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Letters (Aug 26, 2015)

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Reading the latest edition, Washburne's column was splendid. His realization of his comparative good (hard to wrap one's mind around) fortune and the basic conclusions he draws, should be required reading for all the "helping" professionals.

Later in the paper, I was reminded of when a friend, who ran the alternative high school, told me that approximately 90% of the money intended for "the kids" was sucked up in administration. And I was exposed to the ACT program, overseen by the Juvenile Justice Commission (as powerful as the Grand Jury), where, as I recall, 92% of the dollars vanished in program costs.

Also, in all the talk of the pot growers and vineyards use of water and the negative ecological consequences, do the Gowans get a free pass? The reason I ask is that some days ago, forced from heaven, also known as Greenwood Ridge, to the doctors in Ukiah, I noticed overhead sprinklers watering the apple orchard in the noontime sun. This brought to mind the Sandkullas' barely bridled contempt for "irrigated apples". And, reminding all readers to view the floppy-eared bunnies and fuzzy-legged chickens at the County Fair and to support and encourage all 4-H'ers.

Peter Lit, from the community of Elk, now smaller and less interesting without Joel.

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Dear Anderson Valley,

Hayes Brennan's family wants thank all of you who joined us for his memorial, send notes of condolence, and comforted us with hugs and kind words. We are so privileged to be part of this wonderful community.

Linda, Kira, Mari, Eamon & our families

Anderson Valley

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For a country that claims to be a Christian nation there sure is a lot of godlessness going on. When money and materialism holds a God's status, the planet will shake off love again.

By the way there was a lot less scrub trees and brush before the settlers arrived. They cut all of the large trees opening up the land for brush and small trees to grow. Fire hazard! This place used to resemble a well tended garden. The natives practiced controlled burning for a healthy earth.

Name withheld


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Public Radio star Amy Goodperson reporting — in Cuba — 25 homing pigeons were loaded with cigars and 25 with cameras to record the great event. Enough birds returned to their home base in Key West to break the "trading with the enemy" embargo. This was the best news we've heard all day.

Alan 'Captain Fathom' Graham


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Dear Editor

I find your newspaper to be a splendid and unique example of local media and highly entertaining and informative. Thank you.

However, there are times when you talk about something you know nothing about.

For instance: Your ignorance about the town of Willits is complete. Yet you regularly insult it. It should be embarrassing to a local rag.

This town is extraordinarily dynamic. Let me just list off the top of my head and few of the things going on here.

We have an arts center and active community theater and Ecology Action. We have a gleaning organization which provides food to schools and the food bank, a community choir. We have WELL, Redhouse Mercantile, Brookside School Farm, not to mention an excellent library and museum. We have Billy Hetherington!

We have Shanachie Pub! We have an incredibly vital senior center, a college extension campus, and a year-round farmers market. We have an active cowboy ranch culture here, the Roots of Motive Power, the Skunk Train, the Kinetic Carnivale!

We have many youth sports programs and a great summer kids club program. And two large old community parks — much enjoyed.

We have a Chief of Police whom I have never heard a word of criticism about and the Sheriff who everybody admires!

And we have the most awesome and active Grange organization (only one of its projects being the Farm School on Ridgewood Ranch).

And we have WOWSER, for god’s sake!


S.K. Dodge


Ed Note: We take it all back.

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Dear AVA,

Why don't you Boonville yahoos get smart and use those frost fans to blow smoke out of the valley!? Turn them all on at once!

Living in the jet stream of

Point Arena

Ed Note: If we could blow it to Ukiah, we would.

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Letter to the Editor,

I am very disturbed that numerous logging trucks are coming out of the woods loaded with Redwoods, large ones, from the area up the Noyo River watershed at the end of Sherwood Road, and are going on to Hwy 1, headed North. What area are they actively logging at such a prodigious rate, and which lumber mill up North are they heading toward? If you go to Hwy 1 (Main St) in Fort Bragg and stand there for a couple of hours, you can see 6-9 trucks full of wood coming from Sherwood, down Oak St and then up to Hwy 1 headed North. I live in the Redwoods on Sherwood, and am disturbed by the amount of tree loss since the Mill closed, and even now in the drought. I tried to google THPs in the Noyo watershed and could not decipher what is going on.

