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Mendocino County Today: September 18, 2014

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THE BLACK FIRE between Redwood Valley and Potter Valley was declared 100% contained Wednesday afternoon. A total of 403 acres were burned, three people were injured, five structures destroyed, six outbuildings destroyed, and two fire engines were destroyed. The cause is still under investigation although there was quite a bit of local speculation that it had something to do with drugs.

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COMMUNITY MEETING IN REDWOOD VALLEY — The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will be hosting a community meeting on Tuesday September 23, 2014 from 6:30-8pm at the Eagle Peak Middle School (8601 West Road) in Redwood Valley. The meeting will be moderated by Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman and members of the Sheriff's Office command staff will also be in attendance. The main topics of the meeting will include discussions on the recent home invasion robberies and the Black Fire evacuations that have affected the Redwood Valley community. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Ukiah Unified School District for allowing the school to be used as the venue for this community meeting.

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UKIAH POLICE announced Tuesday that they'd arrested an 18-year-old Ukiah High School girl on prostitution charges. The young woman is believed to be part of a group of young women engaged in the world's oldest profession, but a profession not practiced or tolerated in Ukiah since early in the 19th century. The girl has not been named or charged as the investigation continues. She had checked into a motel where she was to have met a paying customer when she was arrested. Ukiah Police Captain Trent Taylor said the girl had been selling herself for some six months.

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A TENNESSEE READER WRITES: “Sorry I missed your open house. Could I still forward $2 on a lay (or better said laid) away basis for a full body hug by one of the lovely ladies of the Mosswood preceded by some of that strong drink?”

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RAIN this evening! A frontal boundary will shift over Northern California bringing rain to the region today through Thursday. Make your rainy commute a safe commute by remembering a few simple things. A fresh rain will cause oil deposits on the road to surface making for slick driving conditions. Exercise caution during rainy conditions and drive a little slower, use your headlights, and don't rush. Allow for a little extra time between your destinations. Check for weather details at and enjoy the rain safely! A low pressure system currently located offshore will bring the first rain showers of the season to Northwestern California later this week. The rain total is expected to range from a few hundredths of an inch to around 0.10 inches. Favored areas, such as higher terrain near the coast, may see higher rainfall totals. For details in your area check out


UNFORTUNATELY, in Mendocino County, the “rain” fizzled into yet another drizzle-mist which at least raised the humidity a few points and felt kinda damp but was nowhere near anything remotely resembling “rain.”

UPDATE THURSDAY MORNING: It turned into light rain overnight. Not exactly a log-roller, but wet. Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila was quite happy.

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Question: Of the almost quarter of a million dollars of Mendocino County Office Of Education’s travel budget how many people does that cover? What are the regularly scheduled trips?

I ask because for the last 20+ years (since I moved back to Ukiah) I've spent 50% of the week nights (more or less) sleeping elsewhere (and I do mean elsewhere — besides CONUS [Continental United States, ed], I've worked over most of the globe), while many trips are to high profile/cost venues and I've had some low to mid 5 figure expense reports (back when I had major trade show expenses) I've never come anywhere near spending that kind of money on travel. Admittedly I'm an engineer, not marketing or sales. So I don't have too many entries in the “Entertainment” column, most is not First (or even biz) class and never a chartered fight (although I almost got to ride the Concord once). How do they justify that sort of travel budget?

And to me the most ironic statement [by Trustee Cruser], “It did seem worthwhile to send Mr. Tichinin to this particular Connected Superintendents Summit.” Ah, Connected? (Channeling Stan from South Park) Connected? (You keep using that word but I don't think you know what it means.)

As someone who has pushed the telecommute envelope (since pre-"www") while working for (the real) HP with the early remote access keys & dongles I was able to move out of the immediate Bay Area while still meeting my obligations (position was Chief Engineer of HPTV, at the time one of the largest private networks, with all the obligations except for 24/7). A few years later came to the epiphany (while controlling two TV stations worth of early "Digital TV" located at WBFF in Maryland for ATSC trials from my hotel room in Singapore in the mid 90s) that given the proper remote access “physical presence” does become optional once systems are operational.

