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MCT: Monday, September 16, 2019

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CLOUD COVER AND RAIN will continue to spread across the area as a cold front moves through Northwest California. Scattered showers will linger into Monday, with noticeably cooler temperatures inland. Another storm system will bring a second dose of rain later on Tuesday and into Wednesday. Drier weather with a warming trend is expected late week and into next weekend. (National Weather Service)

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A fire was reported on Highway 128, near milepost 12.75 (near the Flynn Creek Road intersection). There was only one call to dispatch about this and it came from a highway call box reporting smoke in the area. But first responders were unable to locate anything so the response was canceled after a "search to their satisfaction."


ED NOTE: Numerous emergency vehicles including two ambulances sped through Boonville responding to this false alarm.

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THREE MILES OUTSIDE OF POINT ARENA, along scenic Highway One you'll find Schooner Gulch State Beach. More commonly known as Bowling Ball Beach! The odd rock formations arose from unusual combinations of geologic conditions. A truly unique spectacle of nature! @randywiberg

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Two people were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping after a routine traffic stop Saturday night in Ukiah led deputies to discover a suspected rape victim in the back seat, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said.

Thao Vang, 33, of Sacramento, was pulled over for traffic violations about 11:35 p.m. in the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Deputies then found in the back seat a 34-year-old Sacramento woman, who was visibly bruised and shaking and crying. She told deputies that Vang kidnapped her four days earlier and raped and physically abused her numerous times, and she feared for her life while being forced to travel to Ukiah, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Vang was arrested on multiple felony charges, including suspicion of rape and kidnapping, and was booked into jail on $175,000 bail. 

Christine Maxwell of Maysville, who was riding in the front passenger seat, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and conspiracy. She was held in jail on $100,000 bail.

(The Press Democrat)

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March 18, 1941 to September 2, 2019 Bicyclist, Machinist, Journalist, musician, Draft Resister, Citizen, Gentleman

by Jacqui Phelan

Anti-war pioneer and pro-bicycle pioneer Darryl Skrabak has died after a years-long combat with cancer at his home in San Francisco.

Born in Long Beach and raised in San Francisco, Skrabak studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and arranged stride piano tunes and rags to play on his huge, custom-made Italian accordion. This talent made him a bit more popular that the average gangly nerd, and even helped him win a high school election.

His anti-war stance and refusal to be drafted for the Viet Nam war landed him in Lompoc federal penitentiary for 18 months. His legal education grew out of this period, and he soon learned that he was the ONLY West Coast conscientious objector that actually did time in prison. Most other “draft dodgers” either had good connections or got decent draft counseling, which was in its infancy at the time .

He wound up traveling up and down California providing resistors with all the information he wished he’d known. Thanks to his handy guitar and accordion work, opened for Joan Baez at many a concert. She even recorded his favorite song, The Glad Bluebird of Happiness (see her sing it on Youtube).

Skrabak’s biggest impact has been as a founding member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (Jack Murphy was the other founder) at a time when the bicycle boom was putting millions of bikes on the road, with no articulated rights to the road. He wrote a column on the legal aspects of bicycling, and spent decades reminding MUNI, and the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Golden Gate Bridge District why bicycles should be allowed to cross bridges when no other (non-motorized) alternative exists.

To him bicycles were not about speed and sport; to him the act of bicycling was in itself an act of resistance to the petrochemical hegemonic “ownership” of the byways of our country.

Perhaps not surprisingly, his idea of a good time was practicing to ride the 750 miles between Paris and the coast of France and back. He qualified and road the Paris-Brest-Paris in 1989 and lived to tell the tale. And also created the San Francisco Randonneurs, a body of people, once miniscule, that now boasts over 200 members.

Thanks to Skrabak’s lifetime of work, riders are permitted to occupy a lane of city traffic, buses are outfitted with bike racks, the GG Bridge has not banned bicycles, and generations of children will have their parents hauling them to school on their cargo bikes.

I would add that Darryl was a long time volunteer at the Dolphin Club in SF, where he did fine metalwork repair on the collection of historic wooden Whitehall rowboats. The photo above is taken in the Dolphin Club Boatshop, with the boatbuilder, Jon Bielinski in the background.

Darryl retired as a machinist in the Instrument Shop at the California Academy of Sciences, where he built (among other things); Foucault Pendulums and parts for the star projector in the Morrison Planetarium.

There will be a wake at the Dolphin Club, 502 Jefferson SF 94109 on 10/12 at 6 pm. RVSP.

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Letter to the Editor

Visioning the Future of Cannabis in Mendocino County

In 2016, with the passage of Proposition 64 by voters, cannabis became legal to grow and for adult recreational use in the State of California. While this new law ended California”s prohibition of cannabis and freed millions of people from the taint of criminal convictions, it also sent a shock wave through the cannabis industry in Mendocino County which had always thrived in the illegal black market.

This newly created multi-billion dollar legal cannabis market immediately attracted the attention of venture capitalists who are always on the lurk for lucrative investment opportunities. They have swooped down on our three rural Northern California counties — Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity — collectively known as the “Emerald Triangle”, where world class cannabis has been grown for years.

The Emerald Triangle”s reputation for growing premier quality cannabis began over four decades ago when counterculture back-to-the-landers started migrating into the area in the 1970s and 1980s from the Bay Area to get away from the urban rat race. As the Emerald Triangle's legend grew, so did the amount of cannabis dollars flowing into the region until cannabis supplanted the declining timber industry as the main driver of our north coast economy.

Legalization of cannabis in California has brought multiple layers of regulation at every level of state, county and municipal government, which has created an impenetrable barrier for these small “legacy” farmers who built the cannabis industry, to gain a foothold in the legal marketplace.

For its part, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has shown no inclination to support legacy cannabis farmers when drafting the County's cannabis cultivation regulations. Instead they have crafted regulations that are so cumbersome, convoluted and confusing that only large corporate growers can comply. In fact, less than 300 permits have actually been issued by the County and most small farmers remain in the black market.

