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Mendocino County Today: June 24, 2013

RASTAFARIANS here, Rastafarians there, Rastafarians everywhere in Boonville this weekend. Overall impression is of shuffling, listless people, most of them young but enervated-seeming. Thanatoids. The weather has been rain-cloudy, muggy-warm but only a few sprinkles of actual precipitation. The Rasta brigades seem to bring seasonally odd weather with them. They were in town five years ago for the big lightning storm. Sunday noon, a drunk was passed out in the flowerbed of the Boonville Post Office. A group of street people was stretched out on the grass strip at the fairgrounds parking lot. A shopkeeper said she would be “glad when they're gone. They steal stuff, they camp out in the bathroom, they're stoned so they'll stand there staring at the menu like they're the only one in line.” Saturday night, a frantic male voice crackled out of the scanner demanding to know what to do with the garbage piling up, an inquiry he concluded by repeatedly screaming the full version of “WTF!” Inside the Fairgrounds, it all seemed well organized, including a tent called Jah-Med, an emergency medical group. Off Lambert Lane, a scruffy, youngish man sat with several jars of marijuana bud. “I'm not selling it, I'm donating it. I give you some, you make a donation to me.” A Sheriff's deputy commented on the numbers of “unsupervised juveniles,” remarking that he didn't think the festival was “appropriate for kids.” It's not Sesame Street, for sure, but given that somewhere between seven and eight thousand people are in town for this thing, the only arrests so far have been a few drunks-in-public and “juveniles in possession,” which we tend to get anyway even when there are only five people in town.


RED-TAILED HAWK SPENT A SECOND DAY on Friday aboard the contraption called a “wick drain stitcher,” perched about half-way up the crane on which the stitching mechanism is hung. At one point, operators moved the stitcher several feet, letting the crane come to rest on a steel plate. The intent seemed to be to make way for the second stitcher, which was in operation all day. To their credit contractors notified Hawk and onlookers in advance of the move. The night was illuminated by generator-driven floodlights, and the toplights and floods of the CHP cars surrounding Red-Tailed Hawk’s perch. Loud sounds broadcast from the cars and honking in the early hours of the morning were evidently the CHP’s version of the strategy used by U.S. troops surrounding the Vatican Embassy in Panama when Manuel Noriega took refuge there. In that instance, blaring rock ‘n roll at deafening levels was employed to persuade Vatican personnel to dis-invite Noriega. Low-grade torture evidently has its advocates even among the CHP, who are apparently determined to wait out Red-Tailed Hawk’s machine-sit, while making his stay as uncomfortable as possible. There was no attempt Friday, in fact, to dislodge our Hawk, who spent the day adjusting his platform and using occasions of relative quiet to exchange words with supporters on the ground. Supporters coming in met no opposition, as the private security guards hired by NCRA to harass protesters were nowhere in evidence today, their claims to enforcing a bogus ban on “trespassing” having been challenged by at least one walker on Thursday. Please walk on out to the sight via the train tracks on the north side of town and spend some time over the next couple of days in support of Red-Tailed Hawk. Besides the moral support, he’ll need witnesses should the CHP try to dislodge him.

RED-TAIL HAWK’S THIRD DAY IN THE STITCHER. Supporters make dramatic bid to resupply. Saturday evening around 45 supporters of Red-Tailed Hawk’s occupation of a wick drain “stitching machine” converged on the site of what was precious wetlands in the path of CalTrans’ freeway project. Supporters walked onto the site unopposed until they reached CHP squad cars, when two officers emerged and tried to call a halt to the march. Supporters from Willits, Ukiah and beyond proceeded on to the stitcher in which Red-Tailed Hawk is perched. When he lowered a supply rope, they tried to attach bundles of food and water. CHP officers repelled the attempt three times, cutting the rope in the process. With press on hand protestors quietly sat and reasoned with the officers to allow resupply to Red-Tailed Hawk, who has no food and very little water left. The officers refused and refused as well to reveal whether they were under orders to starve him until he descends. When CHP reinforcements arrived, Sgt A. Mesa ordered protesters to leave the site and immediately grabbed Sara Grusky as she was complying with the order. Her daughter Thea Grusky-Foley and Naomi Wagner allowed themselves to be arrested in solidarity. Matt Caldwell was also forcibly arrested. The evening ended at Willits Police Station, where Sara and Thea, who had walked away after being handcuffed, talked by phone to press and Sheriff Tom Allman amidst a crowd of supporters. They surrendered to an angry Sgt. Mesa after calling in their whereabouts to the CHP. All four arrestees were in Mendocino County Jail awaiting booking on Sunday. (Courtesy,


