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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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BEYOND AWFUL. Monday afternoon, a little after 3pm, an eastbound SUV containing a three-person family of visitors from England was stopped at a bend in Highway 128 about a half-mile from the Boonville CalFire station by a soil spill that was blocking both lanes. The Englishman left his vehicle to ask if he could help the two Mexicans whose trailer containing the soil had overturned, unaware that his car, presumably a rental, was not securely locked in park. It rolled off the side of the road and plummeted some 150 feet down the embankment, killing the visiting Englishman's wife and injuring his 12-year-old son. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Oakland where, at first report, he is expected to recover from his physical injuries. CHP investigators were still at the site of the accident well into the evening.

(click to enlarge)

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AS WE GO to press, still no cause of last week's Octopus Mountain (“Peach”) Fire. Locals are saying lawnmower, but the cause remains unconfirmed.

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by Jonah Raskin

Recently when walking in the woods above Point Arena, my pal Michael and I heard hammers banging away. We followed the sounds and came upon a clearing and a construction site. Rob, the foreman, and two Mexicans were building the visitor’s center for “Better Place Forests.” As the website for the company proclaims, “Create a family memorial surrounded by natural beauty. Spread ashes beneath a personal, permanently protected memorial tree.”

Of course, you have to buy a tree in the forest and the biggest of the trees aren’t cheap. An old redwood could set you back $36,000. A young tan oak would be a lot less. It struck me that, as the cannabis industry is dying a slow and painful death in places like Point Arena, Gualala and Manchester, a new industry is busy being born.

Call it the burial industry in its latest incarnation which the muckraking reporter, Jessica Mitford, exposed as a scam in The American Way of Death, which earned her the ire of the funeral business in the U.S.

“Find your forest,” the website for “Better Place Forests” proclaims. “Dramatic bluffs, seaside meadows, and ancient groves await.” But if you’re dead and your ashes are buried at the foot of an ancient redwood why would those bluffs and meadows matter? Mitford would have to write a new chapter in her classic.

Rob, the foreman, was born and raised on the Mendocino Coast. He put down his hammer for a few minutes and explained that many of the marijuana growers who had lost their livelihoods weren’t much good on the construction site. He had grown up with them. “They arrive at 10 a.m. and leave at 2 p.m.,” he said. “I don’t feel sorry for them. They have had a good long run.”

A bit further on, we stopped to chat with a longtime marijuana grower who had built his own house in an area he called “Mayberry LSD,” on a dirt road he referred to as “Red Tag Road.” Call the grower Foxx. And listen to his stories. “I always wanted to be legal, but now that we have legalization it has ruined the economy unless you are huge,” he said. He added, “We violated rule number one which says, ‘You never invite the man.’ Well, we invited the man.”

Foxx explained that old school growers were selling their property and getting out of Mendocino. Not Foxx. He had salted away a pile of money, paid taxes every year, he said, and made up invoices to cover himself. Once he was almost arrested while driving ten pounds of weed to Idaho. “I was gin-soaked,” he said. “But I passed all the sobriety tests they gave me, made it to Idaho and sold the load for $4,000 a pound.” Yes indeed, he had a good long run and he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself.

Foxx looked back at his own past and observed, “I thought we were going to change the world. Now, the Trump people are on a mission from God to get rid of everything progressive.”

In Point Area, my pal Michael and I heard a lot of griping at the Sign of the Whale where the bartender said, “There’s no more money to launder.” He added, “We lost the restaurant, Uneda, because there’s no cash economy anymore.” A barfly who had had way too much to drink waved his arms about and shouted, “They killed all the mom and pop operations. I hate all the supervisors.” He said he was now working in construction but wanted to go back to what he really loved: growing weed.

At the air conditioned library in Cloverdale, I went online and did additional research on “Better Place Forests.” There I was told I could “Lock in 50% discounted pricing,” and that “We offer payment plans as low as $50 a month.” When I called Foxx and gave him the information, he wasn't interested, nor was my pal Michael. Jessica Mitford would have signed up if only to find out the real story about “Better Place Forests.” I might borrow a chapter from her book, Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking, and do what she would have done. But don’t expect me to spend $36,000 for a redwood tree where my ashes might be buried. Too bad marijuana plants aren’t perennials. If they were I’d want to be buried under the biggest pot plant in the woods.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of MarijuanaLand: Dispatches from an American War.)

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photo by Annie Kalantarian (click to enlarge)

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BOOK SALE! The Unity Club’s AV Community Library's $4 a bag book sale will run until July 31st. That is also our last open day, then we close for the summer. So come on in and stock up on your summer reading. We are open Tuesday from 1:30-4:30, Saturday 2-4, located in the Home Arts Bldg. at the Fairgrounds. — Elizabeth Dusenberry

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Here we go again! These folks have been panhandling for over two weeks next to the Co-op in Ukiah. I've watched people handing countless bills to them. I tried to talk to them and they said they don't speak English (yet look at that sign/attitude when I took this pic).

