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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016

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THE CLOSELY WATCHED matter of Charles Reynolds, 32, was in Judge David Nelson’s superior court this afternoon (Wednesday) in Ukiah for what was scheduled as a preliminary hearing. Reynolds is charged with “assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury” in the death of Kenneth Fisher, 29.


THE DEFENSE asked for and received a one-week continuance.

DEPUTY DA Luke Oakley surprised everyone with the statement that the prosecution possesses a surveillance video, presumably of the fatal episode.

FISHER grew up in the Laytonville area. Reynolds, 32, is a married man with a wife and three small children in Oklahoma, but apparently spends a lot of time in the Willits area. He has three arrests in Mendocino County. One in 2008 for disorderly conduct and violation of probation; 2010 he was charged with DUI. 2011 he racked up a serious battery charge that then-DA Lintott did not prosecute. Reynolds is said to be a skilled motorcycle mechanic.

Kenny Fisher
Kenny Fisher

AT TODAY’S HEARING, a large crowd mourning the death of Fisher was passing out commemorative glow-in-the-dark tee-shirts.

(Bruce McEwen reporting from the AVA's Ukiah Bureau)

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Grocery store employee pleaded guilty to perjury during embezzlement trial

by Glenda Anderson


A Willits woman who admitted to lying under oath during her April embezzlement trial was resentenced Tuesday to eight years, eight months in prison, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office. Christine Kelly Kelsay, 35, had been sentenced in May to four years in the county jail and one year of supervised probation after being found guilty of stealing almost $500,000 over seven years from her employer, Geigers Long Valley Market in Laytonville. She could have been released as early as 2018. But in late July, Kelsay pleaded guilty to additional charges of perjury and creating false financial declarations for use in family law court and agreed to sentencing enhancements, according to the district attorney’s office. District attorney spokesman Mike Geniella said investigators identified at least 23 “provable and specific” instances of perjury. During her trial, Kelsay admitted she had lied in family court documents as well as on tax documents attempting to explain discrepancies between reported earnings and the large amounts of money that passed through her bank accounts. Kelsay also attempted to lay blame for the stolen money on others at Geigers market, including her boss, and the finance manager who exposed the thefts. With the added time, Kelsay likely will actually serve four years, Geniella said. She’s also been ordered to pay $550,000 in restitution, he said. You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 707-462-6473 or glenda.

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by Hank Sims

productlinehmbldt’s initial product line: “hmbldt bliss,” “hmbldt sleep,” “hmbldt calm” and “hmbldt relief.” These vape-like products are delivered via the proprietary “hmbldt dose pen.”

Today we learned that there is a new company that calls itself “hmbldt.”

This company — “hmbldt” — is a high-tech medical marijuana startup based in Los Angeles (according to its press release) and run by various refugees from the tech industry. Today it issued a press release announcing its new line of vapable meds, which are delivered with precision via something it’s calling the “hmbldt dose pen,” a proprietary device.

The company is currently serving up four different blends of cannabis derivates — “hmbldt bliss,” “hmbldt sleep,” “hmbldt calm” and “hmbldt relief” — each with a different THC/cannabinoid ratio designed, theoretically, to deliver those experiences to consumers. We learn from the company’s web page that three more products are undergoing consumer trials. Those are “hmbldt energy,” “hmbldt focus” and “hmbldt control.”

Does hmbldt have anything to do with Humboldt County — in, like, a concrete sense, rather than as a sort of state of mind? Not on the face of it. Its president and cofounder — one Matt Seashols — is introduced as the founder of several technology companies, including “iGoals” and “Urban Tag.” Its chief financial officer comes from “Oracle, Gupta Corporation and Centura Software.” Its VP of marketing previously worked for Budweiser and Target.

But hmbldt wants to let everyone know that it is inspired by Humboldt County. Its “about” page is decorated with a photo of Moonstone Beach, and it speaks reverently about the diverse microclimates of that mystical land in the north, where “the waters of the Pacific yield to the steep inclines of the King Mountains [sic]”:

Humboldt County is home to some of the most complex cannabis strains in the world, which are rich in the healing compounds of major and minor cannabinoids and terpenes.

Inspired by the rich plant diversity and the remarkable human-plant relationship, the hmbldt team set out with a mission to create the first strain-agnostic cannabis blends that deliver targeted health benefits.

Wherever we go, our heart and soul remains in Humboldt.

