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Mendocino County Today: August 9, 2013

A 66-YEAR-OLD MAN, not yet identified, died in a single-vehicle crash near Laytonville on Monday afternoon about 3. The deceased, driving alone in a 2003 Ford SUV, unaccountably ran off the east edge of 101, down an embankment and hit a tree. The CHP said the dead man hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt.


THE FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE has been edited by the Anderson Valley Advertiser to reflect local realities: The Mendocino County Office of Education, a 19th century relic that does not do a single thing that couldn’t be done cheaper and better by the individual school districts of Mendocino County, is seeking candidates for a soon-to-be open seat on its board of trustees. The position pays a couple of hundred bucks a month and comes with a lush package of medical fringes not enjoyed by most residents of Mendocino County or, for that matter, most citizens of the United States. Walking around money and free health insurance for “trustees” paid for out of classroom dollars, is to ensure their loyalty to the superintendent and to generally keep up the pretense that he and his agency do something of value. MCOE Superintendent Paul Tichinin, one of Mendocino County’s highest paid public officials, at roughly $120,000 a year to do a job with no visible duties and only the vaguest responsibilities, announced Wednesday that trustee Diane Zucker, whose term expires this year and also happens to be AVA editor Bruce Anderson’s sister-in-law, not that she cares to have that grim fact known, will not be running for re-election. The Widow Zucker has served twice on the board for a total of 13 years, and currently represents Area 2, which is Ukiah, east of which the County Office of Education is located in splendid isolation at Talmage, unvisited, no real function, funded at better than $46 million a year. “Diane has consistently served the county board with enthusiasm and dedication to the students of Mendocino County,” Tichinin said, perhaps surprised that there are such people in public education, but really meaning to say, “She only laughed out loud at me a coupla times.” Anyone interested in running for Ms. Zucker's seat must file with the County Elections Department by Aug. 14 at 5pm, but must also be of the correct type — a cross between Jim Mastin and Mari Rodin say, although in a pinch a hybrid of Oop Bop A Loop and Bruce Richard would do just as well. “We don’t want one a them negative type people,” the superintendent clarified. Candidates must be at least 18 years old and registered to vote as a Hillary-Obama Democrat, but pot-smoking Republicans will be considered if they wear chinos, Hawaiian shirts, groovy guy pony tails, and shake their liver-spotted, flabby booties with Spencer Brewer at inland boogies. “Christ, who cares?” Tichinin concluded his announcement of The Widow Zucker's retirement. “It’s all a lot of bullshit anyway. Hell, look at me. I’ve gotten over for years without anyone knowing or caring that I don't know my ass from an abalone.” Call the elections office at 463-4371 for more information. According to the MCOE, the board is “committed to providing the leadership necessary to meet the educational needs of a multicultural and diverse student population to increase student success,” a statement so resoundingly false that God, if He were paying attention, would instantly strike down the person making it. It, the board apparently, typically meets the second Monday of each month at 10am when everyone else is at work, real work.


PATROL DEPUTIES in Mendocino County and beyond are unhappy with “realignment,” Governor Brown’s response to a federal mandate to
 return “non-violent, non-sex, non-serious”
state prison inmates to local jails to serve their time. As far many local cops are 
concerned “realignment” simply accelerates the “catch and release” approach to law enforcement already in place.

ALTHOUGH MOST senior law enforcement
 officials both locally and statewide continue to promote “realignment” as
 a great success, patrol deputies who see the same criminals back on 
the streets after very short stays in jail, do not agree. “I wonder if the
 public in general knows about this, or even cares?” one cop recently

METHAMPHETAMINE-DRIVEN crime is epidemic. Tweekers need to 
be locked up not only to save themselves, but to keep them from stealing everything they can get their
 hands on to buy crank. Add the growing low-level crime to 
Mendocino County's chronic under-staffing and the picture line cops paint
 is not pretty as realignment puts state prisoners in 
local jails and pushes more County inmates who need to be in 
jail out onto the streets.


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE in Eureka has published a fire weather watch in effect from 3:17 PM Thursday, Aug 8, 2013. The following is the alert (The alert has been modified slightly from all uppercase to lowercase letters, etc.) The agency is warning of thunderstorms with “abundant lightning today and possibly again on Friday.” An upper low moving towards northwest California will bring a threat of thunderstorms to areas of Trinity, northeast Humboldt, northeast Mendocino, and eastern Del Norte counties this evening through Saturday. The greatest threats are those areas bordering Siskiyou County with a lesser threat over Mendocino county. The activity will start Thursday afternoon and continue into the evening. Thunderstorms may be accompanied by heavy rain, possible hail, and locally gusty winds. Scattered shower activity will likely occur again on Friday but there is still uncertainty regarding the amount of thunderstorms. Only a few storms will be possible Saturday mainly over the higher terrain bordering Siskiyou County.

