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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Aug 20, 2015

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ANOTHER SWEETHEART DEAL FOR ORTNER/HOSPITALITY HOUSE; not good for the homeless or the taxpayers.

(Would you rent a bed to a General Assistance qualified homeless person for $4,000 a month? And then praise yourself in contractually required “press releases” for your “services” in helping the homeless? PS. Don’t forget to call it a "Supportive Housing Program Seamless Transition Empowerment Program resource center”)

Board of Supervisors Consent Calendar Agenda Item 4(m), 8/18/2015

Approval of Agreement with Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center in the Amount of $95,039 to Provide for the Provision of the Homeless Shelter in Fort Bragg and for Homeless and Indigent Services in the Coastal Region in Fiscal Year 2015-16

SUMMARY OF REQUEST: Mendocino County has been contracting with local non-profit agencies for emergency shelter services for Mendocino County indigents since 1982. Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center provides emergency shelter and operates a resource center in Fort Bragg to address the needs of the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) General Assistance clients and other coastal county persons who are at risk of or are currently experiencing homelessness.

RECOMMENDED ACTION/MOTION: Approve and authorize the Chair to sign the Agreement with Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center in the amount of $95,039 to provide for the provision of the homeless shelter in Fort Bragg and for homeless and indigent services in the coastal region in Fiscal Year 2015-16; and authorize the Health and Human Services Agency Director to sign any future amendments to the Agreement that do not affect the annual maximum amount.

Source of Funding Current F/Y Cost Annual Recurring Cost Budgeted in Current F/Y: General Fund $95,039

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Excerpts from Contract:

Services To Be Provided

“Capacity Building

  1. Year-Round Shelter and Services
  2. Increase capacity to provide shelter and other homeless services
  3. Maximum utilization of all shelter beds, as practicable
  4. Nutritious meals for the non-resident homeless
  5. Shower facilities for non-residents, and
  6. Laundry facilities for non-residents
  7. Extensive case management, tracking and reporting of client’s progress towards stabilization and transitional or permanent housing

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Operate a Supportive Housing Program (SHP) Seamless Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) resource center for the homeless in the Fort Bragg area

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Staffing

  1. Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) funding, blended with other funds including SHP, to provide for services of a manager and case manager:
  2. Manager to provide:
  3. Day-to-day management of the Fort Bragg facility
  4. Training iii. Quality assurance iv. Case manage up to 35 Shelter Plus Care clients
  5. Case Manager to: i. Assist 75% of the SHP clients

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Housing assistance:

  1. Place homeless families and/or individuals in emergency shelter or provide motel or camping vouchers if they meet the housing eligibility criteria
  2. Inform individuals/families authorized for shelter that if they have an emergency shelter need extending beyond the authorized period, they must go to the GA office the next business day and apply for appropriate assistance
  3. Authorization for emergency housing for individuals and families shall not exceed the number of nights necessary for HHSA to determine eligibility

[The AVA’s Favorite Contractual Requirement — the County/Taxpayers will pay for:] Contractor will write at least two Press Releases each contract year, incorporating the collaboration efforts in this contract between the contractor and Health and Human Services Agency, ensuring that both parties are recognized for the efforts 1. Press releases will be submitted to HHSA_Media@co.mendocino.ca.us a minimum of four (4) days prior to print in the local newspaper; Contractor will submit press releases to local media

COUNTY will pay CONTRACTOR any combination of fees shown below, not to exceed Ninety-Five Thousand, Thirty-Nine Dollars ($95,039) per the following:

  1. For satisfactory provision of services as defined in the description of services (Exhibit A)
  2. Services furnished under this Agreement must be made in accordance with the unit cost basis stipulated herein a. Neither expenditure nor obligation shall be incurred in excess of the authorized unit cost
  3. Not to exceed the number of units stipulated in this agreement
  4. Any such unauthorized expenditure shall be borne by the CONTRACTOR

Billing:

Emergency Shelter Beds rate per month $2,062.50; Total: $24,750

Shelter Capacity Building per month $1,950.00; Total: $23,400

Homeless Services Staffing per month $1,127.33; Total: $13,528

Capacity Building per month $2,780.08 Total: $33,361

Contract Total $95,039

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UKIAH BANK ROBBER FOUND HIDING IN CREEK BED, THEN CAUGHT HOLDING MORE THAN CASH

by Justine Frederiksen:

Christmas
Christmas

A man who robbed a bank in Ukiah Wednesday morning was arrested a few hours later hiding in a creek bed, the Ukiah Police Department reported.
 UPD Capt. Justin Wyatt said the robbery was reported shortly after 9:00 am Aug. 19 at the Savings Bank of Mendocino located in the Pear tree Shopping Center on East Perkins Street. 
Wyatt said the man did not show or claim to have any weapon, but used the threat of force to take money from a bank employee. No one at the bank, located at 414 E. Perkins Street, was injured.
 When detectives saw footage of the suspect taken during the robbery, they recognized him as a local transient named Clarence B. Christmas, 43.
 A photo of Christmas was disseminated online, and Wyatt said after receiving information about the suspect's whereabouts, officers located him in the creek bed near Talmage Road. Christmas reportedly had items related to the robbery on him, such as clothing seen in the footage and cash, and he was arrested on suspicion of robbery and burglary. 
The suspect was taken to the UPD headquarters on Seminary Avenue, and 'at some point, he was observed masturbating in plain view of officers and refused to stop when asked.' Christmas was then also charged with indecent exposure and violating his parole.
 Wyatt said Christmas has been arrested at least twice in the past for masturbating in public, once at a local gym.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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BYE BYE GRAFFITI ON NAVARRO BRIDGE

We noted Jeffco Painting & Coating have been staging equipment near the Navarro Bridge - don't be surprised to see one-lane traffic guided by a stop light (to be installed soon). Signage around the site was installed last week.

