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MCT: Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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PERSISTENT LIGHT RAIN and mountain snow will continue across portions of northwest California today, particularly across the interior. High pressure will build in Wednesday and Thursday, with gradually drier conditions and moderating temperatures. Temperatures will be seasonably mild, but precipitation chances will increase later in the weekend into early next week. (NWS)

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Due to the threat of spreading the coronavirus and concern for our seniors, we will not be serving meals in our dining hall and all bus trips/activities are canceled until further notice.

WE WILL BE providing take out and/or delivered meals on our regular lunch/dinner days (Tuesdays & Thursdays). If you would like a meal delivered, please notify the AV Senior Center at 895-3609 by 11 am. Those picking up their meals may do so at noon, our regular lunch time or 6 pm on our dinner nights. Bringing your own container is encouraged. Of course non-seniors are always welcome. Regular pricing still applies: $6 seniors/$7 non-seniors.

Please refer to the March menu on this blog page for reference:

Renee Lee
Executive Director
Anderson Valley Senior Center


Remember that we have a team of volunteers to meet many of your needs including shopping for groceries, food delivery, running errands, pick up prescriptions, check-in calls, etc. Let me know if you need any of these and I can help set it up.

Anica Williams
Anderson Valley Village Coordinator
Cell: 707-684-9829

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March 15, 2020

To slow the spread of Covid 19 in our community visitors are no longer allowed in the facility. Patients who need to enter the facility for lab testing and Physical Therapy should enter in through the Patient Services Lobby. Patients needing Diagnostic Imaging (DI) should enter directly into the DI lobby located east of the Emergency Department (ED) Lobby. Our Oncology/Hematology Patients will be entering directly into the department through an outside door that directly leads into the Oncology Department.


• Pediatric patients: Are allowed one caregiver (parent, family member, or guardian)

• Patients on Comfort Care: Allowed two caregivers

Update March 16: In order to better protect our staff, our patients and out community, MCDH will be implementing on Wednesday, March 18, a no-visitation patient policy. For end of life situations, we will make appropriate exceptions. Furthermore, based on recommendations from the Ameircan College of Surgeons, MCDH will be postponing all elective outpatient surgeries from March 18 to March 31, 2020.

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Mendocino County Health Officer Order And Recommendation

Media Advisory for Press Conference Tuesday March 17 at Noon

Mendocino County Public Health has been actively responding to the threat of COVID-19 since early January 2020. On March 4, 2020, Mendocino County declared a local health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, there is no evidence of community spread in Mendocino County. However, due to the crisis level shortage of testing for this disease and given that nearby San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 with extensive community spread, we recognize the imminent threat presented to Mendocino County’s public health due to COVID-19.

Health Officer Order

Due to this rapidly evolving situation and in alignment with the CDC guidance on mass gatherings from March 15, 2020, Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan has ordered a ban on all non-essential public or private gatherings of 50 people or more. For gatherings of 10-50 people, COVID-19 mitigation measures must be implemented, including social distancing by allowing all attendees to stand or sit at least six feet from any other attendee. A violation of an order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Health Officer Recommendation

Mendocino County is monitoring the recent “shelter in place order” released today in a coordinated effort by the Big Six Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda). This joint order, which can be viewed at, restricts non-essential activities including: travel outside the home, and directs business modification in those counties (please see San Mateo for examples: At this time, the Mendocino County Health Officer is releasing a recommendation that is in alignment with the Bay Area “shelter in place order.” The Health Officer recommends that Mendocino County residents who have upcoming non-essential travel planned to any of the Bay Area counties are urged to cancel their plans. A recommendation is official guidance issued by the Health Officer.

Media Advisory

The Health Officer Dr. Noemi Mimi Doohan will hold a press conference updating the community on the COVID-19 situation and issued Public Health Order and Recommendation.

When: Tuesday, March 16, 2020, at approximately 12:00 p.m.

Where: County Administrative Center – Board Chambers – 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

Who: Noemi Mimi Doohan, MD, PhD, Mendocino County Health Officer

Live Online: The press conference will be live streamed on the Mendocino County YouTube Channel ( and Facebook page (

This Press Conference forum is designed for media personnel, but the public is welcome to watch from the County’s YouTube Channel) or Facebook page. For your benefit and the benefit of our community, we ask that you not attend work, school or community events in person if you have symptoms of influenza or other respiratory illness (i.e. cough, fever).

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URGENT: Update to Court Operations for the Mendocino Superior Court effective March 17, 2020:

Please refer to the Order of the Presiding Judge regarding changes to court operations and proceedings in response to the COVID-19 virus available at
and from the court's home page.

You will find information on how court operations, proceedings, and other court programs and services will be affected effective March 17, 2020 through April 3, 2020.

Please check back regularly for updates as this is a rapidly changing public health matter with wide-reaching impact.

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THE MENDOCINO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICES in the downtown courthouse in Ukiah and Fort Bragg will remain open during regular business hours.

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In response to the updated information being distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mendocino County Department of Public Health regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has implemented new patrol protocols to better protect the public and agency employees.

The Sheriff's Office remains dedicated to providing the highest level of service to the public and has implemented these changes to comply with the directions and guidelines being distributed by the CDC and Mendocino County Department of Public Health.

Effective immediately, Sheriff's Office employees will attempt to primarily handle non-emergency calls for service over the telephone. Sheriff's Office dispatchers are being asked to obtain telephone numbers or other contact information for reporting parties so deputies can contact those subjects on the telephone to take a report or address their law enforcement needs.

This will not change the response protocol for in-progress crimes, violent offenses, situations where there is a risk to the general public, and coroner's cases. In these situations, Sheriff's Office dispatchers will be asking additional screening questions of the reporting party to address and assess the general risk of COVID-19 exposure for responding personnel. It is important that the general public understands that these questions are to enable emergency personnel to serve the needs of the public, while ensuring appropriate safety precautions are in place to limit and mitigate possible COVID-19 exposure.

Additionally, the Sheriff's Office will be closing the public entry for the Fort Bragg Substation and other outlying offices until further notice. Sheriff's Office personnel and staffing will not be changed during this time, although the outlying offices will be closed to the general public.

Members of the public who are requesting law enforcement assistance from the Sheriff's Office are encouraged to call 911 for any emergencies, and for non-emergency calls they can contact the 24-hour Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center at 707-463-4086 (Ukiah), 707-961-2421 (Fort Bragg), or 707-459-7833 (Willits).

The main Sheriff's Office in Ukiah will remain open to the public; however live-scan fingerprinting of the public will be temporarily suspended. Persons who are required to register with law enforcement agencies pursuant to state law will still be registered by Sheriff's Office personnel. Those who need to register pursuant to state law are being asked to call the main Sheriff's Office in Ukiah at 707-463-4411 to schedule an appointment.

Walk-in traffic at the main Sheriff's Office in Ukiah will be primarily handled over the telephone or the lobby phone for non-emergency calls for service, criminal reports, or situations where deputy contact is requested.

For additional information regarding the COVID-19 virus, please contact the call center at 707-234-6052 or visit the following websites:

The Sheriff's Office would like to thank the public in advance for your cooperation and understanding during this time and will send out additional information and updates to these protocols as they become available.

Sheriff’s Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184

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The Fort Bragg Police Department is notifying the public that effective Monday, March 16, 2020 we will be closing the front lobby to the station until further notice. The Fort Bragg Police Department is also announcing that we will not be providing fingerprint services to the public during this closure in order to protect the community and our staff from COVID-19 and comply with prevention efforts.

The Department will still provide service to the public, but they will now have to call the front office at (707) 961-2800 to request service from our clerical staff. It is not uncommon to have three to eight persons in our lobby at one time for various reasons. To protect the public as well as our staff, we will still provide service, but it will need to be completed over the phone whenever possible. Our Staff should still be able to accommodate the public with most of their needs, such as copies of paperwork, answering questions, providing information etc.

The Police Department EOC/Conference Room will also not be available for public meetings scheduled between now and April 6th. All meetings scheduled during that time period will need to be moved to a different location or cancelled.

As always, if you are in need of an Office, either at the station or from home, please contact our Dispatch at (707) 964-0200. If you are at the station in person, there is a red phone to the right of the front door of our lobby that will automatically call Dispatch when you pick up the receiver if an Officer is needed. Our Officers are still on duty 24/7 and no Police Officer services have been cut back.