Ah, to be a Mendo Lib — too bad about the lobotomy.

Sorry I missed your open house, I will try and make it over the hill one of these days (would for the brewfest this weekend but it's my bride's birthday)

All the best, Stu Casteel, Ukiah

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THE APPLE PRESS will be back at the Boonville Farmers' Market this Saturday, after having been on display at the Fair last weekend. You can bring your fruit (pears and grapes work, also) down to the Boonville Hotel, 10-12:30, to press into juice. You will need containers for your juice and receptacles for the refuse, if you would like to take it home.

ALSO AV Foodshed, 3rd Sunday Potluck, Sep 21. 6:00 PM at

Anderson Valley Grange, Philo. This Month: Hard Cider / Apple Cider Vinegar — Hard Cider and Apple Cider Vinegar are two Rural Skills that are timely and close to home. These amazing products of apple alchemy have an amazingly long history of benefits. Before our Potluck, we have Diane Paget graciously sharing with us a demonstration of basic preparation techniques. Following the presentation we will will talk a bit about the history and benefits. If you want to start vinegar at home, mothers will be available. Then: the Potluck, where the discussion continues over dinner. As always, bring a dish to share. — Jim Devine, 3rd Sunday Committee,

C'MON HOME TO EAT in October is just around the corner. We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of AV Foodshed this year. Watch for the calendar of events posted around the valley and at

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THE NEXT MEETING of the Anderson Valley Health Center Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, September 30, at 5:30pm at the Health Center Conference Room.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 17, 2014

Arge, Bass, Deister, Demits
Arge, Bass, Deister, Demits


ROBERT BASS, Ukiah. Possession of meth/drug paraphernalia, override of ignition interlock, under the influence of controlled substance, driving on suspended license.

LAURA DEISTER, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.

TED DEMITS, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, court order violation, probation revocation.

Gross, Irving, Kirk, Zapanta
Gross, Irving, Kirk, Zapanta

ANNA GROSS, Mendocino County (City unspecified). Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale, armed with firearm.

JAHMARE IRVING, Pot possession, sale, transport, furnish.

NATHAN KIRK, Windsor. Pot possession, sale, transport, furnish, crime commission while on bail, possession of controlled substance, sales.

DARIEL ZAPANTA, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.

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Aches, pains, diseases, and dementia; who needs it? It’s the human condition, but it sure as hell isn’t fun. Growing old is not for sissies. You want to live to be 100? Watch out what you wish for. I’m now 81, so I feel qualified to speak on this matter. Getting old sucks!

When you’re 60 or thereabouts you look in the mirror one day and you realize that the game has changed. Who you see in your reflection is not the good looking you that you are used to seeing. And it’s all downhill from there for most of us.

If I now have your attention I want to explore with you the ramifications of that. Being old is not all good or all bad. So what’s the good news? It beats the alternative, as they say. Hey, you have a wealth of experience with which to deal with the world and your associates and relatives. Hopefully you have provided for your retirement and are able to live comfortably.

Even if you have what you think of as enough retirement funds let us hope that you are not suffering from the delusion that there is any security. Investments can be wiped out from a number of directions; government activity, Ponzi schemes, Wall Street greed, identity theft that wipes you out, economic depression, inflation, a rise in the cost of living that reduces the real value of a fixed income. The last twenty years are a prime example of so called security disappearing.

The issue is this; you can’t start over, you’re too old to do that. So, if the bad stuff happens you can always rely on your children, right? No. Not always, and probably not usually. They may not have any money, or any physical or emotional space for you to come and live with them. They may not want to help you even if they are able to. Even if they can and even if they want to, living with them may not be all that great.

Let’s say everything is a go; they have the money, the space, the love for you, all of that. That’s great, until you get sick and need care. That changes the game again; the stress level rises, the costs of care go up and up as your health goes down and down. The cost of medicines you may need to take goes up. They may want to put you in one of those warehouses for the aged, euphemistically called assisted living facilities. But you may not, and probably will not want to go into one of those. I urge you take a walk through one of them. One walk-through will do it. If you’ve already been to one, you know what I mean.

