- Dr Harris Extension
- Jerusalem Contained
- Hospital Ills
- Argument Ended
- Realigning Covelo
- Samoan Firefighters
- Donald's Success
- Asphalt Appeal
- Jack Cox
- Barron Hankes
- Education Alternatives
- Puerile Dreams
- Gualala Logging
- Hell's Diner
- Yesterday's Catch
- Global Hiatus
- True Believers
- Library Events
- Spiritual Mojo
THE HEADLINE from the August 17th Mendocino Coast District Hospital's special Board of Director's meeting: The MCDH Board voted to grant Dr. Diane Harris a ninety day extension to negotiate a new contract for her continued physician services at North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC), the hospital affiliated clinic in Fort Bragg.
The agreement did not come about until enough “failure to communicate” kerfuffles to land Cool Hand Luke a month's worth of “night in the box” punishments (To anyone beyond the age of twelve who fails to understand a Cool Hand Luke reference may I suggest an immediate viewing of the 1967 film classic – culturally and educationally it is more important than tomorrow's homework).
A month's worth of kerfuffles is precisely what's been going on at Mendocino Coast Hospital, at least at the administrative level. There are some fine people laboring in the trenches at MCDH, from doctors and nurses on down the pay scale. Unfortunately, for at least a half decade if not longer, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) at MCDH have not been keeping close tabs on their physicians contracts and the Boards of Directors have not been following through in keeping close tabs on their CEOS. This leads to all sorts of problems, not the least of which are billing oversights and exposure to Stark Law violations (See my June 3rd article for an explanation of Stark Law – Thankfully not all knowledge is gained through the cinema; you don't have to watch the Tony Stark character in Iron Man to grasp the fundamentals of the Stark Law.). MCDH is still in the process of paying off about $200,000 in federal Stark violation penalties, another $200,000 or so having already been paid while MCDH was coming out of bankruptcy.
Into this climate of uncertain physician contracts marched one Bob Edwards, the newly hired hospital CEO at a salary of $320,000 annually plus benefits. Keep in mind that the city manager for the entire municipality of Fort Bragg, CA makes only slightly more than half of what MCDH is paying Edwards. At some point after he was hired this spring (exactly when is a nebulous truth to get at) Edwards discovered that four of North Coast Family Health Center's long time doctors' contracts were about to run out. On what was obviously very short notice the four physicians were asked to re-up. Dr. Jason Kirkman did so. Apparently, Drs. John Cottle and Jennifer Kreger had reservations about the contracts proffered to them by Edwards. They both asked for two month extensions to their existing contracts to consider the new contract and continue negotiations about said same contract. In a hastily called, special Board of Directors meeting in July, (Dr. Bill Rohr, MCDH Board member, described being told at 1:30 or 2 pm that a meeting was occurring later that afternoon) the MCDH Board of Directors approved the negotiation extensions for Drs. Kreger and Cottle. Left out in the cold was Dr. Diane Harris, the fourth North Coast Family Health physician with an expiring contract. Harris claimed that Edwards had told her four days before her old contract expired that she needed to 'suck it up' and sign the new contract. A contract a pair of her colleagues had already questioned enough to ask for two months of extended negotiations.
In a public statement concerning the contract problem, Harris stated, “Two days before the end of the contract with three doctors unwilling to sign the new contract... I requested to see the latest version of the contract and Ilona Horton (NCFHC administrator) refused to give it to me saying that she and Bob Edwards decided to let my contract expire, and that they weren't going to negotiate with me any more. The next day I found out that the MCDH Board met in emergency session and gave the two other doctors who also wouldn't sign the contract a 60 day extension on their contract for further negotiations. I asked the Chair of the Board [Sean Hogan] to schedule a special meeting to extend my contract in the same manner. My request was declined.
“The administration didn't consider the effects of their actions on my patients, myself and my family, and on the community. Patients have had multiple reactions to the news of disruption of continuity of THEIR care. They like me and are very supportive of me. But they are flummoxed, furious and frustrated, deeply distressed and disoriented. They have said the following: The lack of consideration for the patients is immoral. What is glaringly absent is a focus or concern for the sacrosanct relationship between doctor and patient, and the healing process. I have found Dr. Harris to be knowledgeable, agreeable, and helpful. Clearly she is smart and patient-centric. I have valued my sessions with her and feel she is one of the best doctors in the area. It is incomprehensible that the administration would allow this to happen.”
At the August 17th special board meeting an assortment of Dr. Harris' patients filled the board room, many rose to praise Dr. Harris's manner and method of medical practice and to express their displeasure at the abrupt nature of her termination as well as dismay about lies told to them concerning Dr. Harris' absence by North Coast Family Health officials. MCDH Board Chair Sean Hogan said there was nothing to be done at this particular meeting because Dr. Harris' matter was not on the agenda.
Indeed it was not, but newly elected (last fall) Board member, Dr. Peter Glusker spoke up to make an emergency motion that the matter be discussed. After what appeared to be defensive maneuvers by John J. Ruprecht, the MCDH Board's local attorney, Dr. Bill Rohr seconded Glusker's motion. Hogan and fellow Board member Kitty Bruning (along with Glusker and Rohr, newly elected in November, 2014) voted 4-0 to continue discussing the Harris matter (fifth Board member Tom Birdsell was absent).
Almost as soon as discussion ensued, Dr. Glusker motioned that Dr. Harris be granted a similar extension period to that offered to Drs. Kreger and Cottle. Again Ruprecht proved reticent to move forward with anything so novel. He halted discussion several times under the pretext that he was trying to protect the hospital from potential litigation and further Stark Law violations, but from this vantage point it appeared that Ruprecht was doing all he could to stop Glusker's motion and block the extension of Harris' contract.
While this was ongoing one couldn't help notice interim Chief Financial Officer Steve Miller leaving the room. Miller, who has been on duty during the period that MCDH extricated itself from bankruptcy, is about to finish his term of office and return to his home in Texas. He didn't need to do anything extraordinary, but he did nonetheless. While out of the board room, Miller called an attorney at Ober Kaler, the national legal firm representing MCDH. When Miller returned to the meeting he reassured the Board that MCDH could extend Dr. Harris' previous contract for as much as six months without any fear of Stark Law violations.
