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Mendocino County Today: November 27, 2020

High Pressure | David Norfleet | AVA HQ | Local Jam | Barn Collective | CJ Oregon | Art Sale | Creek | Silly Letter | Meadow | Forthright Rephrase | Hospitality Board | Logging Trestles | Allman Cove | Navarrette Sentencing | Carmel Candy | Outlaw Finley | Fort Braggery | AVCSD Impressive | Yesterday's Catch | Donut Holes | Hard Line | Prisoners | Pandemic Precautions | Kwakiutl Foraging | Salmon Restoration | Moon Pie | Very Descript | Holiday Wishes

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A RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE will continue to bring dry conditions and cold overnight low temperatures to northwest California through this weekend. There will be a slight chance for rain Sunday night or Monday in Del Norte and Humboldt counties as a weakening front moves through the region. (NWS)

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David George Norfleet, age 77, of Philo, died on November 15, 2020. Born March 4, 1943 in Georgia, David grew up in Florida, and immigrated to California. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a dropout from East Los Angeles College in the 1960s, he opened an anti-establishment coffeehouse with friends in Pasadena, Los Angeles County, where he encouraged the people to consider the benefits of voluntary evolution with the slogan “Mutate.” 

He then moved his young family into a surplus school bus where they lived on the road all across America before arriving in Anderson Valley in 1970. He was a union Carpenter by trade, who believed he could build anything from available material. He built entertaining floats for the Mendocino County Fair parade, including a stagecoach made of corrugated cardboard, which he also pretended to rob dressed up as Black Bart. He salvaged the old apple drying sheds that formerly lined Highway 128 for cast iron parts to rebuild a functioning Victorian-era industrial apple peeler. In an act that serves as an example of his business ethic, he stood at the Apple Show with the machine to peel apples mechanically, free of charge for anyone who asked.

David helped build Ukiah’s shopping centers, the Anderson Valley Elementary School, facilities at Hendy Woods, highway bridges still in use, homes throughout Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin counties, and civic infrastructure across Northern California. He is remembered as one of the founders of the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, where he was central in rebuilding the Buckhorn Saloon in downtown Boonville and the current facility at the Junction of Highway 253. He went on to serve as a member and officer of the AV Grange, where he was a valued leader and producer of pancake batter. He loved work for its own sake and valued friendship more than money. He loved Anderson Valley because people there let him help them with their work.

He was a brother, father, uncle, and grandfather when he died peacefully, resting with family following a long illness.

A memorial celebration for anyone wishing to attend will be announced after public health measures to control the pandemic have taken effect. 

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Petit Teton has holiday gift variety packs of three 4oz jars of jam for $27. We're open daily 9-4:30, Sunday 12-4:30 and our website is

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From chile powders to dry goods to shirts and hats, we’re here to be your one stop shop for friends and family this year. We’re stocked with chile powders, chile salts, dry beans, popcorn, and olive oil that were all grown using organic growing methods on our farm here in Boonville. We’ve put together new bundles and gift sets on our website that are ready to ship out or be picked up from our barn office on AV Way. We’re standing by to handwrite notes for your gift recipients and get these packages out the door! $5 from each sale of a t-shirt, hat, or tote bag is donated to the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department. If you’d like to pick up your order from the farm, use code ‘ILIVEHERE’ at checkout and you will not be charged shipping. Krissy will coordinate pickup with you via email. Questions? Send a message to Thanks so much for supporting us this year!

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CHRIS "CJ" JONES Sends Thanksgiving Greetings From Oregon To His Friends In Boonville & Ukiah

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THE MENDOCINO ART CENTER is hosting a “Holiday Gift Show,” through Jan. 4. Choose from more than 200 original works — including ceramics, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, paintings, photography, prints and sculpture, as well as art books and Mendocino Art Center apparel items — created by 30 artists from the Mendocino Coast and beyond. This is a free event.

The Mendocino Art Center remains open online for art classes, monthly exhibitions, events and the gallery store, but will be closed to in-person experiences through the end of the calendar year.

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Coast Creek

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ACCORDING TO A SHORT ITEM in the Fort Bragg Advocate on Wednesday, the Fort Bragg City Council – despite knowing that their Supervisor, Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde’s opinion that sending a letter to the State asking about the rationale behind the fairly indiscriminate Covid Tier system would make Mendo look “silly” – sent a letter to the state questioning the logic of the tier system considering that the severity and number of cases in Fort Bragg are significantly less than the cases in Ukiah. Councilman Bernie Norvell thought Fort Bragg should ask the state to explain the methods behind placing the entire county into the same tier when Fort Bragg’s numbers were so much lower than Ukiah’s. The letter will also be sent to Mendo Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren, but he’ll probably just repeat what he told the Supes: that the State is doing everything just fine and they have their good reasons and gosh the pandemic is bad.

(Mark Scaramella)

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Coast Meadow

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SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS, commented on our item about Supervisor McCowen’s appearance on KZYX on Wednesday. We had remarked that Supervisor Haschak was naively optimistic that Mendo could “somehow convince the state that whatever Mendo is now doing to process the current 1100-plus applications will satisfy state Environmental Review requirements.”

Williams replied: “Rephrased to be uncompromisingly forthright, ‘…somehow convince the state to issue state licenses in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act’.”

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FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCILMAN BERNIE NORVELL on management problems at the Hospitality Center:

“How hard have they tried? After Anna [Shaw] left it took the board almost a year to come up with a job description of the vacated position before it was posted. Meanwhile the board ran the day to day operations. The more things change the more they stay the same at HC.”

