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DRY WEATHER AND WARM TEMPERATURES are expected through today. A weak trough will bring slightly milder temperatures on Sunday. Warmer temperatures will return next week as high pressure builds in. (NWS)
JUST IN Friday evening: A 57-year-old Ukiah woman has died from COVID-19, Mendocino County health officials announced Friday afternoon. The unidentified woman is the county’s 53rd covid-related death. Mendocino County has registered 4,892 positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. There are currently 277 active cases with six people in intensive care units.
THE FORT BRAGG City Council will consider declaring a Stage 3 Water Emergency and implementing Stage 3 Water Conservation Restrictions at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, August 9, at Town Hall, 363 N. Main Street, 6:00 pm. Members of the public are invited to attend in person or by Zoom to provide comments, or they can submit public comments in writing prior to the public hearing to the City Clerk, June Lemos at email@example.com. A copy of the staff report and resolution are available for review on the City’s website.
A Stage 3 Water Emergency targets a 20-30% decrease in seasonal water use based on the most recent year in which water conservation measures were not required (2019). This is an increase of 10% from the current Stage 2 Water Warning target of 10-20%.
The recommendation for a Stage 3 Water Emergency is in response to the reduced flows in the Noyo River (below 1977 levels), increased high tide events predicted for August and September, and the continued outlook for lower than normal precipitation from August to December 2021. Thanks to the efforts of the City’s water customers in reducing water usage this summer, the City maintained its 22.6 million gallons of water storage at full capacity through July. However, Water Department staff predict that some portion of the stored water will be necessary to supplement water use in August.
The Desalination-Reverse Osmosis Treatment System, scheduled to come online in September, will supplement the City’s water supply by 25-35%. Additionally, the City has negotiated a temporary water sharing agreement with the Fort Bragg Unified School District to use well water to add additional supply to the water system.
Questions and concerns about the current Stage 2 Water Warning or the Stage 3 Water Emergency can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on Stage 3 Water Conservation Restrictions and other helpful conservation information is available on the City’s Water Conservation webpage.
(Fort Bragg City Presser)
CONCERT OVERLOOKING MENDOCINO BAY
August 8th, outdoors, at 2:30pm at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church
The Arcata Bay String Quartet is the professional faculty quartet at Humboldt State University Music Department. They will present a program including Beethoven’s Quartet in G Major, Brahms’ B-flat quartet, and the famous 8th quartet of Dmitri Shostakovich. Hear this music accompanied by bird song and the distant sound of the waves at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church outdoor stage.
The concert will be held on the plaza overlooking the ocean behind the Mendocino Presbyterian Church. Please plan to arrive early as there will be a limited number of chairs available. This concert is a gift to our community and free of charge. Bring a warm jacket!
This will be a cleanup of several vacated homeless encampments directly on the Russian River. More info will be released in advance of the 8/14 cleanup date. All volunteers will be required to sign an acknowledgement and release of liability.
Due to the presence of needles, volume of trash and the terrain this will be an 18 and over event. I've gotten most of the easy stuff (25 truckloads so far) but a large volume of trash has been pushed down steep banks and is intertwined with berry vines and brush. There is always the potential for used needles. There are numerous tripping hazards including concrete rubble that was historically dumped at the river. A car and refrigerator can be seen in the video so dumping at the river didn't start with homelessness. That said, it is not acceptable for people to be living at the river. In addition to the lack of proper sanitation and trash disposal there is a lot of cutting down riparian vegetation and excavation of the river bank. I think when some people hear that people are “camping at the river” they imagine it's as if people were in a campground with basic health and sanitation being met but that is obviously not the case. Watch for more info that will be posted in advance of the cleanup. Thank you!
AND THANK YOU SOUTH UKIAH ROTARY FOR STEPPING UP!
THE CRISES THE CRISIS VAN SORTS OUT. OR TRIES TO
Mobile Crisis Unit Log, June & July, 2021
• Homeless/Potter Valley; Eviction from home; Mental Health outbursts; Deputy called Mental Health “just in case”; Mobile Crisis Unit drove Client to Building Bridges; Gave Client resources/Mental Health phone number for further contact; provided work number for Client to call due to Client not having a telephone; Client did not call; Mobile Crisis Unit unable to reach out.
• Suicidal statements made in jail: “I want to kill myself and take my child with me”; Mobile Crisis Unit provided Client resources/phone number for further contact if needed; CFS (Children and Family Services, formerly Child Protective Services) was there to take Client statement and ensure children's safety.
• Major Depression; Sending pictures of cuts and bloody arms to somebody; suicidal statements due to argument with boyfriend; Mobile Crisis Unit provided Client with resources/phone number for further contact if needed; Mobile Crisis Unit had both Client and Family complete Safety Agreement for the Client and in the home. Unit later attempted contact after de-escalation; Family did not respond nor return messages; Unit attempted contact again with no response; Family texted response stating they were in the process of getting therapist for Client. Unit offered additional help; Family did not text back.
• Homeless man Walking down Hghway 253 w/ plastic bag over his head stating he was going to kill himself (“I'm going to kill my body but not my soul to show God how unloved I feel.”); Upon arrival Client continuted to say his reasoning was that his “kids were sex slaves all over the world.”; “Mobile Crisis Unit drove Client to Redwood Community Services (RCS) Crisis Center (Client refused hospitalization at the time due to “previous trauma: they were trying to chemically kill me… I will kill myself and staff if I go to the hospital”). But he verbally allowed Mobile Crisis Unit to speak with RCS; Client reported: “they took me to the hospital because I was freaking out because I had just found out my daughter was raped.” Client seems to be homeless, walking on the highway for possibly a number of days; Unknown if state was drug induced or psychosis.
