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MCT: Wednesday, December 25, 2019

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LIGHT RAIN AND MOUNTAIN SNOW will quickly taper off this morning. Mostly dry and mild conditions are expected from Thursday through most of Saturday. (NWS)

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A TALE OF TWO HOSPITALS

by George Dorner

Some years ago, I found myself in the Sutter Lakeside Emergency Room on Christmas Day. I was not injured or ill, having arrived via ambulance with a patient.

By late afternoon, my mutinous belly growled a reminder that it had last seen calories the previous night. Prowling the hospital for sustenance, I could find no vending machines. The cafeteria was closed; it was posted as being open solely for breakfasts.

By now, I was awfully disconsolate. As I stood brooding, a female voice startled me, speaking through the closed service window next to me. “May I help you?”

I blurted out my situation to the sympathetic female. “I'll give you a sandwich,” she said, “if you can get a nurse to phone up here and approve it.”

I trotted off to the e-room, and explained to a nurse what the culinary worker had said. “I don't have time to fetch that sandwich,” was the reply. “Oh, she said she would hand it to me if you just called to authorize it,” I told her. “I don't have time. I've got to catch up on my paperwork,” she announced before hustling off to commit prodigies of bureaucracy with her saved ninety seconds.

Well, that was that. There were no eateries near the hospital, and no chow for George.

Time to find a way home. I had ridden with an ambulance, so no car. Being somewhat of a loner, I couldn't think of anyone to call for help. There were no buses—holiday schedule, natch. I would have tried begging a ride if there had been anyone else in the e-room, but I was on my own. So I found a pay phone and began feeding it change. Every taxi company in the book was ignoring its phones. So, no ride to summon.

At this point, I realized I would have to hitchhike home to Lucerne. I launched myself from the hospital doors, stomach snarling, and set forth on Lakeshore Boulevard in the gloom. Within the first half mile, I began to feel the bite of post-sundown cold. The evening dew had crystallized into a vast glittering field of frost under a moon the size of a washtub. It was a beautiful utterly calm night, but damned chilly.

I figured I would walk until a ride was offered. I estimated it was only five miles home if I had to walk it. I hadn't done any long hikes since I retired, but I did my daily mile from my house to the post office to snaffle my mail, so this seemed no big deal.

By the time I got to the stretch where Lakeshore Boulevard borders and overlooks the 29 freeway, I hadn't seen a car. As I hiked the long curve to the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff, I kept glancing over at Route 29. I didn't notice any cars moving over there, either.

By the time I reached the Cutoff, I had exceeded my usual daily mail mile. As I turned towards Nice on the cutoff, I realized that not only had the temperature sunk further, but a clammy miasma was arising from Rodman Slough. Now there was a death chill in the air. I was grateful for the lack of wind; the simple act of cutting the air with my body created my own bitter breeze against my cheeks and legs. Fortunately, I had a warm jacket.

I trudged on. Still no cars, no chance to hitchhike.

By the time I came near the Sentry Market on Route 20, I needed a break. I sat on the roadside and assessed myself. My legs were beginning to feel stretched. My feet were numb, but I could still wiggle my toes. My major difficulty was that when I stopped, I began to rapidly cool down.

So, up and onto Route 20. Someone was sure to come along, and they were bound to offer a wayfaring straggler a Christmas ride. I hoped.

As I walked through Nice, admiring the Christmas lights in the warm little roadside houses, my legs began to ache. I took a short break in Keeling Park.

By now, I was thinking of this walk in stretches between rests. Just a few more stretches… then Lucerne. This particular stretch got me out of Nice, back into a relatively rural part of 20. No cars — the Good Samaritan was still on strike. My legs were beginning to charley-horse. I took a break. I laid down on my back, with my legs out-stretched and my heels chocked up on a guardrail post to drain the congestion from the lower limbs.

Ahhhhh! Instant relief flowed through my calves. I laid there, musing longingly of a hot tub… a sauna… an August beach… The first snort of my snore aroused me.

Holy crap! The earth's bone-chilling frigidity had soaked through me, luring me into blissful rest. Whoa! This is how folks freeze to death. I rolled onto my hands and knees, arose, and staggered onward. It took a while for the charley-horses to return. I didn't notice at first; I was too busy coping with knees that refused to straighten. I was shuffling along with bent knees when the leg cramps struck again. The pain below hip level drove hunger right out of my focus.

By the time I reached the Lucerne limits, between knees giving out and charley-horses kicking in, my walking style was that of an arthritic crab. And Lucerne was a mile long, with my house on the far end.

