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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Apr 18, 2015

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FISH AND WILDLIFE has found the proposed Fort Bragg trash transfer station wanting. The $5 million project's environmental impact report, says Fish and Wildlife, has failed to satisfactorily address the effects of a garbage facility on wetlands, surface water and the cumulative impacts generally of an industrial trash operation plunked down in the Pygmy Forest a few miles northeast of Fort Bragg.

MIKE SWEENEY, Mendocino County's most thoroughly reinvented person, and our County's most interesting citizen, functions as the County's lead trash bureaucrat under the auspices of the usual supine board of directors organized as the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority. Sweeney got the bad news from Fish and Game in a March 24th letter from that agency.

THE EIR FOR THE FIVE-ACRE SITE off Highway 20 near Fort Bragg cost upwards of $200,000. It was prepared by the Eureka office of an “international network of engineers, architects and environmental scientists.” The project has been some eight years in creation and has the apparent support of the County supervisors and at least three members of the Fort Bragg City Council.

THAT FORT BRAGG and the Mendocino Coast has a perfectly serviceable trash transfer station at Pudding Creek has been mostly ignored, as the always one-step-ahead Sweeney, his quiescent board of trustees signing off every step of the way for eight years now, is determined to erect a brand new trash operation amidst sensitive habitat, a new operation that will undoubtedly raise Coast garbage rates to pay for.

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LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD. Grant Colfax, home schooled in the hills west of Boonville, has served as head of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, has been appointed by the Marin supervisors as director of that county's Health and Human Services Department. A medical doctor, Colfax, 50, is a graduate of Harvard, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate of Harvard Medical School. He had been working with San Francisco's Health Department and makes his home in Sausalito. Three of the Colfax boys have graduated from Harvard, and the fourth from a non-Ivy. All four have done well in the world, and put the lie for all time to the myth that home-schooled children miss out on all that presumed groovy “socialization” the young get in public schools.

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IT MAY HAVE ELUDED the AVA's hawk-eyed vigilance, but what's always left out of the marijuana legalization discussion, seems to us, is how much stronger your average doobie is than in the days of Flower Child-ism when it became the primary consciousness altering tool of millions of Americans. But pot is bad, very bad for young people. That fact doesn't get mentioned much if at all by the drug's pied pipers. Speaking anecdotally here, over the many years I've watched young people grow up in Boonville, and I've been here since 1970 when pot really got rolling, every single kid who got into it prematurely — age 12, 13, 14 and on through the teen years — has come to a bad end, either through addiction to hard drugs or to adult mental illness.

GOVERNOR BROWN'S so-called “realignment” program has not only shifted the jail time of a lot of, ahem, very bad boys to county jails, it has basically decriminalized possession of hard drugs. Net effect? The skies are dark with tweakers flying home to the Mendocino County Jail from the state prison system and, many of them, onto the streets of Fort Bragg, Willits and Ukiah. These dudes are rougher than the average Mendo fuck-up, and quick to settle disputes with their fists, feet or whatever's handy. Sheriff Allman has pointed out that they're a lot harder to handle in the County Jail, which is now so overcrowded a lot of the more harmless boys are kicked out early.

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I HAD AN APPOINTMENT the other day for coffee at Schatt's (Ukiah) with my old friend Mike Geniella, formerly of the Press Democrat, presently DA Eyster's flak catcher and press release maestro. “Eyster wants to see you,” Geniella said when I met him. “If you bring him two chocolate chip cookies you can have thirty minutes with him.” Not a bad deal for an opportunity to rag on Mendocino County's top law enforcement officer about this, that and the other obsessive thing. Two cookies later I was seated opposite the DA in his inner sanctum. On the other side of the one-way glass I saw my ace crime reporter, Bruce McEwen, shuffle by, notebook and poised pen.

COUPLA THINGS about the DA: One, he's very smart. If you're going to argue with him you better be ready or you're going to get run over. You might get run over anyway even if you think you're ready. Two, he's reasonable. He'll listen to your opinion, and maybe even agree with it. One way or the other, you get a rational response. I was interested in his opinion of a rumor I'd heard. He gave me his opinion. I was pleased with it. We talked about other pending matters. I was also pleased with his opinion of those matters. It was all background stuff, but I thought back to the long years when the DA and the Sheriff refused to even acknowledge any media that didn't hallelujah them. It all changed with Sheriff Tony Craver and DA Norm Vroman. I think they were the first Mendo cops to figure out that there were a lot of half-assed, up-from-hippie liberals in Mendocino County. And they all voted. Treat them like stray dogs and yer outta there.

