MCT: Saturday, October 3, 2020

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THE PERSISTENT WEATHER PATTERN continues under strong high pressure aloft. Little change is expected until the middle of next week when a cooling trend will begin...followed by a chance of rain toward the weekend. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 99°, Boonville 98°, Yorkville 96°, Fort Bragg 69°

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COVID CASES BUMPED UP BY 17 on Friday to 988 as Mendo approaches the 1000 case threshhold. There are now 19 Mendo deaths attributed to covid (the last being on September 30), with 132 either in isolation or the hospital. In addition, 233 people have been quarantined for possibly being in contact with a known covid case. The Ukiah area continues to experienced by far the most cases with 767, more than three-quarters of the cases, while representing a little over a third of the county’s population. 

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AV FIRE: We're still accepting applications for chipper work in Anderson Valley. MCFSC has enough funding for about 8 more days worth of work over here. AV residents can get 2 hours of chipping for fuel reduction and fire safety. Find out more and apply at www.andersonvalleyfire.org/fuel-chipper-program

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A READER WRITES: I have heard from law enforcement that there was a "pissing contest" between the feds and Calfire. The feds told Calfire to stand down. I heard that Calfire would have or possibly could have kept the August Complex fire two or three ridges to the east of the Sanhedrin and Impassable Rock if the feds had let Calfire go to it sooner. As you have your finger on the pulse of Amnesia County I'm curious as to what news you have about this. I live in the Hearst area, "across the bridge" in a mandatory evacuation zone and I went to Emandel when the warnings were issued because I work there. We set up nightly watches of 90 minutes each watching dozers work all night on Sunday, September 13 on top of the ridge. During the day when smoke allowed the flights came in here. Ace pilots, for sure!

PS. Previously I suggested a crash pool for the Willits Bypass. Boy was I wrong. It must be wider than I thought. (I've never been on it.)

PPS. I just listened to the presidential debate. They should be put in soundproof booths so they can turn off whoever is not supposed to be speaking!

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FIRE UPDATES (Saturday morning)

Glass Fire: 62,360 acres, 10% contained

The Glass Fire continues to burn actively in all fuel models in Sonoma and Napa Counties. Today light winds allowed fire behavior to be driven by fuels and topography. Fire growth is occurring from short, intense runs up slopes and drainages, with short range spotting. Active fire behavior continues to threaten control lines.

Glass Fire, October 3, 2020

August Complex: 979,386 acres, 51% contained

North Zone

Residents have had many questions about the status of their property resulting from the winddriven firestorm last Sunday and Monday. Trinity County Office of Emergency Services is responsible for damage assessments. County staff will enter affected areas as soon as it is safe to do so and directly notify owners; your patience is appreciated.

Many hazards remain throughout affected areas, such as falling trees, downed powerlines, and hotspots. Fire danger remains extreme with dry vegetation, drought conditions, very low relative humidity, record temperatures, and potential for additional wind events. Residents are not permitted entry into evacuated areas until the Sheriff lifts the orders. The public safety officers continue to enforce roadblocks for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection. The Sheriff issued evacuation orders yesterday for Hidden Valley, Indian Valley, Bear Wallow, Rowdy Bear, and Friend Mountain. Please comply with the Sheriff’s orders; prepare to evacuate during a warning and leave quickly when an evacuation order is issued. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters and public safety officers from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated. Hot and dry conditions prevail again today, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees at lower elevations. Light winds from the northwest are forecast with potential to increase in the afternoon. Dense smoke persists, particularly in the deeper valleys. While smoke provides shade and moderates fire behavior, it also inhibits aircraft operations.

August Complex, October 3, 2020

The fire continues to move north of State Route 36 toward Bear Wallow and south toward Forest Glen. It also is moving to the southwest in the drainages and valleys south of Ruth Lake. The fire still has substantial potential for spread in drainages aligned with the winds. Firefighters are constructing dozer lines to the north and west from Post Mountain/Trinity Pines. Crews are continuing structure assessments and protection measures for potentially affected structures and properties near the fire perimeter.

Resource shortages continue across the western states, including California, due to the scale of the wildfire season this year. Firefighting strategies are constantly adapting to environmental conditions and resources available. Resources are managed not only within an individual fire, but across regions and the nation. Several times, including during the recent high wind event on the North Zone, CalFire responded from the West Zone to requests for assistance to defend life and property. They sent staff and equipment to assist for 24-hour shifts in the Ruth area. CalFire continues to be engaged in Zenia, Kettenpom, Watts Lake, and other areas on the west side of the fire. The coordinated effort continues for positioning resources where they will be most effective. Deputy Incident Commander Tom Kurth emphasized, “We are bolstering organizational oversight while dealing with persistent fire growth and shifting priorities.”

For more information on the North Zone, call (530)-628-0039.

