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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018

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THE NEXT STORM system will impact the NorCal region Wednesday through early Saturday, and will be relatively robust. Heavy rain of four inches in Mendo, gusty winds, coastal hail, and heavy mountain snow at pass levels will become increasingly likely as a result of the first storm in two months.

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TUESDAY MORNING's Leadership Team presentation before the Supervisors was so larded with bureaucratic buzzphrases and trite run-on sentences that they ran out of time before they even got to the only Team that had the slightest touch of potential value: the Performance Planning Team. After an hour of “team” talk of surveys and employee empowerment, and anonymity, and action plans and “moving forward,” and so forth ad nauseum, Supervisor Carre Brown declared, “That was a wonderful presentation!”

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Just as sadly, Supervisor Dan Gjerde asked the “team” to consider handling credit cards more efficiently and Supervisor John McCowen suggested that a person from the Planning Department be added, just to make sure that nothing remotely substantive happens. The other two supes, Croskey and Hamburg, didn’t even bother to comment. "Performance Planning," a watered down idea in the first place and way down the list of “teams,” wasn't even discussed. The “team” promised to do more teaming and stuff and everybody declared victory and went on to the next subject which had drawn quite a crowd, many from Anderson Valley:

POSSIBLE CLASS K building code modifications to make it more like the Cookie-Cutter Building Code.

AS IT TURNED OUT, the Building Department had already backed away from the perimeter foundation requirement for Class K structures before the meeting began. And County Counsel’s last-minute “legal opinion,” provided to the Board/public just that Tuesday morning, was much weaker than anyone expected, with more wiggle room than previously assumed.

Oliphant, Lenin

Building official Mike Oliphant (who bears a resemblance to the young Lenin), said that in the last few years only 7% of approved permits were for Class K buildings, implying that what modifications were done, it wouldn’t apply to that many buildings. After some tedious introductory exchanges between the building official and the County Counsel’s office rep, several Board members were inclined to remove the sprinkler requirement as well. Most of public comment was of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” variety. Several people pointed out that the changes being considered seemed to be prompted by industry flacks trying to add costly requirements to buildings and not by any objective finding of need or safety consideration.

FIFTH DISTRICT SUPES CANDIDATE Chris Skyhawk said that he agreed that Class K was fine as is, but that Class K buildings should not be allowed to be converted to vacation/AirBnB rentals. Oliphant replied that Class K deed restrictions prohibited Class K buildings from being rented or sold for a year. (But after that…?)

FIFTH DISTRICT SUPES CANDIDATE TED WILLIAMS made a case for leaving Class K alone based mostly on his experience as a firefighter:

"I grew up in Comptche in a house that I watched being built as a kid. It went through the Clean Slate program. I watched my father spend his last days putting up beams that were hand-milled on the property. I recognized even then that it was about more than just affordable housing. It was pride of ownership. It was the pride of living in a house that the family built. My family still occupies that house today. It has not collapsed. It has not burned. I have been to probably 150-200 fire calls per year for over a decade and I have not been to a single incident where I looked back and said there was a fire because of Class K or an owner builder structure. But I have been to Inns that were built under the conventional building code that had been on fire. If we are to meet the goals of the County’s housing element which we are clearly not today, making changes to Class K will not help. I hope that we can table this until such time we have evidence to show that these structures are inherently unsafe and need to be reduced in size with a cap. Or if the lending feasibility would be increased by more stringent or more modern building codes. We are operating without a lot of necessary information on the table."

MR. DON JOHNSON, a retired contractor from Orr Springs Road, said he built Mendo’s first Class K building back in the late 70s. He said he didn’t have much to add since it appeared that the Board intended to “kill almost everything that I objected to.”

IN THE END THE BOARD decided to remove the sprinkler requirement. (It only would have applied to unincorporated areas anyway.) The only substantial change to Class K would be a reasonable limitation to 2000 square feet, plus some minor bureaucratic and administrative updates. Overall, the Class K defenders seemed to have received most of what they wanted and the proposed changes they disliked the most were voted down by the Board.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag thinks the bird house joke is funny. ‘Hah!’ he said. ‘Love it!’ He would. I've seen him ‘hunting.’ That's a bigger joke. He's so fat and slow… the other day I saw him try to tackle a pigeon. That thing just shrugged him off and went on eating!”

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JOHN SCHMIDT, of Gualala, booked for making criminal threats in yesterday’s Catch of the Day, is the same guy involved in the fatal shooting incident in June of last year as described in these pages at that time:


Sheriff’s Press Release: On June 6, 2017 at approximately 6:34 PM, a caller [Schmidt] contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center to report being involved in a shooting at his [Schmidt’s] residence located in the 43000 block of Eureka Hill Road in Point Arena. The caller, a 43 year-old male [Schmidt], reported he was in his residence when Raymond J. White, 37, of Point Arena, arrived and the pair engaged in a shooting that ultimately resulted in White's death. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded and subsequently confirmed White's death. Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives and investigators from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office responded to conduct investigations into White's death. The investigation revealed White arrived at the 43 year-old male's residence and contacted his estranged wife (32 year-old female) in the driveway. During the contact, White physically assaulted his estranged wife and threatened to shoot her with a handgun which he had brought to the residence. White subsequently forced his way into the front of the residence while armed with the handgun. The 43 year-old male [Schmidt] hearing the commotion in the driveway earlier, armed himself with a handgun. After White forced entry into the residence, the 43 year-old male [Schmidt] encountered White. The pair fired multiple rounds at each other resulting in White sustaining multiple gunshot wounds and dying as a result. Initial information collected by investigators indicates the 43 year-old male [Schmidt] and White's estranged wife were involved in a dating relationship at the time of the shooting incident. This investigation is still ongoing and any persons with knowledge of this incident are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office by calling 707-463-4086 (Dispatch) or 707-234-2100 (Tip Line).

