- Fire Front
- 103 Degrees
- Boonville March
- Ryan Sentenced
- Little Dog
- Gualala Mayhem
- Services Funding
- Little Hooters
- Patriotic Photos
- Technical Legalities
- Yesterday's Catch
- Old Women
- Fahrenheit 11/9
- Silver Certificate
- Wiser Education
- Senator Inc.
- Vintage Selfie
- Miles City
- Teen Leaders
- Marco Radio
- People Protesting
DIRECT FROM THE FIRE FRONT
Moose Lodge was hopping on Tuesday afternoon's visit; empty today except for early attendees of a "life celebration" event in the main hall. Looked like it had never been occupied by the evacuees, elbow to belly button on cots and surrounding tables serving a variety of needs (information, assistance, food, water, friendship), solemn rows of folding chairs and the obligatory podium where peaceful pandimonium had harbored young and old but two days ago.
In Spring Valley, at the Community Center, multiple agencies sponsored tables and friendly helpers from the County Department of Social Services, American Red Cross, North Coast Opportunities, CA Department of Motor Vehicles, Contractors Licensing Bureau, Office of Emergency Services, PG&E, sorry if I forgot anyone . . . while outside the Salvation Army team from Del Oro were serving a lovely breakfast (in the gusting dusty windspurts) and community volunteers were off-loading a truck full of watermelons and bags of ice for the coming afternoon.
Out toward the end of Spring Valley Road (barely two cars wide, crumbling edges, shoulders as imagined) dozens of tree tenders were removing threats to power lines, AT&T was staging slowly to bring back communications, and the evidence of the miraculous effort applied to protecting the modest homes in the canyon was exemplified by a trio of withered plastic refuse cans in front of an intact home, where the maws of the fire swept across the creek and uphill again on the other side.
Then, at about 5:00 pm, word came of a new "flare up" threatening the Double Eagle Ranch, an enclave of self-sustainable strongholds (off the grid, to say the least) requiring their second mandatory evacuation in less than a week. And the announcement of yet another incident (that went from zero to 800 acres in less than an hour, thus far at 8,000 as of the CalFire bulleting just received [8 pm]) in Guinda, for which all residents out along Morgan Valley Road were ordered to evacuate, but no directions provided as to how. No doubt we will receive further clarification of that in due time. The evactuation site is the Guinda Grange Hall.
No telling what the night will bring, but will share whatever we have tomorrow between 2 and 4 pm on KPFZ (88.1 fm).
–Betsy Cawn, Upper Lake
IT GOT UP TO 103 DEGREES in Boonville a little before 4pm on Saturday. But relief is in store in the next few days as temps return to something like normal in the next few days.
THE BOONVILLE CONTINGENT of the Nationwide March For Families marched from the Fairgrounds to the AVA offices Saturday morning. Several dozen AV residents with signs and accompanying enthusiasm joined the nationwide demonstrations protesting the inhuman treatment of immigrant families.
AFTER THE MARCH, as the marchers returned to the Fairgrounds parking lot on the south end of town, a female Fairgrounds maintenance staffer told the group that they needed a permit to conduct their protest at the Fairgrounds. “No we don’t,” a marcher replied, “this is government, public property, this is California State property.” “No, it’s fairgrounds property,” insisted the ill-informed Fairgrounds staffer, adding that if the group didn’t leave she’d call the Sheriff. Of course, the march was over and people were already leaving so the marchers basically ignored the staffer and after some milling around they departed the Fairgrounds parking lot one by one — without a permit.
STEVEN RYAN SENTENCED TO 21 YEARS
Steven Patrick Ryan, age 63, formerly of Ukiah, was sentenced this afternoon to 21 years in state prison.
Because his conviction is characterized as violent in the Penal Code, any additional sentence credits defendant Ryan may attempt to earn in state prison are limited to no more than 15 percent of the total sentence handed down. In light of Friday's proceedings, it is now believed that the defendant will become eligible for parole when he is 81 or 82 years of age.
The defendant was convicted by a jury last month of voluntary manslaughter. The jury also found true that the defendant intentionally and personally used a firearm to cause that death.
In brief, defendant Ryan shot the unarmed De'Shaun Christopher Davis to death just before Thanksgiving 2016. Claiming that he was in fear, the defendant admitted continuing to shoot at De'Shaun even after De'Shaun was down. An eyewitness testified at trial that the victim was on his knees with his hands up telling the defendant he was surrendering when the defendant, firing three times, shot the victim to death.
At Friday's sentencing hearing, the defense argued for a grant of probation and credit for time already served. If probation were to be denied, the defense argued a sentence no greater than six years was the appropriate sentence.
De'Shaun Davis's mother, supported in the courtroom by both her mother and brother, traveled from the East Coast to address the Court. Without the use of notes, Mrs. Kinsey articulately spoke from her heart in providing a moving impact statement.
The prosecutor, DA David Eyster, then argued that this was an aggravated manslaughter and an aggravated use of a firearm, both of which justified a 21-year sentence, the maximum sentence allowed by law given the verdicts.