Miller's quick maneuver not only paved the way for Glusker's motion to go forward, but undermined attorney Ruprecht's repeated delay tactics. One might say it also demonstrated his lack of legal knowledge on the same topic he made a point of bringing up.
Roll call on Glusker's motion went forward, with an amendment that she be given a ninety day extension dating from August 1st to make up for the time lost in potential negotiations. Glusker and Rohr voted to approve the negotition extension for Dr. Harris. After a moment's hesitation, Kitty Bruning abstained. Board Chair Sean Hogan, a retired attorney, at first abstained also, then changed his mind and announced that he was recusing himself from the vote. The recusal came with little discernible explanation. So, by a 2-0 vote Dr. Harris was granted a contract negotiation extension similar to Drs. Kreger and Cottle.
A closing note: at the August 17th meeting, new CEO Bob Edwards denied telling Harris to “suck it up” and sign the new contract. Immediately thereafter several members of the public could be heard voicing their disbelief in Edwards' words.
THE JERUSALEM FIRE in Lake County was declared 90% contained by CalFire Monday evening. No further new developments or information.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE says "smoke will continue to impact areas near active wildfires" (North Coast Interior, Upper Trinity River, Mendocino Interior) for another week.
COAST HOSPITAL ILLS
by Malcolm Macdonald
The August 10, 2015 Fort Bragg City Council meeting offered plenty within its agenda to pique the interest of the citizenry. Unfortunately less than ten showed up, fewer than a handful stayed for most of the subject matter, including the adoption of a resolution declaring a Stage 1 water emergency for the town. With so little tangible interest paid to the civic matters at hand, it seemed somewhat ironic that Councilman Lindy Peters proposed that city staff provide a report giving direction as to how the council might go about putting the concept of excluding social services from Fort Bragg's central business district on the ballot in California's June, 2016 primary election. A drive to gather enough valid signatures for just such an exclusionary initiative recently fell one signature short of qualifying for a yea or nay ballot vote.
There were only two brief public comments concerning this proposed initiative to ban social services from the downtown business district, Rex Gressett in favor and Scott Menzies vehemently opposed. Both left the premises relatively soon thereafter. The audience quickly dwindled to two members of Mayor Turner's family, lifelong Fort Bragg resident Jay McMartin-Rosenquist, and yours truly. While Ms. McMartin-Rosenquist remained silent at the City Council gathering, she did offer her opinion online some time later: "Did you hear Scott's [Menzies] comments re the initiative. He is a new comer. They use to run them all out of town. I was born and raised here and so were many. Support the locals who built this town and enjoyit as yu decided to live here but I am tired of others telling us what to do and how to act. Go home to where you came from and tell your home town folks how to walk , talk and behave. Sorry my rant for the night."
Just how definitively Ms. McMartin-Rosenquist's words reflect others who are signatories to the potential initiative barring social services from the downtown area of Mendocino County's second largest municipality remains to be seen. On the Facebook page where her remarks appeared the next comment was, "yeah... new guy with personal ties to the old coast project via thai chi classes called all of us bigots...."
Joe Wagner, who offered the preceding comment had earlier offered his thoughts on why so few locals are attending recent council meetings, "Many people feel really shut down by the city. i talk to many in this group and i keep hearing i'm done with those stupid meetings.... they don't listen to anything the public has to say..."
Those fixated, yea or nay, on the possibility of privatized mental health services being offered up at the Old Coast Hotel site on the corner of Oak and Franklin Streets are missing out on a story that has slithered through the weeds in Fort Bragg for years now. That story centers around the financial woes of the Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH).
There was some consternation a month ago about the raise, approved by the city council, given to Fort Bragg's City Manager, Linda Ruffing. Most reliable sources report that said raise was actually below the statewide COLA (cost of living average). While Ruffing's annual pay is in the $150,000 - $180,000 range, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH), Bob Edwards, is being paid $320,000 yearly, plus benefits.
MCDH board meetings are primarily attended by hospital staff, with extremely little participation from the general public. Many readers will need a little backstory: MCDH, though it theoretically came out of bankruptcy earlier this year is still operating, month to month, just above and sometimes below the break even point. Unexpected costs have a way of continually popping up for the administration of this outfit.
In a similar vein, the deadline for negotiating with the hospital's union employees came and went at the end of June without action from the hospital's board or new CEO Edwards. It took a full month longer for the hospital board and/or CEO to come up with a proposal for the employee's union. As we write and read union members are voting on that proposal by mail-in ballots. Results will be announced on August 20th.
An item that would have appeared run-of-the-mill ordinary, negotiations for new contracts for four mainstay physicians at North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC), the hospital affiliated clinic just across the parking lot from MCDH, has turned into a brouhaha.
The four physicians in question at NCFHC are Jason Kirkman, John Cottle, Jennifer Kreger, and Diane Harris. According to sources fairly close to the situation the four physicians were offered "take it or leave it" contracts that did not include the usually standard malpractice tail coverage. Tail coverage provides insurance for a doctor for several years following their tenure at a medical facility, protection for after the fact lawsuits alleging malpractice. Leaving such a basic clause out of a contract offer could be viewed as a professional slap in the face.
Apparently, Dr. Kirkman signed the proposed new contract, reportedly with some sort of statement indicating, 'Heck, contracts don't mean all that much around here.' Indeed, the lack of properly signed contracts has cost MCDH muy dinero in billing dollars during the last two administrations.
Drs. Cottle and Kreger were the subject of an emergency MCDH board of directors meeting on July 30th. The focus of the meeting: a two month extension in the negotiating process between MCDH and Drs. Kreger and Cottle.