A SOUTH COAST READER subsequently added: “The survivor of the Eureka Hill Road incident (shooter) is reportedly a housing/building contractor by the name John Schmidt. That is what the rumor mill has going around, and the lady (Jacquie) is a dear girl who works at Redwood Coast Medical Services in Gualala, and Point Arena. We are not sure what the decedent, Raymond White, did at this point, although he is said to have been a contractor as well. Eureka Hill Road is thick with grows all the way to the old Point Arena Radar Station with screened pot grows. I have not seen them, but I understand that they can be quite large. Which isn’t to say this shooting was pot-related, but is probably as it appears, an old fashioned love triangle now missing an apex, you might say. Whatever it was, it is a sad moment around here.”

THERE HAVE BEEN NO FURTHER UPDATES from the Sheriff’s Office on last June’s fatal shooting.

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Seth Rogen, A Sonoma County Fan, Spotted At Dinner In Glen Ellen

This weekend, Seth Rogen returned to Sonoma County and dined (to many locals’ excitement) at the Glen Ellen Star.

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THE FACADE redo of this old barn south of Boonville is the work of Larry Mailliard, Yorkville. Seems to me it's so well done it's a major enhancement for that whole stretch of Highway 128.

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by Zack Anderson

One doesn't expect too much from a superhero flick: clever violence, gadgets filled with next-gen whirring and purr, a bodice-clinging cape or two, and arresting villains lashed with wit and voluptuous plots. Ideally, there's even a charismatic hero or heroine whose unearthly powers, exercised in defense of honor and realm, inspire one to theoretical feats of civic-minded derring-do. It also shouldn't make you barf. In other words, mass-market cinema has a low bar to cross; a bar for children's playgrounds, and the perverts and midgets who frolic there; a bar with Pat Boone on the jukebox and three kinds of milk on tap.

But watching the runaway hit Black Panther I found myself gagging and enraged. The movie itself is so mediocre, joyless, and clichéd that it merits no more than a bored hiccup, let alone the klaxon-blaring, all-glands-on-deck vomit launch thundering in my torpedo tubes.

In retrospect the signs of colossal disappointment were obvious: a rousing 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; $404 million its first weekend, the third biggest opening in history; social media tweets and tremors proclaiming the movie a cultural, cinematic, and metaphysical sensation, a la the hula hoop, Russian bots, and Hillary Clinton, patron saint of women and rapist husbands.

Manohla Dargis of the NY Times gushed (apparently with a straight face): "A jolt of a movie, Black Panther creates wonder with great flair and feeling partly through something Hollywood rarely dreams of anymore: myth." Yes, Dargis lives in the dank wormy loam beneath the tombstone of ignorance that is the NY Times, but this is nonsense even by those vile standards. Actually, Ms. D, Hollywood does nothing these days but churn out rehashed, PC tripe about Good vs. Evil, Dark vs. Light, Wet vs. Damp, Genderless Vegan Baristas vs. AR-15-Wielding Pre-Pubes. It's fascinating that a major critic at a major newspaper can ignore the infinitely expanding Star Wars franchise, the Lord of the RingsIron ManWonder Woman, the AvengersBatmanThorThe Shape of WaterCaptain AmericaJames BondMission Impossible, the Jason Bourne army of sequels and spin-offs, the Godfather trilogy, Blade Runner 2049Star Trek, etc., etc.?

Another ludicrous review was from industry rag Empire, which remarked: "[Director] Ryan Coogler gives the Marvel template a bold auteurist twist with an African extravaganza that packs a muscular intensity and challenges as much as it exhilarates."

Complete bollocks. Bollocks piled on top of bollocks and injected with pure liquid bollocks.

The film's about as auteur as a 15-second TV ad shouting: "Zero percent-financing-no money-down-year-end Honda sale. Visit the Sales-A-Bration now!" El Greco who? Except the sales and hucksterism do last. Forever. Like toxic sludge spewing from Fukushima. Or the sound of leaf blowers in a suburban hellhole.

Here's an example of the "auteur" at work. Black Panther is about the high-tech wizardry of a blacks-only idyllic area/country called Wakanda. Despite being happy, wealthy and peaceful, the Wakandans raise giant rhino-beasts that can be armored and used in combat. Great idea, except it's a complete rip-off from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, where villainous Orcs ride into the fray atop colossal bloodthirsty wolves called Wargs. The terrifying dog-beasts make sense in the context of Middle Earth, where arrows, swords and magic spells define state-of-the-art weaponry. But why would the advanced civilization of Wakanda, (with its pulse beam weapons, holographic camou, and space ships) depend on lumbering odd-toed ungulates in battle? They wouldn't. It's nonsense enough to make Kurosawa and Kubrick soylent green.

But in the empire of lame critics, The Atlantic's Christopher Orr somersaults to first place, stating: "The arguments Black Panther undertakes with itself are central to its architecture, a narrative spine that runs from the first scene to the last."

