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Letters (Aug 27, 2014)

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Dear Editor,

Fund-raising for the STEM project is progressing well. In the course of soliciting contributions, various questions have arisen. It seems worthwhile to report the questions to the community and the answers.

Are donations for the STEM project tax-deductible and, if yes, upon what authority? Donations to Anderson Valley Unified School District are definitely charitable contributions deductible for income tax purposes. The authority is Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code which covers donations to political subdivisions for public purposes. The School District is a political subdivision. The STEM project furthers public education, which is a public purpose.

What is the Districts Tax ID number? This question has come from tax accountants and financial advisors for donors. The answer is 94-6002711.

What happens if you are unable to raise the full targeted amount of $32,000 for the STEM Project? Does the District have to give the money back? The purpose of the current fund-raising effort is to purchase ten additional lab units to complement the ten units which Sonoma State will provide. If fund-raising falls short, the money donated will be used to purchase as many lab units as possible. The District will not need to give any money back.

George Lee and I are optimistic that, if public support for the STEM project remains strong and donations continue at the current rate, the goal will be met fully and the District will be able to purchase all ten additional lab stations. But we are not to goal yet. Accordingly we continue to seek further support to bring the STEM project to full fruition. This is not the time to slacken efforts. If anyone wishes to help and has not contributed to date, please send a donation as soon as possible.

So how do I make a donation to STEM? Please make your check payable to Anderson Valley Unified School District — STEM project and either hand deliver the check to Sheila Leighton at the District Office or mail the check addressed as follows: AVHS STEM Project, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Attn: Sheila Leighton, PO BOX 457, Boonville, CA 95415

What happens to donations once the District receives them? All donations go directly to the District Office where they are logged in. The checks are then given to the District’s Business Manager who sees to depositing the checks in the District’s bank account. The donations to STEM are recorded and maintained in a distinct separate account. The money donated for the STEM project may be used only for the STEM project and not for any other purpose.

What if I have further questions? Anyone with additional questions may contact the following: For questions concerning the fund-raising program or making donations: Bill Sterling at For questions concerning the STEM curriculum, teaching methodology and make-up of the lab stations: Either Jim Snyder or Kim Jenderseck will respond to any inquiries sent to the foregoing email address. Jim and Kim are the two science teachers at the High School who have received training for implementing the STEM program and who are working with Sonoma State to develop the curriculum and lab station equipment.

With deep thanks to the people who have already sent in donations and otherwise expressed support for the STEM project,

George Lee & Bill Sterling


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A Petition to Remove the Current Board of Directors for the AV Health Center and Seek a New Board, August 25, 2014

Whereas the current BoD for the AV Health Center has failed to respond to questions from the public regarding the status and future of the Health Center and moreover they have undermined the efforts of Dr. Apfel to provide quality service and generally exhibited incompetence in administration of the Health Center, the following residents of Anderson Valley demand that this Board of Directors resign in its entirety and the medical practitioners ask for new volunteers to come forward to constitute a new Board of Directors.


Frederick Martin


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To: Mental Health Board

If you google on and read A Complex Case: Public Mental Health Delivery and Financing in California, you will see that the $750,000 of mental health patient money that the County was told in July they have to return to the state, is because Mendocino County Mental Health did not provide all the services to mental health patients that the state gave them the money to do. If the County had provided services to mental health patients the County would have been able to bill for an additional $750,000 in Medi-Cal funds from the federal government. The total loss to the County for not providing desperately needed services to mental health patients is $1.5M. Why wasn't this money used for desperately needed 24/7 Crisis Residential Treatment Centers? How many times has this happened in the past and why did County Mental Health and their ASOs Ortner and RQMS do this to mental heath patients?

Sonya Nesch


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Laws, laws, endless laws. Laws so lengthy, 250 to 390 or more pages of small print, that even the lawmakers don’t read them in their entirety before voting on them. Yet it is a requirement of the law itself to know the law, as if one could commit to memory all of its particulars and contradictions. “The way of the law is a gift to the people”. The old man said. “The law must be clear and easily understandable by the people. If the law becomes something to get around, then it is of no use.” — From The Seven Arrows by Hymenyohosts Storm.

