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Mendocino County Today: Friday, May 20, 2016

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AN UNUSUALLY STRONG LATE-SEASON STORM will bring much cooler temperatures and chances for scattered showers to the region today through this weekend. Expect high temperatures in the 60s, periodic rain showers, lowering snow levels, and perhaps a thunderstorm or two through Saturday. Mild, unsettled weather will continue through early next week. (National Weather Service)

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by Damian Sebouhian

It’s official: the old Remco site is ready to be sold to Mitchell/Burton Enterprises, following approval of the group’s development proposal by a 3-1 vote of the Willits City Council last week.


It surprised many community members attending the meeting that the Skunk Train/California Western Railroad was no longer in the running for ownership of the site. However, negotiations between Skunk Train general manager Robert Pinoli, present at last week's meeting, and the Willits Environmental Remediation Trust ended after Pinoli failed to renew his initial contract, which expired at the end of August last year.

That left the proposal by a group headed up by developer Ed Mitchell and Mayor Bruce Burton as the only one on the table for the city to review for its approval, so that WERT, which owns the Remco property, could move forward with the sale.

Mayor Bruce Burton recused himself from the debate, as he has done at all meetings dealing with the sale of the former Remco site.

“Anytime we discussed [the redevelopment of Remco] either in public or in closed session, Burton was not involved in those discussions,” Councilwoman Holly Madrigal assured the public. “I’ve heard lots of rumors, and I want to emphatically state we have done everything by the book.”

WERT, which owns the property now, has wanted to sell the site to a development group that could show the city it planned to reuse the onsite buildings effectively. Without such approval, WERT would be responsible for demolition of the buildings at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.

Since 1997, according to WERT’s records, more than $60 million has been spent to clean up the old Remco site.

According to WERT attorney Philip C. Hunsucker: “As a result of these efforts, the hexavalent chromium in the groundwater has been fully remediated and the chlorinated solvents in the groundwater have been reduced significantly. Nearly all of the cleanup activities have been funded by successors to prior owners and operators of Remco, including Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company, Inc.”

Although the site has been approved for commercial use, it is estimated another five years will be required to complete remediation, and environmental restrictions will be placed on the property indefinitely.

As a condition for withdrawing from the Remco insurance coverage lawsuit, on January 13, 2016, the Willits City Council required assurances from WERT, backed by Pepsi, that remediation be continued at no expense to the city and continue until the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board issues a “no further action” letter.

This condition, among others, was part of a legal motion to modify the amended federal consent decree in the Remco action, which was just approved by the court on May 6.

For more details about the amended consent decree, read Willits Weekly’s January 16 article, “Remco site ready to move forward,” at

The Burton/Mitchell plan

Speaking on behalf of the Burton/Mitchell group, Ernie Burton, the mayor’s son, offered a brief presentation of the group’s development plan. According to a report provided by Ernie Burton, developing the nearly 10-acre site will encompass a four-phase project lasting approximately 6.5 years, at an estimated cost of $10.58 million. The project will create somewhere between 73 and 88 jobs.

“This project is going to include tax revenue, job creation,” Burton said. “It’s going to be an incubator for entrepreneurship in town. It’ll help create workforce development and have a real economic impact [on our community].”

According to the report, phase one of the project will take 30 months to complete and include construction of a patio garden, brewery and pub, visitor center, and retail space.

Phase two will take another 30 months and includes creation of a public safety training facility, space for a new fire department facility, and a market place.

Phase three will take 24 months, and includes the construction of more retail space, a light industrial space, manufacturing space, and a sports center.

Phase four will take another 24 months, and includes creating more space for retail, industrial and manufacturing activities.

In addressing current limited access to the site, Burton explained the development group is considering creating a new Highway 20 access road.

“That would require some cooperation with different entities and property owners,” Burton said.

When asked by the council about the fire department moving from its current location, Burton said he had talked with Fire Chief Carl Magann, who was enthusiastic about the proposition.

“My understanding is the fire chief is very comfortable with that location as being a feasible place for a fire department,” Burton explained. “The current fire department [facility] is in such disrepair, there wouldn’t be interest in continuing to use it.”

Madrigal reminded the public that even after the property is sold by WERT, the city will be required to negotiate zoning ordinances to accommodate specific building plans.

When asked by Councilwoman Madge Strong if the Burton/Mitchell group would consider working with the Skunk Train, Burton said: “Absolutely. Our drawing shows a ramp for the Skunk Train to load and unload. We have every interest in doing that.”

What About the Skunk Train?

Based on comments by members of the public, most everybody had assumed there was a continuing two-way competition for the Remco site between Burton/Mitchell and the Skunk Train.

Not even the Willits City Council agenda posted on Friday, May 6 explained otherwise, with the Remco agenda item reading simply: “Presentation, discussion and possible action to approve a proposed plan to use and develop the former main Remco Hydraulics site (tentative).”

The information that Pinoli’s proposal was no longer on the table didn’t become public knowledge until City Manager Adrienne Moore emailed the staff report and supporting materials concerning the Remco matter to the press and others on Tuesday afternoon, May 10. “Please note that at press time last Friday, details were still being worked out between the city and the trust, and were not finalized until this day,” Moore’s Tuesday email read.

That staff report included a May 6 letter from WERT to City Attorney James Lance which read: “The trust will not enter into a contract with the Skunk Train for the sale of the trust-owned property. Among other reasons, the trust will not enter into a new contract with the Skunk Train because it has refused [to] enter into a declaration of environmental restriction that would make conditions necessary to protect human health and the environment run with the land, requiring any subsequent owners to adhere to the conditions. The trust previously wrote in detail of its reasons the trust would not agree to sell the trust-owned property to the Skunk Train in its letter to the Skunk Train dated March 4, 2016, a copy of which was provided to you.”

According to that March 4, 2016 letter from WERT attorney Philip C. Hunsucker, Pinoli had been conducting negotiations with WERT since 2011, initially to consider leasing the old Remco site, then in 2013, to discuss possible purchase of the property.

