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Mendocino County Today: Monday, August 18, 2014

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AS OF AUGUST 17 at 7pm the Lodge Wilderness Fire was no longer expanding beyond the previously reported 12,346 scorched acres and was up to 80% contained [85% by Monday morning]. No structures are threatened anymore, and the fire finally seems to be under control. The firefighting effort is down to 41 engines and 48 crews along with 7 bulldozers, 2 helicopters, 13 water tenders and 1200 firefighters. On Sunday evening CalFire reported “Crews continue patrolling areas looking for spot fires within the contingency lines; rugged terrain is making access difficult. Interior portions of the fire will continue to burn and produce smoke for an extended period of time in the Ukiah Valley; this may create possible health issues. Fire resources will continue suppression repair efforts throughout the fire area. Resources continue to be released from the fire to other incidents or back to their home units. All Evacuation Warnings have been lifted and are no longer in effect. CalFire and Cooperating Agencies would like to thank the entire community and local businesses for their overwhelming support and hospitality.”

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EVERYONE who keeps talking about how San Francisco is losing its “diversity” does not ride the bus and never walks through the Tenderloin, up Market Street, along any stretch of Mission, through Golden Gate Park. If The City was any more diverse I think I'd die of excitement.

Diversity has never been more diverse, and certainly more diverse than the 1950s, the first part of the 1960s and so violently diverse in the 1970s that all the hippies took off for the hills of Mendocino and Humboldt. Sure, the residual psychos don't have the literary panache of the Zodiac, but most people aren't sad to see the street violence of the late 60s and much of the 70s mostly disappear altogether in most areas of San Francisco.

Culturally, though, SF is about as interesting as Ukiah. The creative lit coming out of here is ho-hum because, in this book reader's opinion, the culture is no longer print-based and the new creative lit people aren't at odds with the larger society — they love it, don't see anything wrong with it, aren't angry with it. A lot of them are holed up in colleges, and move serenely from writer's workshops and college seminars to their comfortable homes in nice neighborhoods like the ones they grew up in. And they hang out with people exactly like themselves. The great writers this country has produced, even if they were from the privileged classes, at least had some every day experience, including military experience, and most of them knew in their bones how the other half lived because they were the other half.

There are lots of lively blogs, which is where journalism has gone, and lots of journalists anymore are better writers than the writer-writers because they come into daily contact with the diversity some people say they miss in San Francisco, conflating diversity with the economic squeeze applied by the oligarchy. Maybe that economic squeeze and the looming catastrophes will produce some real literature — the last one did, but the next art will probably be in movie form. Stuff on HBO is much closer to the zeitgeist than anything the creative lit people are doing.

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WILLITS got some amusing short shrift from the San Francisco Giants play-by-play announcers on Sunday afternoon when the Giants beat the Phillies. Between innings a roving camera focused on a kid with a small hand magic-markered cardboard sign that said “GO GIANTS.” Below that was “from Willits, Ca.” Jon Miller said, “I’ve never heard of Willits. Have you, Kruk?” Mike Krukow paused for a couple of beats, and said, “I think I knew a guy from Willits when I was in college at Cal Poly in the early 70s.”

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ALL YOU PEOPLE insured (well, partially insured anyway) by "non-profit" Blue Shield will be pleased to learn that Blue Shield has invested in a luxury box at the 49er's new stadium in Santa Clara. These hog heavens cost somewhere between $250,000 AND $400,000 a year. Blue Shield says the “primary purpose” is to interact socially with some of our larger membership groups. The box comes with 20 tickets, parking passes, “field level access during games,” and ever higher health insurance rates for all you Blue Shield serfs.

ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: “‘The primary purpose [of the luxury box] is to interact socially with some of our larger membership groups,’ said Blue Shield spokesman Sean Barry.” But you can buy a LOT of beer and pizza for $2.5 million and feed a lot more than 20 people at a time. I guess they mean ‘special representatives’ of the larger membership groups. Special people hosting special representatives. But why interact socially at all? Shouldn't this be a business relationship? And the business based solely on facts and finances? What gives? How about making ALL participation in the luxury boxes a matter of PUBLIC RECORD?”

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HOW MANY TIMES have you been buttonholed by a hemp obsessive with a monologue about how hemp will save the world? The hemp nuts may be slightly less obsessive now that small, experimental hemp crops in Kentucky are about to be harvested. Even arch-reactionary Mitch McConnell is for the restoration of legal hemp farming, which has been banned in the US since 1970 because, like devil weed, this most versatile plant comes with a tincture of thc. Our government feared that people might smoke their shirts.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 17, 2014

Avalos, Bettega, Ewing, Folger, Freeman
Avalos, Bettega, Ewing, Folger, Freeman

LORIN AVALOS, Covelo. Drunk in Public.


JESSICA EWING, Ukiah. Possession of drug paraphernalia, false ID, probation revocation, resisting arrest.

SUMALLE FOLGER, Ukiah. Petty Theft, probation revocation.

ALEXANDRA FREEMAN, Fort Bragg. Probation revoked.

Hopkins, Malugani, Moore, Rose, Zapanta
Hopkins, Malugani, Moore, Rose, Zapanta

JACOB HOPKINS, Ukiah. Drunk in Public.

JUSTIN MALUGANI, Ukiah. Dirk or dagger, under the influence of a controlled substance, probation revoked.

JOSHUA MOORE, Willits. Possession of meth, bribing an executive officer, parole violation.

PETER ROSE, Point Arena. Drunk in Public.

DARIEL ZAPANTA, Ukiah. Under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest.

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We have been fortunate in the past to have had excellent health care providers in Boston, Cleveland, the US Navy and the Palo Alto Clinic, but the absolute best health care we have received for the past 20 years has been here in Anderson Valley from Doctor Apfel in our Clinic.

Doctor Apfel has always been accessible. He provided services which allowed a terminally ill partner to be treated and remain at home during much of the final days of her life. Another partner of ours who was in severe pain reached Doctor Apfel on the weekend at a family party at Lauren's. He told her to come down there where he diagnosed and treated her at the restaurant. It is not unusual for Doctor Apfel to open the clinic to do an X-ray or EKG when waiting for the Clinic to open would pose some risk to the patient. Doctor Apfel has extensive history and excellent connections with good practitioners in the Bay Area, which allows his patients access to surgeons, specialists, and fine hospitals.

It appears the Board hasn't closed the loop completely on firing Doctor Apfel, but all the pieces are there with the Board’s removal of all but 20 hours of patient care per week. The problem for the Board is finding any meaningful rationale for his being discharged. They seem to be looking for a hook as our family group was recently polled on the question “Do you know of any unprofessional conduct by Doctor Apfel?” and we were given the suggestion such as “Drawing blood without wearing rubber gloves?” This followed a dinner at our house involving two board members. It is a bit creepy and late in the game to be looking for non-existent justification for all the bad decisions that are now being made.

The ostensible reason we hear from the Board for reducing Doctor Apfel’s hours and bringing in practitioners new to our community is the closing of the very successful dispensary. It is suggested that closing the dispensary could lead federal regulators to close the rest of the clinic.

We don’t buy it. If there was a failure, it was administrative which seems to be an area of chaos for which the Administrator and Board should have been responsible. The problem is also being corrected. To take that item, place all responsibility on Doctor Apfel and escalate it to the rationale for reducing his hours and hiring people who have no connection to our community is outrageous. It is a case of throwing an excellent and respected doctor out with the Board’s dirty bathwater.

Doctor Apfel is not the problem with the Clinic, and the proposed “solutions” we are hearing are extreme, unnecessary and place the continued existence of the Clinic at a much greater risk of closing.

