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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN is expected during Wednesday afternoon as a front moves east across the region. Showers will continue behind the front Wednesday night and Thursday, with isolated thunderstorms and small hail possible along the coast, and light mountain snow likely over the interior. Drier weather is expected during Friday and Saturday, followed by additional rain and mountain snow on Sunday and Monday. (National Weather Service)

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WE WERE FIRST INTRODUCED TO THE NEW TERM “OVER-EX” back in February when the Board of Supervisors was informed that dozens of parcels where houses had been burned down were “over-excavated” to where in some cases the housepads where houses had once been as well as the surrounding area looked like what inland construction industry rep Lee Howard described as “a large swimming hole.”

HOWARD told the Board then that restoring the ground to the point that the site could be rebuilt would cost tens of thousands of additional dollars, over and above the home re-construction cost. Howard said that he didn’t think there was enough oversight of the work and that “hundreds of cubic yards” had been dug out that did not need to be dug out in the burned areas of Redwood and Potter Valleys. “This is driven by tonnage loaded and gotten out and paid for, greed,” said Howard.

SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN reported at that time that he knew of a case where five times the size of a house and shop had been excavated. “Perhaps there’s a reason,” said McCowen, “but it’s hard to belive that that big an area needed to be cleared to that depth. There’s a potential for fraud.” McCowen added that the “over-ex” represents a huge amount of unnecessary work for taxpayers to pay for and that there seemed to be a lack of controls to prevent it, noting that over-exed homeowners will face bigger excavations, more fill, more expense, etc., impeding their ability to rebuild. “It’s a very serious allegation,” McCowen concluded.

THE FEMA and CalOES (Emergency Services) reps replied in February that all such compalints would be reviewed for error or fraud, waste or abuse, saying that any excavation more than a foot deep is suspicious and should be looked at. They said they were talking to their contractor and they had a team looking at the problem, adding that contractors responsible for cases where over-ex is verified were subject to fines or non-payment for work.

IN FEBRUARY, the FEMA rep said the problem was not just in Mendocino County. And the CalOES rep said they were “committed to dealing with the situation,” adding that in some cases there were disagreements about how much excavation was necessary. In other cases, “mistakes were made.” The CalOES rep said they were dealing with the problem on a case by case basis.

WHEN SUPERVISOR GEORGEANNE CROSKEY asked what could be done for homeowners, the FEMA rep replied that (former) homeowners “who have been harmed” were eligible for replacement fill dirt or financial compensation “if indeed the government did irreparable harm to the property.”

SO, IN FEBRUARY, the Board seemed satisfied that FEMA is looking at the allegations and the “possibility” of compensation — “if the government did irreparable harm” (in the government’s opinion) — but, as usual, nobody seemed interested in written answers, follow-up reports, or lists of affected parcels and determinations or compensation provided.

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AT YESTERDAY’S Supes meeting, it was almost as if the February discussion had never happened.

NOW CALLING it the “over dig situation,” Supervisor John McCowen commented to the Army Corps representative in the room, a civilian named Mark Ellis, in terms very similar to his comments in February: "There are credible indications that in some cases there were hundreds of extra cubic yards of material removed. You have mentioned that part of the review would be how much was concrete? How much was ash? How much was metal? Here we are talking about hundreds of cubic yards of simply dirt. It's being looked at on a case by case basis, we are told [weeks ago now]. It's really not a new issue. The potential is that there was a massive waste of taxpayer funds for these over-digs to dig out dirt that did not need to be removed. Haul it away, pay to landfill it… And then the collateral damage of that is that the homeowner is left with a huge excavation hole that they have to come back with engineered fill potentially to the cost of tens of thousands of dollars in some cases. It's a very, very serious issue. I think it would reflect well on the Corps of Engineers if a thorough investigation was made and frankly a little more timely. Mr. Lee Howard and the people he is working with have compiled quite a bit of documentation. I'm believe they would be willing to make that available for you. Meanwhile the homeowners are left in limbo, not knowing how they are going to come in and fill in these massive areas which I believe would not be covered by their insurance. Anything you can do to expedite the review would be welcome.”


MR. ELLIS was much less agreeable than his previous FEMA and CalOES counterparts in February: “In some of those cases, in all cases, we were not there prior to — we don't know what the pre-existing conditions looked like. Some of these, the questions we are asking is should we be looking at the permit that was pulled to build? What was the original plan? What was the foundation planned to look like? We have to ask ourselves those kinds of questions. Some of these, should we be pulling them? That's part of our evaluation. Not knowing the pre-existing conditions, that's part of the process that we will have to work through with these. It's just one set of questions that we are asking as we look at them.”

McCOWEN: “In many of these cases we are not looking at a basement or a crawl space, we are looking at open areas that were not part of the footprint of any building.”

ELLIS: “Can't comment on that.”

SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE: "Regarding insurance coverage, as we all know it's unlikely that that will be an eligible expense. In most cases people have only a limited amount of insurance to work with. With construction cost being much, much higher than anyone thought, they have no money left over to import fill or engineered fill and so it's just an added expense even if it's 10% of the sites — I don't know the number of sites — but that's roughly the numbers that it looks like. We are looking at money that people won't have from insurance.”