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Alder Creek Bridge
Elk Creek Railroad
Spring, 1900
Elk Creek Log Train

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I was going to post this after Thanksgiving, but apparently it has already been reported. I wanted you to hear it from me first.

Life allows choices, life also often allows adventures. My life has allowed me a couple Summers as a CDF Firefighter, a summer of ambulance work, 35 years as a peace officer and 12 months in Kosovo, working for the United Nations as an International Peace Keeper. To say say the least, I have worked with some of the best people in the Universe.

Well, my life has a new chapter beginning. As many of my friends and co-workers know, I attended South Fork High School in Southern Humboldt County and my love for Southern Humboldt equals the love and care which I have for Mendocino County.

I have many friends in Southern Humboldt and I know the area well. You may have guessed by now that I am going to be working in Southern Humboldt. I will be helping Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal in a community which I loved as I was growing up. Shelter Cove is my new assignment. It is a close knit community of great people who care about their community and our environment.

I hope that many of my friends who have never discovered the “Lost Coast”, and my friends who know of this hidden jewel, will come up to Garberville, turn West, and come visit “The Cove”. There is a great RV Park, a brewery, a couple motels and some great restaurants. The views are fabulous, the fishing is great and the beaches are beautiful. The airport and golf course are nice and the deer assume that they own the golf course greens.

I’m looking forward to meeting with the residents and striving to improve some of the issues. I truly believe that being a good peace keeper means improving the quality of life in your community. It doesn’t mean going to work with the intention of just arresting someone or issuing a citation, those things may happen after other options are no longer viable. Being a peace keeper means making sure that the residents trust you and that local government is fairly represented. I assure you these ideals are how most law enforcement officers feel, and perform.

To the Residents of Shelter Cove, I look forward to meeting you. I look forward to seeing a community effort directed towards improving the quality of life for everyone.

Thanks for your support in this exciting new adventure.

Former Mendo County Sheriff Tom Allman: ‘Shelter Cove is My New Assignment’

by Ryan Burns (

Not quite a year since retiring after 13 years as sheriff of Mendocino County, Tom Allman announced via Facebook on Wednesday that he’ll be rejoining the ranks of law enforcement just over the county line.

Honsal & Allman

“I will be helping Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal in a community which I loved as I was growing up,” Allman wrote. “Shelter Cove is my new assignment.”

In recent years, residents of Southern Humboldt’s remote communities have had to deal with law enforcement response times of 90 minutes or more, in part because the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has been chronically short-staffed. 

Last year, after local residents began taking the law into their own hands amid a string of cannabis farm robberies in the Mattole Valley, Honsal said he hoped to eventually have a deputy posted either in the valley or in Shelter Cove. 

Allman, who grew up in Southern Humboldt, attending South Fork High School with Redheaded Blackbelt reporter Kym Kemp, wrote glowingly of the community:

“The views are fabulous, the fishing is great and the beaches are beautiful. The airport and golf course are nice and the deer assume that they own the golf course greens.”

Shortly after this post went up, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office posted the following press release:

After 35 years in law enforcement, Tom Allman, retired Sheriff-Coroner of Mendocino County, is returning to his roots, ready for his next big assignment: the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Lost Coast Resident Deputy.

Allman begins his new role on Monday, November 30, ending nearly a decade-long vacancy of the position serving the Shelter Cove, Whitethorn and Mattole Valley communities. Allman, who split his childhood between North Carolina and Garberville, graduating from South Fork High School, is no stranger to the Lost Coast. Allman says, growing up his family made monthly visits to Shelter Cove and has made many friends there along the way.

“Since Tom Allman retired, I have been speaking to him about coming to work in Humboldt County.,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said. “Shelter Cove, the Lost Coast and the Mattole Valley need to have a resident deputy that can focus on community collaboration and problem solving. Tom’s roots run deep in Humboldt and he is going to make a great addition to my team.” 

While his most recent job as Sheriff-Coroner kept him busy behind a desk, Allman has experience as a resident deputy and knows the unique responsibilities that come with the job. After becoming a peace officer in 1981, Allman transferred from the Fairfield Police Department to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, with his first assignment being the Laytonville Resident Deputy. Throughout the years, Allman rose through the ranks as Sergeant, Lieutenant and eventually Sheriff; during his career even completing a brief stint oversees as an International Peacekeeper for the United Nations in Kosovo.

However, despite having a long and decorated career, Allman said “the most fulfilling time of my career were the two years I spent in Laytonville as a resident deputy being a trusted problem solver. Out of everything I did, nothing was as fulfilling.”

Allman doesn’t take that trust lightly, recognizing the importance of mutual trust as the first step to solving problems and creating safer communities. He says building trust will be one of his first tasks in his new position.

“If a community doesn’t trust their law enforcement officer, chances are the law enforcement officer also doesn’t trust the community,” Allman said. “If a community knows their law enforcement officer by first name and trust him or her, hopefully that trust is going to work toward solving crimes and finding a solution.”

The second step to building a safer community, Allman says, is communication, something he has already begun with residents in the area through regular visits to the community prior to his appointment.

“Until we identify problems, we can’t work on solutions,” Allman said. “Communication problems can be like a blister; if you don’t take care of them, they will eventually pop. The quicker we get on them and address them, the quicker we can improve the quality of life.”

Allman says he believes improving the quality of life for the community is what it means to be “a good peacekeeper” and will bring an education-first approach of law enforcement to the Shelter Cove, Whitethorn and Mattole Valley communities.

