- Thunderstorms Possible
- Braxton Bragg
- Mendocino Bacon
- Gary Zachary
- Marijuana Bills
- Sinkyone Hike
- Elk BBQ
- Private Mays
- Aggregates Appeal
- Skunk Resurgence
- FB Issues
- Yesterday's Catch
- Greek Culture
- True Love
- German Hypocrisy
- Tribal Bust
- Strike Results
- Driving Tests
- Sako Fan
WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA (Redwood Coast, Mendocino Coast, North Coast Interior, Mendocino Interior)
Isolated showers and thunderstorms will remain possible across NW California through this evening. Some thunderstorms may produce heavy rain, small hail, locally gusty winds, and occasional lightning. Localized flooding may be a threat in the heaviest of showers. (National Weather Service)
DAN WALTERS IN TODAY'S SACRAMENTO BEE:
Could a proposed new law compel Fort Bragg, a picturesque tourist and fishing hamlet on the Mendocino County coast, to change its name?
A literal reading of Senate Bill 539, introduced by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, indicates it could.
The measure is the newest effort to expunge any references to the Confederate States of America from California’s public places, sparked by the massacre of nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., last month.
It’s aimed directly at two schools in Southern California named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, but could have a wider effect, including Fort Bragg, a 19th Century military outpost in California that later became an incorporated city after the U.S. Army departed. It now has about 7,500 residents.
Prior to the Civil War, it was named for Braxton Bragg, a U.S. Army officer who later became a high-ranking Confederate general and close adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Ft. Bragg, the Army’s headquarters for airborne and special forces in North Carolina, is also named for Braxton Bragg.
SB 539 declares, “On and after January 1, 2017, a name associated with the Confederate States of America shall not be used to name state or local property. If a name associated with the Confederate States of America is used to name state or local public property prior to January 1, 2017, the name shall be changed and any sign associated with the name shall be removed.”
It continues, “For the purpose of this section, ‘name associated with the Confederate States of America’ includes, but is not limited to, the name of an elected leader or a senior military officer of the Confederacy.”
“I doubt whether it would apply to a city,” Steve Harmon, a spokesman for Glazer said, adding, “It is not our intent to apply to cities.”
Harmon said the intent is to affect schools, buildings and other public facilities, and Glazer’s office will seek advice from the Legislature’s attorney on any wider effects. However, even that list would include facilities, such as the Fort Bragg City Hall, carrying Braxton Bragg’s name.
Fort Bragg city officials were not available for comment late Tuesday.
(Courtesy, the Sacramento Bee)
* * *
DAVE MARTINEZ (On changing Fort Bragg’s name): “It would be nice if people dug a little deeper to see that Braxton Bragg was also complicit in the Genocide of Indigenous peoples of the area and the Chinese Rail Road workers. Many of the roads and streets in Fort Bragg are named after Indian Killers or Chinese hunters. By the way, lining them up on the bluff then either shooting them, bashing their heads in or cutting their throats before scalping them for bounty is GENOCIDE. Also rounding them up in mass, loading them on ships as prisoners or human cargo, then coming into San Francisco with the same amount of bounty scalps and no living cargo is also GENOCIDE. Yes Fort Bragg is named after a homicidal maniac.
THE TIME HAS COME...FOR 'THE BACON'
Paul McCarthy, MendocinoSportsPlus
ZAC ZACHARY, R.I.P.
Gary ‘Zac’ Zachary Dies At 70 In Caspar
January 15, 1945 - July 6, 2015
Gary Zachary, known to all as "Zac", died in the early hours of Monday, July 6th, at his home in Caspar. Born on January 15, 1945, (the same birthday as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), he was 70 years old. Zac was well-loved and deeply respected by all who knew him. A long-time Mendocino Coast resident, he was a human rights and social justice activist, tirelessly working for Peace, Justice and Equal Rights. He was a Vietnam Vet, a member of Veterans For Peace, and the founder of the Ft. Bragg Peace And Justice Center in Ft. Bragg; he also founded the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, parade and potluck, a popular, well-attended event which takes place on Dr. King's holiday every January.
Zac was a member of the KZYX Board Of Directors, and worked to help our station grow and prosper. He was a believer in Listener-Sponsored Public Radio and was a great Board Member.
He worked at Cafe Beaujolais as a baker, and also at Corners Of The Mouth Natural Foods for many years. He was a hard and dedicated worker.
Zac was blessed to have the support, care and love of many dear friends--wonderful, compassionate caretakers who helped him through this very rough time, as he made his transition.
He will be sorely missed and always remembered by everyone who knew him. He was truly a leading light of our community--kind, smart, funny, and hardworking. He made our world and our county a better place.
Zac is survived by his Brother, Sister-in-law, and Mother.
We love you and miss you Zac! You will always be remembered.