West Zone

CAL FIRE’s unified team and the U.S. Forest Service are engaged in a coordinated and collaborative response to take suppressive action on the August Complex, which has been split into three zones to effectively provide a response for the communities at risk. Due to resource draw down throughout the state, CAL FIRE’s Incident Management Team requested the California National Guard to assist with fire suppression efforts and as a result of CAL FIRE’s request, 138 National Guard personnel are assigned to the incident. Additionally, resources from across the state of California as well as Montana, Texas, Washington and New Jersey have been assigned to assist on the August Complex-West Zone. The August Complex-West Zone has burned 123,381 acres, spans approximately 195 miles of fire line and is 55% contained with approximately 1,600 firefighters battling the fire from the air and the ground. Active fire behavior increased overnight with torching and spotting observed. The increase in fire activity hampered firefighter’s attempts to battle flames near the August Complex – North Zone. Active structure defense remains in place in and around the community of Zenia as the fire continues to move east and west. Continued hot and dry conditions will low relative humidity will remain today. Firing operations will continue when possible throughout the day, in addition to constructing direct containment lines where possible, along with indirect containment lines. Preparations will carry on for defensive actions where the fire crossed containment lines north of Zenia. Difficult conditions remain with active spot fires within heavy timber and steep and rugged terrain. Assistance continues on the August Complex – North Zone. Incident Commanders actively monitoring the fire burning in the Yolla-Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness, which is part of the August Complex – North Zone.

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FAMILY FEUD

by Mark Scaramella

Clarification/intro: There are two Vargases in this story. Nathan Vargas, the ringleader of the marijuana raid described below, is from Las Vegas and is currently in critical condition at an out-of-county hospital with self-inflicted life-threatening head and face injuries. His brother and fellow suspect Jesus Vargas is in the Mendocino County Jail along with the third suspect, Roy Ha.

Bail for Jesus Vargas, 41, and Roy Ha, the two men arrested last week for allegedly leading a ninja-style armed marijuana robbery and kidnapping in the Dos Rios area last week, have had their bail set at an almost unheard of $2.5 million each, although the only person seriously shot was one of the ninjas, and he shot himself. Neither Jesus Vargas nor Ha have criminal records.

Mr. Ha has been appointed Public Defender representation; Jesus Vargas has been appointed an alternate Public Defender.

According to witnesses and the Sheriff, three or four men armed with assault-style rifles and dressed in military style uniforms and body armor, were seen fleeing a marijuana robbery/kidnapping southbond on Highway 101 on Tuesday of September 27 in two vehicles, a black Chevrolet Tahoe and a gray Toyota Tacoma.

Spotted by a CHP officer on Highway 101, the Tahoe then lead police on a very high speed chase down Highway 101, east onto Highway 20, and finally up a dirt road where the Tahoe ran out of road and broke down as the CHP officer broke off the dangerous chase. Its occupants, were soon taken into custody by a helicopter-guided SWAT team that had been quickly organized in response to the high-speed chase.

At around the same time in another nearby location, a deputy conducted a traffic stop on the Tacoma and arrested the driver, Jesus Vargas, one of the accused robbers.

Meanwhile, back at the Tahoe, “A short time later a few gunshots were heard and then a person was heard screaming,” according to the Sheriff’s presser. “Sometime thereafter, law enforcement personnel on the search perimeter were contacted by two adult males. Deputies learned the adult males had been kidnapped during the armed robbery and had been bound by zip-ties and their heads covered by some type material after trying to escape. They reported the Chevrolet Tahoe had become disabled on the dirt road and one of the adult male victims was shot in the back while trying to escape. The adult victims reported that the two suspects had fled on foot, were armed with assault style rifles and clothed in professional-grade body armor. The adult male victim with the gunshot wound to the back of his shoulder was transported by air ambulance to an out of county hospital for medical treatment.”

As a helicopter tracked one of the suspects in the wooded terrain uphill from the disabled Chevrolet Tahoe, that suspect, later identified as Roy Ha, of Las Vegas, surrendered to the SWAT team.

Sometime thereafter, several more gunshots were heard which were attributed to the second suspect as the helicopter hovered over the confused scene.

The aerial observer then radioed the SWAT team that a third suspect, later identified as Nathan Vargas, also of Las Vegas, had possibly suffered a self inflicted gunshot wound but was still alive and should be considered armed and dangerous.

But he wasn’t armed or dangerous. In fact, when the SWAT team got to him they saw that he had shot himself in the head but was still alive. Vargas was helicoptered out of County for treatment where it was discovered that he had put the gun under his chin and fired upwards in a botched suicide attempt, destroying his chin, nose and face and blinding him, but not killing him. Vargas is reportedly still alive but his prognosis is said to be poor.

