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Mendocino County Today: Sunday 2/25/24

Mostly Sunny | Octopus Hill | Girl Missing | District Map | Yard Sign | Ukiah Water | Woodchips | Ukiah Champs | Requesting Privacy | Matricide/Arson | David Nelson | Raven Pair | Burglemeister Brennen | AV Events | Pet Reggie | Fish Passage | Lewd Dude | Oak Tree | VSO History | Java House | AT&T Comments | Copper Lines | Cliff Crack | Wild Beauty | Ed Notes | Monica Delivers | Internalization | Yesterday's Catch | Silent Chanting | Rooftop Brunch | Marco Radio | Ka-Bam | AI Obvious | Legal Weed | City Lights | Remembering KSAN | Aerial States | Commander Biden | Stressed Age | Considered Person | Salekhard Airport | Edna Millay | Waffle House

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DRY WEATHER is forecast to prevail through Sunday, though isolated showers may occur this evening across the southern and eastern interior. A swift moving cold front will bring a chance of rain and mountain snow on Monday, followed by cooler temperatures and blustery northerly winds. A series of storms will bring an increasing risk for strong winds, heavy rain and mountain snow mid to late next week. Cold, wet and unsettled weather conditions are forecast for next weekend. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): I had a very summer like 73F at 4pm yesterday. On the coast this Sunday morning I have a partly cloudy 43. Another lovely day is forecast for today before temps start dropping tomorrow. Colder temps this week then rain returns Wednesday night for a few days.

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Octopus Hill, Boonville

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A 12-year-old Willits girl is missing and her family is concerned that she could possibly be in the custody of a mentally unstable family member. Authorities are investigating.

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Check your Mendocino County Supervisorial District. You can type in your address or zoom/pan. If you are in District 1 and do not see Adam Gaska, Carrie Shattuck, Madeline Cline, Trevor Mockel on your ballot, you likely have the wrong ballot and should contact the elections office. Please feel free to contact me or Supervisor McGourty if you're unable to reach elections.

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Millview County Water District, Redwood Valley County Water District, and the City of Ukiah took a series of votes this week to consolidate their water districts into a new joint powers authority. The Ukiah Valley Water Authority (UVWA) will provide more efficient and reliable water service throughout the region. Additionally, the agreement allows UVWA to potentially access millions in state grant funding to modernize water infrastructure throughout the Ukiah Valley, building new interties and upgrading pipelines where needed.

UVWA integrates the governance and water infrastructure of Millview County Water District and Redwood Valley County Water District with the City of Ukiah. This will provide access for residents and businesses within Millview and Redwood Valley to eventually have access to more reliable water supplies. The lack of water reliability has limited the local economy and imposed restrictions on residential development that is needed to meet housing demands. But with infrastructure modernization and increased coordination, UVWA will be able to move water from where it is available to where it is needed.

“Today’s vote marks a historic turning point for the Greater Ukiah Valley and sets the stage for a more resilient water future for the region. The creation of the Ukiah Valley Water Authority creates a foundation that we will build on – showing how strategic coordination will bring significant benefits for water users across the region,” said Ukiah City Council Member Douglas Crane.

As part of the consolidation effort, UVWA will be able to apply to the State Water Board for $40-50 million to fund the new infrastructure – including pipelines and interties, storage tanks, booster stations, and two new wells – needed to connect the agencies. Competitive grants from the State Water Board are available through its “Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience” (SAFER) Program, which encourages the consolidation of rural and small water systems (those least likely to afford necessary upgrades) as part of its mission to provide every Californian with safe drinking water. Before now, Ukiah Valley residents were served by no less than 12 water agencies and two different JPAs, from which nearly 70 board members made decisions on water policy.

“The consolidation of our water districts into a single entity is a move into the future. Our district has struggled to reliably supply water to our customers and maintain our infrastructure. This is an exciting opportunity to modernize and upgrade our systems,” said Adam Gaska, board member for Redwood Valley County Water District. “We look forward to further collaboration with the other districts and the City of Ukiah to face the challenges of today’s water landscape and better secure water resources for the greater community.”

“By creating this new consolidated structure for regional water management, the Ukiah Valley is maximizing access to resources and better positioning our communities to make it through highly variable water supply years and to navigate the challenges of the state’s legal framework for water access. We can now seek funding to upgrade outdated water systems and stand up a new approach to governance that protects local interests in the near and long term,” said Jerry Cardoza, board member for the Millview County Water District. “This is a golden opportunity we can’t pass up. Ratepayers in the participating districts will benefit from a more resilient and coordinated system.”

Staff for the Ukiah Valley Water Authority will be City of Ukiah employees, and eventually water bills for all the consolidated districts will come from the City. UVWA will ensure transparency, oversight, and fair representation for all its members – it will be governed initially by a six-member Board of Directors, with each member agency sending two representatives to serve on the Board. The Ukiah Valley Water Authority is different than annexation to the City – any future annexation would be an entirely separate process and would require review and approval by Mendocino County LAFCO. The Ukiah Valley Water Authority is focused on integrating the water systems to increase efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.

“The Ukiah Valley Water Authority will add much-needed water resiliency to our entire community across industries. In the face of climate change and the resulting drastic swings we are experiencing in hydrology – drought one year, floods the next – consolidating our efforts and combining our shared resources is how we ensure our future success,” said Mendocino County Supervisor Glenn McGourty. “Given the changes we can anticipate with the Potter Valley Project, integrating and coordinating our resources for water in Mendocino County is imperative. The Ukiah Valley Water Authority achieves exactly that, and I expect to see great things come out of it for our entire community.”

“We have been working with the State Water Board on water management issues for the region – ensuring that rules adequately reflect the unique nature of the Russian River Watershed as well as the water rights and water infrastructures assets that serve the area,” said Sean White, Director of Sewer and Water for the City of Ukiah. “Through the UVWA, we are in a position to access new grant funding to help connect the systems physically – that will put our region in a stronger position to work together on maximizing responsible use of water resources and secure a bright future.”

The Ukiah Valley Water Authority will hold its first meeting on March 5, 2024.

(City of Ukiah Presser)

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Woodchip Pile, Willits (Jeff Goll)

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NCS SOCCER: UKIAH BOYS TOP ARCHIE WILLIAMS 2-0 to secure 1st-ever section title

The fourth-seeded Wildcats blanked the visiting seventh seed in front of a huge crowd in Mendocino County on Friday night.

by Gus Morris

For the first time in school history, the Ukiah boys soccer team is a section champion.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats blanked visiting seventh seed Archie Williams 2-0 in front of a huge crowd in Mendocino County on Friday night, completing a historic run to capture the North Coast Section Division 3 title.

Rios Munoz scored both goals for Ukiah (16-3-4), one in the 22nd minute and the other in the 53rd, to secure the program’s first-ever section title in the school’s 131-year history.

“It’s been a process,” said Ukiah head coach Shane Huff, a 1993 graduate of the school. “We got thumped my first couple years and we kept building and kept growing and now we’ve got our first championship.”

Ukiah, which has won 39 games and counting over the past three seasons, had won just eight games in the four years prior to Huff taking over, and they continued to struggle in his first few years at the helm. But their fortunes slowly started to change over the past few seasons.

The Wildcats won back-to-back league titles in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons and made it to the NCS quarterfinals and then semifinals leading into this year. Now, they’ve finally gotten over the hump.

“It feels great,” Huff said of the championship after years of struggle. “Those young men that were with me my very first year I was here, I told them that they’re part of the foundation of building something bigger. I told them, ‘Yes, we’re getting thumped right now, but we’re doing things the right way and we’re working hard and showing up and giving a good effort, and you’re part of the process.’ And now, each year those seniors and guys who went through our program helped put us where we are today. They can be super proud of that. They’re part of this championship.”

The Wildcats will play on into the CIF NorCal playoffs next week. They’ll find out their seeding and first-round opponent Sunday.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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On Tuesday morning, Feb. 20, there was a report of a fire and a missing woman on the east end of Little River Airport Rd, in Little River, from the online MendoFever. The last line of the story read This is a developing story and we will update as more information emerges. 