— DJ Sister Yasmin, Anchor Bay
STATE SENATOR McGUIRE’S POT REGULATION BILL INCHES TOWARD ENACTMENT
BEAUTY OF THE LOST COAST: Needle Rock to Bear Harbor, a hike in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.
Join Sanctuary Forest on Saturday, July 18th for Beauty of the Lost Coast: Needle Rock to Bear Harbor. This hike will be led by Sanctuary Forest Board member Eric Shafer and staff member Marisa Formosa. Participants will be treated to spectacular views of the rugged coastline, abundant wildlife and plants, and stories about the history of Bear Harbor and the Sinkyone Wilderness. It is 6 miles round trip, beginning at the Needle Rock Visitors Center in the Sinkyone Wildness State Park. Meet at the Sanctuary Forest office in Whitethorn at 9 a.m. to carpool. The hike will end at 4 p.m. Bring lunch, plenty of water, dress in layers and wear sturdy hiking shoes. A sketch or note book is also suggested as a leisurely lunch at Bear Harbor is planned. The hike is listed as rigorous due to length and a series of rolling and steep hills—however the trail is wide and in good shape. This hike is free of charge, though donations are gladly accepted and help Sanctuary Forest to offer this program year after year. For questions or clarifications, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.sanctuaryforest.org.
Support from volunteers and local businesses have made this program possible for Sanctuary Forest. Local businesses that have made generous contributions are James Holland, MSW Counseling Services, J.Angus Publishing Group, Southern Humboldt Fitness, Sylvandale Gardens, The Security Store, Blue Star Gas, Caffe Dolce, Charlotte’s Perennial Gardens, Coffee Break, Mattole River Studios, Monica Coyne Artist Blacksmith, Randall Sand & Gravel, Whitethorn Construction, Ned Hardwood Construction, Pierson Building Center, Chautauqua Natural Foods, Dazey’s Supply, Madrone Realty, First Fig Gallery, Hohstadt’s Garden Center, Humboldt Bar & Grill, Roy Baker, O.D., Redwood Properties, Vella Wood Flooring, Wildberries Marketplace, Whitethorn Winery and Mattole Meadows
Sanctuary Forest is a land trust whose mission is to conserve the Mattole River watershed and surrounding areas for wildlife habitat and aesthetic, spiritual, and intrinsic values in cooperation with our diverse community.
Education Coordinator & Office Manager
ELK FIRE BBQ
The Elk Volunteer Fire Department invites you to its 11th annual Summer BBQ to be held Saturday, July 25, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Greenwood Community Center on Highway 1 in downtown Elk.
Department members and friends are preparing to serve up grilled tri-tip, smoked chicken and portabella mushroom entrees, along with beans, garden salad, homemade Bundt cake and coffee. Fresh bread from the Center’s wood-fired brick oven will accompany the meal. It’s a bountiful meal for $20 for adults and $10 for kids 7-12 (6 and under free). And, as always, Elk’s famous Margaritas will be available, along with beer, wine and soft drinks.
Emergency vehicles and equipment will be on display at the BBQ. Kids can meet Smokey the Bear and play in the portable pond. Weather permitting, you can inspect CalStar and REACH helicopters and greet their crews. Live music with the Dirt Roosters, opened by Wild Elk, is sure to raise your spirits throughout the day.
There will be a raffle featuring items donated by local inns, merchants and community members. Raffle tickets are a bargain at $1 each or 6 for $5 and are available now at the Elk Store, the Elk Garage, Queenie’s Roadhouse Café, and at the BBQ. You don’t need to be present to win.
Serving the community for 59 years - and providing mutual aid to Anderson Valley and other districts - the EVFD has 17 volunteers, 5 of whom are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and 3 trained to respond to large fires statewide. The department maintains a fleet of 7 firefighting vehicles of mixed type and an ambulance located at 4 stations spread out over a large, 55 square-mile service district.
The annual BBQ generates critical funds to maintain the department and its equipment. Thanks to generous donations from the community over the past several years, the department now has a full complement of diverse fire engines. Proceeds from this year’s BBQ will be used to upgrade some of the stations with structural repairs, new siding and paint.
Cindy Johnson, for the Elk Volunteer Fire Dept
The United States Army drafted Mays in 1952 during the Korean War (1950–53) and he subsequently missed most of the that season and all of the 1953 season. Mays spent much of his time in the Army playing baseball at Fort Eustis, Virginia. It was at Fort Eustis that Mays learned the basket catch from a fellow Fort Eustis outfielder, Al Fortunato. Mays missed about 266 games due to military service.
Mays made no secret he wanted no part of the war, or the Army.
"Naturally, I'm not in interested in the Army," Mays told the Birmingham (Ala.) News after being drafted. "But if I have to go, I'll make the best of it."
