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Mendocino County Today: August 18, 2013

Carrie Hamburg
Carrie Hamburg

JUDGE CINDEE MAYFIELD has signed off on the home burial of Carrie Hamburg. Mrs. Hamburg, wife of 5th District supervisor Dan Hamburg, died March 8th of this year and, as per her last wishes, was interred at the family’s 62-acre homestead south of Ukiah.

HOME BURIALS are permitted in California only with a judge’s sign-off. The Hamburgs hadn’t sought that permission until the County noted that the Hamburgs hadn’t filed the required notice as to what they had done with Mrs. Hamburg’s remains. What ensued was a lot of cynical huffing and puffing of the legal type even though the family had intended to bury Mrs. Hamburg at home well prior to her death in early March. Which is what they did.

THE COUNTY was forced into the position of threatening to disinter Mrs. Hamburg, at which point the supervisor filed a lawsuit asserting a constitutional right to home burial and sued the County for legal fees. Why Hamburg waited so long to seek the judicial approval he has now obtained is not known, but he’s dropped his suit and is no longer seeking reimbursement for legal fees.

ABSENT THE ORDER of a judge, there is no legal authority for the
County to issue a death certificate and a burial permit. Hamburg simply filed a petition with the
court, albeit months late, and Judge Mayfield signed it. Case closed. Hamburg could have filed the same
petition months ago, and at that time the judge would have made the
simple, non-controversial ruling which she did Friday.


Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman will be featured on an upcoming episode of the popular weekly public radio program. From the "This American Life" website...

Under California law, it's legal to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes if you have a doctor's recommendation. A few years ago, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman was trying to find a way to deal with the proliferation of marijuana in his county. Allman wanted to spend less time dealing with growers who were growing small, legal amounts, so he could focus on other problems — including criminals who run massive marijuana farms in the Mendocino National Forest. So he came up with a plan to allow the small farmers to grow, if they registered with his office. Growers would pay for little zip-ties they could put around the base of their marijuana plants, and the cops would know to leave them alone. It saved time and generated revenue. Reporter Mary Cuddehe tells the story of how the county and the nation responded to the sheriff's plan. (18 minutes)

The show will be aired on KZYX (88.1, 90.7, and 91.5 fm) this Sunday, August 18, at 11 am. Later Sunday evening (and through next week) you should also be able to catch the show online via the This American Life website. (— John Sakowicz)

THE SKUNK TRAIN is again running from Fort Bragg to North Spur, which is about half way to Willits. You can also ride the Skunk to North Spur from the Willits end. The tunnel just east of Fort Bragg caved in earlier in the year, probably from old age. It is now repaired.
Save the Redwood League has paid $300,000
for a conservation easement along the Skunk’s forty miles of track, thus providing the venerable tourist line with the money to restore the collapsed section of tunnel.


MENDOCINO COUNTY LIBRARIES, in partnership with RBdigital from Recorded Books, is pleased to announce the availability of Zinio for Libraries. Awarded Best New Database of 2012 by Library Journal, Zinio is the world’s largest digital newsstand, offering full color magazines, identical to the print edition, available 24/7 on your Internet-connected device. Through, patrons of Mendocino County Libraries will have unlimited access to complete digital magazines, which can easily be viewed on most Internet-enabled devices inside or outside of the library. Zinio’s unique technology digitally recreates a magazine page for page, featuring full color pictures, intuitive navigation, key word article search and interactive elements such as audio and video. Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Readers Digest are just a few of the popular titles available. “We are pleased to be able to offer this new service to our customers,” said Mindy Kittay, Director of the Mendocino County Library. “We are now able to provide an extensive selection of magazines, from educational, inspirational, and hobby based to self-help and entertainment focused. There are no due dates or overdue fines – customers will never have to wait for a magazine to be returned by another reader.” Please see a library staff member at your local branch of the Mendocino County Libraries for more information on how to access this service, or go to the website at For more information, please call (707) 467-2590. (Mendocino County Press Release)


It is imperative that Congressman Jared Huffman (; 707-962-0933) manifests the will of 74% of Mendocino County's voters who passed Proposition F last November to amend the U.S. Constitution to state that the rights therein are those of natural persons only and not of artificial entities such as corporations.

