Mendocino County Today: Sunday, August 31, 2014

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THERE ARE PEOPLE who take pride in not reading Boonville's beloved community newspaper, and I've heard that there are people who pride themselves in not listening to KZYX. I'm here to tell you, ladies and Germans, we here at your beloved community newspaper absorb it all. We love Mendo media, kind of, and often for the wrong reasons, such as comic potential, unintentional variety. But love it we do.

AND IF WE DIDN'T LOVE IT, I would not have heard a riveting hour of Linda MacElwee's show on KZYX last week. I happened to be striding up and down the deep dry hills of east Boonville in earphones and audio, a total perversion of the semi-wilderness experience, and not ecologically consistent with the Ecology Hour, but I ask you, Who dares claim consistency? (Disclaimer. I happen to know Ms. MacElwee and admire the careful, thoughtful way she goes about her environmental work.)

MS. M was talking to a guy named Lancaster of Tucson, Arizona. For me, everything said in that hour last week was almost Biblically revelatory. And what was said was rainfall storage, and what's the mystery, versions and varieties thereof? We get, or used to get, upwards of 40 inches of rainfall a year, none of which is stored by our four parched municipalities, except in extravagantly futile ways as it then is used in hour-long showers and generally wasted as if there was no end to it. Har-har. It's at an end. It falls, it runs off, we waste it rather than revere it, and here we are dying of thirst, metaphorically considered but maybe, down the line very soon, in reality.

THE REVELATORY conversation between Linda and this Lancaster guy talked about how Concrete Land, aka America could NOT run out of water. I listened and hoped Mendo's civic leaders, all rise, were also listening. Here's a guy who brought water to Tucson! A desert town! Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, and Point Arena, our four incorporated towns, should bring him to Mendo immediately to show us the civic, doable ways that we can save water from our annual winter skies.

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OF ALL THE VISUALS in our disoriented country and uniquely amnesiac county, the one presented by the SaoChao strawberry fields off 101 between Ukiah and Hopland is perhaps the most disconcerting, the most retro, the most reminiscent for some of us who knew Southeast Asia in the 1960s. Asian women in conical Asian peasant hats bent over a field crop? I, for one, am happy they go the trouble of stoop communal labor. The strawberries we, the people hip to the diff between the taste of refrigerated Safeway strawberries and strawberries directly from the field, stop in every week and buy $7 worth. And maybe a basket of blackberries and a couple of lemon cucumbers too. The people doing the heavy lifting? Well, a complicated story, but one that began in the jungles of Laos, and who would have thought?

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ON AUGUST 30, 2014 at approximately 3:20 pm, ten year old David Pomilia of Ukiah was driving a 2012 Polaris ATV westbound on a private dirt driveway at 9131 West Road in Redwood Valley, CA.  For reasons not determined at this time, Pomilia's ATV traveled in a northerly direction and struck a wire fence on the north side of the driveway.  After striking the fence, the ATV overturned and ejected Pomilia.   The ATV came to rest on Pomilia.  Pomilia was transported by ambulance to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.  There was no evidence found to indicate he was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. This collision is still under investigation. (CHP)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 31, 2014

Barajas, Bowman, Clanton, Davis, Glanders, Gonzalez
Barajas, Bowman, Clanton, Davis, Glanders, Gonzalez

BENIGNO BARAJAS, Redwood Valley. Child endangerment, DUI.

JOHN BOWMAN, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

JOSEPH CLANTON, Ukiah. Under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia.

JEREMY DAVIS, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revoked.

CHAD GLANDERS, Laytonville. DUI causing injury.

FRANCISCO E. GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Felony domestic violence, possession of drug paraphernalia, parole violation.

Hug, Ramirez, Kirkland, Levedag, Luna, Maik
Hug, Ramirez, Kirkland, Levedag, Luna, Maik

JESSICA HUG, Fort Bragg. Probation revoked.

JOSE A. RAMIREZ, Ukiah. Possession of a controlled substance, possession of metal knuckles, probation revoked.

BARRY KIRKLAND, Willits. Drunk in public.

DAVID LEVEDAG, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

JEREMIAH LUNA, Ukiah. Child endangerment, probation revoked.

JEAN MAIK, Calpella. DUI.

Sandford, Slagle, Stensgard, Tenca, Wade
Sandford, Slagle, Stensgard, Tenca, Wade

BARBARA SANDFORD, Willits. Drunk in public.

CHARLES SLAGLE, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

CHRISTOPHER STENSGARD, Fort Bragg. Petty theft.

DEBORA TENCA, Ukiah. Misdemeanor domestic violence.