This leads us to the August 11th Fort Bragg City Council meeting. In the agenda section entitled, "Matters From Councilmembers" Councilman Doug Hammerstrom, who is the husband of Dr. Diane Harris, made the following statement: "North Coast Family Health Center [NCFHC] has been putting out a great deal of misinformation. Some of you patients have contacted Diane, worried about her because of the information you were hearing, worried about North Coast Family Health terminating Diane's contract.
“First, it is not true, as patients have been told, that she has taken a medical leave. She does not have a medical issue. You do not need to worry about her health. Patients have also called because the information they've been told makes no sense and they think there must be some other story, and worried that Diane has some unknown problem. Diane is not having some unspeakable problem.
“The reason you are being misinformed is a smoke screen by North Coast Family Health Center. They do not want to tell you the truth that two days before the end of her contract term, they [NCFHC] informed her they would no longer negotiate the renewal of her contract. The next day at a [Mendocino Coast District Hospital - MCDH] board meeting two other [NCFHC] doctors had their contract terms extended two months to continue negotiating renewal of their contract terms.
“Diane asked the [MCDH]board to take the same action on her negotiations, but that request was declined. Diane would not have terminated her relationship with her patients in this sudden way. The suddenness is a result of being involuntarily terminated by North Coast Family Health Center.
“Diane loves being a doctor. She enjoys her relationship with her patients, some of those relationships are twenty-three years in duration. She feels a responsibility to her patients, and feels at this time that she is letting them down. She is seeking to find another situation in this community where she can continue her relationships with her patients.
“If you are concerned about her treatment you can write a letter to the [MCDH] board. There is a board meeting on Thursday, August 20th [actually Aug. 27th], at 6pm, in the Redwoods Room [of MCDH]. You could attend and speak to the issue at that meeting, perhaps on non-agenda items, perhaps there might be an agenda item that might involve it.
“On her behalf I wanted to take this opportunity that I have to speak to the community to attempt to get the word out to at least some of her patients who my have heard the same worrying information that has caused people to call her with these worries.”
This writer called Mendocino Coast District Hospital CEO Bob Edwards on August 11th in an attempt to garner his side of the story. An assistant answered the phone and said she would try to get Edwards to return the call later on the 11th or the morning of August 12th.
I also called Ilona Horton, the administrator for North Coast Family Health. She sounded somewhat startled to hear that I was in the midst of writing a piece about the contract offers to the four NCFHC physicians. She stated that she would have to consult with a public relations person before making any comment. About a half hour later Horton called back to say that "we" will be sending an email response within a couple of hours. Half of the following day came and went without the promised email. Follow up calls to Ilona Horton's office produced only voicemail. I left a reminder message that no email had been forthcoming, including a slowly spelled out repetition of the email address and my phone number. An hour later I called Bob Edwards' office. The assistant answered again. Her response was that their PR guy, Sid Garza, was supposed to have already sent me said email. Fifteen or twenty minutes later the CEO's assistant called back to say "they" were working on an email response and that I should receive it within a few minutes.
Is there anything in this list of obfuscations that would make readers believe the powers that be at MCDH and North Coast Family Health over Dr. Harris or her husband's comments at the City Council meeting?
How was the decision to decline a contract renewal to Dr. Harris made by the hospital? The closest thing to clear evidence lies in the July 16th MCDH Board of Directors agenda and minutes. Under "Action" items: Mr. Hogan [Board Chairman Sean Hogan] would like to appoint two Board members to review physician contracts with Bob Edwards; they can make a presentation to the Board and suggest the Board either accept or reject the contracts without the Board having to hear all the details of the contracts. Discussion ensued. Mr. Hogan appointed Dr. Glusker and Tom Birdsell to the Physician Contract Review Ad Hoc Committee.
This implies Edwards was in charge of making the contract offers to NCFHC physicians Kirkman, Kreger, Cottle, and Harris. How much input Dr. Glusker and Mr. Birdsell had in the makeup of said contract offers remains to be seen. How much needs to be read into the phrase "without the Board having to hear all the details of the contracts" is still open to interpretation.
Finally, the promised email arrived in my inbox, signed by a Sid Garza-Hillman. Beneath his name are the descriptive terms: Writer. Podcaster. Speaker. Health Coach.
Here is the email response Mr. Garza-Hillman offered up, with the heading, Mendocino Coast District Hospital August 12, 2015: ""Regarding the recent physician contract renewal, MCDH believes the most responsible course of action is to present the facts as documented in the Hospital Board meeting minutes in hopes of minimizing misperceptions and false rumors. Four primary care physician contracts were due for renewal by July 31, 2015. A boilerplate agreement was presented to the hospital board on May 28, at which time the Board requested additional information. On June 25, the Board approved the agreement. Following the Board approval, the four physicians acted in the following ways. One physician signed the new agreement on July 31. One physician did not wish to sign the agreement, thus allowing her existing contract to expire on July 31. Two physicians signed extensions to the agreement, wishing to continue their work while receiving more time to review the new agreement. We ask that the public contact the hospital directly with any concerns or questions they may have about the conflicting reports currently surfacing in local media."
A glaring miscalculation in chronology exists in this email: The email claims that MCDH's Board of Directors had the finalized physician contract proposal on June 25th, yet this same board made no effort to put together a physicians' contract review team until the July 16th meeting. What kind of board waits until two weeks before contracts are up to start to put together a contract review team?
The email claims that one physician (Dr. Harris) did not wish to sign the contract agreement. This flies in the face of the public testimony of Dr. Harris' spouse, ten year city councilman Doug Hammerstrom, as well as the words of Dr. Diane Harris herself who has publicly stated that the contract was offered up for her signature without the opportunity to fully read it first. Dr. Harris further stated that when she asked for the same treatment as Drs. Cottle and Kreger, a two month extension in negotitaions, she was flatly denied that opportunity. The MCDH's PR man's email disingenuously omits the short notice, the lack of tail coverage, as well as Dr. Harris' request to be treated in the same manner as her colleagues, Drs. Cottle and Kreger.
