Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Friday, April 13, 2018

* * *


by Malcolm Macdonald

There's quite a bit of consternation brewing on the Mendocino Coast about a Caltrans project to possibly replace the highway bridge over the Albion River near its mouth. The Caltrans view is that the project is needed because “the bridge is narrow, it does not meet current standards for shoulders and guardrails, and maintenance costs are high.”

Those in favor of keeping the bridge argue that it is historic and is one of the last wooden piling structures of its kind remaining on the West Coast. “Historic” is a pliable word, easily bent to suit the purposes of those who use it.

I have watched the three and a half minute film called “Bridging the Gap.” Aside from the presumably unintended irony that the owners of the Gap, Inc. also own much of the timberland extending eastward from the mouth of the Albion River, this ultra short film is long on pretty views of the bridge and its surroundings, but incredibly short on history. What passes for history in “Bridging the Gap” zooms by in about twenty seconds and consists of a still photo and a caption that reads, “Grand Opening, 1944.”

I have a very much living sibling older than the present incarnation of the Albion Bridge. At one point in the “Bridging the Gap” video the camera briefly follows the road that heads down to the Albion Flats (site of a mill for a little less than a century's length of history). That fairly steep road once led to the previous bridge crossings, just above flood level (but not always) on those flats. There were several versions of bridges crossing from the flats (mill site) to the south bank of the Albion, thence up a truly steep grade to just east of the present location of the Albion Store.

While I am no gleeful fan of Caltrans, let me also remind readers that history is a relative thing. The Grand Opening for the current Albion Bridge occurred on Sunday, June 11, 1944. The weather was bright and sunny, devoid of the usual June gloom fog. A large crowd that included county and state officials gathered on the south side. The bridge was dedicated in honor of the coast boys and men who had given their lives fighting in the ongoing World War. The American Legion sponsored the dedication along with several coastal businesses. The legion's color guard held an American flag (forty-eight stars). Reverend J.L. Kent read the invocation. The Fort Bragg Community Band played and Norma Bainbridge sang “America the Beautiful.” An abalone feed followed the opening ceremonies.

The bridge was constructed by Maurer & Son, a Eureka company. A mid-March, 1944, newspaper item noted, “The last cement was poured in the south tower last Saturday [March 11th] and the north tower has been completed for some time. These two towers are some 120 feet high.”

The article goes on, “Steel for the span over the river is now arriving. Maurer & Son have sublet the steel construction and a crew is now being assembled on the job and beginning the work... Work on the approaches is now underway and they no doubt will be completed and ready for travel before the main structure is done.”

A Berkeley contractor named Clauson was awarded the job of constructing those approaches to the bridge. Total price of that contract: $22,000.

The fanfare of the bridge opening in 1944 and its so-called “historic” nature in the eyes of some today is tempered by the news in this report from December, 1942. “This week the State Department of Public Works is calling for bids for the removal of several buildings at Albion to make way for the north approach to the new bridge...

“Contrary to general opinion, the north approach will not go as far west as the first surveys indicated. The engineers' borings in that section gave indication that the strata was not as stable as it might be, so the north abutment of the bridge will be at a point near the south end of the old Albion church. The roadway will swing north from there some 150 feet to take in the old recreational hall and the right of way will not only embrace this hall but also the cottage of the Albion Lumber Company at the northeast highway and street intersection directly across the way...

“This last survey calls for a higher bridge than was contemplated under the more westerly location, and it will be 969 feet in length, the longest modern bridge structure on the coast. At its southern terminus the new highway section will cut west from the present roadway about 700 feet south of Newgard's store and will run northwesterly cutting directly through the large barn on the Dolly Brown ranch, which is approximately 200 feet west of Newgard's store.

“The State is asking the removal of three buildings [church, recreation hall, and the Albion Lumber Co. cottage] in north Albion within thirty days from the time the job is undertaken...”

I wonder how many readers remember Mr. Newgard. My mother first registered to vote at his store during the time of the Albion Bridge construction. Since Macdonalds had been registered as Republicans since the 1800s, Mr. Newgard followed a mistaken presumption and registered Margaret Fay Macdonald as one, too. She never forgot nor quite forgave the somewhat sexist slight.

The church at the north end of the modern bridge dated back to the 1800s. (My grandparents as well as Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hickey, and many others attended services there.) The lumber cottage was also a historic building, dating at least to the 19th century and the lumber company ownership of Standish and Hickey, and likely farther back to the original mill owner Alexander Macpherson. (If you want to see historical faux pas, check out how the City of Fort Bragg has misspelled his name on street signs for lo these many years.) My father played basketball games in the recreation hall in the 1920s, so perhaps the defenders of the “historic” 1940s bridge might grasp the concept that in my family we still haven't gotten over the outrage of that 969 feet long span displacing a chunk of our history. I'll leave reaction to the destruction of the barn to descendants of Dolly Brown.

(More instruction than destruction at

* * *


Dear Editor:

I was just informed by Patricia Kovner of yet another gross violation by the person or persons who have secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) seized control of KZYX management.

Patricia was a candidate this year for the 3rd District seat on the KZYX Board of Directors. There are 9 members of the Board, one from each of the 5 districts (using the same map as the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors) plus 4 members at large. Since day 1, almost 30 years ago, only the KZYX members who lived within a given district could vote for that district’s local board seat, while all KZYX members voted for the at large seats. To change that policy, the station is required to have public discussion and a public vote either on this single issue or, if it prefers, a public discussion of formally amending the bylaws of the station, which would then also have to be approved by a membership vote.