NavGraffiti2

Although Caltrans District 1 hasn't posted on it yet, we can assume Jeffco will be doing what they did to the Salmon Creek bridge - sandblast off the paint and repaint the structure.

NavGraffiti1

This graffiti will become only a memory.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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CENTRAL VALLEY SINKING FAST IN DROUGHT

by Dale Kasler, Ryan Sabalow & Phillip Reese

Portions of the San Joaquin Valley floor are sinking at an alarming rate as farmers pump ever more groundwater during California’s extended drought, according to a NASA study released Wednesday.

The report, generated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the state Department of Water Resources, sheds new light on the phenomenon known as subsidence.

While the land is sinking just a few inches a year, subsidence has been hastened by the drought, and the consequences can mushroom as the dry years pile up. Gravity-fed canal systems don’t function as well. Portions of the Delta-Mendota Canal, which brings water to much of the San Joaquin Valley, have buckled and had to be propped back up. In Firebaugh, west of Fresno, a motor-vehicle bridge has sunk so low it practically sits atop an irrigation canal.

“It is one of those long-term, slow and cumulative impacts,” said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager at the Department of Water Resources. “The thing we’re especially concerned about is the damage, long-term damage, to water infrastructure. Over time, that diminishes the ability to move water.”

Subsidence has been a recurring problem in the San Joaquin Valley, the more arid southern half of California’s heavily farmed Central Valley. In one example that became legendary among groundwater experts, an area near Mendota sank 28 feet between 1925 and 1977. The issue largely abated with the advent of California’s massive man-made plumbing system, which showered the Valley with an abundance of surface water from Northern California. But in recent years, as the Sierra snowpack has dwindled and fresh water supplies have diminished, the woes have returned with a vengeance.

The NASA study, based on satellite imaging, showed significant rates of subsidence in recent times. A spot near Corcoran, in the Tulare basin, sank 13 inches in one recent eight-month period. Researchers found a stretch near the California Aqueduct, the key highway of the State Water Project, that sank 8 inches in four months last year.

The problem isn’t limited to the San Joaquin Valley; a spot near Arbuckle in Colusa County sank 5 inches during the last half of 2014, according to the NASA report.

“Roads can be broken by fissures, pipelines have been exhumed, and the slope of the land can be altered, changing drainage patterns,” the NASA researchers wrote.

California’s vast, natural aquifers were formed by rain and melted snow that percolated into the soil over thousands of years. When water is extracted in huge volumes, and there’s insufficient rain to replace it, the earth gradually sinks.

The rate of subsidence underscores how quickly underground aquifers are being drained. A report earlier this week by UC Davis said farmers are pumping an additional 6 million acre-feet of groundwater this year, compared to 2011, the year before the drought started, to compensate for shortages in deliveries of surface water from the State Water Project and the federal government’s Central Valley Project.

Experts say subsidence will make it harder to replenish the aquifers once the rains come. That’s because subsidence effectively compacts the soil, making it harder to store water underground.

“Groundwater acts as a savings account to provide supplies during drought, but the NASA report shows the consequences of excessive withdrawals as we head into the fifth year of historic drought,” said Mark Cowin, the director of the Department of Water Resources, in a prepared statement. “We will work together with counties, local water districts and affected communities to identify ways to slow the rate of subsidence and protect vital infrastructure such as canals, pumping stations, bridges and wells.”

California had long been the only Western state that didn’t regulate or track groundwater pumping until Gov. Jerry Brown signed a groundwater management bill last fall ordering local jurisdictions to draw up rules. But the deadline for establishing regulations isn’t until 2020 in most areas.

In the meantime, Jones said the state is urging local authorities to begin regulating groundwater pumping right away. But farmers in many parts of the state aren’t eager to see limits placed on their ability to pump.

In the Paso Robles wine country, vineyard owners went to court to challenge a 2013 ordinance giving San Luis Obispo County the authority to limit drilling of new wells and expanding crop acreage. The county won that lawsuit, but hundreds of growers filed a separate suit asserting the water beneath their properties is theirs to use. That suit is still pending.

In nearby Kings County, Supervisor Doug Verboon said he’s gotten fierce pushback from growers when he suggested imposing restrictions on drilling wells on land that hasn’t been farmed before.

“As far as putting a policy in place, all you’re going to do is get yourself sued,” said Verboon, a walnut grower in Hanford. “You have some large farmers that are corporate farmers that can sue you forever.”

Verboon said he’d like to see as much land farmed as possible, but “we’re kind of hurting ourselves, because we only have ‘X’ number of gallons of water that we can farm with, and we’re developing more and more acres that we farm.”

Two of the Sacramento Valley’s main rice-growing counties, Glenn and Colusa, have set temporary moratoriums on issuing permits for new wells. Farm groups say the moratoriums are too broad because they don’t exempt areas of the counties where groundwater supplies are still plentiful.