So hmbldt is inspired by Humboldt County, and Humboldt County has certainly inspired the branding of hmbldt, which is now available in dispensaries in San Francisco and San Jose. But does Humboldt County contribute to this line of products in any material sense? Is hmbldt’s weed sourced from Humboldt County farmers? If so, the hmbldt website and its press kit for some reason don’t mention that fact, which you’d think would be sort of key to their marketing.


We’re working with hmbldt’s public relations firm to arrange an interview with CEO Matt Seashols. We’ll let you know what we find out when that comes to pass. In the meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Proposition 64 — the legalization measure on this fall’s ballot — takes a dim view of companies that seek to capitalize on a false appellation. Chapter Six of the Initiative, which regulates licensed cultivation sites, states:


(a) The bureau shall establish standards for recognition of a particular appellation of origin applicable to marijuana grown or cultivated in a certain geographical area in California.

(b) Marijuana shall not be marketed, labeled, or sold as grown in a California county when the marijuana was not grown in that county.

(c) The name of a California county shall not be used in the labeling, marketing, or packaging of marijuana products unless the marijuana contained in the product was grown in that county.

Chapter 15 — “Advertising and Marketing Restrictions” — states:

  1. No licensee shall:

(c) Publish or disseminate advertising or marketing containing any statement, design, device, or representation which tends to create the impression that the marijuana originated in a particular place or region, unless the label of the advertised product bears an appellation of origin, and such appellation of origin appears in the advertisement;

Senator Mike McGuire’s SB643, signed into law by the governor last year as part of the “Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act”, has a similar clause that puts it more tersely:


(c) It is unlawful for medical marijuana to be marketed, labeled, or sold as grown in a California county when the medical marijuana was not grown in that county.

(d) It is unlawful to use the name of a California county in the labeling, marketing, or packaging of medical marijuana products unless the product was grown in that county.

So one of three things seems to be going on here:

hmbldt gets its raw product from Humboldt County, but for some reason does not mention that fact in its PR materials.

The disemvoweling of the name “Humboldt” gives the company enough cover, or so its lawyers may argue.

The company is out of compliance with the law.

Any of them seem possible. Again: We’re in negotiations with a PR firm for an interview with hmbldt’s founder. We’ll let you know when we find out more!

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UPDATE, 4:25 p.m.: We have found, on Facebook, one local person whose profile lists him as a co-founder of hmbldt. So there does in fact seem to be a local connection.


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A READER WRITES. “Careful about these election ‘observers.’ They are the people who were certain a corrupt and dishonest Ranochak was throwing the election to Pekin and to Clinton too. Conspiracy theory throughout the state was rampant after California primary that county elections officers were deliberately throwing out Sanders’ votes, etc. Based partly on one woman’s confused video about how she was trained, apparently – this was Greg Palast’s contribution, assuring people that Sanders had won California, and that if results didn’t reflect that, it was because election was stolen by local county officials. Forgetting (as is usual with many privileged third-party or Bernie type voters — certainly one myself) all the urban primary ‘voters of color’ in California who were certainly not going to vote for Sanders en masse, let alone the gender vote.

“AND SUCH CONSPIRACY theories were rampant here in Mendocino County too, all over Facebook, “the fix is in” at the Mendocino County voter office, late count of coast votes (which is as usual) was deliberate, to dishonestly ensure Ranochak could throw away coast votes, to engineer a Faulder victory, and to favor Clinton, too. (I’m sure such was all over that MCN discussion list, as well as FB). This conspiracy theory, at least the Sanders’ part, was illogical, due to the reality that if Ranochak was throwing the election to anyone, it was Sanders himself, as it was obvious Sanders was going to ‘win’ Mendocino County from the beginning, but oh well….

“I DIDN’T READ BRODSKY’S series in full, and I expect she had some valid points, but my god, man, when people keep calling you corrupt and dishonest, you get your hackles up. And what I did read did not include any comment at all about any ‘bad manners’ by such righteous observers against the forces of evil, which I would not be surprised at all to hear happened.

“I expect Ranochak got any number of accusatory calls before the primary from people yelling at her about why they didn’t get a Democratic presidential primary ballot because they just KNEW they were Democrats and there’s no way they mailed in a change in registration on the date indicated, and she was stealing their votes for Bernie!!!!!! When it turns out, after Ranochak good naturedly researched their records, oh yeah, they remember now, they got mad at Obama so when they went to DMV that time, they changed back to independent or Green.

“THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE — except it’s not. Ranochak is an elected official, and the Board of Supervisors can’t really instruct her. I doubt very much there will be any credible opposition to Ranochak. Efforts before to recruit have failed; former registrar Marsha Wharff was worse, and some of the politicos here with some potential power to actually help a challenger candidate tried to recruit against Wharff, but failed. Remember, Ranochak is not just voter registrar, she’s also assessor and clerk-recorder, too.