Mr. Garza-Hillman offered the quotation marks in the email on behalf of MCDH. Precisely which individual in a position of authority is being quoted remains distinctly obscure. And this is a huge part of the point regarding MCDH currently. Note the closing line, "We ask that the public contact the hospital directly with any concerns or questions they may have about the conflicting reports currently surfacing in local media."
Well, this member of the public, who pays taxes that help support MCDH, called and asked for either the CEO of the hospital or the administrator in charge of North Coast Family Health to explain what's going on and their response was to hide behind a PR guy's tardy and feeble response.
The following was frantically circulated prior to the board meeting:
The MCDH board only has the authority to approve or reject doctors' contracts as they are presented to them. They do not create these contracts. MCDH administration is supposed to maintain a calendar of contracts. For whatever reason, the calendar of contracts was "missing," and three doctors' contracts were set to expire in one day. Bob Edwards, CEO, asked for an emergency meeting of the hospital board and two of those doctors, Keiger and Cottle, were given 60 day extensions, time for them to negotiate the boiler plate contract they were asked to sign. No such courtesy was afforded Dr. Harris. The Board specifically asked about her contract, and Mr. Edwards, MCDH CEO, and Ilona Horton, the NCFH Clinic administrator, repeatedly avoided the question, finally saying there was no contract for her. There was and it expired the next day.
If you are a patient of Dr. Harris' our ire has been wrongly been directed at the hospital board. We should be appealing this to Bob Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org and Ilona Horton email@example.com though continuing to copy Gayl Moon firstname.lastname@example.org, conduit to the board, is very wise.
I also learned that her patients have been lied to. (Three of us at the meeting had different stories told to us.) Some were told she was retiring, others told she's experienced a medical emergency. I repeat what I said in my original letter, this was an immoral act on the part of the clinic and hospital CEO, but I've discovered it may have also been illegal under CA law. We shall see how that plays out.
The important thing to know about tonight's meeting:
Nothing will happen. Nothing can happen. She's not on the agenda.
There can be no vote to reinstate her because it isn't the board's job.
Tonight, all we can do is show support for her.
Please don't get confrontational with the board. Our best tool is to tell our individual stories.
THE CHP said Monday that the woman badly injured when she was thrown from a Ford Escort on 101 Saturday about 11am just north of Hopland had been arguing with the driver when he lost control of the car. Charles Greppi, 28, was driving the southbound Escort when the car careened off the road at the Saracina vineyard near Hopland. Greppi was not seriously injured, but his passenger, Kelsie Iverson, 24, was not wearing her seatbelt and was unsecured when the vehicle left the road. Greppi was treated at Adventist Hospital in Ukiah and released. Ms. Iverson was medevaced to Sutter Memorial in Santa Rosa where she remains in serious condition. The incident remains under investigation.
THE COMBINATION of Governor Brown's realignment and Prop 47 aren't good for any community, but for an outlaw-heavy community like remote Covelo the twin measures are likely to be lethal. Realignment basically dumped a lot of bad boys on County Jails, and Prop 47 basically decriminalized hard drugs. A disproportionate number of Mendocino County's realigned population is now out of the County Jail and back in Round Valley, the result being a measurable uptick in violence in a community already suffering from violence, historical and contemporary. Recent episodes include the pistol whipping of a young man and a crazed-looking dude walking around in a neighbor's yard with a gun, neither of which prompted responses from law enforcement. A Covelo friend said that "after dark when all the tweakers come out it's like The Night of the Living Dead around here." Covelo badly needs a constant police presence, as Sheriff Allman himself readily concedes. But the Sheriff's Department is presently under-staffed and it's always been difficult to find deputies who will agree to live and work in Round Valley, where the West is still wild.
MORE HELP IS ON THE WAY
16-Person America Samoan Crew Headed To Ca To Fight Fires — National Park Crew Heads to Northern California to Fight Wildland Fires
A 16-person National Park of American Samoa crew and crew leader departed on Wednesday from American Samoa for Northern California to fight wildland fires for 30-days. Once in California, the national park’s fire crew will receive their assignment and work side-by-side with fire crews from across the nation.
“Our wildland firefighters represent a talented mix of employees from the national park, the American Samoa Government, and local businesses from both Tutuila and Manu’a islands,” said Superintendent Scott Burch. “We are proud to send our crew to help protect natural resources and keep communities safe during this severe fire season on the mainland. The skill and dedication of our Samoan crew is well known and very much respected on the mainland and fire crews there are eager for our crew to come join them in their work.”
In partnership with Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, the National Park of American Samoa trains staff and local villagers in the skills required to fight fires at home and within other areas of the United States. To become wildland firefighters, this crew had to complete rigorous training and pass a demanding written test. They also had to pass a fitness test that required the firefighers to walk three miles wearing a 45-pound pack in less than 45-minutes.
Currently there are 35 fires that have burned over 217,000 acres in Northern California.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
So Donald’s success isn’t that much of a mystery. He says a lot of outrageous things along with some truly absurd things, but when you throw his nouns, verbs, adjectives, accusations, and attacks into the home blender you come up with a heaping glass full of the frustration cocktail Americans have been served over the past decade: wars that don’t end, a Congress that doesn’t work, paychecks that don’t grow, take-home pay that never increases, bridges and roads that need to be rebuilt, public schools where the emphasis is on testing at the expense of thinking.
THERE GOES OUTLET CREEK / A READER REMINDS US…
Ref: Appeal Hearing to the Grist Creek Asphalt Plant Approval by Friends of Outlet Creek
This might be of some interest of your readers. Mendocino County Air Quality Management District at the meeting at 10AM on August 28. AKA don’t bother us with our laws and regulations public meeting. Those interested can forward comments and or speak their mind on placing an asphalt batch plant on a flood plain of Outlet Creek without a environmental review.
The District will accept written and verbal comments related to this appeal. Written comments must be sent before August 20 to Donna Roberts Nash, Clerk for the Hearing Board. MCAQMD offices are at 306 E Gobbi Street, Ukiah, California.
Samples of recent letters sent:
I ask that the MCAQMD review and reconsider the granting of a permit to Grist Creek Aggregates for their Longvale Plant Development plan. And, to ask that the MCAQMD insist on a full Environmental Impact Report be completed before any decision is made on Grist Creek's request.
