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Mendocino County Today: January 26, 2021

Winter Storms | 16 Cases | Batten Down | PA High | Officer Murray | Mendosa's Market | Tell Mo | Huhtala Tailor | Wilma & Desmet | Gualala Bridge | CEO Report | Bishop's Manchester | Homekey Meeting | China Gulch | Agenda Highlights | Biker Marmon | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Big Oil | Lotta Watta | $738 Billion | Impeach All | Pitchfork v Torch | Constant Lying | LA Truth | Exhibit A | Giddyup Boar | Long Year | Red Windows | Flying Blind | Not Magic | OCD CVS | Cake Top | The Inaguration | Comments | Hills Bros

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LATE THIS MORNING, a significant winter storm will begin to bring rain, heavy low elevation snow, and strong winds through Wednesday evening. Additional rain and snow is expected Thursday into the weekend. (NWS)

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16 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County Monday, bringing total to 3293.

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RAINING SIDEWAYS AT TIMES ON TUESDAY

by Mary Callahan & Kaylee Tornay

A powerful winter storm expected to dump half a foot of rain or more on the North Coast beginning Tuesday has raised the risk of flooding around the region, as well as concerns about potential debris flows in the area’s massive wildfire scars.

Emergency officials are urging residents to be aware of their surroundings and to remain tuned in to emergency alert systems in case trouble begins once the atmospheric river arrives overhead, bringing 4 to 6 inches of rain across the region.

A flash flood watch is in effect from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon, along with a high wind warning, running from Tuesday evening through Wednesday afternoon. National Weather Service meteorologist Brayden Murdock said periods of wind gusting to 60 mph, even in the valleys, were likely, raising the possibility of downed trees and power outages.

“It’s going to be raining sideways with some of these gusts,” he said.

Murdock also said residents should expect to see surface flooding in low-lying areas and across areas that routinely flood.

Officials urged vigilance especially for those who live or work in or near the most severely burned areas of last year’s Walbridge and Glass fires, where rain arriving in heavy volumes could unleash dangerous amounts of earth, rock, trees and other debris as it heads downhill.

This mass of stuff, channeled into a streambed, can travel more quickly than it can be outrun. It also can amass and then explode with deadly force.

“When water’s trying to go downhill, and something gets in its way, it’s going to find a way to go around or through, or just bust through and take everything with it,” said Russian Riverkeeper Executive Director Don McEnhill.

Some, like Sonoma County Fire District Chief Mark Heine, even suggested residents of those areas find alternate places to stay Tuesday night, during the heaviest rainfall.

“I just don’t think it’s worth the risk,” Heine said.

Others recommend they at least have a “go bag” at the ready.

The incoming storm, the wettest of the winter so far, is forecast to deliver an outsized payload in a rain season that has been perilously dry. It comes a week after spring-like temperatures eclipsed heat records over two days, reaching 80 degrees in Santa Rosa.

In the months since the fires occurred, grass and light groundcover have regrown in some areas. The Walbridge fire burned nearly 55,000 acres in steep, remote territory west of Healdsburg beginning Aug. 17, and the Glass fire, which stretched across more than 67,000 acres of Sonoma and Napa counties, started Sept. 27.

But the flames left severely scarred canyons and steep slopes that may still be resistant to absorbing heavy rainfall, and thousands of burned and unstable trees that could topple if the ground starts to shift.

Based on surveys conducted of each fire scar, Glass, Walbridge and related Meyers fire zones, heavy rainfall of at least 0.4 inches in 15 minutes, 0.6 inches in 30 minutes or 1 inch in one hour could trigger a debris flow, the surveys found. The threshold is even lower in the scorched mountains above Santa Cruz, where up to twice the amount of rain is expected, raising particular fears about that region, Murdock said.

In and around Santa Rosa, officials are especially concerned about neighborhoods east of Calistoga Road around Alpine Valley, Skyhawk, Pythian and Melita roads, where damage from the Glass fire was hit and miss. Above many of the occupied homes sit steep, burned slopes, city spokeswoman Adriane Mertens said.

Fire crews would be out in those areas on Tuesday delivering information to anyone they encountered and ensuring that folks were aware of upcoming weather conditions, she said.

Santa Rosa city staff and Catholic Charities workers were out on Monday trying to persuade members of the homeless community, particularly those around the Prince Memorial Greenway and Santa Rosa Creek, to accept shelter beds for the duration of the storm. They also are accepting donations of new tarps, sleeping bags, rain gear and socks at the Homeless Services Center, 600 Morgan St., between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily this week.

At the center of the Walbridge fire scar, meanwhile, lies the tiny postal stop called Venado, which routinely registers some of the highest rainfall in Sonoma County — and the entire West Coast. It’s there on Mill Creek that that some of the worst fire damage occurred last summer, leaving scorched canyons vulnerable to heavy runoff and home sites still littered with the hazardous debris left when the fire ran through.

Properties whose owners did not immediately respond to requests from the county for permission to clear the land of hazardous wastes have, in some cases, been overridden because of proximity to vulnerable creeks, leaving crews scrambling to try to do what they could in the past few days to prevent toxins and garbage from running off site.

Workers from the Community Soil Foundation, working under contact to the county, were out on Monday trying to lay down straw wattles, tarps and jute blankets to do what they could to limit runoff this week.

“The amount of water that they’re saying is coming from this upcoming atmosphere river is significant,” said Paolo Tantarelli, co-founder of the foundation.

Fire chiefs also were meeting to discuss what preparations could be made in advance of the storm, while emergency officials laid plans for patrolling burn areas and monitoring stream and water gauges.

In Monte Rio, firefighters spent the day scouting potential vulnerabilities to eliminate before the rain and wind arrive: They cut down dead and decaying limbs, and made sure their chainsaws would remain fueled for the onset of the storm, said Chief Steve Baxman,

Tuesday, he said, “We’ll check them during the morning and patrol during the storm.”

