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Mendocino County Today: Monday, April 13, 2015

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Two abalone divers dead, one missing in Caspar Cove

by Mary Callahan

Two abalone divers died and one was reported missing Sunday in Mendocino County’s Caspar Cove after a group of five people set out in search of the prized mollusks and instead met with tragedy.

Photo by Antone Schlafer; courtesy MendocinoSportsPlus.

Two other men were rescued from the rocks at the base of hundred-foot cliffs that form Caspar Headlands State Beach and Caspar Headlands Natural State Reserve on the central Mendocino Coast, emergency personnel said.

The men, at least some of whom were from the East Coast, were part of a group of 10 friends who had just arrived in the area and were renting a vacation home at the south end of Caspar Beach, Mendocino Fire Capt. Sally Swan said.

They may have been in the water mere minutes before they found themselves in trouble, apparently having entered off a rocky portion of coast with especially dynamic conditions, Swan said.

An off-duty firefighter fishing in the area saw their distress and called for help, she said.

Multiple agencies responded to the crisis, first reported at 2:42 p.m., including the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department, whose rescue boat brought the two men from the rocks and one of the deceased ashore.

A fourth man, also dead, was hoisted from the water by the crew aboard the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Henry 1, which was among several aircraft to respond, including a Coast Guard helicopter from Humboldt County and a REACH air ambulance, officials said.

There was speculation that at least some of the divers may have been inexperienced. Emergency medical personnel attempted to resuscitate two of the divers without success.

Barbara Johnson, who works the Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground store, said she believes some of those involved were among four out-of-state residents who purchased abalone tags from the shop Sunday morning, based on inquiries from friends or family members who came in that afternoon seeking directions.

“I’m pretty sure it’s them,” Johnson said. “It’s a terrible way to start the season.” Abalone season opened April 1.

The missing man was still unaccounted for at 6 p.m.

Lt. John Brigg with Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay said the agency’s helicopter was refueling in Point Arena and was about to return to Caspar Cove to continue searching into the night.

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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REGARDING the Ortner Management Group, a private company based in Yuba City, and proud owners of half Mendocino County's public mental health budget, the point we never tire in making, is that the "program" proposed for the Old Coast Hotel in the center of Fort Bragg will serve carefully selected persons who don't present any special difficulties because they've stopped presenting special difficulties. But they are good as gold reimbursable funding units paid for in full and then some by the federal and state governments, hence their attractiveness to the Ortner business. The more difficult mentally ill people, who also tend overwhelmingly to be addicted to methamphetamine, are ignored by Ortner and ignored, mostly, by what remains of the County-funded Mental Health Department. These people used to be housed in a state hospital system. Of course that was before America lost its way, circa 1967. Now, as we confirm daily with our own eyes, the mentally ill are pretty much free range, the default responsibility of law enforcement. The non-fundable insane, the insane that vultures like Ortner can't get government money for, wind up for short stays in the County Jail. The overall problem of homelessness and mental illness, often one in the same, is not being addressed in Mendocino County although Ortner is getting $7-8 million a year for allegedly doing something about it, his cynical plans for central Fort Bragg notwithstanding. (Repost from April 12)


The (above) piece regarding Ortner hit a home run. This is what so many in and out of the community of Fort Bragg have been saying for a long time only to fall on deaf ears. When I contacted Dan Hamburg and McCowen about their statement of approval for the Old Coast Hotel project McCowen didn’t bother to answer and Hamburg answered by either quoting or copying and pasting his answer directly from the Hospitality Center’s website. I asked for his opinion on help not being there for those who need it, I didn’t ask for a copy and paste answer. Why does no one seem to want to discuss this? That includes the Fort Bragg City Council. As Scott Deitz said, “I voted for it and it’s done.” Thank you to this paper (AVA) for allowing both sides to be heard, unlike our local paper that is so one sided they could downsize their paper even more and still have more room than they know what to do with. This issue isn’t about not wanting to help those in need, it’s about wanting to make sure ALL those in need get that help. Our county is paying for a program that pretty much says, “If we can’t be reimbursed for services you receive you aren’t going to get those services.” Instead you go over to Ukiah for a free night’s lodging then released back on the street with no help and no hope. Ortner should be responsible for these people as well, after all aren’t they being paid to do just that? Of course that would take from the money going into the pocket of OMG. That is my opinion.

