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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016

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Emil Rossi was one of the first old timers I got to know in Anderson Valley when I moved here in the late 1970s. I regularly went to the Rossi Hardware store for building supplies. His simple old style store appealed to me. Time slowed down a little inside those walls. As part of the small talk I made there it became my habit to ask Emil every fall what his predictions were for the coming rainy season, and he always told me what kind of winter to expect. In so far as I remember he was always right.

For a short while, after I got to know him and his sons better, I was allowed as an honorary member of the Rossi family band, The 8-Balls, playing guitar along with Emil on accordion, sons Nick and Chris on horns and bass; Dick Sand on drums, and Al White on trumpet. There were bins of old sheet music in their practice room, and I started to pick up on some of the old standards I’d overlooked in my more rock and roll-saturated youth.

Emil’s musical sense of fun and silliness could be infectious; ask anyone who’s seen his rendition of “The Sheik Of Araby.” For years, the highlight of the County Fair Parade for me was hearing the 8-Balls rolling up the highway on the back of a flatbed truck, wailing away like it was Mardi Gras on a song like “When The Saints Go Marching In.” I always raised my beer in salute as they passed. Emil likely had a bottle of Wild Turkey handy under his music stand.

Sometime in the early eighties Emil was charged by Fish and Game with illegally dumping old cars along the banks of Anderson Creek on his Boonville property. Back then trials were held in the Veterans Hall at the south end of town. I was called and seated on the jury, my first and only exposure to old fashioned small town justice. Everyone knew Emil. Likewise, everyone knew Eric Labowitz, the presiding judge. A recent influx of people into the valley back then, of which I was one, generally held strong opinions regarding right and wrong in environmental matters, and it was clear that my peers expected a conviction. The other jurors were roughly split between old timers and newcomers, and I don’t remember much about them except for Sean Donovan, newcomer and future founder of KZYX who, naturally, became jury foreman for the case.

Fish and Game presented their case against Emil. Emil defended himself in style, opinionated but prepared. The jury was escorted down to the creek that afternoon to view the cars. Emil had anchored them to the bank of the creek to stabilize it from eroding and swallowing some of his land. As he had testified, he had removed all oil and other toxic parts of the cars before dragging and lashing them into place with heavy cable.

After a day of testimony and a break for dinner, the jury retired to deliberate. Sean was elected foreman and the discussion began. Almost immediately there was a general agreement that Emil was guilty. I can’t recall now by what technicality I thought that Fish and Game had failed to make their case, but I strongly believed the charge against him was not adequately addressed in their testimony. I sensed that the rest of the jury wanted to convict him merely because it thought he shouldn’t have done what he had done. The moral outrage was thick, with spoken agreement along the lines that “man, it’s just wrong to dump cars in the creek.” I insisted that, regardless, he couldn’t be convicted of the actual charge against him.

That raised the ire of Sean Donovan who argued strongly (and persuasively, to the rest of the jury) for Emil’s guilt. I stood my ground against falsely convicting him, to Sean’s amazement and annoyance. Votes were taken, more discussion, more voting. Deadlock. Judge Labowitz was called in late at night to give advice on how we might proceed. More discussions and votes. Eventually, some hours past midnight, we declared ourselves to be a hung jury. By then I had persuaded a couple of women to vote with me not to convict.

So Emil went free. Many years later I moved to the property along Anderson Creek where I now live. This was after a particularly wet winter in 2001, when Anderson Creek had experienced severe flooding that had scoured the creekbed and left it unusually exposed. One of my first discoveries there was a couple of largely intact car bodies deeply embedded in the sand and gravel. Enough years had passed that I didn’t even make the connection at first. Emil’s homestead is just a few hundred yards upstream.

But the cars have been no problem, and even seemed to help hold sand and gravel around them over the years, until now there is hardly any sign of them except occasionally some curious piece of rusted metal I will find, and bring up to hang on a post or somewhere, after a storm.

Farewell Emil.

Brian Wood, Boonville

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by Rex Gressett

After the MCTV forum in which the candidates for the Fort Bragg city council met for the first time and tried out their various introductory appeals to the voting public, the candidates were by physical necessity gathered for a few minutes in the hall outside the studio.

The tone was congenial; all of us were doing something odd and probably, with the exception of Mr Menzies, basically against our better judgment. It is like volunteering for a combat mission, I swear. Menzies, of course, harbors no doubts. No policy. No explanations. No information. No problems. That is the Menzies platform, as I have been given to understand it. He gave me one of his buttons when I asked for it, and we went home.

Things were very different after the subsequent city council meeting. For those who are not following the play by play in political Fort Bragg, we have lately been observing the city manager caving in to the demands of the reformist opposition to her and Mayor Turner in a series of graceful pirouettes, now doing what she has steadfastly resisted for nigh on 20 years as though it were all her own idea. It is her professional intention to throw oil on water. All that backtracking takes time and the meeting went on very unusually long, until ten or so.

Afterwards, outside, the candidates were gathered again. Scott Menzies in the company of the acutely politically correct and conscientiously unfunny, Cher Simon. He was not happy. First of all, he doesn't understand any of it. You would communicate more to him if it were in pictures or something. He does not mind sticking his chin out and glaring in inarticulate disapproval, but for six hours? That is a lot of chin jutting!

"Is this my fate?" he seemed to be thinking. What a price to pay for power over one's fellows. Seems to be to a guy like you Menzies. There are few enough real jobs for the committed bully.

Outside after the meeting, the candidates again sort of talked, grouping this time into the three opposition candidates and Menzies with his usual entourage. No happy talk now. I thought the guy was going to swing on me. But fortunately his many years of intensive meditation provided him with the discipline needed not to actually brawl. Barely.

But under the street light the gloves were momentarily off. Scott Menzies let me have it. Hard but with admirable concission. Do you know, saith he, that there are those who are afraid — actually afraid to come to the city council meeting because of YOU. His finger pointed. (I knew he could ram it through my heart.)