According to Hunsucker’s letter, “the trust and the Skunk Train agreed on the form of a contract that was set to expire on its own terms on July 28, 2015.”

Both development proposals had the same expiration date on their initial contracts, which were both extended 30 days after last year’s July 22, 2015 council meeting, during which the city asked both development groups for financial assurances and detailed plans. Pinoli did not renew his contract after it expired in late August.

Included in the language of the initial 2013 contract with the Skunk Train, according to Hunsucker, was the agreement that WERT would continue to investigate, monitor and remediate the site after purchase.

From the March 4 letter: “The trust would not sell the property unless it had unfettered access to the property necessary for the trust to perform the work required … to complete the cleanup, which would continue for some years.”

The Burton/Mitchell group became involved with WERT last summer as a competing backup development project to the Skunk Train’s proposal, and on July 22, 2015, both parties presented their plans to Willits City Council.

During that meeting, WCC voted 3-1 to adopt certain conditions, and rejected approval of any development plans “until advised by the trust that such conditions appear to be satisfied.”

Pinoli told the council at last week’s meeting “those conditions … imposed upon us, were not imposed upon the other contracted party.”

Farr refuted Pinoli, saying the Skunk Train owner would not agree to the contract term ensuring that, no matter the owner of the property, the environmental restrictions would remain with the land, and that WERT would have “unfettered access” to it.

“So, effectively, if we were to sell the property to either of the two parties, those environmental restrictions – if they chose to sell [the property] down the road – would stay with the property,” Farr told the council. “At that time Mr. Mitchell agreed to those terms, and Mendocino Railroad did not agree.”

The March 4 Hunsucker letter also addresses a February 1, 2016 letter submitted to WERT by Pinoli, in which he claimed the Skunk Train is a public utility, and therefore could use the power of eminent domain to take possession of the Remco property.

Hunsucker rejected that claim, stating: “The Skunk Train points to Sections 230 and 611 of the California Public Utilities Code to prove it is a railroad. But the question of whether the Skunk Train is a railroad is not important. The Napa Valley Wine Train is a railroad, but it is not a public utility.”

Furthermore, Hunsucker explained – citing a 1988 application of California Western Railroad to the California Public Utility Commission – “the Skunk Train obtained deregulation of its excursion passenger services by arguing they were not a ‘public utility’ function.”

The CPUC agreed the Skunk Train “is not functioning as a public utility.”

“It is difficult to understand,” Hunsucker wrote, “how the Skunk Train could claim it is not a public utility in its dealings with the CPUC, but is a public utility with respect to its claim it can take the property by eminent domain.”

The vote

At last week’s city council meeting, when it came down to voting to approve the Burton/Mitchell proposal, Councilwoman Strong moved to delay approval until the next council meeting, arguing the public had just found out that only one proposal was on the table and the Skunk Train’s was not.

Madrigal seconded the motion, but because the vote ended in a 2-2 tie – with Councilmember Larry Stranske and Vice Mayor Orenstein voting against delaying accepting the proposal – the motion didn’t pass.

Madrigal then moved to accept the redevelopment proposal, Orenstein seconded, and the motion passed 3-1, with Strong opposing and Burton recused.

Willits Weekly has not confirmed the price of the Remco property. Media reports and letters from parties involved have mentioned $250,000 or $200,000 as the price for the seven-acre parcel, but Farr declined to comment on the purchase price.

According to City Attorney Lance, the work to modify the federal consent decree has cost the city more than $30,000 in attorney fees.

Lance explained WERT’s sale of the Remco site to Burton/Mitchell Enterprises would be conditional “upon Pepsi reimbursing the city for its out-of-pocket costs.”

Lance assured the council and the Mitchell group this would not be an obstacle to moving forward.

“If the majority of the voting council members approves the sale subject to this condition, then Pepsi is notified,” Lance said. “[This sale] benefits the trust, Pepsi, and the city, so I would anticipate [Pepsi] would be happy to pay [the attorney fees].”

Willits city staff will present a resolution ratifying the Burton/Mitchell redevelopment proposal at the May 25 council meeting.

(Courtesy, Willits Weekly)

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The following missive was written by Julie E Apostolu and posted to the MCNlistserv @ 9:49 pm Wednesday:


"I am the manager of the Fort Bragg Certified Farmers Market. I am starting my sixth year as the manager and my third term as president of the Mendocino County Farmers Market Association. We run seven farmers markets around the county. We provide a low overhead venue for local farmers (mostly Mendocino and adjoining counties) and food producers to vend their products in a well run supported community event. We provide insurance, locations, oversight, and leadership to our vendors.

I am passionate about the market and its success. I really care about each vendor and appreciate every customer who walks through our market.

It is a tremendous amount of work to manage a farmers market such as the Fort Bragg Market. Closing the street, posting signs, sorting out where vendors will be each week, dealing with problems, fielding questions from potential vendors, organizing music and community groups (like the library, mental health, master gardeners, the bike kitchen, to name a few regulars).

We accept food stamps and can double food stamps, this is a big project that included applying for a grant, and now lots of tracking and paperwork. We are subject to inspections by the Ag department and Environmental health. It is a year round job that takes time on a daily basis, and not just on the very busy market day.

The past three weeks, since we moved outdoors, we have had political groups wanting to canvas the market, walk through, introduce candidates, post and carry signs etc. I have asked them to please stay on the outside of the market and I have been aggressively accused of violating first amendment rights. (Some people have agreed and set up tables for voter registration etc on the sidewalk just outside the market, and I thank you!)

I want to explain my reasons and ask people to respect them.

In Fort Bragg we pay a lot of money for the encroachment permit to have our market on the street. Our farmers and other vendors work very hard to prepare and come to market.

The day of market is a whirlwind of Harvesting, Preparing, Packing, Travel, Set Up, Selling, etc. The Fort Bragg Farmers market is one of the best in the county, our wonderful community comes out week after week in all weathers to support their hard work. People meet each other, eat, people watch, learn about new things, and shop. This market has grown every year that I have been the manager. I work very hard to maintain an inclusive, positive atmosphere that is wholly focused on Food and Community and is welcoming to all the people of our area and our visitors.

