental Congress asking them to tell Deane to cut it out. 

In his first letter Washington wrote, “I am exceedingly embarrassed how to dispose of these French Officers in General, but more especially the Artillery Officers, who are come out under the sanction of a compact. I can think of no other way than that of forming a seperate Corps of them and draughting Men from the whole Line to compose that Corps; but even this will be attended with many disagreable effects—among others, and this is not the least, that our officers will think themselves much injured to have the Men they have taken the trouble of raising taken from them and given to others. There is something in this which is discouraging and breaks the Spirit of a good Officer who prides himself in having a full and compleat Corps.”

When nothing was done and the French officers kept coming, Washington wrote a second, more strongly worded, letter. 

“The distress I am laid under by the application of French officers for commissions in our service — this evil is a growing one. They are coming from old France and the islands. They seldom bring more than a commission and a passport which, as we know, may belong to a bad as well as a good officer. Their ignorance in our language and their inability to recruit men are insurmountable obstacles to their being engrafted into our Continental battalions. Our officers, who have raised their men and have served through the war on pay that has hitherto not borne their expenses, would be disgusted if foreigners were put over their heads. What does Congress expect me to do with the many foreigners who have been promoted at different times to the rank of field officers [majors and colonels]? These men have no attachment nor ties to the Country, they are ignorant of the language they are to receive and give orders in, and our Officers think it is exceedingly hard to have strangers put over them whose merit is mostly not equal to their own, but whose effrontery will take no denial!”

With this, the Continental Congress finally took action and issued an order saying that only George Washington could issue commissions to foreign officers. What became of the French officers who were already here is lost to history; most of them probably ended up back in France.

* * *


  1. George Hollister November 26, 2023


    I have had the same problem with Acorn Woodpeckers. My resolution of the problem came in having better options for them to store acorns. In my case that option was Douglas fir snags, but any large snag will work. The snags provide both a place to store acorns, and an easy place to nest. Snags can be created by girdling a large tree. Another good option for storing acorns is in the bark of Redwood trees.

    I realize these options are of limited value on one acre parcels or less, but on five acre wooded parcels, and larger, these options might work. Are there any Douglas fir trees growing with your oak trees?

  2. Bernie Norvell November 26, 2023


    This storm has been brewing for some time and I have not seen much in the way of preparing for it. I also don’t see much in the way of any new information in the report. If your sales tax and TOT are down significantly maybe the issue is simply folks don’t want to come here and spend. So ask yourself why. Is your downtown on the upswing or downward spiral? What is being done to improve the situation. Do locals and tourists feel safe shopping in your community?

    There is no money for raises in the Budget because raises weren’t put in the budget. Why wasn’t any level of a cola figured into the budget and work from there. Contracts are never unforeseen, they are either planned for or they are not. “Priorities are being placed on public safety employees”, that is the top priority in the California state constitution that we all swear to uphold. There are no brownie points for doing your job, it’s your job. “County vehicle, overhead, and utility cost will continue to increase” We have heard discussions around cost saving methods but not much action. Talking about ways to reduce costs is the first step but not the last step. Make it a priority and make change, get started yesterday!

    I cannot speak for Ukiah or Willits on water issues but Fort Bragg made it a priority. When this happens staff makes it a priority as well and things move forward. Of course other things get tabled but that’s how prioritization works. We do hire outside consultants to help with studies and such but for the most part our public works department of 3-4 employees gets it done with full support of council.

    Set your goals and priorities and go to work. Make the tough decisions and stand by them. Get started yesterday and keep grinding. Remember, there are no brownie points for doing your job.

    “If you can see the writing on the wall, read it”. Cas smith

    • Stephen Dunlap November 26, 2023


    • Scott Ward November 26, 2023

      Spot on Bernie. The new Ukiah downtown streetscape certainly is a stark contrast to and accentuates the vacant store fronts, the desperate advertising using sandwich signs to clutter the sidewalk, the unabated graffiti everywhere, the mentally ill and bums walking the streets intimidating women and kids, the dilapidated tottering Palace Hotel, the older hotels being used for prostitution and junkie gatherings, shootings on Observatory Street, and on and on. Why would anyone want to spend their tourist dollars in inland Mendocino County? This rapidly approaching county budget train wreck has been a long time coming, and only the wilfully ignorant can feign surprise when the offal hits the fan.

  3. Adam Gaska November 26, 2023

    We put up hummingbird feeders to attract hummingbirds which are very territorial and chase the woodpeckers away.

  4. Lazarus November 26, 2023

    “I cannot speak for Ukiah or Willits on water issues but Fort Bragg made it a priority. ”

    Willits made water a priority decades ago. There are recent wells, and Willits built a reservoir to its south in the 80s.
    If Willits goes dry, everybody is screwed…
    Be well,

  5. Harvey Reading November 26, 2023

    Fiscal Cliff

    More wingnut blather. Just raise the tax rate on the wealthy scum back to where it should have been all along: 90 percent. And, throw in an 80 percent rate on those making more than $200K per annum..

    • peter boudoures November 26, 2023

      Tax 80% on over 200k? You have to make 300k to buy a home in most of California. Tax 90% on over 10mil and those companies will spend like crazy before tax season thus boosting the economy.

  6. Marmon November 26, 2023

    Fired CNN host Don Lemon just said that Michelle Obama is much “better looking” than Melania Trump. Of course he would believe this, he’s gay.


    • Harvey Reading November 26, 2023

      And with what appellation do you deign to identify those of us who agree with Lemon but aren’t homosexual? Or those of us who don’t really give a sh-t which one is prettier?

  7. Jim Armstrong November 26, 2023

    Who made up that Gravelly Valley memory?

  8. Marmon November 26, 2023

    “Has anybody noticed that Hamas has returned people from other Countries but, so far, has not returned one American Hostage? There is only one reason for that, NO RESPECT FOR OUR COUNTRY OR OUR LEADERSHIP. This is a very sad and dark period of America!”

    -Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump


    • Harvey Reading November 26, 2023

      Gee, whadda shock. How could the US expect any respect whatsoever with the crap we elect, at all levels of guvamint, and the lies we tell to justify our wars, every one of them, since the end of second war of the world? And, we most always side with monsters, like the Zionist savages.

  9. Word November 26, 2023

    It’s official (I think).

    Español has introduced a gender neutral way of writing friend, for example. No longer ‘amiga’ for her, nor ‘amigo’ for him…it is now amige…the letter ‘e’ replaces both sexes.

    • Gary Smith November 27, 2023

      It’s “amigue”, which is all well and good but it will never fly. Every single noun has a gender. It’s going to be a busy week for “español”. How will they deal with niña and niño? Novio and novia? Esposo and esposa? Adoption will be slow I predict.

      • Word November 27, 2023

        Me thinks the replacement letter should be ‘u’. It works.

        Plus, the newly created words, with ‘u’ , sound like terms of endearment (a word or phrase expressing love or affection).


        • Gary Smith November 27, 2023

          Could work! I’ve been scoffing at the idea for a long time thinking it couldn’t possibly. However I would think the use of any of these constructions would lead the reader to immediately wonder about the gender of the person so referred to, like I do when someone mentions a partner. Just can’t help it

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