RYAN WADE, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

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COMPUTER TIPS

by Bob Collette

General Computer Maintenance:

Keep all of your working files in one folder. The Documents folder is offered expressly for this purpose. The benefits of keeping all your files in one place are multiple. You will know where all your files are, it's easy to back them all up at once, and your machine may even run faster.

Don't put your personal files on the root of the C: drive. If you store a large number of files in the root directory, you could corrupt your disk file table which could lead to a “NTLDR is missing” error message when you boot the computer. Very bad. If you have personal files on the C: drive now, move them to the Documents folder. A personal file is one that you created. Don’t move system files or folders.

Uninstall programs that you are not using. But don’t just delete the program. Remove it correctly so you won’t cause Windows errors. Go to Start, Control Panel, Programs and Features. Find the program you want to remove in the list, and click the Remove button. If you are unsure, don’t uninstall it.

If you download a zip file and expand it, delete the original zip file when you are done.

Store your purchased and downloaded software files off your hard drive. A flash drive works great for this purpose.

If you aren’t already using one, get a good surge protector (The higher the Joules rating the better) and plug your PC and peripherals into it. Unplug your computer and peripherals during thunderstorms.

Practice safe computing. Don’t skim read and don't accept software or downloads for which you didn’t ask. Delete any suspicious email without opening it. And even if the email came from your best friend, don't open any email attachments with the following extensions: * .exe, .com, .vbs, .bat, .mdb, .reg, and .js

By Pro-Design Communications. For computer help call: (916) 705-6821 or send your questions and comments to: Bob@myandersonvalley.com

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THIS WEEK AT BLUE MEADOW FARM

Heirloom Tomato Tasting Labor Day, 10am-4pm

Heirloom, Early Girl & Cherry Tomatoes

Corno di Toro, Gypsy & Bell colorful sweet peppers!

Padron, Jalapeno, Anaheim & Poblano Peppers

Rosa Bianca, Beatrice, Nadia, Galline & Asian Eggplant

Basil, Strawberries, French Prunes

Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash

Sunflowers & Zinnias

Blue Meadow Farm 3301 Holmes Ranch Rd, Philo

707-895-2071

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BEEF FOR SALE

Grass Fed Murray Grey Beef, 1/4's

4 Bar K Ranch in Boonville, is offering premium grass fed beef for sale. This is local grass fed beef, raised in rural Anderson Valley, in Mendocino County, with no shots or hormones, just excellent, lean, grass finished beef. We raise our beef free range, organically, in a humane, safe, and stress free way. This insures your beef is the best quality and safest meat, that is raised and sold in the right way.

We have replaced our traditional Brangus cross herd with the Murray Grey breed because of the Murray Grey’s ability to produce quality mild tasting grass fed beef. Murray Greys originated in Australia, they excel in finishing on a diet of grass only, making them very attractive to the emerging US market for grass-fed beef. Murray Grey grass-finished beef is a healthy heart alternative to fish and chicken meat. Plus, these Murray Grey cattle have an inherent ability to efficiently use pasture and to consistently finish Choice on grass.

Our beef is slaughtered locally, then hung, cut and wrapped by a state inspected, professional butcher shop to our specifications. We sell live beef by the quarter, and the cost is between $4.00 - $4.50 per pound of hanging weight, plus 1/4 of cost of slaughtering, hang, cut, wrap, and freeze. This usually amounts to approximately $6.50 to $7.50 per pound of packaged, frozen, premium, local, grass fed beef. The butcher equitably divides each side of beef into two quarters containing cuts from the front and the back. A quarter weights approx. 60-100 lbs. and fits into two "banana boxes" (https://www.youtube.com/embed/_l7sak6Vlq8?rel=0).

The beef we are offering is smaller which reduces your cost to try some premium beef and it will be available soon. If interested please contact Dave Kooyers at dkooyers@gmail.com (707) 895-2325.

http://www.murraygreybeefcattle.com/

Why Grass Fed Beef? It is an incredibly delicious and healthy tender meat with less fat, calories and cholesterol. It will usually require less cooking time because it is leaner and richer in healthy fats. NO antibiotic-laced feed, NO growth implants, No steroids, NO hormones, NO animal by-product feed, NO preservatives and NO unhealthy feed lot confinement. Our cattle only eat grass, and some acorns in the fall, with plenty of clean water. Grass-finished beef is healthy for you. It is claimed by many to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and E, beta-carotene, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and beta carotene.

