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Letters (May 12, 2021)

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Esteemed Editors:

It was a lovely elegy to villages gone by in Marshall Newman’s “The Lost Hamlets,” in last week’s AVA.

A couple of my own recollections: 

I believe there were in fact two Christines now gone. The original one was somewhere along Mill Creek near the Gschwend Mill. I think Bob Glover described it as on the flat upstream of the current Highway 128 bridge. I don’t know whether it was fire or a ten year flood that encouraged the local settlers to abandon the original village. But the second Christine was along the old wagon road/McDonald to the Sea right-of-way further north on the edge of Christine Woods. It consisted of a General Store owned by Ed Guntly (for which I have a newsprint broadside ad) and a blacksmith shop, also Guntly-owned. Thirty years ago I could still see the mudsills for one of those buildings from the current 128 and have been planning an archeological exploration of the site for years now.

And what about Peachland, five miles up the road above Rawles Ranch? Weren’t there enough families living up there at the turn of the century to support a Post Office and a school?

And Comfort? Where exactly on Mountain View Road? Does Newman mean Elk Creek headwaters up there, west end of Piper Ranch? Alder Creek’s headwaters are way down the mountain from Ciapusci vineyard, almost to Highway 1 south of Manchester.

Thank you, Marshall Newman, for your memories of Old Anderson Valley.

Brad Wiley


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People need to stop planting eucalyptus trees. They are awful trees. They are extremely flammable. They spread fire, destroy homes and injure and kill firefighters as a recent local Facebook post pointed out (see a video about the dangers of eucalyptus that was also posted on youtube). We cannot expect firefighters to protect our property if we keep making it more dangerous for them to do so.

Euks also drop heavy branches and even fall over in windy conditions causing more danger to people and property. They are bad for native wildlife. The oils and their leaves repel many birds and other animals and their leaves, bark, and toxic oils fall onto soil and change it so many native plants and wildlife cannot survive.

Eucalyptus are non-native, invasive and displace our beautiful local native trees and plants. Please, folks, if you plant trees, try planting natives like bull pine, Doug fir, and even redwoods, all of which are fast growing and wildlife friendly. Tanoaks, silktassel and native willows (if you have the water) also support abundant wildlife.

Contact the local Dorothy King Young Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the Mendocino Botanic Garden, or nurseries for more information on local native trees.

Thank you for planting local!

Emily Roberson

Anchor Bay

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JDSF tree sit…

On Saturday May 8 at the JDSF tree sit in east Caspar that has been dubbed “Mama tree,” a group of children surrounded by parents and supportive community gathered at the tree sit to express concerns for their local forest and the health of their planet. 

The children also met with tree sitters “Bugs” and “Walker,” and exchanged supportive ideas and learned from the occupants just what it is like to live in a tree. This was a small but historically significant event reflective of the growing community that is gathering around Mama Tree, the health of our public forest and the health of our planet. Stay tuned community!

Chris Skyhawk

Fort Bragg

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Is there any follow up to that incredible front page story in the April 14 edition written by Eva Chrysanthe detailing the tragic events at Sausalito? Is Paul Ray Smith Jr. still in jail? And I am so saddened to hear that the “officials” killed his beloved companion dog. Her story really drove home the point that we  are becoming a military state. That such an incident could happen in so-called civilized, up-scale Sausalito, and that the perpetrators of such violence could get away with it is testament to our devolution as a society.

I applaud Ms. Chrysanthe for her in-depth account of this tragedy. If there is any more to this story I’d appreciate reading it. Did Mr. Smith ever get legal counsel? And/or psychological counseling?

This account of unnecessary force is just as noteworthy as the George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, etc., cases, but it didcn’t make national news, or even local news, except for its inclusion in the Mighty AVA.

