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As the fires raged for a fifth day, much of the region also faced a lingering threat posed by the dense pillars of smoke. Public health officials warned of dangerously bad air quality and said it was particularly threatening for elderly, children and people with respiratory or heart conditions. Los Angeles County issued smoke advisories, urging people to remain indoors when possible, while Santa Barbara County officials said they expected some 50,000 masks to be distributed.
Phil Moyal, an air quality specialist in Ventura County, said the smoke was causing hazardous conditions there, especially in the Ojai Valley, which is surrounded by mountains trapping the smoke.
"When we say 'off the charts' we mean off the charts," Moyal said Friday about the air quality measurements. "I would not want to be there too long . . . I would tell people to go to Seattle. There are not many places in Southern California that are clean or will stay clean, and that can change in a minute depending on the wind."
Albion-Little River Fire Chief Ted Williams to run for 5th District Supervisor
I want to serve as the Supervisor for the 5th District of Mendocino County because I believe my experience, accomplishments and imagination can help find solutions to the many problems that currently confront our county.
We face a shortage of affordable housing, inadequate access to broadband and severe strains on our county’s long-term financial viability. We need to strengthen our coastal protections, especially against oil extraction. We need to bolster equipment and training for our public safety personnel and first responders. Mendocino County must do whatever it can to ensure health care availability and a functioning hospital on the coast.
I was born in the Coast Hospital, raised in Comptche and graduated Mendocino Community High School. My wife, Mary, and I celebrate our 20th anniversary next year and we are blessed with our daughter Alice, 15, and son Bjorn, 11 and I have served as Chief of the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District since 2011.
In 2014, I worked with concerned citizens to pass Measure M, the passage (82%) of which enabled us to modernize our equipment. In 2015, I served on the committee that authored and passed Measure V, the enforcement of which will enhance public safety countywide.
As 5th District Supervisor I will listen. I will answer every call. The best way to learn about my vision is direct exchange: TED@TED.NET, Cell: 707 937-3600
Ted Williams, Albion
(Ed note: Measure V was the bold measure which declared hack&squirted standing dead trees to be a public nuisance. At last check, Mendocino Redwood Company subsequently claimed that since timber growing and harvesting is “agriculture,” they are exempt from nuisance declarations under the state’s “Right to Farm” ordinance. So far, the County has not taken any further action to dispute that specious claim.)
THE ODD POINT ARENA CASE OF Doug Burkey and Sheryl Lyn Smith which began in the fall of 2016 has moved slowly through the Sonoma County courts.
We've just learned that Burkey and Smith have been arrested and jailed in Sonoma County, on charges of forgery, attempted and/or actual grand theft, and conspiracy. The booking photos are dated Dec. 5, 2017 so this was very recent. They were each booked on the six felony counts. Bottom line, it looks like three felony counts of forgery (Penal Code Section 115), two felony counts of attempted/grand theft (Penal Code Section 664/487) and one felony count of conspiracy (Penal Code Section 182).
* * *
The following archival material describes the event that led to Burkey and Smith's legal tribulations last year:
1. (Independent Coast Observer, Sep 1, 2016)
DISPUTE WITH EX'S FAMILY LED TO ARREST FOR PAIR
by J. Stephen McLaughlin
A dispute over real estate that was co-owned by Sheryl Lyn Smith and her former partner of nine years led to the arrest of Smith and her friend Doug Burkey, both of Point Arena, Smith told the ICO on Tuesday. Smith said they were completely surprised when they were arrested in Point Arena August 20 on a Sonoma County warrant. They were still in custody when the ICO went to press last week and were released on Friday. Smith said the charges stem from an agreement she made four years ago over the Timber Cove property jointly owned with her former partner when the two parted ways. He died two months after that and his family is disputing the agreement, she said. Burkey's involvement was as her "new friend and neighbor," Smith said, who "offered himself as a buffer in our negotiations." She added, "As they say, 'no good deed goes unpunished'." Brian Staebell of the Sonoma District Attorney's Office said Smith and Burkey will be in court on Friday, September 9 to enter pleas and set a trial date. As to the legal case, Smith said, "We expect to be vindicated by the court — but that doesn't make up for the humiliation of being arrested." Even so, Smith had one positive take on the experience. "We had the opportunity to meet new resident Deputy Robert Julian Jr. and see him in action. He handled the situation very professionally and was considerate. I'm glad he is part of our community." She added that the arrest was in stark contrast to the conditions they found in jail in Ukiah. Smith, who had just filed her candidacy in a five-person race for three seats on the Point Arena City Council said she would withdraw from the race although it is too late to remove her name from the ballot. "I'll vote for Jonathan Torrez, Richie Wasserman and Scott Igancio," she said.
(Courtesy, the Independent Coast Observer.)
2. (AVA Sep 14, 2016)
THE SMITH-BURKEY CASE: DOCUMENTS
D1. Grant deed with LaVenter granting Smith interest in his property. Recorded 6-23-05 (SB1) D2-3. Short form deed of trust etc. with Smith granting Burkey her interest in the above property. This doc is real snaky. It's dated Feb. 12, 2012 but not notarized until June 7, 2012 and then not recorded until June 29, 2012. According to the ICO Smith and LaVenter split up a couple of months before he was found dead. Smith deeded the property to Burkey months before LaVenter died. (SB2,3) D4. A quit claim deed with Smith quitting her claim to the property to LaVenter, (the property she had deeded to Burkey months earlier) for a "valuable consideration". Recorded 8-30-12. (SB4) D5. Notice of Action against Smith and Burkey (“Complaint for Fraud/Deceipt and Fraudulent Transfer”) saying Burkey has no interest in the property and no right to force sale of it. Recorded 6-12-13 (SB5) D6. Notice of Action similar to the other one. Recorded 11-12-13. Mr. LaVenter's death certificate shows the date of death as 11/29/2012. Mr. LaVenter was a waste water engineer. Place of death: “Wooded creek area behind 22147 Hwy 1.” Cause of Death: “under investigation.” Subsquent amendments/corrections to the Death Certificate show the cause of death as “undetermined” and “could not be determined.”
* * *
The dates on the documents show that Smith and Burkey have known about this case and the questions about the estate and ownership for a long time. They have had over two years to straighten this out.
3. (Debra Keipp, AVA, Oct 2016)
My vote is on Sheryl Lyn Smith for newly elected by write-in vote! It's not that I'd vote for her, because she is one of the oddest people I've ever met, but I can see several Point Arena Pirates casting enuf write-in votes for her to win the election. Point Arena loves pirates! If you haven't heard, Sheryl (who goes by several different names according to record checks) has some history with former mayor Doug Burkey (ex of Barbara Burkey, who is also running for elected office), as they were arrested August 21 st for fraud and jailed for about a week while investigators investigated the fraud and possible murder (listed suspicious death) of her ex, who was allegedly defrauded pre- and post-mortem, in part. She says the case has been thrown out as a horrible misunderstanding, but when the AVA sent an intrepid investigator to Sonoma County to get a copy of her ex's (suspicious) death certificate, it was let known to her that the (suspicious) death was still under investigation. The paper trail on the fraud is absolutely damning (see ICO website for documents). Stay tuned on this one. Even tho Point Arenans suffer from an immense amount of apathetic doldrumism; fraud by lovers, after the suspicious, undetermined death of a missing person, reported by the man's actual ex-wife and mother of his children, doesn't bode well, or does it?... in the dumbed-down political ring of 2016. Well, … Point Arena loves a pirate!
ERIN HENRY FOUND DEAD OF APPARENT SUICIDE
Press release from Arcata Police Department:
On the morning of 12/8/2017, the Arcata Police Department was contacted by the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) and informed a maintenance worker had located a knee scooter along HWY 101 south of Westhaven.
Officers responded to the location and conducted a search of the area. During the search, 22-year-old Erin Henry, reported missing to the APD on 11/30/2017, was discovered deceased a short distance east of HWY 101.
With the assistance of the Humboldt County Sheriff/Coroner, Ms. Henry’s body was recovered.
The preliminary investigation revealed no sign of foul play.
