The Octopus Mountain Fire

CalFire called it the Peach Fire. Locals, depending on their community seniority, called it either the Tarwater Hill Fire after an old timer family named Tarwater who lived at its foot, or the Octopus Mountain Fire, its more contemporary designation inspired by the landmark’s tentacled topography. When the fire broke out about 3:15 last Thursday […]

Mobile Homes For Mobile People

Pieter Kruit is a San Francisco painting contractor and a noted documentary filmmaker.* John Kennaugh is a San Francisco furniture maker. One day, Pieter Kruit was painting the building next door to John Kennaugh’s house on Russian Hill. “I looked over,” Kruit remembers, “and there in the basement I was surprised to see a complete […]

Secret Assassins

“The Lottery” is a famous short story by Shirley Jackson about an annual small town drawing whose winner is stoned to death. The story makes the point that small towns can be mean places. Lately, some major meanness has afflicted the local schools. A portion of Anderson Valley’s school staff — the biggest payroll in […]

The Perpetually Re-Invented Mr. Sakowicz

There are lightning rods and then there’s John Sakowicz. Sako, as the ubiquitous County gadfly is widely known, regularly pops up in the local media and he has been the subject of national news stories. He is synonymous with controversy, the latest in Colorado. A March 30th letter to the editor of the Denver Post […]

DA Says No to New Courthouse

MENDOCINO COUNTY DA DAVID EYSTER is emphatically opposed to a new County Courthouse. Alone among the County’s elected officials in his opposition to the project, which would re-locate superior courtrooms four long blocks east of its present location, Eyster says the present Courthouse can be made perfectly serviceable, and for a lot less money than […]

Old Murders Never Die

The nude body of 18-year-old Barbara Stroud was found by a County road crew north of Willits on Wednesday, January 10th, 1973. The honors graduate of Willits High School had been missing since the previous Sunday. Miss Stroud and her boyfriend, Bob Burke, had enjoyed a movie at the Willits Theater, then Miss Stroud, driving […]

Dr. Peter Keegan Charged With Murder

A Mendocino County criminal grand jury has indicted Dr. Peter Keegan for the murder of his wife, Susan Keegan. The startling news was revealed Thursday afternoon with the posting of Friday’s court calendar showing that Keegan will be arraigned at 9am Friday morning in Department B before Judge Ann Moorman. Mrs. Keegan was found dead […]

The Genocidal Namesake Of The Hastings School Of Law

A stern visage, the very picture of 19th century rectitude, looked down on passersby from a banner at the corner of McAllister and Larkin, fin de siècle San Francisco. The banner celebrated the adjacent law school, which is named after Serranus Clinton Hastings, born in New York, law degree in Indiana, west to frontier Iowa […]

Fussin’ & Fightin’ at AV Unified

Confusion reigns at neo-turbulent AV Unified, with more confusion undoubtedly served up this Tuesday (30 May),  but served too late for this week’s paper-paper. Last week’s hurry-up meetings, plural, saw a puzzled crowd of teachers and a few parents stuff themselves into Superintendent Hutchins’ office at the Elementary School late in the afternoon to mull over a […]

The Day I Met The People’s Temple

Sharon Amos was short and sad and gray. Even when she was dressed in vivid reds and yellows she seemed to suck the life out of everything around her. If birds fell dead out of the sky, flowers suddenly wilted, small children broke inexplicably into tears, to me it would come to mean that Ms. […]

It Took Four Years But…

As soon as you get off the pavement in Mendocino County you can find yourself in another country, a kind of United Nations of dope growers that includes Bulgarians, Chinese, Mexicans, Russians, Italian and Spanish nationals, to name a few of the representatives of foreign countries arrested recently in Mendocino County. A Toyota mini-van was […]