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It is with a very heavy heart that I relay to you the news that Joe Louis Wildman passed away this morning (4/4). His health has been problematic of late and a recent change in his medications possibly created an additional burden on his system. Regardless of the cause Joe will no longer be able to either grace us or enrage us with his formidable presence. My last visit with him a couple of weeks ago was to present him with the plaque honoring him as the Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee’s 2020 Democrat Of The Year. We also discussed his and Kayla’s plans to sell their Potter Valley property, replacing the Big Ass Van and the state of Democratic Party politics. All was what passed for normal in Joe’s world at that time; politics, family and a touch of chaos.
A memorial of some sort may be organized in the future, but it’s too soon to know any details.
Please pass this news on to others in your circle and beyond who may have known Joe. He touched so many lives in communities from Chicago to California to Georgia and well beyond that he won’t soon be forgotten.
All the best.
ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING POISED FOR BRAND REVIVAL, BEER PARK
by Bill Swindell
Boonville — By the late fall of 2019, Fal Allen had about enough as the brewmaster at Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Mendocino County since 2000.
He was no longer working full-time there since the Boonville brewery had fallen on hard times, under management that could not chart a new course after nine years of ownership.
Founded in 1987, the craft beer pioneer had become an afterthought in the marketplace with a massive drop in production. Plus, its beers were not a topic of conversation among beer geeks who craved the latest hoppy versions of the India pale ale style. Its bucolic taproom situated on the sunny west end of Anderson Valley off Highway 128 became less and less of a destination.
It was kind of sad.
”I felt we weren’t going where I wanted to,” Allen said, noting he had set a resignation date of Feb. 1, 2020. “We were just a company in this weird free fall.”
But Allen and Anderson Valley found a last-minute safety net in a Healdsburg home brewer’s family that saw an opportunity to revive the storied brand that for years has produced popular beers like Boont Amber Ale, with its touch of caramel, and slightly creamy Summer Solstice Ale. The problem was there was not as much thirst for these beers from younger drinkers driving the market.
Kevin McGee and his family bought the brewery in December 2019 from Trey White for an undisclosed price. And after more than a year of planning, McGee revealed his turnaround plans that include new beers, a more modern company logo and a major property upgrade for Anderson Valley to again become a must-stop beer mecca.
“Anderson Valley was so many peoples’ initial emotional connection to craft beer,” McGee said, after hearing many personal stories of fans since buying the brewery.
Serving as chief executive officer of Anderson Valley, McGee is not just a passionate home brewer who previously started his own microbrewing label, Healdsburg Brewing Co., out of his garage. Most importantly, he had worked as legal counsel to nationally acclaimed Jackson Family Wines, working with the late founder Jess Jackson, and became an expert on all the intricacies of the alcohol industry — from dealing with wholesalers to federal regulations on marketing the products. These are skills greatly needed to run a brewery in the 21st century.
At the forefront of it all is McGee’s love of beer. “Kevin really is a beer guy,” brewmaster Allen said.
McGee had to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and navigate all the ramifications, such as a draft beer business that represented more than 30% of Anderson Valley’s revenue, and it disappeared as bars and restaurants shut down in March 2020.
“Overnight, literally, we just got phone calls and everybody around the country just canceled all their draft,” McGee said recently.
The brewery secured $1.2 million through two small business loans as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. They allowed it to retain about 50 employees and McGee hired more salespeople. The result was expanded distribution with Anderson Valley’s beers selling in almost 40 states.
At the end of 2020, the brewery produced 20,000 barrels of beer, McGee said. That is much less than 10 years ago when it was listed among the top 50 craft breweries by the Brewers Association trade group, which represents independent breweries.
The yearlong pandemic gave McGee plenty of time to navigate his turnaround plan.
“The first thing you need to do is just quietly observe and try and figure out what's going on and come to as much of a rational diagnosis of what the challenges are and what the opportunities are possible,” said McGee, who has taught in an entrepreneurship program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
The response is Anderson Valley is undertaking one of the most ambitious turnaround plans now in the $116 billion U.S. beer market. The brewery will rebrand with a new logo to give its mascot Barkley — a bear with antlers that represented a hybrid between a bear and a deer — a sharper look with the eyes and snout similar to the late beloved McGee family dog.
The brewery is also heading into the IPA category again with four different styles: a double IPA; an updated version of a West Coast style known for its citrus and pine aromas; a dry and crispy IPA that is decidedly different from the “brut style” beers popular over the past couple years; and a juicy IPA.
Perhaps the most notable improvement, though, will be turning the 30-acre Anderson Valley site into a destination beer park. The property will include an updated 18-hole disc golf course, where there will be a beer tap station and an outdoor pizza oven. There also will be a 9,000-square-feet lawn area with bocce ball courts and room for cornhole games and a seating area with 50 Adirondack chairs. An outdoor stage for live music is being built just west of the taproom. Beer carts will roam outside on the property. He’s making the upgrades in stages and hopes to finish by the end of the year. Later he plans a commercial kitchen in the taproom.
As he executes his revitalization for which he declined to reveal the financial investment, McGee is working with a brewery that has a solid consumer reputation for quality beers. Despite sluggishness, it also retained decent market share for its aged stouts, as well as its gose (pronounced GO-zuh), a kettle sour beer that’s made in a variety of fruit flavors.
Herlinda Heras, an international beer judge from Sonoma County and host at KSRO radio station, said she has been a longtime fan of the gose and impressed by the brewery’s recent release of a tropical hazy gose.
“It’s refreshing and it still has that little bit of salinity,” Heras said of the tropical hazy flavor.
Anderson Valley is planning at the end of April to launch a gose variety 12-pack.
“It’s a really big deal as there really aren’t that many breweries out there that have an established collection of well-regarded fruited sours,” McGee said.
The brewery also has had success with its Huge Arker, a stout brew aged in bourbon barrels that packs a punch at 15.5% alcohol content, which is more than many wines. McGee switched the packaging from a 22-ounce bottle to a four-pack of 12-ounce cans that makes the beer more palatable for consumers.