The latest proposed regulation by the Board of Supervisors would establish ten “Enterprise Zones (EZ)” around the County where 10 acre industrial size grows would be permitted and all requisite permits would be held by a few mega rich corporate owners. In effect, these large cannabis plantations would shift Mendocino County's workforce from self employed farmers over to low wage farm workers.

It doesn't have to happen this way. It is possible for small cannabis farmers in Mendocino County to compete in the statewide legal cannabis market without selling out our local culture to giant corporations. But small farmers cannot compete in this legal market alone: no matter how efficiently they farm, or how shrewdly they conduct business, or how hard they work, they will be squeezed in the vice of high production costs and low sales prices.

In order to survive legalization, small cannabis farmers (that is 10,000 square feet or under) in Mendocino County will have to change their business model from the individual farmer doing everything from sowing seeds to marketing products, to many small farmers working together in cooperative arrangements where there can be task specialization and shared production costs.

While the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors cannot establish cannabis cooperatives on its own, it can provide a regulatory framework that makes it easy for individual small farmers to join together into large scale vertically integrated co-ops that will be able to compete against large corporations on the statewide cannabis market. Such a framework must also be structured so that no proprietorship, partnership or corporation can hold more than one cannabis cultivation permit in Mendocino County. This will insure that no out of County corporate players can take over the industry.

Ultimately, there are two competing visions for the future of cannabis in Mendocino County. One is to have a few corporate mega grows clustered together in “Enterprise Zones” located in unspecified areas around the County, and the other is to preserve our local cultural heritage of small cannabis farmers who have been the backbone of our resilient communities going on three generations.

In choosing a cooperative business model, Mendocino County has the opportunity to create a localized cannabis economy that is an industry wide leader on the world stage.

Jon Spitz


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by Jim Shields

This past week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law that provides the state with the authority to overrule phony medical exemptions for children’s vaccines.

Here’s the background.

Back in 2015, a new California law (SB 277) among other things, abolished the personal belief exemption that allowed parents to opt their child out of vaccines in our schools.

Prior to 2015, under California’s personal belief exemption, a parent could choose to opt their child out of school vaccine requirements. But the 2015 law removed that option and left only a medical exemption rendered by an MD that would allow parents to exclude their child from mandatory vaccinations.

However, also under the 2015 law, parents who decided not to vaccinate were required to home-school their children.

For the past 20 years, there has been a growing movement comprised of so-called “anti-vaxers” who refuse to have their children vaccinated based mostly on a now retracted 1998 study that falsified data to purport a link between autism and the measles vaccine. The study was authored by Andrew Wakefield who was later found to be lying. Also, numerous subsequent studies worldwide involving hundreds of thousands of children have proved that vaccines are safe and do not cause autism.

Here’s some of the thoughts of one of the leaders of the “Anti-Vaxer” movement in California. Dr. Don Harte is a Marin County chiropractor who is prominent in the anti-vaccination movement, which is a loosely organized conspiracy-theorist subculture that blames the medical practice of vaccination for a wide range of health problems and whose advocates have, ironically, been directly responsible for the return of health problems in the form of diseases that had long ago been rendered almost non-existent through the use of those very same vaccines. The movement, largely led by people with no medical or scientific qualifications, bases its claims largely on spurious alleged short- and long-term side-effects of vaccinations. These are people who believe there is a far-reaching conspiracy by the government, Big Pharma, and most doctors who “push” vaccines for children that cause “autism, Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, life-threatening allergies, asthma, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and a variety of emotional/psychological disorders.” There is absolutely no empirical evidence to support any of their far-fetched claims.

Under the 2015 law, vaccination checks take place during mandated reporting periods: when a child enrolls in kindergarten, in seventh grade or when a child enrolls in a new school district. A long list of school boards, education groups, local governments, health organizations and parent and child advocacy groups supported the new vaccination law. The list included: the American Academy of Pediatrics, Vaccinate California, California State PTA, California Medical Association, California Immunization Coalition, and the Health Officers Association of California

Since implementation of the 2015 law, anti-vaxers have been circumventing required vaccinations by obtaining highly questionable exemptions from doctors. The pair of laws signed by Newsom, now eliminate that unethical medical practice of issuing medical exemptions for dubious reasons.

It should be pointed out that children with a compromised immune system, or who have had a previous severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, can get a medical exemption from the mandated vaccination. Also, exemptions would be valid for kids with organ transplants or who are receiving treatments for cancer.

Anti-vaxer parents can still evade the law by homeschooling their children just as they could under the 2015 law.

Here’s highlights of the new vaccination laws signed by Newsom:

• Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will have the power to revoke medical exemptions that it determines are not medically necessary.

• The department will review vaccine exemptions at schools where less than 95% of the kids enrolled are fully vaccinated.

• The department will review exemptions from doctors who write more than five exemptions in a year.

• Schools have to publish their students’ vaccination rates at least each year.

• Unvaccinated kids with approved medical exemptions can stay home from school if there’s a disease exposure at the school.

• Doctors or parents can appeal the revocation of a medical exemption to an independent review board of doctors appointed by the California Department of Health and Human Services.

• Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, kids entering seventh grade will need an updated medical exemption, even if they had one previously.

• The law is not retroactive; only medical exemptions granted after Jan. 1, 2020 will be subject to review.

• Doctors who have been placed on probation by the Medical Board of California over issuing invalid medical exemptions will not be allowed to grant any more exemptions.

So here’s where we are on this issue. For anyone who may have misgivings about the vaccination question, rest assured there’s no foundation or scientific basis to long-discredited conspiracies raised by vaccination opponents, so get your kids vaccinated.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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ON SATURDAY, September 14, at about 9:38 pm, Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a reported domestic violence incident in the 49000 block of Twin Pine Road in Laytonville.

While deputies were responding, dispatch advised the 44-year-old female had locked herself inside a bathroom in the residence.

When the deputies arrived, they contacted the adult female and James Michael Moody, age 67 of Laytonville, who were in a dating relationship over the past couple of years.


Deputies learned Moody arrived home from work before he and the adult female got into an argument. During the argument, Moody started to kick the adult female, causing a noticeable injury to her left leg.

