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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018

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Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday week, Caltrans began its geotechnical drilling operations at the historic Albion River Bridge last week. Drilling operations are expected to continue every weekday through January 25, 2019, except during Christmas week.

Caltrans has already scalped the bluff top on the northern side of the bridge, removing roughly 100 trees and other vegetation from an erosion-prone bluff. Last week, the agency started to scalp the small freshwater wetland at the base of the south-facing bluff, where it meets the long-established dune-berm immediately west of the historic bridge, to build the first of eight drill pads.

On November 20 Caltrans used a helicopter to move two steel platforms, a drill rig, and other drilling equipment and supplies into place. Each piece of equipment was suspended from the helicopter by a 190-foot long cable, an operation known as an “external swing load.”

The complex operation required complete closures of Highway 1 for twenty minutes (or more) at a time. On November 20 it was three times.

In between delivery operations, Caltrans plans for the helicopter to hover off North Albion Head or return to its base at Little River Airport by flying over the Albion River Valley or along Highway 1 and over the Dark Gulch unit of Van Damme State Park.

Caltrans claims the geotechnical drilling will help inform decisions relating to maintenance and rehabilitation costs of the existing historic structure. However, the agency has also admitted — on the record, at Coastal Commission meetings — that additional drilling would be necessary to fully investigate rehabilitation.

In other words, the drilling operations seem directly aimed at one goal: destroying the last remaining timber trestle bridge on Highway 1, a bridge that has both state and federal historic designation.

The Albion Bridge Stewards have already documented roughly a dozen violations of the coastal development permit issued to Caltrans by the California Coastal Commission last September, and has shared these violations with Coastal Commission staff. The Coastal Commission has rebuffed a request to revoke the Caltrans permit based on these and other violations — perhaps in part because of a “interagency agreement” in which Caltrans pays the Coastal Commission almost a million dollars a year to streamline its permitting endeavors.

Albion Bridge Stewards will be monitoring the drilling operations closely and will continue to document and report violations.

AnneMarie Weibel


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BOONVILLE GOT OVER AN INCH AND A HALF of rain on Friday. Mendo rain gage totals ranged from about an inch to just over two inches with northern inland cities generally getting more than the Coast. Rain is predicted to abate for the weekend and then pick up again Tuesday.

OVER THE PAST THREE DAYS Boonville received 3.29 inches and Yorkville got 3.44 inches.

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According to the upstream USGS river gauge on the Navarro River, the level is only 1.47’ @ 7:30 am. And despite the rainfall, and projected rainfall, NOAA says it will only reach 2.8’.

With the sandbar firmly in place at the mouth, HIGHWAY 128 could flood and be subject to a Caltrans shutdown if the river level reaches 4.5’ and the sandbar refuses to breach.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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Yorkville — Some observations we've made on our piece of land this year — and the resulting questions. We have no good answers. Although we continue to do what we understand to be "the right things" in relation to the earth and its inhabitants, we are not feeling at all hopeful. Is the toxic air we've been breathing for weeks causing our depression? Or the toxic politics? Or our sadness at watching a beautiful world be desecrated in not so slow motion by a toxic US?

For the first time in our 13 years of raising chickens, a hawk has killed two in two days, beheading and partially eating them in the field because they are too heavy for it to carry off. Is a hawk killing our chickens because there are no mice? In the previous 14 years, large numbers of mice lived our truck, garage, house, barn, compost, fields...and fed everyone...the snakes, hawks, coyotes, cats, dogs, chickens. Where are the mice? Compared to the past 14 years living here we've seen very few of our snakes...the gopher, king, rattler, red racer, garter. Because the mice are gone? Or is it the drought? Or the smoke?

A week ago the still green leaves on many of our trees froze before changing into their fall colors, then dropped all at once. Did this happen because the frost was accentuated by the smoke in the air which kept the sun from warming the earth during the day? Are the nearby fires much more vicious because we've tortured the earth? Or because there are way too many of us? Or because the forest under story hasn't been well thinned or the trees eliminated? How can we keep our animals from breathing the toxic air when they live outdoors and we live in a small house? Why and how is the air in the house any better than that outdoors? Why can't we keep an increasingly toxic world on the other side of our fence line? When are we going to wake up? Or are we all going to wake up dead?

We're sorry to sound so down, especially during a holiday season, but we are realists and our reality is based on science and observation. We always live optimistically, however, and hope better days are ahead. Take care and have wonderful holidays.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg

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PANCAKE BREAKFAST Whitesboro Grange Sunday

A traditional pancake breakfast will be served at the WHITESBORO GRANGE on Sunday, November 25th. Breakfast includes orange juice, pancakes with maple and homemade berry syrups, ham, eggs your way, and coffee, tea or hot cocoa. The public and visitors are invited to join neighbors and community for a hearty pancake breakfast. Adults $8, ages 6-12 half price, children under 6 eat FREE. Breakfast is served from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Whitesboro Grange is located 1.5 miles east on Navarro Ridge Road. Watch for signs south of the Albion Bridge.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Back to the old grind, trying to chase the neighbor's chickens outtahere.”

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READING ABOUT THE WHINE INDUSTRY’S recent request for the feds to bail them out from alleged losses caused by “smoke taint” affecting their precious wine grapes is really galling. It made me think back about my father’s career-long work to maintain price supports for milk.

