- Skyhawk Down
- Parkland Forum
- Christine Lopiccolo
- Prosecutor Butzow
- Complex Anniversary
- Boonville Fourth
- Gerrymandering FB
- Pawnee Donations
- Big Band
- Family March
- Quiz Night
- Little Dog
- Ed Notes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Potato Country
- Orrin Luck
- Political Theater
- Wastewater Upgrade
- Our Towns
- Hardly Ableson
- New Controversies
- Humboldt Marten
- Author Reading
- Perfected Men
CHRIS SKYHAWK, Candidate for Mendocino County Fifth District Supervisor, has suffered a stroke, and has been med-evaced out of the County for treatment. We all hope he recovers and is able to return to the campaign trail.
MCRPD will be holding a Public Forum this Thursday, June 28 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Cotton Auditorium to present information about their proposed Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) park on their property up Hwy 20, just east of Summers Lane.
As we approach the Thursday Forum date I thought it would be helpful to see one of the messages that the California Recreation Alliance is putting out to its constituency:
Thursday is the Public Forum for the OHV Park. Please come and show your support at Cotton Auditorium at 6:30. It is up to all of us to make this OHV Park a reality. If you can't be there, send Dan Keyes (District Administrator of MCRPD) an email stating that you support the development of an OHV Park at the Regional Park Property.
If the idea of building a motocross racetrack on a piece of property that is covered in sensitive and endangered habitats seems like the wrong idea to you – and by covered we now know that means 89 percent of it –” then please come to the forum. In addition, Newman'™s Gulch, one of the main sources of municipal water for the City of Fort Bragg, bisects this property, which also includes the head waters of the extremely rare and endangered Sholars Bog. Also of note is the proximity of the Summers Lane reservoir. All of these water-related features will likely be adversely affected by the petroleum products used in OHV and the dust that will be stirred up by OHV activity.
Attached is a flyer prepared by Renee Pasquinelli of the California Native Plant Society, which summarized what is at stake. If you can not be there, please send Dan Keyes an email <firstname.lastname@example.org> explaining what a poor idea this is. If you can attend, then please do so and complete a comment card opposing the proposal.
Leslie Kashiwada, on behalf of Citizens for Appropriate Coastal Land Use
Pasquinelli Flyer: WHY OHV USE IS NOT APPROPRIATE
In Loving Memory
Christine Marie Lopiccolo
Born March 11, 1951
Laid to rest on May 4, 2018
The gathering will be at the Navarro General Store on Sunday, July 1, 2018 at 2 PM. Let's make it a potluck. Please contact Kim Kice at 707-671-5831 and leave a message as to what you would like to bring. Let's share some memories and may she rest in peace!
SUMMER INTERN GETS IT DONE
UKIAH, Tues., June 26. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations today in less than an hour with a guilty verdict against a drug offense defendant.
Michael Alan Barnes, age 47, of Redwood Valley, was found guilty of using and being under the influence of methamphetamines, a misdemeanor.
The "prosecutor" who presented the case to the jury on behalf of the People was Lillian Butzow, a law student who graduated from Ukiah High School. Ms. Butzow is working for the District Attorney this summer as an intern and certified law clerk.
The investigating law enforcement agency was the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. Toxicology work and testimony was provided by Redwood Toxicology Laboratory of Santa Rosa.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the two-day trial.
CELEBRATE THE FOURTH of July at the Boonville Fairgrounds from 12-4 on July 4th. Featuring relay games, bouncy house, delicious local food, a kids' parade, chicken clucking contest, cake auction, and the renowned Deep Enders vs. High Rollers tug-of-war. ALL ARE WELCOME! This is a fundraiser for the AVUSD Wellness Committee which promotes healthy food in our schools.
WHAT A GERRYMANDERED FORT BRAGG WOULD LOOK LIKE
On July 9, 2018, the City Council will decide whether to adopt a resolution outlining its intent to transition from an at-large to a district-based election system. That resolution is necessary in order for Fort Bragg to take advantage of the safe harbor provision of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA). Under Elections Code Section 10010 (safe harbor provision), if the City adopts the intent resolution within 45 days of receiving notice asserting that the City’s election process may violate the CVRA and within 90 after that implements district-based elections, the legal fees that a prospective plaintiff can recover are capped at $30,000.