The main stem of the Eel River is an ecosystem in peril. We are seeing decreasing numbers of Chinook and steel head returning to spawn. Recovery is possible but fragile. Outlet Creek is a main tributary to the Eel and of importance to the continued health of the river. Outlet Creek needs to be protected.
I realize that the Longvale Plant parcel is zoned industrial and that the granting of a permit for the proposed asphalt plant and road base storage and sale may be legal. The fact is this parcel, with its close proximity to Outlet Creek, should not have been zoned industrial. But it was. You can stop the exacerbation of an already egregious situation. Please, insist on a full EIR before you allow any further development of this parcel. If an EIR finds that an asphalt plant and road base storage located on the Outlet Creek flood plain are not in conflict with spawning salmon, steelhead, and the many other creatures that live in this environment, then you can feel comfortable allowing Grist Creek to move forward.
Please add this note to your packet regarding the addition of asphalt production to the Grist Creek Gravel plant.
Require CEQA as part of the permit for the Grist Creek Asphalt plant
I find it outrageous that Mendocino County has approved the asphalt plant on the flood plain of Outlet Creek without an environmental review. Maybe you could explain to everyone how the silt and toxic residue from this operation will not enter and harm Outlet Creek and the Eel River, just a few miles downstream. Both are very popular summer recreational swimming destinations for our fellow citizens and critical habitat for threatened and endangered coho salmon, chinook salmon and steelhead.
This asphalt plant needs a proper environmental review before it can be approved for production. A proper environmental review should not be removed from the permit process.
Jack L. Cox (1936-2015) Sixth generation Ukiah resident, Real Estate Broker/Developer, and Farmer, Jack Cox passed away peacefully at his home-ranch with family by his side. Jack was raised on his family's ranch off Cox-Schrader Road just South of Ukiah where they grew grapes, pears, and hops. After graduating Ukiah High School in 1954, Jack enlisted in the Air Force where he was stationed overseas for four years. Upon his return to the states, he attended San Francisco City College before moving home to Ukiah where he worked at the Post Office during the day and at Southworst's (Broiler Steakhouse) at night as a bartender.
While working at the post office, a local Real Estate Broker, Art Alwen, encouraged Jack to get his real estate license and work for him full-time at Mendo Realty in Ukiah, thus starting Jack's real estate career of 50+ years. Jack was licensed in 1960 and by 1962 he had earned his broker's license and formed Cox-Ornbaun Realty with Carol Ornbaun. In 1965, Jack decided to open his own real estate company, Jack Cox & Associates. In 1984, he franchised with Coldwell Banker until he sold his company to his daughter Kerri Vau and her business partner John Lazaro in 1987.
Jack was active in the community. He was a longtime member of the Elks Lodge and one of the longest Cannibal Club members. He served as Director of the California Association of Realtors and was a two-time President of the Mendocino County Board of Realtors. He was appointed by Congressman Don Clausen to serve on the selection committee for the Air Force Academy. He also headed many land developments and subdivisions in the Ukiah area as well as the larger Mendocino County.
Jack was an active participant, spending countless hours attending Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and City of Ukiah planning meetings; he firmly believed in protecting private property rights. His most prized real estate holding was his ranch North of Ukiah that he acquired in 1968. Jack bought the York Ranch with intentions to subdivide and resell, but ironically he fell in love with the ranch and lived there until his passing. Jack spent all of his spare time improving the ranch and developing a successful vineyard operation with the help of his son-in-law, Chuck Vau. Jack also enjoyed his rice ranch in the Sacramento Valley where he loved to duck hunt.
Many who knew Jack might describe him as an outdoorsman, as he loved to hunt and fish locally and out of state with his longtime friends and family. Jack was preceded in death by his wife Raynette Cox, his parents Jack and Susan Cox, his brother Gary Cox and two of his dearest friends, Floyd Ross and Pete Dunnebeck, whose passing one year ago was especially heartbreaking to him. He is survived by his daughters Kerri (Chuck Vau) of Ukiah, Traci (Chuck Pittman) of Ukiah, and Debbie Harrison of Ukiah. Additionally, he is survived by his grandchildren: Whitney, Lauren and Natalie Vau; Ashlin and Chad Pittman; and Nicholas and Spencer Harrison, and companion Yuki Bell
A celebration of Jack's life will be held on Friday, August 21, 2015, 11:00 am at the Lake Mendocino Club House off Lake Mendocino Drive. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to either the Ukiah Boys and Girls Club or the Ukiah Senior Center. Arrangements are at the direction of Eversole Mortuary.
Barron Lee Hankes, a longtime Willits resident, passed away on June 7, 2015 in Washington State from ALS. He was born on April 10, 1942 in San Jose. Barron spent two years in the US Army from 1964-1966 at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. In 1967 he went to work for the Sheriff's office in Mendocino County. He eventually earned his bachelor's degree and worked for the District Attorney's office as an investigator where he retired in 1997. Barron was a loving father, husband, and grandfather. He was dedicated to serving Mendocino County and is described as a very proud, hard-working person. He is survived by his mother, Dorothy Hankes, of Santa Rosa; son, Ben Hankes, of Washington; and two grandchildren. He is preceded in death by father, Willard Hankes, wife, Mary Hankes and son, Shayne Hankes. Services will be held on August 22, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Agape Bible Church located at 290 South Lenore Street, Willits, CA 95490. There will be an Honor Guard ceremony and potluck to follow.
DITCHING HIGH SCHOOL
by John Ulysses Keevan-Lynch
“I didn’t go to high school. This I think of as one of my proudest accomplishments and one of my greatest escapes…” A few months ago Harper’s Magazine published an article by Rebecca Solnit titled “Abolish High School.” After a brief introduction (started by the words quoted above), she tells about the circumstances that propelled her from junior high school straight to college.