Eyster & Allman
Eyster & Allman

DA EYSTER & SHERIFF ALLMAN, though, are post-hippie-accessible on their own accounts. They are among the very few in the state in their jobs who are, and that's obviously because they aren't intellectually insecure. They know they can hold their own with whomever's walking through the door.

SO, WITHOUT MY ASKING, the DA brought up what has become an eternal subject. (Not Sweeney.) He pointed out that his predecessor had done nothing, which was half her approach to her workload. Indict everyone except the tough ones. The tough cases? Pretend they're intractable.

YES, I THINK Eyster is doing a great job as DA. I wish certain matters moved faster, but with previous people in his position they wouldn't have moved at all. And his dope prosecution policies have made money for the County, the first time ever they haven't been a net drag on the law enforcement budget. If you gotta have cops it's a good thing when they're rational. We count our blessings.

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A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO, we posted the County CEO’s press release announcing that an agreement had been reached between the County’s top law enforcement brass (MCLEMA/Mendocino County Law Enforcement Management Association) and the County, but without any specifics. Today, we see in the Board agenda for next week that the Brass has agreed to a $1200 one time payment for each top officer, plus a 9.5% increase in year one (effective July 2015, which actually started last year on July 1, 2014 when their contract expired, with a backdate making the raise about 3.25% last year and again this year), plus another 3% “general increase.” In the third year of the contract, the Brass will get another 2% raise. This effectively restores the 10% cut they took back in 2008, plus a little more. To sweeten the deal a bit, the Brass agreed to pay the entire amount of their retirement donation out of their increased pay, eliminating the County’s pension match. The agenda item estimates the cost impact of the agreement at about $137k for the first year and $167k for second year (the third year of the backdated contract). The agenda item also notes that it will cost the County $12k this year (part of the initial $137k) for the $1200 one-time payment. Which means there are just ten members of MCLEMA (basically the Sheriff’s captains and lieutenants — not exactly what you’d normally call a “bargaining unit”). Which also translates to about $14k per senior officer for the July 2015 to June 2016 period and another $17k per officer for the following (third) fiscal year.

THESE DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT because this agreement will set the bar for the negotiations with the much larger Deputy Sheriff’s Association which is currently in negotiations. (It will probably also set the bar for other County bargaining units, but maybe not directly. The County’s largest bargaining unit, the SEIU at about 700 employees took a $1200 one-time payment themselves last year, but it remains to be seen what the next contract will look like.) But, the other bargaining units are not likely to give up their pension subsidy so easily just to get the 10% pay cut they took a few years ago back. If the much larger DSA was to get something like the brass appears to be getting, we could be talking about fiscal impact of over a $1 million per year just for that one bargaining unit, perhaps backdated to last year when the DSA contract expired — just for the patrol sergeants, deputies and jailers. And if that translates to other bargaining units… Let’s just say that the County’s oft-repeated claim that “revenues are flat” might create a large new budget gap for the budget which starts in July 2015, just over two months from now.

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(BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AGENDA ITEM 6(c) for BOS meeting April 21, 2015.)

SUMMARY OF REQUEST: Mendocino County has approximately one million acres of commercial forest lands. Concerns have been raised regarding the thousands of acres of commercial forestlands near the towns of Albion, Little River, Comptche and Navarro that contain large tracts of dead standing trees.

Currently, there are no local regulations regarding the practice of leaving intentionally killed hardwoods standing, nor are there any requirements that such trees, although dead, be downed and/or removed to reduce fire danger. Such standing dead hardwoods represent significant fire hazard potential, threatening the health and safety of thousands of residents.

In 2005, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Community Wildfire Management

Plan designated the affected communities as “Communities at Risk from Wildfire.” This Plan — collaboratively developed by CalFire, the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, and Mendocino County - identified and prioritized areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments and recommended the types and methods of treatment that could lessen the risks.

If adopted, the resolution requests that the commercial timber companies, on a voluntary basis, immediately cease the practice of leaving dead standing trees on their property, and proposes an independent analysis of the fire danger resulting from this practice of creating standing dead trees, for a period not to exceed six (6) months.