The Board’s budget for next year relies on $118,000 in public donations. How much will the community donate to the Health Center if Doctor Apfel is pushed out? Many valley residents would be unwilling to donate to a board who has unjustly replaced a doctor we trust, who has taken excellent care of his patients, and who is a respected member of our community, in favor of doctors we don’t know and a new Federally approved VA standard.

The Board is on a very dangerous and unjust path that is putting the Health Center at risk.

Daniel Myers, Jill Myers, Philo

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MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF TOM ALLMAN addressed the Board of Supervisors last Monday in Covelo on the status of marijuana grows in the Mendocino National Forest.

Allman has been pushing large eradication efforts in the forest since 2010, along with five other counties, including Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Tehama and Trinity, that partially share the MNF area. The multi-year busts, named Operation Full Court Press, involved removing illegal marijuana plants in the forest, and removing piping or fertilizers which were used to facilitate growing.

“Recently, our expert was not able to find any marijuana plants in the National Forest,” Allman said. “It doesn't mean there weren't any; we just didn't locate any at that time.”

Allman said it appeared that marijuana growers have now left the forests and are setting up grows in their backyards.

He recalled in 2010 at a previous Board of Supervisors meeting in Covelo, eight concerned citizens came forward during public expression to talk about safety in the forest, and the number of marijuana grows happening. Three of those people said they were shot at while visiting the forest, according to Allman. It was then Allman, along with the eradication teams in the area and MNF officials, decided a plan had to be devised going forward.

During the second phase of the operation in August 2011, authorities seized 632,058 marijuana plants, 1,986 pounds of processed marijuana, $28,031 US currency, 38 weapons, 20 vehicles, and arrested 132 people, according to a 2011 statement from the MCSO.

— Adam Randall (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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When you think about drugs that threaten the health of teens, whipped cream could be the last thing that comes to mind. But the pressurized containers used to store canned whipped cream contain a propellant gas called nitrous oxide, which can be inhaled quickly by mouth to get a brief but intoxicating rush. Nitrous oxide is also sold in miniature canisters called “whippets” — inexpensive containers that have become popular among teens in search of a cheap high. (A box of 50 canisters can be purchased on line for as low as $19.) In surgical and dental settings, nitrous oxide is used as a short-term anesthetic. Because this colorless, odorless gas can create euphoric sensations, it is commonly known as “laughing gas.” Teens may believe that because nitrous oxide is used in medical settings and has no strong-smelling fumes, it is safer than inhalants like gasoline, paint thinner or glue. They are wrong. Inhaling nitrous oxide from whipped cream canisters, whippets or balloons can deprive the brain of oxygen, potentially causing unconsciousness, seizures or death. George Washington University reports that many deaths from nitrous oxide occur when the user loses consciousness and strikes his head on the ground or a sharp object. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, numbness, slurred speech, confusion, hallucinations and fainting are the short-term side effects of inhaling whippets. Nitrous oxide inhalation affects motor coordination, increasing the risk of a motor vehicle collision or an accidental injury. Teenagers who abuse nitrous oxide on a regular basis may suffer serious long-term complications, including: Damage to the heart tissues, An irregular heartbeat, Nerve damage and Bone marrow suppression. The Orange County Register reports that a lack of regulation has led to an increase in the use of nitrous oxide, also known as “nozz,” among teens in Southern California. Large tanks of this gas can be purchased at auto body shops, where it is supposedly sold to enhance car performance. Teens who are too young to purchase liquor can legally purchase large quantities of nitrous oxide in these tanks from their local auto dealers. The widespread availability of this mind-altering gas has been linked to a number of fatal car accidents among Orange County teens in recent years. Canisters or tanks of nitrous oxide are often available at parties and raves, where teens inhale this gas while drinking alcohol or taking other drugs. Combining these intoxicants heightens the risk of an overdose, injury or death. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, whippets and whipped cream canisters are most frequently used by teens ages 16 through 17, while amyl nitrite, another powerful inhalant, is more popular among adults. However, nitrous oxide and amyl nitrite abuse have been reported in teens and adults of all ages. It’s never too early to intervene in a teenager’s substance abuse, even if the substance seems relatively harmless. For curious teens who like to take risks, inhalant abuse is often the first step in a long, rough path to addiction. If you’re worried about a young man in your life, we urge you to contact our treatment professionals for help.