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Gay pride; Nazi pride; national pride; proud parent of an honor student. I see these expression everywhere. Pride, along with sloth, wrath, greed, envy, gluttony, and lust are considered deadly sins in the Christian Church. While I don't ascribe to a lot of the church's doctrine and beliefs, I've always thought that some ancient lore or knowledge was based on something factual (i.e., the Jewish and Muslim belief that pork cannot be eaten may be based on the possibility of getting trichinosis, which they may have observed). Perhaps the ancients realized that these emotions simply cause too much friction between people and should be avoided. So, why use something that could cause discord to express yourself? How about happy? Happy to be a parent of an honor student. Happy to be gay. Happy to be an American. Happy to be a Nazi, though, just doesn't seem right.

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THE WILL PARRISH PROJECT

Dear friends,

You may recall that I launched an indiegogo.com fundraising campaign last week to support me in writing a series of in-depth articles chronicling resistance to watershed destruction in California in a context of enormous drought (not to mention climate change). I'll also be presenting inspiring stories of people who are on the cutting-edge of watershed protection and environmental justice in numerous parts of this state.

I've received some great support so far! As of this writing, I've raised $2,880 of the $5,500 I need to carry out this project in the way I envision, with eight days to go. I'm about half-way to the deadline -- and about half-way to my fundraising goal!* I could really use support heading into the last leg of my fundraising.

I've just released a video on the my Indiegogo page, which is six minutes long. I encourage you to check out the video. Thanks! Here it is:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/resistance-to-watershed-destruction-in-california/x/8475759

No other area of equivalent size in the world has altered its watersheds to the extent California has. Now politicians and business leaders are proposing the biggest remaking of the water system since the State Water Project of the '60s and '70s. It's a crucial time to present these stories. Feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone who might be interested.

Last, I invite you to check out a couple of great (and very flattering) articles that have been published about me or that talk about my journalism):

"CalTrans At Willits: Widening The Way to Pelican Bay" by Cal Winslow (Jan. 2014)

"Bypass Mayhem" by Rachel Covey (Oct. 2013)

Thanks so much!

Will Parrish

PS. I've also received a few personal checks from generous individuals, which helps out greatly! These are not recorded on the Indiegogo site.

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THE PRESS DEMOCRAT had an interesting piece on the efforts being made to prevent quagga mussels from taking hold in local lakes. Short version: Boat inspections. Long version:

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/newsletter/2617076-186/fight-against-quagga-mussels-comes

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POT QUESTIONS

To the Editor:

I happened to read the article about Sheriff Allman stating an expert found no grows in the 913,000 acre Mendocino National Forest, although that means there still could be some. The article also states that most marijuana is being grown in county backyards. How big can a grow be in a county backyard? Up to how many acres? How many medical cards is that? Cooperatives are supposed to be monitored and held to EPA standards for pesticides, fertilizer use, water use, and animal habitat protection according the agricultural guidelines. I guess, I am wondering if cooperatives pay sales tax and caregivers are growing acre/acres of pot for their patients, then shouldn't backyard farms/grows be held to the same standard of environmental reports and policies, and EPA standards of agricultural farms and vineyard owners? Just curious, where does the FDA get involved if drugs are being grown and administered to patients at home with no inspections? Any other company making drugs, many have recalls and adverse affects that are found and handled by FDA, and a drug company has to adhere to strict guidelines for safety of patients… How do marijuana grows get away with no oversight of their product?

Catherine A. Lair, Ukiah

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IF

If freckles were lovely, and day was night,

And measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie,

Life would be delight, —

But things couldn’t go right

For in such a sad plight

I wouldn’t be I.

If earth was heaven and now was hence,

And past was present, and false was true,

There might be some sense

But I’d be in suspense

For on such a pretense

You wouldn’t be you.

If fear was plucky, and globes were square,

And dirt was cleanly and tears were glee

Things would seem fair, —

Yet they’d all despair,

For if here was there

We wouldn’t be we.

— ee cummings

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OddBodkins85

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UKIAH COPS ON THE STREETS

(Compiled from Ukiah Police reports)

On August 22nd at about 9:30pm Ukiah Police responded to a parking lot in the 200 block of Observatory Avenue for reports of gang members gathering possibly preparing to fight. Arriving officers observed numerous subjects run away, and contacted several subjects who had tried to hide from the officers. One of the subjects, a 15 year old female juvenile, was extremely intoxicated and belligerent, and was arrested for public intoxication. The female initially provided a relative’s name, and was later found to be on probation which included terms to stay away from gang members and not to consume alcohol. The female juvenile was charged with public intoxication, personation of another and violating probation. A knife which had been discarded was located by officers at the scene, and several subjects bearing gang tattoos and wearing gang clothing were contacted but no other violations were observed and the subjects were released. Several hours later, on August 23rd at about 2am Ukiah Police responded to Observatory Avenue near State Street for multiple gunshots in the area. Arriving officers contacted witnesses, and observed at least one subject flee the area. Officers were directed to a young adult male who had been shot and was bleeding, and arranged for him to be transported to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center where he was treated for a gunshot wound. Officers determined a confrontation between numerous subjects, believed to be gang related, occurred in the roadway and at least one subject discharged a firearm numerous times. Officers determined an additional subject may have been struck by gunfire but had fled the scene. Ukiah Police Detectives responded and obtained additional statements and processed evidence located at the scene. Ukiah Police Officers focused their patrol efforts on locating the additional gunshot victim and witnesses who had fled the scene, and at about 3:30am contacted a group in the 100 block of Seminary Avenue.