Jacob Patterson, the attorney representing the Coast Committee for Responsive Representation, provided the City additional time to consider the matter by rescinding and simultaneously resubmitting his 45-day notice in late May, 2018. That 45-day reprieve is up July 9, 2018. Many individuals in the Community have voiced an opposition to district-based elections while others have expressed a desire to pursue alternative voting systems. The decision to not take cover under the safe harbor provision by implementing a district-based system is a risky one. No city has successfully defended a CVRA case although legal fees have deterred many cities from trying. The CVRA provides for the plaintiff’s right to recover attorney’s fees and costs. A few examples of cities’ CVRA legal costs:
- Palmdale: $4.5 million
- Modesto: $3 million
- Anaheim: $1.1 million
- Whittier: $1 million
- Santa Barbara: $800k
- Escondido: $385k
- West Covina: $220k
So what would Fort Bragg look like under a district-based election system? Districts are based on population not registered voters, so each district would contain around 1,455 residents. The number of registered voters in each district will depend on the demographics of that district. If the district has more families with children under 18 years old or noncitizens, the number of registered voters could be much smaller than a district comprised of adults or families without children under 18 years old. The physical size of a district will vary depending on zoning and land use within the district. For example, the Mill Site is approximately 450 acres or 25% of the City, but no one lives there today. Similarly, the Central Business District and Main Street have fewer residents than the neighborhoods to the east.
Determining how to draw the districts is part of the process of implementing a district-based election system. The safe harbor provision encourages public input by requiring two public hearings before a district map is drawn to seek public input and two public hearings after the map has been drawn and published. The map can be drawn using any number of considerations, including: 1) topography - rivers and other natural barriers or landmarks, 2) geography - such as major streets and blocks, 3) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity and compactness of territory, and 4) communities of interest – such as established neighborhoods, commercial/business districts, school enrollment, voting precincts or other divisions.
One concern regarding district representation is that it could focus attention away from citywide issues such as commercial development or redevelopment in a specific district. One way around this is to split a City into districts so that each district has a portion of an important project in its boundaries, thus, every district and elected official is invested in the project. In Fort Bragg, that might mean splitting the city into five districts with boundaries running west to east. That way each district includes a portion of the Mill Site.
(Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller)
NCO IS ACCEPTING DONATIONS to support Pawnee Fire Survivors
North Coast Opportunities has reopened its Wildfire Relief Fund to support those impacted by the Pawnee Fire
North Coast Opportunities, Inc, (NCO) announced on Monday, June 25 that they’ve reopened their wildfire relief fund to support those impacted by the Pawnee Fire. Donations are now being accepted via PayPal at www.ncoinc.org or at 413 N. State Street, Ukiah CA 95482.
In 2015, NCO worked with other area organizations in response to the Rocky, Jerusalem, and Valley Fires. In 2016, NCO reopened the fund in response to the Clayton Fire and again in 2017 in response to the Mendo Lake Complex Fire. With the Pawnee Fire still burning, NCO has once again reopened the Wildfire Relief Fund with hopes to help with recovery needs.”
“At this point the Wildfire Relief Fund is dependent on community donations,” says NCO Executive Director Patty Bruder. Relief will be disbursed by committee determination and/or through NCO’s Disaster Case Managers. “We hope we can raise enough money to begin accepting applications from fire survivors over the coming weeks. Once we’ve determined how much we’ve fundraised, we can begin defining the scope of disbursement, from eligibility, to recovery needs.”
Those interested in donating should contact NCO at 707-467-3200. For more information or to donate please visit www.ncoinc.org.
BOONVILLE BIG BAND at Mendocino Art Center, July 5, 1-4 PM
The Mendocino Coast Jazz Society and the Mendocino Art Center present the annual Jazz on the Lawn, with The Swingin’ Boonville Big Band, featuring vocalist Sharon Garner, Thursday, July 5, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., on the Mendocino Art Center grounds. Celebrate the 4th of July week while enjoying music by this 20-piece jazz big band, including some of the county’s finest musicians, led by Bob Ayres. The music will include “Avalon,” “Shiny Stockings,” “When I Fall in Love,” “Poor Butterfly,” “Manhattan” “Lady Bird,” “Papa Loves Mambo,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “Angel Eyes,” and other inspiring classic tunes of the swing and modern jazz era. Bring a picnic and a blanket or lawn chair for seating.
The band has entertained audiences all over Mendocino County, and as far south as Santa Cruz and as far east as Reno. Formed in 1976 at the College of the Redwoods, first as The COR Big Band and then the Bob Ayres Big Band, the group functioned under the aegis of the College of the Redwoods for about 25 years before being sponsored by the Parks and Recreation department for several years. The band moved to Boonville in 2000 and became The Swingin’ Boonville Big Band.
Admission is free. For more information visit MendocinoArtCenter.org, or call 707-937-5818. The Mendocino Art Center is located at 45200 Little Lake Street at Kasten Street, Mendocino.
ONE IN FORT BRAGG, TOO
WHEN: Saturday, June 30, 2018.
10a: For those marching, we will gather at Pear Tree Center at 504 E. Perkins St
11a: For those joining us for the Rally, meet in front of the Mendocino County Court House at 100 N State Street. Ukiah
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the Mendocino Environmental Center at 707-234-3236 or find us on Facebook at the Mendocino Environmental Center page.