For this reason, I have tried to keep all politics out of the market. It has nothing to do with what I personally believe in. I find politics (and religion) polarizing, very personal, and can be alienating in the setting at an event like the Farmers Market. The market does not endorse any political side, measure, or candidate.

After today's “confrontation,” I talked to a cross section of our vendors to see what they felt about it. They unanimously agreed that they don't want to be approached in their booths and they do not want the customers being distracted by being approached by people with political signs, flyers or an agenda.

If people can think of the farmers market like a big outdoor grocery store/restaurant. It is not a free-for-all, everyone is a member of the association, we have various permits and a business license. And please feel free to set up a tasteful table outside the parameters of the market. I also appreciate being notified of same.

It is never my intention to interfere with anyones rights. But please respect ours also. We are here to celebrate local food, to meet outdoors, to expand healthy local food access to lower income people in our community.

It may be a public street and a public event but I ask for cooperation to maintain our vision for our vendors and customers. Thank You for your consideration of my request."

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How odd we can be. I was the one who Julie has accused of "aggressively" accusing her of violating First Amendment rights. So before everybody jumps on another bandwagon, maybe y'all could pause long enough to read this (all of which doesn't even belong on this list).

We were graced with the presence in our community yesterday afternoon of Congressional candidate Erin Schrode ( is her website, if anyone cares to look). She is a vibrant, intelligent and young (age 25) challenger to incumbent Jared Huffman and the Democratic-powers-that-be, including Huffman's office itself, have done a pretty good job with a media black-out of her events. She is a dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist and, at age 13, began her activist efforts. She created an environmental program for the schools that involves feeding kids fresh garden-to-school fresh vegetables and is herself a vegan or vegetarian (I'm unsure which). So it seemed she was a natural "fit" for the Farmer's Market and I took it upon myself, during her downtown tour of businesses to meet owners and customers, to bring her by the Farmer's Market. It seemed appropriate that she be allowed to say hello to anyone interested. In order to not advance to talk with those wishing to be left alone, two of us held small placard/signs indicating who she was so that they might act as a magnet for those who wanted to meet her and to otherwise minimize any intrusion on those who did not. She began shopping for items and also talking to vendors when we were physically blocked from entering the area by the writer to whom I'm responding.

It stuck me that an open air market like this (or any other public market taking place on public land or a public street) was a legitimate First Amendment Free Speech forum, at least according to the constitutional laws that I am familiar with. But I was "aggressively" told I was wrong by the writer and could not enter with or without the signs and whether or not we also shopped while being present. The absolute ban was "no politics here."

As a taxpayer and one who has worked in and with constitutional law, I was rather flummoxed that someone with Erin's credentials would be barred from a public street. Then, the writer shifted ground and said it was just a "preference" of hers and she expected us to honor it. So we did and turned away, with nobody getting to meet this Congressional candidate. It may also have been influenced by the writer's own anti-Bernie Sanders attitude, as I overhead a comment when leaving. And, even with our departure "as requested," the writer could not help throwing out a comment to the effect that our insistence that we had a First Amendment right to talk to voters and citizens "didn't speak well for your candidate."

My goodness. Is this really where we've come to as a community. Putting up walls, finding insulation, avoiding any contact and sanitizing our Farmer's Market from being a forum for expression? Even in an election year as important as this one. Wow. One also wonders if the same treatment would have been accorded our incumbent Congressman were he ever to spend the time visiting a Farmer's Market to discuss ideas about ecology and sustainability.

P.S. As I understand it (and I'll be asking the City for clarification), an encroachment permit only involves permitted use of a public area for an event. It doesn't carry with it the authority to do something that the City itself cannot do, i.e., ban free speech.

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The closing of the Labor & Delivery


At the Hospital Planning meeting on Tuesday, the proposal was made to close Labor and Delivery at our hospital.

If you know younger members of the community, especially our young women, many of whom have returned to the Coast and opened businesses, this is the time for them step in and demand to be heard on this issue. Share this, please.

Here are the reasons to fight this:

