- Opaque Administration
- Little Dog
- Thick Fog
- Alexander Missing
- An Encounter
- Unprosecuted Rape
- Quiz Night
- Porch Bandit
- Explosive Device
- Ed Notes
- Bear Ride
- Winning Essay
- Wellness Aisle
- Long Underwear
- Yesterday's Catch
- Unhealthy Forests
- Auschwitz Shoes
- Happy News
- Old Yulestove
- No Hemingway
- Homeless Pervs
by Malcolm Macdonald
Some of you may have used your internet search engine to look for the site called “Transparent California,” where you can find out what the wages and pensions are for public employees. Usually the information is up to date within a year of the time one is searching. For instance, currently Transparent California should have salaries, benefits, and or pensions in dollar value for public employees from the year 2016.
Fairly recently a resident of the Mendocino Coast went to the Transparent California website in search of just this sort of data for Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH). The searcher couldn't find any information for MCDH after entries for the year 2013.
The following is an email sent to Transparent California by that internet searcher,
“Hello. I am a resident in Mendocino Coast Hospital District. I note that your website does not list any information after 2013. The current Mendocino Coast District Hospital [Chief Executive Officer] CEO Bob Edwards states that our hospital has been supplying payroll information to Transparent California each year for 2014, 2015, and 2016. He says he does not know why it is not posted. Is it possible for you to confirm receipt of this information from MCDH? Will it be posted soon?”
Robert Fellner, research director for Transparent California, shared an email he had sent in August 2016 to MCDH's controller:
“I am requesting a copy of Mendocino Coast Hospital District's Employee Compensation Report for the 2015 year under the provisions of California Govt. Code 6250 - 6270, the California Public Records Act.
“Most California agencies find it easiest to respond to this request by producing a copy of the State Controller's Office (SCO) report that includes employee names. Please provide a copy of the working report, or any other combination of records, that contains the compensation data found on the SCO report alongside employee names.
“Alternatively, please provide copies of any other reports or records that contain information responsive to the purpose of this request: employee name in conjunction with their compensation data.
Please provide the requested materials or, per 6253(c), a timeline along which they will be made available by, no later than ten days from the date of this request.”
The bold points of emphasis are apparently that of Mr. Fellner.
This appears to be a clear and detailed request by Mr. Fellner. It prompted the following brief reply from MCDH's controller in 2016:
“I am currently working on the compensation report for the state. I am hoping to be completed at the end of next week.”
That response came five days after Mr. Fellner's original August, 2016 request. However, in response to the citizen's request in December, 2017, nearly a year and a half later, Mr. Fellner stated via email,
“We have never received the 2014, 2015, and 2016 data, despite multiple requests and promises that it would be forthcoming. If there is someone you would recommend we contact, we are happy to try again.”
In other words, according to the citizen attempting to gather the wages and benefits information from Transparent California, the hospital's CEO Bob Edwards claims this information has been sent out for the last three years, but Transparent California, the entity on the receiving end of that information says they have not only not received it, but they have not received it after repeated requests for the payroll info.
Yes, readers, you could chalk this up as just another falsehood springing from Mr. Edwards. There's a more serious caveat here, however. That little thing called the Public Records Act, alluded to by Mr. Fellner in his communication with MCDH, just happens to be part of the law. If we are to take Mr. Fellner at his word, MCDH has violated the Public Records Act not just once but three times over for the years 2014-2016. On top of that, if we take these emails to be true then MCDH's CEO, Bob Edwards, has lied about a failure to comply with the Public Records Act. If you lie to Bob Mueller you may end up with big federal problems. Lie about your failure to comply with the Public Records Act in California and you just might find yourself facing state charges.
At this point readers might wonder why a majority of MCDH's Board of Directors have defended Edwards for so long. For full disclosure on the local end of things, the citizen who delved into the Transparent California matter and contacted Mr. Fellner is the “life partner” of Dr. Peter Glusker, the only current MCDH Board member who has questioned CEO Edwards for some time. Regardless of the identity of the citizen who contacted Transparent California, the refusal to comply with the Public Records Act, withholding three year's worth of payroll information from the public, and lying about it is a potentially damning collection of evidence against CEO Edwards.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I'm no kid anymore so New Year's Eve is just another night for me. Used to be pretty wild on New Year's Eve around Boonville. The 'necks would get drunk and open fire at the stars and carry on with a lot of hollering. The boss says the place has gone ‘all bourgie,’ as he puts it. I'm all for the bourgies. Makes my job a lot easier.”
NEW YEAR’S EVE 2017
Thick fog engulfs each steadfast tree,
beclouding, tamping all life down.
Day’s last warmth, last light now going.
Maybe going, going, gone.
Fog enshrouding shiv’ring shadow,
furred and feathered creatures quiet.
Pray they hold for one more dawning,
dozing fitfully through the night.
Alexander Vance was last seen on December 20, 2017, in the Travelers Home Trail area of the Mendocino National Forest. Alex is described as 6-1, 180 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. (Clothing description is not available.)
He was also known to drive a gray 2001 Kia Optima with a Massachusetts License of 7HH647. If you have any information on his whereabouts please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at (707) 463-4086.
(Sheriff’s Office Press Release)
by Andrew Scully, AVA Special Correspondent
Mendocino-town, CA, December 25, 2017 — My female companion at the water mentioned it first. The closeness. But I had also seen the girl and a man, almost certainly her father, as they waded in the stream 25 feet away. She was about 12, he in his 40’s, and they were were barefooted in the cold water of the one of the countless small streams that feed into Lake Tahoe. The girl was wearing shorts and her father had rolled up his trousers, and they were taking their time wading, in the quiet of vacation cabin-time after breakfast.