Ramirez
Ramirez

One of the subjects was on parole and another, 31 year old Jose Ramirez was on probation for possessing methamphetamine, and both are believed to be gang members. Ramirez was found to have a warrant for his arrest for violating probation, and was arrested. Ramirez was found to have a methamphetamine smoking pipe in his possession, as well as some documents determined to have been derived from stolen mail. Ramirez was charged with the warrant, possessing drug paraphernalia, possessing stolen property, and violating probation. An adult female in the group was found to possess a large, concealed knife, and weapons charges are being sought with the District Attorney. The second subject thought to have been struck by gunfire was later located and found to be uninjured. The shooting remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call the Ukiah Police Department at 463-6262.

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Duman
Duman

On August 23rd at about 5pm a Ukiah Police Officer attempted to stop 52 year old Mark Frederick Duman who was riding a bicycle on South Dora Street near Jefferson Lane. Duman refused to stop, and instead headed East on Jefferson Lane ignoring the officer’s commands to stop. The officer positioned the patrol vehicle in front of Duman and was able to detain Duman, who was on probation for possessing methamphetamine. Duman was searched but nothing was found. A search of the area revealed a baggie of methamphetamine weighing less than a gram, which Duman had discarded hoping to avoid being caught with it. Duman admitted to having used methamphetamine recently and was charged with possessing methamphetamine, resisting a peace officer, and violating probation.

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On August 24th at about 3:45pm Ukiah Police responded to the 1300 block of Hastings Road for a stolen vehicle. The victim reportedly left the gold 1998 Toyota Corolla parked in the area two days prior, and returned to find it stolen. On August 26th at about 5:10pm a Ukiah Police Officer observed the stolen Corolla being driven in the 400 block of East Perkins Street. A high-risk stop was performed on the vehicle in the 300 block of Plum Street, and the driver and suspect was identified as 38 year old Donesha Shanell Hatter, of San Francisco.

Hatter
Hatter

Hatter had two warrants for her arrest from San Francisco; one for theft of a vehicle, and another for possessing stolen property and burglary tools. Inside the vehicle officers located a large amount of property as well as tools and devices such as; lock picks, shaved vehicle keys, drills, and bolt cutters. Officers spent the remainder of the day and part of the next day inspecting and processing the large amount of property inside the vehicle, which included; laptop computers, tool boxes, cellular telephones, charging cables, clothing, a motorcycle helmet, financial paperwork and various forms of identity, indicia from several local car dealerships, approximately one pound of marijuana, and various other electronics. Officers determined one of the laptops had been reported stolen in Santa Rosa, some of the financial paperwork and identities had been stolen from San Francisco and Fort Bragg, and some tools and building materials had been stolen from a local construction business near where the vehicle was stolen. Hatter was arrested for vehicle theft, possessing stolen property, possessing burglary tools, and for the warrants.

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Bell
Bell

On August 26th at about 9:55am Ukiah Police responded to Wells Fargo Bank, at 717 South State Street, for a subject attempting to pass a stolen check.

Officers determined 51 year old Katrina Marie Bell had attempted to cash a check which had been stolen during a residential burglary reported the night prior.

Bell was arrested for burglary, forgery, and possessing stolen property.

Bell had hydrocodone tablets in her possession, and was additionally charged with possessing a narcotic.

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AN UNJUST JUSTICE SYSTEM

To the Editor:

I'm going through the motions of my second jury trial on the same case. I have been held guilty until proven innocent for my entire case so far and I have lost everything that is anything to me in this world. I've lost my fiancé because I couldn't be there to run our business and to take care of her and our bills while her hand healed. I lost my children to CPS over this accident. I've lost my home and my business. I sold my Harley for an attorney for my former fiancé so she could fight and get her children back. I have lost my freedom because some district attorney wants to believe what he thinks is right when the truth has been testified to over and over again by my former fiancé, my fiancé’s eight-year-old son, and myself. There was only one other witness to testify because officer Guydan was still on the force at the time, but now he's been transferred to Cotati after a large number of Fort Bragg citizens were subpoenaed to testify against him about his negative and rude bullying behavior and ability to lie and bully his way into getting what he wants out of witnesses, suspects and victims.

