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MCT: Friday, July 12, 2019

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There may be a break in the month-long search for a missing fisherman in Mendocino County.

Vincent Soto, 40, (L) drowned with his father in a boating accident on Lake Mendocino, north of Ukiah last month.

On Wednesday, a specialized robot may have detected his body at the lake bottom, but only after water releases from the Coyote Valley Dam were reduced dramatically.

For Soto's loved ones, a non-stop vigil at the lake may finally come to an end.

"They were inseparable, they worked together, they were best friends," said Daniel Garcia, describing his brother Vince, and Vince's dad, Carlos, 62.

On June 11, the two went fishing off an 18-foot boat, something they often did.

The family suspects Carlos suffered a heart attack or stroke, in the boat or in the water.

"We believe my brother who wasn't really a strong swimmer himself tried to save his dad and ended up drowning too," said Garcia.

The same day, the elder man's body was found near the drifting boat.

But in 18 days of searching over one month's time, an intense search has not turned up his son.

A few dozen loved ones are camped at the boat ramp at the southern end of the lake, determined to stay until Vincent is found.

Their campfire is kept lit around the clock, as a symbol of hope, and the light Vincent brought to their lives.

"We all gravitate here because we know he's here," said Garcia, "and we tell stories and support each other and laugh, we're mourning together as a family."

Wednesday's development came courtesy of the Marin County Sheriff's Department, which sent its dive team and deep water robot.

It is tethered to a boat, and equipped with lights, camera, and sonar.

"The sonar showed us an object on the lake floor that we want to explore further," Mendocino County Sheriff's Lt. Shannon Barney told KTVU. The object, 112 feet underwater at the base of the dam, could not be seen clearly because of underwater turbulence and silt.

But the challenging dive wouldn't have even been possible if not for an unusual partnership between government agencies and water managers.

They agreed to cut flows from the dam from a norm of 135 cubic feet per second to only 10 cfs so water would be calmer beneath the surface.

The gradual reduction over three days dropped the depth of the Russian River by a few feet, as it runs south to Healdsburg.

Such adjustments are rarely made, and usually only for maintenance.

Next, the agencies will be asked to shut the dam down completely so divers from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department can recover the object.

"Their team can dive to a depth of 200 feet," said Lt. Barney, "and our request will be that the dam go to a zero flow for a short time, a few hours, so we can get in and get it done."

Soto's grieving family feels certain the object at the bottom of the dam is his remains.

Heartbreaking as that is, they say will be relieved to lay him to rest - a man they describe as outgoing, loyal, and hard-working.

"It really is a blessing to see all these agencies work together to find my brother and bring my family some closure," said Garcia, gratefully.

Loved ones say the campfire they maintain won't go out until the inseparable father and son, are together again.

"Life is sacred as a whole, and his body is part of his life, and we want to honor that," said Garcia.

The family also expresses appreciation for the community and tribal support it has received, with volunteers helping search and donors bring food and firewood to the vigil.

Vince Soto is survived by his mother, seven siblings and a large extended family.


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JIM BOUTON, the former New York Yankees pitcher turned author, whose candid book Ball Four has been hailed as one of the greatest sports volumes of all time, died Wednesday at his home in Great Barrington at the age of 80.

Bouton structured Ball Four as a memoir of a year spent struggling in the lower echelons of the game after being dropped by the Yankees, but used the 1970 tome to go behind-the-scenes of baseball, revealing hallowed players as fallible men who cheated on their wives, took amphetamines, cursed, and drank to excess. Bouton retired in 1970, but in 1978 returned to the game, pitching for the Atlanta Braves, and continued to play for another twenty years before finally retiring again in his late 50s.

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by Mark Scaramella

As noted on MendocinoSportsPlus Thursday, Point Arena celebrated its 111th Anniversary of Incorporation on July 11, 2019, having incorporated on July 11, 1908. So this is a good time to rerun our recap of the fascinating history of Point Arena’s incorporation and the reasons thereof. — ms

At a current population of around 450, some people have said that Point Arena is the smallest incorporated city in California. But that honor actually goes to a town named “Vernon” in eastern Los Angeles County which has a population of 85. Four other incorporated California towns are smaller than Point Arena: Tehama, Trinidad (Humboldt County), Amador, and Sand City.

According to an interesting story by Jo Rouse in a 2008 Independent Coast Observer, itself based on information from Mendocino County Historical Society chief Steve Oliff’s fascinating book about the history of Mendo’s south coast, around 1900 Point Arena’s town fathers started thinking about keeping liquor sales taxes coming in to town when Mendocino County was considering alcohol prohibition during the early days of the temperance movement (aka, Mendo was “going dry”). Other motivations mentioned for the eight-year effort to incorporate Point Arena included California’s famous, but much more mythical, “independent spirit,” or “greater political freedom.”

But since the town’s economy depended heavily on booze — there were at various times in those days between 9 and 14 saloons in the small town — it’s pretty obvious that Point Arena’s booze lobby (“alcohol community”?) was the primary motivation for the drive to incorporate.

The town needed a minimum of 500 voting citizens to even be eligible to apply for incorporation under the state’s rules at the time. Since the population included women (who couldn’t vote) and immigrants (who couldn’t vote) and Indians (who couldn’t vote), the 500 threshold was a challenge.

Incorporators first decided to arbitrarily enlarge the town’s boundaries. But that didn’t add enough voting citizens. So they — mostly the town’s tavern owners and operators — got the local hotels to board upwards of 40 area loggers (who did not live in the city limits at the time) for the minimum 30 days to meet the minimum residence requirements for voting.