Solnit starts with her early adolescence as a “withdrawn, bookish kid” undergoing middle-school miseries. “As I left campus at the end of my first day, people shouted insults that ensured I knew my clothes didn’t cut it.” She disliked the classes with an equal measure – “At least the old history teacher in the plaid mohair sweaters let me doze in the front row, so long as I knew the answers when asked.”
Solnit switched to an alternative junior high where she completed tenth grade, and chose not to continue on to high school. After a few, far more pleasurable years there, she decided to skip high school, which she feared would be another sterile area for intellectual growth. “I passed the G.E.D. test at fifteen, started community college the following fall, and transferred after two semesters to a four-year college, where I began, at last, to get an education commensurate with my appetite.”
No longer can an ambitious Californian of 15 take the GED. The GED Testing Service website now states this rule for residents of California: “You must be 18 years of age or older or within 60 days of your 18th birthday.” California offers an alternative – the California High School Proficiency Exam – for those who are 16 years or older, or have finished their sophomore year. That said, “Passing the CHSPE does not, by itself, exempt minors from attending school. Minors who have a Certificate of Proficiency must also have verified parent/guardian permission to stop attending school.”
A now popular way to skip high school while preparing for college is to convince a parent to register you as homeschooled. Sage Ryan made headlines when he got into UC Berkeley at age 15. His method, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, involved dropping out of middle school and having his parents register him for homeschooling. His mother says that “Anybody can do it” – regardless of teaching credentials. While “homeschooling”, Sage Ryan took online college courses and pursued acting opportunities. By 15 he had earned enough college credits to transfer into UC Berkeley as a Junior, and had a resume which showed him to be a decent student and accomplished actor. The State Universities in California do not require a diploma or equivalency test (the CSU system allows for exceptions to be judged case-by-case, and UC’s don’t require diplomas), but do demand a set of required classes be taken – these are commonly called the A-G requirements.
These requirements are not particularly daunting: 4 years of English, 3 years of Math, 2 of a foreign language, 2 of “laboratory sciences” (Chemistry, Biology, or Physics), 2 years of History/social science, 1 year of a “visual and performing art”, and 1 year of a “college-preparatory elective.” Instead of taking a class, students can also submit scores from standardized tests – example, a 550 or higher on the U.S. History SAT Subject Exam qualifies you as having taken a year of US History. The accepted tests are A.P.’s (a score of three or better is necessary), SAT Subject Tests (Mid to lower 500’s, varied by subject), and International Baccalaureate exams (scores of 5, 6, and 7 are accepted).
Furthermore, there are other ways to get accepted to UCs – they allow for “Admission by Exception” so long as you explain why you were unable to fulfill the requirements. “Admission by Exam” is also advertised, but requires exceptionally high standardized test scores, in either the SAT or the ACT. Keep in mind – these are competitive spots. There are 12-year-old geniuses fighting for them.
Students who have attended high school for at least two years can find options in private colleges or out of state public universities without having to complete California’s course requirements or earn exceptionally high standardized test scores. Many such schools invite high school juniors to apply. One, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, targets 10th and 11th graders. From their website: “We’re the only full-time, four year, highly ranked college of the liberal arts and sciences designed for motivated students ready for college after the 10th or 11th grade.”
Leon Botstein, the President, explains one of the rationales for early college on the Simon’s Rock website: “[Our society] delay[s] a serious engagement with intellectual material — science, art, literature, history — too long. And, so, when they arrive at college at eighteen, in my view, we have lost some of the best years of the life of a young person who wants to learn.”
Does it work? Can students miss two years of high school and still be successful?
One way to examine that is to look where the Simon’s Rock students are going. Simon’s Rock awards AA’s and BA’s. More than half transfer out after earning an AA, and Simon’s Rock publishes a list of its top twenty transfer schools. On this list are several Ivy League Schools (Cornell, Brown, and Columbia) and other well known names (ex. Stanford).
In College Without High School: A Teenager's Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College, Blake Boles focuses on students who have parents willing to homeschool their child. He preaches “unschooling,” which equates to a program of homeschooling and the rigorous pursuit of a passion designed to appeal to selective four year colleges. It requires that the parent say their child is being homeschooled, but Boles makes an argument that this sort of results-focused, passion-driven education is what colleges want to see. A standard high school curriculum ends up being replaced by internships, summer camps, volunteer work, travel, college classes and other “adventures.”
To show that it works, Boles offers some success stories. To follow the common thread, the students start homeschooling a little before high school, take community college courses, and focus on extracurriculars, jobs, and internships which are related to their “passion.” A few of the most recognizable institutions attended by Boles’ examples were Princeton, New York University, and Carnegie Mellon.
Mendocino College is fairly supportive of underage students who want to take classes. “Mendocino College admits a limited number of pre-high and high school students who may then enroll in up to 11 units per semester.” Also worth noting: As “Special Admit students” pre-high and high school students “are exempted from paying the enrollment fee.”
And, for those who lack parents willing to homeschool them, or do not have a passion they are willing to commit to, or simply enjoy high school, there are still other ways a student can start college before finishing high school. California high school students have the opportunity to jump the threshold between college and high school (graduation) by taking online college courses in addition to high school curriculum. AVHS encourages this by awarding bonus high school credit for each college credit received. Students at AVHS are, however, still required to take five on-campus classes during each of their four years and cannot shorten their number of years in high school. Rancheria High School offers an “accelerated program” for high school students and draws students who “are in a hurry to finish high school.” More specifics are unavailable online, and Rancheria did not return my calls.
I am not trying to encourage a race-to-college atmosphere among the students in Anderson Valley. Early college is not as appealing to some as to others. High school happens only once – for some that is sad news, for others a blessing. This is for the student who wishes to move on with their education.
(John Ulysses Keevan Lynch went to Elementary School in Anderson Valley and is an intern at the Advertiser.)
CROWDS OF PEOPLE moved through the street with a dream-like violence. As he looked at their broken hands and torn mouths he was overwhelmed by the desire to help them, and because this desire was sincere, he was happy despite the feeling of guilt which accompanied it.