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WHEREAS, Mendocino County is in its fourth consecutive year of drought; and

WHEREAS, the 2005 Cal Fire Community Wildfire Prevention Plan, the last such plan written, designated much of the County as at risk from wildfire; and

WHEREAS, Mendocino County has approximately one million acres of commercial forest lands; and

WHEREAS, over the past three years (2012-2014) hardwood trees have been killed and left standing on over 22,000 acres, at an approximated rate of over 1.5 million trees per year; and

WHEREAS, such standing dead hardwoods present fire danger, threatening the health and safety of county residents; and

WHEREAS, there is no current regulation of the practice of leaving intentionally killed hardwoods standing, nor are there any requirements that such trees be downed and/or removed to reduce fire danger; and

WHEREAS, this forest management practice continues despite the protests of many residents who would be most immediately affected by any resulting wildfire; and

WHEREAS, dead standing trees resulting from naturally occurring events, and for preservation of wildlife, shall be exempt from this resolution; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors is extremely concerned about the fire hazard presented by dead standing timber;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors requests that the commercial timber companies, on a voluntary basis, immediately cease the practice of leaving intentionally killed trees standing on their property pending the completion of an independent fire danger analysis, or for a period not to exceed six (6) months from the date of this resolution, whichever comes first.

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Ending five straight years of expansion, new vineyard development leveled off on the North Coast in 2014 as growers turned their attention to replanting existing vineyards.

Vineyards1Figures released Thursday by the US Department of Agriculture showed there were 132,004 acres of vineyards in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties in 2014, a decline of 0.5% from 2013’s record-setting 132,697 acres.

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A READER WRITES: That was good what was written about abolishing high school. After 12 years of public education, many of my community college students can't write, have no grasp of basic grammar correctness, and have never read any literature. Sometimes I ask, what did they do in High School English, get lectures about not taking drugs and not joining gangs? That's about it, they admit — and we all know how well that's worked out.

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“IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY, we have seen an increase in cases of both chlamydia and gonorrhea over the last three years, especially in the last three months,” said DHHS Public Health Nurse Eric Gordon. From Jan. 1 through April 15 there have been 82 cases of gonorrhea reported to Public Health, according to HumCo DHHS’s Epidemiologist Ron Largusa. This trend represents a doubling of cases and rate from 2014 and a 10-fold increase in cases and rate from 2010.”

A READER COMMENTS re HumCo's gonorrhea increase: “Oh my god you guys. Humboldt is so gross up here! One big petri dish of our combined infections. People are getting down like savages. Especially the home grown folks! All impulse, zero caution — like we do everything else. Our stretch of 101 is just one giant snail trail. Now, if you will excuse me I'm going to go eat some moldy bread and hope for the best."

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by Jim Gibbons

No, he didn’t hurt me or make me cry on purpose, or even know who I was or that I cried. He was just giving his usual morning news report from the KOZT studio in Fort Bragg, as he had been doing for years. And I had been listening every weekday morning for years. My routine was getting up a little after six, making coffee, and catching that first report at 6:30 AM. I liked his headline news, local and national, the stock market, sports and weather, all in less than ten minutes, and then back to Classic Rock.

The date was June 12, 2008. Regelski was reporting on a murder that took place sometime after midnight the day before in Willits. A man had entered an unlocked front door of a Coast Street home and approached the victim from behind, stabbing him in the back several times with a butcher knife.

The victim’s girlfriend was sleeping in a back bedroom with their 4-year-old daughter, but didn’t hear anything and slept through it. At about 3 AM she noticed her boyfriend wasn’t in bed yet and went into the kitchen to discover his body lying in a pool of blood. She called the cops and then she called me.

3 AM phone calls are never good news. I had put a second phone on my headboard so I wouldn’t have to jump up when I heard the phone ringing at the other end of the house. After that call I removed the phone from my bedroom, deciding that one land line at the other end of the house was enough.

As soon as I said hello she started screaming in my ear, “HE’S DEAD!! RILEY’S DEAD!! COME GET YOUR SON!! HE’S DEAD…” I was numbly calm, first asking her if she had called the police, and then Sgt. Jon Anderson took the phone from her and asked me if I was Jim Gibbons, Riley’s father, and when I said yes, he apologized for her outburst and asked me if I would come to the crime scene and identify the body.

I got out of bed and dressed mechanically, drove the ten miles to town, and when I got to the Coast Street house I noticed the yellow tape around the yard and a few police cars blocking off the street. Then I saw Brandy and Kyra being whisked away by Brandy’s step-mom, Debbie, who had just lost her husband, Brandy’s father, the previous year.

