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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, April 4, 2018

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A Fort Bragg man told authorities he thinks he saw the Washington state family at a knick-knack shop along the highway.

03/25/2018 at 8:05am, Jennifer Hart at the Safeway in Fort Bragg Ca.

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A READER COMMENTS: It would seem that in a society that does most things (especially on vacation) with credit card purchases, that it would be relatively easy to figure out what this family was doing, when they did it and who was with them. If they used a credit card at restaurant then you could see how many meals they bought at one sitting. That might give investigators a clue as to if the three missing children were with them. Also, most gas stations, fast food restaurants and businesses have security cameras these days. If you could document a time that a customer got gas or bought goods then you could pin point the time/date on a camera and see if there were all there. Obviously there isn't going to be a happy ending for this family but I'm sure that their friends and extended family would like answers to some of their questions including if the three remaining children were even there or if they had run away were are hiding out. Such a mystery and so sad.

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Mendocino County, CA. – The California Highway Patrol (CHP), in conjunction with Sheriff Thomas Allman, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and other allied agency partners throughout Washington and Oregon is continuing an active search for missing children, Hannah Hart, age 16, Devonte Hart, age 15, and Sierra Hart, age 12.

Based upon the investigation to date, it is believed the Hart family was in or around the Newport, Oregon area around 8:15am on Saturday morning, March 24, 2018. It is believed they continued south along US 101 until they reached State Route 1 in Leggett, California. The family traveled south along State Route 1 until they reached the Fort Bragg area in Mendocino County around 8:00pm on Saturday evening, March 24, 2018. The family remained in the Fort Bragg, Cleone areas until approximately 9:00pm on Sunday evening, March 25, 2018. There is no further information at this time regarding the whereabouts of the Hart Family immediately preceding the incident.

The family was traveling in a 2003 GMC Yukon LX with black rims.  Similar to this vehicle in this photo (Not actual vehicle).

Anyone with known information pertaining to the families route of travel, places where they stopped, may have come into contact with or have any information regarding the Hart Family are asked to call the California Highway Patrol – Ukiah Area office at (707) 467-4000 or the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 463-4086.

This is an on-going investigation and updates will be provided as new information is available.

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WET SEASON is not over yet for NW California. We will be impacted by another significant rainfall event from Thursday morning through Saturday, courtesy of a visiting atmospheric river...around 1 to 3 inches of rainfall for Eureka area from Thursday morning through Saturday. Higher amounts, up to 5 inches, for areas to the south in Mendocino County. (National Weather Service)


(Click to enlarge)

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by Marshall Newman

Nature must love mysteries. Why else would it have so many? Some of them are huge, like how the earth evolved. Some are small, like how individual species adapt to a changing environment. Nature in Anderson Valley has contracted in recent centuries due to fire, logging, agriculture and mankind’s other activities, but still holds mysteries waiting to be found. One recent discovery for me has been a native tree, once lost and now found.

I’ve walked my family’s corner of Anderson Valley near Philo for six decades now; on roads, on trails, along various watercourses, and cross country. Sometimes I’ve been surprised by the size of a particular tree or the color of a mushroom, but rarely have I found something entirely new.

In the early 2000s, I explored an old, eroding skid road on a steep slope in the woods west of Philo. Within a minute, I encountered two trees of a sort I’d never seen before. Perhaps four feet tall, these little conifers vaguely resembled a coast redwood, but with needles that were longer, stiffer, shinier and sharply pointed at the tips. The bark was different as well; gray and fine rather than red and coarse.

Though surprised to find a new variety of tree after years of tramping through local forest, I didn’t bother to research what variety of tree I’d found. For no particular reason (it bore no resemblance to the real thing), I called it a Chinquapin. Perhaps two years later, I went back to the old skid road to look for the trees. I was sure I was in the right spot, but they were nowhere to be found. It was as if they were never there.

My Anderson Valley wilderness walks continued – even increased – over the next 12 years, but the odd tree with the sharp needles remained a ghost and a mystery. Then, early this year, walking cross country in a location approximately a quarter-mile from the original discovery, I found a lone example. Then another. Then, perhaps 100 feet downslope, two more. All were small – from three to six feet tall – but they were definitely the tree I had seen nearly 15 years ago.

I took a small section of branch home and dug out my old (copyright 1966) copy of Trees & Tree-Like Shrubs of the Mendocino Coast by Jacques Helfer, published in Ukiah by Panpipes Press. There it was on page 9: my mystery tree was a California nutmeg, Torreya californica.

With the identity in hand, I searched the internet for more information. First, California nutmeg is not a true nutmeg, but is related to the yew. Second, this is a very old tree genus, one that has lived on the planet for more than 150 million years. Third, it was used by Native Americans in various ways: the roots for basket weaving, the wood for bows, the seeds (roasted) as food and the needles for tattooing (having punctured myself with one a few days later, I can attest to this potential use).

The biggest surprise was discovering the California nutmeg is a legitimately rare tree. It is native only to the California Coast Range and the Sierra Foothills, and grows only in small, scattered locations. Logging has eliminated many of the larger examples and deforestation has reduced the tree population.