It all happened in the late hours of March 16 and early hours of March 17 of this year. After a great day together and a Harley ride, my fiancé and I settled down, put the kids to bed and poured ourselves a drink to relax and watch a movie together. After a couple of hours I was looking on our phone for something and I came across a contact on her phone who was a guy she used to date and I was feeling a little insecure and asked her to delete it. I should have waited until morning when we hadn’t been drinking, but I didn't and it caused an argument that escalated from just about a contact on our phone to about our bills, and money, and we didn't have to pay them, because I wasn't pulling my weight, because I was still using my leg I broke eight months prior as an excuse not to work as hard as I should have, or I could have been working. We started raising our voices and getting louder and louder until finally I said, Honey. Then she said, What? I said we need to take a time out and I'm taking a walk to the beach for a while. And she agreed. So I went to our bedroom for a sweatshirt and she went to lie down and cuddle our children. While I was in the room putting my sweatshirt on I looked at our gun cabinet and saw my father's .45-caliber pistol and thought I would take it with me for protection. I couldn't run, it was really late at night and strange things have been happening in our town and people have been getting shot and stabbed and murdered for the last two years. Maybe that's what was in the back of my mind when I put the gun in my belt. But looking back I would have given anything including my own hand in return to have left it there and never picked it up.

Long story shorter, when I returned from the beach after about an hour and a half, all our lights were off, a curtain closed and I assumed everyone was in bed. I sat on the porch and lit a cigarette and took the pistol out of my belt and set it on the top step of the porch. Then I got up and walked out into the front yard to look at the stars, Orion the Hunter, and the Big Dipper. Meanwhile, my fiancé came out on the porch and that's when I heard her say something about a gun on the porch. I turned around and started walking towards her. That's when I noticed that she had the pistol in her hand and was cocking it back. I yelled, “Lorrie, no!” And I reached for the pistol and as she moved toward me the gun went off. I instantly asked, "What have you done?" “What were you thinking?" She just looked at me in surprise. You could tell it was an accident. She wasn't planning for the gun to go off, I could see that by the way she almost dropped the pistol when it went off. She wasn't holding it right. I grabbed the pistol up and unloaded it and turned to go into the house and that's when she said, “I think I shot my finger off.” I said, What? No you didn't. She said, “I think so,” and she held up her hand and I said, "Oh my god,” and ran to the laundry room for a towel to wrap her hand in. As I got to her I set the pistol in a camp chair next to her. Then she got upset and hollered at me. But I was so overwhelmed and scared for her that I couldn't tell what she said, something about the guns and getting them away.

Anyway, I got her to the hospital and she was upset and told the receptionist that she shot her finger off; she shot herself in the finger and asked them to help her. They took her right in but wouldn't let me come in even though I kept pleading with them to let me in, she’s my fiancé.

Then about 20 minutes later offered Guydan showed up and started questioning me. He didn't read my rights, just started asking me about what happened and so I told him from the beginning and as soon as I said the word “argument” he started blowing it out of proportion, trying to make it look like a domestic dispute when it was a complete and total tragic accident. My fiancé was drinking and came out on the porch when I thought she was in bed and picked up the pistol that I had set there and because she really didn’t have experience handling the pistol, her hand slipped or she had her finger on the trigger or moved it wrong. Either way, it went off and hit her in the finger by accident.

As I kept trying to explain to Officer Guydan, this was long after our argument and my walk to the beach. We were not arguing when this happened. All of a sudden officer Guydan left finally I got to see my fiancé. I held her and told her I loved her and tried to tell her that it's going to be okay.

Then after about five or ten minutes another officer came in and escorted me out and handcuffed me and put me in a police car. This really upset my fiancé who had been sedated for her pain. While I was waiting in the cop car they wheeled my fiancé out and put her in an ambulance to take her to Howard Hospital in Willits. She refused to be operated on at Coast Hospital after what I had been through with my leg. The cop took me down to the Fort Bragg Police Department and put me in a holding cell for an hour or two. Then the officer Guydan brought me out for more questioning. This time he read my rights and I explained to him what happened and all of a sudden he started saying I was lying and her eight-year-old son had said we were arguing and there was pushing earlier. I told him no, there wasn't, but we did raise our voices. Then he started being really rude and aggressive, asking me if I was calling my kid a big fat liar and I said, No, but if you're saying he said that then it is not true because it didn't happen. This went on several times. Then he said he didn't believe me and arrested me on suspicion of domestic violence and put a protective order on my fiancé so we can’t communicate or be around each other.

