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MCT: Thursday, October 29, 2020

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A MICRO EARTHQUAKE (2.1 magnitude) occurred at 4:10 this morning a few miles north of Navarro.

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SUNNY, DRY WARM DAYS ahead for inland Mendo with daytime highs in the 80s and cool nights in the 30s and 40s. Zero chance of precipitation for the foreseeable future. Similar sunny and dry conditions on the coast but lower daytime highs in the 60s. 

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TWELVE NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Wednesday (four hospitalized) bringing the total to 1154.

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by Mike Geniella

Mark Welch came to Mendocino County in 1980, after completing his master’s degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Soon employed by Victor Matheu Vineyards, a large privately owned vineyard in Potter Valley, he farmed for Matheu until the ranch was sold to Domaine Chandon in 1989.

In 1989, Welch formed his own Welch Vineyard Management Services Inc. while continuing to farm the Matheu Vineyard property. Welch’s company became an independent, full farming service firm operating in Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma Counties. 

Welch developed and farmed vineyards in the Anderson Valley, Ukiah, Hopland, Redwood Valley and Potter Valley in Mendocino County. He was instrumental at one time in working with Robert Mondavi Winery to establish the legendary Napa Valley grape growing operations in Mendocino County.

In Lake County, Welch developed vineyards in Clearlake Oaks, Hidden Valley, the Red Hills district, and the Kelseyville bench - Big Valley area. He has also provided full farming services to clients in Lakeport, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Clearlake Oaks, and Hidden Valley. Welch also developed and managed vineyards in northern Sonoma County. 

Welch in more recent years concentrated on preferred clients with whom he shared a common farming philosophy and ongoing friendships, dedicated to farming with respect for the land and the environment. 

Mark graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies and received a master’s degree in Agriculture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He was a foreign exchange student in Madrid, Spain during his undergraduate period at Santa Clara and resided in Lima, Peru upon his graduation.

As a past president of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau and a long-time director, Welch was a director and treasurer of the North Coast Grape Growers Association, an organization promoting the interests of Northern California coastal wine grape producers. He was also a member and past director of the Mendocino Wine Grape and Wine Commission.

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Public Safety Announcement - Round Valley Cellular Service Disruption

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has been notified of multiple cellular service disruptions in Round Valley in the near future.

These service disruptions (complete loss of service) are connected to upgrades in US Cellular equipment to increase service needs in Round Valley.

The Sheriff's Office will have Deputies specifically staffed in Round Valley during these disruption dates/times.

The Covelo Fire Department will also have personnel present at the Covelo Firehouse for those needing to request public safety assistance (Fire, Medical, Law Enforcement) that can not do so by cellular telephone during the disruption dates/times.

The service disruption is scheduled for the following dates/times:

  • 10-29-2020 (Thursday) - 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • 10-30-2020 (Friday) - 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
  • 11-03-2020 (Tuesday) - 12:00 AM to 6:00 AM
  • 11-04-2020 (Wednesday) - 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM

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The California Public Utilities Commission has asked that we make our community members aware of a new scam going around.

People are being cold-called by would-be scammers with spoofed telephone numbers (often with the same prefix as the intended victim’s own phone) and greeted by a recording saying, “This is an apology from your electric company.” The call then offers a rebate due to overcharging, and if the intended victim stays on, a live caller joins and attempts to solicit bank information.

There is no such active rebate program currently being offered by any major utility in California, and should one ever be offered, it would likely be in the form of bill credits. The FCC investigates such scams, and the CPUC advises that Californians immediately hang up on any such calls received.

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NEXT BOONVILLE FOOD BANK DAY: Mon 11/2, 3-6 pm at Boonville Methodist church. Are you hungry? Come get free food.

Wanna help?

We are seeking volunteers. Put food into bags for distribution in the morning or help pass out food in the afternoon. Strong bodies appreciated, especially in the morning.

Please send a message to me for more information.

We give afternoon meals.

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THE DONUT HOLE, 15300 Amar Road, La Puente, CA 91744

John Tindall, Ed McCreany and Jesse Hood built this whimsical La Puente, California drive-through some time between 1947 and 1968. The original chain bakery went out of business in 1979. Local lore says newlyweds still visit the bakery as a fertility rite

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AV AMBULANCE OFFICER Clay Eubanks reports:

I was out for three weeks between the inspection classes and having the water tender out on the August complex. During that time the crew stepped up commendably. Chief Andres Avila and Angela DeWitt both took some shifts as well. 

This time out has highlighted one thing for me. We need more EMTs to sustain the crews and keep a few from carrying the entire load. 

I believe now is a good time to start promoting the Spring online EMT class. This could be a great opportunity for new folks to participate that may not have been able to in the past. Theresa Gowan (popular Medstar Paramedic who lives in Philo) had said she would do skills testing here in the valley as needed. 

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I’m painting the portraits of Mr. John Hill and his wife Rita. He worked for many years at the Ukiah Theater, and was known to all Ukiah people who went to the movies!