The tree is so rare, there is a website detailing its distribution. In Mendocino County, it is found mostly on the western slopes of Cow Mountain and in the hills east of Albion, Mendocino and Fort Bragg. In Anderson Valley, examples were found at Cold Springs Lookout on Signal Mountain in 1981, along Mountain View Road in 1963 and south of Fish Rock Road in 1977.

And now west of Philo in 2018. However, a mystery remains. All the California nutmeg trees I saw were young. Where are the adult trees whose seeds produced these youngsters? California nutmeg seeds are large (about the size of a big olive, according to the internet) and heavy. The parent tree(s) must have been nearby, but I didn’t see one. I hope to find an adult California nutmeg someday. I just hope it doesn’t take another 14 years!

California nutmeg twig, collected a week earlier and somewhat dry.

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Iranian animal rights protester, 39, who shot three staff at video giant's HQ before killing herself, had a vendetta against 'dictatorial' site for censoring her videos and not paying her.

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A visit on April 21 & 22 means you're in time for the 95th Annual Spring Wildflower Show at the County fairgrounds in Boonville where a riot of color feasts the eyes! Seeking something different? Then stop in at the Boonville Cemetery, the only place in the county where you can find the dainty Anderson Valley Mission Bells not tolling!



Scarlet Columbine


California Poppies


(Photos by Susie de Castro)

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Greetings Mr. Keyes (Coast Parks & Rec District):

I am writing to give you an earful as to how to use the many hundreds of acres off Highway 20 that the Mendocino Coast Parks and Recreation District wants to develop.

Development is a tricky word. It can mean progress, but so often it equates to destruction and habitat loss for those nonhumans who figure into the equation and is not worthy of consideration.

I know that the area in question is home to raptors and owls, as well as a myriad of songbirds. What is more important? People being able to ride machines through the woods at the expense of those species who call that area home? Or developing the area with all species in mind?

ORVs are noisy, polluting and serve only a very small portion of the district’s population. Why in the world should the entire acreage be turned over to their hobby?

Perhaps a baseball field or soccer field, playgrounds for children and picnic areas, something egalitarian in nature. Why should the noise and air pollution trump all other uses?

I would also propose a "pickle ball court," and here is why: I am a tennis player. Recently when the city of Fort Bragg improved the Bainbridge Park area they retained the two tennis courts. But alas, they took one tennis court and striped it for two pickle ball areas, making it nearly impossible for us tennis players to use that court because of all the stripes. We can't figure out when our serves are in or out. Too many lines all over the court. Not fair, and I and several others have complained, but the stripes remain, and for months we have never seen pickle ball players out there. So, a pickle ball court might be a nice addition to all that acreage and we tennis players can get back our courts. There are a lot more tennis players than picklers.

So there you have it -- my thoughts on the usage of all that acreage. Please leave some open space so the owls and raptors can still hunt. And keep in mind that we all don't ride ORVs.

Hope to see you in Casper,

Respectfully submitted,

Louise Mariana


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North Coast Red Abalone Fishery Closed for 2018

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers that the north coast red abalone fishery will be closed in 2018. In December 2017, the Fish and Game Commission voted to close the 2018 season. The closure is the result of extreme environmental conditions, including a widespread collapse of northern California kelp forests (

CDFW surveys in 2017 found low abalone abundance, starving abalone and many fresh empty shells, which indicate recent high abalone mortality.

The reopening of the fishery will be determined by the new Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan (RAFMP) currently being developed under the direction of the Fish and Game Commission. The California Fish and Game Commission will be discussing the RAFMP at their April 18-19, 2018 meeting in Ventura.

Jerry Kashiwada, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-5791

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

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What does former Supervisor John Pinches think of this idea from Fifth District Supes Candidate Dave Roderick, as described in an interview on MendocinoTV by Skip Taube recently:

Roderick: People say that it's $1 million a mile to pave a road. But it depends on how you are going to repave. Are you going to redo the base? Basically if you do a 2 inch lift that comes out to 70 transfer loads of asphalt. At about $150 a ton that's about $225,000 in asphalt. And where are you trucking it from? Asphalt is the medium we make our roads out of today and I don't see a viable replacement at this point. The problem with asphalt is asphalt plants. No one wants an asphalt plant near them. Just today in Fort Bragg they are repaving the parking lot at Starbucks and that company is actually from Santa Rosa and the trucker is also from Santa Rosa. I'm not sure where the asphalt itself is coming from. How do you repair roads if you don't have asphalt? Asphalt has to be kept at a certain temperature and then you have to maintain a certain capacity to be able to do it for paving. We are talking about county roads now. There are county roads and there are state roads. The state roads are not our jurisdiction. If we want to pave or repair large sections maybe the county should invest in a mobile asphalt plant that we can break down and move so it is not erected in someone's neighborhood forever. And we wouldn't have people complaining about living next to an asphalt plant. I don't want to live next to one either. But if we can say it's going to be here for two weeks and we will bring in all the raw materials and pre-stage everything and get it done — come into an area, pave it or repair it, and move. And prioritize. It has to be cost-effective. But you would save on the trucking costs, you are not paying another company to sell you the asphalt at markup. With the number of miles of road we have in the county it might be a reasonable investment. It also depends on the specifications for fixing the road. Are you going to just put on a 2 inch asphalt layer or are you going to deal with a layer below it? Are you going to put down geo-fabric to support the pave? There are lots of ways to do it. But a 2 inch lift, two lanes wide a mile-long is about $350,000 that way compared to the $1 million people talk about.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Frost fans going full blast this morning. I sez to Skrag, ‘Hear that? Outrageous!’ He says, ‘Chill, muttface. Learn to go with the flow’."

