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UPPER LEVEL LOW PRESSURE will bring widely scattered showers and thunderstorms to interior northwest California this afternoon. Periods of marine layer clouds and fog will continue near the coast through Monday. Another trough will bring cooling and a chance of showers Wednesday and Thursday. (NWS)
7 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
MENDOCINO, LAKE COUNTIES EXPECT TO REMAIN IN CURRENT REOPENING TIERS UNTIL JUNE
by Ethan Varian
With a month to go before the state intends to ditch its four color-coded reopening tiers and fully reopen on June 15, Mendocino and Lake counties are expected to remain in their respective stages until that date, the counties’ health officers said.
In Mendocino County, new coronavirus cases began to tick up after the county moved into the least restrictive yellow tier, denoting minimal viral transmission, about two weeks ago. Still, Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren said average daily case rates have not been consistently high enough to threaten knocking the county back to the orange stage.
Mendocino County’s virus case rate — one of three key metrics state health officials use to decide reopening stages for California’s 58 counties — as of Friday stood at 3.9 new daily cases per 100,000 people, according to state data.
That’s higher than the 2 new daily cases per 100,000 required for the yellow tier. But the county would have to exceed that threshold for two consecutive weeks before falling back to the more restrictive orange stage.
Lake County, which is still squarely in the orange tier of moderate COVID-19 transmission, has seen its case rate stay mostly flat in recent weeks, reaching 3.7 cases per per 100,000 people as of Friday.
“I would anticipate staying in the orange tier for the rest of the next month until the tiers disappear next month,” Dr. Evan Bloom, the county’s acting health officer, told the county Board of Supervisors this week.
Bloom has taken over the health officer role on an interim basis while county officials seek a replacement for Dr. Gary Pace, who stepped down as Lake County’s health officer in mid-April. Bloom, an emergency physician at St. Helena Hospital in Clearlake, was previously the county’s deputy health officer.
On Tuesday, Sonoma County failed to advance out of the orange tier due to a slight bump in new coronavirus infections. Marin and Napa counties also remain in the orange stage.
Like most of the rest of the state, Mendocino and Lake counties have seen demand for COVID-19 vaccines wane in recent weeks, holding back the push to lower virus transmission. To reach people who may be hesitant or have difficulty getting a shot, the counties’ health departments have scaled back mass vaccination efforts in favor of mobile clinics and pop-up sites, as well as sending vaccines to local doctor’s offices and health care groups.
In Mendocino County, 54% of residents age 16 and up have received at least one shot inoculating against the coronavirus, compared to 63% for the entire state. In Lake County, that number is 52%. And in Sonoma County, 70% of eligible residents are at least partially inoculated, while 55% are fully vaccinated.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
BBQ SATURDAY 5/15 AT THE YORKVILLE MARKET
Here we are at the end of another beautiful week in our lovely community.
Tomorrow, we will be grilling pork loin with roasted potatoes and a side green salad. We will be serving from 12ish until 4ish and the price will be $15 per plate.
Also, with the help of a new chef, we have more take and bake offerings! In the freezer we have a broccoli mac and cheese, a sausage mac and cheese, and in our deli case is freshly made Romanian pork and noodles.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next Saturday, May 22- Kevin Owens and the Highrollers will be playing live music on our back deck while we are serving our BBQ lunch from 12:30- 4:30.
See you soon!
Lisa Walsh, Yorkville Market, 894-9456, <email@example.com>
NORTH COUNTY COVID-19 VACCINE CLINICS
May 18 - Pfizer 1st & 2nd Doses
- Legget Valley School | 10AM - 12PM, | 67710 Hwy 271
- Whale Gulch School | 11AM - 12PM, | 76811 Usal Road
- Laytonville High School | 12:30PM - 1PM, | 250 Branscomb Road
Eligibility: Anyone who received their first dose on 4/28/21 at one of the three locations above. 1st dose walk ins are welcome, age 12 and older.
POINT ARENA VACCINATIONS
Monday May 17 -- 3-5pm
Point Arena Veteran's Building, 451 School Street
This clinic is first-come, first-served. No appointment is necessary.
There will be 200 Moderna doses as well as Pfizer doses for those aged 12-15 and the Johnson & Johnson one-jab shot upon request.
KAREN OTTONBONI followed up on her KZYX remarks about how appalling the V.Sattui Hill Scraping in Boonville is, posting this vivid close-up of the hill damage right off Highway 128 to her facebook page:
Ottoboni posted: “This is what vineyards can do in Mendocino County.”
FORMER SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN added:
Contrast the silence on this issue with the hysteria that has been generated over the possibility that small amounts of previously cleared, tilled, and irrigated land used for crop production as of 2015 could be converted to cannabis.
Chapter 22.18, the new cannabis cultivation ordinance allows NO clearing of land, tilling of land, impact to oak woodlands, impact to sensitive species or habitats, or additional land used for crops. Yet John Haschak and other false environmental saviors have somehow convinced people that replacing an acre of grapes with an acre of cannabis will destroy life as we know it. Really?
Anyone protesting adoption of Chapter 22.18 on environmental grounds is either ignorant of reality, intentionally seeks to deceive, or has been seriously misled. Of course, there is also the possibility that much of the opposition is fueled by illegal growers who can never be legal and do not want a workable ordinance that can hold them accountable.
Feel free to prove me wrong by explaining how planting a few acres of cannabis within the footprint of a vineyard planted BEFORE 2016 will destroy the environment.
I SLEPT IN YMCA's, worked the bars and shoveled coal, worked for the Diamond Match Company, and I come back to New York, scared to go home, and the money ran out and I had to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and I joined the navy, five cents in my pocket.