Louise Mariana


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To the AVA Editor,

As a former employee of the County Ag Dept. under Mr. Grewal, I have issue with Mr. Scaramella's article "Welcome to Mendo, Dr. Grewal". The description of the "facts" is extremely one-sided and comes from falsified allegations in Mr. Grewal's lawsuit. The information is far from the truth. Mr. Grewal had a tarnished history in Stanislaus county despite his "credentials (please do your background research next time)". During his time at the Mendocino County Ag Dept. 14 out of 20 employees quit or found other county positions. 13 of those employees were WOMEN. His method of supervision was domineering and misogynistic. Any accomplishments of the Ag Dept had nothing to do with Mr. Grewal or his management. The Ag Dept biologists, who were there before the cannabis program and who are still there today, should get the credit for jobs well done. Those employees are still in their positions, despite the horrible working conditions they went thru under Mr. Grewal, because they love what they do. How dare you list names and heresay directly from Mr. Grewal's erroneous claims? I do agree that too many tax-payer dollars have been wasted dealing with Mr. Grewal and his lawsuit. He should have been fired in the summer of 2018 when the unfair treatment of the Ag Dept. employees began. In the future I suggest that you get the other side of the story instead of publishing one person's version whose allegations are unfounded.

Angela Wartell


PS. I would like to make a change to a part of my previous email regarding Mr. Scaramella's article "Welcome to Mendo, Dr. Grewal". The total number of non-management employees that left the Ag Dept while Mr. Grewal was Ag Commissioner was 11 out of 17 employees, 8 of which were women. In addition, 1 male and 2 female employees left the Ag Dept while Kelly Overton was the Cannabis Program Manager working with Mr. Grewal as Ag Commissioner. 

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There is another obvious water saving tip that should be added to the list published on April 25. During COVID, we are all washing our hands for 20 seconds; perhaps as many as 10 times a day. If we let the water run, billions of gallons could be wasted across the country. So, wet your hands, turn off the water, soap your hands, wash, turn on the water and rinse. This seems like common sense, but I bet most people just let the water run.

Don Stratton

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor,

Thank you Willits and Mendocino County folks for supporting this unique cultural history including exhibits for our local Emerald City Counter Culture and the Traveling Hemp Museum. So much fun at our Re-opening on 420 in the heart of Willits!

We are a new jewel in the crown of the Emerald Triangle.

A Big shout out to Pete Swanton and Steve Marston for their continuing generosity making the old Rexall available for our exhibits.

Greg Schindel played music, Chris Moore exhibited vintage Volkswagens, thank you both! And we had speakers and special guests.

This exhibit of our mutual history is for our mutual benefit, to attract tourism and to offer future educational events. Richard Jergenson has offered this gift to us from his many years of collecting “Back to the Land” memorabilia of our area and beyond.

Willits has everything it takes to be a prime visitor spot and tourism location. We hope tourists will love to visit both of our Museums!

Please stop in and see what we have done; this exhibit recognizes Willits as a major historical site of the counter culture, the back to the land movement, and origin cannabis culture. The Traveling Hemp Museum is an amazing collection that encompasses the world. We are also celebrating the 51st. anniversary of the iconic ProtoPipe, made here in Willits, as well as a vibrant 420 Art Gallery showcasing 10 local artists.

Whether you love cannabis or not, it is part of our shared local history. Behind the scenes cannabis has supported our economy for decades, even though we couldn’t see it because it was invisible.

We are losing our legacy farmers since legalization and the overregulation by our county and state, but we can capitalize on our history.

This museum announces to the world that we are indeed The Emerald City of The Emerald Triangle.

Thank you to all who have so generously donated, contributed and continue to support this creation, the Emerald City Museum and 420 Art Gallery. We are located in the old Willits Pharmacy, right downtown, open on weekends — Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. through the end of June.

Annie Waters & Richard Jergenson


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With increasing media and journalistic attention to the perils of dumping plastic into our landfills, rivers and oceans, I thought you might find this suggestion to my Congressman of interest. 


Bill Grimes


My letter to my Congressman in December of 2020. 

Dear Mr. Huffman,

With growing media reports on the damage done to our environment by discarded plastic, I can see no reason for the Federal law that forbids pharmacies to refill a prescribed medicine (pills) in the same plastic vial or container the customer brings to the pharmacy. To permit the pharmacy to refill a customer’s medicine in the same vial it was previously used for the same medicine seems unnecessary and is detrimental to our environment.

Upon learning of this law from my Walgreen pharmacist I asked what do they do with the used vials, like the one I brought from home that day hoping to have it filled. His answer: We throw them in the garbage. No recycle? I asked. His answer with a helpless and disinterested shrug: No.

Seems a minor component of the large, worldwide plastic problem. But think of all these plastic vials tossed in our garbage at home and in the pharmacy. Uneconomical to recycle and melt down for future use, I have read. So into the landfills, rivers, and oceans they go. Fish are now being found with bits of plastic in their stomachs. 