Exemptions and mitigations are legally sanctioned pathways to violate both the spirit of good rules such as the Clean Water Act and its mandate, Thou shalt not destroy wetlands. Both the immensely destructive, immensely profitable fracking industry which produces un-natural gas, a unique form of methane, and Caltrans which builds mega highways, culminating in the unnecessary Willits bypass, obsolete before it is built, utilize these “legal exceptions”. Both special interest, profit driven industries treat the law, the Clean Water Act, like wasps which lay their eggs on a caterpillar. When the eggs hatch, becoming larvae, the young larvae eat the insides out of the caterpillar, leaving a hollowed out exterior. So much for the mandate of the Clean Water Act, Thou shalt not destroy wetlands.

Exemptions extend beyond mere loopholes. Exemptions are a method of gutting the law without repealing the law. Exemptions are a political tool to insure that the law is used only against the less powerful and, as a corollary, the less and least wealthy. Mitigations such as the Caltrans plan to destroy the high points of the northern wetlands

to create “new” wetlands makes a mockery of the Clean Water Act. Now that Caltrans has halfway achieved its goal and the demise of many migratory songbirds is assured, Caltrans has deigned to relocate the yellow traffic lane lines which aggravated the Willits traffic jam. Who painted the road clogging lines in the first place? Caltrans, while promoting its bypass plan with falsified traffic statistics. Shades of the New Jersey governor’s plan to block traffic to the George Washington Bridge. Ooops. Discovered. Bridgegate!

Perhaps a stupidity quotient isn’t adequate to evaluate this kind of behavior. Perhaps we need a happiness quotient. Are power politicians acting outside any moral or ethical restraints happy people? Do these behaviors create lasting respect? Does excessive monetary acquisition compensate for such dishonest behavior? Whatever has happened to conscience? It takes courage to dissent, to refuse to capitulate to wrong doing. Where is the courage? Ask your local politicians, Where is your courage?

Where do endangered and life threatened wildlife go when their habitats are destroyed? No where. They die. Thanks politicians. Perhaps you should reread The Wizard of Oz. The cowardly lion got courage. Get courage. Vote for what is good and right, for local autonomy in matters affecting our communities, for protection of the environment of our one precious planet. Vote down the vested, destructive interests of money and power. Your grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren inherit this same earth as everyone else’s grandchildren, this same land your cowardice helps destroy.


Dorotheya M Dorman

Redwood Valley

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I was deeply moved by Robin Williams death. Not because I'll miss him that much, though it was always fun to catch him in a movie, but because part of me identified with his sense of frustration with humanity. To me he wasn't so much just a comedian, a funny guy, as he was someone who could delicately expose the pathos of life, the pathos of being human. I believe it was his own personal sadness from the failing of mankind and his inability to really do anything about it that drove him to drink and drove him mad.

He understood so much about human weakness and fallacy and tried his best to prod our awareness using a smile or a laugh as a carrot.

Smart people are very good at rationalization. They can, using reason and logic, make bad seem good. We live in a world where smart people (???) are the leaders. This is probably because money has been so elevated as to be heavenly and smart people are very good at making money. Hence smart people have more power and influence. Yet just maybe these smart people aren't so smart and are destroying more than they are building and creating a future that is truly bleak.

Those of genius understand beyond any rationalization. They don't allow themselves that comfort. Robin Williams was a genius. And the only way we seem to understand his despair is that it was a personal affliction and illness.

Divine Madness of the genius is despair for the ills of all humanity and the impotence to do anything about it.

David Severn


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Dear Editor,

Recently you published a photo of Bill Heil's backside as he embraced a redwood tree. Some of your readers think this photo was not taken in AWE-SOME Grove.

This photo was taken by David Gurney on 8/7/14 in the A.W.E. as fourteen AWE-SOME walkers looked on. Yes, there are really beautiful redwood trees this big the county wants to cut.

Zia Cattalini

Little River

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Dear Bruce Anderson,

I am at a complete loss with fear I might not have Dr. Mark Apfel at my side when I leave my life experience. My wife and I bought into the Anderson Valley in 1972 and from the early 80’s on Dr. Mark has been our family doctor. Now I am fearful that he won’t be my doctor when I will need him the most.

We chose the Anderson Valley for the type of people and thinking of “real community”, independent yet always first in line when a neighbor needs a hand. I was born into an Amish family and learned the strength of “family” and found those values in the Anderson Valley. To have a family Doctor like Dr. Mark, one who knows your family health history and yours in particular is a “God send” to someone of our age. He goes the extra mile, everyday, every time. Just one example out of many will illustrate what I mean.