Firefighters also went around to talk to neighbors, making sure residents planned to secure loose items on their properties and that the backup generator at local stores were ready to kick in if the strong winds take out any power lines.

Baxman said his volunteers will be ready to respond to reports of downed power lines or debris flow in the Monte Rio area.

“We’ve done it once or twice,” he said, downplaying decades of experience with such storms. “The smaller places have to take care of themselves.”

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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Point Arena High School

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Officer Murray & Thor

A SCORCHER of a case filed Friday (the 22nd) alleges that Ukiah Police officer Kevin Murray committed four felonies and a misdemeanor in an episode occurring in a room at the Super 8 Motel on Orchard Avenue, Ukiah. Boiled down, it's alleged that Murray on his “implied or express authority” forced a female prostitute identified only as “S.Y.” “…to touch the defendant's penis against her will.” Murray also is alleged to have possessed a small amount of methamphetamine that he said was evidence in another case he hadn't yet turned in. Murray has been placed on administrative leave by the Ukiah PD.

WE'RE SORRY to see Murray humiliated like this. In our experience of him he's a nice guy and a good cop with an heretofore unblemished record. We'd certainly like to hear his version of these events. Murray is represented by Ukiah attorney Marci Baldock.


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Mendosa’s Market, Mendocino

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SUPERVISOR MULHEREN’S REPORT, Jan. 24, 2021

After I was elected I was speaking to my mom about what my job is as a Supervisor. She asked me if I just go to an office from 9-5 on weekdays or what my job is? Well I have never been one to leave a job on Friday at 5 o'clock and forget about it until Monday. That is definitely not the way that I approach my role as a Supervisor. My "job" is to work for you, but in my opinion we are a team. I'm not doing this alone, we are in it together. Each week I will provide you with an update about what I am working on. This way you will be able to keep up with what I'm working on to see if there are topics you are interested in that you want me to provide more information about or give your feedback on. I have scheduled a meeting for every Thursday at 7:15am and the Second Sunday of the Month at 11am. I can add more meetings as needed as I did today. So make sure you check on my website for updates MaureenMulheren.Com or follow me on Facebook for notifications.

Full Report At: www.maureenmulheren.com

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Old Storefront

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MENDO COLD CASE: Joseph Wilma Jr. & Michael Desmet

Summary: Michael William Desmet: was reported missing in September 2005. He was 35 years old at the time of his disappearance. He has blonde hair, green eyes, 6 ft. 1 inches and 200 pounds. His last known location was on his friend’s Joseph Clarence Wilma’s property in Covelo. Wilma is considered a homicide victim after his femur and jawbone and vehicle were found at the property. Desmet is considered missing under suspicious circumstances and investigators believe he is likely also a victim of a homicide.


On September 2, 2005, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a missing persons report in regards to the disappearance of Joseph Clarence Wilma Jr. It was reported Wilma was with Michael William Desmet when the pair left Humboldt County in Wilma’s vehicle. The pair had a destination of Wilma’s Covelo, California property and they were never heard from again.

On April 5, 2007, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a person who had found a human jaw bone on a secluded piece of wilderness land near Wilma’s property. A search of the area near the jaw bone resulted in the discovery of Wilma’s vehicle and a human femur bone. A forensic examination of the jaw and femur bone showed them as being Wilma.

Detectives have followed up on several leads and thus far Desmet is still missing under suspicious circumstances. Detectives have classified Wilma’s death as homicide and believe Desmet is also the victim of homicide despite the recovery of any human remains.

Anyone with information in regards to the circumstances of Wilma’s disappearance or murder are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100. 

Age at time of disappearance: 53 years-old

Height: 6 feet 1 inch

Weight: 220 pounds

Hair: Brown

Eye color: Hazel

MCSO Case#: 07-1069

Michael Desmet, James Wilma Jr.

Michael Desmet

On September 2, 2005 the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a missing persons report in regards to the disappearance of Michael William Desmet. It was reported Desmet was with Joseph Clarence Wilma Jr when the pair left Humboldt County in Wilma’s vehicle. The pair had a destination of Wilma’s Covelo, California property and they were never heard from again.

On April 5, 2007 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a person who had found a human jaw bone on a secluded piece of wilderness land near Wilma’s property. A search of the area near the jaw bone resulted in the discovery of Wilma’s vehicle and a human femur bone. A forensic examination of the jaw and femur bone showed them as being Wilma.

Detectives have followed up on several leads and thus far Desmet is still missing under suspicious circumstances. Detectives have classified Wilma’s death as homicide and believe Desmet is also the victim of homicide despite the recovery of any human remains.

Anyone with information in regards to the possible whereabouts or disappearance of Desmet are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

Age at time of disappearance: 35 years-old

Height: 6 feet 1 inch

Weight: 200 pounds

Hair: Blonde

Eye color: Greene

MCSO Case#: 07-106

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Steel Truss Bridge, Gualala River

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FROM THIS WEEK’S CEO REPORT from CEO Carmel Angelo:

Property Tax Software System Project — The County is on schedule to go-live with the new property tax software system on February 10, 2021. The original anticipated go-live of November 10, 2020 was extended due to elections, and the COVID pandemic, etc. The various departments, consultants, and vendors are meeting daily for testing, further configuration, and finalization of go-live procedures and plans. In the next few weeks, activity will be increasing, final software builds will be completed, interface testing and modifications continued, and end user training conducted. Before the end of the month, a final data conversion will be delivered to the vendor for final processing. The County has already begun the internal changes required for a final “freezing” of data on the legacy system. All this activity is a culmination of many years of planning, execution, and effort. 


The COVID-19 surge has made life more difficult for our participant families. Report of housing insecurity and anxiety about keeping things together and staying healthy at home have increased. Healthy Families Home Visitors continue to provide support and referral to resources during these difficult times. In the last 4 weeks, we have provided 13 in-person visits and 17 remote visits as well as phone calls and texts to 35 participant families. Five families have been "out of contact" and we are finding that as the exhaustion and overwhelm of the pandemic continues, outreach and new enrollments are more challenging to accomplish. The MCAH team continues to work as contact tracers, COVID-19 testing staff and with Public Health Officer Dr. Coren to get our schools safely reopened. 

