Saturday, November 26, 2022

Help MendoFever Cultivate Our Team of Reporters So They Can Tell the Stories That Need Telling

My wife and I in Maui’s ʻĪao Valley State Monument last week (and yes, I listened to the police scanner in our downtime and wrote stories about Mendocino County back home, even in Hawaii)

Dear MendoFever Readers-

Matt LaFever here. I wanted to introduce a number of new contributors to the Home of Mendocino County News. Writers and photographers from around Mendocino County have joined our staff dedicated to telling the stories that you need now. 

We would like to take a moment and introduce the team that has come together to answer the call to keep the public informed of the stories that touch our lives.


Sarah Reith 

The indomitable Sarah Reith is an Army veteran, a long-standing radio reporter for KZYX, a MendoVoice contributor, and now is writing for MendoFever covering Mendocino County. Reith walks the walk. She sits in the Board Chamber for hours-long stretches looking for those diamonds in the rough, those stories that will affect the lives of Mendocino County. She covers the protests, the sit-ins, and the debates to untie the tensions that endure in our county

Peter Armstrong

The man, the myth, the legend Peter Armstrong is a juggernaut of inland Mendocino County’s fire and first responder photography. For years, he has worked as a Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Volunteer and cameraman documenting the harrowing moments of firefighting. His work has been published in the Ukiah Daily Journal countless times and in periodicals throughout the nation. We are so excited to work with Armstrong as he documents not only the nail-biting moments but the graduations and BBQs that bring our community together.

Monica Huettl 

Local news newcomer Monica Huettl has writing chops and a passion for telling the stories of Redwood Valley. Huettl recognizes the importance of municipal coverage taking on the task of attending Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Meetings and broadening out to covering our drought task force. Her coverage has captured the most Mendocino-centric perspective on the future of the Potter Valley Project. We’re lucky to have Huettl’s curiosity and readiness on our team. 

Andrew Scully 

Andrew Scully lives in the coastal town of Mendocino and carries with him a sharply written word published in the Anderson Valley Advertiser and now joining MendoFever. Half-Canadian and never satisfied with simple answers, Scully’s pugnacious ability to ask our city and county leaders the tough questions proves him an asset to MendoFever. 

Brandon Tripp

Brandon Tripp is home-grown Mendocino. Comfortable in the backcountry and calm under pressure, Tripp once worked in the first-responder world but sought a life at a slower pace. Now, Tripp trains his camera on the fires and law enforcement situations capturing the men and women who face danger head-on, and he’s right there with them. Tripp photographed the accused Hopkins Fire arsonist as he gazed at the flames he allegedly lit. He went to Laytonville to photograph SWAT talking down a man threatening to commit suicide-by-cop. Tripp’s relationships with our county’s first responders make him an invaluable asset to documenting the moments that take our breath away.

Ayled Zazueta

Ayled Zazueta, a former Ukiah High Wildcat who served as editor-in-chief of the Ukiahilite, has spent her last three years at the University of Redlands living the student life of journalism and cultural studies. She’s written about topics like exploitation of bilingualism in the workplace, COVID-19 protocols in a university setting, and the intersection of Capitalism and Environmental Harm in Hawai’i. She is interning this summer at KZYX working in their bilingual news program. She is writing for us during her summer break, and hopefully longer, bringing her eclectic eye for storytelling and culture into the mix.

Robert Bozolli

Robert Bozzoli, also known as @halfway_serious on Instagram, is well-known in the Fort Bragg athletics scene for his portraits of high school athletes giving their all. His pictures are crisp, the colors are vibrant, and his composition is impeccable. We’re excited that Bozzoli has decided to dip his toes into the breaking news world by photographing fires and incidents in and around Fort Bragg. 

Judy Valadao

Anybody who is anybody knows Fort Bragg’s Judy Valadao. She’s rambunctious, she speaks her mind, and she keeps her finger on the pulse of Fort Bragg happenings. Her work formatting and packaging of our daily police logs provide readers with a clean and clear way to watch the watchers of their community. 

Mike Geniella 

Mike Geniella’s incisive voice and watchful eye have been aimed at Mendocino County for many decades as a long-standing reporter for the Press Democrat. His exhaustive coverage of Judi Bari and the Redwood Summer brought the conflict between environmentalism and industry to the national stage. After retiring from reporting, he worked as the spokesman for Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office getting insight into the county’s inner workings. Now retired, Geniella finds the writing habit hard to shake. MendoFever is happy to oblige his habit. 


In approximately three weeks, MendoFever will officially be two years old. This online newsroom has had a snowball-like momentum. I could have never imagined that thousands of readers would visit the website every day to check in on the goings-on of our tiny slice of the world.

Donations from readers allow me to pay these invaluable writers and photographers. Good work deserves good pay.Their labors deserve a reward.

Please, consider making a monthly donation. Last week MendoFever was visited by 16,000 readers. If all of our loyal readers committed to a small monthly donation of $1/month, we could afford to pay these men and women more for their hard work.

We will always offer our reporting to our community for free. We could not imagine creating a paywall locking members of our community out of the news they need.

But, the online ecosystem contributes to a culture that devalues the hours of work these men and women put into keeping their community informed. You, our readers, can start changing that.

If you value MendoFever, the coverage our newsroom provides, and the eclectic team dedicated to telling the stories Mendocino County needs, make a donation. If you have a business, advertise with us. If you value Mendocino County’s very own newsroom, support it.

Thank you for making MendoFever part of your daily routine and helping us continue to tell the stories that need telling.

-Matt LaFever, Founder, Editor, and Reporter for MendoFever

Help Support Local Journalism

P.S. If you’re a writer or a photographer and would like to join the MendoFever team, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Keep up the good work of keeping locals informed.
    Seems to be a multi layered team presenting various insights, differing lifestyles and points of view.

  2. The finest go to, daily news source in Mendocino County. Immediate, insightful, accurate. Every donation makes it better, and keeps you informed of the mess this beautiful county is in, for only truth can strive to make a change.

  3. You are my first go-to site for local news, checked twice daily and highly appreciated. Thanks for the reminder, it’s been six months since I kicked any $ your way!

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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