“SUCH SOLUTION would primarily entail: Switching all the ‘mail-voting-only’ precincts that Wharff instituted back to “You can choose to vote at the polls or by mail-in ballot yourself,” thus giving the many ‘mail-in-only’ voters who did not choose to vote ‘early’ by mail, and who drop their mail-in ballots off at the polls on Election Day, the right to vote at the polls again, thus ensuring their votes get counted in the ‘Final Election Night Report,’ thus ensuring that most votes are counted in such final election night tally.

“AND POSSIBLY also getting Ranochak to agree to issue rolling updates on vote counts as after-Election Day votes are counted — not wait until all the ‘housekeeping’ to certify the election is finished — the mandated double-checking recounts for any election, getting all the provisional ballots verified, etc.) Many county voter offices issue such rolling updates as many observers of this June primary can verify.

“My understanding is that it’s not the counting of regular ballots that takes all the time – and remember Wharff used to take all the time allotted to her before certifying and announcing final results and Ranochak is getting it done quicker – it’s all the ‘housekeeping’ required to certify the election, as well as researching provisional ballots.

“EVEN IF RANOCHAK issued one additional tally of votes, including all the regular ballots, before researching/processing provisionals, with such announcement including the number of provisionals still to process, and before doing the work needed to certify the election, that would work in all but the tightest of elections, where provisional votes could possibly change the results

“AND ALSO, how many years has it been now, since GEMS election results are available online, that the ‘100 percent reported’ figure has confused people — and reporters, too: the Fort Bragg Advocate published an embarrassing article about very low voter turnout this June based on – yet again – a reporter (and presumably an editor) thinking that ‘100 percent reported’ language means all the votes have been counted, when all it means is that all the precincts have reported in, presumably with counts of regular ballots cast at the polls. With more than half the ballots not being counted until after the ‘Final Election Night Report’ these days, that “100 percent reported” language is at the root of much of the bewilderment and confusion.”

“If you hand in your ballot at a polling place, it will wait to be counted with the ballots that are filled out at the polling places.

“Yes, it’s true if you mail in or hand in your ballot early, it will be counted early, and reported in that first Election Night report right after the polls close.

“But 'mail-in ballots' handed in at the polls on Election Day are NOT ‘counted with the ballots that are filled out at the polling places.’ The ballots filled out at the polling places are counted and reflected in the ‘Final Election Night Report’ – the mail-in ballots handed in at the polls are counted later, and not reported at all until the final certified tally is released.”

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Mendocino County Assessor-Clerk Recorder, Susan M. Ranochak announced: We have added a page to our Election website that has the text of each ballot measure as they will appear in our Sample Ballot. We have included city measures and county wide measures for your convenience. Please visit our website at: Any questions should be directed to my office at 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1020 or by calling (707) 234-6827.

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Meeting Notes

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by Julie Johnson

A man suspected of killing a fellow worker at a remote Mendocino County marijuana farm and then fleeing the state has been brought back to California after losing his four-month bid to fight extradition, sheriff’s officials said.


Joshua Ruoff, 30, of South Lake Tahoe was booked into the Mendocino County Jail at 11:40 p.m. Friday on suspicion of murder and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, records show.

Investigators suspect Ruoff attacked Timothy Sweeting, 27, of Rohnert Park on May 17 at the property in northwest Covelo on Road 337D, locally known as the Charlie Hurt Highway.

A fellow laborer said he witnessed the assault. The witness reportedly fled, apparently fearful for his safety, and called the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office the next day, May 18.


A deputy sent to the Covelo property found a bloody scene inside the house, but no sign of Sweeting, his dog or his Chevrolet Tahoe. He also found about 400 marijuana plants spread among a greenhouse, backyard garden and the house.

By that time, Ruoff had already rented a U-Haul and was on the way to New Hampshire. He was arrested there May 23.

A dog found Sweeting’s body June 2 on the property in a shallow grave.

Capt. Greg Van Patten said East Coast connections apparently brought Ruoff and Sweeting together to grow pot on the parcel, owned by a New Hampshire family. Ruoff originally came from New Hampshire and Sweeting grew up in Seneca Falls, New York.

In August, narcotics detectives returned to the property and arrested a couple and their grown son who investigators said were running an illegal pot farm and sending at least some of the marijuana to the East Coast.

Van Patten said there was no evidence they were growing the pot for medical purposes.

Robert and Katherine Overend, 66 and 67, both of Francistown, New Hampshire, bought the property for their son, 28-year-old John Overend, to grow pot, according to the sheriff’s office.