He saw a man who appeared to be on the verge of death stagger into a movie theater that was showing a picture called Blonde Beauty. He saw a ragged woman with an enormous goiter pick a love story magazine out of a garbage can and seem very excited by her find.
Prodded by his conscience, he began to generalize. Men have always fought their misery with dreams. Although dreams were once powerful, they have been made puerile by the movies, radio and newspapers. Among many betrayals, this one is the worst.
— Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathanael West
ADVANCED INTERACTIVE MAPS OF LOGGING PLANS ON THE LOWER GUALALA RIVER
Updated August 12, 2015
Friends of Gualala River hired a geographic information system (GIS) specialist to take the multiple timber harvest plan (THP) maps submitted and make new composite maps that are readable in context of the landscape and past logging.
The full extent of the footprint of the logging plans in the lower Gualala River floodplain redwood forest and adjacent slopes are fully revealed in these new interactive maps. The GIS specialist on the project is Digital Mapping Solutions.
Friend — I'd like to get to know you, and I can't think of a better way to do that than sitting down to dinner together. Thank you for entering for the chance to be flown out with a guest to have dinner with me on the campaign trail. Today, if you donate $1 or whatever you can, you'll be automatically entered one more time. We don't have to talk politics or get too serious — no homework assignments before this dinner. I just want to know what's on your mind, and I'd like to thank you for being a part of this team. The campaign will take care of your travel and accommodations, so you can relax and enjoy our time together. Chip in right now to be automatically entered for another chance to meet me on the campaign trail:
See you for dinner, Hillary
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 17, 2015
TESS ANTONETTI, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
BRIAN ARIAS, Boonville. Probation revocation.
CURTIS BECK, Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, drunk in public.
RAMON CHAVEZ JR., Ukiah. Domestic battery, possession of meth for sale, destruction of communications equipment to prevent calling for help, court order violation.
ADOLFO CISNEROS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
RANDALL GENSAW, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, probation revocation.
COREY HEINE, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, vandalism.
GREGORY HUNTER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JUSTIN KAYE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
RICHARD POOLE, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation violation.
TY SIMPSON, Ukiah. Court order violation, resisting.
DERRICK STEVENS, Willits. Burglary, vandalism.
MOTECHUHZOMA VAUGHN, Ukiah. Felony Hit & Run with injury/fatality, suspended license, receiving stolen property, evasion, resisting.
THADDEUS WAKEFIELD, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
IS THE GLOBAL WARMING ‘PAUSE’ OVER?
Researcher says the planet is ‘on fire’ and warns it could get even hotter
by Ellie Zolfagharifard
There are signs that the planet is heating up, and even 'on fire.'
This is according to Dr Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, who claims the global warming 'pause' is now over.
The so-called pause refers to the fact that the temperature of Earth's surface has increased by just 0.06°C in the past 15 years.
It has been used by some groups as evidence that climate change is not happening.
But Dr Trenberth argues that natural variability in weather patterns has masked the upward trend in temperatures, and he says this variability may be about to end.
He points out that in the western region of North America, the prolonged drought has led to high temperatures and many wildfires, from Canada and the Northwest earlier this summer to California more recently.
In the Pacific, hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones have caused havoc, and with several damaging hits in Japan, China and Taiwan, in particular.
Globally, surface temperatures have been setting record high values. US temperatures this year are well above average.
Meanwhile, precipitation has been above average in much of the US outside of the West, making temperatures lower than they otherwise would have been.
In a paper titled, 'Has There Been a Global Warming Hiatus?', Trenberth argues natural variability through of the oceans, atmosphere, land and ice is responsible for the strange weather.
'The warmest year in the 20th century was 1998. However, since then there has been an apparent absence of an increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST) from 1998 through 2013.
(Courtesy, the Daily Mail OnLine)
by James Kunstler
There is a special species of idiot at large in the financial media space who believe absolutely in the desperate and tragic public relations bullshit that this society churns out to convince itself that the techno-industrial high life can continue indefinitely, despite the mandates of reality — in particular, the fairy tales about oil: we’re cruising to energy independence… the shale oil “miracle” will keep us driving to WalMart forever… our wells doth overflow as if this were Saudi America… don’t worry, be happy…!
Such a true believer is John Mauldin, the investment hustler and writer of the newsletter Thoughts From the Frontline, who called me out for obloquy in his latest edition. After dissing me, he said:
“I have written for years that Peak Oil is nonsense. Longtime readers know that I’m a believer in ever-accelerating technological transformation, but I have to admit I did not see the exponential transformation of the drilling business as it is currently unfolding. The changes are truly breathtaking and have gone largely unnoticed.”
Mauldin is going to be very disappointed when he discovers that the vaunted efficiencies in shale drilling and fracking he’s hyping will only accelerate the depletion of wells which, at best, produce a few hundred barrels of oil a day, and only for the first year, after which they deplete by at least half that rate, and after four years are little better than “stripper” wells. The PR shills at Cambridge Energy Research (Dan Yergin’s propaganda mill for the oil industry) must have pumped a five-gallon jug of Kool-Aid down poor John’s craw. He believes every whopper they spin out — e.g. that “Right now, some US shale operators can break even at $10/barrel.”
The truth is the shale oil industry couldn’t make a profit at $100/barrel. The drilling and fracking boom that began around 2005 was paid for with high-risk, high-yield junk bond financing and other sketchy, poorly collateralized financing. Most of the earnings in the early years of shale oil came from flipping land leases to greater fools. Now that the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 percent in the past year, the prospect dims for that junk financing to be repaid. Since that was “bottom-of-the-barrel” financing, the odds are that the shale producers will have a very hard time finding more borrowed money to keep up the relentless pace of drilling needed to stay ahead of the short depletion rates. They are also running out “sweet spots” that are worth drilling.
We will look back on the shale oil frenzy of 2005 to 2015 as a very interesting industrial stunt borne of desperation. It gave a floundering industry something to do with all its equipment and its trained personnel, and it gave wishful hucksters something to wish for, but it never penciled-out economically. Shale oil production turned down in 2015 and the money will not be there to get the production back to where it was before the price crash. Ever.