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Early Manchester

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COMMUNITY MEETING ABOUT PROJECT HOMEKEY IN UKIAH

Wednesday, January 27 4 pm to 5:30 pm, by Zoom 

Project Homekey is a new housing project in Ukiah that will provide bridge and permanent housing for individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. The project is located at 555 South Orchard Avenue in Ukiah. 

Please join us for a Community Meeting to learn more about this project and to provide input, ideas, and feedback to the program managers. 

Your participation is welcome and encouraged! 

To receive the Zoom link, please RSVP by email to project_homekey@mendocinocounty.org

Questions? Call Megan Van Sant, Senior Program Manager, at 707-463-7733 

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China Gulch, Gualala

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SUPES AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS, Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Public Safety Advisory Board on next Tuesday’s Supes Agenda

Agenda Item 5c: Discussion and Possible Action Including Introduction and Waive Reading of an Ordinance Adding Chapter 2.39of the County Code Creating a Public Safety Advisory Board

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CRISIS RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT facility requires three county agencies, three four planning contractors “and other consultnats,” besides a construction manager and the Measure B Project Manager (And you wonder why an ordinary $1 million 4-bedroom house costs over $5 million?):

“Measure B Project 003 – Crisis Residential Treatment Center

Due for Completion in November 2021 Total YTD Expenses: $208,908.00 Estimated Project Cost: $5,049,006. The pre-construction team consisting of County agency representatives, AECOM Construction Management, Sally Riley Compliance and Risk Management Consulting, Nacht & Lewis Design, Cupples & Sons Construction, and other consultants have been working diligently to ensure that construction, licensing, and CHFFA date requirements are met. Final design and engineering documents are in the County approval phase and are expected to be cleared by the Planning Department in January or early February.

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SCHRAEDER CONTRACT TO INCREASE by $10 mil for six additional months of “retroactive” mental health services.

Item 5e: Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Retroactive Second Amendment to BOS Agreement No. 19-193 with Redwood Quality Management Company, Inc., to Increase the Amount from $27,797,494.06 to $37,390,461.14and Extend the End Date Six Months to June 30, 2021, to Arrange and Pay for Medically Necessary Specialty Mental Health Services and Mental Health Services Act Programs to All Ages of Medi-Cal Beneficiaries and the Indigent Population, Effective July 1, 2019 Through June 30, 2021

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RICHARD SHOEMAKER wants to be a Noyo Harbor Commissioner. Why?

“Previous service on over 25 governmental City, County, special district, statewide boards and commissions. Retired construction contractor and project manager. Retired non-profit executive director, responsible for funding and construction oversite of the ARCCfor 5+ years as Point Arena City Manager with direct oversite of; budget development & implementation, personnel, consultant & construction contracts, grant applications, public works, and the operation of the Arena Cove Harbor and Boat launch facility. Successful in working with diverse communities with divergent viewpoints. I own a vessel that is stored, launched and sailed from Noyo Harbor. My family also Kaykaks on the Noyo using the launch ramps.”

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$50k IN RETROACTIVE OUTSIDE LAWYER COSTS for cannabis consulting and related environmental issues.

Consent Calendar Item 4m: Approval of Retroactive Agreement With Abbott & Kindermann, Inc. in the Amount of $50,000to Provide Legal Services Effective January 4, 2021 Through June 30, 2021

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COUNTY TO PAY ABOUT $900K for Best Western Motel Conversion “Project Manager.”

4s) Authorization to Award a Contract to Adams Commercial General Contracting, Inc (ACGC) in the Amount of $887,512for Phase I of the Homekey Project at 555 S. Orchard St (Ukiah) for the Period of January 26through April 15, 2021, Subject to Receipt of All Necessary Signatures, Certificates, and Bonding Instruments from Contractor, and Authorization for the Health & Human Services Agency to Act as Project Manager to Enter Contracts and Approve Change Orders for the Project, Pursuant to Public Contract Code Section 20142

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ANOTHER $750k TO SCHRAEDER for RETROACTIVE Pilot program:

Consent Calendar Item 4x: Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Quality Management Company in the Amount of $740,000to Provide Direct Service, Facilitation, Administration, and Participant-Specific Data for the County of Mendocino, Whole Person Care Pilot Project, Effective January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021

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JAMES MARMON COMIN’ AT YA

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ED NOTES

PROVOCATIONS and aggravations a bunch on this beautiful wintry windy day, deceptive prelude to a couple of days of rain hyped by tv weather people as if we're about to be washed away. Abrupt segue to Senior Citizen laments: If there's a more boring creature alive than an elderly person describing his medical problems let me see if I can be even more lethally tiresome in the following true life anecdote. On a recent afternoon as I urinated I was startled that more blood than urine issued forth, some of the flow including great clumps of clots. It was my most exciting bathroom trip ever, but each of my next few evacuative journeys were each less thrillingly colorful as less and less blood appeared. Assuming I had experienced what seemed to be a medical emergency, I called the AV Health Center and, a few days later, got an appointment with a nurse. The nurse told me I had to call the Adventists, now Mendocino County's medical monopoly, to make an appointment with a urologist. I did, and was told his medical lordship could see me in the second week of February. As the reader can see, my medical emergency had days earlier ceased its urgency to everyone but me, as I concluded that I'd better see to it myself, which I did at the St. Mary's emergency room on Stanyan in San Francisco where in a bunch of languages on the wall it says, “If we don't see you within thirty minutes you get a free pizza.” They saw me in five and, with an appointment with a doctor the next day, I got it all taken care of. Nothing against the AV Health Center, but this arrangement with the Adventists could be life-threatening which, come to think of it… Well, I'd better not go there, but I've told everyone around me that if I suddenly conk out to get me the hell outta Mendo and down to St. Mary's. The Catholics have been at it a lot longer than any vegetarian cult called Adventists, and I'm here as living testimony.