The defendant intends to appeal his conviction and Friday's sentence.
(Mendocino County District Attorney Press Release)
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Background: "It Could Never Happen Here"
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “To hell with it. In this heat I'm just gonna knock back some Bud Lite and take it easy.”
BRELO VS. THE BAPTISTS
On 06-29-2018 at approximately 9:44 a.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a call for service for a suspicious male in the Gualala area. The male would later be identified as suspect Richard Brelo, 60 of no fixed address but last reported residence of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Responding deputies received information that Brelo entered the Coldwell Banker Realty Office then handed an employee a note before telling them a person would die if they returned to the Gualala Baptist Church. Brelo then departed the realty office and was observed standing along the edge of the roadway brandishing a knife and baton at passing motorists. An off duty Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was in the area and monitored Brelo until responding deputies arrived on scene. During that time, Brelo threw rocks at the off-duty deputy's personal vehicle, causing over $400 in damage to the vehicle. Upon the arrival of the responding deputies, Brelo was contacted and arrested. Following Brelo's arrest, he proceeded to make threats to kill the deputies, he attempted to strike a deputy, and also spit on the off-duty deputy. Further investigation revealed Brelo may have damaged the Gualala Baptist Church during the night and earlier in the day. Deputies developed information indicating that Brelo was responsible for vandalizing the exterior church doors and a window causing in excess of $1800 in damage. Brelo was subsequently transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on charges of Vandalism as Hate Crime, Vandalism to Church as Hate Crime, Vandalism Exceeding $400 in Damage, Resisting Peace Officer with Threats or Violence, Possession of a Baton, and Battery with bail set at $20,000.
AS SEEN IN FORT BRAGG
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Check out this handsome, feline fella. Lorenzo is a mature, 5 year old, neutered male, short hair tabby. This big boy weighs in at 11 pounds, so apparently he does not like to miss meals. We think Lorenzo will be a wonderful companion cat to his new guardian, and we know he has had feline friends in his previous home.
What a doll! Flower is a very social dog, easy to leash up, walk and handle. She's so cute, it hurts! Flower knows sit, and she has a very soft and gentle mouth. We had a blast with her during her photo session. We want Flower to meet any potential dog roommates. Flower is 5 years old and a svelte 58 pounds. (p.s. Flower does not actually have a set of human legs.)
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, please visit online at: www.mendoanimalshelter.com or visit the shelter. Join us the second Saturday of every month for our "Empty the Shelter" pack walk and help us get every dog out for some socialization and exercise! Our KITTEN EVENT continues for the month of July--check our website for information: mendoanimalshelter.com/programs-events/kittens
For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
BOONVILLE WATER & SEWER PROJECT FINANCING
by Mark Scaramella
A few weeks ago local realtor Anne Fashauer summarized the high points of the recent “Boonville Planners” meeting where a couple of dozen locals with parcels in the proposed downtown Boonville “service areas” discussed the ongoing planning efforts now being conducted by Sonoma County consultants Jack Locey and Dave Coleman of Brelje & Race consulting engineers.
At that meeting the locals were told that both the sewer and water projects look technically feasible so far, but currently available state and federal grants may not cover the full cost of construction, meaning either more grants must be identified, or very low cost long-term financing would have to be arranged and worked into a low monthly service charge.
The “Drinking Water” project, currently estimated at around 260 connections, is estimated to cost almost $14 million for the downtown area and around $15 million if it is extended down Anderson Valley Way. The water project would cost upwards of $18 million if it also includes Anderson Valley Elementary School. (But the school district would have to arrange for the additional funding.)
At present, according to state officials, Proposition 1, California’s “Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014” could provide up to $10 million for the drinking water project.
In addition, the US Department of Agriculture could provide low interest loans, but given that Boonville is considered a “severely disadvantaged community” according to census income data, they might provide financing as an outright grant.
Community Development Block Grants might also be available for similar reasons.
Community Services District Trustees Valerie Hanelt and Kathleen McKenna who have been spearheading the project continue to identify other possible funding sources and at present they say they are still about $3-$5 million short for water project grants. But there are still possibilities of either increasing the amount the Water Board might authorize or, if the project could be spread out over some number of years, there might be additional funding opportunities for follow-on phases of the project.
The municipal sewer project covers a smaller area and is not expected to extend down Anderson Valley Way or the Elementary School. It is estimated to involve around 200 hookups at a cost of around $13.5 million for construction.
The sewer system project qualifies for $7.5 million in “Small Community Grant funds (also from Proposition 1) and an additional $8 million from Propostion 1’s “Groundwater to Septic-to-Sewer” funding. This funding would pay for the entire sewer system project as currently designed and estimated by the SoCo consulting engineers.
According to Hanelt and McKenna they will only go forward with one or both of the projects if they can be affordably financed.
The consultants are scheduled to finish their studies (funded at $500k each for the water and sewer projects) by the end of this calendar year at which time more refined cost estimates and project capabilities will be provided along with an accompanying Environmental Impact Report. Those reports will become the basis for arranging for construction financing.