Somehow, taking long sitting breaks between, it took three more stretches to get home. I seriously contemplated covering the last one on hands and knees to tamp down the pain, only to realize scraped knees were a worse solution then.

Once in my house, I toppled onto my sofa. I was awakened sometime in the hour of the wolf by my howling dogs. My feet, that is.

I sat up, removed my shoes. I could see my feet puff up as the shoes came off.

I peeled off a bloody sock. The sole of my foot came with it, leaving it skinless. It looked as though my foot had been sandblasted.

Incredulously, I peeled the other sock. Same gruesome result. Both of my feet were completely raw on the bottoms, from heel cup to toenails. Surprisingly, the toenails remained, though they appeared varnished.

When I checked later, I found I had covered nine miles. And never seen a moving vehicle all night. Lake County sure does believe in Christmas at home.

I crawled upstairs to the bath tub to begin my recuperation. I convalesced on my own over the next couple of weeks.

I did not go to Sutter Lakeside for treatment.


Come down through the years until now. I have escaped my Lake County exile, and returned to Mendoland. Willits, to be exact.

Beginning a month ago, I've suffered low grade nausea, fatigue, the blahs. Occasional coughing spells would whoop me into popping eyes until I was nearly puking. I was unable to swallow much, and was losing a pound a day. Unlike my usual insomniac self, I was sleeping outrageous hours. Finally, when I slept 20 hours in one single long day, I figured enough was enough.

Given the Sutter Lakeside experience, I was somewhat reluctant to turn myself in to a rural emergency room. Nevertheless, with Christmas coming fast, I wanted to be able to recognize it, if not celebrate it. I had my daughter drive me to Howard Memorial. As I entered the waiting room, I mentally girded myself for some miserable hours of tedious waiting. Half a ream of multifold forms to fill and sign, numerous signatures, maybe even an inked thumb print… then processing time… finally, welcome treatment.

Zip. I was instantly in a treatment room. Vital signs were taken. A shot was given for the nausea. Someone gathered my pedigree stats, saving me some dreary paperwork. Then the treatment permissions quickly showed up on a clipboard carried by an administrator. A polite offer to let me read it, a quick explanation in ordinary language, I added three signatures, and treatment continued. The doctor diagnosed me with viral bronchitis.

Next came two liters of saline solution to rehydrate me. Anthony, the nurse, had the inspiration to put a pump on the line to spare me two hours of saline drainage. In the twenty minutes the saline bags took to empty, another medical technician showed up to insist I eat something; she brought me a ham sandwich to nibble. That was followed up by a cozy blanket swirled over me and tucked in, fresh from the warmer.

And by then, zing, if I wasn't a new man, at least I was feeling quite a bit like the old George. Shortly thereafter, they released me, with a recommendation that I see my own doctor, or return to Howard's Urgent Care. When I hit the Howard lobby, I was asked if I had a way home. I thanked the clerk and called my daughter for a ride home. Two days later, I was in the Veteran's Clinic in Santa Rosa for my followup.

The quick gentle efficient treatment at Howard wasn't the highlight of this visit, although it was incredibly welcome. The staff's attitude was. They could not have been more different from the Sutter Lakeside staff. Howard's staff showed warm concern instead of cold indifference. Smiles instead of frowns. Polite language full of courtesy words instead of curt gruff replies. And anyone, nay everyone, who passed my Howard treatment room peered in and genially inquired about my welfare. All my queries were carefully answered, my requests honored. In fact, this crew was the most pleasant assortment of medical people I've ever met—and I have had an unfortunately wide array of experiences for comparison.

Dear reader, I am now about to make a statement that combines two terms so seemingly incompatible that you may want to prepare your eye-rolls of disbelief.

This emergency room is delightful. So eye-roll me. I repeat, a delightful emergency room, delightful e-room crew. So there.

I am truly sorry that Anthony's was the only name I caught during this e-room sojourn. To all the other good folks who treated me, I apologize for not catching your names, but you have my hearty thanks.

So. Two hospitals in the Christmas season. One cold, uncaring, and brutal. The other warm, welcoming, nurturing.

I believe you, dear reader, will buy into my conclusions based on these experiences.

One, Willits and Mendocino County are so damned lucky to have Howard Memorial and its compassionate staff.

Two, pity poor pathetic Lake County, stuck with Sutter Lakeside and its cold-hearted trolls. Lake County needs something better. Like maybe a local branch of Howard Memorial.