The last two years there have been families rocking these signs and begging for $$ on a route from Ukiah to Willits, Eureka to Fort Bragg. Last year I made the mistake of buying food for one of these families. I left the receipt in the bag without thinking about it. My friend who worked customer service reported that they returned my offering for cash. Anyway, I learned early to make an offering of a craft to make money for myself. Just saying, I feel like we're being trolled here. It’s funny that these families show up for a few weeks a year during the warm weather and then move on to the next town. And if he really had a job and lost it, they could head to the welfare office next door and file for unemployment and get help with food/money/hotels. And don't try to say they're illegal and that's the deal, because if they were they wouldn't be flaunting themselves and their children begging for change.

Rossi Jensen


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THE BUCKHORN! Brunch on Sunday July 29th will be extra special due to new, live music in the garden. The San Francisco-based, six-piece funk rock/jazz band, Night Animals, will be playing starting around 11 or 12. "Live performance is the pinnacle of Night Animal's music, combined with a love of improvisation. Seductive vocals, serpentine horn lines, hypnotic rhythms, and hook-laden guitar licks all conspire to put you under their spell." So, hear some new music and kick back with one of our famous Bloody Marys or our Summer Key Lime cocktail, over brunch.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag, I said, you look like hell. I think you have worms. Moths, too, from the look of you. Skrag replies with typical insolence, ‘You're not exactly Rin Tin-Tin yourself, Little Dog, and you sure as hell aren't a medical professional’."

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PLEASED TO SEE this South Coast note on MCN: “The Evergreen Cemetery in Manchester, and like many on the Coast, is a Pioneer Cemetery. Unlike some, however, the Manchester Cemetery is not in a cemetery district and there are no public funds to maintain it. It is on County land, not owned by anyone. The first burials go back before Statehood. There is a cleanup day today (Sunday) starting at 10 am. If you can only help for a few minutes, come on by. Or come by and learn how you can help later. Or just come by and share any history you know of the cemetery and the people buried there. The cemetery is at the intersection of Mountain View Road and Highway 1."

CHRIS SKYHAWK has officially ended his campaign for 5th District Supervisor. From Mrs. Skyhawk: “Given the severity of the stroke and the level of effort that will be necessary to heal, there is no chance Chris will re-join the race..." Skyhawk's name, however, will still be on the November ballot. The following was posted by Samantha, Chris Skyhawk’s partner, on his public page on Facebook “As many of you know, late last month Chris Skyhawk suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke. On behalf of Chris, and our whole family, we would like to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of support and love over the last few weeks. It has really meant a lot to us. The good news is that Chris is out of critical danger. We are, however, looking at a long recovery road. At this point, our sole priority is to come together as a family and focus on Chris’ healing. We know that there is a lot of concern, but it is still too early to tell what that might look like and what full recovery might mean…. For anyone who would like to be updated as the recovery continues, we have set up a Caring Bridge page (Updates on Chris Skyhawk) as well as a Go Fund Me campaign to help with the financial burden (Chris Skyhawk Recovery Fund). Again — thank you for the love and support. It has really meant the world to us. — Samantha"

THE THIRD PLACE CANDIDATE in the Fifth District race for Mendocino County Supervisor, Dave Roderick, does not move into the November run-off, according to County Clerk Susan Ranochak. Ranochak said Saturday that her understanding of applicable state law is that only the death of one of the candidates now qualified for the ballot would give the third place candidate a spot on the ballot. Second place candidate Chris Skyhawk announced Friday that he was withdrawing from the race after suffering a serious stroke on June 26. Skyhawk was one of the two candidates to be “nominated” in the June primary to go to the November runoff in the 5th District supervisor’s race after defeating three primary opponents on June 5.

DURING THE JUNE RACE, Ted Williams finished with 2,285 votes (41.42%), and Skyhawk finished with 1,715 votes (31.09%). In third place was David Roderick of Hopland with 1,062 votes (19.25%). Ranochak said that only if Skyhawk had died could Roderick appear on the ballot and only if he died before the end of August, or 68 days before the November election. Any time after that and the ballot stands as is. She said Skyhawk’s dropping out of the race made no difference. He would still appear on the November ballot. She also said that it would do no good for voters to write in Roderick’s name on the ballot as he did not get a “nomination” in the June election and therefore those write-in votes would not be counted. That presumably leaves Williams as the only viable candidate in the race. Ranochak said, should enough people vote for Skyhawk anyway and he wins the race, then, having withdrawn from the race, the 5th District seat would be filled by the California governor by appointment, just as Georgeanne Croskey was appointed to fill the 3rd District seat vacated by Tom Woodhouse. The 5th District seat is being vacated by the retiring Dan Hamburg. The district covers the Mendocino Coast from Mendocino to Gualala, while also including inland areas like Boonville, Hopland and Yorkville.

HEALDSBURG is poised to open a massive hotel at its north end, and one has to wonder if the town's carrying capacity just swamped itself. Even on an early morning weekday the town is jammed with more visitors than downtown Santa Rosa probably gets in a week.

JULIE LIEBENBAUM is one among many locals raving, nay rapturous, about the Flynn Creek Circus, and, no, this is not a couple of hippie kids from Rancho Navarro doing sommersaults, but as wonderful a big time circus as any you'll see. Might be one more local performance on the Coast, but if you get a chance, go!