— Jack Sharkey
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that his new state budget proposal, called the California Comeback Plan, will include $100 million to alleviate a bureaucratic logjam that has left thousands of cannabis cultivators with sunsetting “provisional” licenses and local government taxes in jeopardy. Mendocino County will receive approximately $18M to address local permitting, state licensing and mitigation measures related to environmental control – particularly water conservation – or “other uses that further the intent of the program as determined by the (DCC)”. This action has the potential to maintain ~$5.6M annual revenue flowing to the county and keep environmental oversight in place, freeing resources for enforcement of non-compliant cultivators.
CODE ENFORCEMENT NEWS
Subject: What to do if you are contacted by Code Enforcement regarding cannabis cultivation.
Information: The Code Enforcement Division has created a helpful document to answer some questions about what a property owner or responsible party can expect when Code Enforcement engages a location that may have non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation activity. Please see the link below...
Redwood Valley - Non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation in non-permitted structures
Post Date: 05/14/2021 5:00 PM
Action Date: 05/07/21
Location: 8900 Block of West Road in Redwood Valley
In August of 2020, The Mendocino County Code Enforcement Division conducted an investigation regarding non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation at the listed location. As a result of that investigation it was confirmed that the violator was commercially cultivating cannabis without a County Cultivation Permit or State Cultivation License. The cultivator abated the violations by removing 1,065 cannabis plants.
In May 2021, regarding the same address, Code Enforcement confirmed that commercial cannabis cultivation was occurring in non-permitted structures without a County Cultivation Permit or State Cultivation License. The responsible party refused to abate 500 cannabis plants being cultivated and Code Enforcement subsequently issued Administrative Citations with penalties as follows:
$390 per day for non-permitted structures used for cannabis cultivation.
$2,000 per day for violations of the Mendocino County Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance.
A $100,000 (onetime)“per plant” penalty for non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation.
Code Enforcement intends to take additional action as needed to achieve compliance.
Ukiah - Non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation in non-permitted structures
Post Date: 05/14/2021 5:00 PM
Action Date: 05/03/21
Location: 400 Block of Hardwick Lane in Ukiah
In April of 2021, The Mendocino County Code Enforcement Division conducted an investigation regarding non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation at the listed location.
The Code Enforcement investigation confirmed that commercial cannabis cultivation was occurring in non-permitted structures without a County Cultivation Permit or State Cultivation License. The responsible party refused to abate the 100 cannabis plants being cultivated and Code Enforcement subsequently issued Administrative Citations with penalties as follows:
$260.00 per day for non-permitted structures used for cannabis cultivation.
$2,000.00 per day for violations of the Mendocino County Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance.
A $20,000.00 (onetime) “per plant” penalty for non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation.
Code Enforcement intends to take additional action as needed to achieve compliance.
The Code Enforcement Division receives all Cannabis and General Code Violation complaints in the unincorporated areas of the County. Complaints can be made in person at our offices or by visiting our website at: mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/code-enforcement to file an online complaint. Cannabis specific complaints can also be filed by calling the Cannabis Complaint Hotline at: (844) 421-WEED(9333).
THE WORST DOMESTIC OF THE MONTH…
On Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at approximately 3:16 P.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance at the Golden Rule RV Park in Willits.
Deputies were advised that a 41 year-old female had been assaulted by her husband and possibly held captive in an RV trailer for several days.
Deputies responded to the location. Upon arrival, Deputies observed a fifth-wheel trailer which had a large amount of black smoke coming from inside.
Deputies briefly contacted the female and other witnesses, who advised the female's husband was last seen entering back inside the burning trailer.
The male was later identified as Joshua Lipscomb, 41, of Ukiah. [No booking photo available]
Deputies responded to the trailer and attempted to make entry to determine if anyone was inside. Deputies found the door to be locked and they were unable to see into the trailer due to the large amount of smoke.
Deputies began breaking windows in an attempt to see inside of the trailer and to provide an exit route should someone be inside. Deputies and other residents of the RV park attempted to fight the fire using water hoses.
The fire rapidly expanded throughout the trailer and unknown items began to explode. The situation became too dangerous and Deputies and citizens had to back away from the fire.
Fire Department personnel arrived on scene a short time later and were able to extinguish the fire before it spread to any other trailers.
Deputies interviewed witnesses who stated they observed smoke coming from the trailer. The citizens could hear someone was inside of the trailer and they were able break the back window out of the trailer. They observed Lipscomb inside of the trailer and they were eventually able to help him out of the rear window. It appeared to the witnesses that Lipscomb did not want to come out of the trailer.
Once Lipscomb was out of the trailer, they continued trying to put water on the fire. The witnesses observed Lipscomb climb onto the roof of the trailer and they did not see him again after that. The witnesses believed he had entered back into the trailer, as they did not see him flee the area.
Deputies spoke with the female. Deputies learned during an altercation on Sunday, Lipscomb grabbed her by the throat and forced her to take an unknown amount of blood pressure pills. Deputies learned the female lost consciousness during the incident. Lipscomb threatened to kill the female and kept her locked inside of the trailer.
When the female awoke, she was badly bruised in various parts of her body, and she had numerous small puncture marks on the insides of both of her elbows, which she believed to be hypodermic needle injection marks.
When the female awoke, she observed Lipscomb was sleeping and she was able to exit the trailer. As the female started her vehicle to leave, Lipscomb entered the back seat of her vehicle. The female told Lipscomb to get out of the vehicle and that she was calling law enforcement. Lipscomb exited her vehicle and went back inside of the trailer. The female drove down the road and requested another park resident to call law enforcement.
Shortly after this, the female observed smoke coming from the trailer.
Deputies learned that Lipscomb was currently the restrained party in a served domestic violence restraining order from a previous case with the same female.
Approximately one hour after the fire began, Deputies, with the assistance of fire personnel, were able to locate Lipscomb hiding in a creek bed near the trailer. A portion of the creek bed had been eroded away by water, which allowed Lipscomb to conceal himself behind a root system.
