Sunday, January 29, 2023

Stories of note

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The Latest

‘Gut-Wrenching and Disgusting’: Fort Bragg Police Chief Speaks Out on the ‘Brutal Attack’ By Memphis Cops on Tyre Nichols

"The officers involved brought shame upon their badges and the law enforcement profession as a whole. They betrayed their oaths, their department, their community, and their country."

Fort Bragg Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Molestation of a Child 10 Years of Age or Younger

"After the guilty pleas were accepted and entered into the court record, the defendant’s case was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a sentencing report."

Crime

Fort Bragg Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Molestation of a Child 10 Years of Age or Younger

"After the guilty pleas were accepted and entered into the court record, the defendant’s case was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a sentencing report."

Drunk Driver Who Struck Mother and Child Outside Ukiah Fair Sentenced to Nearly Eight Years in State Prison

"The California Department of Justice crime laboratory also provided scientific support by determining that the defendant’s blood alcohol at the time of the collision was .22, and that the bindle found in the defendant’s pant pocket contained cocaine."

Willits Cannabusiness Targeted by Armed Robbers Under Investigation

"The business had approval to operate as a medical consultancy.  The approval did not authorize the storage and/or handling of marijuana at the subject site."

Fire

Residential Structure Fire Quickly Extinguished in Fort Bragg

Scanner traffic indicates one person will require Red Cross support for the night. The Incident Commander said firefighters will be mopping up the structure into the evening.

Four Ukiah Families Displaced After New Year’s Eve Apartment Complex Fire

Ukiah Valley Fire Battalion Chief Justin Buckingham told us preliminary investigations indicate the fire's ignition source was either an electrical issue or combustibles placed in front of a wall furnace. 

[UPDATE: Under Control]Ukiah Apartment Complex Catches Fire

At least one apartment is burning heavily and other apartments are threatened.
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The Bright Side

The Community Foundation Awards $208,000 to Mendocino County Animal Welfare Organizations

"County shelters, private veterinary clinics, nonprofit organizations, and state wildlife offices comprise the animal welfare sector in Mendocino County. Each of these organizations plays a vital role in the health, safety, and protection of domestic animals and wildlife."

Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner Sets New Record Providing Over 1,000 Meals to Mendocino Coast Residents

"In addition to feeding many food-insecure households, many of the meals went to people who, regardless of finances, would not otherwise have had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner."

Photojournalist Documenting California’s Highway 1 Captures the Beauty of the Mendocino Coast

In terms of photographing the Mendocino County Coast, Jefferson Graham told us "he just scratched the surface. It was foggy most of the time, and only got one sunset! But looking forward to return."

Ukiah’s State Street Glows with Holiday Cheer During Last Night’s Parade of Lights

Our photographer was there to capture the bright lights and holiday cheer.

77-Year-Old Motorcyclist Seeks Woman Who Comforted Him After He Crashed Exactly a Month Ago Near Laytonville

"She didn't do much. She didn't say much. She just held my hand...I can’t express what that meant to me as I remained flat on my back with multiple fractures of a shoulder and rib."

Traffic

Sunday Night Crash Near Covelo Results in Major Injuries—Drunk Driving Suspected

Originally reported around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, emergency personnel located a vehicle approximately 20' off the roadway near the intersection of Hill Road and Dobie Lane.

Government

Federal Highway Administration Provides $30 Million to Repair California’s Roadways After Winter Storms

"On January 11, the lawmakers led and authored a bipartisan letter with 38 California Members of Congress to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt to request expedited support, funding and other assistance to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)"

Ukiah’s City Manager Reflects on the Municipal Accomplishments of 2022

"The City is busy at work building, reinforcing, and expanding on the foundations that make our community a great place to live, work, invest, and visit."

Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Gjerde Will Not Seek a Fourth Term

“With today’s announcement, residents who might want to consider service as a County Supervisor have proper notice. They can study the issues facing the County and can evaluate if the job is a good fit for the skills, effort, and time they are prepared to offer."

Environment

Creekside Cabins a ‘Public Health Menace’—Inspectors Find RVs Draining Sewage Into Nearby Creek

The washed-out roadway has left critical services such as "emergency response, septic processing, garbage collection, propane delivery, medical supply delivery, and food delivery" unable to access the fifty-plus residents of the park.