One goal of the march and rally is to be visible and make a lot of noise, both to let our opposition be known, but also to let members of our community who may be experiencing anxiety and terror as a result of the horrific news coming from the border that WE STAND WITH THEM. Your colorful signs, posters, banners, and flags will make a great procession down Perkins Street. We particularly need DRUMMERS, singers, and musical instruments, so bring em along with songs and chants if you’ve got em, and be part of a marching band for justice.
- Reunite families now. Permanently end family separation and immediately reunify those that have been separated.
- End family detention. Children and families deserve due process, not indefinite imprisonment. Children do not belong in baby cages and internment-like camps. Family incarceration is not the solution to family separation.
- End ‘Zero Tolerance.’ Reverse the Trump administration’s policy that created this crisis and chaos to begin with. Parents should not be criminally prosecuted for doing what all parents do, which is bring their children to safety. This horrible nightmare for families will only end when Trump permanently stops his 100% prosecution policy.
QUIZ TIME! Yes - Today, Thursday, June 28th being the 4th Thursday of the month means that there will be a General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz beginning at 7pm at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. Keep calm and exercise your grey matter with guest Quizmaster Mark Scaramella. Cheers, Steve Sparks/The Quizmaster.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Look at 'em, laying around all day like the king and queen of Cat World, and me out here in the heat on duty round the clock!”
THE SUPERVISORS have issued a proclamation heralding the 100th anniversary of the Farm Bureau in Mendocino County. Since the average audience at Supe's meetings, live and on-line, averages at best 25 Mendo people, proclamations outta the County's leadership are much like the Zen koan: If a tree falls in a forest, who hears it and who the hell cares? Audience size notwithstanding, I'd amend the proclamation to read, "The Mendocino County Farm Bureau: Wrong on Every Public Issue Since 1916." Of course, if you can think of an issue our noble sons and daughters of the soil have been right about, please write in to set us straight.
* * *
OUT EARLY this morning for my daily shot of aerobics, I couldn't help but see a gaggle of little kids headed for the Boonville Elementary School. What the heck? Turns out the young un's can get a free breakfast at the school for a pretty good hunk of the summer. Also encountered what I assumed was a dope deal of the early morning type — a cluster of vehicles converging, then speeding away — and recalled a Health Department report I'd read that listed the Anderson Valley as an opioid problem area.
* * *
"MAYBERRY LSD." A visitor from Point Arena said this is his title for the Point Arena City Council. I said, "Bingo!"
* * *
CHANNEL 7 TV NEWS at 4pm Wednesday, began with a woman in an evacuation center who'd lost her home in Lake County's Pawnee Fire. She said she'd wanted to buy fire insurance but nobody would sell it to her. All she had left in the world, she said, were her cats.
* * *
AS OF MONDAY, which is July the second, CalFire will issue no burn permits, public announcement 3 zillion certain to be ignored by more than one someone.
* * *
READING the excellent new biography of Ulysses S. Grant by Ron Chernow, the similarities in ominously volatile public opinion are striking between violent public opinion during the run-up to the Civil War and Trump/anti-Trump feeling today.
Chernow, incidentally, also wrote the Hamilton bio that was turned into the hit musical. Somehow I don't see Grant, a much more interesting man, being turned into song and dance routines, but then it took real genius to convert Hamilton into a trendo-groove-o must see, and whatever else you might say about our fine, fat population we produce geniuses galore.
* * *
A DISSIDENT DEMOCRAT named AlexandriaOcasio-Cortez has knocked off Joe Crowley in a New York primary.
Crowley was so entrenched in office since 2004 he was in line to succeed Nancy Pelosi as leader of the collabo wing of the party. Supported by Big Democrat, Crowley out-spent the Bernie supporter Ocasio-Cortez 18-1, inspiring Orange Man to this tweet: "Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi's place, just LOST his primary election. In other words, he's out! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!" Ocasio-Cortez's platform was identical to Bern's, right down to MediCare for all and practical assistance for struggling families.
Business Insider: “On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t even have a Wikipedia page; on Tuesday, she shook up the Democratic Party.”
According to gq.com: “She favors Medicare for all, and sentencing reform, and the abolition of ICE. She believes housing is a human right and endorses a federal jobs guarantee. She wants Congress to cancel all outstanding higher-education loan balances in order to, as she puts it on her campaign website, ‘liberate generations of Americans trapped in student loan debt’ who are currently barred from meaningful participation in the American economy.”
“… She explains the means with which she would protect that human right to housing: by maximizing the tax benefits available to less-wealthy homeowners, and expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and providing permanent funding for the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. She isn't just talking about student debt because it sounds cool, or because doing so is likely to get young people to show up and chant slogans long into the night. She does it because studies show that debt cancellation could boost this country's real gross domestic product by somewhere between $860 billion and one trillion dollars over the next decade. In every case, she is making the argument and backing it up.”
