- Tragic House Fire
- Blackbird Pitch
- Oaky Joe
- Mayor Lindy
- Scent-free AVA
- Orange Inaugural
- Extinguisher Bandit
- Police Report
- Rohrbaugh Confusion
- Little Dog
- Tough Call
- CHP Save
- Depression Watch
- Dying Ocean
- Yesterday's Catch
- Shop Local
- Navarro De-thistling
- Liberty Grab
- White Guys
TWO CHILDREN DEAD IN MANCHESTER HOUSE FIRE
The fire began sometime after midnight Tuesday in the nearly 150-year-old, two-story Manchester home along the Mendocino County coast where the family of five lived. Smoke alarms woke the father about 1:40 a.m. The house was on fire and filling with smoke. He, his wife and son — all sleeping upstairs — escaped through an upstairs window. Once outside, they realized their daughters, ages 9 and 14, were missing. By then, the house was engulfed, a four-alarm fire that lit up the coastal bluff at the far end of Biaggi Lane off Highway 1 on a Stornetta dairy ranch. “It was futile for them to attempt to get to the ground level where the girls were sleeping,” said Mendocino County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Van Patten.
For hours Tuesday, long after the fire was out and only the 2,500-square-foot home’s chimney remained standing, investigators combed through the blackened debris searching for the girls’ bodies and a possible cause. The bodies were located in the afternoon. Mendocino County sheriff’s officials have not released the names of the victims, and won’t until dental comparisons are made, Van Patten said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The fire included at least six primarily volunteer firefighting agencies and Cal Fire, representing a coastal stretch measuring about 60 miles from Elk south to Timber Cove in Sonoma County. The home, originally constructed in 1870 according to county records, sat among barns and other structures on a Stornetta dairy ranch officially owned by Windy Hollow Partnership and managed by Lance Stornetta. The residents, identified as the Cazares family, were believed to be longtime ranch employees, according to officials. Lance Stornetta could not be reached for comment. A woman answering the phone at the Stornetta residence declined comment.
Manchester is a tiny community of a couple hundred residents, a few businesses, a post office, firehouse and school. It’s located on Highway 1, 4 miles north of Point Arena. Tuesday morning, locals discussed how to help the family, including cooking meals and mounting a clothes drive, according to an employee at S&B Market on Highway 1. “Everybody is very concerned and trying to give as much support as they can,” said the employee, who declined to give his name. The store is accepting food, clothing and goods for the family, said Frances Anderson, assistant director of the Action Network in Gualala. The group was collecting donated food and meals from local restaurants to take to the family Tuesday afternoon. Anderson said a GoFundMe account — under the name “Cazares Family Fund” — had been launched by a community member. By Tuesday night, it had raised nearly $8,000 of a $50,000 goal. “The community here is wonderful,” Anderson said of the support.
Anderson said the girls attended Manchester Elementary School, a K-8 campus with about 45 students. School Principal Cynthia Gonzalez said Tuesday she’d not been officially notified of the deaths but word had spread and she had counselors, including chaplains from local fire departments and a Catholic priest, available at the school for students. It was unclear where the family was staying after losing their home, but South Coast Fire Protection Chief Greg Warner, who responded to the fire, said he was sure they were being taken care of, likely by the Stornetta family.
(by Randi Rossman & Glenda Anderson, courtesy Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
THE BLACKBIRD FARM expansion is before the Planning Commission Thursday morning, 10am, Supervisor's chambers, Low Gap Road, Ukiah.
OAKY JOE MUNSON is getting his case dismissed and his money returned to him. The one hold-up is the penalty the Sonoma County DA does want to levy: to wit, 200 hours of community service. Joe says, "Sure, if it can be me growing weed for AIDS patients." SoCo is mulling it over — but it sounds like Joe's serious about not doing any time. And then what? The worst they can do to him is hit him with a civil penalty of a $500 fine and six months in county jail. No forfeiture of his cash seized during last spring’s raid on Joe's property in the West County where Joe, as always, had his paperwork in irrefutable legal order. The guy's busted practically on an annual basis — never been convicted.
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GLAD to see Lindy Peters sworn in as Fort Bragg's new mayor, with freshly elected Will Lee installed as vice-mayor. A new day seems a'dawnin' in Mendocino County's jewel on the Pacific. City Manager Ruffing may be retiring as that new sun rises.