The adult female locked herself in the bathroom and called 911. The adult female declined medical treatment at the scene.

After further investigation, Moody was arrested for 273.5(a) PC (Domestic Violence Battery) and was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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(Stroke recovery update and one year at home since rehab anniversary)

by Chris Skyhawk

One year ago today on Sept 15, 2018 I got home from rehab from the Bay Area. I remember that day well, we had practiced getting me into the car from my wheel chair — it took a lot of help as several staff accompanied me and there were a number of tender goodbyes with staff I had gotten close to.

There was a path through some trees in a riparian area above Santa Rosa Creek that had played a profoundly mystical role in my recovery that I had to say goodbye to.

On the appointed day my very much loved friends Gary Pace and Margaret Howe came to help Samantha drive me home. We loaded me up and I began my return to this world. It was an overcast day, the world seemed to me full of beauty and mystery. I knew it was the same world, but there were some things I just had not noticed as deeply my first time around. It all seemed strange and wonderful. We stopped in Cloverdale for coffee, and picked up Highway 128 and dropped into Anderson Valley. At Peachland Road I needed a break so we pulled in there and started up the road. We found a little turnout to stop for a rest, and very very slowly I extricated myself from the car. We propped me up next to the van and I could see the length of the Valley rolling away upstream, I started talking to the mountains and told them it was so good to see them again. I started sobbing and sobbing as the realization of how close I had come to not seeing them again washed over me. I just kept sobbing. I was so happy to see them once again.

Eventually we got me back in and proceeded to Albion. We got to my house where some very kind men had made a wheelchair ramp for me. Everyone wanted me to get in my wheelchair so they could push me into the house.

Of course, Inyo and Kiara were there. They had made a sweet “welcome home papa” sign, but I refused to let them get me in that chair, I was not going to let that be the first picture my girls had of me getting home, I was going to walk, as horribly slowly as that might be. I was absolute that I was going to walk into my fucking house. It was slow, it was horrible, but eventually I got up the ramp and once at the door of the mudroom, I let them put me into the chair.

Later that day, as I fell asleep in my room, the sounds of the adults talking while my daughters laughed and played with Gary is absolutely forever etched in my soul.

And now my days are filled with my attempts to recover.

I still mostly need my cane to walk, I am still waiting to regain function in my left arm and left hand, although on good days I can sometimes wiggle my fingers a little bit.

I have begun doing some public speaking about the experience. Thank you to all of you who have supported me in that. It turns out that almost dying and making it back over here is a rather interesting experience, not just for me but others as well.

Thank you to all of you that have supported my family through this, and continue to hold us in the cocoon of your love. Some of you have no idea how much you have meant. Just by having the courage of being yourself and living your life, just being who you are, you have carried me through some dark times. Thank you for that.

Ok everyone, I will see you around. Whatever Great Power it is that decides these things has apparently deigned we are not done with each other. Hopefully next time I write something like this I will tell you that I am walking well and even dancing, driving my car and perhaps chopping my own vegetables.

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Here is a helpful tip: If you see trash left on public land, such as a mattress left alongside a public road, please report it. MendoRecycle, a partnership of the County and our cities, will clean it up. I've reported problems on MendoRecycle's easy-to-navigate website, and they have cleaned up the roadside debris.

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Sunset on Balboa

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CASPAR INN is being revived by an English couple we understand, who will offer beer, wine, fish and chips. The gifted impresario, Peter Lit, presided over the Inn for years in its heyday. If those walls could talk, what tales they could tell.

SECOND DISTRICT Supervisor John McCowen spends his off hours cleaning up after the Ukiah Valley's ever-larger "homeless" population, a tiny minority of whom are legitimately homeless. The Supervisor has been at it for years. I'm aware that McCowen even took it upon himself to personally drive a particularly noxious pair of campers habitually fouling a feeder stream way to heck outtahere. By drive I mean the Supervisor, at their request, drove them hours from Ukiah and left them there. They probably drifted back, but for true commitment to the health of what's left of the Ukiah Valley's natural world, McCowen deserves much credit for his one-man campaign to keep the slobs out of the Russian River and its battered tributaries.

FOR HIS EFFORTS to pick up after habitual drunks, drug addicts and miscellaneous walking wounded, McCowen is seen by the irresponsible as their primary nemesis, with Officer Hoyle of the Ukiah Police Department probably running a close second.

AS OFTEN HAPPENS, the people hounded by the Supervisor to at least pick up after themselves and to not use the Ukiah area's river and streams as latrines, call the 911 emergency to accuse McCowen himself of criminal misconduct, as happened the other day when a woman called the police to have McCowen arrested for looting her teepee!

BTW, the "homeless" aren't the only people trashing public spaces and the County's roadsides. Lots of housed people dump stuff to evade dump fees. Which are increasingly, onerously expensive. To discourage illegal dumping, the County should work out a method whereby people who can't afford present-day legal dump fees are permitted to dump at a reduced, affordable rate. The County does offer trash removal once the trash is in place, but reduced, County-subsidized dump fees would keep trash from midnight off-loading in the first place. We think the money for subsidized trash (and County ambulance services) ought to come out of the pointless Promotional Alliance's annual million-plus budget that allegedly promotes tourism to the County.

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AN AVA READER tells us that Arylis Peters, now 70, is out of prison, but has not returned to Mendocino County. It was Arylis Peters whose shooting death of Gene Britton in April of 1995 in the parking lot of Covelo High School put in motion a series of shootings leading to the deaths of Peters' brother Leonard ‘Acorn' Peters and Mendocino County Sheriff's deputy Robert 'Bob' Davis.

FOLLOWING the shooting of Gene Britton, a large-scale police manhunt began for the shooter, Arylis Peters. Two deputies, Davis (a former Navy Seal) and Dennis Miller, were posted on a ridge overlooking the home of Bear Lincoln, his mother Lucille, and several other Lincolns.