In addition, a friend on Facebook wrote that Linda Mercuiro had not shown up at the knitting group, and had not answered her phone – did anyone know where she was? People noted there was a large sheriff & fire presence on the very narrow road from Little River to the Comptche Ukiah Rd. & they were not let through but had to turn back and go another way. (This is my immediate neighborhood – my property, in the south east corner, borders this property at 39000 Little River Airport Rd.)

By the next day it was widely shared in Mendocino and surrounding towns that Linda was dead, killed by her son in a horrific way, and the house was completely demolished. The son was in custody. Nothing of this appeared on the MCN Listserv (the local “announce list” that is widely used by locals for rides, yard sales, road closures, rain amounts, political rants….anything and everything of interest by and for locals). Not one mention, although some regular posters live on this road. There has not been any follow up story on MendoFever & the original story is now far down on the page.

There has been no story on Facebook’s Mendocino Memorial page (Linda was a longtime resident and the property was known as the Pinkham property, her husband’s name). There have been no stories on KZYX or KZOT. There is nothing in the Ukiah Daily Journal, Press Democrat, or the Mendocino Beacon.

The only posting someone found, on Tuesday, 2/20, has been the page from the sheriff’s booking log for the son: Feb 20, 2024 at 10:10AM for murder. 

This would be an enormous story in any community, and we have been given no information. Naturally our volunteer firefighters and first responders cannot talk.

There has been a total news blackout on this horrendous event.

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On Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at approximately 07:40 A.M., personnel from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were requested at the scene of a structure fire in the 39000 block of Little River Airport Road in Little River. The request for law enforcement was made by fire personnel who were attempting to extinguish a multiple-story structure fire where it was believed the resident may still be inside the home.

Representatives from the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department were actively attempting to extinguish the fire when Sheriff's Office personnel arrived. The Sheriff's Office personnel were advised by the firefighters that the structure was unstable and too hot for search efforts to be conducted in the rubble. The multiple-story residence collapsed on itself due to the fire, making it difficult to fully extinguish the fire to safely commence search efforts.

Fire personnel also informed the Sheriff's Office personnel they were familiar with the resident of the property, who they identified as Linda Mercurio. The fire personnel stated Mercurio reportedly lived at the residence alone and her vehicle was at the scene and had burned during the fire. Mercurio was believed to be missing and possibly inside the residence at the time of the structure fire, which prompted the request for Sheriff's Office personnel to respond.

Fletcher Pinkham

Approximately five minutes prior to the arrival of Sheriff's Office personnel at the scene, fire personnel advised that Mercurio's adult son had exited the nearby wooded area in an altered state and appeared to need medical attention. Fire and medical personnel identified this subject as Fletcher Pinkham, 39, of Little River, who refused further medical treatment at the scene. 

Due to the suspicious nature of the circumstances at the scene, Pinkham was detained by Sheriff's deputies while the incident was investigated.

During the initial investigation, Sheriff's Office representatives searched the wooded area where Pinkham was found by fire personnel. Sheriff's Office personnel located firearms, ammunition, clothing and personal belongings, and a vehicle that were all believed to belong to Pinkham. Based on the evidence located at the scene and nearby wooded area, investigators determined a violent interaction had occurred between Pinkham and his mother, Mercurio. It was also believed based on this evidence and statements provided by Pinkham that Mercurio was shot and killed and the fire was intentionally set to destroy evidence and conceal the violent nature of the crime committed against Mercurio.

It was determined that probable cause existed to arrest Pinkham for Murder, and Use of a firearm during the commission of a felony resulting in death. Pinkham was ultimately transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on $1,000,000 bail.

Further search efforts in the wooded area surrounding the residence were conducted with the assistance of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team. The residence was described as a 4-story wood-framed structure, on a cinder block perimeter foundation with a concrete slab. The structure had collapsed into the basement and a large amount of smoldering rubble was still burning at the scene. Fire personnel estimated it would take numerous days of cooling and firefighting efforts to safely search through the debris for Mercurio's remains.

Sheriff's Office personnel maintained scene security for multiple days and requested the assistance of additional fire personnel and experts from the Chico State University Forensic Anthropology Department to assist with searching through the rubble. The Sheriff's Office also requested an arson investigator from the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority to also assist with this case.

During the morning of Friday, February 23, 2024, Sheriff's Office and fire personnel were able to safely search the remaining rubble of the structure with the experts from Chico State University. After multiple hours of systematically searching the rubble, law enforcement personnel were able to locate and recover remains they believed were Mercurio. Additional testing and examination will be necessary to confirm the identification of the remains, but the legal next of kin for Mercurio was informed of the findings and circumstances of this investigation.

The Sheriff's Office does not believe anyone else was involved or assisted Pinkham during the crimes committed against Mercurio during this investigation. Anyone with further information regarding Pinkham or this case, is requested to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at 707-463-4086. Information can also be reported anonymously by calling the Sheriff's Office tip line at 707-234-2100.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the following organizations for their assistance with this investigation: Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department, CalFire, CalFire Prevention Officers, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue volunteers, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority arson investigator, and the Chico State University Forensic Anthropology Department.

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by Mike Geniella

A community gathering is planned for March 30 in honor of the late Mendocino County Superior Court Judge David E. Nelson, a man whose towering presence helped reshape the county’s legal, political and cultural landscapes.

Nelson’s death Feb. 17 at age 77 has sparked an outpouring of sympathy and respect for a man widely known for his keen intellect, courtroom compassion, and kind manner that extended from family, friends, and colleagues to the least fortunate.

Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman, a close associate and friend of Nelson’s, has practiced law for 37 years, and is mourning his passing.

“I’ve never had another colleague like Dave, and his combination of commitment to justice, his understanding of the law, and his instinct for the human condition. I probably never will,” said Moorman.

Mendocino Coast attorney Steve Antler, a friend of Nelson’s for four decades, recalled shopping with Nelson in a local supermarket when an unexpected encounter captured the essence of the judge’s impact on others in the courtroom.

“Two people walked up to him and reminded Dave they had been defendants in his drug court. They thanked him profusely, and told him ‘You saved our lives’,” said Antler. “It was clear to me at that moment how the essence of his being was trying to help people have a good life.”

Nelson, a Minnesota native, moved to Mendocino County in the early 1970s after graduating from Stanford University and receiving his law degree from Yale Law School. He was part of an influx of newcomers to the county a half century ago who shifted the political dynamics of a then rural conservative county, and infused communities with new appreciation of alternative education, the arts, and social mores.

Nelson and his then wife Phyllis Webb bought land in the hills out on Low Gap Road west of Ukiah, and with the help of friends in 1974 built a house to live. They entered into a land partnership with Gina Campbell and Billy Jamison which remains in force today between the two families, and their four grown children. 

Nelson’s career as a criminal defense lawyer began to surge after he became involved in some major cases, and the county became the center of the outlaw marijuana industry that sank deep roots in the so-called “Emerald Triangle.” Nelson had a solo law practice, but he often worked in tandem with some of the best known criminal defense attorneys in Northern California: Moorman, Susan B. Jordan, J. Tony Serra, Chris Andrian, and Richard Petersen. Nelson’s public posts from that era proclaiming “Busted?” were legendary. 

Even though Nelson and wife Phyllis eventually divorced, “the land’” remained a passion for both. Nelson retreated there over the years, to recharge personally and professionally. He loved having friends out, hiking in the hills, and talking about events of the day over a cold beer or two on the deck.

Land partners Billy Jamison and Gina Campbell remained close friends with Nelson, who married Judith Fuente 38 years ago and lived on Ukiah’s Westside in a cottage-style house where Nelson continued his love of gardening until his passing.

“We loved Dave Nelson, and his steadiness. He never wavered in his convictions,” said Gina Campbell.

Nelson’s law practice thrived, and he emerged as one of the North Coast’s premier lawyers. In 1984, he and fellow attorney David Riemenschneider formed a partnership with law offices located in the historic Republican Press newspaper building across School Street from the Mendocino County Courthouse.

“Dave was a kind, generous, honest, funny, intelligent, and empathic individual,” said Riemenschneider, who has known Nelson since 1966. Riemenschneider was appointed a Superior Court judge in 2012 and served five years with Nelson on the bench before his friend and former law partner retired. 