“[Being a good peacekeeper] doesn’t mean going to work with the intention of just arresting someone or issuing a citation,” Allman said. “Those things may happen after other options are no longer viable.”

As resident deputy, Allman will be spending approximately four days a week on the Lost Coast, providing public safety services to residents in the Shelter Cove, Whitethorn and Mattole Valley communities. On days he is not assigned to work, coverage will be provided by Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to the Southern Humboldt area based out of the Garberville Substation.

The resident deputy position is funded through the County’s Measure Z Public Safety Sales Tax, with funding for the position earmarked in 2015 in the Sheriff’s Office first application to receive funds from the measure. Allman’s fulfillment of the position has been long-awaited by the Shelter Cove community.

“I think to many people in Shelter Cove having a resident deputy means a lot. Residents and business community members have been advocating for a Shelter Cove resident deputy for a long time,” said Justin Roberts, General Manager of the Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District No. 1. “Residents and businesses of Shelter Cove greatly appreciate the leadership of Sheriff Billy Honsal in his effort to secure a resident deputy for the community.”

Roberts says the community looks forward to “the opportunity to build a positive and community-oriented relationship with local law enforcement officers to effectively address and reduce crime in the Shelter Cove, Whitethorn and Mattole Valley.”

Allman says he is up for the task and is eager to begin meeting the needs of the Lost Coast, with his number one goal being to ensure the community will have coverage for years to come by finding “his replacement.” He offers a free lunch to anyone willing to take the job. Until then, Allman says he’s excited to come out of retirement and get back to work, helping improve the quality of life in Humboldt County.

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UKIAH - Defendant Alexis Fabian Navarrete, 19, of Ukiah, entered guilty pleas to two felonies which could end in a state prison sentence of 10 years.

Alexis Navarrete

In one case, the defendant stands convicted of shooting a firearm at an occupied motor vehicle, a felony. He also admitted a sentencing enhancement that the shooting was done for the benefit of a criminal street gang, to wit, the local Sureno criminal street gang.

On Nov. 11, 2019, Ukiah Police Department investigated reports of shots have had been fired at an occupied motor vehicle in the area of Helen Avenue and Observatory Avenue. The police investigation ended in the arrest of Navarette. 

In the second case, the defendant now stands convicted of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, a felony. 

On Dec. 2, 2019, Navarrete was identified by the California Highway Patrol as the driver of a motor vehicle involved in a collision on Mill Creek Road near The Dams. A passenger in the vehicle sustained a head injury. The defendant's blood alcohol was over .08, the legal limit, at the time of the collision. 

Navarrete will be formally sentenced to 10 years on Dec. 18, 2020. 

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence to convict the defendant on both cases were the Ukiah Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. The prosecuting attorney is Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott McMenomey.

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This week’s Profiles in Leadership spotlights Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer Carmel Angelo. 

Carmel began her extensive county government career in 1991 with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. For the past 13 years she has worked for Mendocino County, serving as Chief Executive Officer since 2010. Carmel has worked closely with CSAC on myriad of issues over the years, including disaster preparedness and response, Public Safety Power Shutoffs, behavioral health and juvenile hall utilization. She also served as the 2020 President for the California Association of County Executives (CACE), as well as advisor to the CSAC Executive Committee. Carmel has been a strong advocate for counties, earning her numerous accolades including a 2019 CSAC Circle of Service Award, a 2018 RCRC President’s Award, and a 2017 CACE Distinguished Service Award. Thank you, Carmel, for your ongoing leadership on behalf of California Counties.

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Assembled by Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster

Article from the front page of the Ukiah Republican-Press newspaper, published Friday, June 17, 1904:


James W. Finley was convicted Saturday of murder in the first degree, the jury recommending imprisonment for life in the state's prison for the killing of Frank Drake at Hardy Creek. Sentence will be pronounced next Saturday by Judge White. 

The jurymen on the case were: Dan Jensen, W.B. Ontis, W.S. Mann, Earl Prather, A.M. Nolan, W.B. Campbell, Pete Johnson, J.F. Haun, Frank Walgamot, R.A. Spencer, F.M. Wilson and W.S. Van Dyke. They are to be congratulated on their verdict as the murder was one of the most atrocious ever committed in this county. It now remains for the officers to find Jones and Lambert, the remainder of the trio, and send them to their just desserts.

Frank E. Drake was murdered in his cabin at Hardy Creek on the evening of March 29th. The only witness was an Italian who occupied the same cabin but ran as soon as the first shot was fired and was unable to identify the assassin. The murderer was attired in a suit made of grain sacks and wore a black mask. Drake, who lived about an hour after help arrived, died without making a statement as to whom he suspected. 

The case did not look very encouraging at first, but District Attorney Duncan, Sheriff Smith and Deputy Sheriffs Standley and Clark succeeded in weaving a chain of circumstantial evidence around Finley that would have convicted him even had the two women who were living with Jones and Lambert not broken down and told what they knew concerning the case.

The testimony of the two women brought out the fact that the robbery of Drake had been carefully planned and that a number of other crimes lay at the door of the desperate trio, several of which were committed in Humboldt county. Finley, Jones and Lambert had come from Humboldt county some months previous to the murder. They had worked with Drake and found that he was in the habit of carrying considerable money. The robbery was planned and Jones had made the suit and mask for the purpose. As Drake had taken a trip to Westport the robbers thought possibly he had left his money there, so when he returned Lambert was delegated to find out. He joshed Drake about going away and spending his money and Drake immediately fell into the trip and disclosed his wealth.

