- Ortner Deficient
- Auto Repair
- New Laws
- California Precipitation
- Sandbag Anticipation
- Family Lackeys
- Art Object
- Fantasy Distractions
- Ten Scams
- Urchin Gonads
- Yesterday's Catch
- Dear Donald
- Library Events
- Gualala Protesters
ORTNER, ET AL, FOUND DEFICIENT BY STATE INSPECTORS.
by Mark Scaramella
On September 22, 2015, two state Nurse-Evaluators from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) came to Mendocino to conduct a review of Mendocino County Mental Health. On September 28, they issued their “Summary Statement of Deficiencies.” The review was done as part of a “recertification” of Mendo’s de facto Community Mental Health Center. According to the opening lines of the report there were exactly 0 people participating at the time in Mendo’s “Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP),” which they define as “a distinct and organized intensive ambulatory treatment program that offers less than 24-hour daily care other than in an individual's home or in an Inpatient or residential setting,” aka somewhere between hospitalization and simple outpatient care.
PHP is further defined as “time limited, medically supervised programs that offer comprehensive, therapeutically intensive, coordinated, and structured clinical services. Partial hospitalization programs are available at least five days per week but may also offer half-day, weekend, or evening hours. Partial hospitalization programs may be freestanding or part of a broader system but should be identifiable as a distinct and separately organized unit. A partial hospitalization program consists of a series of structured, face-to-face therapeutic sessions organized at various levels of intensity and frequency. Partial hospitalization programs are typically designed for persons who are experiencing increased symptomatology, disturbances in behavior, or other conditions that negatively impact the mental or behavioral health of the person served. The program must be able to address the presenting problems in a setting that is not residential or inpatient. Given this, the persons served in partial hospitalization do not pose an immediate risk to themselves or others. Services are provided for the purpose of diagnostic evaluation; active treatment of a person’s condition; or to prevent relapse, hospitalization, or incarceration. Such a program functions as an alternative to inpatient care, as transitional care following an inpatient stay in lieu of continued hospitalization, as a step-down service, or when the severity of symptoms is such that success in a less acute level of care is tenuous.”
Such intensive outpatient services (which we frankly doubt are being properly provided by Ortner, much less overseen by Mendo’s crack management staff) are reimbursable under Medicare/Medicaid — if they are done under a certified program. For Mendo to remain certified they are theoretically supposed to respond to the deficiencies in the State audit with a “plan of correction” for each deficiency.
The primary deficiency identified by the evaluators was failure to coordinate services between Ortner, various psychiatrists, the drop-in programs, and the drug dispensing organizations. They also found fault with Mendo’s “organization, governance, administration of services, and partial hospitalization services,” Mendo’s “provision of service,” Mendo’s “professional management responsibility,” Mendo’s “environmental conditions,” and Mendo’s “infection control.”
The evaluators picked ten mental health cases at random and found the handling of all of them wanting for various reasons, In one case, “Client 10” which they described in detail, after several months of no follow-up by anyone in the system, the “client” — a Navy vet diagnosed with “schizoaffective disorder” combined with an apparent drinking problem — was found dead in his apartment.
When the evaluators asked why there was no documentation of the vet’s visits (or lack thereof) to the drop-in center, Ortner’s rep replied, “My mistake. I was seeing him briefly discussing follow up when he was seen at the wellness center/drop-in (non-billable services) informally and did not document the visits.”
From the report: “During an interview on 9/24/15, at 1pm, [the Ortner rep] stated that she provided care management, reviewed the plan goals, assisted Client 10 to problem solve, and taught skills according to the treatment plan. [The Ortner rep] stated that she normally called the client one day prior to a scheduled appointment and the day after the appointment if they did not show. When asked why the clinical record did not indicate that for Client 10's 1/13/15 appointment, [the Ortner rep] replied that telephone calls were not billable.”
And, “During a review of the outpatient clinical record for Client 10, the document titled, ‘Progress notes,’ dated 11/19/14, indicated under Intervention: ‘Writer met with client to gather information for clients and updated reassessment following client's recent psychotic episode.’ Under Response: ‘Client reported that his recent episode of not being well was related to having heard news about “the Islamic jihads taking over Iraq and other states,” that triggered bad memories from his time in the Navy’ … Client 10 reported, ‘that he is back on medication (benedryl, lithium, resperidol), but he hasn't been prescribed mellaril, yet. He'd like to take mellaril because it was, ‘good for sleep,’ and reported that he had resumed smoking (“I smoke a lot.”) and drinking occasionally (“I have a beer every once in a while. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.”)’ and stated, ‘I don't mind coming to (named adult contracted service, presumably Ortner’s Access Center) and the [named outpatient medical health provider" (presumably Ortner)… ‘Client agreed to the objectives and signed his updated plan. Client meets criteria for specialty mental health services’.”
“Billability” seems to be important to Ortner and their County counterparts.
The evaluators go on in extensive bureaucratese to imply that Ortner’s failure to follow up on the vet’s case may have lead to his death. Although they do not identify the cause of death, we can probably assume it was suicide.
At this point, the report coldly notes, the Ortner case manager “closed the client’s file and gave it to the executive director to lock up.” (That task, we assume, was billable.)
The rest of the report is either a summary of various documentation gaps which lead them to conclude that Mendo and Ortner’s organization, management and administration were deficient or that conditions in Ortner’s facility were lax — improper storage of needles and urine testing kits, etc.