My father, Gene Scaramella, was a career cooperative creamery manager who specialized in milk price stabilization and price supports. He was particularly interested in what eventually becamse Section 62062 of the California Food and Agriculture Code that says milk is an essential commodity that must be priced to make sure it’s available, healthy, and ensures that milk producers don’t go out of business. “Each stabilization and marketing plan shall contain provisions whereby the Director [of CDFA] establishes minimum prices to be paid by handlers to producers for market milk in the various classes. The director shall establish the prices by designating them in the plan, or by adopting methods or formulas in the plan whereby the prices can be determined, or any combination of the foregoing. If the director directly designates prices in the plan, the prices shall be in reasonable and sound economic relationship with the national value of manufactured milk products. If the director adopts methods or formulas in the plan for designation of prices, the methods or formulas shall be reasonably calculated to result in prices that are in a reasonable and sound economic relationship with the national value of manufactured milk products. In establishing the prices, the Director shall take into consideration any relevant economic factors, including, but not limited to, the following: (a) The reasonableness and economic soundness of market milk prices for all classes, giving consideration to the combined income from those class prices, in relation to the cost of producing and marketing market milk for all purposes, including manufacturing purposes. In determining the costs, the director shall consider the cost of management and a reasonable return on necessary capital investment.”

AND SO ON. For more particulars, see the CDFA’s own website which breaks down the prices and price supports.

IF market prices are too low for milk producers to stay in business, something’s gone seriously haywire in the price support process, which includes the producers (dairymen), milk-buyers, the state regulators, and the state legislature.

MY FATHER managed a milk cooperative — Danish Creamery in Fresno and later Challenge Cream & Butter Association — for several decades going back to the 50s. Many ag cooperatives began in the 1930s because producers couldn’t get decent prices from commercial creameries during the depression so they formed cooperatives run by elected members (dairymen) of the cooperative. Milk and milk products are considered essential to public health. But, as with timber or apple juice, the producer or grower is at the mercy of the buyer (be it the timber mill, the bottling plant, the creamery, …) when it comes to the prices the producer is paid.

ALSO DURING the 1930s, thanks to old-school FDR-style liberals, besides cooperatives, government price supports were established for milk because milk shortages were considered to be a threat to public health. Every year since then, using something like what is now called for in the California law quoted above, industry and government would negotiate and set the minimum price supports for milk.

WHEN MY FATHER was in the business, he — being hired by the co-op members to manage the cooperative’s creamery and thus to manage the prices the creamery paid to the producers who hired him — made a point of going to Sacramento to make sure that the price supports kept his co-op members from going out of business.

BUT NOWADAYS (basically since the Reagan era and broadscale “deregulation”), most producers are stuck with vertically integrated production schemes which are controlled by retailers — i.e., the big grocery store chains, most with their own milk brands who either own their dairies outright, or own enough of them to set their own artificially low prices for the state’s remaining independent dairies. So the producers (the independent dairies and the dairymen), if they’re organized at all, have very little political clout when the time comes to set price supports. The retailers obviously don’t want to pay more for milk and they don’t really care if dairies go out of business. They assume, wrongly, that there will always be some place to buy raw milk — a classic example of one of the many contradictions of capitalism.

BIG RETAILERS call the shots when it comes to milk pricing. In my father’s day, the regulators and politicians cared enough about public health and the dairymen who produced the milk, to the point that they listened to people like my father who represented the dairymen and knew what they were talking about.

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BUT NOW here come the wine grape growers asking big government for the equivalent of price supports because the value of their grapes has gone down since some grape buyers won’t pay full retail for “smoke tainted” grapes.

REMEMBER, wine grape growers cannot compare themselves to milk and other commodity producers. Wine is not essential for public health. Wine is not perishable. Wine is not food and wine has no nutritional value. Wine is not yet fully vertically integrated like dairies have become.

NOTE ALSO that none of the local pot growers who lost entire crops to fires have come to the state or federal government asking for hand-outs or subsidies.

ALSO NOTE that most grape growers have crop insurance and will recover most of their alleged losses via insurance. (Grape growers claim they lost money, not crops, but whatever.) Local growers have claimed they lost half their regular revenue because grape buyers won’t pay top dollar for smoke-tainted grapes.

IN THEIR LETTER to Congress Mike “Corktop” Thompson (who also grows his own grapes as does Top Dog Demo Nancy Pelosi), the Wine Growers Association said that buyers were paying “steeply discounted” prices for smoke tainted grapes, which in some cases resulted in growers having to go to extra effort to separate out some of the smoke tainted grapes to an extent. Their letter urges Thompson and Congress to: “Extend the Wildfire and Hurrican Indemnity Program (WHIP) to cover 2018 wildfire related losses in California including losses attributable to smoke exposure. Also, WHIP elgibility should be adjusted to accommodate growers’ losses that may not be fully realized until 2020 when bulk wine made from affected grapes is marketed…” and “provide $5.25 million of new funding to support intensive research on smoke exposure and winegrapes. Such research will help limit future smoke exposure related losses.”

IN HIS WILDEST DREAMS, my father could never have imagined such hubris. He spent entire weekends going over the creamery’s books, putting together presentations to show specifically what market conditions or dairy conditions caused what specific drops in the price of milk which he then had to present to the State Ag officials who were very hard to convince and had to make their own independent analyses to justify any price supports by calculating the minimum price that would keep dairies and creameries in operation. Most of the time the price supports were sought when the dairies were producing more milk and milk products than the market would bear and it had to be made into less perishable products like ice cream, butter, and cheese which wasn’t eligible for price supports.