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RECOMMENDED READING if you can find a copy: John Marsh, Pioneer by George Lyman. A friend lent me the copy I'm reading. It's a biography of the first medical doctor to practice in California, circa 1836. Landing in a violent community of drunks and drifters barely housed in mud huts, Marsh, a Harvard grad with zero medical training, announced himself as a fully qualified healer. Once he'd accumulated some capital sawing off gangrenous limbs with whiskey as the only anesthetic, Marsh bought Mount Diablo, well, a vast rancho at the foot of the mountain. His nearest neighbor was General Vallejo miles to the north of him. Still practicing medicine he took small herds of cattle as payment for hundred-mile house calls.

ALTHOUGH the book was published in 1830, there's nothing chaste about the telling of the tale of Marsh's turbulent life. Of course there was nothing chaste about the louche characters who'd washed up in Mexican California almost twenty years before the Gold Rush. Many of them were on the run from the settled areas of the United States where they'd committed serious crimes.

VISITING the museums of Mendocino County, the visitor gets a highly romanticized version of the first Americans to descend on the Northcoast, particularly lawless Mendo. The intro to the Marsh biography nicely sums up the reality of that initial interface of first wave drifters with the graceful culture of Spanish and Mexican California.

"I can almost recall the day and hour that I first heard the name John Marsh. It was at a little hillside town in California. I was talking to a neighbor, an old wizened woman, one of the earliest settlers. We were standing on the brow of a hill, looking across the Santa Clara Valley, and discussing the pioneers and the reasons that brought them to California when that country was still a Mexican province.

"‘At that time California was a place for hunted men,’ she said. ‘They came here to hide and be forgotten.’ She pointed a bony finger over in the distance toward Mount Diablo.

"‘Over there,’ she said, ‘in an adobe at the base of that mountain, lived the most mysterious of California's pioneers. His name was John Marsh. He was a doctor, a hermit, a misanthrope. He hated men. Most of the early settlers in these parts were fugitives,’ the old woman continued. ‘They were hiding from themselves or from someone else. Many of them were outlaws: forgers, deserters from the sea. Even murderers hid in these redwoods. Practically all of them had been driven out of some more settled community. They were all afraid of something or somebody. Fear brought them here. Fear kept them hiding. But no one ever figured out why. Marsh hid in the shadow of Mount Diablo’."

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Former Employee Of Sheriff’s Office Convicted Of Embezzlement

UKIAH, Tues., April 3. – As a result of felony charges having been filed last month by the District Attorney charging embezzlement of public funds, a former financial analyst at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office entered guilty pleas at her arraignment yesterday morning to six felony counts of grand theft.

Melissa Alcala Alvarez, age 28, now of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, appearing with private defense counsel, was accused to stealing public funds over a 16-month period while she was employed at the Sheriff’s Office. Beginning Aug. 29, 2016 through Nov. 1, 2017, $35,000 was systematically stolen by Alcala Alvarez while she was responsible for and working alone with cash receipts.

After Alcala Alvarez left her job at the Sheriff’s Office, county financial employees were auditing MCSO records when fraudulent accounting was discovered that lead to a criminal investigation, an effort spearheaded by Sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Porter.

Prior to submitting the gathered evidence to the District Attorney for review and charging consideration, Sergeant Porter and Chief District Attorney Investigator Kevin Bailey traveled to North Carolina to confront the suspect and give her an opportunity to explain “her work” at the Sheriff’s Office. Initially denying all wrongdoing, Alcala Alvarez finally admitted some wrongdoing but refused to confirm all the incriminating evidence, including bank records, which had methodically been compiled as evidence against her. Accounting safeguards have subsequently been instituted at the Sheriff’s Office to prevent similar acts from being perpetrated in the future.

Following the defendant’s guilty pleas yesterday morning, the Court referred the matter to the Adult Probation Department for a social study and sentencing recommendation. A formal sentencing hearing is now scheduled for 9 a.m. May 22 in Department B of the Mendocino County Superior Court in Ukiah.

Anybody interested in the outcome of this case is welcome to attend the May 22 hearing. The sentence options range from 64 months in local prison (county jail) to supervised probation with up to a year in county jail. Any sentence will include a requirement that the defendant fully reimburse the Sheriff’s Office for all monies she misappropriated.