— Lauren Sinnott, Ukiah

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by William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital

During any crisis, even one that stretches on as COVID has, it is important that we remain calm and make decisions based on sound principles. This is exactly what Kristine Hendricks who owns and operates Dandy Lion Cub House did when she heard that the family of one of the children she cares for had several members come down with COVID. The family had some relatives visit from out of the area. This is, of course, what many of us do trying to maintain our relationships with loved ones during this pandemic. When some of the family developed symptoms, they got tested and when the results came back positive for COVID the family acted very responsibly. They called Hendricks to let her know the situation.

Upon hearing the news, Hendricks immediately went into action. She called all of the parents of the children she cared for and let them know. She also called the County Health Department to both let them know and get their guidance on how she should respond. She then voluntarily closed her day care so that it could be thoroughly cleaned. She and her staff also got tested. The staff member who was taking care of the infant from this family tested positive. According to the Mendocino Health Department, who has done thorough contact tracing on the case, a total of six persons have tested positive. Four of these are members of the original family, one is the staff member and one is a family member of a staff member. The Health Department is monitoring 19 others who may have had contact. According to the health department, no other children or families have been infected. 

I spoke with Kelsey Rivera, Operations Manager for the Health Department’s COVID response. Rivera praised Hendricks for her response to the situation stating, “She is an example of how we would like all business owners to respond. She acted quickly and thoughtfully and has really been cooperative with all of our efforts to fully investigate and do the necessary contact tracing.” Rivera and I agreed that Hendricks’ quick actions prevented what could have been a more serious outbreak.

Sadly, as we saw several months ago when the traveling nurse tested positive, some of the community members’ response has been less than admirable. Henricks shared with me that she has received threats against her personally. While I am certain that the majority of our community on the Coast are compassionate and caring individuals, such behavior from even a few people is not helpful and makes this already difficult pandemic even more challenging. We all need to come together and support each other during these trying times.

Keeping day cares open is crucial to the success of our economic recovery from this crisis. Without day care, many workers have had to quit their jobs in order to stay home to look after young children. This means even more unemployed persons and struggling businesses as a result of COVID. Hendricks told me that this is the reason she has kept Dandelion Day Care open while other day cares were closing. “I feel that I am doing my part for the community by helping working parents return to their jobs,” she said.

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THIS QUOTE begs a basic question: “I am thankful, and cautiously optimistic that the state is allowing us to re-open further,” says County Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren. “While this is good news, we cannot allow this to make us believe we are in the clear. Many regions in the country have been experiencing recent spikes in COVID-19, so we all must individually maintain protective measures against this virus.”

THE QUESTION is what’s the point of a highly paid Mendo health officer if the state calls the tune, and calls it without regard to local circumstances? Health Officer in this county has traditionally been a do-nothing sinecure occupied by under-employed medicos. Coren succeeds Noemi Doohan, and both are in the grand tradition. A lot of Mendo people have been unnecessarily thrown out of work by these broad brush state edicts, while our so-called Health Officer merely signs off on what some anonymous drone, sitting in a Sacramento office, deduces from Mendo’s suspect stats. For instance, a lot of our cases have been vineyard workers bussed in from I-5 towns due to Mendo’s in-county labor shortage.

CAN’T SAY I miss the ava comment line, presently out of service while our server allegedly serves up a Russian-proof website. Or something like that to save us from hackers. About one in three comments is interesting and/or pertinent. The rest are either ax grinders peddling cut and paste insanity from dubious websites or straight-up loons. Anyway, the tech titans are now in full control of our cyber-lives and, as they’ve done to us this week, suddenly descend with no warning to hack us themselves with the latest wrinkles in alleged security.

WINE BOTTLES as weapons, an on-line comment: “Has anybody noticed that cheap red blends sometimes come in heavy-ass bottles (like this one for example I guess the idea is that it is supposed to create a better impression, but when I pick up one of these from the shelf I put it right back b/c they spent their money on stupid bottles not the contents. Anyway, poor dude who got hit with one… I hope his brother switches to something classier but still value-oriented. I find a lot of good Bordeaux and Rhone blends in the $10 range that come in shitty thin bottles. At least that way if things go sideways nobody gets hurt.”

SENSIBLE OBSERVATION re the county’s pot program by Jon Kennedy, candidate for 1st District supervisor: “We have turned this into its own revenue-enhancing program for this budget, and I can prove it. That’s not what government is supposed to be. The government is supposed to take care of public safety, the environment, and the health of the community; that’s our job. It isn’t to create its own industry on the back of another industry.”

INTERESTING interview with AOC in the current Vanity Fair. She says she isn’t surprised that her name is never far from President Donald Trump’s loose lips. She says the ceaseless torrents of abuse she gets almost caused her to pack it in. “It’s not an accident that, every cycle, the boogeyman of the Democrats is a woman,” she said. “A couple of cycles ago, it was Pelosi. Then it was Hillary, and now it’s me.”

I TRULY don’t get the hostility for AOC other than a lot of oinkers can’t handle smart women at the power levers. Her ideas are well within the old Rooseveltian, social democratic tradition as are Bernie’s. Neither one of them is a “socialist” in any traditional sense of the term. A true socialist would agitate for public ownership of all the major instruments of production and services Americans depend on for their lives. Locally, that would mean a public takeover of, say, our privately held forests, which could and should be managed in the public interest by the people who work in the woods and the mills. Or used to prior to the woods and the mills being looted by distant greedheads. And instead of for-profit hospitals like Mendo’s, now in the monopoly hands of a vegetarian Christian off-shoot, all the hospitals would be owned by the communities they serve. Anyhoo, I understand the hostility for Pelosi and Hillary; you don’t have to be a sexist to be highly annoyed by them, but I’m a big fan of AOC.