Permit to Chop Down Eagle Tree Revoked Amidst Revelations Fish & Wildlife Failed to Consult with Local Tribes

Congressman Jared Huffman agreed, saying he finds it “unacceptable” if the agency granted the permit without tribal consultation, and that he “share(s) the concern that a federal agency would not know better.”

California Attorney General Requires Proposed Lake County Luxury Development to Mitigate Wildfire Risk and Greenhouse Emissions

“Developers have a responsibility to build in a way that recognizes this reality and to make smart decisions at the front end so people's lives are not endangered down the line."

Cannabis

Willits Cannabusiness Targeted by Armed Robbers Under Investigation

"The business had approval to operate as a medical consultancy.  The approval did not authorize the storage and/or handling of marijuana at the subject site."

18 Months After an Attempted Murder on a Covelo Cannabis Grow, a Suspect Is in Custody

A year and a half after allegedly firing upon fellow cannabis cultivators in the rugged hills east of Round Valley, Jose Javier Salazar Cruz now sits in the Mendocino County jail where he awaits trial for his crime.

66-Year-Old Man Arrested for Suspected Human Trafficking on Trinity County Cannabis Grow

"Investigators found and documented numerous building, health and safety code violations; nearly 3,000 pounds of processed marijuana was destroyed."

Weather

Hammered by Winter Storms, the County of Mendocino Proclaims Local Emergency

"Please exercise caution when traveling around the County during these hazardous weather conditions. Reminder, be aware and move over for road crews, PG&E and first responders."

PG&E Crews Out in Full Force Restoring Power Amid Historic Storm Conditions Across Northern and Central California

"Hazards such as fallen trees, floods and debris flows have made gaining access difficult in some areas and could delay power restoration efforts.""Hazards such as fallen trees, floods and debris flows have made gaining access difficult in some areas and could delay power restoration efforts."

Mendocino Sheriff Matt Kendall Featured on Fox Weather Discussuing Storm Impacts

Sheriff Kendall spoke of downed trees, high winds, localized flooding, and the resiliency of Mendocino County residents in the face of adversity.

Utilities

Water Main Breaks in Ukiah Causing Flooding

The shopping complex including Big Lots and Anytime Fitness was inundated with water.

PG&E Continues Response to Intense Series of Winter Storms Impacting Northern and Central California Through Tuesday

"This effort has enabled the restoration of more than 1.6 million customers who lost power since the initial storm in the series began on New Year’s weekend, with about 90% of customers restored in 24 hours."

Broken Fire Hydrant on Willits’s Main Street Causes Geyser

A witness on the scene said law enforcement had a van pulled over near the area of the geyser and were conducting what appeared to be a sobriety test, suggesting the subject could have struck the hydrant.

Tribes

Cahto Tribe Demands Groundwater Testing at the Defunct Laytonville Landfill

Scheduled maintenance at the Laytonville landfill has led to calls for more rigorous groundwater testing and a long-awaited agreement between state and county agencies and the Cahto tribe, whose rancheria is right next door to the closed dump site.

Health

Cleaning Up After Flooding: Mendocino County Public Health Offers Advice

"The floods will leave a mess behind them, and people will want to clean up their property and repair their homes as soon as possible so they can move forward with their lives. Some simple precautions can help protect their health and safety as they do so."

Schools and Employers Should Allow Self-Attestation Rather Than Doctor’s Note to Return After Sickness—Mendocino County Public Health

“Most people will recover in their own home from flu or COVID without a problem”.

Drought

New State Policies for Drilling Wells Could Dramatically Increase Costs and Permitting Times for Mendocino County’s Farmers—Op-Ed

"The State of California has billions of dollars available for water infrastructure. The new rules put a tremendous burden on the county and farmers. Will the state provide funding for any of this?"

State Drought Manager and Atmospheric River Expert Featured in Sonoma County Town Hall on November 10th

"A third consecutive year of below-average rainfall in the Russian River watershed has left the region’s two primary water storage reservoirs, Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, near historic lows."

A Lake of Summer Memories Is Now a Grim Symbol of Mendocino County’s Water Crisis

The quiet crisis building in the background of our Mendocino County lives is water. Sometimes a couple of photographs can tell the story better than any reporter could.