Ocasio-Cortez: "I think a lot of working-class Americans and voters here have been waiting for an unapologetic champion for economic, social and racial dignity in the United States. And we provided a very direct message, a very clear message."
HERE on the "progressive" Northcoast, a clear majority of Democrats also supported Bernie, and clearly yearned for the party to be at least as relevant as the New Deal Democrats of the 1930s. Instead, earlier this month, NC Demos re-annointed the more of the same Democratic officeholders foisted off on us by Big Demo — that trio of uninspiring hacks funded by the party and, locally, the wine industry. Unfortunately for us, we don't have dissident Democrats active in the party who could take on Huffman, McGuire and Wood. Up and down the Northcoast, current Demo officeholders are a dreary collection of Huff-clones, so timid they won't even come out for Single Payer.
THIS MORNING ON NPR, O-C was asked this typically craven question from the NPR hack:
Steve Inskeep: “Is there any danger to Democrats in seeming too extreme in their opposition to President Trump - calling for impeachment, for example, or shunning his aides in public, as people have done recently?”
Ocasio-Cortez replied: “No. I don't think so. I mean, you look at the extremity of this current administration, and trying to instill fear or spook the Democrats that are trying to hold the unconscionable actions of this administration accountable — it is not extreme. It is clarity.”
* * *
FOREVER YOUNG! Emerald Earth, a Boonville ag collective, invited the rsvp public to make their ways up Peachland Road for a Wednesday night game of Capture the Flag. In my youth we played a similar game called Kick the Can, and lots of us got kicked in the can, as I recall.
* * *
I WAS HAPPY to encounter this reference to my late friend, Joe Neilands, in Seymour Hersh's just published memoir, "Reporter." Joe spent many happy days at the home he and his wife Juanita built in the hills east of Philo. He retired from UC Berkeley where he was a professor of bio-chemistry and, as it happened, a faculty advisor to Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize laureate and also a part-time resident of the Anderson Valley. Then-Governor Reagan tried mightily to get Joe off the UC Faculty where, prior to Vietnam, Joe had refused to sign the state-mandated loyalty oath required of all state employees. Joe won that one. Joe, always a fighter for the just cause, agitated throughout his life for PG&E to become a truly public utility. His life could serve as a textbook for effective "activism" of the most principled type:
Hersh: After a speech in Berkeley in early 1969, I was approached by Joe Neilands, a professor of biochemistry at the University of California, who had traveled to North Vietnam in 1967 and participated in the questioning of three American GIs at the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal that took place that year in Stockholm and near Copenhagen. Neilands, who passed away in 2008, gave me a published copy of the tribunal’s proceedings, which included devastating testimony from the three American GIs. One of them, David Kenneth Tuck from Cleveland, Ohio, who served as a specialist fourth class with the Twenty-Fifth Infantry Division, told of freewheeling raids on villages in suspected Vietcong (Vietnamese communist, or VC) territory in which there routinely were what he called “mad minutes” during which all Americans involved—including machine gunners on tanks—opened fire and poured “everything that they had into this village, because . . . we had assumed that until proven otherwise every Vietnamese was a VC.” Tuck’s public testimony was summarized by the AP and relayed around the world, but only a few American newspapers published the dispatch, and I found no evidence of any effort by the American media to follow up on Tuck’s assertions. More typical of the response was a venomous attack on the tribunal by C. L. Sulzberger, the Times foreign affairs columnist, that personally vilified Russell, a Nobel Prize–winning philosopher and mathematician, who was then ninety-four years old. Russell, wrote Sulzberger, had “outlived his own conscious idea and become clay in unscrupulous hands.” The tragedy of the tribunal, Sulzberger added, “cannot fairly be laid at the door of the wasted peer whose bodily endurance outpaced his brain.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 27, 2018
DAVID DUES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KELSEY FERGUSON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
FREDERICK FITCH, Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
RANDALL GENSAW, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Vandalism, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
JOSHUA NELSON-DEAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence, parole violation, probation revocation.
SIERRA SIMARRO, Willits. Probation revocation.
MIGUEL SIMON-CRUZ, Ukiah. DUI.
EDWARD STEELE Jr., Ukiah. Burglary, conspiracy, criminal attempts, mandatory supervision sentencing. (Frequent Flyer)
ERROLL STEPHENS, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.
STEVE TEMPLE SR., Ukiah. Fighting/challenging to fight, controlled substance, failure to appear.
CHRISTOPHER THOMAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
WILLIAM VAUGHAN III, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol/drugs, petty theft with prior, vandalism, under influence, suspended license (for reckless driving).