As Trustee Hanelt has said in the past, Why would the state water board give Boonville $1 million to do all this very specific and technical planning only to turn down the funding? Especially considering that Boonville not only has nearly perfect gentle sloping topography for both a water and sewer system but also scores high in terms of economic need and the poor condition of many of the Valley’s aging water and septic systems.
ATTENTION APPROPRIATE POLICE!
SOUTH COAST LITTLE LEAGUERS LOSE — BUT GOT TO GO TO ‘HOOTERS’
SHERIFF ALLMAN WRITES:
This upcoming week, our country will celebrate its 242nd Birthday. I have an idea. We will all see some great patriotic people/decorations/pets throughout our county this week. Why don't we post them for all of us to see? We will have a parade in Mendocino and in Willits on the 4th of July. Let's get those photo's here where we can all see them. Sheriff Jim Tuso (ret) posted some GREAT shots of the Redwood Valley Black Bart parade which was on Saturday, the 30th. Point Arena’s parade is July 1st at Noon.
Let's show the rest of the world how patriotic Mendocino County is! Good Luck and Happy Fourth of July! Let’s shower Facebook with the ol' Red White and Blue!
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ED NOTE: Lemons Market, Philo, is festooned in red, white and blue, the most patriotic display in the Anderson Valley.
REGARDING THE NOVEMBER RUNOFF ELECTION for Fifth District Supervisor between Ted Williams and Chris Skyhawk considering Skyhawk’s recently reported stroke, James Marmon clarifies.
First Marmon quotes the AVA’s report of yesterday:
“The 68 day rule is a fairly new provision of the Elections Code which was added back in 2010 in the aftermath of Mendo DA Norm Vroman’s 2006 death while he was running for re-election, 47 days before Election Day. After some legal wrangling, then Deputy DA Keith Faulder got a court to rule that there had to be a new election, instead of allowing Vroman’s then-opponent Meredith Lintott to win by default since Vroman died less than 68 days before the election.”
Marmon: HELLO! 8804 refers to “Superior Court Judges” only, not Board of Supervisor seats.
“8804. Notwithstanding Sections 8803 and 8810, any candidate who has been nominated at any primary election for superior court judge in which election there were at least two other candidates and who, after the date prescribed for the filing of declaration of candidacy pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 8020) of Chapter 1 of Part 1, has been appointed to any federal or state office, may request the county elections official to have his or her name removed from the ballot of the next ensuing general election. If the request is received by the county elections official at least 68 days before the next ensuing general election, the county elections official shall remove the candidate’s name from the ballot.”
WE DON’T READ IT THAT WAY, but it’s too early to argue technical legalities which probably won’t come to pass anyway.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 30, 2018
DAVID AMUNDSON, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
DANIELLE ARCENEAUX, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JAMES BELCH, Leggett. DUI.
JESSE BOULERICE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
RICHARD BRELO, Albuquerque, New Mexico/ccc
LEONARD CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol
DAVID DUES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, concealed dirk-dagger.
JAMES DUNLAP, Live Oak/Willits. DUI.
JHANNA ELLISON, Willits. First degree robbery, armed with firearm in commission of or attempt of felony, probation revocation.
ANDREW GRESHLE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
BOBBY HILL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
CODY LADD, Ukiah. Parole violation.
ALEXANDER LOUTSIS, Willits. Disturbing the peace by loud and unreasonable noise.
MIGUEL PLASCENCIA-BARAJAS, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, resisting, evasion, probation revocation.
REBECCA RODRIGUEZ, Clearlake/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, probation revocation.
JUSTIN SCHAEFER, Lakeport/Ukiah. Battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol.
STEVEN SIMPSON, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
MARK SPITSEN, Incline Village/Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.
LEONARD WHIPPLE, Covelo. Probation revocation.
TINY WHIPPLE, Covelo. Probation revocation.
DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Fighting or challenging, probation revocation.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD WOMEN (Part 3)
by Eleanor Cooney
Arrangements are made to send her back to the home and put her in hospice care there. This is good: she goes back into the hands of people who love her, and when she slips another notch, they're no longer obliged, legally or morally, to rush her to the hospital. I meet with the hospice people, a nurse and a social worker; they both have a trained, professional manner, a little like casket salesmen, and they relax when they meet me and see that I'm not going to go hysterical or weepy on them. Thank you for making it so easy, says the nurse, and before she goes, she hands me a piece of paper with the names of local morticians on it.
They bring my mother back from the hospital; I'm watching through the window when they arrive. Two strapping young EMT guys slide her out the back of the ambulance. There she is, in full merciless daylight, the open mouth looking particularly tragic and cavernous. They wheel her in and load her onto the bed. The staff are all over her, kissing her, patting her face, arranging pillows. One of the EMT guys is so young his cheeks are rosy. He and his partner are polite, but I sense their revulsion at the decomposing female flesh they've just transported. On the way out, one of them sees a photo of my mother, taken forty-five years ago. Whoa! he says. Who's that?
