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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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HEAT WAVE: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE says it will be in the low 90's beginning Tuesday and lasting through Friday.

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A NORTH COUNTY coalition of environmental groups has sued Mendocino County for issuing a permit to Caltrans to move dirt from a site the enviros claim is polluted. Caltrans wants to haul 900,000 cubic yards of soil from land owned by Mendocino Forest Products to a nearby Bypass construction project. The suit alleges that soil from the site is toxic and that the County did not prepare an environmental impact report in issuing the permit.

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Carrillo Testifies
Carrillo Testifies

EFREN CARRILLO was acquitted Monday of peeking into a female neighbor's home in the middle of the night while clad only underwear and socks. The jury was out for most of two days before fully acquitting Carrillo, 33.

PROSECUTORS alleged that Carrillo peered through a window of the neighbor's Santa Rosa home, but Carrillo testified that he had ventured out, drunk, to see if the woman would sleep with him, conceding that he was an ego maniac who had a drinking prob. Both afflictions, presumably, have since been ameliorated via therapy.

THE JURY HUNG 11 to 1, with the majority favoring acquittal. Judge Medvigy told the jury to keep trying, but the jury said the one vote to convict would not waver. The judge then told the jury to see if they could convict on the attempted peeking charge. The jury returned with a not guilty verdict less than an hour later — a decision that by law clears Carrillo of all charges.

IN 2008, Carrillo was elected at age 27 to the Board of Supervisors, the second-youngest person to be elected to a county-wide position in Sonoma County.

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On behalf of my entire family, I'm writing to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who helped make the memorial celebration for my dad, Bruce Hering, a wonderful event. Thanks to the AV Grange, Judy Basehore, Greg Krouse, Dave Martin, Brian Wood, and countless others for their time and energy. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 people showed up to share food, drink, and fond memories of Bruce. He would have loved it.

Bruce Hering. (Photo courtesy Geoff G. Thomas)
Bruce Hering. (Photo courtesy Geoff G. Thomas)

The only thing missing from that special day, which he would have wanted, was dancing. But — thanks to DJ Pete and the Grange Groove gang, we have the opportunity to make up for that. A special Grange Groove will be held in Bruce's honor this coming Monday, May 5th (what would have been his 79th birthday) at the Philo Grange. Although Bruce will not physically be there, we can all honor him by cutting loose and grooving with his memory. Nobody can dance quite like Bruce, but each of us, in our own way, can try! Potluck and music start at 7 pm.

Bruce Hering was a man who truly lived life to its fullest. He loved Anderson Valley and the community he was part of for more than 30 years. Thanks to everyone who helped him live the dream!

Diane Hering, Philo

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COUNTY EMPLOYEE HELEN MICHAEL WRITES: Although I shouldn’t be surprised by any disingenuous proposals spewing forth from the County Administration offices, it still stuns me that they continue to look us straight in our eyes and say “they don’t have the money.” They have the money to pay their anti-union San Francisco law firm $250,000+ to negotiate against their own employees, a figure which, coincidentally, would have covered the first 3% wage restoration we proposed!! Now they seem to have the money to invest in land speculation! Is it any wonder there is such unrest among the County employees when all we get from the Board of Supervisors, the CEO and Ass. CEO is spin and HogWash?

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To the Editor:

Coach Heath
Coach Heath

Recently, after 39 years of coaching basketball at Ukiah High, the coach was, in my opinion, let go because players and their parents spoke to the principal. This is usually because they feel they don't play as much as they should and feel they are better than others. I feel the community who don't know Coach Heath should know how dedicated he is.

He coached 12 years of boys Varsity Baseball (three championships and one co-championship); announced Varsity Football games for 23 years; took varsity boys basketball to Hawaii three times (six wins, no losses); had the team go to visit Pearl Harbor and attend the Aloha Classic annual college tournament; made NBL and/or NCS playoffs 18 of his 37 years; 23 of his former players have gone to coach at either the high school or college level and both Pomolita and Eagle Peak coaches played for Coach Heath — a testament to his positive influence on his players.