All three Overends were booked into the Mendocino County Jail Aug. 11 on suspicion of marijuana cultivation and sales, and a weapons charge, according to the sheriff’s office. Detectives found 190 growing marijuana plants, 5 pounds of processed pot and “a large sum of U.S. currency.”

They were released and prosecutors have filed no charges against them.

New Hampshire State Police had intercepted packages of marijuana being shipped from the son to his mother, according to the Mendocino investigators. The Mendocino County sheriff’s team said they raided the property to assist the New Hampshire investigation.

Tension had been building between Ruoff and Sweeting before the assault, Van Patten said.

Sources familiar with the investigation said investigators suspect Ruoff had sent angry text messages about Sweeting to one of the property owners and had even indicated he might attack Sweeting with the suspected murder weapon, a metal Little League-sized baseball bat.

Ruoff is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 23 in Mendocino County Superior Court.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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CREATIVE FENCE, Lambert Lane, Boonville

creative fencing

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Adventures in the Wine Trade

by Mark Scaramella

Mr. Johnson was the reason I wrote “Chemistry” when asked to fill in the blank entitled “Major: ____” in the fall of 1962 when enrolling at Fresno State College.

Mr. Johnson was my highly entertaining high school chemistry teacher and his mostly unintentional classroom antics were legendary in our senior class at McLane High in Fresno. Mr. Johnson, a biology teacher transferred to chemistry when the chemistry teacher retired, brought a whole new meaning to the word “experiment.” He was a good-natured cross between Mr. Wizard and Mr. Magoo.

Since he had never tried most of the experiments called for in the chemistry textbook, they frequently didn’t turn out as planned. Once, when demonstrating the spontaneous combustion of turpentine in chlorine gas in first period chemistry class, Mr. Johnson became frustrated when the turpentine-soaked filter paper inserted into a bottle of chlorine with tongs wouldn’t do anything the first few tries. He finally abandoned the tongs and angrily thrust the paper into the chlorine bottle bare-handed. It exploded into black soot that covered his entire chest, face and upper arms.

Another time, when trying to demonstrate the combination of iron with carbon to make steel, he got a glob of molten iron so white hot that it melted through the sand and metal cradle it was in and burned its way down through his desktop, the shelves, the flooring and came to rest, still red hot, sizzling in the concrete under his lab desk. Mr. Johnson invited class members to come up and look down the hole in his desk to observe what kind of damage an overheated molten glob could do.

There were many, many more such experiments. Mr. Johnson took all his mishaps in stride and tried to explain them and what went wrong. Chemistry was not only interesting, but exciting.

But there were no Mr. Johnsons at Fresno State.

I soon found myself trapped in courses I didn’t like and declining grades.

In September of 1964 I was nineteen years old. I had just started my junior year at Fresno State, the intellectual center of agriculture for California’s central valley.

A new course appeared in the Fresno State’s 1964 catalog called “Wine Appreciation.” Needless to say, it was popular.

Professor Fred Nuri was a recent graduate of UC Davis’s well-known wine program established originally by Maynard Amerine, eminence gris of post-prohibition industrial winemaking. Professor Nuri had come to Fresno State to establish an enology program at UC Davis’s country-cousin college.

Dr. Amerine wrote “the book” on the subject: “Table Wines: The Technology of Their Production” as well as many others including the seminal assessment of wine growing regions in California which has grown into the modern-day vineyard plague spreading over California’s temperate Northern Coastal counties. To this day, the UC Davis enology program started by Amerine is the leading authority on industrial wine making in the United States.

It was illegal for most of Dr. Nuri’s students to actually drink wine, but that didn’t stop us from studying it, learning about the various grape varietals, wines and wine-making techniques. (Of course, illegality didn’t stop anyone from drinking off-campus in the mid-60s.)

On the (bad) advice of my college counselor I had already completed most of my undergraduate Chemistry courses in my first two years and wanted out of the Chemistry program. It wasn’t very hard to convince Professor Nuri that bringing in a Chemistry major transfer would buttress the technical credentials of his newly formed Enology department. Dr. Nuri and I worked out a special combination Chemistry/Enology degree program with the Chemistry department for which I was the prototype.

My grades quickly improved as I worked my way through the various enology courses focusing primarily on laboratory related subjects (wine chemistry). The special wine/chemistry combination took an extra semester to complete so I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in February of 1967. By this time the Vietnam War draft was staring me in the face.