I spend the night in a nearby motel, dream that my mother and Gwendda have merged into one chimerical creature, go back and see her in the morning. They're getting her up. I walk into the room at the exact moment they have her on her feet, supporting her on both sides, about to lower her into the wheelchair. They've dressed her. She howls, vigorously, not at all like someone who's dying. There are no words, but the message is clear: Leave me ALONE! They offer her food: she takes it. Not enthusiastically, but with an air of Oh, Jesus Christ, okay, if you insist. She glares at us with red-rimmed eyes.
I get behind her and start combing the tangles out of her hair. Careful, the staff people warn me; she'll hit you if you pull it. Don't worry, I say. I know how to do this. I get it all combed out, and it looks startlingly beautiful — fine, silky, flowing, with subtle colors, from white to gold to black. I take a picture, from behind, of just her hair. I check the picture: it's a keeper. The back-of-the-head shot, though, the slight tilt… it's just a little too reminiscent of Norman Bates' mother, down in the basement, before the chair swings around.
Later, back at the Safeway, I watch young parents wheeling their cute little babies along, and I wonder: Do any of you ever look ahead eighty or ninety years or so, to when you are long dead, and your darling baby, if it doesn't die of disease, accident, or war, will once again be bald, toothless and in diapers, but nowhere near as cute? And at whose mercy, in a survival-of-the-fittest world that'll make the Pleistocene look kind and gentle? The year 2038, which it's entirely possible I'll see, most likely as a crone living in a car on its rims on the outskirts of a 1000-acre municipal dump with Bladerunner flames shooting into the sky, is a frightening enough prospect, but 2088? 2098? What are you thinking?
My mother doesn't die. She gets better. Joyful reports from the staff come in daily: she's up, she's feeding herself, she watched TV today, she smacked one of us. The part of me that dreads my mother's death the way a child would is flooded with relief. Another part is darkly disappointed. One day soon after, I'm over at Gwendda's house, throwing away newspapers. I find a photo, from two months before, of the kid killed by the tiger, lying in his coffin at a "viewing." The shot was taken from a discreet distance, with only the boy's nose and forehead visible against the white satin. The father stands, his back to us, looking down at his son. The father's body language speaks eloquently of crushing grief and bewilderment: What the hell happened?
In May Sarton's novel AS WE ARE NOW, she describes an old woman as a "grotesque, miserable animal." My appreciation of that phrase has deepened over the last several years, but fully ripened during this latest skirmish. My mother's screech when they moved her from the bed to the chair was not of pain — it was of exhaustion. In Sarton's novel, a woman in an old people's home thwarts the ghastly ignominy of death by disintegration, for herself and her fellow inmates, by burning the place to the ground: a violent but decisive and honorable death.
I imagine a Siberian tiger, three hundred and fifty pounds of feline speed, power and killing efficiency, equipped by nature to bring down a muskox, loose in the nursing home where Berna lies in bed, or in Gwendda's house, or...in the assisted living place, headed for my mother's room. A pause, a pair of green-gold eyes, a basso profundo rumble, a flash of stripes, claws, and teeth, faster than thought, faster than light....
In exactly the same way that Sarton's old woman chose fire, my mother, if she could, would choose the tiger.
Postscript: The Mystery of Room 157
At the end of April following the winter of the escaped tiger, crashing trees and power outages, my mother faded away and died. At the beginning of that April, I'd lured Gwendda out of her bathrobe, into clothes, shoes and socks, out of her house and into the car. Not her car; the other one. I told her I was taking her to the doctor, which was true; what I didn't mention was that I wouldn't be bringing her back.
Dotty though she was, enough of her terrifying perspicacity remained that I was awash in cold, sweaty fear. I'd knelt on the smelly carpet and pulled socks onto her feet, a highly suspicious act in itself, not something I'd ever done before, and she didn't fail to notice. I felt her looking at me with completely un-senile curiosity. Handling her poor old feet, an act of mildly odious intimacy, felt like before-the-fact penance for what I was about to do. The nails were long and yellow, the toes compressed and deformed from eighty years of too-tight shoes, a little like the unwrapped "lotus feet" of elderly Chinese women. But the color....ah, the color. Warm, pink, healthy. She could easily live another ten years, whispered the voice of doom.
In the car, she asked the name of the doctor I was taking her to. When I told her, she let loose with a stream of expletives that would have made a Comanche blush. "There's nothing wrong with me," she said. "I don't need to go to the damned doctor."
It was true, there was nothing physically wrong with her, aside from being impressively old. I was taking her to the doctor so that he could sign a paper declaring her incompetent to care for herself, a requirement for admittance to the assisted-living place she'd be in, with luck, before the sun set that day.
The room at the old folks' home, just a couple of miles from my house, was all ready for her. Two days ago, I'd sneaked a couple of loads of clothes, dolls, teddy bears and pictures out of her house, audaciously, in full daylight, while she was napping. Eight years before, I had done exactly the same thing, but for my mother, taken the things to the exact same assisted living place. At the same time of year. And…into the exact same room, now assigned quite randomly to Gwendda. This was an eerie little Twilight Zone development to which I strove to attach as little significance as possible. In retrospect, I think perhaps I should have demanded a different room.