“He must be a single Dad. Probably divorced.” My companion had pronounced it, more a fact than an opinion. Now I looked back in their direction again, this time much more closely, because I was curious. What it was about these two people that had suddenly conferred upon my friend these clairvoyant abilities? And so before I said anything in response, I shifted my gaze, really looking now, to see if I could fact-check the pronouncement.
They were meandering, along with the little stream, crystal cold in the mid-morning sunlight of the high Sierra, lazy and indistinct, yet gently insistent in their flow. The stream itself was a small tributary which emptied into the vastness of Lake Tahoe, two miles distant.
Indeed there did seem to be an unusual degree of closeness between this father and his daughter. I watched them wading in the water now, exploring, bending here and there to examine curiosities in the stream, the girl talking excitedly about her prized discoveries. Suddenly she asked her father’s permission to fetch something back at their cabin. When he said yes, that would be fine, she seemed delighted. “Really Daddy? I'll be right back!” And she hurried off, up the very gentle and sandy slope of the stream before quickly disappearing around a bend.
The situation seemed to present an ideal opportunity to engage the man and acknowledge what a fine job he was doing with his daughter, and that I admired him. She seemed a very bright and happy girl. In the process I might also satisfy a bit of my curiosity, since I am a father too, of three sons. I had sometimes wondered whether I might have missed some emotional dimension, the doting support that a daughter might have provided, and that I imagined I could return. And that bond certainly seemed to be governing this relationship. My curiosity overpowered any reluctance I felt about intruding upon their privacy.
I did not move from my seat on the flat rock, but as soon as his daughter was gone I engaged him with a comment about the fineness of the morning. When he seemed friendly enough, I stood up and approached him a bit. I knew it might not be long before his daughter returned, so I got right to the point. “My girlfriend and I were noticing the closeness between you and your daughter,” I told him. I said that I had three grown sons and that he seemed to have that closeness that I always admired. He acknowledged that yes, he was very lucky to have that. But before I could research this topic further, his daughter suddenly reappeared, splashing around the bend, glass jar in hand to collect her treasures. The girl had returned before I could get the answers I was seeking from her father. I stepped back as she came into view, ready to disengage and leave my questions for another day.
But the girl called to her father, and she said hello to me. I returned her greeting and as I moved off away from her father, and waded back toward my seat on the flat rock across the stream. As I moved through the water, ankle deep, I asked if she had any siblings, and her answer came just as I reached the other side of the stream.
“Well, kind of.” She said it in a pleasant voice. There was no joking or irony in her voice, no evident emotion. It seemed almost precocious. Now I was intrigued.
“Really?” I said. “What an interesting answer. How so?”
“Well, I had an older brother, but he died.”
I was stunned. Her answer literally brought me up short. Still standing on the other side of the stream, I was grateful now for the physical distance between us as I could feel the tears coming on fast. I glanced quickly at her father, searching for some kind of emotion in his face to guide my response, but saw none. I remembered something Bobby Kennedy had said to an angry crowd gathered at the airport upon his arrival in Indianapolis, in 1968, when they told him the news that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. This was just two months before he was gunned down himself by a madman in the kitchen of a hotel as he ran for President.
What came back to me in that moment was the tone and calming gentleness carried by Kennedy's words. He had said that he understood something about death. And the unfairness of life. He had also lost people that he cared about. No one then living would have any question that he was referring to his murdered brother, John F. Kennedy. In that unscripted moment, he had simply shared his experience and commiserated with the hurting people gathered. He had known the searing pain of death, of someone snatched from his life, stolen from it really.
And so I said, as I struggled to contain my voice made unsteady by the girls unexpected answer, that I also had a brother that died, and I was sorry for her loss.
My answer seemed to surprise her a bit, perhaps it was one she hadn't often heard. Yet she seemed very composed, even empathetic. “Really?” she asked. How old had he been, and what had happened to him? I explained that my older brother had a twin, and that Michael had died of kidney failure about a year before I was born. He died just before his second birthday, in 1956, before kidney transplants were possible.
I sensed the inadequacy of my words even as I spoke them. The losses were not equal. I had never even known my brother. But if the girl thought my answer a stretch, she did not give that away. She told me that her older brother had died of brain cancer when he was 12 and she was 10.
Yes, she said, it was hard, she said. Of course she missed her brother, but she was happy for him that he was no longer in pain. In peace. What struck me across the water was the calming presence. It wasn't just the words and her calm voice. Her entire bearing and demeanor was gracious, almost regal. I suddenly found that I was calm. Tears were streaming down my face freely now, like the Irish rain, but I was calm inside. I wanted to pursue the conversation more, perhaps to find this little girl's secret to a peaceful life, but her attention had returned to the water at her feet, and the discoveries that the day held for her and her Dad. They had disappeared around the bend.
AN UNPROSECUTED RAPE?
To the AVA,
My name is Garrett Coughlin. I was just sentenced to three years to be done right here in the Mendocino County Jail for receiving stolen property for a flatbed trailer that I didn't even steal that was brought to my mother's property without my permission.
But the real reason I'm here is that my mom's property is where Trevor Michael Jackson was living and staying while on the run. The owners of the marijuana grower’s property were never charged for the grow, actually having all the plants returned to them in full. David Eyster wanted me to testify against Trevor Jackson for a different charge on top of what he was already pleading guilty for, kidnapping and second-degree robbery which with my testimony would have given him a life sentence.
Since there was no way I could even think of doing that to somebody, let alone a close friend, I told David Eyster where to stick it. He was furious and he punished me to the fullest for a bogus-ass charge that would have otherwise been dropped.