Huffman should support HJR29, which eliminates corporations as persons and declares that money is not the same as free speech and allows regulation of political spending. Huffman currently supports the weaker HJR 25, which only regulates expenditure of funds for political activity by corporations. The Supreme Court recklessly ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission on January 21, 2010, that corporations are persons, entitling them to buy elections and run our government.

Unbridled corporate greed undermines our citizen democracy.  Watch from the powerful award-winning film, "The Last Mountain," narrated by Robert Kennedy, Jr., to witness an example of unleashed corporate greed by Massey Coal's destruction of Appalachian mountain tops at the expense of the local people, their health, and the environment.

Mendocino citizens must not coast [sic] along here in God's country--we must join the national movement to amend the Constitution ( based in Eureka by demanding that Congressman Huffman truly represent us by supporting HJR29.

Susan Nutter, Fort Bragg


THE HOOPA VALLEY TRIBE decried the shut off of water needed to prevent a catastrophic fish kill in the Klamath River on the very day water releases began.

Scientists, federal officials and tribal leaders say the water is needed now. But at 2 pm, yesterday federal judge Lawrence J. O’Neill issued an order to block releases from Trinity River dams until at least Friday, and then today he extended the order until at least August 21st.

“I have received a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by Judge Lawrence J. O’ Neill that has an adverse effect on the scheduled release of Trinity River water to advert a Klamath fish kill. This TRO contradicts almost 60 years of laws pertaining to the diversion of the Trinity River, which put the Hoopa Valley Tribal water rights and the Trinity fishery over the needs of Central Valley irrigators,” stated Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairwoman Danielle Vigil-Masten.

The Tribe went on to say they hope once the judge has the opportunity to review the scientific documents and history of the Trinity River diversions he will lift the restraining order. They warn another catastrophic fish die off will have political ramifications that could potentially hurt both the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Klamath River Basin water talks.

At issue is the recent decision from the Department of Interior to release 62,000 acre feet of water from the Trinity River reservoirs over the next six weeks to supplement low flows in the Klamath River to avoid a Klamath fish kill. This action is overwhelming supported by the public, Tribes, fishermen, and the scientific community, who claim similar actions in prior years were effective in avoiding fisheries disasters.

However, Central Valley water users, including the Westlands Water District, filed suit under environmental laws to stop the release of water last week, claiming releases will impact their future water supply.

The TRO was issued despite the federal government’s briefings, which stated, “Granting an injunction would result in immediate and irreparable injury to the public’s interest, including a significant risk of harm to fall-run salmon in the Klamath and Trinity River and, of special concern, the frustration of the government’s trust responsibility to the Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribes to restore their fisheries.”

The Hoopa Valley Tribe and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen Association intervened to support the government proposal setting the stage for a Klamath River water battle reminiscent of the water battles that lead to the Klamath fish kill of 2002, which killed upwards of 60,000 adult salmon, and severely limited Tribal and commercial fishing harvests.

Along with supporting the government’s temporary actions to avert a fish kill the Hoopa Valley Tribe is asking for long term solutions to the crisis in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers that reflect that most irrigators receiving water from the Klamath Basin are junior water right holders. They say proposals such as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Klamath Basin Restoration Agreements would actually take more water from the Klamath and Trinity Rivers, and elevate junior water right holders over Tribes.

“Central Valley water users have made untold billions of dollars at the expense of Trinity River salmon and communities. The greed and aggression represented by this lawsuit and the hypocrisy of the plaintiff’s exploitation of environmental protection laws both stuns and saddens us,” said Vigil Masten. “But make no mistake,” she said, “If the injunction remains, then the Central Valley contractors’ attack on us, on who we are, on what we stand for, could launch a war for the Trinity that could engulf California from the Bay Delta Conservation Planning process to Klamath River Basin water settlement negotiations.”