How much did this fool get bribed to write such lobotomized drivel? The film is a $200 million cartoon, not a steel-cage match between Heidegger and Socrates. Mr. Orr's so-called "arguments" are this: a new king must be appointed (and anointed) in a sophisticated space-age civilization hidden beneath the holographic veneer of the worst third world shithole on the planet (the film's premise, not mine). Not a queen, a king. Not a transgender MTV spokes-mammal with polyamorous nips the size of Pygmy babies and/or Watusi spearheads, but a king. Feminists, where art thou? It's enough to make Rachel Maddow switch to a straight razor to keep her stache in shape!

Needless to say, and keeping with the revolutionary nature of this myth-busting monstrosity, the new Wakanda lord's ascension requires hand-to-hand combat, a few Busby Berkeley-meets-Zulu dance numbers, faerie dust, a tree full of afterlife panthers, murder, death, a by-the-numbers car chase scene, a cardboard cut out of a space fighter dog fight, evil honkies, wise tribal elders, street scenes akin to a peaceful farmer's market run by benevolent Black Lives Matter functionaries, and a Korean mama-san casino scene. (Because, you know, we've never seen a roulette wheel or high stakes poker game in a studio movie before.)

The acting is also wooden and evocative of dust mites floating in a DMV lobby, save for the comparatively enjoyable arch villain, played by Michael B. Jordan from The Wire. Jordan's character goes by the subtle name of "Erik Killmonger." Fritz Lang is no doubt twisting with envy in his grave.

Speaking of lovingly-crafted PC scenes that strangle themselves in masturbatory cliché, the movie opens on kids playing basketball in Oakland. And like a fine example of Stalinist propaganda, it closes on the same patch of squalid asphalt, now fragrant with the possibility that the invisible kingdom of Wakanda will ride to the rescue on spaceships and horned beasts, to grow flowers in the urban desert. A noble aspiration, but told with all the subtlety and artifice of a half-built freeway onramp reaching, armless, towards the desperate embrace of L.A.'s exhaust-choked 405.

What makes Wakanda special and highly evolved? It has vast deposits of a super mineral called "Vibranium," which can power rockets, grow crops, provide endless clean energy, and also keep the kingdom hidden from whitey's prying eyes. A few years ago James Cameron used something called "Unobtanium" as the miracle tonic in a little blockbuster called Avatar. This is what passes in the mainstream for the work of an auteur these days.

Where's Superman when we need him?

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A READER told us he thinks the "pot familiar candidates from the Coast" — Williams and Skyhawk, presumably — ought to consider the number of houses given over to indoor dope production. If all the County's dope houses were made available as rentals, he suggested, maybe the Mendo housing crisis wouldn't be so critical. "Look at these vacant houses, nobody living there, but the lights are on inside all night. As pot prices go down, I have to think many of these houses will be available again as long term rentals, after the mildew is removed and rotten framing replaced. These pot farming houses I have heard referred to as 'trashed'. Realtors know what is going on."

I KNOW there are dope houses in Brooktrails northwest of Willits because it seems like every other week one of them blows up, and I have friends there who say dope houses have plagued the area for years. There are undoubtedly a few in Ukiah, Willits itself and maybe a few in Fort Bragg, but if they are prevalent they must be mostly hidden away in the hills.

IN THE ANDERSON VALLEY there aren't any mystery addresses where the lights burn day and night. Property owners these days, especially in the Coastal Zone, can make at least as much and maybe more renting their properties than they can using them to brew honey oil or grow indoor marijuana to sell at today’s low prices. Brooktrails has a lot of properties owned by outside people who bought them as investments. People who do that aren't likely to care much who rents from them so long as they get their inflated money every month.

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I KNEW the Mendo housing market had gone nuts when my old place in Boonville appeared on AirBnB for $475 a night and it is… Well, some Frisco suckers bought it for half a mil and seem successful at getting other saps to regularly rent it for $475 a throw. The shortage of housing, like the homeless crisis, won't change until the state and federal governments act to solve them, and what are the chances that will happen any time soon?

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EVERY AREA of Mendocino County should have its own Cypress Village, the genuinely low cost, low rent housing project in Fort Bragg. FB is gearing up for a second Cypress, and good on them. But Fort Bragg seems to have the political will to actually do something to create affordable housing but that will is missing from the rest of the County.

MY OLD BOONVILLE PLACE was Class K all the way. I got red-tagged a couple of times, and what it's legal Building status is today I have no idea. My operating theory was to build it first, fight with Planning and Building afterwards. But all the County did was boost my property tax to include the new structures, and that boost was only a few bucks more annually. It was far simpler, and certainly far more expeditious, to build first, deal with the authorities after the fact.

(A WOMAN testifying before the Supervisors today said her husband had built their home, but when they recently visited Planning and Building to make sure they were Class K certified, she said Planning and Building had lost their file! She said that fortunately for her family she'd kept copies of their plans and Mendo’s OK in a safe deposit box.)

DURING THE CLASS K disputes of the early 80s, the windbags then dominant on the board of supervisors, encouraged by their lead P&B guy (Orr?), were woofing about "bulldozing all the goddammed hippie shacks up all those dirt roads." When the hippie bashers figured out they could simply ok the owner-built structures and collect retroactive building fees and increased property taxes, the threats ceased.