Now, for a minute, forget all that. None of that is the case in your situation. Great! However, all is still not rosy. As you advance in age the aches start to multiply. A touch of arthritis, a bit of lumbago, you name it, it’s going to happen. Not all at once; rather, it creeps up on you and just keeps creeping. You don’t have to be sick to have pain. It can come at you from lots of directions; you’re not sick, you just have conditions. Your body begins to waste away. It declines, and your organs become subject to degenerative disease.

The likelihood of dying doubles every seven years after the age of thirty. If you’re male an enlarged prostate gland can raise hell with your urinary functions. If you’re female, it can be the estrogen merry-go-‘round. Those two conditions are just a tiny sample.

See what I mean? No, you don’t, because your eyesight is not what it used to be and the cataracts are growing. Your hearing gets less and less accurate. Your teeth start to have problems, or fall out, or need a lot of expensive rehabilitation. Cells grow old and begin to deteriorate. It’s a very natural process, but it ain’t fun to experience. You look in the mirror and see wrinkles where there were none. You see spots where there were none. Your skin isn’t smooth and gorgeous anymore. You stature begins to shrink. Some of the foods and spices you enjoy the most are now off the table.

Feeble is a word we don’t hear much these days, but it’s a good word. You just can’t work as hard, or as long, or as often as you used to be able to. The gait of your walk changes. It gets harder to turn your head a full 180 degrees. Your posture begins to slip. Going up a flight of stairs becomes more difficult. Driving a vehicle becomes a challenge to avoid tickets and accidents, if the cops or relative or the DMV haven’t taken our drivers license away, making you totally dependent on somebody else for you to get to the store.

So what, you say. I’m still alive, I still enjoy certain aspects of my life. Right on. Enjoy them while you still can. However, we still need to think about dementia. Our short term memory begins to skip away. You can’t remember stuff that happened only a minute or two ago. You have what they call “senior moments”, brain-skips. And you find that they are getting closer and closer together. The frustration level rises. You have an increased need to make lots of little lists instead of trusting things to memory. Then you can’t find the list, or many other things you have “misplaced”. Face it, if you think you’re losing it you probably are.

Well, so what if you can’t remember a few things now and then. You still have your childhood memories and your young age and middle age memories, so what’s the problem? Alzheimer’s, that’s what. 2% of us have it at age 65 and 20% at age 85. Good odds? Sure, unless you get it. The way memory loss works is first you lose your short-term memory; then you lose your childhood memories; then you lose what’s in-between them, from the short term backwards.

Put them all together, all of the above; the physical, the mental, the situational stuff. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot to speak of the emotional tribulations of getting old. Young people, when surveyed, say that old age begins at age 67. Middle aged people put it at 77. Whatever. The problem is that you change emotionally too, not just physically and mentally. Just being thought of as being old, and experiencing yourself as old can be depressing. We live in a youth worshipping culture. We are a young nation with a forward looking perspective. We collectively spend billions, yes, billions of dollars a year trying to stay and look young.

Depression is rampant in our culture, and it hits the old folks hard. Cognitive dissonance enters the picture also. We tend to get into denial of what is happening as we age, thereby checking out of a firm grasp on reality. Denial helps us feel better for a while, but when reality slaps us in the face the prior denial makes the reality even harder to cope with.

So where’s the good news about getting old? There isn’t any. It’s just a question of how much bad news each individual has to deal with. I have painted a very bleak picture here.

I hope it will not apply to you, but if and when it does, here are some tips.

If you’re not old yet, do everything you can to make all of the stuff above lesser rather than greater. Eat healthful, nutritious food, get enough sleep, get some exercise daily.