ON THE SUBJECT of female officeholders, Mo Mulheren, poised to become the new supervisor for District Two, assessed the women who have previously functioned as Mendo County Supervisor — Liz Henry; Marilyn Butcher; Patti Campbell; Carre Brown; and Kendall Smith. Mo’s assessments require rose-colored glasses to come to the conclusions Mo came to. Of the five, considered for ability and principle, Liz Henry was, by far, the pick of the litter. Butcher and Campbell were unerring votes for bad policy; Carre Brown is…well, so long as you don’t bring up water and Potter Valley in the same sentence, she’s pleasant enough; and Kendall Smith, who we always assumed was obviously 5150, had to be threatened with prosecution by DA Eyster when she refused to return the money she’d stolen from the taxpayers via her travel and conference budget. Smith finally coughed up. Liz Henry stood up to constant attacks from “liberals” and the backwards people alike during the Redwood Summer period especially. 

STARTLINGLY OPTIMISTIC ANALYSIS wafted into my in box this morning: “If Democrats win the White House and lock both chambers of Congress, those who backed Biden’s bid with an asterisk are preparing to push him with speed and purpose on a number of important issues [to the left], leaving little room for the pleasantries of party unity that prevailed throughout the general election. ‘The word on the street is it’s definitely going to start immediately,’ a former senior adviser to Bernie Sanders said in an interview on Tuesday. ‘Most people are putting on the good face to vote Trump out. But make no mistake, the current power structure on the Democratic side should take no comfort that the main reason why Biden may be elected president of the United States of America is mostly anti-Trump’.”

AND OF ALL PEOPLE, here comes Jared Huffman, improbably described as a male version of AOC: “Democrats will breathe a sigh of relief that we saved the democratic republic” if Biden defeats Trump. “But that’s the floor. Not the ceiling,” the progressive lawmaker [Huffman] said. “So, we’re gonna keep pushing, and I think we’re going to do it constructively. But we’ve gotta do a lot better than, ‘stitch the Affordable Care Act back together’.”

I’LL SAY, JARED, so, like, tell us about the rest of your “progressive” agenda. No sign of it on the Northcoast you allegedly represent. Prediction: Biden will beat the orange monster so badly the O.M. won’t be able to plausibly claim the election was stolen, but millions of Democrats voted against Trump not out of any enthusiasm for Republican Lite, Biden. Prediction dos: Kamala will be president by mid-summer of 2021 as Biden becomes so extremely ga-ga even the DNC can’t pretend he’s competent. Prediction tres: Widespread civil unrest as the Democrats, what with their first allegiances being to Goldman Sachs, the insurance combines, major corporations, and their wealthy padrones, won’t be capable of the massive social programs necessary to prevent this sucker from going all the way under.

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“I had to wait three years, eleven months, twenty days, thirteen hours, and fifty-three minutes to vote.”

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Sylvia Gilmour: I just called WM to pay my quarterly invoice and asked the person assisting me about the “approximately 18.74 percent" rate increase effective November 1, 2020, as well as the proposed retroactive charges to cover 2018 to Nov 1. He didn’t know about either one. He consulted with others at the office (not local, though a local number) and he was informed that yes, the rate increase is happening, though it is larger than usual. So far, only one other person knew about the retroactive charges and found that out from another customer call. Please, everyone who received this letter, supposedly from our local office, call 707-964-9172 and express your concern. I said that I understand the need for a rate increase (though this is a big one), however I am unwilling to pay retroactively as we had an agreement and I kept my end. We’ll see where it all goes, but the more calls they get the better. Maybe we can change this. Hope springs eternal!

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Marinela Miclea: We need to let them know that we’re not “delighted” by their actions, and that their UNethical “retroactive charges” will likely lead to a class action lawsuit.

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Prasada Lori Squillace: I called and they took my info and my complaint. However, they also gave me the number to the county and said that they are the ones who put off approving the increase for two years, then approved all 3 years at the same time. So I called them too. 707-463-4363

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Marinela Miclea: Very strange I called our local number (964-9172 x6), spoke briefly w/ a customer service representative, and she hung up on me.

I called back right away, and this time my call was sent to their Arizona call center; the person taking down my info. had no idea what I was calling about so they gave me a different phone number to call. That phone number went to the Caspar transfer station, and the person answering it said they’re under different ownership.

3rd time I called I got a different person (not in the local office) who said they’re dealing w/ overflow of calls and tried to reassure me that the retroactive billing was legal. I disagreed. I asked her to give me another phone/manager name to call - she gave me the toll-free number (866/218-3220). I asked for an email address, but she was unwilling/unable to give me one.

I don’t think there’s much point in arguing w/ customer service reps who don’t have the power to effect change - we need to go higher up.

It might be better if we each send a registered letter addressed to the company's leaders, stressing the potentially illegal and clearly unethical act of imposing "retroactive charges” without their customers’ consent.