Branscomb mill is closed.

Ann Rennacker

Fort Bragg

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Dear Editor:

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has released its two year study on various health topics. It had very disturbing news about the obesity rate in California It has climbed from 19% in 2001 to 27% in 2014. In addition 36% are overweight. In other words, only 37% of the population is at an acceptable weight. These findings are based on your Body Mass Index (BMI), a international measure of body weight and height. You are over weight if your BMI is 26 and obese if your BMI is 30. Obesity is measured at 3 levels of obesity - obese, morbidly obese and extremely obese. Needless to say, the obesity increase has serious, if not critical, long-term health implications. About 9% of Californians say they have been diagnosed with diabetes. up from 6.6% in 2003. This ratio would be much higher if you could measure all those who do not go to the doctor and have diabetes. It was noted 39% of California reported in 2014 they eat fast food at least twice a week. As would be expected obesity rate is higher among those that live at the poverty level as compared to those who are wealthy. The report also covered smoking, teen leadership, birth control, and sedentary kids. One area apparently not studied was the role school districts play in the obesity problem by having sugar laced soft drink in the vending machines in schools

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


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To all who read this Newspaper,

My name is Brandon Eugene Stone. I would like to tell you a story.

It starts on a summer morning in our county correctional facility. This is not a story about how I don't belong here or how I was unjustly accused. It's a true story about medical neglect and indifference. It's also a story of how grateful and thankful I am to the emergency response personnel and the emergency room staff as well as the three nurses who treated me with impeccable kindness and professionalism despite me being a County Jail inmate. Special recognition goes to a wonderful, beautiful nurse who was training on her first day, Lucy. That hospital and I are both in a better place because you are there.

Okay, back to my story:

It's a day in August only a couple weeks ago. In jail, most days resemble the one before and the one after it (except Wednesdays; that's canteen day!) I woke up around 9am to defecate and to my horror my fecal matter was black, loose, and blood-laced!

As a 35-year-old male with no medical problems you can imagine what level of scared I was. I immediately notified a deputy about the severity of my problem. I stood there with my mouth wide open because the response I got was a quick chuckle and the sound of footsteps as he left my housing unit.

A few hours later I again let it be known that I was in fact shitting blood! I was told the nurse would be made aware and a sample cup would be brought to me! This was around 4pm. I was not doing good by any means.

I saw a member of the medical staff and asked to be checked for diabetes since it runs in my family. Again, I was just kind of ignored and told I didn't have any symptoms.

I know a lot of guys come to jail and become hypochondriacs, but I'm not prone to fits of made-up medical delusions.

The last "pill call" of the day comes just before lights out at 10:30pm. As a deputy and a short blond male nurse entered my housing unit, I immediately made them aware of the day's events and my current state of feeling ill. I was immediately laughed at and chided by the male nurse. My only response was to tell them: "Don't laugh at me!"

Fast forward about two hours.

I woke up and had to go to the restroom. The next memory I have is of my cellmate D. Williams yelling "Man down!" and pressing the button to alert the deputies that there was an emergency.

Both my cellmates, D. Williams and T. Thurman, were doing everything they could to bring me back to consciousness — they had found me when I fell and hit my head on the end of the bunk. According to them I was nonresponsive. My next memory was being taken down to the medical room in a wheelchair. I remember not being able to feel my legs and my vision was going black.

I have no doubt that I would have died on the floor of this county jail had it not been for D. Williams and T. Thurman.

I vaguely remember around four or five correctional officers standing around me. There were two who seemed to understand the severity of the situation, CO Leon and CO Purcell. I thank you for keeping me conscious while your higher-ups finally decided that it was time to call an ambulance.

I remember a lady in a red shirt coming like my guardian angel and putting me on a gurney and into an ambulance. I was given an IV and hydrated and admitted to Ukiah Valley Medical Center where I was turned over to emergency room personnel — all the best medical personnel a scared shitless (no pun intended) guy could ask for.

