Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017

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AS OF 5PM TUESDAY (from the Sheriff’s facebook update) two additional areas are under mandatory evacuation order:

  1. Van Arsdale area north of Eel River
  2. Cave Creek subdivision to include Scenic, Appaloosa and Cave Creek (off Tomki Road)

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Last Updated: October 11, 2017 7:58 am

Date/Time Started: October 08, 2017 10:36 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: North of Hwy 20, west of Mendocino National Forest, south of Black Bart

Acres Burned - Containment: 29,500 acres - 5% contained

Evacuations: REDWOOD FIRE: West Rd from State St north; East Road north of School Way; Laughlin Rd north of State St and all roads feeding in; East Rd south to Hwy 20; east of East Rd around Hwy 20 to Horseshoe Circle; Reeves Canyon Rd; Golden Rule Park; Pine Mountain subdivision; Tomki Rd to Canyon Rd and all feeder roads; Canyon Rd to Eastside Rd south to Pine Mountain Rd; Van Arsdale area north of Eel River; Cave Creek subdivision including scenic Appaloosa and including all feeder roads; Van Arsdale road south of the Eel River.

Evacuation Advisory: From the intersection of East Hill Rd at Ridgewood Rd to Baechtel Rd; Baechtel Rd to Main St at Brown’s Corner; from intersection of Main St and Southbound 101 to Howard Forest; East Hill Rd and Ridgewood Rd south to Howard Forest

Evacuation Centers:

  • Ukiah High School,
    1000 Low Gap Rd, Ukiah
    Willits High School,
  • 299 N Main St., Willits
    Hopland Band of Pomo Indians,
    3000 Shanel Rd., Hopland

Animal Shelters: 

  • Large Animals: Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, 1055 N State St, Ukiah, CA (East Entrance)
  • Animal Control: 707-­263-­0278 (Lake County)

Road Closures: Tomki Rd. @ Canyon; East Hill @ East Side; Van Aresdale South of Eel River bridge; North State St @ Laughlin Way; North State Street @ West Rd; East Rd @ School Way

Injuries: 2 serious injuries and 1 fatality

Cause: Under Investigation

Cooperating Agencies: Mendocino County; Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office; Lake County; Lake County Sheriff’s Office; CAL OES; California Highway Patrol; CALTRANS; California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation; American Red Cross; PG&E; United States Forest Service; California National Guard; National Weather Service; California Conservation Corps

Long/Lat: -123.16635/39.24873

Conditions: Today firefighters will continue to evaluate and implement structure protection, construct firelines, do tactical patrols, improve existing firelines, and conduct damage inspections. Crews are keeping a close watch on the weather, with an expectation that gusty winds will return this afternoon. 29,500 acres have burned in the Redwood Fire, 5% contained. 2500 acres have burned in the Sulphur Fire, 40% contained. There have been 3 fatalities and approximately 7000 people evacuated throughout the incident. We ask the public to exercise caution and remember that, “One Less Spark-­One Less Wildfire”. Please be prepared to evacuate when asked. To learn more about wildfire preparedness visit:

Phone Numbers: (707) 467-6428 (Fire Information Line )

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AS OF LATE TUESDAY, residents of the burned areas are still not being allowed in to their neighborhoods. Mendo's CalFire Chief, George Gonzales, says it still isn't safe. He said the "Mendocino Lake Complex Fire" is still moving to the north and to the east.

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The County recognizes that it is important to be able to access services and information especially in times of need. 2-1-1 is an invaluable resource to our community, providing shelter information, referrals for food as well as general fire updates and information. Additionally, for those of you that need to check on the status of your family members and are not able to access the Safe and Well website yourself, 2-1-1 will provide this service for you. We want to urge our community members looking for services to call 2-1-1 for referrals and information to stay connected and informed of support in our area. Additional information regarding 2-1-1 can be found on their website at Press releases are forth coming as the Redwood Fire progresses. Real time updates are being made on the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Facebook page ( and Twitter feed (

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A VALLEY READER reports that US Cellular in the Anderson Valley "has been seriously degraded/down since Monday morning. Seems has to do with the important tower at Cold Springs on Signal Ridge."

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After covering the current wildfires raging through Napa, Sonoma,
Mendocino, and Lake Counties for the last couple of days (beginning on
Monday, October 9, before dawn) live on KPFZ (88.1 FM), Lakeport, we
awakened this morning to find the MCT announcement of our local
catastrophe merged – in concept – with Mendo’€™s Redwood/Potter Fires,
encapsulated in newly coined nomenclature (by CalFire, one presumes):
“Mendocino Lake Complex,”€ which is a better term for our bi-county
palace intrigue and co-occurring mental impairments of the body politic
than a conflagration of monstrous proportions, but we must all yield to
the devolution of thought that brought us to this muddled state, I guess.