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by Daniel Mintz

Humboldt County’s sales tax ballot measure now has a name and an effort to inform residents about it has begun.

The Board of Supervisors was updated on the progress of Measure Z — the name that’s been assigned by the county’s Elections Department — at its meeting today. Measure Z seeks voter approval of a five-year, half-cent on the dollar sales tax hike that will generate $6 million of revenue per year for county services.

By law, the county can’t advocate for Measure Z but it can educate residents about its contents, intent and the budget conditions that led to its emergence.

County Administrative Officer Phillip-Smith Hanes said various information, including a frequently asked questions link, have been posted on the home page of the county’s website and what he described as a “speakers bureau” will be formed to deliver presentations to community groups.

Smith-Hanes also said a group independent from the county has formed in support of Measure Z and will advocate for it.

Information relevant to Measure Z is already being advanced and Supervisor Ryan Sundberg said some of it is misleading. He said a local Facebook page recently included a post that claimed some county deputies are paid more than $200,000 a year.

Smith-Hanes said those claims are taken out of context. Some long term public safety employees do get “fairly substantial” salaries in the year they retire due to final payouts of sick leave and vacation leave, he continued, but it’s a one-time situation.

“Certainly our deputies do not make over $200,000 a year,” said Smith-Hanes.

County salary levels and other costs are sure to be issues as Measure Z is debated. But Supervisor Estelle Fennell said Measure Z responds to public demand.

“The bottom line here is that we put this on the ballot in response to input and concerns from the community,” she said.

The measure’s being presented as a means of funding public safety services, with emphasis on expanding sheriff’s deputy patrols.

In noting that several city governments are also seeking approval of tax measures, Supervisor Rex Bohn said costs that local governments have no control over are outpacing revenue growth.

“I don’t think everybody woke up and said, ‘Boy, we need more money for frivolous things,” he continued. He said the rising costs of health insurance, retirement support and other mandatory expenses are affecting all municipalities.

Supervisor Virginia Bass’ district is largely made up of the City of Eureka, which is seeking an extension of the sales tax city voters approved several years ago. Eureka and other cities will have a significant influence on Measure Z’s fate.

The county’s measure concerns Eureka city officials because it could offset approval of the extension. Bass said that when faced with multiple tax measures, some voters may reject them all.

She also said some Eureka residents she’s talked with don’t believe Measure Z will help the city.

Since Measure Z is being proposed countywide, city residents will vote on it and pay the sales tax increase if it succeeds. Bass said the county’s information campaign should target specific community concerns.

The new Measure Z section of the county’s website emphasizes the need for increased Sheriff’s Deputy patrols and also describes a need for fire protection and emergency response services. The frequently asked questions sections explains why Measure Z was placed on the ballot, how it will address public safety needs and how its revenue would be used and accounted for.

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by Emily Hobelmann

“SB 1262 is dead!”

That’s the text I got from a pot activist contact on Thursday afternoon. SB 1262 was an attempt by peeps in our state government to regulate the medical marijuana industry. The bill died in committee on Thursday morning. Nice try, fellas.

SB 1262 had a good run and it fostered some surprising alliances. But a number of cannabis advocate groups, like California Cannabis Voice (CCV), argued the bill was not farmer-friendly, especially its proposed licensing scheme.

According to this spiel on the CCV website, “SB 1262 is a Trojan Horse by cops to get the cannabis industry to expose themselves… California needs real reform but SB 1262 is a poison pill.”