(Hoopa Valley Tribe Press Release)



by Debra Keipp

My favorite sister was the middle child of five. For want of a boy on their third try, my folks issued her the male spelling of a name they’d 
already selected: Kerry Lynn. Born at sunrise in April, her sunset was expedited by breast cancer. She was comic relief all her life. Self-deprecating, humorous and humble, she called herself thunder thighs. She was proud of her huge muscular Crumb-esque drumsticks. She was a horsewoman who became a hiker of mountain terrain all her life. Each winter mom would braid a new wool rug for another room in the house. Kerry would plop down on the substantially unforgiving oval wool rug and leg wrestle-to-rug-burn all takers. She was quick, and if you were smaller than her, she’d flip you to the other side of the rug, hump over head.

While our first two sisters battled it out in wars with each other, Kerry chose to be happier than that. She rode horses bareback and hung on tight to Patsy Cline heartbreak tunes in regular succession. A 
manly girl, her shoulders towered square and strong over our only brother, The Golden Boy. The family picture showed four handsomely femmed-up 
cowgirls with strong square backs like linebackers from bailing hay and wrestling horses and cows, and my drummer brother, with downward sloped little shoulders not big enough to hold up his t-shirts, which slid off one shoulder at a time, giving him a habitual twitch from constantly trying to rectify the matter.

Kerry was at least a decade older than I. She was teaching me a duet on the converted upright player piano in our music room when Mom brought in the mail. Mom flicked Kerry’s letter onto the keys. Kerry Lynn received her first ever request to register for serving her country in war based on the male spelling of her name. She pointed out to me the government stamp on the envelope. “It’s really authentic!” She beamed, 
“It’s no joke! Isn’t that funny?!”

After Kerry avoided the draft and went to college she immediately gravitated to the Rocky Mountain Range. She first chose Glacier National Park, where she loved to hop trains from park to park (Sterling Hayden hobo-style) while working as a maid in Mammoth Lodge. An avid hiker and skier, she turned out to be a serious mountain woman, making her profession in her retiring years by costuming and singing funny telegrams of her own design. As an outdoorswoman, Kerry loved spotting bear and cougar. After working in Glacier during the “Night of the Grizzly” years, she kept a respectful, safe distance from bears the rest of her life, and she never had a bad experience. She was the first person 40 years ago to tell me about HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research
 Program), the government's weather warfare weapon; that the government was dumping nuclear waste in the waters of Carlsbad Caverns; and that bears came in several colors: grizzly, black, brown, red, cinnamon and even white. She was right on all three.

When “sister number two” decided to quit the Peace Corps when she could not bring herself to slit a lamb’s throat in survival class, Kerry responded by joining VISTA: Volunteers in Service to America. She wound up in Raton, New Mexico teaching English as a second language, and made it her home. I read some Michener where he said the name Raton (Rat Hole) was changed from Willow Springs when, following the trash left behind the wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail, hoards of rat packs migrated Westward
 Ho! The rat packs in the wake of the wagon trains was so massive, settlers ascending Wooten Pass said they resembled undulating earth, even from a great distance. It was after arrival of the rat packs that Willow Springs' name was changed to Raton.

Visiting Kerry often in Raton, we’d go up 6,666 feet to Wooten Pass, looking North over our shoulders to her past, as she’d worked her way down the Rocky Mountain Range, into the jagged foothills of Colorado’s snow-covered Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range. In front of us, lay our future to the South: the baked terrain of what remained of New Mexico’s landscape after ancient meteor strikes charred dry the landscape, leaving a bas relief of mesas dotting the terrain. Looking down from the pass onto the mesas, we could see the barren but unmistakable scarred earth of crop squares from a bygone age of farming, as far as the eye could see.