Mays applied for hardship status, saying his mother and nine siblings relied on him for support.
It didn't work.
Mays, who won Rookie of the Year in 1951 for the New York Giants, reported to duty May 29, 1952. He missed the rest of the season and all of 1953. He missed more than 260 games during his military service, spending those two years playing baseball in the Army at Fort Eustis in Virginia.
He believes that if not for the years he missed, he would have been the one to break Babe Ruth's all-time home-run record, not Hank Aaron.
Mays, who rarely talks about his two years of service, returned to the Giants in 1954 and won the NL MVP award. He wound up having one of the greatest careers in baseball history, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
Starting the 1952 season, Willie batted just .236 in 34 games before he was drafted into the Army, an obligation that would keep him out of the major leagues until 1954. Red Smith chronicled Mays’s last game before his military call-up, in Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field: “[T]here was a fine, loud cheer for Willie. This was in Brooklyn, mind you, where ‘Giant’ is the dirtiest word in the language.”31 At the time of his departure, the Giants were in first place, with a 2½-game lead over the Dodgers. The Giants promptly lost eight of ten and were never a factor in the pennant race.
The Army sent Willie to Fort Eustis, Virginia, and assigned him to play baseball for the most part. According to Mays, Durocher kept an eye on him from afar, chiding him when he stole a base with his team leading and sending him money from time to time. The August 13, 1953, edition of Jet magazine reported that Mays broke a bone in his foot sliding into third base in an Army game and would wear a cast for five weeks. Mays recalled that he also sprained his ankle in a basketball game, prompting another call from Durocher, telling him to stay off the court.
During his time in the service, his mother, Anna, died, and Willie harbored some bitterness that he wasn’t allowed to resume his playing career to support all his half-brothers and -sisters, since his stepfather was unemployed.
Willie estimated that he played 180 games while in the service. When he returned to the Giants in the spring of 1954, he was a half-inch taller and ten pounds heavier, now 5-feet-11 and 180 pounds. When Mays showed up at the Giants’ camp in Phoenix on March 1, the consensus among New York writers seemed to be, “Here comes the pennant,” despite the Dodgers’ 105 wins in 1953. Newsweek predicted in its April 5 issue that Mays could mean the difference between “the second division and the pennant in 1954.”
FRIENDS OF OUTLET CREEK filed an APPEAL with Mendocino County Air Quality Management District On July 2 2015, to challenge Grist Creek Aggregates (“Authority to Construct”) Permit Number 1416-5-01-15-26
The APPEAL concerns an “Authority to Construct” permit, issued June 3, 2015, by the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District to Grist Creek Aggregates. The appeal was submitted on July 2nd, 2015 on behalf of the unincorporated Friends of Outlet Creek pursuant to Health and Safety Code §42302.1.
The MCAQMD Authority to Construct permit allows construction of a new Parallel Flow Asphalt Plant with Baghouse Dust Collection System for the Production of Hot Mix and Rubberized Asphalt, allowing a total production of Hot Mix Asphalt of up to 500,000 tons in each calendar year where no asphalt plant now exists at the property commonly known as 37342 Covelo Road, located approximately 2.5 miles east of Highway 101 extending along the north side of State Highway 162 between the highway and Outlet Creek in Mendocino County, California. It is the belief of the Friends of Outlet Creek that this action is not in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and requirements for a new EIR to assess impacts of this new use (new asphalt plant) on water, endangered species, air quality, traffic and noise.
The project site is located within the flood plain of Outlet Creek, one of the last remaining coho salmon-supporting watersheds in the main stem of the Wild and Scenic-designated Eel River.
The July 2nd, 2015 appeal of Grist Creek Aggregates (“Authority to Construct”) Permit Number 1416-5-01-15-26 issued by MCAQMD on June 2nd, 2015 contends that the Air District relied on incomplete information in issuing the Authority to Construct and, as a result, violated its own Regulation 1 and state and federal air quality law. In addition, it failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA,” Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) and with its own regulations implementing CEQA. As a result, the Authority to Construct is premature, invalid, and should be revoked.
This appeal follows an earlier April 24th, 2015 petition (also attached) filed on behalf of the Friends of Outlet Creek in the Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino, seeking to require Mendocino County to comply with its own ordinances and state environmental law, including the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in the evaluation of a project to allow a new asphalt production plant within the flood plain of Outlet Creek. The April 24th petition is still active and remains to be settled.
The April 24th lawsuit filed against the County of Mendocino and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors was in response to their approval by “original jurisdiction” of a new asphalt plant within the 100 year flood plain of Outlet Creek, adjacent to highway 162. Their fast track approval of this project during the 3/17/15 Board of Supervisors meeting circumvented both CEQA and County design review.