AESTHETICALLY CONSIDERED, a Class K house is more likely to be more attractive and comfortable than, say, those Tidy Bowl golf course jobs in West Ukiah, and certainly more attractive than the monster homes in wealthy Bay Area suburbs. My old shacks in Boonville were, by acclamation, an aesthetic marvel. Well, to me anyway, but they housed a lot of people and everything worked, most of the time. It's criminal that Bay Area greed heads now own it and that it's not available for a local family to rent.

CRIME SHOWS inevitably begin, "They had everything, a beautiful home in an affluent neighborhood…" Then we learn that the botoxed blonde wife had three boyfriends, hubby was stealing from his business associates, the three kids were in drug rehab, and even the family dog was in therapy. The houses of the people "who have everything" all look like Liberace had done the interiors, and all the nearby homes are versions of each other. Of course none of the neighbors know each other, but you can be sure pathology is rampant up and down the street.

CONTRAST MENDO'S artfully, creatively constructed, owner-built hippie shacks, each one unique, each one more likely than not occupied by a family of persons who aren't nearly as crazy as the people "who have everything." It surprises me that this deep into the End Times there's still a big market for home-ghastliness, that millions of people still desire a 7-bedroom house stuffed with expensive eyesores on a golf course or an artificial lake.

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THE NEW OWNERS of my old homestead at 12451 Anderson Valley Way plunked down this odd, totally incongruous, totally unnecessary parking sign in the middle of the driveway, as if people need instruction in about a hundred feet of space.

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Letter to the Editor: Fort Bragg Advocate News

The North Coast Friends of NRA Committee is composed of community members from Fort Bragg and surrounding areas who are committed to educating people on safe and responsible handling, ownership and storage of firearms. Each year, we put on the Fort Bragg Friends of NRA dinner to raise money for firearms education. This year’s dinner is on Saturday, March 3 at Pentecost Hall.

We have become aware that some of our friends and neighbors on the Coast are planning a demonstration outside our event in response to the recent school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida. While we support everyone in exercising their Constitutional rights, we would like to clarify some of what is being said in relation to this protest.

The Friends of NRA is a project of the NRA Foundation, a 501(c)3 educational foundation founded in 1990 as a separate and distinct entity from the National Rifle Association, to provide grant funding for education in support of shooting sports and the safe and responsible ownership and use of firearms.

Half of the money raised at Friends of NRA events in California stays in California, distributed as grants to support programs such as youth education, hunter education, range improvements, conservation, firearms and marksmanship safety and more. The other half goes to support similar efforts nationwide, including the Eddie Eagle program to teach young kids what to do if they find a firearm: Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away, Tell a Grown-up.

None, absolutely none of the money raised by the Friends of NRA goes to any candidate for office or to influence elections, legislation or politics. This is prohibited by the NRA Foundation’s IRS status. In fact, as organizers, we don’t even get to discuss politics at the events.

Although we welcome our neighbors expressing their opinions, in the interest of having a peaceful and enjoyable event, we are asking our guests not to engage or confront the demonstrators at our Friends of NRA dinner. We want to avoid anything that would reflect badly on our community, our annual event, or the Friends of NRA.

Oh…and there are still tickets available. Thank you,

–North Coast Friends of NRA Committee

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(Photo by Annie Kalantarian)

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Re: County Vacancies

The subject of “County boards and commissions” — their relevance to locally attentive citizens and community activists — is barely understood as the “right” of each resident (those in “good standing,” anyway) to exercise their intelligent contribution to delivery of locally-defined government programs.

Formation and functioning of each “committee, board, and commission” created administratively by County Supervisors is subject to scrutiny and open participation, in accordance with State legislation, but are internally operated by County Administration to meet the approved purpose of each advisory body.

An elected Supervisor is appointed to many of the committees, boards, and commissions created by the County BoS/Admin, and such appointments are designated every year by the incoming new Chair of the BoS. Mendocino County’s breadth and depth of advisory bodies provide the entry/influence access portals to the fiduciary agents responsible for delivery of local health and safety services. The unseen public service economy is run by these organizations,* in harmony with County Admin policies for distribution of public funds through contract awards and oversight.

For example, in addition to independents special district, public service agencies, and municipal advisory councils there are elected County Supervisors serving on the Mendocino Council of Governments (Gjerde, Croskey, McGowen); the Area Agency on Aging (but not the full agency, since Lake County’s elected officials, and Mendo’s alternate — Gjerde — are not included); and the Eel-Russian River Commission (Brown, Gore, Fennell, and Steele), but not the Health & Human Services Agency Advisory Board (13 seated, 7 vacancies).

Only Supervisor Hamburg serves on the Policy Council on Children and Youth (PCCY), and Hamburg serves with Brown on the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board — the one to watch for future expansion of Ukiah Valley property values. Theoretically, serving on the Workforce Development Board would support the future of public service education for locally-grown infrastructure management (i.e., water resources).

There are several business promotion “authorities” (Mendocino County Tourism Commission, Business Improvement District, and Council of Governments, as well as the Area Planning Council, not listed — and the Mendocino Transit Authority), in addition to standard machinery of governance like the Planning Commission and Resource Conservation District for land-use patronage.