Now that KZYX is being audited by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who will perform an on-site investigation of the station and its practices next month, you might think they would at least make a small gesture toward remediating a corrupt situation. You would be wrong. Instead, the autocrats who have illegally seized the station for their own private purposes — Jeff Parker, Stuart Campbell and possibly others — have decided to double down on corruption instead. For the first time, they arbitrarily, without authority to do so, allowed the entire membership to vote for candidates in districts other than their own. Patricia voted for candidates running in the 2nd district and the 5th district, even though she lives in the 3rd district. If her 3rd district seat had not been usurped and superseded by an illegal change in how elections are supposed to be conducted, the results may have been very different.

For some time, these usurpers have advocated for a smaller board to reduce the possibility of someone being elected who might actually focus on performing his or her mandated duties and responsibilities. Now, by illegally forcing the local candidates to face a very non-local electorate, this cabal can impose a tighter control on maintaining an emasculated board of directors that would continue to enable this cabal to commit malfeasance and misfeasance – and worse - with impunity.

I have encouraged Patricia to contact Ms. Helen Mollick, Esq., the Assistant Inspector General of the CPB and one of the 3 people who will be conducting the audit of KZYX, at or (202) 879-9600.

Ms. Mollick routinely explains to concerned members and listeners that her scope of inquiry is narrowly focused. This is true, but it’s not the whole story. The CPB is funded by federal tax dollars as well as private donations. That means that KZYX is also funded by federal tax dollars, which requires the station to acquit itself in the same manner as a squeaky-clean government subdivision, where there must be transparency over secrecy, strict financial oversight where there is current none whatsoever, and strict adherence to EEO laws rather than nepotism and creating “jobs” that perform little or no duties whatsoever.

There is a wealth of reference material that states that the CPB can terminate their contract in the face of the mere appearance of wrongdoing, let alone an out of control situation with smoking guns going off virtually every day.

I am personally advocating for a decision in line with an “opportunity letter.” I would like to see the autocrats at KZYX terminated and the board of directors given the opportunity to straighten up and fly right. It’s true that most board members lack the skill required for the position that they hold. They see it as simply a feather in their caps and haven’t a clue about what is required of them. Some may resign, to which I say good riddance to bad rubbish, and can be replaced by someone who has the skills and dedication required to hold this unpaid, difficult position. In the interim, I and others are more than happy to help them restore a clean and honest, democratically run non-profit.

I encourage everyone with concerns about KZYX to contact Ms. Mollick, and I hope that she and her 2 colleagues (the Inspector General and a professional auditor) have a safe field trip across our continent and get to the bottom of this current mess.

Larry Minson


* * *


(Photo by Judy Valadao)

* * *



Many people have said to me, "I'm conflicted about how to vote on the parcel tax." I can understand why.

We all want our hospital to thrive and be here for us into the future. We want and need an emergency room, ambulence services, obstetrics, and ICU and all the other departments that make up a rural hospital providing basic health care services closer home. But will a parcel tax save all that?

I see this issue as one involving two groups of voters. First are the wishful thinkers who believe the claim that a $1.7 million annual infusion of tax money will save the hospital, or, at the least, help get it back into the financial black. This is pure sentiment governed by emotional idealism based on feelings rather than fact. The $1.7 million represents one-month’s payroll. It will do nothing to help reduce the hospital’s debt which I am told is somewhere around $12 million.

The second group of voters are the pragmatists, people who use a practical approach to problems, whose thoughts are guided by matters of fact. Here are some facts as I see them:

The hospital's CEO is inept and is certainly not the one to right this ship. In fact his decisions and hiring and firing practices have caused most of the financial damage over the past three years. He has been aided and abetted by a supine Board of Directors who bow and submit to his every whim. The only board member who has asked thoughtful and probing questions on matters of importance and procedure has been Dr. Peter Glusker and unfortunately he is not running for reelection.

The pragmatist in me sees that this hospital's salvation lies in the replacement of the CEO and the election of an independent thinking board of directors, not a parcel tax. Why throw good money after bad? — as the saying goes.

The most recent damning evidence against CEO Edwards inability to man the helm is his firing of CFO Parigi. In three short months Mr. Parigi discovered millions of lost uncaptured charges from emergency room billing mistakes, from inefficient management of the billing department, from three computer systems that don't communicate with each other, from the $100,000 per month lost due to lost charges in the materials management department, from the overnight observation patients slipping through the system somehow not being billed for their stay, from improper billing of joint replacement parts resulting in tens of thousand of dollars in lost revenue.

There is more, but I think you get the point.

Why didn't CEO Bob Edwards’s former hand-picked high-priced CFO Sturgeon find these millions? The billing and coding department was a mess under Sturgeon’s management. Despite the ongoing complaints from the billing staff and their remedies for better efficiency, nothing changed. Just more financial hemorrhaging.

Does all of the above sound like an administrative recipe for a successfully run hospital? The answer to Coast Hospital’s survival lies in the resignation or termination of CEO Bob Edwards and a new board that will guide the hospital, not by being yes-men but by giving careful thought and critical thinking to serious issues.

Mr. Parigi's discovery of $3 million in lost revenue resulted in his firing by CEO Edwards. The CFO should have been showered with praise, but he showed Bob Edwards for what he is: an incompetent administrator. And Bob Edwards had to save face so Parigi got offed.

By the year 2030 we are directed by government to have a new hospital to meet safety and seismic requirements. To me, that is the biggest challenge in our future. We need to be focusing on that enormous project, what it will look like, how it will be funded.

But first things first. Let's get a new administration and board. If they prove themselves ethical and worthy of the challenges they face, then we can trust them with our tax dollars.

Until then, I remain a hopeful pragmatist.