The first person I talked to was Sgt. Anderson, who told me I did not need to go in the house, in fact, since it was now officially a crime scene they preferred I stay out. We talked briefly, and he was real sympathetic, offering to have coffee sometime if I wanted to talk about it. But there was nothing for me to do there so I left and went to my wife’s house only a few blocks away. She had put her house on the market and left for Hawaii just days before. She was a bit impatient with my indecisiveness and said she’d go first and buy a house, then I could come when I was ready.

I don’t really remember what I did the rest of the day. I do remember that I'd stopped by the previous afternoon to take my granddaughter Kyra for a walk. When we returned, Riley asked me to hang out and watch the NBA playoffs with a few of his friends, but I declined because I wanted to get home. Besides, I had DirecTV at my place and don’t like to drive the ten miles home at night after a few beers. I’ve regretted that decision, but what can I say, maybe it saved me from a DUI or a deer in the windshield? That’s the last time I saw him alive.

Then the next morning I woke up early, went through my usual routine, anticipating Joe Regelski’s news report at 6:30. I knew this would be the top story. As the time approached I couldn’t sit still and was on my hands and knees spot cleaning my bamboo floor when he began… ”A Willits man was stabbed to death in the early hours of Wednesday, June 11…”

And that’s when I started crying, or maybe more like sobbing. I was on all fours looking at tears running down my nose and dripping on the floor. I was making gasping sounds as if I couldn’t quite catch my breath. At the same time I was observing how silly I looked. It would have been embarrassing if someone else was there, but then I would have held it in, as I’ve done for decades. I was taught not to be a cry baby and I did pretty good until that June morning in 2008.

I didn’t cry when my mother died in 2006, or my father in 1990. It was different when my little sister Susie died in 1991. I’m not saying I cried, but if I had I wouldn’t be embarrassed. She was 37-years-old and driving the icy road from Leadville to Vail, Colorado at night when she slid off the road and plunged down the mountain. She crawled up to the highway with a broken ankle in freezing temperatures and collapsed along side of the road. She was found by a passing motorist early that morning and taken to the hospital where she died that afternoon.

I was coaching the distance runners at Willits High School that spring when I got the call one evening from a Colorado county coroner describing briefly what happened; he seemed to expect that I would fly out immediately. Most people would drop everything and take personal care of a family tragedy like this, but I was coaching my oldest son Eli, who had broken the school record in the 3200-meters and had just won the Coastal Conference 1600 and 3200 meter championships. The next meet was the Regionals in Santa Rosa to see who would go to the State Meet. I didn’t want to fly to Colorado. I rationalized that Susie was dead, there was nothing I could do.

And why did they call me and not our mother or older sisters? Perhaps because I was the only sibling from Wisconsin to ever visit her. The first time was in ’79 to run the Leadville 10K, advertised as the highest road race in the country at close to ten thousand feet. It was part one of a free trip that she arranged in anticipation of my qualifying for the 1980 Boston Marathon. She was part owner of Ozzie’s Shoes in Vail, and when I jokingly asked her if Ozzie’s wanted to sponsor me to run Boston she took me seriously, talked to her partners, and sure enough they bought me shoes, tickets, the works. Maybe her friends thought big brother would jump at the chance to return to Colorado when she died to get some closure?

I called my Mom, and when I told her Susie was dead she made a sound like the wind was knocked out of her. My sister Kathy scolded me later for not calling her first; she lived nearby and would have told our mother in person. Kathy’s husband Al flew out and took care of everything. Eli didn’t make it to state.

After a few desolate minutes on my floor, I got up, wiped my face and actually felt better. It was sort of like self-imposed therapy. So the next question was who did it?

Police arrested 38-year-old Lovell Keller of Willits about a half an hour later. Seems there had been an altercation earlier that evening at the Circle K market, across from the post office on Main Street. Riley had gone to the market to buy beer or cigarettes, and there he ran into Keller, who was waiting in line. Keller made a comment about Brandy, causing Riley to get riled and knock him into a display case before running back home.

The police were called and they talked to Keller. Although Keller was intoxicated, since he was on foot, they let him walk it off. Apparently he went home, took a shower, and got in bed with his girlfriend until she fell asleep. Then he got up, took a butcher knife and walked the half-mile to Riley’s house.