Lipscomb was uncooperative with Deputies and refused to crawl out from his hiding spot. Fire personnel had to use tools to cut away the tree roots in order for Lipscomb to be extracted and placed under arrest.
Lipscomb had several preexisting lacerations to his arms. Lipscomb was uncooperative with medical staff as they attempted to bandage his wounds.
Lipscomb was transported to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, where it was determined he had internal injuries related to smoke inhalation. Lipscomb was transferred to an out of county hospital for further treatment.
Based on the need for further medical treatment, Lipscomb was released on a citation for Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Felony Criminal Threats, Felony False Imprisonment and Violation of a Protective Order with a date to appear in court.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by a Cal Fire Arson Investigator.
* * *
RE THE WILLITS DOMESTIC, an on-line comment: A classic example of the broken systems that exist in name but do nothing in function. Our County spends millions and millions of dollars into assistance services with things just looping in gigantic circles. People will be celebrated as graduates of programs and given certificates only to loop back in six months later. One arrest for domestic violence is enough. More probation officers are needed. Currently, they can’t keep track of all of the people that are running loose on probation violations. The list is endless. Piss test in in a cup, lying on a couple of forms saying what you’re doing, staring at somebody for 15 minutes — that ain’t probation. Go to their houses, talk to their employers, see how things are going, keep them engaged in services, drug testing more often. Treat a violation of probation as a much more serious thing and then maybe the probation violations would stop happening.
TALMAGE LOVE STORY
On Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at approximately 11:07 A.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance in the 1800 block of Yokayo Ranch Road in Talmage.
Deputies learned a 43 year-old female had an argument regarding issues of infidelity and drug usage with Marco Rodriguez-Turner, 24, of Talmage.
He reportedly became upset and sat on her face, preventing her from breathing for several seconds.
The female ultimately bit Rodriguez-Turner in the back of the leg to get him off of her. Rodriguez-Turner got off of the female, scratched the side of her neck, then broke several of her glass marijuana smoking devices.
Rodriguez-Turner left the location on foot and was later contacted by Deputies.
Deputies determined Rodriguez-Turner was currently on formal probation with a term including he must obey all laws. Rodriguez Turner is also the protected party in a served domestic violence restraining order, preventing him from violence against the female, stemming from previous domestic violence cases between the two individuals.
Rodriguez-Turner was placed under arrest Felony Violation of Probation, Domestic Battery and Violation of a Protective Order.
Rodriguez-Turner was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $40,000 bail.
DARTS AT 5AM, AND THEN…
On Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at about 12:00 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were made aware of a domestic violence incident that took place early in the morning in the 24000 block of Foothill Boulevard in Covelo.
Deputies responded to the location and contacted a 28 year-old female. Deputies learned the adult female and Mario Rodriguez, 32, of Covelo, had been in a romantic dating relationship for about 1.5 years.
During the investigation the Deputy learned, Mario Rodriguez, the adult female and a witness, were at the location playing darts around 5:00 AM, while drinking alcoholic beverages and using drugs.
Rodriguez and the adult female got into an argument for an unknown reason. The adult female walked over towards Rodriguez, who was sitting in a chair, and “tripped” onto Rodriguez's lap striking him in the groin area.
Rodriguez stood up and grabbed the adult female by her throat and slammed her down on the ground. Rodriguez then placed his knee on the adult female's chest and began hitting her with an open hand in the face.
The adult female told Rodriguez to stop and let her go and he would not.
Rodriguez then dragged the adult female about 10 feet and again put his hand on her throat and held her down on the ground with his knee on her chest, and began hitting her again.
Rodriguez let the adult female go and she stood up. She then began to walk away when Rodriguez began coming up behind her again, so she ran to a neighboring house.
The Deputy observed numerous visible injuries on the adult female, consistent with the above described physical assault. The Deputy contacted a Mendocino County Judge who granted an Emergency Protective Order.
Sheriff's Office Dispatch confirmed Rodriguez was on Formal Probation for domestic violence battery, with a term to obey all laws, and there was an active Mendocino County misdemeanor warrant for his arrest.
A Deputy located Rodriguez at an address on Highway 162 and arrested him without incident.
Rodriguez was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery, Kidnapping, False Imprisonment, Violation of Probation and the arrest warrant.
Rodriguez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
HOAGLEN: Leaving Scene: Guilty; DUI: Not Guilty
A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday afternoon with a mix bag of results.
Defendant Lloyd Robert Hoaglen, age 32 of Covelo, was found guilty of leaving the scene of a collision without identifying himself and providing other required disclosures, a misdemeanor.
However, defendant Hoaglen was also found not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol greater than .08, both charged as misdemeanors.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying the prosecution of this defendant were the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice forensic laboratory in Eureka.
The attorney who presented the People’s evidence during trial and argued the case to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Joshua Raines.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Victoria Shanahan presided over the three day trial.
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE - May 14
Continuing our project myth-busting...
Myth-busting Part 2: There will be center medians on State Street in the downtown. FALSE. Also, there will not be a “suicide lane.” Instead, where a left turn is an option, there will be dedicated left turn lanes. Where there are no left turns, there will be a “crosshatched” center space…not for regular drivers, but perfect for emergency vehicles!
Construction Overview, Week of May 17
(Henry – Mill): Continued work on the west side of State Street between Henry and Mill Streets, including excavating, forming and pouring new curbs, gutters, bioretention facilities, placing decorative brick, preparing landscaping areas, and pouring new sidewalks.
Monday-Friday: Crews will continue forming and pouring curb and gutter and sidewalk moving north from Seminary towards Clay. Brick work will continue between Mill and Seminary.
(Perkins Street between State and School Streets): Crews will be working on the 100 block of West Perkins this week, including forming and pouring new curbs, gutters, and sidewalks.