“Being surgical is the right approach,” said Thad Bettner, general manager of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District.

Some farmers say it’s unfair to blame agriculture for the subsidence problems in the Valley. Paul Wenger, a Modesto almond farmer and president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, said the state could fix things by simply letting growers have a bigger share of the available surface water.

Wenger said most of the water that farmers use for irrigation seeps back into the ground anyway, helping to recharge the aquifers.

“Once we put water in the ground, it’s not going to evaporate,” he said. “It’s kind of there.”

(Courtesy, the Sacramento Bee)

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SUNNY DAYS & mild temperatures along the Sonoma and Mendocino coast are attracting many visitors who are parking their cars and leaving them unattended while they enjoy the day at the beach. Unfortunately not all of those drawn to the coast on such days come to enjoy the sights. On 8-10-2015 thieves took advantage of this, breaking windows out of several cars parked along Highway 1 in both Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, stealing items of apparent value left in plain sight such as purses, clothing, and computers. Please remember not to leave valuables in your unattended vehicle and help us prevent these crimes by reporting to law enforcement any suspicious persons or vehicles. Persons with information which may help solve these crimes are encouraged to call the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at (707) 234-2100 or via e-mail at crimetip@mendocinosheriff.com.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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Mark & Lisa Ray
Mark & Lisa Ray

ON MONDAY, August 10, 2015 at approximately 5:17 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence in the 100 block of Manzanita Court in Laytonville to investigate a reported incident of domestic violence.  A five year-old girl had reported to a family member that her mother had been struck in the face by her cohabitant boyfriend. Upon arrival the suspect, Mark Ray, age 36, stayed hidden in the house while a female relative assured Deputies that no one with that name was inside. As the Deputies walked away they observed a male through a window and heard the sounds of conflict from inside.  They contacted Mark Ray in his back yard. Mark Ray refused to identify himself and tried to step back into his house, despite several warnings not to do so. He also physically resisted their attempts to keep him outside of the house. He was arrested at that time for obstructing or resisting an officer in the performance of his duties and violation of probation.  His sister, 39 year-old Lisa Ray of Santa Rosa, was also arrested for obstructing or resisting an officer when she attempted to come to his aid as he struggled with the Deputies. Ray's 44 year-old cohabitant girlfriend arrived at that time and was interviewed about the reported assault. Visible redness and swelling below her left eye was consistent with the child's report that she had been struck by a blow from a hand. At the conclusion of the field investigation, Mark Ray was also arrested for felony spousal abuse. Mark Ray was transported to the Mendocino County Jail and held in lieu of $25,000 bond. Lisa Ray was also transported to County Jail and lodged for a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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DR. AMANDA REIMAN, Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, will be Jane Futcher’s guest on The Cannabis Hour, 9 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 27, on KZYX radio. Before joining the Drug Policy Alliance, Reiman worked with the Berkeley Patients Group, where she conducted many studies on medical marijuana dispensaries, patients and the use of marijuana as a treatment for addiction. KZYX is found at 90.7 FM, Philo; 91.5 FM, Willits and Ukiah, and 88.1 FM, Fort Bragg. To stream on the Web visit KZYX.org. To hear programs you may have missed, go to jukebox.kzyx.org.

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Beyer
Beyer

ON THURSDAY, August 13, 2015 at approximately 12:42 PM, a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff was dispatched to a residence in the 200 block of Ramsey Road in Laytonville to investigate a reported burglary. The victim, a 76 year old man, reported that he awoke late that morning to find that someone had entered his home as he slept. His door had been left open and beverages from his refrigerator had removed and the empty containers left in and around his house. A decorative sword and a Winchester rifle had been stolen. The victim's sixteen year-old Husky dog had either wandered out the open door or been taken and was missing.  The Deputy processed the scene for evidence and concluded his field investigation of the scene at that time without identifying a suspect. Two days later the investigating Deputy spoke to a Laytonville Resident-Post CHP Officer who advised he had arrested Andrew Beyer, 35 a transient from Applegate, Oregon, that same day in Willits for DUI, hit and run and possession of a stolen vehicle.  The stolen vehicle had been taken from a residence very near to the scene of the burglary. Beyer was incarcerated in the Mendocino County Jail at that time on the CHP case. The close proximity of the two crimes, combined with a comment Beyer made to the CHP Officer about, "drinking someone else's beer", caused the investigating Deputy to go to the Mendocino County Jail to interview Beyer about the burglary. After the concluding his interview of Beyer, the Deputy called the same CHP Officer and provided information regarding the location of the stolen rifle. The CHP Officer recovered the Winchester rifle in tall grass less than a block from the victim's home. The victim's dog and sword have not yet been located. Beyer was arrested for burglary. His bail has been set at $15,000.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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Garcia
Garcia

ON SUNDAY, August 16, 2015 at approximately 12:08 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a home in the 100 block of Sherwood Hills Drive. Deputies contacted the twenty-four year-old female victim. She reported that her husband, Patrick E. Garcia, 27, of Willits had been drinking that night and that they had argued. Because the argument continued to grow more heated, Garcia had left the home for several hours to stay with a friend. He agreed to stay away for the night. Around midnight Garcia returned home and resumed arguing with his 24 year old spouse. He physically held her against her will for several minutes and, after finally releasing her, blocked the doorway preventing her escape. Patrick Garcia was arrested for misdemeanor battery of his spouse and false imprisonment and transported to the Mendocino County Jail. His bail is set at $15,000.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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Rutherford, Wake
Rutherford, Wake