But that's enough about me. I'm writing to you for other reasons than myself. What I want brought to public attention isn't about my unfortunate fate, it's about the corruptness and insanity of the laws, proceedings, and the incompetence of our District Attorney David Eyster and the Deputy District Attorney McMenomey in a case that I'm now getting ready to explain. Everything I'm getting ready to tell you about this case which I'm getting ready to explain is the 100% truth.
Roughly six months ago my 16-year-old daughter met up with some friends of hers and went and had lunch at Applebee's right here in Ukiah where for the first time she met a man who worked there who was with one of her friends she was eating lunch with. His name is Clayton Garoutte! (I don't know if his last name is spelled exactly correctly, it's a French last name and, pronounced ‘Garew,’ but I think it's pretty close to being spelled correctly.) When she asked him how old he was after being introduced while eating lunch at Garoutte’s place of employment, Applebee's, he told her he was 18, and when he asked her how old she was she responded 16. He then commented, Oh, so you are the baby of the bunch. She at first thought he was a nice and honest young man, but he turned out to be an evil monster who has destroyed and scared not only a big part of my daughter's life but me being her father as well.
Turns out Clayton was actually 25 years old, not 18 like he said he was, and from the moment he laid eyes on my beautiful baby girl he had only one intention set in his mind and I’m going to tell you my daughter’s story of the hell this man put her and I through and the injustice and incompetence of the District Attorney David Eyster and the man who works under his guidance who prosecuted this case, Deputy DA McMenomey.
So, after eating lunch my daughter and her friends decided to meet up with Clayton Garouette after he got off work to go to Lake Mendocino to go swimming at the south boat dock side of the Lake. Three of her friends stayed in the car. They showed up to meet him and her and another friend hopped in the truck with him and then the two vehicles started their journey to the Lake.
But on the way Clayton decided to take a detour and stopped by Safeway along the way. He told my daughter and her other friend in the truck with them that he was going in to get some alcohol and that he'd be right back. She then asked them how he would be able to do that because he's not old enough. He then said, "Don't trip, I've got connections." So a few minutes later out he comes with half gallon of Jim Beam and off to the Lake they go once again!
So now they're all at the Lake swimming and having a good time like kids do. And yes, my daughter had some of the Jim Beam to drink! She told me she was feeling a little tipsy and hungry. So she got out of the water. When Clayton asked her what was wrong, she explained, and said, Here, you just need some more of this, and he convinced her to drink more alcohol. He then told her four other friends to go get some McDonald's and that he and my daughter were going to stay there at the Lake and wait for them to come back with the food. My daughter didn't even know he sent them to McDonald's without her. And when she asked him where did her friend go, he said, Don't worry, they went to get food, they'll be right back, here drink some more this. And he then forced the alcohol on my daughter who at this point was drunk. Peer pressure and drunk, he continued to feed her with Jim Beam. My daughter then stated that she didn't feel good and did not want any more alcohol and that she was very cold from swimming. So Clayton said, well, let's go sit in my truck, I’ll turn the heater on.
And that's all my baby girl remembers until she woke up to the hellish nightmare this monster put her through! She told me and the reporting deputy Clegg that she must have passed out from the alcohol and no food in her belly and from the heat in the truck. But when she came to this 25-year-old man was on top of her, raping her without a condom. She told me and Officer Clegg that she then begged Clayton to stop, you’re hurting me, please stop, I just want to go home.
But does he? No, he continues to do as he pleases and there is nothing my daughter can do about it because she weighs about 95 pounds and this piece of bleeping bleep monster weighs over 250 pounds.
So now to me and everybody with any sense at all it becomes forcible rape. This animal didn't stop until he heard a car coming and thank god it was my daughter's friends back from getting food at McDonald's. Once Clayton noticed that he stopped and threw my daughter out of his truck to the ground. As she hit the ground she rolled underneath his truck and tried to cover herself up and replace her swimming clothes over her exposed body! She then got up crying and got into her friend’s car saying, I just want to leave now. Her friends were confused asking her what was wrong? But she was so shaking and scared that she couldn't talk about it. She just wanted to leave.
Her friend, the driver of the car, got out and asked Clayton what's going on? Clayton said with a smile, "Don't say anything, but I just fucked that girl!" And this same friend made that exact statement to the reporting officer, Clegg! So my daughter and her friends in the car took off leaving Clayton there by himself.
A little ways down the road my daughter broke down even more and eventually told her friends exactly what happened from everything she remembered that animal put her through! And instantly they drove her straight to the hospital and called the police. I was notified and I was informed by the police and her friends what had happened. The hospital then did a full and complete rape kit test on her, feeding her about 15 different kinds of pills for killing diseases like AIDS and to stop her from becoming pregnant. At the same time they swabbed her vaginal area for traces of semen which came back positive as coming from none other than Clayton Garouette!
Now here's the part that not only kills me as the father and has my daughter so freaked out, scared, crying nonstop and causing her to not be able to sleep at night and on top of all that is causing her to have more seizures than she usually has due to her being epileptic which should terrify you as a community of Mendocino County:
After only six short months this rapist monster was back on the streets.
And here I am, her father, sitting in jail for a trailer crime I didn't steal with minimal evidence against me and out in the real world this animal is released with all the evidence in the world stacked up against him!
To top it off, the District Attorney has dropped all of this rapist’s charges stating that it was my daughter’s word against his and she was drunk! He didn't even convict him of contributing alcohol to a minor or even statutory rape, even though it was no doubt full on a forcible rape case.
And it gets even better. Clayton was released to go back to where he was living when this horrifying thing happened to my daughter, damn near right across the street from Frank Zeek elementary school. And it's not if a rapist will rape again, its when!