MENDO’S DISASTER RECOVERY POINT PERSON Tammy Moss Chandler sympathized rather weakly: “It's definitely accurate that we are very concerned about the cost for homebuyers. Cubic yards. We are looking at what the state and federal government might do to mitigate this for people who have been over-excavated. And certainly what strategies we can do locally for all homebuilders even if they are not over-excavated to refill dirt even for the basic excavation. Even if it's 12 inches deep that’s certainly a cost that may not be covered by insurance for many homebuilders. So it certainly is a concern.”

CEO Carmel Angelo wrapped up by telling the Board that she would invite Col. Rayfield of the Army Corps to come before board at the next meeting to discuss the over-excavation problem.

UNFORTUNATELY, nobody disagreed with Mr. Ellis’s attempt to shift the blame to the victims and their completely speculative “pre-existing conditions.” And nobody followed up to ask about the results of the investigations they said they were doing back in February.

AS IS COMMON in Mendo, and as happened in February and again on Tuesday, nobody asked for written responses or reports, leaving the Board and the staff without any record on which to base any follow-up questions, and leaving them at the semi-mercy of outside agency bureaucrats who can avoid being held responsible for what they said the last time they were there — even when you have a situation of apparent large scale fraud, waste and abuse.

AT THIS RATE, this serious problem will not be resolved in time to help any of the over-excavated fire victims.

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After serving as the director of the Mendocino County Historical Society for nearly 10 years, Paul Poulos has announced his retirement, effective May 31. The board is looking for a successor who will continue to move the Historical Society, its buildings, collections and grounds into a secure and prosperous future.

Poulos joined the Mendocino County Historical Society in May 1996. Soon he was invited to become a board member, and in the early 2000s, served consecutive terms as first vice-president and second vice-president. From 2004-2005, he was the board president.

Poulos said that after the society’s director, Bruce Brunell, retired, he was nominated by Lila Lee to serve as director. He said he accepted and began his directorship in July, 2008.

His most notable accomplishment is the completion of the William J. and Molly Toney Archival Building. In 2012, starting with just over $120,000 from the Toney trust, Poulos raised all the funding for the building from local donors. Local architects, contractors, and vendors were employed to complete the building and landscaping. After the building was finished late last year, Poulos secured a grant from an anonymous donor to hire the society’s first paid archivist.

The director manages the Held Poage memorial home, the archival library and grounds, directs the organization, and maintains the collections, historical media, and artifacts. The director is also primarily responsible for the financial health and sustainability of the organization, including sound financial planning and fundraising.

To support the interests of the MCHS, the director works with a wide variety of individuals, from community partners to board members to volunteers. To fulfill the position, background knowledge, skills and abilities must include a fundamental knowledge of and appreciation for the unique history of this region, including the Pomo Indians, and a deep commitment to public service.

(Historical Society Press Release)

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CONVIVIAL TURNOUT of 40-50 of the politically interested at the last at the Philo Grange last night (Tuesday) to hear the 5th District candidates discuss the issues. The five hopefuls appear again Wednesday night, April 11, 6pm, at the Little River Inn. No one can plausibly complain that the candidates haven't gotten ample public face time. And no one can plausibly complain that the five aren't up to the task of… Well, given that our Lilliputian version of the Deep State, i.e., the permanent County bureaucracy, stays on and on while candidates come and go, it is what it is, as the young people say. But for us at the jaded AVA we always support the candidate who seems least likely to simply rubber stamp whatever County CEO Angelo puts in front of them.

EVALUATING the five candidates by that standard, we think Arthur Juhl, Ted Williams and Dave Roderick are more likely to do their own thinking than Chris Skyhawk and Ron Verdier. Verdier often seems mostly unfamiliar with County functioning while Skyhawk, a smart, pleasant fellow for sure, is, by virtue of his enthusiastic attachments to a range of  County institutions we consider either dysfunctional (KZYX) or irrelevant to the poor (First Five) or evil (Coast Democrats) gets his support from entities that we think are unacceptable bordering on inappropriate. Skyhawk seems like Hamburg Lite, and Hamburg, in our opinion, has been a flea-weight supervisor, but a popular supervisor in a district where all a putative liberal has to do is rhetorically visit the stations of the lib cross as defined by NPR, no action necessary.

(WILLIAMS AND RODERICK have exhaustively answered the AVA's exhausting questionairre. They've obviously thought long and hard about being one-fifth responsible for the SS Mendo. Juhl said he was doing more research before replying, but nada from Skyhawk and Verdier. When we met the latter, he had never heard of the AVA which, to persons likely to vote for him, will certainly enhance his political attractiveness.)