ON FRIDAY, August 14, 2015 at approximately 2:40 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's office conducted a traffic stop at the Evergreen Center in Willits on a Toyota pickup reported stolen out of Humboldt County. Willits Police Officers responded to assist. The male driver identified himself with a false name. A search of the stolen vehicle revealed drug paraphernalia and three syringes, one loaded with methamphetamine.  Documents belonging to Willits resident Tasha Wake, 37, and other items of Wake's were located inside the vehicle.  The Deputies had seen her in the passenger seat of the vehicle earlier that day. As Deputies searched the truck, Wake approached on foot carrying a backpack. She was arrested for possessing the stolen vehicle. A search of her backpack located clothing items with colored tags attached and items of china with Goodwill Store price tags on them. It was confirmed with Goodwill staff that the items were stolen from the Goodwill store in the Evergreen Center earlier in the day. Wake was arrested for auto theft and petty theft from a retailer. The male suspect, later identified as John M. Rutherford, 49, of Willits, was arrested for auto theft, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, false ID to a peace officer and violation of probation.  Both suspects were transported to the Mendocino County Jail. Wake is held in lieu of $15,000 bond.  Rutherford is held without bail.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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CONCERNED CITIZENS GROUP VOLUNTARILY DISMISSES REMAINDER OF ITS LAWSUIT – FOCUS TO BE ON CITIZEN INITIATIVE TO CHANGE ZONING LAW

The Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg has filed papers seeking dismissal of their lawsuit concerning the Old Coast Hotel $1.2 million loan package floated by the City on behalf of the Mendocino Coast Hospitality House, saying that it is unlikely Judge Henderson will shift his position from that taken on his ruling about their request for a preliminary injunction.

CCFB attorney Rod Jones filed a dismissal request in superior court today and indicated that, although there were remaining issues that had not been addressed by the judge yet – including patient confidentiality and privacy concerns with the facility and the lack of any “teeth” requiring MCHC to comply with zoning obligations – there was no point in litigating further. “Members of CCFB have submitted a second Notice of Intention and request for Ballot Title and Summary from the City of Fort Bragg so that they can begin collecting signatures a second time to qualify a zoning amendment for a special election,” he said, “and that’s where the emphasis must now be placed. We’ll simply never know how the City could lawfully provide this building to MCHC given no supporting maintenance budget or no funding source for the installation of various project components, including a “coffee bar,” that MCHC has promised to create and the City said it must have. I guess now we’ll see how serious the City is in terms of enforcing its own zoning law or whether it is going to continue granting special privileges to MCHC.”

CCFB will now focus all of its efforts on passing the Initiative Measure Prohibiting Social Service Organizations in the Central Business District. The second Initiative Measure petition will be available for signatures by the end of the week. CCFB requested that the Fort Bragg City Council put the Initiative Measure on the November ballot by Resolution after the City interpreted the first petition to be inadequate by .4 (four tenths) signature to save the cost of a special election. The City Council refused to move quickly enough for this to happen, so CCFB will collect the required number of signatures to put this measure on the ballot in a special election within the next 3 months. CCFB simply wants the people who live in Fort Bragg to be allowed to vote on this issue. CCFB anticipates a special election in December and noted that both the City and MCHC were aware of the initiative drive long before they chose to fund the project and allow occupancy of the building. “They acted at their peril,” said initiative proponent Carolyn Peterson.

The proposed amendment would prohibit any “social service organization” like MCHC from establishing itself within the Central Business District or downtown core area if it was not established in such a location before January 1, 2015. The City has claimed it will simply ignore the ban and treat MCHC as being “grandfathered” in place, despite the explicit language in the zoning amendment.

“Well, good luck with that,” said business owner, Marissa Colombi. “Our attorney researched and consulted on this point, determining that there is nothing prohibiting such a ‘reach-back’ or retroactive feature in the creation of a new law by the voters. If the City knows something we don’t, I hope it will step forward and explain itself.”

Dawn Ferreira said that once the initiative passes, she expects the City to simply ignore its provisions and essentially challenge CCFB to go back to court for an order that enforces the retroactive application to MCHC. “This whole dispute still makes no sense. It’s never become clear why the City remains so hot on quickly scooting MCHC into the Old Coast Hotel, despite the fact that the money will provide minimal additional housing and that the action runs directly against the grain of the majority of voters in Fort Bragg. It seems like a push by people living outside the city limits and who have far less concern about the quality of the city’s core business area.” Jean Stubenrauch, who co-owns a business right across the street from the Old Coast Hotel, stressed the importance of retaining the CBD’s distinct personality, “so it can serve as a commercial and retail hub for residents and tourists.”

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WARRANT WEDNESDAY!

Hoeflich
Hoeflich

Shala Hoeflich is wanted on a $100,000 warrant for Burglary/First Degree. Height: 5' 8" 
Age: 38. 
Hair: Brown
. Eyes: Brown
Weight: 155 lbs. 
If you have any information regarding her location, please call MCSO Dispatch at (707) 463-4086.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 19, 2015

Ball, Blackwell, Bortz, Camarillo
Ball, Blackwell, Bortz, Camarillo

MARTIN BALL, Ukiah. Domestic battery, drunk in public, probation revocation.