Not surprisingly, given the Dos Rios address of the initial crime and its circumstances, deputies soon declared, “It appears the robbery and kidnapping were connected to a marijuana sale/purchase transaction between the involved individuals.”

Right. Just another north county “marijuana sale/purchase transaction” gone bad — with one perp trying to kill himself after being cornered and with a $2.5 million bail for each of the other perps.

Jesus Vargas, 41, the uninjured Vargas, is from Riverside. He was booked on charges of robbery, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy. His associate, Roy Ha of Las Vegas was booked on charges of attempted murder (the shooting of the kidnapped robbery victim found near the Tahoe off Highway 20), kidnapping and criminal conspiracy.

Jesus Vargas & Roy Ha

Further investigation has revealed that Nathan Vargas, the man who shot himself in the face, was the brother-in-law of a Mr. Cabral, and the two had been engaged in a large scale pot grow and commercial sales operation with another Covelo-area man named Flores. For reasons as yet unknown, Nathan Vargas got into an argument with his brother-in-law, Cabral, and was involuntarily ejected from the pot operation.

Possessing detailed information about the Cabral-Flores pot operation, former partner Nathan Vargas decided that he wasn’t going to walk away from the family business uncompensated. He knew, among other things, that Cabral had some $700,000 in cash at the grow.

Nathan Vargas is a Nevada-licensed private investigator, and is listed on line as the owner of a business in Las Vegas called Tactical Security.

So, presumably using firearms, equipment and gear from his Tactical Security business, Nathan Vargas enlisted his brother Jesus, and his employee Roy Ha, and convinced them to join him in a raid on his brother-in-law's (and his former) pot business and pay himself and his heist helpers the $700k assumed to be at the robbery site. Mr. Ha may have been enlisted to participate in the Dos Rios raid because even with their gear and masks Nathan Vargas expected that his brother-in-law would probably have recognized his voice during the raid.

Investigators are continuing to look into the pot op to determine the source or “owner” of the $700k and then develop leads to a possibly larger, perhaps interstate, marijuana network. Why Nathan Vargas apparently tried to kill himself rather than face the consequences of his botched raid on his and his brother-in-law's business remains an open question.

Meanwhile Jesus Vargas and Roy Ha are scheduled to be arraigned on October 14. If they hire private attorneys they will presumably face pointed questions about the source of their funding.

This increasingly complicated marijuana case has occurred on top of two other high profile, violent incidents/investigations in September: the also pot-related Laytonville Home Invasion — whose alleged ringleader, Louis Bagliere, 73, of San Jose is still at large — and the cold-blooded murder and attempted murder of a married gay couple in Ukiah on September 23 by 68 year old Thomas Jones, the murdered man’s stepfather. The Jones case is being treated as a family property dispute gone bad, not a hate crime or marijuana transaction. It's unconfirmed, but we understand that Jones was sitting on his porch and handed a confession to arriving law enforcement, which should make his prosecution a simple task, quite possible a plea without trial.

Only a quarter into the fiscal year as of September 30, the token law enforcement overtime budget allocations which were low-balled simply to balance the county’s budget are already nearly depleted in both the Sheriff’s office and the DA’s office. These recent pot cases alone will require weeks if not months of further investigation.

And the Sheriff has already made it clear and public that he needs more money from the Supervisors. (See below.)

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KATY TAHJA reports from Comptche: "Joys of living in the sticks...our AT&T internet connection equipment is down for 2 days now and they hope "maybe" that repair equipment will arrive Sunday night...we also have no cell phone reception...my grandson has had no zooming to school since Tuesday...Thank heaven my museum in Mendocino I docent at let me log on and deal with 124 e-mails and facebook messages...be back in touch next week...I hope"

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COOK WANTED

The AV senior center is looking to hire a Part time cook. Tuesdays and Thursdays, about 15 - 20 hours per week total. Pay ranges from $16 - $20 per hour depending on qualifications. Please contact Fal at fallen@avbc.com

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GRAPE GROWERS: STOP USING ROUNDUP!

Editor,

Toxic pesticides like glyphosate and neonicotinoids are putting species like monarch butterflies and bees at risk of extinction – and without these critical pollinators, our food system is at risk.

How Does Glyphosate End up in Wine?

While glyphosate isn’t sprayed directly onto grapes in vineyards (it would kill the vines), it’s often used to spray the ground on either side of the grapevines.

Moms Across America reported: 

“This results in a 2-to 4- foot strip of Roundup-sprayed soil with grapevines in the middle. According to Dr. Don Huber at a talk given at the Acres USA farm conference in December of 2011, the vine stems are inevitably sprayed in this process and the RoundUp is likely absorbed through the roots and bark of the vines from where it is translocated into the leaves and grapes.”

In California, a judge has ruled the cancer warning label on Roundup does not have to be labeled even though the state will still list the nasty herbicide as cancer causing. Monsanto has known there are serious health effects for decades and has fought to keep the public in the dark.