  1. Closing L&D violates the opening statement on the MCDH website, and goes against their mission and values (these three statements are appended at the bottom of the bullet points). Closing Labor and Delivery violates the goal of providing comprehensive primary care, violates the mission in that closing such an essential service will make a very negative difference in the health of our rural community, impacting the most needy members who have no alternatives the most. Closing Labor and Delivery reduces the vital role and makes the hospital much less of a key element.
  2. MCDH is a District Hospital – supported by the residents of the Community financially and answerable to them. Providing essential services is what the members of this Community expect. Essential services include Emergency Services, General Surgery and Labor and Delivery. To cut any of these is unacceptable.
  3. The Community understands that Labor and Delivery Services and Emergency Services operate at a loss. We need our Board to direct management to find solutions to ensure the entire hospital operation is fiscally sound while maintaining ALL essential services. Increasing utilization of other services that provide income to the hospital and support essential services should be the major part of any plan.
  4. The data show that a high percentage of patients delivering babies at MCDH are Medical patients. This in part illustrates some causes for the financial dilemma. However, these patients are also the least likely to be able to go “over the hill” for labor and delivery care and services. Thus, we are abandoning our most needy community members and dumping our “poor payers” on other hospitals.
  5. The easy solution on paper is to close a department that loses money with little regard to consequences both fiscal and ethical. The economic and moral consequences of this decision to this community are profound yet not considered. No alternatives are presented such as ways to increase the utilization of services that make money to support the services that lose money. This is not just a fiscal problem, it is an attitude problem when the only solution presented is to cut essential services.
  6. The Financial data presented includes Professional Fees paid to Physicians of $749,930. Where does this number come from? Mendocino Coast Clinic pays Dr. Wright and provides 14 days of call to MCDH at no cost. The Physician who covers the remaining call is not making that amount of money. Salaries and benefits outside of Physician and registry need to be illuminated. All costs need to be illuminated and the costs associated with closing L&S need to be considered.
  7. In the revenue category – there is revenue missing including (but not limited to) revenue from lab tests and radiology tests that are done for prenatal patients when they have access to these services.
  8. Before closing Labor and Delivery – discussion with MCDH malpractice insurance provider BETA needs to happen as to the risk associated with laboring patients arriving in the Emergency room and possibility of emergency C-sections needing to be done by on-call General Surgeons. Discussion with ER Physicians and General Surgeons needs to happen.
  9. The Budget Without OB list needs to include costs for patients arriving in labor to the Emergency room as well as any data on how much the malpractice insurance for the hospital may increase due to this practice.
  10. The projections of how many laboring patients would arrive in the ER based on the anecdotal “previous experience” are not data and do not match the experience of Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits after they closed their L&D department. Comparisons with Garberville hospital (which serves a very small community) are not realistic and were made assuming Garberville patients had the same commute to Eureka when in fact services are available in Fortuna.
  11. The impacts on Mendocino Coast Clinics perinatal and pediatric services were illuminated by Lucretia Renteria. MCC is one of the primary “feeder” clinics for in and outpatient services to MCDH. A negative impact on MCC will result in less revenue for MCDH.
  12. The potential loss of our remaining OB/GYN physician and subsequent impact on services for women must be addressed. Family practice physicians and Nurse Practitioners cannot do in or outpatient surgical GYN procedures that are routinely done by our current OB/GYN physician (and are profit generators for MCDH). This potential loss of services for half our population is profound and unacceptable.
  13. The potential impact on the Community needs to be addressed. Having no L&D services on the Coast will make our area much less attractive to young families, making it harder to keep or recruit young people to the Coast. This decision will potentially impact our schools as well as our economy.
  14. This Community has already suffered the consequences of College of the Redwoods stating that is was not economical to teach students on the Coast. Now we are hearing OUR hospital say that it is not economical to serve pregnant women on the Coast.
  15. The decision to close L&D and the consequences of this decision will negatively affect the image of the hospital and the utilization by members of this community. This decision will affect this entire community. The entire community must be heard.

The opening statement on MCDH’s website says “The best kind of rural healthcare system is one that provides comprehensive primary care with access to specialists and onsite support services such as lab, X-ray and physical therapy.”

The mission statement says “To make a positive difference in the health of our rural community”

The Vision statement says “MCDH will play a vital role in the overall health and well-being of the community, and will be the key element in the healthcare system serving the needs of our community. We will provide leadership to enhance the efficiency, coordination, quality and range of services provided within our rural healthcare system. MCDH will be the healthcare provider and employer of choice within our community. We will continually address and keep up with technology and superior clinical skills. We will have a positive impact on health by encouraging personal and community responsibility for health and wellness. Our efforts will play a decisive role in people choosing to stay in our community or to locate here.” The Values statement says “MCDH is committed to providing excellent quality, patient centered, cost effective health care in a caring, safe and professional environment, and serving the community’s healthcare needs with current technology and superior clinical skills. We believe in the right to local access to a wide range of excellent quality healthcare services in our rural community. We promote patient safety and satisfaction, and consistently work toward a high level of care that results in our patients recommending us to others and in their returning to us for needed health care. Every member of our healthcare team will play an active, participative role that effectively utilizes the skills and talents of each. People are our most valuable resource. We encourage professional development that will achieve a level of competence and morale that will attract and maintain the highest quality staff. We strive to build partnership with our employees emphasizing mutual respect and mutual success.”

Ginny Rorby

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Patches is a young, high energy dog who needs an active family willing to commit to daily exercise and adventure. He's playful, and loves tennis balls. Patches is blind in one eye but this has no effect on his personality or abilities, and he is not slowed down at all. After a fun day, Patches wants to hang out near his peeps, preferably on the couch. This special guy will be a wonderful addition to his home. Patches is a mixed breed dog, 52 pounds and two years old. Come and meet him at the Ukiah Shelter, 298 Plant Road. And check out all of the cats and dogs currently staying at the shelter on our website:

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We also looked up girdling — using a chainsaw to cut a bark-free band around a tree trunk — which some experts say will kill a tree in a month or two. Apparently this method works better than hack-n-squirt, does not require poison, but it takes a little longer to girdle the tree than to hack-n-squirt it. (But it saves on poison cost.)

I have looked up somethings about the newspaper business, but for good reasons, I stay away from telling people in that business how to do what they do. But that is OK, the crowd in the Mendocino forestry peanut gallery is a large one.

The reason girdling tan oak is not done, is because tan oaks vigorously sprout back after the above ground portion is killed from girdling. This is no minor problem and the result is a potentially worse situation than existed in the beginning. Girdling conifers, other than redwoods, is a tried and true method for creating snags. A douglas fir that is properly girdled, will die in about a year.

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Which makes mrc’s other claim that hack-n-squirt results in “300+ local and family wage jobs” (everybody knows they send low-wage Mexican crews out into the woods to do the hacking and squirting) pretty empty when they could use local loggers (Mexicans included) and firewood gatherers to girdle the trees. AND, since it takes a little longer to girdle the trees, it would spread the fire hazard out over more time and not create the almost insta-mega-hazard that killing millions of trees at a time does.

I don’t know what “low wage” is here. The men who perform hack and squirt are highly skilled and make pretty good money for doing what they do. The work is not something your average 20 something is capable of doing.

Also, here is a place for chainsaws, but there is more to girdling a tree than using a chainsaw. Girdling works best when the bark is slipping, which is when loggers are working logging and are not off in the winter. The best technique for girdling involves using a small chainsaw to make two cuts about a foot to a foot and a half apart on the stem of the tree near the base. Each cut should go around the stem, just through the bark and hit the wood portion. Then an axe can be used to knock off the bark between the cuts. This procedure when done efficiently, by someone in better shape than me, can be done in about 2 minutes when the bark is slipping. If the bark is not slipping, it can take a lot longer and try your patience. Then it is easier to fall the tree. Of course if the upper part of the tan oak is killed and the root left to sprout, the sprouts need to be sprayed or you are back where you started from.

