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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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JUST IN. “Bizarre!” “Completely nuts!” “Weird!” These terse descriptives summed up yesterday's (Monday) evening meeting of the Anderson Valley Health Center's board of directors. Some 40 unhappy locals left the meeting unhappier as the Center's trustees refused to answer any questions, limited to 35 minutes, having to do with the present and future status of Dr. Mark Apfel. Apfel, who was the Center's founding physician nearly four decades ago, is being forced out for reasons that remain unknown. Shannon Spiller, promoted from medical assistant to the Center's director, refused to answer a question from Apfel, officially non-personed, on an unrelated matter. It was revealed that the three Gualala-based administrators who set the Apfel purge in motion, are “no longer active” in Clinic management. Maybe, maybe not, but the ongoing silence from Clinic trustees about the fate of a man that many of them have known for years is indeed bizarre. Community anger at Apfel's shabby treatment now threatens the survival of the Clinic itself.

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THE GOOD NEWS. LACEY BERRY has her two little girls back. Beyond that happy fact the Berry case remains sealed. The children were taken from the Berrys when local authorities were called to the Berrys’ Ukiah home late one night last month when Mr. Berry, a now totally disabled Marine badly wounded in Middle East combat, alarmed neighbors when he awoke in a screaming nightmare. Somehow responding officers concluded that Mrs. Berry was assaulting her husband as she attempted to calm him, and hauled her off to the County Jail. The Berry family then suffered a second nightmare when they briefly lost custody of their children to the dependably and cruelly incompetent children's protective services of Mendocino County.

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TWO CLAIMS have been filed against Mendocino County by Sonoma County motorists who say that Mendocino County's Assistant District Attorney, Paul Sequeira, damaged them and their vehicles when he rear-ended one of them in a 9am Napa County accident on Friday, June 20th.

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SIGNS OF THE TIMES. A young couple awoke about 3am to odd sounds coming from the adjacent bedroom of their three-year-old daughter, only to discover that the child, presumed to have been long asleep, was watching The Little Mermaid on mom's cellphone!

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WORK has begun near Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, on the connecting link of a walking and bike trail running from Noyo Harbor to Ten Mile. Fort Bragg maintains an easement on the 320-acre site of the defunct Georgia Pacific Mill on which the ocean bluffs trail link will be built. $1.36 million in funding came from the State Coastal Conservancy, $348,000 from Caltrans with $4.8 million contributed by State Parks out of Proposition 84 funding.

WE'RE CONTINUALLY surprised by the numbers of Mendo County people who are unaware of the existing Haul Road walk, an amenity almost unique in California. The entire trail, in a couple of years, will include even more spectacular seaside access.

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AND SPEAKING of ocean access, a contested bluff-top trail at Sea Ranch has finally reopened after 11 years of wrangling. It allows public access to a quarter-mile stretch of beach, called Walk On Beach, that residents of Sea Ranch preferred remain off limits to The Great Unwashed.

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SAFER is looking for a volunteer or two to help put up some hot wire fencing in the Willits area — ASAP. A neighbor has an old horse that has been escaping from her very poor fencing. Animal Control has told her she must do something about the fencing or move the horse out. Unfortunately her health is poor and doing the fence work herself is out of the question. This is somewhat of an emergency so the sooner the fence can be fixed the better. Let me know if you can help. Maybe this weekend? Or sooner? — Angie Herman, 707-459-3265

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by Will Parrish

No matter where you go or what you do in Mendocino or Humboldt County, you are sure to encounter the sprawling timber firms owned by the San Francisco-based Fisher family dynasty, of Gap stores fame, somewhere along the way. Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) owns around 350 square miles in Mendocino County, making it this county's largest private landowner. Within Humboldt County's coastal regions, Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) has title to roughly 330 square miles of forest.

Take the case Willits Environmental Center & Keep the Code v. Mendocino County & Mendocino Forest Products, LLC, which was heard on Wednesday, August 20th at the Mendocino County Superior Courthouse in Ukiah — Judge Cindee Mayfield presiding.

The case centers on whether the County of Mendocino followed the California Environmental Quality Act in granting the California Department of Transportation a permit to excavate 900,000 cubic yards of soil from a mill site north of Willits and dump it upon the most politically contested piece of land in Mendocino County's recent history: roughly 43 acres of wetlands in north Little Lake Valley, where the CalTrans intends to build the northern interchange of the Willits Bypass.