Monday: Demolition begins at 6 a.m. on the 100 block of West Perkins.
Tuesday-Thursday: Crews will form and pour new curb and gutter and install electric and irrigation systems.
Friday: New sidewalks will be poured.
The 100 block of West Perkins will be closed to traffic this week due to extensive construction in this area.
West Church will remain closed during this phase due to grade changes.
There will be intermittent short-term closures on Seminary while pouring curb and gutter in this area (Monday or Tuesday).
Construction hours: 6am – 6pm – Crews will work extended hours this week to complete construction on the 100 block of West Perkins.
Week of May 24: Sidewalk construction on the south side of W. Church to School Street.
Week of June 1: Sidewalk construction on the north side of W. Church to School Street.
Week of June 7: Sidewalk construction on the north side of W. Standley to School Street.
Lots of activity in the core of the downtown over the next few weeks! Please continue to support our local merchants, who are open during construction.
Have a great weekend--
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 14, 2021
MICHAEL CONFER, Crescent City/Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
AMBROSE FALLIS, Covelo. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, county parole violation.
ASTUDILLO FLORES, Astoria, New York/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, pot sales, conspiracy.
DUSTIN JORDAN, Ukiah. DUI.
RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
MIGUEL MARIN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JEFFRY NUNEZ, New York/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, pot sales, conspiracy.
PAUL PRUITT, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
DAVID SAMARAND, Ukiah. Petty theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct-loitering.
HUMBERTO SANCHEZ-MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
by David Yearsley
Remember going to the library?
I miss the reading rooms most—the busy hush of reading and research underway; the reluctance of old pages being turned; the furtive glances at the mysterious materials laid out on the desk alongside, and at the person who’s ordered them; the fleeting eye contact made over the top of tomes …
Most illustrious of them all was the Round Reading Room of the British Library built in the 1850s in the courtyard of the British Museum. I logged many hours there before it closed in 1997 when the library moved from the museum in Bloomsbury in London to its own new building in St. Pancras a half mile to the north. The old place had become too small, overrun—mostly by American academics, or would-be academics like me—when I frequented it in the 1990s.
It was already crowded in the nineteenth century. When working on his monumental history of the French Revolution, Thomas Carlyle often found all the desks occupied, so had to perch on a lower step of one of the rolling ladders that ascended to the high bookshelves.
The main reading room of the “new” British Library, officially opened by the Queen in 1998 and gradually reopening now after being shut during the pandemic, is vast and light, though not too bright. The lofty allusion to dimness suggests both preservation underway and monkish devotion to a higher purpose. The stations are richly appointed in oak, brass, and green pigskin: not unlike the carrels in the old library. The atmosphere is studious, the sightlines long. The space encourages both decorum and distraction. There are long tables with double desks facing each, conducive to flirting for those so inclined.
However grand and spacious the new British Library main reading room is, I thought it a scandal that the books were finally removed from the British Museum in 2007, when the venerable rotunda was transformed into an exhibition space. The first show presented Chinese terracotta soldiers—a comment perhaps about the legions of researchers who themselves had soldiered there during the century-and-a-half of the Round Reading Room’s glory. The list includes George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Wolf, Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin, among many others.
Madame Tussaud’s is only a half-an-hour walk from the British Museum, and I’ve often thought that their sculptors (or AI lasers) should be commissioned to fashion wax figures of the Reading Room’s luminaries. These could be placed at their desks consulting the actual materials from the collection that they had used in their work. The ongoing exhibition would recreate given days in the library’s past, for example April 12th, 1865, and would change periodically. How fascinating it would be to peer over the shoulder of the uncannily life-like wax figure of Karl Marx with his fountain pen, ink blotches in his beard, working at his notebook for Das Kapital, the Acts of Parliament stacked around him. To his left sits Darwin, to his right Thackeray. Dickens is nearby.
These nostalgic thoughts inevitably mingle with musings about the fate of reading rooms in the Digital Age.
Take the main library at Cornell University, donated by alumnus John Olin, whose bust can be consulted near the building’s entrance. The plinth on which the head is placed praises Olin as an Industrialist, Philanthropist, and lastly, as an Environmentalist. Olin accumulated his fortune in munitions and caustic chemicals, hardly the most environmentally friendly of pursuits. The library named in his honor was finished in 1961 and architecturally embodies its Age. The flat, sober façade scored with rows of narrow, vertically-oriented rectangular windows resemble nothing so much as an IBM punch card. The message this building conveys is that research is about information not imagination.
The library’s reading room was originally on the ground floor and looked out onto the arts quad. The space was not grand; low-slung rather than lofty. The message of the building’s interior was also clear: the purpose of education was to prepare students for the cubicles of the technological age. However modernist in design and décor, it was nonetheless unambiguously a reading room. There were tables and books and journals and even the occasional gust of good old-fashioned silence.
Not so many years after the British Library emigrated from the Round Reading Room, Olin Library converted its reading room to a café. The transformed space was neither studious nor a lively forum of ideas and argument like the coffee houses of Johnson and Boswell and European Enlightenment.
The laptop had long replaced the notebook. Undoubtedly, more texts and emails were—and will be— sent, more YouTube videos watched inside this library than notes taken on history, literature, and science. All cling to their security blankets—the cell phone.
Those students wishing to work in the presence of others in a larger space must now go to the basement, formerly the Cold War fall-out shelter and still about as welcoming. The great encyclopedic works of the past are nearby, but shelved so that their spines do not shine. Instead, these books are hidden from view in their metal ranges as if ashamed by their diminished standing.
Almost all the students seated here are plugged in and/or podded up, their gazes ping-ponging between the small screens continually jumping into their palms and their somewhat larger screens on their laptops or tablets. The patrons of this underground studio do interval training on their attention spans: twenty seconds on; a slug of Frappuccino; respond to an incoming text and then another; repeat. In tirelessly extracting the DM from Dumb, they pursue an effective regimen of mental anti-fitness.