JAIME ZAZUETA, Ukiah. Pot possession for sale.
KNOWN FOR POTATOES
by Bruce Patterson
Trisha and I hadn’t been to Boise since 1991. Back then our backseat boys were nine and thirteen, and we were on our way from Idaho’s Seven Devils Mts. up on the ridge beam of Hells Canyon to Nevada’s Ruby Mts. outside Elko. We passed through Boise and I wasn’t much impressed. City Civic Centers full of monumental architecture immortalizing dead bankers, railroad tycoons, cattle barons, mineral kings, lawmen, town fathers and Indian fighters hold little allure for this here country boy. So we didn’t stop in Boise but continued on to our junction at the little farm town on the prairie calling itself Mountain Home.
It’d be the 3rd and final time we’d be getting up into the Rubies (in the 1840s, the range was named for its plentiful garnets: semi-precious stones mistaken for rubies by the dehydrated members of a disoriented wagon train—some say it was the infamous Donner Party). Sporting quaking aspen, limber and whitebark pine, bristlecone and mountain mahogany: pikas, beavers, big horn sheep, cougars, elk, hanging valleys, avalanche chutes, snowfields, cirques, tarns, granite domes and blue-line creeks running cold enough to freeze a buck’s buckteeth, the Rubies are one of the West’s premier Sky Islands. This time we’ll be hiking from the Lamoille Canyon Road’s end at 8,800ft. up to Liberty Pass (10,400ft.). After a shade tree picnic, Abe and I will scramble up the rocks to the range’s razorback.
In ’91, Boise was home to some 126,000 people (the same population as Pasadena, California). A pretty impressive headcount seeing how Boise is located in the hindermost region of the West’s hinterlands. Still the city’s population has more than doubled these last 17 years and now proud Boiseans and Girlseans brag about themselves living in the largest city within a 350 mile radius. (Drive I-95 from Boston to Philadelphia and you’ll cover the same distance but experience roughly 1,000 times the traffic).
This time Trish and I will be using Boise as our basecamp. Our main objective is about 125 Interstate miles eastward on the Snake: Shoshone Falls. Or “Twin Falls” when the original land boosters declared the thundering cataract to be “the Niagara Falls of the West.” A boast you’ll still see printed on postcards.
With headwaters at 8,200ft. up on the Continental Divide in Yellowstone, the Snake flows for 1,076 miles to its confluence with the Columbia at Pasco, Washington. After literally tumbling out the western front of the Rockies, the river enters the Snake River Plain with its watercourse running like a thin-lipped smile across southern Idaho’s “flatlands”—about the only ones you’ll find in the state. Thanks to deep time, plate tectonics, volcanism and the Lake Bonneville Flood, the Snake has carved deep into the terrain and is nearly always invisible until you get right up on it.
Beginning in 1843, wagon trains coming up from newly-opened South Pass joined the Snake very near to what’s now called Miracle Valley located at the head of the Snake River Canyon. Up to 800-foot deep, the canyon’s cliffs are, at max, a ½-mile apart. So it’s not really a canyon but a gorge like the Columbia River Gorge or Royal Gorge up along the Arkansas River coming off the east side of the Great Divide. It’s also a gorge that caused the pilgrims on the Immigrant Trail a good deal of grief and vexation. Looking down on all that blue-green Rocky Mountain meltwater, and having none but the slimmest chance of ever getting their thirst-crazed livestock down to it or, even if they could, getting them back up out of there, they were forced to proceed atop the dry, sunburnt bluffs above the river’s south bank.
It’d be about 65 trail miles before they’d reach the river at 3-Island Crossing. And making a successful crossing (they used the islands as stepping stones) wasn’t a sure thing, either. Arrive too early in the year and high water could wash you away. Arrive so late that crossing is a breeze and you risk getting snowbound in the Blue Mt’s waiting up ahead.
After crossing the river, the wagon trains made for the south-facing foot of the Sawtooth Mts. The Sawtooth’s running creeks and sedimentary soils made for easy going all the way to the bountiful Boise River. After some rest, relaxation and replenishment at what passed for a desert oasis, they followed the Boise downstream to their second and final crossing of the Snake. “Farewell Bend,” the place got named. Absolutely there’d be no turning back now.
* * *
From Prineville it’s 270 miles due east to the Interstate bridge over the Snake, and we’ll be passing through open range country, the last half a stretch we’ve never laid eyes on before. Starting east of Burns on US Hwy. 20, we’ll be climbing up the Stinkwater Mountains then easing down into the watershed of the infamous Malheur (“bad luck”) River (google “Meek’s lost wagon train of 1845”).