THERE IS A RED FLAG WARNING for areas of the Upper Smith, inland Portion of the Smith River drainage within the Six Rivers National Forest, lower middle Klamath, inland portion of the Klamath River drainage within the Six Rivers National Forest and the Ukonom district of the Klamath National Forest, Hupa, the Hoopa Indian Reservation and the lower portion of the Trinity River drainage within the Six Rivers National Forest, Trinity, the western portion of the Shasta Trinity National Forest; there is a Red Flag warning from alert in affect from 3:17 PM Thursday, Aug 8, 2013.

The Red Flag warning now in effect until 11 AM PDT Friday for thunderstorms for fire weather zones 203… 204… 211… 212… 277 and 283. The fire weather watch now in effect from Friday morning through Friday evening for thunderstorms for fire weather zones 203…204…211…212…277 and 283.

AFFECTED AREA. Fire Weather zones 203… 204… 211 and 283. Thunderstorm activity is expected this evening and tonight. Possibly lasting into Friday morning. The highest threat will be near the border with Siskiyou County this afternoon. Later tonight into Friday morning there is a chance for more thunderstorms. Additional thunderstorms are possible Friday afternoon.

Collapsing Thunderstorms may produce gusts over 40 mph. Otherwise winds will remain generally light and terrain driven. Hail up to a quarter size will be possible with the strongest storms.

Impacts: Dry fuels along with the potential for abundant lightning may result in new fire starts.

(A fire weather watch means that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible red flag warnings. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.)


BREAKING NEWS! THIS JUST IN! ( Dogs yawn contagiously when they see a person yawning, and respond more frequently to their owner's yawns than to a stranger's, according to research published August 7 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Teresa Romero and colleagues from the University of Tokyo. Pet dogs in the study watched their owner or a stranger yawn, or mimic a yawning mouth movement, but yawned significantly more in response to their owners' actions than to the strangers' yawns. The dogs also responded less frequently to the fake movements, suggesting they have the ability to yawn contagiously. Previous research has shown that dogs yawn in response to human yawns, but it was unclear whether this was a mild stress response or an empathetic response. The results of this study suggest the latter, as dogs responded more to their owners' genuine yawns than those of a stranger. The researchers observed no significant differences in the dogs' heartbeat during the experiments, making it unlikely that their yawns were a distress response. Explaining the significance of the results, Romero says, “Our study suggests that contagious yawning in dogs is emotionally connected in a way similar to humans. Although our study cannot determine the exact underlying mechanism operative in dogs, the subjects' physiological measures taken during the study allowed us to counter the alternative hypothesis of yawning as a distress response.”


JOIN SANCTUARY FOREST on Sunday, August 18 for the Big Red: Ancient Redwood hike! This is an exciting opportunity to explore a section of virgin, Mattole headwaters forest, untouched by logging and rarely entered by humans. There are no trails, paths or markers, and guided hikes are the only safe way for the public to see this forest and visit Big Red. Hike leaders Stuart Moskowitz and Richard Gienger will take participants from the Mattole River to the ridge top and back to the Mattole for a total of 4 miles. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy along the ridge top, where Stuart & Richard will share stories about the community's historic efforts to preserve different areas of this forest, including the 2,000 year old Big Red, which sparked the creation of Sanctuary Forest in 1987. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Sanctuary Forest office. Wear sturdy walking or hiking shoes, and bring plenty of water. Hikers should be prepared for a rigorous, mostly uphill adventure on uneven terrain—there is also a very steep, slippery downhill section towards the end. The hike is free of charge, though donations are gladly accepted and help Sanctuary Forest offer this program year after year. For questions or clarifications, contact Marisa at, or call 986-1087 x 1#. Hope to see you there!

