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Letters (April 29, 2020)

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I send a big Thank You to David Severn for his ongoing reporting on the wildlife, health and attacks on our beloved Navarro River. His extensive observations and reportage are greatly appreciated.

As the editor has long written, it’s sad that no-one has stepped up to organize a grassroots opposition to the vineyards' stealing of that river’s water, so much so that in late summers the once mighty Navarro virtually dries up around Hendy Woods, further reducing the number of steelhead, salmon, otters and other forms of local wildlife. And this year, since we got only half our usual winter rainfall, the Navarro, lifeblood of the Anderson Valley, will be further hammered. Does anyone but David and Bruce care?

I did notice yesterday that the mouth of the Navarro River is not yet blocked by the sandbar from flowing into the Pacific. But it no doubt will be soon since too little water is allowed to flow to the ocean, captured instead by AV vineyard pumps and ponds. An easy solution is used in other counties: require water meters and limits on takings, so that minimum flows are established and wildlife is protected.

Tom Wodetzki


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Covid-19 is more insidious than most of us realize. First, the job it does on lungs is known to be extremely unusual. And now it is being discovered that many relatively young people are experiencing strokes because of the virus and doctors are sounding alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead from strokes. Some who didn’t even know they were infected with covid-19. In fact many doctors are becoming aware that covid-19 is affecting “nearly every major organ system in the body.” 

“Clinicians around the world are seeing evidence that suggests the virus also may be causing heart inflammation, acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage and liver problems. That development has complicated the treatment of the most severe cases of covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, and makes the course of recovery less certain, they have said.”

So with over 50,000 deaths so far in the US from covid-19 it is unclear whether deaths from stroke or kidney and heart failure are included in that figure. And what about the non-fatal but ongoing debilitation of these afflictions?

It would seem to be a no-brainer that we don’t want to see a major covid-19 infection here in Mendocino County. And therefore it behooves us to follow the prescribed orders.

Stay at home, obey travel restrictions — social distancing and FACE MASKS in enclosed spaces is essential.

Please! And, heck, drink a little wine if it makes you feel better.

For now it’s only Anon — for a short time, but…

Will C.


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Food bank kudos.

Hats off (masks on) to the Anderson Valley Food Bank and the proficiency the volunteers displayed on Monday. Thank-you for helping to keep the citizens of the valley healthy and with food.


Pamela Courtright


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Dear AVA,

You want to have some fun? Try making your own (now required) face-mask. It isn’t required that you make your own, but required to have one.

There was a picture in the SF Chronicle on Saturday and notification that they will be required if you go ito a store. The picture howed us how to make one. 

This project ended up being one of the most senseless and humorous things I have tried in a long time. “Try it; you’ll like it.”

Ashley Jones


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It appears as if the runner trips over the hill for food, etc are slowing down. I have thought long and hard about “needing” to go to Ukiah. I somehow have managed to have all of my food, etc. needs met here in BV. A few purchases via Amazon but that’s all. Lemons seems to have a bit of just about everything as does Burt and the AV market. I do believe from my various readings and articles from CDC that we are going to be in this for a long time. 

In order to support our local businesses why can’t folks just shop in town? Burt can and will order just about anything anyone wants. 

He has for me and delivered my purchases to the house. Lauren’s needs your business and I have done my best to get to-go food from her. 

So we don’t get a “bulk bargain” at local markets but they are here for us and are doing a lot to keep everyone safe. Rossi’s is on top of is as is the post office. The Farm Supply are totally compliant with the glove and mask rules and do their utmost to make your shopping as safe as possible. 

Stay home, lay low and make the most of your life. It is a gift.

Susan Bridge-Mount


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Dear AVA,

As a lifelong healthcare worker, I would like to share an entire list of symptomatology repeated to me by folks who think they’ve survived Coronavirus, ...including me. Rarely have I heard doctors and health officials on the radio, describe the first two symptoms*.

• Conjunctivitis followed by

• Curious loss of sense of taste/smell when eating, accompanied soon after by sore throat.

• Fever, chills (Slept 1 week, drank lots of water every time I awoke),...accompanied by sore aching muscles/bones all over body.