It was a fantastically pleasant room: on the sunny side of the building, big gleaming luxurious bathroom, a deck with an overhanging magnolia tree shedding enormous white-pink flower petals, view of woods and sky. The exact same deck where, eight years before, my mother had huddled like a war orphan, smoking, looking out at the forest, flowers and birds with eyes that saw a strip-mined, radioactive moonscape.
My mother had lasted a scant four weeks before they threw her out. I'd tricked her into the place with a similar cock-and-bull story to the one I'd told Gwendda: We're going out to lunch! That part was true. It was the part I omitted — that I'd be leaving her there — that made it something other than the truth.
It had been tense for a few days after my mother's admittance, and she'd appeared to be settling in, when she erupted: pounding the walls, screaming my name, stalking the halls at night in her underwear with a lit cigarette, attacking a guy on night duty so that he had to hide behind a door. There were midnight phone calls from the staff, stern warnings, hard voices abruptly devoid of sympathy reciting rules and regulations. Drugging followed, the only way they'd give her another chance, to the point where she was falling down and slurring her words, but she fought on until they gave her the boot. After that, I played Judas further, more deeply and egregiously, and she ended up in an Alzheimer's facility 150 miles away. That was where she died, eight years later. And now here I was, the same eight years later, decorating the same room — not merely a room just like it, which would have been peculiar enough, but the same actual room — putting clothes in the exact same drawers and hanging them in the exact same closet, putting pictures on the same walls, with the same vacillating hope and despair, queasy misgivings and the same sure knowledge that like some hapless character in a morality tale, I'd be absolutely required to do, again, the thing I hate most in this world: betray someone who trusts me. No need for a special place in hell for me; the act itself is its own hell, clings like Napalm, with a half-life of fifty thousand years.
The removal of Gwendda from her home had been planned with commando precision: I'd take her to the doctor's office. While she was with the doctor, I'd vanish, and Mitch, far more courageous than I in such circumstances partner, would appear. He'd be waiting for her when she came out. She'd forget I'd brought her there. He'd buy her ice cream and take her up to the old folks' home, into the dining room for lunch, then to her room, and then he'd slip-slide away. The success of the mission depended entirely, at every critical turn, on her confusion and damaged memory and our premeditated manipulation of them.
It worked. The upheaval and unfamiliar surroundings helped, unraveling her already-tenuous hold on reality. The staff reported that evening that she'd gone to her room and exclaimed at how pleasant and attractive it was, seemed to think she was in a hotel, and said: Be sure to tell the boys who brought me here where I am so that they can take me home. I knew who "the boys" were: she was remembering a recent trip to and from the emergency room after she'd fallen down in her house, luckily near a phone, and more luckily, she'd remembered 911. "The boys" were the young EMT guys who'd brought her back to her house in the ambulance because they hadn't been able to get hold of me. She'd imported them into today's shenanigans like a cinematic special effect. This was excellent: "The boys" would take the rap for me. By the time she landed in her new room, she was like a blindfolded driver backing up in the dark on unfamiliar terrain: she didn't connect me and the car ride earlier that day with where she was now. Craven relief flooded my system.
I stayed away for a week or so, checking in with the staff by phone. This is what they tell you to do: make yourself scarce. Let the old person "adjust." Break the dependency. It's a directive you're eager to follow, and you tell yourself that the "experts" know what's "best," but you yourself will have as many contradictory voices muttering in your head as Catherine Deneuve in "Repulsion." But you stay away.
Unless you are the spouse of the committed person. I saw this over and over in the eight years my mother was in assisted living: a non-demented husband or wife who'd reached the breaking point and put a spouse in the home, then, consumed and driven by guilt, appeared daily and stayed for hours. What else did I see over and over? Something even sadder: newly-arrived inmates trying to talk their way out. Demented enough to land them in the facility, but not yet fully vanquished and with enough wherewithal remaining to size up the situation and try to put on a good act. They zero in on visitors, having already got nowhere with the staff. Like the guy wearing his hat and jacket, duffel bag in his hand: Say, can you give me a lift home? My car broke down. Or the professor who once spoke seven languages: I need to call my wife so she can come get me. Or the woman who walked into my mother's room, looking at her watch, snapping her fingers peremptorily: I need a ride to the airport. Come on. Let's get going. I'm late. I watched the staff give the professor a non-functioning telephone to keep him busy.
The dread of becoming a non-person, stripped of rights and a voice, with no recourse, of the doors clanging shut behind us, is universal. There are a lot of ways for that to happen: you can get tossed into prison in a foreign country, you can be kidnapped and locked in a windowless basement, you can be committed to an insane asylum, or...you can be put in an Alzheimer's facility. With the latter, there's startlingly little due process involved, often none at all. Just like that, you're locked up. These people understood exactly what was happening; their personhood was about to disappear like a dream at dawn. My mother had understood this as well, but reacted on a purely basic, primal level: she fought. I'm not sure which was sadder — that, or seeing people trying to appear to be reasonable citizens, trying to mobilize the respect and authority they'd had all their lives. As a visitor, you're always grateful when they unlock the door and let you leave: back to your car, back to your life. For now.