Finley, who had been away, returned that evening and was selected for the crime. He gave out word that he was going to his claim on the Mattole river and started out only to return after nightfall and lay concealed in the cabin until the night of the murder. The women testified that on Thursday night following the murder Finley came to the cabin and knocked on the window but that Jones and Lambert warned him to go away as the officers were after him and they did not want him caught there. They gave him a sack of provisions and he started out, continuing to elude the officers until he was caught at Colusa junction on April 25th. 

Jones and Lambert and the two women were arrested and brought here but could not be held in jail as there was no evidence against them and it was thought they would remain to testify for Finley. They were not taking chances and as soon as released returned to Hardy creek and dug up their portion of the money secured from Drake and skipped.

The character witnesses summoned from Humboldt county proved of little avail as Finley's own testimony in trying to explain where he got the $60 found on him when arrested proved him a gambler and a thief. He stated that he was a deft manipulator of the pasteboards and, with a confederate, had robbed a third party in a game of cards. He also stated that he had afterwards stolen the share his partner had secured.

The conviction of Finley is a victory for justice and the promptness and dispatch with which the case was handled are tributes to the justice loving and law abiding citizens of Mendocino county.

BUT THIS STORY DID NOT CONCLUDE THERE, as evidenced by an article published in the same Ukiah Republican-Press newspaper on Friday, October 17, 1913: 


James W. Finley, who murdered Frank Drake at Hollowtree, and who has spent the past eight years in the “condemned row” at the Folsom Prison, while his attorneys fought his case to the highest courts in the land to save his neck from the hangman's noose, received a commutation of sentence to life imprisonment at the hands of Governor Johnson Saturday.

A plea from Finley's aged mother in Kentucky that she be spared the disgrace of having her son hanged caused the Governor to act. Finley was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1904 from Ukiah for murder, and in 1905 participated in a prison break at Folsom. He was sentenced to die for the last offense, but was granted many reprieves.

State officials of Kentucky interested themselves in the case.

[DA note: According to the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad and Historical Society, "Hardy Creek is a mile or so from Union Landing. 

The mill at Hardy Creek (which was around the point from Juan Creek) was part of the Cottoneva Lumber Co. at Rockport. The mill had a wharf and a railroad. The town had a large hotel. The mill was operated by E.T. Dusenbury, one of the owners of the Cottoneva Lumber Co. The mill was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt.

The area was named after R.A. Hardy, who was responsible for a wharf and chute there in 1892. The wharf was 590 feet long with a wire chute at its end." (Photograph of Hardy Creek Beach).] 

Hardy Creek

From the front page of the San Francisco Call newspaper, published Wednesday, October 25, 1905 [image of talkative convict, Charles N. Stephens]:


Charles Stephens

An accomplice of James W. Finley in the murder of Frank L. Drake in Mendocino County has confessed that Finley told him he robbed the Bartlett stage on two occasions, was implicated in a car barn robbery in this city and committed numerous other daring crimes that kept the law officers busy.

Makes a Confidant of Stephens, Accomplice.


His Tales, if True, Clear Up Many Mysteries.


Says It was He Who Stopped the Bartlett Stage.

If tales told by him to a man who was convicted as one of his accomplices in one crime are true, James W. Finley, the convict who was so badly wounded in the Folsom prison-break of last December and who is now in the Sacramento County jail, is the perpetrator of several daring crimes, the authorship of which was never discovered by the law officers of the various parts of the State where they were committed, though every effort was made to ferret out the guilty man or men. It was to Charles N. Stephens, alias Jones, who was convicted of having helped plan the killing Frank L. Drake at “Hollow Tree,” or Monroe, in Mendocino County, that Finley made his statements regarding the crimes he had committed. 

Drake was a lumberman and had saved $300. Finley went to his cabin at night to rob him and shot him dead when he showed signs of resistance. Stephens and W.H. Owens were convicted on the testimony of Mrs. May Ottie and her daughter, named Ketchings, with whom the two men were living, of having planned the murder and robbery with Finley. Both are now at San Quentin prison, serving life sentences. Stephens was brought to the prison on Sunday by Sheriff Smith of Ukiah. On the way he told the Sheriff all about Finley’s statements.

According to Finley’s stories, he held up the Bartlett stage twice, robbed a saloon-keeper in a small place in Mendocino County of $1500, helped rob the Piedmont car barn in Oakland, when the night watchman was shot; killed a messenger named Overmeyer near Ukiah three years ago, held up several persons in a saloon in the Fresno mountains, held up street-car conductors in Los Angeles, robbed a faro bank at some county fair and committed numerous other crimes before finally getting his desserts when he robbed and killed Drake. He also planned the robbery of a lumber company’s paymaster, Stephens says. 


Warden Tompkins drew much more from Stephens at San Quentin prison yesterday. The young man did not seem desirous of concealing anything Finley had told him, but he did not remember full details in any of the cases. It developed that he first met Finley through taking up a quarter section of timber land at the request of the latter, this land to be sold to timber grabbers who had employed Finley to locate for them. Stephens did not remember their names, if he had ever heard them.

“I remember that Finley told me he had held up the Bartlett Springs stage twice,” said Stephens. “He told me also that he had worked as a street-car conductor in San Francisco and while so employed had, with another conductor, robbed the office of a street-railway company at a car barn, the night watchman being killed by them during the robbery. He said that immediately after the crime they mingled with the crowd that gathered and were foremost in assisting in the search for the robbers. He said they secured $2000 or $3000 in this robbery. 