ERIN BLACKWELL, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

AARON BORTZ, Oakland/Ukiah. Pot sales, transport, furnish.

ESTEBAN CAMARILLO, Olivehurst/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Christmas, Cook, Cuadra, Maddux
Christmas, Cook, Cuadra, Maddux

CLARENCE CHRISTMAS, Ukiah. Robbery, burglary, indecent exposure, parole violation.

THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Saps and similar weapons, drunk in public.

GREGORY CUADRA, Ukiah. Shoplifting, possession of forged documents, receiving stolen property, violation of county parole.

JASON MADDUX, Ukiah/Fort Bragg. Use of offensive words in public, resisting arrest.

Nieto, Smith, Wakley
Nieto, Smith, Wakley

JORGE NIETO JR., Willits. Community supervision violation.

ANDREAS SMITH, Petrolia/Ukiah. Pot sales, transport, furnish.

DANA WAKLEY, Ukiah. DUI, resisting.

Webb, Wiley, Ybarra
Webb, Wiley, Ybarra

TERRY WEBB, Fort Bragg. Stalking and threatening bodily injury, vandalism, court order violation.

ANDREW WILEY, Ukiah. Suspended license.

JULIO YBARRA, Caruthers/Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I like to walk, and when I do drive I drive a smaller, more efficient car, but I’m small myself. A family of two adults, two kids with car seats, and their ‘stuff’, does not fit in a Prius. Americans go for the bigger vehicles many times because they are big people, even if when they aren’t fat. I’m just pointing out one of the factors driving the large vehicle sales. 
People buy these big boats for the times when the whole family needs to ride together, and because the days of the mother driving the father to the commuter train station in the station wagon are past, one of the parents in the family ends up having to drive the oversize vehicle back and forth to work every day. Mass transit, as it stands now, doesn’t work for families with kids very well, unless they work and live very near where their kids go to school.

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A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR...

by Debra Keipp

Garberville's Blue Room Bar has a sign on their front door reading, “No Patchouli”.

The 'necky' older crowd of loggers, cowboys and country folk seem to find peaceful solace together inside the Blue Room in those afternoon cocktail hours when the sun is low in the sky. As bad as it gets with the transient population along the 101 corridor during the summer music festival seasons, no wonder locals want a respite from the patchouli circuit.

Mendocino County law enforcement encourages transients to shuffle it on up to 101 via Garberville, where they are provided with basic care out of a mass transit sized “medical” bus: free condoms, head lice shampoo, food coupons, info on camping areas, lunch in Redway, and maybe even free health care as they travel through. The “Bus” even provides flea & tick meds for their also indigent dogs. Some dusty drifters are absorbed by the marijuana industry – some squat, harder to get rid of than infested chiggers.

The CHP headquarters in Redway informed me that horse traffic law had essentially fallen off the books along the 101 and in Garberville (if there ever was any horse law in that horsy little town). The 101 has unusually wide shoulders for bicyclists, hitch-hikers, pot-trimmers holding large cardboard cut-outs in the shape of scissors, and, even ...horses. There are frequent pull-overs in the “Valley of the CHP Training Ground” between Garberville and Phillipsville.

My Coastal horse, Vic, lived a summer or two on shady pastureland high above the City of Garberville's water tanks. Vic was 12 years old at the time. She's a no-nonsense, smart and wary Quarter/Standard bred mare originally trained in dressage and jumping. She's small at 800 lbs., resembling a Blood Bay Morgan, with straight legs and platter hooves. She ponies well alongside my larger herd-bound gelding, Mr. Handful, who needs to be ridden, so I take them for rides in tandem. Vic is eight-teen now. My best trained horse, I can safely say I don't remember the last time she did anything wrong. She's just plain good and cooperative if she can see you're trust-worthy. And I trust Vic. Horses are a huge psych-sync. I believe that's why hippo-therapy (equine therapy) works so well for autistic riders and folks who view life mostly from their intuitive third eye; rather than straight on with the “bald eye”.

I often rode Vic down to the Garberville quarry where we had to treck over the 101 overpass. As we walked peacefully along, a huge 18 wheeler “shooshed” us at high speed – passing too closely for any safety at all. Vic just leveled out her ears, squinted her eyes, and sucked it up, unflinching. I guess you could say that after owning Vic for ten of her 18 years, we trust each other, and to me that spells s-a-f-e-t-y. If you don't know what you're doing on a horse, it could very quickly hurtle you toward a speedy death.

Our favorite time to ride in Garberville was before dusk. We stopped to joke with Deputy Hamilton (Read the chapter which perfectly describes him in Emily Brady's humorous and riveting collection of local law enforcement personalities and pot growing characters in..., “HUMBOLDT”). Deputy Hamilton is allergic to weed, but holds no ill will toward it. He's a mellow man who understands his community with the tolerance of a kindly grandparent, and with a killer deadpan sense of humor, too.