Secondly, travel as much as you can and want to before you can’t travel anymore. Most people do not regret what they have done in their lives as much as they regret what they did not do. Thirdly, keep as positive an attitude about death as you can. Those who do so live 7.5 years longer than those who fear death. Fourth, live as close to nature as you can; get outdoors a lot, commune with the birds and the bees, even though you are no longer able to function as they do. Fifth, keep your mind engaged, active, thinking. Read good books, talk with people smarter than you are, listen to those who know more than you do. Sixth, stay out of jail, since the food and health care there is really bad.

So why did I write this piece? Be prepared! Things that take one by surprise are harder to deal with than things that are anticipated and prepared for. Wait a minute! Can someone really prepare for old age without worrying about it all the time? Good luck.

Lee Simon, On a sunny slope in Virginia

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The Bush Cover-Up Begins to Unravel

by James Ridgeway

In his New Yorker article, posted on the magazine’s web site last week, Lawrence Wright tells how the Bush administration deleted 28 pages in the 2002 report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on 911 probably because they describe in detail the Saudi connection to the Al Qaeda attack and Saudi financing of its operatives in the United States — people who knew two of the hijackers, and may well have been used as conduits for Saudi cash. Some of the money may have come from the royal family through a charity.

In removing the 28 pages Bush said the publication of the information would damage American intelligence operations. The Saudis deny all of this.

In fact no one would be talking about it now were it not for families of victims of the attack and insurers, who are suing the Saudis.

Wright goes on to report:

“’There’s nothing in it about national security’,” Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina who has read the missing pages, contends. ‘It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.’ Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told me that the document is ‘stunning in its clarity,’ and that it offers direct evidence of complicity on the part of certain Saudi individuals and entities in Al Qaeda’s attack on America. ‘Those 28 pages tell a story that has been completely removed from the 9/11 Report,’ Lynch maintains.” Another congressman who has read the document said that the evidence of Saudi government support for the 9/11 hijacking is “very disturbing,” and that “the real question is whether it was sanctioned at the royal-family level or beneath that, and whether these leads were followed through.” Now, in a rare example of bipartisanship, Jones and Lynch have co-sponsored a resolution requesting that the Obama Administration declassify the pages.

But there are other questions here, and they involve the story of how the Bush administration sought to suppress evidence that would reveal how much it knew of the attack plot — and didn’t do anything to stop it.

To resume the story briefly:

Two of the flight 77 hijackers—Khalid al-Mihdhar, a Saudi who fought for al-Qaeda in Bosnia and Chechyna, and Nawaf al Hazmi, another Saudi with battle experience in Bosnia, Chechyna and Afghanistan, met at an al-Qaeda strategy meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January, 2000. The CIA had asked the Malaysian intelligence service to conduct surveillance, but it proved not to be very effective. The two left that meeting, went to the airport and boarded a commercial flight to Bangkok on January 8, and subsequently took a United Airlines flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles, landing without incident and passing through US immigration.

By that time, according to the Joint Inquiry Report, “the CIA and NSA had sufficient information available concerning future hijackers al-Midhar and al-Hamzi to connect them to Usama Bin Laden, the East Africa embassy bombing and the USS Cole attack…and they should have been placed on the State Department TIPOFF watch-list and the INS and Customs watch-list.”

By July 2001, analysts operating on their own confirmed the two had landed in the US and notified the FBI. The Bureau alerted its offices in New York, but not in Los Angeles or San Diego. And no one thought to tell the FAA, INS or Customs Service not to let these men fly on planes.

Once in the US, the two hijackers passed unnoticed beneath the noses of the CIA and FBI. They went from Los Angeles to San Diego, where they rented an apartment, got Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, credit cards and a car. They soon began flight training.

The two had contact with a radical imam, who the FBI was watching and with a leader in the local Saudi community who was believed to be a Saudi financial conduit to the hijackers.

Perhaps most significant they had contact with a local FBI informant, in fact, living in his house. This man was charged by the FBI with keeping tabs on the local Saudi community. “He stayed at the home of a source of ours,” an FBI counterterrorism official later told James Bamford, author of the book A Pretext for War. “Had we known about them we would have followed them and said, ‘Hey,these guys are going to aviation school’.”