Given its proximity to the Immigrant Trail and its hidden springs, mountain meadows, gullies, box canyons and blind draws, the Malheur watershed began as outlaw country. For a short stretch along the Oregon/Idaho border, the Snake exits its trench and, joined by the Owyhee and the Boise, widens and then moseys through flatlands and gently rolling country before dropping into the impassable defile of mile-deep Hells Canyon.
Emerging from the last of the Malheur’s foothills, we enter flat-bottomed Wonder Valley with its lush field and row crops, bustling farms, grist mills, feed lots, railyards, cities and towns. Up ahead we catch sight of the towering electronic billboards bracketing the Interstate traffic with promises of Food, Gas and Lodging, each totemic monstrosity costing more money than about any of the cattle spreads we’ve been passing through all day is worth.
The bridge over to Idaho has concrete blast walls and, merging onto the I-84, I see that everybody’s speeding like bats out of hell. As I’m accelerating into the flow, I spot a road sign: “Speed Limit: 80mph. Trucks: 70mph.” So I look around and, damn, there’s only two lanes and the lane for passing is full of passers stuck all nose-to-ass exactly like they were back when gas was 50 cents a gallon and the speed limit was an intolerable 55mph.
I glance down at my speedometer and damned if we ain’t doing 80mph (I’m lagging behind big, big rig). After deciding to cruise at 70mph, glance at the receding rear plate of the wide-tracked, tiger-clawed armored tactical luxury recreational vehicle passing us with the wife and kids texting, and I see printed: “known for potatoes.”
“Known for potatoes,” I inform Trisha.
“What?” I tell her to check out the license plates, she does and chuckles.
We’re now in Surprise Valley, I guess, or maybe Three River Valley, which is a part of big old Treasure Valley and, yes, upstream lining the Snake like it’s a neckless in a jewelry box, stretches Idaho’s legendary Wine Country. Boise is just 40 miles ahead, the Interstate has a spur ending downtown, we join it to eyeball the place and damned if we don’t get stuck in stop-and-go traffic. Not for long, verily, and nothing compared to what a person can get mired in inside the LA, Bay Area or any other giant auto-megalopolis—the Boise metro area has 700,000 people—but stop-and-go nevertheless.
While the American West is where waterways shrink or disappear on their way to their destinations (more than half the annual flow of the upper Snake goes to irrigation), still the 30-mile-long Boise River Greenbelt is a sight for sore eyes. Begun more than a half century ago, it shows what a civic-minded people can do to make a radically abused and degraded watercourse again safe for fishing and swimming and, if need be, drinking. The way in Oregon nobody can claim legal title to an ocean beach, along Boise’s publicly-owned greenbelt you can hike or bike your way up and down the restored riparian forests and beatified riverbanks, or hum with the birds and butterflies while floating down the river.
* * *
Shoshone Falls is the sort of place where you park your car, walk around some, come back and it’s three hours later. 212 feet tall and 925 feet wide, the horseshoe-shaped falls are hemmed in by cliffs twice their height. Upstream a bit is a second, shorter waterfall, and above it stretches the level chalk line made by the concrete coffer dam feeding water into the turbines inside the white stone powerhouse that’s been blasted into a niche at the bottom of the gorge, the waterfall’s roiling plunge water lapping at its feet.
Waterfalls start blooming in the spring, and Shoshone was spilling water at a rate of 10,200 cubic feet per second, or roughly half of its peak flow during wet years. After the installation of the upstream dams at the turn of the 20th Century, the highest volume of water plunging over the falls was recorded in 1914 at 32,000cfs. And that represents far less than half the flow of the old wild river, and that one century isn’t necessarily representative of the 170 centuries the falls have been in existence (they were created during the Great Lake Bonneville Flood. Lasting for weeks, it moved an estimated 33,000,000cfs at 70mph).
The best view of the falls is from a platform anchored atop a 300-foot-tall rock pillar rising from the river. Given the height and girth of the amphitheater (the river disappears around bends above and below the cataracts), the water’s thundering is softened and made regular like a steady wind rushing through pines or shore breaks splashing on a flat sandy beach. Standing atop the platform, the billowing gusts of air displaced by the plunging water bothers our hair, mists our faces and, straight down below, we see a half-moon rainbow floating flat on its back above the calming waters, its bands of color twinkling.
Returning to Boise, we leave the Interstate at Glenns Ferry (it replaced—or, given its cost, complimented—the 3-Island Crossing) and take the old federal two-lane that follows the now lazy river through the handsome Valley of the Snake. Leaving behind the Race of the Gas Hogs (wind resistance increases geometrically) we see the Bruneau (“Bruno”) Dunes: two lofty sand mountains with their little pointy-headed children becalmed in a gouge in the terrain by countervailing winds. We also wanted to check out the half-dead riverside farm towns that had been bypassed by the Interstate. I personally also wanted to see whether the town of Bruneau is now a ghost town and, unfortunately, it is. Aside from truckers, who goes to Elko? Who comes from Elko?