“Dave was a first class friend, and first rate law partner and judge. His clients were universally grateful for the heartfelt and quality representation he gave them,” said Riemenschneider.

Nelson’s wife Judith Fuente and his two daughters Jessica and Julia were the center of his life.

Daughter Julia Newberry of Napa said, “I hope he can be an inspiration for us to deepen the connections we have with each other. To look for the good in people. To listen with intention. To give and receive love freely and graciously as he did so well.”

Jessica Nelson of Minneapolis said her father set “an amazing example of being kind and curious, working hard, and doing good in the world. Every day I try to be like him. I think that is true for so many who knew him.”

Beyond his devotion to family and the law, Nelson left his mark on the region’s politics.

In 1980, Nelson helped orchestrate the election of fellow Stanford graduate Dan Hamburg to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Nelson devoted his energies to getting Hamburg elected to Congress in 1992 and became his top district field representative for two years. 

The “Hamburg era” may have been short-lived in local politics, but Nelson’s advice and political support continued to be sought as his personal and professional stature rose. He remained well connected in Democratic Party politics, and in Sacramento where Nelson’s recommendations still mattered.

Beyond the law and politics, and Nelson’s support of local cultural institutions like Ukiah Players and SPACE, a local school of performing arts and cultural education for young people, athletics played a big role in his early life.

In his youth, Nelson was an all-state athlete during high school in his native Rochester, Minnesota in football, track, and basketball. He was inducted into the Rochester Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Nelson, the son of an elementary school principal, was a paragon of Midwest values. Nelson earned an Eagle Scout badge, and he was student body president at his John Marshall High School.

Nelson was recruited out of high school for his football skills, but he declined offers from East Coast schools in favor of Stanford. 

In his first year, Nelson was the starting quarterback for Stanford’s freshman team. Nelson played safety under legendary Stanford coaches Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil, a Napa Valley native. He had his 15 minutes of stardom when he intercepted a pass during the big game with UC Berkeley and was an All-Conference Honorable Mention in the Pacific Coast Conference in the fall of 1967. 

Family, friends, and Nelson’s adopted community were impressed with his past accomplishments but what they most remember is his personal credibility, his honesty, his understated humor, and his love of a good party. 

Judge Moorman said Nelson brought a “humble and empathetic intellect” to the bench, including his devotion to the Adult Drug Court. “He used his compassion alongside the rules and laws that we must enforce in a civil society to break apart the cycle of addiction, economic injustice, violence, and generational trauma.”

Nelson is survived by his wife of 38 years, Judith Fuente, and daughters Julia Newberry (Brian) of Napa and Jessica Nelson (Joe Slag) of Minneapolis; a brother Dr. Roger Nelson (Marcia Hall) of Phoenix, Arizona; sisters Jan Meslin (Pete) of Cayucos and Lori Wesley (Mike) of Dublin, Ohio; and four grandchildren, Elle and Quinn Newberry and Freya and Leif Slag. He was preceded in death by his parents, Irene and Woodrow Nelson.

 The community gathering in Nelson’s honor will be held from 2-4 p.m. March 30 at SPACE, 508 W. Perkins St., Ukiah.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Friends of Drug Court Fund. 

Donations can be made online at or by check to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, 204 S. Oak St., Ukiah, 95482, with “Friends of Drug Court Fund” in the memo line.

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On Thursday, November 30, 2023 at approximately 0558 hours, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to the scene of a reported commercial burglary at 39215 S. Highway 1, the Gualala Chevron. Investigating Deputies determined that the suspect had cut through the exterior wall of the structure with a suspected battery-operated power saw in order to gain access to the interior of the business. The suspect then used battery-operated power tools to cut into the safe inside the business, and managed to steal a large amount of cash. Investigating Deputies collected several pieces of evidence including video surveillance of the suspect inside the business. Deputies shared the information with other law enforcement agencies in neighboring counties, and discovered that other commercial burglaries matching the same circumstances and means of entry were committed at locations within Lake County as well.

Mendocino County and Lake County law enforcement personnel began working together and sharing information due to the similarities in the cases, and developed investigative leads that identified a single suspect in all of the burglaries. Deputies from both agencies quickly developed enough probable cause to author search warrants to track the suspect's cell phone locations and activity near each of the victim businesses. It was determined that the suspect was often surveilling the locations the night prior to the burglaries being committed. All of the burglaries were carried out between the hours of midnight to about 4:00 A.M., during non-business hours. During each of the burglaries in both counties, the suspect was wearing similar clothing, and utilized similar methods of attempting to conceal his identity with hats and face masks. The suspect was also observed on surveillance footage utilizing the same power tools to gain access to the structures as well as the safes and ATM machines.

On Friday, February 9, 2024 at approximately 0623 hours, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a burglary at 13501 S. Highway 101 in Hopland, CA (Hopland Farms Gas and Mart). The suspect had made entry into the mini-mart through the ceiling utilizing a collapsible rope ladder to lower himself to the business floor. The suspect again used a battery-powered saw to cut open a safe and took a large amount of cash. Surveillance footage again showed a male subject dressed in similar clothing, hat, and mask as the other burglaries. Surveillance footage also determined the suspect had entered the business during the same time frame at approximately 3:10 A.M. during non-business hours.

Tyrone Brennen

On Friday, February 23, 2024 in the early morning hours, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were notified by Lake County Sheriff's Deputies that the suspect in all of these cases, Tyrone Brennen, 38, of Arcata, had been arrested somewhere in the area of Lakeport on an arrest warrant issued in Lake County. Lake County Deputies had been surveilling Brennen's movement during the night, and noticed that he was potentially about to commit another commercial burglary. 

Deputies contacted Brennen in his vehicle and took him into custody on the arrest warrant. Lake County Deputies then authored a search warrant for Brennen's vehicle where they discovered numerous burglary tools, collapsible ladders, and articles of clothing that matched the descriptions from all the other burglary cases being investigated in Mendocino and Lake Counties. All of these incidents are believed to be related due to the noted activity of the suspect's movements and frequency at the locations before and at the time of the crimes.

There are numerous other commercial burglaries that have occurred at various locations in Mendocino County that are continuing to be investigated to see if they are related or were possibly committed by Brennen.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators are urged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center by calling 707-463-4086. Information can also be reported anonymously by calling the Sheriff's Office non-emergency tip line at 707-234-2100.

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Reggie has been coming and going through the shelter system since 2020, and we don’t understand why. This guy is such a happy, friendly dog; why oh WHY is he so unlucky in love? Reggie needs a little work on his leash manners — he gets very excited when he realizes he’s about to get out into the great outdoors. Reggie has a puppy-like personality and loves to play with toys. Mr. Handsome will need daily exercise and a secure yard to play in. Reggie might enjoy a basic dog training class. (Ask us about classes in the Ukiah area.) This dude is gonna make someone very happy! Reggie is 4 years old and 63 pretty adorable pounds. He’s neutered and ready to trot out the shelter doors with you — today!

For more about Reggie and all our adoptable dogs and cats, head to For information about adoptions and to set up a meet and greet with one of our great dogs, call 707-467-6453. You can begin the adoption process on our website by filling out our Adoption Application. 

Check out our Facebook Page and please share our posts!

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JUVENILE SALMON AND STEELHEAD are immediately using reconnected habitat on California’s North Coast

In September 2023, after years of planning and fundraising, TU’s North Coast Coho Project and their partners completed a fish passage and habitat improvement project on Dry Dock Gulch, a tributary of Northern California’s Big River. The team replaced two small culverts blocking fish migration with a ten-foot wide, 68-foot-long culvert that will restore tidal waters to the mouth of Dry Dock Gulch and allow salmon, steelhead and lamprey to access reconnected habitat. They also excavated a side-channel alcove that will provide important rearing habitat for coho and refuge for fish during heavy storms. The new culvert greatly improves local infrastructure by creating a durable road crossing that is better able to withstand large rain events.…

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Mendocino County Jury Finds Fort Bragg Man Guilty of Sexually Abusing a 6-Year-Old Child

A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations late Friday morning to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty as charged.