We will re-evaluate our Office closure on Monday, April 6th and provide an update at that time, if not sooner. We apologize for any inconvenience our closure will cause. Please know that these decisions have been made with the best interest of the health and safety of our staff and community in mind. Thank you.

(Fort Bragg Police Presser)

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BOONVILLE FIRE CHIEF, Andres Avila, asked if there's a local roster of the frail elderly to be check up on occasionally, replied, “My understanding is that this should be done through the public health department. They are coordinating these situations as to not impact emergency services and limit unnecessary exposures. I did run my first welfare check today [Monday] Heightened concerns prompted an out of county person to call the Sheriff to check on a family member after he did not answer the phone this morning. We may see more of these types of checks as we move forward in this situation."

AS THE MARKET plunged 3000 points Monday, California, New York and Washington — the states hardest hit by the coronavirus — all saw a massive surge in gun sales as panicked shoppers queued around the block to arm up.

TRUMP'S economic adviser Larry Kudlow called the stock market plunge a “short term” problem. Actually, Larry, it's the beginning of a long-term prob of a magnitude that will make the Great Depression look like full employment.

PAPER-PAPER SUBSCRIBERS may have difficulties getting this week's edition because so many of our distributors won't be open. But locals can ask that their neighborhood grocery store to include it with takeout orders. And, as a special offer available only to the Ancient Ones — people 80 and older — we will take whatever extra steps necessary, including a tottering home delivery from the editor himself anywhere in the Anderson Valley or Ukiah.

TRUMP'S coronavirus guidelines call for a lockdown of America, specifically the closing of restaurants and schools. The two-page list, called “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” advises avoiding “eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts — use drive through, pickup, and delivery options.” It also calls on governors of states with “evidence of community transmission to close schools in the affected areas.” And it asks those states to address childcare issues as well as nutritional needs of children who use schools for their meals. The absolute worst person to be president at this time went on to say that the “emergency” could last until August. Or like whenever.

MITT ROMNEY, of all people, has suggested a thou a month for every adult American. Which isn't enough. Five grand a month might cover most of us, especially the millions of basic paycheck people who are already out of work. Fire up those printing presses, Mr. Federal Reserve. Weimar dead ahead!

JAY WILLIAMSON WRITES: More than half of Americans don’t have $400 for an emergency. Is our Repugnican-Corpocratic oligarchy, currently involved in its quadrennial fraud, going to institute a moratorium on rents and mortgage payments? No. Like the mafia, it’s Screw You, Pay Me. Millions evicted or foreclosed on and put on the streets, just like last time. All insta-printed Monopoly money bailout cash will go to Wall St. and business, just like last time. Billionaires flush with cash will suck up all the distress-sale assets, just like last time. As always, it’s socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Screw You, Pay Me!

MAYOR BREED, a liberal version of Trump in terms of basic ability, has announced an unprecedented three week Frisco lockdown that will begin on Tuesday at midnight and bans anyone from leaving their home for anything other than doctor's visits or trips to the grocery store. In addition to the lockdown inside the city limits, six counties in the Bay Area are being told to “shelter in place.” Uh, excuse me, Mayor, but who's going to enforce your unenforceable edict?

THAT GROTESQUE GRATON gambling complex in Rohnert Park will close for the duration. No word on Mendo's casinos, but public entities are closing down all over the place. The bright side is Safeway is looking to hire 2000 hurry-up employees to keep the shelves stocked.

AMAZON HAS ANNOUNCED it plans to hire 20,000 workers to meet the increased home delivery demand.

THE VIRUS is spreading in cluster-outbreaks in different areas of the country. Mendo, so far, is unaffected, but reminders, complete with how-to illustrations, are popping up everywhere on public buildings, although most of us mastered the art of hand washing prior to toddling off to kindergarten. Myself, I've got a couple of bottles of something called 'Purell, 2X sanitizing strength. Kills 99.99% of most illness causing germs." But it's that hundredth of microbe that'll get you, no? Anyway, no more Irish Spring for this kid, except in the shower, of course.

WE'RE SURPRISED that as of 3pm Monday the County Courthouse has not announced closure. Can you imagine being stuck and stuffed in the jury holding pen in the Courthouse basement? Bad enough in non-plague times.

NO, those weren’t rescue helicopters landing in the Anderson Valley late Sunday night into Monday morning, they were frost fans.

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“My god, those meetings really could all have been emails.”

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California Coronavirus Statistics 3.15.20 (Courtesy of the California State Association of Counties):

COVID-19 Numbers at a Glance

As of the morning March 15, 2020 there were a total of 335 positive cases in California, a 14% increase from the previous day. 24 cases are from repatriation flights, and the other 311 confirmed cases include:

  • 70 - travel related, 3 of which are from the Grand Princess.
  • 68 - person-to-person.
  • 82 - community transmissions.
  • 91- currently under investigation.
  • 6 - deaths (Includes one non-California resident).

California has 21 labs with test kits, 19 already testing with 49 local health jurisdictions involved in self-monitoring.

Statewide Hospital Capacity

  • 74,000 hospital beds at 614 facilities.
  • Surge capacity of 8661 beds.
  • 11,500 ICU beds (includes pediatric and neonatal).
  • 7587 ventilators.
  • EMSA has additional 900 ventilators.
  • Procured an additional several hundred ventilators.
  • Negotiations are underway to re-open healthcare facilities to significantly increase surge capacity.
  • A minimum of 750 new beds will be added to surge capacity by end of the week.

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FROM THE BOONVILLE HOTEL: The hotel and restaurant are intentionally working at half occupancy at this time to create more space; foregoing our cancellation fee for the next few weeks, when we will regroup. We are making decisions day by day, adapting as necessary, cleaning like Sally taught us. We'll put more seeds in the garden too.

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VERO BARRAGAN of the Boonville schools:

There will be no school on Monday, March 16, or on Tuesday, March 17. In addition, there will be no Preschool, child care, or after school program. Please do not send your children to school, as there will be no services or adult supervision available. Our local school board will meet Tuesday night to decide whether schools will reopen on Wednesday or remain closed for an extended period of time. We will let you know what the decision is as soon as possible. While we are closed on Monday and Tuesday, we will be thoroughly cleaning school buildings and vehicles in order to help prevent spread of the coronavirus. We will also be making plans for ways to help students continue learning if the Board decides that schools are to remain closed. Please know that we are doing everything we can to be sure that your children are safe and that we offer ways for them to continue learning even if they are not in their regular classrooms. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

THE BOONVILLE SCHOOLS are closed as of Monday morning. The Center for Disease Control announced Monday morning that closures of all kinds should plan to be down for at least 8 weeks. Business is off throughout the Anderson Valley and Mendocino County as many people self-quarantine. Events great and small have been cancelled. The good news is that Americans are stepping up. Everywhere in Mendocino County stores are offering home delivery and neighborhoods are organizing to for self-help and assistance to the elderly and vulnerable.

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FROM THE ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER: "Yes, we are currently able to test for Coronavirus/COVID 19 and will do so following the CDC guidelines for when to test a person with a suspected case. We are asking anyone with symptoms to please CALL us first when possible (895-2035), to be triaged so that we minimize exposure to others. Also we are posting regular updates on social media and our website under the announcements section." (AVHC Director Chloe Guazzone)

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AMERICA'S DOCTOR, Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that the coronavirus situation in the United States is going to get worse and “many, many millions” will be affected. A pandemic has been declared, meaning the virus is everywhere or potentially everywhere. Another medical man said he didn't think we were "scared enough." I was plenty scared by a report from a Santa Clara doctor who said he was treating three men, one in his early fifties, the other two in their early forties, all three of them fit, but all three are hospitalized in serious condition.

PLEASE rely for your virus information on the CDC or your local medical people. Predictably, there's reams of quack material and insane recommendations on the internet, that cornucopia of lethal misinformation. The anti-vaxxers seem especially energized by the coronovirus epidemic. Unfortunately, they can't be quarantined.

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Call ahead, pay by phone. Curbside service. 707 962-3123

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California is responding to the spread of a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Gavin Newsom and state health officials held a press conference yesterday, Sunday March 15, 2020, to give an overview of the status of the virus in California and the state’s efforts to combat it.