BUT NOW HERE COME THE WHINERS. All they have to do is claim that they suffered some losses because some buyers detected some smoke taint which the buyers don’t like. They don’t even have to try to demonstrate their (alleged and insured) losses. They just have to ask a few fellow winegrape growers in Congress that the poor things have “suffered” losses due to smoke taint.

NEVER MIND ALSO, that thousands and thousands of real fire victims have lost their homes, some family members, all their belongings, and much much more.

TALK ABOUT INSENSITIVE! The Whiners even filed their claim as the rest of us were sympathizing with the victims of the big fires, making donations, and suffering some “smoke taint” of our own — none of whom have filed claims for damages we have suffered.

PS. And, while the grape growers are asking for money for fire-related damages as if they’re somehow deserving, Mendo won’t even give local fire victims a break on their permit fees.

(Mark Scaramella)

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On November 15, 2018 at about 7:05 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Office dispatch received a call regarding a brandishing of a firearm incident at the Lions Park (8920 East Road) in Redwood Valley. The caller advised they were at the Lions Park when a juvenile male pointed a handgun at him. The juvenile male along with other individuals got into a 2011 Ford SUV and fled the scene. The victims and a witness followed the SUV and called law enforcement. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) located the Ford SUV traveling northbound in the 1400 block of North State Street. CHP along with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and Ukiah Police Department (UPD) conducted a high risk vehicle stop on the Ford in the 2800 block of North State Street. Deputies detained five subjects from inside the Ford, with the driver being identified as Robert Thing, 18, of Ukiah and the other passengers being identified as 15- and 16-year old juvenile males.

Two Deputies assigned to the Multi Agency Gang Suppression Unit (MAGSU) conducted the investigation. Deputies interviewed the reported victims and found they had agreed to sell the subjects in the Ford a pound of marijuana for $900. All the individuals met at the Lions Park to complete the transaction. During the transaction a 16 year-old male pulled out a black, possibly semi-automatic, handgun and took the marijuana without paying for it prior to fleeing in the Ford SUV with the other suspects. Inside the Ford SUV, Deputies located an approximately 1 pound bag of bud marijuana, knives, a billy club, two baseball bats and carpet cutters. One of the suspects (a 16 year-old male) was also in possession of exactly $900 cash. Two of the male juveniles (15 year-old and 16 year-old) were on formal probation with terms to obey all laws, not possess weapons, and no gang association. These subjects were wearing gang colors and are known gang participants. Thing was arrested for second degree robbery and conspiracy to commit crime without incident. Thing was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $75,000 bail. All the juveniles were arrested for second degree robbery and conspiracy to commit crime. The above mentioned juveniles on probation were charged with violation of probation. The juveniles were all booked into the Mendocino County Juvenile Detention Facility [for “wayward youth”].

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On Thursday November 22, 2018 at about 6:30 PM, Correctional Deputies conducted an inmate count and found that one inmate was unaccounted for. The inmate, Alexander Ramirez, 26 of Fort Bragg, was missing from the facility.

Searches of the housing unit, work area and of the secured jail perimeter were conducted but Ramirez was not located. Correctional Deputies were able to determine that Inmate Ramirez had climbed a fence and was able to enter the interior perimeter of the jail. Correctional Deputies continued searching the secured perimeter of the jail and were able to locate Inmate Ramirez on a rooftop at about 7:20 PM. Ramirez received minor injuries when he tried to climb through the security fencing, which prevented his escape from the secured jail perimeter. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Patrol staff and members of the Ukiah Police Department arrived and secured the exterior perimeter of the jail. Ramirez surrendered to the awaiting law enforcement personnel and was taken into custody without further incident. Ramirez was in custody serving a local jail sentence. He was additionally booked on a charge of escape. County maintenance staff was brought in to remediate an area identified as a point of security failure on the interior perimeter during the escape attempt.

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On November 17-, 2018 at approximately 4:47 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies received a call for service of a recent burglary to several vehicles belonging to Cupertino Electric Inc. that were parked in the 6000 block of Albion Little River Road in Albion, California. An employee with Cupertino Electric Inc. discovered the burglary and detained two male subjects hiding in the brush near the location of the crime. Prior to Deputies arriving on scene, one of the subjects fled on foot from the reporting person and into the surrounding thick vegetation. After Deputies arrived they contacted and identified Aron Hernandez who was still being detained by the reporting person.

During their investigation, Deputies learned two Cupertino Electric Inc. company vehicles were burglarized with approximately $11,490 in tools and equipment being stolen. Forced entry into the vehicles amounted to $5,300 in damage. The totality of evidence collected during that investigation resulted in sufficient probable cause being established to arrest Aron Hernandez, 40, of Little River.  Deputies collected evidence which identified the other suspect as being a 39 year-old from Fort Bragg, California. Deputies established sufficient probable cause to arrest the 39 year-old male but they were unable to locate him after an exhaustive search. A large portion of stolen property was located concealed in the immediate area and recovered. Deputies also seized 2.4 grams (gross weight) of suspected methamphetamine that was determined to be in Hernandez’s possession. Hernandez was ultimately transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Second Degree Burglary, Vandalism Resulting in Damage Exceeding $400 and Possession of a Controlled Substance. He was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail. Hernandez was also booked on an active misdemeanor warrant with a $5,000.00 bail issued for driving on a suspended/revoked driver’s license. A complaint was forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for additional charges on the 39 year-old male for Second Degree Burglary, Vandalism Resulting in Damage Exceeding $400 and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

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On November 17, 2018 at about 2:19 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Office dispatch received multiple 911 hang ups from an address in the 4900 block of Mill Creek Road in Ukiah. Deputies were familiar with the residence due to numerous prior calls at the location. While responding, Deputies were advised Bodhi Idarius, 42, of Ukiah was a restrained person and was not to be within 100 yards of an adult female who resided at that location.