Mendocino County Supervisors recently added the “Mental Health Treatment Act” Citizen’s [sic] Oversight Committee, formed to implement Measure B funds in compliance with their approved local ordinance — not to be confused with the hefty Behavioral Health Advisory Board (Hamburg) or the Health & Human Services Agency Advisory Board, both of which wield budget clout and distribute public funds through contracted services. In theory, at least, implementation of MHTA programs and projects will reduce the costs incurred by law enforcement and Behavioral Healh departments, and eventually get people off welfare dependence on their bureaucratically-sustained “caregivers” — and wouldn’t this group be just the ones to monitor those impacts?

These consortia perpetuate the delivery of mediocre or failed public programs (the unnecessary relocation of the county courthouse comes to mind, for example; sewer district waste of public funds not required for safety practices, for another), and do not typically welcome “outsiders” — but as Mendocino County has shown for over fifty or more years, the character of the local government is amenable to public participation, even when it makes the “powers that be” quite uncomfortable.

Contrary to the implication of the selected headline (ATTENTION SHUT-INS), this arena of human activity is likely to raise one’s hackles (if not one’s blood pressure) and fan those flames of discontent that we so cherish as our civil rights. This is civic life at its most direct and difficult:

*I believe this is what Mr. Marmon refers to when he asks the question, “Where’s the money, Camille?”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Feb. 27, 2018

Alarcon, Alvarado, Ashline, Betts

AARON ALARCON, Covelo. Paraphernalia.

JULIO ALVARADO, Hopland. Resisting.

JEFFREY ASHLINE, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.

KEITH BETTS, Covelo. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

Bias, Escareno-Flores, Hake, Hood

SHAWN BIAS, Fort Bragg. Under influence, forgery.

NESTOR ESCARENO-FLORES, Covelo. DUI, no license, hit&run with property damage.

CHAD HAKE, Willits. Paraphernalia, resisting.

JACOB HOOD, Willits. Under influence.

Howe, Maple, Miller

RICHARD HOWE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

RONALD MAPLE, Covelo. Appropriation of lost property, under influence.

SEAN MILLER, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Domestic abuse, resisting.

Perez, Villalobos, Woods

NOE PEREZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

RAFAEL VILLALOBOS, Ukiah. DUI, resisting.

CASSANDRA WOODS, Albion. DUI, probation revocation.

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Albert Morales wrote: Looking for a computer to write stories. Nothing fancy. I might already have a printer for it.

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Marco McClean here: Albert, once you've got the computer, and when you're ready with any stories, please send them to me to read on KNYO and KMEC. Email is easiest, but if you want to send paper — some people do — my address is box 1497, Mendocino 95460. Or call or visit KNYO and read your stories on the radio yourself. I think it's wonderful that you write stories! Oh — another possibility for you besides cluttering your life with a big computer: with a $2 adapter cable -- I think it's called an OTG adapter -- you can plug any normal USB computer keyboard from the thrift store straight into your phone or cheap tablet and type stories using that. I always read your ICONS music announcements on my show. Speaking of which, you can do live radio from there through the web to KNYO (or to the student radio station at Mendocino High School, which, wouldn't that be cool?), as long as you're not using the show to actively promote a business, but just for the music and stories.

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"IKTOME (spider man) like those bullshitting politicians who make us close our eyes and sing and dance for them while they knock us on our heads. Democratic ducks, Republican ducks, it makes no difference. The fat, stupid ones are the first in the pot. It's always the skinny, no-account low class duck in the back that doesn't hold still. That's a good Indian who keeps his eyes open."

— Lame Deer recounting native American stories and legends

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On Sunday, March 18, from 5 to 8 p.m., the Take 1 Jazz Trio led by George Husaruk performs at "Sip, Sup & Song," a benefit concert for the Ukiah Symphony to raise funds for its annual spring school concert. The event, taking place at BARRA of Mendocino in Redwood Valley, will include a delicious dinner and dessert catered by Kristin Myers of Potter Valley Cafe Catering (including vegetarian and gluten-free options), a free glass of wine, a silent auction, and prizes. Additional BARRA wine will also be available for purchase. Tickets for "Sip, Sup & Song" are $50 each, and are available at the Mendocino Book Company, 102 S. School Street in Ukiah, and online at For more information please call the Symphony hotline at (707) 462-0236.

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My opinion is that the country right now is under a dark magic spell that draws its power from the fact that economic collapse is well underway in “Flyover Country” (it’s not a happy population that willingly kills itself off with opiate overdoses, after all). Meanwhile, the top-twenty-percenters, as well as the twenty percent below them who identify with the top twenty percent, in the urban archipelago that stretches across the country, lives well at the expense of the literally dying hinterlands. What’s more, the top-twenty-percenters know this in their heart of hearts, hence all their disingenuous “ree-ing” on social media about Russia and racism and Trump. With all this suffering and anxiety brewing, I would be more surprised if the country weren’t having an apparent mass nervous breakdown!

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Fort Bragg, CA - February 27, 2018 - Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in computed tomography (CT) as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). CT scanning, sometimes called a CAT scan, is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and tailor treatments for various medical conditions. CT scanning is performed at the Diagnostic Imaging Center next to the Emergency Department at MCDH. In addition to CT scanning, services include diagnostic radiology, MRI, mammography, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound. An appointment can be made by calling (707) 961-4665. The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are all assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement. "Thanks to Shayne Dollarhide, CT Technologist, and James Coupe in IT, another wonderful achievement has been accomplished to ensure safety and the highest quality imaging possible for our patients," commented Deborah Harris, Diagnostic Imaging Manager at MCDH. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve quality and safety; I am sure more great accomplishments are yet to come." The ACR, founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care. The College serves more than 37,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services. To find out more about the ACR and the accreditation process, please visit (Coast Hospital Press Release)

Shayne Dollarhide, MCDH CT Technologist, with the Toshiba AQUILION 32 CT scanner.