COMMENT OF THE DAY: Two dangerous runaway processes have taken root in the last decade, with fatal consequences for democracy. Government secrecy has been expanding on a terrific scale. Simultaneously, human privacy has been secretly eradicated. The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off. Let's be very careful about who we call “traitor.” Edward Snowden is one of us. — Julian Assange


BOOK REVIEW: Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South’s Most Compelling Pennant Race. By Larry Colton

1964 was a pivotal year in the Civil Rights movement, and in Birmingham, Alabama — perhaps the epicenter of American racial conflict — a remarkable grand experiment was about to take place: Alabama’s first-ever integrated team, the Barons of baseball’s Southern League. Johnny “Blue Moon” Odom, a talented pitcher and Tommie Reynolds, an outfielder — both young black ballplayers with dreams of playing someday in the big leagues, along with Bert Campaneris, an escapee from Cuba, all found themselves in this simmering cauldron of a minor league town, all playing for manager Haywood Sullivan, a white former major leaguer who had grown up surrounded by the ways of Jim Crow just down the road in Dothan, Alabama. Critically-acclaimed and best-selling author Larry Colton — himself a former professional pitcher who played in the Southern League — traces the entire 1964 season, writing about the extraordinary relationships among the Barons players and their charismatic manager Sullivan. Colton captures the heat of Birmingham and its citizens during this tumultuous year. The infamous Bull Connor, for example, who ordered the notorious Birmingham police to pummel civil rights marchers with blasts from powerful water hoses, was a fervent follower of the Barons. (He had leveraged his fame as a long-time broadcaster of Baron games to launch his political career.) Famed Alabama head football coach Bear Bryant was a regular at the Barons’ games. And the flamboyant Charlie Finley, who hailed from Birmingham, was the owner of the Kansas City (and later the Oakland) Athletics, the major league team that controlled the Barons’ players and the team’s fate. More than a story about baseball, this is a true accounting of a pivotal moment in the transformation of American society. Colton takes us on the road with the players as they stay in separate but unequal hotels; he introduces their girlfriends and young wives; he follows a desperate pennant race down to the wire; he takes us inside the culture of our great American sport in an era when players worked off-season jobs in warehouses for a buck-fifty an hour; and he gets us to root for a courageous team owner regularly facing threats from the KKK. Seventeen years after Jackie Robinson had broken the color line in the major leagues, official Birmingham was resisting the end of segregation with bombs and terror. But Birmingham’s citizens, black and white, were finally going to go to the ballpark to watch their very first integrated sports team. Around the Southern League, the racial jeers and taunts that rained down upon these Birmingham players echoed the abuse Jackie Robinson had faced, but these young athletes were forged into a team capable of winning in spite of the hostility. Their story is told here for the first time.



NSA WHISTLEBLOWER Edward Snowden is set to fly from Moscow to the Republic of Ecuador where he will seek asylum, WikiLeaks has revealed. Snowden flew into the Russian capital just after 5pm local time on Sunday after fleeing Hong Kong, where he had been hiding out since leaking explosive details of the US government's widespread surveillance programs. Unable to leave Moscow's Sheremtyevo airport without a Russian visa, the former National Security Agency contractor is reportedly booked into a $15-an-hour capsule hotel on the airport premises where he will stay before he flies out to Ecuador tomorrow via a “safe route” — presumably Cuba. In a statement on Sunday afternoon, WikiLeaks said Snowden was bound for Ecuador, a country which has been harboring the anti-secrecy agency's founder Julian Assange for the past year — “for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.”


NEIGHBORS RAISE MONEY for burial of deceased husband of cash-strapped woman who buried him in own backyard. According to police, Yvonne Winn, 59, buried her husband Thomas Winn, 63, in the couple's backyard. Yvonne Winn told police she buried her husband because she couldn't afford the costs of a funeral. Police arrived at the Winn residence to do a welfare check on Thomas Winn, when Yvonne Winn told them her husband had died of natural causes in late May, and she had buried him. Neighbors are helping Yvonne Winn by raising money so she can have an official burial for her husband.