Having finally qualified to cast their ballots on Point Arena-Wet or Dry, by an underwhelming vote of 66 to 56 when election day finally arrived, Point Arena came up Wet.

William Hanen, then the editor of the Point Arena Record, and a leading advocate for incorporation, wrote that “very reluctantly, the Board of Supervisors passed favorably on the election returns and declared Point Arena entitled to incorporate.”

History does not record the reason(s) for the Board of Supervisors’ “reluctance,” but one can safely assume it had more to do with booze than with principled objections to incorporation.

Coincidentally, among the initial ordinances issued by the newly formed town council were rules for obtaining liquor licenses and a prohibition of public drunkenness. This was before such things were turned over to state regulation after prohibition was subsequently repealed years later.

That’s the more or less official version that available recorded histories of Point Arena tells us.

But there is more to the story.

In 1996 my late uncle, former Fifth District Supervisor and former Point Arena Mayor Joe Scaramella, who was ten years old at the time of Point Arena’s incorporation, recalled those days more vividly.

“Point Arena was incorporated in 1908. In those days there was the big temperance movement by the lady in Chicago named Carrie Nation who, armed with an ax, led assaults on drinking establishments, hence the term ‘battle axes’ to describe formidable women. Mendocino County was voting dry. The town of Mendocino was already dry. The saloonkeepers in Point Arena felt that if the County went dry and Point Arena was not incorporated, Point Arena would be dry like the rest of them.

“My father was not a saloonkeeper then. He was involved in other things like road grading and tie-making. But he was totally sympathetic with the notion of incorporation. He wasn't a citizen yet, so he couldn't vote or participate politically or officially. So they started from that basic fact that some of the residents in Point Arena were not voting citizens so they got the idea to bring in some people who hadn't lived in town previously.

“They circulated the required petition. They got everyone who was sympathetic to sign up. Mendocino County did go dry a few years later. As a result, there were no saloons in the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County. So if you wanted a drink [before national prohibition] you had to go to Fort Bragg or Point Arena.

“I think we came out ahead with incorporation overall, even though the reason for incorporation was unusual, because we have been able to maintain a degree of independence that ordinarily would not be allowed.

“I always supported it myself. There were some people here a while back who thought we ought to disincorporate. I guess we ought to listen to them, but I hope it never comes to that. I always felt that, damn it, we can manage our own affairs. If we simply have the mind to do it, we can do it.

“While I was supervisor I was invited to talk to some people in Anderson Valley about incorporation. There are pros and cons a lot of different ways. I said that one thing you've got to recognize is that if you're going to have a fractured community you'll have nothing but trouble. You better not incorporate because you won't get anything done. Because if it's fractured, one group will want to do something, the other won't. So you better let headquarters in Ukiah handle it because it's a little more remote and they can do it somewhat dispassionately. Anyway, that was my suggestion at the time. In addition, Anderson Valley is a much larger area whereas Point Arena is only about one square mile. So that's a difference.

“Historically, Mendocino County had always been a fairly hard-drinking area, especially Fort Bragg and Point Arena. I can remember that there were at least nine liquor establishments here when Point Arena incorporated. So, of course, there had to be some drinking.

“Once the County went dry enforcement of prohibition became an issue. The attitude that was prevalent then exists today: selective law enforcement. I had the impression that certain people who were enemies, or on the outs, would be targeted by law enforcement. Sheriff Byrnes was thought to be a ‘wonderful’ Sheriff. I certainly didn't think so. His supporters liked to say that he got things done. But in order to get things done he would trample over everybody's rights. That's what makes the difference. Hell, might makes right, and he had the might. It was rumored — it's beyond proof I suppose — that there were certain people that he would ignore. It was a difficult time.

“During prohibition, lots of people made bootleg liquor. But it's hard to say how much was just for drinking and how much was for making money. It was profitable for a lot of people and some of them made good money. Afterwards, after prohibition ended, they moved on and out to bigger and better things. Very little bootleg booze was exported to my knowledge. In fact, there is still some moonshine made ‘out back’ for personal consumption around here.

“There was a man who went to Fort Bragg with his meat from his butcher shop. He'd take the moonshine which he hid down amongst the meatstuffs he was taking to Fort Bragg. Nobody ever bothered him. One time the Feds got suspicious and went out there to check him out. They went into his cellar. In those times you were allowed to make 200 gallons of wine for home use — not for sale. So he had a bunch of barrels around there. He had a whole barrel of grappa right under the tree and they passed on that one. So that's as close as they ever got to him. And there was a dairyman who had a bunch of milk cans that he’d modified with false bottoms. You could lift the lid and see milk like usual, but beneath the milk the bottom four-fifths of the can was very good brandy. He delivered it to Fort Bragg in those clever cans that looked like a milk delivery.

“There was also some smuggling, of course. As a matter of fact there's a spot down the coast they call ‘Smuggler's Cove.’ There used to be liquor from Canada which would come down and be brought ashore there. It landed all along the coast here.

“Some of those smugglers were not highly moral characters. The characters involved in that kind of thing had very few scruples that you and I would recognize today. If you got into trouble with them, you were in serious trouble. Hell, they killed one man down here, about a mile south of town. He was coming up with a load of stuff and they thought he was a squealer or something. The man was not a local. He was shot and left for dead. All we knew was that he was involved in whatever alcohol transaction was transpiring.