When Deputies arrived they contacted the 39-year old adult female victim in front of the location. Deputies learned Idarius lived across the street at a family member's residence after the restraining order was granted in October 2018, and the adult female lived in the residence in question. Deputies knew the adult female and Idarius had been in an intimate dating relationship for a few years. The adult female had left the residence and returned shortly thereafter to find Idarius inside her residence. A physical altercation began and the adult female attempted to call 911 but Idarius began choking her with the phone cord. During the assault Idarius reportedly hit her with a drill, which she was able to take away from him and use to defend herself. During the incident the adult female had been hit and pushed to ground numerous times and complained of pain in her leg and arm. Deputies contacted Idarius at the front door of the residence and noticed he had a visible injury to his head from where the adult female had reportedly hit him with the drill. After the scene investigation was concluded, Idarius was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery, Damaging phone lines, and Violation of a Domestic Violence restraining order. Idarius was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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On November 21, 2018 at about 10:11 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Office dispatch received a 911 call from a female caller stating she "needed help." As a result, Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 200 block of Pinoleville Road in Ukiah. Upon arrival Deputies contacted Anthony Hoaglin, 26, of Ukiah, who advised he lived at the residence and that no one else was at the residence.

Deputies learned Hoaglin had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest and he was subsequently arrested ($5,000 bail). Deputies entered the residence to check on the safety of the female caller and located a 22 year-old female inside the residence with visible injuries to her face. Deputies learned the female and Hoaglin were in a dating relationship and both lived at the residence. Deputies established Hoaglin had punched the female in the right eye prior to their arrival. An emergency protective order was obtained for the female and Hoaglin was arrested additionally for Domestic Violence Battery with $25,000 bail. Hoaglin was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

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As I have driven around the Bay Area this past week, I have been reminded of my childhood.

In the 1950s, I lived on the west side of Walnut Creek in a house with a wonderful view of Mount Diablo. During the winter, the air was so clear the mountain looked close enough to touch. As spring turned to summer, the mountain became more and more distant until it was just a vague shadow.

We called it heat haze. It wasn’t until later we learned it was smog — the result of unchecked pollution from car exhaust and unregulated industry. Of course, back then there was also acid rain and rivers that burned. There were towns where drinking water was too polluted to drink. Good times!

And now President Donald Trump is going to nominate Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, to head the US Environmental Protection Agency. As promised, Republicans are taking America back.

Lew Larson


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Progressives tell us it’s about trannies, gays and migrants.

But how about some attention to breakfast, lunch and dinner? It’s like Buzzyhardwood sez about Montana, the degradation of the economy is such that people are relying more and more on food banks.

I read in an illustrious bizness magazine that a well regarded tech company is using overseas coders in places like the Ukraine and Egypt and that their average cost is about 15 US bucks an hour. Their American coders are bye-bye. These overseas employees must agree to subject themselves to constant on-line monitoring and visual observation. That kind of money is peanuts in the US, but in the world’s piss-holes it’s a reasonable salary and the surveillance is something they’ll put up with.

The point I’m making is that the folk along the coasts look in-land and draw themselves to a great height and assert their intellectual and moral superiority over those ruined communities and people whose work already went overseas. But when those Silicon Valley jobs – that pay fresh college grads 100 Gs a year – go across the waters, the sneering about the feeble mental and moral fiber of Deplorable-land starts to look a tetch hollow.

The CEO class shares the collective belief that American workers are paid too much and if the self-professed intellectual elite think they’re exempt from this notion, I expect they’ll be severely disabused. We’ll see how long it takes for coastal populations to start to look like those in the interior, with diseases of despair taking root and a decline in average life-expectancy the result.

I hear that places like LA and San Fran and NYC have got a running start.

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WHEN I WALK UP THE HILL with Surely, I carry two long, stout sticks. I love those sticks. We have mountain lions. The local one, or ones, know me and Surely well. I’ve never seen them, but it seems everybody else has, including Eleanor, and I see their scratch marks high up on the trunks of trees.

As I get older and tireder, I’ll be a more attractive prey. I talk to my legs and tell them to act young, but in time they won’t. The walking sticks are a discouragement to the lions. Everything sees a stick in a man’s hands. A man with a strong stick is formidable, even if he’s old and brittle.

Once I came across a young man on the trail in the woods. He was dressed like Daniel Boone and had a machete in his hands. He was an inch or two taller than me and a century or two younger. We talked for maybe a minute. I was aware of his machete as he was of my sticks. We talked and parted without hostility or conflict.

If a mountain lion attacks me or if this kid does, either may win, but they know that I will make it a costly win, so while my sticks are a big help in getting up the hill, they are also potential weapons, and I walk that trail at all hours in all weathers, unmolested.

Except by spiders. Spiders don’t make the same calculations that cougars and woodsmen do, but their elaborate constructions are products of calculations. To make a big, netty web from the eaves of the garage to the rake handle, she has to enlist the help of the breeze: She spins out a silken thread, the wind wafts it to another place, where it sticks, and she has her basic cable.