• Client lives with biological mother in Ft. Bragg; although currently homeless in Ukiah”; Walking down Ford Rd. in Ukiah; seemingly under the influence; multiple Reporting parties; nonviolent although verbally aggressive and loud; speaking gibberish and difficult to understand; noncoherent statements. Mobile Crisis Unit and attempted to speak with Client and provide him resources; Client refused help; Client was not a danger to self or others; able to access food and water; Mobile Crisis Unit spoke with RCS in regards to Client's mental health to help Mobile Crisis Unit and Client contacts in the future.
• Disorderly Conduct; Alcohol: Per RCS (“very sick; mental illnesses; self medicates; refuses appropriate medication; close to being conserved; abusive biological mother; refuses help; Client seemed to be under the influence; evidence of marijuana abuse; attempted rapport building with food.
• North Motel 6. Homeless woman; Witnessed boyfriend OD; In shock and distressed; emotional; blaming self and hitting head against wall out of frustration; Mobile Crisis Unit arrived at scene with deputies; Client was sitting in the hallway of the motel crying hysterically; pupils dialated; likely under the influence; Mobile Crisis Unit aided Client in beginning the process of moving to a different room (boyfriend's death occured in motel room where they were both staying); Client herself seems to be under the influence of some type of opioid; Client appeared to have resources to provide herself food/water (cash money in her wallet). Reports taking Haldol and Lithium; Requesting voluntary 5150 hold due to suicidal/homicidal thoughts; Deputy was called due to Client going inside neighbors' houses and yelling at them to “help her”; Client began getting physically aggressive, spitting on neighbor when she did not allow Client to use her phone; Client also had dilusional thoughts i.e., thought her boyfriend was dead although he is now in the hospital for a procedure; also thought her family members were all missing and filed multiple Missing Person's reports (no family members were missing and all accounted for); Mobile Crisis Unit drove Client to UVMC to be assessed by RCS Crisis; Client was intermittantly explosive (yelling at hospital staff; pushing RCS Crisis staff out of her room before agreeing to meet with them afterwards); Client was placed on 5150 hold by RCS.
• Client reported not having taken her medication “in days … I can't get to the pharmacy”; Neighbors report Client's recent behavior to be “out of character … she is usually very docile”; Client also reported domestic abuse (“he likes to punch me in the face for snoring too much”). “; Mobile Crisis Unit contacted RCS for follow up and was only able to confirm Client's placement on a 5150 hold;
• Veteran and previous suicide attempts; Prior 5150 on File. Deputies were dispatched to Client cutting himself by Potter Valley Rver; Client was located by river in his van with multiple, deep lacerations to both arms (bloody). Mobile Crisis Unit placed Client on 5150 hold due to Danger to Self Criteria: Made statements to Deputies of wanting to kill himself with razor blades “becaue of health issues” and “being lonely.” Client reported to Paramedic that his intent was “drowning himself in the river” but Client “heard children” and chose to use razor blades.; Client reports previously attempting suicide by medication: per Client, he put his bottle of “oxycotin” into a glass of water to dissolve and drank it. Client is a U.S. Veteran; high risk of suicide; RCS continued monitoring Client at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley (AHUV).
SHERIFF’S OVERTIME & OTHER SILLY DISPUTES
by Mark Scaramella
Fresh off her welcome remark Tuesday morning that the Supervisors themselves are responsible for the County’s budget and its overruns, not the personal liability of department heads, Supervisor Maureen Mulheren took a step backward on Wednesday when she tried to address the dispute between the Sheriff and the Supervisors on her own supervisors website:
Supervisor Mulheren: “There were four items that the Sheriff believes are in conflict. 1. Is there a conflict in the budget or staffing of IT? The Board does not believe a conflict exists.”
AVA: This does not meet the legal standard of a motion and a vote as called for by Judge Moorman for the Board to specify whatever the conflict is. It barely rises to an opinion. It doesn’t matter what the Sheriff or the Board “believes,” nor what Ms. Mulheren believes they believe, whatever that may mean.
Supervisor Mulheren: “2. Regarding the consolidation of the Sheriff IT with the County IT per the Grand Jury Report the Board is in agreement that any decision will be delayed until there can be an Attorney General Decision and that the Sheriff should have independent Counsel to submit his request.”
AVA: “The decision” regarding IT consolidation isn’t even close to a becoming a “decision” because it’s all too vague. There has been no formal consolidation proposal, so how can the Attorney General opine on it? (And we’re pretty sure he will opine that Mendo’s Sheriff, like all the other Sheriff’s in the state, must control his own digital info.) As far as we know Government Code prohibits such “consolidation.” So we will need to know which government code section Ms. Mulheren or the Board or County Counsel say allows such consolidation. The Sheriff does not need to make a request to the Attorney General; if the County wants consolidation, the County should make it. Otherwise, just leave it alone.
Supervisor Mulheren: “3. May the Sheriff spend at will without having to come to the Board? This does not include emergency expenses. The Board sees that the Sheriff and the County Budget team have worked together to come up with an almost balanced budget just off $255,000. We agree that if he believes he can spend at will outside of emergency and the budget that he should have a legal opinion that also states that.”
AVA: The Sheriff has never proposed that he be allowed to “spend at will without having to come to the Board,” and it’s almost slanderous to even imply that. It also does not matter what the Board “sees,” nor what an “almost balanced” budget is. We’re pretty sure that if Sheriff’s department overtime was properly funded the difference would be a lot more than $255k.
Supervisor Mulheren: “The Board does not agree that the budget is off by $1.5 million.”
AVA: What’s the Board’s number then? Almost $255k? How do they calculate it? Sounds to us like a reasonable overtime budget would put the difference closer to $1.5 million.