Few years ago before the Ambulance program, I found myself in great pain in my gut and a call to Dr. Mark ended with him meeting me at the Clinic about 9:00 pm on a Sunday where he suspected I had diverticulitus. He set up an IV and sent me off to Ukiah in our car, my wife driving. After we got there the Ukiah Doctors couldn’t find what Dr. Mark suspected. They were about to send me home with a lot of pain pills when suddenly, there was Dr. Mark asking why his orders for further testing had not been followed. After words, the tests were done that proved Dr. Mark was right and an operation followed after the prep work was completed. Dr. Mark knew I had a history of problems with diverticulosis. But you could go a long way to find a doctor that would drive to Ukiah late on a Sunday night to be sure his patient received the attention needed. Just one of many examples I could give you.

Four years ago they found out I have cancer, phase four and on a short leash for life. Dr Mark Apfel explained the typical process and my options. I know he is a Holistic Doctor and believes in the Hospice method of “moving on”. My belief rides the same trail and I want him to be here when I need him. I cannot tell you the fear I have knowing he might not be here due to some political or administrative disagreement, which seems to leave the patient’s needs and wishes completely out of the equation. We are not numbers, we are people, something you may understand when it becomes your turn. Please do whatever you can to assure Dr. Mark Apfel remains at the clinic where he may continue to serve the Anderson Valley Community in the Clinic he built to practice Rural Medicine as a family Doctor.

Thank you for your time spent reading this. Now please take time to think about it from my point of view and see if you can’t come up with a plan that includes Dr. Apfel and his patients.

Mahalo, Happy Trails

Rod & Judy Basehore


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Dear Editor,

Your most recent wisecracks about NPR reminded me of one of my favorite jokes from years ago. I may have seen it in The New Yorker. Picture a man sitting on an examination table in a doctor's office. The doctor is standing in front of him with a stethoscope, only, at a second glance, unbelievably, instead of a stethoscope, the doctor is holding the head of a long-necked bird, like a stork, against the patient's chest, with the bird's two feat in the doctor's ears. The caption reads: "One of us, doctor, is a very sick man." I wouldn't go that far, but when it comes to NPR, one of us ought to get his head examined.

When you say you're going to get rid of your computer when you get out of the newspaper business, I hear you. I'm too old a dog ever to have learned to use one, nor have I had a TV since the switch from analog to digital broadcasting. Besides the radio I depend on print to keep informed. Subscriptions to over half a dozen publications ranging from the New York Review of Books to Jim Hightower's The Lowdown (and the AVA, of course) provide an overview, while I listen to the radio for the daily news. NPR is certainly not beyond criticism, but if there's a radio station that comes closer to being a gold standard for mainstream news, I've yet to find it. Do you know of any? I'm all ears. I'm also reminded of a great caricature of modern life called "The Religion of Bob," by a guy named Bob, of course. A fundamental tenet of the religion of Bob to improve the human condition is to give everybody else "a little slack." If you tipped your hat to NPR every once in a while when you hear something worth sharing, it wouldn't kill you, would it? Why just the other day I learned from listening to NPR that the opposite of schadenfreude is "vicarious embarrassment." It is what I felt when G.W. Bush was president and its how I feel when you take needless potshots at NPR.


Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii.

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How horrible and disappointing last week when the when there was no Todd Walton column in your paper! His pieces always have an insight and an optimistic outlook that give us readers reason to hope that things would improve in the world is for no other reason beyond human beings still caring and paying attention. Please bring them back!

An avid fan,

Kathy Mooney


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Well, here I am after eight sweet months of absconding from probation. Now I'm back in custody. I am in the hole, slammed 24/7, but then again given this new generation of inmates that has plagued our system, I wouldn't have it any other way. Housing, that is — solitary.

So it is here for the next three months where I receive little and expect less especially from the cops. So I'm asking for a renewal of my complimentary subscription to the AVA. As always, I am thankful.

Best of health, happiness and love to you and yours.

Alan Crow


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The words pristine and unique keep popping up when talking or writing about the sale of the coastal college property to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). So what makes this property unique? Back in the early days of World War II, the US military was looking for a site to establish a LORAN station, a long-range radio frequency transmission facility that could be used for navigation when triangulated with other stations.

The exact location for the station on the Mendocino Coast was probably selected and taken as eminent domain from the Stornetta family because of its ideal situation in the triangle. The site was unique for many reasons, not least likely the concern that the Japanese might attack California, a Japanese submarine had been spotted off Point Arena Light Station and another had sunk a freighter near Eureka.

So why this spot rather than nearer the lighthouse? Historically, the site has some of the heaviest winds on the coast, the bluffs are sheer, and the tidal entrance to the small bay is nearly impenetrable due to its geologic formations as a branch of the San Andreas fault.