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FOR YOUR CANDY ASS FILES. A subscription renewal from San Francisco's main public library comes with a notation "scent free issues only." We'll be spraying Frisco's copy with El Flooze-O to see if anyone down there notices. (What a nutty request. As if we’re Vanity Fair?…)
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BEST THING about Trump we've heard. Big Orange is about to close a deal with the great Andrea Bocelli to sing at his inauguration. We'd assumed the inauguration would be a version of the Super Bowl half-time show, with the usual batch of untalented “singers” doing their synchronized pelvic thrusts to boff lyrics. Bocelli can really sing, our fave, he is.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER VS. TAZE — TAZE WINS
A woman suspected of burglarizing a home in Covelo Sunday allegedly sprayed a law enforcement officer with a fire extinguisher, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reported.
According to the MCSO, a possible burglary was reported to be in progress in the 23000 block of Grange Street in Covelo around 7:30 a.m. Dec. 11.
After deputies were dispatched to the scene, a peace officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that he was very close to the residence and responded to the scene.
When the officer arrived, the victim led him to the rear of the residence, where the officer could hear a man and woman talking inside a storage shed. After going inside the house to speak to the victim, the officer noticed that someone had sprayed the contents of a fire extinguisher on the sliding glass door, which prevented anyone inside the home from seeing what was going on outside.
The officer then walked out the front door and saw a man and woman running away. The officer caught up with the woman, who was reportedly carrying a fire extinguisher.
She refused to drop the fire extinguisher when ordered to, and instead reportedly sprayed the officer in the face with it. The officer used his Taser to subdue her and place her under arrest.
The woman, identified as Josepha Basurto, 21, of Covelo, was then booked into Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of stolen property and resisting arrest.
The male suspect, identified as David L. Joaquin, 22, of Covelo, was still at-large Monday. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to call the MCSO at (707) 459-7833.
PUNK & PERV CHECK
(Fort Bragg Police Press Release)
Crime or Incident: Violation of Parole, Violation of Probation, Violation of Sex Registration, Warrant Arrests
Suspects: Alejandro Grijalba, Carlos Flores, Erik Arguelles, and a Juvenile male
On December 9, 2016 at 5:00 p.m., Officers from the Fort Bragg Police Department and the Mendocino County Probation Department conducted a compliance check in and around the City of Fort Bragg. Several individuals were contacted for compliance checks based on their Parole, Probation and Sex Offender status.
Officers responded to the listed addresses for Derrick L. Heater. Heater was not at the location and was found to be in violation of his Sex Offender registration conditions. A case was taken for charges to be filed with the District Attorney’s office for the violation. Heater has multiple failures to register violations.
Officers responded to the listed addresses for Christopher May who is an absconded Sex Offender registrant. May was not at the location and was found to be in another violation of his Sex Offender registration conditions. A case was taken for charges to be filed with the District Attorney’s office for the violation.
Officers responded to the residence of Erik Arguelles, who is a documented Sureño criminal street gang member. Arguelles had an active local warrant for his arrest. Officers made contact with Arguelles and took him into custody without incident.
Officers responded to the residence of Carlos A. Flores. Flores, known to associate with the Sureño criminal street gang had an active local warrant for his arrest. Officers made contact with Flores and took him into custody without incident.
Officers responded to the residence of Alejandro Grijalba for a compliance check of his parole. Grijalba is on active CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) Parole with terms of no association with gang members, no gang attire and no gang paraphernalia. When Officers arrived at the location, Grijalba was contacted wearing a blue shirt and shoes with blue on them, which is a violation of his parole. A search of his bedroom was conducted and Officers located more gang paraphernalia along with other prohibited clothing. Grijalba was arrested for the violations.
Officers responded to the listed residence of Evan Taylor who is on active probation and a documented Sureño criminal street gang member. Taylor was not at the location at the time. Taylor was found to be in violation of his probation to include no association with gang members. A case was taken for charges to be filed with the District Attorney’s office for the violation.
Officers responded to the residence of a documented juvenile Norteño criminal street gang member. The juvenile had a warrant for his arrest. Officers made contact with the juvenile and he was taken into custody without incident.
Officers responded to a documented juvenile Sureño criminal street gang member’s residence for a probation check. The juvenile was not home at the time of the search. He was found to be in violation of his probation which included no gang paraphernalia or clothing. A case was taken for charges to be filed with the District Attorney’s office for the violation.
The Fort Bragg Police Department encourages all citizens to report any type of gang activity or crime. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Christopher May or Derrick L. Heater, please call the Fort Bragg Police Department. You may call the anonymous Gang/Crime Hotline at 707-961-3049 or contact FBPD gang Officers, Officer O’Neal, Officer Shaw or Officer McGregor.