This kind of lack of clarity is what got the Sheriff looking for an attorney in the first place. There is clear evidence that the CEO and Supervisor Williams wanted to consolidate the Sheriff’s computer system with the County’s. Instead of bringing the question to the Board with a well thought out proposal, backdoor maneuverings were attempted which the Sheriff got wind of and which happened to benefit one preferred CEO staffer without reference to government code and without even a specific proposal. Of course the Sheriff cannot “spend at will without having to come to the board.” But neither can the Board tell him not to spend on necessary and reasonable law enforcement. If it’s just the overtime that’s in question, simply set up a Sheriff’s reserve or emergency reserve and let the Sheriff request it as the needs arise, perhaps via the new Public Safety Advisory Board. Then put it in writing as a Board motion, vote on it, approve it, hand it to the Sheriff and see if he co-signs. If he does, end of problem. End of wasteful court costs, end of disputes over who should be the Sheriff’s attorney.
* * *
A couple of years ago when Ms. Georgeanne Croskey was on the Board for a few months the question arose as to whether $0 or $300k should be budgeted for overtime, Ms. Croskey, whose husband was a deputy sheriff, pointed out that the number should be around $1.6 million based on experience.
Here’s our coverage from the June 2018 Board meeting :
AS AN EXAMPLE of how precarious the budget for July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 is, one need look no further than the Sheriff’s Department overtime line item. Before last week’s budget hearing CEO Angelo and the Sheriff had allocated exactly $0 to Sheriff’s overtime (It was $1.6 million last year) CEO Angelo offered up an apparent budget balancing trick so ridiculous Supervisor Georgeanne Croskey (whose husband is a patrol deputy) felt obliged to comment. CEO Angelo blithely responded suggesting $300k be allocated without any basis other than maybe the budget could handle that much.
Supervisor John McCowen agreed.
McCowen: “It is not realistic to have a zero line item for overtime. You [the CEO] are suggesting $300,000 if we were to put a number in there. I do think that's conservative. As we have all said we don't know what may happen as the year goes forward. But we know we are going to have some overtime just in the normal course of events. If there is no disaster or there are no tragic car wrecks or complicated homicides then that naturally would drive further overtime. If we have none of that we still know that we are going to have it. So perhaps between now and tomorrow the executive office and the sheriff can work to identify what other line items in the budget could potentially be reduced to at least put in the $300,000 for overtime which would be kind of the minimum realistic figure I believe.”
Angelo: “I'm fine with that. If that's the board direction we will do that. And then – … What I have noticed in the last 10 years with the Sheriff's office overtime, which of course you have noticed as well, is when the positions and critical positions are really low obviously that's when we have more overtime. What I am also seeing is a real effort on the part of the Sheriff's office, particularly with various funding streams either being diminished or going away [probably a reference to a significant decrease in pot-related asset forfeiture plus the approximately $1 million cannabis permit program deficit] there is a real effort to focus on the overtime. The positions – he [the Sheriff] has his positions filled now. If we were going to budget overtime right now in the Sheriff's office we would have budgeted approximately $300,000. With what happens with the sheriff's office, it is, it's just, you know, you never know what the next crisis is going to be. So I'm fairly confident. I have to say that we have had problems in dealing with the Sheriff's budget. He obviously has managed his budget very well. And he has helped. So we can talk about this tomorrow when this board is ready to make recommendations and make decisions on this. If we are going to budget I would say that we would have budgeted approximately $300,000. The other thing is that we can't really say today as far as what happens over the next 12 months that it is possible that there are other funding streams for overtime that we just -- we just -- you know -- we just don't have right now, or don't have the ability to say right now. Honestly, in seeing the Sheriff’s budget I don't have a problem with this. Clearly you are the decision-makers and if you do [decide] we will rearrange the money.”
Deputy CEO Janelle Rau said they put zero overtime in the budget because they plan to keep close track of the overtime.
Rau: “I have been working with the Sheriff's office on their budget. They did go through some budget balancing strategies [translation: they made some ridiculous assumptions]. And working with their budget officer Kyra [the Sheriff’s budget analyst] and the Sheriff himself, they did do some reductions to meet net County cost. [Arbitrary cuts.] With that is an understanding that the executive office is going to be working with them hand in hand and in turn with the board, meaning that we will be coming to you -- and there are descriptions in the information to you -- monthly, not quarterly. We will be coming to you with adjustments as they are necessary. We have made that arrangement with the Sheriff to say, you let us know when there is an issue so we will have discovered that between all of us here if there is one. Overtime was one of them. We knew it was out there. It is a strategy that we will watch. And that we will look at their vacancy factors as well to see in their total 1000 series [general fund] where they will be. It's a different approach this year. But we have been working on it effectively. Kyra and I started working on it this last year in July to make sure we could come here and feel good about what we are giving you and actually give you the confidence that we will be informing you as we go along as well.”
So the CEO’s Office and the Sheriff are going to start providing monthly reports on overtime! Does anybody believe that? They should have been doing routine monthly overtime tracking all along and now all of a sudden they’re going to start monthly reporting on something?
This reporting will either be non-existent or — if it happens at all — will be lame to the point of uselessness. Mendo just does not do monthly budget and staff reporting. In all likelihood they will ignore the overtime as it routinely goes over-budget like they do everything else and wait until it’s a problem, then make some equally preposterous declaration like the magic assumption change from 5% position vacancy to 10% position vacancy and cover the overtime like they always do by shorting or understaffing other already short departments.
Supervisor Croskey wanted to hope — in spite of her gut knowledge that even $300k is nothing more than a place holder — that this still-ridiculous $300k approach would help.