“Most of the crimes he told me about were committed by him alone, he said. Without assistance he entered a saloon in the mountains in Fresno County and held up a half dozen men who were in the place, taking whatever they had. He got $600 out of this robbery, I remember him saying.

“Then he said he had made some street car holdups in Los Angeles in 1902 or 1903. He also told me about holding up a faro bank at some county fair five or six years ago. I cannot remember the name of the place, not being very familiar with the State. Another crime he told me of was the holding up of a saloon kept by Mike Griday at a place called Eusaw, as I remember it, in Northern Mendocino County. He said he got $1000 or $1500 out of this.


“Finley told me his method of avoiding detection was to get away into the fastnesses of the mountains immediately after the commission of a crime. He would remain hidden in some wild place that only he knew, he said, until the excitement had died out, and then appear in some other locality, put on good clothes and mingle freely with the people.

“I first met Finley in Humboldt County three months prior to the murder of Drake, and it was then he induced me to locate the land. Almost immediately he began talking crime to me. He had a plan to rob the Riverbank Lumber Company’s paymaster by holding up the engine on which he took the monthly payroll money to the lumber camps. He was to do this job this summer, but his arrest for the killing of Drake prevented him. The company’s practice was to send the money, they paid off in cash then, to Corbell, and from there the paymaster took it to the logging camps on a special engine on the extension road. There was usually $20,000 or $30,000 sent up each month.

“No, he didn’t talk so much about derailing or flagging the engine. His scheme was to disguise himself as a detective and ask permission to ride on the engine to the camps, on the pretense that there was a man there he wanted, and to hold up the paymaster on the way. Only the engineer and the fireman went with the paymaster. I told Finley I would have nothing to do with this, as crime didn’t pay.”

In reply to a question by Warden Tompkins, Stephens said Finley seemed to be telling of his crimes to let him know how safe and profitable such work was, so as to induce him to join with him. “I believe that most of what Finley told me was true,” said Stephens.


The Bartlett Springs stage was held up by a lone highwayman almost on top of the grade on July 20, 1903, and again by a lone highwayman on July 6 of the following year near the top of the Brim grade. In the first robbery $200 was obtained and in the second $250. The officers were convinced from the similarity of the highwayman’s actions on both occasions that one man committed both robberies. 

The post office directory does not show a town by the name ‘Eusaw” in Mendocino County. [DA note: yes, but how about Usal … be sure to see more below.]

In 1892 the car barn on Haight street at the park in this city was robbed. The watchman was shot at, but not hit. In 1894 the Piedmont car barn in Oakland was robbed, and on this occasion the watchman was killed.

On the way to San Quentin Stephens gave Sheriff Smith a knife three inches long he had made from a piece of steel from a ready-made necktie. He had spent eight days sharpening it on the jail floor, he said, and had intended to open the veins of his wrist in case he was sentenced to be hanged. He confessed that he had tried to get the other prisoners to block the door so he could kill Cal Toney, the jailer, but they refused. He made keys for the jail door, but they broke in the lock. 


Stephens said the report that Finley owned a well-stocked farm in Stanislaus County was true and that he had bought it with the proceeds of robberies. 

“They only wanted me as witness at first,” said Stephens, “and let me go, with instructions that I report every few days. I got tired [of] reporting and went to British Columbia. I came back a short time ago, and the two women with whom Owens and I lived swore us into prison. It was the old woman, Mrs. Ottie, who really planned the robbery of Drake, as she wanted the money to go to Oregon with. In trying to save her, for the sake of the girl, with whom I was in love, I got myself into this. 

“Well, I’d sooner die in jail in my own country than live a wanderer in a foreign land,” he concluded.

Stephens is a Tennesseean and came to this State four years ago. Finley is from Kentucky.

Finley is now awaiting trial in Sacramento on a charge of murderous assault upon Captain of the Guard Murphy during the Folsom break. 

USING CORRECT SPELLING, WE ALSO KNOW THE “EUSAW” ROBBERY DID INDEED HAPPEN, as evidenced by an article in the Ukiah newspaper published on Wednesday, November 1, 1899:


The successful holdup and robbery of Mike Freitag’s saloon at Usal Monday night caused quite a stir on the northern coast. It is said that two masked robbers got away with $3000. A reward of $1000 for the capture of the robbers caused a diligent scouring of the surrounding country. Constable Redwine of Covelo took up the hunt and deputy Sheriff Stevenson was instructed by Sheriff Smith to use every endeavor to capture the thieves. Suspicion fell upon two men who had been attending the races at Round Valley, and upon leaving Covelo had gone in the direction of Usal.”

AND ALSO AS REPORTED STATEWIDE, as evidence by a news article in the Salinas Californian newspaper published on Saturday, November 11, 1899:


COVELO, Nov. 10. – The Overland and Coast stage driver last night brought news of a bold robbery at Usal, when Michael Frietag, the proprietor of a saloon was slightly wounded by a shot fired by one of two masked highwaymen. The liquor dealer was relieved of several hundred dollars. A number of customers were in the saloon at the time of the hold-up, and were herded together and cowed by cocked revolvers while the robbery proceeded.”

To conclude, as Mendocino County’s current District Attorney has been heard to say, “Many things weird, notorious, or criminal – and sometimes all three -- have over the years been attracted to and passed through our beautiful county!”