After 40 years of coaching and 36 years of teaching, and having been very dedicated to Ukiah High School students, he's let go by a man who has been in charge for nine months?

You traded a good JV coach (and a friend of Coach Heath) for a really good Varsity coach and his staff (excellent assistants Kevin Koch and Vaughn Pena).

Not very intelligent or very classy, and definitely a mistake. I don't think whining will make you a better player. Yes, Coach Heath is my brother and I am very proud of it.

Mike Heath, Ukiah

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by Guiness McFadden

"Where has the water gone?" "Why is Lake Mendocino looking like a mudhole?" "Who's managing our water supplies?" "Who has made the bonehead decisions that have left us in such a terrible state?"

Who has the answers to these questions? Please read on.

A few facts: Lake Pillsbury, the primary source of water inflow to Lake Mendocino is full today, while Lake Mendocino is little more than a mudhole. In fact, the recent storms resulted in so much inflow to Pillsbury that PG&E, which operates the lake, had to open some dam gates and release excess water to prevent overtopping of Scott Dam. The result of that was that between March 31 and April 9 some 4,262 acre-feet of water that could have and should have been diverted through PG&E's powerhouse were instead sent down the Eel River. The total sent down the Eel River during that time was 21,056 acre feet.

The National Marine and Fisheries Service (NMFS) minimum flows in the Eel River for that period is only 3,600 acre feet.

In the meantime, during this period the Potter Valley powerhouse was restricted to flows of between 13 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 45 cfs. The total released through PG&E's powerhouse during this period was 738 acre-feet.

Lake Mendocino at this time held some 47,000 acre-feet. Normally at this time of year the lake should hold about 70,000 acre-feet. So you can see that the 4,262 acre-feet would have been a significant benefit to the water supply.

Over the past two weeks intense discussions have taken place between Redwood Valley Community Water District (RVCWD), PG&E, Sonoma County Water Agency, California Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine and Fisheries Service (NMFS), Friends of the Eel River, Mendocino County's Inland Water and Power Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about what to do about the desperate situation facing Redwood Valley, which gets its water from Lake Mendocino.

An emergency request was made by RVCWD to divert water through PG&E's powerhouse in Potter Valley to supply Redwood Valley with its needed water. There was general agreement among the participants that it was a good idea. FERC would be the agency to give final permission, and it wanted the consensus in writing from all of the participants. Everyone consented in writing except NMFS.

In a terse communication signed by the reigning bonehead zealot who is in charge of the NMFS' Santa Rosa office Dick Butler, NMFS stated that RVCWD's request, "does not qualify as an emergency."

Butler goes on to say that the excess flows from Scott Dam are important to the ecosystem of the Eel River. Unbelieveable! There was not a whit of concern for the 5,000 folks in Redwood Valley who will run out of water this summer. Aside from the fact that Butler reneged on his verbal agreement to pass the water through PG&E (and therefore his word is worthless), the NMFS dismissal of Redwood Valley's dire situation is cold-hearted, brutal and stupid beyond belief. It seems that the only thing he and his ilk put serious thought into is their upcoming pensions.

So, back to original questions: Where has the water gone? You can lay a great deal of the blame on the US Army Corps of Engineers which controls the water in Lake Mendocino, whose mandate is flood control, not water storage. They have hard and fast rules about timing of releases of water from the lake to prevent flooding during the normal winter storms Mendocino County experiences. The only trouble this year was the Corps apparently didn't look out their windows, or listen to weather reports that said we were in a drought. The Corps blindly made their releases in spite of strong evidence that the drought was real. That's why today the lake looks like a mud hole.

Congressman Jared Huffman is carrying a Bill in Congress to require the Corps to begin operating its responsibilities more in tune with modern weather prediction methods and more service to the people in the area of their dam. We should support his effort.

Who's managing our water supplies? That's a good question. Sonoma County Water Agency owns most of the water in Lake Mendocino, but it's not the only "manager." The Corps and California Fish and Wildlife also have a say in what releases are permitted, and they all have different agendas.