So I didn't visit Gwendda for a couple of weeks. Guilt, procrastination and avoidance are the ingredients of the wallow in my particular psychological pig pen. When I finally did go, I was deep in it. I waited until dinner time, when I knew she'd be in the dining room. I crept down the hall, peeked around the corner, saw her at the table with two other folks, took a deep breath and stepped into view. When she saw me, she squealed with delight. Real delight, not the kind you can fake. I was flushed and suffused with relief and gratitude. If she had thrown soup in my face instead, I would not have been at all surprised.
Meanwhile, 150 miles away, my mother was fading like a sun that's used up its fuel. On a recent visit, I'd put the photo album in front of her. She took her uneaten sandwich off her plate, put it on a page of the album, and tried to close the cover. The sort of thing you do in a dream. And I knew: Whoever I was, I was a figment in her dream. Two feet from her, but light-years gone. Solar winds howled and black holes yawned. Mom!
She died at the home, in her room, a Filipina nurse praying by her bed. I drove down, found a funeral home (one of my favorite euphemisms), made arrangements with a perky Miss Thanatogenous. There was a delay of a few days before they could do the cremation. My brother said this was good; in certain Buddhist traditions, it was customary to wait at least three days, so the soul could get used to the situation. My mind is more literal: I had to work hard to not think too much about morgue refrigerators, cold stainless steel and such. Miss T assured me they'd call when the actual cremation took place. They did. That's also something you can think about literally, or shove away. I did a little of both. George Bernard Shaw took it further: He witnessed the cremation of his mother, and wrote about it. I guess I'm no George Bernard Shaw.
My mother's death and disposition took us to the end of the first week of May. In the second week, I returned one afternoon from errands and checked my answering machine. There was a call from the home where we'd taken Gwendda. She had erupted: waved a butter knife around in the dining room, "fired" the entire staff, cursed and shouted, refused to go back to her room. The voice, which belonged to a dumb-as-a-brick but conscientious gal I'd met a few times, was hard, devoid of sympathy. I also detected a rich, ill-concealed vein of Schadenfreude. "We called the police," the woman said with deep relish. "You need to come up here, pronto." Mitch went up. He found the English Patient sitting at her place in the dining room in the company of 250 lbs. of armed, beefy young sheriff's deputy. She was calm now, as if nothing had happened. The other residents and the staff were in a tizzy of pretend shock and high pleasure. They hadn't had this much fun in ages.
Drugging followed. The only possible way they'd give her another chance. I looked at the pharmaceutical name on the prescription: Zyprexa. Ah, yes. My familiar old friend. I'd once written that the list of names of the drugs they'd given my mother sounded like evil warlords from another galaxy. Lord Zyprexa, enemy ships have entered the star system.....And exactly as it had been when my mother was on probation, in the same home, in the same room, at the same time of year, with the same stakes, Gwendda swallowed the diminutive capsules, themselves like tiny space war-ships carrying a potently concentrated payload into the tangled neurons and exploding nebulae of her brain.
Anyone nowadays who's dealt with the sad slippage of the elderly knows the tyranny of the answering machine. That winking red light looks like the eye of Satan himself, concentrated Essence of Bad News in Morse Code. Eight years fell away as I tiptoed around, flinching and leaping every time the phone rang, frightened of punching the message button. Ten days passed. All was calm. The drug seemed to be doing its job. As with my mother, I hated, hated, hated introducing powerful chemicals into a fragile aged brain, but it was the only way she could continue to live at the home. Taking her back to her house was out of the question. The downward spiral into degraded, dangerous senior squalor would resume with a vengeance, and I'd be responsible for whatever happened. Talk about a deal with the devil.
(Part 3 of 4)
MICHAEL MOORE SAYS WE MUST 'PUT OUR BODIES ON THE LINE' TO STOP TRUMP
Filmmaker Michael Moore is set to release a new documentary in September titled Fahrenheit 11/9 — the date Trump was elected. He appeared on The Late Show and shared a clip.
$5 SILVER CERTIFICATE 1899
BASIC SCHOOL REFORM
We need more technical training at the high school level for kids who aren’t academically gifted but have superior skills in practical fields, such as carpentry, plumbing, landscaping, etc.
It is a terrible waste of taxpayer money, and certainly of young talent, to force kids to study academic subjects for which they have no interest or ability.
My education in England was based upon three levels of high school. All taught the basics — “the three R’s” — but at different levels, with the first level continuing academic subjects, the second level devoted to such subjects as engineering, architecture, design, etc., and the third level was for the slower learners.
Typically, level one students went on to a university, level two went to technical colleges, and level three went into service jobs. But any one of these students had the option of moving to a different level if they were capable of doing the coursework.
Using this method would save millions of academic dollars and help prevent student angst when forced into subjects in which they have no interest or ability.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Civil War, at first consideration seems a bit far-fetched. The reason for this statement is that there needs to be some coherent cause to rally behind to actually know which way to shoot.