Louise Mariana, RN

37 year employee of Mendocino Coast District Hospital


* * *


Vehicle reported to have been submerged in the South Fork of the Eel River outside of Leggett

MCSO Case# 2018-10197 Search & Rescue - Leggett Incident

Missing Persons:

  • Sandeep Thottapilly, 41 years of age, Santa Clarita CA
  • Soumya Thottapilly, 38 years of age, Santa Clarita CA
  • Siddhant Thottapilly, 12 years of age, Santa Clarita CA
  • Saachi Thottapilly, 9 years of age, Santa Clarita CA

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol, Garberville Area Office, are continuing their efforts along the South Fork of the Eel River, just north of the town of Leggett, to locate and recover a vehicle that was reported to have been submerged in the river on around 1:10 PM on Friday 4/06/2018. During their investigation the Highway Patrol discovered a possible car part, that was thought to have been broken from the vehicle, at the scene. Through their investigation they were able to determine that particular part belonged to a Honda Pilot, maroon in color. On Monday 4/9/18 the Highway Patrol became aware of an overdue family of 4, the Thottapilly family from Santa Clarita CA, who was believed to be traveling through the Redwood Coast Highway, on vacation. Their investigation later showed the overdue family was supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the San Jose area on 4/6/2018 but did not make it as scheduled. The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on 4/5/2018. The Highway Patrol developed information this family were traveling in a family vehicle, a 2016 maroon Honda Pilot. The family was officially reported as missing to the San Jose Police Department on 4/8/2018. The California Highway Patrol contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office in the early afternoon of Friday 4/6/18 regarding the availability of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Dive Team to evaluate the possibility of vehicle recovery. After a complete assessment it was determine that diving or swift water rescue operations could not be conducted in a safe manner due to the height and flow of the river during the storm. The Sheriff's Office and the Highway Patrol agreed to do continuous evaluations as the river levels receded. On 4/10 and again on 4/11/2018 it was determined the water levels would allow the insertion of Swift Water Rescue Teams to conduct a bank search as well as some limited "probing", a technique using a long pole being probed underwater to see if the vehicle or anything metallic could be located. The teams accessed the river in inflatable boats and on River Boards, a small floatation device designed to allow full access under overhanging trees or tight areas not accessible by boat. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office also assisted with the use of their jet boat with side scan sonar system. Between the two search days the teams were able to cover approximately 12 miles of river bank. The teams were unsuccessful in locating the vehicle or any occupants from the vehicle. They were able to locate numerous items that appeared to have come from a vehicle body and interior. Some of these items were consistent with a Honda vehicle. Also located were various personal items that were consistent with a family traveling on vacation. Several items have been positively identified, by family members, as belonging to the Thottapilly family. These items were of a personal nature and will not be described further at this time, but it does confirm the fact the vehicle that was seen going into the river was that of the Thottapilly family. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has been in contact with numerous other county dive teams and technical rescue responders that can be called upon, when the vehicle is located, to assist with recovery of the vehicle. Once recovered the Highway Patrol will conduct a complete mechanical inspection of the vehicle as part of the accident investigation. A joint Press Conference of the California Highway Patrol and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will be held at the Leggett Cal FIRE Station, 69310 North Highway 101 Leggett, at noon on 4/13/2018 to answer any press related questions related to this investigation. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol would like to thank the following agencies/entities for their assistance thus far in this incident:

  • San Jose Police Department
  • Rescue Solutions
  • Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Boat Team
  • Piercy Fire Department
  • Leggett Valley Fire Department
  • Little Lake Fire Department
  • Ukiah Valley Fire Department
  • Hopland Fire Department
  • Fresno County Sheriff's Office
  • California National Guard
  • Cal FIRE
  • California Governors Office of Emergency Services

Ongoing press releases and updates/photos will be posted on the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office facebook page as information becomes available(

Lieutenant Shannon Barney

* * *


Alan "The Kid" Flora, disappeared by Mendocino County, is now functioning as the city of Clearlake's Director of Finance.

* * *

THE TUESDAY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CONSENT CALENDAR included the now doubly redundant disbursement of $25k more to North Coast Opportunities. The expenditure sailed right on through, natch, although it's extravagantly indefensible.

IN FEBRUARY, the Board handed over $175k to the Mendocino County Office of Education to do the same thing. NCO got their $25k RETROACTIVELY “to Provide CalFresh Outreach Services to School Children in Mendocino County for Fiscal Year 2017-18.” Which, boiled down is a simple notification to eligible families that they qualify for the food. And it's the same notice school districts routinely send home with children every Fall. MCOE got the $175k to “serve as the coordinator and facilitator of funding allotments to all school districts in the County that are willing and interested in performing CalFresh outreach activities to their student population.”

ALL COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS already provide this “service” to their students as part of their opening day packets and they follow it up because it means more food reimbursements for the local districts.

APPARENTLY, because the funding comes from “CalFresh and Medi-Cal Administration,” the County Supes don’t feel the slightest obligation to question this giant waste of money — money that could and should go to actual food for students. And in this case, they don’t even bother to ask why NCO is getting money RETROACTIVELY to do what MCOE was paid much more to do just two months ago — which itself was entirely unnecessary.

THIS EXPENDITURE is so egregiously wasteful, that it may be a scam. And it’s another indication that the Supervisors don’t care about the waste of public money when they can’t even bring themselves to question a giant scam like this one.

* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS, “The boss comes hustling up with a coupla tall cans of Bud. ‘To trap the snails in my garden, if you must know Little Dog, and don't you go drinking it.’ As if. Every day, a new insult.”

* * *

DINA POLKINGHORNE of Project Sanctuary points out:

Clarification: The graphic included in the online version of the AVA is incorrect. The age of consent in California is 18.

* * *


There's no Boonville Farmers Market anymore, but Petit Teton is still here growing food and animals and we have them for sale...only a few minutes from downtown B'ville. Come visit your neighbor to pick up greens (baby artichokes, fennel, kale, mustards, escarole, watercress, cilantro, parsley, and celery) or meats (beef, pork and squab) or something from our shelves full of preserved jams, pickles, soups, relishes, etc. or a fresh fermented jar of kraut, kimchi, or bread and butter pickles. And after shopping you're welcome to wander the gardens - beautiful right now - and visit the animals. We'd love to see you.