• Productive lung cough (Not so much a head cold or sinus infection).

• Wheezing, rattling chest noises, shortness of breath on exertion.

• Productive cough to clear bronchial airway remained after worst symptoms had abated. (For which I requested/received antibiotics, licking it almost immediately, w/in 24-36 hrs. My Doc told me that antibiotics would only help if it was bacterial. However, the use of antibiotics soon abated the airway problem altogether. Mostly, I reserve antibiotics for tick bites!)

Lastly, laryngitis lasting about a week.

Mostly in that order, it lasted two months from beginning to end. There was no testing available to me (Jan-Feb 2020). What I do know is that fluids, lots of rest, sitting with feet up with torso tilted upright to sleep when possible, and acupuncture, gave me relief. I spent time in nature, and with my horse, weeding out an abandoned garden-full of thistle, which my horse fortunately considers a delicacy he’s just gotta have. I turned him loose, and watched him eat.

Yesterday I read that the sun kills the virus. (My Minnesota Swede cousins were right to say, ‘get a lot of fresh air to remain healthy!’) But authorities tell everyone to shelter in place, which is inside for many folks. I kept moving, (and away from humans!), went outside to breathe fresh air whenever possible, motilated as a bi-ped when not on the equine quadra-ped, and got flat intermittently throughout the day; the barometer being, fluid retention in my usually boney feet. 

I enjoyed the solitude of catching up on at least a dozen books I’ve bought or borrowed from Dawn Ballentine’s full-service Hedgehog Books at Boxcar Depot in Boonville, and am sorting through old essays I’ve written and collected, some of which were published in the AVA. Without a job… employment… there is no time. No schedule. Less stress in a strange sort of way – even without money! I often remember Author and Shamanism historian, Michael Harner, who once told me, “Time is a construct created by man purely for the measurement of making money.” Without a job and income, there is now time to finish old projects: Like labeling and sorting, downloading and printing pictures from all my phone/computer-type appliances. Weeding and planting a garden, cleaning closets, saving a leaning 100-year old barn-wood shed, stacking firewood, planting drought resistant plants, burn piles, and it turns out my horse is good at learning tricks.

I would like to point out two particularly kind, generous acts of community I experienced during Pandemic 2020 and thank these kind locals: 

Yesterday, a bunch of cars lined 128 in front of Methodist Church. Sign said, “Food Bank 3-6”. I was looking for regular food bank volunteer, Buffy, so I followed their handy circular drive-up. There were about a dozen volunteers in face masks standing back in a clutch, like a wedding party, on the church steps. One clip-boarded volunteer greeter with a page-full of names at the car window. Boxes of food at bottom of steps, ready to go. No Buffy; but, boy, were they organized! Warmed my heart.

And, Sweet Sharon Shapiro gifted April rent to renters at Boxcar Depot. Thank you, Sharon! 

We have a really kind community here in Boonville. So lucky, we are, to know what that is. 

Here’s hoping May Day doesn’t turn into just that for you! Like Queen Liz says, “Until we meet again!”. 

AbraKaDebra Bodywork

Boonville’s Boxcar Boardwalk

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Support our post offices. Please buy stamps there. Send letters. Write. They are a value, a community resource, information, packages, and so much more.

When we have fires, no power, no Internet -- we need them! Always!

Concerned Neighbor


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For those AVA readers interested in California geography looking for a brief respite from coronavirus news:

I'm not sure if Bay Nature magazine ( is sold up in Mendocino County, but in the current Spring 2020 issue there is an interesting article about one of California's lesser known mountain ranges, the Diablo Range, stretching 150 miles from Mount Diablo to the Antelope Valley in Kern County and rising to more than 5200 feet.

About 20 years ago a friend and I took a drive one Saturday through the Panoche Valley southwest of Hollister and then south by the New Idria (quicksilver or asbestos?) mines, long since abandoned. Then while heading west over the ridge toward our destination of King City we got stuck in mud on an unpaved road. But fortunately my friend had decided at the last minute before we left to bring tire chains so we got unstuck with time to spare before sundown.