BEAR LINCOLN & ARYLIS PETERS’ brother Leonard, unaware the two deputies were posted above them, and as they walked up the road from the Lincoln home about five hours after the Britton shooting, exchanged fire with the two deputies on the ridge. Leonard Peters was shot dead. Bear Lincoln retreated back down the road to the area of his home, but apparently made his way back up the hill to exchange fire with the two deputies. In this second round of gunfire Davis was hit and killed. Lincoln fled Round Valley and, four months later, at the San Francisco offices of attorney Tony Serra, turned himself in.

ARYLIS PETERS had turned himself into Sheriff’s deputies in Covelo two days after the shooting of Gene Britton.

BEAR LINCOLN was tried for the murder of Deputy Davis but found not guilty. Lincoln was defended by Serra in a trial that drew much national attention.

THE ETIOLOGY of the bitter feud between the Peters and Britton families began a month before the grisly events of April, 14th 1995 when Byron Peters, 17, was assaulted by Neil Britton and some of his friends and badly beaten. Britton was 23 years old at the time.

BYRON’S FATHER, Leonard Peters, insisted his son go to the police rather than the family seek private revenge. Three times the elder Peters set up appointments with Sheriffs deputies to file a complaint and three times the Peters were stood up. And Byron continued to be harassed by the older men until he foolishly tried to intimidate his tormenters by shooting into the side of a Britton truck while it was parked at a Covelo filling station. Police arrested Byron within hours. The non-response by the Sheriff’s Department to the Peters’ complaint, and the almost immediate arrest of Byron for his crime of shooting the Britton vehicle, seemed to embolden Neil Britton, who then started harassing Byron's father, Leonard. The feud festered.

THE FEUD FESTERED until Arylis Peters, Leonard’s brother, confronted Neil's father, Gene Britton, in the parking lot of the Covelo high school. Both men were armed, but Peters proved faster on the draw, and shot the elder Britton as Britton reached for his gun.

THIS EVENT led to a manhunt for Arylis Peters, which in turn led to the deaths of Leonard Peters and Deputy Bob Davis.

ARYLIS PETERS did not participate in his own defense. In a modern day record for Mendocino County, Peters was sentenced to 25 to life a mere seven weeks after being charged. His lawyer, Public Defender Ron Brown, later appointed to the Mendocino County Superior Court, didn't present much of a defense, never raising self-defense even though it was known that Gene Britton also had a gun the afternoon he was shot and killed.

AS IF THIS SAD series of murderous events is not complicated enough, in the shooter’s car that day was Kathleen Lincoln, who was driving, and her husband, Les Lincoln, who was in the back seat. Neil Britton testified that Les Lincoln handed Arylis the rifle he used to shoot Gene Britton. Les had the charges against him dropped for lack of evidence, but his wife Kathleen received three years in prison for being an accessory after the fact to murder. Neil Britton was also one of only two civilian witnesses called to testify in front of the Grand Jury against Bear Lincoln (while Lincoln was on the run), the other being a mystery witness by the name of Robert Steitler.

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Adelman, Chase, Clark, Dixon

LESLIE ADELMAN, Ukiah. Trespassing, entering and occupying property or structures without consent.

GARRETT CHASE, Redwood Valley. DUI.

KELLY CLARK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

GABRIEL DIXON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Galindo, Gonzalez, Gray

THOMAS GALINDO JR., Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

JAIME GONZALEZ, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

TREVOR GRAY, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Henry, Leher, McCain

TAWANA HENRY, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

WILLIAM LEHER JR., Ukiah. Protective order violation.

DIAMANTE MCCAIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Moody, Radcliffe, Valentine, Wiltse

JAMES MOODY, Laytonville. Domestic abuse.

RICKEY RADCLIFFE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

DON WILTSE JR., Ukiah. Parole violation.

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"MARSALA FLORIO" - Poster by Jean D'Ylen, 1920

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New Chief of Staff Elected at MCDH

Dr. William Miller has been elected by the medical staff of MCDH to the position of Chief of Staff effective September 16, 2019. This is the senior leader of the medical staff in a hospital. Some of the responsibilities include quality of care, patient safety, community outreach, representing the medical staff on the hospital Board of Directors and physician credentialing.

Dr. Miller is board certified in Internal Medicine / Hospital Medicine and has worked at our hospital since 2017 as a hospitalist.

His previous experience includes several administrative and medical staff leadership roles in both small rural hospitals as well as larger inner city hospitals.

When asked what his vision is for the future of health care in our community, he stated, “This is an exciting time for not only our hospital, but also for the entire health care system here on the Coast. There is much work to be done which includes strengthening our hospital financially, growing the number of primary care providers in the community, encouraging more specialists to come here to have clinics, increasing home health services including hospice, and addressing the looming seismic compliance requirements.” He added, “All of these goals are within our capabilities. Each need is very important.”

On the question of affiliation, Dr. Miller shared his views. “As a small, rural hospital, the best way to ensure having strong health care and a vibrant hospital is to affiliate with a large hospital system. We could continue to limp along as is, however, the only way to move us forward into a position of greater stability is to affiliate with someone. Affiliation also brings many essential resources with it that will be necessary to help us achieve the goals that we have. At this time, the most realistic option is Adventist Health. Integrating care throughout the county makes a lot of sense and we already have a strong relationship with Adventist in terms of shared purchasing agreements and inter-facility patient transfers. While there are some important philosophical considerations because Adventist Health is a faith based organization, I think that the overall benefit that they bring through leadership experience and an excellent track record of patient satisfaction and financial success is highly desirable for us.”

MCDH wishes to thank Dr. John Kermen for his years of service as the previous Chief of Staff. Dr. Kermen is an anesthesiologist and will continue to serve on the Medical Executive Committee as the past-Chief of Staff. Dr. Miller has stated that Dr. Kermen’s leadership experience and knowledge of the history of the organization will be invaluable.

“I look forward to working with community leaders, key stakeholders in the local health care community and our Health Care District Board of Directors in making these goals become a reality,” Dr. Miller said. Dr. Miller lives in Little River, California, with his husband and their two dogs and two African Grey parrots. His hobbies include bee keeping and leatherworking.