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DOZER GROWS. That’s what Humboldt Third District Supes candidate Uri Driscoll calls the big outlaw grows in HumCo. A good term. Driscoll said that the only way to regulate pot at this point is to limit the size of the grows: “Keep it simple, keep it small,” says Driscoll. Could apply to grapes too, although it’s obviously pretty late for grapes.

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Seen On Highway 101 (Photo by Susie de Castro)
Seen On Highway 101 (Photo by Susie de Castro)

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SAGE MOUNTAINFIRE has been, or will soon be, reinstated as boss at County-run animal shelter in Ukiah. Interim shelter supervisor, Mary Jane [last name] will stay on as manager. Mountainfire, long-time chief at the shelter had been placed on paid leave while a variety of charges against her management, including some $28,000 in missing cash, were sorted out.

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ACCUMULATIONS of blue green algae in Clear Lake. The Cyanobacteria spotted with the increased warm weather. They are microscopic organisms that naturally occur in fresh water. The algae can multiple where there’s high nutrient and light levels. The blooms can cause problems in fresh water like discoloration or it can produce floating scums or mats, which tend to accumulate along shorelines. Sometimes blooms like these can become harmful to humans, pets and wildlife. (Courtesy, KWINE NEWS)

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Willits-area woman Christine Kelsay received the five-year maximum sentence in Mendocino County Superior Court Thursday for embezzling nearly $500,000 from Geigers Long Valley Market in Laytonville over seven years.

She was ordered by Judge Ann Moorman to spend at least four of those years at the Mendocino County Jail, with the rest of the term to include supervised probation.

Throughout trial and sentencing Thursday, Kelsay and her defense attorney claimed that Kelsay was the victim, and blamed the store management for setting her up.

Moorman called Kelsay out for perjury for making those claims, in which she allegedly lied under oath.

A future restitution hearing will be scheduled.

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CATCH OF THE DAY: May 19, 2016

Acosta, Adkins, Bugher
Acosta, Adkins, Bugher

ALBERTO ACOSTA, Talmage. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, probation revocation.

JESSE ADKINS, Petaluma/Ukiah. Refusal to identify self, probation revocation.

JESSE BUGHER, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

Campos, Fabian, Gibson
Campos, Fabian, Gibson

GABRIEL CAMPOS, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

FERNANDO FABIAN, Ukiah. Meth for sale, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

LEON GIBSON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Hernandez, Maxfield, Meders, Pacheco
Hernandez, Maxfield, Meders, Pacheco

MIGUEL HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. DUI, reckless driving.

BRADLEY MAXFIELD, Willits. Identity theft, failure to appear.

WILLIAM MEDERS, Redwood Valley. Identity theft, probation revocation.

NICOLE PACHECO, San Jose/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

Ramirez, Schenck, Shed
Ramirez, Schenck, Shed

CHARLES RAMIREZ, Willits. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, armed with firearm.

JEREMY SCHENCK, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

KIERA SHED, Willits. Failure to appear.

Stra, Velasco, Wolf
Stra, Velasco, Wolf

ANTHONY STRA, Clearlake/Ukiah. Drunk in public.


NICOLE WOLF, Willits. Failure to appear.

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by Laura Gilpin

Tomorrow when the farm boys find this

freak of nature, they will wrap his body

in newspaper and carry him to the museum.


But tonight he is alive and in the north

field with his mother. It is a perfect

summer evening: the moon rising over

the orchard, the wind in the grass. And

as he stares into the sky, there are

twice as many stars as usual.

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Hey. I noticed the last couple days the ava's webedition has included pics of current candidates for elected office, interspersed with an image of a cartoon character. This could be America's Premier Front Page: a lineup of hopefuls trying to beam 'electable' at the camera while more than half of them should be Deep in True Jail, Long Time...and among these (where you've a way better than even chance of tagging a thief), appears Elmer Fucking Fudd, with the endearing speech feature and the big-ass shotgun. Think of the horror, disgust, embarrassment and worry the spectacle of a modern American 'election' causes those with any vestige of Human sensibility. If the U.S. electorate had a Human hair anywhere within miles of its Body Politick, it would cancel this overpriced, overrated horseshit charade, and take it back — get it out of the world's misery.

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I don’t know. I feel overmatched. I always figured when I got older, God would sort of come into my life in some way. He didn’t. I don’t blame Him. If I was Him I’d have the same opinion about me that He does.

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To the Editor:

Hello, my name is Linda Quinn. I foster dogs lucky enough to have found their way to the Ukiah Animal Shelter. If only all strays and discarded animals could be so lucky. Volunteering at the shelter has renewed my faith in the innate kindness found in special people. I see employees and volunteers working their hearts out to help the little Pilgrims who pass through our doors. Honest, hardworking softies, who should all be saluted for the kindness and tears that go into their accomplishments. It can be heartbreaking. It can be rewarding. It can be everything in between. The one thing it isn’t is easy.

Sadly, it has just come to my attention that we are, again, under attack by individuals who, for reasons known only unto themselves, won’t stop bombarding our shelter with unfounded accusations, spiteful sniping, and nonstop harassment. Its beginning to feel like being stalked. Its strange and disconcerting, and to what end? It certainly isn’t about the well-being of the animals. That has been made abundantly clear. For too long now, we’ve been forced to work at getting our animals on their feet and into happy homes, while under siege. I don’t understand our attackers’ obsession with destroying an organization that has done, and continues to do, such good work. Maybe they’re they’re just angry/unhappy bullies, who need a sittin’ duck. I don’t know what to think...except that there’s nothing as vulnerable and fragile as lost animals, and that the nonstop vindictiveness we’re having to endure has to stop. Please help us. We’re nice people. Who else would try so hard to do the right thing?

Linda Quinn, Ukiah Animal Shelter Volunteer

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“WHERE THE MIND IS without fear and the head is held high.

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,

let my country awake.”

— Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali


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WHILE HILLARY CLINTON can whitewash her record (and that of her husband) when it comes to issues of race and injustice, the inescapable fact is that the “liberal” Clinton presided over the expansion of the for-profit prison industry, the construction of the mass incarceration state, the explosion of life sentences for drug offenders, the expansion of the death penalty, and countless other socially destructive phenomena that continue to ravage Black America to this day.

— Erice Draitser

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by Ralph Nader

Did you know that in the nine months leading to the criminal war of aggression against Iraq in March 2003 by the Bush/Cheney administration, at least 300 retired, high-level establishment military, national security and diplomatic officials spoke out against the looming invasion? The list included retired Generals Anthony Zinni and William Odom and Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan. Even Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, two of President George H.W. Bush’s closest advisors, strongly opposed the invasion.

Unprecedented in U.S. history, these individuals and others wrote op-eds and letters to the editor, signed petitions, attended protests, and wrote to their members of Congress. Retired military, national security and diplomatic officials have great moral credibility ― much more so than the typical neocon, war hawk talking heads that appear regularly on cable news. No one can question the patriotism or experience of those who have worked their careers in these federal agencies.

But, shockingly, these respected individuals were ignored by the war-drum pounding White House, a mass media mad with hysteria, and an abdicating Congress. We all know now how that three trillion dollar war of aggression turned out. The violent effects were tragically inflicted on millions of Iraqis and tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and their families. The resulting blowback from the United States’ actions in Iraq are still being felt today with the carnage in Syria and the rise of ISIS.

For those who lived through this runaway insanity and felt their voices were ignored, the question now lingers ― how can we avoid such calamity in the future?

To wage an information war, you need ample resources. What if a billionaire who understood thetrue cost of waging reckless war had funded a “secretariat” that would have provided an avenue for these valiant anti-war voices to multiply and get on the mass media — whether as guests or through ads — and get up on Capitol Hill to rebut the lies, propaganda and cover-ups of the Bush/Cheney war machine?

Mega-billionaire philanthropist George Soros fits the bill for such a role. He was, of course, very outspoken against the Iraq attack during that tumultuous period. Unfortunately, by the time he decided to fund organized demonstrations, it was after the invasion, in July 2003.

A sum of $150 to $250 million from George Soros, for whom $2 billion in profits is only a fair year, could have turned the tide in the lead up to that monumental ongoing disaster ― that criminal, unconstitutional war of aggression.

On May 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th 2016 at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. a large gathering of civil society will take place to challenge the entrenched power of the corporate/political complex. The event is called Breaking Through Power. This “Civic Mobilization” will involve thousands of people at Constitution Hall and around the country via web streaming. The overall goal is to connect long-available knowledge to more long-neglected action. We want people to go to to see how they can attend this Super Bowl of Citizen Action.

On May 25, 2016, the case will be made for forming such a secretariat to George Soros or another enlightened billionaire with similar views. Speakers that day include: journalist Chris Hedges, retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former top-level CIA analyst Paul Pillar, peace activist Medea Benjamin, whistleblower lawyer Jesselyn Radack, military specialist William Hartung, broadcaster and filmmaker Phil Donahue and Michael McPhearson of Veterans for Peace.

The impulsive, unlawful plunge into military attacks has already happened again in Libya with far-reaching chaos and violence into adjoining African regions. It could happen again and again to embroil the United States in illegal quagmire wars and blowbacks unless serious efforts are made to create an outspoken, anti-war secretariat with the experience and the resources to counter the insatiable military-industrial complex and its war-mongering ideologues.

Visit to see how you can obtain tickets for these four days of historic events at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. or how to participate in other ways. Scholarships are available to help defer the costs.

We can make it happen; you can make it historic!

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)

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Florida Postcard

Warmest spiritual greetings, It has been a week and a half of guest-staying at the Zen Hostel in Gainesville, Florida. Attached to nothing at all, I read the New York Times daily, and then go online at the University of Florida on a guest pass, to get updated about Beyond Extreme Energy and other related protests in Washington D.C. as reported on the DC IMC, (paying particular attention to Luke's videos). Also, a daily reading of the Earth First! Newswire provides worldwide environmental direct action reports. Evening visits to Gainesville's many excellent downtown restaurants have included viewing of the global evening news. All this, in addition to extensive conversation with the international travel hostel staff and guests about the effectiveness of political activism in general, the merit of my demand to "bring in the spiritual mojo" or else slowly sink in the quagmire of diminishing returns with our favorite slogans, signs, and skits, plus late at night, while enjoying tea and chocolate covered ginger candies on the back deck, we collectively weigh in on the subject of the nature of ultimate reality. What has resulted is the fullest possible consideration and mental clarity in regard to the contemporary socio-political landscape. It is my view that spiritually based direct action affinity groups are the only way to go, in order to successfully intervene in history. Furthermore, continuing to act out dissenting scenarios out of habit is worse than stupid, forever railing at postmodernism's deaf institutions, blindly trying to interact with the government's shadow, while suffering the loss of individual and group meditational awareness which results in being consumed by the spectacle of itself. There is no revolutionary change in any this! My guest stay at Gainesville's divinely anarchistic Zen Hostel is over on May 23rd. I am mobile. I am seeking others to form a spiritually based direct action affinity group. The Earth First! annual gathering is in late June in Michigan. The absurd presidential primary season is headed to conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia in July. The ultimate existential moment is in early November. You are cordially invited to contact me here: Craig Stehr

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When I said that you're using the same consistently idiotic management model, I meant that everything at KZYX has been and is constructed to limit freedom and creativity. You start out from a standpoint that people are /not/ free in every area of their show, until a single aspect of one of these restrictions catches the public's attention and of course you get a flood of complaints, and then you reluctantly allow a little freedom in that narrow case, say, /See? Look how free everything is! And give us a chance! And give us a break! And shame on people for making a fuss! We've only been here for two months! (Then six months, then six years, and so on.)/ and then you shuffle backward into the shadows again. It's not one step forward, one step back; it's never even a single full step forward. So nothing can change for the better. And that's what I meant by saying you've just put a friendlier-seeming color of paint over your systemic problems, not improved things, not progressed. It's what you've been doing and not doing since 1989.