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Re. the request in "Valley People", April 1, for an explanation of mean vs. median —

Hopefully you've received a useful response by now. If not:

The mean is, as you say, just the average of a series of numbers. You add them together and divide the total by how many numbers you're averaging. It can give you a good one-number summary of a long series of values. For example, I was in Willits last weekend and checked the average (mean) low and high temperatures to give me some idea of what clothes to pack.

The situation is more complicated when the numbers aren't randomly distributed around some value. For example, imagine a hypothetical country with ten inhabitants. Let's say nine of them make minimum wage — maybe $18,000 a year. And one special fellow makes $10,000,000 a year. The mean income in this country is 9 x 18,000 plus 1 x 10,000,000, the total divided by 10, or $1.02 million a year. You can see that's not a really useful number, since nobody actually makes anywhere near that amount (most people well under, and one way over).

That's where the median comes in. To find it, you simply sort all your numbers from lowest to highest. Then you throw out the lowest and highest values. Do that again, and again, until you meet in the middle. That remaining number (or two) is the "median." For the example, the median income would be $18,000 which gives a little more accurate picture of that country.

For rivers like the Navarro, which aren't fed from a steady trickle of melting snow or ice, the median is a more useful number. As you know, it gets a few massive storms every winter that can overtop the bridges but most of the year you can wade across it without wetting your knees. So the median will tell you what you can expect in the river on any given day better than the average would.

Hope that helps. If you haven't had enough, I can talk about percentiles as well.

Ralf Burgert

San Francisco

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Reading Mark Scaramella's article about wind noise reminded me of Mendocino City's Water tower/windmill history, as "The racket" produced by the windmills drove folks "crazy" or to relocation.

Scaramella may find it interesting that other states look to California for solutions to energy, thus the report from Nebraska's windmill permitting may be enlightening in that the reports tells more about CA wind energy than CA reveals:

Is GE providing input for the grapers? Here's what GE has to say (which I find disputable)

After moving into my residence I discovered the neighbor's street light offensive. I offered to pay for a light shield. The neighbor told me to deal with PG&E. PG&E told me it was up to the neighbor. This back and forth went on for years. I found that Department of Fish and Wildlife (DF&W) became empowered in 2005 with environmental laws which include curbing street light from lighting up the sky at night because excess light disturbs wildlife and fowl migration. I called PG&E and told them I was going to call DF&W, which I did, however, PG&E came out in less than 24 hours after my call and installed a shield. It cost me nothing. They didn't even want to talk to me, instead told the neighbor they needed to put a shield on the lamp. They did this to not get fined $10K plus damages from 2005. Maybe DF&W can help you?

Consider changing your wind noise position from "human suffering" to "wild animal and plant suffering", and see if the DF&W would be willing to testify (or make their own case) that the fans are disrupting the harmony of wild fowl migration. Also State Parks might want to pitch in with complaints from campers (provide a petition...Mendocino Area Parks Association loves to help with that kind of stuff). Search "man-made noise disrupts the growth of plants and trees" and you may find a new way to convince the grapers themselves that there's a better way.

In loving thy neighbor,

BB Grace, Fort Bragg

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ON APRIL 5th at about 1:40 PM Ukiah Police responded to Walgreen’s, at 308 East Perkins Street, for a suspicious person. Officers learned a male subject had approached a female employee, working inside the store, from behind and hugged and kissed her. The employee confronted the subject, who didn’t say anything but tried to hug the employee again. The subject was located by officers near-by, and he was identified as 38 year old Harvey McCarty who was found to be on parole for domestic violence. McCarty’s parole officer was contacted and he was subsequently arrested for violating parole. (Ukiah PD Press Release)

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ON APRIL 7th at about 3:40 AM Ukiah Police responded to a residence in the 200 block of Irvington Drive for a suspicious subject in the backyard. Responding officers were advised the homeowner was in a physical fight with the subject, and that the subject had tried to enter the residence. Officers located 27 year old Eric Michael Roberts on the side yard and noticed he was extremely intoxicated and unable to stand on his own. Roberts had blood on his face and was arrested for public intoxication and for violating terms of his Post Release Community Supervision which prohibit him from drinking. Officers learned Roberts had been heard pounding on the bedroom windows and trying to enter the residence. The homeowner confronted Roberts, who tried to push past the resident and then struck the resident, and a fight ensued until Roberts fell and the resident closed the door. The homeowner sustained minor injuries and declined prosecution. Roberts was booked into the County Jail for public intoxication and violating PCRS. (Ukiah PD Press Release)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 12, 2015

Delgado, Gillette, Lucas
Delgado, Gillette, Lucas

FRANCISCO DELGADO, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon.