James C. Fish, Jr., CEO and President

Michael J. Watson, Senior Vice President, Chief Customer Officer

Corporate address: 1001 Fannin, Suite 4000, Houston, Texas 77002

Corporate phone number: (713) 512-6200

If you decide to write them, make sure you quote from their own statements on their website:

“our values come down to this: Do the Right Thing. The Right Way.”

“We Value Our Customers We place our customers at the center of what we do and aspire to delight them every day.”


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Marinela Miclea: I talked to Howard Dashiell at Mendo County last week who said that both the County and Waste Management had delayed processing the increases so they’re both at fault.

It’s not the rate increases that are the issue, however, but rather the fact that they’re asking customers to pay for a service that’s already been “consumed” without customers being able to decline the service.

Imagine going to dine at a restaurant and getting a bill 2 years from now charging you more retroactively for the food you ate 2 years ago. Sounds ridiculous, no?

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Alan Haack: We're all supposed to be nicey nicey, when being ripped off. “Maybe if I'm nice to you, you won't do it to me?”

However, both PG&E and Waste Management are giant corporate bullies, prowling our streets and sucking up our money. Nothing will stop them, short of a very committed progressive leadership in Sacramento.

Of course, we're not supposed to complain. But never explain and never complain has limits, too.

Local and state government needs a focus on fixing today's problems, not planning for an imaginary future that may not arrive if we can't take care of the major problems we face today.

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Chuck Hathaway: There was a time when we all used to just deal with our own trash. But somehow along the way there was the change of thinking and WM came along and said how about you pay me and we'll deal with your trash…

Now many years on down the road what do we have? Hey WM decides it can get more money from folks who don't want to deal with their own trash.

The best way to deal with corporate greed is deal with your own trash. Put it in your vehicle and take the time to drive to the dump yourself. Pretty soon WM isn't making any money and they take their green plastic containers go away…

It actually works quite well. Just a thought…

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Ron Hock: So... if we were to cancel service for, say, one month, then sign up for new service they couldn't apply the retro-active increase.

Johnson Property was being considered for a wastewater treatment field, but they withdrew from negotiations for unspecified family reasons leaving the District back to considering the Fairgrounds again, if the wastewater segment of the project is to proceed. The drinking water project is in better shape with agreements nearly ready to be announced.

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Nottyb: I wonder how they would respond to two years worth of trash piled up in front of their building.

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Marco McClean: Notty, it's not so much a building as it is a temporary office shed on skids, but that is how a dump works. You take your trash there and pile it up on everybody else's trash, and pay them $6.50 or $12.95 or $67.37... just whatever they say today, like every other service or product you pay for -- groceries, for example: you put the eggs and an orange and two packs of ramen and a can of chili on the belt, wait patiently while they eyeball it all, and they say, "$6.50," or "$12.95," or "$67.37," and you swear and pay them.

Speaking of which, I just found out they don't take metal or defunct appliances at the Albion waste transfer station anymore. You have to take your old range or water heater to Caspar now. And bring money or a check. On Sunday the 25th the man at Caspar said they're not set up for paying with a card yet. You don't want to get there with just a card and find that out then.

The last time I was at the Caspar dump was so many years ago it was downhill into the dump yard, now merely a transfer station because it's uphill --it's a mountain of material-- reminding me of a couple of writers to the Mendocino Commentary in the 1980s who saw it going that way and complained obsessively of what they called the underground plume of poison they imagined was spreading out beneath the Caspar dump to toxify all of California through a network of caves in the mantle of the planet. There were diagrams in crayon with red and purple arrows showing the flow of banana peels and used eggplant and radioactive hospital poison going all the way from Caspar to Lake Tahoe. I said, "This isn't gonna be as effective in black and white." Good point. They added a note by each element so you could properly color it yourself, the sort of thing people used to occupy themselves with before there was the internet. There used to be a stack of newspaper sections left behind on every cafe table. Imagine going to a diner or coffeeshop and nobody is typing or thumbing. Imagine going in a coffeeshop, sigh.

It was sharply both sweet and sad at the same time -- poignant is the word for that -- on the way to the Caspar dump Sunday, to drive past the transmitter tower that used to be KMFB. We're all old now; it's natural to see the world as going to Hell in a boat, as everything so clearly sucks compared to the way it used to be, when people just raked their trash out of the back of a pickup truck into the ocean and it was a tourist draw because of all the beautiful shiny glass jewels it turned into. Spark plugs were the coolest. All the metal went away from them and they became interesting little chessmen. I still have some.

At least trash doesn't smell as bad as it did when we were all young and our noses were at peak sensitivity. A skunk under the house could ruin your entire month. I remember being able to smell people smoking cigarets in other cars on the highway, and sometimes it was hard to force myself to go inside places because a single person there had that horrible hippie perfume on that they all used to use, that would smack you in the face and stop your breath. Old men smelled like aftershave and/or vinegary sweat, and women often -- mostly very fat women -- smelled like piss and some gagging kind of cosmetic or hygiene powder. When I was in high school the sexiest smell, for me, was a freshly laundered button-up linen blouse.

There was a singular smell that I remember clearly that -- just a minute, hold on, I'll go see... Yeah, that's still the smell of under the kitchen sink, but it's very faint. And remember the smell of a radio warming up -- greasy dust cooking on the tubes? And the salted-popcorn smell between a dog's toes.