Wines Tested Contained Glyphosate

An anonymous supporter of advocacy group Moms Across America sent 10 wine samples to be tested for glyphosate. All of the samples tested positive for glyphosate — even organic wines, although their levels were significantly lower.

The highest level detected was 18.74 parts per billion (ppb), which was found in a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional vineyard. This was more than 28 times higher than the other samples tested.

The lowest level, 0.659 ppb, was found in a 2013 Syrah, which was produced by a biodynamic and organic vineyard.

Glyphosate IS Now the Most-Used Agricultural Chemical Ever: newsweek.com/glyphosate-now-most-used-agricultural-chemical-ever-422419

Sincerely,

Caroline M. Scott

Sonoma Valley

PS. Dear winemakers and winery owners: 

I have been living in the Valley of the Moon for almost 30 years. I have the cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, now linked to exposure to RoundUp. Napa and Sonoma counties have the highest blood cancers in California. As an award-winning documentary filmmaker and longtime environmental educator I am passionate about starting a campaign to get Glyphosate out of our vineyards and ecosystem. As a first step, my team has produced a satirical ad which you can find on our website: www.Roundupwine.com.

Let's get Glyphosate out of our vineyards and join the other countries who have banned this toxic herbicide. A new film is coming out called ‘Children of the Vine’ -- which will further educate the public. Please join me in this fight to protect our environment.

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SUPES AGENDA NOTES

GIVEN THE LACK OF A MEASURE B MEETING VIDEO, we might get a bit more info about the meeting at next Tuesday’s Board meeting where the Supes are scheduled to get an “update” on what they are generously calling “progress” since the last update. It will be interesting to hear if anybody fesses up the staff’s having forgot to video the meeting. 

THE MEATYEST ITEM on next Tuesday’s agenda is Supervisor Williams proposal to “analyze the need for increased law enforcement to adddress organized crime.” An item we previously posted yesterday. And which the Sheriff has just today added to:

SHERIFF KENDALL:

As we continue through this year we are continuing to see a rise in violent crime in Mendocino County. Much of this is due to the illegal marijuana trade in our county while some is simply due to human nature. 

To put this into perspective, we have had 10 marijuana-related arrests for armed robbery, 2 kidnappings and the burglary of a home for marijuana and cash in which a child was home during the crime. This child was able to hide in the residence after suspects kicked in the door. We also had a murder which was not related to the illegal marijuana industry. This all occurred in a 12 day time frame. The frightening portion of this is I realize our season for violence is still to come. 

Normally Mendocino County sees a marked increase in violence including home invasion robbery, assault and murder during and shortly after marijuana harvest season. 

This increase in workload over a 12 day period due to violent crime is what our Detective Bureau would expect to see over a one year time period. All of these investigations are taking valuable time and energy away from cases that we also need to be working, such as homicides, missing persons, crimes against children, as well as our duties with the fires and standard calls for service.

Many of these investigations have suspects who are not from our area and take our detectives out of the county or out of state. This causes a dramatic increase in the price of investigating these crimes. 

Daily calls for service have not slowed down, however, we have seen a large decrease in self-initiated activities as there simply isn’t time between calls to initiate investigations. Therefore we are experiencing less proactive approaches to crime. We are experiencing several issues with the physical, spiritual and mental health of our communities. Our suicide rate is continuing to climb as are the number of overdoses within the County. 

As you know from my previous posts, The Sheriff’s Office needs more deputies to handle the increase in crime. Our Board of Supervisors have agreed to help the Sheriff’s Office receive more funding to hire more deputies, but being only reactive is not a permanent solution. We need to make changes at a higher level.

I’m currently working with the members of our Board of Supervisors to join me in contacting our state representatives to make some changes. Much of the increase in marijuana-related crimes come from legislation at the state level. Decisions made at the state level are made, of course, for the entire state, but the negative impact of those decisions hit Northern California the hardest. 

22 of our Northern rural counties comprise less than 5% of the vote for the state. I fear the decisions which are being made in the urban areas will continue to cause our residents to be victims of poor policies and legislation which only effects a small portion of the state. That small portion is *all of us*. 

The many hundreds of comments you’ve made on this page just in the last month or so tells me you stand with me. You want to see our communities safer again. So I’m asking for your help. We need to reach the people at the state level that make decisions that make life much harder for us here. We have Supervisors who are committed to public safety by helping the Sheriff’s Office receive funding for more deputies, but we can’t stop there.