The mill site in question is owned by Mendocino Redwood Company. The attorney for the plaintiffs is one Jim King, a former Mendocino County Superior Court judge who now works full-time for Mendocino Redwood Company (King, as opposed to Mendocino County Counsel's office, has done the legwork on this case). The judge who ruled on the case is a former attorney for Pacific Lumber Co., which former lands now comprise the majority of Humboldt Redwood Company's holdings.

A more partial subsidiary of the Fisher clan, but one nevertheless notable in this context, is US Rep. Jared Hufman. As I noted in the AVA last month, the Fisher clan are collectively among Mr. Huffman's largest career donors.

Huffman is the individual most singularly responsible for said case's timing and political context. After the US Army Corps of Engineers suspended construction on most of the Willits Bypass earlier this summer, Huffman and fellow US Rep Mike Thompson applied pressure on the Army Corps. The Corps abruptly lifted the suspension. The momentum was once again going CalTrans' way.

So, when the plaintiffs came before Judge Mayfield requesting a temporary restraining order that would prevent CalTrans' contractor from excavating, hauling, and dumping this massive quantity of mill site soil until their lawsuit is heard in full, there was plenty of reason to believe she would instead deal the enviros what likely amounted to a final defeat.

Instead, Mayfield granted the temporary restraining order.

Although Mayfield ruled (somewhat nonsensically) that CalTrans' contractor can proceed with clear-cutting 10 acres of forest on the mill site land, she forbade any soil excavation. She then asked both sides in the lawsuit to present arguments on Sept. 8 to determine whether the restraining order will remain in place.

The WEC, Keep the Code, et al. lawsuit, which is supported by Save Our Little Lake Valley and the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians (whose members have ancestral sites in the Byass construction areas), alleges the county failed to require an analysis of impacts associated with land scarring, conversion of timberlands to non-forest use, impacts to fish habitat, traffic impact, Brooktrails emergency evacuation plans, traffic and greenhouse gases.

CalTrans has been unable to haul any fill to the northern interchange since mid-June, when they ran out of soil on a hillside in the area of the project's southern interchange, across from where The Warbler's tree sit formerly stood.

In an effort to demonstrate that excavating 900,000 cubic yards of soil from an old mill site would have “no significant environmental impact,” Mendocino Redwood Company (by way of its subsidiary, Mendocino Forest Products) hired “environmental engineering” firm SHN Engineering of Eureka. The company's initials come from its three founders: John Selvage, Tom Herman, and Ken Nelson.

Former California Governor Gray Davis nominated Mr. Selvage to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2001. A few weeks later, Mr. Selvage gained the distinction of being perhaps the only person ever nominated to said board who stepped down rather than face questioning by the California State Legislature concerning his ties to — you guessed it — the North Coast timber industry.

No doubt heartened by the prospect that Willits Bypass construction would soon begin, SHN opened an office on Main St. in Willits in 2010. One of their three founders, Mr. Herman, heads up the company's Willits operation.

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I know what malathion smells like-

It smells like death

It smells like the young boys I knew who went to Vietnam

Only to return with terminal nightmares

Which now have turned to cancers

Attacking their bodies

From Agent Orange.

It smells like being an innocent kid

Having fun jumping from hay stacks

To hay piles

While the crop dusters flew beside the farm

It smells like cancer quadrupling since the 50's

And every 4th person

Suffering from it.

It smells like bees, birds and butterflies

Dying out in droves.

It smells like

The end of the world.

— Emjay Wilson

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 26, 2014

Bell, Elza, Flowers, Gunter, Hoaglen, Malone
Bell, Elza, Flowers, Gunter, Hoaglen, Malone

KATRINA BELL, Ukiah. Forgery.

CHRISTOPHER BRIGGS, Ukiah. DUI. (Photograph not available.)

TYLER ELZA, Willits. Probation revoked. (

NICOLE FLOWERS, Ukiah. Felony child endangerment.

MICHAEL GUNTER, Willits. Sale of meth, possession for sale of meth, driving on a suspended license, probation revoked.

IRAN HOAGLEN, Covelo. Probation revoked. (Frequent flyer.)