So here I sit for an insane felony that I didn't commit with little evidence against me instead of being able to be out there for my daughter when she is in so much pain and needs her daddy the most and this guy is released back into society with no punishment at all with more evidence against them than I can shake a stick at for a crime that is the most ruthless and violent of any crime there can be other than child molestation which is in the same category in my eyes and all that I can come up with as the reasoning behind his release with all charges dropped is that 1) David Eyster made sure this would happen because he had a personal vendetta against me for his hate for Trevor Jackson whom he thinks I helped. Or 2) David Eyster and deputy DA McMenomey condone this type of crime and activity only in Eyster’s case with young boys, or 3) the judicial system of the courts of Mendocino County thinks it's okay and has more concerned and feeling for the rapist and not the victim who was raped. It was so tragic and unfortunate to have been my daughter in this case. Or 4) After my family was able to get into Clayton Garoutte’s Facebook they discovered that his number one faithful friend was none other than Tom Allman himself.
So to the publishers of the Anderson Valley Advertiser I can only pray to the good Lord up above that you will publish this in your paper if not for just me and my daughter's sake, but for the sake of the community of Mendocino County and for the sake of many parents who have children attending Frank Zeek elementary school. If I knew the address of the Press Democrat I'd be sending them this also. But unfortunately I'm in jail and I don't have access to be able to get it so I pray I can count on you there at the AVA to at least put some kind of closure on this inhumane, terrifying event that has totally taken control of my daughter’s feelings, sanity and life!
Thank you very much for your time and patience to read my heartbreaking story.
Garrett J. Coughlin
PS. This man Clayton Garoutte doesn't even have to register as a sex offender because he was released with all charges dropped.
BOONVILLE QUIZ TODAY: Thursday, December 28th, will see the last General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz of 2017 taking place at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. We get started promptly at 7pm and have lots of fun questions for one and all. Not to mention delicious dining and splendid drinking. Hope to see you there.
Steve Sparks/Quiz Master
FB PORCH BANDIT
On 12-20-2017 at approximately 9:28 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies contacted Jonathon Sanchez, 32, of Fort Bragg near the 30000 block of Boice Lane in Fort Bragg.
Deputies were conducting surveillance in the area following multiple reports of mail theft. During that contact, Deputies determined Sanchez had stolen a delivered package from a resident's mailbox on Boice Lane. Deputies recovered the contents of that package inside a backpack that was in Sanchez's possession. Sanchez was arrested for Possession of Stolen Property and he was later issued a citation and released.
DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE OF THE EXPLODING TYPE
On 12-18-2017 at approximately 10:15 A.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the presence of a suspicious object found in a driveway of a residence in the 4000 block of Bear Canyon Road in Willits. Deputies called the reporting party and learned the device was discovered in the driveway of his residence on Sunday 12-17-2017 and it was unknown how the object came to be at that location. The reporting party became concerned the object could be an destructive/explosive device so he contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office to investigate the incident. Deputies responded to investigate and ultimately sent photographs of the device to Deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office who are trained and certified to deal with suspected destructive/explosive devices. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputies responded to investigate and determined the object was a destructive device. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputies were able to neutralize the device, which was subsequently secured as evidence for this investigation. The motive and purpose of the device is unknown at this time and anyone with possible information related to this incident is requested to the call the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip Line at 707-234-2100.
PEOPLE used to say that on deep fog nights, GP used to burn all kinds of stuff, including truck tires, in its big burner that fueled the on-site power generator. I've always wondered about that claim, but to this day no former worker or anybody else in a position to know could or would confirm. Anyway, what's to stop the company in a company town from doing whatever it wants?
ALICE CHOUTEAU COMMENTS:
"The GP mill here began at some point to accept industrial wood, aka pressure-treated wood, trucked in from counties with better environmental laws, and received an unknown fee for this. The fly ash produced from burning this wood, plus paper plastic, etc contains a high level of dioxins, arsenic, and chlorine.
One of the dumping sites was the grazing lands on the McGuire Ranch, Bald Hill, and GP was paid handsomely for taking it. I worked with North Coast Action, a dedicated group of environmentalists, to force GP to haul the big piles of fly ash out of county to a secure toxic dump. Though supposdly for use as a soil amendment, it was simply left in big heaps, leaching toxins into Virgin Creek, hence into the ocean, while the cattle grazed knee deep in them. The fly ash also left a high arsenic level in the soil, supposedly a ‘safe’ level of this poison. The DTSC rep for this project was Tom Lamphar or Lanphar. When asked to test the silt along the creek that originated from the ranch and washed downstream, he just picked up a handfull and said it looked fine!
The toxins from burning contaminated wood were windblown over the town, deposited everywhere, and eventually washed away by rain back toward the mill site, so GP is clearly responsible for the contamination, though the City government turned on a blind eye on the hazards to mill workers and residents."
SHALL THE CIRCLE be unbroken! Back in another life I played baseball with a guy named Bill Buffalo. His dad was a Frisco longshoreman who told me he could get me into the union, which got me all fired up because the pay was good and that union in particular was the best union going. So, who should pop up on the YouTube video of the recent Ukiah Valley Sanitation District Board meeting? (The excitement never ends at the ava!) Daniel Buffalo, CPA, the City of Ukiah's Finance Director. Gotta be the son or grandson of my old teammate. Also speaking at the meeting, and compensated at the rate of $300 an hour, was Doug ‘The Midnight Rambler’ Losak, presently affiliated with Duncan James' Ukiah law firm. Losak used to work in the Mendo County Counsel's Office where, in an office of indistinguishable gray mumblers who spend their days manufacturing flawed legal opinions, Losak was positively thrilling. At least after dark. One night, Losak got himself popped with a gun and a bag of dope, an escapade that didn't go unnoted by the DA and the Sheriff, both of whom made an unprecedented appearance at a Supervisor's meeting to oppose a raise for Losak. The Supes settled for a partial raise. No one goes away empty-handed from the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors except, of course, their line workers. BTW, Julie Bawcom, recently elected to Sanitation Board, is an absolute beacon of clarity in a situation that badly needs it.
