- Hospital Tax
- Macdonald Reading
- FB Water
- Bike Locks
- Code Enforcement
- Supe Romance
- Kemper Report
- Harris Quarry
- Rackauckas Returns
- Shelter Predictions
- Mental Screening
- Super City
- Lotta Pot
- Yesterday's Catch
- In Custody
- Monsieur Cahill
- Cornerback Triplett
- Shelter Appreciation
- Radical Rubio
- Dead Fish
- Sister Teresa
- Pruning Workshop
- GMO Labeling
- Cat-people Party
COAST HOSPITAL TO SEEK PARCEL TAX
by Malcolm Macdonald
By now it is no secret that Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) has put its toes in the water to test the public's temperature about a parcel tax that might raise between $1.5 and $3 million in additional annual funds for the hospital that is little over a year removed from bankruptcy. Folks like MCDH Chief Executive Officer Bob Edwards and Hospital Foundation President Steve Lund are putting a positive spin on things for the general public. However, MCDH's own surveys and studies, some of which the hospital paid tens of thousands of dollars for, paint a different picture.
In a survey of patients comparing Mendocino Coast District Hospital to other area hospitals, as well as state and nationwide, the ability of MCDH doctors and nurses to communicate well was given only two stars on a one to five star basis, placing MCDH's professionals in the bottom 15%. In answer to the question, “Would you recommend MCDH to others,” patients gave the Mendocino Coast hospital the lowest rating in the area, 3% lower than Ukiah Valley Medical Center, 6% less than Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa, 8% lower than Santa Rosa Memorial, 18% less than UCSF Medical Center, and 21% lower than Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits. In a generalized approval rating, from 0 to 100%, MCDH garnered only a 58% score, lagging 23% behind Howard Memorial. The statewide and national scores were 15-16% higher than MCDH.
According to a Press Ganey study of more than 3,000 acute care hospitals in the United States the greatest factor driving profitability resides in the culture of engagement within the workforce at a given hospital. The most recent study on that matter, performed by the Gallup Organization in 2013, showed that 2/3 (66-67%) of nurses and physicians employed at MCDH fell into the categories of “Disengaged” or “Not Engaged” workers, meaning that, at best, only one third of MCDH's professionals were/are engaged in what they are doing while at the facility.
Any reader might ask, where did I find this information? Answer: Simply by attending the Hospital Foundation's January Board meeting, where MCDH Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wade Sturgeon voiced the words to CEO Edwards' power point presentation (a recent operation has limited Edwards' ability to speak). There were no other members of the press present and darn few, if any, members of the public present outside the Foundation's own Board members and staff. A similar presentation has also been made before the MCDH Board and at least one of its committees, but without the attention to detail it received at the Hospital Foundation gathering.
Back to the studies, one of which concerns cutting expenses. Citing the language of Quorum Health Resources (an outfit that provides consulting, training, and implementation support to hospitals), CEO Edwards' presentation states (and hospital employees may want to perk up their ears here), “Through 2014, MCDH achieved Personnel Expense reduction; however, the best performing Quorum CAH [Critical Access Hospital] facilities indicate further reduction is possible.”
Currently, the prime reason for the need to pass a parcel tax, which requires a two-thirds voter approval for passage, is the $1.7 million loss in the hospital's Emergency Room last year. That loss is attributable to one thing, ER patients are not becoming admissions to the hospital at the rate they were just five years ago. Using the numbers provided in Edwards' presentation, a return to the number of ER patients who followed up as an admission (about 230 more out of 9,000 or so patient visits to the ER annually) to the hospital would raise approximately $2.75 million in revenues by itself, without a parcel tax.
Readers may want to know that the average wait time at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital ER is reported as thirty-five minutes, less than the 40-47 minutes at the two Santa Rosa hospitals, but fifteen minutes longer than at Ukiah Valley Medical Center and seven to eleven minutes longer than the state and national averages. You may have noted the word “reported” before the MCDH Emergency Room wait time. That is because the MCDH numbers are based on internal rather than the public records regarding all the other facilities mentioned.
Using the recommendations of Quorum, CEO Edwards presented the following power point statement concerning the hospital's engagement of the local community, “MCDH is to develop a comprehensive marketing plan designed to gain enhanced understanding of district resident awareness of MCDH and their preferences for service delivery to increase use.
“Components of the marketing plan will focus on establishing listening forums (i.e., ministerial alliance; residents external to Fort Bragg; recent patients); provision of positive “talking point” messages for the workforce to use in their community interactions; and systematic senior leader interactions with governmental, business, and social organizations.”
At one of the Hospital Board Committee meetings the question of how much a parcel would be taxed arose. The answers that came back most: either $150 or $250. Another query concerned taxing parcels of varying sizes. Both CEO Edwards and Hospital Foundation President Lund responded identically, “A parcel is a parcel.”
Readers may want to keep in mind that parcels within the Mendocino Coast Hospital District vary in size from town lots to single parcels of corporate timberland that measure in the hundreds of acres each.
FOUR-EYED FROG TO HOST OUTLAW FORD AUTHOR
Friends, Readers, Countrymen, Cottonwood Alumni:
One more reminder — There will be prizes when I read from Outlaw Ford and sign your copies at Four-Eyed Frog Books in Gualala at 4 pm Saturday, February 6, 2016.
One prize is valued at $25 or more. The other is priceless. No, that one is not the stuffed remains of the horse who shot a bandit a hundred and some years ago. We traded him last week on eBay for Trigger, and a billy goat to be named later.
Four-Eyed Frog Books is located in the Cypress Village center (39138 Ocean Drive, Gualala). Cypress Village is almost directly across Highway One from the “Bones” restaurant, noted for its barbecue recipes. There should be ample parking within Cypress Village, either just above or below the book store itself.
If you are making a full afternoon of it, there are many edible eateries along the way and in Gualala. If traveling from the north don't miss a chance to stop at Franny's Cup & Saucer Bakery in Point Arena, usually open until four on Saturdays. For those who want music after their book learnin', there's Legends of the Celtic Harp at 7:30 in the Arena Theater.
For those too far away, or too dang lazy to get off your duff (you know who you are, Robert Kizer), to attend, Outlaw Ford remains on sale at book stores throughout Mendocino County. Perhaps the easiest place to order copies is at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. Simply go to their website: gallerybookshop.com. If you are still unnerved by new-fangled contraptions like computers, go to the phone and call 707-937-BOOK. If you simply must possess a signed copy, let 'em know, and the Gallery Bookshop people will ring the bell 'til the cows come home and I come runnin' from the north forty in order to get you a personalized copy of Outlaw Ford.