Since I submitted "A Tale of Two Hospitals," I received a call that one of my close friends is in Howard Memorial's ICU. His wife told me that the staff offered her a menu today to choose their Christmas dinner together. In the moldy oldie times gone by, this would be referred to as, Pure class.

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BERNIE SANDERS BEING ARRESTED in Chicago for protesting segregation in 1963. He was charged with resisting arrest and fined $25.

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NEW YEAR'S EVE 'BINGO' IN COMPTCHE!

Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 7pm.

"Join us for the annual NYE Bingo! Please bring a snack to share."

—Comptche Community Organization · Comptche

Please keep in your thoughts those first responders who will be serving and keeping an eye on all of us tonight and into the New Year!

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A DR. ZACK CHRISTMAS

by Zack Anderson

Dear Dr. Zack:

At my company Christmas dinner there's a tradition that everyone stand up and answer a question that the chairman poses. For example, last year it was: "Which of Santa's reindeer would you be, and why?" This year, it was: "What's the most magical, fun Christmas you ever had?" Sounds innocuous enough on the face of it, but talk about how looks can deceive!

The problem, I guess, started when I honestly described the best holiday season I'd ever experienced. It seems that my candor offended many of my co-workers, who assumed that I was lying, and therefore making a mockery of a pleasant, festive office dinner. But I don't think I did anything wrong, especially since I spoke the truth.

Keep in mind that speaking in public terrifies me, especially when the "public" is in reality a private party of people I am acquainted with. I don't mind admitting that I've always admired anyone who speaks well before a large audience. (Ronald Reagan, Ricardo Montalban, and ex-USC football coach and current TV commentator John Robinson come to mind.)

Anyway, I was a little nervous, sure, but I just took a big gulp of water, followed by an even bigger swig of blended scotch whiskey, and this was even before it was my turn to speak.

Eileen, the woman next to me, tapped the microphone a couple times, modulated her voice accordingly, and then went into a 10-minute speech that detailed the Christmas of 1977, when her father gave her tickets to see Bad Company at Winterland in San Mateo just of Highway 101 (don't look for it, as it's now a new age superstore). In the spirit of giving, she sold the tickets to a scalper, and then invested that $30 in a small start-up company called Apple Computer, founded by couple of hippie tech nerds who believed that peace, love and understanding could be spread throughout the world via personal computers and ergonomically correct keyboards. After ten years her modest investment had multiplied to the staggering amount of $151,000. She cashed in $67,000 worth for seed money to open a special school for seeing eye dogs for vision-impaired dogs. Did you know that glaucoma among labrador retrievers has reached epidemic proportions? Well, neither did eye!

When she finally sat down to thunderous applause, I felt like Al Gore marching up to the Rose Garden podium Saturday right after the history-making congressional Clinton impeachment vote: in front of him were Bill and Hillary, casting a dark shadow on his own presidential aspirations, and he had to smile and wave and stick to their asinine story even though he knew it was a bunch of egotistical, power-hungry B.S. with the ultimate effect being to turn Clinton into a lib-lab defender of the truth and honesty and Hillary the best wife this side of Martha Stewart's chicken pot pie. It was amazing how Gore stood straight and tall, no doubt wondering how to knock off Gephardt in the primaries of 2000? It's enough to turn a grown man off of politics altogether and onto something real and profound, like homemade macaroni and cheese, made with bonafide sharp cheddar aged from milk extracted from sacred cows by nimble-fingered nymphets in the rolling picture-postcard terrain of Alsace-Lorraine.

Anyway, so here I am at the Xmas dinner with all the big shots with their valiumed out significant others drooling into the cranberry sauce and with that tough act to follow. So I feinted left then dove under the table to hoover a couple grams of Hillybilly methamphetamine, then I emerged to the crowd only to tumble into a crank-infused monologue that basically went like this:

Kerouac, you know, did lots of benzedrine. His buddies like Allen Ginsburg and William Burroughs and a couple of Vassar girls who liked to crash at Jack's pad listening to bop and smoking reefer would bring back tubes of the speed from their cash-happy decadent orgies down the way of Old Mexico. Did you know that Kerouac at his general time of demise was writing a book about the erotic power of punctuation in post-modern lit called "The Comma Sutra"? Not just words, Dr. Anderson, but the spaces and links between words, a daisychain of ideas, revolutions, phlegmy curses. Just as it's the pregnant pauses in a Mingus riff that are meaningful, that represent humankind's eternal struggle with dark and light pudding, I too stepped into the glare of the Corporate Christmas Fest and rendered the disbelieving crowd of usurers and Republican boy toys silent.