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(Art by Pawel Kuczynski)

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Several weeks ago, my husband and I went to dinner at a fairly pricey restaurant. We sat on the patio, as the weather was nice. Once we were seated, however, we found that the woman at the table next to us had brought her corgi along. Then another couple came out with their dog and was seated close by. At that, the corgi lunged at the other dog, barking wildly and straining at the leash. The dog was dragged back to the table, but the ambiance was destroyed.

It used to be that dogs entered public spaces for legitimate reasons, as in the case of Canine Companions. But now it seems to be the trend to take one’s dog anywhere — grocery stores, movie theaters, airplanes, big box stores. Some people will protest that their dog is needed for “emotional support”; on the other hand, some people are allergic to or fearful of dogs. Who wins here? I know we won’t go back to that restaurant.

I hear many owners refer to their dogs as their babies. But please, especially if you’re going to a restaurant, do what many people with real babies do: Get a sitter.

Holly Pierce

Santa Rosa

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by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)

My hotel is located in Bloomsbury—a neighborhood full of bookstores and antique shops; of small plazas with private gardens. It’s just a few steps from the British Museum and from 46 Gordon Square, the house where Virginia Woolf lived.

(Virginia Woolf in June of 1926. Getty Images)

In my first visit to London, I learned that the English lower their voices to call you a son of a bitch; that generals go to their civilian barracks with an umbrella; that this group of people has managed to live at the expense of the rest of the us mortals; that their thieves, while not surpassing the Italians in charm, are, on the other hand, the most elegant of the planet; that if a Brit comes out of the factory looking good, he or she will continue to look good until his or her death; and that their aristocrats distinguish themselves by chewing a pudding without moving their lips.

Who, in his heart, would not like to have received a large but tainted inheritance that has been laundered over four generations and which permits you to be a snob, an eccentric, entertaining, and a member of the intellectual aristocracy—as happened to the family of Virginia Woolf?

One of her ancestors, a chap named William Stephen, had made a fortune in the Antilles at the end of the 18th century. He would buy sick slaves at a bargain price, cure them, and then resell them when they were healthy at a much higher price. Thanks to this pious arrangement, one of his descendants, Leslie Stephen, could be, one hundred years later, an honorable man, a famous critic and historian and the father of four renown children: Vanessa, a post impressionist painter; Adrian, a doctor; Virginia, a writer; and Thoby, who despite having died very young of Typhus, still had time to found, along with some of his friends at the university, an esoteric society called The Apostles of Cambridge, later known as The Bloomsbury Group.

My first day in England, as is logical, I headed to the nearby British Museum to admire grand larceny converted into a collection of universal culture. To take a walk along Great Russel Street is a most practical way to visit Mesopotamia, go to Greece, or travel through Egypt in just one morning. The British have made off with everything they have found in their colonies: temples, gods, idols, sculptures, tombs, mummies, papyruses, and mastabas. If they haven’t taken the pyramids, it’s simply because they’re too heavy.

I can’t understand why the British have not yet erected a monument to Queen Victoria in the lobby of the British Museum. She was the first “fence” in history. She would buy the loot of her colonizers and pirates.

In the afternoon, I went for a walk through Gordon Square for the mere pleasure of contemplating the house of Virginia Woolf where, in her day, would come and go philosophers Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein; art critic Clive Bell, who married Virginia’s sister Vanessa; the economist John Maynard Keynes, the writers Gerald Brenan and Katherine Mansfield; the novelist E.M. Forster, and the painters Dora Carrington and Duncan Grant.

There, in her own room, Virginia Woolf, whom everyone called “The Goat”, began to forge a broken literature and to regurgitate the fluid of her own consciousness like the ruminants. Virginia Woolf was the first to narrate with superimposed voices—the same ones she heard in her head and which seriously affected her bipolar mind. After breaking all the barriers of Victorian morality, one day she filled the pockets of her coat with stones and drowned herself in the River Ouse.

Apart from that, these people spent their time collecting butterflies in the gardens of their country houses donned in dainty clothes and soft hats; traveling through the world with an abundance of canvas-lined trunks in order to contemplate classical ruins amidst ragged children which permitted them to be aesthetes and compassionate souls at the same time. Later, under the smoke of chocolate flavored pipe tobacco, at 46 Gordon Square, they would talk about psychoanalysis, quantum theory, the Fabian Society — and pretend to be spies.

One of them, Anthony Blunt, the art assessor for the Queen, was discovered to be a Soviet spy. When he was seated in court in 1979, he was asked by a judge,

—Are you aware that you have betrayed your country?

As if it were just another of his games, Blunt responded,

—I’m afraid that I am.

With Thoby dead, the most promising members of the group quickly dispersed. Only a group of mediocrities, who owed their posterity to the genius of Virginia Woolf, remained.

In spite of everything, who would not have liked to dress up like a sultan for one of their parties?

* * *

* * *



I know Gavin Newsom is targeting me because of my use of the freedom of the number one amendment. That's okay. I know that because I have said some things about him and Jerry Brown that are very true so they have pulled some stuff on me about not being able to register my trucks and stuff like that.

Anybody in that administration who gets whacked by somebody like an illegal alien deserves everything they get for making California a sanctuary state. They have put everyone in danger.

Now President Trump has to come in with the federal government to clean up your homeless mess in California, Gruesome Newsom. Wouldn't it be ironic if you came home some night and there was an illegal felon in your bedroom with a butcher knife? Like what happened to that lady down in San Jose? There are movements going on to get you out of office, you sorry bastard. I think you and Nancy Pelosi and that CARB loving hag Mary Nichols ought to be drug through every homeless camp in California and see how you like it. Meantime while you are driving to those homeless camps you are paying $4.50 in gas!

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


PS. It was a real smart move to make everybody do a background check to buy bullets. That's about a third grade idea. Some of the gun dealers don't know what to do when someone comes in for a box of 22s and the customer has to do a background check and wait 10 days. Unbelievable. What’s next? Are you going to ban silverware? You have to wear a certain kind of shoes? Uniforms?