The terrain around the Panoche Valley and New Idria is not exactly pretty, but kind of fascinating with rugged, dry, golden hills with some chaparral and occasional oaks and pines as we headed west over the ridge to King city.

There is an excellent two-page color map of the Diablo Range in the article.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

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An open letter to our governor Gavin Newsom:

You gave a pass to the known baby killers on death row to keep on living, watching TV, getting fed, etc., when they should hang now.

Then you let prisoners out infected with the virus who were supposed to go somewhere and ended up going somewhere else, possibly infecting towns with no cases.

Are you nuts? Why are you Governor? Because you are related to Nancy Pelosi or Diane Feinstein? Not because you have any common sense.

Our cops deserve better. Can you please do a better job?

Tom Madden


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I remember the ‘War of the Worlds’ when the Earth's virus defeated the invading army from Mars. We are now experiencing the reverse — the virus is kicking our earth's population collectively and so it goes.

Join us in vigorous prayer for divine intervention to save us from our medical and political current disaster. God bless our front-line workers. Shelter, wash your hands, don your face masks and howl, quake or whatever — hopefully this too shall pass.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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Dear Board of Supervisors,

As best I can determine from on-line sources, the CEO and the five Supervisors cost the taxpayers around $1 million per year in pay and benefits. CEO Angelo herself costs over $300k and each of the five Supervisors cost about $150k.

Since by the Board’s own projections next year’s will be an “austerity” budget, the Board should show leadership for when the inevitable cuts must be made by immediately reducing their own and the CEO’s pay and benefits to pre-2008 levels. 

By my calculation that would mean something on the order of a one-third reduction which would not only set an example to the County’s employees, but the suffering public as well. 

Just think what the County could do with over $300k in new revenue that is no longer justifiable in the present virus crisis.

This should be followed by similar reductions in other top official salaries since the funding and taxes which supported these generous outlays is not going to continue and it will not continue in other neighboring counties either — the basis for the generous raises in the first place will thus disappear.

Thank you for your consideration of this proposal to demonstrate that the County’s top officials are willing to share the economic hardship of the rest of the County.

Mark Scaramella


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Dear All,

This 1 Million Dollar transfer of Measure B monies to the Community Fund cannot stand.

Check with County Counsel first, but I think it may very well be illegal.

If legal, it is certainly unethical.

If this move is the best the Measure B Committee can come up with, then the Measure B Committee should be immediately dissolved and another reconstituted with laser focus on implementing the initial goals and objectives of Measure B. Period.

Mendocino County already channels almost 20 million dollars a year to a private contractor to provide Mental Health Services for the County. For this funding, the contractor provides little to no metrics or other data to account for their success rates on the County's behalf. This lack of transparency and accountability has to stop, and stop now.

Funneling another One Million Dollars via a back door to an organization which already does not account for its expenditures on our behalf -- almost 20 Million Dollars worth -- is beyond folly: It is madness. And a dereliction of duty.

Misfeasance, if not malfeasance, on the Measure B Committee's part.

The Board of Supervisors need not be complicit in this highly inappropriate action by the Measure B Committee.

I believe its high time you pulled in the reins and exert your oversight authority.

You need to vote this monstrosity down, charge the Measure B Committee to return to and laser focus on its roots; they are not an adjunct funding source for any other County contracts. Otherwise, shut them down and rebuild a Phoenix out of their ashes who are up to doing their job.

I apologize for what might be received as a sharpness in my tone, but this move is really way too much. For so very many reasons.

Kindest Regards,

Stay Well,

Lee Edmundson, Mendocino

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To escape the lockdown blahs and return to better times, I urge all shut-ins to visit Bill Retalick’s "Over the Rainbow" doo-wop show on KZYX radio the first Sunday of each month from 9-11pm featuring black vocal harmony with roots in early American gospel music.

Harmonized vocal groups have been part of every stage of rock's development. They were especially prominent in the 50s when a few dozen major vocal groups and thousands of obscure ones comprised chiefly of black singers created the music that rock 'n roll connoissours still regard as the creme de la creme.

No particular name was given to this form of R&B music by the people who made and enjoyed it in the 50s. Today we call it "doo-wop" after two of the characteristic nonsense syllables invented early in the game by fellows who didn't get to sing lead.