Kerry took me to remote and Native lands, jewelry and drum makers, Acoma Pueblo, mining and ghost town ruins, white sage collecting, and natural hot springs in the Jemez Mesas. We saw cliff dwellings, petroglyphs where rattlers rustled off the trails, veined skies shocky with flashing lightning among intermittent thunder storms, and we suffered sunburnt lips and dry static hair bleached by the sun at altitudes well above 6,000
feet. Kerry even got lost one day hiking Ghost Ranch (now run as a retreat center by Presbytery USA), and wound up having tea with Georgia O’Keefe who pointed her back in the right direction to return to her retreat. She met Robert Redford one day at a film shoot. He stood behind her in line for an ice cream cone. She received her cone, turned to look into Redford’s beautiful young face, and distractedly stricken, deposited her ice cream cone into her coin purse instead of her spare change.

I went back to travel with her often: Cimarron Canyon, Taos, Des Moines, Colfax County (Iowa names from our childhood); haunted mansions like Dorsey Mansion alone and in the middle of nowhere; quarter horse racing at
 La Mesa Park, Native American art, jewelry and expert weaving in the high country of Chimayo. We found stone fruit trees near Las Truchas where the old Curanderos live. We stopped for plums, only to meet Ralph Trujillo, whose son (Ralph, Jr.), he said, managed the beach for the City of Alameda, California. Small world. We even rode a trail drive, herding cattle from one mesa to another above the forest line.

Kerry married a man whose orphaned parents were believed to be Apaches found wandering as children in the dessert of northern Mexico after their tribe was “scattered”. Orphaned Jesus took the name Palomino and the orphanage labeled him and Josepha ethnic Mexicans by virtue of where they were found. When Kerry delivered her first child with their son, Tony, she birthed him 30 minutes north of Raton at the local hospital over the border in Trinidad, Colorado.

While the small Catholic hospital had a labor and delivery unit, it was best known, in fact internationally famous for, sex change (sexual reassignment) surgeries. Old Dr. Biber invented the surgery at the request of a patient. The Catholic nuns would drive to the airport and pick up the surgical candidates, and drive them to the hospital. When it came time for Kerry to deliver, a nun with her sweater buttoned up crookedly (missing a button), came to Sis’s bedside and began coaching her on how to deliver her baby. When that didn't work, Kerry took one look at the nun leaving the room, noticing she hadn’t buttoned up her sweater correctly and a second look at her worried husband and said, “Here I am, a Presbyterian in a Catholic sex change hospital trying to get a boat out of the basement with a nun as birth coach, and she can’t even button her sweater up right! Where have you taken me?!” Kerry’s tool in responding to fearful frustration in ironic situations was satire.

[South Park eventually created a very accurate episode about Dr. Biber and his sex change operations in the same Trinidad, Colorado hospital, entitled “Mr. Garrison’s Fancy New Vagina”. In the Season 9 opener, one South Park parent wants to become a dolphin and goes to Dr. Biber to ask him to “make me a dolphin”. Dr. Biber sews a dorsal fin on him, stitches his legs together into one tail fin, augments his nose to a beaky bottle-nose that makes authentic dolphin sounds, hands him a pair of crutches to tripod around on his newly fashioned tail fin and tells him he looks like a dolphin.

Mr. Garrison arrives in Dr. Biber’s office, asking to become a woman, and South Park shows Biber operating in a hard to forget, all-too graphic grainy vintage color film of an actual male to female sex change operation that’ll make you squirm. Especially the gory part where the male external
 genitalia is filleted, turned wrong side out, then inserted into the new 
“pocket”, creating a new vaginal cavity in the hope that some of the surviving 
severed intricate nerve endings will somehow offer correct internal 
“feeling.” It’s a madman’s invented ideal, and expecting a lot from a bunch of surgically sliced nerve endings.

Both the dolphin-man and Dr. Garrison return to Dr. Biber’s office post-surgery to complain that: 1) the dolphin-man cannot swim under water holding his breath for any length of time. Dr. Biber tells him, “You wanted to look like a dolphin, and we did that; you can never actually BE a dolphin.” And 2) Mr. Garrison complains that he cannot have babies, and Dr. Biber shares with Ms. Garrison a similar corollary.