My weapon? A brief description of my all-time favorite holiday, the memory of which yet burns on the cheek of my consciousness like the searing lattice iron of a waffle maker on the gooey batter of my being. I remember that fateful Christmas Eve as if it were only 10 years ago: My parents called me into the den, sat me down and said they could hide the truth no longer. They told me I wasn't their child, that I had been found in the recycling bin outside the junior high school. They hadn't adopted me, hoping that my real parents would some day step forth (probably after finishing shooting a movie in Hollywood or vacationing on the Isle of Capri) and claim me as the rightful heir to their fragrant millions. Now, five years after taking me in, they were debating whether or not to kick me out for financial reasons.

I was devastated, as only a six year old can be. "What about Santa Claus?" I said softly, my eyes brimming with tears. "He crashed, and broke his neck," said my mother.

"It'll be a closed casket, very sad. But don't be selfish, because there are lots of kids in your situation," said my father.

"Okay," I said, "If that's the way it is. But let me make you an offer: I'll pay you room and board, and if I have a dollar or two left over from the paper route or from washing dishes at the doughnut store, I'll give it all to you, and maybe you'll be my parents, and love me and pretend that I am good enough to be your own."

"How much were you thinking you could come up with a month?" asked my father.

"$350 in a cashier's check on the first."

Now it was my parents' turn be get misty-eyed. They wiped away an awkward tear or two, and rushed towards me with outstretched arms.

"It's a deal, son!" boomed my father.

"Merry Christmas, Sammy, I love you," cried my mom.

It was a great Christmas, even though that night the house caught on fire and everything in it including my parents were destroyed in the hellish blaze. Luckily for me there was an insurance policy, and I sent myself away to school on the $500,000 a year I was left as the only child.

That was my story, Dr. Zack, and every word true. What do you think I should do now?

Sincerely,

William Grogan

Tecumseh, Missouri


Dear William:

Do it all, while you can, and don't look back not because something's gaining on you, but because it's already passed you by.

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THE SOLUTION

Editor:

If we really wanted to end the homeless situation, we’d approve homeless encampments close to the most affluent and expensive parts of the county. Let the most fortunate spend some time with the least fortunate and see where it goes from there.

Tom Glynn

Santa Rosa

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WAY TO GO, TRAV

On December 22, 2019 at approximately 7:30 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a suspicious person in the rear of a business in the 18000 block of North Highway 1 in Fort Bragg. Deputies arrived and located Travis Moore, 29, of Fort Bragg, who they knew from prior contacts, and were aware that he had an active Felony Warrant issued for a County Parole Violation.

Moore

Deputies began to take Moore into custody and he immediately began to physically resist the arrest. Deputies were able to quickly overpower Moore and arrest him without further incident. Moore was then transported to the Mendocino County Jail. A short time later, Deputies were dispatched back to the same general area regarding a utility pole that had been vandalized with a chainsaw. Deputies arrived and located the completely severed pole, which had shifted and settled from being cut and caused the chainsaw to become pinched under its weight. Pacific Gas and Electric Company employees arrived and had to replace the utility pole. Initial estimates from Pacific Gas and Electric Company valued the utility pole at approximately $60,000 for replacement costs. Damage was also caused to an AT&T communication line that was on the same utility pole; the amount of this damage is unknown at this time. Deputies located a vehicle that was associated with Moore, parked across the highway at the dental office of Dr. Kenneth Baumgartner. Moore's vehicle and clothing had items in it that directly linked him to the vandalism of the utility pole. Deputies also found vandalism to the business of Dr. Kenneth Baumgartner, DDS, that was believed to be caused by Moore. Based on the total dollar amount of loss and multiple victims, Deputies contacted a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge and sought a bail enhancement. The Superior Court Judge ordered that Moore's bond amount for the vandalism be set at $100,000 bail. Moore was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Violation of County Parole, Felony Vandalism and Resisting Arrest. Moore ultimately was to be held on a No-Bail status, due to his parole violation.

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LARRY LIVERMORE: I was cheesed off at Alexa for being useless, so I told her to play the Lookouts, figuring she'd never heard of us. She immediately played The Green Hills of England and 10 more of my favorite songs. It was like she could read my…oh wait, they can do that now, can't they?

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DR. GORDON’S HOLIDAY NOTE

Greetings Friends,

For the 2020 New Year let us continue to build solidarity among the world's working classes so we can defeat the looming dark forces of division, exploitation and war.

The future must be in the hands of the 99%!!