Croskey: “That helps. I certainly have concerns. But we have nothing budgeted for overtime. It's not as if overtime won't happen. I understand we will be looking at it as we go. But it's — it's not as if — I don't know — I have concerns that we are pretending that that $1.6 million is — that we will find a way as we go. But…” [Shrugs.]
* * *
And of course as we predicted nobody monitored the overtime (except the Sheriff of course), and no monthly reports were made to the Board. And here we are three years later singing the same song again. The difference, as the Sheriff amusingly noted last Tuesday is, “I didn’t put the quarter in this jukebox.”
Who did then? Elvis?
THE WORLD'S GREATEST BAKERY…
by Mya Constantino
Kathleen Stewart has dedicated half of her life to Healdsburg’s beloved community bakery — the Downtown Bakery & Creamery.
But, after 35 years as owner and operator of the Sonoma County business, known for its adherence to the tenets of the “farm-to-table” movement, she has officially put it up for sale.
Stewart, 72, who acknowledges she’s ready to move on, said, “It’s someone else’s turn.”
Stewart started the bakery with former pastry chef Lindsey Shere and former cook Therese Shere, who she’d worked with at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Together they applied the “sustainable food practices” they’d learned while at Chez Panisse to the bakery.
In 1997, though, the Sheres left and Stewart’s kids, Joe Stewart, now 40, and Maya Eshom, now 46, began working with their mom — making the business a family affair.
After the coronavirus pandemic hit in spring 2020, coupled with the state-ordered shutdown, many business owners were forced to review and reconsider their operations.
Stewart said she used the time to take a step back from the bakery and reflect on what was most important to her.
“In June, I decided that I needed to move on to the next chapter of my life, my kids need to move on, too,” she said. “We stayed open during the pandemic, which forced all of us to work more. It’s getting tiring. The pandemic sorta hastened the process of confronting a reality I needed to face.”
Located in Healdsburg Plaza, the bakery’s reputation grew as did the demand for its pastries and other baked confections made from locally grown, organic ingredients.
It attracted hundreds of visitors weekly, as well as longtime regulars daily. And on weekends, no one was surprised to see a line streaming out its front door.
One Healdsburg customer, Beverly Aziz, 72, a self-described bakery buff and seasoned foodie, said she fell in love with the bakery when she tried it for the first time three years ago after moving to Healdsburg.
She said she picks up a bag of pastries every week.
“The quality of these pastries isn’t like anything I’ve ever tasted before. I’m sorta picky with my pastries,” Aziz said, as she adjusted her brown bag brimming with delicious-looking baked goods. “The bakery has, by far, the best bread pudding. Oh! And the coconut cake — gosh that coconut cake.
“This place is a big part of my community” she added.
The sale of Downtown Bakery & Creamery follows other Healdsburg businesses that have made changes that can, at least partially, be attributed to the more than yearlong economic fallout.
In November, the Parish Cafe, a New Orleans-style restaurant, was put up for sale after owners Rob and Karla Lippincott decided they wanted to move out of Sonoma County.
Then, on June 1, Singletree Cafe, a 20-year-old breakfast diner closed its doors because of significant financial hits during large-scale wildfires, plus a long-delayed construction of a nearby city roundabout.
Ryn Longmaid, a restaurant broker who is working with Stewart to find the bakery’s next owner, said that several buyers are banging on her door, but that she doesn’t have enough restaurants to point them to.
“Normally, sellers fear that by making it known that a business is up for sale it could cause a disruption to the business’ (revenues) and employees,” Longmaid said. “I expect the opposite given the bakery’s success and its location. We want to continue the lineage of this downtown bakery.”
On Aug. 1, Downtown Bakery & Creamery was officially put up for sale and is now awaiting its next owner — one which, Stewart hopes, will be community-minded.
“When it comes to food — it’s all about the relationships. The relationships you have with your vendors, farmers, your customers — it’s deeply important,” she said. “I hope that whoever is taking over next will keep an eye on maintaining those relationships.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
NOT THE WAY
To the Editor:
I have been hesitant to speak on the new cannabis ordinance because of how it’s been portrayed by referendum proponents, but I feel an issue this important for our community merits thoughtful discussion.
It’s ok for community members to come down on both sides of this issue and it’s ok if you signed the petition with the best of intentions but, didn’t realize the impacts a referendum would have. You can contact the County Clerk if you would like to remove your signature.
For those of us who hold a vision of environmental stewardship and sustainable economic development for Mendocino County, the referendum is unfortunately not the path that it promises to be. While claiming to protect the environment, it would actually remove all environmental protections and limits to activities like water hauling and illegal diversions.
A referendum would effectively shut down the legal cannabis industry and set back our economy several years in terms of developing new tourism opportunities which celebrate our local legacy farms. The new ordinance offers a path forward for licensed farms which will allow them to build out the Mendocino brand and build on our rich heritage of local agriculture to share with the world. This agriculture heritage and the Mendocino Cannabis brand directly support our tourism economy. Visitors are traveling for cannabis, exploring, learning and engaging with communities and tend to stay longer as visitors, spending more during their stays.
Executive Director Visit Mendocino County
GUN BRANDISHING INCIDENT At Leggett’s Peg House Highlights Law Enforcement Dead Zones In Mendocino County’s Far-Flung Places
The Peg House is a well-known landmark and restaurant just a short distance (about 13 miles) from the Mendocino/Humboldt County line. On July 22, 2021, a troubling incident occurred at the restaurant that highlighted the difficulty of providing timely law enforcement to geographically isolated residents.