(Aside — Years ago I conducted an audit of McDonnell-Douglas’s contract logistics services while working in the St. Louis Air Force Plant Rep Office (AFPRO). My audit partner and I ran down a list of several dozen deficiencies with the contractor’s cost and schedule performance in front of McDonnell Douglas’s grumpy, irritable Senior VP of Operations Joe Boyd, and McDonnell Douglas’s Program Manager Arlen Dombrick. Boyd had very little respect for the opinions of the AFPRO because we were generally nothing more than a bunch of bean counters and quality control checkers who nitpicked his operations for minor problems which shouldn’t even have occurred, much less been noticed. Yet here we were listing a series of both major and minor problems which Boyd was increasingly unhappy about. Boyd turned to Mr. Dombrick and loudly grumbled, “You mean, you can’t even convince the AFPRO you’re doing a good job?”)
This report by the Department of Public Health falls into a similar category. If a supposedly professional organization like Ortner can’t even convince the casual nurse inspectors from Public Health that they’re doing their job — and in fact don’t even document client visits, coordinate their services, and don’t follow up with phone calls because it’s “not billable” (!) — you have a serious problem on your hands.
We’ll go into more of the particulars of the State report in the days to come.
Meanwhile, we have a call in to the CDPH District Office in Santa Rosa to see how these deficiencies are supposed to be addressed. (Theoretically, Mendo could be decertified from PHP billing and/or their Mental Health service bills could be denied.)
But don’t be surprised if this latest critical report of Ortner and Mendo Mental Health gets papered over or ignored like the rest of them.
I'VE GOT A '98 HONDA CIVIC with 246,000 miles on it. I call it The Silver Bullet. As a Senior Citizen I'm hoping my final collapse more or less coincides with the final collapse of my vehicle, which has only collapsed once on me so far when the water pump blew up. "See," my relatives said almost in unison, "that's why you need a cell phone and a new car."
I don't need either one, and between the two, I couldn't say which I desire less.
The time The Bullet went down with the blown water pump I just stood by the side of the road looking befuddled and pathetic and, sure enough, a young guy soon swooped in to ask me if I needed help. He offered me his cell phone which, of course, I didn't know how to use. He dialed a tow for me and wouldn't take any money for his help. That episode proved to me I emphatically did not need a cell phone, and The Bullet drove on for another 50,000 miles without a hitch. Until Sunday, when a dashboard light flashed on that said, “check engine.” And the transmission started slipping, but not so badly The Bullet couldn't get me over the hill to the Honda agency, North State Street, Norm Thurston, prop.
I think we bought The Bullet from Thurston back in 1998 when he was still on the east side of Highway 101. His agency is quite grand these days, a complex of buildings way out on North State divided by function — offices, service, parts, new and used cars. I imagined Norm sitting in a kind of skybox watching all his moving parts hustling around down below.
I was about third in a fast-moving line. People were efficiently getting their questions answered and checking their Hondas in for this and that. Since these vehicles are so perfectly engineered they seldom break down, most people were there to have their cars lubed and tuned up.
So, in walks this big guy in a Warrior's shirt. High school forward, I thought. Maybe a little JC ball. Stupid and obnoxious. The kind of guy who shouts insults at the NBA players he watches on television. “You people are pathetic,” he began, which I first thought was an unprovoked scattergun reference to me and the other two people in line. “This is the third time I've been here with these wiper blades. You gave me the wrong ones twice. Here I am on trip number three. Think you can get it right this time?” he sneered. He went on like this for a while. “We'll try, sir,” said the old man behind the counter, a man of 75 years he would tell me as we later and jointly lamented the incivility of the times. We remembered when people were mostly polite, and the people who weren't polite were simply viewed as victims of defective parenting. And, if male, got beat up a lot. Now that feral citizens are pretty much the norm, aggressive rudeness is no longer surprising. It's everywhere.
I wanted to ask the old guy at the counter why he was still working, but it was none of my business and rude besides. I see lots of my peers still enslaved to time clocks. When Mr. Stupeedo had finally stormed out — he should have been in the parts department in the first place — the old guy said to me, “You know, if you're forty years old and the biggest problem you have is the wrong size wiper blades, there's no real reason to complain and less reason to act like that.” I agreed, and thought to myself how nice it was to find a wise man in, of all places, a Honda agency in Ukiah.
A most excellent Honda agency, I must add. They had The Silver Bullet running like new in less than an hour, and everyone I encountered there was polite and friendly. They'd all been raised right, it seems.
NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS 2016: WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE NEW YEAR
by Jeremy White
Vaccines — One of 2015’s fiercest fights was over SB 277, which was introduced in the wake of a measles outbreak at Disneyland and requires full vaccination for most children to enroll in school. Schools will begin vetting students to ensure they have their shots in July, before the 2016-2017 school year begins.
Search warrants — Arguing our privacy laws lag behind our technology, lawmakers passed SB 178 to require search warrants before law enforcement can obtain your emails, text messages, Internet search history and other digital data.
Ballot fees — Thinking of filing a ballot initiative? You’ll need more cash. AB 1100 hikes the cost of submitting a proposal from $200 to $2,000, which supporters called a needed screen to discourage frivolous or potentially unconstitutional proposals.