If you prefer the feel good sound of buying from a store called Four-Eyed Frog Books, check them out at www.foureyedfrog.com (That's right, no hyphen!) or call 707-884-1333.
ATTENTION SUPERVISOR GJERDE:
Although the Noyo River is flowing and supplying plenty of water, the Fort Bragg City Council will continue the drought emergency at their Monday, Feb. 8 meeting. And Ms. Valadao is correct about there not being affordable water in Fort Bragg. The cost for water and sewer is about $74.00 a month before using a drop. A majority of the residents are low or low/moderate income and the water rates are obscene. And the water pressure is much lower than most California cities. Here is the heart of the resolution to be passed on Monday:
WHEREAS, while the immediate threat to the Noyo River diversion has receded as a result of recent precipitation, the City of Fort Bragg’s water system remains imperiled unless and until the Summers Lane Reservoir is constructed, filled, and capable of providing supplemental water during periods of extreme low flows in the Noyo River;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AND PROCLAIMED by the City Council of the City of Fort Bragg that for reasons set forth herein, said local emergency shall be deemed to continue to exist until the City Council of the City of Fort Bragg, State of California, proclaims its termination; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Fort Bragg will review the need for continuing the local drought emergency at least once every 30 days until the City Council terminates the local drought emergency; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution confirming the continued existence of a local drought emergency shall be forwarded to the Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Governor of the State of California, as well as the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services.
ATTN. BIKE RIDERS, a tip from the inimitable and always helpful Captain Silverman of the Richmond District Police station: "The victim locked his bike up in front of a store using a cable lock. When he returned 15 minutes later the bike was gone.
Captain’s Note: Cable locks are ineffective because they can be cut quickly and easily. I recommend using a high quality U shaped lock. For more information on good locking techniques visit the SF Bicycle Coalition’s page:
THE CAPTAIN also noted: "With the passage of Proposition 47, possession of methamphetamine for personal use is now a misdemeanor. Therefore, this suspect (a guy with pages and pages of priors) was released at the scene with a citation instead of being booked into county jail."
RECENT ACTIVITIES IN CODE ENFORCEMENT & BOS PRIORITIES
Mendocino County Code Enforcement Branch, Feb. 9, 2016
On July 7, 2015, a presentation was given to the Board on code enforcement activities in the county. Consensus direction of the Board at that time provided priorities for code enforcement activities, which included, in addition to the regularly balanced workload: (1) ponds, land clearance, environmental crimes; (2) red-tagging active unpermitted job sites; (3) highly visible cases; (4) working with the Contractors State License Board to strengthen the “culture of compliance” in Mendocino County.
Subsequent to the July presentation, the Board approved an additional position for the code enforcement division, which will bring the number of code enforcement officers in the County to 4. Currently, with building permit technician, Lisa Washburn, promoted to code enforcement, there are three code enforcement officers working in the department; the Department has contracted with Trent Taylor, a recently retired Captain from the Ukiah Police Department. Another recruitment for the fourth officer will be launched within the next month to fully staff the division.
In addition to activities consistent with the consensus board direction, the department is continuing to maintain regular workload. In the last six months, the Department has streamlined Abandoned Vehicle Abatement (AVA) record keeping and reports, and the program has removed 61 abandoned vehicles. Code enforcement cases have also been worked which include multi-agency investigations of commercial properties and an elder care home, all of which generated multiple complaints, substandard rental units, and hoarding. Code enforcement also monitors the storm water illicit discharge complaint hotline, with three complaints received in this time.
Consistent with Board priorities, nineteen active, unpermitted construction sites have been red-tagged since July. As a result of these stop-work orders, the Department has received several permit applications, issued and finaled permits, and is pursuing further action on other properties. Violation fees are assessed against these permits, consistent with MCC Section 18.08.10. For property owners that do not cooperate in a timely fashion, additional fees are assessed through code enforcement action, per MCC Section 8.75 In the last six months, six grading and pond permits have been issued for work that was previously unpermitted.
Highly Visible Violations that have been abated since July include the long standing “graffiti sheds” on Highway 101, north of Laytonville. Four new cases have been opened which are highly visible, including three on Highway 1 (near Manchester, Rockport, and Caspar) and one highly visible from Highway 253 (Boonville Road).
Additionally, staff from have been working to strengthen the local “culture of compliance” with building and zoning code regulations. To make it easier for the public to review recent permitting records and activity on a property, the Department has been able to open a “portal” on the County’s website. This new portal allows any member of the public to quickly determine whether or not a particular property has had permits issued recently, and the status of those permits. After meeting with staff from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), Planning & Building Services has added information to the Department’s website related to the importance of reporting unpermitted work by both licensed and unlicensed contractors. Additionally, the building permit application form has been completely revised, to include specific information on the duties and responsibilities of owner-builders and contractors. Consistent with statute, applicants now acknowledge their awareness of this information in writing. Another process enhancement has staff including evidence of license and insurance verification in the file when permits are issued. A final component of this partnership with the CSLB involves referring projects and individuals to the CSLB for investigation. This process already takes place on an irregular basis, most recently in August 2015, but it will be emphasized in the coming year.
In the next six months, Planning & Building Services intends to continue balancing regular code enforcement workload with the expressed priorities of the Board. In particular, the Department plans to continue creating “best practices” for the function of code enforcement, and formalize those best practices through a policy & procedure manual. The creation of a “Top 10” list of code enforcement cases, which are consistent with Board priorities to the maximum extent practicable, will provide focus for the Department. It is important to note that the Top 10 cases will most likely be difficult and time-consuming to address.
The Department will also be bringing forward suggested code language for adoption by the Board, which will mandate posting of notice on jobsites that have received necessary permits. This is intended to make it easier for the public and staff to determine at a glance if enforcement action may be necessary. Finally, consistent with Board direction to collaborate with the CSLB in strengthening the local culture of compliance, the Department will emphasize referring licensed contractors found working on unpermitted job sites to the CSLB for independent investigation.
SUPERVISOR HAMBURG'S marriage to Lauren Sinott, former mayor of Point Arena seems to be over.
The Supervisor's latest love interest seems to involve therapist Sara Stark.
KEMPER CONSULTING GROUP MENTAL HEALTH REVIEW
February 9, 2016 Board of Supervisors Agenda Item 6(c):
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions: On January 12, 2016 the Board of Supervisors made a referral to the Health and Human Services Committee to discuss the Kemper Consulting Group mental health review at the February 8, 2016 meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee meeting.