I got to jail and the next evening my father bailed me out. Then I found out from the babysitter that my son, when questioned by Officer Guydan, at first never said anything like we were pushing or shoving each other and that Officer Guydan lied. He even admitted it to my fiancé later that month. Then she said he took him in a room by himself with no one else in there and questioned my son. Is that legal? No parent or guardian present when questioning an eight-year-old boy? Being alone in a room and eight-year-old who just turned eight the day before and questioning him without reading his right either? On the March 18, my fiancé had surgery and the doctor said he did save the finger. (It is healed and looks a lot better now.) After she got out of surgery Officer Guydan questioned her about what had happened. She told him her statement and he left.

My mother and sister went to visit her in the hospital and take care of her at my sister’s home in Willits until I was finally able to see her and take her home on the 26th.

Meanwhile I had sold my Harley and got money for an attorney for my fiancé to fight and get her children back. That's all we’re worried about at this point. I still hadn't gone to court and I didn’t think I would need an attorney.

How wrong I was. When we got to Fort Bragg she dropped me off at the Tip Top to visit friends while she went to have a visit with her children. While I was at the Tip Top, Officer Awad came in and asked me outside and cuffed me and put me under arrest for assault and mayhem, accusing me of doing this to her and hurting her. I told them I didn't do anything of the sort over and over but to no avail. So now I was arrested again for a crime I did not commit and would never commit.

I found out when I got to court the next day that I was facing up to 18 years in prison for something I didn't do. The judge threw another protective order on my fiancé so we can’t communicate with each other again.

Now I'm scared for my life and I don't trust the public defender prove my innocence so I have my mother sell my new diesel truck that was our nice family go camping dependable vehicle that I just got the year before with an insurance settlement I had gotten. I hired Ron Britt, an attorney out of Fort Bragg and Sacramento. It cost me $10,000. Then I gave the rest to my fiancé to help catch up on bills and to get the car fixed and registered. Meanwhile I was stuck in jail because they enhanced my charges and raised bail to $300,000. My family doesn't have this kind of money.

So here I am. During trial my fiancé was there with same statement she gave the officers on the 18th, that she had done it while drinking and it was a complete freak accident. She didn't realize the pistol had shells in the magazine and she picked it up and cocked it back and it accidentally went off into her finger. Her eight-year-old son was called to testify against me by the District Attorney, Mr. Davenport, who knows I haven’t seen or talked to her child since the night it happened. He took the stand told Mr. Davenport that No, he didn't see any pushing and, No, he didn’t see me with the gun, and in fact he saw his mommy holding the gun that night right before he heard the boom. After Mr. Davenport and talk to the boy prior, is that coercing? He was unhappy that his star witness told the truth instead of what Mr. Davenport wanted him to say.

Next I told my statement which was every is very close to what my former fiancé had to say.

That's three eyewitnesses saying, No, I didn’t do this, and it was indeed an accident.

Officer Guydan and was proved and found lying several times in his statements on the stand which makes me wonder about his audio recordings with him and her eight-year-old with no one around.

Next an elderly lady named Linda who got the children through CPS tried taking the stand and saying she talked and Lorrie at the hospital and Lorrie told her that I had done it and I had hurt her. But Lorrie also denied ever saying anything like that or and that Linda was just lying to keep children and money from the state for the children. Linda even stated as much on the stand, saying she didn't want to give the children back because she thought Lorrie wasn't a very good honest person. It turns out that Linda isn't a very good honest person. She was just using children for money and since the trial has gotten the children taken away from her by CPS for mental and physical abuse. At least that's the good news I hear from my mother.

After all this it was a hung jury 6-6 on mayhem and 8-4 on some lesser charge I don't understand with ten years on that one too!

Now I'm out of money and things to sell off. My attorney is leaving me probably. He wants more money. My bail has not been lowered and I'm still being held guilty after I have proven myself innocent by a jury of my peers and I'm being held in jail without any proof — no gunshot residue, no fingerprints, no eyewitnesses saying I did this. They won't let me take a lie detector test (I tried.).

How does an innocent man prove he’s innocent to a District Attorney in our unjust justice system?

I’m not sure what more I could do to prove my innocence. I have a few more witnesses and some proof of more corruption from Officer Guydan. I have the babysitter who was there when Guydan questioned her eight year old son. I think I can get witnesses against Guydan for his bullying and lying.

I don't know what else to do and I don't know why I’m still here and why the District Attorney wants to put me through another jury trial again with the same evidence and waste the state’s money for another trial and jury. Is that not the definition of insane? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

I’m being held guilty until proven innocent in our unjust justice system.

I can't help but wonder if I would have accidentally shot myself in the hand while trying to unload my gun with my fiancé in the vicinity, would they assume and accuse her and hold her guilty in jail for of my accident and actions.