I’ve dedicated much of my life to outgrowing arachnophobia. I can let a reasonable-looking spider walk across the back of my hand and gently blow it to some different accommodation. I can admire garden spiders that are delicate in shape and colored exactly the same as the flower they’re living in.

There’s a different garden spider I don’t like. She’s no sun lover. You see her mostly at night, a patterned, brownish thing with a fat body that looks as big as a kid’s marble, and stubby legs. I do not want to break her web with my face.

A biggish black spider lived behind my toilet for years. I checked her for the red hourglass a million times. She had a mark on her abdomen, but it wasn’t a red hourglass, and she was only biggish, compared to the western black widow, which is bigger and has threat in her appearance, a little more than the usual spider-threat. Nature's often quite decent that way, making deadly stuff look deadly.

I left her alone, and she returned the favor. She’d vanish for a time and then show up again. I talked to her. I came to like her and learned that most spiders live only one to two years, although tarantulas can live in captivity for over 20 years, and an Australian female trapdoor spider was documented to have lived in the wild for 43 years, dying of a parasitic wasp attack. My friend was around four or five when I last saw her. Then I was able to clean around the toilet. I’d rather she was still there.

It’s different walking. The pines and tan oaks and huckleberries are good spider-web anchors which are easy to not see, especially at night. Everybody knows how it feels to inadvertently walk through a spider web. That’s where my sticks come in. In the tight spots where spiders often put their webs, I walk with a stick raised in front of me like Diogenes holding up a lantern to look for an honest man. I don’t collect spiders across my face, but sometimes the broken loose ends will drape over my nose.

I wear a headlamp at night. Often it lights up the silky sparkle of a spider strand. The other night I saw a single strand in front of me. I guess she had just started. I didn’t see her, just the pristine strand. I stopped and looked at it. Its thickness was uniform and delicate. It hung straight, with very little catenary. Its gleaming surface was not yet dulled by the constant shower of dust in the woods or the struggles of her prey. It was a beautiful thing, like the blade of a foil or Crocodile Dundee’s knife or a DeLorean. I broke it with my stick and walked home.

(Mitch Clogg)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 23, 2018

Cox, Eaglesmith, Fred, Hensley

JOHNATHAN COX, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JEVON EAGLESMITH, Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

FREEDIE FRED, White River, Arizona/Ukiah. Failure to appear, offenses while on bail, prior strike.

CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Hoaglin, Lenhart, Martin

GARRIE HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)

MARKUS LENHART, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

NATHEN MARTIN, Willits. Failure to appear.

Meserve, Perez, Serrano

AMY MESERVE, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

NIKOLAS PEREZ, Laytonville. Vandalism, resisting.

MICHAEL SERRANO, Sacramento/Uiah. Controlled substance where prisoners are kept, prison prior, prior strike.

Spitsen, Tackitt, Whipple

MARK SPITSEN, Incline Village/Ukiah. Under influence, failure to appear.


ANTONIO WHIPPLE, Covelo. Vandalism.

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California wildfire could be spreading radioactive contamination from cold war site.

For decades the community around Santa Susanna Field Laboratory (SSFL), just north of Los Angeles, California, asked that the site be cleaned of chemical and radioactive contamination. Now it may be too late to contain it. The Woolsey fire, which evidence indicates started at SSFL, continues to devastate California. It could also be carrying pollution from the former research site to other areas.

The Woolsey fire's suspected (not yet confirmed) starting point, about 1000 yards from the 1959 reactor meltdown (click to enlarge).

Scientists at SSFL experimented with new rocket, weapons and nuclear reactor technologies, leaving a dangerous legacy of environmental contamination, including releases from a reactor meltdown at the site in 1959. Surrounding suburban communities have experienced elevated cancer rates.

Community members are now asking the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to warn the public and fire fighters that smoke from the fire could be carrying radioactive particles from the site. The DTSC still denies any danger but they refuse to make public methods used, and results of, any testing they have done. If you live within 25 miles of SSFL, contact Fairewinds for information on testing dust in your house for radiation. Wildfires have spread radionuclides from areas contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown, demonstrating the danger contaminated sites, like SSFL, continue to pose, particularly given the growing impact of climate change on the frequency and intensity of wildfires. This is an unfolding story.

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I DON’T SEE WHY we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible.

—Henry Kissinger (explaining why he funded and engineered the overthrow of the democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende)

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by James Kunstler

Somehow I doubt that this Christmas will win the Bing Crosby star of approval. Rather, we see the financial markets breaking under the strain of sustained institutionalized fraud, and the social fabric tearing from persistent systemic political dishonesty. It adds up to a nation that can’t navigate through reality, a nation too dependent on sure things, safe spaces, and happy outcomes. Every few decades a message comes from the Universe that faking it is not good enough.

The main message from the financials is that the global debt barge has run aground, and with it, the global economy. That mighty engine has been chugging along on promises-to-pay and now the faith that sustained those promises is dissolving. China, Euroland, and the USA can’t possibly meet their tangled obligations, and are running out of tricks for rigging, gaming, and jacking the bond markets, where all those promises are vested. It boils down to a whole lot of people not getting paid, one way or the other — and it’s really bad for business.

Our President has taken full credit for the bubblicious markets, of course, and will be Hooverized as they gurgle around the drain. Given his chimerical personality, he may try to put on an FDR mask — perhaps even sit in a wheelchair — and try a few grand-scale policy tricks to escape the vortex. But the net effect will surely be to make matters worse — for instance, if he can hector the Federal Reserve to buy every bond that isn’t nailed to some deadly derivative booby-trap. But then he’ll only succeed in crashing the dollar. Remember, there are two main ways you can go broke: You can run out of money; or you can have plenty of worthless money.