Questions For Prospective Supervisor: 5th District

by AVA News Service,

Do you think the County’s mental health money is being effectively spent? (around $28 million at last estimate) 2. If you had monarchical authority, what would you do to create genuinely low cost housing? 3. What is your opinion of the recent moratorium on vacation home rentals? 4. Your opinion of the locally proposed changes to Class K. 5. What do you think of the current marijuana regulation program? 6. Do you agree with CEO Angelo’s decision to separate Mendocino County from Coastal Valley EMS? 7. What is your opinion of the leadership provided by CEO Angelo’s “Leadership Team”? 8. How many Board meetings have you attended in the last year? Watched any on YouTube? 9. Do you agree with the Board’s recent decision to raise their pay to $84,000 plus benefits? Should the three retiring supervisors have voted on the raise? 10. Do you think the County needs to spend some $50,000 to hire an outside consultant for a needs assessment before proceeding with Measure B’s mental health facilities program? 11. What specific benefits do the children of Mendocino County derive from the First 5 program? Would you support spending most of the annual $1 million on childcare vouchers instead of on Ukiah staffers? 12. Who would you appoint to the Planning Commission? 13. What is the single biggest environmental problem faced by the County? 14. Do you support the current level of water diversion from the Eel River to mostly irrigate vineyards in Potter Valley? 15. Is the County’s recently organized Ground Water Sustainability Committee is dominated by wine-grape interests? 16. What is the first project or program you would look into if elected? 17. Do you have any proposals for dealing with the colossal deficit in the pension obligations fund? 18. Would you support the creation of an integrated, county wide disaster alert system? 19. Would you be willing to be on a radio call-in show every six months and respond to callers’ comments and questions

MONDAY NIGHT'S Grange session promptly appeared via YouTube courtesy of Kathy Wylie and Cathy Wood, proprietresses of a timely candidate FaceBook page called Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor Race, on which the candidates, some of them anyway, answer questions. Us shut-ins, this one hearing impaired, are grateful for the convenience of tuning in real loud from afar.

WE GET A BIG KICK out of candidate Juhl's appalled reaction to the functioning of County government. Here's a guy who has borne heavy responsibility for large businesses, businesses where if you aren't lean and mean you go glub, glub, glub. So a guy like Juhl, with his private enterprise background, finds County management, uh, shocking, which it is by any real standard.

SO NO ONE CAN complain that the race for the 5th District seat is not getting plenty of exposure.

DITTO for the crowded 3rd District. The 3rd, which might as well be in Nevada for all the  attention it gets outside Willits, Laytonville and Covelo, the antipodes of Mendocino County, is the wild, wild region of our wild and vast county. (Gualala is the antipodes of the 5th District.) A Willits friend notes that as crowded as the 3rd District is — 8 candidates — nobody is running on the redneck platform — hostility to the love drug, hostility to government generally except for law enforcement, hostility to damn near everything. Former Supervisor Johnny Pinches is the front runner in the 3rd and the number of candidates will work to his advantage. Everyone knows him, the rest of the field enjoy the support of friends and family, but it takes more than friends and family to get elected.

WE DON'T SEE any candidate likely to join Pinches on the board, assuming Cowboy John is re-elected, who will lead an effort to re-negotiate Mendocino County's ruinous water arrangement with Sonoma County, whereby annual millions of dollars and gallons flow outtahere to Sonoma County every year, and we don't see anyone, including Pinches, who will dare cross anything the wine industry wants. It's heavily ironic that the libs never failed to mobilize against the timber industry but are silent about an industry that uses more chemicals, does more damage to the land and water than the timber industry ever did.

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WORD DRIFTING over the Coast Range from the direction of Lake County says Allan 'The Kid' Flora has returned to work for the County of Lake. Some of us will recall that Flora was disappeared from the County CEO's "management team" for reasons unknown. He came to work one Friday and was immediately marched out the door by "security." No reason was ever given for Flora's summary dismissal.

MAYBE FLORA took a called third strike, and manager Angelo sent him down to the minors. Manager Angelo does seem to have Queeg tendencies.

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THE GIANTS BRANDON BELT took a called third strike the other day with men on base against the Dodgers, which became controversial. Looked a little high and wide to me, and I think you should swing at anything close with two strikes, but I would have bet my doublewide on Belt either whiffing or popping up.

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SARAH LARKIN, the real-est of the popular songbirds, the Real Sarahs, has sold her thriving Goodness Grows Nursery at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way to....  Tune in  next week.

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Friends - just reminding you to be in the MendocinoTV studio for sound check by 1:30 on Wednesday, April 18 for the 5th district supervisor candidate’s forum, as we start live broadcast at 2 and plan to end by 4.   I am enclosing a draft of my introductory comments for the forum. Thanks for helping - skip taube 937-1437


Hello - I'm Skip Taube, host of Naturally Mendocino. Today, April 18th, we have 5 candidates for Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor in the MendocinoTV studio, along with a select audience and a call-in phone line.

The primary election is June 5th, and the last day to register to vote is May 21st. Mail-in ballots go out May 7th. If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the top two will have a run-off in the Fall election.

We are fortunate to have five good candidates, though I was surprised that no women wanted the job. With that, let me welcome our guests as we try to determine who is best prepared to be our supervisor for the next four years.

In our audience are representatives of local media and communities in the 5th district, and they are prepared to question the candidates. Viewers can comment and ask questions online or call us at 964-1010.