The Governor provided an update on the latest numbers throughout the State:

Latest Numbers:

  • 335 people have tested positive;
  • 14% increase from the day before;
  • 6 people have died in California so far;
  • and 8,316 tests have been conducted.

Governor Newsom stated there are 19 state labs that processed 2,665 tests; private companies have supplemented testing.

Currently, California has 74,000 hospital beds at 416 hospitals:

  • 9,000 surge capacity beds;
  • 11,500 ICU beds for pediatric and adults patients;
  • 7,587 ventilators in California hospitals;
  • California has its own cache of 900 ventilators.

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As we manage this disease, we need to anticipate the spread and prioritize our focus. The City of Fort Bragg is responding by following the Governor’s guidelines. The most important objective is to protect our most vulnerable, the 5.3 million Californians 65 years of age or older. The Governor is therefore calling for the home isolation of all seniors 65 and older, and those with chronic conditions. Governor Newsom yesterday provided guidance to senior communities restricting visitations and only allowing visitation for end-of-life situations.

Governor Newsom also directed all bars, pubs, brewpubs, nightclubs, and wineries in California to close. Restaurants and movie theaters may remain open and are instructed to reduce their current occupancy by half and enforce social distancing. Additional enforcement actions are to come.

Currently, 51% of schools are shut down throughout the state; this encompasses 85% of kids that will not be in school as of today Monday. The Fort Bragg Unified School District (FBUSD) has announced the temporary closure of all FBUSD schools beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17 through Friday,

416 N. Franklin Street Phone: 707-961-2823 Fort Bragg, CA 95437 Fax: 707-961-2802

April 3, 2020, following the County Superintendent’s order to transition to modified schooling. This means that students will work from home. During these dates, FBUSD will provide meals for any child up to the age of 18. Meals will be provided in a “drive thru” format at Dana Gray and Redwood Elementary schools between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM daily, Monday through Friday. Every child’s meal will include a breakfast and a lunch, but the child must be present to receive the meals. Visit the Fort Bragg Unified School District website for more information.

The Fort Bragg Police Department announced temporarily closure until further notice of their front lobby and cancellation of administrative services such as finger printing in an effort to protect the community and staff from COVID-19 and to comply with prevention efforts. The Department will continue to provide services to the public, but you will now have to call the front office at (707) 961-2800 to request service from clerical staff.

City Hall will follow the same prevention efforts by closing the City Hall lobby and limiting walk-in services to City staff availability, by appointment or by telephone only. These temporary closures are currently in place through March 31, 2020 but may be re-evaluated, considering the rapid changes regarding the COVID-19 situation. The City of Fort Bragg hopes to return to normal business hours beginning the month of April 2020.

Town Hall is closed and all Town Hall events for the month of March, including City Council meetings and private functions, will be cancelled.

All other City water, sewer and public works services remain available. No utility services will be interrupted.

It is the City’s intention to advise and update the public as soon as possible. It is also important that you listen to public health officials who may recommend community actions to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19, especially if COVID-19 is spreading in our community.

It is recommended you stay informed for the most updated information available regarding the COVID- 19 Emergency and that you protect yourself and your loved ones by continuing to follow self-care and hygiene guidelines.

• The Centers for Disease Control provides information about the COVID-19 pandemic at:

• The California Department of Public Health has an informational website that is updated daily with information about the COVID-19 pandemic. The website is located at:

• Mendocino County Health & Human Services Center also provides information on their website at: ‘’

• Coronavirus Hotline: (707) 234-6052, open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Tabatha Miller, City Manager, via email at or by calling (707) 961- 2829.

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The City of Fort Bragg will close the City Hall lobby located at 416 N. Franklin Street effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until further notice to protect the community and City staff from COVID-19 and to comply with prevention efforts.

Essential personnel will remain on duty at City Hall, and the City will continue to provide services to the public. If you need to make an appointment to meet with a member of staff, please call the main phone number, (707) 961-2823, or visit the Staff Directory page on the City website. For water or sewer emergencies, call (707) 964-0200. Utility bills can be paid online or by phone, (707) 962-4587.

A separate press release will be issued today from the Finance Department regarding utility bills and services.

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Dear AVA,

We’re working with all levels of government to ensure a unified approach to the coronavirus response here on the North Coast and that needs are being met.

We also want to make sure North Coast residents have the latest, most accurate information needed to protect themselves, their families and their communities.

As part of these efforts, we are partnering with Mendocino County to host a telephone town hall this coming Wednesday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m. and we would love it if you could join us.

We’ll provide the very latest updates from public health officials, county leaders and the county Superintendent of Schools. Of course, you’ll be able to email questions ahead of time.

Here are the details:

Who: Senator Mike McGuire, Mendocino County leaders, public health officials and the county Superintendent of Schools.

What: Telephone Town Hall to provide the latest updates on our response to the coronavirus.

When: This coming Wednesday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m.

How to attend: Dial (877) 226-8216, enter code 2864418 and follow the prompts. You will be connected to the live town hall via telephone and you will be able to listen to the officials providing updates.

How to ask a question and get involved with the Town Hall: Email your questions and comments in advance and in real time on Wednesday evening to:

Stay up to date on coronavirus efforts across the state and here at home via the California Department of Public Health’s website ( and the County of Mendocino’s web page (

We look forward to talking with you at the telephone town hall on March 18.

Warm regards,

Senator Mike McGuire

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Due to concerns about all involved (musicians and audience) we are not having the planned concert on March 22 at Ukiah United Methodist Church. We will reschedule it for when we return to visit, possibly August or possibly next winter. We will let you all know once scheduled.

Love and stay healthy is our message to all,

Bill Taylor and Jaye Alison Moscariello 707-272-1688

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Project Sanctuary switching to soft closure

Due to the public health emergency related to Co-Vid 19, Project Sanctuary will be doing a soft close starting Tuesday, March 17.

What that means is that for the safety of our clients and staff, we are suspending in-person services as much as possible and asking people to call the crisis line instead of coming to our counseling centers. If you're on the coast call 964-HELP (4357), and for the inland area call 463-HELP (4357).

None of our services will be suspended. We are still here for survivors 24/7. We are just trying to assist, via phones, as much as possible.


Dina Polkinghorne

Executive Director

Project Sanctuary

(707) 462-9196 ph

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Molly's Revenge Benefit Concert Friday 3/20 Cancelled

This morning we discussed the situation with members of Molly's Revenge and with KZYX staff. After the developments over the weekend, with new restrictions on movement and events throughout California and the discovery of two cases of community transmission in Sonoma County, we made the difficult decision to cancel the benefit concert planned for this Friday.

If you bought tickets already, you can get a refund. Some of you have already said you would prefer to donate the money to help defray expenses and offset some of the loss the musicians are suffering - your generosity is amazing and deeply appreciated. You do not need to do anything; whatever money is not refunded will go to KZYX, and from them to the musicians.

If you do need a refund, and you bought tickets from Harvest Market or Out of This World, you can simply return your tickets to them any time before this Friday and they will refund your money. If you bought from online, you will receive an e-mail from them with instructions.

We apologize to everyone who was looking forward to this event. It was going to be so much fun! And of course it is a significant loss of revenue for the band and for KZYX.

In addition, the two concerts we had scheduled for April in the Abalone Room at Little River Inn have also been cancelled.

Let's all do what we can to stay healthy ourselves and keep our friends and neighbors in mind. A better day will come.

Catherine Keegan,

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I am already grieving for us. While I know that many things needed to change and we wanted them to change, I am most grieving the loss of community that this pandemic forces upon us. In a major storm or power failure etc we can come together and share a meal, make music and support one another. Now we are told to socially distance ourselves. EVERYTHING is cancelled. I’m getting no end to the emails cancelling every event imaginable. Even the library has closed. I’m not sure how we find our way back when the dust clears. It will be a different landscape as sure as if a massive fire had burned through it.

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by James Kunstler

At least in wartime, the bars stay open. That’s how you know this is a different thing altogether from whatever else you’ve seen in your lifetime. Even those of us who signed up for this trip — that is, who expected a long emergency — may be a little bit in cosmic awe at just how much shit is flying into the ol’ fan. I know I am. The gods must have glugged down a mighty draft of Dulcolax.