On the social and political scene, I sense that some things have run their course. Is a critical mass of supposedly educated people not fatigued and nauseated by the regime of “social justice” good-think, and the massive mendacity it stands for? Starting with the idea that “diversity and inclusion” require the shut-down of free speech? The obvious hypocrisies and violations of reason emanating from the campuses — a lot, but not all of it, in response to the Golden Golem of Greatness — have made enough smart people stupid thus endangering the country’s political future. A lot of these formerly-non-stupid people work in the news media. It’s not too late for some institutions like The New York Times and CNN to change out their editors and producers, and go back to reporting the reality-du-jour instead of functioning as agit-prop mills for every unsound idea ginned through the Yale humanities departments.

Shoehorned into the festivity of the season is the lame-duck session in congress, and one of the main events it portends is the end of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The Sphinx-like Mueller has maintained supernatural silence about his tendings and intentions. But if he’d uncovered anything substantial in the way of “collusion” between Mr. Trump and Russia, the public would know by now, since it would represent a signal threat to national security.

So it’s hard not to conclude that he has nothing except a few Mickey Mouse “process” convictions for lying to the FBI. On the other hand, it’s quite impossible to imagine him ignoring the well-documented evidence trail of Hillary Clinton colluding with Russians to influence the 2016 contest against Mr. Trump — and to defame him after he won. There’s also the Hieronymus Bosch panorama of criminal mischief around the racketeering scheme known as the Clinton Foundation to consider. Do these venal characters get a pass on all that?

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) has announced plans to call Federal Attorney John Huber (Utah District) to testify about his assignment to look into these Clinton matters. It’s a little hard to see how that might produce any enlightenment, since prosecutors are bound by law to not blab about currently open cases. The committee has also subpoenaed former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, and others who have some serious ‘splainin’ to do. But if both Huber and Mueller come up empty-handed on the Clintons it will be one of the epic marvels of official bad faith in US history. There is a core truth to the 2016 Russia collusion story, and the Clintons are at the heart of it. Failure to even look will have very dark consequences for the public interest.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

* * *


Meet The Dollar Store Resistance

by Arthur Delaney

Low-end retailers undercut independent grocers and small-town aesthetics, but some locals are fighting back.

ROCK HALL, Md. ― When Dollar General said it would open a store here in 2013, Jeff Carroll warned it would crush the business he’d operated for the previous decade.

His company, Bayside Foods, which he co-owns with his wife, was the biggest employer in this tiny town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and the only grocery store. But Carroll didn’t see how a hometown boy such as himself could compete with a faraway corporation’s weirdly low prices on things like bread and milk.

He pleaded with the town planning commission, arguing that Rock Hall’s 2011 “comprehensive plan” says local firms are key to the town’s success.

“I presented my case and re-read the comprehensive plan several times, and they just totally ignored me,” he said. “They went to take a vote, and I stood up and said, ‘What about me?’”

So Carroll hired a lawyer to appeal the permit and circulated a petition that garnered more than 600 signatures. And in so doing, Carroll joined the Dollar Store Resistance ― a plucky little movement that barely exists, can’t win, but, by God, it tries.

Dollar stores are popping up all over the country, outnumbering McDonald’s restaurants and Walmart supercenters combined. The low-cost stores are part of a broader transformation of the American retail landscape, which recently has seen the demise of malls and the rise of Amazon’s home delivery service.

And they’re a part of an even bigger, longer, sadder trend: the decline of local business. In the 1980s, independent retailers sold half the goods bought in U.S. stores, but by 2012 the independent share of sales had fallen to about a quarter, according to the Institute for Local Self Reliance, a national think tank that advocates for preserving local economic power.

Once or twice every month, someone from a small town reaches out to ILSR for help confronting a dollar store development, said Stacy Mitchell, the group’s director. Laws vary by state, and there’s usually not much that can be done. But Mitchell said there’s a familiar pattern for what happens after the store opens: If the town already has a grocery, that store will lose roughly 30 percent of its business.

“The problem is, an independent grocer, because margins are small, losing that 30 percent often puts them in the red and they don’t have any resources to draw on,” Mitchell said. “There’s only so long a grocery store can hold on losing money.”

Dollar stores, by contrast, are owned by giant, profitable corporations with annual sales in the tens of billions.

“A Dollar General ― they can lose money at that new store for a year, two years, until that local grocer closes,” Mitchell said.

A recent Department of Agriculture analysis found that from 2007 to 2015, the overall number of grocery stores in the U.S. increased, but the share of stores that were independent declined from around 46 percent to 43 percent, with independents responsible for only 11 percent of retail food sales. Since they’re technically not groceries, dollar stores were excluded from the analysis, meaning it understates the decline of independent food retailers.

Dollar stores are grocery stores. They feed more people than Whole Foods does, Mitchell said, citing her own analysis of federal consumer spending data. There’s usually no fresh produce, but you can get cheap packs of bacon, cans of soup or Velveeta cheese slices without having to drive to a giant facility.

There are two main dollar brands: Dollar General and Dollar Tree, which also owns Family Dollar. While Dollar Tree exclusively sells items that cost only $1, Family Dollar and Dollar General offer more expensive items. They share essentially the same business model. A core part of their strategy is that their stores are cheap to build and easy to shop in because they’re small, bright and rarely situated on remote highways.