Robert Hrbac

Defendant Robert Stanley Hrbac, age 45, of Fort Bragg, was found guilty of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child Under the Age of 14 Years, a felony; as well as Preventing and/or Dissuading a Victim From Reporting Her Victimization and Cooperating With a Law Enforcement Investigation and Prosecution by Means of a Conspiracy, felony.

The jury also found true sentencing enhancements charged by the District Attorney alleging that defendant Hrbac has suffered a prior conviction in January 2006 in the Mendocino County Superior Court for committing Lewd and Lascivious Acts With a Child Under The Age of 14 Years, a felony.

After the jury was excused and the case recalled during the afternoon session, an additional hearing was conducted to determine whether the prosecution had proven any aggravating sentencing factors in the course of the trial. Seven aggravating factors were found true by the court.

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence used at trial to convict the defendant were the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.

A special note of appreciation is extended to four of defendant Hrbac’s prior victims who showed strength of character and courage by appearing and testifying before the jury — and in front of the man who abused each of them — as to their respective prior and separate sexual victimization by defendant Hrbac.

Specialized assistance and trial testimony was also presented through an out-of-the-area pediatric psychologist with special training and experience in child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. Specialized trial testimony was also provided by a member of the local suspected abuse response team (SART).

Additionally, on the morning that jury selection was to get underway back on February 13, 2024, defendant Hrbac’s co-defendant (and wife), Yani Atheia Beaty, age 41, of Fort Bragg, threw in her towel and admitted her criminal responsibility instead of putting her fate in the hands of the jury.

Co-defendant Beaty withdrew her not guilty pleas on the 13th and instead pled no contest to Preventing or Dissuading a Witness From Reporting a Crime to Law Enforcement, a felony. She also pled no contest to being an Accessory After The Fact to Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child Under the Age of 14 Years, also a felony.

A plea of no contest to a felony charge is legally the same as a guilty plea for all purposes, save for the spelling.

Defendant Hrbac’s matter was referred to Adult Probation Department for a background study and sentencing recommendation ahead of the sentencing date now calendared for April 4, 2020 at 9 o’clock in the morning in Department A of the Ukiah courthouse.

Defendant’s Beaty’s probation referral has been trailing the outcome of her co-defendant’s trial. She was ordered to return to court also on the 13th to receive her referral to the Adult Probation Department and for the setting of a sentencing date.

The prosecutor handling the child sexual assault cases against both defendant Hrbac and defendant Beaty is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over defendant’s Hrbac’s two-week trial and defendant Beaty’s last second admissions of criminal culpability.

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Oak Tree, Little Lake Valley (Jeff Goll)

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by Carl Stenberg

I worked in the Veteran Service Office (VSO) of Mendocino County for 11 years and was the Veteran Service Officer for 5 of those. I just want to clarify what our complaints are.

Around 15 years ago our office was being evicted from our leased space on Talmage due to another county deficit. (Around 2009.) At that time there were people in the County government and some of the BOS who had respect for the Veterans of our county. That seems to no longer exist. Actions speak much louder than words. Our staff went out and found the building on Observatory empty. It is a county-owned building. We asked for the building and this was granted. Since that time the office has existed there and helped many Veterans and their dependents in financial and other ways. 

The BOS has given us many unsubstantiated reasons for this recent move to the old hospital building on Dora Street. The latest ones are employee safety and parking. Never had there been an issue of safety or parking. The Observatory building is adjacent to the mental health building with its huge parking lot.

The veterans found the Observatory House space to be a welcoming and healthy environment. Many of these veterans had never sought help and were unsure what the office could do for them. Still, many others had had bad experiences with the VA in the past, especially the Viet Nam Vets. Some are in wheelchairs or have mobility issues. This house was a welcoming door for them to enter.

Then in the early part of Dec 2023, the VSO was given less than two weeks to pack up and be moved to the mental health building on Dora Street. No word was given to anybody. It was kept hushed. There was so little time to get ready that the movers threw out 15 years of memorabilia that was on the walls or desks. There was a picture of one of our vets standing by the piled items (junk to the county) holding a picture of the BOS back around 2010 giving a plaque of appreciation to the VSO and the American Legion and VFW of Ukiah. Many of the Vets in that picture are no longer with us. Now the picture is not either.

The office was moved to the Mental health building. Two small coffin-like offices were given to the VSO. Neither office is wheelchair accessible. We have several testaments of Veterans not being able to maneuver inside these offices. Since then, they finally gave the VSO one more office which is bigger. So, of the three offices, one is fit for clients with mobility issues or PTSD-like problems. This is so unsatisfactory.

Two of the BOS members, Mo Mulheren and John Haschak offered to put pictures on the walls in the sterile hallways to try and make it more inviting. This space does not fit the needs of our veterans or the veteran's service office staff, regardless of how many pictures are put on the wall. Mo even brought a house plant to soothe away all the problems. Again, total disrespect.

Now we have just discovered that this coming Tuesday, they have on their agenda a deficit budget plan to try to correct their failure to balance the county's finances. On that list is to finalize the move of the VSO to the Mental Health building. We want to voice our disapproval.

Please try and get as many members of your posts to attend this meeting. It is short notice. That was their plan. We discovered this agenda just yesterday. I am sure they were hoping we would not notice.

The Air Quality control is now in the old VSO office. The Veterans are crammed into a sterile-like environment. This should be an outrage to all Veterans of our county and counties near us.

Please show your support for the VSO office and be at the Administration Building on Low Gap Road by 0845, Tuesday, Feb. Public opinion begins at 0900. Let's let them know what we think.

Carl Stenberg


* * *

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: There’s a little more to the backstory behind the Veterans Service Office move. In recent months the County has been thrashing around trying to pick up scraps of cost savings or new revenue to reduce the budget gap, estimated at around $7 or $8 million, more if you add in their disputable guesses about the Pension Fund and the Health Plan. The Air Quality Office — a state operated and funded office, not a county office — was paying upwards of $2800 a month to an as-yet unnamed landlord. Apparently that landlord wanted to raise the monthly rent substantially, rent that was paid by the state, not the County. Somebody figured out that if they moved Air Quality into a county-owned building they could charge the state for rent and gain around $3,000 a month in new revenue for the County. They chose the Veterans Service Office on Observatory as the new home for Air Quality because it is a county-owned building having been donated to the County years ago as part of the old County hospital (now the “mental health building”) donation. Not caring about or consulting with the veterans who preferred the Observatory house, County officials abruptly ordered the VSO to move under the pressure of the end of the lease from the Air Quality office’s landlord. As Mr. Stenberg pointed out in his previous letter, the VSO office estimates (with the County’s approval) that, based on their own calculations, the VSO is credited with bringing in about $120k a year in veterans benefits based on their “point” scoring system whenever a vet is hooked up with local benefits. At the clearly uninviting Dora Street location, the expectation is that, besides being impractical for the VSO’s functioning, it will result in fewer, perhaps significantly fewer, veterans visits and associated benefits coming into the county’s economy. So far nobody has presented a cost analysis in an attempt to justify the move, and the veterans and their supporters suspect that that’s because the numbers don’t add up to a real benefit for anyone.

* * *

* * *


Carrie Shattuck: I was seated next to a couple of gentlemen and at each statement AT&T gave in their presentation they would reply “that’s a lie.” “that’s a lie…” I looked at them quizzically and they said, “We work for them.”

* * *

k.h.: There was a noticeable attitude difference between the guys wearing union shirts and the PR and management people. The billions in profits, the hundreds of millions they’ve paid a few executives and the 60,000 people they’ve laid off in just the past 5-10 years wasn’t really discussed much.

* * *


Copper lines degrade, and wages go up. Every time AT&T sends out a truck to the ranch I live on, I am sure they are losing hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The truth is trying to maintain and/or replace copper lines is throwing good money after bad, and just generally a bad idea. The lines are reaching end-of-life, and running new copper would be absurd at this point. Maybe it’s still fair to hold AT&T accountable for making sure everybody has some kind of phone access, but copper is not the solution. The CPUC should be focused on how to upgrade our infrastructure, not remove it. The estimate on fiber to all was $770M and funding has been $56M.