RECEIVED about a half-pound of offensive material from the Sierra Club in Wednesday's mail, complete with a shiny nickel, which used to buy a pack of Double Bubble Gum but today might buy three minutes on a Ukiah parking meter. "Renew today! It costs less than a nickel a day to renew your Sierra Club membership and help protect America's wildlife and wildlands!" I don't recall ever being a member, but may have joined one year some time ago to vote for an insurgent candidate slate that promised distance between the Club and the Democrats. But the sales pitch for membership is awfully offensive, complete with a pathetic copy of a bended knee supplication to "Minority Leader Schumer." If Schumer is all that stands between the forests and coast-to-coast clearcuts, the forests are gone.
A QUIET, post-Christmas Wednesday in Boonville, with Mosswood coffee and bakery and the Boonville General Store both shuttered.
GRATITUDE to whoever is responsible for decorating the little fir about four miles up the Ukiah Road. Whoever did it last year, too. Always elicits a smile from this motorist and others, I'm sure.
COUNTY YOUTH WINS $500 ESSAY PRIZE
Seventeen-year-old Fort Bragg resident, Jose Plascencia was selected top winner of an essay contest based on the graphic novel, Inside/Outside… Your Choice, A Letter from Prison, Sponsored by Heroes for Youth and the Delinquency Prevention Commission of Mendocino County, in all, eight winners were selected from dozens of entries.
Inside/Outside . . .Your Choice, a 32-page graphic novel, was written by former Ukiah resident John Mendoza as a joint project of the County Delinquency Prevention Commission and Heroes for Youth/CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Mendocino and Lake Counties.
Mendoza, now serving his twelfth year of a 15-year to life sentence in state prison, wanted to give something to community youth by sharing his story with them about the consequences of making poor choices in life, as he had. The book, published in English and Spanish editions, was illustrated by local artist, Tobin Keller and distributed for free locally and throughout the state, courtesy of funding by the District Attorney’s office, the Commission, and community members of Heroes for Youth. Heroes has been producing youth-serving projects for the past seven years.
Both editions of the book, as well as the essay contest winning submissions and blogs by Mendoza are available on line at www.inside-outside.me. Free copies may be obtained at the CASA office, 340 N. Main. St., in Ukiah.
Plascencia, the contest winner, was thrilled to hear that he won and when asked what he was going to do with his prize, now in the Savings Bank, said, “I’m going to save the money and add to it. I’d like to buy a car one day.”
Here are the winners and their prizes, and the winning essay.
1st Place: Jose Plascencia $500 cash
2nd Place: Fabian D. Rodriguez $100 cash
3rd Place: Katelyn Sierra $75 gift certificate
4th Place: Hope Keaton $50 gift certificate
Honorable mention: $25 gift certificates
Bangyang Qiu, Evelyn Sanchez, Chuah Seong Hong, Naomi Brown
“These essays stood out due to their unique style, fresh point of view, well-organized presentation, and most importantly, ‘realness’”, said Schuyler Marcier, coordinator of the contest.
The Commission and Heroes for Youth thank All-in-One Towing for the cash prize, the Mendocino Book Co. for the gift certificates and contest display, and the Arbor Youth Resource Center for administering the contest.
Here is the winning essay:
by Jose Plascencia, 17, Ft. Bragg
It all started with a bottle of alcohol. I was headed to the store with a friend after drinking a whole bottle of Bombay together; we stopped to talk to two older men. My friend asked one of the guys for a cigarette and he got a rude answer. At that point I jumped in because I knew they were going to start fighting. The guy’s drugged out friend said he had a knife, and I heard him unstrap it from his leg. He took two steps and drove the long buck knife through my left arm. It went in one side and came out the other. I was too drunk to feel anything.
It all happened so fast. I was trying to protect myself by putting my hands up to my face. My blood came spilling out like a waterfall. I didn’t know how bad it was or how to help myself. I was mesmerized because I could feel the warm blood running down my fingers as I pushed the piece of meat that was dangling down from my arm back into place. I needed help right away, so I ran home with my arm sliced open. I was panicked; my body was trembling and my head was somewhere else, but the blood just kept pouring out.
When I got home I found my mom, her boyfriend and my sisters. Everyone was screaming and yelling because there was blood everywhere. My whole body felt tingly because blood thins out and flows faster when you drink.
On the way to the hospital I was fading in and out of consciousness. At the hospital, the nurse took one look at my arm and knew that I needed to be flown to a hospital in Sacramento. They weren’t trained to handle this severe of a wound. I was really scared because they said I needed microscopic surgery. They started cleaning and pulling at the flesh that was dangling from my arm. That’s when it hurt the most.
After that, they gave me some drugs for the pain and laid me flat on a gurney. They cut off all my clothes and started inspecting every part of my body for more wounds. I felt really embarrassed, frozen and powerless. I was in surgery for ten hours. The cut ran from my palm all the way up to my elbow. It took three weeks for it to fully close.
If I had been sober it would have ended differently. Being intoxicated can lead to death or life in prison for hurting someone and not even realizing it, like what happened to John Mendoza. I never wanted my mom to see me in so much pain. She was so worried; she was crying about what happened. It is mentally exhausting to know that what happened was my fault for drinking a bottle. I love my mom with my whole heart. She is the strongest woman I know. I put her through so much worry and pain in the past few years, because I have been incarcerated several times for fighting. The most painful part for me is watching my mom suffer. No one ever warned me about much, so I learned the hard way, through what happened to me with my friends.