MAXWELL GILLETTE, Santa Barbara/Ukiah. Shoplifting.

JESSIE LUCAS, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia.

Lopez, Morrow, Rand, Rodriguez
Lopez, Morrow, Rand, Rodriguez

FRANCISCO LOPEZ, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.

CHRISTINA MORROW, Redwood Valley. DUI-drugs, addict driving a vehicle, suspended license, unlawful registration.

PEGGY RAND, Ukiah. Petty theft, under influence of controlled substance.

JAIME RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, false information to police, resisting arrest.

Sims, Vandenberg, Williams, Witt
Sims, Vandenberg, Williams, Witt

TRAVIS SIMS, Oakland/Ukiah. Possession of meth for sale, possession of controlled substance without prescription.

KEITH VANDENBERG, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

MAJOR WILLIAMS III, Oakland/Ukiah. Possession of meth for sale, possession of controlled substance without prescription, evasion, reckless driving suspended license.

JACQUELYN WITT, Philo. Pot cultivation.

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“Caucasian” is a matter of definition. Human genetics is a gigantically complex thing, the science of which is just getting up and running.

Geneticists are examining DNA found in the ancient remains of post-glacial, neolithic people in Europe. And they’ve found examples of genes for brown skin. It looks like brown skin was the thing in Europe 5,000 BC. Not only that but it came with brown hair and blue eyes. Seems that the world has changed in terms of “race” and quite recently at that.

It looks like depigmentation among Europeans and west Asians is a relatively recent thing that happened somewhere in the vicinity of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea and spread into Europe possibly via the migration of farmers. It possibly became an adaptive mutation as a result of a grain-based diet. But finding testable DNA in ancient remains isn’t easy and ancient human remains are not that common so such a proposition is difficult to test.

East Asians also went the route of de-pigmentation. They have some genes in common with western Eurasians that account for whitening but more are distinct to eastern peoples.

Things change, you know, with migration and population replacement. Anatolian and middle eastern farmers mostly replaced post glacial European hunters. I’m betting that what happened to those hunters is what happened to modern Amerindians. The modern folk that genetically most resemble those same brown-skinned Neolithic Europeans now live along the shores of the Baltic.

The people that most resemble Asians that lived in Siberia 50,000 years ago now live in Papua-New Guinea, the people that most resemble Asians that lived in Siberia 25,000 years ago now live in the jungles of the Amazon. The people that most resemble the “ice-man” Otzi now live in Sardinia. The people that used to live in your own place of national and ethnic origin 3,000 years ago wouldn’t likely be big contributors to your own genetic make-up, having been replaced or having moved on. At least that’s how things look. Genetics is a work in progress. Not much in the way of settled science.

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FRIENDS OF THE FORT BRAGG LIBRARY are holding their book sale at their regular book sale venue in Noyo Harbor. They are open on weekends, every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 11-3pm. The little store is located at the Sportsman’s Dock at the south end of the parking lot it shares with End of the World Rowing Club, the last building before the Noyo River bridge (look left). Books are priced $3 for hardcovers, $2 for paperbaks. Plus some specially priced books and a $paperback shelf. All sales benefit the library.

(Jennifer Wolfman, volunteer)

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Silent Auction Saturday May 16th 2015

Saint Michaels Episcopal Church (12-5pm)

Franklin and Pine St. Fort Bragg, Ca.

Our choir is again planning a trip out of the country to sing in cathedrals and many other wonderful locations. We will be doing a silent auction to raise funds for this venture and hope to see you there.

$5.00 at the door gives you a glass of wine or other beverage and delicious munchies, some from our cookbook. Entertainment is also provided by the choir.

Come enjoy the afternoon with us.