Doo-wop is a soothing sing-along music that immediately transports you back in time to a simple, hopeful past.

"Over the Rainbow" is a treasure trove of nostalgia. Where else in Mendopia can you tune into: Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels, the Do Droppers, Otis Day and the Knights, Billy Ward and His Dominoes, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, the Five Satins, and numerous others in the deep doo-wop pantheon.

Let's return to the roots of rock 'n roll. Goodbye hip hop/hello doo-wop.

Don Morris

Willits/Ghost Town

PS. The harmonic wave of howling protests against coronavirus will soon give way to the "Silent Scream."

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My fellow Isolates: 

So our Chosen One lets loose the four horsemen, slams the barn doors behind them and now expects us to reward him with adulation? After personally taking charge of the pandemic he had absolutely no advance knowledge of, and takes absolutely no personal responsibility for, he now gets to act like our Moses leading us freed slaves into the Promised Land? He the stable genius and his robo-mouths kicking back on the deck of their titanic ship of fools so lame they can’t even be on time for their own Daily Strategic Showcases of lies, damned lies, false accusations, self-congratulations and pomposity?

For years I’ve watched the News Network’s inexhaustible platoons of mercenary soldiers shutting out the world while hanging onto every word of this vainglorious pathological liar, and that fact alone says something about how far we’ve strayed from our American Ideals, our 4th Estate as watchdog now reduced to the toy-sized lap dogs of couch potatoes. I mean, if we’re going to acquiesce to living under a nihilistic Cult of Personality mascaraing as a political party, we could at least pick somebody who’s half-assed worthy of one. And virtually anybody on earth is better if she or he offers something more than just the “real time” monomania of a sniveling little kleptomaniacal penthouse rich boy crybaby. 

Ever wonder why the 1st Cults of Personality arose with the 1st God Kings? It’s because kings impose their vision of reality (mumbo-jumbo) on their humble and benighted followers. And that’s made possible by in group/outgroup psychology: our dictator may be a bloody bastard, but he’s our bastard and that makes all the difference. 

Besides, whenever bold social action is required, most everybody loves playing dumb. Since it’s convenient to see, hear and speak no evil, we assume it’s a wise personal lifestyle choice. Wise as in feeling just fine as our world burns all around us. We who habitually follow our Pied Pipers blowing their magic flutes while leading us to our doom with their take-your-pick dystopian offerings: in the market for some Land and Blood? Wish to join us the world’s most powerful, exceptional and indispensable people on our expressway to Eternal Bliss? Then come and join us at our gunfight at the Okey-Dokie Corral.

Now this daily interrupting of nationwide TV to bring us a 19th Century traveling carnival’s freak and geek show being staged in the “White House” I find unconscionable. Don’t we have enough troubles without getting buried in constantly recycling floods of bullshit? It’s 2020, not 1780: are we crazy to see what’s going on right before our eyes? Or are we crazy not to?

We the people are being told we brought this pandemic down upon ourselves; we with our cradle-to-grave “shiftiness” and laziness, our welfare scams and love of “free lunches.” And so, if we have a problem with getting TKOed by this latest “act of god,” we’re told, we should complain to our mayors and governors. The federal government isn’t in the business of putting food into the mouths of hungry children, and medical care is absolutely not a human right but Big Business: the more money, the better the care, just as it should be in our Social Darwinian Holy Land. It’s not the business of the Imperial State to do what the individual states would have done had they been doing their jobs. So, if you’ve got any complaints about us dying by the tens of thousands, take it to them and not us. Our Great Wartime President is Mr. Clean with a big brain and the Midas touch, and everybody knows it, and is talking about it, and shaking their heads in envy and wonder at how he does it that wonderfully majestic nasty animal. 

At the moment we’re reduced to couch potatoes with electronic mind bracelets. But that doesn’t mean we should forget we’re still, us men anyway, the Masters of our Remotes. We’re the kings of our castles getting victimized by televised lies of omission, slanders, tantrums, red herrings, myths, alibis, the shaggy dog sermons of numbskulls, the right to steal with absolute plausible deniability plus federal immunity, fixed courts, pervert judges, cooked books, burned books, mass vacancies, musical chairs, Free Market Planning offered with Free Shipping and no money down and, as an extra added bonus, the best young minds wedded to old money on the job 24/7 and so we needn’t worry none—or butt in if we know what’s good for us. 