Grocery jobs — When grocery stores get new owners, AB 359 requires the stores to retain employees for at least 90 days and consider keeping them on after that period ends. While workers can still be dismissed in that window for performance-related reasons, the labor-backed bill seeks to protect workers from losing their jobs to buyouts or mergers.
Reproductive services — AB 775 requires any licensed facility offering pregnancy-related services to post a sign advertising the availability of public family planning programs, including abortions. It is aimed at so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which pro-abortion rights critics assail for pressuring women into carrying their pregnancies to term.
Cheerleaders — Cheerleaders who root on professional athletes will be treated as employees under California law, with the accompanying wage and hour protections, under AB 202. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who carried the bill, was a Stanford cheerleader.
Testing — High school seniors will no longer need to take a long-standing exit exam to graduate, thanks to SB 172. The bill lifts the requirement through the 2017-2018 school year and also applies retroactively to 2004, meaning students who have completed all the other graduation requirements since then can apply for diplomas.
Guns on campus — Concealed firearms are barred from college campuses and K-12 school grounds under SB 707, which the California College and University Police Chiefs Association sponsored as a public safety corrective.
Equal pay — SB 358 seeks to close the stubborn gap between men and women’s wages by saying they must be paid the same for “substantially similar work,” an upgrade over the current standard, and allowing women to talk about their own pay and inquire about the pay of others without facing discipline. While California already requires equal pay for equal work, women still consistently make less.
Sex ed — Student participation in sexual education courses is currently voluntary. AB 329 would make the courses mandatory unless parents specifically seek an opt-out and would update curricula to include, for example, more information about HIV and the spectrum of gender identity.
Yes means yes — As long as their school districts require health classes to graduate, SB 695 will ensure high school students learn about the “yes means yes” standard of consent to sexual acts. In other words, students will learn they should be getting explicit approval from partners.
Toy guns — Realistic-looking airsoft guns will need to have more features that distinguish them as toys, like a fluorescent trigger guards, thanks to SB 199. Advocates said it would help law enforcement avoid tragic mistakes when making split-second decisions, pointing to the 2013 case of a Santa Rosa boy fatally shot by Sonoma County deputies who mistook his toy gun for the real thing.
Gun restraining orders — Passed last year in response to a troubled young man shooting and killing multiple people in Isla Vista, AB 1014 allows family members to obtain a restraining order temporarily barring gun ownership for a relative they believe to be at risk of committing an act of violence.
Rape kits — AB 1517 prods law enforcement to more quickly process so-called “rape kits,” the forensic evidence collected from sexual assault crime scenes. While the bill doesn’t mandate anything, it encourages law enforcement agencies to send evidence to crime labs sooner and urges crime labs to analyze the data and upload it into a DNA database in a shorter time frame.
Brew bikes — People rolling around midtown Sacramento on beer bikes could get a little tipsier under SB 530. The measure allows alcohol to be consumed on board the multi-person vehicles, which currently travel between different bars but don’t allow imbibing in between, as long as the city authorizes it. The city of Sacramento is working on updating its pedicab ordinance to reflect the new law.
Charity raffles — Professional sports fans could bring home big prizes thanks to SB 549, which authorizes in-game charity raffles allowing the winner to take home 50 percent of ticket sales. That’s a change from the current system, which permits charity raffles only if 90 percent of the proceeds go to the cause.
Pedestrian costs — AB 40 ensures pedestrians and cyclists won’t have to pay tolls on Bay Area bridges like the Golden Gate. While no such tolls yet exist, lawmakers were responding to a proposal to raise money with a Golden Gate Bridge fee.
Back wages — If an employee doesn’t get paid what they are owed, SB 588 allows the California Labor Commissioner to slap a lien on the boss’s property to try and recoup the value of the unpaid wages. This was a slimmed-down version of a prior, unsuccessful bill that was pushed by organized labor but repudiated by business interests – the key difference being that the commissioner, not workers, files the liens.
Franchises — Another bill whose earlier labor-backed, business-opposed version was softened in the name of compromise, AB 525 modifies the relationships between individual franchise business owners and the larger parent company by changing the rules for when the parent company can terminate or refuse to renew a franchise agreement and how the franchise owner can sell or transfer the store.
Transportation companies — The steady drip of new regulations on companies like Uber and Lyft continued with AB 1422, which requires such businesses to give the California Department of Motor Vehicles access to driver records by participating in the agency’s pull notice program.
Air regulations — After a sweeping climate bill spurred objections from lawmakers about the clout of the unelected California Air Resources Board, AB 1288 offered a concession by creating two new spots on the regulator’s board, to be appointed by the Legislature.
CALIFORNIA PRECIPITATION RECORDS
Driest location ranked by lowest annual average precipitation: Cow Creek, Death Valley, 1.60".
Wettest location ranked by highest annual average precipitation: Honeydew, northern California, 104.18".
Snowiest location ranked by highest annual average snowfall: Blue Canyon, central California, 240.8".
State precipitation record for 24 hours - Hoegees Camp, Arcadia California, 1/26/1942, 26.12".
State precipitation record for 1 year - Monumental, California, northwestern California, 1909, 153.54"
State snowfall record for 24 hours - Echo Summit, Lake Tahoe area, 1/4/1962, 67" (5.6 feet), second greatest 24-hour snowfall in U.S. history.
State snow record for 1 season - Tamarack, central California, 1906-1907, 884.0" (74 feet), the U.S record.