PPS. A month ago they sent an expedtion to the Arctic to prove that there’s climate change. They are still iced in! Don’t know when they’ll get out! So you see what a bunch of happy horseshit it is about climate change?

* * *

* * *

THE HEAD RIDE, Part 4 of 4

by Denis Rouse

Regular readers of my fetching prose will remember three earlier installments of this piece that dealt with my passion for motorcycle touring, and the tear-jerking tale of best riding bud, Paul, whose wife and trusted friend of seventeen years, an attractive athletic woman who could carve corners on her hyper-sport GSXR Suzuki 750 as adroitly as he could on his identical machine, color matched of course, told him one fine day out of the blue, “I feel lonely with you, I want a divorce”. Paul reeled, gut shot. Then the head shot came. She said she wanted exit from their love nest on a hill above the teeming civic horror of Redding, California, a microcosm of the social wreckage that’s befallen our whole beloved country, and purchase Paul’s recently deceased father’s tidy little cottage in quiet, idyllic Wolseley, Saskatchewan, located on the vast high plains of northwest Canada. And she added that their settlement better finance it, or else it’s the hockey puck treatment common in crises like this one.

Fast forward seven years later to April 2018. Paul’s finally finds his huevos. He’s got the mortgage in diseased Mall Land up for sale. He’s quit his job as an aviation mechanic. He’s bought a home to flee to in Heppner, a stunning little burg located in a golden hill niche in Eastern Oregon’s thinly populated Morrow County. July 27, 2018, four days before escrow closes on Paul’s Redding pad, the Carr fire explodes and tornados across the Sacramento River imperiling thousands of homes certainly including his. He stands on his porch in barely subdued panic watching the oncoming inferno, listening to propane tanks exploding, and somehow resists the impulse to evacuate. On July 31, Redding still on fire, escrow closes, movers arrive via the only road open and load up his belongings. Paul puts the house keys under the front doormat, and splits northward in his van through dense smoke on I-5 which closes two days later. It’s an amazing survival story, Paul the fabled Phoenix risen from the ashes.

In the ensuing months, during occasional phone conversations with Paul, it’s obvious I’m talking to an extraordinarily relieved, happy man living on the pastures of heaven. I’d never been to Heppner but I knew the region fairly well from several joyous motorcycle touring forays, and terrific fishing experiences on the John Day River in neighboring Wheeler County, which like Morrow County, comprises more than two thousand square miles of ethereal beauty, and has the population of Mayberry, minus Floyd the barber.

Heppner, Oregon. I’m curious as hell. Boom. John, another best friend, calls me one afternoon here at home in Sequim, WA. John lives with his girlfriend Jeannie down there in Orange County, CA, where the metastatic nightmare is a little more developed than Redding’s. John doesn’t say it but it’s clear he’s suffering from estrogen overload and other maladies attendant to living way too close to Disneyland. Let’s get together, he says, anywhere. I get off the phone, thinking. My girl Gwen who’s overheard my conversation with John says, “Why don’t you and John go fishing on the John Day and then go visit Paul in Heppner?”. I can tell you many reasons why I love Gwen dearly, but doesn’t that sum it up pretty well?

A few days later I fly to Portland to pick up John and head eastward through the towering magnificence of the Columbia River Gorge, then head south from the river at Arlington to the abbreviated (pop. 473) Wheeler County capital of Fossil, so named because of the plentitude of ossified remains of 33-million-year-old Oligocene plant life that lie on Wheeler High School grounds. One could get into an interesting discussion of global warming here that might mention the two major extinctions that lasted for millions of years in the six billion year record of this planet of ours — that the empty strata from those bleak periods indicate that all organic existence was expunged, and we bipeds and our toxic emissions weren’t around then as the perps. But we’ll leave that disturbing mysterious subject until the drinking lamp is lit.

The big draw for us in Fossil is Steve Fleming, who runs Mah Hah Outfitters, who’s arranged for us a master guide, his name is Brandon, and a drift boat upon which to float several miles of the tumultuous red rock beauty of the north fork of the John Day River, a renowned smallmouth bass fishery, and catch as many of those feisty footballs as possible. Between John and I (his first experience with a flyrod by the way) we catch (and release) about seventy fish, including some big boys who explode on top water poppers, and top water action, when the fish go airborne and acrobatic, is the absolute apogee of the deal. Were that not enough, Mah Hah has aboard a charcoal fueled Dutch oven, so the riverside lunch we enjoy in the shade of a big maple, includes juicy chicken thighs with the skin perfectly crisped, herb rice and stuffing, and I hate to admit it, a salami and cheese and pepperoncini appetizer. John and I fall in love with Brandon and not a one of is gay, or at least no one admits it.

A brief aside on the Mah Hah nomenclature. That was the name of the river our Native American brethren called it, until one day in 1812, John Day, a trapper in the employ of the Astor fur company, was left bereft of his equipment and clothing on a bank near its confluence with the Columbia by an acquisitive group of Indians. Day survived his ordeal and made it to Astoria to tell his tale. Hence the name adjustment a few years later.

Parting with Brandon on a bank of the river in the somnolent dreamy leafy Wheeler County hamlet of Spray (pop., I kid you not, is 150), it is sweet sorrow because I guarantee we’ll be back at those footballs before the season ends. And it’s time to head north to Heppner on a sixty-mile twister that makes me want to ditch the rental car and have the hundred horsepower of my Honda Africa Twin between my legs. Highway 207 is one of those Oregon Scenic Byways in this region of The Blue Mountains that dives and winds and rolls, up and over a 4000-foot summit of heavily forested country where the evergreen of pine and fir and spruce seems to undulate forever, and then suddenly the world yawns into an endless breathtaking panorama of giant rounded mountains of stiff golden grass, think of a sprawling range of enormous gold bowling balls cut in half, with dark shadows of deep ravines between them. Located here in one of the loneliest venues on earth is the semi-ghost town of Hardman, it was a thriving logging and ranching community, now only a few weather-beaten gray crumbling structures that were dwellings and stores, hard to believe anyone still lives in the ruins here, but there were curtains billowing behind some broken windows as we drove through what was town. I noticed the wreckage of a log truck smashed up on the sagging front porch of something someone called home, it was one of those great defining photographs I somehow fail to take, but remain burnished in memory.