Summary Of Request: The Executive Office contracted with Lee Kemper Consulting Group to perform a review of Mental Health. This review focused on the provision of mental health services in Mendocino County and will provide findings and recommendations for improvement in administrative, financial, and service delivery functions, including the contracts with administrative service organizations. The final report from Kemper Consulting is expected to be presented to the Executive Office during the first week of February. In order to facilitate an in depth review of the report by the Board, the HHSA Standing Committee recommends that the Board schedule a special meeting on February 16, 2016, with the report to be heard at 1:30 p.m.
HARRIS QUARRY APPROVAL RESCINDED
Item 4(c): Adoption of Resolution Rescinding Resolution No. 14-068 Which Made a Vested Rights Determination and Approved an Amended Reclamation Plan for the Harris Quarry (Continued from Feb. 2, 2016)
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions: On May 20, 2014, the Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 14-068, which made a vested rights determination for the Harris Quarry mine (located approximately seven miles south of Willits on two parcels identified as Assessor Parcel Nos. 147-180-08 and 147-180-13), approved an Amended Reclamation Plan for the Harris Quarry and the mitigated negative declaration related thereto.
Summary Of Request: The Board’s approval of Resolution No. 14-068 was challenged by Keep the Code, Inc., which filed a verified petition for writ of mandate to overturn the Board’s approval. The Mendocino County Superior Court ruled in favor of Keep the Code and issued a peremtory writ of mandate requiring the County to set aside the vested rights determation and the approval of the Amended Reclamation Plan. The County has until February 3, 2016, to file and serve its return to the writ, specifying what the County has done to comply with the writ. If approved, County Counsel intends to submit the adopted resolution along with its return to the writ on that date.
The accompanying resolution concludes:
“Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that, to comply with the peremptory writ of mandate issued by the Mendocino County Superior Court, the Board of Supervisors hereby rescinds its approval of Resolution No. 14-068.”
APPARENTLY, this means that a full EIR is required for the Harris Quarry.
NOTED UKIAH DEFENSE ATTORNEY, Justin Petersen, son of the late and justly famed defense attorney, Richard Petersen, was spotted last week having lunch with former DA Vivian Rackauckas, his step mom once removed, you might say. Justin has a half brother fathered by his dad when Ms. Rackauckas was Mendo County DA. That affair had major repercussions. (See below.) Ms. R apparently has moved back to Mendocino County (Willits) after working as a prosecutor in Ventura County.
* * *
CONVICTED KILLER SAYS LAWYERS' FEUD PREVENTED FAIR TRIAL:
Appeal: He says his counsel and the district attorney had a short-lived romance and were engaged in a bitter paternity dispute.
by Philip Hager (LA Times), October 8, 1990
SAN FRANCISCO — Was a murder defendant denied a fair trial because of a short-lived romance and a bitter paternity dispute between his lawyer and the district attorney?
That intriguing question is now before a state Court of Appeal here in a novel case that might seem better-suited for a television screen were it not for the serious ethical issue at stake.
The real-life plot centers on an appeal by Thomas John Marston, a 30-year-old Willits millworker convicted in 1985 of killing two men in an abortive marijuana deal. Marston is seeking a retrial on grounds he was the unknowing victim of a private feud between his trial attorney, Richard J. Petersen, and the prosecutor, former Mendocino County Dist. Atty. Vivian L. Rackauckas.
Marston's new lawyer on appeal charges that Rackauckas had a sexual liaison with Petersen before Marston's trial, then cited Petersen as father of her child, repeatedly threatened during the trial to bring a paternity suit against Petersen and even had the child send him "Dear Daddy" greetings at special occasions.
Included in the evidence is a 1988 court order requiring Petersen to pay $765 a month in child support to Rackauckas.
"The case was tried in the legal equivalent of a sewer, a cesspool filled with the squalor of covert, private conflicts of interest," said Richard L. Huff, a Ukiah lawyer now representing Marston. "Unknowingly, (Marston) was caught in a cross-fire inimical to our belief in fundamental fairness."
Petersen, in a sworn declaration, said the charges of a sexual liaison and a paternity dispute with Rackauckas are true. Rackauckas, now a deputy district attorney in Ventura County, submitted an affidavit acknowledging the love affair but contending that relationship ended six years before the trial. She denied threatening Petersen, and said that during the trial, they both conducted themselves with "appropriate professionalism." It was not until after the trial, in 1988, that she filed suit for child support, she said.
In a further twist, a Ukiah woman has submitted yet another affidavit stating that at a 1983 Christmas party, Rackauckas remarked "matter-of-factly" that her son's father was Mendocino Superior Court Judge Arthur Broaddus [himself a former Mendocino District Attorney], who later served as trial judge in the Marston case. Rackauckas denied having a sexual relationship with the judge or making any such statement. Broaddus also denied such a relationship ever existed.
State Deputy Atty. Gen. Donna B. Chew, representing the prosecution on appeal, agreed the case "raises very important factual as well as legal allegations."
But in a brief filed last week, Chew contends Marston has failed to show that an actual conflict of interest adversely affected his lawyer's performance. Even if there was antagonism between the prosecutor and defense attorney, the defendant might have benefited from the hostility felt by his lawyer, she said.
Chew added, however, that if the appeals court believes Marston has raised legally plausible claims, it should order a hearing to further weigh the conflicting evidence in the case.
Attorney Huff's appeal for Marston centers on the right of a defendant to be represented by a lawyer free of conflict of interest, and to be prosecuted by a district attorney free of emotional involvement in a case.
Ethical guidelines published by the California District Attorneys Assn. require prosecutors to withdraw where they have a personal interest in a case that may affect their impartiality.
There is little legal precedent for the case. But in a 1985 case, another appeals court, citing the potential for conflict of interest, reversed a defendant's conviction because a prosecutor and defense attorney had dated before and during the trial.
According to witnesses' statements, at the Marston trial Rackauckas and Petersen exchanged cutting remarks-- sotto voce but still audible to jurors--and behind the scenes had angry discussions about child support. One associate said Rackauckas adopted an office policy of "maximum obstruction and minimum cooperation" with Petersen, hindering the routine exchange of evidence before trial.
After Marston received a sentence of life in prison without parole, Rackauckas was quoted by a witness as having said, "a lifetime of being sodomized in prison" would be a suitable alternative to the death penalty, Marston's appeal said.
Also submitted was a statement from Dist. Atty. Susan Massini. In it, Massini says files on the Marston case were missing when she assumed office in 1987 after Rackauckas was defeated for reelection.
In her sworn statement, Rackauckas called the affidavits as a whole "misleading, out-of-context or inaccurate." Any personal relationship with Petersen ended when her child was conceived in March, 1980, she said. Petersen denied in 1981 that he was the father and the matter was not discussed again until 1986, she said.