That evening Peace Officer Hamilton had hidden his “crotch rocket” dirt bike, stashed behind the Subway Sandwich sign at the corner gas station in downtown Garberville. He was ready to whip into gear, after “the guy he was looking for”, but in the meantime, he was sort of hiding his silhouette behind a potted Italian Spruce. He often stood downtown and waited for suspects to drive by, instead of beatin' the bushes. This day we just critiqued my horse's new haircut. The teenager who rode Vic now and then, had taken the scissors to Vic's forelock (bangs) a few weeks earlier, chopping her hair off at the root. After several requests not to use scissors on my horse, the crazy kid had even hacked at the hair at the top of Vic's tail, making her look a frizzy mess. We agreed: Vic now resembled Joan Jet.

Across the street we rode, walking up to the drive-up window at Cowgirl coffee, past the downtown businesses. The street traffic was getting hectic at 4:30. We sauntered along reaching the restaurant adjacent to the Blue Room, where Vic did a sweet little dressage step up onto the sidewalk. A man from the bar appeared with an apple to give to Vic. She shook her head “no” to the apple. She had lived in an orchard as one of our pasture options, leaving her sick of apples. “She won't usually eat apples”, I suggested, “She likes carrots, better.” (Vic remembered that she'd once been fed carrots there.)

Vic's a head-bobber. She points with the swing of her neck and head: tells me “no”, “yes”... Ears flat out to the side when annoyed, but tolerant. She's pointed out wild cats lurking on the periphery of her pasture quite a few times, inviting me to go chase them away with her. I've trained her to turn and face all predators: dogs, and the big wild cats, who might try to aggressively chase her. She grew up in a pasture near Gualala with a visiting mountain lion who let her chase it. We unexpectedly turn and go after them, ending the foolishness of a deadly “chase”. She's an assertive communicator.

The apple guy returned with carrots. A few folks fauned over Vic as I looked over and saw the “No Patchouli” sign on the front door entrance. I assessed the crowd. Hmmm... seemed like a few of 'em might have worn patchouli at one time or another, I mumble. Maybe the sign was just a joke – or a not so subtle preference... maybe even just a ...loose guideline. At that point I could hear Vic's teeth gnoshing, and turned back to see the guy shoveling carrots into her face; everyone full of smiles at Vic simultaneously bobbing her head; affirmatively delighted. She can really let her hair down when humans treat her well.

The smokers standing outside the bar asked me if Vic would go inside the bar. I told them we don't go anywhere we're not invited by the owner, but that she has no qualms about walking inside buildings and being in throngs of folks if she trusts her rider. She's been in a few parades... she's urban. I try not to abuse her good nature, though. One of the smokers snuffed out his blunt and went inside to ask the owner, returning with an invite from the owner. “It's okay!”, as he swept his hand and arm in gesture to us through the open entrance... “Go on in!” Vic nodded.

I turned Vic to the door as she took on a sense of calm, curious cooperation. She kept her head low as she walked through the door. I ducked down over her long neck through the door frame, kicking my feet back, out of the stirrups. I noticed the linoleum floor and inquired, “Is your floor strong enough for a horse, cuz in Point Arena, she nearly went clean through the floor of the Whale Bar that time...!?”. I was met with assurances, so continued as we bellied up to the bar with the swamp cooler blowing on us.

Vic looked right, then left, then just stood there calmly as a few got out their cellies and snapped a shot of her at the bar. Nobody bothered to offer to buy her a drink. (The difference between Point Arena and Garberville!) I called out, “Who's the owner of this bar?”

A woman sitting at the far right side of the room raised her hand. I confessed, “Ya know, I hate to admit it, cuz Vic really likes your bar here, but, I'm a patchouli-wearin' cowgirl.”

I barely got the words out of my mouth when the owner stood up from her bar stool and pointed to the door, “Your horse can stay, but you gotta go!”

Garberville, like Boonville, is still a good horse 'n' rodeo town...

* * *

GROWERS GET READY

Legalization brings opportunities and challenges

by Jane Futcher

Local cannabis farmers received some expert advice Aug. 15 from Samantha Miller, president and chief chemist of Pure Analytics testing laboratory in Santa Rosa, and Casey O’Neill, chair of the board of the Emerald Growers Association and co-owner of Happy Day Farm.

Miller told the group that to survive in the exploding cannabis marketplace farmers should create a marketing plan, keep up with cannabis news and legislation, and “differentiate” and “diversify” their farms and products.

O’Neill spoke after lunch Saturday on the many state regulations with which cannabis growers will need to comply.

Addressing about 70 members of the Emerald Growers Association at the Long Valley Garden Club in Laytonville, both speakers were optimistic about the potential for Mom-and-Pop cultivators in Mendocino County to compete with large corporations and venture capitalists already ready descending on the state to enter the cannabis marketplace.

Miller said the days of cannabis farmers being treated like “stray dogs” by dispensaries and other brokers are over.

“You don’t have to take what they give you,” Miller said. “You need to be strong and have your brand in place and an understanding of the value of what you have to offer. You are subject-matter experts. You guys are the future consultants of this industry.”

Following her opening pep talk, Miller offered scientific information on the genetics and evolution of the cannabis plant as well as practical advice on growing and marketing cannabis products.

Noting that the Sativa species of cannabis originated in the high mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Miller said the plant is not a “water hog,” as many claim, because it thrives on desert conditions.

“If there’s one thing that kills cannabinoid potency, it’s overwatering,” she said. “If they don’t experience xeric or desert environment stress, they don’t produce.”