We’€™re sorry to hear of the plight in Willits and northward, where even
the most rudimentary communications systems collapsed, to the point of the
Sheriff’s Office lending equipment to both the hospital and the city
officials for basic management of local crises.  For most of Monday,
October 9, the only source of public information here was our radio
broadcast, for which our livestream service was severed –€” like most of
Lake County –€” by the loss of our cable (MediaCom) transmission network.
By mid-day yesterday, the majority of calls were complaints and concerns
about the lack of internet and some phone service outages, plus the lack
of specific information coming from official agencies.  All in all,
we’re in relatively decent shape over on this side of the Cow.

Our County Supervisors, suffering from official cognitive impairments
themselves, failed to heed the lessons of recent similar events here
(beginning in 2008, when all of California was fraught with something like
64,000 lightning-ignited wildfires); the 2012 “Wye”€ fire, which took
out AT&T’€™s hardline telephone communications to Spring and Long Valleys,
saved largely by the independent action of local HAM operators; and
2015/2016 wildfire disasters from which we are still reeling.

CalFire dispatch services, so obviously critical to our survival in both
counties, while being under attack by unfathomably dense elected
officials, calmly roll out the most effective response forces available
–€” even under the direst situations, which this seems to be one of, and
graciously stand by while our virtual Trumpettes bluster and banter about
“€œrecovery”€ being already under way.

As recently as September 19, 2017, our Fire Protection District chiefs
patiently attempted to explain to our simpering Supervisors how the need
for adequate dispatch services is not answerable by the Lake County
Sheriff’€™s Office, with our elected top cop grudgingly agreeing but
petulantly insisting that his admittedly inadequate staffing levels should
be the continued contractor for our medical/fire calls.  We watched with
bated breath as your querulous quintet of dubious deciders almost screwed
everyone with a preposterous choice for “outsourcing”€ the dispatch
functions on which our very lives depend, but reason itself prevailed by
the hair on their chinny chin chins.  Whew!

At least you have 2-1-1 . . . if you can get phone service.

Do give us a call at 707-263-3435 (KPFZ’€™s live studio line) if you hear
of anything we can report to our local citizens with close ties to
Mendocino county – hours of confusion over whether the intersection of
Highways 101 and 20 (at Calpella) was traversable or not was finally
resolved by a call from a CalTrans PIO up in Eureka.  If Highway 20 –€”
lovingly known as the Ukiah-Tahoe Highway, not that long ago –€” is needed
for evacuation of central, western, and northern Mendocino to points east,
give us a wave!

Betsy Cawn
The Essential Public Information Center
Upper Lake, CA

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APPLICATIONS AND REPLACEMENT OF CALFRESH BENEFITS for Individuals Impacted by Mendocino Lake Complex Fires

The CalFresh program provides monthly food benefits to assist households in purchasing the food they need to maintain adequate nutritional levels. Current CalFresh households impacted by the Mendocino Lake Complex fires may request replacement benefits for food destroyed by fires or compromised due to extended power failure. To request replacement benefits, please contact the Employment and Family Assistance Services by phone at (707)463-7700 or in-person at 737 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482 or 764 South Franklin Street, Ft Bragg, CA 95437. Applications for CalFresh benefits are also available online through the website at ( . Hours of operation for application and replacement of CalFresh benefits are Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. -5 p.m.

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PARTS OF THE SONOMA VALLEY are now facing mandatory evacuation notices from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Residents of Moon Mountain Road, Mission Way, London Way, Martin Road, Cavedale Road and Adobe Way along Highway 12 approaching Agua Caliente must evacuate.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends Agua Caliente residents between Madrone Road and Agua Caliente Road have a bag packed and be ready to evacuate, if needed.

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT reports that as of midnight, authorities were ordering evacuations along Highway 128: Every residence between 1922 Hwy. 128 and the Russian River, Nutter Road, Sellers Road, River Road, Fay Ranch Road, Ridge Oaks Road, Fox Ridge Road, Vineyard Road, Woodridge Road, Deerpath Drive, Ram Hill Road, Rockmouth Road, Colony Road and Lakewood Lane. The following areas are under advisory and should consider readying for evacuation, if needed: downtown Geyserville, Palomino Road, Asti Ridge Road and Highland Ranch Road.

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AND A 2.9 TEMBLOR 5 MILES EastSouthEast of Santa Rosa

As if they don't have enough to deal with, MSP received an email @ 8:19 pm from the USGS stating they logged a 2.9 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter located four miles west of Kenwood, five miles ESE of Santa Rosa.

The quake was four miles deep and generated 178 responses of "feeling it." The most responses were from Santa Rosa (132 of them) with 12 people reporting from Petaluma - 15.5 miles from the epicenter.