When I was little in L.A. one of my favorite smells was freshly laid asphalt. And a Bob's Big Boy hamburger with the meat slightly burned at the edges, the toasted bun and the onion and tomato and special sauce and shredded iceberg lettuce, all at once when you'd take the paper off. The blue water in the rinse sink behind the bar in my grandparents' Italian restaurant. And when a diesel bus would start away past you, I loved that, and I wonder why. I mean, what would be the evolutionary advantage of it?

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To the Editor:

I applaud our County’s effort to help solve our homeless population problem. Buying the Best Western Motel on Orchard Avenue represents a bold and compassionate step in that direction. 

Our homeless population are not criminals, drug addicts and child molesters. They include mothers with children, veterans, elderly citizens who suffer financial hardships. They need a place close to schools and services they can access without undue hardship. They do not need to be placed in our affluent residential areas. But they also should not be placed in the worst neighborhoods just because of their poor financial status. 

The Whitmore Lane Facility is being used for COVID-19 patients and contacts. The idea of throwing the homeless population into that mix is unconscionable. 

Many of the homeless population may not be suitable for placement in the Best Western Motel facility. I am confident the County will have an interview screening process. Applications should be reviewed and evaluated by a committee. If someone inappropriate falls through the cracks and gets admitted I would expect they can be discharged for rules violations. I understand there will be security and live-in counselors on site. 

I have lived in Ukiah for over 40 years. Our whole country is encountering this homeless problem. It is now in Ukiah to stay. It will not go away unless the county takes sensible steps to help solve the problem. 

Theron Chan, M.D.


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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 28, 2020

Flores, Lopes, Patty, Reid

ANZEL FLORES, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ANTHONY LOPES SR., Willits. Disorderly conduct-under influence of drugs/alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

FRANKLIN PATTY, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation, probation revocation.

LENA REID, Fort Bragg. Sexually exploiting child: develop/etc. photo/etc. Sex conduct, lewd-lascivious acts upon child under 14, use of minor for obscene matter not commerce, victim under 14, oral copulation/victim under ten years of age.

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by William Grimes

Monuments are falling. Names are being changed. New words just can’t keep up .

I have one more very objectionable name that must be changed. If I were an African American, Hispanic, or Asian with skin not white enough I'd be leading the charge for immediate change. Many Caucasians would (and will?) happily join them. 

It's the name of a building. A house actually. With a bombshell of a name in these days of George Will’s progressives; these days when those claiming to know a more perfect union are just getting started to remake America word-by word and name-by name, the easy stuff first. Then the revolution in the streets. No hammers and pitchforks, no more Molotov cocktails. Hand grenades and laser guns that kill all memory.

The building is currently called the White House: This name is totally wrong, offensive, a daily reminder of white, Caucasian, supremacy in our great land. Brutal oppression of everyone whose skin was not lily white. 

The name has nothing to do with the color of the paint on the house where our presidents live. Not in the progressives mind. It means skin color, like in white supremacists. After all we've had 45 presidents and though only one has been non-Caucasian the name offends those caring, sensitive white progressives--and all those of a different skin color. No empathy. No caring about their feelings, self-ascribed victims in this white nation.

The name must be changed.

I tried to come up with a more fair and balanced name. Taking the white out of the house. But most come out “fake," not descriptive, more importantly not sufficiently inclusive to make all our citizens content or at least off the streets at night. Perhaps you can help make a better name. If you and we don't find a solution someone else soon will.

Here's my process to find a new name which I acknowledge now failed. I began with color. Gray, The Gray House didn't do it---that would mean old which would upset the progressives and those with black, brown, yellow, and red skins. 

Rust? The Rust House is a no-starter. Sounds corrosive, like ruin happening; white progressives would kill it. “Beaver” shown in online site as an illustration of mixed colors: shades of black and brown and a tint of yellow but The Beaver House might suggest other thoughts that women of all colors might feel offended by. So many to find so much to be offended by. Maybe Chestnut. The Chestnut House. But chestnuts are small and presidents are large and anyway chestnuts have their cultural niche in being roasted at Christmas time---oops sorry to use the word Christmas----separation of state and religion---and our presidents are roasted enough by the media. Maybe Tan, The Tan House, works best but somehow it suggests a passive, unimaginative color, lacks the giddy-up our presidents' residence needs.

How about a word combining color and metal, lustrous metal indeed. I’m thinking The Gold House or The Silver House, both representing value, strength, and attraction. Yep, but exploitation comes to mind, and even the hurt to nature by mining these beautiful materials. Won’t do. Maybe t the Aluminum House eitherwould suggest strength and utility—no TV or satellites or no bomber planes without it. Nope. 2 syllables too long. The Steel House? God no, too militaristic, lie we resemble that remark.

So I think I've exhausted the colors that might substitute for White in The White House. But maybe historical names of leaders could be the answer. Could do King House with Martin Luther King in mind. Could please the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement. No way, we killed the monarchical system, yes? And the red states would go wild. Which includes, or precludes The Queen House, fans of Freddie Mercury would rally support. We men have to hang on to the last of our balls. 