The prosecutor handling this matter is District Attorney David Eyster. The agencies involved in gathering the necessary evidence against the defendant were the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the Mendocino County Auditor-Controller’s Office, the Mendocino County Counsel’s Office, and the District Attorney’s own investigators. The judge who accepted the defendant’s guilty pleas and who will be the sentencing judge in May is Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Cindee Mayfield.

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Hello to the Shelter Adoption Coordinator,

My name is Michael. We met on Saturday morning. I came with Zach to see Sophie. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful experience I had at your shelter. I’ve been to many shelters and they are just what you would expect. Smelly and rude. And the people don’t care. Your shelter, on the other hand, was not that. It was warm and comfortable. Everyone I interacted with was extremely helpful and understanding. They answered every question and went out of their way to help us. I too am looking to adopt a forever friend. I remember telling you this. So I was also looking.

After leaving your shelter with a new dog partner, Miss Sophie was very calm. It was a very long ride. You could tell that she knew something was different. I started off driving so Zach could continue his bonding. Sophie became more relaxed as the trip continued. By the time we got to my house in Idaho Falls, Idaho, she knew that her new guardian was Zach. Zach was even comfortable enough to let her off leash a few times on the trip back. She came to Zach when he called her. It was quite the transformation to witness.  Zach and Sophie are doing well. The bond between them is strong and Sophie seamed to be very happy.

So, once again, thank you so much for a great heart-warming experience. Please give your staff and volunteers my thanks as well.



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On Monday, April 2, an Officer of the Fort Bragg Police Department observed Miguel Estrella, (age 36 of Fort Bragg) in the 300 Block of North Franklin Street.

Knowing Estrella to have a local arrest warrant related to domestic violence, the Officer attempted contact with Estrella in an attempt to effect an arrest. Estrella immediately resisted arrest and fled westbound into an alleyway before stopping to confront the Officer.

Despite the Officer displaying his TASER and providing multiple verbal commands, Estrella continued to resist arrest and fled eastbound back onto the 300 Block of North Franklin Street.

Once back onto North Franklin Street, another officer joined in the attempt to arrest Estrella. Estrella continued to resist officers’ attempts to verbally de-escalate the situation and again fled northbound.

Officers were able to apprehend Estrella near the intersection of North Franklin Street and East Laurel Street. During the apprehension and arrest, an officer and Estrella sustained minor injuries which did not require medical attention.

Estrella was eventually transported to the Mendocino County Jail for the original arrest warrant charges along with new additional charges related to resisting arrest.


The Fort Bragg Police Department encourages any citizens who may have witnessed the incident to contact Sergeant Lopez at (707) 961-2800 ext. 168.

The Police Department would additionally like to thank the unidentified citizen who attempted to assist with verbally deescalating the suspect throughout this altercation.

Questions about this press release may be directed to Officer O’Neal at (707) 961-2800 ext. 167 or at

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"WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: The Environmental Science, Public Policy, and Politics of Marijuana," April 19. 9 a.m., on the Cannabis Hour, KZYX, Thursday, April 19 at 9 a.m. Host Jane Futcher will be joined by Pomona College Professor of Environmental Analysis Char Miller, editor of WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, and by contributor and cannabis policy expert Amanda Reiman. Stream the show live at or listen to an archived version at

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In last Sunday Chronicle's Datebook section, a story perpetuates the myth of Vietnam veterans being spat on when they returned home:

It was the doomed war in Southeast Asia that made up the program for the Broadcast Legends’ spring luncheon. The war — and radio’s role. The ranks of the Legends, a group of radio and television veterans in all phases of those industries, obviously includes Vietnam War vets, and four of them recalled those times…The bad memories did not end with their return home. They were vilified by antiwar protesters. Landing in Hawaii, [Steve] Dini remembers, people at the airport “called us baby-killers…and they were spitting on me.”

Bullshit. Or, to be fair, it's almost surely bullshit. If Dini can document that, it would be unique among other such stories. Jerry Lembcke has written extensively about this myth (see “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam”).

From Lembcke's op-ed in the NY Times last year:

Acknowledging that I could not prove the negative — that they were not true…there is no corroboration or documentary evidence, such as newspaper reports from the time, that they are true.

Many of the stories have implausible details, like returning soldiers deplaning at San Francisco Airport, where they were met by groups of spitting hippies. In fact, return flights landed at military air bases like Travis, from which protesters would have been barred.

Others include claims that military authorities told them on returning flights to change into civilian clothes upon arrival lest they be attacked by protesters. Trash cans at the Los Angeles airport were piled high with abandoned uniforms, according to one eyewitness, a sight that would surely have been documented by news photographers — if it had existed…

(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 3, 2018

Boyce, Brown, Brunk

WILLIAM BOYCE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MELISSA BROWN, Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

JOHN BRUNK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Dausman, Elizarraras, Estrella

MATTHEW DAUSMAN, Calpella. Protective order violation.

JESUS ELIZARRARAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MIGUEL ESTRELLA, Fort Bragg. Resisting, probation revocation.

Funk, Kester-Tyler, Moore

MICHAEL FUNK, Petaluma/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DEVIN KESTER-TYLER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.


Nickerson, Silva, Wolfe

MISTY NICKERSON, Piercy/Laytonville. Failure to appear.