The Friends of Outlet Creek believes that the Board of Supervisors overstepped their authority by their actions on 3/17/15. In response to the lawsuit, the Board of Supervisors, during their June 16th 2015 meeting, did in fact rescind their March 17th “Original Jurisdiction” fast-track approval (Resolution 15-054). From the BOS 6/16/15 Agenda Item 4(e);
AGENDA TITLE: Adoption of Resolution Rescinding Resolution 15-054 Related to Asphalt Production on APN 036-190-26
PREVIOUS BOARD/BOARD COMMITTEE ACTIONS: On March 17, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution 15-054 determining that resumption of asphalt production on APN 036-190-26 is not a new or changed use pursuant to Mendocino County Code Section 20.188.025 requiring additional development review.
SUMMARY OF REQUEST: The Board’s approval of Resolution 15-054 was challenged by the Friends of Outlet Creek, which filed a petition for writ of mandate to set aside the adoption of the Resolution. The petition’s prayer for relief asks the Mendocino County Superior Court to void and set aside the approval of the Resolution. The proposed resolution, which is not opposed by the real party in interest, is offered to expedite the conclusion of the lawsuit.
Regardless of the rescission of Resolution 15-054, the April 24th petition is still active and remains to be settled.
The Friends of Outlet Creek believe that the watershed belongs to everyone and should be protected from additional industrial degradation, and that it has intrinsic value as a scenic resource and relatively intact ecosystem which still supports endangered salmon species. By attempting to bypass the current environmental review process, the Board of Supervisors and County of Mendocino effectively ensured that the project's impacts on water quality, air quality, threatened salmonid species and traffic safety would not be considered.
Please see the attached lawsuit against the County of Mendocino filed 4/24/15, and the attached APPEAL of the Air District Permit Number 1416-5-01-15-26 filed by Rachael
Doughty of Greenfire Law to require full CEQA review of a new asphalt plant installation on Outlet Creek in Mendocino Co.
Ms. Doughty’s contact information is as follows:
Rachel S. Doughty, SBN 255904
1202 Oregon Street
Berkeley, CA 94702
Telephone: (828) 333-4703
Attorney for Petitioner,
Friends of Outlet Creek
For additional information, updates or questions, please contact Glen Colwell with Friends of Outlet Creek:
Cell PH: 707-836-6595
BRIGHTER DAYS FOR SKUNK TRAIN LEAD TO EXPANSION PLANS
by Glenda Anderson
After years of financial turmoil, Mendocino County’s popular Skunk Train is thriving and has plans to expand services and build a new Willits station to accommodate increased ridership even as it continues to face infrastructure hurdles that could stall the business.
The turnabout comes after a turbulent 12 years for the historic 40-mile rail line between Fort Bragg and Willits. In that time, the well-known tourist attraction has weathered a bankruptcy and ownership change, mud and rock slides that damaged the tracks, a tunnel collapse and a monthlong shutdown during the summer high season in 2011 when a murder suspect was loose in the dense woods through which the rail line runs.
The 2013 tunnel collapse nearly ended the train line, but donations from the public and a $300,000 cash infusion from the Save the Redwoods League — in the form of an option to erase development rights along the forested line — helped it survive.
Now, despite a partial shutdown for tunnel repairs on the Fort Bragg side of the line — built in 1885 to haul logs — the Skunk Train is in the black financially and looking forward to having a new Willits station that should boost business further, said Robert Pinoli, general manager and one of the private owners of the train line, formally named the California Western Railroad.
Pinoli said he’s looking forward to a new chapter in the rail line’s 130-year history.
“It’s exciting,” he said of the plan to build a station on what was once was a toxics-laden hydraulic plant at the south end of Willits. The current train depot is located at the north end of town.
The project entails purchasing and remodeling a 180,000-square-foot warehouse that for 50 years housed the former Remco Hydraulics Inc, an industrial machining and manufacturing business that was once the city’s largest employer. Escrow on the purchase is expected to close July 28. Pinoli would not disclose the purchase price.
The remodel is expected to cost about $2 million, Pinoli said. It would include a façade, a ticket office, a covered passenger loading area, souvenir shop and engine maintenance area.
The station also would serve as a tourist information center.
Located along Willits’ main drag, the new, high-visibility train station is expected to attract tourists who are passing through town, Pinoli said.
“Train stations are very sexy when there’s a train in the station,” he said.
The new facility is needed to accommodate new riders and additional trips. On average, the train’s ridership has increased 10 percent a year, even during the economic downturn, Pinoli said. But ridership doesn’t necessarily translate into profits, especially with ongoing repairs and increasing operational costs, he said.
More than 50,000 people ride the train annually, Pinoli said. The line, built by Charles R. Johnson to carry redwood logs from the woods to his sawmills, has carried millions of passengers during its lifetime, Pinoli said.