MARGARET ANDERSON WRITES: "We had our 40th AV Jr High reunion this past Saturday at Hendy Woods! Sarah’s (Morrisette) visiting from Vienna and we’d connected with folks on Facebook and arranged a gathering. Just seven of us and some spouses were there, but it was really nice. Some of us are going to get together at the fair in September and potentially make it an annual event because others were interested in meeting but couldn’t. Gregory Price almost came with his wife. He’s going to attempt to come up for the fair. There are some photos on Facebook Panthers Middle School Reunion 1978. Some funny before and after images…"

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by Rex Gressett

It was a mild surprise that the Public Works Committee meeting had not been canceled. Committee meetings are nixed with such regularity that one scarcely credits the notification when it comes. Meetings are generally scheduled at 11:00 or 3:00 on Wednesdays, the exact middle of the working week. Since everyone in the great world beyond is at work at those times, committee meetings almost always play to an empty or almost empty Townhall.

The city administration jauntily interprets an empty hall as conclusive validation that nothing they are doing is obnoxious to the public sentiment. Sometimes that’s right. Canceling meetings is an even more confident expression that all is conclusively well and nothing is going on that requires even the most minimum supervision or correction. A canceled meeting is like a gold star. Not that much actual correction happens anyway. For City Hall administrative personnel Committee meetings, even when they happen, are like an easy quiz in a snap subject.

Wednesday afternoon, as the city crawled over the mid-week hump, the two development committee hombres, Councilmen Mike Cimoino and Will Lee, had plenty on the development plate to discuss or avoid discussing.

There was the Glass Beach stairs fiasco originally budgeted at $250,000 which, having been revised under the more intensive scrutiny of the new City Manager, was now going to cost $25,000. The casual distribution of a quarter of a million for a long-running Development Department project collided terminally with Tabatha Miller's program of balancing the city budget ahead of the next elections.

Development Director Marie Jones had pushed for bigger and better stairs, and then bigger stairs, and then larger stairs at Glass Beach at many, many city council meetings over a term of years. It’s a hostile environment out there by the ocean, Ms. Jones told the City Council.

But when the new City Manager sharpened her budgetary pencil, it was clear that the Development Department estimates were inflated to about 10 times what they would have to spend on a working staircase. The Committee graciously did not ask any questions of the Development Director, who took no responsibility for her excess and costly extravagance. Instead, Ms. Jones went swinging along almost giddily, knowing with certainty that they were not going ask. The people of the city might have wondered how they almost got stuck with a $250,000 boondoggle. Wednesday would have been an excellent time for the Committee to talk that over. Instead, they just let it slide.

In the next item, the Committee heard that cost estimates for the sewage treatment plant rehab had crawled inexorably upward from $8 million (when Public works sold to it to the city) to $13 million and now to $18 million. That $10 million bummer was also above the pay grade of the committee, but they received Mr. Vargas's (Public Works Director) assurance that escalations were reasonable to experts who understand such things. That constituted the entire discussion. Mr. Vargas is in his person a financial liability to the city probably exceeding any other. Mr. Vargas's talent for finessing overcharges, sometimes unreported to the City Manager he works for, or the City Council, until they have added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars are so routine that they are certainly his trademark.

The Committee did not really question the new $5 million they were going to have to come up with, I guess they did not know what to say. That was their position when they had not questioned the previous $5 million that got piled on the original estimate.

One more thing they did not mention was that the people have been quietly informed that Fort Bragg has issued a bond, an instrument of indebtedness to pay for the sewer plant rehab, which will put the city in long-term hock for exactly the amount that costs have recently escalated. In effect, we went into long-term debt for $5 million bucks and then without explanation or elaboration and certainly with no apology that money vanished down the maw of the public works miscalculations of cost. The debt remains. That’s bad enough. What’s worse is that they have barely broken ground on a complex technical project and they are already $10 million bucks over of the original estimate. They did not discuss it beyond noting the fact that they were over. I thought they looked a little worried. Then they went on to other things.

The Water Tank was nearing completion by a very local contractor, Jeff Green of Akoff Construction, with no overruns yet that we know of. Everyone was happy about that.

And then, wrapping up on a final happy note, they told us that CalTrans and MCOG (Mendocino Council of Governments, the local transportation planning agency) were floating another round of applications for SB1 (the gas tax) dollars. Suddenly all of that and everything else fell to the wayside when Marie Jones was inspired to arise in humble but modest majesty to commend herself for finally reeling in the Parents and Friends CBDG (Community Block Development Grant) money. This is the $3 million grant that Parents and Friends are getting from the Feds by the grace of the grant money generation machine at City Hall to create four units adjacent to the hospital. The low-income units will cost less than $1 million apiece, a beautiful old house will be torn down and a whole line of cedar trees will fall. The good news was that the city will retain 7% of the $3 million grant, or as much of it as they can justify for the preparation, nurturing and administration of the money.

With that, the meeting ended.

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On July 2, Councilmember Bernie Norvell and I attended a workshop with the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) HOME Team and the Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC) to address the issue of homelessness in Mendocino County. (Yes, there are many acronyms to keep track of.) Also in attendance were representatives from City of Willits and City of Ukiah, including law enforcement, elected officials and countywide service providers. This was referred to as the largest action-focused meeting on homelessness our Community has ever held.