“THE VERY FINE people of the Progressive Left believe many things: that men can be women (and mostly should be); that two plus two should equal how you feel, not the same darn thing every time; that “Joe Biden” is not just president but the greatest one since Barack Obama (and the 2020 election proved it). The very fine people on the Left don’t believe in a couple of things: reality and the law. This is getting to be a problem in what’s left of the USA.”
— James Kunstler
MR. K is a good writer, and often very funny, but his use of “progressive left” is redundant because the left, by definition, is progressive, especially against the backdrop of Trump-think. The left is also non-existent in any traditional-historical sense of the term, the casual labeling of Pelosi libs as communists notwithstanding. There's nothing at all left or progressive about Biden; he's never been either one, or even much of a mainline liberal, and I haven't heard any conservative liberal of the Democrat type proclaim either Biden or Obama as great.
THE FALSE TROPE that conflates conservative liberals of the type presently dominant with Biden-Pelosi with the left, whatever “left” means to the Fox fascisti is deliberate to discredit any government program likely to ease the burden of most Americans, a stance which just happens to work to the great advantage of Bezos Unlimited, owners of both political wings of American capital.
I'VE NEVER HEARD a pwoggie-woggie say he wanted men to be women, but this is what the right does — they seize some isolated incident like a transvestite reading to kindergartners and blow it up to make it seem that transvestites are now part of the public school curricula and American children will be cross-dressing by the time they hit the 8th grade. And liberals are routinely called socialists and communists when — the better ones anyway, are reformers like, say, Ralph Nader and the dread AOC. Socialists like AOC (Ralph's a liberal) aren't opposed to capitalism, they want its fruits fairly distributed. Communists want to destroy capitalism, and how much present-day United States do communists have? None is the correct answer.
THE IRONY in all this is that capitalism is in the process of finishing off life as we know it for everyone, regardless of belief system. Every day we experience new climate-wrought natural catastrophes while the talk is about irrelevancies.
EARLY RISERS this morning enjoyed King Sol dressed in a Mars red as he rose in the smoky lens of the east hills, beauty in the disastrous fires burning out of control to the north.
I CALLED the county's Health Department, Enviro division, to complain about the trash dump on Anderson Valley Way about 25 yards south of Velma's Farm Stand.
Pleasant county guy picked up to say he'd seen a photo of the crime but it wasn't large enough for the county to clean it up. “You'd be lucky if they got to it by the first rains,” he said, adding “Usually some good citizen cleans these things up on their own.” Since the first rains might not occur until December, if then, I wasn't optimistic when we exchanged pleasantries and hung up. And the trash was gone the next day! I suspect a good citizen, which excludes me, got on it, but who knows? Maybe the county got 'er done. Miracles do happen. Indian Creek Campground has finally reopened, hasn't it?
POINT ARENA CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE - August 6
The final project elements are in the works! Additional street furniture (garbage receptacles, bike racks) is being installed, and those old light and traffic poles will be painted black to match the new lights. Little by little, the poles and wires on the south end of the project are going away—and what an impact it will have when they’re gone!
Need a refresher on the project, or curious what the final striping will look like? Check out our website: www.UkiahStreetscape.com.
Construction Overview, Week of August 9
Monday-Friday: Lots of miscellaneous projects happening this week! Construction crews will continue “raising the irons”— cutting into the pavement and building the utility infrastructure back up to street level. Again, this work will be temporarily noisy at each site as the asphalt is cut. Then, the asphalt will be patched at each location.
The crosswalks at Henry, Standley, Perkins, and Seminary will receive a special stamped asphalt treatment. This work will be coordinated around the other projects, and each completed section will require about a day to cure. Therefore, there will be intermittent lane and/or block closures associated with this work.
New trash containers didn’t get installed this week; that is scheduled to occur on Thursday, August 12th.
On the south end of the project, the remaining poles are scheduled to be removed on Friday, August 13th, pending Comcast’s removal of their wires on schedule.
The remaining old light and traffic signal poles will be painted black to match the rest of the project.
Looking ahead: Striping of the entire project will occur, date uncertain, as well as the installation of new street signs. During the week of August 23rd, new holes will be bored for the American flags that are displayed during holidays.
Save the date: Saturday, August 28th, from 11-4 is the Streetscape Celebration! Join us downtown for a car show, live music, kids' zone, and more!
Have a great weekend--
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, w: (707) 467-5793
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 6, 2021
IRVING ACEVES-LIZARRAGA, Willits. Probation revocation.
KELISHA ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Vandalism, parole violation, paraphernalia, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
SEANA BOYLAN, Petaluma/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, failure to appear.
KYLE BRACKETT, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, smuggling controlled substance or liquor into jail, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ARMANDO CHERREZMOO, Fort Bragg. DUI.
THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
TERESA GARNER, Ukiah. Possession of shopping/laundry cart, failure to appear, probation revocation.
DEVLEN GENTRY-MCCULLAR, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
GORDAN HANOVER SR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.
CHASE ROBINSON, Orange/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation. (Freqent flyer.)
DARLENE STEVENS, Fort Bragg. Trespassing/refusing to leave, battery on peace officer.