* * *


Goat Fest 2018 is on Saturday April 21, 10 am-3pm, in conjunction with the Wildflower Show at the County Fairgrounds in Boonville. We hope you will be able to join in the outdoor fun. Kids will get a prize for bringing their bike!

  • Farmers’ Market beginning at 10 am
  • Mosswood Goat Cheese Empanadas available at Info Table at 10 am
  • Signups for 3 pm Pennyroyal Tour at Info Table (20 person limit)
  • 10 am Goat Mask Making for the Parade at 11:30 (or come in a goat costume - or your bike could be dressed as a goat!)
  • Goat Milking Demo
  • Parade at 11:30

Lunch Vendors - Alicia’s Tacos, John’s Farm Burgers and Gabe’s Fruit Cups, Baked Goods and Horchata & Hibiscus Aguas (a fundraiser for the High School Music Production Program)

Entertainment in the Grove

  • Noon-1:00 - Music in the Grove by David & Gabe Segura with other High School Students
  • 1:00 - Third Grade Performance
  • 1:15 - Piñata
  • 1:45 - Birria Judging
  • 2:00-3:00 - More Music
  • 3:00 - Meet at Info Table for Pennyroyal Tour (the first 20 people to sign up will get this free tour)


  • 11:00-12:30- Goats 101 - Jim Doublesnake
  • 12:00-1:00- Cheese Making and More – Marggie Chandler
  • 1:00-2:00- Goats for pack animals, carts, clearing, and restoration - Abeja Hummel
  • 2:00-3:00- Soap Making

For updates, please check the website:

* * *


My name is Michelle Hutchins and I am running for Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools.

Everyone who runs for political office has the challenge to raise a large amount of money to cover the cost of the campaign. This being my first time running for political office, every contribution to my campaign is greatly appreciated. Your donation will allow me to produce lawn signs, fliers, mailings and slates. One flier mailed county-wide can cost over $5,000. My goal is to use local printers and designers to keep this money in Mendocino County. I'm confronted with the challenge of asking people to help financially support my vision for improving public education.

I bring knowledge of school district administration, operations and a strong background in curriculum and staff development. I believe children are incredible problem solvers who, when given the right tools, can advance their communities and their education at the same time.

The County Office of Education should not just support school districts in financial matters, but promote academic achievement, provide teacher development and foster personalized student learning. County academic scores are low, and economic forecasts indicate most students are not prepared for the jobs of the future. As County School Superintendent, my primary focus will be to help districts produce graduates who can succeed in today’s complex world.

When elected, I plan to: 1) confront chronic absenteeism by forming countywide attendance boards and teen courts; 2) decentralize services to overcome Mendocino’s geographic challenges; 3) assist local school boards in developing effective governance structures; and 4) inspire a culture of innovation.

I bring the experience and knowledge required to meet California Education standards for all districts. During my 24-years in education, I served as an art and technology teacher, director of adult and alternative programs, university instructor, principal and superintendent of schools at two rural school districts.

Experience matters!

Thank you for your support.

* * *


The following notification was sent out by Frank Demling, Project Manager Caltrans, District 1 Project Manager, Thursday @ 8:46 am:

"Caltrans is hosting an informational meeting on Tuesday, April 17, at the Albion Elementary School at 30400 Albion Ridge Rd, Albion, from 6:00 pm – 7:30pm

Caltrans has submitted a CDP application to the California Coastal Commission to perform a geotechnical investigation for the Albion River Bridge Rehabilitation/Replacement project which is tentatively scheduled to be heard by the Coastal Commission at the May 9, 2018 Coastal Commission meeting. We’ll be discussing the proposed geotechnical investigation as well as the Inspection Commentary from the October 2017 Bridge Inspection Report.

We’ll also be discussing a new project that Caltrans is developing to address the work recommendations from October 2017 BIR report.

The 1944 Albion River Bridge requires extensive and regular maintenance due to its age and the corrosive marine environment where the bridge is located.

In 2017, a maintenance contract was competed, which replaced 80% of all the threaded rods and nuts throughout the substructure. Rot, decay and checks in the wooden truss members were filled and sealed with epoxy. Seismic restrainers and seat extenders were anchored to the concrete towers as an interim measure to address seismic vulnerability. Additional work included removal of the AC overlay on the bridge deck and replacement with new AC.

The deterioration in the bridge deck and substructure members and the continually corroding steel bolt connections are indications that the structure has entered a state of decay that has a high potential to increase at an exponential rate.

A follow-up 2019/2020 Maintenance contract needed to replace the remaining corroded steel bolt in the substructure and begin replacing them in the superstructure. All rotting and checking wooden members will also be filled and sealed. Caltrans Structure Maintenance & Investigations unit estimates the timber portion of the Albion River bridge has 10, or maybe 20 years of service life remaining and is in an active state of deterioration.

The feasibility of retrofitting the existing bridge is low due to the age of the bridge, its deteriorating condition and the low permit rating of the steel deck main span.

Additionally, the structure remains seismically vulnerable and susceptible to tsunami damage. A limitation to the rehabilitation strategy is the inability to widen the bridge deck without additional piers and foundations to provide improved shoulders, upgraded bridge rails and a pedestrian walkway.

In 2017, the bridge inspection report shows a corroded sheer ring behind a rested steel strap at the base of the bridge trestle. It is reasonable to assume that the condition of many internal shear rings are in the same corroded condition, greatly compromising the remaining life of the shear ring connections. As a result, the life cycle economic cost of adequate maintenance for the Albion River Bridge does not compare favorably with the cost to replace the bridge with a structure better suited to the environment.

Hazardous Material associated with the Albion River Bridge

The Bridge was constructed primarily with Douglas fir timbers treated with a wood preservative, which contains arsenic and hexavalent chromium.