“It’s been crazy. We’re sold out until November,” he said of Huge Arker.
McGee noted the “frustrated affection” loyal customers have for Anderson Valley and he hopes the brewery can recapture “connections they just kind of lost.” The beer park should help with that reintroduction.
Allen is convinced that with the addition of the beer park the brewery could easily double the number of customers that were coming before the onset of the pandemic.
“In order to develop the property, it takes time and money,” Allen said. “Now we are going to see some improvement and making it into what it could have been 20 years ago.”
The brewery’s location is not easy to reach. Drivers have to navigate many sharp turns along the more than 20-mile stretch of Highway 128 from Cloverdale to Boonville, after exiting Highway 101 to get to Anderson Valley. But there have been encouraging signs during the pandemic that people are making the drive.
Anderson Valley has seen an uptick of tourists as many visitors enjoyed visiting the area’s wineries, cideries and farms because they all have ample space to enjoy food and beverages outside, said Kristy Charles, proprietor at Foursight Wines and the former president of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.
“I think people are looking to continue to have outdoor experiences,” Charles said. Her winery put up gazebos behind the tasting room and plans to keep serving customers outside through the fall.
“In Boonville, the nice thing is people can park and go from spot to spot as long as they bring sensible shoes,” Charles said.
For McGee, he hopes the beer park can attract a wide range of people, from families picnicking, to college buddies playing disc golf, to a young couple walking their dog — all of which can provide the environment to help the brewery regain its luster.
“I would like to make it worth the trip,” he said. “That also means just giving someone the opportunity to drink beer isn’t enough.”
(Courtesy, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
ELAINE FONTAINE, OF PHILO, REPORTS: “I woke up to a spread of discarded mail on my driveway. Names include Tom Jones, Graciela Camarillo, David Baxter, Maria Favela, Clayton Matson, Melanie Fuller, Jaime Clark, Thomas Keevan-Lynch, Griselda Fernandez, and Tisha McLeran. Several had been opened and the contents of both boxes are gone.”
JUDGE MULLING INCREASING PG&E BLACKOUTS
by Jim Shields
Without any advance warning or notice to anybody, including public safety agencies, Pacific Gas & Electric Company switched off North County power around 4 a.m. Tuesday, March 30, and it was restored at approximately 9:45 a.m.
I checked PG&E’s outage map on its website which shows current Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). It showed the power had been cut from just south of Leggett down through Laytonville to Longvale, over west to Branscomb and east for maybe 15 miles or so. The entire Covelo area including thousands of acres of tribal land were also under the PSPS. Aside from the outage maps there was no explanation for the shutdown.
I was up prior to the 4 a.m. shutdown working on board packets for our monthly water board meeting. I’d gone out to the barn to give our horse a flake of alfalfa and some grain. It was a cold pre-dawn morning, the temperature at 33 degrees but conditions were calm. Later in the day, we’d get our usual mid-afternoon winds that mostly come through a western notch in the Coastal Range that forms the U-shaped contour of Long Valley, which is approximately 1,500 feet in elevation. But those winds came four or five hours after PG&E re-energized their lines.
I then remembered the federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas & Electric’s criminal probation (from the 2010 San Bruno gas line explosion) said last week that he is considering requiring the electrical monopoly to be more aggressive about de-energizing its electrical lines in high fire risk areas, a plan that news reports said could double the number of power outages for some Northern California counties over the next decade.
The judge’s proposal outlined during the hearing is the latest effort to prevent the utility’s equipment from igniting more deadly wildfires by reducing the likelihood that trees could fall into the utility’s long-neglected (as in at least a decade) electrical equipment. The ever-vigilant (contrasted with the never-vigilant California Public Utilities Commission) U.S. District Judge William Alsup is overseeing PG&E’s overhead infrastructure protective maintenance as part of the utility’s criminal probation after the natural gas lines blew up in San Bruno.
Judge Alsop signaled that he is seriously considering imposing tougher measures.
“My view is quite clear: We should save lives,” Alsup said in one of the stories I checked. “We don’t have the luxury to wait around. I am not open to the idea that we would kick the can down the road and study the problem to death.”
The PUC, which “regulates” PG&E, is opposing the additional power shut-offs, which it contends would impose undue hardship on about 900,000 people who live in the mostly rural counties of Mendocino, Trinity, Placer, Shasta, Tehama, and Madera. While on its face that may appear to be commendable public policy, keep in mind that for nearly a decade the “Public’s Watchdog” granted request after request by PG&E to defer and delay its statutory obligation to keep its overhead infrastructure free and clear of trees, overhanging limbs, brush, etc. In fact, the last extension granted by the PUC occurred one day prior to the infamous Wine Country fires six years ago
The federal court hearing, came a day after California fire investigators released a report concluding that a Shasta County wildfire that killed four people and destroyed more than 200 buildings last September was caused by a tree that fell into a PG&E power line. Alsup blasted PG&E during the hearing for not cutting down the tree that started that fire after its removal had been recommended in 2018 and described the utility as “grossly negligent.”
Under the stricter safety conditions Alsup is considering, PG&E estimated it would have to power down 45 separate times during the next decade, a 67 percent increase from the 27 PSPS outages forecast in that time under present procedures. The occurrence of deliberate power shutdowns would triple in Trinity County while doubling in Mendocino, Placer, Shasta, Tehama, and Madera. The outages would nearly double in three other rural counties: Butte, Nevada and El Dorado.
PG&E attorneys assured Alsup the utility shares the judge’s goal of reducing wildfire risks posed by its power lines as the company has budgeted billions of dollars into upgrading its equipment (of course, ratepayers are “sharing” the costs for the work).
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
GERARDO MAGDALENO’S BROTHER, Francisco Magdaleno. A facebook post.
I hope you are well. I want to take this time to thank you for your support towards my family and in specific my brother, Gerardo. I have read and responded to numerous people in comments, messages, and phone calls regarding Gerardo, both positive and negative.