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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SUPES MEETING, Tuesday, October 10th:

SHERIFF ALLMAN reported on the ongoing fire catastrophe  in the Board Chambers Tuesday morning. He said that the Mendo Redwood Complex Fire was just one  of ten officially declared disasters in the area. “It’s unprecedented,” he said. Allman noted that the Emergency Operations Center was being staffed by many County employees. Fifteen residences, and 40 structures burned so far “and that will increase,” the Sheriff expected. Willits has no communications into or out of town, including their 911 center for medical and hospital communications. The Sheriff’s office has loaned a satellite phone to Howard Hospital and to the City’s own 911 dispatch center to allow basic communications. Allman also said that one of his deputies "had lost everything" in the Redwood Fire. The Courthouse is open, but trials are canceled for the week. Other County offices are up and running. Allman said that legitimate residents will be allowed back into burned areas under escort. He also said that Ukiah ER doctor Marvin Trotter and his wife  had also lost everything, “yet both he and wife worked in the Ukiah ER all day Monday."

JOHN SUTTEN, state Emergency Services official, said that Calfire and OES were providing supplementary law enforcement in the County.

SUPERVISOR CROSKEY said that not enough info is getting into or out of Willits and a status report and update was scheduled at the Willits Library at 2pm Tuesday afternoon.

SUPERVISOR HAMBURG complimented CEO Carmel Angelo for getting back to the County (from her home in Marin) and said he saw a Facebook picture of “Carmel with her chihuahua, very cute.” Hamburg then turned to County Counsel Kit Elliott and said that she “went through an arduous experience,” and was thankful that her house and horse were spared. That was all Hamburg had to offer.

SUPERVISOR GJERDE said he was aware that Leggett had no communications in or out either. Leggett is part of Gjerde's 4th District.

CEO Angelo thanked her County staff for being responsive in the emergency, saying it seemed like everyone was helping as well as volunteers in the community. “This is just the beginning,” Angelo concluded adding, “Recovery will take longer.”

THE SUPES then issued an official emergency declaration and veered off into their weekly discussion of pot regs, an utterly absurd but excruciatingly detailed Cannabis Business Facilities rules discussion which apparently just had to go forward as large swaths of the County were on fire and no containment has been established.

A SMOOTH-TALKING rep from Flow-Kana, the Bay Area-based pot conglomerate that recently bought the old Fetzer Winery in Redwood Valley, apologized for “seeming tone deaf to what is going on outside” before launching into a pitch to expedite temporary cannabis facility licensing.

A GROWER commenting on the pot rules, briefly described the fire’s impact on rural pot growers.

LAYTONVILLE ATTORNEY Paul Hansbury, who has been a regular attendee at the seemingly endless County pot rule discussions, opened by saying, “It’s funny how something that seemed so important for so long can now seem insignificant.”

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THE BEST, most timely daily reporting I've seen or heard has come from the Ukiah Daily Journal's facebook page by Chris Pugh backed up by Carol Brodsky. MSP has been good (as always) and KZYX also seemed timely from what I heard of it the first early morning of the disaster. The out-of-town papers have done a better job than the Chron and the PD in covering the unprecedented catastrophe.

FIRE STORIES are beginning to emerge, many of them unconfirmed, but we like the one about Redwood Valley guy, a heavy equipment operator who, ignoring Get Out Now orders, jumped on his biggest Cat and, with the flames bearing down, carved large fire breaks around his and his neighbor's properties, saving them all.

"RATE OF SPREAD" seems to have replaced percentage of containment in CalFire's lexicon of fire sizes and relative containment. CalFire reported late Tuesday afternoon that the rate of spread for the Redwood Complex Fire was zero, but a few minutes later came the announcement of an evacuation order in previously untouched areas of Potter Valley — Van Arsdale north of the Eel River and Cave Creek off Tomki Road.

POT FARMERS in the Redwood Complex burn area were, of course, pretty much wiped out just at harvest. For them, a whole year's effort went up in flames, flames not contained even a little as of Tuesday evening.

THE CITY OF WILLITS remains incommunicado. We tried to reach people there all day without success. Not that residents of the gateway to the redwood empire are being incinerated, it's that the flames have untethered them from cyber-space. I was surprised to learn that North County schools were closed because student cell phones were out, meaning, at least to school authorities, they were somehow in danger. In danger of what? Being forced to read a book? The Sheriff said today (Tuesday) that he hoped temporary cell towers would be in place by the end of the day.

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MY LATE FRIEND, Joe Nielands, battled PG&E for years to re-establish the power monopoly as the public benefit utility it's supposed to be. PG&E remains public only in the sense that the entire public is dependent on it, as their execs rake in extravagant salaries and treat their alleged oversight trustees and largest corporate customers to the usual array of vacations, high end prostitutes and huge rebates the rest of us don't get. In today's national context of crumbling infrastructure, under-grounding power lines is among the many upgrades that won't happen, along with the continued deterioration of the nation's roads, bridges, public buildings (unless they house elected officials), dams, railroads, levies, spillways, tunnels… But these fires that have devastated NorCal would not have happened if power lines had been buried, as they are in the rest of the "advanced" world.

MARK SCARAMELLA: I hate to be negative, but the PUC didn’t even get around to ordering PG&E to inspect and maintain their aging gas lines until after a big chunk of San Bruno went up in flames due to a gas leak. I doubt they’ll impose any new requirements, never mind how much destruction and death would be prevented, or how much more secure the utility lines would be. At present, the only way I know of to even consider undergrounding utility lines is through an extremely long and difficult grant process and, as Gualala discovered a few years ago, even figuring out where to put the trench can become a local controversy.