Did you get the feeling, as I did, watching the Sanders-Biden debate Sunday night — the inadequate versus the irrelevant — that the world they were blathering about possibly doesn’t exist anymore? The world of institutions that actually function? Like, the ones that conjure up whatever sum of money you demand to keep all the wheels spinning? Remember that Hemingway line about the guy who went broke? Slowly, then all at once. That’s us. Medicare for all now? Really? More like, a year from now every physician in America may be the equivalent of the old country doc toting a black bag around to home visits. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough horses left in America, and the few buggies we’ve got are all in the museum.

The mega financial bubble-of-bubbles is deflating with frightful velocity precisely because of the efforts since 2008 to artificially inflate it. The Federal Reserve gave it one final blast Sunday night — while everybody else was counting their rolls of toilet paper — and the effect was like blowing hot air into a shredded Zeppelin. Stock futures are “limit down” as I write, before the Wall Street open. Gold is getting pounded into the ground like a grape stake and silver is so low it looks like the hedge fund managers are down to pawning grandma’s table service. (Hint, the PMs will bounce back hard; the rest, probably not so much.)

Nobody really knows how deep and how harsh this gets (and perhaps the ones who have a clue ain’t sayin’). But the situation presents two salient questions: how much disorder is entailed in this ordeal? And what does the world look like when the convulsion phase of this thing is over?

Americans have never been through anything remotely like this. The disorders of the Civil War were sharp and horrendous military operations conducted mostly in cornfields, pastures, and woods (yes, and some small cities like Richmond, pop. 38,000, and Atlanta, pop. 10,000). When the smoke cleared, battered Dixieland emerged to numb civil order. Up in Yankeedom, the New York draft riots ran for a week around the small patch of Manhattan island, but everybody else went along with Mr. Lincoln’s program. After all that, America got on quickly with the lively business of the 19th century: railroads, mines, factories, and all that. The world wars took place in foreign lands, and the home-front scene of the 1940s now looks nostalgically idyllic.

The stresses mounting on the national scene today reflect the extreme fragilities of the way-of-life we constructed since then, and an awful lot of bad choices we made in the process, like suburbanizing the nation and making everybody a hostage to happy motoring. I won’t belabor that point, except to ask how are those vast regions of the country going to manage daily life as the supply chains wobble? I’d say a shortage of toilet paper may only be the beginning of their problems.

The cities — at least, the few that didn’t already implode from the inside out — made assumptions about how big and tall they could grow which don’t jibe with the new circumstances chugging ferociously down the line. Just think what a lockdown of the global economy will do to all those residential skyscraper projects lately hoisted up in New York, San Francisco and Boston? I’ll tell you: They are assets instantly converted into liabilities. And how will these cities even begin to pay for maintaining their complex infrastructures and services when the money for all that no longer exists and there’s no way to pretend that it will ever come back? Answer: They won’t be able to keep borrowing and they won’t manage. These cities will depopulate and there will be battles over who gets to live in the parts that still may have some value, like riverfronts.

I guess just about everybody can now see the idiocy of concentrating the nation’s commercial life in super-gigantic organisms like Big Box stores. It seemed like a good idea at the time, like so many blunders in history, and now that time is over. Any ecology thrives on redundancy — a lot of players doing similar things at the appropriate scale — and America’s chain retail model for a commercial ecology was an obvious fiasco waiting to happen. The people who run that, and other people who run other things in our society, must be wondering whether those supply-chains from China will come back. It’s no different than the cargo cults of the Solomon Islanders circa 1947, after the military airplanes stopped landing with all their magical goodies: time to go back to fishing from the dugout canoe.

The foolish, idiotic identity politics ginned up by the Left and their racially-inflamed, sexually-disturbed scribes in the Thinking Class have successfully destroyed the last shred of an American common culture that held the country together through earlier vicissitudes. So, one concludes that we’ll be left stewing in poisonous tensions, and perhaps some violent conflicts, before those matters head toward some sort of resolution.

Where does this all lead? Eventually, to a land and a people who operate their society in a very different way at a much more modest scale. The task of reorganizing our national life is immense. (There will be plenty to do, so don’t worry about that.) You can forget about the grandiose techno-narcissistic visions of electrified motoring and a robotic nirvana of perpetual sex-crazed leisure. Everything we do has to be downscaled, from whatever manufacturing we can cobble back together to rebuilding commercial ecosystems at a finer grain from region to region — in other words, what we now call small business, geared locally.

Expect giant AgriBiz to founder on a shortage of capital, especially, and expect smaller farms to organize emergently, worked by more humans working together. That is, if we want to keep eating. Expect the small towns in the well-watered parts of the country to revive while the groaning metroplexes spiral down into entropic sclerosis. Consider the value of our vast inland waterway system and the opportunities to move goods on them, when the trucking industry unravels. Consider lending a hand at rebuilding the railroad system in this country.

There will be economic roles and social roles for all those willing to step up to some responsibility. Young people may see tremendous opportunity replacing the wounded economic dinosaurs wobbling across the landscape. It’ll be all about going local and regional and making yourself useful in exchange for a livelihood and the esteem of others around you — aka, your community. Government has been working tirelessly to make itself superfluous, if not completely ineffectual, impotent, and rather loathsome in the face of this crisis that has been slowly-but-visibly building for half a century. Something old and played-out is limping offstage, and something new is stepping on. Aren’t you glad you watched all those debates?

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

* * *

“Look at this: Acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal tea… We could be dealing with a homeopathic killer!”

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, March 16, 2020

Gibson-Hughs, Harmon, Rose, Sanchez-Marquez

KELLY GIBSON-HUGHS, Ukiah. Robbery, First degree robbery of transportation persons, inhabited dwellings, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, conspiracy, probation revocation.

CONNER HARMON, Castro Valley/Ukiah. DUI.

BRITTNEY ROSE, Susanville/Santa Rosa. DUI causing bodily injury, child abandonment-neglect, paraphernalia, suspended license, failure to appear.

RIBOBERTO SANCHEZ-MARQUEZ, San Jose/Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

* * *


by Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,

I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;

I hear my echo in the echoing wood…

A lord of nature weeping to a tree.

I live between the heron and the wren,

Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul

At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!

I know the purity of pure despair,

My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.

That place among the rocks—is it a cave,

Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!

A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,

And in broad day the midnight come again!

A man goes far to find out what he is—

Death of the self in a long, tearless night,

All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.

My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,

Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?

A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.

The mind enters itself, and God the mind,

And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

* * *


by Mary Callahan

It could take until at least 2032 before California reopens even the slightest season for abalone diving and hunting along the North Coast, where depleted stocks have shut the popular sport fishery since 2018.

But that’s a best-case scenario envisioned by scientists studying the beleaguered red abalone population, as nothing like the open seasons of the recent past is likely for up to three to six decades under the current range of environmental circumstances and reproductive projections that have sunk the species, the scientific team has concluded.

That rough timeline, though subject to ongoing debate and changes based on ocean conditions and population shifts in the coming years, suggests a whole generation of people could miss out on a sport that has inspired adventure and deeply held tradition for legions of families and friends across Northern California.

It also could mean die-hard divers in upper age groups may have to make peace with having bagged their last abalone.

“Some of us won’t live long enough to get back in the water, so that’s not making a lot of people happy,” said longtime ab diver Sonke Mastrup, invertebrate program manager and chief representative in the process for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Jack Likins, a 74-year-old Gualala ab hunter known for bagging trophy sized shellfish, summed up the gloom that has taken hold in the sport’s community. “I think fishermen like me are pretty discouraged,” he said.

The projections are part of a framework prepared for the state Fish and Game Commission to help guide management of the abalone fishery beginning next year, when an emergency three-year ban on the harvest of the mollusks expires.

The commission’s Marine Resource Committee, meeting in Santa Rosa and San Diego, will discuss the document at a 9 a.m. session Tuesday and is likely to pass comments or recommendations on to the commission for consideration in April and beyond, Mastrup said. Special arrangements have been made for the public to participate via webinar or teleconference because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The draft report was developed by representatives from state Fish and Wildlife, the Ocean Protection Council, the Fish and Game Commission, The Nature Conservancy, stakeholders from the ab diving community, the Sherwood Valley Pomo tribe and members of the public. It addresses myriad subjects, including tools that might be used in the future to control how many abalone are harvested in any given year — size and catch limits, season limits and number of permits issued, for example.