I had become a reasonably accomplished self-taught theater pipe organist (another story in itself) and thought I might avoid the infantry by entering the service as a musician. But as an ear-player, I didn’t read music well enough. The Air Force recruiter, however, noting my college degree, steered me into applying for Officer Training School. I was quickly accepted, but the next available opening wasn’t until November of 1967. The draft board put me on “OT Hold.”

For my Senior Project at Fresno State I developed and prototyped a method of measuring reducing sugars in wine (dextrose and fructose) using infra-red light absorption — as far as we knew it was the first quantitative use of infra-red light. I gave up on the project many times because of seemingly unsolvable problems: no sample cells were available which were not soluble in water (wine); the high infra-red background absorption of water itself; and no effective way to narrow the infra-red beam to only the wavelength(s) of interest, etc. After two years of starts and stops, I came up with a crude way of adapting a Beckman Instruments infra-red spectrophotometer to measure dextrose and fructose with accuracies almost as good as the infrequently used conventional stoichiometric (or hot-titration) method. Surprisingly, the Chemistry department was impressed, even though I had been viewed as a deserter.

After discussion with Professor Nuri and friends and family, I decided not to go through the costly process of applying for a patent. There didn’t appear to be more than two or three wine labs in the country that did enough measurements of reducing sugar to justify spending much money on new analytical equipment. So I sold my research papers to the Beckman Instruments Company in Los Angeles for $1,500. I later found out that by using a different infrared wavelength and improving on the accuracy, Beckman had begun selling a modified version of my design to measure lactose in milk and was marketing machines to the labs in many creameries in the United States. If I had thought of the milk angle, I might have been getting royalties to this day.

As part of my Senior Project, I spent some short work-study hours in the labs at Gallo in Modesto and United Vintners (Italian Swiss Colony) storage facility outside Stockton as well as at the upscale Ficklin Port family winery outside Madera. Based on this experience and with the help of Professor Nuri, I got a job as a Lab Technician at Roma Winery in Fresno for the time between graduation and Air Force Officer Training School.

Roma was an old Fresno winery, but the bulk of its output wasn’t actually bottled under the name “Roma.” It was a contract winery and bottling operation which produced cheap wines made from the cheap high-sugar grapes of California’s hot central valley.

In the nine months I worked in the Roma wine lab I found out that things weren’t always what they seemed.

As a lab technician most of my time was spent climbing and walking the catwalks above the large stainless steel and concrete tanks and wooden barrels in Roma’s many storage buildings with a sampling stick and a sample bottle caddie. I’d nimbly move from tank to tank dipping the stainless steel stick with a small tube-shaped collector and pouring the sample into a test tube in the caddie, marking down the sample info.

Roma’s bottling operation was a byzantine operation both in terms of plumbing and accounting. Vineyards could ask for bottlings from their own grapes, or request blends. There were also accidental, unrequested blends — when mistakes were made with valve settings.

Roma made three kinds of wines: unfortified still wines, fortified still wines, and sparkling wines. (The word “champagne” can only be used for wine made from grapes from a certain region in France.)

Of the unfortified still wines, Roma made a simple white chablis, a generic red burgundy, and a blended rose.

Cheap fortified wines like muscatel, port and sherry (in which brandy is added to stop the fermentation, leaving unfermented sugar and a sweet taste, along with a higher percentage of alcohol) were popular on the low end of the market.

Cheap sparkling wines were made from the red and white still wines as well.

For example, sherry as it’s traditionally made in Spain is an extremely labor-intensive process both in the double fermentation and in the fancy “solera” aging. So “California Sherry” isn’t really sherry at all. It’s a cheap imitation sherry made by baking regular white wine with flavorings and charred wood chips. It isn’t aged at all, and therefore it’s much cheaper than the real Spanish sherry. But it’s drinkable nevertheless.

The large facility’s plumbing and valves allowed the Master Wine Blender to mix our basic wine groups in a variety of ways and call it anything it needed to be called. Sometimes vineyards that asked for their grapes to be fermented, aged and bottled as a batch weren’t — for a variety of reasons. Leakage, spillage, bad fermentation, mistakes, poor taste or color, poor filtration, expediency, volume shortages, etc. The same bottling set up could be used to produce 15 or 20 runs with different labels on them. The same wine could be sold for various prices under various labels (for marketing considerations), or there might be some slight variations. As a lab tech, I was in no position to know what went into the bottling machine’s intake or what came out of the fill tube. Sometimes, the wine was aged after it was bottled for an unknown period, by unknown middle-men with storage capabilities, which might also have accounted for some of the retail price variations. Needless to say, the opportunities for misrepresentation were great.

