FOOD BANKS across the country are groaning under unprecedented demand during the COVID-19 lockdown. The Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa, the North Coast's hub for emergency food distribution, made an appeal last week for help in many forms. "With unemployment on the rise, hunger in our community is no longer the exception, it is common, and we've seen a surge in new participants needing food. To keep up with the demand, the Redwood Empire Food Bank continues to need the help of our community — now more than ever," wrote the Redwood Empire Food Bank's Rachelle Mesheau. The easiest way to donate or volunteer is to visit the Redwood Empire Food Bank's web site at refb.org. The Fort Bragg Food Bank is also in need of volunteers and help. Their website is fortbraggfoodbank.org. Their phone number is 964-9404. Amanda Friscia, Fort Bragg Food Bank's director, said demand has been steady, but deliveries are on schedule and the now-experienced COVID-19 crew of volunteers is holding up fine. Still, volunteers and community support are needed more than ever. The Fort Bragg Food Bank is open every day from 9-3, with special hours for seniors only from 9-12 and an extra hour for pjckup, curbside or in person, from 4-5 Wednesdays.
NEW CALIFORNIA, the movement to divide the state roughly along rural and coastal/urban lines, surfaced at a protest at the Tesla plant in Fremont in early May. Coleen Browder, the New California chair for Mendocino and Sonoma counties, attended. New California and Tesla chief Elon Musk are united in their disdain for California's lockdown rules and New California was present to support Musk's ultimatum to either let his plants run or see Tesla depart to Texas. Browder said the rally was lively, attended by a hundred people or so from a range of organizations. She said the mood was cheerfully optimistic about the prospects for fundamental change in the Golden State. Browder said New California also showed up on the Bay Area's news radar for the first time.
GINA BEAN is living with the tragedy of the fatal collision last summer that killed young Calum Hunnicutt at the intersection of Highway 1 and Little Lake Road in Mendocino last July. The fatal accident was one of the most jarring tragedies to hit the Mendocino coast in a long time, as both Hunnicutt and Bean are lifetime residents with large circles of family and friends. Bean, who caused a stir by evading arrest for almost two months following the crash, and is now awaiting her trial at home on the Mendocino Coast, reportedly picked up a pizza recently at Vinnie's Pizza at the Boatyard Shopping Center in Fort Bragg, only to be told by the young counterperson that her order would be the last pizza she would be getting there. Bean simply nodded and took her pizza, still leaving her customary $5 tip. When she arrived home, a friend of hers related (not at Bean's request), she found the word "murderer" scrawled across the inside of the lid of the pizza box. Anybody who knows the circumstances of that devastating accident (it's been covered in local news in some detail) would know that “murderer” is wildly unfair. In fact, Bean is charged with fleeing the scene and lives with a heavy load to bear without young members of the peanut gallery who may have their own regrets to live with some day chiming in.
LISA DAHL has been loving work at MacKerricher State Park recently. It's not that she dislikes campers, but having wide-open space to swing her pole mounted hedge trimmer has brought out the landscape gardener in her. Dahl, a fifth generation Mendocino Coast native who's known MacKerricher since toddlerhood, along with the other three people on the park's landscaping crew, have been clearing out berry patches and thickets of every kind during the COVID-19 lockdown, enlarging campsites that have mostly been taken over by brambles for years. Forested areas have also undergone an intensive spruce-up, so that the glades and groves of MacKerricher are now open and walkable — the way the woods were before their modern, thicket-like condition took hold. Dahl is proud of their work. She says animal life is noticeably increased, and feeding on a bigger variety of plants. Blackberry bushes don't really contribute much beyond a place to hide. Glorious wild irises are blooming like she hasn't seen before, she said. All they need are campers to admire them.