Long Beach, California averages only 1.65" of precipitation during December. From December 19 - 22, 2010, Long Beach received 6.65" which is 75% above normal and resulted in the wettest December on record, breaking the previous record of 5.29" set in 1971. In addition, the city received over 1.00" of precipitation for four consecutive days, average is only three days for the entire year.
On December 19, 2010, many locations in southwestern California broke long-standing daily maximum precipitation records including: Santa Maria (1.86"), Los Angeles Airport (1.62"), Long Beach (1.53"), Pasadena (3.45") and Santa Barbara (1.92"). On December 20, the record-breaking rain continued with a second consecutive day of daily maximum rainfall: Los Angeles Airport (0.98), Long Beach Airport (1.65) and Santa Maria (1.41).
Bishop, California ranks as one of the driest cities in the United States, but December 19, 2010 was a record-breaker. The city received 3.32" of precipitation, breaking the previous daily record of only 0.15". This was the third wettest day ever and an amazing 66% of Bishop's annual average precipitation of 5.02".
From December 17 - 21, 2010, the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area received a staggering 13.5 feet of snow, a new record for the snowiest December. This snowfall was eventually beneficial for the Los Angeles area, which receives about 80% of its water supply from the central Sierras.
The Mount Shasta Ski Bowl in northern California holds the U.S. single storm snowfall record with a total of 189" (15.75 ft) on February 13-19, 1959.
Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento all average less than 4 days per year with daily precipitation of 1.00" or greater.
18% of California's weather reporting stations average 10.00" or less of precipitation per year.
California's wettest year ever was 1983, with a state precipitation average of 42.33 inches. 45 weather reporting stations received levels of precipitation that normally occur only 1 time in over 1,000 years.
California possesses two cities that are among the Top 5 driest cities in the nation: Bishop and Bakersfield.
On August 13, 2012 Needles, California endured a brutal heat wave and tied its all-time high of 118 degrees. At 4PM, rain began to fall in the city while the temperature was 115 degrees, breaking the world record for hottest rainfall. The previous hottest rain was at Mecca, Saudi Arabia with 109 degrees on June 5, 2012 and Marrakech, Morocco with with 109 on July 20, 2010.
Temperature differences along the coast in the Los Angeles area can be dramatic. At the Santa Monica coast, the average August high is 75 F, while in Burbank approximately 10 miles inland, the average high in August is 90F.
Compared to other parts of the country that typically receive light, powdery snow. The wet, heavy snow that falls in the mountains of California carries a very high water content. Sometimes called the “Sierra Cement,” six inches of snow depth can contain an inch of water; over twice the water content of fluffy, powdered snow. The very high water content that these snows provide is a critical source of water for California.
The most catastrophic California flooding of record occurred in the winter of 1861–1862, when there were record floods over the entire length of the state. During December and January, many places received 200% to 400% of their average rainfall. As a result, the Central Valley became a large (5,000 square mile) inland lake. The size of this lake made it twice as large as the Great Salt Lake and would currently make it the 18th largest lake in the world. The city of Sacramento was under several feet of water, and newly elected Governor Leland Stanford had to be rowed to his inauguration. Weather scientists estimate that the event was a once-in-a-30,000-year event.
On January 1, 1916, rainmaker Charles Hatfield offered to bring rain to a parched San Diego, California for $10,000. He began to burn strange chemicals to summon rain, and it did begin to rain on January 10th. The problem was that it didn’t stop raining for days and damaging floods resulted. The city refused to pay him the money.
SANDBAGS, NOT DRAMA
To the Editor:
With the media bombarding us with warnings about the looming El Nino storms and urging us to prepare for them I have a suggestion that might help. In past high water incidents, the County and certain business have made sand and bags available for free to help folks protect their property from flooding. Since the scientists are sure its going to happen, how about let’s get the sand and bags out now so there won’t be so much panic and drama as the last time. I happened to be going to Friedman’s the last time this was happening and I witnessed a near riot of frightened men, women, and children with shovels (weapons) almost coming to blows trying to fill their sandbags. Come on “powers that be,” let’s get ahead of this and skip the drama.
— Hugh McAvoy, Ukiah
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
So I was at the yearly Christmas get together with the family Sunday. All nineteen of us. I raised the question “Who here has ever worked in a factory on a production line? ” One hand went up “Mine”. They are a whole bunch of school teachers and social workers. I fudged my ID at 16 with my brothers ID to appear 19. Myself, I did foundry work pouring 2500 degree iron and cleaning the stack for bonus at the end of the night shift, also hot pressing grinding wheels at 450 degrees with a 1500 ton hydraulic press. Drilling oil and laying pipe in the oil patch in WY. These mopes (my family) are a bunch of lackeys. All those factories are closed now, off shored to who knows where? Then it was on to a career as an FF/EMT for 33 years. “No brag, just fact.” as the great Walter Brennan said in “The Sons of Will Sonnet”. I’m not a rocket scientist but I can lift heavy things.