GREEN BAY'S unwise decision yesterday to kick a field goal in the last two minutes rather than go for the 8-point tie seemed like panic by Green Bay's coach, and reminiscent of the Niner's loss in Super Bowl 2013 when the Niners ran the ball straight up the middle four times in a row as the clock wound down, and blamed the crazy play calling on Kaepernick who, as we know, was subsequently blackballed by the entire NFL as players unanimously agreed he was better than half the current qb's, and certainly better than any quarterback the Niners have suffered since.

BABE RUTH STORY I'd never heard before. The Babe is warming up, playing catch with another Yankee as this little kid of 12 or so is pestering him to autograph his scorecard. Finally, the exasperated Ruth yells at the kid, “I never sign anything except balls.” The kid, cupping his crotch with two hands, yells back, “Then sign these balls!” The Babe laughed about it for years.

ALL this uplift rhetoric out of the Biden admin about “healing” and “unifying the country” and so on manages to ignore both the tenor of the times — on line comment runs from frothing contempt to incendiary contempt for government at all levels, from Biden to school board, as the Democrats pursue their version of the Great White. Impeaching Trump a second time is hardly a unifying move and will certainly fire up the millions of Yobbos of the Capitol Invader type even more than they are now.

ANNUAL COMPLAINT about Girl Scout cookies: The girls should bake the cookies they sell rather than be brainwashed into thinking that the sales of lumps of negative food value sugar dough at a great profit to their distant manufacturer is somehow a valuable life lesson. 

A RECENT FRISCO dog napping just happened to have occurred directly across the street from a friend's apartment on Russian Hill. The case made the prime time local tv news several days running. “It was ugly,” my friend said. “I heard the girl screaming and ran out to help.” Friend said lots of people ran to help but the dog thieves were long gone. Two of them had held the young woman while a third punched her repeatedly in the face until she dropped the leash. They jumped into a waiting vehicle and were gone. The dog was valued at five thou or so. My friend speculates the mopes — four Hispanics — had scoped her out prior before mugging the woman for her pet. Strong arm street robberies are common in the neighborhood, especially robberies of tourists waiting for cable cars or walking around enjoying the views, especially the view of the world's crookedest street east to Coit Tower. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 25, 2021

Cabral, Rodriguez, Strasmith

FRANK CABRAL, Laytonville. Failure to appear.

REBECCA RODRIGUEZ, Covelo. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.

MARTIN STRASMITH, San Francisco/Ukiah. Ammo possession by prohibited person.

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BIG OIL HITS BRAKES on search for new fossil fuels

Top oil and gas companies sharply slowed their search for new fossil fuel resources last year, data shows, as lower energy prices due to the coronavirus crisis triggered spending cuts.

reuters.com/article/us-oil-exploration-cuts-idUSKBN29U00V

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A READER WRITES: “A Good Word! A close friend asked me to find just one good thing I could say about Trump. I promised I would try, and I've been working on that challenge for seven weeks now. Trump said, ‘Puerto Rico is an island. And it's got water all the way around it. Lots of water!’ I do appreciate having my lifelong concept of what constitutes an island fulfilled. Trump is clearly an educator! And we should give him the respect he deserves. This has been my attempt to do just that. I hope I have succeeded.”

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

The best part about impeaching a President after he has left office? Why stop with Trump?

Next up the Bushes for war crimes. Then Clinton for associating with Epstein. And, of course, all of those old guys that used to own slaves. It will be much easier to remove their statutes once they’ve been impeached.

Congress can become a full-time impeachment machine. It’s not like they have anything better to do, right? 

This is a real problem: instead of writing laws, Congress spends too much time investigating and trying political crimes. Meanwhile, the judicial branch is more interested in legislating with their decisions. Can’t any of these people just do their jobs?

And then the poor Executive Branch is left to either defending itself on trumped up charges or enriching itself with grift…depending on which party controls what. Total mess.

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WELL, THE BRAVE NEW WORLD of honesty in American politics lasted a grand total of 24 hours. President Joe Biden promised an immediate end to the constant lying from the White House that we endured over four years of Donald Trump's tenure. But then he couldn't help himself and promptly spewed the kind of brazen, bare-faced, media-bashing whopper that Trump would have loved. Biden made a big noisy deal of setting a target of 100 million coronavirus vaccines in his first 100 days. But he knows that hitting this target would be a completely bogus 'achievement' because the US is already at that level of vaccination, averaging 914,000 daily doses administered last week according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and rocketing to 1.6 million on the very day of Biden's inauguration. So, at this rate, the goal will be easily attained, and masks the reality that America could and should be aiming a lot higher. 

— Piers Morgan

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GALLOW'S REMINDER

Editor: 

Donald Trump is innocent until proven guilty. He deserves a proper defense in the upcoming Senate trial on his second impeachment. Rare is the trial in which the jurors are victims all at the same time.

In the first impeachment of Trump, the overwhelming evidence presented by the House managers flowed like water over closed senatorial ears. Now sight and sound is required for the second trial.

A replica of the gallows constructed by the insurrectionists in front of our sacred Capitol should be set as an item on the prosecutor’s desk — Exhibit A in every presentation.

The senators should be repeatedly reminded for whom the hangman’s noose swingth that disgraceful day, and then they should vote as if their lives depended on it.

Steve Garcia

Sebastopol

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HALFWAY THROUGH A VERY LONG SCHOOL YEAR

by Michelle Hutchins, County Superintendent of Schools

When school started last fall, I hoped students would be safely back in the classroom before the winter holiday. Yet here we are, halfway through the school year, and most Mendocino County students have only ever seen their teachers and classmates via their computer screens. With vaccines becoming more widely available, I’m hopeful that students will be able to meet their teachers in person before the school year ends.

Here’s the latest with regard to COVID-19 and education.