If you would like to donate to our auction please call Roberta Morrow 964-3752

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To the Editor:

KZYX Executive Director-General Manager, John Coate, writes the following on his Facebook page :

John Coate, April 1 at 2:24pm — “The KZYX Board of Directors election ballots were counted and the hate group candidates got clobbered. One got 37% of the vote and the other got 31%. They can STFU now. Not that they will.”


Is Coate kidding or what!

Hate group? Really? From a guy who shut down the Community Advisory Board? From a guy who tried to shut down the Program Advisory Committee, and who now keeps it as weak and ineffective as possible? From a guy who will not allow the station's 2,100 members to communicate with one another? Who keeps them in the dark? From a guy who has taken the "public" out of public radio?

Hate group? Really? From a guy who purges popular programmers from the air who are his critics? From a guy who makes programmer grievance hearings into a kangaroo court?

Hate group? Really? From a guy who has double standards for "discipling" or otherwise purging programmers? For example, Doug McKenty was purged when a caller dropped the f-word. The station did not have the seven-second delay at that time. Also, Norman De Vall was purged merely for setting up the Kzyxtalk listserv, so that the public might have a forum to discuss their presumably public radio station in the absence of "Open Lines" being canceled and its host, Doug McKenty, being purged by Coate. Meanwhile, I, a programmer of more than six years and Board member, was purged for uttering the f-word as ambient sound while standing 5-6 feet from the engineering board, as the station's Program Director, Mary Aigner, had control of both the show and engineering board -- the very same Mary Aigner who, without consequence, did not preview her feature and allowed the s-word to be uttered on 7:10 p.m., on March 30 on "Women Voices". (Yes, we taped the show for a future lawsuit.)

Hate group? Really? From a guy who tried to censor news reporter, Christina Aanestad, or otherwise have editorial control over the news department, and who tried to get Ms. Aanestad to work without pay, nearly forcing her to complain to the California Labor Board? From a guy who eliminated the two full-time jobs in the station's news department?

Hate group? Really? From a guy who keeps staff salaries and other financials secret? From a guy who gives his staff raises instead of making necessary investments in infrastructure? From a guy who gave himself a 10% raise in June, 2013, at precisely the time county workers were either getting pink slipped or being forced to take a 10% pay cut in a massive downsizing of the county's payroll? This raise for John Coate still stinks two years after the fact.

Hate group? Really? From a guy who has allowed 10 incidents of dead air or fuzz outs in only the first three months of 2015 alone, as Korean War-era broadcast equipment continues to fail, and is held together by bailing wire and masking tape. This is to saying nothing of a frequent scratchy, irritating broadcast signal, or a webstream that's often down.

Hate group? Really? From a guy who refuses to open a Ukiah studio? From a guy who arrogantly refuses to collaborate with other local public radio stations, like KMEC or KNYO?

Hate group? Really? From a guy who has spent $15,000 of KZYX's scarce resources in legal fees defending his poor management decisions at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which still has not renewed both of the station's licenses -- even after a year!

Hate group? Really? From a guy who has seen KZYX's annual federal bailout funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) slip from $187,000 to $132,000 -- apparently, the CPB, like the FCC, is losing patience with John Coate and his rubber stamp Board of Directors.

Hate group? Really? From a guy who refuses to post or advertise part-time jobs at the station, or otherwise support the spirit of affirmative action and EEO laws, thereby favoring friends and other insiders for jobs?

Hate group? Really? From a guy who refused to investigation two separate incidents of battery on women -- battery on KZYX station premises, nonetheless. Julia Carrera, former co-host of "Trading Time" was grabbed by the neck in the station's studio by her co-host and then-boyfriend. Meanwhile, Mary Massey, a WPLN, Nashville Public Radio veteran and potential volunteer programmer at KZYX, was spit at in the station's parking lot by the station's operations manager, who is a man.

That's a whole lotta hating goin' on, John Coate.

Question: Who's hating whom?

Another question, John Coate: What's with the STFU? Shut The F*** Up? Really? Seriously. Really? From a groovy old hippie like yourself? Shame on you, John Coate. We will not STFU. No, siree. Your so-called "hate group" is trying to save KZYX -- trying to save it from you.

John Sakowicz

MCPB Board of Directors (2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014)


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