After he'd stabbed Riley, he walked back home, dropping the weapon into a sewer a few blocks down Coast Street. The police found the knife the next morning with Keller's fingerprints on it. Shortly after he'd killed Riley, Keller had texted Brandy bragging that he did it as if that would really impress her. “Y boy is dead.” I haven’t really studied criminal dating habits, but if that’s how some killers try to court the ladies, it’s no surprise when they’re so easily nabbed.

Turns out Keller and Brandy had worked together at Perko’s on the south end of Willits, now called Lumberjacks Restaurant. He was a cook and she was a hostess. Apparently he had a thing for her, perhaps misinterpreting her friendly personality as a mutual attraction. She was nice to him because that was her job, being nice to people. She’s a fun person with a pleasant demeanor, but don’t piss her off.

She and Riley had been going together on and off for about five years, but toward the end they seemed to irritate each other more easily over little stuff. I didn’t really like being around them all that much anymore. I used to pick up Kyra once a week — Tuesdays with Kyra, I called it, and made a little book about our time together. I’d bring her up to my place to hang out for the day. We would look at books, draw pictures, collect lizards and take hikes. She was fearless, wanting to climb ladders, walk off into the woods right through the poison oak, and seemed to have more endurance than me — and I was a national class runner!

One day Kyra seemed a bit melancholy. She was sitting on her little rocking chair looking out the window while I was fixing lunch. This was in late spring of ’08, maybe a month before her that fateful day her father was murdered, and she'd said, “Why can’t they just get along?” I knew she was talking about her mom and dad, but I had no answer. She continued, “She yells at him, and he yells at her. Why can’t they just be nice?” At that moment she seemed so much older than four. I told her all we could do is be nice to them, and maybe they would be nicer to each other.

A few weeks earlier, I'd noticed Riley’s right hand was swollen and I asked him about it. He said some guy was hassling Brandy at work and he punched him. That upset me, and I didn’t even know at the time the guy was Keller, or that he was an ex-convict. That would have scared the shit of me! I do remember Brandy saying one time that sending her younger brother Bryce Jr., who had a few run-ins with the law, to jail would be a good lesson for Bryce, as if going to jail makes a person shape up and fly right.

I’ve never been to jail or even been arrested, but always felt that that’s one of the worst places to go because you meet bad people there. When Riley was nineteen and living with a few friends in Brooktrails he showed me a handgun that he'd recently acquired, as if I’d be impressed. He knew I didn’t own any guns, but my first thought was I want that gun, or maybe a better way to put it is, I don’t want him to have that gun.

I acted impressed by the gun and told Riley that my wife Susan has been wanting a handgun because she didn’t feel safe living out in the woods alone with just her and her daughter Joanie. We each had our own place, which by the way is the secret to a lasting marriage. I offered Riley $100 for it and pulled out five $20 bills. He sold it to me on the spot, I thanked him, and a week later I read an article in the Willits News about three young dudes from Willits who were arrested at a marijuana grow north of town.

It seems Riley drove his two friends to that grow in the ’74 Toyota coup I traded him for doing some jobs for me, but two Sheriff's deputies happened to be waiting for them. His two friends both had handguns and were taken into custody, but Riley was unarmed and was released. When I read that I surely patted myself on the back, knowing there was a real good chance Riley would have had that handgun I bought from him on him.

A handgun would not have helped defend himself the night Keller rushed in, if he had it in his hand, ready to fire, or if he had just locked his front door. One would think after another altercation with the same guy who lived in the same town one would want to be safer by locking the doors. Riley, what were you thinking?! How many times do you get to punch someone before they retaliate?

The last time I saw his body was in the local mortuary. They offered me some alone time with him. He was laid out on a table with his torso exposed, showing the Kyra tattoo over his left pec. I suppose most people pray or cry or both at this last visit, but being a lifelong atheist, and already having cried, I remember thinking what a waste of a good life, and after a few minutes I exited, paid the cremation fee, and went home.

The next hurdle was the memorial, which was to take place at the Methodist Church the following week. I knew I was expected to say something to the crowd, but just couldn’t prepare a speech. And there was a crowd. I was surprised how many people showed up, so many they all couldn't get in and were just hanging outside when I arrived. It seemed everyone in Willits knew Riley and liked him. Even out-of-towners showed up. The ones who couldn’t get into the packed church seemed satisfied to just be there outside throughout the memorial.