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The Garcia Guild’s first Sunday of the month breakfast is a Community Potluck on March 4th. Since it is a potluck the doors will open at 9:00 a.m. for everyone to set up their dishes. This breakfast will honor Coastal Seniors and their outgoing Executive Director, Micheline Kirby. “We have been so pleased that Coastal Seniors has brought classes like fall prevention and Qi Gong to the Manchester Community Center, which is at the northern part of the Coastal Seniors’ service area,” says Gary Levenson-Palmer, President of the Garcia Guild. “We want to thank them and welcome our own Garcia Guild Treasurer, Arlene Peterson, as the new Executive Director of Coastal Seniors.” As a community potluck everyone is encouraged to attend and bring a breakfast-type food to share. To make it easier for those with dietary restrictions and food sensitivities, everyone is asked to provide a list of ingredients for their dish. For those who would like to participate, there will be the Garcia Guild’s first ever Breakfast Egg Entrée Contest. A distinguished panel of judges (including Carolyn Andre, Franny Burkey Robbings, and Pat Chaban) has been assembled. Those participating in the Contest are asked to provide some kind of egg-based dish (casserole, frittata, quiche, soufflé..) and to bring enough for the judges to sample and the rest of the attendees to enjoy. Upon arrival, the contestants will be asked to place a sample of their dish on a numbered paper plate for each of the judges. These egg-based dishes will be judged based on flavor and presentation. The winner of the contest will be awarded “A Night on the Town,” which includes a $50 gift certificate for the Pier Chowder House and Tap Room and two tickets for a movie at the Arena Theater. Since this breakfast is a potluck, there is no charge. For those that remember, there will be a box at the door for donations to the Food Bank. The usual companionship, drinks and 50/50 raffle will all be available.

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On Saturday, March 17, 2018 the Blessed Sacrament Church (Elk Altar Society) will be celebrating its 125th annual Saint Patrick’s Party.

Saint Patrick’s parties were first documented by the Mendocino Beacon in 1893 and we have been hosting them every year since then.

Saint Patrick’s Dinner and Dance is our only church fundraiser, with most of the proceeds directed toward maintenance and repair our lovely historic Blessed Sacrament Mission Church built in 1896 in addition to some community outreach. This year’s celebration is quite a milestone for our small congregation, as well as our village of Elk. We would like very much to make this 125th anniversary an extra special occasion.

This event has been a significant part of Greenwood/Elk for decades. It has been a time when friends and family come from far and wide to gather, catch up on news, socialize and just have a grand time. It is our expectation that this 125th anniversary of the Saint Patrick’s Dinner and Dance will encourage people to return to Elk to make this special occasion a reality.

The Party begins with Matthew Tyson singing Irish ballads at the Blessed Sacrament Church at 12:30pm. Father Lou Nichols will celebrate Mass at 1:00pm followed by a concert of lively gospel music featuring the Love Choir who are returning by popular demand. A delicious dinner of corned beef and cabbage will be served from 3pm to 7:30pm at the Greenwood Community Center followed by a dance featuring the Wild Elks from 9pm to midnight.

A significant part of Saint Pat’s fundraiser is a Silent Auction where numerous interesting and valuable prizes are available for people to bid on. In addition there will be a raffle drawing with the traditional grand prize being a completely filled Hope Chest.

We wish to extend our most sincere appreciation for those of you who have supported us in the past. Your continued support will contribute toward our ability to afford the ongoing maintenance and repair of our historic Blessed Sacrament Church where there is no shortage of projects.

If you wish, please view our website to learn more about our church, its history, and the history of Saint Patrick’s Parties in Greenwood/Elk.

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Brief History of Saint Patrick’s Parties in Elk

Saint Patrick’s parties in Greenwood (Elk) were first documented by the Mendocino Beacon in 1893 and members of the Blessed Sacrament Church have been hosting them every year since then. It has been said that it is the longest running annual party in the County of Mendocino taking place every March for well over a century. The celebration was first documented in a March 3, 1893 article in the Mendocino Beacon as a “grand ball in Greenwood on St. Patrick’s night. Prizes will be awarded as follows: To the most graceful lady and gentleman dancers and to the most improved gentleman and lady pupils.”

The tradition continues from that time to the present. This March 17th we will be celebrating our 125th annual Saint Patrick’s Party at the Greenwood Community Center in Elk. The event has been a significant part of Greenwood/Elk for decades. It has been a time when old friends and family and new friends have come from far and wide to gather, catch up on news, socialize and just have a grand time enjoying a delicious dinner and having the chance to win some grand prizes.

Although first documented in 1893, it is known that the Saint Patrick’s revelry actually began prior to that in Cuffey’s Cove which was located about 1 mile north of present day Greenwood/Elk. The younger generation of Irish lads organized calling themselves “The Native Sons of Little Ireland” and sponsored the St. Patrick’s Day dance parties as a benefit for the Catholic Church in Cuffey’s Cove, St. Mary’s Star of the Sea. With the abandonment of Cuffey’s Cove because of fire and the construction of a mill further south, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament was constructed in 1896 in Greenwood and the Catholic Ladies of the new church took over the practice of putting on the event.