Hardly energized socially by all this connectivity, I sometimes retreated to the stacks. On every landing in the stairwell someone would be on their device. They used to talk on their phones. You’d hear pleas for a ride to New York City; Craig’s List haggling; queries about the weather in Montreal; “when did you lose interest in me?” Now that chatter is conducted, almost silently, with the thumbs.
In my first year of college, I attended a lecture on the Black Death by the eminent medieval historian David Herlihy, delivered as always by him without notes and with his hands clasped behind his back. In the midst of his remarks, that ranged from the historiographical to the epidemiological to the social, he slipped in a rare personal remark about the strangeness of living one’s life amongst a population that doesn’t age.
Nearly forty years on and having had little non-virtual contact with students for many months, I see even more clearly what he meant. For those who spend their lives on one, a campus is like the fountain of youth but without the regenerative effects: you get older, but the students do not.
When, assuming the virus cooperates, students come streaming back to the libraries next fall, I’ll be ready for rejuvenating miracles, ready to be amazed at how the pent-up desire for communal learning, sounding conversation, and the shared silence over books has been magically rekindled.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE: The blues today seems to resemble rock & roll more than real blues. The old blues had subtleties. Today they just want to beat you over the head with volume and technique. As if being able to play fast had meaning. It has no meaning if you’re not saying something and today it seems like most people don’t really understand the feeling of blues so they have nothing to say and there sure ain’t no feeling like it used to be.
Yes, it is all about water from here on out. We will call water god. Other things will be sacred too, like the nourishment water provides.
The Northcoast's herbs, food and wine are holy things that sustain us. Let us treat them that way.
Cannabis is a sacrament for many; not to be profited from. If it is part of your communion, then grow your own, or find a friend. If you intend to profit from this herb by depleting our county’s scarce resources, then go somewhere else.
Wine likewise is sacred. Rivers of water are flowing uphill in Sonoma County to grow wine for export. As companies like Nestlé do, our wine industry is depleting our aquifers and sending water overseas.
We need to realize how our life is sustained. We need to hold those things sacred.
IRIS GARDEN in Horikiri' [in Tokyo's Edogawa-ku] (a 1928 color woodblock print on paper) by 20th century Japanese landscape painter and woodblock printmaker Yoshida Hiroshi (吉田 博, 1876-1950). Hiroshi is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga (新版画, new prints) style.
THE READER of a newspaper has an option of whether he will read or not, but if a speech by the president is to be used as the meat in a sandwich of two patent medicine advertisements, there be no radio left.
— Herbert Hoover, 1923, as head of the Federal Radio Commission
MADNESS REIGNS. The first challenge your soul must endure is the parking lot. You wait with your vehicle half blocking traffic, creating a perfect circular vortex of anger that encompasses the street and the entrance to the store. Once you obtain access to the lot, you discover that this is a false achievement; other motorists stop and start with no apparent thought or plan -- turns once begun are quickly abandoned, the driver is seemingly immune to geometry. At last a space opens up, but the price is having to enter the store. Inside, human beings scramble like beetles whose rock has been upended. Though the aisles are wide, it is impossible to avoid physical contact with your fellow shoppers. It is a grotesque parody of the Bazaar at Marrakesh, as if dumb animals had been granted only the amount of sentience required to mock humanity. The aisles are not labeled. You must search for every item. The constant walking up and down causes a numbness that borders on profound despair. Your conscious mind registers merely an annoyance, impatience. But on a cellular level, your body cries out in weariness. The fatigue you feel is a warning: millions of years of evolution trying to save you from becoming mired in tar, from sinking into the warm blackness and ultimately being reclaimed by the Earth itself. PS. Be sure to get the dark chocolate peanut butter cups, they are right by the register.
Werner Herzog, reviewing Trader Joe's
AS FISH DIE, Salmon Advocates Say Newsom’s Drought Declaration Highlights Water Injustice
by Dan Bacher
Governor Gavin Newsom today expanded his drought emergency declaration to 39 additional counties, including the Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties where he said “accelerated action is needed to protect public health, safety and the environment.”
A total of 41 of California’s 58 counties are now under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population.
The expanded drought declaration was released as juvenile Chinook salmon are already dying of disease in the low water conditions in the main stem of the Klamath River.
The Governor said “climate change-induced early warm temperatures and extremely dry soils” have further depleted the expected runoff water from the Sierra-Cascade snowpack, resulting in “historic and unanticipated reductions in the amount of water flowing to major reservoirs, especially in Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties.”
“With the reality of climate change abundantly clear in California, we’re taking urgent action to address acute water supply shortfalls in northern and central California while also building our water resilience to safeguard communities in the decades ahead,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re working with local officials and other partners to protect public health and safety and the environment, and call on all Californians to help meet this challenge by stepping up their efforts to save water.”
Salmon and Delta advocates criticized the Governor’s declaration for catering to large corporate agribusiness interests —and pointed out the poor water management by the state and federal governments in the Sacramento and Trinity-Klamath Basins during recent droughts.
“Today Central Valley lawmakers and Governor Newsom used the drought, which is the result of climate change, to advocate for taxpayer-funded pork projects, such as private canals and the Sites Reservoir, for industrial agriculture, which uses up to 80% of the state’s developed water,” said Regina Chichizola, co-coordinator of Save California Salmon, in a statement.
“Poor water management during the last drought led to 90% of the salmon dying and toxic algal blooms in cities’ water supplies. Tribal and fishing communities are suffering,” she noted.
“The fact is we can’t dam our way out of climate change. Industrial agriculture uses most of the state’s water, while exporting their crops and offering little benefit residents of this state. California’s antiquated water rights system leaves cities and the environment high and dry while almonds get clean water,” emphasized Chichizola.