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Our AT&T phone/internet service cuts out many times a day, and we also see that log-jam in the afternoon, for which in the past week I have screamed at the automated call response in futility. Finally, yesterday, an “advanced technical support” responder (live, from somewhere — as she described it — in “Europe”) confirmed that there are problems with the connection at the nearest telephone pole. In sheer frustration one evening, I calculated the amount of money I’ve personally handed over to AT&T in at least 40 years as a customer — there were some lean times when I had neither a home of my own or private utilities — and it amounts to nearly the sum I paid for my modest dwelling (in the oldest “mobile home park” in the area). Under the shadow of the latest, but surely not to be the last, virulent disease infecting millions around the globe, and reliant on phone and internet for my solitary work — supporting among other efforts the weekly broadcasts of “essential public information” to Lake County listeners of our “community radio station” — the fraying of my increasingly abraded nerves is exacerbated by the indifference to our dependence on “technology,” which was touted in the 90s as the solution to fossil fuel-based congregational forums in which our “public services” are officially designed and delegated to elected and appointed officials.

As many as two dozen “Zoom” meetings a week are available to me “on line” — nearly doubling the opportunities for “participation” and information gathering to report on our equally fragile broadcast system (also dependent on wi-fi for transmission via the repeater on Mt. Konocti). And in nearly half of the ones I choose to spend my energies on there is some kind of disruption of internet service.

The handling of the upcoming meeting with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (December 3, as explained in the compendium of “Valley People” items) and the Anderson Valley Community Service District is exceptionally well organized. (In fact, I copied it to a folder so that it can be used to help our less sophisticated organizations that struggle to manage the official conduct of meetings — compliant with the Ralph M. Brown Act, Robert’s Rules, agency policies and procedures — so that the local “investors” with theoretical decision-making power can be maximally supported while focusing on known critical points of importance.)

The general manager of our local “public water district” explained that, had the women in the community had that decision-making authority, they would have developed wastewater removal and treatment to stop the contamination of the groundwater supply and could have avoided the cost and complications of having to form a water service district in the first place. A similar local agency might have been needed for the administration of that sewer system, but everyone would have been able to keep their private wells — and not had to pay for a resource that each had individually invested in already. (Fortunately, the source supply is well managed in the “developed” boundaries of the town’s system, and surrounding agricultural and commercial activities are not restricted in their uses by careful landowners — and staving off of the expansion into the territory by the pro-“growth” County “planners.”)

Contamination of water supplies by septic system failures is the problem set for which “environmental health” and “public health” agencies have responsibilities — one assumes that the California Department of Public Health’s Sanitation Division has taken a position on this set of problems and made findings indicating the need for the wastewater treatment plant. It is a mystery that the County-owned fairgrounds are not the most logical location for such a facility, but a hydrogeological study of the area and its land use capacities should explain the why’s and wherefors to enable the community service district customers to evaluate the options. All of us have paid and paid into those water bonds — I’d say that the benefits of the available funds will outlive your sons and daughters, but the CSD must develop a rational rate structure that covers future replacement costs as well as maintenance and operations to avoid the clashes that come with having drastic rate hikes in the future. We’ll watch this project with avid interest, with the help (of course) of the AVA, and wish you health and wisdom as you navigate the tricky whitewaters of state benevolence.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, November 26, 2020

Boyce, Decker, Flinton

WILLIAM BOYCE, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision sentencing.

JASON DECKER, Compton/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).

SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)

Frenier, Gonzalez, Guyette

MARISSA FRENIER, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

EDUARDO GONZALEZ, Covelo. Burglary during emergency, attempted burglary, second degree burglary, paraphernalia, reckless evasion, resisting.

THOMAS GUYETTE JR, Lakeport/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Hansen, Ladd, Quiroga

HAROLD HANSEN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

VIKTORIA LADD, Clearlake/Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, probation revocation.

ARMANDO QUIROGA, Lakeport/Ukiah. Suspended license (for DUI), false personation of another, county parole violation.

Rulka, Shaw, Wess

REBECCA RULKA, Lakeport/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

KEVIN SHAW, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation.

CHRISTOPHER WESS, Milpitas/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.

* * *

* * *


Well a man come on the 6 o'clock news
Said somebody's been shot, somebody's been abused
Somebody blew up a building, somebody stole a car
Somebody got away, somebody didn't get too far yeah
They didn't get too far

Grandpappy told my pappy, back in my day, son
A man had to answer for the wicked that he done
Take all the rope in Texas find a tall oak tree,
Round up all them bad boys hang them high in the street
For all the people to see

That justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys, you got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles we'll sing a victory tune
And we'll all meet back at the local saloon
We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces singing
Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

We got too many gangsters doing dirty deeds
Too much corruption, and crime in the streets
It's time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground
Send 'em all to their maker and he'll settle 'em down
You can bet he'll set 'em down'

Cause justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys, you got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles we'll sing a victory tune
We'll all meet back at the local saloon
And we'll raise up our glasses against evil forces singing
Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

(Toby Keith)

* * *

* * *


From what I heard (cannot remember the source) the vast majority of deaths were people over 60 (>90%), majority were over 80 (80%).

What does this mean? Oldsters stay home, isolated, and everyone else gets on with it.

Are masks just blind virtue signalling? Partly that, but a lot of people, maybe most, think they cut down on spray when people talk and therefore cut down on transmission. 

Studies get contradicted. In my estimation this type of thing takes time, for the longest time the experts said masks don’t do any good. I heard it said that you may as well try to stop mosquitoes with chain link fences. 

Still, err on the side of caution and wear a mask. But I wonder whether the harm done by all these shut-downs is for any worthwhile result.