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GRIJALBA GANG PRIOR
On 05-15-2014 at approximately 10:45 P.M., Deputies initiated a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle in the 17900 block of Ocean Drive after observing a false registration tab affixed to the rear license plate. Deputies contacted the driver, Alejandro Grijalba, and three other passengers in the vehicle. Deputies learned that Grijalba had a suspended and revoked California driver?s license and is on felony probation with terms including search and seizure and do not possess weapons. Deputies directed Grijalba to exit the vehicle and informed him he was under arrest for driving while having a suspended and revoked driver’s license. After Grijalba exited the vehicle, and while Deputies were in the process of placing him into handcuffs, Grijalba became confrontational with Deputies and non-compliant with their directions. Then without notice, Grijalba broke away from the Deputy's grasp and fled on foot. One Deputy pursued Grijalba from a distance and eventually caught up to Grijalba after he stopped at a residence and retrieved a garden hose. The garden hose had a large plastic spray nozzle attached to the head. Grijalba began swinging the hose in a circular fashion as he was preparing to strike the Deputy who was directing Grijalba to drop the hose. Grijalba then advanced on the Deputy and attempted to strike the deputy with the hose. The Deputy was able to move abruptly and avoid being struck. Grijalba fled on foot again and was pursued a short distance before Deputies lost sight of him. Deputies conducted a search of the area and were unable to locate Grijalba. The other three passengers present in the vehicle were ultimately released at the scene. Grijalba's vehicle was searched and found to contain a concealed weapon near the driver's seat, a violation of Grijalba's probation. On 05-17-2014 at approximately 6:30 P.M., Deputies arrived at a residence located in the 17900 block of Oklahoma Lane in Fort Bragg with information that Grijalba was present at the location. Deputies also sought and obtained an arrest warrant for Grijalba before their response. Upon their arrival, Deputies located and arrested Grijalba inside the residence. Also present at the location were the three passengers inside Grijalba?s vehicle on 05-15-2014, identified as Cheyenne Specieday, Chrystal Chiles and Luis Pineda. Deputies arrested Specieday, Chiles and Pineda after they all made an overt attempt to conceal Grijalba’s presence from Deputies and after knowing that Grijalba was wanted for assaulting a peace officer. All four suspects were transported to the Mendocino County Jail. Grijalba was booked on assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon and probation violation with bail set at $50,000. Specieday, Chiles and Pineda were booked for harboring and concealing a felon with bail set at $15,000.
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OBVIOUSLY, MR. GRIJALBA’s unsuccessful assault on a cop didn’t result in much jail time because here he is back again.
IN THE DECEMBER 7 edition (and Mendocino County Today for December 5) we confused the Rohrbaughs of Covelo with the Rorabaughs of Hopland. The rec center at the south end of Ukiah is named after the Hopland Rorabaughs. The Rohrbaughs of Covelo descend from George White, the infamous cattle king of Round Valley.
THE CORRECTED paragraph now reads:
I'LL PUT IN A WORD HERE for Covelo. It probably doesn't but should boast some of the oldest trees — giant elms and oaks — in the County, and the ghostly old hotel, site of the shooting of Wylacki John, hit man for the nationally infamous "King of Round Valley," George White. Covelo's history is the most colorful, the richest of any place in Mendocino County. The Rohrbaughs of Covelo got the bulk of White's considerable fortune in return for its founding patriarch lying for White when White was charged with attempting to murder his wife. Rohrbaugh testified that the woman was a floozie. Which was untrue, but White was acquitted. The slandered woman's uncle, I believe it was, shot and killed Wylacki John in the bar of the Covelo Hotel in 1888 for continuing to libel his niece. Balzac's famous observation that behind every great fortune is a great crime has been lived out in the Rohrbaughs of Round Valley.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “The Trumpers say there's no global warming. Oh yeah? Explain to me how these Koala bears got up in the tree near the high school?
A LOCAL READER, aging variety, sent this note along with his renewal check: “It was re-up for the AVA or Xmas presents for the grandkids. Tough call. But you won. It’s a lump of coal for those little brats.”
JUST ANOTHER TUESDAY MORNING as Officer Simas was patrolling US-101 near Cox Shrader when he stopped for what he thought was a broken down vehicle. What he found was an unconscious elderly woman. Officer Simas acted quickly calling for additional support and an ambulance. Officer Marin arrived on scene moments later. Together Officer Simas and Officer Marin performed CPR on the elderly woman. The elderly woman is in stable condition and was transported to Ukiah Valley Medical Center. Due to Officer Simas and Officer Marin's quick response and performing CPR this woman is still alive. Ukiah Area CHP would also like to thank Ukiah Fire Authority, and Medstar Ambulance for their quick response and assistance.