So far as water coming through the Potter Valley powerhouse and ultimately to Lake Mendocino is concerned, NMFS is the culprit. You might wonder how important is the water coming through the Potter Valley powerhouse to Lake Mendocino. Studies have shown that were it not for that water Lake Mendocino would go dry three out of every five years. NMFS stubbornly clings to their Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) which is anything but reasonable and prudent, which it uses as a guide to flows in the Eel and diversions through the Potter Valley powerhouse. The RPA is flawed. Parts that were hammered out over literally years of discussions that were in every draft were mysteriously removed from the final document, and have left a document that benefits no one, not even the fish.

What can we do?

1. We should demand that Lake Pillsbury and Lake Mendocino be operated as though they are important to eachother. The way it is now, they might as well be 1,000 miles apart. Here we have a situation wherein Lake Pillsbury is full and Lake Mendocino is almost empty, with Redwood Valley facing the spector of cutting off water to its agricultural customers and domestic use will be limited to 50 gallons of water per person per day.

If the two lakes were operated sensibly as being inextricably bound for a common goal of fish protection and beneficial use for people, we wouldn't be in the sorry state that we are today, which can rightfully be called a "regulatory drought."

2. The mysteriously deleted sections of the RPA should be restored where they were intended and agreed upon by all parties in the relicensing negotiations. This would allow some of the uncontrolled water which flows from Scott Dam when its gates are open to be diverted to PG&E's powerhouse and thence to Lake Mendocino.

3. Have the managers who control things from NMFS use the brains God gave them to act with reason, sensitivity, and common sense.

4. Actively support Congressman Huffman's bill to haul the US Army Corps of Engineers into the 21st Century.

5. Demand information from these nameless faceless bureaucratic zealots whose mismanagement has adversely affected hundreds of thousands of people whose very lives depend on the water.

(Guiness McFadden is a Potter Valley resident and vineyard owner. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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A Willits traffic stop led to the arrest Friday of a Covelo woman who had just been released from the Mendocino County Jail and allegedly stole a car, according to the Willits Police Department.

A caller reported at 2:30 p.m. April 25 that an erratic driver was headed north into Willits on South Main Street, and WPD patrol officers stopped he vehicle in the 100 block of North Main Street.

They spoke with the driver, Eriana Davis, and learned she had been released from jail that morning, and that she stole the vehicle when she saw it parked with the keys inside as she walked home north of Ukiah, according to the WPD.

Davis was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and booked at the county jail.

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Pair stopped with pot, guns in Fort Bragg

Authorities arrested a man and woman Wednesday after stopping them and finding handguns, ammunition and a small amount of marijuana in their vehicle, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies stopped a vehicle at 4:19 p.m. April 23 in the 18000 block of North Highway 1 in Fort Bragg for a lighting violation and spoke with the driver, Brian Gulbranson, 38, of Hornrook, and passenger Tanya Stansfield, 26, of Yreka, who owned the vehicle.

Deputies searched the vehicle and found a small amount of marijuana, a handgun and ammunition in the trunk, along with a loaded handgun in the passenger compartment.

Gulbranson, a convicted felon, was not allowed to have firearms or ammunitions, according to the MCSO. He was arrested on suspicion of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, and being a felon in possession of a concealed firearm, a concealed, loaded firearm and ammunition, and booked at the Mendocino County Jail under $25,000 bail. Stansfield was arrested on suspicion of possessing a loaded, concealed, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail.

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ON APRIL 22, 2014 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted by the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office (State of Pennsylvania) regarding a wanted fugitive who was thought to be living in the Laytonville Area. According to information provided by the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office, suspect John Elkey, 40, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, was on parole out of Pennsylvania for Felony Theft and had an outstanding arrest warrant. They had received information that Elkey was living in the Laytonville area. Deputies of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office contacted Elkey at a business in the 44000 block of North Highway 101, in Laytonville. Elkey was arrested without incident and transported to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Jail where was held on $250,000 bail and received an extradition hearing prior to being transported back to Pennsylvania for prosecution.