Taking things for granted is not an option for me because I know how much my mom really loves me. When the phone rings it makes her jump, because she doesn’t know if something has happened to me. For that reason, I try my best to stay out of trouble. She doesn’t deserve all the pain I’ve given her.
Another important lesson I learned is that the people who you drink and do drugs with won’t reach out with their hearts and treat you right when you really need it. The friend I was with when I got stabbed told me, “Everything will be all right. Don’t call the cops,” when blood was spilling from my arm. Everything was not all right!
Looking forward in life makes me think about the whole situation. I want to evolve to be a better, stronger person and hang out with people who do care and will be there to help when I need them. Hopefully, my story can help other young people step back and analyze what they are doing to themselves and to others when they drink alcohol.
DO NOT GET LOST IN THE WELLNESS AISLES OF LIFE
by Paul Modic
Now that I've had this low-grade cold, or whatever it is, for going on eleven weeks, I've found myself wandering down the beckoning corridors of the high-class health food stores glistening with all manner of colorfully packaged snake oil and expensive placebos.
So yesterday it was the search for cold medication that brought me to the wellness aisle with the other desperate sick people willing to try anything to get rid of whatever it is plaguing us. Everyone I know suggests their cures, herbs and activities for what ails me, although no one really knows anything, including me.
The wellness ladies explain the often complicated steps to using the various products; there's hundreds of them, a high tide of alternative cures floating on a sea of supplements.
“What about Umpka?” I asked. A friend said I must get a bottle of that natural cold remedy immediately.
“Well, it's from Africa and homeopathy-based,” the health lady said.
“Homeopathy?” I said. “Oh that one is a total fraud, it's like nothing. Look it up, the inventor had no facts or reasons why it would work, and the studies have said it does nothing. Of course, I conceded, the placebo effect can be real.”
“There have been documented cases of children being cured,” she said.
“The placebo effect wouldn't apply to children.”
“Oh c'mon, the parent gives the kid the pill, and you don't think the kid thinks their mother's giving them something that will help?”
“Well, I'm not going to argue with you,” she said, and started to walk away. “I have other things to do.”
“Oh wow, you're really into it, aren't you?”
“Yes I am,” she said.
Never get lost in the wellness aisles of life, there may be no escape from the true believers.
CAN I BORROW $25?
I know you don't know me, but since nine months have gone by here in Lake County concentration camp and all I have received is your paper, I figured, screw it, and was wondering if it would be possible for you to lend me $25 so I can get myself a set of thermals since this shoddy jail won't even supply us with a sweatshirt. (Tom Allman does.) Honestly, I get cold enough to where I don't want to get out of bed, let alone go to the yard for the 30 or 45 minutes we are allowed, weather permitting. Also, I would spend some of it on coffee and sponging off my cellmates. I probably would have written and asked Santa Claus but obviously I have been naughty. So that's it. If not, thanks anyway. Keep up the good work.
PS. Any money needs to be in a money order form, made out to Cameron Hammond, 4913 Hellbush Road, Lakeport, CA 95453. I will repay upon my release in April.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 27, 2017
JACOB BROWN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOHN COST JR., Redwood Valley. DUI-alcohol-drugs.
CHRISTOPHER DORRELL, Eureka. DUI.
NICKOLAS DUNSING, Mendocino. Forgery, trespassing, probation revocation.
MATTHEW JOHNSON, Huntington Beach/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
RYAN LOPEZ, Ukiah. Vandalism, conspiracy, probation revocation.
BETHANY PACHECO, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, probation revocation.
AMBER PRIMER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
GARY RANDAL, Ukiah. Parole violation.
RILEY STEINMANN, Ukiah. Vandalism, criminal threats, conspiracy.
JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Battery, criminal threats.
JAMES VOGUS, Talmage. Protective order violation.
FOREST RESILIENCE DECLINES IN FACE OF WILDFIRES, CLIMATE CHANGE
The University Of Montana
The forests you see today are not what you will see in the future. That's the overarching finding from a new study on the resilience of Rocky Mountain forests, led by Colorado State University scientists. University of Montana fire ecology Professor Philip Higuera is a coauthor of the study.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 1,500 sites in five states - Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and Montana - and measured more than 63,000 seedlings growing in 52 areas burned by wildfires during the past three decades. They wanted to understand if and how changing climate over the past several decades impacted post-fire tree regeneration, a key indicator of forest resilience.
They found significant decreases in tree regeneration following 21st century wildfires, a period that was markedly hotter and drier than the late 20th century. The research team said that with a warming climate, forests are losing their resilience to wildfires.
"While Rocky Mountain forests typically recover after wildfires, conditions are becoming increasingly stressful for tree seedlings to establish and survive," Higuera said. "Seedlings are more sensitive to warm, dry conditions than mature trees, so if the right conditions don't exist within a few years following a wildfire, tree seedlings may not establish."
Historically, the look of forests changes over time. But the research team said it will take much longer for sites to re-establish forests after a wildfire, if they return at all. In the warmest, driest forests, researchers found evidence suggesting a lack of tree regeneration after wildfires, which hasn't typically been the case.
One of the big surprises for the team was seeing the pattern of reduced tree regeneration emerge consistently across all the sites compiled in the study.
"We expect variability in how long forests take to recover after wildfires," Higuera said, "but the decrease in tree regeneration between the late 20th and early 21st century was pretty striking, and it's consistent with what we expect to see as climate becomes warmer and drier."
In one-third of the areas studied, researchers found that forests are not coming back at all. This suggests that even restoration efforts, such as planting new trees, might not be successful. There are other areas that could support certain tree species, but don't have any regeneration currently as ideal locations for managers to consider planting seedlings. When doing so, managers may want to explore planting species that are adapted to the current and future climate, not the climate of the past several decades.