To those of you who have stood by us and are helping us push for change and reform of the police's current behavior, THANK YOU! I cannot express my gratitude enough. I would love to state that I am proud of you. I am PROUD of you for using your 1st Amendment Right in a positive and courageous way. My family and I wholeheartedly thank you. You are a pioneer in our community, and you are part of the solution and change.
For those expressing negative and facetious comments regarding my brother, please stop. I am sure that at some point, we all have made mistakes, including you (the finger-pointer). Judging, demeaning, wishing wrong, and degrading others do not make you a better person. In specific if you do not have facts or proof of what you are stating. My brother has gone through so much and has endured so much, and he's only 25-years of age. Schizophrenia (substance-induced or not) and Bipolar disorder are not simple or curable diagnoses. I am asking you to please educate yourself in the matter and invite you to start a positive and constructive conversation with me or others. The only people who can promote change from ignorance is YOU. You are the only one responsible for personal development.
Lastly, my family and I are asking you, reading this, to share my brother’s story. Not only for my brother’s fate, but for your friend, mother, father, sibling, or even you. WE ALL deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, in specific by those who swore to serve and protect us.
A Concerned Brother and Family!
FISHING THE NAVARRO, AN EXCHANGE
Jeff Burroughs, before you blame fishermen (and drift boaters in particular) for local steelhead decline you need to consider vineyard expansion, rural road building, and timber management. Those factors and the subsequent sediment input to the river and its estuary are what doomed your beloved steelhead. Of course some “mismanagement” by state fish and game along the way made things worse. Oh, and now annual rainfall seems to be trending lower and lower in our watersheds – more bad news. That will likely be the final nail in the local steelhead’s coffin as fewer of these fish are even able to return to freshwater for spawning. Rivers to the south of us have instituted the no drift boat policy (to deal with crowds, not overfishing) and it doesn’t seem to be bringing their fish back any faster. How did the boat out-fish you that day way-back-when? Well maybe their technique was more refined or the bait was fresher than yours. Ten percent of the fishermen catch ninety percent of the fish, you know.
In response to the comment made to my recent story about drift boats depleting the Steelhead in the Navarro.
If we are truly committed to steelhead conservation, we should never allow ourselves to become arrogant and narrow-minded about our role as part of the problem. Simply shifting blame towards other factors as being the major cause of the Steelhead decline only makes thing worse because it gets in the way of solving the problem. The Navarro River is simply not big enough water to justify the use of a drift boat.
Two modern-day steelheaders and an oarsman worth their salt have few obstacles between them and success.
Every nook, cranny, and hog trough will be thoroughly carved out. Every pocket will be probed and every run swept clean.
Being a 5th generation steelhead fisherman I have spent the majority of my time fishing from the bank but some of that time fishing has been in our drift boat. The success rate in a drift boat is ten fold compared to bank fishing. This has forced me to face an uncomfortable reality – that drift boats have had their boot heel on the backs of these fish since the day they showed up on the Navarro.
Anyone who thinks encounter rates of 1.5-times per fish per season don’t have an effect on steelhead energy reserves and possibly spawning success is fooling themselves.
True some days the boat boys can rack up numbers, but I’ve seen bank guys do better than the drift boats too – your catch rate depends on many factors not limited to just bank vs boat. Skill level, knowledge, preparation, bait quality, environmental conditions, patience and more come into play.
Your argument holds no water because steelhead are hurting across the board in mendocino county and beyond. Even in streams with little or no possibility of launching a drift boat – see: ten mile, pudding creek, noyo, hare creek, caspar creek, big river, little river and on and on. Hell, some of those waters listed don’t legally allow for fishing at all, but the fish there are still F’ed! How can you explain that with this drift boat nonsense?
It’s funny. I’ve been a bank fisherman exclusively. Never been in a drift boat, but here I am defending the sleds. I suppose I’d like to have the option to ride one someday.
Another thought – most boats I’ve encountered on the rivers from here to Washington were full of friendly, clued-in, keyed-up, dedicated sportsmen. Exactly the type of people I want to see on the water. Very few exceptions.
THEY OUGHT TO BE RUNNING VEGAS CASINOS
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
That first Thursday in April sure was a big day all across America.
Yes, a couple Thursdays ago it was National Trombone Day. And it was Lupus Awareness Day, U.S. Air Force Academy Day, International Fun at Work Day, Holy Thursday, April Fool’s Day, Assyrian New Year, National Atheist Day, Burrito Day, and Edible Book Day.
It was also Opening Day for Major League Baseball, which by now falls somewhere in the middle of the other listed Days in terms of generating excitement and interest.
Baseball is down with a wasting disease, and those in charge of nursing it back to health don’t have the patient’s best interests in mind. Those in charge of the game do not love and appreciate baseball. They are in fact the ones that have caused the game’s crippling illness.
They ought to be running something else. A movie studio, a big fancy casino in Las Vegas or a Broadway musical. The people running baseball would prefer to be operating entertainment empires, fun and exciting places where customers spend big money to be delighted, surprised or both. Like a traveling carnival.
But baseball, the most traditional and thoughtful of all our national sports, is precisely where not to go for surprises every minute. In fact, a “minute” doesn’t exist in baseball, it being the only sport without a clock.
In baseball it ain’t over ’til it’s over, and that means the other team gets to bat again even if the score is 14-0. Teams behind by 14-0 have come back to win, because the game wasn’t over until it was. And lack of a clock is one of baseball’s charming eccentricities. But no more.
The game’s big shots want to impose time limits on baseball, and soon they will. MLB execs are problem solvers, only faintly aware of the game’s history and tradition. If there isn’t a problem they invent one. By solving it they make things worse and fixing the new problem also backfires, so in desperation they add a clock, juice the balls, reduce the distance between bases, and have a helicopter hover above the park dropping coupons for free burritos at Taco Bell.
Team owners loathe any lull in the razzle dazzle action. A momentary pause has to be filled with mindless sparks and noise: Disco music between innings, big explosions from the scoreboard or a loud buzzer warning that fans are getting bored so hurry up and go kick a field goal.