A 59-year-old woman buried her husband behind the porch in their backyard in San Bernadino, California because she couldn't afford funeral costs, police reports say.

Yvonne Winn of Apple Valley dug a four- to five-foot hole in the yard of the couple's home and buried her husband Thomas Winn, 63, after he died in late May.

Neighbors who heard of Yvonne Winn's plight have been raising money to help her pay for a proper burial for her husband.

“She seems like such a nice, hard-working, older lady,” neighbor Colin Wilson told the LA Times. “I could imagine how difficult it might be, just the whole situation. I feel for her.”

According to NBC4, authorities showed up to the home on Wednesday to do a welfare check on Thomas Winn. Yvonne Winn told them she had buried Thomas in the backyard after he died last month.

The body was wrapped in two garbage bags when officials dug it out of the hole in the home's yard Thursday.

According to neighbors, the police spent three hours digging in the backyard of the Winns before exhuming a plastic-wrapped body.

Wilson says Yvonne Winn was visibly upset as police dug up her husband's body. “She appeared frantic, frustrated. She was definitely bawling, she was crying. Just very out of sorts,” Wilson told NBC4, describing the smell after the body was dug up as “rancid.”

After burying her husband, Yvonne Winn attempted to sell the house.

A prospective buyer of the house told NBC4 that he was set to move into the house on July 31st but was now having second thoughts.

Yvonne Winn told the buyer that her husband had died after hitting his head. He'd gone to bed that night but in the morning, she hadn't been able to wake him, the buyer told NBC4.

A spokeswoman for the San Bernadino sheriff's department said there was no suspicion of foul play in the death of Thomas Winn, and a spokesperson for the town said authorities had decided not to penalize Yvonne Winn for the illegal burial.

Neighbors have rallied around Winn in her time of need to raise the money needed to have a proper burial for Thomas Winn.

“It's a terrible feeling to know that just across your backyard there's someone that was so financially strapped that they felt like they couldn't bury their own family properly,” said Colin Wilson, who along with his sister has been fundraising through for the Winns. So far, they've raised $2723 of a $3000 goal.

“Resident of Apple Valley, Yvonne Winn recently suffered the tragic loss of her husband, Thomas Winn. In her time of immense grief and with no money for a casket, she desperately buried him in their backyard. Thomas Winn was a beloved man and an upstanding member of the High Desert Community. Please help Yvonne and her family give Thomas the proper burial he deserves,” says the page. “I just feel terrible for her,” Wilson said. “I can't imagine what she went through.”

(— Alex Greig. Courtesy, the London Daily Mail)


FAMILY SEEKS ANSWERS in disappearance of SoCal man headed to ‘Murder Mountain.’ Private investigator: His truck was found in Garberville area.

by Colleen Chalmers

Private detectives investigating the disappearance of a Southern California man — who went missing after reportedly heading to work at a marijuana grow near what he called “Murder Mountain” — said this week that his pickup truck was found broken down on private property in southern Humboldt.

Cook & Associates Private Investigation owner and licensed investigator Chris Cook said she's notified the Humboldt County Sheriff's office about the latest information related to 30-year-old Garret Rodriguez's disappearance.

“I believe there's a strong connection,” Cook said.

No one has heard from Rodriguez since Christmas time, officials and private investigators said. He was last heard from while en route from his home in the San Diego enclave of Ocean Beach to the mountains of southern Humboldt, where he was reportedly going to work at a marijuana ranch.

Rodriguez's father, who lives in central Mexico, said he believes some of his son's friends must know something.

“I believe that some of them know what happened to him, but they're afraid to come forward and say anything,” Val ‘Buzz’ Rodriguez said. “I know that for a fact.”

His mother, who lives in Georgia, said she knows her son was going to work at an indoor grow in the Rancho Sequoia area near Alderpoint for the winter. She questions why the two people her son worked with have been silent about the case.

“It's important for people to know who he was working with,” said Pamela McGinnis, who believes the two business associates were the last to be with her son.

Sheriff's Office Detective Todd Fulton said the names of the two men Rodriguez worked with are not being released at this time.

“We don't have any reason to release the names of his associates,” he said. “As far as I know, his last known location was in San Diego.”

Fulton said the office is investigating Rodriguez's disappearance as a missing person's case, but it is unclear if Rodriguez was in the county.