Statewide Encouragement to Reopen Schools

The State is highly motivated to get students back in the classroom, especially the youngest students for whom distance learning is least effective and the need for supervision is most urgent. If elementary school students can safely return to in-person instruction, it would allow many parents to return to work, thus kick-starting an economy slowed to a crawl by the pandemic. Governor Newsom’s proposal “Safe Schools for All” provides extra funding for public schools that meet specific safety guidelines and can demonstrate that their teachers agree that it is safe to return to the classroom. You can read a summary at www.cdph.ca.gov under Guidance Documents.

Testing and Vaccinations

When it comes to reopening schools, there’s an ongoing discussion about exactly how often everyone will undergo COVID surveillance testing and who will pay for it, but those details should be forthcoming. Here in Mendocino County, Public Health is collaborating with medical providers to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Front-line healthcare workers are already receiving their second (and final) shot, while others are lining up for their first shot. All teachers and school staff interested in being vaccinated should have the opportunity to do so by the end of January.

Rules for Schools in the Purple Tier Hopefully, these vaccinations will allow us to reduce the spread of COVID relatively quickly. California counties measure the prevalence of COVID and the rate of spread with the State’s COVID Tier System. In addition to the yellow/minimal, orange/moderate, red/substantial, and purple/widespread tiers, there is now an additional measure, a deep purple defined by a rolling average of more than 25 new cases per 100,000 people. Mendocino County’s case rate has been hovering around 33 per 100,000, so we have a long way to go before we can reopen schools for in-person instruction.

The Mendocino County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard provides a lot of excellent information, but it does not include the adjusted case rate. To view that, you must visit the State site: covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy. Scroll down to the map of California and click on Mendocino County. A data box will pop up displaying our adjusted case rate, among other information.

So, what does our current situation mean for Mendocino County schools? Here’s a brief summary.

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Schools already open for in-person instruction may stay open with continued vigilant implementation of COVID-19 protocols that prioritize the health and safety of students and staff.

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Schools that have not yet opened for in-person instruction may not open grades 7-12 for in-person instruction until the county reaches the Red Tier for five days. -

Schools that have not yet opened for in-person instruction may only open grades TK-6 for in-person instruction after the County’s adjusted case rate is less than 25 per 100,000 and schools comply with State and County reopening requirements. -

Small-group cohorts may continue. Schools may continue to serve students, including high-need students, in person in small cohorts or groups under the State’s Small Cohort Guidance. Schools offering these services are not considered “open” under the State’s definition.

If you’re interested in more details, an online search of “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year” will route you to the California Department of Public Health’s 50-page guidance published January 14, 2021.

On a personal note, I encourage everyone who can get the vaccine to do so. This pandemic has been devastating for so many people and the sooner we can get it under control, the better. I believe the vaccine is our quickest route to a post-pandemic world.

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FLYING BLIND

by James Kunstler

Events are in the driver’s seat now, not personalities. Gil Scott-Heron was right way back in the day when he said, “the revolution will not be televised.” Only what he called “revolution” turns out to be collapse, led by the disintegrating news business, so that the people of this land are flying blind into a maelstrom of hardship. Everything is going south at once here, and you probably don’t know it.

If you think we’re headed into a transhuman nirvana of continuous tech-assisted orgasm, social equity, and guaranteed basic income, you are going to be disappointed. Our actual destination is a neo-medieval time-out from all the techno-dazzle of recent decades. It’s not as bad as you might think. The human project will continue at a lower pitch, probably for a good long while, but minus most of the comforts and conveniences we’re used to, and with very different social arrangements. You can waste your energy hand-wringing and wailing over all this, or summon the fortitude to go where history is taking us and make something of it.

The old economy is wrecked. Many Americans already know this because they’ve lost their businesses and their livelihoods. What used to be there isn’t coming back. But there will always be ways to make yourself useful providing things and services that other people need, just not within the crumbling armature of the economy we’re leaving behind. There will be a lot of debris left in the way to overcome, especially the crap we’ve smeared all over the landscape.

One business you can begin to organize right now is a salvage industry, sorting out the reusable components of all that crap — the steel I-beams, the aluminum trusses and sashes, plate glass, concrete blocks, copper and PVC pipe, and dimensional lumber. A lot of this stuff we just won’t be making anymore, certainly not at the former scale. Think of all the shopping malls to be disassembled.

Growing food and getting it to markets is the most critical activity. Poor Bill Gates, addled by his fortune, has bought up something like a quarter-million acres of farmland. His grandiosity prompts him to believe he can organize farming on the super-giant scale — Walmart for corn and turnips. Nothing could be further from the real coming trend: a reduction of scale and scope of farming and of the distribution supply lines that serve it. Poor Bill doesn’t seem to realize that the oil-and-gas-based “inputs” (fertilizers, pesticides) won’t be there for him, nor will the million-dollar diesel-powered combines. Nor the trucking industry. He could do more good for mankind getting into the mule business. (He won’t. Lacks razzle-dazzle.)

The transition between the old giant agri-biz model of farming and the emergent system of small-scaled farms based on human and animal labor will be arduous and disorderly in the early going. A lot of people will miss a lot of meals, and you know what that means. Working on a farm will be one way to make sure you get enough to eat. But also consider all the businesses that have to be created from scratch on the local level to serve the logistics of farming. You are already seeing many food products unavailable in the supermarkets. That will become more distressingly obvious in the disorders of 2021. When food deliveries to the supermarkets get really spotty, the farmers’ markets will not just be for schmoozing over lattes and almond croissants.

For those perhaps not paying attention, Covid-19 has destroyed what remains of education, especially the public school system. It was already moribund, waiting to crash, reduced to a pension racket for teachers. Going forward, the money won’t be there to operate these giant centralized schools and their yellow buses (while paying out pensions). The virus has kick-started exactly the kind of home-schooling pod system (several families combining) that can be reorganized into small-scale schooling for people who want it. People who don’t want it can move into their future without knowing how to read or do arithmetic. We’ll finally get a good test of the noble savage hypothesis. As for the colleges and universities, their business models are toast. They’ll be downscaling and shuttering as far ahead as the eye can see. Whatever remains will be more like finishing schools for neo-medieval ladies and gentlemen — and, by the way, the distinction between men and women will be reestablished. Why? Because reality insists on it. There will be plenty of work for former professors of Intersectionality in the sorghum fields.