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Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow

Through public scorn - mud from a muddy spring;

Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,

But leechlike to their fainting country cling,

Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow;

A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field--

An army, which liberticide and prey

Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield;

Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;

Religion Christless, Godless - a book sealed;

A Senate - Time's worst statute unrepealed -

Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may

Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

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NOLA Jazz Fest

Warm spiritual greets, The huge crowd has arrived in New Orleans for the annual Jazz & Heritage festival, which is formally held at a multi-stage location, with the party atmosphere all over the region. Friday night, I ambled around Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, visiting five clubs, drinking several Heineken beers, and dancing the night away. At one point, I enjoyed a "Fireball", which the hostess put down her sports bra, and invited me to take out orally and tilting my head backwards, drank down the colorful contents in a tube, to the cheers of the crowd. She kissed me afterwards, which I returned. The zydeco band played on, and women invited me to dance with them. At midnight I just missed the Late Owl bus, and had to return by taxi. The hangover lasted all of Saturday. Sunday night, am sitting pleasantly in the back yard, fingering my neem beads, identifying with the Atman (spiritual reality which resides in the body-mind complex), realizing that no matter how muc! h everybody parties, the continuous superconscious state will not be realized. That's my report.

Craig Louis Stehr, April 27, 2014

PS. Just sitting here at the Algiers Point public library Staring back at the magazines on display. It prompts the question: "What is postmodern America?" Images, images, images! Is there any point to this? Just sitting here in a comfortable chair Looking out onto Pelican Avenue as A thunderstorm is coming in. It's quiet. Nothing is moving. Just sitting here, not even writing now. Not the body, not the mind, Immortal Self I am. The upanishads say "Aham Brahma Asmi". This means "I am Brahman", the spiritual Absolute. Indian rishis discovered thousands of years ago, Sitting along the rivers doing nothing, observing Until there was no observer any more. What was left is Brahman, the spiritual Absolute. Just sitting here, doing nothing, a few blocks from the Mighty Mississippi river, staring back at the periodicals, Prompts the question: "What is postmodern America?" Do you think that we will ever know?


  1. Grant Miller April 29, 2014

    Re: Underwear Peeper Jury Hung

    Wow! No special treatment here huh? I’d be interested in hearing how the woman, whose apartment he entered w/o consent, feels about the verdict.

  2. Harvey Reading April 29, 2014

    Elizabeth Warren for President in 2016. Make Hillary pay for her war crimes, and her wealth-serving arrogance.

  3. John Sakowicz April 29, 2014

    I love Coach Heath. He coached both of my sons, Ryan and Austin at Ukiah High School. He’s a good man, a good coach, a good role model.

  4. C.Swan April 29, 2014

    “[decision made by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)] …. has adversely affected hundreds of thousands of people whose very lives depend on the water”

    Ah, Guinness . . . Unless you’ve granted personhood to grapevines,
    or are now the spokesperson for Alcoholics of America, methinks you’re exaggerating just a tad.

    Please return to your roots, and recall the ditty sung by the Scots on the Feast Day of Saint Patrick . . . “In every field a cow & calf, and every stream a salmon . . . for this we pray on St. Patrick’s Day.”

    —And ask yourself why you chose to manipulate mother nature’s design for our clime and plant a crop that relies so much on water, taken from another watershed that has its own populations’ needs to consider.

    Could it be self-serving greed? i.e. the hydro-electric powerplant you built on your ranch thirty years ago (“capable of powering 100 homes”) that you’re REALLY worried about? Grapes dropping from $2,000/ton to $200/ton (due to overplanting) doesn’t phase you, as long as those checks from PG&E keep rolling in.

  5. Bill Pilgrim April 29, 2014

    Since the jury was well hung for Mr. Carillo, one can only presume that on the night in question he intended his hoped for paramour to appreciate the same.

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