Baseball has done its best (worst) to ruin itself in ways both large and small, and has succeeded. They’ve improved the game so much that it’s boring and unwatchable, having been reduced to a Home Run Derby contest shuffled among 35 strikeouts.
I’ve spent 66 or so years paying too much time, money and attention on the Cleveland Indians, but if the game is losing me it’s hemorrhaging millions more.
They strangle baseball by adding gizmos, tinkering with traditions and dreaming up silly solutions today to fix future problems they’ll introduce next season. So pitching mounds get lowered, DHs added, Astroturf added and subtracted, steroids are OK / Not OK, outfield fences are brought in as a way to create more home runs, and as a way to create more home runs new smaller parks get built.
New ballparks require tearing down old great ones like Tiger Stadium, Comiskey Park, Yankee Stadium and many others. In their place are “retro” stadiums designed to look like old stadiums. The sterile new facilities are “Mall Parks” and perhaps that’s self-explanatory. Don’t risk asking me.
Choose your favorite new change(s): Instant replay; 10 or 15 relief pitchers a game; limits on pickoff attempts; robots calling balls & strikes; seven inning doubleheader games; high wire tightrope acts strung foul pole to foul pole; infield shifts illegal; extra inning games start with a runner on second base; shortstops must keep shoelaces tied together; one baseball in ten explodes on contact; bases moved closer to one another; random Designated Fans pinch hit each half-inning; managers not allowed to dispute on-field calls; pitching rubber 76 feet, 6 inches from plate; nonstop wild music and screaming; Dot Racing and Kiss Cams.
Also: WeWillWeWillRockYou, and prizes for any fan able to name the teams on the field.
And what return do I get for those 66 years of loyalty?
1) Municipal Stadium, cathedral of my youth, bulldozed.
2) Chief Wahoo, the team’s cheerful smiling cartoon emblem, offends community activists in Berkeley and sociology professors everywhere, gets dragged off the diamond and hanged from the upper deck.
3) In a further purge, spine-free corporate toads promise to change team name. “Cleveland Idiots” has a nice feel to it, dontcha think?.
None of it, nor the Tribe not winning a World Series since 1948, is enough to ruin a lifelong fan’s love for the game and his team. But all of them together is quite sufficient.
So I’m out. Screw ‘em. Just remember: I didn’t leave the Cleveland Indians, the Cleveland Indians left me.
And from here on in I’m a lifelong, do-or-die, diehard, hardcore Oakland A’s fan.
(Tom Hine, who writes this column, offers high fives, a standing ovation and a round of applause to station KUKI, radio home of the Oakland A’s for the upcoming season. Catch every game on AM 1400. TWK says throw some advertising KUKI’s way if you’re able, and pass the peanuts and Cracker Jacks!)
JADE AGAIN. AND AGAIN.
On Sunday, March 28, 2021 at around 3:00 PM, Deputies were dispatched to an in-progress physical fight occurring in the 32000 block of North Mitchell Creek Road in Fort Bragg.
While Deputies were responding, they were updated by the reporting person that the suspect, identified as Jade Bennett, 45, of Fort Bragg, had struck an adult male with a metal object that caused injuries.
Deputies were also advised that the adult male was being transported by a citizen to a local hospital for medical attention.
Deputies responded to Adventist Health Mendocino Coast hospital and contacted the adult male, who had serious visible injuries. The adult male described the object that he was struck with as a metal cable with a block and steel hook.
Deputies responded to the incident location, made contact with Bennett and arrested him for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Felony Probation Violation.
Deputies quickly located the metal object that was described by adult male.
Bennett was escorted to a patrol vehicle and once at the vehicle he took off running away. Bennett was quickly recaptured and was additionally charged with Attempted Escape from Arrest).
Bennett was booked into Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $60,000 bail.
ED NOTE: Jade is a native of the Anderson Valley. He has been mentally ill for years, and is one more recurrent example of the unhappy fact that despite the annual millions shoveled to the county's “helping professionals,” there are a worrisome number of people like Jade who are unhelped.
THE FEMALE VERSION OF JADE
On Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 8:30 P.M. a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was on routine patrol in the area of North State Street and Durable Mill Road in Calpella.
The Deputy observed a dark colored sedan pull up to a garage type structure on Durable Mill Road.
The Deputy contacted the driver of the vehicle and identified her as Justine Norton, 57, of Ukiah.
The Deputy suspected Norton to be under the influence of a controlled substance.
The Deputy knew Norton from prior law enforcement contacts and knew there to be an active felony warrant for her arrest.
Norton fled on foot into the building and the Deputy pursued Norton, who attempted to hide next to some furniture. The Deputy located Norton and verbally directed her to come out from her hiding spot.
Norton attempted to flee again; however the Deputy was able to gain control of her. Norton attempted to pull away from the Deputy and the two of them fell to the ground. A short struggle ensued before the Deputy was able to secure Norton in handcuffs.
Norton was found to be on pretrial release with a term of "Obey all Laws." There were two felony warrants and two misdemeanor warrants for Norton's arrest.
Norton was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the arrest warrants as well as Resisting or Threatening a Peace Officer and Contempt of Court Disorderly Behavior.
Norton was to be held at the Mendocino County Jail in lieu of $117,500 bail.
AND THEN THERE'S LILLIAN
On Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 11:11 P.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol in Calpella.
A Deputy observed a Volkswagen sedan traveling northbound on North State Street. The Deputy observed the driver of the vehicle as being Lillian Chaney, 51, of Ukiah.
The Deputy knew Chaney from prior law enforcement contacts and knew her to have active arrest warrants and knew her to be on active felony probation.
The Deputy initiated a traffic stop in the 6800 block of North State Street.
Sheriff's Office Dispatch advised the registration on the vehicle was expired; however the Deputy observed the vehicle displayed a current registration tab.
The Deputy contacted Chaney, who was driving the vehicle, and two passengers.
Sheriff's Office Dispatch confirmed there were two active misdemeanor arrest warrants for Chaney and she was on active felony probation with terms to include a "4th amendment waiver," (searchable) "Obey all laws," and "No alcohol."
A probation search of the vehicle revealed an open bottle of an alcoholic beverage, in violation of Chaney's probation.