I think it is more likely that a simple descent into incoherent collapse is more likely. Exactly what sets it off will only be apparent in hindsight. Right now, with these crooked tales of plots, issues, and bad people we are seeing a build up to this event much like noticing the first cracks and rusty rebar poking out of a bridge; a bridge that will collapse, this summer?
Heat wave + economic downturn + Mueller firing or report release + another black child being shot + God only knows what else = kaboom. EBT cards don’t work? Power outages? Something is looming.
I MET THIS KID from Miles City, Montana, who read the Stars and Stripes every day, checking the casualty lists to see if by some chance anybody form his home town had been killed. He didn’t even know if there was anyone else from Miles City in Vietnam, but he checked anyway because he knew for sure that if there was someone else and they got killed, he would be all right. “I mean, can you just see two guys from a raggedy-ass town like Miles City getting killed in Vietnam?
― Michael Herr, Dispatches
DISTRICT TEENS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
Saturday, July 14th
Saturday, September 8th
3 - 4 pm
Teens are invited to join the library’s Teen Leadership Council (TLC). Teen leaders can volunteer & apply for credit toward community service hours while building their résumés. Teens will have a chance to be heard & make a difference in the community.
District Teens Leaders will gain valued skills & experience:
- Collaborating to design our new teen space
- Planning & organizing events
- Recommending books & other materials for library purchase
- Developing leadership & conflict-resolution skills
- Contributing to the Ukiah community by expanding teen resources
Come and find out if this is the group for you!
Pizza will be provided.
For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434
CAN A PEOPLE recover from an excursion into unreality? The USA’s sojourn into an alternative universe of the mind accelerated sharply after Wall Street nearly detonated the global financial system in 2008. That debacle was only one manifestation of an array of accumulating threats to the postmodern order, which include the burdens of empire, onerous debt, population overshoot, fracturing globalism, worries about energy, disruptive technologies, ecological havoc, and the specter of climate change.
— James Kunstler
HINDERLINGS & HILL HOOTERS.
"Oh, hi! I told Blossom that dragons are for hinderlings and hill-hooters and she did the honors. And I don’t even know what those words mean." —Charlotte Grote
The recording of last night's (2018-06-29) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0287
Rhoda Teplow came to spill the beans about her burlesque queen daughter. Jill and Ferren Taylor showed up out of the blue with books to return (including Swords of Lankhmar by Fritz Lieber), Alex Bosworths' Ahab and Lassie stories. Tiny Tim’s tooth whitening secret that anyone can do, and a tale of travel and family and literal fingers lost and found. There's promising and sprightly Episode No. 1 of Doug Nunn’s artist interview and current events project Snap Sessions. There's Bert Lahr, the Andrews, Boswell and Carbone Sisters, personal hygiene advice, Rex Gressett's proctological report of Fort Bragg politics, the real immigration and refugee law that nobody's talking about because it shames everyone, global warming warning in terms a five-year-old can understand, genetic fear-mongering that might very well be right to monger that fear, cop-cam coincidence (disgrace), Bronze Age holy claptrap still hobbling our lives thousands of years later, a cheap and easy five-minute healthy comfort-food meal you can fix with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver, British Frankenstein radio comedy from 1953, and so much more. The whole eight hours, as they say.
And besides that, here are links to a few not necessarily radio-useful but worthwhile items that I set aside for you at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com while gathering the show together, such as:
View the gallery. Amazing, especially the muddy white horses' horny angry tango. (Look up Rachel Bloom's Horny Angry Tango.)
Dashboards of the future.
History of the universe in 200 links.
"Ah want that bastard Truck Turner and Ah want him daid."
And imagine the fireworks finale-rack display of nerve activity going on in this musician's brain.
THOUSANDS MARCH AGAINST TRUMP & FAMILY SEPARATIONS POLICY
by Martin Pengelly, Jessica Glenza & Lucia Graves
Mass protests against Donald Trump and his immigration policies were held across the US on Saturday, in cities from Los Angeles to Boston and in state capitals and smaller towns between.
As large parts of the country sweltered beneath a heatwave, marchers braved the blistering sun to express fierce opposition to the president’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant families at the southern border. They also voiced concern over Trump’s forthcoming supreme court pick.
The president, who was playing golf at his club in New Jersey, attacked what he called “radical left” Democrats, who he said were behind calls to disband Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), the agency central to his hardline immigration approach.
“To the great and brave men and women of Ice,” Trump tweeted early in the day, “do not worry or lose your spirit. You are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements. So brave! The radical left Dems want you out. Next it will be all police. Zero chance, It will never happen!”
Immigration policy is a central pillar of Trump’s appeal to his supporters ahead of November’s midterm elections. It is also key to motivating opposition to the president, particularly among the surging progressive wing of the Democratic party.
In Washington on Saturday, protesters gathered in Lafayette Square, close to the White House. Organized by MoveOn, the American Civil Liberties Union and dozens of other groups, the Families Belong Together march featured star speakers Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alicia Keys and America Ferrera. Miranda sang a lullaby, Dear Theodosia, from his hit musical Hamilton.