KIM NICOLINI WRITES:
More notes on the hand bound fine art edition of my book since I have already sold THREE and have received quite a few inquiries! It is a one shot deal, first print, only edition book that will look like this. The cover has a unique image only available in this edition. The book will be hand bound on crimson Asahi cloth with crimson Nepalese lokta endpapers. The DEAD ROCK STARS + book is an art object that contains my art. It includes the essays about the dead rock star project and letters to dead rock stars as well as outtake and color pieces and images from my Rock Moleskine sketchbook which are not included in the regular book. There are only 17 left for sale and then that's it for this book. Eliot Books who is collaborating with me on this project has also made handmade art books for Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman, among other notable authors and artists. These are BEAUTIFUL one of a kind books. The books are selling for $100 in advance of the show, and $125 after the opening. $20 shipping. They can be bought directly from me. You can contact me via email This is a great way to own a piece of art that contains lots of my art! Of course, I will sign and number all copies. Off and running . . . Cheers!
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
by James Kunstler
The really big item in last night’s 60-Minutes newsbreak was that the latest Star Wars movie passed the billion dollar profit gate a week after release. That says just about everything you need to know about our floundering society, including the state of the legacy news media.
The cherry on top last week was Elon Musk’s SpaceX company’s feat landing the first spent stage of its Falcon 9 rocket to be (theoretically) recycled and thus hugely lowering the cost of firing things into space. The media spooged all over itself on that one, since behind this feat stands Mr. Musk’s heroic quest to land humans on Mars. This culture has lost a lot in the past 40 years, but among the least recognized is the loss of its critical faculties. We’ve become a nation of six-year-olds.
News flash: we’re not going Mars. Notwithstanding the accolades for Ridley Scott’s neatly-rationalized fantasy, The Martian (based on Andy Weir’s novel), any human journey to the red planet would be a one-way trip. Anyway, all that begs the question: why are we so eager to journey to a dead planet with none of the elements necessary for human life when we can’t seem to manage human life on a planet superbly equipped to support us?
Answer: because we are lost in raptures of techno-narcissism. What do I mean by that? We’re convinced that all the unanticipated consequences of our brief techno-industrial orgy can be solved by… more and better technology! Notice that this narrative is being served up to a society now held hostage to the images on little screens, by skilled people who, more and more, act as though these screens have become the new dwelling place of reality. How psychotic is that?
All of this grandstanding about the glories of space goes on at the expense of paying attention to our troubles on this planet, including the existential question as to how badly we are fucking it up with burning the fossil fuels that power our techno-industrial activities. Personally, I don’t believe that any international accord will work to mitigate that quandary. But what will work, and what I fully expect, is a financial breakdown that will lead to a forced re-set of human endeavor at a lower scale of technological activity.
The additional question really is how much hardship will that transition entail and the answer is that there is plenty within our power to make that journey less harsh. But it would require dedication to clear goals and the hard work of altering all our current arrangements — and giving up these childish fantasy distractions about space and technology
Dreaming about rockets to Mars is easy compared to, say, transitioning our futureless Agri-Biz racket to other methods of agriculture that don’t destroy soils, water tables, ecosystems, and bodies. It’s easier than rearranging our lives on the landscape so we’re not hostage to motoring everywhere for everything. It’s easier than educating people to both think and develop real hands-on skills not dependent on complex machines and electric-powered devices.
But we’re not interested and that is why we’re going to be dragged kicking and screaming into a very different future, not riding rockets to the new mall on Mars. I’m not religious, but maybe there is something like Providence at work foisting all these space fantasies on us at the very end of the year, allowing us to get all this stupid shit out of the way so we can prepare for the banking and political tribulations to come in 2016. Speaking of which, next week I will publish my forecast for the twelve-month roller-coaster ahead. Happy New Year, one and all.
(James Kunstler’s third World Made By Hand novel is available! The Fourth and final is complete and in production for May 2016 publication.)
THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU'S TOP 10 SCAMS IN 2015
- Taxes: Caller claims to be with the IRS and demands payment for back taxes.
- Debt collection: Caller claims you have an unpaid debt and threatens jail time unless you pay a fee.
- Sweepstakes/prizes/gifts: A call, letter or email congratulates you for winning a prize in a sweepstakes, which you can claim by paying a delivery, processing or insurance fee.
- Tech support: A technician alerts you that a virus has been detected on your computer and offers to log-in remotely to solve the problem for a fee.
- Government grant: Impostor claims you’ve qualified for a government grant but must submit a processing or delivery fee.
- Advance fee loan: Internet ads lead individuals to fake loan applications with processing fees.
- Credit card: Bank impostor claims individuals are eligible for a lower interest rate and needs to verify personal and financial information.
- Work from home: Ads offering work individuals can do from home can be an identity theft scheme by requiring people fill out detailed employment forms.
- Fake check/money order: Fraudsters ask individuals to cash checks and wire the money to an unknown source in exchange for keeping part of the sum. When the check bounces, the individual is on the hook with the bank.
- Lottery: You won the lottery in a foreign country and must pay upfront taxes or fees to collect the larger sum.
TASTE MAKES UNI POPULAR / climate makes it scarce
by Tara Duggan
Around sunset on a Saturday in late November, surfers were heading into the Point Arena Cove, off the Mendocino County coast, just as diver Alan Lawson of the Chilly Willy was unloading his harvest of quivering red sea urchins. The swell was coming up, and conditions were no longer conducive to diving.
"You’re working hard down there," said Lawson, who looked surprisingly warm and dry for someone who just spent hours dozens of feet deep in the Pacific, tethered to the boat with a long hookah, or breathing tube. He and a co-worker collected each of the spiky urchins by hand, using a small rake to remove them from the ocean floor before piling them into mesh bags. "The hook is just an extension of my arm," he said.