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OF ALL the terrible losses suffered in Sonoma County over the past few days, the place I most hoped was safe was the Di Rosa Preserve, the absolute most interesting art collection in California, far superior in variety and general interest than, for instance, SFMOMA, San Francisco headquarters for huge globs of stuff they not only got suckered into paying big money for, they display with explanations of what we're supposed to be looking at. If you think "Sierra Stone" — a couple hundred rocks arranged in a V and occupying an entire room — is art, get on a southbound bus right now. The di Rosa, by way of contrast, is a wonderful collection of all kinds of art — big art, medium art, little art, kinetic art,  oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, the last exhibited inside and outside, and all of it collected by the late di Rosa himself, a wealthy aesthete with a muy (Mexican for 'very') cool eye. He wrote art reviews for the Chronicle up through the 1950s, before snooty, emaciated young people dressed in black took over America's public museums. If you want to get your kid off on the correct art foot, take him to the di Rosa on the Sonoma-Napa county line.

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"CLEAN & SOBER MUSIC FEST" is on for this Saturday (October 14) at the Boonville Fairgrounds, noon to 6pm. "Camping, entertainment, food and good ol' sober fun!!!" Anderson Valley's very own Real Sarahs are among the good ol' sober fun, and "Twelve-step meetings will be held before and after the show and on Sunday morning…" It seems this is a Christian proselytizing event given the hours, noon to 6pm,  and the "all fellowships welcome" assurance on the add card we received here at the marginally hygienic and definitely not sober Boonville newspaper. We'll have an incognito reporter there to report back, if he can manage to stay sober long enough.

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JUST IN FROM THE LEADERSHIP: President Trump told Forbes in an interview published Tuesday that he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should compare IQ tests after Tillerson reportedly called his boss a “f--king moron.” “I think it’s fake news,” Trump said. “But if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.” NBC News reported last week that Tillerson was considering resigning and had called the president a “moron.” Tillerson later held a press conference to clarify that he never considered stepping down, but never directly denied the alleged “moron” comments. A State Department spokesperson said later he never used such language.

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& The Moon Became As Blood

by Rex Gressett

Like half of northern California, I woke up Monday morning to the subtle smell of smoke. Outside the early morning eastern sky was an unearthly frosty pink. I got a cup of coffee and went back outside to watch a blood red sunrise over the hill dull as the moon. Highway 1 was eerily abandoned.

In Fort Bragg the air hung heavy and acrid. There was Columbus Day lull but  our sleepy town saw a steady trickle of refugees from what they were calling the Redwood Complex Fire. There were lines at the gas stations and general uncertainty among the travelers about which highways were open south.

Over the course of the day the broad story unfolded and particulars trickled in. High winds had felled power lines across three counties and dropped them into the dry kindling of a long hot summer. In Mendocino, fire had sprouted in 30 or more locations from Potter Valley across Redwood Valley and past Willits into the big green of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest.

Along Highway 20 there were fires on the long Willits grade, feeding and blossoming and growing together. The guard rail posts were burning like long strings of birthday candles.

I holed up in Starbucks and watched, a little unbelieving, as the grim news dribbled in. By late afternoon we knew that there ten dead in the fires, and 1500 buildings destroyed in Santa Rosa alone. Two women had run from their burning house and were found laying on West Road in Sonoma County with third degree burns. Department stores, box stores, and the elegant houses of prosperous Santa Rosa were blasted away in an explosive racing flame driven by high gusts.

County by county, in Mendocino, in Yuba, Napa, Sonoma, Humbolt and Butte the roster of catastrophes spread like spilled red ink across the map of northern California.

As the strange day passed, Fort Bragg marinated in a gray acridity. Starbucks would be intermittently packed, and then would empty out.

Survivors wept quietly and told of lost houses. Tourists wondered and plotted courses south. Cell phone service was grievously uncertain.

Across the street in the Safeway parking lot in an entirely civilian pickup truck Olivia Hayward and Tyra Tompkins were doing a solid business taking donations. Early in the day they must have collected twenty bags of dog food. Across our little town there was a kind of abstracted waiting that was the exact opposite of anticipation. We knew it was bad, but on the smoke-enshrouded island of Fort Bragg we were holding off on gut reaction until we had a gauge of the magnitude of the thing. We knew it was big, but….

As the pictures started coming in from Santa Rosa on the incomparable MendocinoSportsPlus facebook pages it became clear that Santa Rosa was way ahead of our reaction. The before and after pictures showed sunny streets and schools and neighborhoods blasted into black twisted wreckage. It looked like a war zone. Or post-war Dresden.

The almost incalculable wealth and prosperity of bustling striving thriving Santa Rosa California had taken a massive hit. A municipal economy that had generated hundreds of thousands of fortunes and created vast wealth was felled like a giant by a storm of surging, raging fire.