Using the “Homelessness Needs Assessments and Action Steps for Mendocino County” by Dr. Robert G. Marbut, the 22 participants focused on what a countywide systematic approach to combat homelessness would look and feel like. The Marbut Report, published in March 2018, was adopted in concept and endorsed by the Fort Bragg City Council on July 9, 2018. This followed a similar action by Ukiah’s City Council and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. The Marbut Report does not provide all the answers or solve all the problems. It is a good starting point. Many of the participants at the workshop disagreed about statements, homeless counts, action steps and some of the basic concepts contained in the report. That said, all of us understood that we need to work together, be strategic and share information.

What I took away from the Marbut Report and the workshop was that we, the Community, could impact the problem. Merely “serving” the homeless community or focusing on the symptoms of homelessness, such as lack of food, clothing and cash, is enabling and can be damaging to homeless individuals and our community. The focus should be on the root triggers, recovery and change. We commit to helping those individuals who want help and are engaged and committed to change their situation and behaviors. Bad behavior needs to be discouraged and not tolerated. Resources are limited and there must be a common method for triage and prioritization of services. To me, this guidance makes the problem more manageable.

The Marbut Report recommends zero tolerance for encampments because of health and safety risks and impacts. Encampments pose environmental contamination issues (especially of our streams and rivers), disease transmission concerns and potential fire hazards. If you look at the pictures from the encampment at 601 Cypress, you can see the significant environmental impact and understand that an encampment is not a viable housing option. As a side note, much of the rubbish cleaned up from encampments was provided free of charge by agencies and individuals trying to provide assistance to the homeless. Clearly, it is critical to stop and clean up encampments as soon as they are established. To this end, the City is working with Caltrans to clean up encampments on the North and South side of the Pudding Creek trestle.

The City of Fort Bragg, by itself, will not solve homelessness. We do not directly provide services and I do not foresee the City taking on that role. City staff interacts with the homeless and transient population, mostly on the street through our police department. With 70% or more of our police force’s time spent responding to calls regarding the homeless and their impacts, we need to look outward and inward for better solutions and collaboration with other agencies.

I learned at the workshop how important good data and sharing is to the strategic process. It is necessary to understand what is needed to help an individual and families, whose needs may be significantly different. It is also how we track what services are being provided through the complex system of providers and agencies and ensure that services are not duplicated. Finally, it makes us accountable for successes and failures.

The Marbut Report and the working group make me hopeful that we can provide better solutions to the transient/homelessness issue in our Community.


On July 2, a broad countywide coalition gathered to address the issue of homelessness in Mendocino County. The Health and Human Services Agency’s Housing Options for Mendocino (HOMe) Team, in partnership with the Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC), invited Kitchen Table Consulting facilitator Miles Gordon to work with local community members, service providers, law enforcement agencies and government leaders from Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg to formulate an action plan in response to recommendations from Dr. Robert G. Marbut’s March 2018 report: “Homelessness Needs Assessments and Actions Steps for Mendocino County.”

HOMe Team Administrator and MCHSCoC Chairperson Maya Stuart said, “We used the report’s recommendations to launch our process.” The report was the result of a six-month study of street-level homelessness of adults in and around the County’s largest service hubs — Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg.

During the three-hour meeting, coalition members discussed the importance of communicating with the public and with all the agencies involved in ending homelessness in Mendocino County. Gordon said, “The group expressed a strong consensus about the importance of using consistent data and embracing a collaborative, comprehensive, systems approach.” The coalition committed to creating and implementing a plan that:

  1. Addresses the root causes of homelessness;
  2. Uses accurate data that is based on common definitions and language;
  3. Emphasizes stakeholder and community education;
  4. Utilizes diverse approaches;
  5. Incorporates case management and continuing support; and
  6. Minimizes negative community impacts.

The group will reconvene in early August to continue their work. Coalition members include Project Sanctuary, Ford Street Program, Redwood Community Services, Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, the City of Fort Bragg, Manzanita Services, the Mendocino County Office of Education, the City of Willits, MCHC Health Centers, the Veteran’s Administration, the City of Ukiah, the Mendocino County Community Development Commission, North Coast Opportunities, and the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency.

Find the link to the Robert Marbut Consulting report below:

Photo Caption: A homeless person sleeps on the sidewalk outside the Masonic Lodge in Ukiah. “Anne! Anne! Please Anne! Please. Anne! Do you have an extra room in your big house up by the Golf Course, Anne? I promise to make my bed.”

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The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men who they suspect burglarized the home of a person who had recently died, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release.

Bo Eder and Elijah Swithenbank, both 38 and from Fort Bragg, were taken to the Mendocino County Jail after their arrests Wednesday. They were booked on suspicion of first degree burglary, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy to commit a crime. Eder was additionally found to be in violation of his probation, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies were alerted to the reported Little River home burglary, on the 7000 block of North Highway 1, about 5:17 p.m. on Wednesday.

They were told the suspects fled in a car, and deputies at the scene determined items were missing from the home of a person who had recently died.

Different deputies then saw a car matching the suspect vehicle passing them on Comptche-Ukiah Road, headed in the opposite direction. The deputies turned around and stopped the car.