A central theme of The Long Emergency is that government becomes increasingly impotent and ineffectual as our manifold crises deepen. Is Joe Biden not the perfect avatar for this feature? He’s spending his first week in office laser-focused on policy that supports transsexuals, about 0.42 percent of the population. When the applause dies down, he’ll be unable to act on anything that might get the people moving on what they need to do and where they have to go.

Meanwhile, we get an exciting show-trial: Donald Trump’s impeachment in the Senate. Not a bright idea. Mr. Trump would get to defend himself, of course. What if his attorneys produce solid evidence (i.e., proof) that the incursion into the capitol building was actually launched by Antifa / BLM cadres? Could happen. What if the Democratic Party gave them some aid-and-comfort in organizing the event? Wondering what is on Nancy Pelosi’s purloined laptops?

President Joe B may not even be in office a month from now. Justice Amy Coney Barrett will rule shortly on the lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin for ignoring constitutional requirements in changing their voting rules. Unlike so many other cases tossed out on procedural grounds, there’s a pretty good chance this case will stand, and the outcome could end up nullifying last November’s national election, cancelling Joe Biden. That will birth a whole new political crisis on top of the cratering economic picture. There are no road maps for any of that.

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

* * *

* * *

THE HAND SANITIZER PAPERS

Robin Demers Williams wrote:

Just reporting on my own experience today which I relayed to store management [of CVS Pharmacy in Fort Bragg, CA] by phone as soon as I was in the safety of my own car. And now I’m relating it to you for your own safety.

1) Customers are no longer able to use the drive-through window to pick up prescriptions since it’s now a location for Covid testing. (Both clerk & assistant store manager relayed this info to me.)

2) The pharmacy counter has no hand sanitizer. When I asked the clerk where it was, he replied there are wipes “around here somewhere” I saw the dispenser & that it was empty. The clerk did nothing to remedy the situation once I told him. I was told there’s “some” up front.

3) The “some” at the store’s entrance was actually “none” — just a big, empty pump bottle.

4) No one at the pharmacy counter was wiping down the debit/credit terminal -or- the electronic pad with pen for prescription signatures.

5) You do the math.

The assistant manager patiently recorded all my observations and assured me she would relay them to the new district manager, and I’m sure she will.

Will appropriate action be taken? Who knows...

At least until this pandemic is over, I recommend strongly that you get your scripts filled elsewhere — I was absolutely appalled by the complete absence of common-sense precautions and blasé attitude of the few employees working the pharmacy.

Stay healthy!!!

* * *

MARCO MCCLEAN wrote:

Marco here. They sell hand sanitizer in that store; there's plenty. Why not just get a bottle off the shelf, carry it to the cash register, use some with a smile and a flourish and leave it prominently on the counter where you needed it to be, for the register person and the next 500 customers?

Also there's a bathroom right next to the pharmacy counter, with hot water and soap.

* * *

ROBIN wrote:

I wasn’t about to spend any more time in that store than absolutely necessary. (Get the script & run...)

Very basic & very inexpensive measures to nip as many young viruses & germs in the bud is what’s called for — basic responsibility to their customers & employees.

The irony that a pharmacy counter be a super spreader is just too much.

CVS is all yours... have at it.

* * *

MARCO MCCLEAN wrote:

Okay, thanks. But my method, creative helpful japing, works wherever you go, whatever level of security/health kabuki theater is in force. Use it or not.

 The pharmacist and other employees all had masks on, as did you, and you didn't say but probably no-one got within six feet of you. It turns out that it isn't all that dangerous to buy something in a store and take it home — head of lettuce, bag of macaroni, can of olives, film can of pills. Just minimize your out-and-abouts during the plague, clean your hands often and keep your fingers out of your nose and eyes, though there are still plenty of doctors and researchers who feel that picking one's nose is a net positive. 

In any case, I'm happy to read your warning about slovenly CVS on the radio, as I half-remember having done before, unless it was somebody else last time with the same beef. 

And if you're worried about touching contaminated things that never get cleaned, never stop at a gas station. Those nozzle handles and window squeegees have always been fizzing with contagion. 

Hooray for radio, the cleanest communication medium there is.

* * *

ROBIN wrote:

I think you need to stop to think about how a pandemic really takes hold.

Maybe on my way to the bathroom to wash my hands (at CVS) I quickly scratch my nose... my eye... something on my eyebrow. Maybe I pick up more — yuck — touching the door handle on my way in or out of the bathroom. Maybe I touch more merchandise on my way out as I buy something else. Maybe I’ve picked up more yuck on the faucet handle and haven’t washed my hands nearly as well as I should. 

My point: It often takes very little to to stop a virus or bacteria in its tracks... of course nothing is 100%. If I were an employer, don’t I at least want to protect my employees? You have to at least offer people/consumers the path of least resistance knowing a certain percentage won’t take it but that that many more will just because it’s there. And collectively we the message becomes clearer. 

Hard to be joyful when you’re dead.

* * *

MARCO MCCLEAN wrote:

That's why we have to be joyful while we're alive. If your message is that you want Purell on the counter, what does it matter who put it there, them or you? If they see you put it there, maybe they'll get the message. And if you're mainly worried about yourself, which it doesn't sound like you are, but I don't know, you can have a squeeze bottle of Purell in your bag or in your car and squeeze it on yourself any time you please, and pee on the side of the building if you don't want to use the plumbing. At the beginning of this crap in April last year I put my leftover alcohol in the radio station for their use and got a little bottle of hand sanitizer for my car. Every time I get in my car I put a little bit on my hands and rub them till it evaporates, and there's still some left in the bottle. When I do my show from there I wipe everything I touched and all surfaces I breathed on with an alcohol-soaked paper towel when I leave, and I do the doorknobs on the way out. And every couple of weeks or so when I wash my clothes I put the mask in too.