“There were a number of Italians bootlegging in the Yorkville hills who were well known to us. But that was all small scale. I don't think they broke even. To get their product you had to go and get it — it was quite a trip from the coast in those days and they only sold to people they knew. It was never really big money — mostly home-made wine and its potent byproduct, grappa. That stuff would knock you over if you weren't familiar with it.”

A FEW YEARS AGO, AVA reader/contributor Harold Erickson sent us the below pictures of Point Arena. The top one is one he took of the current town, taken from the same vantage point as a comparable picture (below) he saw in the Point Arena Community Library from 1911.

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SOME POSTSCRIPT COMMENTS about Tuesday’s PG&E presentation at the Supervisors Chambers in Ukiah.

(One). The Supervisors did a good job pointing out how PG&E’s public safety power shut-off program is a thinly veiled attempt to shift liability from PG&E (and their insurance provider(s), probably including the state and Public Utilities Commission itself which has utterly failed in regulating the irresponsible company) to the public and local agencies. By allowing PG&E to unilaterially decide when to shut off power for “safety” reasons, the utility company is likely to be overly cautious to reduce liability exposure, especially in rural areas where customers and usage are relatively low, because a shut-down of a few thousand rural customers for a few days at a time won’t cost them as much as shutting down more highly populated areas for days at a time. That’s probably why they’re predicting up to 80 days of shutdown in this area for the year.

(Two). PG&E’s decision to send a young, ill-informed rep with no authority to commit the company to anything was a blatant insult. Mr. Pender didn’t offer anything besides what was in the presentation and wasn’t even prepared to answer any Mendo-specific questions. The Board should have demanded a senior VP for this area with real authority at a minimum. It was disappointing to see that they couldn’t even get a commitment for a follow-up meeting. But even then, nobody seemed to be taking notes for which questions the Board wanted answers to. For many of their questions, there’s absolutely no need to wait until an as-yet unscheduled follow-up meeting. The Board, the CEO, the Sheriff and local fire departments should assemble their unanswered questions and fire them off to PG&E now with a deadline to answer.

For example:

How quickly specifically will PG&E guarantee the set up of their “community resource centers” from the time the decision to shut down is made? PG&E says they’ll give 48 hour notice of planned shutdowns (where possible) and that they can get a “resource center” up and running in 24 hours. So, will PG&E guarantee that such “resource centers” will be deployed along with the notifications so that they’ll be in place before the actual shut-down? (And what specifically will the resource centers provide?)

What specific methods of notification will be employed besides simple (and unconfirmed) robo-calls to unspecified officials?

Who does Mendo contact during the shut-down for problems, or timing questions? (Hopefully, not Mr. Pender.)

(Three.) It’s important to make the distinction between the effects of these planned shutdowns and the effects of actual fire emergencies. Given that all of this is uncharted territory, there needs to be more of an effort on overall fire prevention and response — and the possibility that a fire will occur DURING an outage (presumably unrelated to PG&E’s lines). Will CalFire and local fire departments be prepared to respond to those fires at the same time that power is off? As the Board noted, there’s a good chance that a fire will be CAUSED by the shutdowns and every effort should be made to prevent that and plan the response(s) while firefighters themselves are deprived of power. As a Willits reader told us recently, “Hell, half the fires the Willits Fire Department responds to now, even with the power on, are are started by tweakers’ generators. Can you imagine some dumb young guy with one of those cheap Costco generator jobs trying to run an undersized extension cord to his frig? At night?”

IF MENDO is as serious as they appear to be in wanting better responses and planning from PG&E, Mendo should not wait until some future meeting to get this going on this stuff.

(Mark Scaramella)

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THE ANDERSON VALLEY FOOD BANK serves nutritious and healthy food to over 90 families. They appreciate all the people who donate financially and who provide food from their extra garden abundance. "We have three items that we can use this year and we are putting out this request for help: a small wagon to help people take their produce to their cars for delivery; a dolly to help take the food off the delivery truck and into the church Food Bank area — the boxes of food can be pretty heavy. And a refrigerator — our current one is too small and insufficient for storing food that needs refrigeration until the next food bank distribution.” If you can donate any of these items get in touch with Benna Kolinski,

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On Tuesday, July 09, 2019 at about 9:05 pm, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a person reporting they had just been robbed at gunpoint at their residence located in the 17000 block of Low Gap Road in Ukiah.

It was also reportedthat six white male adults, some wearing masks, and clothing identifying themselves as “security” restrained at least two people at the location during the reported home invasion robbery. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies responded from multiple areas throughout the county converging on the remote location looking for the involved suspects.

It was reported to Sheriff’s Office dispatch that the suspects had stolen one of the victim’s vehicles and left the location westbound on Low Gap Road.

While units were responding to the location to ascertain what had occurred (about 30 minutes after the call), a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy and Sergeant were traveling westbound on Orr Springs Road.

During this time they were passed by the victim’s vehicle and a second vehicle following closely behind in the area of the Orr Hot Springs Resort. The two vehicles took off at a high rate of speed eastbound towards the city of Ukiah.

CHP Officers and Ukiah Police Officers had staged near the intersection of Orr Springs Road and North State Street to assist the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. No pursuit was initiated as Sheriff’s Office personnel had lost sight of the suspect vehicles.

At about 10:05 PM, the stolen vehicle was observed by staged law enforcement units and a traffic enforcement stop was initiated by CHP and Ukiah police officers at the intersection of North State Street and Orr Springs Road.

The driver of the vehicle fled on foot and ran down hill to Masonite Road and crossed over to the Highway 101 Freeway. The driver was not located during the initial search.