Largely centered in Fort Bragg, the Northern California sea urchin industry got its start in the 1970s as a supplier to Japan. These days, as more locals have become converts to the fresh-from-the-ocean flavor and creamy texture of what the Japanese call uni, the majority of Mendocino sea urchin now stays in the Bay Area. But just as sea urchin has become more popular, environmental conditions have made it scarce - and expensive. While the invertebrate hasn't been affected by domoic acid, which made Dungeness crab off-limits, this year's warm ocean temperatures limited the growth of kelp, sea urchin's main food, and reduced the local supply.
"It's a luxury local ingredient," said Jason Fox in the dining room of Oro in San Francisco. He puts sea urchin on the menu whenever he can, even though he's noticed a 60 percent price increase in the past six years. "We don't have caviar or lobster from our backyard. Most uni comes from California, and I think we should use it."
More stays than is sent to Japan
Fox does use it, in ways a sushi patron wouldn't recognize, such as adding a lobe to a bite of scrambled egg and toasted bread. It's hard to find a modern Italian restaurant that doesn't pair sea urchin with pasta right now, and it even shows up in a riff on tamales at the new restaurant Cala, where it's served with chile-infused masa inside its spiny shell. Uni has earned its place in the mainstream as a true Northern California delicacy.
"We sell a lot more domestically now than we send to Japan," said Brandon Juntz, manager at one of two Fort Bragg sea urchin processors, Ocean Fresh Seafoods, which buys from the Chilly Willy and about 15 to 20 North Coast divers in all. "All the good quality tends to stay in San Francisco." Few diners were familiar with uni at all when Tokyo native Ken Tominaga opened Hana Japanese Restaurant in Rohnert Park in 1990. He was one of the few local chefs to request the North Coast sea urchin that was being exported overseas. Today he goes through almost three times what he used to.
"Now we have a lot of local sea urchin fans, especially in Sonoma County," said Tominaga, who is also chef at Pabu in San Francisco.
Hana opened just after the peak of the Northern California sea urchin harvest, which was around 30 million pounds in 1988. In the mid-1980s, divers swarmed the Northern California coast when word got out about its "virgin forest" of urchins, said Bob Juntz, who co-founded Ocean Fresh Seafoods in 1984.
"When I first started, the urchins were considered a pest," he said. The animals devour kelp, leaving nothing for other marine animals to eat."The biologists said, 'The more you take, the better.'"
Growing up in Hayward, Juntz had dived for fun in both Monterey and Bodega bays and had always noticed how much more abalone and urchin there was in Bodega because of the lack of sea otters, the shellfish's main predator. Turns out otters had been wiped out by Russian fur traders in the early 19th century.
The California sea urchin industry is still centered around Santa Barbara and Fort Bragg, with a very small harvest coming out of Half Moon Bay and San Francisco. After what divers call the gold rush of the 1980s, there are no longer as many urchin to catch, and the 2013 North Coast harvest was just over 4 million pounds. But that was actually a 62 percent increase since 2008, not necessarily because Mendocino sea urchin got more trendy, said Juntz, but because there was a period of lower kelp growth in previous years. That meant fewer urchin in the waters, and many divers quit working in the industry, he said.
Lawson of the Chilly Willy is one of the survivors. He dons a half-inch thick wetsuit to withstand water temperatures that are normally around 50 degrees and heads to intertidal areas between Sea Ranch and Elk. He usually doesn't dive deeper than 60 feet, and definitely no more than 85 feet, for safety reasons.
How divers determine quality
Divers like Lawson crack open a sea urchin underwater to check how meaty it is, which helps determine the quality of others in that area. It's an important skill, because the yield varies, and divers usually don't get paid until after processing. There's no commercial limit, but urchins have to be at least 3½ inches wide in the North Coast, the size they reach at 6 to 8 years old. Juntz said most divers harvest between 800 and 1,500 pounds in an average day.
Commercial sea urchin also doesn't have seasonal restrictions, but the water has to be clear, so winter storms often keep divers out. There are further shortages in spring, when winds shred up the kelp. But the windy conditions also cause upwelling, encouraging new kelp growth and fattening the uni up again.
The urchins come in live to the Fort Bragg plant, where workers crack open the shells, remove the guts, then gently scoop out the tongue-shaped lobes of uni. In Japanese, uni refers to the edible part, which are the animal's gonads, or reproductive organs.
Workers gently wash the uni in a saltwater solution, pack it into trays and then send it by truck to wholesalers at Pier 45 in San Francisco. California uni comes in three main grades, and the highest-quality stuff is golden and sweet and relatively firm. Like an oyster on the half shell, a bite of uni is more than the sum of its flavors and aromas.
"When you get really nice fresh sea urchin, it tastes like the sea in a good way, and it pairs with so many flavors," said Fox, who is serving uni with butternut squash, puffed barley and black walnuts at his other restaurant, Commonwealth. At Oro, he pairs it with a bite of scrambled egg in a starter. "It's one of my favorite things," he added, with a shy smile.
But the cheaper kind - say, a pungent bite off a sushi conveyor belt - can turn some people off sea urchin forever. "Lower-grade uni is not going to be as sweet," said Tim Archuleta, chef-owner of Ichi Sushi in San Francisco. "It's going to have more tannins and more of a sharp flavor."