Passengers utilized the train even before its tracks were extended to Willits in 1911. In 1893, when the line extended 10 miles east from Fort Bragg along the Noyo River, passengers would take the train to that point and then catch a buckboard wagon to Willits. From there, they could catch a stage to Ukiah, where they could board a train to the Sausalito ferry station serving San Francisco, according to a history of the railroad by Louis Hough.
The train was nicknamed Skunk about 1925 when self-propelled motorcars with gas-powered engines and passenger-warming stoves that burned crude oil were introduced, according to a history of the line. The combination of the fumes from those two sources created a pungent odor.
Today’s passengers most often take halfway trips, from either Fort Bragg or Willits. But it’s also possible at times to switch trains at the midpoint and go all the way. There also are special train excursions, including a Christmas train, a wilderness camp and a Mother’s Day excursion.
From Willits, a round trip on a vintage rail cruiser takes about four hours to maneuver through forests in the Noyo River Canyon to a stop at Northspur and back. It includes a steep grade, snaking switchbacks and a tunnel. The voyage from Fort Bragg has been shortened to one-hour round trips because of tunnel work.
In 2011, the line was closed for a month while law enforcement teams searched for Aaron Bassler, wanted in the slaying of Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo and Mendocino Land Trust land manager Matthew Coleman. Bassler was shot and killed by Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office snipers.
The tunnel collapse in 2013 stopped service from both ends of the line for more than four months and cost the Skunk Train about $1 million in lost revenue.
Additional problems with the 120-year-old tunnel were uncovered during work to stabilize the earth around it following heavy rainfall last winter, Pinoli said. It’s not known when work on the tunnel, one of two between Fort Bragg and Willits, will be completed.
The problems are unfortunate but not necessarily surprising events for a historic railroad, Pinoli said.
“It’s like having circus animals. They’re cheap to buy and really expensive to maintain,” he said.
Mendocino Railway, consisting of more than a dozen investors, has owned the railroad since its 2003 bankruptcy. Pinoli would not disclose the names of the other owners.
Fort Bragg officials say the train remains one of the coast’s top tourist attractions, and they cheered the resumption of trips from the city after the tunnel collapse.
“The Skunk Train is very important to our community and to our visitors,” Fort Bragg City Manager Linda Ruffing said.
Fort Bragg also is important to the Skunk Train. It is still responsible for a majority of the railroad’s business, though that has been changing and Willits — closer to Santa Rosa and the Bay Area — is expected to gain more importance when there’s a new station, Pinoli said.
The train’s success is both a professional and personal matter for Pinoli, a longtime train buff who calls himself “Chief Skunk.” He’s worked on the train line in some capacity for 23 seasons, beginning in high school, when his jobs included emptying septic holding tanks and washing down the rail cars.
“My job as its present caretaker in time is to make sure it’s a responsible business that continues to grow in its successes and delight people from all over the world,” he said.
(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
THREE BIG FORT BRAGG ISSUES
Tonight the City of Fort Bragg Planning Commission will meet to address three important issues affecting the near future of Fort Bragg, the last two involving the town's newly minted image as a tourist destination. 1.) The expected rubber-stamp approval of a "Coastal Development Permit to Construct a New Single Family Dwelling with Detached Garage at 110 Snug Harbor Place." This quarter-acre parcel is on Ocean View Drive, on the left as you go out to Todd Point, next to Mendocino College. You can see the "story poles." The property belongs to Tom Varga, the City of Fort Bragg's Director of Public Works. 2.) Recommendations to City Council regarding proposed regulations limiting or denying property owners the ability to rent out rooms or houses as short-term "AirBnB" internet rentals. 3.) Recommendations for developing new "Mobile Vending" regulations (read: fast food and flower trucks and/or hand carts around town, and at or near the Coastal Trail.)
For More Information See: http://tinyurl.com/pcdj8pr
— David Gurney
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 8, 2015
ARLEEN ARNOLD-WILLIAMS, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.
JENNIFER CANLAS, Willits. Failure to appear.
RYAN CRANFORD, Willits. Petty theft, suspended license, possession of controlled substance, probation revocation.
DARRELL ELROD JR., Willits. Domestic assault.
ANTHONY HODSON, Arcata/Ukiah. DUI with priors.
DANIEL JACOBONI, Fort Bragg. Battery with serious injury, criminal threats of great bodily harm or death.
JAMES MORRIS, Willits. Parole violation.
AARON RATHBLOTT, Mendocino. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.
THOMAS SANDERS, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
BRADLEY SHEEHY, Ukiah. Possession and under influence of controlled substance, paraphernalia.
TRAVIS TIBBET, Redway/Ukiah. DUI, pot sales-transport-furnish, possession of more than an ounce of pot.