Simultaneous to the traffic enforcement stop of the stolen vehicle; the second vehicle, a 2019 Jeep Compass, identified by Sheriff’s Deputies as being related to this incident, was observed turning northbound onto North State Street.

A high-risk stop was initiated by CHP and Sheriff’s Office personnel at the intersection of North State Street and Kunzler Ranch road where two suspects were detained. The two suspects were identified as Azuriah Paul and Shane Waier.

Evidence directly related to the robbery was located in the two stopped vehicles.

Sheriff’s Deputies at the scene of the reported robbery determined that on 07-09-2019 at around 8:30 PM, the two victims were confronted by armed suspects in the driveway of their residence.

Some of the suspects were wearing masks and at least one suspect was wearing a vest identifying the person as “security.”

One victim was struck by a firearm while attempting to verbally calm the situation. The injured victim and the other victim were then restrained by “zipties” and “duct tape” inside and outside the residence.

Both victims were moved by force throughout the property and forced at gunpoint to open a safe at the location.

The suspects took multiple items from the residence to include currency, cellular telephones, harvested marijuana and one of the victim’s vehicles. The incident lasted approximately 30 minutes and as the suspects were leaving, one victim was able to escape the “zipties” and notified the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office of the incident.

Following the conclusion of the initial investigation, Sheriff’s Deputies along with allied agencies continued to search the area of North State Street for the outstanding driver of the stolen vehicle.

On Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at about 2:25 AM, a Sheriff’s Deputy was patrolling the area of North State Street and Empire Drive when he observed a white male adult who matched the description of the outstanding involved suspect in the parking lot of the Shell Gas Station (1301 North State Street).

The suspect, later identified as Nathan Kurtz, was contacted and detained. Kurtz was subsequently identified as being a suspect in the robbery and was arrested.

Paul, Weier, Kurtz

At this time, Azuriah Paul, Shane Waier and Nathan Kurtz have been arrested for the following charges: Robbery in Concert; Kidnapping during commission of Robbery; Armed in the Commission of a Felony; False Imprisonment; First Degree Burglary; and Theft of Vehicle.

All three suspects were booked into the Mendocino County Jail where they were to be held in lieu of $275,000 bail each.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the officers from the Ukiah Police Department and California Highway Patrol (Ukiah Office) for their assistance in this investigation.

It is unknown if there were additional vehicles associated with this investigation. Additionally, there is potential for evidence related to this investigation to have been discarded on Orr Springs Road.

Investigators determined the robbery location was not a licensed cannabis operation.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information related to additional suspect(s) and vehicle(s) or with information concerning suspicious items along Orr Springs Road to contact the Sheriff’s office on our non-emergency dispatch line 707-463-4086 or the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line at 707-234-2100.

Persons wishing to remain anonymous can also contact the WeTip Anonymous Crime Reporting Hotline at 800-782-7463.

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Catholic Church, Elk

(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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Armas, Arnold, Daniels, Harnett

JULIAN ARMAS JR., Ukiah. Probation revocation.

SHANNON ARNOLD, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

MONTY DANIELS, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale.

JESSE HARNETT, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.

Kurtz, McGee, Smalley, Waier

NATHAN KURTZ, Petaluma. First degree burglary, robbery in concert, kidnapping for ransom or extortion, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, false imprisonment use of firearm in commission of felony.

JOSEPH MCGEE, Longview, Washington/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JESSE SMALLEY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

SHANE WAIER, St. Louis/Ukiah. Burglary, robbery in concert, kidnapping for ransom or extortion, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, false imprisonment use of firearm in commission of felony.

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It’s rollin’ ’round the bend

And I ain’t seen the sunshine

Since, I don’t know when

I’m stuck in Folsom Prison

And time keeps draggin’ on

But that train keeps a-rollin’

On down to San Antone

When I was just a baby

My Mama told me, “son

Always be a good boy

Don’t ever play with guns”

But I shot a man in Reno

Just to watch him die

When I hear that whistle blowin’

I hang my head and cry

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’

In a fancy dinin’ car

They’re probably drinkin’ coffee

And smokin’ big cigars

Well, I know I had it comin’

I know I can’t be free

But those people keep a-movin’

And that’s what tortures me

Well, if they freed me from this prison

If that railroad train was mine

I bet I’d move it on a little

Farther down the line

Far from Folsom Prison

That’s where I want to stay

And I’d let that lonesome whistle

Blow my blues away

— Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson

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HUMBOLDT COUNTY GRAND JURY on homelessness to the north:

(via Kathy Wylie)

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by George Milburn

In the 1920s, there was a chambermaid named Beulah Huber working at the Kentucky Colonel Hotel. Beulah was just a kid. Her home was in Red Arrow, a town about 11 miles away. Her old man owned a feed store there. Beulah left home because her old man was so strict. She came to our town and got a job making beds and emptying slop jars at the Kentucky Colonel Hotel.

A cubist could have had an interesting night dreaming about Beulah. That was the way she was built. She was a nice girl though. She wasn't the kind of girl you would expect to find holding a job like that.

When I say that Beulah was a nice girl, I mean that she was straight. I don't mean that she wasn't full of life. She could cuss a blue streak when anybody got fresh with her.

Beulah would iron sheets at the Kentucky Colonel hotel all day and then go up to the Louvre Dance Hall on North Broadway and dance half the night with Elmer Dutton, her steady. She had plenty of get up and go, all right.

Elmer Dutton was a telephone lineman. He and Beulah later got married. One afternoon late Beulah was coming around the corner of an L on the second floor of the Kentucky Colonel. She was singing "Shake That Thing" — Old brother Jack / got a hump in his back / from shakin’ that thing."