Studies show the shallow soil adjacent to the concrete footings, and the concrete footing themselves directly beneath the bridge have elevated concentrations of arsenic, and, to a lesser extent, hexavalent chromium.

The arsenic and hexavalent chromium releases are from the wood treatment chemicals leaching into stormwater runoff. Once the arsenic reaches the sandy soil beneath the bridge, it appears to travel unimpeded to the shallow groundwater and is dispersed into the environment.

Although residential use is not expected under the bridge, contaminants exceed DTSC allowable residential levels and require further action under DTSC's cleanup program."

— Caltrans District 1 - Albion River Bridge Rehabilitation/Replacement, District 1 Albion River Bridge Rehabilitation/Replacement.


* * *


by Everton Bailey Jr.

A Texas attorney who represented the biological aunt of Devonte Hart and two of his siblings in a custody case more than a decade ago said she believes the children never should have been placed with an adoptive family.

Houston family law attorney Shonda Jones told ABC 13 in Houston that she realized this week after reading news reports that she once fought to keep Devonte, 15; Sierra, 15; and Jeremiah, 14, with their aunt in Texas. Jones said drug use led to the children being removed from their parents and placed with their aunt.

The aunt lost custody of the children because she allowed their mother to watch them while the aunt was at work, which violated a court stipulation, according to Jones.

"She's having a very hard time, in my opinion, accepting what has happened," Jones said of the aunt, who wasn't identified by the TV station. "I think she hears it, but doesn't want to believe it."

Jeremiah, along with adopted siblings Markis, 19; and Abigail, 14; and adopted parents Sarah and Jennifer Hart, both 38, were found dead on the northern California coast March 26 after the SUV they were in apparently went off a cliff. Three other children, including Sierra and Devonte, still haven't been found.

A person found dead in the Pacific Ocean near the crash site hasn't yet been identified. Authorities in California have said they believe all six of the children were in the SUV when it crashed and suspect the crash may have been intentional.

Jones said she never met the children and after the custody case only knew the three siblings were sent to live with a couple in Minnesota. She described what she's read about the latest case as "very disturbing."

She said the aunt still lives in Houston.

Sierra, Devonte and Jeremiah were adopted by Sarah and Jennifer Hart in February 2009, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. At the time, they lived in Alexandria, Minnesota, about 130 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

They later moved to West Linn and most recently lived in Woodland, Washington. The couple of been accused of abusing the children in all three states, records show.

(The Oregonian/OregonLive)

* * *


Dear AVA,

This is my second time writing your paper. The first was to respond to Mr. Tim Stoen's article about being a victim of Jim Jones mass murder at the Jonestown massacre in 1978 in South America. I lost my foster brother Vincent Lopez Jr. as well as the people who introduced me to this ugly cult upon my arrival at the Touchette care home in 1972. I'm currently pursuing legal action and would like to hear from any former members who still live in the area — the Bogues, Tina and Juanita Bogue, or any other former members who would like to contact me. I would appreciate it.

I can be reached at:

Arthur D. Scott AV-9005
PO Box 4000 11-118L
Vacaville, CA 95696-4000

* * *


Mitchell Creek Lion has been there for years.

The Mitchell Cr. Mountain Lion has been around for a number of years. Sightings are often posted right here on the list serve. She's known to take cats as a matter of territory--as are all lions, and is probably out and about right now teaching her yearling cub the ropes. Her territory is quite large and she'll probably move on to patrol other parts of it shortly, give her a few days. Not necessary to do anything--except keep your cats inside and if your dogs start barking--get them and yourself and your children inside too. Certainly shooting at them with a BB gun isn't going to scare them away as much as a lot of yelling and waving things in the air, though I do not advise confronting her like that unless you're alone in the woods because she might just turn on you. IF YOU'RE IN THE HOUSE, STAY THERE! Do NOT go out and try to shoo it away--it's bigger and stronger than you no matter how superior you may feel. If you know a lion was seen in your area within the last few days, don't let your kids play in the woods or outdoors.

Ronnie James, Woodlands Wildlife

* * *


On 04/11/2018 at about 1530 hours the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service from the California Highway Patrol regarding a donkey running in traffic on Highway 101 near mile post marker 8. Deputies and Animal Control officers responded to the location where they met with members of Caltrans. Also on scene was the owner of the animal. On 03/26/2018 a motorist collided with horses on Highway 101 near this location which resulted in injuries to the driver. Currently animal control officers are awaiting tranquilizing drugs from the Mendocino County Veterinarian however, officers are not currently in possession of the necessary drugs to tranquilize large animals. Upon arrival, officers surveyed the area and found the donkey was posing a significant danger to motorists on the highway. Officers estimated the weight of the animal in excess of 500 pounds. Officers were able to haze the animal off of the roadway onto a small hill located just above Highway 101. The animal was extremely aggressive towards officers who were forced to continually haze the animal to keep him off of the roadway as the animal was above a blind turn on Highway 101. The weather was deteriorating and driver visibility was rapidly declining. Officers requested CHP to respond to the scene to complete traffic calming measures while they continued to haze the animal off the highway. The animal made repeated attempts to enter back onto the highway and had to be hazed by officers at the scene to keep it out of traffic. The owner of the animal was on scene and had fallen and received minor injuries while attempting to keep the animal off of the highway. Officers spoke with the owner and learned the animal was approximately 40 years old and had never been halter broke, therefore the owner had never been able to lead the animal with a rope. Deputies learned the animal had traveled approximately one mile down the highway from the farm where it had been kept. Officers learned the animal was extremely aggressive and according to the owner it had injured and killed other animals on the farm. Due to the aggressive nature of the animal, it was recently placed into a pen separating it from other animals on the farm. After the animal had been moved to this new pen, the animal had broken out of the pen and traveled down the highway. The owner of the animal did not have a firearm or other humane means to dispatch the animal. The owner requested Animal Control Officers dispatch the animal stating he feared for the safety of motorists on the highway. Due to the extreme danger to motorists the situation was posing, Animal Control Officers agreed to honor the request of the owner to put the animal down. Animal control officers shot the animal, the initial shot injured the animal however, and did not kill it. The animal traveled up the hill away from the highway as officers followed. Officers were able to dispatch the animal once it moved further from the highway. The owner was able to procure a small flatbed trailer and was assisted by officers in removing the animal from the property.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind all motorists, we live in a rural county with ranches and livestock. Please drive safely and be aware of the possibility of livestock on the highway when driving through horse and cattle county.