But the primary focus was to define trigger points for shifting from a closed fishery to what’s called a “de minimis” fishery — one that allows a small amount of fishing by a limited number of participants but not enough to affect recovery of the stocks — and from closed to open fishery status, allowing as many people to participate as care to do so.

A group of scientists who worked specifically on computer modeling, determined that the median rebuilding time from a closed fishery in 2021 to allowing the narrower fishery ranged from 11 to 31 years across different models. An additional eight to 10 years would be needed if poor environmental conditions prolonged the abalone recovery period, the scientists found.

Under the limited fishery, participants would likely be chosen by lottery and allowed a very low catch limit. Those not selected one year would have advantage in the next year’s lottery.

The median recovery time before an open fishery could be scheduled was projected to be between 28 and 59 years.

Further refinement would depend on whether coastal waters were divided into two management zones — Marin/Sonoma coasts and Mendocino County coast to the north — or three — Marin/Sonoma coasts, Mendocino coast and Humboldt/Del Norte County coasts. The division is still up for debate.

“The reality is you can’t get past the biology of abalone,” Mastrup said. “It just takes them too long to grow up. That just creates this enormous lag.

“It’s not like deer hunting for example. Deer in a year or two are old enough to be hunted. Abalone takes 12 years. It just slows everything down, and no matter what math you use, you can’t get past that.”

There might be opportunities for small numbers of fishermen to help harvest abalone needed periodically to test for size and reproductive fitness from various coastal sites. Such “biological fisheries” would allow abalone hunters to get a small taste of the sport while supplying needed data to fishery managers. Those assisting with the collection also would be able to take home the meat and shells.

Marine wildlife managers already had been working for years on development of a long-term strategy for maintaining a sustainable abalone fishery when a cascade of ecological changes led to the collapse of the bull kelp forest off the northern coast of California and, thus, to the red abalone stocks that depend on it for survival.

Those changes included the onset of sea star wasting disease in 2013, which killed off many species of sea stars, whose ranks include an efficient hunter that helped keep smaller prey, including purple sea urchins, in check; a resulting population explosion among the tiny, voracious urchins, which compete with abalone for food and even prey on them; and the “warm blob” of 2014 and ‘15, during which the nutrient-rich cold upwelling of the region was squelched, leading to poor health and reproduction of the bull kelp forest.

“We lost somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of the abalone we had five years ago,” Mastrup said. “I mean, it’s a huge drop. It fits the classic definition of a collapse.”

Surveys since show few signs of an overall recovery.

But there are some pockets where the kelp and abalone are doing a bit better than elsewhere, and some stakeholders are pushing state officials to manage the fishery on a finer scale that would permit an earlier harvest opportunity, even if it’s only in small amounts.

Few people are likely to want to go to the trouble to buy a permit and dive if the allowable take is only two or three a year, Likins said, contending that such limits would have limited impact on stocks.

“I think there can be a fishery if it can be managed pragmatically,” he said.

Josh Russo, president of the Watermen’s Alliance, a coalition of spearfishing clubs, said he also believes there could be a way for a divers to access the fishery on a limited basis sooner than projected.

But with no real sign of significant rebound in the abalone, “I don’t think they’re going to allow any take until it’s on the bounce-back. They’ve said that. While it’s going down, they’re not going to allow take.”

Arcata diver Brandi Easter, the Alliance vice president and a volunteer with Reef Check’s Northern California organization, participated in the yearlong effort to develop the guidelines.

She said she understands that there’s “some shell shock” in the diving community over the resulting timeframes.

And she understands the pain. But those who love the sport can choose to convert their passion to stewardship of the resource, stepping back and giving nature time to rebound.

“I’ve been an ab diver for 25 years” said Easter, 57. “That culture, unfortunately, that door has closed. We’re going to have a different culture. People are still wanting to hold onto what was, instead of looking forward.”

In the meantime, the Watermen’s Alliance has led largescale urchin removal projects by recreational divers at various coves on the North Coast, principally in Mendocino County, over the past two years to see if clearing areas might aid the recovery of kelp.

The state Ocean Protection Council just approved $500,000 for additional urchin culling this year under emergency regulations approved by the Fish and Game Commission at three locations, including Noyo Harbor, Portuguese Beach near the Mendocino Headlands and Caspar Cove. The first two locations will be targeted using commercial red urchin divers; the latter, with an army of volunteers, including sport divers, kayakers and others on the ocean surface providing support, and with still others onshore.

Divers are now authorized to crush the purple urchins in place at Caspar Cove any time, but Reef Check will be organizing group efforts, with a schedule forthcoming. Russo said it’s his plan to get lots of people out.

“Two years into the project, and we’re still getting volunteers to show up in numbers,” Russo said. “The last removal event we had was huge. I think we had 50 divers and 20 kayakers and bunch of people on shore.

“It’s satisfying. I was talking to someone the other day about how this whole project has been divers’ opportunity to get in and make a difference…and see the difference they’re making.”

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *

DONALD TRUMP’S UTTERLY INCOMPETENT RESPONSE to the coronavirus has become readily apparent in recent days. But this disaster is not a solo enterprise. His catastrophic performance as president during the early stages of the crisis is the culmination of decades of right-wing action aimed at subverting the one entity that can protect Americans from the deadly threat at hand: government.

For many years, Republicans and conservatives have demonized government. In his first inaugural address, Ronald Reagan, the superstar of the right, proclaimed, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”

The well-known conservative strategist and lobbyist Grover Norquist once said, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

The tea party arose in opposition to federal assistance for those Americans slammed by the housing collapse of 2007 and became a movement encompassing anti-government fervor and intense paranoia. And Trump rode this wave into the White House…

Trump could only be acceptable to voters who had long been told that government was the problem.

He was the antithesis of government experience and expertise. And he made that a selling point and convinced 63 million people to vote for him as if they were picking a winner on a reality television show. After all, he was amusing and a kick in the ass of the libs who thought credentials and seriousness actually mattered.

Now the joke isn’t too funny. And tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Americans will die because the GOP’s war on government paved the way for Trump’s incompetence.

Trump entered the White House not taking the job seriously. He fretted over the estimates of the inauguration crowd size, while, out of neglect or with intent, he depopulated the federal government.

Key positions across various agencies have gone unfilled throughout his tenure. He hollowed out the State Department. The Department of Homeland Security has had top slots empty for long stretches.

As has been noted much in recent days, Trump’s downsizing of the National Security Council included dumping the office of global health…

(David Corn, Mother Jones)

* * *

* * *

MENDO LOGGER: "A few years ago logging in Mendocino County we logged into a grow that was unbelievable. They had been gone for a year or two. As we worked our way up the hill the cats and skidders were getting 100s of feet of PVC wrapped around tracks and tires. It was so brushy that I had to drive around just to find where the logs were. Well, I busted out into the most complex grow site I ever ran across, it literally looked like something out of Vietnam with trenches dug all over hillside and well over 100 of those 7 gallon propane tanks all thrown in one place. They had sleeping quarters, shitters, dug garbage sites all dug into the hillside and all left there. They even had a military camo net they left still set up with tables full of brand new timers and rolls of PVC pipe and fertilizer bags and rat poison just left behind after the harvest."

* * *

NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: Metal Buck Beneath the Stars

by David Wilson

When a metal sculptor’s mind is filled with a menagerie of metal beasts, a lot of them will escape. So it is with Humboldt County metal sculptor Daniel McCauley, from the fertile imagination of whom springs an eclectic metal herd one beast at a time. Size doesn’t matter, as his creations range from a small dove made of silverware to gigantic kinetic crabs and thirty-foot articulated dinosaurs.

I have admired Daniel’s work since his giant kinetic crab first caught my attention a few years ago, and the allure of photographing his sculptures at night has been strong. I’d never met him, though, and I needed to overcome my own social inertia to do it. But finally I reached out, and as it happened, he was as excited at the idea of having me make some nighttime images of his work as I was to use his sculptures in my night photography.

His place isn’t far from town, situated beautifully among second growth redwoods and the massive stumps of old growth behemoths gone by. Many of his metal creatures represent animals that might be found in this forest, and they have a natural home in their environment. I could imagine a photograph of any of the sculptures in a nighttime setting among the trees and stars.