COVID-19

Schools and Employers Should Allow Self-Attestation Rather Than Doctor’s Note to Return After Sickness—Mendocino County Public Health

“Most people will recover in their own home from flu or COVID without a problem”.

Mendocino County Residents Can Get Tested for Flu and COVID at Local Test-to-Treat Sites

"Having easy access to testing and treatments for flu or COVID will really help decrease the stress in our emergency rooms and medical offices.”

Winter Viruses Circulate in Mendocino County Causing Spike of Children Requiring Emergency Room Care

"Cold and flu season has begun early in Mendocino County and COVID is still a  threat as well. These viruses affect everyone including children, and most severely infants and toddlers less than 2 years old."

mendohistory

The Elder Magnolias of Ukiah’s Courthouse—A Living Link to the Town’s Beginnings 

“Ancient sentinels of a passing era. Their roots are entwined about the hearts of many who linger here and in the memories of the days of their youth consider them as friends of that happy time.”

The Day the Devil Came to Willits

"Want to know what the definition of Hell actually is? It's when it turns pitch black at 3 p.m. and becomes a deep blood red by 6."

MendoThrowback: An Interview With a Pomo Basket Weaver—The ‘Best Baskets Are Buried With the Dead’

Clara Williams was born in 1883 and grew to master Pomo basketry. When the Ukiah Daily Journal interviewed her in 1955, she spoke of being one of the last Pomo basket weavers left.

A Look Back at the Ebbs and Flows of Mendocino County’s Skateboarding Scene

"Oh gosh, skateboarding and Mendocino County... For the most part, especially back in the '80s, there was a definite love-hate relationship between kids, adults, police and city council folk in the three major towns: Willits, Ukiah and Fort Bragg."

How the Death of Fifteen Firefighters in the Mendocino National Forest Sowed the Seeds of Today’s Firefighting Aircrafts

“The important thing about the original air tanker operation was its enthusiasm. The conviction that “this idea will work” spread from the dozen or so pilots to the Forest Service and state people, who call the pilots back, again and again, to help put out fires all over the state."
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Community Events

Fort Bragg Little League Invites You to Eat Pizza and Register Your Kid for Baseball

"Also, we are accepting applications for Little League Managers & Coaches. What a great way to give back, help our youth, and have some fun!"

Storytelling: A Juried Art Show Presented by Deep Valley Arts Collective

"Once upon a time, humanity relied on visual imagery to tell stories. We continue to develop our various forms of communication and use many mediums to share our stories - pottery, song, dance, painting, photography, poetry, and more."

KYBU Round Valley Community Radio Is Celebrating 11 Years On-The-Air This Friday, 12/9

"Now, after 11 years of broadcasting music, talk, news, public affairs and more, KYBU is celebrating with an event at the Round Valley Public Library Commons from 6pm to 10pm on Friday, December 9, 2022."

MendoMoments

MendoMoments: The Super Flower Blood Moon Descends Behind Duncan Peak

Hopland resident Vernon Hamilton Budinger arose in the darkness to capture the strange sight of the moon-turned- ochre. He managed to snap a shot of Duncan Peak's silhouette as the eclipse waned and the moon descended below the western horizon.

MendoMoments: A Darkened Sky, A Quiet Home, A Leafless Sycamore

The sight gave James both "an ominous vibe, and a comfortable, vague familiarity."

MendoMoments: ‘Frost and Fire’- A Covelo Sunrise on a Chilly Morn

"When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire/ The brief sun flames the ice."

Paranormal

Eyewitness Reported an X-Shaped UFO Flying Over Redwood Valley in Early October

On the morning of October 1, 2022, according to a report in the National UFO Reporting Center, an unidentified Redwood Valley resident saw something they’ll likely never forget. 

As the 1970s Brought a Swell of Unexplained Livestock Death Across America’s Rural West, Seven Cattle Were Found Mutilated in Round Valley

[WARNING: This article contains graphics images and descriptions of violence wrought on animals] Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Barron L. Hankes, who was serving as the “livestock investigator,” revealed that “six animals owned by three ranchers in this area have been found dead and sexually mutilated in the past two weeks.”

Ukiah Cops, Point Arena Coasties, and a County Supervisor Recount Witnessing UFOs Above Mendocino County— MendoThrowback

Coast Guard Seaman Brad Roddy based at the Coast Guard Lighthouse Station in Point Arena claimed to see an object that "had a red-body light with a whitish light or glow on one end" and watched a "weird cloud formation" form around it.