Undersheriff Matthew Kendall

* * *


Woodlands Wildlife on Mouse-in-the-House

Actually these are the less common ways to keep mice out of the house. It's my understanding that a mouse can get through anything 1/2 inch high, and judging from the size of their skeletons, I would agree with that. They can get into just about any house, however they have some pathways that most residents don't know about. 1) Most houses have a cement perimeter foundation today. Where the wood of the house attaches to the cement, there's a space between the wood and cement. I went under (sent someone actually) with some of that expanding foam caulking to go all around the entire crawlspace and fill between the cement and the wood. Extra foam can be cut away with a kitchen knife if it shows too much. 2) Inside the house, where the walls meet the floor there is usually a baseboard that hides that seam. If you remove the baseboard (usually just pops off and can be put back with a few nails) you'll see that there is a space between the sheet-rock of the walls and the floor--needs to be caulked in every room so they can't enter there. Mice chew easily through the sheet-rock and squeezed under the baseboard to enter the room. 3) Open the cupboard doors under the sink and you'll see where the water pipes come in--there is usually a hole cut in the back of the cabinet and wall for the pipes to come through. That also needs to be filled w/foam caulking or steel wool that has no soap in it. I poked a bunch in using a screwdriver. It tends to rust though and the extra foam can be cut away neatly with a knife, so I prefer that. Also under doors leading to the outside is often an access point. Weather-proofing panels often help that. 4) Then there's the roof and maybe even the windows. I have an exposed beam and wood ceiling on sheet rock walls, and that also needed to be foam caulked. I could actually see sunlight coming through the area around the wood beams. Good to caulk the outside too because they get into the walls and make a lot of noise and sometimes die and stink. Also a good idea to remove bushes and branches that provide highways for mice and rats to get to the roof. I know, more anyone wanted to know, and certainly not anything to tackle all in one day or one week. I found the areas under the sink the easiest and most often used by mice. Also, I prefer 'Tin Cat' or Have-a-Heart traps to those little plastic things where the door tips down and traps the mouse--they tend to die in there if they aren't released within a few hours, and they only trap one at a time. I'm not opposed to snap traps, but too often I found no mouse, just feet and/or tails left behind, or in the case of larger rats--they aren't killed but suffer broken backs and then I have to somehow kill them.

Ronnie James, Woodlands Wildlife

* * *



MISSING JUVENILE: Lia Long is described as a light-skinned Native American female, standing 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 125 pounds with long black hair and brown eyes. Long currently has one dermal (dimple) piercing on both her right and left cheek.

Long also has the words, 'forever in my heart Alyssa 05/23/17' tattooed on her right clavicle and an upside-down crescent moon on her right thigh.


Steele Blue Metallic 7 series BMW late 1999 to early 2000’s model. A photo of this model of BMW is attached for reference but NOTE THIS IS NOT THE ACTUAL VEHICLE.

With the Assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), numerous state and local law enforcement agencies & the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, Lakeport police officers are continuing to conduct the investigation into the whereabouts of Lia Long.

We have followed up on many leads including investigation of individuals who may have been with Long since the afternoon of Monday, April 9, 2018.

Antonio Malik Walls and his vehicle, listed in earlier releases, are no longer being sought for investigation.

Numerous California and nationwide alerts for Long have been issued and are currently being targeted to the public in the Williams, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles areas.

We are continuing to seek the identity of a light-skinned white or Hispanic male and a black male adult, who we believe Long Left Williams, CA with, in a blue/silver colored BMW, possibly a 7 series.

We are especially interested in anyone who may have seen Long, the BMW or the light-skinned white or Hispanic and black male adults in the Williams California area on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 between approximately 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

We continue to be concerned for Long’s safety and ask anyone with information regarding her location or activity to contact your local law enforcement agency or the Lakeport Police Department via Facebook, an anonymous text message from your cellular phone by texting the words TIP LAKEPORT followed by your message to the number 888777 or by telephone at 707-263-5491."

Lakeport Police Department

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, April 12, 2018

Fitch, Jones, Kimberlin, Sosa

FREDRICK FITCH, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MICHAEL JONES, Ukiah. Concealed weapon, probation revocation.

MICHAEL KIMBERLIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ERNEST SOSA, Westport. Controlled substance, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

JACOB WALTRIP, Ukiah. Resisting. (Booking Photo not available.)

* * *

"WHAT KIND OF PEACE do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children--not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women--not merely peace in our time but peace for all time."

"I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn."

"Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable--that mankind is doomed--that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable — and we believe they can do it again."

John F. Kennedy - Commencement address at American University, Washington

DC, June 1963

* * *


Four-Star US General Warns "War Is On The Horizon" As Syria Situation Escalates

"This ain't no party.

This ain't no picnic disco.

This ain't no fooling' around."

— Talking Heads

* * *


California is the land of beaches, mountains, and all the legal marijuana you can stomach. It’s also, inconveniently, a dangerous minefield riddled with nasty fault lines that rupture without much warning, generating massive earthquakes that can level buildings, pulverize roads, and kill lots of people in the span of seconds.