John Holland of Takoma Park, Maryland, was among a group of Buddhist-affiliated protesters who held hands, sang and played a Tibetan singing bowl as an early speaker described the “amazing effect it can have on everyone if we move slowly”. Asked why he had decided to brave the 95F (35C) heat, he quipped: “Peer pressure.”
Like many present, Holland attended the Women’s March on the National Mall in January 2017. The capital has turned into a site of major protest, including the March for Science last year and more recently a student-led gun control effort, the March for Our Lives.
On Saturday New York also saw a major rally, as did Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, Boston and other big cities. Senior Democratic figures addressed crowds; in Boston, speakers included the possible 2020 presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren and the congressman Joe Kennedy III. In LA, Senator Kamala Harris, another potential 2020 pick, spoke after John Legend performed. Smaller protests were staged at federal facilities in Texas and outside Trump’s New Jersey club, where around 200 people gathered.
Trump was expected to begin interviewing candidates to replace Anthony Kennedy, the supreme court justice who announced his retirement this week. The protests were also focusing on that choice, which is expected to turn the court sharply right, placing in jeopardy rulings such as Roe v Wade, the 1973 opinion which guarantees the right to abortion. This week, the court upheld Trump’s travel ban against Muslim-majority countries and dealt a heavy blow to unionized labor.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck, stop-the-madness moment,” national protest organizer Ai-jen Poo told the Guardian. “It’s not a red or blue thing … what you are seeing is the downright refusal to accept this administration’s policies.”
This month, Trump stopped the separations policy, after intense public outcry over images and recordings of children held in cages at federal facilities. But his order was unclear and the administration has been criticized for the lack of a plan to reunite around 2,000 children with their parents. The administration is now claiming the right to detain families indefinitely, ignoring a 1997 court settlement that limits how long children can be held.
At the Washington protest on Saturday, Kate Earle of Maryland held a sign that said: “Make The Handmaid’s Tale fiction again.” She said: “Reunification of families is a start but locking them up together is not a solution.”
In Indianapolis, thousands gathered outside the seat of government in the home state of Vice-President Mike Pence. As people cheered, Mahri Irvine, a 35-year-old anthropologist, spoke to the Guardian by phone.
“Our country is really, really close to the edge of the abyss of just committing some serious human rights violations,” she said. “In fact, we have already. To me, it’s upsetting if people don’t have that level of imagination to think, ‘How would I feel if I had to flee a violent country, and I was incarcerated, and my children were taken away from me?’”
From Eau Clare in Wisconsin, 22-year-old Victoria Duarte said the rally there had been heartening, despite starting with a man yelling: “If you can’t speak English, get out of the country.”
“I was out there today for so many reasons,” she said, “but mainly because us young people feel a lot of anger and a lot of frustration. We want to put it into the community in action.”
Trump’s reference to “radical left Dems” may have been inspired by the surprise victory in a New York Democratic primary this week of young activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 28-year-old, who shocked party stalwart Joe Crowley, describes herself as a democratic socialist and campaigned on a platform that included the abolition of Ice.
Pressure on Ice has also come from within. Nineteen senior agents sent an open letter to Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump’s homeland security secretary, saying it should be disbanded. The investigators said the immigration crackdown was interfering with the agency’s work against transnational criminal groups.
At the New York march, Lorette and Tim Maxwell had brought their five year-old daughter. “We’ve been trying to teach Penelope but it’s difficult to explain to her,” Tim said. “Like if a cop knocked on the door and took away mommy … How do you explain that to a child?”
Lorette said: “Everybody thought Trump was a joke but he is not a joke.”
But it’s not just in the big, traditionally liberal, cities where protests are happening – people have also organized scores of demonstrations in red border states at the heart of immigration battles. There are more than 30 rallies in Texas and 11 in Arizona. Elsewhere, people will gather outside Fargo library, in North Dakota, to protest against Trump, while the Alaskan island of Kodiak – population 6,130 – is holding a rally at the Y intersection downtown.
The Families Belong Together Coalition, which includes National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Leadership Conference, MoveOn and the ACLU, has helped to organize hundreds of other events, across all 50 states.
It’s part of a wave of protests against Trump. On Thursday almost 600 women were arrested at the Hart Senate building in Washington DC following a protest against Trump’s policies. Representative Pramila Jayapal, from Washington, was among those detained.
The Trump administration has reversed its policy of taking children away from their parents, but activists fear the governments’ hardline stance could still unfairly target those seeking entry to the US.
Progressives in New York and Baltimore offer hope
Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old progressive and former Bernie Sanders volunteer, was outspent 18-1 by Crowley, but triumphed with a grassroots, boots on the ground campaign that offers hope to other leftwing candidates ahead of November’s elections. Read more on Ocasio-Cortez here.
In Baltimore, meanwhile, the Bernie Sanders-backed leftie Ben Jealous won a crowded Democratic primary. Jealous now faces the daunting task of taking on the incumbent Republican Larry Hogan – who has a 70% approval rating – in November. The Baltimore Sun broke down what Jealous needs to do to win.