Assume 100 million Americans use prescribed medicines that come in these plastic containers. Think an average of two prescriptions per person per month and do the math.

That plastic takes a century or more to bi-degrade exacerbates the plastic pollution to our planet.

Let's repeal this federal law. Let us reuse the plastic vial to refill the same medicine that we used previously. 

Seems this would have broad bi-partisan support. Only the makers of these plastic containers would be against it, I would think.

Sincerely, your constituent, 

J. William Grimes


PS. Reply a month later was basically, thank you but we have other priorities. 

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All these letters from Wine Country inhabitants wailing about pot are almost surrealistically hypocritical. I mean alcohol essentially works by killing brain cells. Now we have a study on twins that says pot use in adolescence reduces mental ability little if at all, mainly working to reduce ambition (not sure that’s entirely bad). As the saying goes, give five guys a barrel of wine and you’ll end up with a brawl. Give five guys a bag of pot and you’ll end up with a band. But I guess it’s that scruffy hippie image taking a beating from wine’s pseudo Euro-snob image.

Mike Sherill


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Dear Editor,

In October 2019, the State of California enacted SB 313, a circus ban preventing wild animals such as tigers, lions, elephants, bears, and monkeys from being used in circuses. However, this law did not ban the use and abuse of these same animals for publicity stunts and other inhumane “acts” for human amusement.

This week, Tag (a Kodiak bear) was “hired” by John Cox for a publicity stunt in Sacramento. (Mr. Cox is a governor candidate trying to replace Newsom.) In 2012, Tag was born in captivity at a private zoo in Ohio. He has been used for movies and is now being used as a side show for a desperate man. This past Tuesday, Tag was placed on hot asphalt with a thin, inadequate hot wire separating him from the human audience during a publicity stunt in Sacramento. He was thrown chicken and other items to munch on while Cox spoke.

Mr. Cox plans to continue to drag Tag around the state for attention. Cox’s plans include a visit to The French Laundry in Yountville this week. I seriously doubt he has obtained the proper permits for this or any event. Also, that wire will not contain an agitated bear. This is a threat to public safety and the safety of Tag, the bear. 

Is this how we treat animals in California? This is animal abuse. This is shameful. This must be stopped.


Mara Parker

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor:

Today is my 69th birthday, and while readers have not asked for some reflections in so many words, I am sure they are out there, the requests, coming soon, like starlight.

I shall head them off, and have these few paragraphs waiting for when they come in, ready to turn them around in moments, assuming my email is working.

I was born quite early in May, (today being the first) on a Thursday, I think about 9 o’clock P M, a time I have kept as my bedtime all my life, even in my twenties in college. My drinking and staying up all night started about 4 in the afternoon, and I was pretty much leaving the bar or the frat house or a friend’s room on a Friday or Saturday night by about 9 or so, so that I was not too far off schedule by the next morning.

I have always been a bit – just a bit – precocious. Meaning advanced. Ahead of the game. If I was a carpenter I might have had my tools at the door the night before, the address of the new front door I was going to hang or the porch to be replaced in my wallet in my pocket with my lunch made and in the bag in the frig.

I entered high school when I was only fourteen years old; college at 18.

And yes, I drank – began drinking – for three of my college years at 4 in the afternoon, illegally, as it were, the drinking age there and then back East being 21.

(Just being clear, it was illegal to drink at my age, regardless what time one started.)

Looking back, I would have chosen my parents differently.

Wait. Let me start that again.

Looking back, I chose wonderfully the country of my birth, but not so much my parentage. Meaning I would have chosen a mother who lived longer past my second birthday, and a father who thought to learn how to cook so we didn’t have to wait on him all his life.

My father lived all his life self-absorbed.

Wait. I could say that differently.

My father was pampered from birth, and railed against the dying of my mother’s light by entitling himself to no less pampering, despite the change in circumstances, an attitude he justified and expressed in exasperated moments of adult responsibility as “everything happens to me.”

I take after my mother. Meaning, that eleven months ago I got her cancer, or a cancer, rather, but one they could and did treat with chemo and stem cells transplanted like root-ball trees into new bone marrow loam.