Op-Ed/Letter to the Editor

A 115-Year-Old Willits Resident, Storms, Sinkholes, and County Finances—3rd District Supervisor John Haschak’s Monthly

"The whiplashing that the weather has given us severe drought and flooding and has caused death and destruction."

‘All They Wanted Me to Do Was Act as an Uncritical Conduit for their Point of View and Their Priorities’—Our Reporter Responds to Criticisms...

"But it is obvious that no one has any grounds to expect respectful treatment from Laytonville Alliance for Environmental Justice, unless they are content to serve as the organization’s publicity arm, treating all other sources with utmost skepticism."

Laytonville Environmental Activist Is ‘Dismayed’ at Our Journalist’s ‘Lack of Critical Reporting’—Letter to the Editor

"Without this relevant context that we provided to Reith, the general public can’t possibly understand why local residents feel so ignored by State authorities."

Police Logs

Education

‘Change Our Name’ Holds Essay Contest for Fort Bragg High School Students Offering Cash Prizes

"The essays will be judged not on whether the students agree with us but on the breadth of their research and the force of their arguments for or against the name change.”

New Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Nicole Glentzer Begins Term

“It is an honor to serve our children and our entire community as the next Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools."

2023 Community Foundation Scholarship Program Accepting Applications

"In 2022, the Community Foundation awarded 110 scholarships totaling $383,000."

Community

Mendocino Art Center ‘Grapples With a Significant Overall Budgetary Shortfall’: Please Consider Supporting

"This generosity will enable the MAC to continue our dynamic Ceramics, Artists-in-Residence, and expanded Youth programs."

Donate $5 to Win a Badass MendoFever Pocket Knife and Coffee Tumbler

Bottom line: one lucky reader will get a limited-edition knife and coffee tumbler for only $5.00.

If You Value What We Do, Please Consider a Monthly Donation to MendoFever

As the Bell Fire grew this afternoon, we had over 500 readers on our website at once. If each of those readers donated just $5/month, we'd have the funds to pay for more, deeper coverage of this place we call home.

Cold Cases

Khadijah Britton’s Family Wants More Than the Feather Alert Notification System—They Want Justice

Khadijah Britton's grandfather hopes the Feather Alert system could bring someone home in the future. But, the notification system seemed trivial knowing with each passing day, his granddaughter’s case grows cold.

The Spread of Suspicion: The Unsolved Murder of Mendocino County Cannabis Legend Les Crane

"The first evidence pointed to a home invasion, in the nearly two decades since then, the shifting eye of suspicion has landed on everyone from law enforcement to loved ones."

Negie Fallis, the Lead Suspect in Khadijah Britton’s Disappearance, is Out of Prison and Back in Local Court

Khadijah Britton went missing over four-and-a-half years ago. During that time, Negie Fallis, the man law enforcement suspects made her disappear, has spent nearly two-and-a-half years behind bars. Fallis has managed to elude criminal prosecution for his suspected role in the disappearance of Khadijah.

Fairfield Man Arrested After DNA Links Him to Cold Case Homicides from 1980 and 1986

"A Fairfield man has been arrested in connection with multiple homicides spanning three jurisdictions and more than three decades."

49 Years Ago, A Southern Humboldt Woman Was Killed on Her Way Home for Christmas by the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murderer

Instead of returning home, 23-year-old Miranda woman Theresa Walsh was killed by an unknown suspect. Instead of getting to hold her son again, Walsh would become one of six women who fell into the web of a predator stalking and preying upon the young women of Sonoma County. 

Mendonoma

A Point Arena Bobcat Amidst the Dry Grass—A Dispatch From Mendonoma

"The markings on a Bobcat's coat are unique to itself, just like our fingerprints!"

A Pine Cone and a Pygmy Nuthatch—A Dispatch from Mendonoma

"They arrive at dusk and leave at first light...unless they hear Ravens. Then they become silent and wait inside until the danger has passed over them."

The Bald Eagle and the Shadow—A Dispatch from Mendonoma

"Sara Bogard saw this Bald Eagle coming in for a landing on the sand by the P'Da Hau, aka the Garcia River."