Our Board of Supervisors are dedicated people. Together we will begin carrying this message to the officials at the state level. If this is a direction you think we should take, please go to https://mendocinosheriff.com/sheriffs-support-team, fill out that form with your message, even something as simple as Yes! so I know we’re in agreement. If you want to send this message to your Supervisor as well, but don’t know how to reach them, leave your message at https://mendocinosheriff.com/sheriffs-support-team and I’ll make sure they know you’re with us in making Mendocino County safer. Let us know you want all of us to take action, to talk with our state policy and lawmakers to make a positive difference in our quality of life. This is a big undertaking and I want to make sure this is a direction we can all move in together.

Thank you.

Sheriff Matt Kendall. 

#StrongerTogether 


BEFORE allocating any new money to the Sheriff, among other things, Supervisor Williams wants Sheriff Kendall to “report on current criminal activities and areas associated (including detailed long-term crime trend chart from the Sheriff). It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the Sheriff offers in this regard. But it will be even more interesting if they discuss the Sheriff’s already busted overtime budget.

(Mark Scaramella)

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Boonville logger Dan Kuny on the job at the August Complex Fire

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CANNABIS ENFORCEMENT EXCHANGE

Kirk Vodopals, Navarro: RE: Cannabis enforcement…Most folks in Mendo never wanted any rules or a pot permit program, seems to me. Now with the permit program floundering it seems that the no rules approach is backfiring since no rules means less enforcement of any cannabis-related activities. It’s still a profitable business and the black market seems to be thriving this year. Not sure what the Sheriff plans to do but his team is obviously outnumbered and spread too thin. I get weary every time I see a water truck drive through my neighborhood (and I see LOTS of them). Just yesterday I saw a truck full of youngsters driving in with a bed load full of CO2 containers. Great.


Laz, Willits:

“Not sure what the Sheriff plans to do but his team is obviously outnumbered and spread too thin”

The new Sheriff has resources. When the Oak Fire erupted within 5 miles of Willits, the Sheriff ordered up the 747 Super Tanker… and got it.

If he wants to clean up, let’s say Covelo, I wonder if he has access to the National Guard or to get the Feds involved? Because he’s going to need all the help he can get.

Covelo has been left to fend for itself for a while. Back in 2015, there was a resident Deputy, in name only. The rub was he left for Low Gap at 7 AM and returned to Covelo after dark. It was a show, ask around, the locals knew what was going on.

And when that menajahtwa thing involving the resident Deputies blew up years ago, and then a cop involved ended up dead [actually two of them — ms], law enforcement’s interest in the place seemed to end. And then there was the shoot out that killed a Deputy up there… [Perhaps a reference to the Bear Lincoln case — ms]

After all that, it never appeared Lawmen wanted any part of the place, the idea of being assigned to live and work there could have been construed as showing a Deputy the door.

Some say it’s a two hour wait to get the cops there now. By that time the deal may have already been resolved, one way or the other.

I think it’s a good thing the sheriff wants to clean things up.

Be Safe,

Laz


Vodopals: It’s a two-hour wait to get cops to my neighborhood, too (Navarro), but Covelo is way scarier than my neck of the woods. Like I said, more enforcement is probably just going to end up in better black market prices. The only think that will solve it is ending prohibition and prices bottoming out. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. There’s too much money to be made.

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SHALOM!

On Thursday, October 1, 2020, an Officer of the Fort Bragg Police Department observed a suspicious male appearing to check parked vehicles in the parking lot of Purity Market. Officers attempted to contact the male but he fled the location on a bicycle. 

A Community Service Officer observed the suspect a second time as he abandoned his bicycle and fled on foot in the 300 Block of E Alder Street. The Community Service Officer lost sight of the suspect prior to Officer’s arrival, and it was believed he had entered a residence in that area. Over approximately the next ten minutes the suspect moved through the backyards of private residences and multiple citizens began to report the suspect’s location. 

Officers located the suspect a third time in the alley east of the 100 Block of N Harrison Street and identified him as Shalom Lewis, 24, of Fort Bragg. 

Lewis

Knowing Lewis to have absconded from his California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation parole and to have a felony warrant, Officers pursued the suspect on foot for two blocks before he was apprehended in the back yard of a private residence. Lewis was taken into custody without further incident and transported to the Mendocino County Jail. 

The Fort Bragg Police Department would like to thank the Mendocino County Probation Office, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and District Attorney’s Office Investigator who responded to assist in this pursuit. Additionally, thank you to the multiple citizens who assisted in identifying the suspect’s location. 

Questions regarding this press release may be directed to Sergeant O’Neal at (707) 961-2800 ext. 167 or toneal@fortragg.com. 

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"You don't fight fascism because you are going to win, you fight fascism because it is fascist."

— Jean Paul Sartre

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ANNUAL BOTANICAL GARDENS HOLIDAY EVENT CANCELED

Virtual celebration in the works

advocate-news.com/2020/09/29/annual-botanical-gardens-holiday-event-canceled/

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BRYAN’S BUMBLING BURGLARY

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 1:07 a.m., Willits police officers responded to Brown’s Corner for a possible burglary that had just occurred. When officers arrived, they saw that the glass front door was broken and smashed in. Several items were scattered about inside and outside of the store, and there was additional damage to other store property. A review of video surveillance showed the suspect, later identified as 23 year-old Bryan Elias of Vallejo, had driven his vehicle slowly into the front door of the store in an attempt to break the glass.