Nayvin Gordon

Oakland

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PHOTO OF MAN SUSPECTED OF BURGLARIZING HOPLAND POST OFFICE RELEASED

Reward offered for information

by Justine Frederiksen

The US Postal Inspection Service released a photo of the man suspected of burglarizing the Hopland Post Office earlier this month.

Matt Norfleet, a public information officer with the US Postal Inspection Service, said footage of the suspect and his car, described as a dark gray Nissan Altima, was captured by a surveillance camera located across the street from the post office at 13400 S. Highway 101.

The suspect is described as a Caucasian male, in his mid-20s to early 30s, 5-10 in height with a “skinny build.” He was wearing a red, hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Van Patten of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said the burglary occurred around 7:45 a.m. on Dec. 8, and witnesses reported seeing a gray sedan outside the building at 13400 S. Hwy 101 that was “associated with two male adults.”

Van Patten said that “possibly some packages and postal process equipment was taken,” and that the investigation was being continued by US Postal Inspectors.

“We are offering the standard reward for information,” Norfleet added, explaining that “up to $10,000 would be provided to anyone offering information that leads to the arrest and conviction” of the burglar(s). Anyone with information is urged to contact the USPIS at 1-877-876-2455 (say “law enforcement”).


ED NOTE: The Matt Norfleet referred to in the story above is the son of David Norfleet and Linda Filer of the Anderson Valley. Born and raised in the Anderson Valley, Matt is married to Maya Durrett, formerly of Yorkville. David Norfleet is co-founder of the Boonville Brewery with Ken Allen.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 24, 2019

Gray, Gumms, King

MICHELE GRAY, Lucerne/Willits. Arson.

LISA GUMMS, Albuquerque, New Mexico/Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment.

WILLIAM KING, Mendocino. Failure to appear.

McGee, Mejia, Nelson

MASON MCGEE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOSE MEJIA, Ukiah. Transportation of controlled substance for sale while armed. Ammo possession by prohibited person, felon-addict with firearm, probation revocation.

BILLY NELSON, Vacaville/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Newell, Vargas, Villalobos

MONICA NEWELL, Ukiah. Driving without license.

ARTURO VARGAS, Ukiah. DUI.

RAFAEL VILLALOBOS, Ukiah. DUI over 0.15%, suspended license (for DUI-refusing chem test), probation revocation.

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WHY EVERYTHING SUCKS

Everything seems so upside down and crazy. Yesterday, waiting to see the dentist, I was obliged to spend an hour in the waiting room with the tv blaring. Oh the horror, the horror.

The afternoon quiz show with its audience from THE STEPFORD WIVES, the “news” programs which were little more than banalities and propaganda, and the advertisements.

When did this country become a halfway house?

Anyway, the comment column will be a little less mean spirited without me. So be it. Hopefully Harvey will keep it from becoming too pollyannaish.

Siempre adelante,

Louis Bedrock

Cold Facts:

1. Russia isn't interfering with the machinery of the United States: it's the other way around; the United States has been interfering with Russia since the revolution and continues to do so today. (Look up "Project Hammer".) It has propelled the advance of NATO to almost all the countries that border Russia, imposed sanctions upon that country, and demonized its leader.

The country that does interfere with American politics is Israel. Soon it will against the law to say this.

2. The United States has more than 1,000 military bases around the earth to assure that every country in the world follows the "Washington Consensus"—which means access to the country by the U.S. military and Wall Street. Countries that resist are punished by sanctions, boycotts, and other economic penalties.

Continued resistance may result in a coup or invasion.

3. There is virtually no difference between the two American political parties. Peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world is not an option. Nor is public education from K through graduate school, publicly owned hospitals and clinics, free medical care, decent shelters for the homeless, laws that would protect labor unions, labor organizers, and workers. Nor are laws that would strengthen regulatory agencies that might protect citizens from gluttonous bankers, brokers, and business people who steal from us, contaminate the environment, and privatize public property,

4. The wall of separation between church and state is being torn down as the country moves toward becoming a Christian theocracy.

5. The media have been converted into propaganda mills. Alternative media have been slandered as agents of Russia or peddlers of false news. Honest journalists like Chris Hedges, Glenn Ford, Abby Martin, Aaron Maté and Paul Street–to mention merely a few, have been marginalized and have to depend upon donations of readers to survive.

6. America is not great and it never has been. When I taught English as a second language, I lived in Spain for two years. I was much happier there than I am here. If I had not been obliged to return because my father suffered a stroke, I would never have returned to this sad, angry country.