Rackauckas rejected the claim she had any "special policy" on cases handled by Petersen and said she could not recall discussing "anything about sodomy" in the Marston case.
At her request, Rackauckas said, she and Petersen discussed the 1985 appeals court ruling on conflict of interest and whether he should represent Marston. Neither believed their former relationship created such a conflict, she said.
"I believed that no local attorney would represent Marston as vigorously and as well as would Mr. Petersen," Rackauckas said. "Feeling that it was unfair on my part to suggest depriving Mr. Marston of the attorney of his choice and possibly the most capable attorney in the area, I did nothing further with regard to the matter."
KATHY SHEARN WRITES:
You are incorrect, sorry to say, in your crystal ball predictions about the shelter. A lot will change, either way the board decision goes. If the board decides its time for this delightful episode to end, due to a lack of consensus about any "public-private partnership," shelter staff will be able to breath the proverbial sigh of relief, and return to doing what they love--caring for your county's homeless animals. No longer having the ax dangling over their heads; no longer having to walk amongst people who call them dumb and killers on social media, will be a boost to their and volunteers spirits.
If, in fact, Ms. Mountainfire is reinstated, you are wrong, also, about her having a vengeful nature. But I, dear Beast, do. So I hope the people who have been determined to undermine the shelter for the past year, letting their self righteous frenzy take over respectful communication and truth, will be gone. If the shelter is so distasteful to them, they are free to volunteer elsewhere, and take their social media gossip with them. The adults at the shelter are concerned about the animals; we're not there for glory or to waste time playing nasty games.
TATOOS & LIMO LIBS
Letter to Editor,
Will Fort Bragg's limousine liberals force mentally ill people take a test (comparable to a driver's license) proving they deserve empathy and help? A tattoo might be more efficient — or just round ’em up and haul them out of sight.
Our wealthy neighbors refuse to accept mental illness is not a crime nor contagious. If these elites sleep outside for two nights, hungry and without hope they might have a different perspective. Bruce Anderson: surprised you would cave by apologizing for Malcolm McDonald's column.
Has the AVA begun to edit the printed word? Please say it ain't so by continuing your excellent publication without pandering to the haves.
An Avid AVA subscriber.
HAVING BERTHED THE SILVER BULLET in the North Beach Garage, I walked straight up and over Vallejo, marveling at a familiar but unremarked sight in that neighborhood — elderly Chinese women lugging their shopping bundles home up that steep hill which everyone, except the people who live along it, mostly avoid. I wondered if the legions of sickly, chairbound Occidentals would benefit from two long blocks a day up and down a steep hill.
At the waterfront end of Vallejo, still a few blocks away from Justin Herman Plaza, it was evident something very big and very stupid was underway across the street from the Ferry Building. (Justin Herman was one of the city's most destructive persons ever, the man responsible for the destruction of the old Fillmore District and the installation of Geary Boulevard in place of a vibrant, functioning neighborhood. Of course the city named a plaza after him, the architectural irony being that the "plaza" is an appropriately joyless skein of pavement and concrete whose centerpiece is the waterless Vaillancourt Fountain, the ugliest piece of public art in the country.)
AND THERE IT IS, Super City, a hideous collection of corporate logos and un-inviting booths massed behind prison fencing, around which heavily armed men were driving in high speed golf carts. It isn't clear if the security boys, and they're almost all boys, are there to keep us saps in or out. O yeah. Terrorists. The black jump suits are protecting us from terrorists, and it was indeed terrifyingly funny to watch the jump suits frisking passengers disembarking the Larkspur Ferry, possibly the least menacing people that could be found anywhere in America. "Don't mind all the guns, folks, go on inside and have a good time drinking $8 cups of Bud."
I BOUGHT a five dollar salami sandwich at the Acme Bakery and sat down outside to enjoy it and to gage the public mood, which was upbeat and heavy on football fans in their hometown jerseys. A bum was fast asleep up against a sidewalk abutment. I wondered what his dreams could be like. The mayor said he was going to get all the street people indoors for the super festivities, a football game between two out of state teams forty miles to the south.
ACROSS THE STREET loomed Super City, that corporate excresence — four blocks of walled-off bummers, out of which a CNN platform loomed up over the rest of the No Fun, not even the Possibility. Any mayor who could think that this thing is a real whoop de doo for visitors is a mayor who has lost his noodles.
THE COUPLE sitting next to me were debating whether or not to go in. They were youngish and mannerly, from Raleigh, South Carolina, hence the manners and soft accents. They said they'd saved up all year to come out here. Big Carolina Panther fans. "Excuse me, sir, have you been inside?" I confessed I had. "Should we go, or should we give it a pass?" I suggested they catch a westbound bus, any bus, and vacate the area. "The real Frisco is all out there on the other side of this, this, this abomination." Which I immediately regretted because… well, because, I'd probably wrecked their morning. Crimeny. These nice people were visitors, and who do they encounter but some alienated old coot who goes all negative on them.
JUST AS IMMEDIATELY I un-regretted myself when the man said, "I was hoping to see Anderson Cooper up there on the CNN platform."
IN MOMENTS of extreme provocation I've found the Jesus Prayer very helpful: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It's a kind of metaphysical way of counting to ten. I repeated the prayer to myself before recommending, "Get one of these pedi-cabs to take you up to North Beach. It's only a few blocks from here and there are things to see, like the church where Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe. You can have a nice lunch at the new Original Joe's and maybe see the bookstore where the beatniks kicked off." The woman said to her husband — they both wore wedding bands — "We can do both, hon," and they got up and, bidding me goodbye, headed across the street for Anderson Cooper.
I WALKED OVER to Mission Street and walked west to the California Historical Society. A street guy, mumbling to himself, staggered in ahead of me. To say he was disheveled would be unfair to the disheveled. This was totally fucked up, but not on booze or dope. Or the kind of dope I'm unfamiliar with. He was simply out of it. An engrimed butt cheek was the rear view he presented. San Francicso has never been sadder, never less humanely managed. This man belonged in a hospital. On every block between the corporate kryptonite at the foot of Market and Van Ness I probably passed thirty people like him — mentally ill, unattended.
THE GUY asked the young woman at the desk, "Is Joe here?" She said Joe was not here. "Joe Montana? Is he here?" The young woman said, "I think you want the Moscone Center just up the street and to your left. I think all the football people are up there." He shuffled out the door. "We get them all day long," she said. "Sad, isn't it?"