Mr. Will suggested the name of the city, San Francisco, be changed to Nancy Pelosi City because religious names of saints go against the First Amendment which relates to the separation of church and state. There are dozens of such cities and towns with the name of a Catholic saint and all must be changed. I see a new career opening up, a sort of ad agency enterprise that will create new jobs for those college grads who majored in Liberal Arts.and studied foreign languages. They might come up with an Asian or African name, some mix of both. 

A number of new words will have to be created to satisfy progressives' demands for a truly fair United States of America. 

Bring it on.

Yet I’m not through. Maybe The America House, though the word "America" was derived from the name of Spanish explorer and map maker, Americus Vespucci, who was a citizen of the nation that raped and plundered South America. Afraid that'll never do. Which by the way means Columbus, the Ohio city, and Columbus Square and Avenue in NYC must have name changes. Christoper was a colonizer for his employer nation, Spain again. Maybe Franklin. The Franklin House. But he was too white and his very name calls to our mind his affiliation and affection, or lack thereof, for Paris and all things French. I'd be a progressive and work to veto this recommendation. The Great Alexander, Hamilton of course. The Hamilton House. But the play and now streaming soon to you carries too much baggage. Is it pro black? Is it too black? Seems so. Finally since the world sport is now soccer—-where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?—-Maybe The Soccer House. No, I give up. Too frivolous.

The School House might work given the USA’s once sparkling reputation for education. Plus every president gets educated every day as new and unanticipated events brings a new reality. 

My limited creative wordmanship is exhausted. Did I say words-man-ship. Forgive me, women. Wordspersonship, and don’t forget it. My bad.

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by Joan Didion

My father died in December of 1992. A few months later in March I happen to drive my mother from Monterey to Berkeley where we were to spend a few nights at the Claremont Hotel and I was to speak at a University of California Charter Day ceremony.

"Are we on the right road?" My mother had asked again and again as we drove up 101.

I had repeatedly assured her that we were, at last pointing out an overhead sign: 101 North.

"Then where did it all go?" she had asked.

She meant where did Gilroy go? Where was the Milias hotel? Where could my father eat short ribs now? She meant where did San Juan Bautista go? Why was it no longer so sweetly remote as it had been on the day of my wedding there in 1964? She meant where had San Benito and Santa Clara counties gone as she remembered them? The coastal hills north of Salinas, the cattle grazing, the familiar open vista that had been relentlessly replaced (during the year, two years, three, the blink of the eye during which she had been caring for my father) by mile after mile of pastel subdivisions and labyrinthine exits and entrances to freeways that had not previously existed?

For some miles she was silent.

California had become, she said then, "all San Jose."

In the bar at the Claremont that evening someone was playing, as if to reinforce what had become a certain time travel aspect in our excursion, "Only Make-Believe," and "Where or When."

“The smile you are smiling you were smiling then -- but I can’t remember where or when —”

I had last been in the bar at the Claremont in 1955, with the son of a rancher from Mendocino County. I recall that I had my roommate’s driver’s license and a crème de menthe frappe. 38 years later from the platform at the Charter Day ceremony I glanced at the row where my mother was seated and found her chair empty. When I located her outside she told me that it had become essential to leave. She said that "something terrible" had happened during the academic procession, something that had made her fear that she would "cry in front of everybody." It seemed that she had seen a banner reading "Class of 1931," and then realized that the handful of men straggling along behind it (if there were any women she did not mention them) were having trouble walking.

The class of 1931 had been my father’s class at Berkeley. "They were all old men," my mother said about those few of his former classmates who had made the procession. "They were just like your father." “Frank Reese ‘Jim’ Didion,” the memorial note for my father had read in the alumni magazine. December 19, in Carmel. A native of Sacramento, where he was acting as a real estate investor, he majored in business at Cal and was a member of Chi Phi. He is survived by his wife, Eduene, two children, Joan Didion Dunne ‘56 and James ‘62 and four grandchildren including Steve ‘88 and Lori ‘93. 

There was no believable comfort that I could offer my mother: she was right. They were all old men and it was all San Jose. Child of the crossing story that I was, I left my mother with Lori ‘93 and took a United red-eye from San Francisco to Kennedy, the last plane to land before a storm CNN was calling "the nor’easter of the century" closed every airport and highway north of Atlanta. I remembered this abandonment the day she died.

* * *

* * *



Lanny Cotler wrote a better than average letter to the AVA, "Leading from the Bottom." He is on the right track here as he may agree with me which is not a bad position to be in. I have to bear the burden of being right most of the time. Nobody likes a smart ass. If you want to lead from the bottom there are a number of rules you should follow. First you must have a large participation. Six digits or more. Those who participate do so at their own initiative, not recruited. Examples of "leading from the bottom”: the Tea Party. It arose spontaneously out of nowhere and influenced many gringos and elected many gringos to public office. The Republican primaries of 2016: a good number of states have a majority of racists. They are attracted to other racists. Donald Trump ran away with the contest. He has continued to lead from below the bottom.

We want gringos between the ages of 18 and 30. We want members of the House and Senate who are under the age of 50. Those who are over the age of 50 shall be opposed and voted out. We will not ask present day politicians for help or advice. We will wait for the right gringos to come along and let nature take its course. It will take a while. But it can work.