Just as she came around the corner she saw the Reverend Albert Sweazy standing there at the head of the stairs. Brother Sweazy was the new Baptist minister, and he was putting up at the Kentucky Colonel until his family came on from the place where they had lived before. He was a man of stern countenance.

Beulah was a little flustered at meeting a preacher unexpectedly like that. She stopped dead in her tracks and grinned.

The Reverend Sweazy rig regarded her coldly.

"Don't smile at me like that, woman," he said, "I haven't got any money."

With that he went on downstairs to supper.

Beaulah stood there a little while without realizing fully what the preacher had meant. When it did come to her, she whispered, "Well, the Sunday school _ __!" And raced down the stairs to the dining room.

She burst through the swinging screens and planted herself by the table at which Brother Sweazy was eating. He didn't glance up, but kept on eating with his eyes turned toward his plate.

Beulah stood their biting her lips, aborting the vile imprecations already full formed in her throat.

Then she said in a husky voice, "Say wh-what kind of a girl do you think I am, anyway?"

The Reverend Sweazy would not pay any attention to her. He kept on looking down at his plate. Beulah began sobbing. Suddenly she turned around and ran out of the dining room. Everybody went on eating as though nothing had happened.

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Tiny houses are often mocked as millennial indulgences, a faddish protest against the clutter of modern life and our extravagant use of the earth’s resources. In a Detroit neighborhood still strewn with vacant lots, however, tiny homes are providing a financial lifeline, not just a trendy lifestyle.

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MAY 26, 1908 — In a sensational raid on an opium place at 676 Broadway at four o'clock yesterday morning, Fred Wilson, the keeper, and 14 visitors, all more or less under the influence of the sleep inducing drug, were arrested and taken to city prison. The raid was conducted by Sergeant Farrell and Patrolman Rocca. When police entered the den, a wild scramble was made by those not already dormant from the drug to escape through doors and windows. The defendants appeared before police judge Shortall, but the cases were dismissed because of lack of evidence to show that an actual sale of opium was witnessed by the arresting officers. A complete opium smoking outfit was a part of the evidence adduced.

(San Francisco Chronicle)

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"The gold mines discovered on Eel River still cause excited gold seekers to rush in that direction. The bar along and in the river for three miles is staked out, and everyone is confident that he will strike a bonanza on his claim." (1878)

Man with gold pan and hand tools in Trinity County. [Image from Humboldt State Library]

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In response to the State of California’s recent release of air quality guidelines for schools dealing with wildfire smoke, the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) collaborated with County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace and County Air Pollution Control /Executive Officer Barbara Moed and their staffs to update air quality guidelines and the protocols for communication to keep Mendocino County school children as safe as possible.

The guidelines are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and were developed in collaboration with local district superintendents.


At 5:00 am on days with questionable air quality, school district superintendents shall determine the air quality index (AQI). Ukiah and Willits schools can refer to and other districts can use the protocol based on visibility (facing away from the sun, determining the limit of visible range by looking for targets at know distances). If it is too dark for the visibility test, can be used to determine AQI. - School superintendents should consider canceling classes at an AQI of 275 or higher. - School closures should be reported to affected families through pre-established channels, as well as to MCOE. MCOE will alert the public through a press release and via its website and social media channels.

County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins said, “Because California wildfires are becoming more common and more intense, dangerous air quality is a serious threat to local students’ wellbeing.”

Each district determines when the air quality is too unhealthy for their schools to remain open because microclimates and local air basins can affect air quality from district to district. MCOE provides guidance, but depending on variables such as the time students are exposed to the outdoors during the day, the time spent walking to and from classes, the quality of the air filtration system at each school, and student transportation, districts may choose to close at a lower air quality index score than the one recommended by MCOE.

After reviewing school-related guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and air quality guidelines from surrounding counties, we determined that schools in Mendocino County should close in the event of an AQI level of 275 or more (i.e., “Very Unhealthy” to “Hazardous” ranges, as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency).

Superintendent Hutchins explained, “This does not mean that levels from 50-274 are considered healthy; however, we believe students generally have access to cleaner air while in school, as our schools have high-quality filtration systems, whereas many private residences do not.”

Just as each district may close schools based on their own assessments and determinations, parents must also determine whether it is in their student’s best interest to attend school in the event of poor air quality, “because they know their child’s needs best,” according to Superintendent Hutchins.

In anticipation of another wildfire season, Superintendent Hutchins reached out to Dr. Pace earlier this year to see how they could work together to address the issue of poor air quality and its effects on school-aged children. The Mendocino County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program had already planned to use surplus funds from the California Department of Public Health to purchase industrial air scrubbers to protect the health of the most vulnerable people in the county—the young, the infirm, and the elderly—in the event of future wildfires. When Superintendent Hutchins reached out, Dr. Pace informed her that some of the scrubbers were intended for county schools.

An air scrubber is a portable filtration system that removes particles, gasses, and/or chemicals from the air within a given area. These machines draw air in from the surrounding environment and pass it through a series of filters to remove contaminants.

Public Health will distribute the scrubbers to key community partners to maximize their benefit. Five units designed for use around children will be on permanent loan to the Office of Education for use in local schools to reduce students’ exposure to air pollution. The scrubbers will be strategically placed in classrooms and/or gymnasiums for those with breathing issues or who have compromised immunity.

Dr. Pace explained that children and older adults are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke than any other age group. Children’s airways are still developing, and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.