Many friends and colleagues decided to stay and live in Spain, Germany, and France. While these countries have the horrors of their own colonial pasts to deal with, as well as other problems similar to ours, they are dealing with these things in a more adult manner. And they offer a much higher quality of life than the United States.

I also have many friends who lived in Europe for a while but who were compelled to return here. Like me, many rue their decision.

On the other hand, I've had friends from Spain, France, and Germany stay at my house while they visited the United States. While they enjoyed their visits, none wanted to stay here. They were all eager to return to the relative sanity of their own countries.

7. I see no hope. Climate change is real and there are no enlightened, courageous leaders to deal with it. Greta is a diversionary tactic by some very rich and powerful people. Another economic disaster spawned by our criminal banksters is inevitable

As Kenneth Patchen observed,

"I smell heartbreak up there, Jack, a heartbreak at the center of things, and in which we don't figure at all.”

So God bless America, damn the torpedos and full speed ahead to Armageddon. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200. There will be no Rapture and there is no escape.

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24 Comments

  1. Craig Stehr December 25, 2019

    ~Merry Christmas~
    On the eve of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, am at The Plumeria Hostel Alternative in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was time to move on from 40 years of living over the edge in postmodern America so that peace & justice activism and radical environmentalism could be fully participated in. So after two previous visits, the move is now complete with SSA/SSI benefits transferred, the Hawaii SNAP (food stamps) eligibility interview is Thursday morning, and I’ve joined the housekeeping team here to earn money so that I have some. [This entailed paying $20 to the Hawaii Department of Taxation, in order to officially become an independent contractor.]
    Meanwhile, am identified with The Eternal Witness, regardless of general mental turbulance accompanied by a variety of mental states which range from mild nervousness to anger at just about everything political. I’ve stopped reading the news. Feelings of extreme aggression in response to the insane global military binge are subsiding this week. I mean, if the human race destroys this conflicted civilization, and the planet earth’s ecosystem as well, why should my gentle mind suffer because of it? Fortunately, this physical body is in good condition. Otherwise, Kaiser Permanente medical center (where I’ve got a senior HMO membership) is one block away.
    On the eve of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, I am actually excited to be moving on to my next highest good, and beyond that, am looking forward some day to mahasamadhi; that’s yoga talk for going into a deep meditation and never coming out of it. I think that I’d like to go where Jesus went. How’s that for a retirement plan? ~Merry Christmas~😀

    Craig Louis Stehr
    December 24, 2019
    Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Paypal.me/craiglouisstehr
    Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com

  2. Michael Koepf December 25, 2019

    Merry Christmas, good luck, and aloha to eternal optimist Greg Louis Stehr. Meanwhile, congratulations to Louis Bedrock, downcast commie, who hates our world, on becoming a brand new columnist at the AVA. Good cheers to Scaramella who consistently writes the truth about county government while they rob us blind. Seasons greetings to reporter Bruce McGwen, so many bad guys, so few jails; such good writing about those troubled people who mess with our world. For editor Anderson, you’re stocking is stuffed with a brand new flashlight for your walks in the dark. In Anderson Valley, it’s been said of old, the men are bold, and the sheep are scared; please turn on your flashlight to keep salacious rumors at bay. And not to forget, dear Harvey my pal, who sleeps with dogie Diamond, his only friend in this world. God bless Jerry Phillbrick and as always sister Laz, were all God’s children in the great USofA.

    • Michael Koepf December 25, 2019

      McEwen. Opps. PPS. And, happy Hannukah. Let the light shine on.

    • Harvey Reading December 25, 2019

      Hey, Koepf, I see you crawled from under your rock on Xmas. Whadda shame. By the way, there are two of the letter g in doggie, you illiterate zionist.

      Toodles, sweeheart.

      • Michael Koepf December 25, 2019

        Harvey, Harvey, back to bed; Christmas’s a day for love and joy, re-emerge tomorrow with your communist hate.

        • Harvey Reading December 25, 2019

          You wouldn’t know communism from ecumenicalism. Crawl back under your rock.

    • Lazarus December 25, 2019

      sister or mister? Least I was mentioned…thank you.
      Laz

      • Michael Koepf December 25, 2019

        Merry Christmas, Laz. Please help me out, are you a girl or a boy?