Approaching Heppner (pop. 1291) from high on a grassy hill in late afternoon, the town cradled in the draw below with a magnificent backdrop of those huge rounded mountains awash in streaming golden light and shadow rarely replicated in the finest art, John and I are stunned by the view of one of nature’s pastoral masterpieces, me so blown away that I nearly cream a covey of chukar foraging on the highway, highly prized upland game birds that thrive here. I thankfully miss a couple of young guys by inches.

As we enter downtown Heppner, the quietude appears an age from rural American civic life that’s rare if not extinct. Businesses are closing up for the evening. People we see conversing at storefronts, strolling the sidewalks, seem relaxed and happy. Rush hour traffic consists of a ranch truck in front of us with a big retriever in the bed resting his chin on the tailgate observing us with friendly detachment. The streets, hell, the whole town looks so tidy as to have just been steam cleaned. I park the rental flivver curbside on Main Street in front of Les Schwab Tires, where right next door is a gorgeous historic building — 1919 is etched in stone above the entrance. It was the two-story Gilliam and Bisbee Hardware Store, now being renovated into a civic event center, with roomy upstairs being converted into comfortable hostel quarters for travelers.

We get Paul on the phone and he guides us uptown to a knoll in a neighborhood where he lives in his sensible comfortable charmer, a three-bedroom, two-bath home with a garage plenty big enough for his van, his two motorcycles, his bicycles, and a spacious workshop loaded with a tool inventory you’d expect a master mechanic to own, and this in paradise for a fraction of what he paid for his former place way down there in Doomville. He’s sporting a smile as big as the Cheshire cat’s as we greet him. We talk, we reminisce. We’ve learned he and Heppner have similar resurrective history, he from hellfire, and his new hometown from a disastrous flood in 1903 spawned by the mother of all thunderstorms that sent, according to the Heppner Gazette, “ a leaping, foaming wall of water forty feet high roaring out of the ravines”, drowning 247 people and wiping out two thirds of their homes. Reoccurrence is unlikely (we pray) given a massive concrete dam completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1983.

Ok, let’s get real. Things are never perfect in Toonerville. John and I are dying for a whopping dinner to celebrate our reunion with Paul, like a massive medium rare rib-eye and a baked potato with all the trimmings, but there’s no restaurant in Heppner where that’s going to happen. In truth it’s not inaccurate to report there are no restaurants in Heppner, at least not the kind to which I’ve been accustomed in farm and ranch burgs where prime rib night is like everyone’s birthday. There was nothing wrong with Bucknum’s bar and saloon, the local hangout where the burgers and onion rings weren’t bad, and the gals working there were great, but let’s face it, something fundamentally important and expected in west world was missing. Same situation in the morning when I’ve awakened from an untoward passion dream about homemade biscuits and a lava load of sausage gravy and eggs fried sunny side up edges crisped in lard, but that wasn’t going to happen either, and again, this in a venue where huge early breakfast is traditional, and the culturally crucial time and place to discuss the harvest, crop prices and who’s doing what to whom.

Saved by the taco truck that’s supposed to show up downtown in an empty lot between the chamber building and the post office. It actually doesn’t show up, we hear it’s doing breakfast burritos at the Morrow County Fairgrounds where the annual rodeo and fair is in full swing. Paul leads John and I on a speed walk to the event, stopping first for a brief look at the imposing clock tower of the historic brick Morrow County courthouse built in 1902 on high ground where it survived the flood. At last we reach the fairgrounds where I’m running on empty, where I’m gladdened by the sight of the taco truck and even gladder that right next to it is a Filipino food concession on wheels. John and Paul do big plates of Mexico. I inhale a hot platter of spicy chicken noodle pancit, which is only one of many great reasons to book a flight to Manila.

Back in town we stroll around enjoying the country vibes, including a visit to Paul’s friend the saddle maker, a place loaded with the fine art of leather work, the fetching aroma of tack and horsemanship pervades the store. John orders a custom tooled belt that’ll reach him at home in a couple of weeks, a great memory of our trip. He buys a postcard at the drug store, scribbles it with some mollifying words of love that will hopefully palliate his absence from Jeannie, and drops it off at the post office. The ag museum on the environs of an old grain elevator situated on a disused railroad siding, with a yard full of antique farm machinery, much of it from the era when horsepower was the hooved kind, is definitely on our agenda. The natural history museum also located in Heppner requires quick mention even though we didn’t have enough time for it because how impressive it is that a community of 1200 people boasts two such valuable institutions. And they’re people like Hal Bergstrom, retired wheat farmer, grain elevator operator and volunteer fireman who kindly arrived to open up the ag museum, which was closed when we got there, and regale us with a wonderful narrative of life on the farm.

Closure comes the next morning, and leaving dear Paul and his dreamy hideaway isn’t easy because both John and I have promises to keep in (excuse my shudder) Portland, his to visit some family in Beaverton, mine to catch a flight back to Sequim. And there’s trepidation involved because the scuttlebutt is there’s a potentially dangerous political demonstration scheduled in river city, a possible melee between violence prone ultra-leftists known as Antifa, and the equally belligerent extreme right-wing activists their opposition calls neo-Nazis. How prevalent has become this uber polarization in American society? I don’t know, but when it comes to labeled groupthink factions of every variety, I favor a comment I believe made by Groucho Marx. “I wouldn’t have a thing to do with any organization that would have me as a member”.

* * *



  1. Craig Stehr September 16, 2019

    I will continue watching the mind and identifying with its Source. I will go where I need to go and do what I need to do. WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO??!? ;-)))

    • Shitbird September 16, 2019

      Have you thought about lecturing or doing public ed, say on activism history and methodologies?