The APD would like to thank the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, CalTrans, Humboldt State University, HSU Theater Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, Humboldt Transit Authority, Crescent City Police Department, AT&T, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, California State Parks and the numerous volunteers that assisted with search efforts.
* * *
UPDATE, 4 p.m.: Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said 22-year-old Erin Henry’s death appears to have been caused by a fall from Elephant Rock, and there’s reason to believe she committed suicide.
Officials have done a preliminary examination of her body, and the injuries are consistent with a fall, Chapman said. He also said there were at least three witnesses who saw Henry alone near the location where her body was ultimately found.
During the investigation into Henry’s disappearance, officers learned that she’d been having suicidal thoughts. “Evidence uncovered in the investigation early on pointed to this being the likely outcome,” Chapman said.
Henry’s family has been informed of all the above, Chapman said.
BOMB SQUAD DETONATES DEVICE FOUND ON UKIAH BUILDING
Authorities exploded a bomb found on the roof of a Ukiah dog-grooming facility Thursday.
The nailed-covered, metallic device was atop the Dirty Dog on South State Street, said Capt. John Corippo of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority. It was spotted by an employee who climbed on the roof to repair a leak, Corippo said.
The employee carried it into the building and called police, who summoned the Sonoma County sheriff’s bomb squad. Deputies cordoned off the intersection of State and Luce streets before detonating the device behind a wall of sand bags.
It was determined to be a real bomb, said Sgt. Spencer Crum, the sheriff’s spokesman. Ukiah police were investigating.
(Paul Payne, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
ANXIETY RUNS HIGH AS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION PUTS HUMBOLDT COUNTY’S ECONOMY AT A CROSSROADS
by Ryan Burns
California is on the verge of launching the world’s largest legal marijuana market, and yet the weed industry here in Humboldt County, internationally renowned for dank buds, finds itself in decline — at least in terms of profits.
Tales of dwindling returns this year are rampant. Kevin Jodrey, a longtime cultivator and owner of Garberville’s Wonderland Nursery, said local growers are selling pounds for “anywhere between $500 and $700.” In a good market, a pound of high-quality outdoor-grown cannabis might still sell for $900, he said, but even that’s a dramatic decline from a year ago, when pounds were going for closer to $2,000. And prior to the 2008 financial collapse local growers were commanding $4,000 per pound, Jodrey said.
Growers who are working to join the legal and regulated marketplace are feeling the pinch especially hard. “If you’re a craft farmer in Humboldt County, like myself, you’re struggling because the market is driven by volume right now,” said Sunshine Johnston, who’s operating a 4,000-square-foot grow near Redcrest and has a permit application pending with the county to increase her farm to 10,000 square feet.
As of this week, Humboldt County has approved just 99 permits, 86 of which are for cultivation. (The other 13 are for manufacturing, distribution, or a dispensary.) That leaves more than 1,700 permits awaiting approval, but even that number represents just a fraction of the estimated 15,000 grow operations in Humboldt County alone.
The swollen ranks of black market operators across the state have been flooding the market with product, rushing to capitalize before the regulatory landscape changes on them. Once legalization hits, dispensaries will no longer be allowed to get their supply from people with secret grows in their garages and backyards. They’ll have to buy weed that’s been tested, certified and tracked from seed to sale.
For every grower unable or unwilling to go legit, with all the red tape and fees that entails, this year has been the last hurrah, in some ways. (Interstate sales and distribution still account for the majority of black market profits, by all accounts.)
“Cannabis 2017 is cannabis on steroids,” said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, a nonprofit representing 162 local weed businesses. “Anybody and everybody is growing as much as possible across the state with no regulations, no testing,” no government-imposed bottlenecks to hold back “that tidal wave of product,” she said.
“That’s a problem,” Johnston said. “Everyone’s driving the price down. It just sucks.”
Jodrey agrees that this transition period has been painful and confusing for many local growers. “People are basically just trying to survive,” he said. “I don’t think anybody understands what’s about to happen.”
One result of the over-supply of weed has been a lot less cash flowing into the local economy. This trend impacts even those businesses with no direct connections to the industry.
Shelley Nilsen, owner of Express Employment Professionals and chair of the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce, told the Outpost via email, “I have heard from many local retail businesses that they are down this year, many of them significantly down. People just aren’t dropping cash like they have in years past.”
Jodrey said he’s been approached by “county leaders and powerful businessmen in normal business [who] realize they’re about to lose all the disposable income in the county. … Cultivators are the backbone of the Humboldt County economy,” he said. “Who buys at grocery stores? Who eats at restaurants? I’m nervous watching all these people I know start to go bankrupt.”
So is this the beginning of another economic collapse in Humboldt County, with the end of the Green Rush echoing the previous collapse of Humboldt’s timber and fishing industries? Or does this lean year merely reflect a painful but ultimately fruitful transition from an illicit criminal black market to a well-regulated agricultural industry, one that could offer a more stable foundation for our economic future?
* * *
For growers like Johnston, the regulations feel more like a burden than an opportunity so far.
“In the short term I’m very worried because farmers have already spent all their savings just to become compliant,” she said. “Attorneys and consultants ripped us off. People don’t have savings going into state licensing.”
Johnston also said local growers are worried about the expense of the county’s track and trace program, which she said “will jack our cash flow.”
She feels the county didn’t adequately consider the total costs for growers to come into compliance with multiple agencies, and she argued that the county’s taxation system should have been based on yield rather than square footage of cultivation area. The current system puts “craft farmers” at a disadvantage, instead benefitting high-yield growers, she said.
That’s the same criticism leveled against state lawmakers’ recent decision to eliminate a proposed one-acre cap on growing operations. The cap [itself more than four times the 10,000 square foot limit] was nowhere to be found in emergency regulations released by the California Department of Food and Agriculture last month. Unless it’s overturned, this omission would effectively allow grows of unlimited size in some parts of the state.
The decision to eliminate the one-acre cap, which followed intense lobbying from industry insiders, runs counter to both Prop. 64’s pitch to voters and the recommendations in a 2015 report from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, which warned against “a market dominated by large corporations that could exert increasing influence on the commercial and political process.”
Nathan Whittington, who operates the Ladybug Herbal Sanctuary Cooperative and has a 2,500-square-foot grow near Ferndale, said that he and other members of both the Humboldt County Growers Alliance and the California Growers Alliance urged state lawmakers to keep the cap. “We’re still working with the state on that issue,” he said. “There’s a big difference between being mass produced, like the Budweiser model, and the smaller microbrew model.”
(As industry website Leafly notes, however, even that cap might not prevent big corporate interests from dominating the industry since they could conceivably stockpile a collection of once-acre permits.)
But Whittington is more optimistic than some of his industry cohorts. “We’re leading the state right now,” he said, referring to Humboldt County. “We were the first ones to have an ordinance, the first ones to have a regulatory system.”
He and his business partners are holding onto their fall harvest so they have product ready for the statewide marketplace in the new year, and he said much of the work local growers did to come into compliance with county rules will translate easily to the state system.
Growers in other counties will have a more difficult time, he predicted. Most local governments don’t have a regulatory system up and running yet, and some have chosen to ban cannabis cultivation altogether. “This will give us a chance to demonstrate that our products are sustainable, and we can get a piece of the market share,” Whittington said. “I think we’re in a good position to lead the charge for the state.”
He did acknowledge that there’s a lot more to think about and navigate in the world of legal weed. “As an owner of a small family business, I’m having to take on many roles in relation to compliance — making sure we’re compliant with the Ag Department’s pest management concerns, doing the bookkeeping, making sure we’re in line with the state rules.”
Johnston agreed that it’s critical to stay on top of such things. “If you’re a farmer and you’re not working on your business, you’re getting behind,” she said. “There are so many more costs now.”
Jodrey, meanwhile, said local growers still have a lot to learn. He spoke to the Outpost from a cannabis business convention in Hawaii. It’s the kind of event he’s been attending for years now, meeting with investors across the country in hopes of getting a leg up during the early days of the legal marketplace. That’s not something many other locals have been doing, he said.