Californians live on the fine edge of the continent. We know in our hearts that in the extremity of our non-negotiable commitment to being in the best place, we also live on the razor edge of potential cosmic disaster.

The rest of the country has been waiting for us to fall into the sea since I was a beardless youth. Californians live with our earthquakes like they were unruly in-laws. We build our houses on cliffs prone to mudslides for the fantastic views. We build them in or near dry forestland. We push and hustle and prosper and accommodate our psyches to the possibility — the inevitability — of the profoundly catastrophic. That’s just us. We are on the edge and we embrace the edge. We ain’t goin’ anywhere. We roll with it. It is the high price of living in paradise.

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by David Severn

Amongst several other counter-culture proclivities, I have been anti-war, anti-weapons of war, anti-nuclear most of my life. In the mid- to late-1980s I started regularly going to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site to protest atomic bombs — first with Sane/Freeze, then on my own. I was arrested and dismissed several times as I tresspassed in an effort to stop nuclear bomb experimentation. Today I consider it rather silly but yet a badge of honor that because of those protests the FBI would not clear me to participate in the 2000 census — even though, because I installed satellite TV systems I had been inside, on top, underneath and in many cases in the bedrooms of almost every household in Anderson Valley. I knew who lived here, and where, better than anyone.

At the Nevada Nuclear Test Site I first met and became friends with Corbin Harney the spiritual leader of the Western Shoshone people whose ancestral lands, Newe Sogobia, comprised the testing grounds. The Western Shoshone considered themselves to be the most bombed nation on Earth and began issuing permits to us protesters allowing to be on their land but of course the federal government did not honor these permits even though there had been a treaty signed in 1863.

From Wikipedia: “The Treaty of Ruby Valley was a treaty signed with the Western Shoshone in 1863, giving certain rights to the United States in the Nevada Territory. The Western Shoshone did not cede land under this treaty but agreed to allow the US the ‘right to traverse the area, maintain existing telegraph and stage lines, construct one railroad and engage in specified economic activities. The agreement allows the U.S. president to designate reservations, but does not tie this to land cessions’."

Somewhere around 1990, on a vist to Newe Sogobia, my lady friend Coconut, my daughter Marygold and I decided to stop by in support of a demonstration at the Dept. of Energy office in Las Vegas. It was agreed that we would not involve ourselves to the degree that we would get arrested. To that end I found myself in the parking lot with only a small handful of others while the main body of the demonstrators were blocking and trying to shut down activity in the office building itself. One of the young men arrested was being carried past when a small pocket knife fell out of his pocket immediately in front of me. I bent down and picked it up, gingerly holding the closed knife in a non-threatening manner I said, "Officer," thinking the arresting policeman would want to include this in the arrestee's personal property to be returned to him upon release — standard proceedure. Immediately I was slammed from behind and roughly put into submission mode, arrested and booked into jail. For what, I don't know.

Somewhat swifter than usual, the maybe 30 of us in the cell I found myself (there were other cells) were processed and released about 3 or 4 hours later. Missing from my returned personal property seized upon my arrest was a brand new Swiss Army knife given to me for Christmas by one of my children. With a "tough shit!" attitude the property clerk did not even want to hear my complaint at the knife's disappearance. I was pissed, both for my ridiculous arrest and my stolen property.

Coconut and Marygold were waiting and as I was quite hungry we went to a nearby Denny's restaurant. While sitting there telling my story and waiting for the food I happen to glance out the window and saw across the street a fairly large white building with a banner in bold red lettering that proclaimed "MACHINE GUNS FOR RENT." Excusing myself I proceeded to march across the street and stomp into the gun shop with a visibly puffed up attitude and demanded gruffly, "I want to rent a machine gun!" The clerk behind the counter didn't bat an eye. "That will be $50 and $15 for each clip of ammunition." A few seconds passed as we both stood silently looking at each other then I turned and walked out the door.

Those mentally turbulent thought-filled seconds betrayed the chasm much broader than just between two human beings. Corbin's message had always been, "There is only One Air, One Water and One Earth." At that moment as I do today so wish there was only One Heart, One Soul, One Goal for Humanity.

There is no way to deploy an atomic bomb without killing thousands of non-combative people. The only purpose of a machine gun is to kill as many people as possible. If our big brains truly translated to intelligence why would either of them ever exist?

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by Jim Shields

I know that anyone who thinks they can predict the weather, especially long-range predictions, is delusional. But that never prevents me from sharing with you my annual winter rain forecast.

After years of drought (although we were never in a drought here in the Long Valley area), and then one of the wettest winters on record, in fact the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) says that the 2016/17 water year brought unexpectedly heavy precipitation, ranking second only to 1983, California’s wettest year for statewide precipitation.

So, after looking at a lot of forecasts along with the Observer’s local weather records, I think the odds are we are probably in for a mild winter.

There’s no El Nino  or La Nina events predicted for this year. El Ninos are a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific, while La Ninas are characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.