The Deputy developed probable cause to believe Chaney displayed false registration tabs on her vehicle.
Chaney was arrested on the two misdemeanor arrest warrants, Felony Violation of Probation, and Unlawful Display of Evidence of Registration.
Chaney was transported to the Mendocino County Jail for booking purposes.
In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, bail was set at zero dollars and Chaney was released after the jail booking process, on her promise to appear in court at a later date.
IT'S 245AM IN CALPELLA…
On Saturday, April 3, 2021 at about 2:34 A.M, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 6000 block of East Side Calpella Road in Calpella.
The Deputy contacted the adult male driver (40, of Ukiah) and passenger (Eduardo Alvarez, 25, of Ukiah) both being local residents.
A records check revealed Alvarez was on active CDC Parole and had an outstanding arrest warrant for violation of his Parole terms. Alvarez was arrested on the warrant and a search of the vehicle was conducted pursuant to the terms of his Parole.
During the search, a bag containing suspected methamphetamine was located beneath the driver seat.
Based on the location of the suspected methamphetamine, it was believed to have been possessed by the driver.
The suspected methamphetamine was seized and booked into Sheriff's Office Evidence for testing.
Contingent upon positive test results, a criminal complaint against the driver for Possession of a Controlled Substance will be submitted to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office for review.
Alvarez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a No-Bail status.
On Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at around 8:30 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported burglary at the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Substation in Point Arena.
Upon their arrival, Deputies observed the front door appeared to have been pried open. Deputies additionally found multiple filing cabinet and desk drawers open.
Deputies reviewed security camera footage and were able to obtain a description of the suspect.
Deputies checked the Point Arena area and contacted a male in the 200 block of Main Street.
The male was identified as Micah Ray Pilgram, 24, of Point Arena, and he matched the description obtained from the security camera footage.
At the conclusion of their investigation, Deputies placed Pilgram under arrest for having committed the crime of Burglary.
A Mendocino County Superior Court Judge was contacted and a bail enhancement was requested due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency "ZERO BAIL" for non-violent offenses.
The Judge ordered that Pilgram be held in lieu of $15,000 bail and he was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail.
On Friday, April 2, 2021 at approximately 9:00 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies served a search warrant at a residence in the 76000 block of Henderson Lane in Covelo.
Jessica Oliver, 36, of Covelo, arrived at the residence in vehicle with two other subjects and Deputies learned she resided at the residence.
Deputies observed Oliver standing by an inoperable truck on the property nearby the residence. While Oliver was being interviewed, another Deputy observed a purse partially hidden in the fender well of the inoperable truck.
The purse was searched and Deputies located a 9mm pistol with a special selector switch attachment that would make the pistol a fully automatic machine gun. Also in the purse was a short-barrel 410 gauge double barrel shotgun and identification in Oliver's name.
The shotgun had been illegally modified with a barrel length less than 18 inches and an overall length less than 26 inches.
Oliver was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Possession of Machine Gun and Possession of Short-Barreled Shotgun.
In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, bail was set at zero dollars and Oliver was released after the jail booking process, on her promise to appear in court at a later date.
IRA, MEET JESSICA
On Friday, April 2, 2021 Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a report of Ira Bowes, 29, of Covelo, discharging a firearm in public in the 76000 block of Henderson Lane in Covelo.
While Deputies were responding, a Round Valley Tribal Police Officer arrived on scene and informed responding Deputies via radio that they observed Bowes on foot and in possession of a rifle however they had lost sight of him prior to the Deputies’ arrival.
The Officer a short time later noticed Bowes had covertly approached him from behind while still in possession of the rifle. Upon being seen by the Officer, Bowes quickly fled towards residences located in the 76000 block of Henderson Lane.
The Officer provided responding Deputies with Bowes' clothing description.
When Deputies arrived they observed Bowes walking about hundred yards east of the residences in the 76000 block of Henderson Lane.
Bowes was only wearing underwear at this time and a Mendocino County Sheriff K-9 Deputy deployed his K-9 partner on a leash for safety purposes and Bowes quickly surrendered without further incident.
Once Bowes was handcuffed and secured in the back of a patrol vehicle, he became belligerent and made violent threatening statements towards Deputies and the Tribal Police Officer present at the scene.
Deputies were able to locate the clothing Bowes was wearing when the Tribal Police Officer had observed him in possession of a firearm. This clothing was found at a nearby residence.
In the pockets of the clothing Deputies found a 12 gauge shotgun shell cartridge and observed a vehicle on the property that had fresh bullet hole damage.
Deputies further learned Bowes had access and had been living in a residence on the property.
Deputies obtained a search warrant to search the residence on the property for the firearm Bowes was witnessed to possess. The firearm was not located however additional shotgun cartridges and other ammunition was located inside the residence.
Bowes, by law, is prohibited from possessing firearms and or ammunition.
It was also determined Bowes was under the influence of controlled substance during the time of his detention.
Bowes was arrested on the listed violations and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $175,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 4, 2021
JEFFREY FINAN, Gualala. DUI-alcohol&drugs causing injury, reckless driving.
JONATHAN GUERRERO-VARGAS, Upper Lake/Ukiah. DUI.
MICHAEL MCCLELLAN, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
CHANITO URIBE JR., Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“It’s Easter and there is no God.”
‘I know this for a fact because … and I know for a fact that the multitudes whom God has revealed Himself are all delusional or bat-shit crazy … because … if there Really were a God, he would’ve revealed Himself to me by now!’
“Ehhh … what a maroon!” – Bugs Bunny
You can’t know that God doesn’t exist. You can think it. Suspect it. Argue so. You can even have Faith that He does not exist.
You don’t know.
Science discovers that God is within you and without you. Science discovers God from the cosmos to the atom. And you go, “See!” while The Truth zips Right over your head like a hawk.
Jesus did rise from the dead. Jesus left this world as a slaughtered lamb. Two more days (2,000 years) and He’s coming back to judge the living and the dead. He’s coming back to mete out Truth & Justice as a lion. Judgement Day. Then, on the 7th day, the souls in the Book of Life rest [Jesus’ 1,000 year reign!]