Because of me? I said meekly…

AFRAID saith he, and by the grace of god the light changed and he and Cher Simon beat it towards the Headlands coffee shop, there to celebrate his eloquence.

Afraid? I pondered it. And indeed that was always what they said about any resistance to their incumbency. What else can you say when you are a clandestine group of interests united in the pursuit of money even at the cost of the public prosperity? What really are your arguments if your mission is to promote certain financial interests by voting into office reliable operatives charged to make their secret agenda work? It did work for a long time. It worked great. And now Menzies intends to inherit the machine.

I think that in his inimitable way Menzies has missed the boat. He longs for a return of that golden era when Gjerde and Meg Courtney and faithful Boyscout Hammerstrom and Turner and all the world applauded the obsolescence of democratic participation. Mr. Menzes and his Go group inherited the mantle, but the tide was already against them.

You make us afraid is the only thing that they can say and all they have ever said. Afraid works. They originally had a motto something like, Don’t undermine democracy, by which they meant don't have elections. And implicitly don't rock the (our) boat. They have founded in our midst a powerful group that intends a controlling managerial elite independent of public disclosure, scrutiny, or reasonable accountability. They are fighting for the exact opposite of every protection for democracy that our state constitution mandates. They are technically thugs. I say it with no anger, only sadness.

We must listen to Menzies. If you have a difference of opinion be sure that you do not scare people with it. If your views make someone uncomfortable — and that is what they mean by afraid — you are automatically wrong. To protect democracy we must make it civil and non-threatening. We must all observe decorum and listen carefully to Cher Simon when she lays down for the edification of the public the proper forms and usages of English according to the orthodoxy of rigorous political correctness.

I admit that I did not really have the words to respond to this assertion of innocence-abused which Menzies levelled against me. I could have said something but Scott seemed about at the end of his (no doubt awesome) powers of self restraint. And the hour was late so I went home and thought about it there.

I don't remember all that I thought that night, and in the morning nothing of it. But as I sat by my fire with my dogs I sleepily scratched a note on the back of an envelope. In the morning I did not recall the precise context, although I surely know the author. What I had written was, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and that of patriots.” The next morning I read it, laughed and went back to work.

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Boonville Rainbow
Boonville Rainbow

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THE COUNTY FISH & GAME COMMISSION has voted unanimously to recommend a "NO" vote on Measure AF, the marijuana community's attempt to write their own rules. The Board of Supervisors and Fish & Game Commission held a joint meeting on October 18, followed by the regular meeting of the Commission. During the joint meeting, the F&G Commissioners expressed concern that the county draft cultivation ordinance didn't go far enough to protect the environment. So it was no surprise that the Commission endorsed "NO" on Measure AF, which opens up the entire county to a dramatic increase in commercial cultivation with very limited oversight.

THE FISH & GAME COMMISSION cited the likely impacts of Measure AF on wildlife and watersheds from increased marijuana growing, without effective enforcement of environmental regulations. Particular concerns were Measure AF's lack of a requirement for fencing around grow sites to exclude wildlife, and the erosion, noise, and damage to rural dirt roads from expansion of marijuana growing in remote areas.

LOTS OF WILDLIFE, including endangered species, are routinely shot or poisoned by growers protecting their cash crop, so why drop the fencing requirement that would protect wildlife by keeping it away from the marijuana? The answer seems to be that fences cost money. AF claims to protect the environment but their proposals were clearly written by growers to protect their interests.

THE SIERRA CLUB REDWOOD CHAPTER has also released a statement in opposition to Measure AF (see below). According to Victoria Brandon, Chair of the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter, "Although the Sierra Club supports regulation of marijuana cultivation and distribution, we oppose Measure AF because it contains no meaningful environmental protections. To the contrary, it would allow medical cannabis cultivation in almost every land use category and potentially result in both the fragmentation of sensitive natural ecosystems and unsustainable demands for water. Please vote 'no' on AF." Which means the list of environmental, educational, community and governmental groups endorsing No on AF is now approaching 30.

THE ONLY GROUPS supporting yes on AF are the Emerald Growers Association and the Small Farmers Association. Both groups, as their names imply, were organized to advance the interests of marijuana growers. The line-up of endorsers - with only a couple of cannabis industry groups supporting AF, and everyone else opposing it, simply confirms that AF was written by growers for growers with little, if any, concern for the general community or the environment.

DEB KUBIN, UUSD SUPERINTENDENT also weighed in with the following statement posted on Facebook: "Mendocino County: As you receive your ballots in the mail, remember to vote no on Measure AF. If you have spent time in a classroom lately that is close to a grow, you will know that the smell is obnoxious. Our teachers and kids have to be in this space all day. Allowing a grow to be even closer to a school will make this problem worse. Measure AF will allow marijuana to be grown closer to our schools. Please, for the sake of our children and staff in the classrooms, VOTE NO ON AF."

THE UKIAH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT already voted to endorse No on AF so its a pretty safe bet for Superintendent Kubin to make what otherwise might be seen as a bold statement. And of course Kubin's statement is cloaked in the typical educrat mantra of concern for the kids. This time the concern is legit, but "doing it for the kids" is a tired cliché usually invoked in support of higher salaries, shorter hours or less accountability.

NO ON MEASURE AF keeps racking up the community endorsements while Yes on AF keeps hosting ineffectual and nearly invisible community meetings. The latest being "a tea-time discussion of Measure AF in the coastal village of Mendocino" which was held at the Leonard Moore Collective, a Mendocino dispensary run by Gabe Martin who has donated $7,000 to the Yes on AF campaign. Holding a tea party at a local pot dispensary seems like an odd way to get the message out to the general public. But give Sarah Bodnar, the Yes on AF campaign manager, high (sic) marks for trying to drag a disinterested-to-hostile public onto the doomed AF bus.