RYAN SILVA, Potter Valley. Domestic abuse, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, vandalism, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

LARRY WOLFE, Laytonville. Controlled substance, transportation of controlled substance, under influence, suspended license.

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by Christopher Ketcham

Sometimes a great work comes along to confirm total hatred of the human race, purest misanthropy, a vision that realizes the finest thing at last is to toss aside the humans and go to the forest, hug the trees, make love to the earth, listen to the pollinators buzz – what remains of them (as Robert Hunziker has been reporting here) – and forget the ambitious lunatic called the wise ape.

Such a work – I’m loathe to say it – is on Netflix, and it’s called Wild Wild Country.  It’s about diverse shithead Homo sapiens in conflict over religion, one mass of imbeciles packed against another mass.   Diversity indeed.  There are no heroes – which makes it beautiful and true; not one person who is likable in the entire documentary.   I rooted throughout for the death of all parties.  But alas, they still live, as does the civilization that produced them.  As portrayed by the directors, humanity is a lost cause, an aggressive deluded raging narcissistic tribalist creepathon.

But this is good, the testament in favor of misanthropy.   We need more of it in the age when Man thinks himself tops and planetary manager, when the pollinators buzz out and disappear, when the diversity of life forms will soon only be a vague memory and all we will have are stories of our pitiful human selves reflected in digital mirrors.   Modern technological humans, vain, wanton, grasping, gimmicky, deserve only contempt.

I’ll tell you in briefest terms the plot of Wild Wild Country: a two-bit sex-guru from India who commands a following of thousands of rich bourgeois dupes and who fetishizes diamond watches, Rolls-Royces, and weird shiny clothing buys a ranch in eastern Oregon and comes into conflict with the sub-cretin rancher bigot culture there.  Eastern capitalist Buddha-fake meets repressed dickless cowboys in the Western outback.  The local Oregonians, neighbors to the sex guru’s commune, freak out when people within a hundred miles have multiple orgasms, while the climaxing invaders at the commune dress all in red and do whatever the guru says.   One groupthink against the other’s.

Like I said, no heroes.  Kudos to the directors of the film, Chaplain and Maclain Way, brothers, for leaving viewers with the feeling that humans are prejudiced conformist sheep.  I love films like this.  There’s no mandatory hope tacked onto the ending.

On the other hand, it brings me back to the fundamental ideal of human relations: only the one-on-one counts for anything.  Mass movements are the enemy of truth.  There is no group meaning.  There are no groups.  There is only the aloneness and togetherness when you face the Other as an individual in the meeting in the forest where hopefully the pollinators fly still.

(Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer.  You can write him at or see more of his work at Courtesy,

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I’m taking bets on how quickly Republicans can crash the economy and blame Democrats, Russians, protests, unions and the other usual scapegoats. I say by Memorial Day.

Then they will all say the same thing Phil Gramm said about voters and the public in 2009. They will claim that voters are just whining and complaining and should just buck up and learn to take it.

Meanwhile, the Lords of Corporatism will be buying everything not nailed down at firesale prices.

Ahhh … welcome to the good times people.

The other suspects/scapegoats being: minorities, immigrants, anyone from California, sick people, old people, handicapped people, gun provocateurs, teachers, public employees, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, government bureaucrats, The Deep State, …

Add your own list

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April 1 marks the close of the winter precipitation season in the West, a good time to take stock of the snowpack in the mountains. The snow measurement indicates how much meltwater from that snowpack will be available for residential, agricultural, and commercial use during the dry summer months that follow.

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Despite the fact that we are almost six months removed from the October fires, most of us who lost our homes still haven’t received our full benefit for loss of our home contents. With a few notable exceptions (Farmers, Chubb), insurance companies are requiring an exhaustive inventory of our entire home contents before they will consider a maximum payout.

In my interactions with our company (State Farm), its only argument for this requirement is that it reduces fraud. This assumes that those who have lost everything are somehow taking unfair advantage of them by asking for the maximum coverage as specified by mutual contract. I contend that fraud is impossible in this case since the maximum value of the items destroyed was set by the agent and not the homeowner.

The offer to pay 75% of the maximum without an inventory is disingenuous and simply an attempt at lowballing us, using the potential of fraud as an excuse.

Reassured by our agents that we were well covered for total loss, we have paid our high premiums dutifully for decades. We have upheld our end of the contract; it is high time they upheld their end as well.

Patrick Caskey

Santa Rosa

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IN 1967, SYLVIA MEAGHER cited an unpublished manuscript by Thomas Stamm, who had viewed the Zapruder film at the National Archives in 1965.

“Of greatest importance in the film is the sequence of the fatal shot and its aftermath. This sequence shows President Kennedy thrust violently back against the rear seat, from which he bounces forward and spins off to his left into Mrs. Kennedy’s arms... The violent backward thrust of President Kennedy occurs, to the eye, at the instant of impact of the fatal shot. The two events appear to be simultaneous and to have the obvious relationship of cause and effect. The service of truth requires no other explanation.