MAYHEW HAD A FRIEND named Orrin from somewhere in Tennessee, from the mountains there where his family owned three small trucks and did a short haul business. On the morning that Mayhew and Day Tripper had gone over to 1/26 to find Evans, Orrin received a letter from his wife. It told him straight off that her pregnancy was not seven months along, as he had believed, but only five. It made all the difference in the world to Orrin. She had felt so awful all the time (she wrote) that she went to see the minister and the minister had finally convinced her that the truth was God's one sure key to a beautiful conscience. She would not tell him who the father was (and Honey, don't you never, never try and make me tell), except to mention that it was someone Orrin knew well.
When we got back to the company, Orrin was sitting on top of the sandbags above the trench, alone and exposed, looking out towards the hills and Luke the Gook. He had a beefy, sulky kid’s face, a perpetual mean squint and a pouting mouth that would break into a dull smile and then a dry, soundless laugh. It was the face of someone who would hunt the winter out and then let the meat go to rot, a mean southland aberration of a face. He just sat there, working the bolt of a freshly cleaned .45. No one in the trench would go near him or say anything to him except to yell out, "Come on down, Orrin. You'll get greased for sure, motherfucker." Finally, the gunnery sergeant came along and said, "if you don't get your ass down off that berm I'll shoot you myself."
"Listen," Mayhew said. "Maybe you better go and see the chaplain."
"Real good," Orrin said. "What's that cocksucker gone do for me?"
"Maybe you could get an emergency leave."
"No," someone said. "There's got to be a death in the family before you get out like that."
"Oh, don't worry," Orrin said. "There's going to be a death in my family. Just as soon I get home." And then he laughed.
It was a terrible laugh, very quiet and intense, and it was the thing that made everyone who heard it believe Orrin. After that, he was the crazy fucking grunt who was going to get through the war so he could go home and kill his old lady. It made him someone special in the company. Made a lot of guys think that he was lucky now, that nothing could happen to him, and they stayed as close to him as they could. I even felt some of it, enough to be glad that we would be in the same bunker that night. It made sense. I believed that too, and I would have been really surprised if I had heard later that anything had happened to him. But that was the kind of thing you seldom heard after you left an outfit, the kind of thing you avoided hearing if you could. Maybe he was killed or maybe he changed his mind, but I doubt it. When I remembered Orrin, all I could think of was that there was going to be a shooting in Tennessee.
(Michael Herr, "Dispatches")
WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT UPGRADE PROJECT BEGINS
Construction began on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Project following the Ceremonial Groundbreaking on Monday. The Contractor will begin with clearing and demolition in the northwest corner of the Treatment Plant. Expect some increased noise along the Coastal Trail from heavy equipment and jackhammers operating inside the fence. Please be on the lookout for increased vehicle and construction equipment traffic crossing the Coastal Trail at the Treatment Plant entrance. Thank you for your patience during construction.
(Fort Bragg Press Release)
WHAT MAKES AMERICAN TOWNS THRIVE
by Nick Licata
The title of James and Deborah Fallows’ new book, “Our Towns: A 100,000-mile Journey into the Heart of America,” recalls Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town.” But where Wilder displays a feeling of despair lingering in America’s small towns, the Fallowses find a spirit of satisfaction, if not outright pride by their residents.
The Fallowses do not pretend to update Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.” There is no search for how a community’s ethos sustains our democracy, rather they talk about the rebirth of towns in the face of declining jobs, vanishing businesses and shrinking populations.
Over the span of five years, they fly their single-engine prop airplane to dozens of cities. Although the towns range in size from East Port, Maine, with a population of 1,400, to Columbus, Ohio, the 15th largest American city, they mainly visit smaller and middle-size cities that are not satellites of larger metropolitan areas. Soon after their arrival, they would ask, “Who makes this town go?” As one might expect, often they end up talking to the civic leaders, most of whom are businessmen, wealthy benefactors and politicians. On occasion they speak to a worker, although never a union leader. In fact, the few times that unions are mentioned they are seen as obstructing efforts to improve their town.
In summarizing their observations at the end of the book, the Fallowses list a number of signs for civic success. Some are obvious, such as being next to a research facility, which attracts high-income-earning workers and a steady flow of government funding. The other standout indication is developing an attractive downtown that sustains small businesses and draws in regional shoppers.
One controversial sign they found was a reliance on public-private partnerships to attract new businesses, rebuild old downtowns and educate students who might otherwise be ignored. James Fallows admits that he was unfamiliar with the concept, thinking it was a euphemism for sweetheart deals between big government and big business.
He is mute on that relationship in the examples he cites, the one exception being the experience of Allentown, Pennsylvania, which didn’t end well for the half-dozen public officials who pleaded guilty, or their mayor who was indicted, for taking payoffs in exchange for construction contracts.