Inside, they found Eder and Swithenbank, as well as property stolen from the home and burglary tools, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Before the traffic stop, while they were following the suspects’ vehicle, they saw what looked like a box lying in the road, deputies said. Authorities were not able to locate the box when they returned to the same spot, but believe it may have been thrown out of the suspects’ car after the men spotted the deputies.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office asked anyone who may have information about the object in the road to call 707-234-2100.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

Eder, Swithenbank

ED NOTE: Certainly not overcome with remorse, is he? But lots of people look happy in their booking photos because the person taking them often asks them to smile, just like when you were a kid and Aunt Mame asked you to "look happy for the camera."

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An Oregon woman who was badly injured and stranded for a week after her Jeep plunged 250 feet over a cliff into the ocean near Big Sur in California says she survived by drinking fresh water dripping from moss until she was rescued by a couple hiking along the beach.

From her hospital bed, 23-year-old Angela Hernandez posted a detailed account Sunday night on Facebook of her survival after the crash.

The Portland woman said she spent each day walking the isolated stretch of beach, searching for help, and was unable to make her way back up to the highway.

She said she had a brain hemorrhage, collapsed lung, broken ribs and collarbones, and severe sunburn.

"For her to survive for seven days on the coast with waves crashing over you at times, with injuries that she had, is amazing," Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal said. "She was a fighter. She had the will to survive and I think most people in that situation probably wouldn't have lasted that long."

Hernandez had been driving to her sister's home in Lancaster, near Los Angeles, on July 6 when a small animal crossed in front of her, causing her to swerve and lose control of her car, she wrote.

"The only thing I really remember after that was waking up. I was still in my car and I could feel water rising over my knees. My head hurt and when I touched it, I found blood on my hands."

She said she broke a window of her car, jumped into the ocean and swam ashore. She fell asleep on the beach and realized what had happened after she woke up.

Her shoulders, hips, back and thighs were radiating pain and all she could see was the cliff, rocks and ocean.

"People don't normally survive plunges down the Big Sur coast like this. She is very lucky," Bernal said.

In the days that followed, Hernandez walked the beach searching for help, climbing on rocks to avoid sharp sand and walking on the shore to get away from hot rocks, she said.

"I found a high spot I was able to climb up to and found myself there almost every day," Hernandez wrote. "I could see cars driving across the cliff and felt like if I could yell just loud enough, that one could hear or see me. That's all it would take to make it back to my family. Just one person noticing me."

Rescue crews had searched the area and found no "obvious" signs that a car had gone over a cliff, Bernal said.

By the third day, Hernandez's jeans were torn, her socks had holes and she knew she was dehydrated. She made her way back to her car and found a 10-inch radiator hose that had fallen from the car during the crash.

"I walked farther south down the beach than I ever had before and heard a dripping sound," she wrote on Facebook. "I looked up and saw a huge patch of moss with water dripping down from it. I caught the water in my hands and tasted it. It was fresh!!!!"

She said she developed a daily ritual of walking the beach in search of new high ground, screaming for help at the top of her lungs and collecting fresh water.

"It would be a lie to say that things got easier as the days passed," she wrote. "They never did. But, they sure got predictable."

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 16, 2018

Buskirk, Clow

CHRISTIAN BUSKIRK, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DAVID CLOW, Ukiah. Arson.

Gutierrez-Silva, King, Leslie, Sale


AMBER KING, Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.

BURGESS LESLIE, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, failure to appear.

MELLISSA SALE, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

Steel, Tucker, Ubert


RODNEY TUCKER, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)

REBECCA UBERT, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

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A few days ago, I was exiting the exercise pool at a local gym and noticed another Fentanyl patch on the bottom of the pool. Yes, another one. The first one I found a few months ago and promptly raised the issue with the gym management. My concern was and is the fact that small children use this pool regularly for swimming classes.

A notice was subsequently posted at the exits of both changing rooms that open to the pool.

After finding the second patch, with a still sticky application side similar to the first patch, I asked the gym management to place a notice of caution at the sign-in desk.

I viewed that sign and, after commenting, the attendant said several people had noticed patches in the pool on several occasions but failed to notify anyone.

These sloughed patches remain bioactive for prolonged periods. Small amounts of this powerful opioid can and have been lethal to small children.

Be alert in pools, showers, sauna, etc. to the potential of an unattached patch. Anyone prescribing, dispensing and/or using these patches should read the black box warning that the Food and Drug Administration published about the dangers of this medication. Patch wearers need to be more responsible if they persist in using this method.

Dr. Bill Hopper

Santa Rosa

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SEEN At An Anti-Trump London Protest

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by James Kunstler

So, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page declined to testify before a congressional committee because she didn’t feel like it. Apparently we’re now a rule-of-law-optional nation. Until recently, we were merely reality-optional. That was fun, but when officers of the country’s leading law enforcement agency go optional on standard legal procedure, like answering subpoenas, then we’re truly in the land where anything goes (and nothing matters).

After two years of Trump-inspired hysteria, it’s pretty obvious what went on in the bungled Obama-Hillary power handoff of 2016 and afterward: the indictable shenanigans of candidate Hillary and her captive DNC prompted a campaign of agit-prop by the US Intel “community” to gaslight the public with a Russian meddling story that morphed uncontrollably into a crusade to make it impossible for Mr. Trump to govern. And what’s followed for many months is an equally bungled effort to conceal, deceive, and confuse the issues in the case by Democratic Party partisans still in high places.