Of course, we’ve got 7 years of Trials & Tribulations first. Buckle up, Christians, martyrdom ain’t pretty.
Happy Easter! He is risen!
“DO YOU THINK O.J. did it?”
— Boris Yeltsin to Bill Clinton, 1995
PROBATE: How To Be A Savvy Beneficiary
by Linda Leahy
Wow, a double whammy, losing a loved one and discovering you are to inherit a loving gift from them, as they left a Will. Prepare for a journey into the Kabuki theater of the macabre world of Probate. You will never be the same!
Picture, if you will, in your mind’s eye, a scene from Apocalypse Now, where there is a soldier standing in the middle of the battle, and a large group of Hueys coming in to the music of Wagner’s Ride of Valkyries. Now, take the soldier out of that scene and replace him with Probate lawyers. Hear the whop, flop, whop of the Huey blades, as hordes of lawyers seeking billable hours, using your inheritance as a slush fund. The lawyer on the ground, in a grotesque act of privilege, says, “I love the smell of probate in the morning!” The Hueys shoot down every square inch of your trust, family, friends and belief in the equity of a legal process.
Here is one person’s story through that hell. I have also spoken with many who are or have been caught up in this Kabuki theater, where the estate says the assets are theirs, but probate law says, not so fast — first it belongs to a trustee or an executive, overseeing the distribution of the assets. From those same assets, that person, will consume their billable hours, and it will take a year, two years or more. Someday, you will encounter this scene. I hope this story helps you through it.
As one attorney says, on his website ad, a photo of him flying through the air in a Mighty Mouse pose; black business suit, graduate of Harvard, it is over when the money is gone! This particular attorney, is paid for out of the estate, to represent your executor/trustee, if you dare to ask questions that make the trustee/executor nervous that they might be sued for mismanagement of your estate. They will demand you sign a waiver to hold them harmless, for things you will not know about until after the estate is closed.
From when they begin, everything is transferred into their name, they are to protect it and manage it for the beneficiaries, until it is disbursed. For that time, they are protected by confidentiality — of the deceased. From this moment until it closes, everything they do is a billable hour, out of your inheritance. $200 an hour, $400 an hour? Anything they want, absolutely no oversight, unless you want to ask your question in court. For that you will need to hire an attorney, and file a petition in court. This is paid by the beneficiary, and more likely than not, will not be reimbursed. Don’t expect it!
Probate law says that now the lawyer will get billable hours at a higher rate for court activities, for these tasks are not part the trustee/executor administrative duties, yet, since this type of need for counsel is considered billable for the trustee/executor, as it is part of the administration. Sort of a situation that covers all.
The trustee/executor will use your estate funds to hire their own attorney of choice. They are not limited with a budget. They can and will choose anyone they want, cost is no object. So their attorney will now bill for handling this side track issue in the case. But, wait for it — your trustee/executive, will also bill for talking with their attorney, also using trust assets. No reasonable limit set, and no limit set on what represents an issue for which the trustee/executor can seek council.
In my case, the counsel was requested to block and obstruct the request for discovery, that being, documents that were supposed to be provided, but were not. They never have been, and never will be. Reason, confidentiality! All of this maneuvering, involved weeks, months and waiting for attorneys to talk back and forth, ask for discovery and get a time period like 90 days to get it done. Then the other attorney, gets to read it, and file their own objections.
Next comes now “objections.” These little critters are amazing pack-man-like eaters of billable hours. For objections are met with counter objections. Now the conversation has changed from the trustee/executor distributing your estate, into fear and loathing by the trustee/executor of the beneficiaries, and then it moves into yet a new side track, objections. A whole new category, preventing the beneficiary from seeing any confidential documents, activities or in any other way, asking the trustee/executor, to behave as prescribed by Probate law. All private!
Your estate, belongs to them, and remains confidential, until it has closure. Until then, your assets are considered none of your beeswax. How dare you even ask. Your only task will be to sign documents, whether you understand them, agree with them or wish to say no.
After a long wait, possibly a couple of years, the trustee/executor, will finally have used up lots of billable hours. In my case it so far has totaled over $50,000, just for her. This does not include her counsel, nor any of the other professionals she has engaged to consult with. All lost in administrative sleight of hand tricks to use estate funds, as a private slush fund. After all, it is all confidential, and the trustee/executor, have the Probate Court’s approval, to spend anything they want or need.
If any beneficiary asks, they are told they are troublemakers, costing the estate money and time which equals more billable hours. Beneficiaries are also told not to quibble over a few thousand dollars not accounted for, while attorneys are billing for 15 minutes for picking up a letter and date stamping it!
I call that quibbling.
So, again we have every penny for the trustee/executor and her counsel, and that the beneficiary let go of a few unaccounted for missing thousands! What?
Sibling rivalry. Some Probate lawyers actually specialize in this “area of law” and advertise their particular expertise. If it does not exist, no matter, it still makes an interesting legal accusation, with billable hours. A new lawyer can be hired by the executor/trustee, to fend off any requests of an accounting, by accusing the beneficiaries of sibling rivalry, wasting estate funds and time.
Are you kidding me! Once labeled as having been infected with sibling rivalry, everything you say is seen as jealousy and mischief. Now it is fair game to be shot down as without merit to the matters at hand. Wow, here we go again!
There is a third focus for billable hours — fending off sibling rivalry as defined by the trustee’s hired counsel. He/she will define that ailment, and dismiss anything now labeled to be not relevant. Upsetting to the trustee/executor’s need to focus on administration of the trust. The trustee/executor, can talk with their counsel on how sibling rivalry is obstructing and interfering with their expediting the speedy resolution of the estate.