ADAM VASQUEZ, Hopland. Burglary
MATHEW VICCHIONE, Fort Bragg. Metal knuckles, parole violation.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT FIRE. The temperate forests of North America evolved with fire. Fire has been a shaping force in forest ecosystems since the end of the last ice age. Forests have adapted to fire and been reborn out of it. From Yellowstone to the Oregon Coast Range, the Siskiyous to the Sangre de Cristos, forests have burned and remained forests. Douglas-firs, redwoods, Ponderosa pines, and Giant Sequoias have all evolved and even thrived under natural fire regimes. But not now. Not with these forest-killing infernos that burn for weeks and months, killing everything in their paths, down to the soil itself. These fires are hotter and more intense. They burn longer, spread faster, travel farther. Of course, the climate has changed and it’s a driving force behind these super-charged fires. It’s hotter and drier, in both winter and summer. The moisture content of forest soils has withered. The understories of forests are dry and crisp. The snow pack has dwindled. The fogs of summer have dissipated. The warming climate has primed the forests to burn. But the forests themselves have changed–or rather–change has been inflicted upon them. The fire-resistant old growth trees–95 percent of them, anyway–have been logged off. The forests themselves have been fractured and fragmented by clearcuts, pipelines, power corridors, monocultural plantations, and a road network that in some places exceeds 10 miles per square mile of land. Fires, most of them, start near roads, many by accident others by design. Some for sick kicks, others for profit. There’s a dark history of arson for profit in America’s forests: for the jobs that come in putting them out and “cleaning” them up. Not just in the firefighting, but the roadbuilding and logging and milling and log exports that come afterwards. Managed forests–that is logged, roaded, grazed–forests burn and they tend to burn long and hot. Under normal circumstances, logging is an accelerate not a deterrent for fire. Under these extreme climate conditions, logging has fueled the infernos that have swept the West for the last decade. Last year was the worst fire season in the West in the last 2,000 years. This year will be worse. And so, likely, will be the consecutive years of the next several decades. There’s no immediate solution and all of the proposed political responses will only exacerbate the crisis. Welcome to the Pyrocene.
— Jeffrey St. Clair
THE APPLE & THE LILAC
A Lilac bush and an Apple tree
Were standing in the woods
Out on the hill above the town
Where once a farmhouse stood
In the winter the leaves are bare
And no one sees the signs
Of a house that stood and a garden that grew
And life in another time
One Spring when the buds came bursting forth
And grass grew on the land
The Lilac spoke to the Apple tree
As only an old friend can
Do you think, said the Lilac, this might be the year
When someone will build here once more?
Here by the cellar, still open and deep
There's room for new walls and a floor
Oh, no, said the Apple, there are so few
Who come here on the mountain this way
And when they do, they don't often see
Why we're growing here, so far away
A long time ago we were planted by hands
That worked in the mines and the mills
When the country was young and the people who came
Built their homes in the hills
But now there are cities, the roads have come
And no one lives here today
And the only signs of the farms in the hills
Are the things not carried away
Broken dishes, piles of boards
A tin plate, an old leather shoe
And an Apple tree still bending down
And a Lilac where a garden once grew
— Kate Wolf
STREET VENDOR SELLING MUMMIES in Egypt, 1875.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’m 62 years old, and I guess I’m not gonna get the comfy retirement as “promised.” Actually, I’m not as bummed out as you might expect. If I play my cards right, I still might be able to enjoy the show, in a twisted kinda way. But try as I might, I just can’t see even a bumpy landing, let alone a soft one. Mentally, at least for me, that’s very hard to deal with. Is that why we’re all here, talking it out, searching and hoping for some light at the end of this tunnel? I haven’t done it yet, but I must choose a new path. The one I’m on ain’t gonna pay off, I’m afraid.
CASEY STENGEL’S SECRET OF SUCCESS
“Keep the five guys who hate you away from the five who are undecided.”
In the early 1970s while attending San Jose State University one of my professors talked about the fact that California is for all intents and purposes with little rainfall other than in the northern part of the state. In the 1970s there was already talk of droughts, but yet we have done very little to prepare for the future. While I am not a great believer in filling up land with water for reservoirs, our population continues to grow with little long range planning taking place for water needs. Solutions: reservoirs, water percolation ponds to keep the water table up, and desalination plants.
We are now seeing the shortsightedness of this inaction. We need to start planning now for the near future. We have clean water, as Healdsburg has demonstrated, to create short term reactions in the near future. What about the rest of the county, or for that matter the state? Are our heads going to be hidden in the sand like an ostrich? I hope not.
Our water crisis is somewhat like COVID... we need a vaccination of common sense to survive.
FREE RANGE PIGS
by Spec MacQuayde
We try to take Sundays off at our Hoosier farmhouse, and not even open the roadside stand along State Road 135 in the village of Vallonia. Closing up the store on Saturday night, we packed all the tomatoes, sweet corn, potatoes, garlic, &c. inside, loaded the nicest watermelons back in the truck bed, leaving 30 ugly ones on top of a giant wooden spool under the awning, in case people needed one. The ugly fruit are covered with bumps caused by the fungus, anthracnose, which affects organically-grown melons more, causing their skin to resemble what happened to my face between the ages of fourteen and about twenty.
Of course we will be checking that table at our store sometime today, curious how many watermelons remain, but besides that the only necessary job is to feed our catfish, chickens, and pigs.
Sipping a Bloody Mary made with freshly canned tomato juice, I borrowed Laura's phone and checked the weather forecast as I routinely do every morning. Google offers suggestions for news articles I might be interested in, usually concerning things like the drought in the West, the perpetual obsessive clash between Democrats and Republicans, and pigs.
Growing up in Jackson county, Indiana, as a teenager in the Reagan and Bush decade, I never once thought I would be interested in pigs. Family hog farms formed the backbone of our local economy, as the egg producers had already been run out of business, and the fluctuation of corn prices caused a plague of bankruptcy auctions, inspiring songwriter John Cougar Mellencamp to compose “Rain on the Scarecrow.” He filmed the video at an auction in our county, and if you lived here during those years, it still might bring tears to your eyes.