“The problem is, Humboldt County farmers are usually quiet, private people. They’re not really suited to do that,” he said. “Our ignorance is a real detriment right now.”
Unlike Whittington, Jodrey sees our region in a much more precarious place economically. Humboldt County has the ability to create a thriving legal industry, he said, “but we need a system for easier permitting access. We need to simplify the process. Otherwise we’ll lose out to industrial grow operations in the high desert and down in Southern California. … The county has to take a look and understand that unlike other places in the U.S. we are completely cannabis dependent.”
Nilsen disagreed, saying there’s more to the local economy than cannabis, though she admits that it plays a big role — probably too big. Humboldt County needs to diversify, she said.
“If all we are good for is marijuana (or any other single industry), then we are not thinking big enough as a community,” Nilsen said. “We need to pursue other type of manufacturing as well as [information technology], and we need to make sure our infrastructure, such as our transportation system, is capable of supporting a variety of industries.”
There are plenty of jobs available in the county, especially for skilled tradesmen in the construction industry, including plumbers, roofers and electricians, Nilsen said. She also noted that the health care field is “wide open,” with entry-level jobs as medical assistants and billers as well as more advanced positions such as RNs, respiratory techs, X-ray techs, and practice managers.
“Really, any type of work that requires trade school and on-the-job learning is in high demand and we are seeing wages push up, especially as you gain that experience,” Nilsen said.
As for the legal cannabis industry, she and others noted that it’s still early days. “Major legislative changes take years – even a decade or more – to really solidify and be fully implemented,” Nilsen said. “I think this will be the case with marijuana. There are so many issues to work out in terms of how to govern it, we haven’t even identified them all yet. … We can expect a lot of uncertainty around it for years to come.”
Carver said she likes Senator Mike McGuire’s analogy: we’re building a plane while flying it. “I think we’ll start seeing things become more normal in 2019 or 2020,” she said, noting that supply chain problems, like a statewide shortage of retail outlets and testing labs, will take some time to get worked out.
And she agreed with Nilsen that the community needs to look beyond marijuana.
“It’s really important that Humboldt County start looking at a diversified model to be able to supplement the economy that it has now,” she said. Specifically she suggested focusing more on tourism, with a unified Humboldt brand and marketing campaign. “We have so much to offer up here that isn’t cannabis but that can be supported by those who use it,” Carver said.
Calling legalization “one of the biggest opportunities we’ve ever had,” Carver said she’s optimistic about the county’s economic future, as long as people focus on combining our cannabis assets with tourism and other industries. She imagined an ad campaign that convinces a millennial in Los Angeles that “the best road trip in life” is a drive up to Humboldt County, along the Lost Coast, with dinner at Gabriel’s, a photo op at Patrick’s Point, and sure, maybe a stop at a local dispensary or farm.
“If we don’t start engaging in those conversations we will not only feel the loss of money flowing in from illegal [grow operators], we will have lost an opportunity to create something better for the whole community,” Carver said.
A PENDING CLASS K ORDINANCE UPDATE to comply with current building codes would nearly eliminate Class K as a separate residential (“dwelling”) building category in Mendocino County making housing more expensive (and maybe safer). Class K outbuildings would still exist as an option.
The only Agenda Item for Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 of the Board of Supervisors Public Health, Safety, and Resources Committee
1a. Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff Regarding Revisions to the Limited Density Rural Dwelling (Class K) Ordinance
Summary Of Referral: The items recommended for revision to the Limited density rural Dwelling (Class K) Ordinance are as follows:
- An automatic fire sprinkler system shall be required in all new Single Family Residences (SFR).
- A new SFR shall be limited to 2,000 square feet of habitable space.
- Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) requirements shall be required for all new SFR's.
- A perimeter foundation, as required by the California Building Code (CBC), shall be required under all SFR's, and all accessory structures greater than one story in height.
- A minimum parcel size of five (5) acres shall be required for any structure.
A completed draft document will be available after the Public Health and Safety Committee has reviewed and approved, or amended the recommendations.
* * *
TO: Mendocino County Public Health, Safety and Resources Committee
FROM: Casey O’Neill, HappyDay Farms, Vice-Chair California Growers Association, Acting Chair Mendocino County Growers Alliance
This Memo is in regards to the Mendocino Class K Ordinance, Chapter 18.23 Regulations for Limited Density Rural Dwellings.
We would like to start by wholeheartedly supporting the list of Findings that made possible the original “Class K” ordinance. It is amazing, that though these regulations were passed in 1981, the Findings (and thus the need for these types of permits) still ring true in remarkable fashion.
We would also like to take this time to oppose the changes that have been proposed to the ordinance. Automatic Sprinklers and Perimeter foundations are extremely expensive and should not be considered necessary for owner-built buildings. The square footage limit is a random selection of size and should not be pursued. Nor should Wildland Interface Requirements or Minimum Parcel Sizes. The entire purpose of this program is to create a functional pathway for citizens to permit their structures in rural parts of the county.
In brief paraphrase of the Findings in the ordinance; the county citizens still believe there is a need for Limited Density Rural Dwellings. We remain a rural county with fairly moderate/temperate climate, and our rough terrain is still a barrier that creates a certain degree of isolation. It can be difficult to get supplies and professionals onsite in the far-flung reaches of the county. There is still a continuing and severe housing shortage; the General Plan is expected to reflect the needs of county citizens to find housing available, and Class K presents an appropriate opportunity to facilitate these needs.
Written in 1981, the ordinance recognized the complexity of the Uniform Building Codes, noting that they “may be beyond the understanding of many owner-builders and home owners.” The complexity of building codes has increased in the intervening decades, meaning that the Findings from 1981 ring true even more-so today. The rural areas of the county are hugely reliant on the Class K program, if permits are applied for at all. There are some problems with the way that the existing program is being applied, on which we are pleased to have the opportunity to comment below:
Foundations: The Class K Ordinance is very clear in its authorization of post/pier and other types of foundations. The Building Department’s current insistence on either Perimeter foundations or full sign-off from a licensed engineer does not follow the intent of the law. It is adding thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars to the cost of permits under the Class K Program. We strongly oppose the suggested revision to require perimeter foundation, and ask that the Building Dept be instructed specifically to allow post and pier foundations.
Fire Sprinklers: Requirements of automatic fire sprinklers do not work well with the reality of off-grid, rural Mendocino County. It is important that we not create regulations that discourage or prevent people from living in the rural areas of the county.
Wildland Urban Interface Requirements: It is good for the county to provide information to people about fire resistant building materials. However, for structures already in existence, there should not be a requirement for expensive retrofitting to include these materials.
Minimum Parcel Size: We question the need for a minimum parcel size restriction on these types of dwellings. Given the acute housing crises in Mendocino County, we should be facilitating more living space, not putting up roadblocks.
Square Footage: It does not seem necessary to limit the square footage of these types of dwellings. What is the reasoning behind this suggestion?
Composting Toilets: Given the need for saving water in our environment, along with significant cost savings and potential for better land-use through reduced human waste contamination, it is important that the County look at revising code regarding Composting Toilets. It is time to rethink the full septic requirement in favor of policies that support sound environmental compliance in cost-effective manners. There is often not enough water to go around; the county should rethink septic regulations.
Process: The Class K Ordinance was written in the spirit of working with the community to create a workable permitting process for owner-built structures. In the eyes of many in the community, this spirit of goodwill has largely been abandoned by the current Building Department, which is requiring onerous processes of applicants, increasing the overall time and cost of the permit. The proposed revisions to the regulations are direct evidence of current regulatory creep in this program.
Results: People are having a hard time negotiating the process because the County Building Dept is operating as though Class K permits should live up to the full standards of the Uniform Building Codes, when this is very clearly not the intent of the regulations. Because of this, there are many people who would like to apply for permits but who feel afraid to do so for fear of not being able to accomplish the process due to over-zealous application by Building Dept officials.
Accessory Structures: Class K is unclear about the potential for using accessory structures for business endeavors. It should be clarified that hoophouses, greenhouses, drying sheds and other accessory structures are acceptable under either Ag-Exempt or Class K categories.