I have interviewed all five of you fine gentlemen and it is an honor and a pleasure to have you back in the studio all together. Today we will begin by going down the row with a brief self-introduction, followed by some questions from the audience. And after an hour and a half we will end with a simulation where you are the Board of Supervisors discussing which of the you is the best person for the job. That will be a time for the five of you to get personal while we witness how you communicate with each other.  More on that part of out forum later.

Now, let’s start with ________________; a very brief opening campaign statement, please.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Hey! All these candidate's nights but nobody's said boo about dogs? (As a courtesy to Skrag) Or cats?”

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Finally, the 2018 AV Variety Show is up on YouTube!

It's not like being there but all the acts are up for your viewing pleasure on our very own YouTube CHANNEL.

There's a bunch of random stuff just on YouTube worth viewing, but this years show is on our CHANNEL!

Here's one way to get there on GOOGLE or wherever:

Type in: AV Grange Variety Show YouTube channels

Click on: AV Grange Variety Shows-YouTube, (even though it says something about 2016, don't worry) you'll be at: Random Acts of Variety

Click on: Videos

There they are chapterized so you can go to whatever act you wish. Enjoy and get inspired for next year.


Cap Rainbow


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On 04/06/2018 at 8:30 PM, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was contacted by a resident of Potter Valley, who reported that their 14 year old daughter had allegedly been having sexual relations with 18 year old Potter Valley resident Swan Thomas Johnson.  The Deputy Sheriff initiated an investigation into the matter and he was assisted by Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the 14 year old victim, had been having sexual intercourse with the suspect, an 18 year old male. The sexual relations began prior to the victims 14th birthday, beginning when she was 13. Multiple sexual incidents and acts were disclosed and investigated.  At the conclusion of the investigation, the suspect was located driving on Main Street in Potter Valley by a Sheriff's Deputy where he was stopped and taken into custody without incident. The suspect was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Lewd acts with a child under 14 years old, penetration with a foreign object with child under 14 years old, communicating with a child under 14 with intent to commit sexual act, and sending obscene material to a child where he is held in lieu of bail which is set according to the bail schedule at $75,000.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 10, 2018

M. Brown, S. Brown, Elizondo

MICHELLE BROWN, Redwood Valley. Conspiracy.

SCOTT BROWN, Redwood Valley. Conspiracy.

CYPRIAN ELIZONDO, Laytonville. Probation revocation.

Galindo, Hernandez, Johnson, Kee

THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

VINCENT HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, resisiting.

SWAN JOHNSON, Potter Valley. Lewd lascivious upon child under 14, oral copulation with force or fear on person under 14, sexual penetration of person under 18 year of age, contact with intent to commit lewd act with minor, harmful matter sent with sexual intent of a known minor.

CLOVIS KEE JR., Boonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Valladarez, Williams, Yahweh

RANDOLPH VALLADAREZ, Covelo. DUI, suspended license, willful cruelty to child with possible injury or death, resisting, offenses while on bail.

KASHIA WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

CHRISTIAN YAHWEH, Willits. probation revocation.

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SUDDENLY, Michael Cohen, the bag-walking, dick-swinging swagger-monkey wannabe thug attorney and consigliere for Donald Trump’s far-flung penile enterprises is scared. If Cohen had a lump of coal in his ass the moment those search warrants arrived, he could have popped out a diamond. He realizes how deep this hole can become if he doesn’t roll over. He doesn’t have the resources to defend himself, and Trump isn’t exactly known for paying his bills in the first place. Cohen is scared, and he’s not alone.

MONDAY’S FBI RAIDS on Michael Cohen’s Trump Tower office, his hotel room, and his home all provided a proper dose of comeuppance to a man more accustomed to screaming threats, shit-tier legal theorizing, and putting his strip-mall law degree to work in service of Donald Trump.

Cohen, far from being the superlawyer to a billionaire real-estate tycoon, really only has one important job: covering up Trump’s alleged dalliances. It was Cohen batting cleanup, dealing with an army of models, escorts, Mistresses (large “M” and small “m”), actresses, porn stars, models, Real Dolls, fangirls, groupies, and random topiary at Mar-a-Delicto with a wall of nondisclosure agreements. Master of the NDA, Cohen thought attorney-client privilege would protect him.

— Rick Wilson

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Actually, watch Domino Pizza deliveries to the Pentagon, they always spike when some military action is about to go down. Thousands of personnel stay late and order pizza. Sit there on the parking lot and watch the pizza deliveries. It’s just like the Japanese spies who sat high above Pearl Harbor in a tea house sipping tea as they watched the ships coming and going to know when the battleships would be in-port, i.e., Sundays. I was at the U.S. Army cargo port in Bremerhaven in 1984 where I saw the new tanks and other gear rolling off the ships as part of the Reagan defense buildup. Another pier over was a Polish freighter that NEVER left the doc; it was covered with antennae, a spy ship, just sit there and count the tanks rolling off the ramp. No need to break any codes, just watch.

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(Click to enlarge)

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FLY OVER the waterfalls and wildflowers at Table Mountain in Northern California

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Our Help the Kelp project is in full swing. Four amazing divers removed over 7000 Lbs of purple urchin from Caspar Bay in the past few weeks with an average size of about 1.5-2 inches. We all have such respect for the hard work they do. Another shout out to Ocean Fresh and Pacific Rim Seafoods for allowing the divers and dockside data gatherers to use their facilities.