Put a small ad in the local newspaper. One column wide and three lines. Put a 3 x 5 card in the bottom of a window of a local restaurant. They will both read, "Young Democrats will meet at the Ajax Restaurant the third Thursday of each month at 7 PM.” Wait and see what happens. Those who respond are the gringos we want. They will learn that Young Democrat clubs have no affiliation with any other Democratic organization whatsoever.

In a couple of years there will be thriving young Democrat clubs in North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Clubs will spring up in most southern states. This is where you are going to get leaders from the bottom. How do you know that it won’t work if you haven’t tried it? You’re going to get some recent high school graduates, lawyers in their 30s and 40s and a mixture of assorted gringos. Once these gringos attend a couple of meetings they will never miss a meeting if they can help it.

Pretty soon an agenda will emerge and to your surprise it will be nearly the same in all parts of the country. Democratic socialism will neither be rejected nor embraced. Racial issues will be avoided as being a no-win situation. Ideas and plans of action will appeal to bring those under the age of 30. A change will occur. Voters under 30 who tend to be liberal but with a low turnout should start to see parity with older voters with a high turnout and conservative views. Soon the Young Democrats will put together a platform which advocates ideas that most reasonable gringos will agree with. Trading military spending for infrastructure dollars. Lowering the age for Social Security one year every year. Phasing out private health insurance companies. Tough climate change policy.

Some new ideas: Gringos have to live with a bunch of mandates. 6.2% payroll tax, automobile liability insurance, inequitable sales taxes, etc. Young Democrats will support a national register to vote mandate. Every gringo will receive a ballot at each election. The ballots must be returned. It is not necessary to vote. This will solve several problems. Census. Much simpler. Schools will report student population. Hospitals will report new gringos. Coroners will report any dead gringos. Uniform nationalized voting rules. No voter suppression. All ballots will be tabulated at a central location (Hale’s Grove) and returned to the proper jurisdiction rapidly. The Hale’s Grove facility will cover two square miles. Population will exceed Laytonville, Dos Rios and Covelo combined. Nightlife with girls. A salty newspaper. No guns allowed. Sheriff will post the name and location of all assault weapons in the county inside the courthouse lobby right next to the pedophiles.

It won’t be long until the young Democrat clubs will be a force to be reckoned with, electing public servants coast to coast. A second Brooktrails access road ending a campaign to get it for free during the past 20 years. A speed bump on Highway 128 in downtown Boonville. The last copies of the Ukiah Daily Journal blowing away. Marijuana rules so complicated it was easier to ban marijuana entirely. No smoke, no grow. No column by Mark Scaramella. The ban on Aunt Jemima not valid in Mendocino County.

Is Lanny a girl’s or boy’s name?

Ralph Bostrom


* * *

* * *


Trump has turned the entire Republican party into a joke. There’s a local Republican group in my sister’s town known as the “Trump Train” and they spend their time going into local businesses and harrassing employees and customers who are visible minorities, and taking BLM flags and running them over with their trucks and setting them on fire. Some people need a real hobby. Not to mention the Republican party rolling back over 80 significant environmental regulations, or not having a plan to transition away from oil. Not to mention the hypocrisy of the SCOTUS nomination. She might be a fine person (or not), but so was Obama’s appointee 8 months before the end of his term. I hate both parties as much as the next person, and have always voted third-party (except for Obama’s second term, I did vote for him). The toxic culture of Trump groupies makes me want to vomit, and is probably going to make me vote for Biden over my usual third party pick. To assume Trump and his Republican cronies are somehow less corrupt than Democrats is laughable indeed. They’re all DC swamp creatures on both sides of the aisle. My priority is for us to at least have someone in office who has a plan to keep our heads above water, because God knows Trump has no plan. 

* * *

“I GREW UP on a farm in the panhandle of Texas. One day I was driving my father’s tractor, feeling sorry for myself, and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I’d flunked out of law school. I couldn’t play football or tennis. The only thing I’d ever been good at was performing. In high school, I’d played the lead role in both the junior and senior plays. So I saved up enough money during the harvest season to buy a little red Yamaha motorcycle. Then I drove to Dallas so I could go into show business! I did some plays in Dallas, then I got a touring role in Fiddler on The Roof, then I rode my motorcycle to Hollywood to be a movie star! I got my first big role two months after I arrived. They paid me $500 a week for six weeks. I thought, “Man! This is Hollywood!’ My character was a cowboy outlaw in a motorcycle gang. He ended up getting killed by a pitchfork while trying to rescue the leader’s girlfriend from a hippie commune. You know how I got the part? I walked into the audition and told them I’d do the whole part cross-eyed. Just like this. You know how hard it is to ride a motorcycle cross-eyed? Almost impossible. But I did it! Unfortunately it ended up being the worst reviewed movie ever made.”

(Humans of New York)

* * *


by Dave Zirin

Let’s start with everything we should be talking about today in that narrow, rapidly collapsing space of escape from the political golems beating down our doors. We should be talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers—one of the great historic franchises in all of sports—winning their first World Series in 32 seasons, after years of devastating near misses. We should be talking about Mookie Betts, the Dodgers’ right fielder and a player who—if MLB knew how to market anything beyond the building of a stadium on public money—could be a global superstar of swag. We should be talking about Los Angeles, a place that has had a hell of a hard year even by 2020 standards, now a city of champions, with the Dodgers following the Lakers’ victory in the NBA Finals. We should be talking about the greatest baseball announcer in history, Vin Scully, who at age 92, was able to celebrate another Dodgers World Series win and tweet his joy.