BTW, Sonoma County Wines had a big booth inside the armed compound set up to welcome visitors to San Francisco. No sign of Mendocino County.
CHRISTOPHER POTTER, Ukiah, has managed to set a new local interdiction record. Wheeling a Chevy pickup south of Cloverdale near Geyserville, a CHP patrolman thought Potter's window tint was too dark and pulled him over. The officer said he also smelled marijuana coming from Potter's equipment trailer. A pot dog was soon on-site and went immediately into yipping conniptions. Inside was 1600 pounds of bud. Potter, 33, was arrested "on suspicion of possessing of marijuana and transporting it for sale." No more information was immediately available.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 5, 2016
JOSEPH COUTHREN, Willits. Battery.
RYAN CRANFORD, Willits. Paraphernalia, possession of ammo by prohibited person, probation revocation.
TIMOTHY FISCHER, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Drunk in public, fighting in public.
RUSSEL HABER, Gualala. Possession of ammo by prohibited person, probation revocation.
JAIME HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, paraphernalia, suspended license.
SEAN LYKES, San Diego/Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, fighting in public, resisting.
RICO MICHEL, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, probation revocation.
JARED POWELL, Discovery Bay/Ukiah. Parole violation.
ERMELINDA REYES, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
KIM SANCH, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
DANIEL TAYLOR, Covelo. Community supervision violation.
ERIC WRIGHT, Calpella. Trespassing on railroad property, battery of Peace officer, bribery of peace officer, resisting.
Four 'Warrant Wednesday' Suspects In Custody
The Mendocino Sheriff announced this week four "Warrant Wednesday" suspects were now behind bars:
Donna Carol Vasquez was wanted on a $50,000 warrant for Failure To Appear on charges of DUI causing injury. Thanks to our law enforcement friends in Contra Costa County!
Kayla Kahaulelio was picked up by Mendocino County Deputies on a $30,000 felony warrant for check forgery.
Ashley LaForge was wanted on a no bail warrant for probation revoked. Thank you Sonoma Sheriff for picking up Ashley LaForge.
Charles Kesselring was wanted on a $55,000 felony warrant for vehicular theft and fleeing from an officer. Thank you Humboldt County Sheriff's Office for picking him up.
HOW I GOT HERE
In early 2013, the the Dept. of Veterans Affairs changed my small non-service-connected disability pension to a service-connected "compensation" and my income more than tripled. Life had been getting more and more difficult for me at Ten Mile Ranch where I lived since 1987 and I was on the list for senior housing in Fort Bragg. Since I could now afford my long-time dream of living in France, I up and did it for three main reasons and not necessarily in this order--(1) To get away from the US fascist dictatorship, (2) to become more spiritual and thus prepare myself for death (I'll be 79 on 14 February) and (3) to explore more--while I still could--what I consider the most beautiful and interesting country of all I have visited in the world.
It has been extremely difficult for me with health problems and with the French bureaucracy but so far it has been worth it especially since my health has improved and I have little more to do with the bureaucracy. All I need now is a French driver's license. And I have excellent health insurance here.
From May 2013 until last November I had been living near Granville in Normandy on the west coast of France. I had French friends there who had been helping me settle in. But in visiting an old friend from California now living in Burgundy clear across on the other side of France, I fell in love with this part of the country. And in November, I moved here where I have all my health needs cared for and have been looking for an apartment to rent long-term. Presently I'm renting a "Gite" at the off-season rate of $300/month but it's only good until 1 May when the rate goes up to about $300/week. The tiny village is called "Malay" and is about 45 minutes drive north of Macon, Lyon is another hour or so by train south of Macon.
I have a 1996 Peugeot van which is a former police paddy wagon converted into what the French call (in English) a "camping car" with bunk, stove, frig, etc. I also have an inflatable kayak with sail and pedal motor made by Hobie of California which fits under half the bunk. Soon I will get a folding electric bicycle that I hope will fit under the other side. With "Mamut the Elephant" I travel all over France and countries near by such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy searching for beautiful "puddles" in which to sail. I will send you a photo of "Mamut" and "HMS Joy" my incredible pocket yacht.
Take care, old friend,
Tom Cahill, expatriate. Formerly of Fort Bragg, now of Malay, France.
FORT BRAGG CORNERBACK LUCAS TRIPLETT IS SMALL SCHOOLS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR
by Richard J. Marcus
Every sturdy defense needs a “lockdown” cornerback who can take away an offense’s best receiver. For Fort Bragg, Lucas Triplett is that cornerback and then some.
Triplett, a junior, exhibited his prowess in pass coverage weekly in the NCL I with his aggressive, physical play, earning him recognition as the 2015-16 All-Empire small schools football defensive player of the year. Triplett had eight interceptions for the season, even though opponents rarely tested him. He was a critical cog in Fort Bragg’s 11-1 season and NCL I title.
“We had a game plan when we played Fort Bragg that we were not going to throw the ball on Triplett’s side of the field,” Middletown coach Bill Foltmer said. “He is a good-sized kid with good speed and he’s athletic. He is going to come away with a 50-50 ball more times than not.”
In addition to his body of work on defense, Triplett — who’s 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds — was a stalwart on offense as a receiver (for the season, 100 receptions, 19 touchdowns and 1,402 yards, a 117-yard per-game average). He was far and away the favorite target for Timberwolves quarterback Kaylor Sullivan, the All-Empire small schools offensive player of the year.
“Lucas is a gifted athlete, he can do it all,” Sullivan said. “The ball is attracted to him.”
While it’s debatable whether Triplett’s impact was greater on offense or defense, and Triplett said he thinks it was equal, numerous opposing NCL I coaches said there was no doubt that Triplett should be the defensive POY.
“Triplett was as much a part of Fort Bragg’s offense as Sullivan but on defense his pass coverage, footwork ability — especially in man-to-man — was just really impressive,” Cloverdale coach Chad Prieskorn said. “I thought we had the best receiver in the league in Marcus Poe, but Triplett made him an average player at best and minimized Poe’s contribution.”
Triplett said of neutralizing Poe: “I knocked him down early on and stripped him for a fumble in the first quarter. I knew if I could get in his head early I could throw him off his game.”
In fact, the Cloverdale game was a showcase of Triplett’s skill and tenacity on defense. The Timberwolves won 41-0, and Triplett had a remarkable three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
“It was one of the most dominating performances I have ever seen from a player on a football field on either side of the ball,” Fort Bragg coach Roy Perkins said. “Lucas is an instinctive football player. … He is an acrobatic, phenomenal athlete.”