SO FAR, MS. BODNAR has collected more than $20,000 out of just over $50,000 in reported campaign donations for leading the charge for Yes on AF. With no experience at running a campaign, Ms. Bodnar decided to hold a series of town hall meetings, held all over the county, the centerpiece of the yes on AF campaign. Held in late September and early October, a time when most growers are sticking close to home to protect their crop, it was predictable that the meetings would be lightly attended. And probably lightly attended anyway because even potheads find the subject boring. I mean, really, is there anything more to be said on the subject?

THE CAMPAIGN FOR MEASURE AF has been marked by in-fighting from the beginning. They almost missed the filing deadline to submit the argument in favor because they were arguing about the wording until an hour before the deadline. The group openly split over the decision to endorse both Measure AF and Measure AI, the county-sponsored marijuana tax, with Pebbles Trippet and Paula Deeter breaking ranks and calling for a No vote on Measure AI. And now there are grumblings inside the altered consciousness community about the nearly invisible campaign in favor of Measure AF and Ms. Bodnar's hefty payments to herself.

CYNICS COMPLAIN the town hall meetings were an effort at self-promotion that gave Ms. Bodnar a chance to meet and network with growers around the county to pick up new clients who can benefit from her media relations and consulting services. She's smart and personable, but AF was a loser the day the large-scale entrepreneurs lit it up, so to speak.

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The so-called Heritage Initiative, written by marijuana growers, provides an extremely lenient set of regulations governing the growth, processing, distribution and sale of marijuana. Despite many prior examples of water theft, tree removal, wildlife poisoning, leaking diesel, trash dumps, unregulated grading and more, AF does not concern itself with impacts to plants, animals, streams and wetlands, or any wild land interface.

AF allows the commercial medical Cannabis industry – growing, processing, distribution and sale - in almost every land use zoning category in the County, including residential with setbacks of only 100 feet from adjacent homes and 600 feet from a school, as well as in land zoned timber and rangeland - areas where conifers and, especially, oak woodlands may be impacted.

Significantly, if marijuana is legalized in California, as is likely, AF will expand to allow the entire commercial marijuana industry to be regulated under these same inadequate provisions, raising the concern that there will be a stampede to acquire land and convert to potential grow sites.

Further, AF allows no public review and has weak provisions for violations and enforcement of penalties for violations. Mendocino County has no grading ordinance and is otherwise ill-equipped to monitor and respond to environmental abuse stemming from an influx of new growers, both well meaning and uncaring.

All of this brings a high risk of continued environmental assault on our beleaguered streams and beloved wildlife. Please consider the environment. Vote NO on AF.


Mary Walsh, Linda Perkins

Mendocino Group, Sierra Club

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On Oct. 19, 2016 at approximately 10:01 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were patrolling the 43000 block of Twin Pines Circle in Laytonville. While patrolling this area, Deputies conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for a traffic related infraction. The driver, Daniel Vela, 22, of Oakland, was determined to have a Mendocino County felony arrest warrant. Deputies validated the arrest warrant for transportation of marijuana for sale and arrested Vela pursuant to the warrant. Vela was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on $30,000 bail.

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by Scott Cratty

Buying food is a tricky business – even if you just consider price. Businesses know that most people do not have the time to compare prices for lots of common items. Raise your hand if you know the average market price for celery today. I didn’t see any hands.

Large business establishments can pick a relative few items that customers are more likely to know the price of and advertise that they have wonderful priced for few items. Such advertisements create the impression that the corresponding big box merchant offers low prices – much better, you might think, than you could get at a small grocer, neighborhood market or your local farmers market.

However, big businesses also know that, once you are in the door you will probably fill your cart with other items they have strategically positioned to tempt you. Likely you will leave without really knowing if you ended up paying more for some of those items than you could have or if you even “saved” anything on your overall bill.

We have done surveys comparing our local farmers market prices with those at box store groceries and found that locally-produced food often costs the same, or less, than mass produced food available in box stores –– particularly when you are shopping for produce that is locally in peak season.

However, there are times when the price tag for local food is more than for its mass-produced, box store namesakes. In those situations it is important to remember that food purchasing decision involve many factors other than price.

For starters, the quality of the food you are purchasing from different sources may vary substantially. Apples are not always apples. E.g., a fresh local apple is not the same as an apple that was selected for transport and storage durability and was picked not quite ripe months ago and cold stored. So it is worth considering if the quality of the local food options at your farmers market are substantially different from the lower priced option that the box store might offer. Local food will be fresher, likely more nutritious, almost certainly tastier. So it may be that the local option offers a higher value in terms of your enjoyment of the food you purchase. If you have never done it before it is worth a taste test comparison.

There are also a number of health, social and environmental costs associated with mass produced food that do not show up in its price tag. If you consider the many other costs of mass produced, seemingly “cheap” food, you may also decide that local food is a much better deal.

For example:

The labor conditions that produce cheap food are often bad – not the type of jobs you would want for your children and not the kind of jobs that raise people out of poverty. When you choose bargain-priced, mass-produced foods you are also supporting a business model that maintains those poor working conditions, grueling working hours and a poverty-level existence for the people who get your food to you.

Much of the cost and price of mass produced food goes into things you do not want in your body or your community. Typically, far more of the final price tag for mass produced foods is related to the costs of preservatives, which pollute your body, and packaging, which piles up in local land fills, than goes to the actual farmer for producing the food.

Because it is picked early and breed to withstand long transport and storage, mass produced food is typically less tasty and less nutritious than local food. Since it is not satisfying for your taste buds or body you may end up eating more and thus spending more and also getting more empty calories that can negatively affect your health.

The additional transport and storage needed for mass produced food is wasteful and degrades the environment. It generates more greenhouse gas leading to increasing climate change and environmental distress. All outcomes that none of us can afford.

Large scale food production is controlled by large corporate entities that take their profit out of your community and further concentrate wealth in the hands of a few. In contrast, local food supports small family businesses and rural jobs – the kind of jobs that make it possible for small rural towns to survive and thrive.

Large scale corporate farms receive direct government subsidies for producing vast quantities of crops like corn and soy that end up providing caloric filler in nutritionally poor, but cheap, foods. Those subsidies are not available to small farms that grow healthy produce. You really are paying more for mass produced foods, some of it is just hidden in your taxes.

Mass produced food is grown in a manner that depends on chemically derived fertilizers for plants to generate the desired yield, and is harvested with massive petroleum-fueled machinery. It typically uses substantially more of our limited, nonrenewable resources per calorie of food value delivered.

Mass production of food is typically done in an extremely environmentally damaging manner – often causing loss of natural soil fertility, uses substantial quantities of pesticides (which pollutes your body and the land, and then runs off into waterways causing significant destruction there as well) and causes substantial soil erosion, leaving a planet that will be harder and harder to support ourselves on.

When you consider these added costs that are outside of the price tag you may end up determining that the local tomato is the better overall deal, even if it does have a higher price per pound (which, as noted above, is often not the case). The local tomato may provide a higher value to you and your community in terms of keeping a job local, preserving local open space, providing better taste, doing less harm to the environment, having superior freshness and nutrition, having a personal connection with the grower, improving local food security and/or a host of other good things probably care about as much or more than price.

If we want diverse local agriculture and local food sources, farmers need to be able to make a living growing and delivering food. They need to be able to pay for land (including covering local property tax), water, infrastructure and inputs, and be compensated for the incredibly hard labor it takes to plant, tend, pick and deliver food. Not only in good years, but every year.

Tempting as it might seem based on price alone in some cases, choosing industrially farmed and shipped produce from parts unknown fuels the downward cycle of our own local economy. Without your support local farmers will, in turn, have less money to spend supporting the business that provides your job. Supporting each other is an alternative to the race for the cheapest.

Given such factors, a higher price for a local tomato may a be realistic and fair price – one that enables small family farms to survive in your county – and also the best value. Americans are spending only about 10% of their income on food. That figure has declined steadily from about 25% in the 1930s. Our per capita portion of income spent on food is less, by far, than other countries.

Perhaps it is time to re-prioritize the value of eating well.

What do you think? Please share your comments below in addition to sharing the article via your social networks.

(Scott Cratty is a local food advocate. He manages the Ukiah Certified Farmers Market and owns the Westside Renaissance Market, Ukiah’s favorite inconvenience store. Invite him to speak at your social club or meeting and he will be happy to tell you about how choosing local food can help transform your community. Courtesy,

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 21, 2016

Beers, I.Bennett, T.Bennett
Beers, I.Bennett, T.Bennett

MICHAEL BEERS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ISAIAH BENNETT, Willits. Probation revocation.

TIMOTHY BENNETT, Laytonville. Probation revocation.

Bradford, Clow, Denney
Bradford, Clow, Denney

ANDREW BRADFORD, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

GRETCHEN CLOW, Hopland. Probation revocation.

JOSHUA DENNEY, Laytonville. Vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, probation revocation.

Gebreegziabher, Hallas, Oberlander
Gebreegziabher, Hallas, Oberlander

YONAS GEBREEGZIABHER, Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, probation revocation.

JASON HALLAS, Talmage. DUI-drugs.

MARK OBERLANDER, Laytonville. Drunk in public.

Ramos, Rodriguez, Saunders
Ramos, Rodriguez, Saunders

JOEL RAMOS, Ukiah. Hopland. Controlled substance, community supervision violation.

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, Redwood Valley. Community supervision violation.

BRADLEY SAUNDERS, Ukiah. County parole violation.

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Goddammit We’re Gonna Miss You Specs Simmons


specsimmons3The pillory dungeon of a shanghaid sailor's fever dream. Or your eccentric grampa's boozy garage and reliquary. The saloon/groghouse/bar that my boss Richard 'Specs' Simmons (but really, always just Specs) left behind when he left his mortal coil hanging on a nail in the broom closet early Wednesday morning, is many things to countless people. And that is the lasting welcome the man intended for his sanctuary.

To me, as one of his bartenders for the last ten years, it is just as much a sanctuary. Never had a better boss. He gave us autonomy with the full expectation that we get what he is doing with the joint and want to help him do it. Just don't be drunker than the crowd! Every so often a customer can be heard to excitedly exclaim upon entering the room "Oh this is THAT PLACE!", the serendipitous rediscovery of a lost hallucination.


No TVs! Ya gotta talk to each other! Unless someone is putting on a play or reciting a poem, in which case just stick a drink in your mouth til it's over.

A union man who cared equally for his staff and his customers, Specs brought his saline humor and scrappy blue collar Boston background to San Francisco in 1950 or so, and after years of merchant marine and sheetmetal work and slinging drinks, tavernized himself in 1968, opening Specs 12 Adler Museum Cafe in a North Beach alley on a fistful of loans and the royalties from a Kingston Trio song. Preventing a scurvy outbreak in North Beach for nearly 50 years, one lime squeeze at a time. If you never met the man...well, I wish you had. Subtle wit, ribald humor, a twinkle in his eye, an unparalleled generosity. In the amber light of his beloved grotto, Specs Simmons casts a long shadow, a shadow with a quip on his lips and a drink in his hand. He won't soon be forgotten, and he bids you welcome. We'll miss him terribly.

Specs Simmons in front of his Pub
Specs Simmons in front of his Pub

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To the Editor:

I’ve been reading with interest the articles in the papers about the vandalism against the local Trump Headquarters. The signs on the front lawn of the headquarters managers’ home were even destroyed. How typical of local progressive hypocrites, they squawk like a mashed cat if anyone infringes on their First Amendment rights, but if anyone else’s rights get trod upon, they could care less.

David Anderson, Ukiah

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And Hillary, in turn, has used and abused both Clinton and Trump’s sexual victims in order to advance her own political ambitions. As Melinda Henneberger and Dahlia Lithwick wrote for Slate back in 2008:

Hillary Clinton the candidate has largely benefited from her husband’s extracurricular activities… Sure, her husband’s behavior has humiliated her. But she has also helped him humiliate the women he’s been involved with… One of the most troubling things about Hillary Clinton is that she is never above cashing in on [the politics of victimization].

Are you starting to get it yet?

All this talk about sexual predators is just so much political maneuvering to score points off one another. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump care one whit about the victims of sexual harassment.

Frankly, they don’t seem to care much about the rest of the populace, either.

For all intents and purposes, we’re all victims of a perverse, perverted, psychotic mindset that views the citizenry as lesser beings: lacking in value, unworthy of respect, and completely undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.In the eyes of Bill, Hillary, Donald and the powers-that-be, we’re all little more than “bimbos,” “trailer trash,” “nuts and sluts,” “loony toons,” “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” In other words, we’re all Paula Jones. And Gennifer Flowers. And Juanita Broaddrick. And Kathleen Willey. And Eileen Wellstone. And Cristy Zercher. And Connie Hamzy. And Monica Lewinsky. For that matter, we’re all Jill Harth. And Cassandra Searles. And Jessica Leeds. And Kristin Anderson, too

— John Whitehead

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It makes no sense to legalize marijuana. Why would anyone vote to legalize an addictive drug that often leads to addiction to other addictive drugs?

Any tax benefits to localities would be outmatched by the human tragedies and other real financial costs of having another addictive drug legally available. Would you want your airline pilot, train operator or surgeon to be under the influence of a legalized drug?

Albert Boasberg, Daly City

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Caltrans invites the public to join with us on Thursday, November 3, to celebrate the opening of the Willits Bypass Project. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m., and parking opens at 10 a.m. The ceremony will also include the dedication of the 1.1 mile long viaduct as the Jesse D Pittman S01 Navy SEAL Memorial Bridge. The celebration will be held on the new highway, at the south end of the viaduct. Entry will be through the south interchange, just south of Willits. Follow the signs for “Special Event” to be directed to parking.

The Willits Bypass Project, first conceived over 60 years ago, will relieve congestion, reduce delays, and improve safety for traffic and pedestrians along U.S. Highway 101 and through Willits. This $300 million highway improvement project is funded by $136 million in Proposition 1B funds, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond. In total, about $19 billion in Proposition 1B funds have been distributed statewide.

On August 6, 2011, U.S. Navy SEAL and Willits local Jesse Pittman was aboard a military Chinook CH-47 helicopter participating in a night raid to root out Taliban fighters in a village in Afghanistan when the helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed, claiming the lives of those aboard. Jesse served his community and the people of California as a CAL FIRE firefighter in the Mendocino Unit for two seasons in 2003-2004, shortly before deciding to enlist in the Navy. CAL FIRE will provide a color guard for the ceremony.

Speakers will include: Malcolm Dougherty, Caltrans Director; Charlie Fielder, retired Caltrans District 1 Director; Betsy Totten, Caltrans District 1 Chief of Public Information; California Assemblymember Jim Wood; Phil Dow, Mendocino Council of Governments Executive Director; Bruce Burton, Mayor of Willits; Justin Diston, Operating Engineers, Local 3; Mike Costa, Flatiron West District Manager; Jeremy Treskon, US Navy Seal, served with Jesse Pittman; and Terry Pittman Jr., brother of Jesse Pittman.

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Gloriana Musical Theatre is pleased to present its production of “Cinderella,” the classic musical with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics and book by Oscar Hammerstein II. Directed by Erin and Kevin Green.

The show will be performed at Eagles Hall Theatre from October 28 to November 13 with performances at 7:30 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday matinees beginning at 3 p.m.

The story concerns a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters, who dreams of a better life. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a Princess and finds her Prince. Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was the most widely viewed program in the history of the medium. Adapted for the stage, with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, the hearts of children and adults alike still soar when the slipper fits.

Admission is $18 for the general public, $15 for Seniors and $8 for youth (17 and under). Tickets may be purchased online at, at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg or at the door of Eagles Hall Theatre prior to each performance. Advanced tickets available at

Be sure to join us for our Gala performance! On Sunday, October 30th following the performance celebrate with the cast and crew and enjoy wonderful delights, a champagne toast and treats! Tickets are $20 for general, $17 for Seniors and $10 for youth (17 and under).

For more information, visit or call 707-964-SHOW.

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As of Tuesday November 1, the Willits Branch Library will be changing its hours of operation. The Library will be open an hour later on Thursday and Friday to better meet the needs of the community. Stop by and say hi during our new hours and check out all of the free resources offered by Mendocino County Library

The new schedule will be as follows.

Sunday – Closed

Monday – Closed

Tuesday – 10am to 7pm

Wednesday – 10am to 7pm

Thursday – 10am to 7pm

Friday – 10am to 6pm

Saturday – 10am to 5pm

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November 19 event - Sweetwater String Band

Comptche Community Organization is pleased to host Sweetwater String Band for a fun family event at the Comptche Community Hall on Saturday, November 19. Dinner will be available from 5-7pm, Music from 6-9pm. The hall, located at 30672 Comptche Ukiah Rd, was built in 1913 and is run and maintained by the community. Sweetwater String Band is cello driven "soulgrass", founded in the Eastern Sierra of California in 2008. Mandolinist Scott Roberts and cellist David Huebner write the material, and together with Jeff Meadway on guitar, and Patrick Ferguson on bass, work out the arrangements. They appeared this year at Kate Wolf Festival, the Fall Strawberry Music Festival, and some at the Great American Music Hall. "My hat goes off to Sweetwater String Band for finding a singular sound that seamlessly melds the sensibilities of traditional and progressive bluegrass (Shakedown News)." Tickets at the door are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and teens. Kids 12 and under are free! For more info call Pattie at 937-1732 or email

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PEOPLE MOVE into neighborhoods like the Mission in San Francisco voluntarily, but they often move out involuntarily — and when they go, they are pushed to many kinds of margins. We have witnessed a quiet inversion of what cities are and what suburbs are. We have undergone a massive financial rearrangement that has made some of us rich and a lot of us desperate — and at the same time, have seen the desegregation efforts of the 1960s and 1970s unwind before our eyes. In 2012, the Pew Research Center reported that segregation by income, too, was on the rise. We’re coming apart.

— Rebecca Solnit

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TODAY'S CYBER ATTACK knocked out these sites:

• SoundCloud
 • Spotify
 • Netflix
 • Reddit 
• Disqus 
• PayPal

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by Dan Bacher

Federal auditors have found that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) wasted $32 million intended for fish and wildlife and drought relief in the Klamath Basin on subsidies for irrigators.

This scandal takes place as the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes, recreational anglers, commercial fishing families and river and coastal communities are suffering from the big cultural and economic loss caused by low numbers of returning salmon on the Klamath River this year, the result of decades of mismanagement by the state and federal governments.

The misspending is a revealed in a new audit report that confirms charges leveled last year by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

“We found that USBR did not have the legal authority to enter into the cooperative agreement, resulting in $32.2 million in wasted funds spent by KWAPA (Klamath Water and Power Agency) under the agreement,” wrote Mary L. Kendall, Deputy Inspector General for the Office of Inspector General, in the audit report dated October 11, 2016.

The report found that the program had done little to restore endangered coho salmon, Lost River suckers and shortnose suckers, as it was intended to do.

Reclamation disputes the Inspector General’s findings. “Reclamation maintains that the reimbursement program has been an important tool in dealing with water issues in an over-allocated basin,” Reclamation claimed in a written statement.

In a news release, PEER described the arrangement between Reclamation and KWAPA as the “Klamath Irrigators’ Illegal Piggy Bank.”

“While the payments have ended, Reclamation refuses to change its practices to prevent future abuse or to recoup moneys illegally spent,” according to PEER, (

The Klamath Water and Power Agency was a water and power authority in Klamath Falls, Oregon that received water from federal water projects in northern California and southern Oregon. KWAPA was forced to close its doors on March 31, 2006 due to “disorganization” and complaints filed by PEER. (

The Klamath River watershed — and its precious salmon and steelhead populations — have been devastated by a series of droughts in recent years. Over the past several years, Reclamation, under pressure from Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists, has released supplemental cold water flows from Trinity Reservoir into the Trinity River to stop a massive fish kill on the lower Klamath like the one that ravaged the river in September 2002. During that fish kill, the largest of its kind in U.S. history, an estimated 35,000 to 68,000 salmon perished.

PEER said the IG report details how Reclamation diverted $32 million in federal funds intended for drought contingency planning and helping struggling fish populations:

In a “waste of funds” wholly lacking in any legal authority;

Paying for KWAPA salaries, fringe benefits, rent, travel and other expenses whose benefits flowed “primarily to irrigator contractors rather than fish and wildlife,” including $4.2 million for uses that could not be supported with documentation or were outright “unallowable”; and

By modifying the KWAPA contract “19 times to expand the scope of activities” and extend the original payment program from 2008 through September 30, 2015.

The Bureau rejects these findings — so the IG is “kicking this intra-agency dispute upstairs” in Interior to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget for resolution, according to PEER.

“Basically, the Bureau of Reclamation became an illicit ATM for favored special interests,” stated PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein. “To add injury to insult, these improper subsidies were used to aggravate environmental damage by draining shrinking groundwater supplies to benefit irrigators.”

Dinerstein emphasized that these illegal payments would be continuing if Reclamation employees had not blown the whistle.

The whistleblower complaint from two Reclamation biologists filed through PEER prodded the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to order Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to address the illegal diversion of funds and how her agency would remedy identified violations. “That answer to the Special Counsel was due back in August of 2015 but Reclamation, on the Secretary’s behalf, has obtained extensions totaling 15 months,” said Dinerstein.

“Reclamation is circling its wagons to defend the potentially criminal conduct by its own managers,”said Dinerstein, pointing to the Anti-Deficiency Act that forbids expenditures not authorized by any appropriation and is enforced by criminal fines and/or imprisonment for up to two years. “We will keep pressing for some accountability to taxpayers from Reclamation’s multi-year, multi-million dollar illegal money-laundering operation.”

Jim McCarthy, Communications Director & Southern Oregon Program Manager for WaterWatch, pointed out that not only was this program apparently illegal and wasted millions,but the resulting lack of water on the Klamath’s wildlife refuges, which the program in question was created to provide, “actually killed huge numbers of wildlife in recent years.”

In fact, seventeen conservation groups sent a letter to Interior Secretary Jewell on October 13 asking for emergency water deliveries for the Klamath refuges to reduce the risk of yet another waterfowl die-off, said McCarthy.

The letter states, “As you are aware, since 2012, tens of thousands of birds on these refuges have died for lack of water resulting from allocation decisions made within the Department of the Interior. When few wetland acres are available on these refuges due to lack of water, large numbers of waterfowl pack together during migration periods, leading to lethal disease outbreaks. Refuge staff estimated that some 20,000 birds perished this way in 2014. Similar conditions on these refuges sparked massive waterfowl die-offs in 2012 and 2013."

Mike Orcutt, Fisheries Director of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, said the water bank created under the agreement between Reclamation and KWAPA was supposed to improve water quality and the fishery in the Klamath Basin, but that didn’t happen, according to the IG report.

“Looking to the future, the Tribe receives their money for fish restoration from the same budget and the budget has been flatlined. We get the aftermath of that flatlined budget,” he said.

Another potential impact is that this scandal could impact the trust in the Bureau by Congress and make it harder for similar future agreements to be funded.

“You’re going to be hard-pressed to get the money if you don’t use the funds for what you were supposed to,” Orcutt told the Eureka Times-Standard. (

On July 29, the Hoopa Valley Tribe filed a lawsuit against the federal government for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) over management actions that have imperiled Coho salmon on the Klamath River.

The Tribe filed the litigation against the Bureau of Reclamation, the same agency involved in the wasting of $32 million, and the National Marine Fisheries Service in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, to protect the Coho salmon, listed as an endangered species under the ESA. The Trinity River, the largest tributary of the Klamath, runs through the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.

The Hoopa lawsuit is expected to be followed by several other lawsuits, including litigation by the Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), Institute for Fisheries Resources, Klamath Riverkeeper and Earthjustice. (

Hopefully, this illegal spending of $32 million in federal funds to further subsidize already heavily-subsidized agribusiness interests will result in criminal convictions if the allegations by PEER are proven true.

This is not the first time that state and government officials have diverted millions of dollars designed to restore fish and wildlife for other purposes. For example, the Department of Interior’s Inspector General earlier this year opened an investigation into the possible illegal use of millions of dollars by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial Delta Tunnels Plan. (

The investigation resulted from a complaint PEER filed on the behalf of a Bureau of Reclamation employee on February 19, 2016. The complaint, made public in a statement from PEER on April 11, details how a funding agreement with DWR is “illegally siphoning off funds that are supposed to benefit fish and wildlife to a project that will principally benefit irrigators” under the California Water Fix, the newest name for the Delta Tunnels plan.

The Delta Tunnels project is deeply connected to the Klamath River watershed. The two 35-mile long tunnels under the Delta would hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species. The project would also imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, a fishery that for thousands of years has played an integral part in the culture, religion and food supply of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes.

Read the IG audit report

Look at still pending probe from the Office of Special Counsel

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from by Ben Christopher

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The Mendocino Environmental Center and KMEC radio present a benefit concert for Doctors Without Borders.

Featuring funky tribal music by Oloju.

Friday, November 11th at 7:00pm.

Admission price: $10 at the door

At the United Methodist Church, 270 North Pine St. In Ukiah.

Refreshments for sale.

This is an alcohol free event.

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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Thurs. Nov. 3rd, 8650 east Rd, Redwood Valley

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits will be shown at the “Big Yellow Hall”, just north of Redwood Valley downtown at 8650 East Road on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016. Doors open at 6:30 and the film starts at 7 PM. There will be popcorn. Suggested donation of $10 will support the Redwood Valley Community Guild. In the film, Investigative reporter Greg Palast goes undercover to unmask the GOP billionaires and ballot bandits conspiring to steal a million votes by November.

When Donald Trump says, "This election is rigged"—he should know. His buddies are rigging it. Rolling Stone investigative reporter Greg Palast busted Jeb Bush for stealing the 2000 election by purging Black voters from Florida’s electoral rolls. Now Palast is back to take a deep dive into the Republicans’ dark operation, Crosscheck, designed to steal a million votes by November. Crosscheck is controlled by a Trump henchman, Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State who claims his computer program has identified 7.2 million people in 29 states who may have voted twice in the same election--a felony crime. The catch? Most of these suspects are minorities—in other words, mainly Democratic voters. Yet the lists and the evidence remain confidential. Palast and his investigative side-kick Badpenny do what it takes to get their hands on the data, analyze it and go find some of these 7.2 million Americans tagged suspects and potential duplicate voters whose votes are threatened this November. They hunt down and confront Kobach with the evidence of his "lynching by laptop." Then they are off to find the billionaires behind this voting scam. The search takes Palast from Kansas to the Arctic, the Congo, and to a swanky Hamptons dinner party held by Trump’s sugar-daddy, John Paulson, a.k.a. "JP The Foreclosure King." Palast and Badpenny stake out top GOP donors, the billionaire known as "The Vulture" and the Koch brothers, whom Palast nails with a damning tape recording. This real life detective story is told in a film noir style with cartoon animations, secret documents, hidden cameras, and a little help from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit detectives, Ice-T and Richard Belzer, Shailene Woodley, Rosario Dawson, Willie Nelson and Ed Asner, Palast and his associates expose the darkest plans of the uber-rich to steal America’s democracy.

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Plummy At The Plumeria

The Daoist and Ch'an Chinese of centuries past characterized civilization as a "floating world". Opposing the hard and heavy metal tone of daily life during medieval times, they realized an ephemeral world of seated meditation and flowing exercise movements, and a diet featuring the likes of fruit wines and a mysterious purple mushroom and organic garden herbs and vegetables and really good fishing in fresh water lakes and rivers and the vast healthy ocean. These wayfarers left accounts that inform and inspire. They instructed the people to focus their minds within and be anchored at their spiritual center, and then act from there. This, as opposed to being outwardly caught up in the ever changing phenomenalogical situations, which was particularly good advice during the warring periods. They advised central governments and bioregional administrators. The 2016 American presidential election is beyond chaos. The recent text of the 3rd debate (including NPR fact checks) shows that there was no mention of anything environmental at all; this in a time of worsening global climate destabilization! In less than three weeks one of two highly unpopular candidates is going to be elected the next President of the United States of America. As we await international economic implosion, as warring generally spins out of control in the middle east, as American society becomes more digitalized and consequently paranoid, and as people worldwide increasingly freak out, those of us who have cultivated a spiritual life need to be helpful. We need to collectively focus our minds within, and when anchored at center, act decisively and effectively. We will certainly be guided, and without fear individually and as groups go where we need to go and do what we need to do. Presently I am enjoying a stay at The Plumeria Alternative Hostel on Hawaii's O'ahu island, writing a lot of poetry and otherwise sending out networking emails to the mainland, in my never ending availability for more radical environmental and peace & justice frontline direct action. I cannot continue having this odd conversation with the American left, which amounts to my being encouraged and yet receiving no cooperation in terms of housing. How can I possibly accept this? Seriously, what kind of cultural revolution is this anyway? As I continue to float on O'ahu, on the beaches and along the streets with their tiki torches and Hawaiian musicians and exceptional local craft beer, and the lovely mornings with the gentle rain and the island birds pleasantly waking me up, the soft puffy white clouds o'er head, my friends anticipating the surfing championships on the north shore in two weeks, the incredibly fit and tanned local population practicing on their short boards at Waikiki Beach, the delicious fresh squeezed pineapple juice served everywhere, the balmy trade winds at sunset, I do trust that all will be well. If we are in solidarity, now is a good time to contact me. ;-)))))

Craig Louis Stehr


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  1. glynnisj October 22, 2016

    Remembering Emil

    Like so many others here, my husband and I came to know Mr. Rossi and his sons when we built our home in Boonville. In what seemed like endless trips to the store for pieces of pipe, paint, screws, nuts and bolts, and all manner of things. One of of the things that always impressed us is how helpful Emil, Nick and Chris have always been in solving all sorts of problems – a really clogged drain, a faulty switch, a garden pest and just about anything else you can think of. A real local resource.

    But it wasn’t until I read the Voices of the Valley books that I discovered that Emil and I shared an interesting experience. We had both crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth. He sailed over in WWII, as my father had, as a soldier. I went to visit my grandmother in England in 1957, crossing on the QE. We talked several times about the ship and both found our experiences, while under different circumstances, deeply memorable. It truly is a small world.

    Thanks for the memories, Emil.

    Glynnis Jones, Boonville

  2. Bill Pilgrim October 22, 2016

    RE: Gentrification & economic segregation. A consequence of the exploding home prices and rents in SF (and Oakland, etc.) is the noticeable increase in traffic throughout the Bay Area. People pushed out by high housing costs must now commute long distances to work where they can’t afford to live.
    Reduce carbon emissions by reducing driving? Ha! Not in these circumstances.

  3. Rick Weddle October 22, 2016

    re: Legalizing marijuana…

    Mr. Boasberg, I’m not sure how you could have missed this, even in Daly City, but there are a couple things about the issue of legal/illegal drugs you don’t seem to know:
    (1) Prohibition (of anything whatever) DOES NOT WORK to control your target ‘addictive’ or dangerous substance; au contraire, mon cher! This has been so consistently proven for so long, everybody else knows about it, in spades. Where do you suppose Al Capone got all his pull? Ask around. You’ll pick up a little valuable knowledge, and possibly sleep better at night…possibly not. Likely not, if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of those now doing Serious Time for the victimless ‘offense’ of smoking/ingesting/selling/possessing marijuana.
    (2) Marijuana is no more addictive that chocolate, and less dangerous, unless a severe case of munchies is life-threatening to you. Those, like yourself, who’ve been parroting the untruth since 1937 or so, are telling The GATEWAY LIE; when the kids and the 80% of Americans who’ve tried MJ discover you’ve never known anything of what you were talking about on the subject, they might get the idea you’ve been bullshitting about heroin also, or cocaine, or crack, or ice, or alcohol, or…Those in high places who’ve been spreading this LIE all these years have been doing so for Cash and Prizes, and as an effective repressive tactic in their ongoing Cultural Warfare in our midst (Crimes perpetrated upon the American public,…again.)
    (3) The panic-reaction pack of disasters we know as the ‘War on Drugs’ is an extended, expanded ruse which benefits NOBODY, ANYWHERE (we’ll not count the overfed officials raking in the cash over this ongoing holocaust, calling themselves ‘enforcement’ and ‘corrections,’ for feck’s sake! They’re in the same bag of perps with the cartel goons!)
    (4) The lily-white image of ‘legal’ pharmaceuticals is also a fake scrim covering epidemic-scale deaths and injuries and flat-out addictions rampant in the white-coated industry you seem to respect so.

    There’s a long list of other points refuting your silly stance on MJ, I’m just pointing out these few as a friendly shout-out…might save you a lot of trouble and heartache. If you’re interested to in fact KNOW what you’re talking about, might I suggest the book, “Licit and Illicit Drugs?” It will knock what’s left of your socks off. Do you know what percentage of your own surgeons (and doctors across the AMA) are hooked on ‘maintenance’ addictions to heroin? I bet you don’t, and I bet you won’t believe it when you see it. And as for your airline pilots and train operators, you have surely noticed those folks are getting loaded just like your otherwise-occupied neighbors. We do NOT have to accept all this as it’s served us. But we do not have to lie about it, then believe our own BS, either.

  4. BB Grace October 22, 2016

    Nasty Woman

    Inappropriate insult

    Go higher!

  5. Alice Chouteau October 22, 2016

    Thank you BB! You took the words right out of my mouth…

  6. Rick Weddle October 22, 2016

    Tsk! My ayes are up here…

  7. mr. wendal October 22, 2016

    May Little Dog please spend some time on the grass or something soft? Always photographed on hardscape – no wonder the obsession with an ivory bust – a diversion is needed for the pain.

  8. Lydia Light June 25, 2019

    Very saddened to see Gretchen Clow has been arrested. She is a very good hearted and beautiful girl. I hope that the community has a suitable program for her to qualify for.. I just love Gretchen , my hopes and prayers are for her now in her time of need.

    • Erin Renee October 29, 2019

      I am an old friend of Gretchen.
      I have been trying to find her.
      Do you know any details about her arrest or incarceration, I miss her, yes very good hearted woman, please let me know.

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