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Mendocino County Today: Monday, February 10, 2014



REPORTS FROM VARIOUS areas of the County say an average of six inches of rain has fallen on our parched lands since Thursday. The Russian River is waaaay up at Hopland, the streams of Anderson Valley are running strong, wells and springs everywhere from Gualala to Laytonville rejuvenated. (With some on-line comment already complaining that pot growers will again help themselves to outback supplies.) And Ukiah’s power went off for as yet unexplained reasons. We are waiting to learn just how large a dent the weekend's rains have put in the drought. Will we be dry again by May? June? July?

CHRIS SKYHAWK REPORTS on the Navarro River: “Yesterday (Saturday) the river was still closed at the mouth, but today we took a little family trip to the beach at noon and it was open for the first time since late spring 2013.”



RECOMMENDED READING: Cowboys, Loggers, Airports and Airplanes and Other History from Willits by Ron Stamps. This fascinating monograph describes the founding and functioning of the Willits Airport at its original site just east of where the library complex and County museum now sit. The author rightly marvels at how one of the town's central institutions, born just before World War Two, can so completely vanish that a mere quarter century later the author, preparing, of all things, a dog park, realized that the people helping him had no idea that they were trying to break through the hardpan of the old runway. Stamps might also have gone on to say that he had to break through the hardpan of Mendocino County's fleeting historical memory, in this case the memory of a remote little airport at which much of the history of the County occurred in capsule form. The Willits Airport was central to the post-War logging boom, the development of the County as a tourist destination, the creation of the Brooktrails sub-division and present-day airport location, the rise of the brilliant machinist and entrepreneur Bob Harrah, and the focal point of many spectacular events that included plane crashes and, in one of the most spectacular, a physical assault on prominent citizens by another prominent citizen irate that a plane flown by the Harrahs had buzzed his barn, spooking his wife and his livestock. The book should be available for sale at the County Museum where, when Stamps went looking for information on the old Willits Airport none existed; he depended heavily for much information on the archives at the Willits News and the Ukiah Daily Journal, another reminder that what history we have is found mostly in our newspapers. I'm sure this important addition to local history is also available at the Willits Library. Of all the things that go untaught in Mendocino County's public schools, local history is among the most important, but generations of the young grow up without the slightest idea of what's gone before. Then and now, we live in a very interesting place, not that you'd know it unless you go looking. Fortunately, Mr. Stamps went looking for all of us.


CALIFORNIA’S DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE has been measuring the density of red abalone along the shoreline for more than a decade. For the first time since the program started, they are closing off the most popular sections of coastline along Sonoma and Mendocino counties to all harvesters due to what environmental scientist Jerry Kashiwada calls “fishing pressure.” Kashiwada expects the closure to last until the species can recover. In the case of the excruciatingly slow-growing red abalone, this could be ten to twelve years. In addition, when the season opens on April 1, officials will be limiting the take in the less popular foraging locations that will remain open from its longstanding maximum of 24 to 18 abalone, only nine of which can be from Sonoma and Marin counties. They’re also fine tuning the fishing start time to reduce fishing opportunity (it has to do with tides), all in response to falling density levels of the snail delicacy. “Too many abalone are being taken,” Kashiwada says. (— Debra Klein)


ON-LINE COMPLAINTS about Caltrans’s latest gaffe on the new Bay Bridge construction also apply to the agency's performance at the Willits Bypass.

• “It is hard to believe you could feel good about a seal joint BELOW the water. I don't think sealants are designed to have water standing on them. Especially with the dynamic load of 30 ton trucks bouncing by on top of this joint. Does the roadbed slope away from the joint or into the joint? If into the joint then crickets and drains are needed. Somehow there should have been a continuous membrane under the roadbed and some height up the guard-wall and not drill holes in the floor!

• Chaos seems to increase with complexity proportionately. Does Stonehenge ever fail? Does the Golden Gate Bridge ever “leak”?

• CalTrans is a corrupt, incompetent agency with a lot of Dunderheads running the show. From bad welds to leaks to whatever, there have been a series of problems showing this is substandard construction. Time for Governor Jerry to awaken from his 20 year nap and fire the top dogs at CalTrans and get highly competent engineers who are honest. It is incredible how CalTrans has botched this new Bay Bridge Construction despite the huge amount of money poured into it. The politicians ultimately must take the blame for a bridge that isn't safe and won't last to make it a cost effective project.