        • Lazarus December 25, 2019

          Haven’t been a “Boy” for a long time, ethnically that is, but thanks anyway, and Merry Christmas to you also.
          Happy New Year!
          As always,
          Laz

  3. Betsy Cawn December 25, 2019

    Published in the Lake County Record-Bee, December 24, 2019:

    SUTTER HEALTH’S ANTITRUST SETTLEMENT

    Sutter Health, one of California’s largest health care and hospital chains, will pay $575 million to settle a suit alleging it violated California’s antitrust law.

    The United Food & Commercial Workers sued Sutter in 2014. The California Department of Justice joined the case in 2018. Sutter agreed to the settlement last week.

    While admitting no wrongdoing, Sutter agreed to be monitored for the next 10 years.

    Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the settlement:

    • “I don’t think anyone gives up $575 million freely, or agrees to change behavior in future business practices freely.”
    Health care prices are 70% higher in Northern California, where Sutter is dominant, than in Southern California, Becerra said.

    • Sutter overcharged by 15.5%, the settlement document says.

    Sutter operates 24 hospitals in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Northern California, plus 35 outpatient centers. More than 12,000 physicians are in its network.

    Consumers might not see money, at least not directly.

    Rather, it will go to the union and employers that contract with Sutter to provide care.

    Big payday: Plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive up to 33% of the $575 million, translating to:

    • $172.5 million for the private attorneys

    • $16.5 million to the state

    • Plaintiffs’ lawyers and the state will split $25 million in litigation costs, for a total of up to $214 million, the settlement says.

    San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo has scheduled a Feb. 25 hearing to consider.

    —CALMatters

    . . . to consider what, we wonder?

  4. Betsy Cawn December 25, 2019

    Sutter Lakeside Hospital entered into an investment scheme whereby surrounding parcels “ripe for development” were acquired and then “donated” to its “Wellness Foundation,” that its staff were encouraged to donate to via automatic payment deductions from their hard-earned paychecks, circa the mid-aughts of the new century.

    In 2007, at the height of the real estate “boom,” Sutter Lakeside administration reduced the number of licensed beds, lied to the public (by saying the change of status was only being reviewed while it was already a done deal), and entered into a development deal with a pop-up non-profit corporation called the North Lakeport Water [group, system, something along those lines], itself comprised of a handful of major developers seeking to expand the capacity of the North Lakeport water system run by the county.

    The system being at maximum capacity, the entire North Lakeport area was under a moratorium, and land holders were eager to transform their plots to profits, including Sutter. Two subdivisions on Robin Hill, a preposterous resort-time share-condominium complex plus hundreds of mcmansions were proposed on adjacent rolling hills, and Sutter submitted plans to erect outpatient operating theaters, office suites, and laboratories on its 11 acres adjacent to the existing campus.

    Removal of “general acute care” capacities left both local hospitals and surrounding areas with no on-site dialysis services, in an area with two full-time dialysis clinics (indicative of the patient load), so that if a dialysis-dependent patient with something as simple as a broken leg arrived at the ER, that patient had to (has to) be transported to some center of concentrated services — Santa Rosa, Napa, or UC Davis.

    Adventist Health Care West’s Napa Region invested in multi-million dollar upgrades in St.Helena’s Deer Park cardiac care center, for which the payback plan depends on 40% of Napa’s hospital revenues coming from Lake County, requiring strenuous travel regimens for those who can endure the hazardous highways.

    Meanwhile, Adventist Hospital Clear Lake — under a contract to purchase former Redbud Hospital from the Redbud Health Care District — is required to maintain general acute care services, for which the management has fought the Napa Regional Board of Directors and continued to recruit bonesetters and internists while quietly installing preventive and chronic care clinics in Kelseyville, Lakeport, Middletown, and Lucerne. Another clinic is planned for Upper Lake.

    The County’s public health department continues to flog the misfortunes of my generation (give or take a decade) whose “bad decisions” include investing in modest homes that were within economic reach, at a time when the County of Lake was launching its 20-year Economic Development Strategy — forecasting tourism-based expansion of high-end retirement resorts (the antiquated golf-course centered luxury/leisure and shopping focused model of the post-war wannabe middle class aspirations, rewarded to uncomplaining industrial white collar slaves) while neglecting hodge-podge infrastructure and extremely hazardous natural environment conditions.