* * *

Westport Landing (Jeff Goll)

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A PHILO READER WRITES: You are absolutely right about the raw, wild and beautiful northern California unexploited spaces and places! I can see just a bit of it and its possibilities as you drive Highway 253, if you bother to look out over the dry expanse. It does the same thing to me as it does to you. I drove and camped on the Branscomb Road in 1955 at age 17. A friend had been given a car for her high school graduation and we had both been camp counselors at Camp Seabow in Laytonville (up in the hills along the South Fork of the Eel River). The river was huge and clear. Two young girls alone, all the way over to the Coast and we could not have been safer. Or so we thought. Keep thinking about that greenery and openness.

* * *


WE ARE PROUD BOYS — How A Rightwing Street Gang Ushered In A New Era Of American Extremism by Andy Campbell describes America's fledgling brownshirts that fascist elements of the Republican Party deploy to assault liberal demonstrators at Republican events. The PB's, and other groups of their ilk, wrap themselves in the flag as true patriots fending off the commiemarxistsocialistfarleft subversives like me and most ava readers. They haven't arrived yet on the Northcoast, but the following guy found Willits comfortable:

Jonathan Cuney

A Mendocino County man affiliated with the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys has been sentenced to over seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of firearms, including “ghost guns,” and ammunition. Jonathan M. Cuney, who has a residence in Willits, received an 87-month prison sentence — to be followed by three years of supervised release — for crimes that occurred between August 2018 and November 2019, the Department of Justice announced in a Dec. 2 news release. In June, the 38-year-old pleaded guilty to purchasing weapon parts online and assembling them into handguns, rifles and silencers without serial numbers. These “ghost guns” were received and put together at sites in New York, Rhode Island and Willits.

ACCORDING to the California Endowment and the Institute for Rural Studies, the latter a non-profit based in Davis that studies agriculture, farmworkers endure poorer nutrition, higher cholesterol and much higher blood pressure than the general population their labor provides with fresh fruit and vegetables. The study surveyed 971 farmworkers, chosen at random to represent the state's estimated 700,000 agricultural laborers. In addition to asking questions about their ailments, health insurance status, income and other demographic facts, the study took blood samples and performed physical exams to obtain objective data about farmworker health.

• Nearly 80 percent of the respondents were overweight, with 28 percent of the men and 37 percent of the women being classified as obese.

• Male farmworkers had higher serum cholesterol levels on average than the general adult population, while male and female farmworkers alike had a higher incidence of high blood pressure, early precursors of heart disease and stroke.

• Respondents, 96 percent of whom were Latino, reported a median annual income under $10,000. Nearly 70 percent lacked any form of health insurance. And even among the 16.5 percent whose employers did offer a health benefit, only one out of three took advantage of it. Most could not afford the co-payments.

TWO-THIRDS of the surveyed farmworkers were U.S. citizens, green card holders or legal aliens in the process of getting green cards. As a result of their legal status and low income, they are eligible to apply for MediCal, the state's health insurance of last resort. However, only 7 percent of the farmworkers surveyed took advantage of MediCal, because the rules of the system force them to reapply when they cross county lines, a requirement difficult to impossible for itinerant workers to meet. The California Farm Bureau, the main trade association for the state's $26.8 billion agricultural industry, claims its members are struggling with higher fuel prices and falling commodity prices, and cannot afford more for worker health care.

MANY YEARS AGO, in a convoluted financial deal that placed the ancient SF Examiner in the problematical hands of a young, disinterested member of the Fang Family, this young Fang hired Warren Hinckle to run the paper, and Hinckle promptly hired me and Alexander Cockburn as columnists.

Cockburn and I were great admirers of Warren, me especially, all the way back to his Ramparts and his Scanlan’s magazines. He was the last Frisco journalist of the fearless type, a vividly large, eyepatched man, a front line soldier of the night who never published a boring paper or magazine, a claim no other editor in this country could make. 

Artie & Jim Mitchell

I'd worked with Warren in the past, most notably on the Mitchell case, that's Mitchell as in Jim and Artie Mitchell of the infamous O'Farrell Theater. Jim was convicted of killing his brother in a court case followed by the national media. Not long afterwards, came the vague invite Warren issued to contribute to the depleted Examiner; the Fangs had put him in charge. 

I knew Hinckles' Examiner would be a memorably wild ride amid a torrent of editorial hand-wringing from the Chronicle, and even the national press, that said the Ex was clearly doomed.

NEWSPAPERS were then already on the skids, and are now virtually extinct, swallowed by computerized telephones, and then as now, the newsstands offered only a desert of tedium, pretending to a professionalism which long ago rendered newspapers mere extensions of chambers of commerce. Journalism is like a vast Little League banquet; everyone gets a trophy even though there’s maybe a dozen people left who know how to play the game.

Can you even imagine a contemporary editor daring to hire Ambose Bierce, as old man Hearst did? And the old boy wasn’t a bad writer himself, much better than the prison warden types who “edit” most of this country's remaining papers, wringing their pink little hands as they memorize the libel statutes and pucker up for those great grey drones who own the things, men and women whose only interest in their publications is how much the ad department can wring out of the enterprise.

Although there are a lot of good newspaper writers still around, the majority of them are confined to the sports page, while the editing of papers is a cringing fear of their readers. (cf the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.) 

The Examiner under Hinckle lasted a few months until the lawyers and accountants regained control, but for Cockburn and I it was a great time.

I couldn't get anywhere near the ancient ramparts of St. Peter and Paul in North Beach for Warren's memorial service. “Everyone” was there, rich and poor and in between, many of them awake before noon for the first time in many years.

* * *

* * *


by Gregory Sims

Sometimes our children reflect the unmistakable qualities of their parents. Other times they (kids) internalize qualities as their own which seem to have come from life forms living on a planet or asteroid that happened to be passing bye. But over time the social-genetic mix often reveals itself. Now I think it would be helpful to look at how internalization can take on a broader meaning. I've been doing some explorations into the broad scope of learning which was validated to a degree by Henry David Thoreau. Until recently I had skipped over his observation that predated mine by more than a century. Here are some parts of what he wrote in Walden's chapter, Higher Laws:

John Farmer sat at his door one September evening after a hard day's work. Having bathed, he sat down to recreate his intellectual man. He had not attended to the train of his thoughts long when he heard someone playing on a flute [and] the notes of the flute came home to him out of a different sphere from that he worked in, and suggested work for different faculties that slumbered in him. They did away with the street and the village and the state in which he lived. A voice said to him-why do you stay here and live this mean moiling life? All he could think of to let his mind descend into his body and redeem it, and treat himself with ever-increasing respect.

Internalization then can mean much more than internalizing social practices and values as important as they are for getting along with ourselves and others. Thoreau was suggesting that this mind of ours, being closely related to the brain encased within our heads has its own internal pathway through which (as he said) descends into the body within which each of us lives. If we learn, engage in and achieve this capacity, then self-other respect is much more possible as bodymindfulness becomes a foundation for the mutuality we seek and wish to share with others.

As I've said elsewhere I seem to be carrying my marginally unfortunate childhood into adult living. Being born in 1933, a depression baby with birth preceding a loveless marriage so as to "give the child a name." Thus Illegitimate didn't describe me or appear on my birth certificate. My mother loved me and I loved her, but the circumstances surrounding my growth toward adult living and beyond were as one might say with so many outliers "it could have been worse". Meta-fortunately my grandmother had never had a son (five daughters) thus her willingness to have me be her son.

Again, let us return to the task of learning how to let our minds descend (blend) into our bodies and redeem them. I'm not sure Thoreau meant redeem our bodies, redeem our minds so I've come to think of "blending my body and mind as bodymind". The problem with any formulation like this is the body identifies but doesn't use language in the same way the mind does. Also, the mind is at least in part a product of the brain and body so if one wishes to use such a system as this one it takes a while to get to internalize it all as a coherent system based upon what's been called a sensate awareness which accommodates thought, consciousness, organic experience and more generally the caring nature of presence. I don't think this fits very well with Artificial Intelligence and perhaps if we work with and introduce spirituality and kindness facilitating our capacity to love we will find spiritual bodymindfulness to be much more than means through which to transform the difficulties with AI.