Elias

Elias then reversed, parked his vehicle, exited, and began to smash the glass portion of the door with a beer bottle. Elias then entered the store and took a large amount of alcohol and tobacco products before exiting and leaving the scene. Officers were later able to track Elias to the 23000 block of Eastside Road where they contacted Elias and took him into custody. Officers obtained a search warrant for the premises and recovered most of the stolen property. The vehicle used in the commission of the crime was impounded.

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Tippi Hedren has her cigarette lit by a crow on the set of The Birds, 1963.

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FPPC STAMPS

Fort Bragg City Councilman Bernie Norvell writes:

Passing the Buc!

Have you noticed in AVA online ads Mo [Mulheren] ads have the required FPPC stamp while McGourty and Rodin do not? Small thing, but legal requirement and after Rodin/McGourty campaign manager made a stink in August about a large Mo sign that was a few feet over city limit!

— Bernie Norvell, Norvell’s Paint And Garage Doors

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UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT UPDATE

Did we mention that we’re in the midst of the most disruptive part of the project? With the underground utility work happening on the south end and the sidewalk, curb and gutter work happening on the north end, the entire stretch is a construction zone. Hang in there--the utility work will be wrapping up in a few more weeks, and then construction will be limited to a 2-3 block section at a time. Parking outside of the construction areas will be restored; traffic detours will be minimal. 

And if you need some reassurance that this is all going to be worth it, check out our website, www.ukiahstreetscape.com, where you can view detailed plans and more. (Also, note the green button in the center of the page that says “Business Streetscape Page.” )


Construction Update - Week of October 5th

North Side: Perkins to Henry Street 

Ghilotti Construction will be working primarily on the sidewalks around the courthouse (but not the business’ side). 

Monday-Tuesday: Conduit will be installed on the east side of State Street, and curbs and gutters will be poured on the west side. 

Monday-Friday: Excavation for new curbs and gutters will occur between State and School Streets on the north side on Perkins, south side of Standley, and on the west side of State Street between Perkins and Standley. 

During the week, West Smith Street between School and State Streets will be closed. 

Work hours are from 6am to 5pm in this area this week; no night work is planned. No work will happen on Monday, October 12th. 

South Side: Church to Mill Street 

Wahlund Construction continues to install new sewer lines this week between Stephenson and Clay. 

Monday-Friday: General excavation and sewer lateral work will occur between Stephenson and Clay Street. 

Through traffic will be maintained on State Street, short-term closures may be necessary throughout the week on side streets. 

Construction work will begin at 7 am in this area this week, and no night work is planned. There is a possibility of some work on Saturday the 10th, but no work will happen on Monday, October 12th

More information is available on our website, www.ukiahstreetscape.com, and on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UkiahStreetscape/

If you have any questions or concerns, you are always welcome to reach out to me.

Have a great weekend!

Shannon Riley

Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah

w: (707) 467-5793

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YORKVILLE BURGERS

It's that time again! Today and Tomorrow (10/2 and 10/3) we will be making hamburgers, veggie burgers and portobello burgers with all the fixin's to order!  Call in (707 894-9456) or come down and pick up the best burgers in town. You can eat outside on the patio or take them with you.  Orders are on a first come first serve basis and there are a limited number.

Don't forget to pick up a scoop of Cowlick's ice cream or a cold drink to accompany your burger on this hot weekend!

— Lisa at Yorkville Market

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UKIAH PAST

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ED NOTES

IF THERE can be such a thing as global schadenfreude it seems prevalent in the world today at the Trump covid news. Enjoying the misery of others isn't humankind's most endearing attribute, but most of us can't help ourselves. Much as I consider him a disaster, I don't wish covid on anyone. Survivors report it's like slow strangulation, and a terrible, terrible way to go.

A METEOROLOGIST named Alex Dodd at the National Weather Service in Eureka announced yesterday that “the convergence of current weather conditions and the record-setting wildfires have led to areas of Humboldt and Mendocino counties experiencing some of the worst air quality in North America.” In the Hoopa Valley air quality is so bad it has been pronounced “hazardous.” 

SMOKE, the upside. Beautiful sunsets, beautiful sunrises featuring a range of oranges seldom enjoyed by us weather aesthetes.

BOGUS stat of the day as blithely reported by NPR: 7.9% unemployment? Please. It's at least 25% right here in Mendocino County, worse in the cities and 'burbs.