Billy Doak

Fort Bragg/Ukiah

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HANDEL’S DISASTER MUSIC

Never has Musical Serenity Been So Terrifying

by David Yearsley

Last week’s 6.0 earthquake epicentered in California’s Napa Valley was taken by a few evangelical types as a warning sign from God against the endemic decadence of wine country, not only a condemnation of the excess consumption of overpriced fermented grape juice, but also of the unnamable sins such limitless intake encourages. On the secular side of things, the shaking earth could have been similarly read by some extremists as a harbinger of the coming global cataclysm: when a culture consumes and poisons its water and earth in such brazen defiance of nature’s laws it deserves a terrific wake-up call. The religion of science — including its environmental denomination — was long preceded by Christianity in the practice of interpreting natural phenomena in moral terms.

Indeed, the Christian God has always been a meteorological, seismological God. He is at his most vivid when He shakes the land and heaps up the waters of the sea, when He burns and when He levels. Tremors, eruptions, inundations are His daily exercises. The Plagues of Egypt were His first decathlon, continual cataclysm his Olympic Games.

As a musical painter of action, especially in enormous tableaux, Handel was unmatched in his depictions of God as a creator and destroyer. Indeed, Handel was lauded by his admirer and mocked by his detractors as Man Mountain, himself geographical entity. When he trembled and blew the musical world felt it. We continue to respond to the terrors and joys of his music.

Handel’s friend and sometimes collaborator Alexander Pope put it this way: “Giant Handel stands, / Like bold Briareus, with a hundred hands, / To stir, to rouze, to shake the Soul he comes.” Handel was big and threatening. His music could be both these things, too.

Perhaps the most famous earthquake in music history comes near the beginning Messiah. Shaking orchestral chords introduce the motto: “Thus saith the Lord.” These words set up the ensuring bit of direct speech from above with the bass soloist giving voice to God’s plan that earthquakes on land and beneath ocean will presage the coming of the Lord: “Yet once a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of the nations shall come.” The bass starts these words by somewhat hesitantly painting the first “shake” in upward arcing oscillations momentarily rumbling free from the foundation of the orchestral accompaniment. By the time the singer arrives at the second “shake,” the Lord has found a real flair for plate tectonics. Buoyed by a shifting harmonic progression and quavering string backdrop, God sends his seismic announcement across the globe. Because all need to know, none will be spared. The start of Christian time will be marked by cataclysm.

Handel gained his international fame when still a slender young man during his sojourn in Italy from 1706 to 1710. Italy was the required destination for opera composers, but a tour of the peninsula was seismological as well as musical. Pompeii had not yet been discovered and the excavations not yet begun, but earthquakes and the emissions from Vesuvius and Mt Etna lured tourists from the less geologically active regions of Europe. The Grand Tour was also a disaster waiting to happen.

Almost all the leading Italian composers of the period experienced earthquakes. Vivaldi was born March 4, 1678 just after an earthquake that shook Venice. He was immediately baptized in case God decided to go all the way and completely destroy the city.

Naples was the greatest European opera center, and encapsulated the tension between sensual excess and ecclesiastical decorum that governed Italy’s relationship with the genre. Earthquakes and volcanoes were God’s favorite mediums for cautioning Naples from too amorous an embrace of opera; when the earth shook it was time for the lovers to disentangle themselves. Looming above the Bay of Naples, Vesuvius was a constant reminder that God’s wrathful fist was always at the ready. After the Neapolitan earthquakes of November and early December, 1732, the theatres remained closed as a sign of atonement during the ensuing Carnival opera season, one of the great tourist attractions of Europe. Because of these closures, Pergolesi would have only one stretch in Naples before tuberculosis incapacitated him and then killed him in 1736 at the age of 26.

The cautionary rumbles of Vesuvius shadowed musical life in Naples from Roman times. Only Nero had the temerity to resist seismic portents with lascivious song. According to Suetonius’s Life of Nero, the Emperor’s “first stage appearance was at Neapolis where, disregarding an earthquake which shook the theater, he sang his piece through to the end.” Tacitus would link Nero’s musical obsessions with the “wildest improprieties,” the emperor’s unhinged morality presaged in his early public defiance of godly displeasure with him and his music.

Handel performed in Naples in 1708 ten years after the great 1698 earthquake. But it was in Rome that he wrote his first earthquake music, the cantata, Donna che in ciel, commissioned in commemoration of the Roman earthquake of 1703, and performed on the disaster’s five-year anniversary in February of 1708. After the ominous overture, the opening recitative makes the connection explicit: “Today is the joyful day / on which you saved us from great peril.”