Instead, as with everything in 2020, we are talking about Covid. The only way this could be a more depressing coda on a thrilling World Series would be if Trump himself gave a speech at game’s end praising himself for the Dodger’s victory.

Baseball has always, even more than other sports, reflected the times in which we live. Last night the National Pastime, in this regard, did not disappoint. Dodgers third baseman, the man with the fire-red hair and firebrand personality, Justin Turner—recognized as the heart of the team—has entered the realm infamy after being pulled from the game in the 8th inning on orders from Major League Baseball for having tested positive for the coronavirus.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. After being told to self-isolate, Turner insisted on being on the field for the postgame celebration. And so there he was—unmasked, kissing his wife, and commingling with his teammates. He sat for commemorative photos next to his beloved manager, Dave Roberts, who ten years ago was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, putting him at an exceptionally high risk if he ends up contracting the virus.

Turner should have never taken the field in the first place. His initial test came back “inconclusive.” The Dodgers and MLB let him play anyways, at least until his sample—tested and retested—came back positive.

Turner expressed no regret in the aftermath, tweeting,

Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA.

But it’s difficult to throw the blame onto Turner. Whether we are talking about concussions in football or Covid in baseball, protocols exist to protect players from themselves—and in the case of Covid, from each other. Players have devoted damn-near every day of their lives to make it to the apex of their sports. Of course, Justin Turner—hair figuratively on fire—needed with every fiber of his being to be on that field to celebrate with his teammates. Of course his team was going to welcome him with open arms, no matter the microbes that would pass between them. Mookie Betts himself said of Turner, “He’s part of the team. We’re not excluding him from anything.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred should have shown some inkling of leadership. He should have stepped in and made sure that Turner was nowhere near that field at the start of the game until there was certainty about his test. Then, after finding out he was positive, there should have been a Greg Luzinski sized wall between Turner and that celebration. That there was not is an incredible indictment of Major League Baseball, the Dodgers organization, and the ways that this country has miseducated people about the deadly seriousness of what we face.

As this pandemic drama was playing out, thousands of Trump supporters were finding themselves stranded in the freezing cold in Omaha, Nebraska after yet another super spreader rally: the two events mirror images of why the United States has seen 230,000 people die from this virus, with almost nine million infected. It didn’t have to be this bad: the curses of ego, entitlement, and ignorance have overcome this country and infected the innocent from the White House to the World Series. As we now wring our hands—and people on each side of Covid barricades scream their case about whether the Dodgers were grossly irresponsible or if people like myself are just pandemic hysterics—baseball has truly never felt more like the National Pastime.

* * *

* * *

FOUR WALL STREET BUSINESSMEN ordered a $2000 bottle of wine, and didn't notice the difference when they received a $18 bottle instead

by Mary Meisenzahl

A mix-up at New York City restaurant Balthazar led to a young couple getting the deal of a lifetime as they were accidentally served a $2,000 bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1989 after ordering an $18 Pinot, Decanter reported.

A server inadvertently poured both wines into identical decanters, restaurant owner Keith McNally explained on Instagram. The $2,000 bottle was the most expensive on the menu, ordered by a table of four businessmen. Not only did the Wall Street table not notice the difference, according to McNally, one of them "tasted the cheap wine before bursting into raptures about its 'purity’.” Meanwhile, the couple who ordered the $18 bottle reportedly joked about being "wine snobs," unknowingly drinking the much more expensive bottle.

McNally wrote that he noticed the mistake and faced a dilemma about telling the diners what happened. The couple were allowed to finish the $2000 bottle, because taking it away would have been "unthinkable" at that point, and they were thrilled to learn of the mistake. They told McNally it was like the bank made a mistake in their favor.

"The trouble was, it was me who was down $2000, not the bank," McNally wrote.


* * *

* * *


The 1964 Flood devastated the infrastructure of our area and as this industrial film by the Morrison-Knudsen Co. above states, “A 100 miles of roadbed–millions of dollars of investment–swept away in a week.”

* * *

AS 54 MILLION U.S. RESIDENTS STRUGGLE FOR FOOD, Senate Adjourns Without Passing Relief Bill

President Trump said Tuesday that any deal on a new stimulus bill would have to wait until after the November election. Trump’s comments came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate until November 9 following Monday’s vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This comes as more than 54 million U.S. residents are struggling to afford food, according to the hunger relief organization Feeding America.

* * *


by Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.   
One year in every ten   
I manage it——

A sort of walking miracle, my skin   
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,   
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine   
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin   
O my enemy.   
Do I terrify?——

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?   
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be   
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.   
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.   
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.   
The peanut-crunching crowd   
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot——
The big strip tease.   
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands   
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.   
The first time it happened I was ten.   
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.   
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.   
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.   
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.   
It’s the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute   
Amused shout:

‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.   
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge   
For the hearing of my heart——
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge   
For a word or a touch   
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.   
So, so, Herr Doktor.   
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,   
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.   
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——

A cake of soap,   
A wedding ring,   
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer   

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair   
And I eat men like air.