It was very likely begun with the tacit knowledge of President Obama, though he remained protected by a shield of plausible deniability. And it was carried out by high-ranking officials who turned out to be shockingly unprofessional, and whose activities have been disclosed through an electronic data evidence trail.

Mr. Trump’s visit to confer with Russian President Putin in Helsinki seems to have provoked a kind of last-gasp effort to keep the increasingly idiotic Russian election meddling story alive — with Robert Mueller’s ballyhooed indictment of twelve “Russian intel agents” alleged to have “hacked” emails and computer files of the DNC and Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta. The gaping holes in that part of the tale have long been unearthed so I’ll summarize as briefly as possible:

1) the bandwidth required to transfer the files has been proven to be greater than an internet hack might have conceivably managed in the time allowed and points rather to a direct download into a flash drive device. 2) the DNC computer hard drives, said to be the source of the alleged hacking, disappeared while in the custody of the US Intel Community (including the FBI). 3) the authenticity of the purloined emails by Mr. Podesta and others has never been disputed, and they revealed a lot of potentially criminal behavior by them. 4) Mr. Mueller must know he will never get twelve Russian intel agents into a US courtroom, so the entire exercise is a joke and a fraud. In effect, he’s indicted twelve ham sandwiches with Russian dressing.

Tragically, the American public is led to take this ploy seriously by a morally compromised news media, especially CNN and the The New York Times. The latter outfit is so afflicted with a case of the Russian meddling vapors that it ran this laughable headline at the top of its front page yesterday: “Just Sitting Down With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” Gosh, what’s the message there? Don’t even bother talking to foreign heads of state, especially in the interest of improving relations?

The salient question that persons in authority might ask out-loud is how come so many officers of the Intel Community have not been hauled in front of grand juries to answer for their obviously incriminating behavior? Mr. Mueller is perhaps too busy chasing Russian phantoms to draw up a bill of particulars against characters such as former CIA chief (now CNN shill) John Brennan, who apparently orchestrated the early chapters of the Russian meddling ruse, Bruce and Nellie Ohr, who ushered the DNC’s Steele Dossier into the FBI’s warrant machinery, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who managed the Steele Dossier and its spinoff mischief as an “insurance policy” against Mr. Trump, Peter Strzok, who executed the “insurance policy,” and, of course, Ms. Page, his paramour, who decided that testifying before Congress was beneath her dignity. These and probably many others.

Tragically, also, these matters can only be fully corrected by the very Department of Justice that includes under its management the rogue FBI. Who else can formally and legally bring these cases before grand juries? The DOJ appears intent on preventing that from ever happening. Congress has so far omitted enforcing its subpoenas or using its impeachment power to dislodge obdurate DOJ officials. Mr. Trump, for now apparently, has declined to use his inherent executive powers to clean out this rats nest, say by removing secrecy shields from many of the documents at issue in the DOJ’s possession — most likely because he can’t afford to be seen “meddling” in the tangled proceedings. The net result of all this subterfuge, inaction, and gaslighting, is the defeat of the rule-of-law generally in American life. This ought to be taken seriously. If it’s asking too much of the system, then the system itself will eventually not be taken seriously, and that will be the end of the republic as we knew it.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon page.)

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* * *


With all due respect to all of those that deny “conspiracy” and “conspiracy theories” I have to tell you that you just don’t get it. Apparently none of the deniers have ever attended a meeting of their local governing bodies or boards of education, where at the end of every meeting they hold an “executive session” from which the public is excused and the discussion during which we, the elected officials cannot discuss or divulge any of the facts of to issue with the public thereafter. If you ever sat through one of these you would see how foolish the denial of conspiracy actually is. And it gets even worse in cases like my Township Committee which has five members. The “Where the Sun Don’t Shine” law does not allow for a quorum of governing body members to meet to discuss or determine policy or actions. However in the case of our Committee, two can meet, determine a plan of action and then separately meet with a third committeeman and set a course. Actions are taken and money is committed to being spent without the knowledge of the full committee and come meeting day, all is already decided and done. That, my friend is conspiracy and that is how it is done. Extrapolate this to the state and Federal levels and it boggles the mind. Conspiracy IS the way, it is the only way things get done. Since the general public does not care and prefers to distract itself with whatever it actually does care about, denial is the only logical defense they can muster to justify their lack of involvement in a system where it is supposed to be OF and BY the people. It is now OF and BY Them at Your expense. A good thing nobody cares or they might get angry.

* * *


The irony is that there was serious meddling in the presidential election, but it did not come from Russia. The Democratic Party, outdoing any of the dirty tricks employed by Richard Nixon, purged hundreds of thousands of primary voters from the rolls, denied those registered as independents the right to vote in primaries, used superdelegates to swing the vote to Hillary Clinton, hijacked the Democratic National Committee to serve the Clinton campaign, controlled the message of media outlets such as MSNBC and The New York Times, stole the Nevada caucus, spent hundreds of millions of dollars of “dark” corporate money on the Clinton campaign and fixed the primary debates. This meddling, which stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders, who probably could have defeated Trump, is unmentioned. The party hierarchy will do nothing to reform its corrupt nominating process.