(Ukiah CHP facebook post)
ALBION SINKHOLE, AN EXCHANGE
"Sinkhole" on Airport Road
David P. Russell wrote:
Mendocino County DOT just called, they are monitoring the “depression” as they would prefer it called, it is not a sinkhole. Unfortunate choice of words on my part. He said it is safe to drive on, they are going to watch it all winter, and will fix it after the rains stop. I am still not going to drive over it!
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David, you can drive on it without feeling as though you're going back on your word. They're watching the sinkhole, not watching you. Entirely other agencies are watching you, your browsing habits, the back of your head. I've made my peace with being watched. But sometimes when I'm cooking, or typing, or taking a shower, or at work, or standing out in the forest, but never when I'm driving, I'll just whirl around entirely the other way and stick my tongue out and go LA LA LA! (That's YA YA YA with your tongue out.) The last time I drove up Albion Little Lake Road to go visit my mother at The Woods I looked for the sinkhole — or depression — you described and I couldn't find it. Is it the duck pond that's developing in the Y?
OUR DYING OCEAN
by Rex Gressett
I am occasionally tempted to crib at least bits of articles from other publications or even from local newspapers for publication in the AVA. So far I have resisted the temptation to simply cheer on (not that I wanted to actually steal) the work of other writers. I have read many things that I very much wanted to write about, fighter jets and drones the President elect, the effect of cats on local ecosystems and many other subjects that were covered in other places which I thought were interesting and pertinent locally but that seemed to lack the power of indignation and the attention to our own situation that is the trademark of the great AVA.
Up to now I have able to restrain myself.
That said, an article in the April 14 Press Democrat by Mary Callahan “Collapse of kelp forest imperils North Coat ocean ecosystem” is so damn good, so spot on and so well organized that I thought that I would at least call attention to it and possibly provide a bit of amplification.
Although she hedges a bit, her article, is an announcement that the coastal ocean is dying. Not sick, not just under duress, dying.
As we have often heard recently extinction is forever.
Kelp forests are the most complex and abundant ecosystems on earth, exceeding when they are healthy even tropical rain forests in both the diversity of species and the abundance of individuals. Enormous kelp Forests once extended the length of the pacific coast to Alaska stretching out as much as three miles into the ocean. The little fish hide, the big fish lurk and the total ecosystem is extraordinarily diverse complicated and abundant. A kelp forest is a biological miracle.
When white settlers first came to Mendocino county in the mid-nineteenth century and established a fishing industry at the mouth of the Noyo river the abundance of aquatic life that they discovered was staggering.
Generations of hard working Fort Bragg fishermen made fortunes, enriched their families and raised their kids on the power of this profound gift of nature. No one imagined it would ever really end.
Systematically species by species that abundance has been ruthlessly exploited, depleted, and finally eradicated. The biological web has been unraveled.
In Fort Bragg, fishing had a crazy prosperity. The Mendocino canyon just down the road is a huge underwater trench which brings to the surface waters ocean millions of tons of very cold nutrient rich water from the deepest ocean where everything ends up after it dies. The kelp forests and the thousands of species that thrived in them were bathed in nutrients and stimulated by the extreme cold water. The kelp beds grew for millennium. The ocean immediately off the Noyo river was hugely alive.
Of course it has been hammered for a very long time. Over decades, political negotiations between CDFW (Fish and Game as it was formerly called) and fishing interests, targeted specific abundant and valuable species, allowed them to be gradually over-fished and then when the populations had demonstrably collapsed, removed them from permitted catch. It was assumed that being protected they would eventually recover.
But none of them ever did.
By the deliberate long term policy of Fish and Game, in protracted, heated and bitter negotiation with fishermen, Individual species not the web of relationships were safeguarded always after they had been disastrously reduced. The sardines were the first to go. The sharks were slaughtered for their fins and they were reduced to uncountable minimums. On and on, year after year, decade after decade it went. One species at a time we lost abundance.
I guess it was thought that losing a few species would leave us with an admittedly diminished ocean but one in which a few fish would still be hanging in there. CDFW policy did not account the living ocean a web. Somehow no one told them that all the species were interrelated. Profoundly. All species depended on many other relationships, hello. And they all depended on the sea-forest itself, the Kelp.
After a few decades of gross mismanagement things were not looking bright for the coastal fisheries but in the 80s it was gleefully discovered that when a kelp forest is in dramatic decline, Urchins appear.