That President Kennedy could have been thrust back violently against the rear seat in consequence of a bullet fired from above and behind him seems a manifest impossibility. This sequence in the Zapruder film, occupying a mere fraction of a second, invalidates the official autopsy finding and demolishes the Commission’s thesis and findings of a lone gunman firing from the southeast corner sixth-floor window of the Depository. It makes of the Report a monstrous fabrication erected to obscure the truth which must now be disinterred despite the official verdict.”

Strong words indeed from Mr. Stamm. Meagher agreed with him. She then noted:

“Vincent J. Salandria and Gaeton Fonzi conclusively demonstrated the backward recoil by tracing the position of the body in successive frames, using two projectors and projecting one slide upon the other. The resultant diagram (The Greater Philadelphia Magazine, August 1966, p. 44) constitutes conclusive and irrefutable proof that the bullet that sent the President violently backward and to his left was fired in front of and to the right of the car and not from the Book Depository.

To the critic who has seen the Zapruder film and gasped at this graphic proof of a conspiracy to kill the President — for there must have been a gunman in front of the car as well as behind it — one thing arouses even more alarm and anguish than the sight of his exploding head: the silence of the Warren Commission (and its lawyers, investigators, and witnesses) in regard to this visible evidence clearly implicating at least two riflemen in the crime.

That silence, as much as any other single abuse of logic or misrepresentation of evidence in the Warren Report, convicts the Commission of dishonesty and calculated deception. The Commission did not acknowledge the slam of the body against the back of the seat; it did not solicit opinion from experts as to whether that body recoil conceivably could be reconciled with a shot from behind the car; and it did not inform the public — the vast majority of whom will never view the Zapruder film at the National Archives — that the camera had recorded events central to the establishment of the truth and utterly inconsistent with the lone-assassin thesis.”

Meagher concluded her argument by citing a physicist:

“In January 1967 Ramparts published the results of a study conducted for the magazine by Dr. R. A. J. Riddle, assistant professor of physics at UCLA. After studying the relevant segment of the Zapruder film, Dr. Riddle pointed out that the law of conservation of momentum governs the movement of an object hit by a projectile and gives the object a motion in the same direction as the motion of the projectile. After applying that principle to Frames 310–323, Dr. Riddle reached a conclusion that “contradicts the findings of the Warren Commission” — that is, that the shot came from the front and right of the car.”

Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, Vintage Books, 1967. ( pp. 33 ff)

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“Cultivating Community” is the theme of the 12th Annual Noyo Food Forest Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 12-5pm, at the Learning Garden at Fort Bragg High School. This delightful event kicks off at noon with an opening circle, followed by live music and activities for the whole family. Enjoy delicious organic food, pedal-powered smoothies, the popular spring plant sale, garden tours, and much more. Event is free, but donations are welcome to support the Farm-to-School and Youth Intern Programs at The Learning Garden. Volunteers are needed. No pets please. Information at 707-357-7680 or

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A small painting of mine is now hanging at the National Arts Club...second floor, on the left.

The National Arts Club: Our Mission is to Stimulate, Foster & Promote public interest in the Arts & Educate the American people in the fine arts. The National Arts Club was founded in 1898 by author and poet Charles De Kay, the literary and art critic for The New York Times.

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Gloriana Musical Theatre is holding auditions for the Tony-award winning musical Fun Home on April 7. Directed by Jenni Windsor. Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Book by Lisa Kron. Music by Jeanine Tesori.

The Story:  Fun Home weaves together a family's story into a heart-wrenching, innovative and charmingly honest musical sure to relate to every person in the audience. When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.

How To Sign Up: Please fill out a form at:

Auditions: Auditions will be held on April 7th from 10am – 2pm at Eagles Hall, 210 N Corry, Fort Bragg.


  • Alison Female, 35-50
  • Medium Alison Female, 18-22
  • Small Alison Female, 8-14
  • Bruce   Male, 40-52
  • Helen Female, 35-50
  • Christian Male, 10-15
  • John   Male, 8-12
  • Joan Female, 18-22
  • Roy/Pete/Mark/ Bobby Jeremy Male, 20-30

More Info and character breakdown at

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Vocalist Paula Samonte brings ocean of sound to performance; Ukiah Symphony goes jazzy

by Roberta Werdinger

When Paula Samonte, whose vocal performance of Big Band sounds will be on display with the Ukiah Symphony at the Mendocino College Theatre the weekend of April 7-8, was a child, her mother used to take her to the ocean. They'd ride the San Francisco streetcar to Playland at the Beach, site of a then-amusement park, where the young Paula was told to turn her back to the waves, face her mother, and then sing. Her mother would step away and tell her daughter to keep singing--loud enough to be heard. And she was.

That's how the petite Samonte--an effervescent performer with decades of national and international touring notched on her belt--became a vocalist with pipes powerful enough to front the entire Ukiah Symphony. Conductor Les Pfutzenreuter will be converting the orchestra to Big Band mode with the inclusion of four trumpets, four trombones, and five saxophones, as well as special string arrangements and a more intimate "combo" section featuring piano, bass, guitar and drums. Together the orchestra and Samonte will make a sound as elemental--strong and soothing--as that ocean Samonte once stood in front of.