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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Adam Thatcher Lawrence pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland today to mislabeling wildlife intended for importation, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Region 8 Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Crum.

The plea was accepted by the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, U.S. District Judge.

In pleading guilty, Lawrence, 38, of Willits, Calif., admitted that, in August 2011, he traveled to the Republic of South Africa and hunted, shot, and killed a leopard in that country. Lawrence did not personally possess a permit to kill a leopard in South Africa at that time, nor did he possess a permit allowing him to export the leopard from South Africa.

Lawrence further admitted that in May 2012, he returned to South Africa with the primary purpose of bringing the leopard out of that country and into the United States. The leopard’s skin and skull were secretly transported into the Republic of Mozambique concealed inside a spare tire.

Leopards are a protected species under both the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty to which the United States, South Africa, and Mozambique are signatories. As a result, the import and export of leopards is strictly regulated.

Lawrence admitted that he falsely claimed he had killed the leopard in Mozambique.

He acquired the permits required to export the leopard parts from Mozambique, import them into South Africa, re-export them from South Africa, and import them into the United States. In each of those documents, he falsely stated that he had killed the leopard in Mozambique in 2012, rather than South Africa in 2011.

Further, in April 2013, he imported the leopard skin and skull into the United States. In connection with the importation, Lawrence knowingly submitted a United States Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife in which he falsely stated he killed the leopard in Mozambique in 2012.

A federal grand jury indicted Lawrence on January 11, 2018, charging him with one count of importing wildlife contrary to law, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 545, and one count of mislabeling wildlife intended for importation, in violation of 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(d) and 3373(d)(3).

Under the plea agreement, Lawrence pleaded guilty to the mislabeling count and the importing count will be dismissed. Also as part of the plea agreement, Lawrence agreed to forfeit his interest in the leopard skin and skull that he imported, as well as the hunting rifle that he used to kill the leopard. He also has agreed to forfeit other contraband seized from his home in October 2016, including a mountain lion mount and skull, a carved hippopotamus tooth, whale bones, and a harbor seal skin.

Lawrence is released on bond.

Judge Gilliam scheduled Lawrence’s sentencing hearing for June 25, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(d) and 3373(d)(3) is five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 plus restitution, if appropriate.

However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Lloyd-Lovett is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Vanessa Quant. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement."

Lawrence is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court in Oakland on Thursday.

(press release, Department of Justice)

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IN AMBROSE BIERCE’S SHORT STORY “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Peyton Farquhar’s Southern planter is lured into a trap by a Yankee scout and caught trying to sabotage a railroad bridge. Sentenced to hang from it, the condemned man, neck “in the hemp,” peers down at the swirling waters below, troubled by an unidentified clanging sound — “a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith’s hammer upon the anvil.” Bierce, who had known terror as a Union soldier at the Battle of Shiloh and elsewhere, dryly informs the reader, “What he heard was the ticking of his watch.” Farquhar’s eyesight has grown similarly acute; after his seemingly miraculous escape from the gallows, Bierce’s hero notices, on the far shore of the river, “the individual trees, the leaves and the veining of each leaf — saw the very insects upon them: the locusts, the brilliant-bodied flies, the gray spiders stretching their webs from twig to twig.”

— John Seabrook

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Month-Long Event Alert: April, 2018

2nd Annual Almost-Fringe Festival Kicks Off Spring In Mendocino County -From Uke Fests And Dystopian Proms, Celebrate The Region’s Artists On The Edge-

Mendocino County, Calif. – Situated on California’s sun-drenched shoreline with 90 miles of fantastic Pacific fringe, Mendocino County has long been an enclave for arts and artisans with an offbeat edge. Marking its second year, the Almost-Fringe Festival showcases a rousing line up of 40+ events including performing arts, gallery showcases, musical events and a salute to all things goat. Set for April/2018 and staged throughout the county, this event is loosely based on the model set by the original Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a distinct Mendo twist. Info:

Signature Events 

Sparkling Wine Celebration – April 7; 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.; $65

Sporting 25+ sparkling wine producers, Mendocino County is terra firma for visitors seeking a little bubble in their step. Terra Sávia Winery is the stop for an alfresco day of strolling the grounds of a working olive mill and vineyard, glass in hand backed with live music and shucked oysters. Located at the gateway of Mendocino County in Hopland, this event is certain to pique every palate.

Bed Down at the cushy Piazza de Campovida Inn and adjoining tavern and pizzeria for an artisan pie and brew. The seven-room inn features large suites with balconies in downtown Hopland.

Mendocino Coast Uke Fest – April 13, 7:00 p.m., free; April 14, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; $30.

It’s all things ukulele this spring including workshops, open mic and performances from the Ukeholics among other entertainment. Friday night kicks off with a uke jam-fest open to all levels. Fort Bragg, Calif.

Bed Down at Fort Bragg’s newest gem – the Noyo Harbor Inn. The 15-room inn includes a cozy new restaurant featuring sharable small plates and bar overlooking the harbor. Rooms are set in gorgeous Cherrywood with original art.