Triplett said he mixes up his pass coverage between jamming receivers at the line and playing off them, depending on the game situation and play call. Triplett stressed that one of his stylistic signatures on defense is executing the big tackle.
“I love making the big hit, it is fun and it gets your team pumped up,” Triplett said.
On the flip side, Triplett said he makes a point of showing toughness when he is tackled by getting up as quick as possible.
“Lucas is a tough, hard-nosed, physically gifted kid,” Perkins said. “He is a very proud kid.”
Perkins said Triplett has the talent to play at the next level and college programs have already contacted him about Triplett (as a receiver). Triplett said he would like to play in college but didn’t specify where.
Next season, Triplett will continue to play the lockdown corner on defense but, perhaps more importantly, he will be tabbed as starting quarterback to replace Sullivan.
“Next year, I want the ball in the hands of my best player,” Perkins said. “If you asked the coaches in the NCL I who the best player in the league is coming back next year, I’m pretty sure they would all say it is Triplett.”
Triplett said he is up for switching from receiver to quarterback on offense and he has played the position numerous years prior to high school.
“It will be huge shoes to fill, but I’m not worried about it,” Triplett said of following Sullivan at quarterback. “If I’m not breaking records but the team is winning, that’s more important.”
Triplett said he has a bevy of returning receivers to throw to and three returning offensive linemen to anchor his pocket protection.
“Triplett is a well-rounded athlete,” Prieskorn said. “He can play any position.”
Perkins said the loss of Sullivan will lead to a retooling of the Timberwolves and to a new team identity. As a senior quarterback, in many ways Triplett will inherit Sullivan’s legacy to keep Fort Bragg as an elite small-school program, which is fitting since Triplett and Sullivan have been best friends since the third grade.
“Lucas is a laid back kid, but if you put him on a field, he is going to steal your lunch money,” Perkins said. “He is going to compete and win.”
(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
IGNORE THE CIRCUS
To the Editor:
Who cares how you feel?
That’s the general answer we are getting about the Ukiah Animal Shelter. Actions speak louder than words, and by the actions of county administrators, we can all gracefully accept the proverbial middle finger as the answer to our questions.
For months now, a rogue group of malicious volunteers, headed up by a bored family with money to spare, have been set on destroying the good name of Animal Shelter employees. Never mind the fact that these same group of volunteers were singing praise from the roof tops about these employees not even a year ago. If we are to believe that the sole purpose of this hate campaign and kill propaganda being spewed forth by less than honest volunteers, is all for “what is best” for our country’s homeless pets than are we also to believe that Elvis still walks among us?
This is an absolutely ridiculous circus that is being entertained by Mendocino County and ring mastered by the one small group. Enough is enough. The shelter manager was put on administrative leave after reporting harassment from these volunteers.
Employees are being threatened on social media. Potential supporters are being drawn in with lies and doctored up slogans and numbers. Shelter staff is theoretically being held hostage every day at work, having to be invaded by this group of volunteers on a daily basis. What does admin have to say about all of this?
Nothing. Actions speak louder than words.
I have lived in this county for over 30 years. In that time I have seen this county’s shelter move forward in leaps and bounds. Going there used to be a death sentence. Now days I have no worries about animals coming out of there alive and healthy into safe and loving homes. I don’t have to worry about my grandchildren or my dogs being attacked walking down the street by an unsafe animal that was adopted out because someone thought his life was more important than my grandchild’s. When I go down there I get nothing but a good vibe. Dog’s playing together out back, cats being read to by local children. Soothing music being played to the dogs in the kennels. A long list of animals that have been adopted that month.
All of my questions get answered by Sage and the front desk staff.
I do, however, get hassled by the occasional volunteer. They can be very pushy and in your face.
I see the numbers that are released every year, you all should too. They consecutively decrease. This tells me it is a result of dedicated, level headed, animal loving staff. Clearly the county’s admin only cares about shutting people up and are willing to throw these dedicated employees to the wolves. Shame on you.
Gina Sanchez, Redwood Valley
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Rubio. Because Trump and Cruz have moved the goalposts on what it means to be bat-shit crazy in a primary, the press will confuse Rubio’s moderate temperament with moderate policies, of which he has none. Rubio was once described as the “crown prince” of the Tea Party. He has a 100 percent rating from the NRA. He’ll appoint justices who will overturn the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision. He opposes abortion with no exception for rape or incest. He opposes stem cell research and doesn’t believe in climate change. He’d send ground troops to Syria and trillions in tax cuts to the rich.
COLD, DEAD FISH AWARDS FOR 2015
by Dan Bacher
The year 2015 will become infamous as the one when many California fish populations reached record low levels, largely due to poor water management by the state and federal governments.
The Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources continued to drain Trinity, Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs to record low levels during a record drought to supply subsidized water to corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking operations.
The good news in an otherwise disturbing outlook is the first El Niño storms that arrived at the end of the year to start recharging reservoirs depleted due to mismanagement by the agencies.
Folsom Lake dropped to a record low level of 14 percent by the end of November and early December – and other reservoirs around the state were plagued by record low water conditions.
Winter run Chinook salmon, a federal and state endangered species, suffered from the second disastrous year in a row in the low, lethally warm conditions on the upper Sacramento River as almond growers continued to expand their water-intensive almond tree acreage on the west side of the San Joaquin..
Only 318,000 juvenile winter-run salmon survived in 2015, or just 3 percent of nearly 10 million eggs, according to a dramatic graph released by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service on February 1. In comparison, just 5 percent of the salmon survived the previous year and 41 percent in 2011.
"I think everyone tried to make it work and despite everybody's best efforts it still was too warm," claimed Maria Rea, a deputy regional administrator with the service.
For their failed plans to supposedly “save” the winter run, Rea and David Murillo, the MidPacific Director of the Bureau of Reclamation, each receive an “Extinct Winter Run Chinook” award.
As the water agencies continued to drain Central Valley reservoirs, they also continued to export water through the Delta pumps during the drought, driving Delta fish species closer and closer to extinction. (https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/01/05/18781526)
Fish species ranging from endangered Delta smelt to striped bass plunged to record low population levels in 2015 in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, as revealed in the annual fall survey report released on December 18 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
Only 6 Delta smelt, an endangered species that once numbered in the millions and was the most abundant fish in the Delta, were collected at the index stations in the estuary this fall. The 2015 index (7), a relative number of abundance, “is the lowest in history,” said Sara Finstad, an environmental scientist for the CDFW’s Bay Delta Region.
Longfin smelt, a cousin of the Delta smelt, also declined to the lowest abundance index (4) in the history of the survey. Only 3 longfin were collected at the index stations throughout the three-month period.