When my turn came I thanked everyone who had called with their condolences, and I thanked those who didn’t call. Then I read a piece I wrote ten years before about me and Riley running the Boonville 5K, called “My Favorite Second Place.” It was how he'd recovered from a serious foot injury to run and race again, finally beating me for the first time with a devastating kick. Then after the race, always the jokester, Riley asked me with a straight face why I hadn't kicked. Haha.

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This will be the last meeting of our Boonville Winter Market in front of the Boonville General Store. Our final Winter Market will meet at the GOAT FESTIVAL Saturday, April 25th at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds from 10-12:30pm

Please come and support our local farmers and vendors as they transition through the seasons supplying our families with the very best produce in the region!

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The Gardens Project of NCO will be hosting a “Gardeners’ Gathering” on Saturday, April 18th from 1-4pm at the Grace Lutheran Church and Community Garden in Ukiah.

It’s an afternoon of learning and sharing between gardeners in Mendocino and Lake Counties. There will be a keynote presentation on the drought and water conservation, organizations there like Ecology Action and the Master Gardeners, the Seed Library of Ukiah, 4 mini-workshops on innovative garden strategies, and time to socialize and celebrate your gardens with other home and community gardeners! The last hour will be snacks, conversation, and free seed exchange-- bring your instrument too if you want to play music with others!

We’d love to have you there! Flyer with more details is attached.

Here’s our latest blog post on what’s growin’ on with the Gardens Project too:

Take care and happy gardening!

Jessica Ruff
Hunger Prevention Coordinator - Healthcorps
The Gardens Project
413 N. State Street
Office: (707) 467-3200 ext. 399
Cell: (810) 599-5533

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AV GOAT FESTIVAL Saturday, April 25th 10am-4pm. AV Foodshed sponsors the Inaugural AV Goat Festival at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. Please help us to support this family fun event, we are asking for donations at the door!

There will be demonstrations in goat milking, cheese making, soap making and fiber arts. Bring your goat for a best dressed goat contest and parade. !!!There will be prizes!!! Enter the Birria Cook-off & Contest, contact Jim Devine @ 707.496.8725 to be a cook in the cook-off. Jim arranged for Birria contestants to purchase goat meat at Lemon's Market for a reduced price and each contestant will receive $$ back to cover groceries. Become a Birria judge for a fee and taste all of the entries! The AV Lion's Club is sponsoring a beer & wine bar throughout the day! From 6-7 the Grange will Sponsor a Dance & Texas 10 step Dance Lesson at Apple Hall. Dance to DEAN TITUS WITH BOOTJACK 5 & SUSAN CLARK FROM 7 TO 10 PM - Tickets for the dance are $10.00 at the door and includes the dance lesson 6-10pm.

The AV Foodshed needs you to volunteer, become a vendor, enter the Birria cook-off, bring your goat in costume for the parade, help us with decorations, signs,and more. We need you! Please call Jim Devine 707.496.8725.

Thank you Friends of the Anderson Valley Foodshed!

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HIGHWAY 128 — PG&E has been issued a Caltrans encroachment permit for utility repairs from 1.5 miles west of Mountain House Road to the Mendocino/Sonoma County line beginning Monday, April 20. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8AM to 4PM, weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays. LC#P128BA

Route 1 — PG&E has been issued a Caltrans encroachment permit for utility repairs about 1.0 mile north of Albion beginning Thursday, April 23. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7AM to 3PM, weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 17, 2015

Chrisp, Cupples, Donahe, Livermore
Chrisp, Cupples, Donahe, Livermore

EMILIO CHRISP, Laytonville. Meth possession for sale, ex-felon with firearm, possession of ammo by prohibited person, armed with firearm, receiving stolen property, failure to appear.

ENOCH CUPPLES, Ukiah. Unspecified charges. $5,000 bail.

MICHAEL DONAHE, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

BENJAMIN LIVERMORE, Henderson, Nevada/Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, receiving stolen property.

Montalvo, Nieto, North, Norton
Montalvo, Nieto, North, Norton

DANIEL MONTALVO, Ukiah. Elder/dependent abuse.

JORGE NIETO, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance, violation of county parole.

MICHAEL NORTH, Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, resisting arrest, trespassing, probation revocation.

JESSICA NORTON, Willits. Probation revocation.