Of course, this is simply a new reason to delay, deny and bill out of the slush fund of the estate. As that lawyer has said, it is not over until the money is gone. They can petition the Probate court, and ask for a set aside of estate money, to be held and not distributed to the beneficiaries, as one or more of them might litigate. This “POSSIBLE LITIGATION BY BENEFICIARIES” is presented to “your honor,” who will allow a huge sum of trust assets to be set aside and not distributed. No accounting has to be given to the Judge, at the close, showing how it was used. It can be frittered away in talking on the phone, meetings, conversations, etc. It does not even matter about what. It is assumed that the trustee/executor, is ethical and transparent, and truly has the protective best interest of the assets and the beneficiaries.
So their counsel begins obstructing and hiding requested documents, under the excuse that it could lead to possible litigation. Documents, will not be distributed to beneficiaries, until after the estate is closed, and even then, many and any that would incriminate will simply be left out of the disclosure. If it comes out later, after closure, that documents actually existed, and would have made a difference, the beneficiary has to hire a lawyer again, and file a new case against the trustee/executor, but since they signed the waiver, it reduces credibility to judge or jury, as to why the beneficiary signed a waiver. And an explanation would simply sound like an excuse.
This new case and issue will be costly to the beneficiary, who has already gone through a few years of extreme cruelty. It seems you will never be free from the horror of inheriting. You will be asked, prior to closure of the estate, to sign another waiver to hold trustee, executor, counsel and anyone else, harmless from legal process if you want the estate to close. If you don’t, then here comes the trustee’s/executor’s counsel again, to intercede by petitioning the Probate court to demand you sign. If you don’t sign, you will have more costs, billable hours by multiple lawyers and more time in this “fun house of frightening objects flying out at you from around every corner.”
And, you sign all of these documents before you actually know the facts and see the documents. Beneficiaries, are threatened, demeaned, discredited and labeled as high maintenance, troublemakers, and in my case, I was called “a difficult old lady.” I kid you not! And, as they enjoy this haughty privilege, they are also billing, for more billable hours.
My particular situation began with what everyone called a simple Will. It has cost over $200,000 to administer, and is now at two years and counting. We are still waiting for closure, but since the IRS extended the tax due date to May 17, 2021, the trustee has delayed filing the taxes until mid-May, allowing many weeks of billable hours.
If you can, imagine Woody Woodpecker, from years gone by, if you are old enough. He had that theme song; Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha; ha, ha, ha, ha, ha; that’s the Woody Woodpecker song.
So, here is the version I thought of, when my trustee’s lawyer, who calls himself J. D. Supra (a spin on Latin legal terms, supra meaning above, and J. D. for Juris Doctorate). Mr. Supra, or J. D. as I have lovingly come to know him, refers to himself as a specialist in sibling rivalry. His “handle” comes from the visual, of him flying through the air, like a super hero, or in this case, a supra hero. He comes to save the day for the executor/trustee from those horrible beneficiaries who cause problems by jealousy and infighting over the estate.
I close with my version of the Woody Woodpecker song, it goes this way: billable hours, billable hours, that’s the J. D. Supra song, billable hours, billable hours, he will count them up all day long, billable hours, billable hours, that’s the J. D. Supra song!
This is just a brief story of being a beneficiary. I thought of making it long and boring, but in the end, I wanted it to be funny, ridiculous and represent the humor side of when you get caught up in the system. Don’t take it too seriously, it will run its natural course. I do say get an attorney right away to represent your voice. Otherwise, you will have none. By the time you realize you need one, a year or more has passed, and the estate has been pillaged and bills have run amok, out in the weeds of billable hours.
A thank you to my own counsel, attorney, and his staff. They have been magic and a constant guide through the darkness. Trying to grieve the loss of my Mother, who was 99, and my favorite old lady to have tea with; to lose her beautiful gift to me in a quagmire of Cirque Du Solei is tragic. I have never had abundance, so this is incredible to contemplate, even more so, to remember my Mom and Dad with gratitude. I hope I am able to do them proud, and be a wise sentry of the legacy. I have been a single Mom, had to do bottom jobs, even though I had two college degrees. Reason, my oldest child is developmentally disabled and required special care; still does. So I worked night jobs, and raised three kids the hard way, on my own. No social services and no privileges.
I am proud to have walked the path of independence and adding to my knowledge. So, I have created my own ways of holding my truth. Long ago, I created and ran a legal clinic in Fort Bragg. I served every question at no cost. I earned nothing, but I learned much. I plan to start a blog to be able to answer questions again, like I did before. Experience is too precious to waste.
Love to you all, and may your day be blessed. If you ever do inherit, remember to breathe, hire a lawyer and remember what I have said. For this will be a situation where no matter what you do or don’t do, it will run its own course. And remember, it will end!
WRITING IS A FORM OF THERAPY; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, FDR?
by Marilyn Davin
When I recently got an email from my local Democratic Club I was oh-so-tempted to delete it without reading it. I knew what it contained: After 12 years of active membership, 8 on its board of directors, why had I disappeared from the membership roster? Had it slipped my mind? Was it COVID related? (Nowadays if you get a hangnail it’s COVID-related.) I’m ashamed to admit that I chose the coward’s path of slipping off the radar without explanation because I wasn’t sure that I could adequately express how I just didn’t have the heart for it anymore, that the lines had blurred too irretrievably between the parties and I had lost hope that anything will ever change – the kiss of death in politics and, I suppose, in life in general.
While mulling all this over I called Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee member Jeff Tyrrell about what he thought of the state of the party. Tyrrell told me he’s a lifelong Democrat and has been on the central committee for 15 years. He’s one of 18 central committee members when there could be as many as 25; he explained that there are current vacancies. He was upbeat without sounding phony, answered every question thoughtfully and without constraint, and said that despite everything he’s hopeful that the county’s two-to-one margin over Republicans (with the same margin among No Party Preference voters – his estimates) and the country’s razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress can actually make a difference in improving the lives of struggling Americans facing low wages, expensive healthcare, and out-of-reach college educations for their kids, issues that one- or two-time stimulus checks don’t touch.