KRYSTAL MALONE, Ukiah. Felony domestic violence.

McGlothlin, Philliber, Quinn, Ramos, Sanchez, Sanders
McGlothlin, Philliber, Quinn, Ramos, Sanchez, Sanders

HARVEY MCGLOTHLIN Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

CYNTHIA PHILLIBER, Fort Bragg. Vehicle theft.

SIDNEY QUINN, Covelo. Possession for sale of marijuana, parole violation.

TRENTON RAMOS, Redwood Valley. Under the influence of a controlled substance (two counts), probation revoked.

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public, resisting arrest. (Frequent flyer.)

THOMAS SANDERS, Willits. Public intoxication of alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

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POLICE had to sedate a 27-year-old man after he went on a nude rampage through Oregon's Jefferson County Hemp Expo, a three-day music festival and hemp education event. Police said Timothy Seaux, of Grants Pass, Oregon, was nude and so combative four men had to restrain him on the ground when officers arrived on the scene. He was so out of control he even kneed and kicked at a trooper as they attempted to take him into custody. He continued struggling and violently kicking even as officers put him in the back of a squad car. KPTV reported that medical crews arrived on scene and determined that he would need to be sedated. Seaux was then taken to Three Rivers Medical Center where he was examined. Upon his release the next day, he was booked into Josephine County Jail and charged with menacing, criminal mischief, assaulting a public safety officer, and resisting arrest.

According to KPTV, witnesses on scene said Seaux had heavily damaged at one vehicle in his rage.

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THE LIST OF VACANCIES on some of the most exciting boards and commissions in the County has been updated with new vacancies for the month of September! A complete list of all new and existing vacancies is available on the County website:

Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

Thank you.

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Executive Office

501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010

Phone: (707) 463-4441, Fax: (707) 463-7237

The Mendocino County Executive Office is accepting applications for anticipated vacancies on the following Board or Commission:

• Airport Land Use Commission (1) City Select (aviation expertise)

• Assessment Appeals Board (2) Board Member, Alternate Board Member

• Community Development Commission (1) 1stDistrict Representative--

• In Home Support Services Advisory Council (1) --Current or Former Provider

• Library Advisory Board (1) City of Point Arena Representative

• Workforce Investment Board (1) Member #24

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Turning 65 Amidst the Battling of Global Adharmic Forces—

Warmest spiritual greetings, Please appreciate that as of September 28th, I am officially a "senior citizen". Tomorrow, I have an appointment at the North Berkeley Senior Center with the HICAP group to determine what additional benefits I might receive. Secondly, my advanced-in-yoga friend who is giving me shelter, has offered me a couple more nights on his living room floor to take rest. Beyond this, is the most critical need to be victorious over the demoniac adharmic forces on planet earth, particularly the multinational corporations and their ilk, who are driven to control this world and make the rest of us their economic slaves.   It is my most sincere wish to return to Washington D.C. and form a group for the expressed purpose of spiritual direct action! Please give me any and all cooperation to do this. I'm ready. Are you ready? Everybody is invited to be involved in this global spiritual war. Welcome to the future, and let us all be brave of heart, cooperate and love with one another, and succeed in returning this world to righteousness. Craig Louis Stehr, August 25, 2014 Email: Snail mail: POB 11406, c/o NOSCW, Berkeley, CA 94712-2406

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HIP-HOP AFRICA — because it is predictably fogeyish — and useless in any case — to object to loud music, especially the music of the young, I merely wondered, in a sour and squinting way, about the appeal of this semiliterate music here in Tsumkwe. And not just here: rap music is played all over sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly every country has its own rap groups. When I inquired, I discovered that Namibia alone had more than 20 hip-hop singers or groups, with names such as Contract Killers, Snazzy, L’il D, and, in the small town I had just passed through, Otjiwarongo, a group called Krazie D. Obviously something in this music speaks to the urban African who is typically unemployed, overlooked, idle, very poor, lonely and alienated from village traditions and pieties.