Was a poison pill … Oh. Snap. Here’s the thing about reform: The medical marijuana industry in California is 18 years old now. It’s borderline adult. Kinda hard to step in and regulate a 18-year old that’s been pretty much free to run wild all her life. That’s not to say better regulations shouldn’t/couldn’t/won’t happen.

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Marijuana is an incredible plant. It shouldn’t be illegal at all, anywhere. George Washington grew hemp, or at least he wrote about growing it. That point may be played out, but dude, for real.

Imagine if all the laws prohibiting/restricting the use/possession/cultivation of marijuana were dropped, like a hot potato. That would be some sky-is-falling type shit.

You may say I’m a dabber But I’m not the only one…

John Lennon was cool. He smoked weed. Bay Area rapper Mac Dre smoked weed too. In his song “All Damn Day” he said:

“I want a fat ass joint of that potent zesty…”

That’s what’s up.

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Last week I was visiting friends in Blue Lake and they introduced me to a tall spry guy from Washington State. Of course he wanted to smoke a joint; everyone wants to smoke joints. We collaborated: One friend kicked in some mystery weed — indoor, dep, whatevs. I had some outdoor Girl Scout Cookies (GSC).

(Gotta do an aside here: The “Trans High Market Quotations” index in the October 2014 issue of High Times says that ounces of GSC are going for $500 in Florida. That’s $8,000 a pound. (Yes, HT is already on October 2014. They smoke time traveler dabs.)

In contrast, the medical marijuana dispensary SPARC in SF has ounces of outdoor GSC at $250. That’s $4,000 a pound. Around here, last year’s outdoor is going for $1,200, at the most, yeah? Pounds of light dep are going for, what? $1,800-$2,200? Indoor is going for $2,000-$2,400…?)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the joint: Washington dude broke out a cigar box with little jars of herbs inside; that was his contribution. We rolled our fat ass joint of potent zesty with pennyroyal, lemon balm, passion flower and elephant’s head. It was delightful.

I’m totally down with this. At home, I keep a stash of the “Actor’s Smoking Blend” from Humboldt Herbals. It’s mugwort, peppermint, coltsfoot, mullein, damiana, sage and raspberry leaf. Sometimes I roll joints with it to mellow out the Humboldt kill.

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Every day though, it’s all about the potent zesty. I live a weed-centric life in the Emerald Triangle. And it works for me. There are people here that have been living the weed life for decades — generations of weed people.

Some people believe the weed scene around here is going to stay active, right on through legalization. Some disagree. A grower told me on Friday that there’s only one good year left after this — he’s gotta think about other work. Another grower recently told me, “Regulation’s gonna suck, no matter what it is.”

Here’s the opinion of a third local grower (I’m not disclosing names because growing weed is illegal):

“The sky’s the fucking limit with legalization, man.”

“The second we can walk into a store and buy it… How many more stores in San Francisco are going to carry weed?”

“If people are selling out here, with these loads that go all over the country, and some dude can’t even buy an 1/8th in fucking Iowa… How are we providing enough for the whole country? How is the bottom going to fall out?”

[Indeed: That Oct. 2014 HT features the result of an online poll called “The State of Your Stash.” According to the poll, 14 percent of the 2,200-plus respondents are “out of pot.” Only 32 percent of respondents have “outstanding/top grade” weed. Back to the grower — ]

“Don’t get me wrong. Legalization is going to change everything drastically, and you might not be able to galavant around with just a 10-lighter anymore. That’s going to be a nice bonus, maybe. But it’s not going to be a quarter-million dollar a year job like it was five years ago. The money is going to be in the outdoor, I think, in the long run.”