* * *

Kwakiutl Hunting Abs, Washington

* * *


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 27 projects that will receive funding for the restoration, enhancement and protection of anadromous salmonid habitat in California watersheds.


The grants, which total $10.7 million, were awarded through CDFW’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP). Established in 1981, FRGP has included funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund since 2000. The federal fund was established by Congress in 2000 to reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

“The ongoing momentum to restore California’s habitat for these historic species hasn’t stopped as we face a global pandemic and devastating wildfires,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Awarding these projects highlights the resilience, passion and vison for salmon recovery by our state’s restoration community, for which we are grateful.”

In response to the 2020 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Grant Solicitation, CDFW received 80 proposals requesting more than $40.6 million in funding. As part of the competitive grant program, proposals underwent a rigorous technical review by CDFW and NOAA scientists.

The 27 approved projects will further the objectives of state and federal fisheries recovery plans, including removing barriers to fish migration, restoring riparian habitat, monitoring of listed populations, and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality and habitat) that can better withstand drought conditions. These projects further the goals of California’s Water Action Plan and CDFW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, as well as addressing limiting factors specified in state and federal recovery plans.

The list of approved projects is available on the FRGP website.

* * *

* * *


I am such a dolent man,
I eptly work each day;
My acts are all becilic,
I've just ane things to say.

My nerves are strung, my hair is kempt,
I'm gusting and I'm span:
I look with dain on everyone
And am a pudent man.

I travel cognito and make
A delible impression:
I overcome a slight chalance,
With gruntled self-possession.

My dignation would be great
If I should digent be:
I trust my vagance will bring
An astrous life for me.

— J.H. Parker

* * *


  1. Douglas Coulter November 27, 2020

    Donut hole
    Now I see why so many cops are fatter in modern times

  2. Douglas Coulter November 27, 2020

    The brutal violence breaks out on Black Friday as people stab and slash for that last Barbie Doll on the shelf.
    Let us pray no slur is uttered making them hate crimes!

  3. George Hollister November 27, 2020

    Lots of good items in the paper today.

  4. Lazarus November 27, 2020

    RE: “Happy 4th of July”

    If I was a gamble’n man, I’d give even odds this guy doesn’t make it to July 4th, 2022.
    Hell, maybe 2021.
    What was his family think’n?

    Be Swell,

  5. Eric Sunswheat November 27, 2020

    RE: The letter will also be sent to Mendo Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren, but he’ll probably just repeat what he told the Supes: that the State is doing everything just fine and they have their good reasons and gosh the pandemic is bad. (Mark Scaramella)

    -> Nov 25, 2020
    At Home Coronavirus Testing and COVID 19 Vaccine Update with Harvard Professor Dr. Michael Mina
    Michael Mina, MD, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

    Dr. Mina is also a core member of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD) and an Associate Medical Director in Clinical Microbiology (molecular diagnostics) in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School…

    The volunteer-based rapid test advocacy website that Dr. Mina is the director of: (a great place to learn more about rapid at home tests)…
    Professor Michael Mina, MD answers key questions about at home COVID 19 testing and coronavirus vaccines:

    0:00 We need a new testing strategy and at home rapid tests are superior to PCR
    2:49 What other countries are using rapid antigen paper COVID-19 tests?
    3:25 Rapid decline of COVID-19 spread in Slovakia with paper antigen COVID 19 tests
    3:48 At home coronavirus tests are an intervention most people actually want (unlike distancing, shutdowns, etc.)
    6:21 FDA barrier to rapid at home COVID 19 tests
    6:40 The sensitivity of at-home tests to capture someone who is infectious with COVID 19 is 95-99%
    6:53 Simple ways to address false positives
    7:45 Manufacturing capacity needed for 10-20 million paper strip tests per day
    8:17 Dr. Mina’s discussions with various US leaders and elected officials about at home tests
    8:41 Dr. Fauci on at home coronavirus tests
    9:21 Who’s job is it to make rapid at home tests a reality?
    12:07 FDA approves the first at home SARS-CoV-2 test (made by Lucira), but will it be useful?
    15:35 New York Times article with a misleading title about rapid antigen tests
    16:09 PCR vs antigen tests are useful for completely different purposes
    20:32 Capturing the contagious window of COVID-19 with testing (the viral dynamics and the Ct values of SARS CoV 2)
    28:14 CDC estimates that over half of COVID-19 spread is asymptotic or pre-symptomatic
    31:05 Are any test manufactures collaborating on COVID-19 testing in the US (and using confirmatory tests)?
    36:17 What rapid COVID-19 have been approved in the US or outside the US that are suitable for a self test?
    36:46 Abbott Binax Now Test
    37:11 Abbott Panbio Test
    37:48 Roche SD Biosensor COVID-19 Test
    38:00 AccessBio Antigen Test
    38:32 E25Bio Rapid COVID-19 Test
    40:18 What entity should oversee at home COVID-19 screening tools? The FDA? CDC? a new entity?
    45:52 The (relatively small) expense of at home COVID-19 testing
    48:53 Practical testing tips for the testing services we have available now?
    54:05 Common misconceptions about rapid COVID-19 testing
    56:15 Will a viable coronavirus vaccine diminish the need for at home testing?
    57:09 Concerns about COVID 19 vaccine efficacy including plasmablast response
    1:00:00 Easier to adjust a paper test than a vaccine
    1:01:10 Parting words and how to learn more about rapid tests.

    • chuck dunbar November 27, 2020

      Good point, Jim, and yes, “by God Biden beat Trump.” Let’s give the guy a chance to get started and make his way and see what he and his crew can do.