The piece is for solo soprano — a part originally sung by a male castrato — and orchestra; a single chorus provides the last of the work’s nine movements. In the cantata, Mary is cast in the role of the lenient housewife, who petitions the wrathful God — her father/son and overlord in the incestuous Trinitarian home she inhabits — to take it easy on his wayward children down on earth. We are made to believe that the Roman earthquake could have been far worse if not for Mary’s interventions. The opening recitative thanks God, because “Today you stayed the arm of your angered Son, already about to strike, and, the stern Judge restored by you to a loving Father, showed us how much weight a Mother’s wishes carry.” With its lurching harmonies and swerving tessitura, the recitative artfully traces these perilously shifting family dynamics, which could easily be transposed from the heavenly household to 1950s suburbia.

The frenetic opening rush and teetering sonorities of the cantata’s first aria evoke not only the earth’s, i.e., God’s, power but also the combination of surprise and fulfilled expectation that attend earthquakes. Before the soprano has even entered, seismic violence threatens to destroy the movement as the orchestral introduction is suddenly toppled by shattering chords and punctured by violent silences. The soprano emerges from the rubble with an echoing aftershock of the cadence and a long tremulous melisma on the word “Vacillò” — the voice staggering because of the earth’s shdders. The line gathers momentum only to be rocked again by the same reeling chords from the strings. It is an exciting ride: at twenty-two Handel had become a master of disaster music.

Still, there is something contained about these tremors, if only because they lack the sheer scope of the massive choruses of Handel’s later English oratorios, with their outsized choral effects, timpani blasts and apocalyptic trumpets. In the concluding movement of Handel’s earthquake cantata the chorus offers ecstatic exclamations and penitential self-flagellations in dialogue with the soaring invocations and virtuosic cantillations of the soprano: “Mary, salvation and hope / of the afflicted world and of languishing mortals, / through you, quivering anger extinguishes its torch in a sea of blood.” There is dread and redemption here, but real and extended terror is never fully unleashed. After all, the cantata is as much about disaster averted as disaster itself.

Handel’s 1739 oratorio Israel in Egypt is a towering landmark in the history of musical violence, a choral blockbuster featuring one disaster after the next. The choruses outnumber the solo arias ten to one. God unleashes his full wrath on the Egyptians, and there is no Mary to talk him out of it. In this age of ongoing Palestinian tragedy, I find it especially difficult to listen to the parched fugal death throes of “They loathed to drink of the river: He turned their waters into blood” and the relentless hammer blows of “He smote all the first-born,” however musically compelling the force and ingenuity of such depictions may be.

Even more terrifying are the choral cries and pounding drums that send the waters of the Red Sea crashing down over the pursuing Egyptian hosts. “But the waters overwhelmed their enemies” is a truly frightening depiction of the wave and its aftermath. But it is frightening not only because of the huge forces involved, but also because the chorus is so unified and frenzied in its condemnations, the massed judgment of a bloodthirsty mob.

Yet more disturbing, precisely because of its irresistible, intimate beauty, is the re-telling of this event in the second part of the oratorio from Moses’ perspective in the soprano aria “Though didst blow with the wind: the sea cover’d them, they sank as lead in the mighty waters.” Handel used the musical material from this gorgeous aria several times in the 1730s. In fact, the repeating bass-line takes up a ubiquitous harmonic progression of the Baroque also heard in Pachelbel’s overplayed Canon in D, and — perhaps not coincidentally — used at least twice by Bach for the evocation of severe wind conditions. In Handel’s aria this ostinato pattern proceeds gently at the restrained pace of Andante Larghetto in steady, endless currents heard in the lower strings and bassoon. A pair of oboes enters above these gathering waters in calming, parallel motion and then goes on to answer each other in yearning counterpoint, as if to sanctify the ongoing act of destruction. The voice soprano emerges from this liquid texture like a poignant prayer, reaching first a long-held note that then glides effortlessly on the divine, if deadly, breeze skimming the sea.

It is in aestheticizing the human toll of natural disaster that Handel reaches the heights and depths of his genius for musical manipulation. Donna che in ciel finds refuge in the compulsory, if somewhat perfunctory acknowledgment of sin. Its allusion to punishment is fleeting, if exhilarating. We’re the bad guys and since we’re not so bad after all we deserve to be spared. In Israel in Egypt the enemy is both real and symbolic, i.e., applicable to any and all useful foes across historical time. This epic of catastrophe begins as shock entertainment, but we are then compelled by the force of Handel’s genius to identify with its perpetrators.

The destruction of the Egyptian army by the Hebrew God in “though didst blow” becomes an exquisite benediction, not an act of war and death. The tsunami of retribution is the seal on God’s covenant. Never has musical serenity been so terrifying.

(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Bach’s Feet. He can be reached at dgyearsley@gmail.com.)

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