By this time I’d turned 21 and Roma’s wine tasted fine to my unrefined palate. My interest was in the chemistry, not the taste. I’ve always believed in the principle that if you can’t tell the difference, don’t pay for it. Whether it’s beer, wine, stereo equipment, cars, etc., there’s no need to pay for snob appeal if it doesn’t mean anything to you or you can’t tell or don’t care about the difference between the expensive and the cheap. In many cases the expensive is the cheap, the only difference being the label and the corresponding hype.

Nowadays, the wine industry has pushed itself far into the rarefied air of snob appeal and jacked up their prices with “appellations” and “premium varietals.” It’s not a good marketing strategy and some wine insiders are starting to wonder how long the industry can keep expanding their labor-exploitative, environmentally degrading vineyard plantations when the snob market volume isn’t expanding very fast. As always, it’s mostly a matter of marketing.

In France and Italy ordinary people traditionally consume generic inexpensive red or white wine with meals, not the overhyped expensive stuff that the California wine industry promotes. In spite of all the hype about “bouquets” and “fruity noses,” “hints of cinnamon” and all the “hand-crafting” that goes into “fine” wine and so forth, very few people can really tell one wine from the next in blind tastings — unless it’s really bad, such as some freshly fermented wines, or those which are on their way to vinegar, or if some foreign yeast found its way into the fermentation…

Back in the late 90s a waitress at a Mendocino Coast restaurant went through the motions of formally pouring my father a sample sip from an $38 bottle of wine he reluctantly ordered with dinner. My father, the youngest son of Italian immigrants, born on the Mendocino Coast in 1908, was uncomfortable about being treated so royally in such a modest setting. Laughingly, he stared at the sample sip and asked, “Has anyone ever rejected a bottle of wine after sampling it?” The waitress thought for a moment and replied, “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I think maybe twice.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 14, 2016

Barondeau, Curry, Hanover, Lamar
Barondeau, Curry, Hanover, Lamar

CASSANDRA BARONDEAU, Fort Bragg. Battery, under influence.

MARK CURRY, North Hollywood/Leggett. DUI, resisting.

JOSHUA HANOVER, Covelo. Community supervision violation.

TYRONE LAMAR, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Lowe, Nunez, Stanley, Webb
Lowe, Nunez, Stanley, Webb

ANTHONY LOWE, Fort Bragg. Resisting.

ELIANA NUNEZ, Ukiah. Contibuting to delinquency of minor, drunk in public.

GLENN STANLEY JR., Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

TERRY WEBB, Fort Bragg. Stalking, protective order violation, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

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The California Native Plant Society (Dorothy King Young Chapter) will hold two native plant sales.

The first will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center Street in Gualala.

The second will be held Saturday, October 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fort Bragg Town Hall, 363 North Main Street in Fort Bragg.

Native plants, once established, require less water and fertilizer than non-natives. They like living here, where they are accustomed to the soil and climate. They attract birds and insects.

Experts will be on hand at the native plant sales to help select just the right plant(s) for your situation.

Susan Wolbarst, Publicity Chair

California Native Plant Society, Dorothy King Young Chapter

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Re: Sympathetic magic, feh.

Alan Haack wrote: “It's like the old days, we're open 24/7, to use your simple term, if you want to talk. God is in the blessing business…”

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I just did an image search for "priest blesses the" and it turns out that you're right. God blesses guns, tanks and rockets. Old people's heads. Carnival rides, dogs, a smorgasbord of food, concrete sidewalks, a fingernail-dressing parlor. A cigaret factory, a gas station and a fishing boat. Soldiers. Toys. A farmyard. A supercomputer. A car decorated with feathers. A playground, a fancy door, a blow-up sex doll with boobs bigger than its head. A field of sand dotted with loaves of bread. A motorcycle, some speedboats, a grave, an alligator in a pinafore, more rockets and cannons and cars. Riot helmets. Some other kind of factory. This never ends; more images appear and appear as you scroll down. My favorite so far is a big fat priest in ornate yellow bathrobe and pointy black hat, blessing a bald man in a suit (with a sandwich in a plastic bag peeking out of the handkerchief pocket) by smashing him in the nose with a wet sponge tied to the end of a foot-long golden crucifix. Lovely spray of droplets in all directions.