The Catholic Ladies, however, were not the only organization involved in throwing the all night Saint Patrick’s parties in the early years. The Native Sons of Little Ireland continued to take part in sponsoring the events. The March 17, 1900 Saint Patrick’s Ball “was given under the auspices of the N.S.L.I. along with the cooperation of the newly formed Civic Club” according to an article in the Mendocino Beacon. Various other groups in Elk also pitched in to make the merrymaking a success. For example, the 1905 and 1907 balls were given by the Native Daughters of the Golden West. In 1917 the Civic Club put on the ball and the following year cooperated once again with the Native Sons of Little Ireland in holding the ball at the Greenwood Civic Club Hall.

Elk, known as Greenwood in those days, was a fairly sizeable community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a population of around 1000 or so. One must bear in mind that there were few forms of leisure activity a hundred years ago and a dance was a genuinely important form of entertainment. Saint Patrick’s parties in Greenwood were considered one of the main events along the Mendocino Coast for decades drawing eager merry makers from Fort Bragg to Gualala with representatives from all the communities in between as well as the logging camps up Greenwood Creek and Elk Creek and inland from Willits, Ukiah, Boonville and from as far away as San Francisco. In the very early days people arrived by horse and buggy or walked from neighboring towns for the merry making more often than not braving torrents of rain and difficult muddy roads. It was not uncommon for party goers to begin arriving in the town several days in advance of the event staying at hotels or with family and friends. On occasion, the party was so well attended that it took two halls and two bands to accommodate the crowds!

Saint Patrick’s Ball was always held on Saturday nights with the exception of March 1945 when, due to increased fighting in the Pacific, it was changed to Sunday from 2:00pm until midnight because of a wartime curfew. In 1970 and 1971 it was held in Point Arena but still sponsored by the Catholic Ladies of Elk in cooperation with St. Aloysius in Point Arena. This was due to the Union Hall having closed in Elk and before the present day Community Center was constructed.

The format of the party has changed over the past 125 years, of course. Vaudeville performances and masquerades where people dressed up in elaborate costumes were a part of the early Saint Patrick’s Balls. Singers, violinists, pianists and comedians provided entertainment winning the admiration of enthusiastic party goers. Dancing lasted throughout the night until the wee hours of the morning when a hat was passed for the musicians and coffee served to bleary eyed party goers before they headed home. Dances were held in the Greenwood Hall and later the Union Hall, with supper served in the Greenwood Hotel or other eateries in town. Midnight snacks of sandwiches and refreshments would be provided by the Catholic Ladies. In the very early years, the party was primarily a dance with folks eating dinner at a pre-party get together at the home of friends or in one of the local restaurants. However, it eventually evolved to a dinner and dance, but not always corned beef and cabbage as is served today. The 1971 dinner to honor Ireland’s patron saint consisted of homemade, old fashioned Italian Ravioli and Chicken. 4,200 raviolis were made for the event taking 4 weekends. Subsequent years saw chicken and spaghetti dinners and in 1974 the food committee decided to serve chicken cacciatore with polenta and apple pie a la mode for dessert. The delicious Italian dinners have since evolved into what is considered the traditional Irish-American Saint Patrick’s celebratory meal of corned beef and cabbage.

Raffle prizes appeared in the 30s with the first prize being a “market basket” comprised of generous donations from many friends. Eventually the raffle evolved to consist of a few more prizes which were put on display for all to see at Buchanan’s Store (today the Elk Store). The first mention of a Hope Chest as first prize was in 1939 and it too was displayed at the store. The Saint Patrick’s Ball was so well known along the coast that the Hope Chest was even put on display in Fort Bragg for people to view and purchase their raffle tickets prior to the chest being brought to Elk. A completely filled hope chest remains to this day, some 79 years later, the first prize in the raffle drawing.

Music was generally violin, guitar and piano in the early years. In later years music was provided by local orchestras such as the Greenwood Hometown Harmony Boys in the late 20s and later Ruben’s Four in the 30s. Another local group was called the “melody Mixers.” Over the past several decades a variety of bands with many styles of music have played at the Saint Patrick’s event from local groups to others from Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Boonville, Santa Rosa, Petaluma and so on.

The town of Elk has dwindled in population since the early part of the 20th century. Most of the descendants of the Native Sons of little Ireland have moved away as have the descendants of the Italians, Scandinavians and others who settled here to work in the forests and the mill. But this one annual event has remained a focal point for those who moved far and wide drawing them back to the little town to reminisce fond memories of days past. Some former residents have come from as far away as Utah to say nothing of the far reaches of California. The party has been an occasion to renew relationships with old friends and relatives as well as make new friendships.

Over the years the St. Patrick’s Dance ceased to be an affair put on by the Irish Catholics. Even by the 40s it had become a part of the community - a tradition. Perhaps the spirit of cooperation was best expressed by Mary Boyle Burke (1868-1956) when she wrote in an article for the Mendocino Beacon in 1943: “A perennially characteristic feature of the Greenwood St. Patrick’s dance is the splendid cooperation of non-Catholics in production of a church benefit, which though under Catholic patronage, they have benevolently adopted as their own. The generous donation of labor and goods is an inspiring and edifying example of religious tolerance and social good will. God grant that this spirit may never cease.”

The spirit spoken of by Ms. Burke 75 years ago has not ceased in Greenwood/Elk where people form diverse backgrounds and viewpoints live in harmony. She would be proud.