It looks like there will be average or slightly below normal rainfall along with plenty of dry days here on the Northcoast.

However, in a report recently issued by DWR, it states, “Prior to 2017, California had experienced a decade of largely dry conditions. Eight of the ten preceding water years were dry and the water years of 2012-15 set a record for the driest consecutive four-year period of statewide precipitation. Present forecasting capabilities cannot provide a reliable prediction for the water year 2018. High annual variability in California’s precipitation means every year could potentially bring record wet conditions like those in 2017, or a return to arid, dry conditions.”

So there you have it from one of the expert forecasting agencies that isn’t taking any changes on their prediction being wrong. We could either have a lot of rain, or maybe not so much.

What’s your forecast?

(courtesy Laytonville-based Mendocino Observer)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag invited me over a drink yesterday. I'm thinking a shot of JD or at least Evan. But I get there and he turns on the hose and says, ‘Help yourself, suckah!’ and takes off. I try to get along with the dude and all I get is bad jokes.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 10, 2017

PETER COLLINS, Ukiah. Contempt of court.

JOSEPH HARROLD, Ukiah. DUI while on court probation, parole violation, resisting, probation revocation.

BRENDAN JENKINS, Covelo. Domestic battery.

RICHARD KLAISNER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DONALD LASINSKI, Redwood Valley. Trespassing, resisting.

TORREY THURMAN, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.

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Second Saturday Gallery Reception

Saturday, October 14, 5pm to 8pm

Free admission

The Mendocino Art Center hosts a free Second Saturday Gallery Reception each month. Meet and mingle with the featured gallery artists, and enjoy snacks and wine while viewing October's three new exhibitions.

The gallery is open daily, 11am to 4pm daily.


Sublime to the Canine

"I'm an abstract painter because I love what is elemental and essential.

I'm interested in creating a realm of mystery, surprise, serenity, and beauty. I use color, either oil or acrylic paint, for its feeling tone, each hue having a distinct emotional component, and line for its rhythmic possibilities and the awareness of gravity to indicate a possible intention, as in a 'going toward.' I want to create a sense that there is in a work a 'presence' that has its own life in a pictorial space that seems, however flat, empty and monochromatic, 'full.'"

— Virginia Sharkey

“VIRGINIA SHARKEY is an abstract painter who has lived on the Mendocino Coast for 30 years. Before moving to the coast, she lived inland on a hundred acres near Hopland on the (former sheep) McNab Ranch, relocating from an 11 year stint in her studios on the Lower East Side waterfront of Manhattan, interrupted for a while by having a studio on Martha’s Vineyard and in a castle in the Italian Alps. She was raised in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Her formal education was at Vassar College where her mentor was the social surrealist/realist Alton Pickens. Her informal education was in the motley cultural hotbed of New York City.”

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When you gaze upon NYC with all its skyscrapers, ponder what will happen when the electricity goes out. Imagine being on the 100th floor in your penthouse and the lights go out. No elevators. And no water, since the buildings pumps don’t work. That means the toilets don’t work. Won’t happen, you say? I commend you for your religious fervor and commitment. Clearly, you are capable of great faith. Living in a high-rise reminds me in a way to being a tank commander in a modern war. Yes, a modern tank is certainly a wondrous machine to behold. Alas, it is also a death trap. It is so heavily dependent that risk mitigation is as much a matter of faith than action, or, arguably, even more so.

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The Mental Health Forum scheduled for Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds has been cancelled.  It will be rescheduled for later this month, if possible.

Jan McGourty, Chair, Mendocino County Behavioral Health Board

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by Dave Zirin

Donald Trump’s efforts to distract from his flailing agenda by demonizing anti-racist NFL players is finally bearing some fruit. Last week there were reports leaking out from NFL players that the owners of their franchises were telling them that the protests against racism and police brutality being staged during the anthem had to end. They were dropping the hammer, even though NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had promised that there would be no reprisals.

Then we had Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who gave over a million dollars to Donald Trump and has signed players guilty of violence against women, DWIs, and even attempted murder, say, “If there is anything that is disrespectful to the flag then we will not play. You understand? If we are disrespecting the flag then we won’t play. Period.” (Jerry Jones, based on his personal life, absence of military service, and patriotic bromides, is basically Donald Trump with a worse plastic surgeon.)

Then on Monday, Jemele Hill, host of the 6 pm ESPN SportsCenter, was suspended for two weeks for “violating ESPN’s social media policy.” What did she do? She engaged with Twitter followers who were both angry at Jerry Jones and wondering whether star Cowboys players like Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant would stand up to him by taking a knee, daring Jones to bench them. Hill raised an issue that has been way too absent from this conversation of protesting athletes: the question of fan accountability. She wrote, “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.” When someone tweeted the names of the Cowboys’ sponsors, she responded with, “This play always work[s]. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”

Hill even stated explicitly, “Just so we’re clear: I’m not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.” Yet the news still read that she was suspended for advocating a boycott. Finding a pretext, ESPN took her off the airwaves.