AN ELDERLY FRIEND of the Eeyore personality type, pronounces with every purchase, “Well, that's the last set of tires I'll have to buy,” or “This is probably my last pair of shoes.” Etc. Which got me a' thinkin' about a probably unrealizable project I've had in mind for years, and for all the years I've been thinking about it and being snickered at by family and friends whenever I dare mention it, I have, week by week, accumulated the newspapers that will serve as its insulation. Years ago, I helped a guy tear down an old house, more like a cabin really, whose walls and sub floor were stuffed with old newspapers, a common insulation before we all became so well fed. We frequently halted work to read them, and these were papers from the early years of the 20th century, a fascinating time capsule-like trove I still have remnants of. Ever since, I've had this wacky notion of building a cabin wholly insulated with old AVAs, imagining some post-apocalypse hunter-gatherer, an American survivor, wandering through a deserted Anderson Valley when he discovers a crude shelter set back from what was once Highway 128, but now a broken skein of random pieces of ancient pavement. Removing the structure's wall boards to roast a tardy possum over an open fire, Post Apocalypse Man discovers a startling cache of America's Last Newspaper! P-A Man had heard of newspapers from his grandfather, but he'd never actually seen one, let alone held the miraculous pages reverently before him to read, by then a rare skill passed down through time by the few remaining families who possessed it. Returning to his small tribe of fellow survivors squatting in the remains of the Ukiah Visitor's Center, Post Apocalypse Man announces his good news: “My people, I've found the key to a new civilization in an ancient temple in the Anderson Valley. If we study and abide by these wise and sacred texts our lives will again be prosperous and joyous! Follow me over the hill to Boonville!” 

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, October 2, 2020

Bennett, Bernal, Eggers, Ferrado

ANGELA BENNETT, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

OSCAR BERNAL, Ukiah. Vandalism, protective order violation, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

DANIEL EGGERS, Lovelock, Nevada/Ukiah. Controlled substance, fugitive from justice.

RYAN FERTADO, Ukiah. Attempted arson.

Lawson, Lewis, Peters, Scott

ZACHARY LAWSON, Ukiah. Suspended license (for DUI), parole violation.

SHALOM LEWIS, Fort Bragg. Parole violation, resisting.

MARIA PETERS-PICKETT, Ukiah. Domestic battery. 

DARIN SCOTT, Willits. Disobeying court orders, failure to appear.

* * *

LIES are the privilege and gift of the elite to us and everyone else has to put up with their conspiracy of untruth.

— Richard Bradford

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OLD FORT BRAGG

* * *

IN SOME RESPECTS school is more cruel than prison. In prison, for instance, you are not forced to read books written by the wardens and the governor, nor beaten or otherwise tormented if you cannot remember their utterly unmemorable contents. In prison you are not forced to sit listening to turnkeys discoursing without charm or interest on subjects that they don't understand and don't care about and are therefore incapable of making you understand or care about.

— George Bernard Shaw

* * *

* * *

URSULA K. LE GUIN’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH at the National Book Awards, in front of a room full of publishers and corporate executives:

“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by a corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.”

* * *

CAUTION: LOW-FLYING BLACK SWANS

by James Kunstler

The New York Times almost wet its panties breaking the pre-dawn news that the president has tested positive for coronavirus. By the end of day, Democrats across the land — or, at least, up and down the east and west coasts — will be gathering unto Santeria shrines, lighting MAGA hats on fire, sacrificing chickens, drawing Wiccan pentangles in the moonlight, and entreating all the other unseen powers of Providence to rapture Mr. Trump into everlasting oblivion somewhere beyond the crab nebula.

The Judeo-Christian God of our fathers must have a special animus for the Golden Golem of Greatness. He / She / It / or They have heaped more tribulation on Mr. Trump than on the biblical Job of Uz, anguishing in Yahweh’s holy whirlwind. RussiaGate, VeryFinePeopleGate, UkraineGate, BoltonGate, now this! It typically takes about four days for Covid-19 symptoms to present, so early next week sometime the world will know if the bug made the president sick or if he shook it off like just another impeachment effort. The ordeal will also be an interesting test of the hydroxychloroquine + zinc regimen Mr. Trump says he’s been on.

The joyful hysteria in the mainstream news is so boisterous this morning that The Times hasn’t even played its obvious next card, which, I guarantee you, will be an effort to postpone the hearings over SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett on account of coronavirus being on-the-loose among government officials. I’m pretty sure that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will keep a firm hand on the tiller of that ship — even if the darn proceeding has to go full Zoom meeting, they will git’er done (as we say in Deplorable Land).

If the virus doesn’t knock Mr. Trump on his ass, I imagine we’ll be seeing quite a lot of him campaigning by video in quarantine, old game-show performer that he is. I wouldn’t even rule out some updated Oval Office versions of The Apprentice, with the president taking the opportunity to dismiss a few of the seditionists still lurking in government. Gina Haspel, you’re fired! Christopher Wray, you’re fired! Michael Horowitz, take a hike! General Mark Milley, you’re busted to corporal! Remember, the old Chinese word for crisis, weiji, means a combo of danger and opportunity.