When he can get hold of at least two different kinds of high-quality uni, he serves a sampler. Traditionally more expensive than Mendocino's, Santa Barbara uni is also smaller and sweeter, closer in quality to Japan's famed Hokkaido uni.
"For people who are beginners, who are looking for a gateway uni, the Santa Barbara is a little milder," said Archuleta, who has been in the sushi business for two decades. But he loves Mendocino sea urchin just as much.
"It tends to have more of an uni taste to it. It's very bold," said Archuleta. When California uni was harder to get this summer, Archuleta started noticing uni from new and unexpected places, like Alaska and Baja. "I think people are seeing the market in uni," he said.
(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 28, 2015
BEN BROOKS, Redwood Valley. Domestic assault, evasion, probation revocation.
DAWN CARLSEN, Ukiah. Drunk in public, resisting.
BYRON CHRISTIAN, Covelo. Saps or similar weapons, false impersonation of someone else.
CHARLES DAVIS JR., Ukiah. Domestic battery.
SHERRY LINDSLEY, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JOSE MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Pot possession for sale.
RAFAEL PAZ, Willits. Paraphernalia, county parole violation.
PHILIP VALLEY SR., Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license.
LOTS OF INTERESTING BACK AND FORTH on the mcn listserve, including this:
Subject: Re: A Similarity of Masterminds
On 12/28/2015 1:53 PM, BC wrote: “We still need to raise $120,000 by midnight December 31 to take advantage of a matching funds challenge from Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner's. Your donation will help us keep up the pressure on Monsanto and Big Food, and take back our food and farming systems. Please make a generous donation online, by U.S. mail or by calling our office-details here.”
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Marco here. It may be a valid thing to do, and it may be useful to the Dr. Bronner's Soap company for people to buy more Dr. Bronner's Soap, as if it's somehow better for the planet and more healthy to bathe in soap that stings rather than soap that doesn't, and to eat only brands of food and hard candy that people who like to sting themselves prefer, but I get so many requests for money, because of petitions I've signed and groups I've given $10 or $20 (or whatever I could afford) any time in the last ten years, that this sort of thing all starts to look to me like the little man in this cartoon:
(It's a sad little man saying, "I'd love to make my card game but... I just don't have the six million dollars it takes make little slips of paper.")
And it sounds like that, too. For example, when the well-paid bosses of a radio station -- say, KZYX, that already gets twice the money to sustain itself from an ongoing federal grant (four million dollars over the last quarter-century) -- have all their slave laborers begging for half a million dollars more every year to run essentially a bathroom wall heater (that's how much electricity the entire station including transmitters and lights and everything uses -- it's less than 50¢ an hour). And a couple months ago they had the God damn gall to send representatives to beg our broken county administration for money too because, you know, it's so expensive to make all those little words go into a microphone.
KNYO-LP in Fort Bragg doesn't get any grants, and doesn't pay anyone, even the people running it, and it actually needs the small amount of money that it claims to need. Consider giving a few bucks in the direction of a real community radio station. Go to http://knyo.org and click on Donate Now.
And/or go to http://kmecradio.org (KMEC Ukiah) and click on Donate or Underwrite.
— Marco McClean
TRUMP: TEN TOUGH QUESTIONS FOR THE "FRONTRUNNER" (YEAH, RIGHT)
by Steve Heilig
Dear Mr. Trump:
I have some questions:
- "He wants to be famous. He wants people to talk about him. He wants people to notice him. He wants people to write about him. He wants people to ask him for autographs..." - Nora Ephron, Esquire, 1989. After the most recent Republican candidates' debate, when asked how you thought it went, you said "I had fun." Which is of course not what this whole thing is about. Have you ever wondered how you turned out so narcissistic?
- "Heil Donald Trump - The Ultimate Savior... Make America White Again" - Daily Stormer, American's leading neo-Nazi website; Likewise, David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan thinks you are great. You haven't remarked on or rebuked these fine folks - do such endorsements bother you?
- Lies: You have been identified as the second-worst liar in the campaign so far - after Ben Carson, who doesn't really count - by fact-checking experts Poltifact. In some polls you are seen as less trustworthy than Hillary Clinton - and she does have some "issues" there. For just one example, you said you'd watched video of people cheering after 911 - an easy thing to verify, by just producing said video. But it doesn't seem to exist. Busted. How would you act if your kids or wife were caught in outright lies?
- "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple" - Coach Barry Switzer. You were born rich. You've declared bankruptcy four times, stiffing countless small businesses, contractors, and investors in the process, while, as you put it, "taking advantage of the laws of this country" protecting such predatory behavior. If somebody burns you, do you still trust them (as you are asking our nation to do regarding yourself)?
- "Trump is the Democrats' Dream Candidate" - Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, December 2015 (yes, that Karl Rove!). "Right now, (Trump) has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican (that's something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.)" - Polling guru Nate Silver, December 2015. You keep calling yourself a "winner" - how many other winners have such small support in reality?
- You keep saying you will be "tough" overseas with our enemies, who do exist. But what might that mean? More invasions? You've noted that you got the Iraq thing right be opposing GW Bush's invasion there - good call, that. But why no explicit other proposals? Who you gonna bomb? And how might you respond to Air Force Colonel Morris Davis, who observed of the GOP debate: "Get to hear nine candidates who avoided military service bluster about how tough they'll be using other people's kids as fodder"?