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PROFESSOR CHRISTINE HONG Joins Hosts John Good Iron And Mary Massey On Heroes And Patriots, February 26, 2018. The Program Originally Aired Monday, February 26, 2018. The Program focused On The Decades Old War In The Koreas; Nuclear Disarmament And Recent Events Post The 2018 Winter Olympics.

Heroes and Patriots is a program about national security, intelligence and foreign policy. The show is streamed live each Monday, 1 p.m., P.S.T. on Like us on Facebook and YouTube at Heroes and Patriots, KMEC Radio, Mendocino Environmental Center.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018: 4:15-5:30 pm – New teen writing group offers feedback, inspiration, suggestions, and support

Ukiah’s budding novelists, playwrights, and short story writers will have a chance to share their work with their literary peers and discuss it in depth at the Ukiah Library, beginning Tuesday, February 27, 2018, at 4:15pm. Teen writers will share what they like about each other’s work, ask questions, and offer suggestions to those who are unsure about where to go next. Anyone aged 14-18 with a piece of writing to share, however finished or unfinished, whatever genre or form, is welcome to bring it to the workshop. The Ukiah Library will be hosting: Anime & Manga Club for Teens (12-18) Weds, Feb. 28th 2-5 pm Teens are invited to join our Anime & Manga club. Activities will include making anime & manga characters from fuse beads, watching anime, creating & drawing characters, cosplay, making stickers and buttons of anime characters, & talking about manga! Snacks & materials will be provided. For more information: please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or

On Friday March 2nd from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting First Friday Art walk, Upcycled Paper Earrings. Recycle, upcycle, and have fun making funky paper and sterling earrings. Enjoy an evening of crafting, Irish Folk Music with Matt Pendergast, and yummy pizza snacks. This event is appropriate for 12 years old and up, free to the public, and sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. On Saturday March 3rd from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting Planning a Seed-Saving Vegetable Garden. Professional gardeners Carolyn Brown and Jen Lyon will help participants plan their vegetable gardens for eating and seed saving. Learn about locally adapted seeds and how they help to create sustainability in our community. Sign-up by calling 707-463-4490. Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.



  1. George Hollister February 28, 2018

    I take it that Zack doesn’t like” Black Panther”. To say Hollywood has turned out a bad movie is like saying the Putin is lying.

  2. Arthur Juhl February 28, 2018

    As a regular attendant of the Board of Supervisors meeting I did speak up regarding the cost of putting a sprinkler system in a house. Also the cost of fire proof exterior. So where does that leave low cost housing? Again I introduced the fact that I was from Gualala, to make sure that we of the south are part of Mendocino. Arthur E. Juhl, candidate for the 5th district Supervisor.

    • Randy Burke February 28, 2018

      There’s plenty of room at the “Boat House” on Old Stage Road, Gualala, CA. Not class K, more like class OZ. See what you can do with that squatter’s abode, Art.

  3. Matt B February 28, 2018

    Enough with the bagging on the people that ‘bought your old home’. It’s old news.

  4. George Hollister February 28, 2018

    There is a housing shortage in Mendocino County, and when there is a shortage of housing, housing is necessarily unaffordable. Pretty simple, really.

  5. Betsy Cawn February 28, 2018

    Civic Participation — with apologies to AVA readers, the link included in this commentary should have been the previous day’s offering, for engaging Mendocino County residents in your local boards, committees, and commissions:

    Neither Mendocino nor Lake County administrations make the job of resident/citizen much easier by providing more than a list of their “official” advisory bodies, but Mendocino does a slightly better job of displaying the limited information on the website. And at least the Mendocino County administration admits the responsibility for compliance (however minimal) with the Maddy Act, on their webpage.

    And since it really is up to the “public” to scrutinize these quasi-legislative, quasi-jurisdictional “advisory” bodies, which influence the direction and flow of public service funding that support local communities, the absence of involvement and attention allows the system to operate “unsupervised,” as it were. Don’t expect the assigned County Supervisor to admit their knowledge or interest in a given committee’s results — much of the time they are not even present.

    At least the Anderson Valley Advertiser makes space for all the participants in local civic processes to comment freely and openly about the governance issues, which is a level of political comity not available in the County of Lake. All readers who share this benefit — and contribute to the collective oversight of public health and safety services — are appreciated over here on this side of the Cow.

    • BB Grace February 28, 2018

      Most important, be sure to register to vote as a Republican prepared to offer alternative civic solutions.

  6. Jim Updegraff February 28, 2018

    Kudos to Dick’s Sporting Goods for their decision to stop selling assault weapons and their new age requirement of purchase of guns. It will be interesting to see how the NRA reacts.

  7. Jim Updegraff February 28, 2018

    ps: also, will stop selling extended gun bullet magazines.

  8. chuck dunbar February 28, 2018

    Yes, great to see Dick’s take a stand for reasonable, sane policies that might make a difference. It’s good to see business folks take a moral stance that puts sensible acts toward increased safety before profits. And good to see businesses that realize they are part of a community of citizens who want action–finally–to put reasonable restrictions on weapons of war. I really wish we’d see more of our local law enforcement officials take the same kind of stance.

    • Amy Torres August 30, 2019

      Thank you for the wonderful information about the history of the St. Patrick’s Day dance. I am working on a story (fiction) about the Cuffey’s Cove area and this was wonderfully informational.

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