“These talks about water storage, drought relief, and voluntary agreements are happening without consent with the California Tribal communities and other salmon and clean water advocates,” pointed out Morning Star Gali Pit River Tribal Member and Save California Tribal Organizer.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, also responded to the declaration, noting that “Governor Newsom’s latest declaration tears pages from the playbook Governor Brown used in 2013 and 2014.”
“Everyone gets something except the Delta,” she stated. “We get salinity barriers. This will disrupt waterways and create stagnant pools with larger harmful algal blooms throughout the summer and fall. These algal blooms pose dangers to public health through water contact to people and dogs, but also from the emission of airborne contaminants.”
“Under this plan, multiple fish species in the Delta, like Chinook salmon and Delta smelt, may become part of the sixth great mass extinction on Governor Newsom’s watch,” Barrigan-Parrilla concluded.
Tim Stroshane, Restore the Delta policy analyst, said Governor Newsom’s latest declaration signals that “temporary urgency change” petitions will be sought by the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Water Resources to waive water quality objectives in the Delta.
“Today’s proclamation also gestures in the direction of preserving existing cold-water pools in the upstream reservoirs, particularly at Shasta and Oroville lakes. This is likely too little too late. Unfortunately, these reservoirs are already extremely low, and their cold-water pools were dissipated over this past winter when supplies were shipped to southern California and San Luis Reservoir south of the Delta,” said Stroshane.
The poor water management by the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation that has excerbated the current drought is revealed in my analysis of water exports out of the Delta for the past decade.
In 8 out of the past 10 years, the combined water exports from the state and federal water projects have exceeded the 3 million acre feet annual export figure that many believe to be the maximum amount of water that can be exported from the Delta without destroying the ecosystem and harming fish species.
In every water year except two, 2014 and 2015, the state and federal projects exported well over 3 million acre feet of water from the Delta.
The 3 million acre feet cap of water exports in all years is a key recommendation of the Environmental Water Caucus (EWC) updated solutions plan titled “A Sustainable Water Plan for California.”
In fact, 2011 was the all time record export year with 6.67 million acre feet of water diverted from the Delta, followed closely behind by the 6.46 million acre feet exported in 2017. 2018 saw 4.62 million acre feet exported from the Delta, while 2019 saw 5.3 million acre feet exported and 2020 saw 3.65 million acre feet exported: https://viewperformance.deltacouncil.ca.gov/pm/water-exports.
If the state doesn’t conserve enough water to maintain carryover storage so that salmon can successfully spawn and the juvenile fish can outmigrate, then we end up in the situation where the CDFW had to truck all of the Sacramento River hatchery salmon smolts downriver to the bay so that fish are able to survive in a drought year.
The situation with out migrating juvenile salmon is very dire in the Klamath Basin now. An email from CDFW environmental scientist Dan Troxel on May 7 says the mainstem Klamath is at its highest level “RED,” indicating an imminent or active fish kill.
“Well it seems the unfortunate potential outcomes are already manifesting themselves on the mainstem Klamath. Our partners at USFWS and Yurok Tribal Fisheries are seeing some very distressing signs in the 0+ out-migrating Chinook salmon; a substantial portion of fish showing clinical signs of disease (C. shasta) and even dead fish being caught in outmigrant traps,” he wrote.
“Due to this, the mainstem Klamath is at its highest Readiness Level “RED”, indicating an imminent or active fish kill. Unfortunately these few inch long salmon mortalities don’t draw the same attention as adult fish, but it is just as important to actively monitor the situation and implement KFHAT’s Fish Kill Response plan if deemed necessary,” he stated.
According to the KFHAT report, “The Mid and Lower Klamath are showing signs of diseased and dead Chinook salmon noted by partners at Yurok Tribe. Active juvenile fish kill currently happening. Will continue to monitor situation and re-evaluate within the next few days.”
On the Sacramento River and its tributaries, the situation is so bad that all of the juvenile chinook salmon (smolts) from state fish hatcheries are getting truck rides to saltwater this spring to increase their survival, triggered by projected poor conditions in the Sacramento River and other Central Valley rivers this year.
(Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher email@example.com)
JAPANESE WATER-SAVING COMMODE AND SINK COMBO
"The digital revolution — irresistible, indispensable, miraculous, omnivorous — had swallowed everything in sight — advertisers, market share, attention spans, discernment — and replaced it with a form of dopamine addiction and related social behaviors we do not fully comprehend. Among the big losers was community journalism, the grass-roots watchdogs keeping an eye on city hall, vanishing into ‘news deserts’.”
— Billy Cox (former reporter for the Sarasota Herald Tribune), lifeinjonestown.substack.com/p/into-the-great-wide-open
CALIFORNIA RIVER OTTERS: ‘The Cutest Vicious Devils You’ll Ever See’
by Talia Rose
I am bad at seeing otters. Or they are good at avoiding me. Or maybe both.
Although they are sometimes spotted at Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Manzanita Lake, my hike there last summer was fruitless. And on a Lost Coast trek shortly thereafter, a fellow hiker spotted one by the Punta Gorda Lighthouse, but it scrambled into some coastal vegetation and out of my life forever.
In fact, the only place I’ve ever seen an otter is the zoo, which doesn’t count.
I again attempted to rectify the situation with a kayaking trip this past winter on Big Lagoon up near Redwood National Park, where Kayak Trinidad guides regularly encounter and photograph the creatures. As we paddled through the calm, glassy water, guide Hallie Heath said there was a chance we’d find one, but because it had recently rained and the water level was on the high side, it might be more challenging than usual.
As she started to talk more about the character and behavior of otters though, I began to wonder if maybe it was better that I hadn’t met one. As adorable as they are, it turns out that otters can be surprisingly vicious.