The hog farmers were the last dominoes to tumble. Hoosiers had raised pigs since the land was taken from the Shawnee in 1813. Even with low corn and soybean prices, families could easily mill their own grain. Also, up until those days, nearly every farm still included a woodlot of about 10 to 40 acres where pigs were kept free range. The corn, pumpkin, watermelon, cabbage fields were fenced in, and during the winter the pigs gleaned all the weeds, grain, and whatever else they could dig up. Of course the USDA started funding confinement operations in the “Get Big or Get Out” era, and farmers were convinced that it was a waste of time to round up pigs from the woods, that it was more efficient to keep them indoors, pump the animals full of concentrated feed and antibiotics, cut their teeth and tails so they wouldn't try to eat each other for lack of a diverse diet and anything to do but dream of a way out. Now if you drive around Jackson county you see tall grain bins next to abandoned hog sheds here and there, otherwise the only pigs are owned by Premier Ag, their long steel sheds stashed out in the river bottoms where nobody lives, obscured by rows of poplar or willow trees.
The last family hog farms were wiped out in the Clinton years, when the price of pork was crookedly lowered by insider trading to less than twenty cents per pound, meaning that a three hundred pound pig brought less than sixty dollars! Nobody besides hog traders and farmers knew this was going on, or cared. Consumers were stoked for cheap bacon.
This morning, while I was checking the weather, which I already suspected was void of a chance of rain for at least one week, Google suggested an article which caught my attention. In the election last November, California voters had overwhelmingly approved an animal welfare act which would outlaw ninety-six percent of the pork consumed in that state. Perhaps the voters weren't aware of the ramifications. Of course the pork industry, about ninety-nine percent of which is now controlled by a handful of corporate packing houses--many of which were shut down temporarily during the Covid outbreak due to severely shitty working conditions, is upset to say the least. They are livid. The law is supposed to take effect in January of 2022, at which point California consumers would theoretically be unable to purchase factory farm pork.
“We might be selling frozen bacon to California consumers next year,” I said, stirring the ice in the Bloody Mary, “if that law ever takes effect, which I doubt it will. Pork would be worth its weight in gold out there. That would be an ironic twist of fate for Hoosier family farmers who still have the land and time to mess with chasing pigs. Guess you could overnight the meat. Pack it in styrofoam.”
“It's cold this morning. What's the high for today?”
“Seventy-nine. Low humidity. Nice breeze. Can you believe they're outlawing confinement-raised pork in California?”
“I'm just glad you put an electric fence in the hog pen, finally.”
“Sorry about the other night. That won't happen again.”
“We'll see.” The scratches from corn leaves were still visible on Laura's arms and legs. Friday evening we had driven home separately from the store, and when I'd returned in my truck, she was out in the neighbor's field brandishing a stick, baby pigs darting left and right. “I kind of liked chasing the pigs, but not in the corn.”
“I swear it won't happen again.”
She smiled. “Right.”
If you had told me in Jackson county, say at the fair (which is one of the most heavily attended in Indiana, especially the hog and cattle barns), back in 1987, that someday we would have three sows, one boar, twenty baby pigs, and also be probably the THIRD LARGEST HOG PRODUCERS in the county, in 2021, I would have laughed at you. First of all, in 1987 I would have been hanging out with all the farm kids in the hog barn at the fair, listening to AC/DC from a boom box, to hogs grunting and squealing, to teenagers getting a green light by their otherwise strict farm parents to go a little wild for the week, do some socializing, and camp out away from home without supervision. Naturally I joined the other rural youth in those sheds. In those days there were probably more than a thousand family hog farms here, and many young folk had the opportunity to show one at the fair, auction it off and keep the money, so all my friends were there, though my parents were school teachers and definitely not in favor of raising pigs. I was wearing sneakers one afternoon when a pig returning from the show got loose and charged down the aisle, stomping my left big toe so bad that I eventually had to have the toenail cut out by an arrogant doctor who no doubt sexually harassed his young nurses, who were all unusually attractive by Playboy standards and about twenty-two. I only say this because Dr. Stout administered the Novocain shot to my toe, then disappeared into some back room for about thirty minutes where I could hear him and the nurse engaged in laughter first, then moaning, while the effects of the local anesthetic wore off.
“It's wore off by now,” I said, when Dr. Stout returned with the nurse, her hair somewhat tousled like a corn tassel. “It's been like half an hour.”
“I'm your doctor. I know what I'm doing!”
“OUCH! God DAMN!”
“I wasn't gone that long!”
“Yeah you were. I got a watch!” I did. In 1987 I wore a digital watch and had a face covered with zits that reminded me of anthracnose.
So anyway, if you'd have informed me back then that out of the hundreds of farm kids who were showing their pigs, camping in the barns, and not getting their toe stepped on because they knew better, that I would be the only one raising pigs in 2021, I'd have thought you were nuts. But now there's a market for free range, cruelty-free, pork, and we happen to grow about ten acres of vegetables or cover crops, and it just makes sense to have pigs clean up all the extra we don't sell. They eat nearly everything, we have discovered. Pigweeds, lambsquarters, horseweeds, johnsongrass, crabgrass, bluegrass, country, rock, punk--currently they are stationed in a field about half an acre where we grew our potatoes this spring, rooting them up from the sand. We are still in the learning stages of raising pigs on the free range, and this year was our first attempt at what they call “farrowing,” when a sow gives birth to about ten or so piglets. The corporate, confinement, or whatever you call it style of farrowing is to keep the sows in crates and tight pens so they can't lay down on their babies, and is one of the main reasons that California voters made the bold effort to basically remove bacon from their diets if this law goes into effect.