These are the same reasons that the site is unique for the studies of oceanography, geology, and marine biology as well as all the other scientific endeavors and teachings that have gone on at this location for many years.

The Herculean efforts of Professor Bob Wallen convinced the federal government that this land was pristine and should be used for teaching and research. It is the only area that represents the California of 71 years ago because of its ongoing federal government and college protection, and it should continue to be protected and used as a teaching field station for the college.

I liken the sale of the property to a runaway train that is about to derail the promises of the past and the future potential to develop leaders in many fields of biodiversity. If we build it and advertise it, they will come!

But what exactly is this runaway train?

The train leaving the station is not a train at all, but a piece of land on our Coast known as the Point Arena Field Station, or LORAN Station. It is 15+ acres of pristine California coast that can be likened to a runaway train because the engineer, Arturo Reyes, can only see the short-term benefits of the $1.5 million sale to the Bureau of Land Management. Contingent on the sale of the unique piece of land are costs -- that must be covered by the College -- of removing storage tanks and equipment. In other words, the buyer, the Bureau of Land Management, expects the seller, Mendocino College, to use a large share of the purchase price to restore the property to its original, natural condition — an impossible task.

Research at the station has gone on for years on his property it needs to be continued and expanded upon, not stopped. The potential for other research in the field of biodiversity are only waiting for a chance to blossom. But this cannot be done if the area is turned into a playground for tourism.

Is another small, public stretch of rugged, diverse shoreline more important than preserving the station for the edification of students yet to become the future leaders in many fields of biodiversity? The LORAN Station has been a pivotal point in the education of many scientists, and can continue to play that role. Perhaps we need to publish papers that we have received from scientists who have written in support of keeping the property unsullied!

Thirty years ago, this "surplus government property" was given to our college by the federal government -- over competing requests from the Department of Fish and Game and others — for education and research. It would appear that the Department of Interior, i.e., BLM, who wants it now, was not even considered.

So who stops a runaway train? The brakemen, of course. And who are they? Well, the most important at this time are the members of our duly elected College Board. In the Sunday, August 3, 2014 Ukiah Daily Journal on page 1 "above the fold," College President Arturo Reyes said, "the decision of whether or not to sell will be the board's."

But maybe not. Maybe they will look closer at the friends of the Point Arena Station -- 280 strong and growing -- who are dedicated to preserving this unique asset. You can add your name to the list of very concerned voters by simply sending an e-mail to

Paul Poulos, DVM and professor, retired,

Or just plain Paul Paulos,

Director of the Heald-Poage Home & Research Library,

Mendocino County Historical Society and friend of the Point Arena Field Station!


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Psychological warfare? Sleep deprivation? Cruel and unusual punishment? Torture?

Yes! To all of the above. Those are only a few of the amenities offered at Hotel Hell — better known as the Hill Road Corruptional Facility.

I have to wonder: is it intentional or are these vermin so ignorant they are completely oblivious? I would have to wager it is a little of both.

For example: the cell lights are controlled by the "tower," and are kept on bright until 11:30pm every night. For the next five hours on the hour a guard walks through the unit, stopping at every cell to look in, and then rudely slamming the window. Which in the middle of the night sounds like a gunshot. And for someone like James Smith who'd been shot numerous times by a sheriff's deputy, that had to be horrifying. Talk about post traumatic stress being purposely induced. Then at 4:30am after only five hours of "sleep," the lights are turned on and some sadistic (for lack of a better word) asshole is literally yelling over the cell intercom, "Get ready for med pass!" Meds are passed out loudly and for those who do not receive medication this is just a senseless disturbance. And just when you think you might fall back into a fitful slumber — "Breakfast!" yelled in your ear (don't get me started on the food!)

I honestly believe they time these things and as soon as there has been enough time to get comfortable — "Tray pickup!" The cycle continues throughout the day. Here at Hotel Hell there is no such thing as eight hours of sleep. For some withdrawing from drugs or battling a mental issue this is outright torture and gives new meaning to the term cruel and unusual punishment.

They may be laughing it up now, but things they are a-changin' and the reign of terror will come to an end.

Billy Bond

Lakeport jail

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Dear AVHC Board of Directors,

This is an open letter to the Board and all interested community members.

Here is what I have been able to understand about the current status of the AV Health Center.

Mark Apfel and many others who have staffed the AVHC have been a major community asset for over three decades. Mark has been an incredibly open and available doctor. He has continued to be willing to help people after hours, on weekends, holidays, whenever needed. That has been a lost trait in the mainstream physician’s practice for decades. Mark’s willingness to put his patient needs first is legendary.