Of course, there are small-but-real odds that the disease could make Mr. Trump very ill, or even launch him up to that great boardroom in the sky. What then? Does Veep Mike Pence carry on in his place? Or do the Trump forces in the GOP bring in Rick Grenell or Johnny Ratcliffe as an emergency candidate for president? Just as in the case of mass mail-in voting, this is a scenario the country hasn’t run before.

Technically, Mr. Trump’s two-week quarantine will be over by October 15, just in the nick of time for the second debate with Joe Biden. But Ol’ White Joe is sure to demur on that meet-up for reasons of virus exposure risk — though his peeps seemed less than eager for Round Two even before last night’s announcement of the president’s positive test. If that happens, and the president comes through his infection in good shape, then Mr. Biden will be seen as a weakling, which, technically, he is on cognitive grounds, apart from his inherent character deformities.

The focus in days ahead surely will be on Mr. Trump’s medical condition, but there’s plenty more action in the offing as October rolls out. There’s the aforementioned Amy Coney Barrett SCOTUS business, there are new rumblings out of John Durham’s office just in the past few days that something consequential may be up there, and there is the stalemate on a coronavirus relief bill in Congress.

The latter matter hints at the catastrophe lurking in the background of the election: the stupendous mass bankruptcy of unemployed or laid-off middle-class people whose rent and mortgage payment holidays will eventually run out, not to mention car payments and all the other overdue, usual, rotating bills each household must pay to stay above water. After half a year of lockdowns, millions are on the brink of financial ruin.

Of all the things that have made Americans anxious and hysterical this year, this horror of middle-class financial ruin has not quite expressed itself overtly in the public arena — at least, not in the streets. For sure, the Antifas and BLM mobs have been active looting, burning, and smashing things up, but many of these are unemployables, and the ones burdened with college debt may be counting on Democratic Party promises of a jubilee on that.

The foundering middle-class may be people most sympathetic to Trump and Trumpism. You can’t sell them on the identity politics nonsense that has become the Dems’ stock-in-trade. Laid-off airline pilots, hair stylists, and insurance adjusters are probably not interested in critical race theory, gender dysphoria, re-imagining law enforcement, able-ism, and the travails of the “neuro-diverse” (the latest term-of-art for the mentally ill). They may also catch a whiff of yet deeper economic calamity in the Democrats’ relish for more lockdowns, and even in the promised “universal basic income” schemes that would pay the able-bodied to not work. The question for this large group is how many will swap their liberty for the very sketchy and conditional security of a Woke nanny state that requires strict obedience to whatever crazy crusade it thinks up next?

There’s your true friction point in the current disposition of things. People used to being busy, productive, and independent may feel a mighty resentment about becoming that kind of society, and they may fight over it. At least they’ll turn out to vote on it. Maybe they’ll do both.

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

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* * *

IT'S AN EMERGENCY

Editor: 

As I hear the sirens wail and watch the sun turn red in the smoke-filled sky, a deep plea rises up in me. I hope and pray that every citizen considers one important question before they mark their ballot for president: Who will best deal with this ever-growing emergency that is global warming?

I believe it is obvious by now that these mega-fires that are sweeping over the entire West Coast aren't ultimately caused by PG&E or some family foolishly lighting fireworks. The underlying cause that turns a spark into an inferno is the fact that the planet is heating and the vegetation that evolved to thrive in one climate can no longer thrive in this changing climate. It dries out and becomes tinder waiting for that next spark. Besides fires, we see mega-hurricanes, melting tundra and droughts making large swaths of land unable to grow crops.

We are in an emergency of vast magnitude that will require civilizations to mobilize, change and adapt on a vast scale. So please consider which of the candidates for president is best equipped to face this emergency and lead the nation and the world toward survival.

Michael Krikorian

Windsor

* * *

* * *

IT MAY BE that the human race is on the way out, a failed species, and anything one tries to do is futile. But I think that even if I knew that was true I would still believe that each individual is responsible for his conscience; and must live by his standards of right and wrong, as long as he breathes. All I know how to do is write: the only way I can write with any authority in the hope of influencing even a very few people is to write from first-hand knowledge.

— Martha Gellhorn

* * *

THE CONTEST between the president and the corona virus reminds me of Pac-Man of the 80s, with Trump on the run from Covid. He can't win.

— Mitch Clogg

* * *

YESTERDAY we posted the cover art for the Firesign Theatre album "Fighting Clowns" (1981). Some associated trivia questions:

Which member of Firesign Theatre owned property in Mendocino County? and whereabouts was it located?

Who was the artist of that album cover?

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