PICTURES FROM THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
(Photos by Susie DeCastro)
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
My mom’s side of the family is Greek. In my pre-Euro visits there, people were waiting several years to get a phone, houses were small, etc. Post-Euro, everyone had cell phones and cars, looked much more glam, people were building bigger houses, lots of folks had beach houses as well.
Most Greeks over 35 can recall a much more modest culture, even if they don’t want to. A large portion of them still have a family farm in a village somewhere with one branch of the family still working it – unlike the US, where farmers sold out to subdivisions. They also have a much stronger family ethic, which includes extended family, even though they bicker a lot and never stop talking. Underneath the soft, now cracked finish acquired while Eurozoned, the Greeks are tough as nails – I’m sure not counting them out.
HOT CHOCOLATE & CROUTONS
by Almudena Grandes
He has never dared to tell her about it. He met her in a bar late at night. He had arrived earlier with a group of his friends after watching his team win at home. This meant that he was already quite drunk when he saw that girl who looked special to him come in a with group. She was more pretty than homely, and more cute than pretty, neither tall or short, neither thin nor heavy--an ordinary girl only in appearance, unique in her defects as well as in her virtues, or at least under the influence of alcohol and the euphoria produced by victories in difficult situations.
However he only thought about this later. At first, he didn’t even think. He only knew that he liked this girl and as he had no idea why, he liked her even more; so much so that he headed right toward her.
—My team has just won in Camp Nou* –he announced without even introducing himself.
—Ah, that’s nice —she smiled at him and he confirmed that smiling made her look better—. And why are you telling me?
—Because I’m going to buy you a drink —he raised his hand to summon the waiter—. To celebrate—okay?
—Well… —she looked at him closely, up and down, firmly maintaining her glance for a moment—. All right, thank you very much.
—You’re not a Real Madrid fan, are you? —she admitted that she was and her smile metamorphosed into a burst of laughter—. Very well, at least tell me that you don’t have a boyfriend…
That night went perfectly--so perfectly that the perfection permeated everything else: shyness, embarrassment, drunkenness, the hangover, time and space. They slept both very quickly and very late because it dawn was already breaking when they closed their eyes, but sleep had overwhelmed both of them simultaneously, instantly. When they awoke, they realized that they were embracing. They were embarrassed and quickly separated, and each instantly missed the body of the other. They both had had prior partners and had slept with other people many times. They both were closer to 30 than to 25. Neither knew what to say until she turned to him, smiled, kissed him, and announced she was going to make breakfast.
At that moment, he looked at the room, at the furniture that surrounded him, and was aware that it was not his room. He looked at the girl and felt the spasm of bewilderment, a bittersweet feeling, ambiguous--between a profound, unexpected wellbeing and the sensation of being in a foreign country. When he had opened his eyes, she looked more beautiful than he remembered. When she went through the door he was still undecided. He didn’t know whether he should protect himself or relax, enjoy the experience or feel frightened, accept or reject what he was experiencing. He even thought about getting dressed and leaving without much ado. He came to realize that never had anything more stupid entered his mind than leaving without saying goodbye. Then, he breathed in that smell and allowed it to penetrate his nose, that smell which would take control of his mind, which drove him to put on his pants and his shirt, and which drew him out of the room, which strictly forbade him to continue thinking.
She spoke without turning around to look at him, focused on the pan in which the last pieces of fried bread were swimming around.
—Hot chocolate with croutons...Do you like them?
—Yes —thank you, baby, he added through closed lips—. I love them.
That morning he did not try to tell her that he had just lost his mother who had died of cancer a few months previously. Nor did he tell her that his mother used to prepare for him the same snack, hot chocolate with croutons: on those bad day, when he was sick, sad, or very tired; but also on good days when there was a cause for celebration.
He would reveal all this to her little by little while he was welcoming, first with incredulity, later with gratitude, and finally with the equanimity of the blessed, the gift that life had given him by placing in his path that girl of his. But never, not even today as they had breakfast together on the terrace to celebrate the red line that crossed the pregnancy test which she had lay on the table between them, has he told her how that morning, the first one they shared, as he watched her arrange the cups and the plates, that he realized two things that were unusual, serious, and unavoidable.
In that moment he knew he was going to fall hopelessly in love with her. But in the following moment, he understood that with coffee and toast, everything would have been different and not as good: poorer, sadder, less certain.
He’s never dared to tell her this because he is afraid she might misinterpret his words; but before he opens his mouth, he closes his eyes, inhales, smiles, and is convinced once again that his girl, true love, and even happiness all taste the same: it’s more or less the flavor of hot chocolate and croutons.
*Home field of Barcelona soccer team
(Translated from the Spanish by Louis Bedrock.)
GERMAN HYPOCRISY ON GREECE
Thomas Piketty on Slate:
…My book recounts the history of income and wealth, including that of nations. What struck me while I was writing is that Germany is really the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. Neither after the First nor the Second World War. However, it has frequently made other nations pay up, such as after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, when it demanded massive reparations from France and indeed received them. The French state suffered for decades under this debt. The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice...When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: what a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations...