      • Craig Stehr September 16, 2019

        Friends are suggesting that I work in the cannabis industry, particularly a dispensary. Although I do not smoke nor use cannabis products, I am supportive of others who do. I need help in getting hired, because I do not have those kind of contacts particularly, and I need to get off of Andy Caffrey’s couch in Garberville and have at least a room somewhere. I fully realize, understand, comprehend, and am aware of the fact that I am spiritually free and going with the flow of life, which may be out of synch with postmodern America. If anybody wants to team up in order to make money, and thus change my ridiculous situation in the United States of America, feel free to call Andy Caffrey at (707) 923-2114, and I invite you to come on over to 816 Locust Street #C in Garberville and pick me up. Beyond this, sure, I’m game to go on the lecture circuit. I’m game to co-author anything appropriate with anyone. Meanwhile, I might be walking daily from Garberville to Redway watching the mind’s activity and identifying with its Source. As always, I do NOT apologize for 1.Knowing what I am 2.Being sane and 3.Being honest, and if my situation does become crazy simply because we are in postmodern America, then I am okay with leaving the United States of America.
        Signed, Craig Louis Stehr September 16, 2019 P.S. My 70th birthday is September 28th. I’d like to get this resolved before that, if possible. ;-)))

  2. Shitbird September 16, 2019

    Washoe County is evicting the large encampment along the Truckee River east of Sparks.
    The authorities here recently must have cleared out the growing settlement along the river along the stretch between Norgard and Plant (i could see a huge dumpster from the railroad tracks, my neighborhood walk route). I think Officer Doyle covers the south end, McCowen the north end.

    It sure would be nice if we had more details on the tent looting episode. (The sparse details given suggest the Supe DID commit a serious crine, lol…might be a good idea to flesh the picture out a bit more so we dont fill in the banks.)

    I am beginning to think his work here would make for a great reality tv show!! The episode of driving those 2 folks hours from town…..well, sounds better than anything ive seen so far!!

  3. Shitbird September 16, 2019

    There is a young man named Colton here who is very engaged on the homeless issue and connects with alot of homeless. A couple of years ago, Ukiah high school students collected stories from area homeless.

    We have old people out there. And the authorities here dont shelter them?

    I know for a fact that since the recent dispersal of our large camp that fear and paranoia is spiking in that population.

    If some young activist goes out and organizes those here out on the streets, i would hope they voice the need for safe living grounds with waste management, storage, tents, toilets, showers, security guard, self governing cmt.

    Why are old people on the streets?

    Homo sapiens may go extinct b/c of shit like that.

  4. Harvey Reading September 16, 2019

    “Remember when the gas station attendant…”

    … and got paid minimum wage.

  5. Harvey Reading September 16, 2019

    Bidness as usual at DNC central.

    President Alzheimer’s II?

    Guess the Japanese figure, what the hell, with overpopulation and catastrophic climate change, how much could adding a little radioactive water to the ocean hurt anything in the long (more likely short) run.

    Glad he’s gone. Now, if only Trump and Pence would resign.

  6. Harvey Reading September 16, 2019

    We really need to lower the minimum age for being a candidate for ALL all public offices (yes, the prezudinsy too) to 18. If they’re old enough to die for the stupid policies of their leaders, they’re old enough to run for the offices held by those idiots.

  7. Harvey Reading September 16, 2019


    Cry me a river. The Clearcut Triangle will either compete or flounder and die. The dope market doesn’t really care which.

  8. Harvey Reading September 16, 2019


    Nice legs.

  9. Harvey Reading September 16, 2019


    Diamond (IV) would love to join the other dogs inside Walmart but he would likely pee on shelved items or knock them off the shelves with his muzzle, so he waits in the vehicle (with plenty of ventilation), while I shop. Taking him to a cafe or restaurant, even an outdoor one, would be an even bigger disaster.

    • Bruce Anderson September 16, 2019

      Here ya go, Harv. You asked about the Subway back shooter and, of course, we scurried off to get the case update from the DA. Ready? Here is it:
      Mr. Coon has been undergoing psychiatric evaluation. He will return to court this Wednesday for a hearing on his status. In the meantime, multiple charges of 2nd degree robbery, kidnapping, contributing to delinquency of minor, and kidnapping remain in place. Mr. Romero entered a guilty plea to being an accessory on Aug. 13, and was placed on thee years probation.
      >>> 9/16/2019 1:14 PM >>>

      • Harvey Reading September 16, 2019

        Thanks again, but if you think I believe the shooter is some kind of hero, you would be dead wrong. At the very least, I consider him unworthy of a concealed carry permit. It’s not a permit to be a cop, and any cop worth his badge wouldn’t have shot the guy in the back under the circumstances described in what you presented on Saturday.

        • Bruce Anderson September 16, 2019


  10. Eric Sunswheat September 16, 2019

    RE: So here’s where we are on this issue. For anyone who may have misgivings about the vaccination question, rest assured there’s no foundation or scientific basis to long-discredited conspiracies raised by vaccination opponents, so get your kids vaccinated.

    —————>. Looks like fanciful fabrication by Jim Shields who hasn’t skimmed beyond headline talking points, or an article factual drafting error that was missed. Notice how misleading and deceptive the first sentence in comparison to the rest of the paragraph. The truth is missing. To wit:

    “Here’s some of the thoughts of one of the leaders of the “Anti-Vaxer” movement in California. Dr. Don Harte is a Marin County chiropractor who is prominent in the anti-vaccination movement, which is a loosely organized conspiracy-theorist subculture that blames the medical practice of vaccination for a wide range of health problems and whose advocates have, ironically, been directly responsible for the return of health problems in the form of diseases that had long ago been rendered almost non-existent through the use of those very same vaccines. The movement, largely led by people with no medical or scientific qualifications, bases its claims largely on spurious alleged short- and long-term side-effects of vaccinations. These are people who believe there is a far-reaching conspiracy by the government, Big Pharma, and most doctors who “push” vaccines for children that cause “autism, Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, life-threatening allergies, asthma, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and a variety of emotional/psychological disorders.” There is absolutely no empirical evidence to support any of their far-fetched claims.“

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