Miller said desert conditions encourage the manufacture of the THC-containing trichome crystals in cannabis flowers, probably because they are a kind of “sunscreen” that protects the plant from water loss. She said broad-leaf Sativa plants have a higher ratio of CBD to THC than narrow-leafed Sativa and many Indica varieties.

Cannabis has evolved genetically through a complex interaction with the physical environment and human uses of the plan, according to Miller.

She said the THC-rich flowers of the Indica species, for example, native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, were commonly used in religious ceremonies and celebrations. Thus, farmers in those regions bred for high-THC flowers that create an intense high.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan potent flowers or buds were not as important because residents there used hashish, which is made from the leaf of plants, not flowers.

“We have always bred by intuition, by the smell, the look the familiarity,” O’Neill said. “Now [with a greater knowledge of plant genetics] there are more tools in the farmer’s toolbox.”

Both speakers said they favor growing cannabis from seeds rather than clones, which do not have a tap root, can carry diseases from the mother plant the farmer and cannot be bred.

Breeding allows farmers to differentiate themselves by creating new strains.

“Who knows? You could conceivably develop the next big cultivar strain.”Miller said.

Both Miller and O’Neill described a couple of problems they have seen in plants this summer. O’Neill reported seeing more “hermies,” his term for hermaphrodites— plants that appear to be females early on and turn into males with seeds as they mature. He speculated that the extreme weather fluctuations of hot and cold earlier in the summer might have caused that problem.

Fusarium, a toxin-producing, soil-dwelling fungus that can devastate a plant’s root system, ihas been another common problem this year in outdoor grows.

Signs of Fusarium damage can include wilting in the top outer leaves, leaves turning upward and dry rot in the root. Fusarium mold spreads through water movement, gardening tools, farm equipment and the air. One of the biggest offenders, Miller said, can be molds from nearby vegetable or flower gardens. She urged farmers to remove any damaged plants or parts of plants from the garden, sterilize pots and tools that contain Fusarium, and add microrhysomes to the soil.

Miller and O’Neill agreed that testing plants for potency; ratio of CBD to THC, and toxins, mold and mildew is an important way to way to improve quality and demonstrate to perspective buyers the potency and health of their plants.

Dispensaries are not currently mandated to test their products, but that is changing Miller said. And more and more cultivators are testing, too.

“You don’t want to deliver contaminated products to a dispensary,” Miller said. “There is a lot of competition. One contaminated pound and you’re out.”

Miller warned that not all labs are honest. Since there is no state regulation of cannabis testing, some labs, hoping to retain customers, manipulate their results to make a grower’s products appear more potent than they are.

“When potency equals value there is a desire to manipulate results,” Miller said. “We’re in a war. Venture capitalists versus privately funded companies like mine. The temptation is about money. You can have a principled business and an ethical business, and you can make money and you can do well. Not as quickly but as a sustainable business over time.”

After lunch, O’Neill reviewed some of the permits cultivators will need to comply with new or existing state codes.

Last week the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted California’s first regional water-quality regulatory order designed to protect the environment from waste associated with cannabis cultivation.

Starting Feb. 15, 2016, growers with cannabis cultivation areas of 2,000 square feet or more must enroll in one of three tiers, depending on site conditions and threat to water quality. Tier 1 is a low-threat tier based on compliance with defined standard conditions and site characteristics. Tier 2 is a management tier, which requires the development and implementation of a water resource protection plan to meet standard conditions. Tier 3 is a cleanup tier, which requires the development and implementation of a cleanup and restoration plan.

O’Neill listed some of the permits farmers will need to comply with state law:

—Writ of diversion stating how much water a farm uses from wells, creeks and other sources

—Board of Equalization sellers permit

—Waste-water discharge permit

—Department of Fish and Wildlife1602 “stream-alteration permit"

He encouraged farmers who plan to compete in the emerging cannabis marketplace to do what all retail businesses do: brand their products; develop a business structure and plan; keep bookkeeping records; track sales and expenses for tax-reporting purposes, and comply with environmental regulations.

He said California Assembly Bill 266, on track to be signed into law this year, assigns regulation of cannabis farms to the Department of Food and Agriculture— something the EGA has been lobbying for.

“Regulatory compliance can be costly and challenging,” O’Neill concluded. “It will involve on-site inspections. Despite the challenges, compliance with existing environmental regulations is a promising pathway for continued success as a farmer.”

(Jane Futcher is host of “The Cannabis Hour” on KZYX radio.)

* * *

FOR THE FIRST TIME since she began running for president, Hillary Clinton does not have a majority of Democratic support. A new poll by CNN released Wednesday is the second national survey out this week showing Clinton at less than 50 percent support in her party. Clinton now stands at 47 percent, Bernie Sanders at 29 percent, and possible candidate Joe Biden at 14 percent. Clinton is suffering from a lack of trust: 63 percent of Democrats say she did nothing wrong as secretary of state, down from 71 percent. The best news for Clinton is that she would beat all Republicans in the general election, including Donald Trump, by a greater margin than President Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012.

* * *

NOPE

Friend --

If you’re in, your name should be on this:

I'm asking you to pitch in to help build this campaign today -- even if it's just $1 -- and put your name on our brand new Donor Wall here at campaign HQ.

We’re building a wall because we want to have something tangible that shows what kind of campaign this is: an organization powered by hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Are you in?