AVA: I’ve been thinking about two articles in the February issue of The Progressive magazine. The first, by Joyce Carol Oates, talks about violence. She says “violence” of a heightened, graphic, visual, and visceral nature is a commodity in the US, and is consumed by a portion of the population more or less continuously. The “culture of violence” is akin to a toxic cloud — it may be invisible to most, but it is exerting its potency nonetheless. The second article is by Jim Hightower, and it talks about the Coca-Cola Company and he calls their corporate actions corruption. Recently, he says, the CEO of Coke declared “obesity is today’s most challenging health issue,” adding piously that solving it requires “all of us working together and doing our part.” Then Hightower says, “Really — by selling more coke? That’s proof that hypocrisy is now the official rocket fuel of corporate profits.” Most people think that the two are unrelated topics. I think not. Most people think that violence increases the further down the socio-economic ladder you go. That’s true on one level, sure. There is more domestic violence, more alcohol related violence, more sexual violence at the lower part of that ladder than higher up. But there is also a lot of violence at the top of the ladder. The 1%, the global economy masters, do not use physical violence as much, since they have the police, National Guard, and if need be, the US Army to do it for them. The global masters use mental violence, which is often more punishing than its physical counterpart. Propaganda is mental violence. It distorts reality and truth. Nearly all of the television news is some degree of propaganda, and the commercials distort reality beyond comprehension, thereby creating consumerism. “Public relations” is just spin with an agenda, and all politics is public relations. It all adds up to the reality that we are surrounded with violence, of both types, and the mass media want us to keep focused on the violence at the bottom of the ladder. It’s time we begin to talk about the mind-rape corporate America fosters on a daily basis. Is this new in human history? Not at all. What is new is that it’s now invisible, which makes it even more pernicious. Progress only comes when we make the invisible visible. All power to clear vision.

— Lee Simon, Far ’n Away farm in Virginia.



The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department. To anonymously report crime information, call 463-6205.

DUI Arrest — An officer stopped a vehicle in the 100 block of West Perkins Street at 12:06 a.m. Thursday and arrested Steven P. Amato, 53, of Ukiah, on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was booked into Mendocino County Jail.

Mail Theft — Caller on Waugh Lane reported at 7:15 a.m. Thursday that mail had been stolen from a mailbox.

Not Enough Time On Parking Meter — Caller in a parking lot reported at 8:44 a.m. Thursday putting two quarters in the meter and not being given the amount of time owed.

Transients In Sleeping Bags — Caller in the 100 block of South Orchard Avenue reported at 9:48 a.m. Thursday that three people were in sleeping bags. An officer contacted the people but did not observe any violations.

Dead Squirrel — Caller at the corner of North Oak and Gibson streets reported at 1:09 p.m. Thursday that a dead squirrel was in the road. The streets department was notified.

Grave Being Tampered With — Caller in the 900 block of Low Gap Road reported at 2:25 p.m. Thursday that the headstone on a family member's grave had been moved and a chair put in concrete had been damaged and moved.

Shoplifter — An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 2:52 p.m. Thursday and arrested a 32-year-old Covelo woman for theft.

Shoplifter — An officer responded to Safeway on South State Street at 4:05 p.m. Thursday and arrested a 53-year-old San Francisco woman for theft.

Campers — Caller in the 100 block of North Orchard Avenue reported at 11:31 p.m. Thursday that two people were camping next to Supercuts. An officer responded and the people left upon request.

THE FOLLOWING were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.

DUI Arrest — An officer stopped a vehcile in the 1000 block of South Main Street at 2:44 a.m. Thursday and arrested Pedro Morales, no age given, of Fort Bragg, on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was cited and released.

SHERIFF'S REPORTS. The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:

DUI — Luis Pineda Medina, 21, of Centralia, Wash., was arrested at 6:20 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him.

Marijuana Sales — Orlando Valdez Rubio, 23, of Calpella, was arrested at 8:30 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, transporting marijuana for sale and being armed with a gun, and booked at the county jail under $60,000 bail. The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrested him.

Marijuana Sales — Justin C. Blake, 32, of Ukiah, was arrested at 9:57 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, receiving stolen property and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The Ukiah Police Department arrested him.

Meth Sales — Richard F. Grieve, 58, of Scotia, was arrested at 1:47 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of selling methamphetamine and booked at the county jail under $35,000 bail. The Hopland Reservation Police Department arrested him.

Marijuana Sales — Jose L. Mendoza, 44, of Boonville, was arrested at 12:47 a.m. Friday on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.

DUI — Marc Lucas, 44, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:15 a.m. Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and resisting arrest, and booked at the county jail under $35,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.

DUI — Dylan F. Kaderli, 20, of Ukiah, was arrested at 12:38 p.m. February on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.

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