I feel I'm giving you some sense of what it feels like to be 90 and I'm hoping it's coherent enough to suggest getting to a place in life where the mere fact of living provides something that comes with it so we all will benefit from the journey independent of age.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, February 24, 2024

Chapman, Cobarrubia, Garcia

MICHAEL CHAPMAN, Sierra City/Fort Bragg. Stalking and threatening bodily injury, brandishing, metal knuckles.

ANGEL COBARRUBIA, Point Arena. DUI, loaded handgun-not registered owner.

ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, smuggling controlled substance into jail, probation revocation.

Gilbert, Hoskins, Mendoza

MICHAEL GILBERT, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs. 

KRISTOPHER HOSKINS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol-drugs.

IVETTE MENDOZA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

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Saturday February 24th, 2024 A.D. Ukiah, CA Public Library @ 2:50 PM PST

Warmest spiritual greetings,

Following a delicious nova lox on a jalapeno cheese bagel sandwich and french roast coffee at Happy Donuts, it was on to the Ukiah Public Library. At this moment, am silently chanting to Swami Abhedananda performing the Hare Krishna maha mantra. Here is the glorious link:

Craig Louis Stehr

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Loud Sunday rooftop brunch (Steve Heilig)

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Spooky action at a distance.

An armed society is a BLAM BLAM BLAM society.” -Drew of Fark

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2024-02-23) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and (and, for the first hour, also 89.3fm KAKX Mendocino):

Coming shows can feature your story or dream or poem or kvetch, too. Just email it to me. Or include it in a reply to this post. Or send me a link to your writing project and I'll take it from there and read it on the air.

Some news: Bob Young (KNYO's founder and manager) informs me that worries about losing the downtown studio and performance space have been popped like a balloon. The sale happened. KNYO has new landlords. They turn out to be radio people previously working with KVMR in Grass Valley and very sympatico, so that's welcome. I think this also means that the project to move the transmitter down into town from out in the sticks and put the antenna atop the studio is back on, and it might be done by summer. Better signal, real-time transmission with no internet buffer lag, closer to the ideal of real radio. Win-win-win.

Besides all that, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not-necessarily-radio-useful but worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:

Roswell. And the mysterio-chord at the end. If the only thing anybody ever needed a whammy bar for was to make that sound, it would still be worth it. (via Juanita)

"I understand your concern, but world domination is not going to fund itself." This reminds me of a series of books about a little girl, the daughter of two superheroes, who comes into her power and it's not what she expected. The first book is /Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain/, but there's a prequel --pre-book-1-- about a giant superintelligent spider. Fun books for all ages.

Here, the books. Buy them, help the writer out. He went through a horror story with his earlier books, of being screwed royally by his publisher who took all the money, went out of business and vanished. It's all Richard Roberts' show now. Get one, see for yourself; you'll want all the rest.

And a collection of Bob’s Big Boys removed from service and imprisoned. They’re much bigger than they look here; that's a tall fence. (You might have to login to Instagram to view this.) Bob’s Big Boy was a big part of my life. There was one near one of the places in L.A. where my mother worked when I was small, and she often took me there. The best day ever would be a trip to Fern Dell, then the Griffith Observatory, then Bob’s Big Boy. The waitresses at BBB wore little pleated skirts and rollerskated out to your Oldsmobile to hang a tray on the open window and bring you icewater and menus. You’d blink your lights or honk the horn, they’d come back to take your order, and they’d go get it and bring it to you; they were real waitresses, but gliding and angelic. In my memory the hamburgers were perfect, also the fries and a chocolate shake, and they had a free in-house comic book about Big Boy and his friend Dolly. When Juanita and I went back to L.A. to get married in 1988 on the roof of the Griffith Observatory, we swung by that very Bob’s Big Boy, took pictures of each other next to his shiny fiberglass presence, and bought a can of Bob’s Big Boy coffee that I still have, unopened, more than 35 years later. It’s rusty, surely ruined inside, but there it is. If I ever win the lottery, I am getting one of those full-size original Big Boys. And a Doggie Diner nose-dog head. And a Sinclair Oil dinosaur. But first I’d buy KUNK, de-automate it, turn it back into bustling live KMFB, put the studio back out by the transmitter where it belongs, find Bob Woelfel, who must be in his eighties by now, and hand it to him to run it right. Then put the statues there. Put the Doggie Diner head on top of the tower, red aircraft-warning light pulsing from its noseball on quiet misty nights. [triumphant mysterio-chord here, to go with the image in your head]

Marco McClean,,

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* * *

A READER WRITES: Some of you who utilize AI (Artificial Intelligence) to write articles, op eds, etc, it's pretty obvious. It's obvious because it sucks. It may seem like a great idea, probably because you were a crappy writer in the first place, but it truly sucks. And for you pseudo legal experts who rely on AI to generate legal opinions and interpretations, congratulations, your intelligence is artificial. Do better being real. You're only tricking yourself.

* * *

(NOT) GOOD to see that Humboldt County’s Legal weed program is ALSO a government-imposed calamity, same as Mendos’ oft-discussed Wreckreational shonda. Just between you and me, my AVA Vendor of choice no longer allows volunteer staffers to pee in the sink, and anything in the commode a long-time no-go. All answering nature’s call now should be done in Coffee For The People, around the corner.

David Svehla

San Francisco

* * *

City Lights, San Francisco

* * *


by Jon Kalish

Reading The Jive 95, Hank Rosenfeld’s oral history of the legendary San Francisco radio station KSAN, is like having your stoner uncle over. He’s going to repeat himself a whole lot and provide Too Much Information, but the guy is so damn entertaining that you sit through it and take another toke from the joint every time it’s passed your way. Rosenfeld is, in fact, somebody’s stoner uncle. Those of us who’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with Uncle Hank have grown used to his habit of sending numerous emails in the course of a few minutes as further thoughts materialize in his head. He deserves serious props for producing an extremely entertaining read.

That said, his misguided approach of writing the book so that it reads the way a radio show sounds doesn’t totally work.

The portraits of the radio station’s colorful air personalities rendered by Rosenfeld and the tales of their counterculture hijinx give this oral history an “only in San Francisco” imprimatur. But my eyes were rolling from time to time, frustrated by what appears to be a lack of copy editing and oodles of extraneous material that should’ve been left on the cutting room floor. (At several points in the book you read a paragraph and the exact same information appears again on the next page.) A good editor would’ve spared readers of the lengthy recounting of KSAN’s on-air post-mortem of the tragedy inflicted on audience members by the Hells Angels motorcycle gang at Altamont. Ditto for the 15 pages of transcript from a 1974 John Lennon interview conducted by KSAN’s manager, the late Tom Donahue.

Some energy was spent on the insertion of QR codes that take you to YouTube pages where you can hear and watch content related to the oral history in progress. I don’t know about you but I don’t read books with the camera on my smartphone open, ready to look things up on the web. I’m not saying the the QR codes aren’t a good idea but they should’ve been placed in the back of the book, perhaps inserted right before the index. But, alas, there is no index, although one is said to be coming to the web. 

An index is really essential for this oral history because it has so many sources (55 are listed on the last page of the book). People keep popping up without being re-identified, sometimes leaving the reader with insufficient context for what a particular source is talking about and what their role was in the saga. And Rosenfeld, God bless him, doesn’t let you forget that the book wouldn’t have been possible without “a little help from my friends.” There are three pages of acknowledgements in the back of the book.

Still, what a cast of characters?! That cast is led by Donahue, a mountain of a leading man straight out of central casting. The 6’5” 400 lb. “hip genius” was known as Big Daddy. Among his many claims to fame was he helped produce the final Beatles concert in America at Candlestick Park in August 1966. From from 1962 to 1967 Donahue co-owned a veritable music empire in the city by the bay. He and a partner ran an artist management and booking agency, a concert production company and a record label that employed a 19 year-old musician/producer named Sly Stewart. Stewart gained fame as the front man for Sly and the Family Stone. But, it turns out, Big Daddy Donahue was a little too big. He had a heart attack at the age of 46 and split for that big announce booth in the sky.

Among the other KSAN characters were Donahue’s wife Rachel, who could roll a joint with one hand while shuffling a deck of cards in the other, actor Howard Hesseman, an intern in 1968 who went on to become the renowned photographer Annie Lebovitz and a bunch of inspired DJs who were responsible for the radio debut of the Grateful Dead, Santana, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish and Quicksilver Messenger Service, to name a few. 