Apparently the voters didn’t mind some corruption if they experienced economic growth. More than $1 billion had been committed to their downtown over five years, after adopting a unique new tax scheme designating a multiblock downtown area, in which all state and city taxes generated by the new private development would go to retire bonds to cover construction costs. After being indicted, the mayor was re-elected to a fourth term. No word from Fallows if he was found guilty.
An unexpected sign, one with a liberal approach, is having an open and welcoming culture to all ethnic groups, particularly for immigrants and refugees. Cities as diverse as Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Burlington, Vermont, have been resettlement cities for refugees for decades. The civic leaders in those two cities believed they benefited by the refugees. The Fallows found other cities shared that belief with regards to their dramatic increase in ethnic minorities, even at times outnumbering the host white population. A business manager in Dodge City, Kansas, whose school-age population is more than 70 percent nonwhite, said, “people here … recognize that we’re in this together. The immigrants are the engine that keeps this community alive.”
Overall, the Fallowses discovered that while national politics are divisive, successful communities ignore those divisions and focus on getting things done. They point to Michael Coleman in Columbus, Ohio, and Ashley Swerengin in Fresno, California, where a Democrat and Republican were elected and stayed in office, despite their respective communities being strongholds of the opposite party. They remained popular because they avoided rhetoric and focused on concrete solutions. Not a bad message to hear these days.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Hardley-Ableson is a sterling representation of everything wrong with American industry. They make more money from their faux-‘outlaw biker’ jackets and headbands and other fashion accessories than from their 1920s-designed motorcycles.
Still have some mystical appeal for moneyed third-world dopes – this in part explains potential relocation to unlikely places like India and Brazil (noting that the Yamaha YZF-R6 also emerges from an Indian assembly line).
When a Harley owner scorns a ‘rice-grinder’ and bullies its rider about not ‘buying American’, just remind him how much of his shaky Vee-twin originates offshore: carb and front suspension from Japan, wheels are Australian, instrumentation imported as well. Best guess is that only around 60% of the motorcycle is ‘American-made’.
(Been riding since 1963 – always avoided these overweight, slow, unstable implements.)
“Come on, people! I need ten new fake controversies by lunch!”
BUT AS THE LAST WHELMINGS intermixingly poured themselves over the sunken head of the Indian at the mainmast, leaving a few inches of the erect spar yet visible, together with long streaming yards of the flag, which calmly undulated, with ironical coincidings, over the destroying billows they almost touched; – at that instant, a red arm and a hammer hovered backwardly uplifted in the open air, in the act of nailing the flag faster and yet faster to the subsiding spar. A sky-hawk that tauntingly had followed the main-truck downwards from its natural home among the stars, pecking at the flag, and incommoding Tashtego there; this bird now chanced to intercept its broad fluttering wing between the hammer and the wood; and simultaneously feeling that etherial thrill, the submerged savage beneath, in his death-gasp, kept his hammer frozen there; and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial beak thrust upwards, and his whole captive form folded in the flag of Ahab, went down with his ship, which, like Satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven along with her, and helmeted herself with it. Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.
Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”
CANNABIS GROWTH is killing one of the cutest (and fiercest) creatures in the US
LOBA Reading Series featuring Marci Vogel!
(Open Mic follows)
Saturday, June 30th, 3 pm
Join us for a reading with Marci Vogel, visiting post-doc scholar/instructor from the University of Southern California & author of At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody, winner of the inaugural Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize. Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems or fiction in any form or style.
Marci Vogel is the author of At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody, winner of the inaugural Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize, and Death and Other Holidays, winner of the inaugural Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize for the Novella. Her poetry, prose, translations, and cross-genre inventions appear in Jacket2, VIDA, Seneca Review and FIELD, among a good number of other publications. A life-long Californian and first-generation college student, she earned her PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Southern California, where she currently teaches poetry as a Postdoctoral Scholar Teaching Fellow. Her work has been honored with a Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, a Hillary Gravendyk Memorial Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and a fellowship from the Fondation Ténot. You can find her this summer at the Napa Valley Writers' Conference and as a poet-in-residence at North Street Collective, where she is working on a new manuscript, arboreal vernacular a translation of trees.
Light refreshments will be served. For more information please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or email@example.com
A feminist epic by Diane di Prima, LOBA is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the feminine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howlwhen the first half appeared in 1978. Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.
ATTN CRAIG STEHR
It is part of our known belief that five Bodhisattvas ("perfected men") control the destiny of this world. They meet together once a year in a cave in the Himalayas to make their decisions. One of them lives permanently in the higher Himalayas. One of them lives in the Scottish Cairngorms.
—Sir Hugh Rankin, 1900-1988
(From Jeff Costello)