Before I paint all otters with a blood-red brush, though, let’s back up and acknowledge the different species. Members of the Mustelidae family and Lutrinae subfamily, otters are divided into 13 species (though one of those, the Japanese river otter, was declared extinct in 2012 due to loss of habitat and overhunting). The two kinds found in California are American river otters and sea otters, and there are some important distinctions, Heath explained.
Sea otters weigh about 50 to 70 pounds, they float on their backs and they spend most of their lives in the ocean. River otters are two or three times smaller, they swim with their bellies down and they live mostly on land but travel by water to find food. Sea otters nearly went extinct in the early 1900s because of the fur trade. River otters are common and of “least concern” in California, but are threatened or endangered in some other states.
But Heath offered a warning. “They’ll hiss at you if you get too close,” she said. “They’re vicious little critters.”
That information wasn’t a complete surprise, as I had heard about the river otter attack at Manzanita Lake last summer that sent a visitor to the hospital with severe wounds to the face. I told Heath about it, and she nodded.
“They go for your eyes, for your eyeballs,” she said.
“I didn’t realize that was their strategy,” I said, scanning the water nervously. “I thought Manzanita Lake was a fluke.”
“Oh no,” she said. “And sea otters are just as evil. They’ll rape baby harbor seals, take down birds for fun and play with them, rip their throats out. They’ll take sharks off the bottom, flip them up, tear their organs out, eat the organs, leave the rest of the shark.”
She kept going: “They rape each other. The males will basically drown and exhaust the female and then rape her and leave her. A lot of the females, their noses get red and bloody from the male biting them. The Monterey Bay Aquarium actually has a plastic surgery facility to repair otter faces.”
I contacted the Monterey Bay Aquarium to check on that, and while waiting to hear back did some internet research. I was shocked to find a 2014 Vox Media story about otters that referred to them as “necrophiliac, serial-killing fur monsters of the sea.”
“There comes a point at which rational people have to put adorable hijinks aside and recognize otters for what they are: disease-ridden, murderous, necrophilic aqua-weasels whose treachery knows few bounds,” author Dylan Matthews wrote. “... They're merciless hellspawn who use their intellects for great evil.”
The article mentions a 2011 study that found 39 reports of river otter attacks in North America, which often involved rabies and are apparently on the rise. It also echoed much of what Heath shared: that sea otters are known to rape baby seals. That their mating is synonymous with trauma. That they sometimes hold other otters’ pups under water until they receive a food ransom. One scientist even observed a serial necrophiliac otter.
Just adorable. But sea otters have a dark side.
When I finally got Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Director of Veterinary Services Mike Murray on the line, I felt nervous about what else I would learn. And while Murray did confirm that otter mating is violent, he also helped put things in perspective.
“During copulation, the male does grab the female by the nose with his mouth and teeth, and females frequently will sustain some degree of injury to the muzzle and the nasal pad,” he said. “That’s the way otters have been breeding for millions of years.”
Murray performs plastic surgery on otters occasionally, reconstructing their noses as a treatment for injury. Sometimes the nasal passage becomes restricted and Murray opens it back up to help the animal breathe. Other times, newly created holes in the nasal passage need closure.
Asked to describe the character of sea otters, Murray said: “They’re pugnacious. They’re mischievous in some ways, like most mustelids. They’re bullheaded like dachshunds. When they make their mind up, they’re going to do what they want to do, and they’re incredibly powerful.”
Murray is grateful that he can outrun them on land, he said, and was once chased out of the aquarium’s otter exhibit by a male named Roscoe. “Periodically the males will give me the look and I know it’s time to exit stage left,” he said.
For the record, Murray really enjoys working with otters. “They’re pretty amazing creatures,” he said.
River otter expert and enthusiast Jeff Black, a professor with Humboldt State University’s department of wildlife who has been monitoring river otter numbers for decades, said the public needn’t be overly concerned about otter attacks.
Black recently spearheaded a public art project, commissioning local creatives to adorn more than 100 3-foot-tall otter sculptures to help educate about the “charismatic critter’s” important role in their ecosystems. The initiative has been delayed by the pandemic, but soon the otter likenesses will appear in shops, galleries and schools around California’s North Coast. Some may be on display by the last Wednesday in May: World Otter Day.
So what about incidents like the one at Manzanita Lake? Those are “very, very rare,” Black said. “Every once in a while, a dog will get nipped I think everybody just needs to give wild animals space, right?”
According to Lassen Volcanic National Park ranger Shanda Ochs, Manzanita Lake is back open now for swimming, though visitors are encouraged to respect river otters by observing them from shore rather than getting near them in the water.
“River otters are very curious and will not hesitate to approach you in the water,” Ochs said. “Signs of aggression include hissing and rapidly swimming toward and around an individual in the water. Though they are sometimes just curious, it is best to play it safe and exit the water when being approached by a river otter.”
Kayak Trinidad owner Jason Self agrees. He loves otters, he said, but also considers them “the cutest vicious devils you’ll ever see.”
“I’m never really sure if they want to play or are going to attack me, but they always come in close to check us out,” Self said. “I think they learned who I was because I fish there so much. They’ll just follow me around and eat the fish I release.”
Self feels comfortable around them until one starts to climb on his boat, he said, and then he starts to worry. “But they’re all different personalities — like people,” he said. “They are generally respected by people at Big Lagoon, and otters seem pretty comfortable around people. We see a lot of them in the summer.”
Heath and I didn’t end up finding a river otter that day, and I was feeling OK about it as we paddled back to shore. But then she ended our discussion with a very good point.
“They’re wild animals,” Heath said. “So yes, they have the capability of being very vicious. But they have to survive in nature and they have to be able to defend their young. One of the coolest parts of being out here is being able to witness how they’re able to do those things.”