After the war ended in 1945, Germany’s debt amounted to over 200% of its GDP. Ten years later, little of that remained: public debt was less than 20% of GDP. Around the same time, France managed a similarly artful turnaround. We never would have managed this unbelievably fast reduction in debt through the fiscal discipline that we today recommend to Greece. Instead, both of our states employed the second method with the three components that I mentioned, including debt relief. Think about the London Debt Agreement of 1953, where 60% of German foreign debt was cancelled and its internal debts were restructured...
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE!
From the Department of Justice:
Earlier today, special agents with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), assisted by other federal and state agencies and the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a search of two large-scale marijuana cultivation facilities located on federally recognized tribal lands at the Alturas Indian Rancheria and the XL Ranch in Modoc County, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. At both sites, law enforcement seized a total of at least 12,000 marijuana plants and over 100 pounds of processed marijuana. Other than contraband marijuana and items of evidentiary value, no tribal property was seized, and no federal charges are pending.
The search warrants are part of an ongoing investigation relating to the financing and management of the commercial marijuana-cultivation projects. The search warrant affidavits were unsealed today. While it is generally the policy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to decline commenting upon ongoing investigations, exceptions are sometimes made when a matter has received substantial publicity and there is a need to inform the community regarding law enforcement actions taken in furtherance of particular public interests. The marijuana grows in question have received substantial attention in Modoc County, as has the U.S. Department of Justice’s guidance relating to marijuana cultivation on tribal lands.
The cultivation facility at the Alturas Indian Rancheria was located within the tribe’s former Event Center, within approximately 100 yards of the tribe’s publicly operated gaming facility, the Desert Rose Casino. The facility on the XL Ranch was immediately adjacent to Highway 395 and the banks of the Pit River, and it consisted of 40 newly constructed greenhouse structures, each of which was capable of accommodating approximately 1,000 marijuana plants, and an additional gable-roofed structure that boosted the square footage of roof-covered structures by another 50 percent. Both of the grow operations, which appear to have been operating in conjunction with each other, were well in excess of the locally enacted marijuana cultivation limits applicable to county land. The volume of marijuana that the XL facility alone was capable of producing, estimated at approximately 40,000-60,000 plants, far exceeds any prior known commercial marijuana grow operation anywhere within the 34-county Eastern District. According to tribal representatives, all of the marijuana cultivated at both facilities was intended to be distributed off tribal lands at various unidentified locations. As indicated in the search warrant affidavits, the investigation to date indicates both operations may have been financed by a third-party foreign national.
The United States Attorney’s Office follows Department of Justice guidelines in exercising its prosecutorial discretion and evaluating the need for investigative and enforcement action with respect to potential violations of federal law. The investigation of the cultivation facilities searched today indicates that both are commercial marijuana cultivation projects operated with the intent to transport large quantities of marijuana off tribal lands for distribution at various locations yet to be identified by the tribes. These facts raise multiple federal enforcement concerns, including the diversion of marijuana to places where it is not authorized and potential threats to public safety, both of which are listed priorities in Department of Justice guidelines. These concerns are only heightened when the activity occurring off tribal lands is not subject to effective state or local regulation.
Consistent with Department of Justice guidelines and the federal government’s trust relationship with recognized tribes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office consulted with members and representatives of both tribes on multiple occasions before today’s action. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reminded the tribes that the cultivation of marijuana is illegal under federal law and that anyone engaging in such activity did so at the risk of enforcement action. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also expressed concern that large-scale commercial marijuana grows on tribal lands have the potential to introduce quantities of marijuana in a manner that violates federal law, is not consistent with California’s Compassionate Use Act, and undermines locally enacted marijuana regulations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that this potential was a concern for local law enforcement throughout the Eastern District and potentially warranted federal action.
— Department of Justice press release
TWO YEARS AFTER PELICAN BAY HUNGER STRIKE, What's Changed for People Inside the Prison?
LEARN TO DRIVE (at) THE LIBRARY!
Mendocino County Library Announces Partnership with Driving-Tests.org; Innovation in Driving Education, Driving Test Practice Available for Patrons
Mendocino County Library is pleased to announce a new partnership with Driving-Tests.org, one of the nation’s top sites for driver’s license practice tests. This partnership is just one more way through which the library strives to be a vital gateway to information and a premier community resource.
Mendocino County Library is now partnered with Driving-Tests.org, a company dedicated to driver safety and education, to offer free DMV practice tests to library patrons starting July 2015. The new service includes free tests, written specifically based on the state DMV materials, and is the only site of its kind to include accessibility tools that allow users to hear selections read aloud, make them into MP3s, translate pages into other languages, magnify text, and mask sections of the screen for greater visibility on driving practice tests.