      • Marmon November 27, 2020

        Yeah, the AVA should be ashamed of themselves, thanks for stepping up.


      • Stephen Rosenthal November 27, 2020

        I think the 4th of July photo is unnecessarily cruel. Surprised and disappointed it was published in MCT.

    • Harvey Reading November 27, 2020

      You people are living in a neoliberal dream world. Biden will top Trump in terms of badness. His early “appointments” already point in that direction. The democrapic party ended its existence as a party of the common person decades ago. Biden will be at best another phony, like Obama, out to save the wealthy from their own idiocy, while spouting lies about “hope ‘n change”.

      That circus of abominable clowns the DNC endlessly treated us to last spring was nothing more than bad entertainment. A diversion.

    • Lazarus November 27, 2020

      I remember when Bill Clinton won. Some of the media immediately labeled him and his family those trashy people from Arkansas. Bush was called stupid, and we all know, deserved or not, what was done to Trump and anyone associated with him.

      Joe Biden has been in the game for 47 years, and you guys want him coddled like some rookie congressional aid.
      Be aware,

  6. chuck dunbar November 27, 2020

    “Voters, Not lawyers, Choose the President”

    “A federal appeals court panel forcefully rejected the Trump campaign’s effort to throw out millions of Pennsylvania ballots, declaring its allegations of misconduct meritless and its suggested remedies as ‘breathtaking’ and undercut by a lack of evidence.
    ‘Voters, not lawyers, choose the President. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,’ Judge Stephanos Bibas — an appointee of President Donald Trump — wrote for the three-judge 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals panel composed entirely of GOP appointees. Bibas’ opinion, delivered just after noon Friday, rejected the campaign’s appeal of a district court ruling that similarly shredded the suit.”
    Politico 11/27/20

    • Marmon November 27, 2020

      This is what’s going to happen in PA Chuck

      “As established in Article 2, Section 1.2 of the United States Constitution, State Legislatures have the sole authority to select their representatives to the Electoral College, providing a critical safeguard against voter fraud and election manipulation,”

      The Republicans have the majority in both the state senate and house.


      • Harvey Reading November 27, 2020

        Time will tell, Marmon.

        As I recall, when one votes for the office of the prezudincy, one is actually voting for a group of electors already committed to that candidate. In other words, the selections of slates of electors committed to the various candidates happens prior to the election. The slate of electors committed to the winner of the popular vote in a state are the electors sent to vote in the so-called college to cast their votes. Do correct me if I am misremembering, dear boy.

        • Harvey Reading November 27, 2020

          The actual quotes from the supreme law document are:

          Article 2, Section 1

          “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

          Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”

          12th Amendment:

          “The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

          The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

          The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

          The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”

      • chuck dunbar November 27, 2020

        James, here’s a very brief summary of a fact check on the issue you raise. It appears to be an issue raised post-election by conservative media folks. But it’s a legally flawed theory, based, it seems on wishful thinking, per a recent USA TODAY fact check:

        USA TODAY: 11/10/20 (Revised 11/14/20)

        “The claim: Republican state legislatures have the final say over choosing electors
        Our ruling: Partly false

        We rate the claim that Republican state legislatures have final say on electors per the Constitution and should be ready to perform their “constitutional duty” as PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. It is true the Constitution grants state legislatures the power to choose electors for the Electoral College. But it is false to suggest, as (Mark) Levin (Conservative radio/TV commentator) does, that legislatures retain this authority after a popular vote on Election Day.  A “safe harbor” provision of the Electoral Count Act dictates changing the slate of electors after election day is a violation of federal law.” 

      • Harvey Reading November 27, 2020

        Marmon, it would seem to me that if the legislature were to decide AFTER the election that the rules should be changed, then those changes could very well apply to the NEXT election, but not to the one that occurred earlier this month. Does the term ex post facto ring a bell? People voted in accordance with a particular set of laws in each state. Changing the rules AFTER they voted would seem to be unconstitutional, even to the most fascist of the fascists on the highest court in the land.

        Maybe one or two of you attorney boys or girls could chime in on this matter.

        • Marmon November 28, 2020

          Pennsylvania Republicans Introduce Resolution Disputing Election Results

          The resolution “declares that the selection of presidential electors and other statewide electoral contest results in this commonwealth is in dispute” and “urges the secretary of the commonwealth and the governor to withdraw or vacate the certification of presidential electors and to delay certification of results in other statewide electoral contests voted on at the 2020 general election.”

          The resolution also lists a variety of election irregularities and potential fraud, including the issues brought up by witnesses during the hearing before the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee on Nov. 25.

          Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican, said Friday that the GOP-controlled state legislature will make a bid to reclaim its power to appoint the state’s electors to the Electoral College, saying they could start the process on Nov. 30.


          • Harvey Reading November 28, 2020

            Sounds like just more conservathug gasbagging. The dullards might get their new rules FOR THE NEXT ELECTION, but not this one. You’re now reduced to scraping the rust beneath the barrel contents from the bottom of the trump barrel.

            The good thing about the orange hog’s blathering and incompetent assaults on the integrity of the election is that it is showing people, very clearly, just what archaic, nondemocratic relics the putrid electoral college, and indeed much of the supreme law document, truly are. Both were created by wealthy slave owners to ensure that a minority of wealthy robber barons would rule this country as long as it existed. People have had enough of this nonsense.

    • Douglas Coulter November 27, 2020

      That is the best read in this whole voting electile dysfunction season.

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