I have a friend who helped me with my newspaper in the early and middle 1990s, when most of the material came in either hand-written or typed with a typewriter. Optical character recognition was inadequate in those days. Sean (or Jill Taylor, or Jenny Benorden or Jennifer MacDonald) would sit at the other computer and we'd just sit there back to back in that little room retyping everything into files I could format and print and cut out and wax and stick to the layout sheets. Sean had OCD, and I was curious about that so we talked about it a lot. He sounded a lot like what you just wrote. He was very smart, and he knew he was unreasonably distressed by things, but it's not called a disorder for nothing, so he'd devise a thing to do to function, to go forward anyway. If he was having a bad day, he'd put Scotch tape around his fingertips to type, to keep his skin from touching the keyboard that other people had touched. If he went to the movies with his friends (who he taught to flush toilets with the heel of their shoe, and to open doors with their hand inside their sleeve, and so on) and he saw someone there with a bandaid on their hand, he had to leave and get home and it could cripple him for days, because of not being able to stop worrying about the idea of being surrounded by other people full of blood and contagion.

One time Kay came in to visit and she was on her period, in a thin dress, and she left some blood on the fabric of the chair, and I didn't think twice about it because I was busy, you know, I'll clean it up later, or throw it out and get another chair or something, but then Sean came in feeling like hanging out and typing. He went to sit down at the computer, froze, and said, "What is that."

What is what. Oh. I said something like, "That's menstrual fluid from Kay, and I'll sit on it." We switched chairs, I put an old San Francisco Chronicle on both chairs and another pillow on his anyway, and he put Scotch tape on his fingers and he was fine.

That's the Sean who was the alpha boy of the group of kids who made the A Killer In Our Midst trilogy of films in Fort Bragg, black and white slasher films, where the blood was chocolate syrup (blood is black in black and white), and Vampyre, about a vampire boy with OCD, which complicates his relationship with the sweet girl who loves him even though she knows he might lose control at any time and murder her.

I said Sean was smart, but that's not really saying it. He could talk to his own girlfriend (Elena or Ylena --lovely big blonde girl) for hours with the phone's handset propped between his shoulder and his ear, just jabber away at high speed on whatever subject, at the same time as typing the stories on the reading easel on the table at like 130 or 140 words a minute.

He put me in a couple of his movies. Just little parts: the coroner, the high school principal, but it was fun.

* * *

* * *

THE INAUGURATION

Disaster, poverty, disease, even death:
your house is in disarray.
There is a knock on what is left of your door.

You open it and see your still super-competent grandpa
standing with an amazing gathering of your extended family behind him.
There are lawyers, doctors, 22 year old poets,
people who just last week you were never speaking to again,
people who know how to rebuild your house.

You ask your grandpa,
“Why are you here? I barely know you. Can I trust you?
Why are all these people at the door of my half destroyed house?”

He expected your questions, but has the good grace to look surprised.
“What? Because you’re family, of course.
Here I am. Here we are.”

— Joel Mikesell, Fort Bragg

* * *

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] My daughter married a young Brit and they now have two children. At one point their oldest had a serious infection and he received excellent care. If not for the NHS the medical bills would have broken them. I’ve been an advocate for universal health care in America all my life and the point I was trying to make is that it’s becoming more and more elusive in the US. 

Overall poor health is now common here. Young men who apply to join the armed forces are turned down b/c they can’t meet the physical requirements, are functionally illiterate or have a criminal record.

[2] I’m surprised that Trump even really WANTED to be re-elected. He got the job by accident and, reportedly, very much to his own surprise. During the four years of his Occupation of the White House, Trump showed himself to be a guy who really didn’t seem to want to do the job either. It was just a huge ‘reality TV show’ to him. The final episode has been a drama worthy of a fifth-rate three-in-the-morning soap. But, boy, howdy! Is he going to MISS all the attention! When he was sent to the Naughty Corner and had his social media cut off, that was bad enough. But when his money-faucets were also turned off, that must have really hurt. 

When he could no longer grift the 34% of Americans who were flicking him a few dollar-bucks every week or so, or sell them his “Made in China” tatt, the realization of his own impotence must have come over him like a cold sweat. 

Result? True to character, he threw his own loyal supporters – the ‘Capitol Stormers’ – under the bus in a feeble attempt to help save his own skin or at least lessen the possible charges he faces, come Thursday.

[3] I was and remain non-partisan … I didn’t like Trump, and I’m not too enthusiastic about Biden. I think he (and his party) are too old. too fossilized, too prepared to get along with the forces that are wrecking America.

Not as much as the Republicans, but it’s a lousy choice really – do you want to be bitten in half by the shark or swallowed whole?

The more fevered hopes and dreams of a Trump victory post-3 November have not come to pass – ranging from the ultra-fruit-loops of Q-Anon, through to the semi-fruit-loop Sidney “Kraken” Powell.

I think it’s indisputable that Trump had the worst legal team imaginable. While it is far from clear that Trump might have done better with real lawyers, it was almost certain that the stars of Four Seasons Total Landscaping were not up to it.

Looking forward, I trust that even the most fervid Trump supporters accept the new reality, and start to think and act sensibly and productively. Steal or no steal … it is what it is.

I trust they get over believing Joe Biden is a senile puppet propped up in a chair (he is not); get over claiming that Biden & Son are totally in the pocket of the CCP on one side, and Soros-Gates on the other (it’s nonsense); and hopefully will finally get over Covid-19 being a myth (it’s real).

Otherwise it’s just going to be interminable bickering and pointless posting of endless false conspiracy nuttiness – haven’t we had enough of that? Time for a decent dose of reality – and look at the things that are really challenging the nation (hint: the economy, pandemic, race, urban mayhem, suburban blight, immigration, debt, climate, and jobs, jobs, jobs).