Thanks,

Hillary

* * *

THE COUNTRY BIG MAC ATE

Dear Editor:

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has released its two year study on various health topics. It had very disturbing news about the obesity rate in California: It has climbed from 19% in 2001 to 27% in 2014. In addition 36% are overweight. In other words, only 37% of the population is at an acceptable weight. These findings are based on your Body Mass Index (BMI), a international measure of body weight and height. You are over weight if your BMI is 26 and obese if your BMI is 30. Obesity is measured at 3 levels of obesity - obese, morbidly obese and extremely obese. Needless to say, the obesity increase has serious, if not critical, long-term health implications. About 9% of Californians say they have been diagnosed with diabetes, up from 6.6% in 2003. This ratio would be much higher if you could measure all those who do not go to the doctor and have diabetes. It was noted 39% of California reported in 2014 they eat fast food at least twice a week. As would be expected obesity rate is higher among those that live at the poverty level as compared to those who are wealthy. The report also covered smoking, teen leadership, birth control, and sedentary kids. One area apparently not studied was the role school districts play in the obesity problem by having sugar laced soft drink in the vending machines in schools.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff

Sacramento

* * *

READ MY LIPS

“There is only one thing all the money in the World can't buy and that is class.”

TrumpLips

(Courtesy of Susie de Castro)

* * *

BURNING MAN: THEN AND NOW

Burning Man then:

Burning Man now:

From Thump/Vice:

..."Burning Man is not a festival," [Burning Man CEO Marian] Goodell was early to iterate. "A festival, for many people, now means stages and food vendors and having your comforts more taken care of. We're definitely not interested in providing a typical festival atmosphere."

That statement may be a tougher sell to the much maligned, but now-entrenched upper crusters who glamp amidst luxury and a minimal sense of radicalism that sits starkly against traditional Burner tenets.

"We have watched the change in the type of people that come to Burning Man," Goodell acknowledged. "We're not gonna get in front of certain things and force issues. We are gonna nurture the process so we all get the best results. Burning Man is an experiment in temporary community, and we're the stewards of that process"...

...The more threatening challenges looming above Burning Man come from off the Playa, where both state and federal government agencies press in on both sides. The federally-run Bureau of Land Management has the event locked into an inorganically conservative growth model, inhibiting the population size to 68,000. "That's not something we're doing willingly," commented Goodell.

"The biggest danger facing Burning Man right now is that the State of Nevada has levied an entertainment tax," Goodell stated further. "We still believe that we don't fit under a form of entertainment. Frankly, we're not a Las Vegas show. We're not a car race or a concert in a stadium."

Goodell claims that the Silver State is enforcing a massive 9% entertainment tax on the Burning Man project, crippling revenue flows and long-term sustainability. "We're not able to absorb that," she said, before balefully concluding by saying, "That's the thing right now that makes us look longingly towards Utah or any other state that might not have levied that."

Still, a little bit of danger never hurt anybody, right? That's why 68,000 of the world's dustiest are entering the annual pre-Playa frenzy mode as we speak. This time next week, Venice, CA will be a sleepy beach town and certain parts of San Francisco will enjoy their most parking-friendly weekends of the year as both cities will empty out onto Black Rock City...

* * *

MCERA FINANCIAL REPORTING RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE

Ukiah – The Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association (MCERA) was awarded the Certificate for Achievement in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The recognition is for the MCERA Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. According to a statement from the GFOA, “The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting and its achievement represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.” “We are pleased to be recognized for our hard work in this area,” said MCERA Retirement Administrator James Wilbanks. “This recognition is a testament to the hard work of the MCERA Board and Staff and their diligent efforts to create a first rate, professional organization.” The MCERA CAFR was reviewed and judged by an impartial panel of GFOA experts to determine whether the document met the high standards of the program. Chief among these standards is whether the document demonstrates a “spirit of full disclosure” that fully relates the financial story of MCERA and whether the document motivates potential users to read the CAFR. The MCERA is an independent agency that administers retirement assets and provides income security though a monthly retirement benefit payable to its clients, who are employees, retirees and beneficiaries of Mendocino County, the Mendocino County Court System and the Russian River Cemetery District. For more information contact me: James Wilbanks, President of MCERA, (707) 463-4328

4 Comments

  1. Harvey Reading August 20, 2015

    Sad but true: most people will buy into the welfare ag lies concerning ground water. Remember, those scum produce very little in terms of the overall economy, even less when their taxpayer subsidies are taken into account. Jerry Brown should, to use his own words, “Just shut up.” Just because crops and orchards take up a lot of land doesn’t make them significant economically.

  2. Harvey Reading August 20, 2015

    Re: READ MY LIPS

    Who gives a damn about “class”? Crooks often have plenty of class, but they’re crooks nonetheless. Our rulers, including those who seek the presidency, surely don’t have it, unless one means upper class.

  3. Harvey Reading August 20, 2015

    Re: ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

    Utter baloney. People in Europe and the rest of the so-called developed world have kids and they get by just fine with small cars, not to mention public transportation, which here was destroyed after the second war by collusion of tire and motor vehicle manufacturers.

    This is just more self-justification for bad, bad, bad behavior, with more than a hint of self-entitlement. The end is near … for the unrestricted use of fossil fuels, and for being able to breed indiscriminately as well.

  4. Randy Burke August 20, 2015

    Debra Keipp, Good article. How is Vic?

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