Hill, of course, had been on double not-so-secret probation since September when she called Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on social media. It’s outrageous, and every ESPN employee, no matter their politics, should stand with Hill against efforts to silence her.

The question worth asking is “Why?” Why is a tycoon like Jerry Jones, a person who buys people like Donald Trump, and a multibillion-dollar global media leviathan, so scared of this man? Trump is currently rocking a 32 percent approval rating and being openly mocked by members of his own party. The idiotic kabuki theater of Mike Pence walking out of a game was discredited in real time, to anger and derision. Ratings are down, but that’s less Trump’s influence than ongoing trends across all racial and ethnic groups. Poll numbers are shifting in the direction of the protesting players largely because people don’t want to stand with the big orange baby. It’s a clown show. So why are they afraid of this man?

The answer should be obvious. It’s not fear of Trump. It’s that they are Trump. Billionaires are not allies in the fight against the white-supremacist, anti-labor aims of this administration. They are the beneficiaries. This has gotten twisted in recent months, as people have been grateful for the diverse, proudly political voices that ESPN has hired in recent years, as well as the sight of NFL owners backing their players after Trump’s abhorrent Huntsville, Alabama, speech, where he called NFL protesters “sons of bitches.”

Sports owners and ESPN/Disney CEOs aren’t scared of Trump and his bathroom Twitter spasms. If anything, they are grateful for them. They don’t fear his base. They share his politics. They want black NFL players to shut up and play. They want their sponsors to stay happy. They want the only politics of football to be the politics of Jerry Jones, not Colin Kaepernick, no matter how shameless, hypocritical, and craven it all looks.

Donald Trump then becomes a useful cudgel to beat down any dissenting voices, from the workers on the NFL field to the journalists in the newsroom. These owners plowed millions of dollars into Donald Trump for a reason, and this is the return on their investment. Yet, as embittering as all of this is, it comes with a benefit: Now the lines are drawn more visibly. We know who is on which side, and what’s needed is clear: Whether you are an NFL player, a fan, or a reporter for ESPN, everyone has an interest in standing up to this clumsy, thuggish effort to silence dissenting voices.

We are already seeing this from Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, who responded to Jerry Jones by saying that his fist would be remaining high in the air until change comes to this country, and no “owner” will tell him otherwise. Again, billionaires are not our friends, but solidarity is. As George Atallah of the NFL Players Association tweeted on Monday, “Athletes: through everything that’s happened in the past few weeks, consider the power you wield.” This applies to all of us.

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WE AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY recognize that in a crisis, library books are not the first consideration. If any library materials were damaged/lost during the fires, please notify library staff at your earliest convenience. We will work things out. 707-463-4490. The Ukiah Library is open, with free access to computers/wifi as well as books, movies, board games, and our regular weekly storytimes/events (see our online calendar).

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RESILIENT LANDSCAPES: Lessons from Historical Ecology

Robin Grossinger, San Francisco Estuary Institute

11am-1pm, Sunday, November 5, 2017

Boonville Fairgrounds, Main Building

Anderson Valley Land Trust invites you to join us for a presentation and discussion with Robin Grossinger, Senior Scientist and co-Director at the Resilient Landscapes Program of the San Francisco Estuary Institute. Robin creates compelling and revealing portraits of how California valleys have changed over the past centuries and his work has had a profound impact on how we perceive, and move forward with, our living landscapes.

Robin Grossinger has been called a “poet-scientist” in researching how California’s beautiful landscapes have looked over the centuries, and how their watersheds and ecologies have changed. In one of his major projects, he found historic maps and fragments to create a compelling visual tour of Napa Valley from the early 1800s onward—a forgotten land of brilliant wildflower fields, lush wetlands, and grand oak savannas. This helped a coalition of vineyard owners, conservationists, government agencies and residents in Napa to develop a common understanding of the function of oak and willow stands and rivers with fish and beavers, and their relationship to today’s issues of flooding, changing ground water levels, and incised streams.

Napa Valley is estimated to once been the home to 40,000 to 50,000 valley oaks and hundreds of groves. They were reduced to some 700 oaks and one historic grove. Robin Grossinger’s presentation will give us some food for thought for Anderson Valley and Mendocino County’s future.

There is no charge for this event, but reservations are requested by contacting us at or by calling 707-895-3150.

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Letter to Editor,

In a letter in your October 4 edition Jerry Philbrick said as follows: If California became a sanctuary state, then "every town can have criminals in it and we can't do nothin' about it.”

I hate to tell you, Jerry, but we are all criminals; we all break laws, some minor, some major. Who the hell are you talking about?

Jerry also said, "As far as the 49ers and the rest of the NFL pieces of crap that wouldn't stand up for the national anthem, maybe they should take a knee for the whole game."

I hate to tell you Jerry, but you've been distracted. The taking of a knee had absolutely nothing to do with the anthem or the flag. It only had to do with the injustice fostered on black people by some police, and by white America in general.