Cook & Associates investigator Jeremy Yanopoulos said Rodriguez had been involved with growing marijuana since high school, and had also been working with marijuana trafficking and sales between Humboldt County and San Diego for a couple years.

“He wasn't the top guy,” Yanopoulos said. “It doesn't sound like it was paying particularly well.”

McGinnis said her son never seemed to make much money in the marijuana business.

“I know a lot of young guys go up to Humboldt to try and make a lot of money. His goal was to save money, but there was always some reason why he didn't have any,” she said.

His family said Rodriguez was in the marijuana business to save enough money to eventually fulfill his dream of having a home in Mexico.

“It was just the allure of money that got him involved, so he could build his home in Mexico,” McGinnis said.

Rodriguez's family said he loved water sports, fishing and cooking — mostly with fish and anything wrapped in bacon — and he made a mean ahi poke sushi roll.

“He also had a famous crab dip that I know his friends liked. He'd cook anything, but he loved being in the ocean, so he always had tons of lobsters and fish on hand,” McGinnis said.

His family said he won trophies for fishing and was once offered a full scholarship to a culinary school and apprenticeship program at a five-star restaurant in Colorado after he went through chef training in San Diego. Rodriguez turned down the opportunity because he did not want to leave his friends in California, family members said.

His aunt Bonnie Taylor, who lives in the Chico area, said she was the last family member to see him before he went missing. She said Rodriguez's friends were his family.

“He was sweet, loving, caring and good-hearted. He had a love of life,” she said. “This guy wasn't somebody who just goes missing.”

Rodriguez is described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds, with brown hair.

”He has the most gorgeous green eyes and a beautiful smile,” Taylor said.

Rodriguez also has a tattoo of a colored ocean scene on his right shoulder.

“He actually knew how to swim before he was walking,” McGinnis said. “I never thought he would leave the ocean.”

Taylor said the family tried to talk Rodriguez out of going to Humboldt County for work.

“We tried as best we could. He didn't always make really good choices,” she said. “Choice of certain friends. Choice of going up to Humboldt.”

McGinnis said there have been hundreds of friends posting photos and memories of her son on a Facebook page dedicated to bringing him home, saying how much they miss him. “Everybody's really concerned,” she said.

Yanopoulos said Cook & Associates is investigating rumors about what has happened to Rodriguez and speculation on why he disappeared.

It was not until April that Rodriguez was officially reported missing. Yanopoulos said it was not uncommon for friends and family members to go short periods of time without hearing from Rodriguez while he was working in southern Humboldt.

“But this went way beyond just business as usual,” he said.

His father reported him missing on April 25 after one of his son's ex-girlfriends told him no one had heard from Rodriguez in months.

Taylor said the family knows in their hearts that Rodriguez made it to southern Humboldt and would have contacted them if he could. “There's no way Garret could be alive,” she said. “He was a really sweet kid. I call him a kid; he was a man. But to me, he was a kid.”

McGinnis said some people might look at her son's case and think, “Oh look, just more druggies.”

”But he had a lot of people who loved him and thought the world of him,” she said.

Anyone with information regarding Garret Rodriguez is asked to contact Cook & Associates Private Investigations at 839-7422 or call Chris Cook at 616-4507. You may also contact the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office at 445-7251. (Courtesy, the Eureka Times-Standard)


ALWAYS APPEAR in feminine attire when not actively engaged in practice or playing ball. This regulation continues through the playoffs for all, even though your team is not participating. At no time may a player appear in the stands in her uniform or wear slacks or shorts in public.

Boyish bobs are not permissible, and in general your hair should be well groomed at all times with longer hair preferable to short haircuts. Lipstick should always be on.

Smoking or drinking is not permissible in public places. Liquor drinking will not be permissible under any circumstances. Other intoxicating drinks in limited portions with after-game meal only will be allowed. Obscene language will not be allowed at any time.

All social engagements must be approved by chaperone. Legitimate requests for dates can be allowed by chaperones.

Jewelry must not be worn during game or practice, regardless of type.

Due to shortage of equipment, baseballs must not be given as souvenirs without permission from the management.

Baseball-uniform skirts shall not be shorter than six inches above the kneecap.