Rosenfeld was there, too. He was driving a cab in San Francisco when he discovered “the greatest radio station ever” and joined the Bohemian broadcasters in 1979 for the final days of the station during its downswing. But Rosenfeld nevertheless describes his brief stint at the station as the “time of my life.” 

He makes a solid case for the proposition that there never was a commercial radio station quite like KSAN. Among those offering testimony to that effect is Norman Davis, a DJ at the station from 1972 to 1978, who points out that KSAN was owned by a huge corporation (Metromedia), which also owned the great progressive rock in New York, WNEW, and yet KSAN had a policy of refusing to air commercials it didn’t approve of. Today, that kind of control only exists in super successful podcasts. 

Not only was the station a switchboard for the peace movement during the war in Vietnam, it served the listenership of substance ingesting music fans with reports from a local lab on tests run on a variety of illicit drugs, a community service way ahead of its time. Can you imagine a radio station’s unionized staffers going out on strike and being supported by such big time bands of the day as the Airplane, the Dead, Moby Grape and It’s a Beautiful Day? The ticket to a benefit they all performed at, by the way, was three bucks. 

The station’s cultural significance in the late 1960’s and early 70’s was such that Donahue was able to swing a deal with Warner Brothers to finance a cross-country music tour that was documented for a 1971 feature film titled Medicine Ball Caravan. A French director named Francois Reichenback got the gig and his crew apparently consumed massive quantities of psychedelics during the cross-country escapades. One of the funnier quotes in the book is the recollection of a KSAN DJ named Milan Melvin, who was “on the bus,” as they say, and reported that the his KSAN compatriots dosed the film crew before it left San Francisco. A few days out, Francois told the press, “The world has lost fifteen Frenchmen and gained fifteen freaks.”

Rosenfeld has unearthed so many wild recollections that he should be forgiven for his lapses. He identifies Stephen Gaskin, the founder of The Farm in Tennessee, as an author of a book about Haight Ashbury, rather than the man responsible for building one of the largest intentional communities in the country to spring from the counterculture. Rosenfeld credits Pete Fornatale with originating free form radio as a genre, though Fornatale started doing it in 1964 at Fordham University’s station, WFUV, several years after John Leonard pioneered the genre in the late 1950’s while hosting a free form show at Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley. Bob Fass started doing a free form show in 1963 at WBAI, the Pacifica station in New York. A similar false claim made in the opening seconds of a documentary about the late WBAI/WNYC personality Steve Post said that free form radio originated at WBAI. A doc about one of KSAN’s kindred spirits in Boston, WBCN and The American Revolution, claimed that station aired the first gay program on an American radio station. It did not! These histories of the countercultural institutions must be held to a strict standard of accuracy. Even if they’re written by a stoner uncle.

(Jon Kalish is a Manhattan based radio journalist.)

* * *

* * *


You might know by now that Commander Biden, the President’s dog, has been reported as having bitten secret service agents …24 times. Commander has been sent out to the country to “run and chase rabbits”. Reports are that he was offered up for adoption, and there were no takers. It is axiomatic that there are no bad dogs…just bad owners. Biden may not have a way with dogs, but at least he raised a fine, strapping son, and look what he has done for the country!

* * *



President Joe Biden may be hoisted with his own petard. In 1972, Biden, then 29, ran for the Senate from Delaware arguing that his older opponent wouldn’t be up to the task. As the headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, “Biden Stressed Age to Defeat Boggs, 63.”

In 2020, candidate Biden appeared influenced by this. He said he saw “himself as a bridge, not as anything else,” noting there is a generation of potential leaders following him. He added he wouldn’t run again if he were in poor health.

Now in 2024, a special counsel report commented that Biden might be seen as an “elderly man with a poor memory.” This assessment is consistent with the public perception of confusion and incompetence due to Biden’s verbal gaffes. Adding to this, Axios reported that the House GOP is planning to spend days investigating Biden’s mental state in order to keep the age issue out front.

Biden should have listened to his own past words. If he had, we might not be where we are today, with him struggling against a headwind he precipitated himself. And if he unfortunately loses, one might see the headline “Stressed Age Defeats Biden, 81.”

Sherman Schapiro


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* * *

DAVID JONES: During the depths of winter, just a handful of flights land each day at Salekhard airport, inside the Russian Arctic Circle. As temperatures plunge below -30c and semi-permanent darkness shrouds the bleak tundra landscape, few outsiders willingly venture there. Among them are oligarchs, who make the three-hour trip from Moscow on private jets to hunt for reindeer and wolverine. Unwilling arrivals are brought by cattle-class train, a journey that takes 45 hours, and decanted at FKU IK-3, otherwise known as Polar Wolf, a nightmarish penal colony whose razor-wired walls scar the snowscape, 35 miles away across the frozen Ob River. At around 6pm last Saturday, local taxi drivers raced to the airport after being tipped off that an unscheduled jet had just touched down. It was followed by a second unexpected plane, carrying at least eight people, some 90 minutes later.

* * *


We note the birth date of Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950), American poet and playwright who received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923.

Millay was born in Rockland, Maine. Her middle name derives from St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, where her uncle's life had been saved just before her birth. 

After attending Vassar College Millay moved to New York City where she lived in a number of places in Greenwich Village, including 75½ Bedford Street, renowned for being the narrowest in New York City. Millay described her life in New York as "very, very poor and very, very merry." 

Edna St Vincent Millay

Millay's fame began in 1912 when she entered her poem "Renascence" in a poetry contest in The Lyric Year. Her 1920 collection A Few Figs From Thistles drew controversy for its exploration of female sexuality and feminism. Millay won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923 for "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver.” 

In 1923 she married 43-year-old Eugene Jan Boissevain (1880–1949). A self-proclaimed feminist, Boissevain supported her career and took primary care of domestic responsibilities. Both Millay and Boissevain had other lovers throughout their twenty-six-year marriage. 

For Millay, a significant such relationship was with the poet George Dillon who was fourteen years her junior; the relationship inspired the sonnets in the collection Fatal Interview (published 1931). 

In 1925, Boissevain and Millay bought Steepletop near Austerlitz, New York, which had been a 635-acre blueberry farm. 

Millay wrote five verse dramas early in her career, including Two Slatterns and a King and The Lamp and the Bell, a poem written for Vassar College about love between women. 

Her pacifist verse drama Aria da Capo, a one-act play written for the Provincetown Players, is often anthologized. It aired live as an episode of Academy Theatre in 1949 on NBC. "Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare" (1922) is homage to the geometry of Euclid. "Renascence" and "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver" are often considered her finest poems. 

In 1943 Millay was awarded the Frost Medal for her lifetime contribution to American poetry. She died at her home on October 19, 1950 at the age of 58. She is buried alongside her husband at Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, New York. 

“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.” 

― Edna St. Vincent Millay

Interesting Factoid: At 17, the poet Mary Oliver visited Steepletop and became a close friend of Millay’s sister Norma who was the Estate’s conservator. Oliver would later live at Steepletop off-and-on for seven years and help organize Millay's papers.

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why 

(Sonnet XlIII)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, 

I have forgotten, and what arms have lain 

Under my head till morning; but the rain 

Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh 

Upon the glass and listen for reply, 

And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain 

For unremembered lads that not again 

Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. 

Thus in winter stands the lonely tree, 

Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, 

Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: 

I cannot say what loves have come and gone, 

I only know that summer sang in me 

A little while, that in me sings no more. 

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

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  1. Mark Stillman February 25, 2024

    My heart is warm with the friends I make
    And better friends I’ll not be knowing
    Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take
    No matter where it’s going
    Edna St Vincent Millay

  2. Lazarus February 25, 2024


    The “Willits CA 95490 Community Awareness Information page” is reporting the child has been found and sound.

    • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

      💕 good news!!!

      mm 💕

    • Matt LaFever February 25, 2024

      If you click on the hyperlink to my article, you will notice I updated that she was located safe and sound around 10:00 p.m. last night. Not sure why the AVA chose to include it for this morning’s news considering the story was over before midnight.