After my colon was checked by a not so gentle emergency room doctor and vials of blood were taken, I was given a room. I finally dozed off and woke to the faces of the most wonderful nursing staff a guy could get. They even made the eight vials of blood seem like a great thing. I was given a liquid diet during those few hours. A gastroenterologist came to see me at which point I kind of started to freak. He informed me that if I had lost any more blood I could have died, and he was hoping I would not need a blood transfusion! At 5pm I was taken to surgery by two more wonderful and helpful surgical assistants.

I was sedated and forgot what happened. Then I was top scoped and the surgeon found the cause of the last two days of problems: Acute gastrointestinal bleeding due to bleeding ulcers. Two of them were cauterized and one was clamped. I was kept in the hospital until the next day to observe my vitals. I woke up in the morning and to my happy stomach's surprise I could order real food. Does anyone out there know we don't get warm food in jail anymore?

A lady came around and gave me a menu of what I could order for breakfast. I asked her if I could really order "anything." She said yes! I ordered a bagel, French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, oatmeal, coffee, orange juice and more French toast! Then she told me that there would be two more times, lunch and dinner, and if I was hungry in between I should just call her! Unfortunately for me I was released soon after breakfast back to the custody of the Mendocino County Jail.

So I want to say thank you to all of the Ukiah Valley Medical Center staff especially newcomer nurse Lucy. You did great and if I may say so, Ukiah Valley Medical Center may be the best restaurant I've ever been to.

Brandon Stone


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The Fort Bragg political machine rolls on. The ballot initiative that will put the Old Coast Hotel proposal before the people of the city is making progress; signatures are being solicited this very week. It will not take long to gather them. Meanwhile the social workers have moved into the building and are vigorously recruiting the addicted and confused, but for reasonable fear of liability they are being careful not to modify the building. The people will soon electorally speak. But the political machine in Fort Bragg is bigger and badder than any one issue.

Looking past the Hotel, the scope of development planned at city hall for our unsuspecting town is massive and damn ugly. Most people in the city have no idea. The next step is the imposition of a giant shopping center south of town on one of our most beloved green spaces. Thank you Mr. Mayor. This is their next step in ruining the city. They are very excited. But the conversion of a charming small town into development run amok, California style, is a big job not to be undertaken piecemeal. The shopping center on so-called Delmar Drive, is a merely a step in the wrong direction.

They know what they are doing. When you destroy the quality of life in a small town fortunes are made. When they talk cryptically about “jobs” what they mean is wealth for a few. The movement of money into the pockets of developers and swindlers is the purpose of life for city management. They are actually fairly candid if you know where to look. Most folks don't. Marie Jones and her buddy, the Mayor, have a short list of big projects that they are getting ready to put past the people of the city. These projects are nearing the completion of the planning process and the deals with developers so the people will hear about them soon. Of course there has been no community discussion and won't be until everything is safely in the bag. At that point there will be an opportunity provided for the people to line up speak for three minuets each. Obviously no one will be listening. This strange ritual is an artifact of that distant time when we governed ourselves. Things have moved on.

The Mayor and his boss Linda Ruffing are way ahead of you. Most folks in town are not aware that there has been a seven hundred and fifty thousand dollar payment to an engineering firm to design a retrofit for the sewage treatment plant. This is money that has already been spent with the understanding that the project itself will cost nine million. That is nine million that the city does not have and has no clear way of getting, but they are not worried. This debt will constitute a potent argument for the rest of the development that they have lined up for us. They have it down. Spend the money you don't have, and then make us jump through the development hoops that get it for us. It will make people mad, but they are already mad and that has not stopped anything.

They understand that if there was community discussion we could still get the money for the retrofit of the sewage treatment plant, but it would be subject to untenable conditions like the quality of life in the city. None wants that. They have already solved a lot of things in secret that would have been hard to solve in public. The new plant is being designed to spew tons of toxic chemicals into the ocean. But they are doing it according to a professionally tortured interpretation of law. So don't worry. Linda has you covered.

Rex Gressett

Fort Bragg

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