In order to sustain the complete spirit of rivalry between clubs, the members of different clubs must not fraternize at any time during the season. After the opening day of the season, fraternizing will be subject to heavy penalties. This means, in particular, room parties, auto trips to out-of-the-way eating places, etc. However, friendly discussions in lobbies with opposing players are permissible.

Fines of five dollars for first offense, ten dollars for second, and suspension for third, will automatically be imposed for breaking any of the above rules.

(— From the League Rules of Conduct for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, established in 1943.)


WE HESITATE to get into the middle of what should be a personal family problem. But when an elected official flouts the law and then sues the taxpayers for it, we feel it's time to weigh in.

Supervisor Dan Hamburg's wife, Carrie, was, by all accounts, much admired. Her last wishes, made known as she was facing death from a long bout with cancer, were certainly worth doing one's utmost to fulfill.

She wanted to be buried on the property she and her husband had shared for many years. The problem was, it is illegal in California to be buried on your own - or any - private property without special permission.

Mr. Hamburg ignored that law and simply buried his wife at home without asking anyone's permission.

The county rightly refused to release a death certificate for Mrs. Hamburg without the proper paperwork showing he had permission to do so.

Then someone alerted the Sheriff that the burial had taken place unlawfully and the Sheriff was forced to take action. He could not ignore a patently illegal act - especially one carried out by an elected official.

Once the Sheriff got involved, the burial became public knowledge and, in the end, to prevent the Sheriff from doing his duty - exhuming Mrs. Hamburg - Mr. Hamburg went to court and filed a lawsuit. Not only does Mr. Hamburg want the court to forgive his transgression after the fact, he wants the taxpayers to foot the bill.

Mr. Hamburg has many devoted followers in this county. They have rushed to his defense, decrying the unfair treatment of the man and insisting that anyone should be able to bury someone on their private property no questions asked.

We disagree. We think there are good reasons burying a loved one at home should be generally prohibited. For one thing, when human bones are found buried somewhere other than a cemetery they spark necessary investigations that can be lengthy and expensive. We also need to have specific rules about where and how a human body is buried to protect the environment.

Having said that, however, we get to the most important point of Mr. Hamburg's situation. Did he have to go through this or put his family and supporters (or any of us) through it?


All he had to do was ask a judge to approve the burial before hand. Mr. Hamburg's wife did not die suddenly. There was no need to secretly grant her wishes. As Mr. Hamburg's own suit points out, local judges have approved these requests twice in recent years.

Why did he not simply do as others have done as ask permission? Is that so hard to do?

We hope whatever judge ends up with this case will grant Mr. Hamburg's request to leave his wife buried where she is - with the stipulation that county health officials are allowed to visit the site and make sure environmental rules were followed.

But we hope the judges will require Mr. Hamburg to pay his own legal bills. The taxpayers should not have to pick up the tab for his legal activism. (— K.C. Meadows. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)


THE CHRON POSES the question, “Are techies good for The City?” An anon on-line response speaks for lots of us: “The gays and hippies (as mentioned in another comment) did not come to SF to make money. And they did not displace tens of thousands of people by unleashing a wave of legal and illegal evictions. And they enhanced the culture, created culture, made the city a more interesting place. I hate to generalize, but I meet tech people every day on my job and there are certain commonalities. The average ones seem to have been here for two months, have ADD, have no curiosity about the culture of their adoptive city, are completely humorless, dismissive of others not of their kind, have their face buried in a device, are poorly read, and demonstrate no political awareness other than a knee-jerk libertarianism bestowed upon them by their corporation. The ‘hipster’ tag is just silly. There's nothing hip about a corporate gig or rabid money-seeking. Recently, a Zynga employee talked my ear off about the ‘artistry’ of the ‘creatives’ at her firm. These were mass-produced computer games she was referring to. Puh-leeze! And buying high-priced tickets to Burning Man so you can go wild once a year does not make you hip, it makes you look like a sucker.”

One Comment

  1. Martin Zemitis June 24, 2013

    There is no valid reason to have to get the government’s permission as to where you can bury your loved ones or yourself unless there is a murder investigation ongoing. The deceased are no healthier in a government approved cemetery than in their own backyard. Many people bury their pets in caskets under memorialized headstones in their backyard. To be close to them in memory and also to avoid outrageous pet cemetery fees.
    This is another example of where ‘progressive’ busy body Nanny Statism interferes with people’s natural rights.
    I’m glad Hamburg broke this stupid law. More people should.

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