Mushroom as Color: A Mendocino Rainbow – April 13 – 15; 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.; $20 fee.

For centuries mushroom have been used by local denizens as a dye. Ford House Museum will showcase an exhibit and workshop on the dying process, showcasing Mr. Fungi in a spectrum of color. Visitors can learn the art of silk scarf dying and take home a treasure at the Mushroom Dye Workshop; exhibits and demonstrations are free. Mendocino.

Bed Down at one of three Blue Door Group properties, a sexy triad of lodgings including the newly-renovated Blue Door Inn in the village of Mendocino. Set in crisp, cool tones, this is the stop for a romantic romp set against an ocean backdrop.

Dystopian Banquet and Topless Tapas Dinner – April 14, 6:30 p.m. – 12:00 p.m.; $25.

Flynn Creek Circus partners with Circus Mecca and the Mendocino Dance Project to deliver a four-course topless tapas dinner show with chef Nicholas Petti driving the stoves. The evening heads for the edge with a sexy circus and one-of-a-kind dystopian prom flush with aerial acts, interactive survival games and the much-anticipated “Anti Prom King and Queen contest.” Haul out the old prom dress and accessorize with survival gear for the ultimate apocalypse. Mendocino.

Bed Down at the offbeat Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, complete with 17 cottages (snag the water tower unit with a rooftop deck), outback alfresco hot tub and quirky breakfast spot, Circa ‘62.

Trashion Show – April 21; check website for time; $20

Trash as fashion is the focus of this eye-popping show, celebrating the recycling and refashioning of thrift store finds into clothing and accessories for the adventurous jetsetter. A statement to today’s throwaway society, the runway will be peppered with a variety of creative takes in true Mendocino fashion. Ukiah.

Bed Down at California Landmark No. 980 – better known as the champagne mineral baths. Vichy Springs Resort and Spa, a 700-acre facility boasting America’s only warm and naturally carbonated Vichy mineral baths (and Olympic-size pool), is the perfect Rx for rejuvenation.

Wine and Whale Celebration – April 21; 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; free.

Kick off Earth Day weekend with a family event certain to heighten all senses. Set on the expansive Point Arena Lighthouse grounds, enjoy seasonal grey whale sightings backed with a sky flush with works of art fluttering above the lighthouse, compliments of Berkeley Kite Wranglers. Food and drink available for purchase. Point Arena.

Bed Down at the iconic Point Arena Lighthouse quarters, set on 23 sweeping acres along the Pacific. Six stand-alone units make for a soul searching getaway; the newly renovated showpiece – Assistant Keeper’s House 4 – includes a new gourmet kitchen, custom tile baths and designer linens.

Fourth Annual Goat Festival & Wildflower Show – April 21; 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; $5.

Get that inner goat on and check out the capricious creatures celebrating springtime. Learn the art of crafting goat cheese or try a hand at milking and goat calling. Also on tap is the annual Wildflower Show featuring all things fragrant and bold calling Mendocino County home. Boonville.

Bed Down at the back-to-basics Boonville Hotel with seven tricked out bungalows, eight guestrooms and top-notch local cuisine at Table 128.

Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change – April 22, 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.; free with museum admission $4 Individuals; $3 students/seniors; $10 families.

Celebrate Earth Day with an informative talk focused on the growing impact of human activity on wild spaces and threats posed by climate change. Renowned photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter will discuss their inspiration and technique around their award-winning photographs of Golden State wildflowers. Take a lap through the museum’s interpretive gardens for a front seat to the spring blooms. Ukiah.

Bed Down in the towering redwoods to the slumbering sounds of natural springs. Just outside Ukiah, Orr Hot Springs is the stop for an outback adventure including a soak in a gorgeous large rock pool, private baths or clothing-optional communal pools. Massage and overnight lodging in 23 rustic cabins and yurts round out a visit.;

Nature Fest: A Bio Blitz – April 28; $10.

Become a citizen scientist and connect with the biodiversity of UC Hopland Research and Extension Center’s amazing woodlands by teaming with experts and naturalists for a day of informative lectures and walks at the Institutes’ 5,000-acre wonderland just east of Hopland. Binoculars in hand, join in for the morning bird walk (7:00 a.m.), spider and scorpion talk (10:00 a.m.) and bio blitz (11:00 a.m.). Speakers include Lauren Esposito of the California Academy of Sciences, Dr. Peter Alagona from U.C., Santa Barbara and Kate Marianchild. Hopland.

Bed Down at the new Thatcher Hotel, set to open in spring. This Victorian gem (1890) sports 18 guestrooms, a lively bar, pool and alfresco dining. Nearby, the new Golden Pig restaurant is the stop for all things farm to fork.

Wine Hour with the Giraffes – April 28, 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m., $60

It’s a tall order, giraffes painting a pair of wine glasses as visitors sip Mendocino’s favorite local juice. Step into the sanctuary called B. Bryan Preserve, located along scenic Highway 1 in Point Arena, for an afternoon of outback education. Visitors will join these amazing endangered creatures in the Giraffe House for an informative art session, paired with wine. Each visitor will receive two original works of glass art. Must be 21. Point Arena.