“At the same time, there is going to be a niche market for indoor, like with microbrews. There’s still enough room for Lost Coast Brewery with Anheuser-Busch, so why won’t there be enough room for decent-sized growers with legalization? Humboldt has the name…”

“And with people going bigger and bigger in the last few years, there are some successful growers out there that will have the capital to compete, maybe not to go up against some multi-billion dollar corporation, like Phillip-Morris; but we’re going to give people a run for their money. We’re the ones who’ve been doing this for 20, 30, 40 years…”

* * *

The inherent uncertainty around cannabis regulations and the contrasting opinions fascinate me. Time will tell. But for now, with the death of SB 1262, the status quo will remain the same, at least in Cali.

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BUT I HAD OTHER REASONS, just as pressing. The main one was physically to get away from people wasting my time with trivia. “I believe the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality.”

— Paul Theroux

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AT LEAST 2,000 ACRE-FEET of water will be released from Lake Pillsbury via Scott Dam to ensure a suitable habitat for the threatened steelhead trout in the Eel River, according to a news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

PG&E began releasing the water Friday, and it will continue until Oct. 15, after a request was made by NOAA and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the news release stated.

The water release will increase the flow below Cape Horn Dam from about nine cubic feet per second to at least 20 cubic feet per second, after which required flows will be held above 25 cubic feet per second, the NOAA said.

NOAA said drought conditions during the 2013/14 spawning season limited spawning steelhead from accessing tributaries in the upper Eel River. Therefore, a high proportion of juvenile steelhead are likely rearing in the main stem upper Eel River.

"In anticipation of a drought last winter, PG&E filled Lake Pillsbury to capacity in order to ensure continued operation of the Potter Valley Project and conservation of federally threatened salmon and steelhead," NOAA said in the news release.

"This flow release is in accordance with the provisions to protect listed salmon and steelhead incorporated into PG&E's operation of the Potter Valley Project, which consists of Scott and Cape Horn dams, and a power generation tunnel that diverts water from the Eel River to the East Branch Russian River."

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San Francisco Police Department, We Help the Missing, and the family of Sean Sidi is seeking the public’s assistance in locating missing person, Sean Sidi. Sean was 19 years old at the time of his disappearance and was last seen on May 21, 2013 in San Francisco, CA. Sean is approximately 5’5” tall, weighing approximately 120 pounds with brown eyes and hair. Sean has braces on his teeth and a scar on his right forehead. Sean suffered a traumatic brain injury that could affect his cognitive/mental health and is in serious need of medical attention. Sean was last seen wearing a black and gray NorthFace jacket with a hood and black Vans slip-on shoes. Sean’s last communication was located at the eastern end of Golden Gate Park. Sean speaks French fluently and his injury may cause him to revert to French only. Family members and Private Investigators feel Sean’s appearance will likely be altered or unkept, differing from the pictures. Investigators also feel Sean’s hair may appear different.


A statement from Private Investigator Jeff Kaplan: We are investigating both a criminal aspect of the case and looking at several persons of interest. We continue to investigate the aspect of a psychological break, knowing Sean may be a different persona every few days and may travel different paths based on that persona, wandering, hitchhiking, ride sharing, train hopping or holed up in homeless camps/shelter in San Francisco or any other location in the United States. We follow every lead, we request with any possible sightings that the person take a cell phone picture of the individual and submit with approximate location, description of the person and description of any persons they may be with, while we continue efforts to formulate additional leads and information.

We Help The Missing organization and law enforcement are asking for the media’s attention on Sean’s case as it is imperative to locate Sean to ensure his safe return. Please understand time is of the essence and we need your help to get this information in the eyes of the public.

A missing poster including information of Sean Sidi will accompany this release.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Sean Sidi is urged to call the San Francisco Police Department Investigator Morrow at (415) 553-1361, Private Investigator Jeff Kaplan at (925) 890-0695 or WE HELP THE MISSING-TIP LINE (866) 660-4025.

Cheryl Howerton, Board of Directors, We Help the Missing

One Comment

  1. Jim Armstrong August 18, 2014

    So it is not just baseball that native Northern Californian Jon Miller doesn’t know shit about.

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