Odneal, Stergiou, Walker, Watkins
Odneal, Stergiou, Walker, Watkins

IAN ODNEAL, Capitola/Gualala. Pot possession for sale, sale, transport, furnish.

JARRETT STERGIOU, Rio Dell/Ukiah. Possession of concentrated marijuana, suspended license, probation revocation.

CLAUD WALKER, Willits. Court order violation, probation revocation.

JAMES WATKINS, Fortuna/Ukiah. Possession of pot for sale, sale, transport, furnish pot.

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by Justine Frederiksen

Unless an incredible amount of work is completed over the weekend, the city of Ukiah will likely begin the process of hiring a receiver to take control of the Palace Hotel from owner Eladia Laines.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Ukiah City Council, Planning Director Charley Stump said he spoke with Laines the day before and it was clear to him that she had only completed one of the seven tasks the council required she finish by April 21 in order to stave off a receivership.

The one completed task is getting the proper permits to remove the asbestos in the building that led it to be red-tagged in January of 2014. But while the asbestos has been bagged up, it remains in the building because the necessary Environmental Protection Agency Hazardous Waste ID number hasn’t been acquired.

“Couldn’t the contractor (Blue Water Environmental Services) get the number?” Vice-Mayor Steve Scalmanini asked, and Stump said “Blue Water could, but it didn’t want to, so there (the asbestos) lies.”

After speaking with the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District, Stump said he was informed that “the bagged asbestos can only sit there for 90 days, because after that the building becomes a waste storage facility, which brings into play a whole other set of rules and permits.”

Asked what will happen next Tuesday, City Attorney David Rapport told the council that Public Works Director (Tim Eriksen) is empowered to decide if the tasks have been met. If he decides they have not, he’s empowered to file a petition with the court to begin the receivership process.

“The council could do something tonight that will change that if it wishes,” Rapport continued. “But according to the resolution you passed in January, that is where it stands.”

Laines did not appear before the council Wednesday, but resident Pinky Kushner spoke in support of her.

“The roof has been secured,” Kushner said, referring to the sixth task, which required the patching of the roof to prevent water intrusion. She also suggested that the council might want to consider a different approach to encourage progress. “When training a dog, do you beat the dog over the head or do you give it a cookie?”

Kushner also alleged that Stump was not using the proper mailing address or phone number to reach Laines, so he should not be blaming her for any lack of a response.

“I think it’s time for the court to hear all these arguments and decide,” said Council Member Jim Brown. “We have waited long enough and heard these excuses enough. Staff has been given its marching orders.”

Former Council Member Phil Baldwin then addressed the council, urging it to be “very careful here,” and advising that the city might be facing a “defamation lawsuit because of relentless pressure.” Right before he left the podium, Baldwin asked, “Did any member of city staff encourage (Laines’) contractor to remove the sprinkler system?”

Restoring the sprinkler system to full function was the second task.

The council was only expected to hear a report from staff, and did not change course from the resolution passed in January, at a meeting that Laines attended.

Asked afterward what he planned to do Tuesday about the Palace Hotel, Eriksen said he would be evaluating whether Laines had completed the tasks and then acting accordingly.

“The best thing for all would be if she completes them,” he said of the tasks, adding that if she doesn’t, Rapport would likely be asked to file a petition with the Mendocino County Superior Court requesting to hire a receiver. A judge will only rule on the matter after hearing from both sides.

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You might think that after the Rodney King case way back in 1991 cops would be more careful about beating and/or killing people. The guy who made the Rodney King video was using an old-fashioned video camera. Except for a minority of techno-fogies like me, almost everyone now carries a device that can take pictures and videos.

The bullies/assholes in the above video must assume that the helicopter hovering above their cop riot and beat-down is recording what they're doing. Note the asshole in the white shirt who arrives late but still gets in some licks on the defenseless perp. Note too that the woman narrating the early part of the video shuts up when the beating begins.

The cops — I count at least eleven — are clearly unconcerned, probably because they know they'll get away with it.

(Courtesy, District 5 Diary by Rob Anderson)

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by Louis Sahagun

In a settlement with a coalition of animal advocacy groups, Mendocino County has agreed to suspend renewal of its contract with a federal wildlife management agency pending completion of an environmental impact report that will consider nonlethal methods of predator control.

The move came five months after the coalition filed a lawsuit accusing the county of failing to complete a legally required environmental review before approving a $142,356 contract authorizing the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Agency to kill predators including coyotes.