Last July we purchased the boar, Stevie, as a young lad only forty pounds, from the second largest hog producer in Jackson county, Ed Stuckwisch, who along with his father, Fred, decided not to drop out of raising pigs back in the Clinton years when the price went south. They now market most of their pigs live to Mexicans from nearby Seymour, or rednecks from the hills, or German Lutheran ex-farmers who used to raise their own pigs and refuse to purchase meat from the grocery store. For several years we bought entire litters weaned from Ed and Fred, as I was in no hurry to become a professional hog farmer, and mess with something I knew nothing about. They have been helpful with advice, as have numerous old timers in these parts who remember back in the days when the pigs farrowed naturally in the woods. “You don't need crates in the forest. The good sows will make a nest. They are great mothers,” they assured us.
The first litter was born in early June, at our main vegetable farm about four miles from our house. We had put up hog panels around a swamp in the low ground, and sure enough the sows made a nest in a grove of maples and poplars that ring the water, but one day a sow and three tiny offspring escaped while we were not present. The land surrounding that farm is divided into one acre lots with suburban-style houses, and the parents were at work, the kids home alone. They called the sheriff, who called my friend, Greg, who owns the property we farm. Greg called us.
“Spec, I got a call from the sheriff. You got a momma pig out, a couple babies. They were spotted under a weeping willow in someone's backyard.”
“Oh, crap. I unplugged the electric fence the other day. Didn't think they'd be trying to get out. Probably get her back in there, turn the charger on, it'll be fine.”
“No, it won't.”
“I just had another neighbor email a copy of their deed. No pigs are allowed.”
“It's on the deed. Most subdivisions have clauses that prohibit the raising of pigs within a certain distance. Pretty common these days, unfortunately, Spec. You'll have to move them.”
Because we feed them in the stock trailer, two of the sows and one boar were relatively easy to relocate to our farmhouse, and the eleven piglets from the first litter we caught with the help of their mother being in the trailer, and several friends engaging in the sport of catching the squealers.
The largest, and fully pregnant as in due any day sow disappeared into the bush while we were rounding up the babies. Laura and I returned to retrieve her as the sun was setting. We waded through the mosquito swamps, swatting every inch of bare skin, and failed to locate her as we admired the system of tunnels and paths the hogs had carved under the maples. We followed tracks several hundred yards through a drainage ditch between two of our fields, and the tracks led to about eighty acres of soybeans on the neighbors' farm. The beans were nearly a foot tall. The surrounding woods were full of swamps in every direction.
“It'll be impossible to follow her tracks. She could be anywhere. I'm getting ate up,” I said.
The next morning we drove up the road, to the woods that lead to Starve Hollow Lake and the extensive Jackson-Washington State Forest, and debated whether it was worth braving the mosquitoes and copperheads in pursuit.
“No doubt she went and had a litter somewhere. They'll turn up eventually,” we both agreed, before dialing the sheriff's department and informing the dispatcher that a pregnant sow was loose, likely to be dropping a litter.
At the Bluebird Cafe in Vallonia we taped a sign to the window: “Pregnant sow in excess of 600 pounds on the loose between Stuckwisch's Farm market and Starve Hollow Lake. CASH REWARD for information as to their whereabouts.”
We were at our farm stand later that week when a strange number called. It was one of the neighbors to the fields and the swamp where we'd had our pigs mostly fenced in.
“I seen your pig last night while we was eatin' on the back porch. She's livin' under the trees on the edge of your field.”
“We'll be right there.”
The woman met us in her back yard, walked to the woodline with us, where sure enough, the sow had a litter of ten in a nest under some wild persimmons along the fence line between our field and Stuckwisch's farm market. These were cousins of Ed and Fred Stuckwisch, and at one time had raised hundreds of pigs. When the market had crashed in the '90's, they'd quit raising hogs and sold the road frontage ground off as a subdivision--hence the clause in the contracts. Now their old hog buildings are empty, like a ghost town.
We parked the stock trailer in an old turnip field, and dumped a bag of ground corn and soybeans from the local mill. For a couple days we fed the sow in there, realizing she wasn't going anywhere for a minute, and one afternoon while working the field adjacent I left the tractor loudly idling near the trailer and snuck up on it, slamming the door. Laura helped me catch the ten babies and load them in with their mom, through the side.
Since then the pigs have been staying at our home farm. For a month they ravaged all the weeds in the barn lot in addition to any cabbage leaves or carrot tops we tossed in, and after the potatoes were harvested we moved them to the field out back where they are now, mostly weaned. None of the males are castrated. After watching videos about castrating pigs, we decided to follow the model of several North European countries and skip the traumatic procedure which is neither fun for the people or the pigs, instead planning to harvest them before they reach puberty, in early October.
I was in the middle of composing this piece when Laura received a phone call. Two old redneck men had heard that we were selling live pigs. They wanted three “gilts”--weaned female piglets. “They'll be here in about fifteen minutes. You'd better save your article.”
Now my right shoulder is out of socket, and one fingernail on my right hand is swollen so badly I can barely smack keys on a laptop. I'd never attempted separating young pigs from their mothers, and had been hoping that the animals would be hungry enough to be baited by busted watermelons, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Only one of the guys who showed up could walk without a crutch, so Laura and the able-bodied man wielded a hog panel around the babies, trapping a few along the fence where they munched on juicy, red watermelon flesh. The first two I grabbed turned out to be males. By then the mothers were going nuts, about ready to turn us into bacon. I finally caught one gilt, carrying it squealing to the old rednecks' stock trailer while the sow promised to murder me. The next effort was where I ended up not getting my fingers quite around the back leg while diving in the dirt, resulting in the injuries.
“We're still learning about raising pigs,” Laura told the guys, who departed with only one and agreed to come back in a few days when we have a better arrangement for snaring the gilts.
If I end up needing to have this fingernail removed, I'm not going to call on Dr. Stout.