— Chris Hedges


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* * *


The Gardens Project, a program of North Coast Opportunities Inc., (NCO) announces their 50th garden to be built at the White Deer Lodge in Fall 2018.

The White Deer Lodge sits between Willits and Ukiah on the highest point on the 101. The property is owned by The Golden Rule Church Association of Ridgewood Ranch and as of 2017 is leased and managed by the non-profit Alliance for Community Endeavors (ACE.) While this is a beautiful space that is beginning to blossom with renewed life, it is more than six miles away from the nearest grocery store, making it a food desert. With this and other factors in mind, The White Deer Lodge is an ideal place for NCO’s Gardens Project’s 50th community garden.

The people at The White Deer Lodge who will immediately enjoy the garden include leaders in our local food movement, farmers, survivors of the October 2017 California Wildfires, and a terminally ill hospice patient and her family. Modified and expanded motel rooms form affordable apartments at The Lodge and denizens are given the opportunity to live there by merit and need. ACE has committed to designating housing to palliative care patients in the coming years as the property progresses. This garden will be accessible for low-mobility gardeners of all skill levels to accommodate all future gardeners.

While The Lodge is currently home to an extraordinary group of individuals, the space also shined in the devastating October 2017 California Wildfires when it housed dozens of fire evacuees. As a 30-room motel on Highway 101, The Lodge was a convenient and safe place where people could seek refuge while knowing that a swift exit would be available to them if needed. Since that experience, The Lodge is expected to be an evacuation center in the inevitable event of future fires threatening our community. A shared garden on the property will not only help bolster a sense of community, but it will also bolster food security which is invaluable in the event of an emergency.

The Gardens Project has been a program of NCO since 2007. NCO is the community action agency that supports Lake and Mendocino Counties as well as parts of Humboldt, Sonoma, Del Norte, and Solano Counties. This year marks NCO’s 50th Anniversary and large picnic-style celebration will be held at Todd Grove Park in Ukiah on August 25th. NCO was also the winner of the 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year Award. Learn more about NCO by calling 707-467-3200 or by visiting

To keep up-to-date on this project and others, follow NCO Gardens Project on Facebook or @gardensproject on Instagram. Donations are always accepted and appreciated and can be given through the Facebook page, the website, or by mail or in-person to the Gardens Project office at 413 N State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482. To donate lumber, tools, fencing, or any other materials for building a garden or to volunteer, contact or call (707)467-3200 ext. 246.

Lucy for Gardens Project
AmeriCorp VISTA for Mendocino County
(707) 467-3200 Ext. 246

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“We need to address the elephant in the room. Are you Sacha Baron Cohen?”

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IRV SUTLEY, elderly and irate and a tenant in the building managed by Ms. Johnson, writes: "Johnson, the anti-tenant manager of Vintage at Bennett Valley Senior Apartments in Santa Rosa spews her acquisitive capital poison against rent control in a Letter to the Editor in Friday the 13th's Press Democrat. She's the Queen of Evictions of poor, disabled and retired folks in Santa Rosa. Her letter doesn't disclose that she is the property manager of a 189 unit complex near Farmers Lane and Hoen Avenue which gets big tax breaks for providing what should be low income housing."

You can see her letter online at:

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Supporters from Mendocino apparently want more say than the other four towns in the Mendocino Unified School District:

“MCOE received a petition of over 100 signatures and has scheduled a public hearing to consider the trustee boundary issue in Mendocino Unified School District.

The hearing is scheduled for Monday, July 23rd at 10:00 am at the Matheson Performing Arts Center in Mendocino.”


  1. Judy July 17, 2018

    Once again I would suggest that you either report the facts or inform everyone that what you write are your own thoughts and has nothing to do with the facts. When you say the Parents and Friends grant is for 4 units you left out some very important information.

    The CDBG grant will provide:
    Construction of three residential units consisting of 4-bedrooms and 3-bathrooms each.

    So, when you report the grant is for 4 units in reality it is 3 residential units consisting of 4 bedrooms each. Doing the math I would say 12 clients could be housed there.

    Why you choose to be in attack mode for a project that will help those who are in a situation through no fault of their own is beyond understanding.

    Some of these clients outlive their
    parents/caretakers and this project will give them a place to live and learn.

    Your hateful attitude seems to be with Marie Jones who I believe can hold her own when confronted by you.

    You call yourself a “reporter”, well try reporting the facts.

  2. james marmon July 17, 2018


    Just as I figured, MCHSCoC completely ignored Marbut’s recommendations, their commitment looks nothing like Marbut’s strategic plan. Furthermore, they completely ignored the elephant sitting in the middle of the room, where is Plowshares? Plowshares is not a member of the coalition (a major stakeholder) and they are the biggest contributer to Ukiah’s homeless problem. Without their buy-in, homeless numbers will continue to maintain current levels or increase, no matter what else you do.

    Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC),

    “The coalition committed to creating and implementing a plan that:

    1.Addresses the root causes of homelessness;

    2.Uses accurate data that is based on common definitions and language;

    3.Emphasizes stakeholder and community education

    4.Utilizes diverse approaches;

    5.Incorporates case management and continuing support

    6.and Minimizes negative community impacts.”