When everything else living is mostly gone, little spiny balls are Sent from God to wrap things up. They eat the last of the kelp and finish the job. Apres nous le deluge.
However, to our communal relief this sudden profusion of Urchins had an extremely bright side. Urchins were valued in of all places Japan, where their reproductive organs are sold as sushi. Who knew?
The sheer mass of decline of the beds produced an equivalently great mass of urchins. A whole new boom ensued. Books were written on it. It was a “Blue Water Gold Rush.” Urchins became California biggest fishery. In Fort Bragg Bobby down at Ocean Fresh became at least one of and I think our Largest single private employer.
Then alas as Ms. Callahan has excellently written the rug was pulled from our feet by natural forces quite different from those that put it there in the first place. Starfish that had restrained the urchins from their ultimate task of eliminating the kelp forest got a disease and died in mass. The Starfish are coming back somewhat now, but it is too late.
Then warm water that kelp does not like, has come surging up from the equatorial zone in the el Nino and perhaps also from global warming. Not only the fat red urchins that the Japanese favor but little purple ones that alas have no commercial value but eat plenty of kelp appeared like the armies of the apocalypse and the rest of the kelp just went.
Now for the first time in millennium the ocean bottom is devoid of the hardy shoots of new kelp that divers have always seen this time of year and will see no more.
The details are heart rending. The abalone are climbing rocks to look for a little kelp, the urchins are reduced to a third of their conventional weight. We killed it all and this year we will see an urchin barren (so called) which is a desert where nothing lives. The blue algae will bloom and the very oxygen will be abstracted from the water. Everything that cannot get out of town will die. Seals, fishing birds, abalone.
What will the reaction be locally? For twenty years (almost) I have endured the pointed remarks and barbs of my fellow dwellers and workers in the harbor decrying the alarmist exaggeration that things in the ocean were off by even a beat. That there are plenty of fish in the sea — in Fort Bragg that is not a platitude it is a doctrine. One you can get in a fight over. But the show in the coastal ocean appears to be suddenly and definitely over.
It is not so much when the fat lady sings as when the lights go on in the auditorium that the fantasy has to end. When we see as a community that all life has ended in our coastal ocean, will even that make a difference?
When the horse is out of the barn do you deny the existence of horses? Is this mass of death and desertification the only way to some reasonable policy of sanity. Nature, not CDFW, demands rationality or rather, punishes a perverse irrationality fiercely. It is the end of a great deal. I wonder if it is the beginning of anything.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 13, 2016
DUSTIN GOLYER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JUAN GONZALEZ JR., Covelo. Misdemeanor hit&run.
THOMAS HANOVER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
RICARDO HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Drunk in public, false impersonation of another, parole revocation.
ZACHARY IRVEN, Fort Bragg. Burglary, vandalism.
CHRISTINA MCGREW, Ukiah. Under influence, false ID, probation revocation.
WILLIAM MLADENKA*, Freeport, Texas/Ukiah. DUI.
RICHARD OLSTAD, Fort Bragg. Altered vehicle ID, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MICHAEL OLVERA, Ukiah. Court order violation, probation revocation.
CHRISTONA TORRES, Hopland. Protective order violation.
MICHAEL VICKERS, Fort Bragg. First degree robbery, controlled substance, criminal threats, probation revocation.
(*) Mr. Mladenka’s done this before, back in October, in fact. You’d think he’s old enough to know better.
NAVARRO POINT THISTLE-REMOVING WEDNESDAY
10am-noon if it's not raining
Hello. You are invited to join us as we remove thistles at Navarro Point this coming Wednesday, Dec 14th, from 10am until noon. There is a 50% chance of rain in which case we will postpone one week. The temp tomorrow morning is supposed to be 56 degrees with an 18 mph wind. If it’s not raining, you can find us in the parking lot on the west side of Highway 1 a half mile south of the Navarro Ridge Road turn-off. No tools or previous experience are necessary. We hope to see you there this Wednesday at 10am. Contact me if you have questions. Tom, 937-1113, firstname.lastname@example.org
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Well, you know, all of us white guys (myself included, as a middle-aged, middle-class white guy from Middle America) have been silenced by the Politically Correct Diverse Feminazi-whatevers. If you don’t believe us, just listen to us, going on and on and on, dominating every conversation talking about how we’ve been silenced. You can’t get a word in edgewise, and since you didn’t say anything, that proves we were correct. We’ve been silenced and nobody has ever heard anything we’ve said. And we’re being exterminated, which is why we’re all over the place and in control of everything.