Availability and accessibility is important to the creators of Driving-Tests.org, as the site is designed to help new drivers study state manuals and take driving practice tests based on the real DMV written exams. This partnership allows the Mendocino County Library to harness the power of Driving-Tests.org’s specialized practice exams to turn new drivers into safer drivers.
The new program will work as an outreach for several valued groups of patrons including teens, those with disabilities, seniors who need to take a renewal exam, and patrons at every other stage of life.
“We are committed to improving our online services and are pleased to continue to find and offer exceptional, quality sources of information, like this, to empower and serve our patrons,” says Jen Bishop, Mendocino County Library’s Collection Development and Technical Services Librarian.
Driving-Tests.org is “so much more useful and easier than [just] studying the driver’s handbook,” says Nicole Chung, California resident.
For more information on the library, visit www.mendolibrary.org; and for their new Driving-Tests.org partner site, please visit mendocino.driving-tests.org.
PILING ON THE BOGEY MAN
I must respond to a recent John Sakowicz letter to the editor, in which he arrogates to himself the role of dictating the terms of surrender of the entire KZYX leadership, following the resignation of the station's long time general manager, John Coate.
Apparently, in his overactive imagination, John Coate's departure is due entirely to the scorched-earth campaign that Sakowicz and his tiny clique of impassioned followers have waged against the station and its FCC license, rather than the simple fact that Coate wishes to once again reside with his wife, who has been living and working in Marin County for a while.
While Sakowicz's letter is full of hackneyed rabble rousing slogans, "change!, Fresh faces. Outside people. Young, talented, new people, New Transparency! New beginnings!" As if all these things would magically appear if only we axed all of the smart, talented, incredibly hard-working folks who have been running the station very competently for the last decade or so!
Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if Sakowicz's fantasy were suddenly to come true?! I mean, he is proposing that the entire station be run on a voluntary basis! I'm SURE you're going to find people half as capable as the present staff to wake in the middle of the night and run down to the station to deal with some kind of technical glitch or climb the midwinter tower on some remote ridgetop to change some part, or sit at a desk for endless hours compiling the audits required to apply for the meager grants our miserly government sometimes gives to support local radio stations, or to network with local businesses to develop underwriting for programs. Who, in their right mind, is going to do any of these things for free? Perhaps there are people who would volunteer to take on these difficult but essential tasks for the station, but can you imagine anything more foolish than getting rid of all the present management in anticipation of such folks showing up at the door the next day? And who would train them?
I was delighted to read, a week or so after Sakowicz's diatribe, the eloquent dissection of his campaign against the station by one Nora Mitchell of Albion. I could only hope that the apparent low information voters who voted for Sakowicz's confederates in the last KZYX board election could all read it; well done!
I attended the last public meeting of the station's board, up in Willits; oh my god! As tedious and annoying as Sakowicz's prose is, his in-person persona is so much worse! I'm not sure whether he is more akin to the grandiose pomposity of a Donald Trump, the delusional self regard of a Chris Christie, or the completely out to lunch divorced-from-reality ideas of Antonin Scalia, but it makes for a pretty painful experience for the rest of the board, having to sit through one ridiculous proposal after another (for example, proposing that, "in the interest of healing" that they appoint one of his hard-core partisans to one of the recently vacated seats on the board! I'm SURE they would like a second John Sakowicz on the board! (Needless to say, this proposal did not get a second). You could tell from the body language of the rest of the board members just how tired they are of having to sit through hours of Sakowicz's pointless, self-righteous polemics.
As if to illustrate the kind of folks who are seduced by Sakowicz's insurgency, there was a guy who looked like the Unabomber sitting in the last row of the audience, togged out in a heavy hoodie with a massive Ted Kaczynski style beard, who clapped and hooted like a madman at Sakowicz's every utterance. When it came time for public comment, this odd gentleman hogged the mic far past the three minute limit, filibustering on with a thick sheaf of papers while the entire board, most of the audience, and the woman waiting to speak behind him, yelled for him to stop. Finally, Ed Keller, the tallest gentleman on the board, had to physically remove him from the mic. I thought, hmmm, so these are the kind of folks who are taken in by Sakowicz’s vainglorious campaign of burning down the village to save it. Sheesh!
As if it isn't hard enough for a rural radio station to survive, having to constantly fight a rear guard action against a completely unprincipled crew of lying slanderers who will say anything to further their ill-considered cause, has got to make it so much harder. After having already spent 16,000 or so on lawyering to respond to Sakowicz’s frivolous legal filings, I can only hope that the station will survive the remainder of his tenure, and that he will be voting off the board at the next available opportunity by those of us who love and appreciate KZYX.
John Arteaga , Ukiah