Rap is the howl of the underclass, the music of menace, of hostility, of aggression. Intentionally offensive, much of the language is so obscene that it is unplayable on radio stations. So naturally you wonder what is in the heads of the young here who have adopted these songs as their anthems. Are they merely idle, their minds colonized by the alien lyrics? And along with the music is a whole style of dress. Any Tsumkwe youths who could afford to buy clothes wore brand new rap-themed t-shirts and shorts. Faded ones were also available at the used-clothes stalls, courtesy of Americans who offloaded their kids’ old clothes, giving them to charities and perhaps never guessing that the t-shirt with the portrait of The Notorious B.I.G. or Heavy D or Snoop Dogg, or the one lettered “Thug Life” in homage to the murdered rapper Tupac Shakur, was just what they wanted. And they now had the music to match it. They had the words, too, and could say, with Caliban in The Tempest, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is I know how to curse.”

In countries where baseball was unknown, the most common headgear was a baseball cap. Hop-hop music has inspired skateboarding, break dancing, and graffiti. A skateboard is unusable on an African road, but I sometimes saw break dancing in villages or townships, and it was a rare public wall in Africa that had not been tagged with graffiti. The sound of urban Africa is not the harmonious and hypnotic rhythm of a drum, but the shout of rap and its opposite, the hoarse hymn singing of evangelicals — both sorts heard in remote Tsumkwe.

— Paul Theroux, “Last Train to Zona Verde”

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In May 1933, gravediggers exhumed Mike Malloy's body from a 12-foot-deep pauper's plot in the charity section of Westchester County's Ferncliffe Cemetery. Lobar pneumonia, according to the death certificate, had killed him, but Bronx District Attorney Samuel Foley suspected otherwise.

The subsequent autopsy revealed the most clumsily executed insurance scam in New York City history. It also gave birth to an urban legend: Malloy, survivor of six murder attempts and who withstood alcohol and food laced with poison, proved indestructible — until a rubber tube placed in his mouth delivered enough carbon monoxide gas to end his life. That was the conclusion drawn by Dr. Harry Schwartz, the assistant city toxicologist who performed the autopsy.

In the waning days of Prohibition, Anthony Marino owned a speakeasy on E. 177th St. in the Bronx. Still mired in the Depression, the city's unemployment rate neared 50% and desperate men sought ways to make a dollar any way they could. Marino, along with his barkeep, Joe Murphy, undertaker Frank Pasqua and friend Dan Kriesberg, devised a plot to bilk insurance companies by taking out policies on drunks and then hastening their deaths with booze.

Malloy seemed a suitable victim. The 50-year-old had worked as a fireman and engineer, but alcoholism had prevented him from holding down regular jobs. He now spent his time living the life of a derelict, frequenting Marino's speakeasy, among many others. Certainly, the gang believed, it was only a matter of time before Malloy drank himself to death.

They began backslapping Malloy and gave him free drinks. Malloy, accustomed to getting the bum's rush because of his lack of funds, was so thrilled that he eagerly signed a petition that would help elect Marino for local office. What he actually signed was an insurance policy from Metropolitan Life for $800, and two from Prudential for $495 each. The gang even provided Malloy with a crash pad in the back of the bar to sleep off his hangovers.

After several weeks of feeding Malloy free liquor, Marino noted that it was starting to cost him money. More distressing was Malloy's health: His pallor had lifted and spirits soared courtesy of the free booze. More active measures would be required to hasten Malloy's demise.

Murphy, a former chemist, told Malloy that some “new stuff” had come in. Malloy drank it, commented on how smooth it tasted and then collapsed to the floor. They dragged him to the back room and anticipated that they would need to pay off a physician for a “hush job” death certificate.

One hour later, a refreshed Malloy bounded back to the bar with a mighty thirst, unaffected by the alcohol Murphy had laced with car antifreeze.

Over the next few days the gang spiked Malloy's drinks with stronger doses of antifreeze, then turpentine and, finally, horse liniment with rat poison. Malloy kept beaming and kept drinking, soaking up the good times spent with his new friends. The crew decided a switch to food would best hasten Malloy's death.

Marino served him raw oysters — soaked in wood alcohol. After downing two dozen, Malloy was so enthused by the cuisine that he encouraged Marino to open up a restaurant. The next course included an entrée of rotten sardines mixed with tin shavings and carpet tacks.

Same result.

Next, the plotters got Malloy stupefied and escorted him to Claremont Park, stripped off his coat, and in the middle of winter opened his shirt and poured five gallons of water on him before dumping him into a snowbank. If poisoned liquor and food couldn't kill Malloy, then the cold blasts of a New York winter would.