In their disclosures to investors, both Dollar General and Dollar Tree use the word “compelling” to describe the dollar shopping experience. Because the stores are so small ― typically less than 10,000 square feet ― it’s easy for customers to walk in, grab what they need and walk back out.

The key advantage over locally owned competition is that dollar stores have their own distribution networks, just like Amazon and Walmart. Being able to buy on a larger scale means dollar stores can sell products at a far lower price than a smaller retailer can get from its wholesalers. Dollar General operates 15 warehouses around the country and is currently constructing two more. In addition to hiring third-party trucking firms, it has its own fleet of trucks that deliver goods to its nearly 15,000 stores. It opened 1,300 new locations last year and had planned for 900 more this year, mostly in rural towns with fewer than 20,000 residents.

The epicenter of the dollar store resistance might be Chester, Vermont, where residents’ fight against dollar stores made The New York Times in 2012. They were able to fend off Dollar General until 2016, citing local regulations designed up uphold the town’s “character.” Other Vermont towns have made use of a special state law that allows residents to appeal development projects to regional boards. Vermont has been a beacon to other small towns confronting the spread of low-end retail.

“I still get calls from other states, but our laws are so different it’s hard to give anybody advice,” said Shawn Cunningham, a local activist.

Chester’s local grocery store adapted by shifting its inventory and letting go some part-time workers, said proprietor Lonnie Lisai. The store lost about 10 percent of its business.

“We couldn’t compete with the grocery part: the toilet paper, the paper good aisle, trash bags, the detergent aisle, snack food, canned vegetables,” Lisai said. “However, it did make us a better store by readjusting our marketing strategy by doing more produce, more dairy, more meats and fresh produce.”

In Joshua Tree, California, a coalition of local business owners and residents sued San Bernardino County over its approval of a Dollar Store development in 2013. They were ultimately rebuffed by an appeals court in 2016, but Celeste Doyle, owner of an outdoor supply store, said the Dollar General still hasn’t materialized. She hopes it stays away.

“They would definitely degrade the community and take away from the panache, the gestalt that makes it less of why most people moved here for,” she said.

Sometimes dollar stores are beaten decisively. Earlier this year, the town council in Buhler, Kansas, voted against a Dollar General after seeing a local food market run out of business by a dollar store in nearby Haven. And the City Council in Tulsa, Oklahoma, enacted zoning restrictions to prevent new dollar stores from opening.

The fights can pit different constituencies against each other. Rock Hall Mayor Brian Jones, who was a member of the town council in 2013, said the strongest opposition to the Dollar General came from newer residents who moved to Rock Hall for its marinas and quiet bayfront property.

“They moved here from cities and towns that already had this stuff, and that’s the last thing they wanted to see,” Jones said. Many longtime residents, on the other hand, are just happy to be able to buy things cheaply.

Rock Hall has a population of about 1,200 with a significant number of households that are second homes for people who live here only part of the year. With vintage homes lining its two biggest roads and a tiny commercial area on Main Street, the town is pleasant but not aggressively quaint. Bayside Foods is on the corner of Main and Rock Hall Avenue.

Jeff Carroll’s challenge to Rock Hall’s building permit lost in court, and the town’s leaders seemingly did share the town activists’ antipathy for dollar stores. The Dollar General opened in November 2013 across the avenue from Bayside Foods. It’s set back from the road between a chain boating retailer and a Pasta Plus, and it doesn’t seem to detract much from Rock Hall’s local panache.

Bayside is still open, but Carroll said he’s lost 30 percent of his business and has reduced his staff from 42 to 25. He no longer offers health insurance or retirement benefits for those who remain.

Carroll said the Dollar General employs six people, with four of them working part time. (Slim staffing with low pay is another key part of the dollar store strategy.)

Dollar General declined to specify how many workers it has in Rock Hall but said its stores generally have six to 10 employees.

“When we open a new location, we carefully consider how best to meet the needs of our customers, while being respectful of community concerns,” the company said in a statement (attributed to no one in particular). “Dollar General offers everyday low prices, value and convenience on quality products; qualities that customers across America are looking for as they look for ways to stretch their budgets.”

On a Friday in October, the Rock Hall Dollar General had cheaper coffee grounds, cheaper milk and far cheaper canned goods than Bayside Foods had to offer. Bayside had competitive prices on bacon and bread, but Carroll said the discounts he offered for those items made them unprofitable.

Bayside had the charm of a local shop, with a butcher, deli and a bakery where people could sit and wait for their orders. The Dollar General had the charm of a prefabricated box store, albeit a small one. What it lacked in food options it made up for with other items, like belts, Budweiser hats and plastic tubs. Several customers said they also shopped at Bayside, especially if they needed something like fresh meat. For that reason, they seemed unconcerned that Bayside might be in an unfair fight.

Carroll is unsure how much longer Rock Hall can support both Dollar General and his local market. The town native said he returned in the early 2000s to be his own boss after having spent a career working for Acme Markets in Pennsylvania.

He is unsure how much longer he wants to keep working ― at 63, he’s had both hips replaced and underwent back surgery on Tuesday. Before we had lunch in October, he went home to retrieve a pain pill. When we arrived at Waterman’s Crab House, Carroll said, “This is the end of the road,” because the road literally ended at the water. He was making a point about how tiny the town is. But it kind of seemed like he was talking about himself.

“It’s impossible to compete,” he said.