Bed Down at the spacious 66-room Little River Inn, a Victorian gem hugging California’s legendary coastline. The scenic jaunt up Highway 1 add to a day of play. Check in and savor stunning Pacific views and an award-winning restaurant serving succulent abalone and a sinful signature Billionaire Bacon.


Mendocino County welcomes nearly 1.8 million visitors annually who explore its 90 miles of prime Pacific coastline, 90+ wineries and 10 diverse AVAs (earning the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic vineyards in the United States), 24 state/national parklands and 450+ unique accommodations. Straddling scenic Highways 1 and 101, “The Redwood Corridor,” the County delivers an ideal vortex of waves, wines and redwoods laced with historic villages and outback adventures. Located 114 mi./184 km. north of San Francisco, the region’s gateway airports are San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS). Visit Mendocino County is a non-profit destination marketing organization designed to enhance the economic vitality of the community by increasing tourism revenue. For more information, go to



  1. George Hollister April 11, 2018

    Here is the AVA conundrum. Political activists against timber, grapes, tourism, etc. sell papers. These activists know nothing, or care about good governance. (They also know next to nothing about what they are complaining about.) They get elected, and we get terrible governance that is reported on and sells papers.

    The choice we have is to either have boring people who provide good governance, or political activists who sell papers. The AVA business choice is obvious. Am I right?

    • Bruce Anderson April 11, 2018

      No. Wrong. The mere mention of political activists has negative sales value. Ahem, the ava is able to stay afloat, and has appeal outside the Mendo hothouse, because it’s a lively, interesting read whatever one’s political views might be.

      • Randy Burke April 11, 2018

        Absolutely agreed. Best damn read this side of The British Isle….. But over there, they speak a different language and hard to read.

      • George Hollister April 11, 2018

        Come on. So Judy Bari did not sell papers, and all the other anti-timber activists who have crossed the threshold of the AVA? Lively and interesting, means indulging any nut case who can write. I am not opposed. And if it keeps the presses running, I support.

      • George Hollister April 11, 2018

        OK, so you are likely saying that the AVA doesn’t support political activists who run for office. There was Liz Henry, though. She was not supported because she would focus on good county governance. Same for Charles Peterson. Now in the 5th race we have two anti-timber activists running. We will see.

        • Bruce Anderson April 11, 2018

          Judi Bari was a very good writer who brilliantly clarified the Timber Wars, but at the time there were lots of good writers in the ava on a range of subjects. Overall, Bari’s presence in the ava probably harmed sales because she was intensely disliked by lots of people, not just timber people. We supported Liz Henry, subsequently sabbed by Coast Lib, over Heather Drum, a wholly owned subsidiary of G-P. I thought Liz was an excellent supervisor who fairly represented everyone in the 4th District. She was succeeded by two ciphers until Gjerde was finally elected. She was not anti-timber, George. Her husband was a forester, not that he seemed to influence her much either way. I’d have to look it up but I’m pretty sure we were never more than luke warm on Charles Peterson.

          • George Hollister April 11, 2018

            How can someone who knew absolutely nothing about the subject clarify anything? JB had a political narrative, the same as the AVA; long on faith, and inherently devoid of insight. That has not changed.

            • Bruce McEwen April 11, 2018

              Howl as you will, my good man. But since Harvey Reading set himself adrift on the internet, you have most eloquently filled his spot… er, uh, rash of posts on this page….!

              May I recommend Plutarch?

              • Bruce McEwen April 11, 2018

                “He who busies himself in mean occupations is his own evidence that he does not care for what is really good. The bare account of noble needs can make us admire and long to follow the doers of them. Moral good is a practical stimulus; it is no sooner seen than it inspires an impulse to follow it.” — PLUTARCH

    • Mark Scaramella April 11, 2018

      This comment is so far off that it made me briefly consider calling the DMV to have your license revoked for being too old.

      • George Hollister April 11, 2018

        LOL. OK, tell me one time the AVA supported a candidate for supervisor because, “Hey, that guy/gal will do a good job making sure the county agencies do their jobs and won’t waste our money”? Never? No, it’s because someone wants the county to file a law suite against Sonoma County for water in Lake Mendocino. (Of course this is coupled with shutting down the Potter Valley project.)

        Got to love God and his Angels. Really.

        • Bruce McEwen April 12, 2018

          “…someone wants to file a law suite” — How sweet it is, milord! — you really are lifting your rhetoric into the poetic registers and, well, I’m afraid… more than afraid, actually … !…that you may become a writer.

  2. Bill Pilgrim April 11, 2018

    RE: An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.

    … and then, after fantasizing a miraculous escape… he died.

  3. Stephen Rosenthal April 11, 2018

    The night after Belt took the called third strike in the 10th inning for the final out, he went 0-4 with 4 strikeouts – in baseball parlance, the Golden Sombrero (how long before the PC Police complain about that phrase?). The next game in his first at-bat he struck out, thus making it six in a row. In an incredibly foolish move, GM Bobby Evans signed him to a 5 year contract at something like $16m per year, one year before his previous contract expired. So unless they can find some sucker to take him in a trade, he’ll be striking out a lot for the Giants for a long time.