    Recommended Action Step – In Summary
    Governance and County-wide Strategy Recommendations

    1 – Need to Develop a Common Understanding of the Scope, Scale and Structure of the Problem, and Need to Use Common Nomenclature in Order to Improve Decision Making

    2 – Gain “Buy-in and Agreement” for One Overarching Strategic Action Plan with Specific Action Steps by Most of the Community and Key Stakeholders

    3 – Move from Tactical One-off Decision Making to Strategic Decision Making Based on Data

    4 – Move from Agency-Centric to System-Centric Decision Making (Need More Collaboration
    and Less Silos)

    5 – Reduce Duplication of Services While Increasing Agency Specialization

    6 – Need to Operate at Maximum Capacity by Increasing Utilization of the Overall System

    7 – Need to Fully Build-out and Then Robustly Utilize HMIS

    8 – Encourage All Organizations and the General Public to Engage, Rather Than Enable Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

    9 – Improve Strategic Coordination Between the County and Cities (Need More Collaboration and Less Silos)”

    James Marmon MSW

    Where’s Plowshare’s buy-in?

    • james marmon July 17, 2018

      “Need to Develop a Common Understanding of the Scope, Scale and Structure of the Problem, and Need to Use Common Nomenclature in Order to Improve Decision Making”

      Plowshare’s “come one come all” approach is the problem. Feeding travelers more that 2 or 3 days at a time without asking them to move on, or feeding local homeless without tying the free handouts to services needs to be understood as a problem and dealt with.

      CEO Angelo needs to take the lead on this because the homeless are impacting County resources. She seems to not give a shit, maybe its because Plowshares was her diseased same sex partner Ana Mahoney’s (former HHSA Director and Plowshare’s Director) big dream come true.

      “She wanted to help everyone”
      -Carmel Angelo

  3. chuck dunbar July 17, 2018

    Hey James, I’m thinking your reference to Carmel Angelo’s former partner, Ana Mahoney, as her “diseased same sex partner” was actually meant to read “deceased same sex partner.” I’m slow sometimes and actually asked myself why you would say that, then figured it out. I liked Ana, who was smart and pretty people-centered, and had a good heart.

    • james marmon July 17, 2018

      Thanks Charlie, it was supposed to read deceased not diseased, damn auto spell checker.

      It’s kinda like President Trump yesterday when he said “it would be” when he really meant “it wouldn’t be”, it messes up the whole message and can create a constitutional crisis if you’re not careful.

      James Marmon MSW

  4. james marmon July 17, 2018

    President Trump’s mistake yesterday was that he conflated the question about Russian meddling with Collusion. Just because the left wing media conflates the two doesn’t mean POTUS should do it. Meddling and Collusion are two different things and everyone including POTUS should move on, there was no collusion, end of story.

    Mueller? Mueller? Mueller?

    James Marmon MSW

  5. james marmon July 17, 2018

    The worst President in American History was Franklin D. Roosevelt, with maybe the exception of Barak Obama (aka Damien).

    How FDR Appeased Stalin and Sowed the Seeds of the Cold War

    “On the evening of November 29, 1943, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill and Soviet premier Joseph Stalin dined together in Tehran, Iran to celebrate the first wartime meeting between the three leaders. The festive atmosphere turned suddenly grim when Stalin happily suggested that the Allies agree to execute 50,000 German officers at the end of the war. To Churchill, plotting “the cold blooded execution of soldiers who fought for their country” was unconscionable. “I would rather be taken out into the garden here and now and be shot myself,” Churchill fumed, “than sully my own and my country’s honor by such infamy.”

    Churchill stormed from the room, returning only after Stalin assured him it had all been a joke. But Churchill knew that this was dark comedy. In April 1943, the world had learned of mass graves in the Katyn Forest in eastern Poland, a region that had been occupied by the Russians earlier in the war. In the graves were more than 20,000 bodies, nearly 10,000 of whom were Polish military officers who had surrendered to the Russians in 1940. Investigations conducted by British and American officials in the summer of 1943 laid the blame for the massacre squarely at the Russians’ feet. One report, wrote historian Thomas Fleming, contained “vivid descriptions of how the Russians marched the Poles into the forest, shot them in the back of the head, and shoved them into the huge gravesite.” Clearly, Churchill had reason to suspect that Stalin’s joke about murdering German officers was not entirely facetious.

    Roosevelt had seen this evidence of Russian guilt, but refused to believe it and instead blamed the massacre on the Nazis. When diplomat George Earle presented Roosevelt with evidence he had personally collected, Roosevelt shrugged it off, saying “George, this is entirely German propaganda… I am absolutely convinced that the Russians did not do this.” Earle left the White House befuddled over Roosevelt’s “love, respect, and belief in the Russians…[that] was simply unbelievable.”

    As Roosevelt watched Stalin’s joke land with thud among the British delegation at Tehran, he sensed an opportunity to ingratiate himself to Stalin and offered a compromise: rather than executing 50,000 Germans, the Allies should only shoot 49,000. As the Americans and Russians laughed, the British sat in stone-faced disgust.

    The Katyn Massacre and the Tehran dinner revealed two impulses that Roosevelt repeatedly indulged during World War II: the refusal to recognize the danger posed by Stalin’s Russia and the desire to do everything within his power to become Stalin’s friend. Both tendencies would plague American diplomacy throughout the war.”

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