      • Bruce Anderson February 25, 2024

        We’re not as efficient as you are

        • Matt LaFever February 25, 2024

          I might have you on efficiency, but you’ve got me on longevity by miles.

          • The Shadow February 25, 2024

            Snappiest backhanded compliment I’ve heard in a while! Kudos.

  3. Matt Kendall February 25, 2024


    I was clear with my PIO, Capt.Cromer we wouldn’t be releasing anything on this investigation until the crime scene investigation was complete.
    Due to the large amount of burned debris the scene held heat for several days. I had deputies posted at the scene for security until it cooled to the point we could safely enter.
    There was no outstanding suspect nor danger to the community.
    We completed the crime severe investigation and completed the press release after the scene was released. Mendofever put an article out on this yesterday.

    • George Dorner February 25, 2024

      You know how it is, Sheriff. You aren’t using your magical law enforcement powers to make a fire burn faster. Obviously, any keyboard warrior could do better.

  4. Joe Hansem February 25, 2024

    So sorry to hear of Judge Nelson’s passing. An excellent judge and a great human being. A 2014 article by Bruce McEwen in the AVA about him touches on these qualities.

  5. Loose lips February 25, 2024

    Someone said Linda called the sheriff office to report her son was threatening to cut her head off a few days before she was indeed killed. Law enforcement might have ignored that cry for help, and the reporting could have been delayed as a form of public relations damage control. Are the rumors true that the son was found naked in the woods with parts of her body? Maybe Linda’s daughter can claim some damages from the sheriff for negligence if that is true.

    • MAGA Marmon February 25, 2024

      Sink that ship, the sheriff’s reaction to the press indicates he’s on defense with his handling of this sad and unfortunate event.

      Onward Christian Solders!

      MAGA Marmon

      • Bruce Anderson February 25, 2024

        How would Maga Nation have handled?

        • Mental health shipwreck February 25, 2024

          A short inquiry to Pinkham’s history might suggest this situation could have been avoided. He had already committed homicide once, and may have made specific threats before his second homicide. After the Aaron bassler situation measure B was supposed to fix shitstuff like this, but here we are

          • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

            Yep here we are amazing nothing has changed. Measure B is a joke..

            • Lazarus February 25, 2024

              Measure B has little to nothing to do with services. Brick and Mortar has been the mantra for years. I watched most of the meetings from the beginning.
              5mil for a house on Orchard.
              1mil for a training center in Redwood Valley that nobody uses or wants, and 20mil+ for a PHF that may never be built.
              Shame on them all…

              • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024


        • MAGA Marmon February 25, 2024

          Go after the NGO,s (Non-profits).


          • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

            Everything is so convoluted, there is no intervention or responsibility.

            Really scary..

            mm 💕

      • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

        If that woman called for help and her need for help and intervention was denied by MCSO we are all fucked! … But it is not the first time nor the last … uggghhh!!!

        mm 💕

      • Matt Kendall February 25, 2024

        Answering a question isn’t being “on the defense”. As far as that rumor it’s not true. Horrific crime and somehow folks want to blame law enforcement? This is one of those cases that takes a toll on all involved including my deputies, the victims family and the community so let’s try to show just a little bit of respect.
        There is a suspect in custody on this case because these detectives did their job. That may not be as fun for you as spinning theories however it is what happened.

        • Bruce Anderson February 25, 2024

          Absolutely. Blame a rare matricide on the cops? Very unfair.

          • Matt Kendall February 25, 2024

            Well Bruce you may notice the folks demanding transparency are the ones refusing to use their names. Now that’s priceless.!

            • George Hollister February 25, 2024

              LOL. We have a Sheriff with a sense of humor. Good to see.

            • An One Moose February 25, 2024

              Thanks for the chuckle! Maybe you could spend more time solving your officer retention issues and less commenting online if anonymity bothers you? Joke about it all you want, but as a public servant, you are obliged to transparency as part of your job. Otherwise the public might start to believe that you are paid to serve and defend the MCSO institution first and foremost…citizens of mendocino county be damned. I guess it doesn’t matter much- if MCSO were completely defunded most people in the county would barely even notice a drop in service. MCSO is kinda known for its subpar standards and internal criminality anyway

              • George Hollister February 26, 2024

                Let’s have some perspective here, MCSO is the best run county government office in the county.

                • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024


        • Mental health shipwreck February 25, 2024

          Do you care to specify exactly which rumor is untrue? If MCSO neglected a call for assistance due to a specific threat then people might be correct to place some blame on law enforcement. Are you saying definitively that your office received no such call from Linda? MCSO deputies aren’t necessarily known for their professionalism or timely response. As far as the suspect in custody- he apparently delivered himself to the fire dept and detectives, so little or no police work required on that despite your attempt to take credit.

        • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

          glad the rumor is not true…
          no disrespect to LE
          The truth is people do call for help and receive none, it happens quite often.
          I was told multiple x. nothing we can do until a crime is committed. So it is not an unlikely scenario and we are the community and it is upsetting and scary to all of us. Especially those. of us who have loved ones with mental illness. Great news is here is a place to share thoughts and converse about these things, whether we agree or not. So I am grateful someone mentioned the rumor and you were able to address it. It is a conversation not a condemnation and I think we all have way more questions about what happened!


          mm 💕

        • peter boudoures February 25, 2024

          My only concern is that the detectives knew about the 911 call for help from the mom and that info led to the arrest. Obviously I’m speculating.

    • MAGA Marmon February 25, 2024

      Why wasn’t mental health involved, I guess the Schraeder’s must not have been alerted, or they didn’t care. Maybe this guy didn’t qualify for Medi-Cal meaning he was non-reimbursable.

      MAGA Marmon

      • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

        Dual Crisis Response, should have been initiated!!

        mm 💕

      • Ms. Interpreted February 26, 2024

        It seems like someone would have been required to make a mandatory report to Adult Protective Services who claim they have trained social workers available 24/7 to respond to elders in crisis.

    • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

      I am not surprised if that is in fact true !!!
      Calls for help when someone is unraveling often are ignored.
      It is disturbing and wrong…
      Now this poor woman is dead…

      mm 💕

  6. Matt Kendall February 25, 2024

    What’s shameful is when a BS rumor grows wings and educated folks jump on it.

    • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

      I jumped on it because they are same questions I had when I read the reporting of the crime. Same questions I always ask in these matters how many times did a person ask for help before the atrocity? I would not call that shameful, putting in my 2 cents. Maybe it did not help but sometimes its necessary to speak your mind. Grateful I can and by no means intend any harm…!!

      mm 💕

    • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024

      Educated? They don’t appear to be the brightest bulbs in the package.

      • Mazie Malone February 26, 2024

        appearances are deceiving….

        mm 💕

        • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024

          Not in this case.

          • Mazie Malone February 26, 2024

            well you know what they say about opinions, they are like assholes everyone has one.! If I had to choose between being dim and uneducated or being an asshole with an opinion I will choose being dumb, hands down!!

            mm 💕

            • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024

              Whatever floats your boat. I prefer a discourse with a modicum of knowledge, which the anonymous cowards cowering behind their keyboards appear to lack. A reliance on rumor and innuendo are not the hallmarks of intelligence.

              • Mazie Malone February 26, 2024

                well … relatively small community so I imagine people are scared to speak up and reveal their true identity, they have families jobs and all. If you have nothing to lose nothing to hide.

                mm 💕

          • Matt Kendall February 26, 2024

            I think most folks weighing in on things are normally well educated. However education is often steered by their experiences as well. Experience is a portion of education and often it is the most valuable portion of it. Where we stand on a subject is normally connected to where we are seated at the moment.

            To be effective I have to hold my people accountable and have a measured response to what happens on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s a small correction sometimes it’s an iron fist.

            That being said when they do the job right I have to be willing to defend them with the exact same energy.

            An anonymous forum seems to be a new form of the gallows in our nation. Sad times.

            • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024

              “An anonymous forum seems to be a new form of the gallows in our nation. Sad times.”

              Agree 100%. I don’t understand why our esteemed Editor continues to allow it.

            • Mazie Malone February 26, 2024

              I would hope where one stands on a subject is taking the bigger picture into consideration. But most people can not see that, they cling to what they know!

              mm 💕

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