So……with the starlight on the way, the Earth thumb-sized from the moon, with Natron found on Mars like the Natron Egyptians used in mummies like the Natron deposits in Africa and France, where water was once……my reflection is….we’re doing OK. Not counting micro-plastics.

Also, that it’s good to be self-absorbed.

I don’t happen to be self-absorbed, having been far too busy in my life with personal projects and passions. But if I were going to start being so, this would be the day. Why put off till you are 70 what you can do when you are alive and well and only 69.

William Walls


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Dear AVA,

Old Buzzard Luck here with you again. I hope all is well there as I send my best to one and all.

I can be a pretty blind old fool sometimes as there is none more blind than the one who chooses not to see. But sometimes the world gives you that wink from the beyond that any old fool can see once his eyes get open and it's in those few and too far between times that we are embraced by beauty that is truly priceless.

As the best blessings in the world truly are free, I would like to give a great big shout out to one of those gems who was provided for me in the form of a conflict attorney who by grace was provided to me as I'm a broke dick Long but I'm here to tell you all that if you need an attorney who will dog. This attorney will not only go the extra mile for you, she will go two or three or four or however many extra steps are needed to ensure you are well taken care of. That attorney is Rachel McAlister at 707-848-7911. She is the one you should call.

Being the king of Buzzard Luck, I kept getting saddled with bottom of the barrel public defenders who I had to fire only to get some lame guy named Evan Zelig who did my prelim in such a foul fashion he admitted me guilty on all counts. So that fool had to go by way of my filing a complaint with the State Bar. That's how it's done for all you who the courts are forcing us to stay with these lawyers who are bending us over out there. Screw that. Stand up and be counted or lay down and be mounted. It's up to you.

My deepest gratitude to Rachel McCallister for going to bat for me as you are the cause of me finally seeing that there is a flip side. I've only seen the ugly side of the buzzard luck. But you have shown me that buzzard luck can be a beautiful thing. I've taken a lot of hard lumps. Like that old fool from the cartoon of yesteryear who says, "How many lumps you want?" He thought he was going to get some sugar until he got beat the hell up. But you to took that off of me when you went to bat for me. Thank you for helping me turn the tide in my life as I now see buzzard luck ain’t as bad a thing. Without it you never would have come my way. Any of you who need an attorney, find wicked good Rachel — the lady to get the job done.

Why do they call a star witness a star witness? Because of what star spells backward. Everyone of them are that.

Am I the only one who knows why they call it “Mountain Dew”? Break it down as the world winks: Mount and do. Do the Dew baby.

Till next time,

Terry Buzzard Luck Kramer

Santa Rosa

PS. In my previous note my shout out to Brian Long came out Ryan Long. I hope he is well. PPS. I enclose some butterflies/angels (origami) to hang in your office as symbols of freedom.

One Comment

  1. Mark Laszlo May 14, 2021

    Why do we need an over-regulating govt that confiscates property, even of legal growers and drives the legacy growers out-at all? This is the zone where a renaissance happened. A renaissance is a time for new ideas, discoveries, a chance to advance civilization. We glimpsed a civilization based on higher consciousness. We tried to save the world from the oligarch and military-subverted govt of the USA, but they crushed our renaissance. After millions marched for nuclear disarmament, they broke almost every arms control treaty and started WWIII with micro-neutron bombs in West Asia and it will come home, as God is just. We got the EPA but it was subverted, the environment poisoned by fracking, herbicides and GMOs. Most of the world will be uninhabitable soon. The recovery of pro-environment policy is half-assed. When the world is being destroyed you can’t compromise to save Her. Our state legislatures took away our county’s right to ban ag-chems. Mike Jani and MRC got away with using that as a bad excuse to leave many dead trees standing as chemtrails spraying powdered aluminum also increases forest flammability in this age of monster fires. Our federal and state govts don’t stop the chemtrails, no matter which party is in power. Our county govt. does not enforce Measure V and make MRC pay for making the fires worse. The law and ex-seal rent-a-cops using cruel and unusual punishment are on the side of environmental rapists who do not admit the necessity to human survival, of biodiversity. The nuclear disarmament and environmental movements necessary for human survival represent lessons of our renaissance. These are things we must do to save the world, but the govt tolerates fascists more, who are basically nihilists, against civilization. Why do we put up with such a government that is hostile to our renaissance-at all?

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