Marco McClean

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Mosquitos! Itchy Annoyance or Public Enemy No. 1

From: "Roxanne Golnar (Mendocino Coast Botanical FREE Public Awareness Lecture

MOSQUITOS: A talk by U.C. Researcher and Lecturer, Jan Washburn

September 17, 2016

10:00am to 11:30am in the Gardens Meeting Room at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Meet California’s native and recently introduced mosquitos and learn about diseases they carry that pose major health threats to humans and native birds. Learn to help reduce their population and what to do to protect yourself. Lecturer Jan Washburn has taught, conducted research, and published extensively since earning his PhD in Entomology from UC Berkeley in 1984. He has served as a Trustee and, recently, as Interim Director of Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District and as Editor of the Proceedings of the California Mosquito and Vector Control Association. He is a docent at the UCB Botanical Garden and a Land Conservancy Trustee in Comptche, where he resides. Jan has been a regular lecturer in the Mendocino County Master Gardener Program. Payment Information: This public awareness lecture is FREE to attend, no RSVP necessary

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Gloriana Carolers Are Back - Sign Up to Join Now!

We are happy to announce the return of The Gloriana Carolers! The first meeting will be held September 21st 6:00 at Mendocino Presbyterian Church. Ongoing rehearsals will be held on Wednesdays at the same time and place. Singing engagements will begin in December and run until Christmas. Gloriana Carolers volunteer their holiday cheer, dressed in Old Fashioned Victorian Costumes, and are hired by local businesses and organizations to sing carols during their parties, events and festivities. Proceeds go towards the Gloriana Scholarship Program. Seeking: Singers who love to Sing Holiday Carols and have time during the holiday season to spread the cheer! To sign up please go to or call Janice Littrell at 925-200-3220

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by Julie Johnson

The captain of a fishing boat that ran aground just this weekend south of Salmon Creek on the Sonoma Coast was jailed after his rescue because of a felony no-bail warrant for his arrest issued in Mendocino County, State Parks officials said.

The boat — an uninsured 54-foot fishing vessel called the “Verna A II” — remained high and dry in the sand on South Salmon Creek State Beach while State Parks and other coastal authorities determine who might be responsible for retrieving it, State Parks Officer Tim Murphy said.

The vessel was spotted by a surfer about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, marooned in about 5 to 8 feet of surf about 100 yards from the river’s mouth.

After rescue swimmers brought him to shore, Roy Underwood, 57, gave authorities two different names and then gave them the slip, saying he was using a restroom but didn’t return, Murphy said.


Hours later, an officer found Underwood leaving Diekmann’s Bay Store on Highway 1 in Bodega Bay about 10:45 a.m. with a bottle of Taaka vodka, Murphy said.

“He said he was going to sit under a tree and get drunk,” Murphy said.

Underwood’s most recent address was in Tillamook, Oregon, but he had been living on the boat, which was listed out of Fort Bragg.

Underwood told officers he had gone to sleep when the boat was drifting about 4 miles from shore, something he’d done in the past without problems, Murphy said.

Details about the Mendocino County warrant weren’t available Tuesday.

Underwood was on probation in Mendocino County after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary, records show. He was arrested Dec. 26 after police said he took about $200 worth of items from Tommy’s Marine Service and Supply on South Harbor Drive in Fort Bragg.

He was also arrested on suspicion of giving a false name to a peace officer, a misdemeanor.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or On Twitter @jjpressdem.

* * *


RE the guy who saw the car burglars who weren't there, "Back when I was a firefighter we were sent on a fire call to the Presbyterian church in Garberville. The young gentleman that reported it stood by to show it were it was. He claimed that the cross was on fire. We had several fire trucks on scene from Garberville, Redway and CDF. When we couldn’t see any fire he got very emphatic that flames were shooting out all over the cross and that we must be blind to not see them.

There was some speculation as to what kind of drugs that he was on, or, he was in direct contact with God. We finally got out of him that he had dropped a little acid, but he was still sure that the cross was on fire and it had nothing to do with the acid. We told him to stay there and make sure that the fire didn’t spread any farther, as we left."

* * *


From the window I saw the horses.

I was in Berlin, in winter. The light

had no light, the sky had no heaven.

The air was white like wet bread.

And from my window a vacant arena,

bitten by the teeth of winter.

Suddenly driven out by a man,

ten horses surged through the mist.

Like waves of fire, they flared forward

and to my eyes filled the whole world,

empty till then. Perfect, ablaze,

they were like ten gods with pure white hoofs,

with manes like a dream of salt.

Their rumps were worlds and oranges.

Their color was honey, amber, fire.

Their necks were towers

cut from the stone of pride,

and behind their transparent eyes

energy raged, like a prisoner.

There, in silence, at mid-day,

in that dirty, disordered winter,

those intense horses were the blood

the rhythm, the inciting treasure of life.