Superintendent Hutchins said, “The wellbeing of local students remains our top priority. We hope all this preparation is unnecessary but given the increase in wildfire activity in recent years, it’s best to be ready.”

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As a Senior Environmental Scientist and Environmental Program Manager for the California Regional Water Quality Control Board’s North Coast Region, I’ve spent more than a decade of my career studying, developing and implementing pollutant control and ecological restoration programs for the Klamath River.

If you’ve ever visited the reservoirs behind the lower Klamath dams between the months of June and November, you know what that brings. Warm, nutrient-rich water are captured in deep pools, creating ideal conditions for the growth of Microcystis aeruginosa, a type of freshwater cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that produces harmful algae blooms.

It produces a potent liver toxin (microcystin), and if you are in the water with Microcystis aeruginosa, it can cause skin rashes. If people, pets, or other animals ingest it, it can cause stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and liver and kidney damage. High levels of microcystin have even caused deaths in pets, cattle and wildlife. Trust me, you want to stay as far away from this stuff as possible.

In the reservoirs behind Copco 1, Copco 2, and Iron Gate dams, the concentrations of the toxic blue-green algae so often exceed levels considered safe that Public Health Advisories are posted, and it is recommended that all contact with the water be avoided. The toxin is so stable that even boiling water from the reservoirs does not destroy the microcystin or its toxic potential.

But here’s the interesting finding from our research. Many have long assumed that the toxic algae is imported into the reservoirs from Upper Klamath Lake. They believe that if we don’t do something about Upper Klamath Lake, that the toxic algae will still persist down river with or without the lower Klamath dams. That is not true.

A recent study (Otten and Dreher 2017) showed that the toxic algae in Copco and Iron Gate is often a distinct population that is “home grown” in the reservoirs and is often genetically different from that found in Upper Klamath Lake. In addition, Microcystis does not grow well in turbulent free-flowing rivers so that even if toxic algae are transported into the river from upstream, the harmful algal blooms will not occur without the calm and warm water created behind the dams.

What these studies tell us is that removing the four lower Klamath dams and creating a free-flowing river would eliminate the ideal conditions that allow the Microcystis to grow to dangerous levels and the public would no longer have to avoid the toxic waters for six months out of the year.


Clayton Creager

Watershed Stewardship Coordinator

California Regional Water Quality Control Board North Coast Region

* * *


(Press release from the Eureka Police Department)

On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, the Eureka Police Department was made aware of a propaganda flyer reportedly found in the Henderson Center area of Eureka yesterday. The flyer was from a group which appears to be attempting to recruit young people to their white supremacist cause through such fliers and social media.

The Eureka Police Department is working with our allied law enforcement agencies in Humboldt County to assess any potential direct threats to our community posed by this group. EPD has also assigned a detective to investigate the local source of this disturbing hate propaganda. Additionally, EPD has reached out to the FBI’s satellite office (resident agency) in Eureka/Fortuna along with our local Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) Coordinator for information and assistance.

“The racism, hate and violence espoused by this contemptible group has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. Crimes motivated by racism and hate will be aggressively investigated and we will work with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office to see them prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” ~EPD Chief Steve Watson

EPD asks that anyone with information concerning the source of these fliers contact Detective-Sergeant Shawn Sopoaga at (707) 441-5108 or

Note: The Eureka Police Department joins with another Eureka-based news publication in choosing not to publicly name this despicable hate group at this time or share links to their social media accounts so as not to further promote their racist ideology or recruitment efforts.

* * *


There’s been a marked uptick in so-called deaths of despair—those involving drugs, alcohol or suicide—among millennials over the last decade, according to a new report released by public-health groups Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust.

* * *

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW IS ON BREAK. Advertisers rule. She's talking with Bernie Sanders. I can't see the TV from here. I'm just listening. He's thinned out his Bronx accent some, and his voice sounds younger than usual. Good and good! As he speaks, he says the same thing over and over and over, but what he's saying is precisely what we need; it's TRANSFORMATIVE! He calls it "revolutionary," and that's just the word.

This coming election jerks me around. Right now, hearing him fill out his campaign generalities with specifics, I have no doubt about my preference. There are others in the Dem camp that rouse me, but no one but him talks about upending the present system of government and finance and starting over.

The Koch bros must be getting out their check-writing pens to put a contract out on him. A Sanders administration would be a whirlwind reaching every corner of every state, Puerto Rico and all our other properties. I would be in bliss. if he doesn't do the Carter-Clinton-Obama about-face, he's the man to not just revive the American Dream but to realize it.

I'm going to watch the poll numbers and see if he gets a bump out of this talk with Rachel. V-Canto Mucho, I take back my complaints about his tediousness. My reaction to this talk, concluded moments ago, is the opposite of tedium. I'm vibrating!

If these moments on the RMS bump his numbers up, I'm gonna pour myself a long, cold drink!

Mitch Clogg

* * *

* * *

A READER WRITES: Last Friday, July 5, here in Vegas, I was lounging on the couch watching the Rockies-Dbacks game when it started shaking back and forth. Initially, fearing that an unseen poltergeist was on the loose, I was relieved to see the dining room light fixture swaying, and realized it was an earthquake. The epicenter was 150 miles away in Ridgecrest, CA and the quake measured 7.1. with the tremor lasting over thirty seconds. A bit unnerving to say the least

The moral of the story being that Mother Nature is still in charge, always has been and always will be. Her rules and laws can’t be ignored without peril. For instance Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In otherwords, what goes up has to go down. This law applies to economics as well. At some point, something is going to give just like seismic faults volcanoes, economic expansions.