And just like that, I really wanted to see an otter again.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The lawyers and government employees listed in the article are all sipping margaritas in the same giant hot-tub together. It’s located in DC and they know they can do exactly as they please — including deleting election results, forgetting the passwords, and giving the voters of Arizona, and by extension, the US voters, the middle finger.
They know that we know (making only the most gullible really believe they’re in any sense patriots) the system is corrupt and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. Their arrogance and thinly veiled contempt directed at the people who disagree with them or don’t hold the same views are not even disguised anymore.
For years, 70% of the public in poll after poll wanted a form of public health insurance for everyone yet what did we get? The Orwellian Affordable Care Act which jacked up premiums and the cost of medicine to stratospheric levels. And the Republicans are no better. They accept plenty of loot from medical lobbies.
by Stephen Stills
Fortunes of time making up a rhyme
How do we save tomorrow
Given a voice can you make a choice
Is it black, is it gray, is it yellow
Mother nature made it green
Prettiest place you've ever seen
People don't know what they need
Open your window
What do you see?
Do you remember
How it used to be?
All of this crying, while the earth is dying
It's a shock they won't stop because of the money
America is lost, figurin' the cost
You can hang your head in shame, it's disgusting
Mother nature made it green
Prettiest place you've seen
People don't know what they need
Open your window
What do you see?
Do you remember
How it used to be?
BREAKING THE SILENCE
by Dave Zirin
As Israel sends air and ground troops into Gaza in violation of international law, more people in the United States, from members of Congress to Jewish American organizations, are speaking out against it. Constituencies whom the Israeli state has traditionally looked to for support are in rebellion. Criticism is also coming from the world of sports.
If there has ever been a third rail at the intersection of sports and politics, it has been expressing any kind of solidarity with the Palestinian people that requires criticizing Israel.
In 2014, as Israeli forces bombarded Gaza in what was called Operation Protective Edge, NBA All-Star Dwight Howard tweeted, "#FreePalestine." The outrage was so intense that he took the tweet down and tweeted: "Previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will."
This silence is enforced by a bipartisan consensus that "Israel has the right to defend itself," even when its military goes on offense, occupying neighborhoods and expelling their residents. Palestinians are never, in the eyes of the U.S., granted that same privilege of the "right to defense." Fears of transgressing a political consensus and of being branded as antisemitic have bred quietude in the face of violence and occupation.
But those days of skittish silence may be done. The brutal evictions of Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the attacks on protesters and the bombardment of Gaza are reported to have killed at least 115 Palestinians, 27 of them children, and eight Israelis.
These horrors are provoking a response, but they're not the only reason people are speaking out. Among a small group of athletes, connections have been forged between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Palestinian liberation struggle. And these athletes are embracing a new internationalism defined by anti-racism and standing on the side of the oppressed.
By my count, several prominent U.S. athletes have posted words of solidarity with the Palestinian people. These include Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard — both of whom have been outspoken for racial justice in their own country — and Trailblazers center Jusuf Nurkić. WNBA star Layshia Clarendon has shared messages of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Soccer stars Tziarra King and Midge Purce have both shared messages of support on Instagram.
This solidarity of U.S. athletes has been narrow, albeit significant. When U.S. athletes speak out, it has global ramifications. This is not only because of the cultural platform; it's also because athletes' resistance reflects to the country and the world a new reality that the U.S., the main backer of the Israeli state, is far from united in its support.
Athletic resistance to Israeli's politics is more pronounced outside the U.S., where not only individual players but entire teams have been raising their voices. Canadian professional wrestler Sami Zayn has been amplifying the injustice of the Sheikh Jarrah attacks.
In 2008, Egyptian soccer icon Mohamed Aboutrika was admonished for lifting his shirt on the pitch, revealing a T-shirt underneath with the words "Sympathize with Gaza." He was scolded for bringing politics onto the pitch. This week, he posted a prayer calling for God to watch over both the Palestinian people and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which the Israel Defense Forces entered to assault people during prayers.
Liverpool's superstar forward Mohamed Salah, who is also Egyptian, tweeted: "I'm calling on all the world leaders including on the prime minister of the country that has been my home for the past four years to do everything in their power to make sure the violence and killing of innocent people stops immediately. Enough is enough." His teammate Sadio Mané posted a photo of Al-Aqsa on Tuesday with the message "Free Palestine."
Statements have also come from Leicester City's Turkish defender, Çaglar Söyüncü, his teammate Wesley Fofana, Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Russian mixed martial arts legend Khabib Nurmagomedov. Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez, a midfielder from Algeria, has tweeted a viral post of the Palestinian flag with the hashtag #SaveSheikhJarrah.
Entire teams have issued statements. The Chilean club Palestino, which was formed by Palestinian immigrants a century ago, saw the entire team wear kaffiyehs Saturday.
Whether more athletes, particularly U.S. athletes, speak out will depend upon how deep the crisis becomes — and as of this writing, the depths have tragically yet to be reached. But once silence has been broken, it is very difficult to stifle people back into submission.
Speaking out for Palestinians as a principle of social justice could become an integral part of the new anti-racist consciousness among U.S. athletes. If that happens, Benjamin Netanyahu will have no one to blame but himself. Israel's aggression is breeding resistance, and that resistance is being amplified.
HATE’S MEMORY HOLE
by Dr. Nayvin Gordon
Nazism lit the fuse
To exterminate the Jews
Set the world afire
History is no liar
Millions fill cemeteries
Atrocity seared memories
Charleston Nazis fuss and cuss,
‘The Jews will not replace us’
Remember what swastikas beget
Violence, murder, we cannot forget
Jewish Israeli mobs shout ‘get out,’
‘Death to Arabs’, blood lust devout
Inhumanity, lies, and genocide
Our memories now defiled
Divide and rule
The class tool
Capitalism so cruel
Why tolerate its rule!