The Joint Inquiry concluded that the informant’s contacts with the hijackers, had they been followed up, would have given the FBI’s San Diego office the best chance to unravel the plot. Later efforts by the Joint Inquiry to interview the informant were thwarted by the FBI and Justice Department.

According to former Florida Senator Bob Graham, in his book Intelligence Matters, when the Joint Inquiry asked the FBI for all its files on the informer, the members were denied access to him and when the Joint Inquiry subpoenaed him, the FBI stalled. Graham called a meeting with CIA director George Tenet, FBI director Robert Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft. They suggested Graham question the informant in writing. But by the time the FBI sent out their questions, the informant had retained a top lawyer, a former employee of the Justice Department. The lawyer demanded immunity for the informant before testifying. Graham writes in his book, “It seemed strange that an individual who claimed to have done nothing wrong and who the FBI argued continued to be a valuable source of information would request immunity.”

The committee turned down the request.

Graham wrote, the FBI “insisted that we could not even in the most sanitized manner, tell the American people that an FBI informant had a relationship with two of the hijackers.” The Bureau opposed public hearings, deleted any reference to the situation from the Joint Inquiry’s unclassified report. Only a year later did the FBI allow a heavily-redacted version of the story in the public report.

Finally in his book Graham describes a letter from a member of the FBI’s congressional staff explaining the Bureau had been uncooperative on orders of the administration. “We were seeing in writing what we had suspected for some time. The White House was directing the coverup.”

“Later, when the 911 Commission conducted its own investigation, both Bush and Cheney met with them in a private, off-the-record conversation.”

This story and the new piece by Wright strongly suggest the President, Vice President and head of the FBI were engaged in obstruction of justice. If so, that would call for the convening of a federal grand jury. Would the Justice Department, which runs the FBI, do that? Probably not.

So it is left to the families suing the Saudis to find and publish the truth.

(James Ridgeway is an investigative reporter in Washington, DC. He co-edits Solitary Watch. Courtesy,

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GOV. JERRY BROWN HAS SIGNED A BILL by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast) that substantially increases the financial penalty for those who intentionally sever or vandalize communications cables or lines that conduct electricity. Under AB 1782, the maximum penalty for these crimes increases from $500 to $10,000 per occurrence.

“The residents of Humboldt County have been the victim of multiple intentional fiber cutting attacks in recent years, causing disruptions of broadband service to thousands of homes and businesses,” Chesbro said. “These acts of intentional vandalism have cost Suddenlink Communications more than $100,000. This figure does not address reduced confidence in the North Coast’s broadband service, the financial impact to local residents and businesses, damage to critical communications infrastructure or the potential impact during an emergency.”

Vandalism to communications cables and infrastructure is on the increase statewide.

“Throughout California, there have been instances of cable nodes being vandalized and backup batteries being stolen, inhibiting the ability to dial 911 in emergency situations,” Chesbro said. “These crimes are not only extremely costly to the provider, but a threat to public safety. AB 1782 brings the penalty for vandalism to communications infrastructure in line with other penalties for vandalism.”

“Rural California is working hard to increase broadband access in order to improve economic development, education, health and safety,” said Connie Stewart, executive director of the California Center for Rural Policy at Humboldt State University, which is a sponsor of AB 1782. “It’s unimaginable to think there are people who would intentionally cause community-wide blackouts. But it happens and AB 1782 will help make sure those who commit these acts are punished appropriately. We appreciate Assemblymember Chesbro for championing this important legislation.”


  1. Jim Updegraff September 18, 2014

    Why should anybody be surprised by the Saudi relationship with the 911 attackers? There are Saudi families funding ISIS. As for Bush covering up the Saudi relationship he was a stooge for the large international oil companies.

  2. Harvey Reading September 18, 2014


    Although the article is true to a tee, it was about as uplifting as falling off a ladder. We should have a choice of self-administered euthanasia, cheap, painless, at our own discretion, without any Christofascist Jesus peddlers forbidding it or interfering with it through their Sharia-like justice system that prevails here in the land of the warmongering greedy, who perceive themselves exceptional.

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