    • George Hollister April 11, 2018

      I don’t know how long Belt’s contract will continue, but I hope the 5 is ending soon. When batting, he is so predictable, a sucker for the inside breaking ball that is off the plate. The shift is on, and he hits into it, too. One Belt at bat looks like every Belt at bat, over and over. Yes, occasionally, he hits a home run. Big whoop. The Giants need to find a team that thinks they need Belt. It would have to be in the American League.

      • Stephen Rosenthal April 11, 2018


        This is the first year of his 5 year contract. Evans drew it up and Belt signed it last year right before the concussion that did him in for the last two months of the 2017 season.

        • George Hollister April 11, 2018


          • George Hollister April 11, 2018

            When Belt comes up, I have to go put wood in the fire, or brush the dog. Cindy tells me to shut up and watch. I can’t stand watching. Mccutchen I like to watch. Even Sandoval, I can watch. Hunter Pence is a hacker that is at times too predictable, but I watch. Belt is up, and it’s time to do anything else, but watch.

            God, we have 5 years of this? The dog better like being brushed.

  4. BB Grace April 11, 2018

    Thank you Mike Kalantarian and the AVA for releasing me from “house arrest”, AKA moderation.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to the AVA MCT online community for creating unsavory contention with my previous comments as I honestly meant no harm thinking I was being funny. Obviously I’m no comedian and failed to understand how little my sense of humor was appreciated. The AVA MCT online community is important to me because it is, by my online experience, one of the few places where a diversity of thought can be shared, appreciated or not. In the future I will make an honest effort to be more considerate and respectful of other commentators, especially those who find me incomprehensible at best and unforgivably repugnant at least. I never meant to hurt you and if I did, I am sorry.

    I will continue to support the AVA because freedom of speech is a moral and civil right that by my experience, we are losing. All those years I worked for Nader wasn’t because I agreed with him politically 100%; It was because he was fighting a good fight, “more voices in debates and more choices on ballots”. It seems through all these decades of good fights few of us have seen the results the way we imagined for our rallies, protests, vigils, circles, petitions, time, money, and artistic efforts. We are about to face a challenge that I’m very concerned for the AVA MCT online community. CA Senate Bill SB 1424 by Senator Pan


    I understand the mighty AVA is not an activist paper, but if the mighty AVA does not fight AB1424, who will? I’m with you if you do.

    Thank you Mike Kalantarian for making things good.
    In appreciation, B. B. Grace

    • sam kircher April 11, 2018

      I rarely comment, but confess myself a religious reader of these pages. I like to think of the readership, and those who choose to comment as a brotherhood (siblinghood?) of thoughtful, curious, and discerning consumers of news from multiple perspectives. That would imply a modicum of respect and tolerance that are essential to discourse, rhetoric, and debate in the comment section, separating it from that of say, a facebook post or espn story. Thank you to the moderator (a necessary evil) and to the commenters who are able to keep the need for moderation to a minimum. Please keep the lines open. Kudos to BB. While there is much on which we would likely disagree, I value all opinions and arguments, even if only for fuel and ammunition.

      • AVA News Service Post author | April 12, 2018

        We agree, Mr Kircher, and ask commenters to refrain from personal insults, which can quickly escalate and degrade the experience.

  5. james marmon April 11, 2018

    Poor Mr. Overton, this is not going to be very helpful. I was wondering why Flo Kana’s cute little spokesgirl wasn’t at yesterday’s BOS meeting.

    Marijuana regulators send cease order to 954 businesses in California

    PUBLISHED: APR 11, 2018, 10:21 AM

    AP: Nearly 1,000 individual cannabis businesses have been sent cease-and-desist letters or emails by California regulators during an ongoing enforcement process, a first step in a long effort to ensure the state’s industry is fully regulated and operating like those in more mature markets.

    According to a list obtained by Marijuana Business Daily, as of April 4, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) had sent cease-and-desist letters or emails to at least 954 businesses that the agency identified as potentially operating without full legal permission.”

    Licensees getting letters

    “At least three companies that received several cease-and-desist letters already have obtained temporary business permits from the state, MJBizDaily confirmed, and there could be more.

    Those three include distributor and retailer Flow Kana and retail chain The Apothecarium, both in San Francisco, as well as San Diego retailer Urbn Leaf.

    All three have multiple licenses through the BCC.”

  6. Bruce McEwen April 11, 2018

    “Please kelp me I’m fallin’… in wove w/ whoo” etc.
    –Elvis & Kermit the Frog …!… ! …

  7. Mike April 16, 2018

    I don’t think there is a Ron Verdier running for that 5th district seat.

    You must mean Alan Rodier, who has a great idea for cannabis friendly music fests as a revenue generating force.

    The land adjacent to the Russian River needs to be rezoned for multiple use. After flood zone mitigation.

    Build parks, music and public gathering venues (modeled like Wingfield Park in Reno), and have residential, light commerce and light ag on the outer edge.

    Don’t tell the Facebook group leaders but I decided today to vote for Ted Williams.

    I see him as a Pinches partner on the board.

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