Or so they thought. The next evening, Malloy showed up at the speakeasy wearing a new suit. He had really tied one on the night before, he explained, and wound up nearly naked in the park. Fortunately, the police had found him and a welfare organization outfitted him with new clothes.

Exasperated, the gang hired a cab driver, Harry Green, and offered him $150 to run Malloy down with his vehicle. On Jan. 30, 1933, a nearly unconsciously drunk Malloy was driven from Marino's to Pelham Parkway. Murphy stood him up in the middle of the roadway, and Green backed up his taxi two full blocks to build up enough speed to complete the job. Somehow, Malloy stumbled to safety. They then took Malloy to Gun Hill Road. This time, Green hit him.

The gang gleefully retreated to Marino's and again waited for an announcement of Malloy's demise. For days nothing appeared in the newspapers.

Where was he? Malloy was recovering in the hospital under a different name, having sustained a fractured skull, a concussion and a broken shoulder. The indestructible barfly returned several weeks later to the speakeasy and announced he had an awful thirst. The boys' jaws dropped.

Now desperate, they contacted a professional hit man, but his $500 fee was too expensive. They then shanghaied another drunk, Joe Murray, stupefied him with liquor and stuffed his coat pocket with Malloy's ID and ran him over with a cab. Murray, a substitute for Malloy in every way, recovered from his injuries after two months in Lincoln Hospital. The only way to knock off Malloy, the gang determined, was murder, clean and simple.

On the night of Feb. 22, Marino challenged Malloy to a drinking match. Marino drank whisky, Malloy wood alcohol. When Malloy appeared insensibly drunk, Murphy and Kreisberg hurried him to a furnished room on Fulton Ave. They dropped him on the floor, stuffed a hand towel in his mouth and attached a rubber hose to a gas jet in the wall. After inserting the hose in the side of Malloy's mouth, Kreisberg turned the jet on, and a hissing sound confirmed its working order, delivering a lethal dose of carbon monoxide. The pair left Malloy's lifeless clump and returned to the speakeasy.

They hired Dr. Frank Manzella, a former Bronx alderman, to issue a false death certificate. “Lobar pneumonia,” he wrote, “with alcoholism as a contributing cause.” The gang paid him $50 for the service. Pasqua didn't embalm Malloy, who had no next of kin, and he was buried without a wake in a $12 wooden box, some four hours after his death.

Murphy, posing as Malloy's brother, collected the $800 from Metropolitan Life, and when agents from Prudential came around to press more money in his hand, they couldn't find him. Murphy was in jail on another charge, and this aroused suspicion among the insurance agents, who contacted the police.

Police started piecing together the puzzle of this murderous ring. Green hadn't been paid his full share and started talking, while a professional hit man told friends that an insurance ring had been set to hire him, but his fee was too high. Police learned of another victim, Betty Carlson, who had died of pneumonia in mysterious circumstances in the same speakeasy. The life insurance beneficiary for her death was Marino. After police arrested the gang, District Attorney Foley pursued the death penalty.

At trial at the Bronx County Court House, the four murderers either claimed insanity or shifted the blame to each other, and then finally accused “Tough” Tony Bastone, a gangster who they said forced them to kill Malloy. Bastone couldn't testify, having been killed a month after Malloy's death.

In June and July 1934, Marino, Pasqua, Kreisberg and Murphy died in the electric chair at Sing Sing prison. Manzella was convicted as an accessory and sentenced to an indeterminate prison term. Malloy was reburied, and took with him to the grave the secret of a hardy and nearly indestructible constitution.

(Courtesy, the New York Daily News)

One Comment

  1. David Gurney August 27, 2014

    “WORK has begun near Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, on the connecting link of a walking and bike trail running from Noyo Harbor to Ten Mile….WE’RE CONTINUALLY surprised by the numbers of Mendo County people who are unaware of the existing Haul Road walk…The entire trail, in a couple of years, will include even more spectacular seaside access.”

    In case you didn’t know, the entire Haul Road – from Cleone to Ten Mile River – was completely removed this summer by State Parks – based, presumably, on the Snowy Plover bird counts of Mad River Biologists and its convicted felon founder. The road’s removal was ostensibly done to protect the bird.

    Now it’s a long slog through the sand to go north of Ward Ave.

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