The research team includes scientists from University of Idaho, The Nature Conservancy, UM, University of Washington, University of Colorado-Boulder, Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
"Evidence for declining forest resilience to wildfires under climate change" was published on Dec. 12 in the journal Ecology Letters and can be found online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi?DOI=10.1111/ele.12889.
THE SHOES OF DEATH WALK BY THEMSELVES
by Manuel Vicent, translated by Louis S. Bedrock
The writer Primo Levi, a survivor of the Holocaust, tells us that in Auschwitz, death would begin in the shoes. For the majority of the prisoners, their shoes had become instruments of torture because of the infected wounds that occurred after long hours of forced marches. Primo Levi remembers the unbearable torment which, in his case, he believed, had to do with being obliged to walk through the mire in shoes without laces and which got stuck in the snow or the mud with every step.
Resolving this problem appeared to be an impossible dream; but one morning, in the midst of that appalling horror, he saw the heavens open.
In the large hut where the inmates slept crammed on top of one another, the man with whom he shared a bunk bed died during the night and Levi confined himself to expropriating the man’s shoelaces.
The writer describes this moment as one of the most satisfying of his life.
After 11 months as a prisoner in the death camp of Auschwitz, at last he could walk in a normal manner — even if it were toward a gas chamber — without losing his shoes and having to retrace his steps barefooted in order to retrieve the shoes.
In the exhibition of the concentration camp at Auschwitz, which is being presented in the Canal Art Exhibition Center of Madrid, the most moving memento consists of the shoes of men, women, and children. The shoes are exhibited in glass cabinets.
The hellish path these people crossed en route to death is inscribed upon the worn soles of these shoes. One wonders: to which little girl belonged the small blue or white shoe; which elegant woman sashayed along the streets of Vienna on top of that rose colored shoe with high heels; which teacher, violinist, businessman, or office worker was wearing those boots when he was arrested.
Every one of these shoes traveled along a different route transporting a life which perhaps at one time had been cheerful and happy; but all of them led their owners to the gas chamber as a final destination. Theodor Adorno said that after Auschwitz, it was impossible to write poetry. So let us leave aside desolate lyricism.
Pope Benedict XVI visited Auschwitz on Sunday, May 28, 2006. He remained mesmerized in front of those sinister pavilions; after a long silence before this appalling vision, he directed an internal cry to God:
—Why were you silent, oh Lord? How could you permit this?
The Pope was merely an exquisite theologian treading upon the ground of that death camp in luxurious, custom made red shoes from Prague.
The morning on which I visited the exhibition, a school bus left a group of adolescents in front of the terrace of the exhibition center. Perhaps they were students from some high school or institute. As they arrived upon the scene, they were loud and cheerful; and they were exchanging jokes.
This scene reminded me of another similar scene at the Mauthausen concentration camp.
It happened one winter morning. It was snowing upon those green, grass covered hills through which flowed a peaceful Danube River. Upon the exterior wall of the grounds was a sign warning tourists: “No camping”.
At that moment, there arrived a bus full of Austrian teenagers. They were hardy, blond, and noisy. They entered Mauthausen laughing and shoving one another. They started running around the top of the wall, passing the most sinister points of that macabre place without batting an eyelid: the electrified fences, the large huts with the bunk beds, the headstones that covered the walls; they even told jokes in the gas chamber.
At first glance, the gas chamber looked like a collective shower room with a capacity for 30 persons — except for the exterior switch that released Zyklon B gas through a shaft in the corner of the room.
The faces of those young people expressed only the boredom that is felt by the hoards of students who are obliged to visit a museum without understanding or concern. In fact, one of the students was amused to find that some sacrilegious tourist had tossed a familiar Coca-Cola bottle in a crematorium oven.
Nevertheless, I was able to observe that those hardy, cheerful kids, so removed from that particular history, appeared overwhelmed by a huge photograph which showed an enormous mountain of shoes. More than 100,000 people died in Mauthausen: in those shoes was the destiny of each of those prisoners.
At the exhibition of the concentration camp of Auschwitz, the group of students from Madrid silently made the journey through the phases of torture that the millions of prisoners endured until the cogwheel of a methodical, elegant, bureaucratic death fell upon them. Perhaps one or two of the schoolchildren noticed the destiny that was sealed in the sole of every shoe exhibited in the glass cabinet — shoes that had once belonged to men, women, and children.
The people who wore these shoes died in the gas chamber; but those shoes continue to walk by themselves, beyond death and through history, to make us aware that in this world, we’re all merely survivors.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Speaking of “blazing Yule logs’, the wood stove is cranking. My wife (of thirty-one years) and I have been living in this 1959 built, ‘out of town’ house for thirty-one years. The woodstove (which can hold a 28″ x 12″ log) has approximately 93,000 hours of burning time on it since we have been here, and it was very old when we moved in. ‘Have a Hot Holiday” chili is cooking in a dutch oven right now. There is a Christmas Spirit for you! And as a nod to a positive future, the garlic gloves I planted six weeks ago are beginning to show their ‘smiling’ shoots guaranteeing another great addition to foods next Summer and Fall. This is a Christmas I can believe in and am grateful for.
The Best to you all!
OLD MAN & THE BEACH
by Spec MacQuayde
Friday morning I did a few errands in Boonville before heading up Mountain View with a truckload of watermelons. Most of them were an open-pollenated variety, "Mickey Lee," somewhat oblong with pale skin and no stripes, crimson flesh.
My second Ex had arranged to meet her and the two boys, now eleven and fourteen, at a beach off Highway 1, south of Fort Ross. There was a turnout across from a cattle ranch, she had told me. "We probably won't have cell reception," she had said, while giving me directions over the phone. "You'll see our white Ford Ranger with the camper shell."