* * *

* * *

IN HIS BOOK "TO HAVE OR TO BE?" Erich Fromm presents a flawless argument proving this point. On page 121, he wrote:

"As long as the tables were set for only a minority (the wealthy) and the majority had to serve the minority's purposes and be satisfied with that what was left over, the sense that disobedience is sin had to be cultivated.

"Both state and church cultivated it, and both worked together, because both had to protect their own hierarchies.

"The state needed religion to have an ideology that fused disobedience and sin―the church needed believers whom the state had trained in the virtues of obedience.

"Both used the institution of the family, whose function it was to train the child in obedience from the first moment it showed a will of its own, usually, at the latest, with the beginning of toilet training. The self-will of the child had to be broken in order to prepare it for its proper functioning later on as a citizen."

A glaring example is the male dominated anti choice agenda. The idea that abortion is wrong is a RELIGIOUS BELIEF of male god religions. This religious belief supports capitalism (a male dominated social system) by insuring an endless supply of consumers, cheap workers, and soldiers to grow the economy accomplished by the male appropriation of the uterus.

"God formed her body to belong to a man, to have and to rear children. Let them bear children till they die of it."— Martin Luther.

"In pain shall you bear children, yet your urge will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."— Genesis 3:16.

"Your women are fields to cultivate, so go to your fields as you will!" –Koran 2:223.

In "God and the State" by Michael Bakunin (born 1814, died 1876) he blasted the collaboration of church and state with both barrels! Born into Russian nobility, he rejected it and he walked his talk in behalf of those who the RICH oppressed.

Bakunin spent eight years imprisoned in dungeons and in Siberia for speaking out against the czar and all wealthy oppressors and how they use "god" to justify their parasitism of the poor! While imprisoned, many of his teeth fell out due to starvation rations. Fortunately, he managed to escape!

Bakunin said that the leading institutions of man's enslavement, are the church and the state.

"Every state has been an instrument by which a privileged few have wielded power over the immense majority. And every church has been a loyal ally of the state in the subjugation of mankind. Governments throughout history have used religion both as a means of keeping men in ignorance and as a 'safety valve' for human misery and frustration.

"No less than the state, then, religion is the negation of freedom and equality."


* * *

* * *


Can I tell you a secret? I don’t even care if there are undocumented immigrants in this country. I think it’s a non-issue. Without social security numbers they aren’t privy to the welfare people claim they get. The vast majority of them are normal people trying to live a better life. This whole wall, deport the illegals bullshit is just the 1% convincing the working poor to blame a subset of the working poor for the fact that they’re all poor instead of realizing the reason they are all poor is due to vast income inequality and resource price inflation in combination with wage stagnation. Please use your brains. PS. The existence of another poor person is not why you’re poor. It’s because the people who control everything refuse to increase your wages.

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO annual Thorgellen special tonight!

Tonight, Friday, 9pm to 5am, I'm reading Memo of the Air by live remote from Juanita's apartment, not from the back room of the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar, so make plans to show-and-tell there next week, Nov. 30 (fifth Friday in November, the Festival of Nov Shmoz Ka Pop), when I'll be there for you, as they say. Here now, there then.

Deadline to get your writing on the air tonight is around 7pm. If you're still working on it after that, just email it when you're done and I'll read it on the show next time. Or save it and come in and read it yourself in person next week (or sing and dance or otherwise express it), see above.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via and click on Listen.

Also you can always go to and hear last week's show, and shows before that, and read and watch and foof around with all sorts of other edgily educational materials. By Saturday night, tonight's MOTA magically becomes last week's MOTA, so if you wait till Saturday night to look you'll find that too. It'll be right on top, just under the NASA photograph of the solar flare that swallowed the Death Planet Nibiru. That's right: no more worries about Nibiru fulfilling Nostradamus' Masonic prophesy and bringing a thousand years of Tribulation; thank Christ, Robert Goddard, Tsiolkovsky and that affable Nazi genius Wernher von Braun for space science.

Some bonus tracks for while you wait:

The funkiest Have a Cigar ever.

Holiday cards for your racist relatives.

And further Gunhild Carling. -

—Marco McClean,,

* * *

FOUND OBJECT [you provide the caption]



  1. Marshall Newman November 24, 2018

    RE: “Found Object.” Caption – “Deflect, deflect, deflect…”

  2. John Sakowicz November 24, 2018

    Found Object Caption?

    “We were ‘Jill Stein spokesmodels’, but Trump paid better!”

  3. Bill Pilgrim November 24, 2018

    RE: Found Object.

    “Introducing Trump Bubble ‘Bots!
    Grab’em Any Place and Any Time You Please!”

  4. chuck dunbar November 24, 2018

    Found Object Caption:

    “We’re looking for Little Dog. Poor thing needs some pets and love–chasing off those bad chickens and fighting off those evil cats is hard work!”

  5. Lazarus November 24, 2018


    Nervous residents in The Willits are wondering what on earth is going on at the old 11 Oaks Motor Lodge site. Rumor types say it some nuclear waste experimental Tesla type miracle that will save planet earth, or hurt Willits even more than it already is…
    Wednesdays, The Willits News had the whole story…”Life Ray Comes to Willits”,
    a good read IMO.
    As always,

    • George Hollister November 24, 2018

      “As an example, Nancy said, “John has a battery that never needs to be recharged… We use tones and vibrations with a music overlay… We are going to be taking steps with that and creating something you can hold in your hand enough power to power a house.” ”

      OK, step right up folks.

      • james marmon November 24, 2018

        Just what Mendocino needed, two more nuts!

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