Our political class has no clue how to solve the various problems inherent to our way of life. Most are lawyers, who know how to argue but…Like loyalist soldiers playing poker with hyper-inflated, stolen, currency which will soon to be rendered worthless when the rebels usurp control over their banana republic, they are deterined to enrich themselves before it is too late. How do we recover from the $7 trillion wasted in Bush’s illegal wars, $29 trillion wasted in Obama’s TBTF bank bailout and $21+ trillion in dark money passed through DOD? The politicos know the gig is up. The future of America has been sacrificed for the creature comforts of today. We are a captive state under the thumb of the globalists.

Gnashing our teeth over what politicos or central bankers promise, say or do is as useless as thinking mortal man can stop a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, an ice age or solar flare (or the failure of a fiat world reserve currency).

* * *

* * *


by Ted Rall

Living as they do in a bipolar political world where politics consists of Democrats and Republicans and no other ideology is real, media corporations in the United States use left, liberal and Democrat as synonyms. This is obviously wrong and clearly untrue—Democrats are a party, leftism and liberalism are ideologies, and Democratic politics are frequently neither left nor liberal but far right—but as Orwell observed after you hear a lie repeated enough times you begin to question what you know to be true rather than the untruth.

Sometimes it’s useful in this postmodern era to remind ourselves that words still have meaning, that distinctions make a difference.

Let us now delineate the difference between liberals and leftists.

Bernie Sanders votes and caucuses with the Democratic Party, campaigns as an independent and self-identifies as a “democratic socialist”—an ideology without a party in the U.S. but that draws comparisons to Scandinavia. His stances on the issues are left of center but American politics have drifted so far right that he’s really a paleo-Democrat—there’s no daylight between Sanders 2020 and McGovern 1972. No wonder voters are confused!

Liberals and leftists want many of the same things: reduced income inequality, better working conditions, more affordable housing and healthcare. There are differences of degrees. A liberal wants the gap between rich and poor to shrink; a communist wants no class differences at all. They’re very different when it comes to foreign policy: liberals support some wars of choice whereas leftists would only turn to the military for self-defense.

Reading the last paragraph it is tempting to conclude, as I used to and many people still do, that there is enough overlap between the two to justify, even require, cooperation. Liberals and leftists both want to save the planet and the human race from climate change—why not join forces to fight the polluters and their allies the denialists?

The Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is the ultimate liberal: a professor at Columbia, ex-chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and former chief economist for the World Bank. An op-ed he recently published in The New York Times provides a perfect illustration of why a lasting working relationship between liberals and leftists will always be a pipe dream.

As is often the case with screeds by smart liberals, there is a lot to like in “Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron.” (Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Yes it is.)

Stiglitz correctly identifies the problem: “Despite the lowest unemployment rates since the late 1960s, the American economy is failing its citizens. Some 90 percent have seen their incomes stagnate or decline in the past 30 years. This is not surprising, given that the United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries and one of the lowest levels of opportunity.”

He correctly apportions the blame on “wealth-grabbing (or, as economists call it, rent-seeking),” businesses like hedge fund management that do not create anything but profits and the legacy of Reaganism: “Just as forces of globalization and technological change were contributing to growing inequality, we adopted policies that worsened societal inequities,” Stiglitz writes. “We relied more on markets and scaled back social protections.”

Then: “We could and should have provided more assistance to affected workers (just as we should provide assistance to workers who lose their jobs as a result of technological change), but corporate interests opposed it. A weaker labor market conveniently meant lower labor costs at home to complement the cheap labor businesses employed abroad. We are now in a vicious cycle: Greater economic inequality is leading, in our money-driven political system, to more political inequality, with weaker rules and deregulation causing still more economic inequality.” Boom! This.

Liberals like Stiglitz and leftists like me part ways when the discussion turns to solution. As Lenin asked: What is to be done?

Stiglitz answers: “It begins by recognizing the vital role that the state plays in making markets serve society. We need regulations that ensure strong competition without abusive exploitation, realigning the relationship between corporations and the workers they employ and the customers they are supposed to serve.”

“Government action is required,” he says.

We need “a new social contract between voters and elected officials, between workers and corporations, between rich and poor, and between those with jobs and those who are un- or underemployed,” he says.

Follow the link. Read the whole thing. I’ve included all the meat.

Stiglitz knows what is to be done. Mostly, he’s right. What he wants might not be enough. But it would do more good than harm.

What he does not know is how to make his proposals happen. Like the politics of all liberals, his is a toothless musing, a vacuous fantasy.

He said it himself: “Greater economic inequality is leading, in our money-driven political system, to more political inequality, with weaker rules and deregulation causing still more economic inequality.” This late-capitalism death spiral will not cure itself. There is no world in which corporations and their pet politicians and corrupt media propagandists will “recognize the vital role of the state.” They will not regulate themselves. They will not create “a new social contract.”

They are rich and powerful. The rich do not wake up one day and say to themselves, “Time to stop being a selfish ass, I’m going to redistribute my income.” The powerful do not care that the weak are miserable.

Money gets taken away from the rich one way: by force. The powerful are divested of their privileges the same way: when they have no choice.

Liberals and leftists identify many of the same problems. Only leftists understand that real solutions require serious pressure on the ruling elites. The credible threat of force—for example, a peaceful protest demonstration that could turn violent—may be enough to force reforms. But reforms always get rolled back after the left stops watching. Ultimately the rulers will have to be removed via revolution, a process that requires violence.