The San Andreas is the most notorious of these faults. It runs roughly 800 miles long and produces quakes so catastrophic that there’s a 2015 action movie about it starring The Rock.

The southern section of the fault generates earthquakes every 150 years on average, and considering some parts of it haven’t ruptured in more than 200 years, Southern California is overdue for a major shaking, otherwise known as “the Big One.”

“There is no fault that is more likely to break than the San Andreas Fault,” says Jonathan P. Stewart, professor and chair of UCLA’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department and an expert in earthquakes.

“Small local earthquakes—the Northridge earthquake, the San Fernando earthquake—they can kill people in the dozens, they can have freeways coming down, they can affect dams, and all of that is bad,” he says. “But it doesn’t really pose an existential threat to our economy, our ability to live here.”

A large earthquake on the San Andreas Fault, on the other hand, he says, could create a devastating threat to humanity, infrastructure, and the economy, with implications that extend nationally and even globally...


* * *


I watched the local evening news tonite. Bill Cosby is on trial and the #Metoo movement is eager to bring him down. President Trump’s lawyers office was raided by the FBI. At a local HS a student had a Confederate flag sticker on a notebook so the school went into lockdown. A married couple in Madison was arrested because their dogs were not being properly cared for; now their house (a run down shack by all appearances) is being picketed by cat lady activists from the STPCA. No mention of impending war or potentially catastrophic events in the Middle East or anywhere. So besides about half the broadcast spent inveighing against President Trump, his policies, his personal life, his presidency, that’s about it, that’s all that’s happening.

* * *

SINCE AMERICA lost its only real enemy in 1991, Washington has become an unhinged war capital. It is now endangering the entire planet in a doom-loop of expanding military muscle, multiplying foreign interventions and occupations, intensifying blowback from the victims of Washington's aggression, and an ever greater chorus of Empire justifying experts, apparatchiks and politicians getting fat on the banks of the Potomac.

— David Stockman

* * *

“I’m stepping down to spend more time with my actual children.”

* * *


Zuckerberg, the coward—His testimony should've gone something like this;

"Why did you join up on Facebook, Senator, if you didn't know who we are or what we do? If you were too stupid or lazy to figure that out, it's all on you. Any concern you seem to be showing now over the shreds of your privacy you think need to be protected and respected, along with the sad disappointment of your expectations of some level of decency that you want to try to lay on me, refer only to the abstracted commodities that YOU waived when YOU agreed to Facebook's Terms of Service. Before you join, moron, read the damned terms! The only thing Facebook has done is to expose the boundless gullibility of the American people. It's the stupidity that needs to be regulated, not the mirrors that reflect it. Care to roll that rock up the mountain, Senator Sisyphus?"

This testimony would've saved nine or ten hours of meaningless jive and left us in exactly the same place.

Michael DeLang

Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado

* * *


* * *

HAPPY FRIDAY the 13th from a neighbor in Fort Bragg

* * *


  1. The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.

And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,

My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,

And I was frightened. He said, Marie,

Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.

In the mountains, there you feel free.

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

— T.S. Eliot



  1. Steve Heilig April 13, 2018

    Re Little Dog: Budweiser? No wonder he’s insulted. Give that poor pup some Boont Amber!
    Think global, drink local, or something like that.

    (Ps: Judy Valadao’s northcoast photos are just superb, and thank her/you for them).

  2. Paul McCarthy April 13, 2018

    I believe the lyrics to the Talking Heads song are “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no DISCO…”

  3. james marmon April 13, 2018


    “The aunt lost custody of the children because she allowed their mother to watch them while the aunt was at work, which violated a court stipulation”

    Very typical, I know a local grandmother that has to leave her daughter homeless on the streets of Ukiah because she is afraid that if she helps her she will lose custody of her grandson for whom she has had guardianship of for over 10 years.

    In ten years, mother’s often mature and children are more capable of self protection. Two factors a well educated and experienced social worker would assess and consider, but Mendocino County Family and Children’s Services doesn’t have any of those kinds of social workers laying around anywhere.

    Help is on its way though.

    Fact Sheet: Family First Prevention Services Act
    MARCH 9, 2018

    “The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018. This act reforms the federal child welfare financing streams, Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, to provide services to families who are at risk of entering the child welfare system. The bill aims to prevent children from entering foster care by allowing federal reimbursement for mental health services, substance use treatment, and in-home parenting skill training. It also seeks to improve the well-being of children already in foster by incentivizing states to reduce placement of children in congregate care.”

    Follow the money Camille.

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Social Worker V
    Mendocino County Family and Children’s Services.

  4. Lazarus April 13, 2018

    “MICHAEL KIMBERLIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.”(catch of the day)
    Looks to be another version of Charles Hensley…I wonder who beat him…?
    As always,

  5. mr. wendal April 13, 2018


    I enjoyed reading this bit of history. I hope that someday Mr. Macdonald will present a program at the Kelley House or another venue of his choice.


    I read and reread my ballot, curious about why we are now able to vote for people to represent residents of an area in which we don’t live. I voted for Kovner and Anderson and was not surprised at the results after discussing the election with friends who parroted the same two names with the same reasons for why they should be elected. But they could not go further with any original thoughts or details. Thank you, Mr. Minson, for keeping on top of this matter.


    I agree completely. They are trying to use sentiment to get votes. But if you look at the numbers, there is no way that this will “save” the hospital. When a better administration is installed, I will happily support a parcel tax if necessary. Until then, I can not justify voting to give money to support an entity that is as poorly run at the top as is the District. And why don’t they talk about the Bond that we’re already paying on our property and have been paying for some years? The different administrations and board members have been trying to pass a parcel tax several times over the years, threatening us with the imminent closure of the hospital each time. And it’s still here. And the recently fired CFO laid out measures to take to gain the revenue to keep it solvent without parcel tax money. Why should we ignore his findings and vote for the tax? It makes no sense.