It is important that regulations be written to foster the spirit of compliance. Creating rules that people are not able to follow is self-defeating. The Class K Ordinance represents a sensible approach and should be used to invigorate our local communities, economies and sustain the environment through fostering discussion of good land-use practices. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Casey O’Neill, HappyDay Farms, Vice-Chair California Growers Association, Acting Chair Mendocino County Growers Alliance
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag told me today that if I didn't start treating him with respect he was was bringing his cousin Lynx up here to ‘deal’ with me. Oh yeah, Skrag? I see your lynx and raise you Bruno!”
MENDOCINO BALLET BRINGS HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES TO UKIAH AND THE COAST
by Carole Brodsky
On Dec. 15, 16 and 17, the Mendocino Ballet brings “The Nutcracker,” Peter Tchaikovsky’s most celebrated ballet, to Ukiah audiences.
Scores of dancers, bedecked in elegant costumes designed by Susanna Cummings, are rehearsing for their first weekend of performances, which will take place in Fort Bragg.
This year, according to artistic director Trudy McCreanor, coastal residents will be treated to a brand-new production of “Les Patineurs” (“The Skaters”), along with Act II from “The Nutcracker.” The coastal performance takes place at Fort Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium, and the four Ukiah performances of “The Nutcracker” take place at the Mendocino College Theater.
Show supporters include Mendocino Greenhouse Garden Supply, Mendocino Bounty, Mama’s Café, Thurston Honda, Les Schwab Tire Center, KOZT 95.9, Headlands Coffeehouse, Barra of Mendocino, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Village Books, Lauren’s Restaurant, Pick-Em-Up Truck Store, Schat’s Bakery, Team Insurance, the Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund, Chris Bennett, Ukiah Signs, Shelly Cheneweth, DDS, Ukiah Symphony, Bonterra Wine, Rain Forest Fantasy, Mendocino Book Company, NCO Volunteer Network, Northwest Insurance and Yokayo Veterinary Center.
McCreanor provides the technical expertise and the inspiration for the dozens of dancers who work for months to bring the timeless story of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince to sold-out crowds every holiday season.
McCreanor has been directing the Mendocino Ballet since 2001 and has directed “The Nutcracker” for 17 years. She was awarded a full scholarship to the North Carolina School of the Arts at 14 years of age. She studied dance and theater arts at Stevens College, the University of Missouri and Columbia College, where she received a full academic merit scholarship.
McCreanor was the founder and past artistic director of the Colorado West Ballet and Performing Arts Center. She studied with both classical and jazz dance luminaries and has performed in classical ballet companies across the country, teaching ballet, floor barre and gymnastics.
One of McCreanor’s most celebrated achievements has been the creation of a long-term cultural exchange program between the Mendocino Ballet Company and a French dance troupe.
Students from both schools have traveled to Ukiah and France numerous times over the past 10 years, where they have studied and had numerous performance opportunities. Advanced dance students from the Mendocino Ballet will have the opportunity to travel to France this summer, where they will tour Paris, attend ballet performances and study at their sister school.
This year, Clara is being played by Miranda Stearns, a 15-year-old sophomore at Ukiah High. Stearns has been dancing for 11 years. This is her 10th year dancing in “The Nutcracker” and her first time playing Clara.
“All of my friends have been Clara in the past, and they have helped me out a lot. You get really familiar with the story over time,” Stearns notes. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s so fun, even though we’re working hard. We have such a great community of people here, and we’re all such close friends,” Stearns notes. She wants to continue dancing through college and would like to stay with ballet as long as possible.
Emily Lindstrom, 13, attends Mendocino Middle School and Aiming Gealey, 13, attends Fort Bragg Middle School. The pair are commuting to Ukiah to perform in “The Nutcracker.”
Lindstrom is also performing in “Les Patineurs” in Fort Bragg. She has been dancing for about 10 years and is playing four roles in “The Nutcracker.”
“I love ballet – not as a career, but mostly for fun,” Lindstrom smiles.
Gealey has been dancing with the company for about nine years and has been dancing as long as she can remember. She has been commuting every Saturday to Ukiah and is very excited about the possibility of going to France next summer.
Morgan Cummings, 24, is the company’s senior dancer. She is majoring in English at Sonoma State University. Cummings has been with the company for 17 seasons, starting out as a Ginger Snap in “The Nutcracker.” This year, she is sharing the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen, along with dancing in supporting roles.
“I love ‘The Nutcracker.’ The performance is different every year and I’m always excited. It’s fun to put together a new show,” says Cummings, who relishes the opportunity to continue dancing with the company.
“There are no high-level ballet courses at my college, and even if there were, I’d rather be here with Trudy and my friends. The training is excellent here,” she continues. Cummings is planning on teaching at Mendocino Ballet next year.
“Dancing is a big commitment. You have to be dedicated to get to the higher levels. I’m always striving for perfection, and it always makes me feel better when I’m dancing,” says Cummings, adding that her family has been very supportive of her love of dance. “I love performing and the way the company works as a team. Everyone is so nice. It’s a wonderful group and everyone pulls together so well,” Cummings concludes.
Carson Maynard, 12, attends River Oak Charter School, and has the distinction of being the sole male member of the company.
“When I was 2, my grandparents started taking me to ‘The Nutcracker.’ I knew I wanted to do this,” he says. Maynard started dancing with the company when he was 6 years old. He is playing Fritz, a soldier, a Chinese Dragon and has an additional solo in “Les Patineurs.”
“I get a lot of attention because I’m the only boy in the company. It can be stressful, but it’s really fun,” Maynard says.
“Males learn a totally different dance style, because we don’t go on point. Plus, there are minor things we do differently – different steps, minor variations. You do a lot of jumps, every day. Trudy makes a different version of exercises for me when the girls are on point. I love it,” he says.
“We could not produce this show every year without our parent volunteers, our amazing board of directors, and our wonderful cast and crew. When I stopped dancing professionally, I made the choice to teach children. I remember how important it was to me when I received full scholarships as a young person. This is my way of giving back to future generations, particularly as we see continued funding cuts to the arts. Because of this, it’s even more important that organizations like ours exist into the future,” McCreanor concludes.
“The Nutcracker” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15, at 2 and 7 p.m. on Dec. 16 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 17. “Les Patineurs” will be performed in Fort Bragg at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9.
Tickets for the Ukiah and Fort Bragg performances are available online and at Mendocino Ballet. Tickets for “The Nutcracker” may also be purchased at the Mendocino Book Company and Mazahar in Willits. Tickets for “Les Patineurs” may be purchased at Pippi’s Longstockings, Harvest Market and Out of This World.
For more information, visit http://www.mendocinoballet.org, Mendocino Ballet’s Facebook page or phone (707) 463-2290.
(Courtesy, The Ukiah Daily Journal.)
THE BRANDING OF FORT BRAGG — The county of Mendocino spends a small fortune on promotion, which the County seems to define mostly as the wine industry. The tax-funded promo people attend wine events in San Francisco and dependably appear every year at budget time to ask for more money for more wine events. Fort Bragg shouldn't have to "brand" itself other than what it is — a ghostly former company logging town with miles of accessible beach, a former Cannery Row at Noyo Harbor much like Steinbeck's in its old structures and fishing boats, fine little restaurants, and unobstructed beauty of forest and sea from every vantage. Of all the oceanside towns in California and Oregon, Fort Bragg's natural amenities are, by far, superior to any and all of them. The downside is a dying city center where rents are out of all proportion to what a small business can afford and a lunatic city policy that has established homeless centers in the middle of town that draw destructive and self-destructive persons from all over. The walking wounded don't seem all that intrusive to me, but I'm merely a visitor, just passing through. "Branding" Fort Bragg as whatever these consultants come up with is certain to be silly and totally irrelevant to all known reality of the place. I've been talking up Fort Bragg for years as the real deal Mendo experience, an interesting, still coherent little town with miles of paved path on the ocean, a town where the visitor is spared the tourist hordes. Another major plus for FB? It's only an hour away from Boonville.
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ASSEMBLYMAN JIM WOOD is one of two hard-hitting state solons gifted us by the tidy little town of Healdsburg, the envy of all Mendocino County's chambers of commerce. A flier from Wood suggests he's poised to take on PG&E (see below), but that glorious day remains at the woof-woof stage by Wood and his colleagues: "AB XX unnumbered Prohibits Ratepayers from Subsidizing Negligence by Utility. This bill would prohibit utilities from increasing utility costs to cover losses when the utility is found negligent in the maintenance of its systems. This bill is being drafted to respond to possible findings of negligence during the Northern California fires."
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RECOMMENDED READING: "France: A Modern History from the Revolution to the War with Terror" by Jonathan Fenby. Accessible history by a former working Brit journalist. Nothing tedious about it — not at all one of these heavily foot-noted jobs written by a ham-handed academic.
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RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "Cuba and the Cameraman," a documentary film by Jon Alpert available via Netflix. Alpert has returned to Cuba every few years from the beginnings of the revolution through the Obama rapprochement. Alpert follows three everyday Cuban families through the years, many of those years lean indeed. And he includes one-on-one interviews with the Jefe himself, the final one as he's dying. We get way too much of Alpert, a frenetic, overly intrusive guy who seems to think he's amusing as all heck, but the interviews with ordinary Cubans, and the film of Cuban towns and countryside are fascinating.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 8, 2017
DANIEL GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Under influence, probation revocation.
MORNINGSTAR HOAGLIN, Willits. Grand theft, petty theft, failure to appear.
JOHN JACKSON JR., San Pablo/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
SHAWN LANE, Ukiah. Parole violation, probation revocation.
ALBERTO LOPEZ, Talmage/Potter Valley. Controlled substance, under influence, smoking-injecting devie, false ID, probation revocation.
LUIS OLIVER, Covelo. Community Supervision violation.
MATEO PACHECO, Ukiah. County parole violation, community supervision violation.
MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DOUGLAS RALEIGH, Lower Lake/Ukiah. DUI.
HEATHER ROGERS, Willits. Under influence, paraphernalia, resisting.
KARL WITT, Redway/Redwood Valley. Pot sales, pot possession for sale, conspiracy.
DUSTIN WOOD, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS — THIRD WEEKEND!
The second weekend of Festival of Lights begins tonight at 5:00PM and runs rain or shine on each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 17.
Take a stroll along the twinkling pathways lined with inventive displays. Warm up and wind down in a beautifully decorated tent complete with live music, local craft brews, and some of the best wine Mendocino County has to offer. The Holiday Sweets Cafe offers hot cocoa, spiced cider, and homemade goodies baked by members of Friends of the Gardens.
Adult tickets are $10 and children age 16 and under attend for free. Tickets are available now at The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, Out of This World in Mendocino, Visit Mendocino in downtown Fort Bragg, or at the door.
New This Year - Take advantage of the complimentary Festival Shuttle and avoid the parking lot hustle and bustle. The parking shuttle will be available each night of the Festival of Lights. The shuttle will pick up from the Mendocino Community College parking lot at 1211 Del Mar Dr, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 beginning at 4:45 PM and take you directly to the Gardens' entrance. The last shuttle pick-up from the College parking lot will be at 6:45 PM.
This weekend's attractions:
Tonight, DEC 8! Dorian May Trio with guest vocals by Sharon Garner (Jazz) . *featuring Navarro Vineyards & Winery and Pennyroyal Farm & Vineyard
Dec 9 Shug-A-Pea - Eclectic contemporary . *featuring Fetzer Wines
Dec 10 Mendocino High School Choir; visit on Smores Sunday and avoid the major crowds. We are adding complimentary s'mores to the mix each Sunday!
*On select nights local wineries are pouring. Those evenings will still be a cash bar and craft brews by North Coast Brewing Company will still be available.
BIG CROWDS EXPECTED AT EMERALD CUP
The annual Emerald Cup is expected to draw 25,000 people to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds this weekend.
EMERALD CUP IMPORTS
As the cannabis industry becomes more mainstream, it still faces draconian threats from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Going against a rising tide of American culture, Sessions has stated a frightening intent to use federal resources to disrupt the industry, even in states where it is legal.
For this reason, it is mystifying that the directors of the Emerald Cup would see fit to include out-of-state vendors in this year’s event and promote them on social media.
Some locals ask why the directors favor out-of-state vendors over local ones who have suffered massive losses in the recent fires. Why would they brazenly promote out-of-state vendors on social media, which makes the event non-compliant with Proposition 215? Why would they issue Proposition 215 recommendations to non-California residents in violation of state law and advertise it? And why would they allow this to occur at a time when Sessions threatens to make a grandstanding display of shutting down such operations?
Hopefully, none of this will occur. But why create this undue risk? And why give preference to out-of-state vendors at a time when local vendors need all the help they can get in the aftermath of the tragic fires that devastated much of the local industry?
H. Scott Prosterman
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
This Russia stuff is a coup d’état to get rid of Trump disguised by a sloppy veneer of due process.
The Great and Powerful cannot abide Trump, they don’t trust him and never will no matter how many enrich-the-rich tax bills he signs. Trump could deliver the moon, and it wouldn’t be enough.
There are certain people that the Ruling Class and its Deep State appendage will not accept as one of their own. For a long time Bill Clinton wasn’t accepted as his travails while in office showed. It didn’t matter that Bill de-regulated Wall Street banks, that he shepherded NAFTA, neither did it matter that he brought China into the WTO.
But Bill eventually got his membership card by gorging on corporate money after his presidency. Bill’s feeding at the trough (and Hillary too) showed that the Clintons could be trusted. And membership paid off for the Clintons with Hillary getting away with the most astounding offenses.
The Kennedys are now widely seen as America’s glamorous royal family. But it wasn’t always such and it had lethal consequences for them. A few generations ago, the contempt of the Ruling Class for these presumptuous Irish Catholics was matched in wide segments of the public. When the first one was gunned down, a public school teacher led her class in a rousing chorus of “Dixie” in celebration. Why did the Ruling Class get away with such heinous crimes and laughable “investigations”? It was because public support for this political decapitation was wide and deep.
But Trump will never be a card-carrying club member. No matter what, unlike with Bill, unlike with the Kennedys, this is a problem that isn’t fixable. Time won’t fix it, nothing will.
STATE SENATOR MCGUIRE WRITES:
California is experiencing a fire season like none other in our history. The unprecedented devastation during the October firestorm in Northern California is now ranked as the most destructive and deadly in American history, and we are now facing the huge fires raging in southern California.
The firestorm that ravaged Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties destroyed over 6,000 homes, scorched more than 170,000 acres, causing billions in damage and resulting in the death of 44 residents (there are still residents registered missing from the fires).
Thousands of neighbors, in the middle of the night on a Sunday evening, were caught unaware and their lives were saved by brave neighbors, friends, police and firemen going door to door. Residents reported that they did not receive emergency alerts during the peak of the evacuations, and after initial review, it’s become obvious a statewide standard for emergency alerts must be established.
California’s North Bay legislative delegation will be introducing a bill setting statewide emergency alert protocols.
There are several different emergency warning systems available to counties that alert residents through cell phone calls, text messages, and landline recordings. Some systems require residents to “opt-in” to the alert notifications, and others have limitations on how they can be targeted in specific areas.
Legislation being introduced by Senator McGuire and the entire North Bay California Legislative Delegation in January will require every county in California to adopt the up-to-date Wireless Emergency Alert system with trained operators who can implement an evacuation order using the alert system. The legislation will also set out standards for when counties should use the system, the legislation will mandate that alerts have to be sent out via landline telephones, mobile phone devices and other mediums as well as guidelines and protocols for when and how the alerts should be sent.
“The size and scope of wild land fire events in California are only getting worse. It’s clear there are shortcomings in our emergency alert system and residents deserve timely notifications and up-to-date information,” Senator Mike McGuire (D-North Bay) said. “Lives depend on the Legislature and Governor taking swift action to ensure statewide emergency alert standards are adopted, training is implemented and funding is secured to ensure communities big and small have reliable alert systems deployed.”
“When wildfires and other disasters strike, it’s critical that impacted residents get emergency alerts as quickly as possible,” said Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa). “Regardless of where you live in California, everyone should be able to rely on a comprehensive, modern warning systems that gets information to the people who need it, when they need it. Emergency alerts can save lives, which is why Senator McGuire and I are partnering with our colleagues in the state Assembly to advance a system that meets our twenty-first century needs.”
“The raging wildfires endangering Californians across the state is without precedent. Lawmakers must protect our communities with the best safety notifications available to prevent loss of life during emergency situations,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County). “All California communities should have dependable emergency alert systems and be notified when lives are in danger.”
“The recent devastating fires in Northern California have put laser focus on our need to fix our emergency notification system,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg). As we now see with the fires in Southern California, the time is now to protect our residents with a system that works for everyone, both urban and rural.”
“As a Member of the Joint Committee on Emergency Management, we heard testimony this week on how critical it is for local governments to alert our mutual constituents in times of crisis,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “I’m happy to join in this effort with my legislative and local government colleagues, and I look forward to continuing our work together that started during the North Bay wildfires. As the recovery continues, we must also stay vigilant to protect people in the event of future emergencies.”
PERVS ON TRANSIT TRAINS TOO?
A light-rail train in Minneapolis derailed last week, forcing Metro Transit to bus riders around the train for several hours. The Phoenix light rail is suffering from major problems due to homeless people, leading the agency to try to force people off the trains.
But the biggest hit against transit is the me-too movement that encourages women to speak out against sexual harassment and other sex crimes.
“The me-too movement is a public transportation issue,” says Washington Post writer Martine Powers. “If you’re a woman who rides public transportation, you’re almost guaranteed to experience the kinds of demeaning or threatening encounters that fit squarely within the bounds of the #MeToo conversation.”
The good news is that women are more likely to report such assaults than they were a few years ago. Powers notes that reports of sexual harassment on the Washington Metro system are up 65% in 2017 over 2016. Similarly, reports of sex crimes on the New York City subway have gone up 50 percent in the last three years. We can hope that these increases are because women are more willing to speak out and not because harassment is actually increasing.
The bad news is that there’s not a lot that transit agencies can do about it. Last September, Powers revealed that a man had been arrested more than twenty times for exposing himself to women on Metro trains and in Metro stations, yet he isn’t in jail and Metro doesn’t have the authority to ban him from the trains.
Increasing reports of sexual harassment on transit may not reflect increasing numbers of actual such harassments, but they will make more women have second thoughts about taking transit and more of them may desert publicly owned transit in favor of alternatives such as Uber, Lyft, and Chariot.
Of course, there have been incidents with Uber, but potential patrons know that ride-sharing drivers, unlike other transit passengers, know they are closely tracked and that their livelihoods depend on providing good service. All in all, this is likely to be just one more nail on transit’s coffin.
CHRIST JESUS SAVE US ALL
A CHILD IN THE CHAMBER OF HORRORS
by Manuel Vicent, translated by Louis S. Bedrock, drawing by Fernando Vicente
His earliest memories were images from the top floor of the Masonic lodge, over which his father presided, where it was rumored that the skeleton of a venerable teacher slept his eternal sleep in a coffin.
Little George would hear his friends at school comment in hushed voices that the masons knew the exact hour and day of their deaths. This occurred in the little city of Stolp, in the region of Pomerania.
When his father died and his family moved to Berlin to look for livelihood, Georg Ehrenfried, later known as George Grosz, would always remember that journey of his childhood: the forest, the meadows, the river, the happy days of summer filled with the smell of hay; and also, the fairs with tombolas and dances; the circuses with clowns: memories which ended up blending with the ghosts of that sinister family attic—and with the erotic fantasy of a night in which he observed, from the darkness of the garden, through a lighted window, a young woman—the mother of a schoolmate, who undressed in her bedroom before getting into bed with movements that revealed, for the first time, the mystery of the female body.
George Grosz was fascinated by crime stories and macabre events that dentists exhibited on large posters and with panoramic illustrations on market day. In 1910, German society was still immersed in aristocratic values; brutality had not yet taken control of public life and people still felt compassion if a vagabond died from the cold. Because of this, in the imagination of little George, there was still an order in things and the child entertained himself with his first doodles extracted from the stories of Indians and trappers written about by Karl May, the most famous author of the time.
He was enchanted by heroic hussars of Blücher and the calvary attacks painted by Röchling. He would innocently copy the battles of the Russo- Japanese War that appeared in magazines; however, this pleasure of things in their own place gave way to the morbid anxiety that he experienced in the Chamber of Horrors, when the fair would come to town, in which Grosz witnessed appalling scenes. He never imagined that one day, in the not so distant future, this fictitious cruelty would be real and would become an aesthetic obsession that would stay with him for his entire life.
The harmony of that happy world in the small city of Pomerania was a permanent substratum of Grosz’s memory when in 1909 he was admitted to the Royal Academy in Dresden to become a painter. In 1912, he continued his studies at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Berlin.
However, in reality, George Grosz had no teachers. The lessons on perspective and composition, as they were taught at that time, never interested him. Cubism had just converted reality into a heap of broken glass. And the same thing was happening with society—you only had to look in the street.
The artist lost his rural innocence and using only the virginity of his own eyes, he began to see the world that surrounded him as a profusion of human insects. HIs first drawing was published in the magazine, Ulk, a satirical supplement of the newspaper Berliner Tageblatt.
In 1913, George Grosz went to Paris. Under the influence of Toulouse- Lautrec and Daumier, he began to ruthlessly produce provocative, obscene drawings.
On returning to Berlin, he devoted himself to absorbing the approaching tragedy by using characters deformed by hedonistic pleasures, seen from an oblique perspective that generated a feeling of chaos in his paintings: bellies bloated like barrels; swollen legs of aging women; emaciated gentlemen of cadaverous appearance crowded together in the plush of cabarets.
He would imitate the satirical drawings of Bruno Paul that appeared in the magazine Simplicissimus. Faced with the premonition of an inevitable war, the citizens of Berlin were enjoying themselves. And when the moment arrived, there ensued an explosion of cadavers. The paintings of the German Expressionists—of Otto Dix, Schiele, Beckman, and Kirchner, began to make sense; however, Grosz was the most severe, the most sincere, and the most suicidal.
Like someone signing up for a practical class to perfect his aesthetic, George Grosz volunteered when the Great War began. Before he was licensed as a nurse, he passed through several psychiatric hospitals where, with a feeling of anguish similar to that which he experienced as a child in the chamber of horrors of a fair, he confirmed that his fictional characters, his caricatures, and his drawings, had become flesh and blood.
When the war had ended, the insanity of inflation arrived in the Weimar Republic. While one was crossing through the doorway of a store, before one reached the counter, the price of a chicken rose two million marks.
—What is that noise we hear? —people would ask.
—It’s the sound of the prices rising —someone would answer.
But one also heard new rhythms of jazz. People danced the Charleston and the champagne flowed while beggars accumulated in the doorways of churches and palaces as they had done during the Middle Ages.
During this time, Grosz admired the painter Emil Nolde, a violent character and member of the political extreme left who didn’t even use brushes to paint. He relied on dirty rags, saturated with oil which he brushed forcefully against the canvases to give them at once a feeling of destruction and of cheerful drunkenness.
That would be his path. Grosz united his aesthetic with the politically radical conscience. In 1918, he joined the German communist party. He worked at Malik magazine. He was a promotor of Dada movement.
In 1920, his book of satirical drawings entitled Ecce Hommo caused a great scandal for which he was tried for and convicted of blasphemy and immorality, a ruling which caught up to him while he was getting married to Eva Peter.
In 1922, after he was named president of the Association of Communist Artists, he made a trip to the Soviet Union where he met Lenin and Trotsky. Despite the disillusionment he felt about the new tyranny and the extreme hardship of the people, he continued following his Marxist ideology until the militaristic asphyxia in Berlin began to direct his mind toward an escape to another type of paradise.
For the Nazis, Grosz was an authentic representative of degenerate art. His work was burned in public. That bonfire produced a conversion.
Grosz’s nose worked well for him: with it, he sensed an imminent danger. Before Hitler came to power in 1933, the artist who had most brutally unmasked the face of the ruling class, suddenly found himself a strangely happy fugitive in the middle of the streets of New York, surrounded by all the mythology of the capitalist world. There, he had a bitter argument about the future of Nazism with Thomas Mann during a dinner in a restaurant. The ambiguous Mann predicted that Hitler would only be in power for a few months. Grosz sensed that an extended hecatomb was imminent. They almost came to blows.
The story of George Grosz is one in which an artist who found his genius in the middle of a decadent, vulgar, squalid world of that Berlin between the two world wars; and who, once he had settled amid the splendor of capitalism in New York, lost his inspiration: his paintings began to be affected and even vacuous. He was out of place. Now, he simply wanted to be rich.
Another kind of poison had penetrated the mind of Grosz. It compelled him to exclaim one day,
—Today, money continues to be the symbol of independence and even freedom. Any idea may be deceptive but a hundred dollar bill is always a hundred dollar bill.
Grosz got lost on that new journey. But one day, he went back to Berlin on vacation and died suddenly when he fell down the stairs drunk—like one of his characters. It was the afternoon of July 6, 1959, when destiny obliged him to be coherent.
AV FOODSHED NEWS
Boonville Winter Market
The Boonville Winter Market will take place Saturday from 9:30-noon, in front of Seebass, across from the Boonville Hotel.
From our vendors...
JD Varietals will definitely be there if the long range forecast for clear weather through the weekend turns out to be true. Pickles, tapenade, preserves and bat houses are my usual fare.
Natural Products of Boonville will be there with lions manes, shiitakes, potatoes and more.
The Yorkville Olive Ranch will be at the market on Saturday with both the 375 ml and 750 ml bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tuscan Field Blend, 2016. This oil won a gold medal at the California Olive Oil Council's Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. The 2017 harvest "Olio Nuovo" will also be available, but only this Saturday and next Saturday, the 16th. You can also pick up both the 2016 Extra Virgin Olive Oil or the 2017 "Olio Nuovo" at the Ranch House, but call first at 894-0530 to be sure someone will be there.
Partial Rent Trade for Goat Care
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1-bedroom ocean-view apartment near Point Arena
I am looking for a responsible person or couple to help provide care for a small herd of 8-12 dairy goats (2-3 milkers) in exchange for a partial rent reduction on a one-bedroom apartment in Point Arena.
The apartment is self-contained above a detached garage, has lovely distant ocean views, and is available Jan. 1, 2018.
The right person or couple for this situation is:
- kind to animals
- able to follow good sanitation practices for milk handling
- able to help with ranch-related maintenance tasks
- a respectful communicator
- available to provide daily morning & evening care for the goats for periods of time
- willing to make a 1-year commitment
Goat care includes morning & evening feeding & milking; sanitary handling of milk; & feeding babies & assisting with births during kidding season.
Other farmstead chores include help with cleaning stalls, unloading & stacking 3-wire hay bales, & similar activities. Although experience with farm animals is preferred, I can teach you everything you need to know to do the job.
Reduced rent is $550 per month & includes the following shared utilities: weekly garbage & recycling, use of washer & dryer in main house, electricity for lighting & fridge, & wired internet. Tenant pays for own propane for hot water, cook stove, & heat.
In return for reduced rent, tenant provides an average of 8 days of goat care (morning & evening shifts) plus 4 hours of additional farm labor per month. The time commitment varies, with more work in some months and less in others.
No smoking or drugs on the premises. There is space for gardening.
This is not simply an apartment for rent. Please contact me only if you are serious about caring for dairy animals & living respectfully on a small ranch.
contact Nan at firstname.lastname@example.org
35th Annual Winter Abundance Workshop
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Mendocino Permaculture’s 35th annual Winter Abundance Workshop to share fruit tree grafting skills and the seed/scion exchange will be on February 10, 2018 at the Fairgrounds in Boonville. More information is upcoming! If you would like to volunteer to help, please email Barbara at email@example.com.
JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE/LOW-INTEREST LOANS
Survivors of the October 2017 wildfires have just a few days left to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance and to apply for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The deadline for registration is Dec. 11, 2017.
Residents of Mendocino who suffered damage may be eligible for federal grants, which do not have to be repaid. Grants can help cover disaster-related expenses, including rent, essential home repairs and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
Applicants can apply for disaster assistance by going online at DisasterAssistance.gov, by using the FEMA app on a smart phone or by calling 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. In-person registration assistance is available at the Mendocino Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) at 1375 N. State Street in Ukiah (the storefront left of Raley's).
Business owners and nonprofits located in the designated counties may qualify for up to $2 million in low-interest SBA disaster loans both for physical and economic damage. Homeowners may qualify for up to $200,000 for home damage. Homeowners and renters can apply for up to $40,000 to replace personal property. Call 800-659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov/disaster for more information.
Registrants who are contacted by SBA should complete and return the application even if they don’t want a loan. Application information can be considered to determine eligibility for other disaster assistance, such as reimbursement for personal property, medical, storage and vehicles.
Those who receive a letter from FEMA saying they are not eligible for disaster assistance should contact FEMA with questions or if they need assistance to appeal the decision.
(County Press Release)
A YANKEE GOES TO THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
by Dave Lindorff
In late September, AmerisourceBergen, one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical distribution companies with revenue of $150 billion, was fined $260 million by the US Food and Drug Administration for emptying pre-filled glass syringes of expensive cancer drugs and reloading the drugs, in slightly smaller doses, into cheap plastic syringes before distributing them to oncology centers. For years, the company allegedly pocketed the profits obtained by creating and selling 10 per cent more pre-dosed syringes in this manner. Prosecutors claimed that because the refilling process was not conducted under sterile conditions, it led to ‘floaters’ and bacterial contamination, putting at risk the health of thousands of cancer patients with compromised immune systems.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit, based on evidence from a whistleblower, against UnitedHealth Group, the largest provider of subsidized private medical insurance for the elderly, accusing it of overcharging the government by more than $1 billion, by claiming patients were sicker than they actually were.
The FBI estimates that fraud, both private and public, accounts for up to 10% of total US healthcare expenditure, or about $350 billion, of the annual $3.54 trillion that Americans spend on healthcare. The scale of medical fraud in the UK is still small by comparison, but some of the companies that have paid huge fraud fines in the US – including UnitedHealth, McKesson, Celgene and the Hospital Corporation of America – are becoming increasingly involved in NHS privatization schemes, in accordance with the government’s wishes.
The Health and Social Care Act pushed through by Andrew Lansley as health secretary in 2012 was intended to increase privatization, outsourcing, inter-regional competition and ‘marketization’ in an already strained system. There is little sign that it is improving services or reducing costs, but private firms see profits to be made.
My wife and I flew to the UK last summer to see our daughter receive her DPhil at Oxford. On arriving, I found myself increasingly short of breath. Within a few days I was having difficulty, for the first time in my life, walking up gentle slopes or climbing a flight of stairs. A private doctor whom I consulted found my blood oxygen level to be only 91% – a reading one might expect of a person suffering from pneumonia. He also detected fluid in my right lung and swelling in my ankles. He referred me to the John Radcliffe Hospital’s ambulatory assessment unit the next day. For the time being, he said, I could forget flying home.
After years of negative articles in the US media about overworked doctors, cursory exams and brusque support staff, I wasn’t expecting wonders from the NHS. But my experience was quite the opposite. Doctors, nurses and other staff displayed care and patience and answered my many questions, even at the end of long, busy workdays. My first shock, however, was the lack of an admissions gatekeeper to demand my insurance card, co-pay etc. Such ‘wallet biopsies’ are the first ‘procedure’ conducted in any US doctor’s office or hospital – even in the ER. Instead, I was simply directed to the fifth-floor AAU.
I was given innumerable blood tests, diuretics administered by IV-drip to dry out my lung, an X-ray, CT scan and echocardiogram, not to mention a hot lunch. In addition to staff doctors I was seen by both a cardiologist and a pulmonologist, who together delivered the verdict that I was suffering probable congestive heart failure. They said I could stay there for treatment, but suggested the better plan (to avoid a huge hotel bill) would be to get me stabilized so I could safely fly home to Philadelphia to be seen by specialists there. In five days they brought my blood oxygen level back up to 98 per cent.
The only mention of payment came when an administrator arrived in the waiting room on the second day and politely asked for my passport number and insurance card, ‘if you have insurance’. I said I was covered by Blue Cross through my wife’s job as a university professor. ‘Oh, Blue Cross,’ he said. ‘Well, we’ll bill them, but they won’t pay us anything.’ I asked why not. ‘We don’t have codes for the tests run or the doctors involved. We just bill by the day, and they don’t accept that.’ But he said I shouldn’t worry as the cost of my NHS care ‘won’t be that much’. In the US, every procedure, every medicine – even an aspirin – is separately logged and billed, at exorbitant rates.
I shudder to think what would happen to a British tourist without excellent travel insurance suffering a similar health crisis in the US. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of public health at the City University of New York and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, says an uninsured person arriving at a private US hospital ER with a similar blood oxygen level and complaining of shortness of breath ‘would probably be turned away since it would not be considered a life-threatening condition’. In some states, she said, they might be advised to go to a public hospital – found these days only in the largest cities. Even then, someone with no insurance might only be stabilized and sent away.
The cost of my NHS care, if provided in the US, would easily have topped £10,000, I’m told, assuming it could have even been provided on an outpatient basis as in Oxford. For inpatient treatment the bill could easily be treble that.
Allyson Pollock, the director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, a fierce critic of the privatization of the NHS and the adoption of US-style business practices, says the idea of free and equal care at point of delivery for all patients ‘still exists because it is provided by the doctors, nurses and staff, if only because of the survival among them of an NHS culture that says people have a right to healthcare, even as that right is being undermined by the government’. NHS hospitals can now generate up to 49 per cent of their revenue from private patients (it used to be 2 per cent): diverting, potentially, almost half their beds and staff.
A huge problem with market-driven medicine is colossal bureaucratic waste. According to a recent paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the US will this year devote a whopping $1.1 trillion – 31 per cent of total healthcare spending – to administrative costs. The study estimates that half of that amount – more than $500 billion – could be eliminated simply by switching to a Canadian-style single-payer system, and even more with an NHS-style government-run system.
Most of the $1.1 trillion is spent on billing patients, seeking reimbursement from insurers and supplying paperwork required by insurers and the government to determine the suitability of procedures and to prevent fraud. And yet that anti-fraud paperwork doesn’t help much: remember the $700 billion a year wasted on fraudulent claims, most of which go undetected. Much of the fraud is committed by insurance companies.
Mark Button at the University of Portsmouth says that fraud in the NHS is growing apace with privatization. ‘If you give organizations and individuals a situation where there are opportunities to increase fees and revenues through fraud, you’ll get more fraud,’ he says. ‘The other problem is that a government that has an interest in promoting marketization isn’t interested in exposing that fraud.’
As the US demonstrates, when the profit motive is introduced into a health delivery system, ways of gaming the system and outright fraud schemes are easier to devise, and they are a far more profitable business to engage in than treating patients. ‘The capitalist market model doesn’t really work in healthcare,’ Button says, ‘because the consumer has real difficulty making rational decisions based on quality and costs.’
Inequality of care based on assets and insurance coverage is the norm in a market-driven health system. The UK spends $4000 per person to provide care for every single citizen (and people like me). Americans currently spend more than $10,000 per person on healthcare annually, but even with the implementation of the Obama administration’s controversial Affordable Care Act, 27 million people, or about 9 per cent of Americans, remain uninsured and can’t usually afford to see a doctor. And because of the high cost of the care provided through Medicare and Medicaid (taxpayer-funded but heavily privatized) and the high premiums for mandatory private insurance, a majority of US voters last year elected politicians who vowed to eliminate the ACA, cut back on Medicaid funding, and take subsidized health insurance away from between 20 and 30 million more of their fellow citizens.
Healthcare systems don’t work like a free market; the profit motive sucks out money that should be spent on healing people; and the social consequences of privatizing healthcare, in terms of inequality of access and treatment, are things no decent society should tolerate. The US has the highest priced and least equitable healthcare of any developed nation. And we don’t even have the best statistics on life expectancy or infant mortality rates to show for it. We’re not even close.
FULL MOONS — THE DEBATE RAGES. This letter appears in the current London Review of Books:
Gavin Francis is doubtful of claims that the full moon has an effect on human behavior. But while it is true that some studies have found no correlation, a number of others have done so. A German study from 2000 recorded a rise in binge-drinking ‘during the five-day full moon cycle’. Another, of inmates at a jail in Leeds in 1998, noticed a rise in violent incidents around the full moon. A doctor in Bournemouth claimed A&E calls went up by 3 per cent. A Swiss study from 2013 showed that sleep patterns were disturbed even when the subjects were unaware there was a full moon: ‘Volunteers spent 30 per cent less time in deep sleep, took five minutes longer to fall asleep, and slept for 20 minutes less.’
In 2007, the inspector responsible for co-ordinating policing in the so-called ‘marble’ area of Brighton, where the busiest clubs and pubs are located, compiled a graph showing an increase in violence around the time of the full moon. ‘The number of disturbances recorded increased significantly,’ he reported. ‘If you speak to ambulance staff, they will tell you exactly the same.’ He ordered Sussex Police to deploy extra officers at such times. (They no longer do so.) I live in the ‘marble’ area, and can confirm that it is often unnecessary to look out of the window to find out if there’s a full moon, especially at weekends. Ambient levels of noise – shouting, yelling, boom-cars, bongo-drumming, bottle-chucking, emergency sirens – increase noticeably.
Laurens van der Post, a wartime captive of the Japanese, recorded that he and his fellow prisoners dreaded full moons, which drew ‘a far tide of mythological frenzy’ in their captors’ blood. ‘Seven days, three days before and three days after and the day of the full moon itself, were always our days of greatest danger,’ he recalled, when sadistic beatings and beheadings tended to occur.
"MEALTIME IS A BIG DEAL TO A CAT."
— Art Carney in Harry and Tonto.
Tonight on KNYO, the Little Lion in Fort Bragg, of course. But starting with this show MOTA will be on KMEC too, with its Ukiah audience, from the beginning, at 9pm, not waiting till midnight to be included there, as had been the way. They had a meeting at KMEC, all unbeknownst to me, and apparently some people spoke up on my behalf, and they had to change things anyway because of upgrading and the aftermath of the fire and connections chaos and all, and they just changed it, just like that, and told me. So, progress. There might be a problem; something might not work right, at first, or it might drop off at the wrong time, but there's always next week, and the week after that, and so on. And it's a big deal to me. Thank you, Joel Thompson, Ed Nieves, Sid Cooperider, Alicia Bales, the Govinda, and others at KMEC for this improvement and opportunity.
Anyway, tonight: If you want to talk about your project on KNYO or read aloud your writing in person, or bring your instrument(s) and/or fellow instrumentalists and play a song or a short set, or celebrate your adopted ethnicity's ancient gods or psychedelic salamanders or spiritual massage-cheesecake recipe, you can drop by 325 N. Franklin after 9pm and just wade in. Head for the lighted room at the back and get my attention. You're never interrupting me; I'm happy to see you. I have plenty of material to read to fill up the time whether you come or not, so there's no pressure on anybody. The drain in the sink in the bathroom has been taken care of. The heater will be on. Nobody will touch you any place you'll have to show the psychologist later, on the doll, where they touched you. And there'll be pickles. The good kind.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to about 4am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org or http://TuneIn.com (and look up KNYO-LP).
Furthermore, you can have your own whole show on KNYO. Contact Bob Young: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you want it and you'll be on the air so fast you'll get dizzy from the rush. It's easy and fun. And it's your right.
Also, p.s., the deadline to email your writing to be read on MOTA is always about 5 or 6pm the night of the show. So you have plenty of time to get that together for tonight. Meaning, just paste it into an email and press send.