For you we’ve got bogeymen galore: heartless single mothers, high school sluts, back alley abortionists, ghetto queens, enemies in closets and under our fingernails, the resulting petty conflicts here, there and everywhere now S O P so long as it’s being made up by our great Maestro playing our Napoleon Gloriously Ascending while blowing smoke in our eyes. 

I’m old enough to remember when we wondered how the “highly educated” Germans could fall for a militaristic lower class cult centered on a lunatic ex-corporal in an ex-Grand Army who had shamefully surrendered unconditionally to the enemy and who is now up on soap boxes promising, with great fervor and endless repetitions, Hell for Germany’s imaginary “enemies” and Heaven for “our” Glorious Fatherland’s imaginary “friends.” 

To which I say: back off, Hoss. If this guy’s your spokesman, ya’ll be crazy to me. 

Pat Patterson, 

Prineville, Oregon

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Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on illegal aliens instead of fixing the slums in San Francisco and Los Angeles where we have two of the rottennest, dirtiest cities in the United States. Millions are also wasted on bullshit climate change and global warming. And half a million an hour for the train to nowhere. Why isn't it being spent on roads and dams and bridges? The next time we have a major flood Oroville dam will burst and so will Shasta dam. They have to drain both of those dams to fix them and that won't happen. So millions of people will die. I hope Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom are both sitting in their private office watching pornographic films when that happens. They deserve it. Money is not being spent for medical aid for our people in California, a good medical system. Instead, billions of dollars is invested in Communist China that we will never see again. That's Gavin Newsom who is running this state. He is a bigot, a Marxist, a communist, a liberal and his whole administration sucks canal water. Why do the American people in California stand for this? How long can we take it? We have a dictator running this country spending our tax money on crazy stuff! Unbelievable! 

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick



  1. George Dorner May 2, 2020

    I am glad other folks have joined me in protesting the illicit misdirection of Measure B funds.

    Of course, given the history of the Measure B committee, we shouldn’t be surprised. Measure B was an attempt at an end run around the incompetent health care establishment, and when a crew of the usual suspects crammed the committee’s ranks, the scene was set for this raid on funds.

    I don’t understand why anyone in this county would vote for any funding for anything. It doesn’t matter if you legally designate the taxes for a given purpose, because the county bureaucracy will use any funding for any random thing that appeals to them.

    • Lazarus May 2, 2020

      This will be the perfect opportunity to employ Measure B funds for alternative activities. A great argument can be made for taking the money too. These are unprecedented times, economic emergency, etc. etc.

      When the obvious is finally revealed of what this COLVID-19 pandemic actually means, it will be the proverbial, “we do what we have to do” moment. Any money that is left sitting around, such as Measure B funds will be confiscated by the authorities under the auspices of an economic emergency. The rules will quickly be changed to accommodate whatever the leaders see fit, and that will be that, but at least they’ll be a “Training Center/Conference room”…and maybe a CRT (Community Rehabilitation and Treatment ) building.

      Then there’s the fact that Measure B is money derived from tax dollars. Two and half years in of the five scheduled years, Measure be has compiled about half of it’s expected 38mil. The Brass at County has already stated that taxes will be majorly down for a minimum of 5 years, if true that does not bode well for Measure B collecting the 38 million that is/was expected. They’ll be lucky to get 6 or 7 million moving forward, under the County’s own prediction.

      Obviously I sincerely hope I’m found out to be absolutely wrong concerning the above circumstances, “time will tell”…

      And then there’s.

      Perhaps I missed it but, at last week’s BoS meeting there was only a minor mention of Measure B’s million-dollar surpise, and that was at the very end, presumedly after most listeners/viewers had likely tuned out…and after skimming this weeks meeting agenda, I failed to notice any Measure B business, perhaps I missed it once again, or it will be added.
      Stay Well,

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