The population of striped bass, a popular gamefish, declined to the second lowest level in history (52) Only 42 age 0 stripers were conducted at the survey stations.
The 2015 abundance index (79) for American shad is also the lowest in history. Only 59 American shad were collected at the index stations.
Finally, the abundance index (806) for threadfin shad, an introduced forage species. reached its eighth lowest level. The biologists collected 634 threadfin shad at the index stations.
For their continuing service to the water contractors at catastrophic expense to our fish populations, Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, DWR Director Mark Cowin, CDFW Director Chuck Bonham and State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus each receive the “Delta Destruction Derby” award.
While those folks did “yeoman’s work” in their campaign to exterminate California fish populations, one individual, Ren Lohoefener, US Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Director, did more than anybody to sacrifice Delta smelt at the altar of corporate greed. Lohoefener allowed increased take of the smelt at the pumps in January 2015, due to a secret directive in December 2014. (http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewild/fish/feds-quietly-double-allowable-take-of-delta-smelt.html)
Just days after the CDFW reported the Delta smelt population plummeted to a record low level in the fall 2014 survey, Roeenfener granted permission for the Central Valley Project and State Water Projects to double their killing of the smelt at the pumps. For this unforgivable act, Ren Lohoefener is granted the “Delta Smelt Killer” award.
On May 19, a 9 mile long oil spill began off the Santa Barbara Coast after a badly corroded pipeline, carrying crude oil from offshore platforms deposited over 142,800 gallons (3,400 carrels) of crude onto one of the most biological diverse coastlines on the West Coast. The oil slick fouled four alleged “marine protected areas” - Naples, Kashtayit, Campus Point and Goleta Slough – created under the controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.
The oil damaged the coats, skin, beaks, and appendages of hundreds of animals – and workers eventually collected 202 dead birds and 99 dead mammals including at least 46 sea lions and 12 dolphins. However, the full impact on fish and smaller shellfish, barnacles and other small creatures in the food chain may not be known for decades.
For their negligence in maintaining the grossly corroded pipeline, Plains American Pipeline CEO Greg. L Armstrong receives a “Big Oil Destroyer” award. He is proudly bestowed this award along with Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, who provided oil industry PR response to the spill, since the pipeline company is a member of her association. To make matters even worse, the very same oil lobbyist CHAIRED the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force to create the marine protected areas that were fouled by the spill!
Reheis-Boyd also gets another “prestigious” award for last year’s record oil industry “gusher” of lobbying expenses that ensured that no environmental bill opposed by Big Oil was able to make out of the Legislature unless it was amended, as in the case of SB 350, the green energy bill. The oil lobby broke its prior spending record, spending $22 million over the past year.
WSPA spent a record $11 million on lobbying, making it the number one corporate lobbying spender in California for the fourth year in a row. Reheis-Boyd receives the“Captured California” award for her successful capture of the regulatory apparatus in the state. (http://www.cadelivers.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Oil-Industry-Lobbying-2015-update-4_2.1.16._FINAL.pdf)
Speaking of the MLPA Initiative, Ron LeValley, the former co-chair of the MLPA Initiative “Science Advisory Team,” briefly hit the media spotlight when he got out of federal prison in the spring after serving 9-1/2 months for embezzling over $830,000 from the Yurok Tribe.
“The legal experience did cost me quite a bit and I would like to pay off my bills,” said LeValley in a email to supporters. “So if you have a favorite photo, please order one from me! Many thanks to you all for the support I received while I was on ‘sabbatical.'"
For casually dismissing his prison sentence as a “sabbatical,” LeValley is granted the“No Shame at All” award.
A rotten drainage deal signed by the Westlands Water District, considered the “Darth Vader” of California water politics, and the Obama administration in September can be likened to the bank bailout of 2008: “The wealthy and powerful corporate interests that caused the crisis are allowed to exit the burning aircraft with golden parachutes,” quipped Tom Stokely of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN).
In the deal that requires congressional approval, the administration will forgive the district’s $375 million interest-free repayment obligation to taxpayers for construction of the federal Central Valley Project, the massive apparatus that delivers water from the Delta to corporate agribusiness interests on the western San Joaquin Valley. The agreement also converts the district’s current two-year water contracts to a permanent contract for up to 890,000 acre-feet of water annually, subject to the availability of water, according to Stokely.
For their successful effort to bail Westlands out, Tom Birminghman, the Westlands general manager, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel, President Barack Obama and other administration officials are granted the “Dirty Deal” award of 2015.
Finally, there comes the most prestigious award, the “Cold, Dead Fish.” For the fourth year in a row, I must give the award to Governor Jerry Brown, since no individual has done more in his power to destroy the fish, water and environment of California.
As I mentioned already, 2015 California fish populations ranging from Delta smelt to striped bass dropped to record low levels under his watch. As Brown’s allies in the Obama administration continued to send winter run Chinook salmon, as well as the fall, late fall and spring runs, to the scaffold, Brown continued to promote anti-environmental policies that have surpassed those of any previous California administration.
While Brown gushed about his "green energy" and carbon trading policies at the Paris Climate Conference in December and other photo opportunities throughout the year, he continued to enthusiastically support the expansion of fracking in California, rejecting calls to ban fracking from a coalition of over 200 environmental and public interests groups.
He and his federal partners, after federal EPA scientists trashed the “science” of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), instead divided the project into two components, the California Water Fix, the tunnels component, and the California Eco Restore, the “habitat” conservation component, in July. And this new fast-tracked project allowed for no public meetings; the “Fix was in” as many folks quipped.
At this point, there are no environmental groups (with the exception of Jerry Meral’s Natural Heritage Institute), fishing groups or tribes that the support the project, but Brown continues to push this boondoggle forward, in spite of the fact that there is no example in U.S. or world history where a project that took more water out of a river resulted in ecosystem restoration.
The project would hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River winter and spring run Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish speciesm as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
Proper accounting for Brown’s other abysmal environmental policies would fill a very large book. Here are just a few:
- Brown supports carbon trading and REDD. REDD is the acronym for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation,” but indigenous leaders throughout the world say REDD really means "Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity."
- His administration was beset with numerous environmental scandals, ranging from the resignation of his top oil regulator to the resignation of two Fish and Game Commissioners, Jim Kellogg and Jack Bayliss and the Commission’s Executive Director, Sonke Mastrup.
- Brown “completed” the faux “marine protected areas” developed under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. These “marine protected areas, based on terminally flawed “science” and the violation of the gathering rights of the Yurok Tribe and other Tribes, fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, oil spills, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
- And it was only after months of intense pressure from environmentalists, public health advocates and Porter Ranch residents that Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak disaster that began on October 23.