In a room full of sculptures ranging from small dinosaurs with movable spines to a life-size bust of Darth Vader, I was particularly struck by the sculpture of a buck. So alert, I thought. From his pose, with head erect, neck turned, ears pricked up, and eyes wide, I imagined he had been resting in a clearing in the redwoods when at a sudden sound he’d snapped his head up to check on the danger.

Daniel had such as open place in the woods up the hill from his house, and the following night we met to photograph the buck in its native element under the stars. Life-size and made of heavy metal objects, it’s a fairly heavy piece, so he carried that up the hill. I schlepped my photo gear.

Daniel found a stump to set it on to give it some height, and I lined up a shot to catch the beast with his head and antlers playing with the tree line. Venus was still high in the west, but so was the tree line, and the planet would soon dip too low. The planet is the bright star over the nose in the redder image.

I changed angles for the second image. Daniel had given the buck a twist to the neck that lent it a life-like feeling, an expression of alertness that one would find in its living counterpart in the animal kingdom, and I wanted to capture the look. I found the Big Dipper and situated the buck to put the constellation within the curve of the antlers.

For your own reference, the sculpture isn’t red except in so far as it has natural rust on some of its parts. Of the two images, the one facing left is most true to the original color. But true color wasn’t the goal that night as I set out to make some kind of unusually illuminated images of some of Daniel’s far out sculptures. I’m simply drawn to the slightly trippy.

You can find more of sculptor Daniel McCauley’s work available for purchase on Instagram at @danscustommetals , and on Facebook at

At the edge of the redwood forest, the metal buck stood vigilant in the night. Venus hung in the west over the tops of redwood trees. Metal sculpture by Daniel McCauley. Humboldt County, California. March 12, 2020.

Starbuck, or so I think of him in these images, contemplates the night with a luminous eye. Can you find the Big Dipper? Hint: it is standing on the tip of its handle between antler and nose, opening to the left. Metal buck sculpture by Daniel McCauley. Photographed in the redwoods of Humboldt County, California. March 12, 2020.

(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or purchase a print, visit or contact him at his website or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx.)

* * *


Dear Voters,

I re-registered as a voter in Mendocino County. Twice! I moved to Boonville a little over a year ago, and re-registered with my new address information… again. However, when I checked to go to the polling place, the internet website said that I had to return to Point Arena to vote! I ran my ass over to Point Arena and back that day, - a two hour round trip - and just like last time, many, if not most, of the regular Point Arena voters listed on the voting registrar roster, were directed over to the provisional ballot poll worker! These are voters who've voted in Pt. Arena for years, and suddenly found themselves moved to the provisional ballot list! …A big long line in Point Arena to place your provisional ballot. Everyone grumbling that they had registered to vote, so wondering why now at last minute, they were changed to provisional ballots. Me too!

The pollster circled the top left hand corner tracking number on my provisional ballot, telling me to call the Voter Registrar's office the next morning to find out if my vote was counted. Unfortunately, her information was not accurate. It takes 40 days to count provisional ballots, according to voter registrar's office.

The provisional ballot says:

"If you would like to know if your Provisional Ballot was counted, please call (707) 463-4371 or TOLL FREE CALL FOR COUNTY RESIDENTS OUTSIDE THE UKIAH AREA, DIAL 1-800-992-5441. WHEN PROMPTED, ENTER: 4370 - 4371 or 4372 at least 40 days after the election and provide this reference number."

The four-digit prompt numbers look like they reflect the original out-of-order number (463-4371), but do work in directing call to appropriate election personnel after dialing the new number @ 707/234-6819.

Beneath that, is the reference number of your provisional ballot.

I first called the 463-4371 number, which has been DISCONNECTED! I dialed it with the area code, too, and recording says, "the number has been disconnected and there is no new number"(!). How unprofessional (and damned crooked) is that!?

I looked up the office of voter registrars on the internet (not found in the yellow pages) and found this number, which worked: 707/234-6819.

If you received a provisional ballot, these ballots are not counted until 40 days after the election. Says so right on the receipt. When I called the correct 234-6819 number which I found on internet, I did receive someone from the voter registrar's office, who sounded like it was news to him that the 463-4371 number was no longer in service! Thanked me for telling him, and sounded like he was writing down something to make note to himself. Informed me that provisional ballots are not counted until 40 days after election. Told me to call back after 40 days!

Of importance is also the fact that if, as a registered voter, you go to the DMV to take care of any business before an election, the DMV changes your voter affiliation for you, without letting you know. So if you go to the DMV, or have in the last year, re-registered to vote. Check on the internet to see where you're registered. Re-register if the DMV changed your affiliation. Do it NOW.

Also, heads up Point Arena - all you provisional voters need to re-register to vote NOW. I've never seen anything like this before, until the previous election before this.

As an aside, the women who've run the polling booths in tiny little Pint Arena have, for years, known just how many folks are registered. Candidates can win an election in Point Arena with the usual 88 votes! This year, when I looked at these women, who couldn't reply to my concern about the number of voters having to use provisional ballots, I could see they were mortified… quite possibly by the lost number of liberal votes in Point Arena. It was downright scary watching this crime occur.

You think your vote doesn't count? Back in 1999, I wasn't going to vote. My daughter had just died a few days before the election and I wasn't in any kind of mood to leave the house. The polls close at 8 p.m. About 7:55 I received a call from my polling place in Point Arena, just a block from my home. It was Mrs. Hill-Scan, who worked the booth. She said, "This is your polling place calling to remind you to get out and vote."

That's totally legal - calling voters to remind them to get out and vote - the pollsters simply can't tell them WHO to vote for! Mrs. Hill-Scan knew me, as I was on City Council at the time, and had been in favor of forming the new Manchester Fire District. After her reminder, I got up and voted that night, arriving at the polling place only a few minutes before closing. They closed the doors behind me, so I was the last one to vote that night. Oddly enuf, Mrs. Hill-Scan knew what my vote would be, and probably made that one well-placed phone call to remind me to vote, pulling for positive election results for the Manchester Fire District. Her son, Nick Scanlon-Hill got the job as head honcho of Manchester Fire District after it passed the election results. Conflict of interest, or legal voting technique?

In any event, the Manchester Fire District wound up passing by just one vote: mine! You think your vote doesn't count? Ask Nick Scanlon-Hill, now retired after a long career w/Manchester Fire District. He's got his mum to thank for that.

Debra Keipp


* * *

A POLICEMAN STOPS A MAN riding a carriage drawn by an ostrich for being too fast. 1930, Los Angeles, USA…

* * *


All, Further Reach operations have been mostly unaffected by the COVID-19 situation. We have taken a few steps that will remain in effect for at least the next 30 days. Free Internet. We are offering Free Public Wifi Hotspots at numerous locations along the coast:

  • Gualala Point Park - visitor center
  • Gualala Point Park Campground
  • Gualala Arts Center - campus-wide (indoors and outdoors)
  • Hotel Breakers
  • Sea Cliff Motel
  • JR Home and Auto Care
  • Main Street Point Arena
  • Point Arena Library
  • Point Arena Elementary School
  • Point Arena Pier
  • Point Arena High School (being repaired)
  • Manchester State Campground
  • Manchester Grange Hall
  • Elk Community Center
  • Elk Museum
  • Elk Greenwood School
  • Albion Fire (being repaired)

* * *


* * *


[1] A few months back, I happened to run into someone I hadn’t seen in years, and she filled me in on the doings of some people we both knew.

I was saddened to learn of the passing, at a relatively young age, of a friend of mine.

I say friend, but he wasn’t really a close friend, obviously, but he was someone I had always thought I would see again.

He was an odd sort of man, nerdy even, sometimes exasperating; but, as another friend and I had once agreed on about him, he was someone you could count on, even if everyone else had deserted you.

The kind of person you could pick up the phone and just say “I need help” to, and he would be there.

I started thinking, after reading today’s news (but not for the first time), of some of the most reliable and capable friends I have. It’s a funny thing about reliability, it goes hand in hand with self-reliance, and the self-reliant people I know all own guns.

These are people who grow their own food, and now how to preserve it. Some hunt, some do not. They know how to fix their own vehicles.

I’m also just now noticing, one of these people has had trouble with one of his kids, because the kid married a “woman of color” and decided the old man is a racist transphobic xenophobe or something.

I am this very minute realizing the value of the ‘trans’ movement.