Liberals do not demand change; they ask nicely. Because they oppose violence and credible threats of violence, they tacitly oppose fundamental change in the existing structure of politics and society. Unlike leftists, they are unwilling to risk their petty privileges in order to obtain the reforms they claim to crave. So, when push comes to shove, liberals will ultimately sell out their radical allies to the powers that be. And they will run away at the first sign of state oppression.

If you can’t trust your ally, they are no ally at all.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.)

* * *

* * *

SUFFICIENTLY ENLIGHTENED. Ready for Action. Please Contact Me Now

I am watching the mind constantly, not identifying with the body nor the mind, but with the Immortal Self. I do not need to be staying with friends any longer in northern California. I assure you that I am suitably Self-realized, and am eager to go forth and act in accordance with the Divine Absolute. My attempts to get a base to remain active with peace & justice and radical environmental efforts in the Washington, D.C. region did not succeed, because nobody offered me any solidarity, no housing of any kind beyond 4 nights, nor anything else whatsoever. Therefore, I left and went to California to stay with friends for awhile. The problem is that it is not realistic that I remain at The Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley, indefinitely watching my mind. The thoughts just keep on arising, and then dissipating. That's what they do. I can leave here, and take my Self-realization with me! I want to be contacted by others who are also spiritually identified. I want to be contacted by others who are keen to make the necessary statements in Washington, D.C., and at the United Nations compound in New York City. And that is just the beginning…

Craig Louis Stehr


* * *


$37,500,000,000 (David Thomson)


  1. Steve Heilig July 13, 2019

    Re Bernie Sanders and the Koch brothers: Highly doubtful and delusional to fear they’d “target” him; more likely that they’d sneakily channel cash to his campaign in order to keep their GOP frontmen in place. Political reality is mean and tough.

  2. Jim Armstrong July 12, 2019


    Nice headline!

  3. Jeff Costello July 12, 2019

    Ball Four – the best if not the best baseball book I’ve read.

    • George Hollister July 13, 2019


  4. Harvey Reading July 12, 2019

    I’m pulling for human extinction. Humans are disgustingly stupid and ignorant. Get rid of us and give evolution another chance. By the way, that food supply the wealthy scum may or may not have squirreled away won’t last long. Good riddance when they run out. There won’t be anyone left to save them, that is, if their hired thugs haven’t done away with them long before they run out.

  5. Harvey Reading July 12, 2019


    + Meet the new-new Democrats: fighter pilots, Navy SEALs, spooks and MPs. Campaign slogan: “We’re not chickenhawks! We’ve actually killed and tortured people. It’s our turn to lead!”

    “+ People, including Barbara Lee today, keep talking about “the failed war on drugs,” launched, re-launched and re-tooled by Biden and his pals in the Nixon, Reagan and Clinton administrations. But did it really fail? Not if the object was to fill America’s prisons with the black and brown underclass…”

    “+ States that have refused to expand Medicaid to provide health care to their poorest citizens.

    North Carolina
    South Carolina
    South Dakota

    A roll call of backward states.

    “+ Paula White, Trump’s favorite church lady: “When I was just eighteen years old, the Lord gave me a vision that every time I opened my mouth and declared the Word of the Lord, there was a manifestation of His Spirit where people were either healed, delivered, or saved. When I shut my mouth, they fell off into utter darkness and God spoke to me and said ‘I called you to preach the gospel.’””

    Good lord! Sounds like my childhood days listening to Southern Baptist preachers wail on and on in a church lit by roaring Coleman gasoline lanterns. I’m so glad I had seen through the hokum before I graduated from high school. Many exposed to such a dangerous environment as young, impressionable children never do, and live their lives in ignorance, insisting always that others, especially women, MUST do, and think, as they do. I find that horrifying.

  6. James Marmon July 12, 2019

    Does anyone know if RQMC is still providing Mental Health Administration? I looked at the next BoS Agenda and there is still no contract for fy 19-20 to be approved. I also checked to see if a RFP has gone out, nothing.

    James Marmon MSW

  7. George Hollister July 12, 2019

    “It is a part of the human condition, and a recurrent feature of human history, that what we find is not always what we were looking for, and what we accomplish is not always what we set out to do.”

    Wilfred M. McClay; “Land of Hope An Invitation to the Great American Story”

    • Harvey Reading July 12, 2019

      Sounds like the ravings of an evangelical preacher, George.

  8. James Marmon July 12, 2019

    The Measure B Realtor’s Meeting Video is out, watching it now.

  9. Harvey Reading July 12, 2019

    Always wondered just where those passenger trains that supposedly ran by Folsom Prison (“…on down to San Antone…”) were. There was an old set of tracks that ran along Folsom Boulevard, but as I recall the farthest any train went was to about Hazel Avenue, and that was a very short freight train that picked up loads from a big scrap metal outfit near the south end of Hazel, on the south side of Folsom. Sometimes, late at night, one could hear train “whistles” to the northwest, but that was out Roseville way, nowhere near Folsom Prison. Poetic license I guess. Then again, I’m no fan of Johnny Cash. Willie Nelson is another story. I’ve always liked his music

    • Harvey Reading July 12, 2019

      I especially disliked Cash’s song about the assembly line worker who stole the automobile “…one piece at a time…” It was an insult to working people, and appeared as the Working Class was in the beginning stages of its decline. Apparently people lapped it up, though, and it was a big hit. Go figure.

      • Harvey Reading July 12, 2019

        By the way, as far as I know, Willie had nothing to do with creating FPB. That was Cash’s baby.

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