Tyrrell said that the delay in the Biden Administration’s transition and a late start in filling cabinet positions and attending to other administrative duties have slowed down Biden’s agenda and that Democrats should be patient while the dust settles. “Ninety days into the administration and the pendulum has just begun to shift in the other direction,” he said. “Everyone is grappling with it all.” He said that a technical complicating overlay is the unstoppable tide from mainstream to social media. “People are not necessarily seeking a solution but rallying their own base. How do you get agreement on anything?” he asked, rhetorically. Truth and accuracy are additional bugaboos. “I don’t know how you even determine who is a fact checker,” he said. “It’s not like watching Walter Cronkite.”
Locally, Tyrrell said that county Democrats are becoming more organized since the presidential election. “There was inertia during the pandemic,” he explained, but said that county Democrats are now considering using their mobile headquarters van full time instead of just before presidential elections to broaden the party’s reach throughout the county. “You have to keep engaged,” he said. These are the sorts of things that people do and say when they believe in what they’re doing, believe in their party’s vision, and therefore believe that their efforts and labors are not in vain.
Tyrrell didn’t comment directly on one of my areas of greatest discontent: That the current Democratic obsession with social issues, which change nothing of the foundational economic principles that have destroyed the middle class, have gobbled up all the political oxygen, leaving nothing for the hard, contentious work of creating a more equitable society for everyone.
Listening to NPR while running errands the other day I reflected that listeners must think that social equality in all its discriminatory manifestations is all that matters, when in fact it’s just the easiest stuff to cover, the lazy reporter’s uncontroversial fallback when it’s too tough to try to untangle all the threads that have been woven into both the destruction of the middle class, and, yes, the Democrats’ collective choice to protect their own wealth at the expense of the less well-heeled constituents they’ve promised to represent.
Just like it’s too tough for most legislators and congresspersons to ultimately vote against their own financial interests, which are more and more in synch with the corporate interests that feed them. All we hear about these days is social inequality, both real and perceived. The airwaves throb with the sob stories of women, blacks, Asians, gays, lesbians, trannies and the many other social subsets that separate us from one another, weakening the collective will to demand real economic change for everyone.
It’s not that these social issues don’t matter. The Mendocino County Democratic County Central Committee has a web page entitled What We Believe. It has 30 statements of what Mendo Democrats believe defines them. The first is that taxes should be kept as low as possible (really?). A livable wage for ALL Americans as a basic human right is number 21, behind the rights of children, people with disabilities, gun owners, Muslims, (There are peace-loving Muslims), immigrants, and employees who are drug tested.
These issues matter: It’s just that they operate on the fringes of the real problem, which is income inequality. If everyone made a livable wage with decent benefits we wouldn’t as the greater society be fighting over the crumbs after corporations and the rich who own them have already feasted. It’s the issue that nearly catapulted Bernie Sanders, the oldest Democratic candidate with the youngest supporters, onto the top of the Democratic presidential ticket instead of Hillary Clinton. Our current president’s response to the Bernie juggernaut? “We will never be a socialist country.”
Allegiance to a political party has always required a personal leap of faith. When I asked Jeff Tyrrell if he gets discouraged by the country’s slide into a nation of haves and have-nots, despite the political party in power, he replied that things are looking up after the Trump disaster. “To me it seems pretty obvious that one party is for the people while the other party is bought and sold by corporate interests,” he told me. To believe in an ideal despite evidence to the contrary, in this case recent Democratic presidents who have deepened the wealth divide and made themselves über-rich in the process once their terms ended, is to keep hope and commitment alive despite that evidence. Without that commitment and idealism politicians and their parties would be hard-pressed to explain why they matter, or even why they exist.
TWO DETECTIVES, a man and a woman, were trying to find a suspect who was believed to have frequented a brothel in Nevada. They went to the brothel — three separate motorhomes, each with their own name and signage. The woman detective strode in to the first one and showed the madam a mugshot and brusquely asked if she or her staff members had seen the man in question. The madam demanded to see a warrant before answering any questions. After some testy back and forth the madam and her two employees denied having seen anyone like the suspect. The woman detective came back to their car and reported no success. The male detective volunteered to try the next motorhome/brothel using a different, less abrasive, method. “I’m going to try using the old-fashioned method,” said the man. “Are you going to take off your clothes?” the woman detective asked. “No,” said the male detective. “I’m going to take out my wallet.”
POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN
His real name was Frank "Rocky" Fiegel. He was born in 1868 in Poland and, as a child, immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled down in a small town in Illinois. As a young man, Rocky went to sea. After a 20 year career as a sailor in the Merchant Marines, Fiegel retired. He was later hired by Wiebusch's Tavern in the city of Chester, Illinois as a “Bouncer” to maintain order in the rowdy bar.
Rocky quickly developed a reputation for always being involved in fighting (and usually winning). As a result, he had a deformed eye ("Pop-eye"). He also “always” smoked his pipe, so he always spoke out of one side of his mouth. In his spare time as a Bouncer, Rocky would entertain the customers by regaling them with exciting stories of adventures he claimed to have had over his career as a sailor crossing the “Seven Seas.”
The creator of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, grew up in Chester and, as a young man, met Rocky at the tavern and would sit for hours listening to the old sailor’s amazing “sea” stories.’ Years later, Segar became a cartoonist and developed a comic strip called “Thimble Theater.” He honored Fiegel by asking if he could model his new comic strip character, “Popeye the Sailor Man,” after him. Naturally Fiegel was flattered and agreed.
Segar claimed that “Olive Oyl,” along with other characters, was also loosely based on an actual person. She was Dora Paskel, owner of a small grocery store in Chester. She apparently actually looked much like the Olive Oyl character in his comics. He claimed she even dressed much the same way.
Through the years, Segar kept in touch with Rocky and always helped him with money; giving him a small percentage of what he earned from his Popeye illustrations.
PANIC ROOMS, BIRTH CERTIFICATES AND THE BIRTH OF GOP PARANOIA
John Boehner served as speaker of the United States House of Representatives for nearly five years (January 2011-October 2015), and represented the Eighth Congressional District of Ohio from 1991 to 2015. He now serves as senior strategic adviser for Squire Patton Boggs LLP. This essay is adapted from his book On The House, to be published by St. Martin’s Press on April 13, 2021.