It gets harder and harder to allege racism in a society that really doesn’t care all that much about race anymore. So, in order to divide the younger generation from people like I have mentioned, their patriotic elders, they have to come up with a “civil rights” issue so bizarre, repugnant, ridiculous, destructive, and just plain wrong, that the remaining patriots draw a line in the sand.

Now we have become deplorable, and the younger people are morally superior to us. Get it?

[2] Like a lot of the other nonsense inflicted in this nonsense-infused age, such as the incessant quacking about gender fluidity, insofar as it’s allowed to talk about actual gender because then maybe you’re making an implicit assumption that gender differences actually exist. Aren’t you? Can’t have that now can we? You wouldn’t want the twitter mob to ruin you. Would you?

Regardless, given the exigencies of the coming time of troubles, whether they’re diseases spread by the misconceived notion that borders shouldn’t exist, that as an impediment to free travel and migration, they’re a blight on humanity, or whether the troubles are of an economic variety as unworkable arrangements of the previous generation unwind, there’s tons of other shit that gets flushed.

Like Drag Queen Story Time, which on its own is just a passing silliness. The problem is that it’s not on its own, it’s part of wider, longer-lived societal patterns of behavior.

There was a shit-disturbing article that I read on-line, which I thought it was on Quillette, itself a shit-disturbing publication, but now I can’t find it. Anyway, it was written by a mom that can’t get with progressive parenting of the type that encourages sexual activity among teen kids. This mother essentially crapped on the modern-day approach saying nothing comes of it but single, crazy cat-ladies and women like Charlotte on Sex and the City bemoaning the fact that she’s been dating since she was fifteen. And she’s exhausted. Nope, this writer’s kids are going to have sex with their one and only. One. Only. From which they will raise families.

A laudable goal, and a strong antidote to the insane behavior that’s been not much good for anything other than spreading disease and single motherhood.

But the bigger point is that the practicalities of the future will dictate a whole lot less in the way of personal autonomy in sexual and other matters, and a whole lot more in the way of personal obligation. Mutual obligation that is. That is, if you want to survive in a way that’s more than just staying alive day by day.

The future world will resemble a world that isn’t long past. It will be a place that won’t give you what you want in two clicks and a yawn. Some physical force might have to be exerted to fulfill some basic desires (like eating) and when that happens, the muscle power of the sex capable of exerting it will come back into vogue. And wouldn’t it be nice if the man behind the plow had some gal cooking while he’s doing the back forty? Wouldn’t it be nice for the gal doing the cooking to have that sturdy specimen doing the heavy lifting? Watch for old-fashioned sex roles and division of labor to follow close in.

* * *

* * *


Belfast, Maine, USA. Monday, March 16, 2020. Life has taken on a surreal quality, like living on a set of a zombie apocalypse movie. In my midcoast Maine town of 6,700, shelves in the Hannaford supermarket are three quarters empty. If your company's product is still on the shelf, you might want to think about what you're doing wrong.

Late last week Hannaford was full of overflowing shopping carts as big as my Kia. Belfast had long since run out of hand sanitizer and medical masks. On Friday the discount store got in a shipment of hand sanitizer, and with a one-per-customer limit, they ran out in less than a day.

Three days ago the supermarket was out of toilet paper and my Bustelo Caribbean coffee. But both items were still available at the dollar store, that new feature of the American cultural landscape where the poor go to shop.

Last Thursday our food co-op did its busiest hour ever. The bulk rice and lentils, canned black beans, pasta and spaghetti sauce are all gone. The middle class is ready.

I bought enough food to last a month. I helped my mother get enough for 2-3 weeks – that's all she wanted.

Is a month too much? Am I hoarding? Has everyone got enough food and essentials to self-quarantine for at least two weeks?

On Friday, Gina, assistant director of the Belfast Soup Kitchen, told soup kitchen patrons that starting Monday, there will be no more sit-down meals, that all food will be handed out through the front door. And so vanishes what is for the poor of Belfast a rare social outlet almost as nourishing as the food itself. And what if the soup kitchen breaks down altogether? Never mind the tens of millions of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, some of my soup kitchen friends live meal to meal, or close to it.

In recent years we have developed a term for this, a term that didn't exist before, much as the word homeless was rarely heard. The term is food insecurity and it stalks the land, from inner cities to the ancient, dilapidated mobile homes that dot the Swanville Road, along with yards full of junk cars. Years ago I delivered free firewood to a family that emptied its toilet by tossing the contents of a five-gallon bucket into the woods behind their mobile home's back door.

Other soup kitchen friends – Robert, Elvis – are homeless. I sometimes see Robert several times a day, sleeping in the library, eating at Alexia's Pizza or just hanging out on the street. He always looks like he has five coats on. Maybe he does.

Elvis lugs around town heavy shopping bags filled with God knows what and he hangs out down by the waterfront, even in the cold. Elvis isn't his real name – he's the world's poorest Elvis impersonator. Surely he and Robert have little if any food stored away. Hell, I don't even know where they sleep at night. I suppose they will go to the Waldo County Hospital emergency room if they get sick – but what if they don't go there? Elvis might not go there if he were at death's door.

And what of the tens of millions among us who do live paycheck to paycheck, in a country where three people have as much wealth as the bottom half of society, as much as 150 million people?

Can they afford to stock up on food, toilet paper and hand sanitizer? And what of those who harvest our food and live in the shadows, on the vilified margins of society, with no documents and little or no grasp of the predominant language, those who live in their cars and vans?

Who knows. Such ignorance of what is going on all around us is one of many symptoms of a country that believes little in government or shared experience and has little sense of communal, shared societal destiny, where wealth isolates from all but disease.

And those chickens are coming home to roost. Will this crisis lay bare the folly of 83 million Americans with inadequate access to healthcare? My flatmate John says Jesus will take care of this when he returns. He's not kidding.

Or will this upheaval reinforce a vaunted individualism that has led to 100 million guns with precious few restrictions? Will we pull together or will it be dog-eat-dog?

No one knows.

It's Monday morning and schools are closing. Belfast schools closed over the weekend, and with them went the bulk of my income. I am a substitute teacher. Other school employees will continue to be paid, but we substitutes will be left to fend for ourselves.

Yesterday morning I exchanged emails with high-ranking State Senator Geoff Gratwick, influential State Representative Shenna Bellows, and first-term Belfast State Representative Jan Dodge. The state will likely declare a ban on rental evictions, home foreclosures and utility cutoffs.

Debt collection may be next, and that may unleash termites to gnaw away at the foundation of an economy where a citizen's duty has shifted over the last 40 years from production to consumption and where the biggest industry produces nothing but the movement of money from here to there. We're watching 250 years of history shift in a matter of days.

I have volunteered . I have volunteered to help at Waldo County General Hospital; to my Unitarian Universalist church; to Waldo County Emergency Response; to Debbie, who manages the senior housing where my 85-year-old mother lives; to H.O.M.E. Co-op, an organization that serves the northern tier of Appalachia's poor – where I used to work. I have filled my car with gas and I'm ready to help, to do my part. I have taken up my post and I wait for the hammer to drop. I'm as ready as I can be. Or am I?

With nothing to do but wait, I went hiking Saturday and Sunday in the Maine woods, for the first time since the fall. What snow and ice were left were manageable. And there too the surreal prevailed. The birds and chipmunks were going about their business as usual, as if nothing were afoot in the land.

On Saturday's 11-mile hike on the Hills to Sea Trail, I was passed by a few runners who did their best to keep their distance on the narrow trail. They were all friendly. In Maine we get snowstorms that dump as much as three feet of snow, and famously reserved Mainers are always more friendly in such calamities. We all have something to talk about, a shared experience.

But will that hold?

Walking home from Saturday's hike I stopped in at Front Street Pub. It was happy hour. I had two beers and sweet-potato fries, and I watched college basketball games from years ago on one of the pub's various televisions. Every year the entire country eagerly awaits the end-of-season college basketball tournaments and championships, but this year they are all canceled.

I soaked in the experience of sharing a couple of beers in a public space. Would it be the last time for a while?

On Sunday's eight-mile hike on the Little River Trail, I saw only one other person, where I would normally see six, eight or 10 hikers and dog walkers. She too was friendly, and she too was part of a surreal landscape, unfolding a chair beside the river, to read a book in temperatures in the thirties. I had never seen such a thing.