What's the "big" about in the Big Band sound, anyway? Normally an ensemble of 10 to 25 musicians, the Big Band sound was spawned in the 1920s and reached cultural dominance in the 1930s through mid-1940s. Coinciding with the Depression and the span of World War II, Big Band orchestras toured the United States and later performed for troops--or belonged to the military themselves. Many of the era's bandleaders--such as Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club in Harlem--were associated with a certain society and milieu; others achieved fame in tandem with legendary performers, such as Chick Webb with Ella Fitzgerald, and Benny Goodman with Peggy Lee. All of those performers are influences for Samonte and will be part of the evening's repertoire.

Although the Big Band sound was later eclipsed in popularity by other forms of jazz such as bebop, which emphasized improvisation, and rock and roll, which achieved prominence in the 1950s, the Big Band style and sound have never gone away. Its perfect fusion of elegance and playfulness, lightness and depth, heartfelt sentiment and brassy, big-city swagger forever defines an era and an entire nation.

It also defines Samonte's style and her musical dedication, which has not wavered in the decades since her mother started her training in front of the ocean. A migrant worker with just a ninth-grade education, Samonte's mother instilled her child with a love of music that included ballet lessons and personal instruction in harmony and breathing. (She later earned her high school diploma, at the age of 40.) Samonte recalls, "She had an insight to the vocal art that you don't read from a book." It's an insight that Samonte strives to instill in her own students, when she gives voice lessons at her studio in Ukiah. Instead of reading music, she encourages both young people and adults to "tune their instrument"--the entire complicated assemblage of lungs, diaphragm, throat, and mouth that is involved with singing and is as universal as the breath, yet unique to each human being.

That uniqueness is important to Samonte. "I don't want to be a carbon copy of someone," she insists, not even Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan--the latter an old friend of hers. Nor are Samonte's experience and interests limited to jazz--she came early to classical music, too. Once her mother left the young Paula in front of a classical radio station, then came running when she heard her crying. When asked what was wrong, the child explained, "The music--it's so beautiful." Now Samonte, who has performed with the Ukiah Symphony before, explains, "Classical music opens up a special nerve in the consciousness, away from push-button culture."

The versatile Samonte also performs Broadway music--she recently performed as the female lead in "Man of La Mancha" at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa. She was happy to be already collaborating with Ukiah Symphony conductor Les Pfutzenreuter, who served as the show's musical director, stating, "Les is a magnificent musician and mentor." In addition to performing and teaching, Samonte is artistic director of the Ukiah Civic Light Opera and is writing a musical for a future performance.

Although she still gets calls with invitations to travel and tour, Samonte is content with and grateful for her life in Ukiah, having raised two children who both have careers in the performing arts. She is now enjoying her two grandchildren and is delighted to be performing with her brother-in-law, William Beatty, who will be playing the piano for the Symphony performance. "My light of singing will never go out," she affirms, "but as the light dims another one lights up." It is this kind of generosity that will guarantee a magical night with Samonte and the Symphony, a virtual ocean of sound.

"Paula Swings to the Big Band Era" will take place at the Mendocino College Center Theatre on Saturday, April 7 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 8 at 3 p.m. The concert is sponsored by Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, “In Memory of Dr. Hugh Curtis,” Guilford and Gudrun Dye, and Monte and Kay Hill. Ticket prices are $25 for ages 18 to 64; $20 for age 65 and up; and free for ASB card holders, everyone under 18, and survivors of the October 2017 fires who lost family, homes or businesses. Ticket holders may use their September 2017 tickets for this show. Tickets are available at; Mendocino Book Company at 102 S. School St. in Ukiah; and Mail Center, Etc. at 207A N. Cloverdale Blvd. in Cloverdale.  For further information please call the Ukiah Symphony hotline at 707 462-0236.

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with us in April! We'll have Poetry-themed crafts every Wednesday 2-5pm for teens, and a guided poetry walk through downtown Ukiah on Saturday, April 14th (call 463-4490 to sign up). You can create art work inspired by the printed word, make a Xerox transfer print, or express yourself through the spoken word at our Pop-up Poetry reading.  Leave your artistic creations to be put on display all month long.  Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. Our monthly Book Sale continues on Saturday, April 7th from 10am-3:30pm. Make a matchbox into a tiny work of art! This event is for ages 12 and up and requires sign-ups in advance. Call 463-4490 to sign-up. Travel the world, go into outer space, or try out 360 ° gaming with our Oculus Rift! Ages 13+ only.

For a full list of events, check out our website or follow us on Facebook.

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“Also, can’t we eliminate these restrictive harnesses?”

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Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County is Hiring

Make a Difference Every Day!

The Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County is seeking a Program Assistant/Bilingual Patient Navigator to work in our Ukiah office.  This position is a rewarding, full-time position for the right candidate who wishes to positively serve those in the community who are experiencing a cancer diagnosis.