A Berkeley friend, who at the late age of 40, went to Belgium for his-to-her reassignment surgery, told me that the South Park show was entirely too accurate. Sex change “parts” rarely actually work after the 
“lop-off-ectomy” is changed into a vaginal pocket. The only thing sex change operations do is try to simply make a man resemble a woman via reassignment surgery, or vice versa. Thus, “passing” (looking like a woman) is a big issue for most reassignment surgery patients, running neck and neck with functionality of the man-made organ. Drunk and depressed each night well into her 60’s, he now a she, told me, “Hedwig’s Angry Little Inch is all they really give ya when going 
male to female. The whole affair is a dismal disappointment in reality. If you don’t continue the hormone shots, your muscles and bones ache from lack of the shots. That puts you in regular unbearable pain neuron-muscularly post-surgery. It’s expensive, and it’s a rare insurance plan that’ll cover those meds. If your lifestyle changes, and you can no longer afford ever after the replacement drugs that go with the surgery, you have to decide then about pain management. It’s all part of getting old, of course! For a long while I went over the border to Mexico to buy cheaper estrogen injections, for instance. Now two things have happened with age: my bank account is shallower and my priorities have matured, let’s say? In retrospect I wonder if I wouldn’t have done it, if I would have been happier in the long run just passing. I never really had any of the self-hate of my former sexual organs that some have. Then, I finally wound up a lesbian. I took on women lovers after I was reassigned female. And while passing used to be important to me - to mostly not be attacked by rednecks, I gave up on “passing” even after breast implants. But, everyone’s different, and that’s what has to be offered  —  a difference…
choices in how people manifest their sexual destiny.”

My sister Kerry delivered two healthy children at the Trinidad Hospital and went there for all family emergencies. Over her thirty-five years in Raton, Kerry was bitten by five rattlesnakes, four of which she was treated for in Trinidad. When hiking, she was bitten mostly when she was moving too quickly and scared the snake. Much to her lucky timing, she was always bitten by spring snakes whose venom was not yet lethal as they had just come out of hibernation and hadn’t reached full potency like fall snakes. The first bite happened when Kerry jumped off an outcropping of rocks. When she landed a few feet to the earth below, a young rattler popped out from under the rock ledge and struck her on the foot. The venomous snake had been curled up in the shade under the rocks before she suddenly disturbed it. Over the next thirty years of relentless hiking, each subsequent bite went similarly with spring rattlers until Kerry finally was bitten a fifth time by a big bull rattler, an old August snake of full potency.

Kerry bent down to pick up her little dog, which had been running in tall grass. The dog smelled the rattler and started acting erratically in trying to avoid the snake. Kerry bent down to grab the dog when the biggest bull rattler she’d ever seen popped her hard on the hand, which by then she had wrapped around her dog's belly. She said the rattler strike knocked the dog out of her hand, then she felt the heavy writhing weight of the adult snake as she stood, shaking his embedded fangs from the bones of her hand. She told me how, for a second, she got a look into the pupils of his eyes, which dilated and contracted as she could feel it thrust venom into her.

Her first thought after applying what first aid she could to herself, was to try and make it to her family hospital in Trinidad where she’d delivered both her children. First, she had a 30-minute drive north to Raton. It would be another 30 minutes on to Trinidad from there. Instead, she settled for Miner’s Hospital in Raton, just a quick 100-yard dash from her home. Oddly, she felt okay even 40 minutes after the bite.

Unfortunately, without her health chart from the hospital in Trinidad, no one at Raton’s Miner’s Hospital knew Kerry had been bitten four times previously by spring rattlers. Those four spring rattlers had sufficiently and naturally inoculated her in a strange sort of accidental way, making her immune to rattlesnake bites altogether. Trouble was, even though Kerry showed no ill symptoms, the anti-venom shot had already been administered before her family arrived to educate staff as to Kerry’s previous rattler-bite history.

anti-venom nearly killed her. Poor Kerry. She suffered the effects of hives from the unnecessary anti-venom everywhere on and (most painfully where she could not scratch) inside her body. After quite a few days’ recovery I knew she’d make it when she joked over the phone from the hospital that she had insufferable hives in internal places where she didn’t know she had places; somewhat wishing after all that she had chosen the sex change hospital in Trinidad for the correct medical implements.


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