Here's something that's never talked about: Whose show it is? When a local person does a show on KZYX, he's denied the freedom to speak his opinions. And you justify that by saying that the airperson is representing KZYX, and you (suddenly, inexplicably) want to be (falsely) fair. But when a person whose show you're paying for, someone far away --say, Amy Goodman-- expresses an opinion or presents an entire hour of only one side of an issue, that's fine with you, because that's her/their show. Why is one situation grounds for losing or restricting or threatening the show and the other just fine with you?

I've heard airperson after airperson on KZYX down through the years nervously stutter on the air about how he's not supposed to, or can't, weigh in on this or that issue that comes up, and that's what I'm talking about. That's what the /chilling effect on freedom of speech/ means.

My show is my show, no matter what radio station runs it. Two are running it now, soon a third one. And when my show, which addresses all sides of hundreds of nuanced issues each time --and has done since February of 1997-- is on KZYX I won't stand for any unconstitutional interference in what I and writers and callers express. Because this is still America, despite its being encumbered by organizations of people like you.

And I'm still waiting for any response at all from your so-called program director to my weeks and weeks of emails to, the address he said over and over on the air to use, as his own is somehow a secret (as was the process of hiring him, and hiring Lorraine, for that matter) as I'm also waiting for any substantial response from the individual boardmembers I was told by Meg that I'm writing to when I use this one-way web widget buried deep in your byzantine website. How can anyone trust that you're considering the concerns of writers when it just vanishes into a black hole from which no information emerges? And how is adding a layer of committees entirely chosen by you to run interference on information to and from you going to help?

Each of you MCPB boardmembers should participate daily as individuals in a forum open to everyone. If you won't put the forum on your webpage --and Meg Courtney has written (privately to people who angered her by sharing it) that you will never do that because, she says, "It would be a free for all," then at least subscribe to and participate daily in the harmless but at least public free-for-all there. At least you would be leaning forward, you know, preparing to step.

Again, if you don't feel like engaging the public in any timely way on the subject of a public radio station, what business do you have squatting on the board of a public radio station? If you want board elections in future to seem free and open and trustworthy, as the ones so far have not been, you have to do more than just read aloud, on a single show before the board election, your half-page happyface campaign statements about transparency and caring about radio and how much you like jazz.

-- Marco McClean


  1. Jim Updegraff May 20, 2016

    Didn’t get a chance yesterday to comment the Action Alert – She who must be obeyed dragged me along on her shopping trips and when we got home it was time for me to make dinner.

    Action alert: In the case of Feinstein look to her husband’s investments to see in what direction she will go on an issue. John Garamendi and I were in the same frat at U. C. Berkeley ( About 15 years apart) where he was on the football team. John grew up on a ranch in Calaveras County. John is a nice guy but his ambitions are much more broader than his abilities. His wife is the brains of the family and you need to understand her views to understand in what direction John will be going.

  2. Mike May 20, 2016

    Re: Julie v Rod:

    I found this at the Contra Costa Certified Market website:

    “A word about political campaigning at the markets…
    CCCFM markets are designated political-free zones, political campaigning is prohibited. If you represent a non-political group and would like to participate in the market, please review the Non-Profit application to see if you qualify for a free space through our non-profit participation program.”

    I’m no expert. Only time I saw a political campaigning operation going on by a farmers market was when Huffman was first campaigning. Ukiah. He had a guy and a table OUTSIDE the market area (by some distance in fact, on Ukiah’s downtown plaza square. Huffman was nearby roaming and talking (unaccompanied by aides or volunteers). Then he came over to the table where some of us was already grilling the guy at the table. Then we grilled him (“where you getting your money”? “you for legal pot?”)

    Shop in the interior area of the booths, yak it up outside the area. Don’t know the “law” here but this is what Miss Manners is currently whispering into my ears.

    Political missionaries know no sensible boundaries sometimes. Example: I was the Washoe Democratic Party section one of Assembly District 27 coordinator (covering 10 precincts) for a few years and in 2008, when all you Californians came to work the fields (and eat the fabulous spreads at Don and Susan Clark’s awesome Cathexis site), I couldn’t for the life of me stop the constant intrusions into locked apartment complexes downtown (sneaky buzzing on one buzzer, then door knocking the whole complex). OTOH, this lady manager of an OUTDOOR apartment complex illegally tried to stop me from canvassing her place in one of those dive places just northwest of downtown.

    Rod: you campaign in the area beyond the merchant activity. According to Miss Manners anyway. Julie’s right.

    • Mike May 20, 2016

      Just so you activists know…..we were laughing our asses off after awhile. Still, even the long time Republicans voted for Obama, LOL, despite the amusement over the earnest Californians. (Except for that one a-hole poll watcher at the downtown library voting site, thinking he had rights to campaign inside the no campaign zone—actual election day.)

      So many of you came for Obama, I got to retire by early summer!!! By then, I was just an information resource to be used by Obama’s paid hires.

      BTW, yeah, I imagine Julie might actually be pissed by Bernie about right now. (Rod reports her saying something snarky about Bernie.) Loads of Bernie folks are starting to shake their heads over his strange behavior the last couple of days. This sure is going to be revealing stuff over the upcoming weeks. No worries though:

      Hill’s doing one point better than O at this stage. 47 to 41 against Biff. O was 46 to 41 against Mitt, at this time. Nothing to sweat over.

      Thankyou to Erin Schrode for brightening up what would have been a completely miserable exercise on that part of the ballot (without her). HEY: lets vote for her in the first round so the remaining months continue to be brightened. Huffman v Schrode (and not Dale Mensing this time around).