In an apparent familial conflict of interest, Brown’s sister, Kathleen, plays a significant role at Sempra Energy, the corporation that owns SoCalGas, the company responsible for the gas blowout. She earned $188,380 in her position as a board member in 2014 and $267,865 in 2013. (http://redgreenandblue.org/2015/12/19/jerry-browns-big-bad-ties-to-oil-and-gas-industry/)
For his unprecedented war on fish, water and the environment as he poses as a “Green Governor” promoting “green energy” and addressing “climate change,” Brown receives the “Cold, Dead Fish Award” for the fourth year in a row.
THE CRAYONS OF TERESA
by Almudena Grandes
(Translated by Louis Bedrock)
When she goes into the room to clean it, she finds the notebook on the windowsill as if the patient in room 312B had not died that morning. Teresa always leaves it there, always in the same order: the box of crayons on the bottom, the notebook with a spine as thick as that of a book on top of it, and on the very top, the unusual square pencil sharpener with a depository for the shavings and several different sized openings.
—I can’t believe she has left it.
Milagros is an aide at the clinic, but after 15 years of work in hospitals what she knows is not limited to bleaches and disinfectants. As soon as she sees her arrive, she knows that girl in room 312B is in bad shape. The diagnosis on her chart, more than three and a half lines of words only vaguely familiar, confirm her intuition even before Dr. Ramirez acknowledges that they don’t know what she has. A rare disease, he says, a degenerative disease in a patient with a complex history.
Her name is Rosa and she does not arrive alone. At her side, from the first moment, is her sister Teresa, resembling her as if she were her twin: healthy, strong, smiling in good moments and in bad moments.
—Leave it to me, leave it to me; don’t worry...
The patient in room 312B not only has a rare degenerative disease. She also suffers from episodes of absolute withdrawal during which she doesn’t move, speak, or respond to any stimulus. These episodes alternate, without warning, with sudden outbreaks of rage in which she screams without articulating a word while trying remove all of the tubes from her body. She is very thin, consumed by the disease, but in those moments, she extracts a brutal force from some part of her and, if her sister were not there, two orderlies would be needed to restrain her. But that never happens because Teresa is always there, month after month, day and night, sleeping or awake, she is at the side of her sister.
Her parents come every day with their other child, stay for a while — the time it takes to feel that they can no longer control their weeping. Rosa also has cousins, friends that do not abandon her; but she is above all the sister of Teresa, who knows how to interpret her wishes when she cannot express them, the right words to calm her, the way to immobilize her so she doesn’t hurt herself nor anyone else, without losing her nerve, without crying in public, without collapsing. When crisis seems inevitable, she grabs her notebook, her box of crayons, the sharpener, and that is all she needs.
At first, Milagros thinks she is drawing pictures. Later, looking over her shoulder, she realizes that it is not exactly so. What Teresa is doing is coloring, filling in small spaces of large drawings with the finely sharpened points of the crayons: drawings of bouquets of flowers with innumerable petals, birds with many feathers that are broken down into dozens of particles, animals with their fur imprinted in concentric circles, thick jungles with room for every shade of green. Milagros has never seen anything like it. Teresa’s book is an adult, more difficult version of the coloring books for young children, an activity that demands so much attention, such precision, that the period of her sister’s death throes doesn’t leave Teresa time to finish.
That morning, when she goes in to clean the room, Milagros opens the notebook and discovers that Teresa hasn’t even completed half of it. For this reason, and because the carton contains 120 crayons--a famous foreign brand, Milagros consults the chart of Rosa. She allows a week to pass before she calls, so the owner of the crayons and the notebook has time to notice they are missing. And then she is astonished when she hears Teresa say,
—They’re for you, Milagros. I forgot to leave you a note, but I no longer need them. I don’t think I’ll ever color again in my life, but since you enjoyed watching me so much… Finish the book for me, will you?
That night, Milagros arrives home with Teresa’s gift in a plastic bag. It’s almost eleven o’clock, but her grandson is fully dressed, dirty, sitting on the floor, and watching television. The child’s mother, who had the child six years ago, is twenty-one years old; she has gone out without saying where. The child’s Uncle George, the younger son of Milagros, has not even been here since the child came home from school. The child’s grandmother bathes him quickly, heats up some soup, prepares a French omelet, and gauges his hunger by the velocity with which he wolves it all down; she puts him in bed, tells him a story, and turns off the light.
The she goes into the living room, as she has done many nights--too many nights; but this particular night, instead of crying, she takes out Teresa’s notebook, her crayons, and chooses a drawing.
TREE PRUNING WORKSHOPS: APPLES & PEARS, REVIVING OLD ORCHARD TREES
Winter Pruning: Saturday 2/6 and Sunday 2/7 on i Road in Albion, call 937-0783 or email me off-list; schedule is open to morning or afternoon. Summer Pruning: next August or September, depending on the weather. Our remnant orchards from 60-100 years ago can still be brought into full and useful fruit production. Our Mediterranean climate provides us with two dormant pruning seasons, utilizing different methods for successful rejuvenation. hands-on sharing of knowledge; included will be ladder skills, forget the fear…...and guaranteed humor in keeping with the joy of our work. I have studied with some of the best: Robert Kourik, author of Edible Landscaping, Emile Linquist, esteemed Heritage Apple Collector and Bill Mollison, author Permaculture books.
Jaen Treesinger, Landscape designer / contractor, serving the coast over 25 years
HUGE VICTORY FOR GMO LABELING!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is BANNING the sale and import of genetically modified salmon, and it's because of the work of grassroots labeling activists like you! After the FDA approved tank-grown GMO salmon a few months ago, tens of thousands of activists nationwide stood up and demanded Congress prevent these Frankenfish from appearing on our grocery store shelves unlabeled. Because of YOUR voices, genetically engineered salmon will NOT be sold in the United States until the FDA can set strict guidelines on how to label them. This is one of our BIGGEST victories for our movement.
A WACKY CAT PEOPLE PARTY!
Caturday, February 27th * 3-5 pm
Adults are invited to don their ugliest cat sweaters & join us at the Ukiah Library for a Wacky Cat People Party. Cat lovers of all stripes can share cat stories, watch cat videos, challenge their friends to cat trivia, meet adoptable shelter cats & kittens c/o Ukiah’s local shelter, and make cat-butt coasters. We look forward to seeing you there. For more information, please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or firstname.lastname@example.org Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.
Melissa Eleftherion Carr
Teen & Adult Services Librarian
105 N. Main Street, Ukiah CA 95482