Lee Simon

Round Hill Farm, Virginia

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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is looking for donations of Amaryllis belladonna bulbs (Naked Ladies). One gallon plastic pots (used is okay, no broken ones, please). Rectangular black plastic flats with mesh bottoms (not solid). If you would like to donate your extra or unwanted bulbs, please contact the Nursery at 964-4352 x 12 or

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A trip back to the bad old past. Come with me on a trip back to 1962:

"That Woman From Mississippi," sequel to "The Last Resort"; both out in paperback. Nautilus Publishing, September 1.

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WILLIAM TREVOR, Irish novelist, playwright, short-story writer:


13 Responses to "Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017"

  1. sohumlily   October 11, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Flow Kana featured in this report from The Bohemian

  2. George Hollister   October 11, 2017 at 7:53 am


    It is all about the money. If protesting America increased ratings, the owners and sports media would be all in. But what is happening instead is viewers are turning football off. What we can see for sure is Roger Goodell does not handle crisis very well, and professional football suddenly looks like it is in crash and burn mode.

    • Pat Kittle   October 11, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Good riddance!

  3. Bruce Anderson   October 11, 2017 at 8:19 am

    JIM ARMSTRONG. What’s the situation in PV?

  4. Lazarus   October 11, 2017 at 8:33 am

    There’s Press Conference this morning, 10am at Recreation Groove in Willits concerning the fires. We have been without cell, internet and Nat. Gas in Willits. Obviously internet is back but cell is weird and spotty, landlines work in the 459,6 local region, no Nat. Gas yet but it’s coming according to PG&E.
    As always,

  5. james marmon   October 11, 2017 at 8:49 am

    FOX Station out of Oakland reports this morning that 150 homes have been destroyed in the City of Clearlake. Many of them out on the point where people had to be rescued by boat or helicopter. They were trapped out there with no other way to get out.

  6. Bill Pilgrim   October 11, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Back in the cyber world after being knocked out by the fires…( I use US Cellular.)

    There’s nothing wrong with the equipment on Signal Ridge at Cold Springs. That site is mostly repeaters for signals coming from other towers & sources on the Ukiah side of the hills.

    Cell towers, fiber optic cables on poles, power lines were damaged or destroyed over there.

    Apparently AT&T has brought in mobile towers which are going on line and carrying signals for the various cell phone and wifi services in the area.

    (Reported by KZYX)

  7. Stephen Rosenthal   October 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    My go-to info source about current conditions, including a regularly updated link to Google Earth satellite views of the fire area, is Kym Kemp’s Red-Headed Black Belt site.

    I have friends who have lost everything, so my sympathies are not with the pot farmers.

    So the County Manager doesn’t live in Mendo. Wow. Wonder if she gets a gas mileage allowance to commute back and forth from her home in Marin County?

    How Hamburg retains his office is beyond me.

  8. Bruce McEwen   October 11, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I finally learned, from my reading last night in The Egyptian Book of the Dead, why dogs have a shorter life-span than their human counterparts: your dog has get there (in Heaven) earlier than you, because your dog is the one who takes charge of the scale when the 42 judges weigh your heart to find out if you’ve been good or bad. In the Papyrus of Ani, it is obvious the god Anubis (the incarnation of your dog) clearly has his paw on the bar a few inches to the good in favor of how lighthearted and caring his master was.

    • George Hollister   October 11, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      This is good news for me, I think.

  9. Debra Keipp   October 11, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    In Point Arena I was told that we should have rain by Halloween, considering that rain in Point Arena usually occurs 20 days after the termites take flight, which they already did early in October.

    And, in Manchester, 3-4 days til rain when the yellow finches swarm and fly. However, in the Valley, folks say you don’t have much for yellow finches this year.

  10. Lazarus   October 11, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    With the exception of the South East, Willits is currently doing pretty well. Unfortunately many friends live in that area, also know as Pine Mountain.The bombers have been barraging the area all day but north to south winds may have hampered that somewhat, we’ve been absent of large aircraft noise for a while. The reports were no homes have been lost on Pine Mountain, but at a meeting yesterday that was corrected by a person who claimed to be housing victims of the fire.
    As I mentioned this morning during the blackout phones were local only, no cell service, internet was dead, and no Nat.Gas. PG&E is in town dealing with thousands of customers…it likely will be a few days to get service restored.
    Howard Memorial Hospital is open, there is an evacuation warning, personally I doubt evacs will happen, that said if the winds reverse direction who knows.
    Schools are closed until further notice.

    Mom and pops eateries are mostly closed due to no Nat. Gas, but gasoline seems plentiful and the markets have food .Currently all roads are open with exception of the Pine Mountain area.

    Sheriff Allman said this morning that this event without a doubt is the worst the Mendo has seen in decades, if not longer…Fatalities so far are limited to the Redwood Valley region.

    Socially there is an eery vibe in town, many folks have left, some headed to the coast and some went north. Being cut off from the regular stuff for a couple of days was interesting. On Monday a woman I know mentioned how noisy Safeway seemed, “People are talking to each other, they’re not staring at their cell phones…”
    As always,


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