    • Bruce McEwen May 20, 2016

      I remember because Danny Hamburger was there too, surrounded by bouncing bosomy babes, over on the treeline and soon disappeared, the whole bevy, into the sticks. His soon to die wife started weeping and I asked what was wrong… she said her husband was a blatant philanderer, but if she ever said one goddamn word of complaint, even her own children would hiss and censure her as a jealous old backward harridan. She was widely dismissed as a fool because she couldn’t stand Danny-Boy’s infidelities. People wonder to this day how I could have been such a good friend of hers, and hated that asshole the way I do. Maybe this will give you some idea.

      • Mike May 21, 2016

        “People wonder to this day how I could have been such a good friend of hers, and hated that asshole the way I do. Maybe this will give you some idea.”

        I get more than an idea. I don’t have to wonder, no mystification here. Clearly and easily understandable ( at least from those of us with a similar temperament about such things).

        Saw and your comment and lo and behold, merely moments later after the Starbucks online session (now it’s the other Starbucks), an experience of Cosmic Synchronicity manifested!! At the gas station no less:

        I ran into Lauren Sinnott!!

        She’s aware of the news item recently posted here and I think may add to that largely accurate report (but mis characterizing on some fronts, i think…like casting Hamburg with the Black Hat/anti-hero role )….I don’t know, I think that’s what she mentioned she will do (sending to AVA).

        Only chatted for a few moments but it’s clear she’s relaxed and happy. And, remains friends with Dan H, etc. She can do possible updating on stuff herself beyond that. Or, you can chat with her at the Community Center on weekdays as she paints the Mural there. I think she’s curious about you.

        Myself, I’ve always been skeptical of marriage itself because people can change on a dime and generally do. Those who stick it out in a manner that’s not infused with that “quiet desperation” and blah-ness, etc must be those rarely stable and naturally happy people in our midst. (Which Lauren seems to be, btw…….Like Carrie H was.)

  3. George Hollister May 20, 2016

    DANNY KUNY » Retired football coach recovering after getting pinned by tree in logging accident

    ‘I’m a very lucky man right now to be alive’



    Anyone who ever coached against or played for Danny Kuny on the football field knows the guy is a fighter. And Kuny, 61, who retired as Anderson Valley coach last November, has been waging a real battle over the past week and a half.

    He is recovering from major injuries after getting pinned by a 160-foot pine tree in a logging accident on May 10.

    “I’m a very lucky man right now to be alive,” Kuny said from Ukiah Valley Medical Center, from which he was expecting to be discharged to an acute care facility Thursday or today.

    Kuny, a lifelong logger, was felling trees as an independent contractor in Calaveras County, in the area burned by the Butte Fire last fall, when the severed sugar pine got caught in the canopy of a sizable oak tree. As Kuny walked uphill past the oak, the pine tree collapsed a limb of the oak and came crashing down.

    “I never saw it coming,” Kuny said. “It hit me, and then it came off the ground and hit me again.”

    He was pinned under the tree for 45 minutes before his logging partner heard the muted blasts of Kuny’s safety whistle. He was half-buried and the pine was squeezing his lungs. His partner finally found him, then ran back down the hill to retrieve a chainsaw before finally extricating Kuny.

    “The last two minutes, my lungs were starting to give way,” Kuny said.

    After being transported by gurney, by ambulance and then by helicopter, the patient arrived at Doctors Medical Center of Modesto. He had sustained five broken ribs and fractured the tips of vertebrae T1 through T8. Surgeons operated on his mangled ankle that night. “And I was bruised from the tips of my toes to the top of my head,” Kuny said.

    The family has started a GoFundMe site to help defray some of the costs.

    Fortunately, he had no head injuries and no significant damage to his spine or internal organs.

    Meanwhile, his wife, Tammy, had just arrived at her grandmother’s house in Arkansas when she got the call about Danny’s injuries on the morning of May 11. It took her another frantic day to get to Modesto. Fortunately, other family members were able to get to Danny earlier.

    The Kunys are grateful for the care they have received at the two hospitals mentioned above. Danny’s second stop was another matter. Garden City Healthcare Center was supposed to oversee his recovery. But it took about an hour for the Kunys to reject the facility. Danny demanded to be released. According to Kuny, he had to climb into a bedside wheelchair himself. An orderly wheeled him out of the hospital and simply left him on the sidewalk to wait for Tammy and the car. He had no meds and no destination.

    So the Kunys wound up making a grueling nine-hour drive from Modesto to Ukiah. The only thing Danny had to stabilize his back was a seat belt.

    “That drive almost killed me,” he said. “It took forever. By the time we got here, I’m pretty sure I was in shock.”

    Things are much better now. In fact, Kuny, who has been chopping trees for 47 years, is already plotting his return to the woods.

    “This is not gonna keep me down,” he said. “I’m gonna heal up and get back on the job by August or September. It’s gonna take more than this to keep me down.”

    Tammy Kuny isn’t necessarily thrilled with her husband’s career choice, but she has reconciled it by now.

    “I wanted him to get out of it years ago,” Tammy said. “He did, for me, but he was very unhappy. He went back to it and I accept it, and I pray for him every single day he’s out there. He wouldn’t be happy doing anything else, and I want him to do what makes him happy.”

    For years, that has included football. Danny has been coaching off and on since 1988, when he started at Boonville High. His most recent stint at Anderson Valley included a 26-4 overall record and two NCL III championships (one was a co-title) in three years.

    Is there more football in Kuny’s future?

    “You know what? I’m not sure right now,” he said. “There’s other things I want to do. Some things you feel like you’re good at and can do well. Football is one of the things I felt good about myself, and I do well with kids. I don’t know yet, to be honest. I already had some offers. I’m just not ready to make a commitment.”

    First things first for this battered but resolute coach. You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at 521-5263 or Follow him on Twitter: @Skinny_Post.

    Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved. Restricted use only. 05/20/2016
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  4. Bob Mendosa May 26, 2016

    Dear Miss Rorby,

    The scoundrels at the Fart Bag hospital are playing you like a cheap fiddle. Every year they give a two million dollar endorsement to their buddies across the alley, Charlene McAllister and company. They also give them free rent and insurance. What they get back is a lousy quarter million dollars and an attitude. And now they’re pushing for a parcel tax? Gimme a break!

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