All the way to Point Arena I listened to 95.3, KOZT, but somewhere south of the lighthouse it faded to static. Along the ride I received a text and pulled over to grab a beer and check the phone: "It might take more than three hours."
If my truck could have talked, and was female, she would have been burning a hole in my ear around those curves, up and down the hills with that ridiculous load of melons plus about half the delicata squash crop from a Ukiah garden and a cooler of beer. I had checked out the coordinates of the trip on a smart phone the night before, and decided not to bother trying to calculate. The smart phone told me to go down 101, through Santa Rosa. There was no fucking way I was driving through Santa Rosa en route to a day at the beach with the boys. I wanted to be in a good mood when I got there.
I had agreed to meet them at noon, which was when we hit Gualala, the county line.
On an envelope I had written her directions: "Ft. Ross. Muniz Ranch."
Cell phone reception disappeared about the time we crossed the first steel cattle gate. By now I say "we" because I had totally included the truck on this mission. At some point 95.3 reappeared as California Country out of San Jose. Contemporary stuff computer generated, I thought, but dared not attempt to find another station. South of Ft. Ross I started to panic, glancing futilely at the smart phone and the envelope with those elaborate directions scrawled in blue ink. It was just like my second Ex to require some kind of mission just to see her, one reason I'd fallen in love back in the year 2000. She had always played hard to get.
There are sobering cliffs along that part of the coast. The truck needed new brakes. At some point I started to wonder if I'd passed the "Muniz Ranch" sign. I didn't remember what it was supposed to look like. Everything looks the same south of Gualala on a sunny day in the autumn, with the slanted rays bouncing off the waves.
Just about the time I had given up hope, I saw the posts bearing a bold sign, "Muniz Ranch," on the left. There was the white Ranger, also a Subaru that I imagined belonged to one of their friends, based on its bumper stickers. To the west was the ocean, somewhere about five hundred feet below the edge of what looked like nothing. I finished the beer, smoked a joint, relaxing for a minute.
Fortunately I had a ton of watermelons to choose from.
It took about ten minutes just to find the initial trail. I almost gave up, thinking crap I'll just wait in the truck, but eventually discovered the path. Now I had a yellow seedless melon in one hand, the beer in the other, wearing flip-flops. At the edge of the cliffs I gazed down to a creek or small river delta, thinking the crew would be there, but I didn't see anybody. The Queen of Hard to Get had struck again, I almost thought, until following what looked like a jackrabbit trail, I finally spotted people wearing straw hats, sitting on a blanket. The path down befuddled me at first, but gazing at the general slope of the cliffs, it wasn't too hard to discern the next step, though I had to juggle the watermelon and beer several times on the way down. Some steps were precarious. I had to admit these were quality flip-flops, having survived the whole summer, sometimes mucked in irrigated cornfield clay. They held out, though I questioned their usefuleness, thinking bare feet would get a better grip.
At the beach, I met up with my fourteen year-old, Demetri, my second Ex, and this guy, Archer, who like me sported a goatee and a straw cowboy hat and sat on the blanket with her while the guy who I assumed was her boyfriend was out in a wet suit, spearfishing, she said. Our eleven year-old son was in a kayak, angling with a pole and artificial lure.
We shared some brief introductions. Archer used mostly multi-syllable words. He was carving away at this rotten watermelon.
"Moses got one!" said Demetri, who held a pair of binoculars. "Oh, for sure!"
"Let me see," said Archer.
"You mean you guys carry binoculars?"
"They're necessary," Archer said. "I do think it's a ling cod."
"You can tell from here?"
"Try these," said my second Ex, handing me a pair.
It was almost like watching television. You could see him messing with the fish, which he brained immediately. After that, he had to tug it to shore on the kayak, this cove somewhat protected from the real ocean waves. Demetri and I met him at the rocks. We pulled the kayak out of the water. Moses laid the ling cod on a boulder, changed out of the wetsuit before taking out a knife and gutting it. The flesh was a translucent blue.
After that, the guy who I thought was my second Ex's main boyfriend finally returned in his wetsuit, having not speared anything.
We cut open the watermelon. The deep yellow flesh was the sweetest I'd had all year. Gorging on the fruit, we waited for my second Ex to make another appearance after her walk with Archer. We made small talk. Technically Moses might have been breaking the law by boat fishing for ling cod, but they weren't sure. I said a kayak barely qualified as a boat, and wondered how the hell he'd dragged it down there.
"It dragged him down," said Demetri.
Finally Archer and my second Ex joined us. They also enjoyed the watermelon, and informed me that Demetri had been commissioned to write another article for Archer magazine. He'd been paid two hundred bucks for the first one, and they were offering three Bens this time.
"That's about ten times what I get paid at the AVA!"
"Maybe you should write for magazines," said Demetri.
Their conversation drifted into master trackers, the San or !Kung people of the Kalahari, at which point I had to interject, "You know Hemingway's dad was a hunting guide in Africa, part of where he got his best stories."
"Who's Hemingway?" asked Archer.
My second Ex's official boyfriend also hadn't heard of him, or so he claimed.
"Are you guys messing with me? Be honest. This can't be true!" They were as old as me, or nearly. I stood up. "Did you not go to high school? I mean, it's one thing if you never dug Hemingway, or never even read his stuff, but you've never HEARD of him?"
CALIF. SEEKS SOLUTIONS TO HOMELESS SEX OFFENDER RATE
The number of homeless offenders more than tripled after voters banned sex offenders from living near schools and parks a decade ago, and it was thought the number would fall with the Supreme Court's March 2015 decision.