[4] These transgender guys should at least be required to get “package removal” surgery. That shows commitment. As it stands, any guy can slip on lady’s running shoes and pink shorts and proclaim himself a competitor in women’s athletics. Pull out the big scalpel and see who stays and who runs away!

[5] Bottom Line: the situation in the hills of Humboldt is a million times worse than before the green rushers took over. People used to respect the forest and waterways. Now its all about profit and greed. We used to look at diesel indoor growers as villains. Now every “legal” grow in Humboldt has multiple diesel generators running 24/7. That “full sun” bud is usually just more diesel bud being grown with natural or supplemental light. When is Humboldt going to enforce the alternative energy regulations? These “legal” grows are supposed to be using 80% alternative energy for their power needs, but as we all know no one is following or enforcing these guidelines. We need our supervisors to take this issue to heart and start requiring “legal” grows to use alternative energy like solar to power their farms….

Come on Humboldt!

We can do it!

Let’s make Humboldt the alternative energy cannabis farming capital of not only CA, but the world!

[6] The way Big Media is covering Biden, I haven’t seen anything like it since ’08, when they proclaimed Obama to be The Messiah. The word ‘Sycophant’ doesn’t quite describe it. MSNBC went so far as to compare Biden to Jesus Christ himself — yet, Biden has a 50 year track record to examine, in which he’s proven himself to be nothing more than a run of the mill pol looking for the Main Chance.

Almost all of their reporting seems like DNC agit/prop; is it meant to be taken seriously?

These media people in Atlanta, NY and DC, they have no problem debasing themselves in front of a national audience? What’s the goal? Do they think we’re all stupid out here, that we can’t see thru them? For example, yesterday, hard hitting reporters at MSNBC were raving about the fab shoes Kamala was wearing.

“Who designed them? The color is just right, matching her outfit perfectly. Isn’t it wonderful to have someone back in the White House with such exquisite fashion sense? We will let our audience know where they can get a pair of these shoes as soon as our exclusive interview with the VP tonite.” And so on.

* * *

7 Comments

  1. Marmon January 26, 2021

    “The mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop Congress from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities were behaving like domestic enemies of our country. But let’s be clear. The John Brennans, Adam Schiffs, and the oligarchs in big tech who are trying to undermine our constitutionally protected rights and turn our country into a police state with KGB-style surveillance are also domestic enemies, and much more powerful and therefore dangerous than the mob that stormed our Capitol.”

    -Tulsi Gabbard

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/01/26/tulsi-gabbard-brennans-schiffs-and-big-tech-oligarchs-more-dangerous-than-mob-that-stormed-capitol/

  2. George Dorner January 26, 2021

    I like this latest dose of Kuntsler humor. He’s too laughably shortsighted to predict the future spread of smaller neighborhood schools, for instance. But then, this is the bozo who was predicting the death of the Democratic Party back in October–only to see the Dems take the Presidency, the House in November, AND the Senate in January. And he doesn’t even seem to realize his predictions are 180 degrees out from reality. The humor comes from his windy language in which he couches his longuers. He’s the Foghorn Leghorn of the AVA community.

    • George Hollister January 26, 2021

      Kunstler underestimated the power of the Democratic Party’s not so secret weapon, Donald Trump. He appears to be a gift that continues to give.

  3. Bruce McEwen January 26, 2021

    Such a generous compliment deserves a response, Chuck. (Rather greedily assuming I am one of the Bruces named in your bequest) I can only say, you’ve asked nothing for yourself; and that, I think, merits a thousand times more of the same.

    So, sure, I’ll try my hand at prophecy, too: You, my good man, Mr. Dunbar — fine Scots name, incidentally — are about to come into well over a billion pounds sterling, a huge track of land and several castles in the Highlands… where the AVA crew will be invited for malt whisky and shortbread.

    • chuck dunbar January 26, 2021

      Indeed, Bruce, you are definitely one of the Bruces named here. And, my goodness thank you for your most generous prophecy. Wow, if it comes true, I will surely be in heaven. On the other hand, here we are bouncing off of Mr. Kunstler’s utter failures of prophecy, so who knows what success we ourselves will have…….Best to you, riches or not…..

  4. chuck dunbar January 26, 2021

    James Kunstler gets a bit more of my attention when he writes about the state of the economy, though he does get kind of apocalyptic. And then at the end of a piece that’s halfway readable, not all-out insane, he can’t help himself— once more he makes a political prediction/forecast/prophecy:

    “President Joe B may not even be in office a month from now…” It’s about another election lawsuit, this one in Wisconsin, and he avows there’s “a pretty good chance this case will stand, and the outcome could end up nullifying last November’s national election, cancelling Joe Biden…” It’s pretty amazing that he has the gall to make this kind of prediction, when so many of his past ones have not come true, again and again. And he never gives us an apology for being so wrong so often. It’s quite a record he’s setting.

    So I’m moved to issue a bold prophecy myself: I truly and faithfully believe—it could happen, I’ve heard talk of it from those in the know—that our 3 AVA good guys, Bruce and Bruce and Mark, are going to strike it rich a month from now. Each one will, by the grace of God and Goodness, receive tax free gifts of $1,000,000.00—just like that, out of the blue, no strings attached. Having said this, I see, perhaps, Kunstler’s motivation—I feel so grandiose and powerful, kind of like a god. Not my usual feeling state, will have to try it again, kind of like a nice drug. (It’s a rainy day and here I sit kind of bored. Now I’ve made some trouble.)

  5. Alethea Patton January 26, 2021

    I’m gonna have to side with Robin regarding CVS in Fort Bragg. It is one of the dingiest, seediest, sad, understaffed and dirty pharmacies I have ever been in. It’s kind of gross. It is the epitome of corporate degeneracy. The difference in service, cleanliness & atmosphere between CVS Fort Bragg and let’s say Arena Pharmacy or Roots Apothocary in Point Arena is vast. Support your small town businesses. They actually care about the community they serve.

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