Some additional uncomfortable truths should temper the manic fantasies of hypsters like Mauldin. One is that we are no longer in the cheap oil age. All the new oil available now is expensive oil — whether it’s Bakken shale or deep water or arctic oil — and it costs too much for our techno-industrial society to run on. That is why the world financial system is imploding: we can’t borrow enough money from the future to keep this game going, and we can’t pay back the money we’ve already borrowed. We have to get another game going, one consistent with contraction and with much lower energy use. But that is not an acceptable option to the people running things. They are determined to keep the current matrix of rackets going at all costs, and the certain result will be very messy collapse of economies and governments.
Industrial economies face a fatal predicament: Oil above $75/barrel crushes economies; under $75/barrel it crushes oil companies. We’ve oscillated back and forth between those conditions since 2005. The net effect in the USA is that the middle class is rapidly going broke. All the financial shenanigans aimed at propping up Wall Street and Potemkin stock markets was carried out at the expense of the middle class, now deprived of jobs, incomes, vocations, stability, and prospects. They may already be at the point where they can’t afford oil at any price. That “energy deflation” dynamic, in the words of Steve Ludlum at the Economic Undertow blog, is a self-reinforcing feedback loop that beats a path straight to epochal paradigm shift: get smaller, get local, get real, or get out.
The hypsters and hucksters won’t believe this until it jumps up and bites them on the lips. These are the same idiots who believe we are going to continue Happy Motoring by other means — self-driving, all-electric cars — and who think there is some reason for human beings to travel to other planets when we haven’t even demonstrated that we can plausibly continue life on this one.
As I averred last week, America is at the bottom of a self-knowledge low cycle in which we are incapable of constructing a coherent story about what is happening to us. The techno-industrial fiesta was such a special experience that we can’t believe it might be coming to an end. So, one option is to believe stories that have no basis in reality. As Tom McGuane wrote some 40 years ago: “Life in the old USA gizzard had changed and only a clown could fail to notice. So being a clown was a possibility.”
(Kunstler’s third World Made By Hand novel is available now! The Fourth and final is finished and on the way — Spring 2016. “Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist)
STREAMING AUTHOR OUT IN THE NIGHT
Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch presents
A Live-Streaming Author Talk with Victoria (V.E.) Schwab on Tuesday, September 8th at 7 pm
On Tuesday, September 8th at 7 pm, Ukiah Library is proud to present a live-streamed talk with Victoria (V.E.) Schwab, author of adult, juvenile and young adult fiction touched with fantasy and magic. Her adult titles are A Darker Shade of Magic a fantasy thriller, and Vicious, a fantasy/horror blend. YA novels are The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound and her juvenile series is Everyday Angel.
Future Tuesday talks will feature Tamora Pierce (October), Andy Weir (November), Ann Leckie (December), and Tess Gerritsen (January).
Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch, presents the PBS/POV documentary, Out in the Night, on Wednesday, September 2nd at 6:00 pm
On Wednesday, September 2nd, at 6:00 pm, the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch, is proud to present the PBS POV documentary, Out in the Night, by blair dorosh-walther.
“On a summer night in 2006, a group of African American lesbians were threatened by a man on a Greenwich Village street. A fight ensued and the women defended themselves. Four refused to plead guilty to charges of gang assault. The media dubbed them the ‘Gang of Killer Lesbians.’ This is their story.”
A co-production of ITVS and a co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).
The screening is a brown-paper-bag-dinner event with a discussion following the film. This event is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.
For more information on the film series, please see http://www.pbs.org/pov/
ECO MODUS OPERANDI
There are no worthwhile outward focuses anymore, because there is nothing out there which is stable. The external is defined by constant change. Only the inward offers a still point for one's mind to center itself in. That's home now and forever, a place to live eternally in bliss. There is no outward still point, no home to abide in, no place of peace, no place of bliss, no refuge, no sanctuary. Actions are effective when the mind is anchored within at the still point. From there, actions are striking and accurate, precise and effective, and always worthwhile. Actions which are spiritually directed have power, decisive and bold, necessary and important, and always timely. Center the mind first, and then take action spontaneously. This is the essence of successful environmental activism, in opposition to the confusion of neoliberalism and imperialistic militarism. This is the way to respond to global climate destabilization. This is the way to counteract unconscious governmental policies which result in the destruction of ecosystems, the depletion of species populations resulting in decreased biodiversity, the pollution of the oceans, and the extraction of the earth's mineral resources to maintain social dominance, without having any knowledge of how to ensure a sustainable future. Dissenting respondents to this confused postmodern globalized civilization, need to be mentally centered and then act spontaneously. No other approach is worth taking, as the history of modern political dissent has shown. The reason that contemporary environmental activism has fallen short is because the "spiritual mojo" is lacking. In other words, ecodefense lacks sufficient juice in order to be victorious. The actions themselves may be imaginative, creative, informed, timely, and well directed, but they do not beget the desired results. Strange it is that elements which are wholly selfish and stupid continue to succeed, while opposing forces of righteousness continue to face off with the same selfishness and stupidity year after year. The reason for this must lie in the fact that sufficient "spiritual mojo" is not being brought into the ecodefensive mix. The key is to center the mind within oneself at the still point and act from there. Otherwise, dissent automatically is coopted by the spectacle of the situation, thereby becoming ineffective as an agent of profound change. Being consumed by the theater of events is not possible when one's focus is withdrawn, and the mind is anchored within. The spectacle of the situation cannot go there. Present day environmental concerns are increasingly in regard to the planet earth's destabilized climate, and the factors which are contributing to this condition, which climate scientists have predicted will "pass the point of no return" at the time of the next full solar eclipse, which is on August 21, 2017. With ostensibly two years remaining before a predicted, irreversible future of ecological chaos begins, eco-warriors would do well to mentally center within, and collectively take action from the still point. All other approaches have been played out, and now is the time to move beyond them.
Craig Louis Stehr
August 17, 2015