Were those my last hikes for another while, as I and others run around trying to put out medical and societal forest fires? Or will life take on an eery silence and inactivity where there will be little to do but walk the woods? The Belfast Maskers community theater canceled its run of “As You Like It.” All lectures, talks, poetry readings and political meetings of various stripes have been canceled. And on and on. Our movie theater is on “condensed” schedule, but how long will that last? Will the YMCA, a great winter resource, be next?

On my hikes I took photos and texted them to my good, dear friend Maurizio, who, with his family of five, has been in lockdown in Udine, Italy for seven days – now eight. Maurizio sent me a photo of a street empty of everything but one police car. We can't go out, Maurizio wrote. If we do, the police await us.

Is this where Belfast is headed? On television they are saying we are 10 days behind locked-down Italy. But no authority will be able to keep rural Mainers out of their 90,000 square kilometers of woods.

(Lawrence Reichard is a freelance journalist in Belfast, Maine, USA. “Letters from America” is available by weekly or daily subscription by emailing

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  1. Eric Sunswheat March 17, 2020

    RE: PLEASE rely for your virus information on the CDC or your local medical people. Predictably, there’s reams of quack material and insane recommendations on the internet, that cornucopia of lethal misinformation. The anti-vaxxers seem especially energized by the coronovirus epidemic. Unfortunately, they can’t be quarantined.

    ———> MARCH 16, 2020 StatNews, Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC
    In a rare piece of good news about Covid-19, a team of infectious disease experts calculates that the fatality rate in people who have symptoms of the disease caused by the new coronavirus is about 1.4%. Although that estimate applies specifically to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, and is based on data from there, it offers a guide to the rest of the world, where many countries might see even lower death rates.

    The new figure is significantly below earlier estimates of 2% or 3% and well below the death rate for China based on simply dividing deaths by cases, which yields almost 4%. While it is still higher than the average 0.1% death rate from seasonal flu, it raises hopes that the worst consequence of the coronavirus will be uncommon.

    Cutting against that optimism is the expectation that, because no one was immune to the new virus, “the majority of the population will be infected” absent the quick arrival of a vaccine or drastic public health interventions such as closing public places and canceling public events, the scientists conclude in a paper submitted to a journal but not yet peer-reviewed.

    The expectation that a “majority” of a population will become infected reflects a worst-case scenario about who encounters whom, something modelers call “homogeneous mixing.” But even the more realistic assumption that not everyone mixes with everyone else means that “at least a quarter to a half of the population will very likely become infected” absent social distancing measures or a vaccine, conclude Joseph Wu and Kathy Leung of the University of Hong Kong, leaders in the modeling of infectious diseases, and their colleagues.

    The better news involves fatality rates. To calculate those, the researchers used data from Wuhan, especially the age distribution of 425 early cases and 41 early fatalities there.

    The chance of someone with symptomatic Covid-19 dying varied by age, confirming other studies. For those aged 15 to 44, the fatality rate was 0.5%, though it might have been as low as 0.1% or as high as 1.3%. For people 45 to 64, the fatality rate was also 0.5%, with a possible low of 0.2% and a possible high of 1.1%. For those over 64, it was 2.7%, with a low and high estimate of 1.5% and 4.7%.

    The chance of serious illness from coronavirus infection in younger people was so low, the scientists estimate a fatality rate of zero.

    As physicians and researchers have seen since the start of the outbreak, many infected people never become sick. As few as 14% of people in Wuhan with early coronavirus infections were being detected, said epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, who led a study published on Monday in Science on undocumented coronavirus infections.

    “I think there are many more than the [nearly] 70,000” confirmed Covid-19 cases in Hubei province, Shaman told reporters.

    That means the “infection fatality rate” — deaths among people who have the virus but might or might not show disease symptoms — is even lower than Wu and his colleagues calculate.

    Despite Wuhan’s heroic efforts to treat patients, the suddenness of the epidemic overwhelmed hospitals there, much as it has in northern Italy. In countries that got more advance warning and prepared better, especially if social distancing succeeds in “flattening the curve” enough to dampen what would otherwise be a tidal wave of Covid-19 cases, the death rate is likely to be lower still.

    “Fatality risk estimates may not generalize to those outside of [Wuhan], especially during subsequent phases of the epidemic,” Wu and his colleagues write. “The increasing availability of newer, and potentially better, treatment modalities to more patients would presumably lead to fewer deaths.” That’s true even within China, they find: “To date, the death-to-case ratio in Wuhan has been consistently much higher than that among all the other mainland Chinese cities.”

    Lest anyone be tempted to downplay the threat, the scientists caution that Covid-19 is on track to infect millions of people. If social distancing fails to dampen the number of cases at any one time, overwhelming health care systems, the death rate would be higher.

    • George Hollister March 17, 2020

      Eric, look at what is going on in Italy right now. Their medical system is completely swamped. 1.4% death rate needs some perspective. There is every reason to believe the same could happen here. The alternative is to let the vulnerable/critically infected die at home, right? Italy is currently having to make that very decision, based on priorities, because they have no choice.

    • Joe March 17, 2020

      Here are some statistics for you, satellite pictures of mass graves in Iran.

  2. Eric Sunswheat March 17, 2020

    February 24, 2020
    Often facilitated with needles penetrating the skin, acupuncture, which originated from Eastern Chinese Medicine, is used for pain management-like headaches, osteoarthritis, and chemotherapy-induced nausea.

    Of course, that’s not to say that acupuncture should replace modern medicine. Many times, they work hand in hand.

    While acupuncture hasn’t exactly been proven by science, there’s preliminary data indicating it may improve menstrual health and there’s experimental data showing that acupuncture can influence female reproductive functioning, according to NCBI’s 2014 report.

    Another study published in 2008 by the British Medical Journal found current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

    The Yinova Center, led by Dr. Jill Blakeway and Dr. Noah Rubinstein, combines Eastern and Western medicine to treat their patients. In addition to pain management, their practitioners use acupuncture to heal women’s health conditions.

    These unexpected benefits are not paraded as much as reduced stress, but they can be just as promising. Here, Dr. Blakeway lists the ways women can utilize this ancient practice in fortuitous ways.

  3. Emily Strachan March 17, 2020

    The voting process this election was a disgrace. I never received my original mail in ballot. I contacted my supervisor after the election to register my complaint and was referred to the County Clerk. I felt as if the response fell into the “not my job” category. I have since emailed the CC about my situation and the general caotic at the polls. No response to date.

  4. Brook Gamble March 17, 2020

    I’m curious. Why do you keep re-publishing transphobic/xenophobic commentary in the AVA?! I don’t want to read your hate speech. I value local news but I don’t want my subscription $ to go to a publication alienates its most vulnerable readers and their allies. I come here for local news and events and especially appreciate coverage of the supervisor’s meetings. I suspect I’m not the lone reader that feels this way? What’s wrong with being kind? It’s free.

    • joe March 17, 2020

      “Americas last newspaper, Fanning the flames of discontent .”

      Maybe you should be reading the Huffington post.

    • Bruce Anderson March 17, 2020

      Specifically, Ms. Gamble?

  5. Lazarus March 17, 2020


    Local news, 2424 AD:

    Found buried within what appears to be a storage structure, early 21st century circa.

    As always,

  6. Randy Burke March 17, 2020


  7. James Marmon March 17, 2020

    Biden “Berning” Sanders with Projected Blowout Wins in Florida, Illinois Democrat Primaries

  8. James Marmon March 17, 2020


    A Shelter In Place Order is Anticipated in Lake County

    A shelter in place order issued by the Lake County Public Health Officer is anticipated in the next 24-36 hours for all of Lake County due to the COVID-19 Virus threat. Residents will be asked to shelter at their place of residence and cease all non-essential activities or travels. The following is a broad overview of activities that will be allowed:

    · Attending Medical/Veterinarian Appointments

    · Travel to Essential Businesses: Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, Restaurants for Pickup/Delivery, and Hardware Stores

    · Compliance with Court Orders (Child Exchange)

    · Conducting Business with Banks

    · Gas Stations for Fuel

    · Outside Activities With Immediate Family(Adhering to Social Distancing)

    · Picking up School Lunches

    · Private Patrol Operators Working for Planned Communities

    · Homeless Will be Exempt but Encouraged to Find Shelter

    This is not the order and more detailed information will provided when the order is issued by the Public Health Officer.

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