The AV Health Center was a care facility that really cared. It has provided high quality care for those who can afford to pay, those with insurance, and most unusual for a medical care facility, to those without insurance and those who cannot pay. It has truly been a helping, caring hand to all in need.

Mark was instrumental in recent years in starting the pharmacy at the AVHC in order to provide a pharmacy service to the local community when none existed. It was convenient, low cost and even may have earned some funds for AVHC. That service was used and appreciated by many. Apparently some “compliance” regulations were not met and the AVHC shut it down until they can correct the compliance issue. Too bad, we miss it.

The Board of Directors of the AVHC is made up of some of the best, most concerned and dedicated people in the Valley. All who have served, served without pay, some for decades. It is hard to think of a better group to be a Board of Directors. However, there is new administrative leadership which seems to be taking the Center in a direction many of us question and/or oppose.

The Board and its new Administrative Staff have hired a new MD with an eye to filling Mark’s position when he needs/wants to retire, which comes eventually to all, and to stop in and help provide with the immediate medical care needs.

The issue, as I see it, is how Mark is being treated for his 30-plus years of tireless work, leadership, care and how to keep him as a valuable and needed talent to be utilized and available to our Community. From all indications, it seems Mark is being pushed to a limited role at AVHC, although he is still seeing patients and hopefully will for a long time. Not to do so would be a waste of a major resource and is just not respectful or a decent way to celebrate the incredible service he has provided us and can provide for some time to come.

Now is the time to get back on track. There have been numerous letters to the local AVA supporting Mark and the many good years of service to all of us. It is now necessary for all of us to take a stand and keep the Center we all need and the Doctor we all have appreciated together.

We built this Center and now is the time to rally once gain all together. We need Mark; he is our major asset. Let’s keep the Center and keep Mark there. Enough is enough. Let’s get it together, again.

Thanks you for all you have done and can do.

Mike Shapiro


One Comment

  1. Louis S. Bedrock September 1, 2014

    NPR is the propaganda outlet of the Chamber of Commerce that masquerades as the government of the United States.

    It’s news programs, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, or Weekend Edition, follow a format that runs along these lines:

    1. A segment excoriating the Emmanuel Goldstein of the day: Hugo Chavez, Nicolás Maduro, Manuel Noriega–after Omar Trujillo’s airplane was blown up by the CIA, the Sandinistas, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Ladin, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the current government of Iran, and now, Vladimir Putin.

    All these men are depicted as the incarnation of absolute evil: vicious dictators who have or are seeking weapons of mass destruction, who murder their own people, who threaten poor little Israel’s right to exist and to murder Palestinians, and who seek to impose communism, Islam, or the Russian Empire upon the rest of the world.

    2. An analysis of the latest pablum spewed by Victoria Nuland, Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, or whatever lying piece of garbage or testosterone enhanced witch the State Department can scrape up. “Analysis” does not infer critical analysis. Nothing that is emitted by the State Department could stand up to analysis.

    3. An economic analysis that evaluates the potential profits for Coca Cola is it can persuade the corrupt government of India to give Coca Cola rights to all the water in India–without mention of the consequences to the inhabitants of India; prospects for continued growth of other U.S. corporation and zilch coverage of unions or workers or consumers–who have fewer alternatives every day to buying second and third rate products made by serfs in Haiti, the Philippines, or Malaysia who earn less than a dollar a day.

    4. A puff piece on women CEOS, bisexual doctors, or black voters in Oxford Mississippi that paints a euphoric portrait of American progress in social justice.

    5. Shallow, approving short pieces on how our lives have been improved by privatization, GMOs, charter schools, nuclear energy, and big Pharma.

    6. Grateful tribute to NPR’s corporate sponsors like Monsanto, Entergy, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, the Gates Foundation, the Walton family, Pfizer, Novartis, and UPS–none of whom influence NPR’s objective reporting of the news.

    NPR is an abomination. It’ is only useful for students of propaganda and emotion stirring techniques who can take notes on the skillful use of ad- hominem attack; one and two dimensional thinking; connotation of the labels and names applied to leaders of different countries–Saudi Arabia has rulers, but Venezuela has a dictator–even if he was elected; hasty generalizations; slogans; plain folks arguments; snob appeal.

    NPR is to the news what madrassas, yeshivas, and parochial schools are to education. You have to be brain damaged to be able to listen to their garbage.

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