    Burdened also with infestations of unstoppable drug manufactories and distribution systems (in Lucerne, there is rumored to be a daily delivery from northern Mendocino county of every kind of ingestible, smokable, and intravenously introduced cock-eyed compound known to man, at the locus of homeless/deadbeat denizens — a meticulously maintained public park), never-ending retail recruiting to fill vacant storefronts in its two “cities” (the larger being commonly viewed as a heartless penal colony, the lesser dependent on the occupation of the county government and its miserable management systems), and the beneficiaries of unchecked vineyard operations that have destroyed thousands of acres of fragile natural watershed terrain for private gain, the “war on drugs” and the “war on poverty” have succeeded in poisoning the common weal and human aspirations for peace and prosperity. From coast to coast, the embitterment and despair ravaging inglorious work places and workers, family farms, irreplaceable natural resources, and “community-based systems of care” turn otherwise normal human beings into trapped rats assuming that their tattoos and flags and hats and weapons of mass destruction will serve them in ever-worsening conditions.

    Hysteria seems to have become the norm, slaughter of school children and unwanted non-white persons commonplace, and degenerate enervation the passive response of a defeated populace.

    Meanwhile, kindness and comity endure in our ex-urban enclaves where new waves of “alternative” culture and ageless “communal entrepreneurs” refuse to give in to mainstream mandates of the social climbers. We struggle but persist in our refusal to conform to consumption-based life styles, volunteer in thousands of ways, and nurture the old reliable social fabric of fraternities, families, and friends.

    Don’t give up, old sods, the “end of days” has always been the badass bogieman used to darken humble hearths, and the broken biosphere will heal itself when all is said and done. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, whose syphilitic perversions plague us all in a world gone mad. Love is not, as it turns out, “all you need,” but a little goes a long way, as evidenced every day in the AVA.

    Good Christmas to you all!

    • Randy Burke December 25, 2019

      Betsy, well said indeed.

    • Harvey Reading December 25, 2019

      “Don’t give up, old sods, the “end of days” has always been the badass bogieman used to darken humble hearths, and the broken biosphere will heal itself when all is said and done. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, whose syphilitic perversions plague us all in a world gone mad. Love is not, as it turns out, “all you need,”

      Dream on, dear woman.

  5. Lazarus December 25, 2019

    Mr. Dorner’s insightful piece on hospitals in the area brought to mind an experience I had with Howard/Adventist Health in Willits. A friend was dreadfully ill and when finally deciding to go to the ER, she called me.

    The check-in was seamless, the assessment was quick and comfortable and the staff were Angels at a time when the Devil seemed at my friend’s door. We are fortunate to have them in our community.

    Hopefully, “The Coast will see the wisdom of choosing their services in the coming year…

    As always,
    Laz.

  6. Harvey Reading December 25, 2019

    Great piece, Louis.

    • Michael Koepf December 25, 2019

      It’s so inviting, it’s so exciting—-Commie love is in the air.

      • Harvey Reading December 25, 2019

        Out of the mind of idiots…

  7. George Dorner December 25, 2019

    The case of poor Cody Burrows didn’t fit into my above article because it took place at Redbud Hospital instead Sutter Lakeside. However, they are under the same management. Long story short, their e-room doctor told a sick child’s parents to drive him to Santa Rosa for treatment instead of sending the child via ambulance. Cody died en route. Redbud didn’t even suspend the doctor. He later faced murder charges.

    Details at https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1998-feb-21-mn-21408-story.html

  8. George Hollister December 25, 2019

    Merry Christmas. Here are gifts that exist only in my mind: A visa for Louis to go and stay in Spain; An electric powered warmer for Harv’s Ruger Mark 1 that can warm any part of his body the Mark 1 is in contact with, during this cold Wyoming winter; An Adventist Gift card to the Laz for their gift shop; An honorary PHD in English to Betsy Cawn; A chain saw, big enough to cut tan oak snags, each to Bruce, Mark, and Mike K; A MAGA hat to James Marmon; A bottle of Walmart Vitamin C for each of the anti-vaccers that regularly express themselves here; A $100,000 gift card, for anything, to Craig Stehr; To Bruce Macewn a gift card that covers his tab at the Forester, but no more than that; To Michael Koepf an all you can catch fishing license, a boat, and a school of 40 lb.+ King Salmon that can’t stop biting.

    • Harvey Reading December 25, 2019

      Nice try, George. Merry holidays anyway. By the way, it’s a Ruger Standard. The Mk I came a few years later than mine.

    • Michael Koepf December 25, 2019

      Thank you George Hollister with your rational voice. Good tidings to you and those that you love.

    • George Hollister December 25, 2019

      For me, 5 gals of glyphosate concentrate (Round Up Ultra) delivered to my front porch. And sorry to Bruce McEwen for misspelling his name.

      • Harvey Reading December 25, 2019

        Thought you preferred the cheaper analog version of the environmentally degrading crap.

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