I looked. I looked and was reborn:

for there, unknowing, was the fountain,

the dance of gold, heaven

and the fire that lives in beauty.

I have forgotten that dark Berlin winter.

I will not forget the light of the horses.

— Pablo Neruda


  1. Bruce McEwen September 14, 2016

    “I didn’t read Brodsky’s story but I expect she had some valid points…”

    And after that sentence, I tossed your comments, unread, into the stove, you know-it-all sad-sack son-of-a like …whatever.

  2. Eric Sunswheat September 15, 2016

    AVA wrote/transcribed:

    “THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE — except it’s not. Ranochak is an elected official, and the Board of Supervisors can’t really instruct her. I doubt very much there will be any credible opposition to Ranochak.

    With more than half the ballots not being counted until after the ‘Final Election Night Report’ these days, that “100 percent reported” language is at the root of much of the bewilderment and confusion.”

    = = = = = = = = =
    Let’s see, if the observers have verifiable information that Ranochak is guilty of a crime for obstruction of citizens viewing ballot counting and adjustments to the ballots… Eyster works day and night, perhaps 16 hours a day. Here is something for him to do.

    At a minimum for the future, if she is not put on probation, there needs to be on camera video recording clearly showing all material actions and changes to the ballots in her office, so that it is possible to verify in court if there is a contested election ballot count.

    If it’s not possible to change the terminology of the phrase: ““100 percent reported” language”, to include the actual definition there of, for clarity, then what the hell else is going in Ranochak’s brain to making all this more complicated than it really is.

    Is there a rat smell, and does it looks reasonable it could be a voting fraud cover-up, and is Ranochak multi-tasking her brain to keep her story pieced together. Conspiracy theories abound.

    Why else would Ranochak complicate her explanation and deadpan on suggestions, when a simple set series of corrective measures, could straighten things out.

    For all her distraction in roles and responsibilities of her office, is the position just too impossible, to make things easy for the average voter in this County to have a verified election.

    Gjerde is real smarmy, with his talk about folks ‘wasting his time.’ And recently made comments akin to questioning whether Podva was even a legitimate candidate for Supervisor. The fix is in, and time is now to knock the legs out from under this attitude permeating County governance.

    Require video recording of all ballot counting and adjustment, just in case the public viewing area has no citizens in attendance, for verification if needed for a recount. It may be rocket science but Ranochak is up to the task, if given marching orders that she agrees to follow.

  3. John Sakowicz September 15, 2016

    Nice piece of writing today by Mark.

  4. Alice Chouteau September 15, 2016

    .somebody blundered today–the guy in the photo captioned ‘Underwood’ is not Mr Underwood. He is Shayler Munnerly, and that is his recent booking photo.

  5. Jim Updegraff September 15, 2016

    Deadbeat Donnie the village Idiot wants to deport all the Muslims so he goes on Dr. Oz’s show – I wonder if he knew Dr. Oz is a Muslim?

  6. Randy Burke September 15, 2016

    Mark, good piece. About the snobbery around wine, I remember there was a time when I would pour Red Mountain into an empty bottle of “high priced wine”. The recipients at the table would command more while out in the garage I was busy pouring from the gallon jug into the expensive bottles. Man oh man did they get shit faced on what they believed to be high quality wine. Bon appetite

    PS… Did you ever run into Clem Viano (Martinez winery) at Davis?

    • Mark Scaramella September 16, 2016

      I was never at Davis. My brother went to law school there. My father graduated and taught Dairy Science there. I’m not familiar with the Martinez Winery.
      Another variation on your wine snob story is the trick Julio Gallo used to like to pull. He’d challenge people who claimed to have refined palettes to a taste test comparing his jug wine with a fine wine. He’d turn his back and pour a glass of each and hand the two glasses to the taste tester then ask them which was the expensive wine and which was the jug wine. They’d invariably pick one, complimenting the supposedly fine wine profusely. Then he would tell them that both glasses had his jug wine, it was the same. He hadn’t poured any expensive wine. It was all in their head.
      Another time while I was working for a few weeks at a Fresno liquor store in 1967 the owner got in a couple of pallet loads of Lejon sparkling wine. He’d obtained it on special from a distributor who was going out of business. It was pretty good for “naturally fermented” (a term of art for cheap champagne that I could explain at length) low-end sparkling wine so he put it up for sale for $1.99 a bottle. (This was in 1967.) Only a few bottles were sold the first week. So he marked it up to $5.99 and it sold out within a matter of days.

  7. Carole Brodsky September 16, 2016

    Thank you for not reading my piece and having the wisdom to say so in your comments.

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