    Please don’t be swayed by the sentimental ads; ask questions of the people who are pushing this tax. Ask about the bond that’s already on our tax bill. Ask about the findings of Mr. Parigi. Ask why the parcel tax is needed after they implement his changes and improvements to gain 3 million per year. I read their talking points; they certainly don’t share the full story about the parcel tax postponement program. Just because you qualify for the program doesn’t mean that you will get to be a part it. It is a first-come, first-served program until funds run out. From the State Controller’s Office: “There is no guarantee that you will receive a postponement of property taxes even if you file on time and meet all qualifications.” Ask about the interest you will owe on the deferred taxes (yes you will owe interest). Ask how often you need to apply (once a year during the specified application time). Ask if qualify if you live in a mobile, modular, or manufactured home; you don’t – permanent foundation or not. Ask about when payment is due if you need to move to Sherwood Oaks or a similar facility. The application process is not as easy as one would think or that the parcel tax proponents intimate. Ask about why the program was suspended from 2009 to 2016. It is upsetting to hear talk about how elderly or disabled homeowners can get their payment deferred without telling them that it’s neither guaranteed nor permanent. In order to gain votes and support, people are being misled. To garner votes and support by telling people who can least afford it that they won’t have to pay the tax is untrue and cruel.

    • mr. wendal April 13, 2018

      I know. That’s why I wrote “The different administrations and board members have been trying to pass a parcel tax several times over the years, threatening us with the imminent closure of the hospital each time. And it’s still here.”

      I don’t understand the reason for your “Sheesh!”

  6. Jim Updegraff April 13, 2018

    KZYX – If you have a problem don’t wait for the feds file a complaint with the Registry of Charitable Trusts . I have explained several times in the past the procedures for filing a complaint. I am beginning to think there are a lot of whims in Mendo County when it comes to doing something about the KZYX problem.

    • Bruce Anderson April 13, 2018

      As it happens, Jim, the feds are coming to town next week to have a look at KZYX, an institution “so corrupt it’s thrilling,” as the late great Lenny Bruce said of Chicago.

  7. mr. wendal April 13, 2018


    I am very disappointed in Supervisor Gjerde. When he was on the Fort Bragg city council he was forthright and willng to ask questions of staff. He doesn’t do the same as a Supervisor. The BOS and CEO have a weird relationship that is detrimental to the financial health of this county. I continue to be amazed at the disinterest by the Supervisors. I hope that Mr. Pinches is elected. That might spur Mr. Gjerde to speak up more often, too.

  8. Kathy April 13, 2018

    NorCal might be able to self-govern. But without the SoCal tax base, NorCal won’t be able to self-finance…

  9. Bruce McEwen April 13, 2018

    Nostalgia for the Albion River Bridge eludes me entirely, like so much else to do with the car culture, I wish it would all crumble away.

    Apropos of which…

    Here’s some stats on mass shootings and the Black Lives Matter teeth gnashing so typical of the stimulus to our recent spate of protesters: According to an article in Counter Punch currently the number of people killed in mass shootings in 2017 was 590, whereas the police shot and killed 987, and the author of the article, the aptly named Ebony Slaughter-Johnson, points out that 223 were black Americans; but there’s more if you add in those killed by police using means other than guns, the number bounds up to 1146!

    That’s in all of America. But it still equals only a third of the number of people killed by cars in California alone in a single year, which on average is over 3300 — the national average is 35,000, which is more than all the Americans killed in the past 20 years of mass shootings, police shootings included.

    Where is the outrage? Don’t even ask. I mean, can’t you just hear the howls of derisive laughter if anyone suggested a day of protest against the car culture?

    No-no: It’s much like the old redneck NRA slogan, “I’ll give up my car when you pry my cold, dead fingers from the wheel!”

    • George Hollister April 13, 2018

      The option that is out there to consider is, build a new bridge and save the old one for people to walk and bike on. But that option would require money to be raised for long term maintenance. Saving bridges for historical purposes is, I believe, outside CalTrans job description.

      Whether CalTrans’ assessment is entirely correct or not, all bridges get to a point where they need to be replaced. Some last longer than others. But wooden bridges, as much as I love wood, have their limits. Even if the wood is treated, it still eventually will rot when exposed to the weather. I don’t see where putting chalking over rotten areas does much to change anything. Steel fasteners deteriorate as well, particularly in ocean air.

      My sister-in-law from the Midwest, who loves that bridge said, ” I knew someday it would have to come down, but it had a good run while it was there.” She is from rural flyover country, can’t you tell?

      • Bruce McEwen April 13, 2018

        For more wishful thinking about bridges, trails, and lanes for any kind of traffic other than cars, let me refer you to the wistfully proposed hiking/biking/bridle path through Anderson Valley that got so many signatures of approval a few years ago, and went the same way as the Rails To Trails pipe dream for the old RR tracks up through Northern Mendocino and Humboldt Counties is doomed to go — it all goes up in smoke, because the car culture rules; which is to say it rules out everything but cars; which, incidentally, is why Under Sheriff Matt Kendal had to shoot that stubborn mule who was on the roadway, interfering with the holy rights of cars.

        Cars only, you see, can invoke the right of eminent domain, and get right of way through private property — only cars enjoy this right — and anyone on foot or horseback wouldn’t need a bridge, as you suggest, just like they never needed one in the old days — trouble is, a switch-back trail down to a ford in the river is out of the question for the same reason the Anderson Valley trail failed so dismally.

  10. Bruce McEwen April 13, 2018

    My Susan, you sound a whole lot like Patty Loveless singing, “…your lyin’, cheatin’, lowdown-sneakin’ two-timin’, back-bitin’, bad-mouthin’ etc. &c.”

    Goodness: the rhetoric works w/out music!

Leave a Reply to Kathy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *