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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016

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AN INCH AND A HALF of rain came down yesterday, bringing Yorkville's early season total up to 5.44 inches. Forecasters say it may get a little wet this afternoon, and a lot more wet beginning Thursday.

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VERY BAD SINGLE-VEHICLE ACCIDENT on Highway 101 north of Ukiah Sunday night. Apparently a drunk 18 year old kid named Juan Rodriguez Silva was driving a 2006 Ford (unspecified model) northbound on Highway 101 near the Uva Drive intersection when he ran smack into a tree, killing an as yet unidentified 19 year old passenger and seriously injuring himself at approximately 11:30pm. A second passenger, Miguel Garcia, 20, suffered “minor” injuries and declined medical treatment. Silva, who, like his passengers, was not wearing a seatbelt, was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial for treatment of his injuries and then arrested for driving under the influence. (Nevertheless, the CHP press release adds, “The cause of the collision remains under investigation.”) According to the CHP, “the collision was not reported until October 24 at 0833 hours,” implying that the occupants were trapped in the car for about nine hours before anyone noticed and help arrived. Was the 19 year old who died alive for some time after the crash? The CHP doesn’t say. (And need we mention that it’s illegal for kids under 18 to drink?)

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by B.B. Grace

If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, “The Guest House is NOT haunted.” There was never any indication of anything spooky, items moving around or cold spots. The house is always warm and wonderful even on cold windy days when the front door bursts open and refuses to remain closed. A decade of docenting the Guest House provided me the luxury of reading all the books for sale about Fort Bragg and Mendocino Coast. Being a member of the Fort Bragg-Historical Society provided me with a nice newsletter that always has interesting features or quest for answers about items unearthed in archives, or new exhibits featuring greatly appreciated gifts and collections. The entire operation is a work of love I witness when volunteer docents show up, clean up, and greet visitors sharing the history in the docent handbook, and encouraging them to explore and enjoy Fort Bragg and the Coast.

A very special time to be at the Guest House is when the Coast Weavers are working the Finnish redwood loom making strong and beautiful 2' x 3' rag rugs just as they were made over 100 years ago. When they work it sounds as if the house has a beating heart and gives the idea that this must have been one of the comfort sounds in the past, the organic drumming of wood resonates with a tribal quality the redwood walls and ceilings enrich. The sound of the waves beating on the rocks when sets come in pounding, yet so soft in it's mist, merge together in the house where on the second floor is the best whale watching, through the 125 year old glass windows so warm and no wind, just miles of ocean with geyser like sprays, and the chance to surprise a visitor that hasn't seen a whale before saying, “Thar she blows!”; Pointing to where. When the sun is just right you can see rainbows in the mists off the rocks. I've had many magic moments with witnesses at the Guest House, but I never thought of it as haunted and I guess that's because it always had a good energy.

That's not to say bad things don't happen about the Guest House. They do. Over the years, several events I reported never got corrected and my concern for public safety has become an issue I can't overcome after years of getting the same “there's no money” answer. I decided as much as I know the Guest House needs volunteers and as much as I love docenting, public safety concerns are seriously cramping my style and I have to resign. I decided to go to the Historical Society board meeting in September. I didn't want to resign so I wasn't happy being there. I rolled the agenda and treasurer's report in my hands while the board members made their reports going down the Agenda. As the meeting was wrapping up the president Mr. Ruedrich began to speak and as I looked up a spark caught my eye on C. R.'s picture. I looked closer and it was as if I was being pulled into this wonderful warm enveloping golden goodness. Nothing spooky, just like a warm golden glow that felt good. I kinda remember the doorknob, as if I'm looking through a microscope and I feel the embossing on the knob, soft, not much, but other than that the next thing I knew was I was standing on Main street where I was parked looking up at the mound. OMG moment, a mound! Wow and the house. I thought “Wow! What am I doing?” My car keys were in my hand. I felt confused, I felt downloaded with a matrix and went home. For nine days I had a lot of thoughts and dreams of people and places I didn't know, like a Key Stone rock I never heard of near Spy Rock, and these ancient stories of California before Gold Dust days. I was scheduled to docent on Sept 22 and thought, “Well, this is it; You can quit now, just walk away, or go back, honor you commitment and face C.R. in the daylight.” I chose to return.

The House was normal as ever, nice warm, happy. C.R. was C.R. smiling. A man came in and then a couple. The man of the couple kept referring to himself, “Oh no one pays any attention to me.” He would say things like that, so I didn't pay attention to him. His wife was interested in the display of the 1906 Earthquake that destroyed a good portion of Fort Bragg. I thought that since it's my last day to be a docent it would be OK to tell them about the spark on C.R. What was amazing is what they told me. They had created a Foundation for a place that wasn't even as worthy as the Guest House for $16 Million. “You'd have no problem fixing this place up. This is what you do.. ..” He said and as I listened I noticed that he was a doppelganger of C.R. I took C.R.'s photo from the mantel and asked his wife, “Am I seeing things or does your husband look like C.R. Johnson?” She said, “If he trimmed his moustash Honey, they would be twins.” When they left I noticed a name on a brochure left by a person I only met when they had dropped off the brochures the previous month. It was one of the names from the matrix. I'm not a phone person and yet I just picked up the phone and called them. What's amazing is that they were home and knew exactly what to do, “I'll request papers from the City on the Guest House so we can see how we can form a foundation!” It would take ten days they told me on Friday, they had them in hand on Monday and delivered them to me as a gift in the Fort Bragg Mendocino Coast archives where Sylvia Bartley works to preserve and record Fort Bragg history that desperately needs proper storage among many things. Everyone liked the idea of a foundation.

When I got home I read the papers gifted to me. Within the papers was the 2013 Guest House Museum Master Plan-City Wide Development Plan that had the Foundation the doppelganger of C.R. was talking about and so much more. The City obtained the Master Plan from a Community Development Block Grant for a $70,000 Master Plan had been buried since 2013. The Master Plan provides jobs, good jobs, networks the cultural aspects, Skunk Train, Whale Visitor Center, Rail Road Museum, Roots of Motive Power (!) Glass Beach, C. V. Starr Center, Fraternal organizations, Schools and much more as a brand new proper archive building for storage, a cafe, weddings, hosting events is all part of the plan to unite Fort Bragg and the Coast. Even Linda Ruffing, CEO of Fort Bragg said that the Master Plan was wonderful.

I'm not one to believe in ghosts, so I don't know if I can say that the Guest House is haunted, but I will say this, I never had an experience like that in my life. I am absolutely amazed to have found this wonderful Master Plan. Has anyone else seen it? You can get a free copy of the $70,000 Master Plan at this link:

Maybe the Guest House is haunted?

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DAVID SEVERN has asked the Community Services District Board to host a discussion of the Blackbird Ranch’s wild request to increase its transient occupancy capacity to nearly 300 “guests.” The Ranch has been the subject of much local concern lately, especially from the Ranch’s Philo neighbors. Severn pointed out that the Blackbird Ranch proposal is to increase their capacity from the current 36 to a total of 292, nearly equals the population of the entire town of Philo. Traffic on Rays Road (a county road) would increase dramatically as would traffic on other private roads leading to the Ranch across neighboring parcels. Severn wants the CSD board to invite Blackbird Ranch owner Mr. Hall to an upcoming CSD Board meeting where locals could discuss Blackbird’s plans and why Blackbird staffers seem to be promoting their preposterously intrusive proposal only to nearby wineries. Severn pointed out that Blackbird is suspiciously co-mingling the token "educational" aspect of the operation with the resort proposal. He has noted that by requesting 292 additional berths, Blackbird strategy seems to be to ask for the moon, settle for Pluto. (Ask for 292, “compromise” at a hundred or so.)

AFTER SOME DISCUSSION about what the Community Services District’s role with regard to Blackbird may be — at a minimum there are very specific emergency services access problems — CSD board chair Valerie Hanelt told Severn that if he worked with members of the local Community Action Coalition who have previously expressed interest in the subject, the Board would put the Blackbird proposal on an upcoming agenda, hopefully before the Blackbird application is considered by the County Planning Commission in December.

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LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR, Willie Housley, told the Community Services District board last Wednesday that he intends to set up a companion business to his winery tours which he calls Non-Emergency Medical Transport. "My company would be a for-profit business model focusing on elderly, veterans, disabled persons and special needs individuals," said Housley, adding that he intended to work with the local health center, veterans, the Senior Center, Elderhome and individual patients who need medical transportation services. Housley thinks the service would be especially helpful to people with chronic conditions who need transportation to and from treatment facilities or medical appointments and who don't have other transportation options. Board members expressed support for the idea but pointed out that they have nothing to do with non-emergency medical activity or for-profit companies. Housley said he expects that some local emergency responders might sign up as drivers for his service. The board replied that that would be between him and those individuals, expressing unanimous support for his idea.

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LATE BREAKING ENDORSEMENT. Ken Anton for Assembly. Jim Wood, the Healdsburg dentist, is the incumbent. Wood, a Democrat of course, is running on his record. Darndest thing. We looked for Wood’s record but everywhere we went we found ourselves in this weird white-out. If he has a record, it’s apparently tucked away somewhere in what’s left of the polar ice cap. Anton is a libertarian and lives in Elk. Our Elk contacts say Anton’s a nice guy, married, two school-age children. Vote for him. He’s not Wood, and every vote against an incumbent Democrat gets us closer to breaking their cash and carry stranglehold on our lives.

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THE GUALALA PROPERTY at 40495 Old Stage Road has been interesting to watch. It is owned by Joseph Cullen who has been popped several times over the years for possession of drugs. The place is referred to as "The Boat House" as it has a 30 plus-foot sailboat down by two double-wides on a lot not permitted for that kind of crowded occupancy.

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, the owner installed a galvanized sheet metal fence and roped the whole place in so no one could see what was going on. The county, with help from the Sonoma County Sheriff and Mendo deputy Greg Stefani, went in and pulled the fence down and removed abandoned cars and all sorts of hazmat-quality debris at a cost to the county of more than $100,000 with a caveat that the guy clean up the rest of the property and pay his dues.

AIN'T HAPPENING. The tweekers have rebounded, accumulating more junk out in the entry way. What neighbors want to know is how did the county provide for the costs in the original clean up, and why is the situation unchanged?

A RESIDENT of the area wonders, "if it would make a difference in the neighborhood if the shitstorm down there would become long gone. Nobody seems to care, and we have the walking dead around here all the time (the other day one of their inhabitants was 'cleaning the forest floor' while smoking a cigarette). They don't steal from us, but what kind of accounting is due from the county in this rural area? I bet Hamburg is not even aware of the money spent so far to clean up this mess. More and more vehicles with flat tires, bent metal works and broken windows appear on the site. I have not contacted the respectable Tom Allman on it, but you know, I should not have to. Get this shit out of here ASAP!"

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merloWE LEARNED Monday morning that Harry Merlo had died at his home in Portland at the age of 91. Merlo was the long-time boss at Louisiana-Pacific infamous for his ruthless short-term profit-taking and cash-in of Mendocino County forests at the expense of the long-term interests of a viable County timber industry. Harry’s epitaph? “It always annoys me to leave anything on the ground when we log our own lands… We log to infinity. It’s out there, it’s ours, and we want it all. Now.” That was Merlo’s explanation of his business strategy as quoted by Mike Geniella in a 1989 edition of the Press Democrat.

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A legendary and controversial timber executive is funding the attack on the Portland Water Bureau.

by Nigel Jaquiss [published October 1, 2013]

It's been a long time since Harry Merlo wielded any real power in this town.

For more than 20 years, Merlo, the CEO of timber giant Louisiana-Pacific, lived the kind of imperial lifestyle Portland's present corporate chieftains can only dream about.

Merlo—sporting a Clark Gable mustache and often photographed in a white dinner jacket—entertained on L-P's 107-foot yacht and lived on a company-owned West Hills estate complete with a helipad and chef. He traveled the world on company jets and regularly squired statuesque blondes to social events.

All the while, Merlo called in favors from politicians and laid waste to forests like the timber baron he was.

“He’s a throwback to a different era,” says Bob Ames, president of First Interstate Bank of Oregon during Merlo’s reign at L-P. “As a CEO, he was the ultimate cowboy.”

Today, Merlo is 88 and avoids the public spotlight. But records and interviews show Merlo is staging a comeback as a power broker: He is the money behind Portland's fight over control of water from the Bull Run Reservoir.

Portland is facing a ratepayers' crusade against the alleged misuse of public money by the city's Water Bureau, from publicly funded elections to a $940,000 "water house" demonstration project to $1.5 million spent bailing out the Rose Festival.

A group called Portlanders for Water Reform is trying to get a measure on the May 2014 ballot that would wrest control of the Water Bureau from the city and give it to an independent public utility board.

The campaign has been pushed by industrial users of city water unhappy about rising rates. But who exactly was fueling the campaign wasn't clear—until now.

Portlanders for Water Reform reported its first contribution Sept. 6: $25,000 from the Portland Bottling Company, the 27th-largest user of the city's water.

But few people know Merlo controls Portland Bottling.

Merlo did not respond to requests for comment, but public records and interviews reveal that he is the money behind the company, which bottles soft drinks.

“He is the majority shareholder,” says Samuel Allen, owner of the Monarch Hotel and an investor in Portland Bottling.

"Having Harry Merlo involved is a big deal," says veteran lobbyist Len Bergstein, who is part of a City Club panel studying the water ballot measure. "Having a large bankroll brings more weight to an issue that otherwise could be seen as grievance politics."

Merlo's stealthy return to city politics aligns the man whose company was a voracious clear-cutter with strange allies—the Friends of the Reservoirs, who are also part of Portlanders for Water Reform.

That group's leader, Floy Jones, says she doesn't know much about Merlo but that doesn't matter. "When it comes to equitable rates and transparency, different groups can come together," Jones says.

Merlo took the helm of L-P after federal anti-trust officials ordered the company be split off from Georgia Pacific in 1973. L-P changed the lumber business by developing a way to make plywood from smaller, faster-growing trees, putting the company in a strong position as timber shortages increased in the 1980s.

For 22 years, Merlo ran the publicly traded L-P like a fiefdom. But in 1995, a confluence of events prompted its board of directors to abruptly boot Merlo. The feds charged the company with environmental crimes and fraud, and a female subordinate of Merlo's sued for sexual harassment, alleging women were hired as assistants only if they were stunning, young and "likely to acquiesce to sexual advances by the CEO,” according to a 1995 story in Business Week.

L-P's most famous disaster was its exterior siding, which within a few years discolored, rotted and grew mushrooms. The company would eventually pay out more than $500 million to compensate property owners who used the L-P siding. (The company later moved its headquarters from Portland to Nashville, Tenn.)

Merlo left L-P a wealthy man—his 2 million shares were then worth nearly $50 million.

Merlo has other interests. Under Merlo, L-P in 1979 bought the Portland Timbers, then of the North American Soccer League, and kept the team going until 1982 before shutting it down amid financial losses. During those years, Merlo established a friendship with Timbers defender Clive Charles, who went on to build the University of Portland into a soccer powerhouse. Charles persuaded the former timber exec to pay for the UP soccer stadium known as Merlo Field.

After exiting corporate life, Merlo focused on his Sonoma County, Calif., winery, Lago di Merlo; two Portland wine distribution companies; a 12,000-acre ranch near LaGrande; and Portland Bottling.

Since 2006, records show, Merlo has contributed $92,000 to Oregon politics. He donated most heavily to the 2010 GOP nominee for governor, Chris Dudley. Merlo gave the former Trail Blazer $30,000, much of it in-kind contributions for the use of Merlo's airplane.

It's not yet clear how much money Merlo's bottling company is willing to sink into the water campaign—or into subsequent elections for an independent water board.

Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland, says Merlo's record at Louisiana-Pacific doesn't suggest he'd favor the transparency or accountability the measure's advocates say they want.

"Merlo has the capacity to bankroll an initiative like this and the capacity to buy elections as well," Sallinger says. "If you are worried about corporate influence and accountability, ask yourself if Merlo's a person you'd trust to fundamentally reshape city government.”€

(Courtesy, Willamette Week)

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AFTER READING "Get The Shotgun" by Flynn Washburne from last week's AVA on KNYO/KMEC radio last Friday night, Marco McClean commented, "I probably heard those shots that Flynn fired at that house not too far away from my house, not far away from where Ruth and Paul used to live. I have not seen either of them in a long long time. I thought maybe Ruth died of old age. But maybe not. Maybe they are both still there. [Long pause…] Now I'm thinking about all the things — all the stories — all the things other people have told me about Ruth and Paul. She was a pretty famous poet in the old days. And an interesting person. And it's not a German accent, Mr. Washburne. It's more French than German. She's a little more French than German I think. Maybe French-German. Sort of a French-ish German-ish accent. Maybe something like that.”

I THINK PAUL BLAKE is no longer with us, but he and ruth weiss, no caps, must be the persons referred to here. ruth is a fine poet, usually included in the big “beatnik” tent of poets, and Paul was a very fine artist. ruth was born in Germany, I believe, but got out before the Nazis could get her. Paul’s work is found in museum collections here and there. I think. Maybe galleries. But he was a talented guy. I can’t imagine gunplay involving them….

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by Christi Warren

Lake and Mendocino county elementary students have some of the highest truancy rates in the state, while Napa County has one of the lowest, according to a report out from the state attorney general’s office this week. The figures are part of the fourth annual statewide report on elementary school truancy and chronic absenteeism, compiled by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Children’s Justice. The report showed that 210,000 K-5 students in California missed 10 percent of the 2015-2016 school year, and more than a quarter of all elementary school students were considered truant — with three or more unexcused absences — during the 2014-2015 school year.

Lake County reported the third-highest rate of truant elementary school students in the state: 35.6 percent. Mendocino County had a rate of 31.3 percent and Napa County 8.9 percent. Sonoma County fell in the middle with 21 percent of students marked truant. A 2011 study from Attendance Works, a San Francisco-based organization that promotes attendance and its importance, shows that once students reach third grade, those who were chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade scored an average of 50 points lower on their English standardized test and 76 points lower on their math standardized tests. Lake County Superintendent Brock Falkenberg doesn’t dispute that his county has a truancy problem, but questioned the accuracy of the DOJ report. Only two of his county’s six districts use Aeries, the attendance tracking software that provided data for the report. In Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties, the majority of districts do use Aeries, superintendents said. “There’s no question that we have a truancy problem in Lake County,” he said. “What we need to do is address the problem, and so far the way that we’ve approached it hasn’t had a tremendous impact in changing those numbers.” But efforts are being made. In the middle of the 2014-2015 school year, the county implemented a task force to address the attendance issue, but it’s a slow fight in a community that struggles so much socioeconomically, Falkenberg said. “You may also have a community that’s struggling with health and wellness issues, has less access to medical professionals ... kids are pulled out of school because parents have an appointment in Santa Rosa and they bring kids with them; they may be afraid that they won’t be back to pick the kid back up after school,” he said.

“Or you’re concerned with how you’re going to make sure you have a roof over your family’s head at night or food on the table. Often times the school issues become not the priority.” The county does employ a truancy officer who makes home visits and coordinates truancy cases with the district attorney, but only four of the six districts pay for that resource. Recently, the county has implemented a social media campaign to inspire parents to take a larger role in their children’s lives called Lake County Hero Project. Parents are given monthly and weekly challenges, like pledging to read to their children, or eat dinner together as a family. “There’s a direct correlation between attendance behavior and grades,” said Warren Galletti, superintendent of the Mendocino County Office of Education.“This is something that we’re well aware of, and it’s a focus of each and every one of our districts within the county,” he said. “But there is no quick fix. It’s a process.” He said it’s important districts focus on improving attendance rates among elementary school students because as students progress into middle school and high school, it gets more difficult to break the attendance habits formed early on.

Napa County Superintendent Barbara Nemko lamented her county’s reputation as the “rich kid population.”“This is a community that has a great deal of money,” she said, “but those aren’t necessarily the people who have kids in school. ... The people who have kids in schools are the ones that work in the hospitality industry, in the hotels and the restaurants.” She said the county’s efforts to mitigate absenteeism and truancy are the reason it ranks so well, not its economic status. One of the programs she highlighted is Saturday school, an option elementary schools offer about six times a year, where students who need extra help or missed an attendance day, can come to school on a Saturday morning and make that up. Napa County also uses parent liaisons, so that if a child is absent, a fellow parent reaches out to the family rather than a staff member, comforting for parents who would rather speak to a community member than an authority figure, Nemko said.

Sonoma County Superintendent Steve Herrington said as districts throughout the state work to implement their Local Control and Accountability Plans, which are supposed to explain how district spending will improve student success, it will be interesting to see how attendance numbers change. One of the stated goals of the plan is “supporting student engagement, including whether students attend school or are chronically absent.” In Sonoma County, districts use liaisons for foster children, have staff members who make home visits and work closely with the district attorney’s office to report truancy cases, Herrington said. This is the fourth year Attorney General Kamala Harris has ordered the report on the heels of her work as district attorney in San Francisco to lower absentee rates there. “Chronically absent children are far more likely to drop out of school and enter into the criminal justice system,” she said in a news release. “This is a solvable problem: with better data, monitoring, and communication with parents, we can continue to make significant strides toward ensuring students are in school and on track to meet their full potential.”

(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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STANFORD GRADS with Turner added.

Stoen, Sweeney, Hamburg
Stoen, Sweeney, Hamburg

The Stanford Alumni Association, Mendocino County: Tim Stoen; Mike Sweeney; Dan Hamburg (above); Dr. Peter Keegan; Judge David Nelson; Dave Turner (below).  Which one would probably not want to be included?

Keegan, Nelson, Turner
Keegan, Nelson, Turner

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GLEANING PARTY at Blue Meadow Farm* Saturday, October 29 9:00 AM on If it’s not still raining…. Come help pull out summer plants for compost. Take home the veggies and flowers still in the field Bring boxes! Come early for best selection……. 3301 Holmes Ranch Road, Philo (17.45 mm Hwy 128) 895-2071 (Rain date Sunday Oct. 30) (*The stand open this week when it’s not raining.)

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by Kimberly Veklerov

Hannah Ashley in a July 2015 booking photo (left) and in a 2012 driver’s license photo. Authorities said she took her son from the home of her mother, who has legal custody of the baby, late Saturday. The baby is considered missing and endangered.

Hannah Ashley
Hannah Ashley

An Amber Alert was issued Monday afternoon for a 7-month-old boy abducted over the weekend by his mother — who doesn’t have lawful custody and may be a threat to the infant’s well-being, officials said.

Hannah Ashley, 35, took the baby boy from his crib at his grandmother’s home sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, said Sgt. Spencer Crum, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. The grandmother has legal custody of the infant.

The grandmother called investigators Sunday about 8:30 a.m. to report that Ashley took the child from her home on the 17900 block of Neeley Road in Guerneville and drove in an unknown direction, Crum said.

Investigators initially tried to get an Amber Alert issued Sunday, but the situation didn’t meet the criteria, as it appeared to be a custody dispute, Crum said. But after they spoke with Child Protective Services and learned that Ashley was “unable to adequately care for the child,” they secured the alert and broadcasted it shortly before 2 p.m.

Officials said the mother and child are traveling in a silver four-door 2005 Subaru Forester with a license plate of 5JKZ255.

The child, Henry Massey, was described as white, about 15 pounds, with gray eyes and brown hair. His mother, also white, was described as being 5-foot-6, 125 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information can contact the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 565-2650.

(The San Francisco Chronicle)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 24, 2016

(Unavailable due to “internal server error” at the Sheriff’s Booking log.)

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TOM HAYDEN, protester-turned-politician, dies at 76

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by James Kunstler

It’s getting hard to give a shit about this election, though you might still care about this country. The damage has been done to the two long-reigning political parties and perhaps that’s a good thing. They deserved to be dragged into the gutter and now they can either go through a severe rehab or be replaced by as-yet-unformed coalitions of reality-based interests.

Trump did a greater disservice all-in-all to the faction he supposedly represented. Their grievances about a grift-maximized political economy were genuine, and Trump managed to make them look like a claque of sinister clowns. This cartoon of a rich kid with no internal boundaries was unable to articulate their legitimate complaints. His behavior during the so-called debates verged on psychotic. If Trump loses, I will essay to guess that his followers’ next step will be some kind of violence. For the moment, pathetic as it is, Trump was their last best hope.

I’m more comfortable about Hillary — though I won’t vote for her — because it will be salutary for the ruling establishment to unravel with her in charge of it. That way, the right people will be blamed for the mismanagement of our national affairs. This gang of elites needs to be circulated out of power the hard way, under the burden of their own obvious perfidy, with no one else to point their fingers at. Her election will sharpen awareness of the criminal conduct in our financial practices and the neglect of regulation that marked the eight years of Obama’s appointees at the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The “tell” in these late stages of the campaign has been the demonization of Russia — a way more idiotic exercise than the McCarthyite Cold War hysteria of the early 1950s, since there is no longer any ideological conflict between us and all the evidence indicates that the current state of bad relations is America’s fault, in particular our sponsorship of the state failure in Ukraine and our avid deployment of NATO forces in war games on Russia’s border. Hillary has had the full force of the foreign affairs establishment behind her in this war-drum-banging effort, yet they have not been able to produce any evidence, for instance, in their claim that Russia is behind the Wikileaks hack of Hillary’s email. They apparently subscribe to the Joseph Goebbels theory of propoganda: if you’re going to lie, make sure it’s a whopper, and then repeat it incessantly.

The media has been on-board with all this. The New York Times especially has acted as the hired amplifier for the establishment lies — such a difference from the same newspaper’s role in the Vietnam War ruckus of yesteryear. Today (Monday) they ran an astounding editorial “explaining” the tactical necessity of Hillary’s dishonesty: “In politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools,” The Times editorial board wrote. Oh, well, that’s reassuring. Welcome to the George Orwell Theme Park of Democracy.

Of course neither Trump nor Hillary show any signs of understanding the real problems afflicting the USA. They don’t recognize the basic energy equation that has made it impossible for industrial economies to keep growing, or the deformities in banking and finance that result from official efforts to overcome these implacable conditions, namely, the piling up of ever-greater debt to “solve” the problem of over-indebtedness.

The beginning of the way out of this quandary will be recognition that the federal government is the greatest obstacle for America making the necessary adjustments to a world that has changed. If Trump got elected, I’m convinced that he would be removed from office by a military coup inside of a year, which would be an epic smash-up of our political machinery per se, comparable to the period 44 BCE in Rome, when the republic crashed. Hillary would bring a more measured discredit to the system with the chance that our institutions might be rehabilitated — with the cherry-on-top being Hillary’s eventual impeachment for lying, a fate that her husband and the late Richard Nixon both wiggled out of one way or another.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page:

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Hi Folks,

I rarely send political emails but we live in strange times so please know I do this because the fate of human life and many other species is at stake.

I believe that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump tapped into a growing dissatisfaction with the status quo of corporate domination of our government. While Sanders would have challenged parts of it and Trump would probably challenge very little of it, there actually is a presidential candidate on the ballot in most states who will if elected bring about much good for increasing the chance humans will be here in 100 years, living with environmental justice. This is Jill Stein (with Ajanu Baraka as VP). She is a medical doctor, well educated, with a plan that holds together logically (unlike the hodgepodge of campaign promises from the Democrat and Republican candidates). A "Green New Deal" and free college will be paid for by cutting the military deeply. What we need for defense is a fraction of what we spend sending weapons to both sides of conflicts (for the benefit of military contractors' profits). All those weapons manufacturing workers can work in a greatly expanded renewable energy industry - good jobs, not low-paying retail jobs that come about moving so much manufacturing overseas. Dr. Stein did participate alongside the debates that did not allow anyone but the 2 major party candidates; her responses were like fresh air compared with the polluted exchange of insults. Democracy Now! website and have more information along with Jill Stein's facebook page.

You may be thinking "a vote for Jill is a vote against Hill.” If you live in a state with a large Clinton lead, that is not a problem. After all, if Stein gets 5% or more of the vote nationwide, the Green Party will automatically be on the ballot in all states. That will eliminate the costly sisyphian task of getting ballot access for each election.

I have voted for the "lesser of two evils" for many years. It has gotten us greater and greater evils as we can see this time around. If you are moved to a more libertarian direction, getting that party over 5% is an option. Not my first choice, but having 3 or 4 instead of 2 major parties would be a good thing. It's an uphill battle to get to instant runoff voting (where if your first choice is eliminated, your second choice is then tabulated) or a parliamentary system, but not impossible.

Because there are real choices for president, there is no reason to not vote because you do not like Trump or Clinton. Please do cast a presidential vote.

While Clinton changed her positions a little in response to Sanders' run, I do not expect her to actually deviate from her militarism and favorable treatment of large corporations. While Trump was once a Democrat and his foreign policy is a mix of libertarian and hawk, I expect his and Clinton's to not differ that much. Domestically there is much difference. If you are in a swing state the lesser of 2 evils vote may be your best option. In CA though, I am voting Stein.

Lastly, there are some great progressives running for Senate and the U.S. House. Check them out too.

Bill Taylor

Redwood Valley

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On Tuesday, October 25th, at 6:30 pm, Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting a presentation, “Dessert, Demonstration & Discussion,” featuring local author and chef, Sulin Bell.

sulinbellWhile nibbling on an easy-to-make, savory mid-Eastern appetizer, listen to Bell present a lighthearted yet profound talk about culinary adventures as a way to improve your relationships, establish new ones, and explore a variety of meals that are delicious, nutritious and creative.

Enjoy or participate in a demonstration of how to prepare Strawberry and Chocolate Cashew Chiffon pies, and sample the tasty results in minutes.

Bell is a local chef/caterer, sociologist, artist, and author. Her book, Two Hearts Four Hands, Cooking Together and Repeated Requested Recipes, will be available for sale after her talk. Visit to learn more about Bell.

Since Bell is preparing food to sample, please RSVP by calling Ukiah Library at 463-4490 prior to October 25th.

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On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree.
— W.S. Merwin

The above is one of my favorite lines of poetry from W.S. Merwin, one of America's greatest poets. See:

Merwin is also one of our great environmentalists. See:

I'm hoping that I can get Merwin on my radio show as a call-in guest before he passes on. He's 89-years old. I've met him a few times.

"After the Dragonflies" is another fine poem by W.S. Merwin about end times -- global warming, environmental catastrophe, the collapse of the earth's ecosystems, planet earth's near death and the extinction of many, many species, including the dragonfly. This near-death of the planet is the so-called "sixth extinction" that Elizabeth Kolbert also describes in a book by the same name.

Sometimes, while alone in church on a weekday afternoon when nobody goes to church, I read Merwin's poems aloud from a pew in the back of the church where it's especially dark and lonely. Merwin's poems are the closest thing to prayer that know of. Many of his poems read like prayers of deliverance from the sixth extinction. Other poems are merely prayers of remembrance set in the future after the sixth extinction. "After the Dragonflies" is one such poem of remembrance.

Let us pray.

John Sakowicz at and The Mendocino Environmental Center, Ukiah

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FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS 2016 - Tickets available now!

Each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from November 25 through December 18, 2016

Rain or shine; 5:00pm to 7:30pm - Last entry is at 7:15 pm; lights out 7:30pm

Adult tickets are just $10 and children age 16 and under are free thanks to the funds raised by our spectacular annual benefit, the Festival of Lights Gala. Join us at the Gardens for live music, drinks, sweet treats, and fun in the big tent each evening of the Festival. Outside the tent, an unbelievable show of glittering color will draw you into the Gardens.

Santa Claus will be visiting Nov 27, Dec 3, Dec 9, and Dec 17!

Live Music Nightly at Festival of Lights:

  • 11/25 Jim & Morning Nichols
  • 11/26 Shug-A-Pea
  • 11/27 Dorian May Trio
  • 12/2 Sergei Bassehes
  • 12/3 Chuck Tourtillott
  • 12/4 Fort Bragg High School Choir
  • 12/9 To be announced...
  • 12/10 Shug-A-Pea
  • 12/11 The Groovinators
  • 12/16 Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
  • 12/17 Pura Vida
  • 12/18 To be announced…

New This Year

We have added a second entrance for those who have pre-purchased tickets for speedy entry!!! Tickets Are Now Available for purchase at The Garden Store or on our website -!

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The police are estimated to kill three white people and two black people every day.

The US Government does not compile or publish annual statistics on the number of people killed by the police. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states “no reliable data exist on the number of person’s killed by the police”(12/8/15). There are estimates of over 2,000 killed per year, and the respected web site “The Counted” reported 1,146 killed by police in 2015, 581 of these people killed by the police where white. To this day, The US Government, which is arguably influenced by money, has refused to compel police departments to keep records of those killed, despite the fact that it has been known for decades that police departments have a bloody history of lies, cover-ups, intimidation and violence reinforced by a code of silence. Thus the US Government is complicit in keeping hidden the true numbers of those murdered by the police every day.

To better understand the roots of the murderous police, we must return to the early history of the American Colonies. The first slavery in the US was debt slavery and the first so called bond slaves brought to America were English men and women. The Virginia census of 1624/25 listed 507 English bond slaves and on 23 Negro bond slaves. There was an armed rebellion in 1676 the first rebellion in the American colonies led by Nathaniel Bacon. It was an alliance between mostly English and African bond slaves against the brutality of their conditions. Fearful of another rebellion against their rule, the Virginia colonialist, those who could vote, rich English men and landowners who would go on to become our Founding Fathers, passed a series of laws known as the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705, which then spread rapidly throughout the colonies to become the law of the land.

The Slave Codes stripped from blacks the rights they previously held and legalized violence, terror, segregation, and lies. The “Christian white people” and the African Americans were subjected to the propaganda of white supremacy. These laws were designed to break the natural bond of solidarity between English and African laborers and prevent rebellion. Each spring and fall the new laws were read out in every Church in the land, the first propaganda to control the public mind. Two odious examples are: the law prohibiting the mating of English and Negroes as producing “abominable mixture,” and the law subjecting Negroes to thirty lashes at the public whipping post for “lifting his or her hand” against any European American.

Last year, 581 whites got shot to death by the police, but blacks are three times more likely to be killed by police!

Enforcing these slave laws was the job of the Slave Patrols. Following Bacon’s Rebellion, the wealthy landowners, the top 1% of their day, created and funded the Slave Patrols in 1727, which were established by the military academy of their time. Their job was to protect slavery, and racial hierarchy while preventing rebellion. Slave Patrols where uniformed and armed, with the right to search, detain, arrest, whip and kill. These Patrols became the model upon which was built the modern police department some one hundred years later.

The Supreme Court in 1985 granted police the authority to use deadly force, in every state in the nation. (Tennessee vs. Garner). Today our modern police force is protected by law in many ways similar to the Slave Patrols. Just as the rich landowners made the laws for the slave patrols, today also “the political system is sensitive only to the needs of the wealthy.” The top one percent has immense influence over legislation and thus the state laws governing police practice. States have passed laws to protect the police. One such law is the Maryland 1974 “Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights,” which protects the police against charges of excessive force and murder. The courts have also extended the power of the police to stop, search and arrest. Marked similarities can also be seen in the power of the now highly militarized modern police and the Slave Patrols in maintaining the racial social hierarchy. In full knowledge of decades of proof that police departments have a history of lies, racism, brutality, cover ups and a code of silence, the Supreme Court has gone on to “eviscerated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police.” Additionally,”it is constitutionally permissible to stop question and frisk…even in the absence of probable cause.” In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled “that racial bias would be tolerated-virtually to any degree- so long as no one admitted it.”

Michelle Alexander writes, “I no longer believe that we can “fix” the police.” This is because the system has, for the last 300 years, maintained at its heart racist police terror, a deliberate design by and for the top 1%. This system of racial hierarchy also provides us with: 10 million whites living in poverty, along with 10 million blacks. Millions more are unemployed, underemployed and homeless.

What is needed is a total transformation to an egalitarian society, free of racial hierarchy. Such a transformation can begin with a body blow to the core of the system, when white people in larger and larger numbers see the need to join the movement against racist police murder.

Whites will not be free from killer cops until Blacks are also free.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon


* * *


Ukiah Valley Medical Center (UVMC), along with Susan Pollesel, Speech Pathologist, has organized a stroke survivor’s support group appropriately named Strokevivor. Monthly meetings have been planned to provide stroke survivors, family members and caregivers a safe environment to find support and encouragement through shared experiences, education and group activities like art and music.

According to the American Stroke Association, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. This means approximately 795,000 people have a stroke every year, with about three out of four being first-time strokes. Stroke is actually the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people a year, that’s one in every 20 deaths. With statistics like these, there is a great need for stroke related support and education. The Strokevivor Group can help.

“Having a stroke has been a game changer for me and it’s been the biggest challenge of my life,” says one patient “I’ve had to relearn how I function day-to-day. Having support and education will help me to learn how to live life to its fullest and improve my quality of life.”

The first Strokevivor Support Group meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at UVMC in the Glenn Miller Conference Room. Presenters will be Susan Pollesel, MA, CCC-SLP and Faith Dayton, MSW, ACSW, bringing 50 years of combined experience helping patients deal with the devastating effects that stroke has on its survivors.

“We are excited to help people realize they don’t have to go through this alone. I am grateful to share in the opportunity to help stroke survivors get their life back,” said Susan Pollesel.

The monthly meetings are free and registration is not necessary. Free valet parking is available for anyone attending, and refreshments will be served. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Pollesel at 707.463.7346 or email

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With the War on Terror approaching its 15th year, your readers might want to check my latest story out.

It's about the cowboys who started it, where they come from, and what happens to them.

Please forgive my fragmentary composition:


Scott M. Peterson


* * *


I have promised myself that if Hillary gets elected I’m going to stop making myself miserable about what happens to this country. I saw combat, I bled for this country, I have paid a lot of taxes, I created a lot of jobs over the years and I have done my fair share of charity work for society. If the American people want to piss away their country then I’m not going to sweat it anymore. I’ve got mine. I can sit back and watch things go down the tubes and I’ll be fine. I have never understood how anyone can be completely removed from what is going on around them, but in two weeks I will know if that is going to be my attitude too. Life is too short to sit around eating myself up over something I tried for 50 years to control, but it just didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. We’ll see. Either way I’m cool.


  1. Marco McClean October 25, 2016

    Re: my extemporaneous editorializing. A little context and correction:

    In Flynn Washburn’s story he fired the shotgun into the air from the porch of his aunt’s house. Ruth and Paul appeared earlier in the story and were long gone. Flynn wasn’t shooting at them or anyone; I didn’t mean to give the impression that he was. I mentioned probably hearing the storied shots in real life because I live on Albion Ridge and shots ring out often, from big shotguns to smaller guns, though I’ve heard as many gunshots in Fort Bragg. Firecrackers in Albion are scarier than guns, in summer and pre-rain autumn, because of the fire danger of people stupid enough to play with fireworks in the tinder-dry Pygmy Forest. I imagine it’s the same sort of doofuses who toss burning cigarets out the window of their car.

    On a Halloweeny note, the Pygmy has a reputation for creepiness– wind works differently on the shrubs and twisted small trees than on normal land, and it can make voice-like sounds when you get home from work at like 3 or 4am and step out of the car in total darkness, resulting in both the willies /and/ the heebie-jeebies.

    And then there are the Albion types, not spooks but (technically) humans, who break into your house in broad daylight and steal your wife’s antique boombox but leave the power wire and the speakers, and who take a bottle of medical hydrogen peroxide and for some reason replace it in the cabinet with an empty can of spray paint and a ball of twine. I’m still scratching my head over that one. And a few years ago someone went up and down the Ridge crushing the telephone company’s green connection posts with a club, and the phone company had to fix it all, and then they did it again, and again.

    Anyway, I repeat, Flynn Washburn is a treasure. Thank you for printing him. I always look forward to reading his column on my show.

  2. Craig Stehr October 25, 2016

    re:Online Comment of the Day
    I am not going to fret either, in regard to the future of postmodern America. I gave my fullest for the past 40 years, and regard the current state of affairs to be without spiritual awareness, dangerously naive, and financially broke. Just got back to my travel hostel on O’ahu, following a day creatively writing at Waikiki Beach (stopped into the “Honolulu Tavern” for one beer), and then meandered all the way back to Lola’s Bar and Pupa Grill. Three Goose IPAs plus an order of a bowl of fresh poke tuna with avocado and raw onion and tamari sauce, served by a waitress who obviously could be stopping traffic in Las Vegas (gave her a big kiss upon my exit). What, Me Worry?

  3. mr. wendal October 25, 2016

    Paul Blake died about 2 years ago while living down in the City. He was a talented artist and an entertaining storyteller. As for her accent, ruth was born in Germany and she did live in Austria for a time. She never spent much time in France. I’d love to hear her read again.

    Mr. Washburn had them pegged accurately. What a pair.

  4. Jim Armstrong October 25, 2016

    If I thought about it, I probably would have guessed that truancy was defined as quite a bit more than 3 days in a school year.
    I also wonder what a second grader does when he cuts school.

  5. Bruce McEwen October 25, 2016

    Every night I sit down and prepare some remarks on the national and global political situation — all my own ideas and opinions — and, lo, next morn, it appears from the headlines that the NannyState has been peeking over my shoulder.

    Allegations that HRC is planting stories in the press sounds a little Dylanesque, and yet I get this creepy feeling that’s probably only to do w/ Halloween; but, still…

  6. Betsy Cawn October 26, 2016

    Life of the 2nd grader: Mom’s crashed; dad’s in jail; no clean clothes (maybe no shoes and socks). Lucky there’s some cereal and milk, turn on the tube, enough days like this and the school truant officer stops by in the afternoon; mom’s up but doesn’t give a fuck, kid’s hangin’ with neighbor kids cleaning weed for their moms, for something to eat and a soda. Back home, mom’s out scoring – won’t be back until late, turn on the tube, crash, repeat. Or variant. School?

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