Under the terms of the settlement, the coalition led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Project Coyote agreed to dismiss its lawsuit.

The lawsuit was part of an effort to sharply limit the number of animals killed by the controversial agency on behalf of livestock grazers and other agricultural interests.

“This settlement is a major step forward,” Amy Atwood, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an interview. “It opens the door for similar actions in other counties that contract with this agency, which currently operates in near secrecy.”

“Taxpayers deserve to know a lot more about how it kills animals,” she said, “and exactly why it does so.”

The agency kills more than 75,000 coyotes a year in the United States with poisons, traps and snares that "are cruel and pose a danger to both people and their pets," the suit said. Exterminating coyotes also disrupts ecologies and isn't effective, it said.

The agency said it killed more than 2.7 million animals in fiscal 2014 including gray wolves, coyotes, black bears, river otters, jackrabbits, muskrats, skunks, opossums, porcupines, raccoons, albatrosses, wood storks, white-faced ibises and snapping turtles.

Since 1996, the agency has shot, poisoned and strangled by snare more than 27 million native animals, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Mendocino County joins a growing number of local governments that are reviewing their contracts with the agency, and considering nonlethal methods of controlling wildlife that emphasize coexistence.

In 2000, Marin County replaced its Wildlife Services Agency contract with a nonlethal predator control program.

(Courtesy, the Los Angeles Times)

(Additional information:)

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FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! — May 2, 10 am-5pm

Happy Free Comic Book Day! Teens & tweens are invited to stop by District Teens @ Ukiah Library to make their own webcomics or print comics, DIY duct-tape superhero costumes and grab a free comic or two. Supplies & refreshments will be provided. (Sponsored by Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. 105 N Main St., Ukiah)

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CORRECTION — There was a mistake on the online schedule so the article previously sent erroneously noted this Saturday's race at Lakeport Speedway as an "Open" race. This race is actually Points Race #3. Please correct your listing to show this race as a points race. Thank you for everything you do to support racing in our community!

Mary Chadwick
Marketing & Public Relations
Ukiah & Lakeport Speedways

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“NOT SPAM” — Warmest spiritual greetings, It has come to my attention that another pointless national election is beginning, with no popular candidates, voter turnout predicted to be lower than ever before, the parties with real hopefulness (such as the Green Party) are receiving no major media attention, and the serious global problem of a destabilized biosphere is not being considered by the Washington D.C. political establishment at all. Meanwhile, I am in my last week in California, having successfully set up a formidable financial future, and am now only obligated to meet with a tax preparer, (after which I may go wherever I need to go and do whatever I need to do). My exit date from a travelers hostel in Berkeley which friends own, is Friday April 24th. I am most willing and able to go to Washington D.C. for the seventh time, and am capable of getting myself there and maintaining myself for an indefinite period of time. Indeed, I remain keen to co-create direct actions, while cultivating a group to perform ritually and effectively, in the face of international endless conflict. I would like to hear from others on the east coast soon. Hey, I'm ready. What's up, y'all?

— Craig Louis Stehr




  1. Lazarus April 18, 2015

    Mr. Gibbons,
    Thank you for having the courage to write your story, it made me cry…

  2. Bill Pilgrim April 18, 2015

    This value of high school discussion lacks a critical component: the new core curriculum rules imposed by the feds. About 80% of classroom time is now spent “teaching to tests.” Creativity and critical thinking skills are not part of this. Nor are reading comprehension and composition.
    Also, the gradual financial bleeding of most public schools has guaranteed the loss of many programs that contribute to well-rounded intellectual development: arts, music, vocational shops, etc.
    Frankly, it’s a betrayal of young minds by our society, a society that increasingly treats kids (if they aren’t born into the 1%) as throwaway commodities.

    • Harvey Reading April 18, 2015

      Creativity and critical thinking were never a part of high school in my experience. It was more like memorize and respect authority …

  3. Alice Chouteau April 18, 2015

    It seems ironic that Mayor Turner chastised local citizens opposed to his Old Coast. Hotel homeless project for wasting taxpayers’ money by taking the city to court , when he supported both the Transfer Station project, and its deeply flawed EIR that cost at least $200,000, as well as the Hare Creek Mall Project, with a biased and inadequate Negative Mitigation report prepared by his staff member, Marie Jones, slanted to support his goals, which must have cost more than one court session. If taxpayers fund such reports they should be as objective as possible, in my opinion.

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