- You've now publicly insulted women, Latinos, veterans, Asians, the disabled, Islam, and educated people in general. And have yet to apologize for any of that (nobody is holding their breath there). Whoever becomes the GOP nominate will need to get substantially more votes from non-white voters, and women of all kind, then Mitt Romney did last time. Given that they now know you hate them, how do you plan to accomplish that?
- During WWII, America of course "interned' many Japanese citizens. President Ronald Reagan later called this "disgraceful" and authorized payments to them, in small recompense. How might your call to ban all Muslims be different? And as more Mexicans are leaving the US these days than entering, while more Chinese and Indians are entering, legally or not, when you gonna go after them instead?
- "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time" - author unknown 9although some think it was Lincoln). Your supporters have been identified as mostly less-educated, white folks. Your vague policies won't help them, but you seem to be able to fool them. For those more educated folks who you've fooled, how might you explain that they join Nazis, Klansmen, high school dropouts, and the like in supporting you?
- You like to gamble, I hear. Can we make a bet that if you are the Republican candidate, your loss will be the biggest landslide since, say Goldwater in 1964? And that you won't really care, or apologize, or anything like that, as.... (see #1 above). Or that you'll in fact be happy, as you never really expected to win, and perhaps, even, as conservative political commentator George Will has joined others in speculating: "If Donald Trump were a Democratic mole placed in the Republican Party to disrupt things, how would his behavior be any different? I don't think it would be." Some even say your pals the Clintons have put you up to all this. So come on, and come clean. Your "campaign" is all a vast left-wing conspiracy, right?
Thanks for your candor. You're fired.
Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond
Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch, is honored to be one of 14 libraries nationwide who were awarded American Library Association STAR-Net grant entitled Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond. This grant will bring an interactive space exhibit to Ukiah Library from April 6th through June 4th, 2016. During the Explore Space exhibit’s sojourn in Ukiah, Ukiah Library will present a series of space related activities and events for residents of all ages.
“Space exploration and research will help us answer the age-old questions: Where did we come from and are we alone? NSF and NASA research programs are helping humanity understand the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars, and planets, and defining the conditions necessary to support life beyond Earth. The four exhibit areas are: A. Search for Alien Earths, B. Exploring Our Solar System, C. Space Rocks, and D. Electric Space. Exhibit goals for visitors are: 1) Learn how stars and planetary systems form and the role that gravity plays, 2) Understand the similarities and differences between Earth and Mars and the tools we use to explore planets, 3) Explore the role that asteroids and comets play in our Solar System, 4) Learn that the Sun is a dynamic star and how it varies, and 5) Explore electric and magnetic changes that take place in space (e.g., the aurora). The exhibit will include a touchscreen computer kiosk that contains several games that will engage children and adults. Some of the interactive experiences include Mission to Mars, Magneto Golf along with a Quiz game.”
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A STEM EVENT for Kids: “The Sky’s the Limit”
On Saturday, January 16th, from 10:30 to 11:30 am, Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting a STEM engineering class, “The Sky’s the Limit,” for kids, ages 7-11. Who can build the tallest skyscraper with just two materials?
live streaming visit from internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30 pm.
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LIVE STREAMING VISIT by New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 6:30 PM. Tess will join us via live video chat for a conversation about her bestselling novels, including her thrilling Rizzoli & Isles series, which inspired TNT’s popular television show. There will also be an opportunity for a Q&A from the audience.
Tess Gerritsen left a successful practice as an internist to raise her children and concentrate on her writing. She gained nationwide acclaim for her first novel of medical suspense, the New York Times bestseller Harvest, and followed her debut with the bestsellers Life Support and Gravity. Her other novels includes Body Double, The Sinner, The Apprentice, and The Surgeon. Tess Gerritsen will be joining us from her home in Maine.
Ukiah Library is located at `105 N Main Street, Ukiah California.
The Library Talks is a grant funded project open to all California libraries, with funding provided by the Pacific Library Partnership and proudly sponsored by the Mountain View Public Library and the Santa Clara City Library.
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THE SNOW QUEEN COMETH
On Saturday, January 9th at 10:00am – 11:30am the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting The Snow Queen Cometh, part of Sweet Saturdays @ the Ukiah Library.
The Snow Queen will be coming to the Library with stories, a puppet play, snow picture collages, and sweet treats. All are welcome to attend this free, family-friendly event! Sponsored by the Mendocino County Library and River Oak Charter School.
ONE POINT FIVE
On Friday, January 8, 2016 South Coast People For Peace & Justice will celebrate our 1 1/2 Year Anniversary of standing for Peace & Justice in front of the Gualala Post Office every Friday at noon. We began our demonstrations on July 7, 2014, the first day of the assault on Gaza by Israel. We have continued every week since then. We invite everyone to join us if you believe we must end ongoing wars, we must stop police violence and murders, knowing that Black Lives Matter!, that we need economic, racial and environmental Justice, we need to end torture, we must save our planet from Catastrophic Climate Change, we must work for Peace in the Middle East, Justice for the Palestinian People, and many other crucial issues dealing with Peace and Justice for ALL, everywhere. We also stand for Voting Rights and encourage everyone to register and VOTE. We are dedicated to TIKKUN OLAM We are on this earth to promote healing; to help repair what is broken around us. Please join us! Visit our Facebook Page and Like us: https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Coast-People-For-Peace/1488299098076641 More information at 707-884-4703.
Sister Yasmin, Gualala