BigRedSupport from volunteers and local businesses have made this program possible for Sanctuary Forest. Local businesses that have made generous contributions are Blue Star Gas, Jangus Publishing Group, Whitethorn Winery, Charlotte’s Perennial Gardens, The Security Store, Chautauqua Natural Foods, Clover Willison Insurance Services, Hohstadt Garden Center, Roy Baker, O.D., Worthy Construction, Wyckoff Plumbing, Mattole Meadows, James Friel Plumbing, Ned Hardwood Construction, Randall Sand & Gravel, Sylvandale Gardens, Redwood Properties, Dazey’s Supply, Monica Coyne Artist Blacksmith, Southern Humboldt Fitness, Pierson Building Center, Whitethorn Construction, Caffe Dolce, Mattole River Studios, and Wildberries Marketplace. Sanctuary Forest is a land trust whose mission is to conserve the Mattole River watershed and surrounding areas for wildlife habitat and aesthetic, spiritual and intrinsic values, in cooperation with our diverse community. (— Marisa Formosa)


Big Red in February 2013. Photo by: Marisa Formosa


THE MENDOCINO COUNTY COMMUNITY INNOVATIVE PLANNING MEETING FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ACT (MHSA) will be August 20, 2013 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in Laytonville. The meeting will occur at the Laytonville Unified School District Board Room, 150 Ramsey Road, Laytonville. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting to provide suggestions, ideas and feedback on a possible Innovative Mental Health program. Meeting agendas are published at: To attend this meeting by phone, Call-In at: (888) 296-6828. When prompted for the Participant Pin, Dial: 756853 followed by the pound # sign.


MENDOCINO COUNTY APPLE FAIR ENTRIES need to be submitted by Friday, August 16. Entering produce, flowers, arts and crafts, etc. is a great way to support our county fair. Also, the AV Foodshed is helping to support our fair by having a booth in the Ag building across from the apple tasting. We are asking people to sign up to teach a short workshop (or help) on some kind of rural living skill, along the lines of our recent Not-So-Simple Living Fair workshops, but shorter. We need two in each time slot; one teaching a workshop and one helping and manning the table on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 13-15. We also need help building our booth, setting up (Thursday) and tearing down (Sunday). Please respond to with your preferred day, time, topic and phone number. (For more about the fair itself and entry guidelines go to )


FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON KZYX WITH ROBERT MCCHESNEY, FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 @ 9:00 AM, PACIFIC TIME — “All About Money.” Because freedom of speech as been on my mind lately -- I was cut off from public comment at a recent (July 16) Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting -- I'm doing another show on it. Our last show with Hedrick Smith, long-time Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, also a Pulitzer Prize winning author and Emmy Award winning producer at Frontline, was a huge success. This Friday (August 9), my guest, Robert McChesney, and I will discuss the buyout of The Washington Post by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of What does this mean for freedom of speech, if Amazon was capable of cutting off WikiLeaks from its servers after the WikiLeaks released State Department cables? McChesney is a national media expert and professor of communications at the University of Illinois. Recent books include "Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America" and "Digital Disconnect." Jim Sweeney, Assistant Editorial Director of The Press Democrat will also join the show. Robert McChesney, McChesney is co-author of "Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America" and author of "Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy", both published this year. He is professor of communications at the University of Illinois. Said McChesney: "As the commercial model of journalism is in free fall collapse, those remaining news media franchises have become playthings for billionaires, generally of value for political purposes, as old-fashioned monopoly newspapers still carry considerable influence. The United States went through this type of journalism at the turn of the last century and it produced a massive political crisis that led eventually to the creation of professional journalism, to protect the news from the dictates of the owners. Today professionalism has been sacrificed to commercialism, and the resources for actual reporting have plummeted. "Perhaps nothing better illustrates the desperation facing American journalism and democracy better than the fact we are reduced to praying we get a benevolent billionaire to control our news, when history demonstrates repeatedly such figures are in spectacularly short supply, and the other times we relied on such a model crashed and burned. America meets an existential crisis with an absurd response. No wonder this is a golden age for satire. We have to do better." In December 2010, cut off WikiLeaks from its computer servers after the group released a trove of State Department cables. See this letter to Bezos, "Human Rights First Seeks Answers From Amazon in Wake of WikiLeaks Drop," written at the time. McChesney is also the co-founder of Free Press. See: For more about McChesney, see:


  1. Jim Mastin August 9, 2013

    Dear Editor,
    As heartwarming as your endorsement of me was in today’s AVA, I must regretfully inform you that I will not be a candidate for the MCOE board seat being vacated by the very dedicated Diane Zucker.
    Best wishes.
    Jim Mastin

  2. Harvey Reading August 9, 2013

    Wonder who funded the dog-yawning study. Hope it was a private outfit. Anyone who’s had dogs has known forever that dogs very often yawn when their humans do, and that they can spot a phony yawn from a mile away … and turn away in disgust.

    All that time and money, and still no conclusion as to the cause … what a waste of time and effort.

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