The ideal candidate for this position is bilingual (Spanish/English). This position is suited for a creative problem solver who has experience working with many different kinds of people in times of need; a team player who is naturally empathetic. Experience in health care or human services a plus.The position is full time, with benefits (health for employee with share of cost, 15 paid vacation days, sick leave).  Email or mail resume with cover letter to Executive Director Karen Oslund:; P.O. Box 50, Mendocino, CA . 95460.  Applications will be accepted through April 30.  Complete job description on the CRC website:



  1. Eric Sunswheat April 4, 2018

    RE: it would be relatively easy to figure out what this family was doing, when they did it and who was with them. If they used a credit card at restaurant then you could see how many meals they bought at one sitting. That might give investigators a clue as to if the three missing children were with them. Also, most gas stations, fast food restaurants and businesses have security cameras these days. If you could document a time that a customer got gas or bought goods then you could pin point the time/date on a camera and see if there were all there.

    REPLY: Where is Sherlock Holmes when you need them. Instead we have bumbling California law enforcement which made a do nothing media frenzy spectacle out of the retired Veteran’s Home killings, when lives might have been saved.

    We locally have California hero and media hound Sheriff Allman who feeds news bites candy to the mass media, handily stretching out the suspense to the next news cycle. If you will, flash back on the Bassler manhunt killings.

    For practically weeks the rumor lie was allowed to fester on the front page of newspapers across the nation, that there was a connection to a pot plantation where Merlo was gunned down.

    When it was all said and done and truth came out, even the state legislature more than a year later, put that bold face myth, into statement of reason into early draft history, of bill mark up, which subsequently became the pickle of the Fish and Wildlife code that does not apply yet to other agricultural crops.

    This has to do with stream bed alterations, stream setback, and residual plastic cleanup, that are regulations now are eviscerating wannabe legal anguished black market backwoods growers, with permit red tape and draconian fines, that somehow wasn’t publicized correctly from the get go.

    In fact the new law was mostly misstated by much of the mainline press syndicates and alternative press to boot, it seems, with snickers about 10,000 plant grows to be taken down.

    The deer in the headlights growers, now caught up with a gotcha bum steer from McCowen, courtesy of the Farm Bureau interests for the 5 year pause on the long haul of legality commercial scale.

    Expect no less manipulative fallout from what’s currently happened, in play on the coast. It’s deliberately no mistake that ground zero is Mendocino County.

    Anyways, that’s my drift of what’s coming down, to be cautious of you know what, and I didn’t intend to step on any non public toes.

    • Eric Sunswheat April 4, 2018

      Melo not Merlo… was distracted.

  2. james marmon April 4, 2018

    I just finished up watching the Measure B Oversight Committee meeting from last week. Guess What? GROUPTHINK EXISTS!

    It appears that the everybody on the committee knew exactly what the end game was before the first meeting even took place, purchase and renovate the Old Howard Memorial Building. 11-14 million for the renovation, but I heard nothing about what the Margie Handley plans on charging the Mental-cino tax payers for the purchase or lease price of said property, is it a gift or what?

    Tremendous amount of peer pressure within this group, I felt sorry for poor BHAB Chair McGourty, she better straighten up and get with the program. Somebody please explain the meaning of harmony to her.

    “Groupthink is one of the main inhibitors of innovation occurring in groups of people. This psychological phenomena happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a more healthy discussion of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints. Factors such as group member background, lack of an impartial leader and extreme external threats play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process. The primary consequence of groupthink is the loss of individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking. Devastating from an innovation perspective. Especially if you want more than incremental improvements on existing offerings.”

    James Marmon MSW
    Personal Growth Consultant

    ‘don’t just go through it, grow through it’

  3. Aaron Sawyer April 4, 2018

    A nice large CA nutmeg can be found right along the South side of 128, close to where the redwoods start as you head in from the coast. Keep an eye out for the shiny green needles.

  4. John Fremont April 4, 2018


    That would be Rajneeshpuram, a real place that attracted many young devotees, among them Dianne (Dinky) Coleman, a childhood friend who died under mysterious circumstances. I haven’t seen the film but doubt its authenticity.

  5. james marmon April 4, 2018

    RE: Harts FB

    Here’s a big problem that needs to be solved. When I would investigate a case I always checked other states, especially when I worked for Del Norte County a border county with Oregon. I would call Oregon Family and Children’s Services immediately, even if they were California residents. Oregon would do the same thing with Del Norte County. We often discovered parents would move over the state line to avoid a child welfare investigation when things got too hot. There needs to be a National database and adopted children should be tracked and traced. Terrible things happen to them once the court closes a case, just look at this one.

    Why Oregon didn’t tell Washington about Hart family child welfare issues

    “There is no national database for child welfare cases and states don’t always tell each other when a family involved in child welfare cases moves to another state.”

  6. Debra Keipp April 7, 2018

    One of the prettiest trees at Oz Farm on the Point Arena Coast, is a most unusual nutmeg tree – impossible to climb with thorns from bottom to top, it’s huge. Went on a field trip with the charter school about 25 years ago when I first saw it.

    The Hart Family… May those innocent children find peace now. And their “mothers”? Possibly guilty of hate crimes if they indeed, drove everyone off the cliff.

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