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7 minutes | Oct 28, 2021
Ukiah Launches Ambitious Public Arts Project
by Stacey Sheldon October 14, 2021--The City of Ukiah’s Community Service Department recently launched its 50 in 5 Arts Campaign. This ambitious project aims to install 50 pieces of public art throughout Ukiah in the next 5 years. The intent of the 50 in 5 campaign is to showcase Ukiah's creativity and culture through public art that reflects the unique wisdom, intellect, history and imagination of Ukiah’s people. The project is the brainchild of Neil Davis, Ukiah’s Director of Community Services. He reached out to Alyssum Wier, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Mendocino County, for support. Together they crafted a vision and purpose for the project. Together they garnered grant money, created applications for artist proposals, and navigated through permitting and insurance bureaucracy to get projects underway and installed. In Alex Thomas Plaza, Elizabeth Raybee’s Receptacle Mosaics uplevel the trash and recycle containers with colorful designs that celebrate Mendocino’s landscape and inform on disaster preparedness. The Pop Up Gallery under the Alex Thomas Pavillon is also a 50 and 5 installation. Local artist Annie Rugyt Bernard collaborated with Davis on the outdoor gallery. Bernard created the current exhibit of 5 mixed media pieces exploring themes of isolation and grief induced by the Pandemic. One piece, made with paint, pencil and fluorescent colors, is an illustration of a web of wires wrapped around each other like Celtic knots. In stark contrast to the whimsical nature of the Sound Garden is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Mural on the Arbor Building housing Redwood Services. Visiting artist Shane Grammer and the Hope Through Art Foundation recently guided local youth through the painting process of this powerful mural. With bold, blood red handprints in the background, and a larger than life portrait of Khadijah Britton in the foreground, the mural honors Britton who has been missing since 2018. This mural calls for greater awareness and justice for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s movement, and is part of a larger series of murals planned by the Ukiah Valley Youth Leadership Coalition. In addition to these completed and installed projects, several other works of 50 and 5 are in progress: Lauren Sinnott is finishing up a masterpiece mural on Church street that presents a chronological history of Mendocino county, and Tim Poma, Lonnie Lopez, and Nathan Valensky will create a mural at Ukiah’s Skate Park.
7 minutes | Oct 26, 2021
Neighbors rally to protect Faulkner Park
October 26, 2021 — Faulkner Park is a little-known gem of Mendocino County, known for wild azaleas and a history of providing refreshment to bears. The forty-acre park, formerly known as Bear Wallow, is just a few miles up Mountain View Road outside Boonville. Now, neighbors are rallying to protect dozens of its giant redwoods from a PG&E plan to remove them, citing the safety of its infrastructure. Steve Wood has owned property adjacent to the park for 45 years and has always walked his dogs there. Last week, he led an impromptu tour along the Azalea Trail and pointed out some of the trees that were marked for removal. Pausing beside a pair of huge, fire-scarred redwoods that had grown together, he estimated the larger at about six feet in diameter. “It’s marked with a number and an X, which indicates they’re planning to cut it,” he noted. “As far as we know.” This pair of ancient conjoined twins is about 250 feet away from the power lines. Nine-year-old Laila loves the azaleas, and noted that Faulkner park celebrated its 91st birthday this month. She noted that the azaleas depend on the redwood canopy, and added, “I am here today because the redwoods should not be cut down.” She said she has been enjoying the park for about six years. About twenty neighbors, including five kids and a few dogs, gathered in the park on a drizzly morning to talk about how to protect it, from contacting state representatives to taking direct action. That’s what thirteen-year-old Zane Colfax says he’s prepared to do. “I don’t want to see these trees cut, especially when PG&E has other options,” he said. Mike Mannix, whose family has owned land nearby since the 1930’s, thinks it would be easier on the company’s bottom line to leave the park alone. “It’s a square forty acres,” he specified. “So we’re only talking about a quarter of a mile of road. It wasn’t that long ago that the fiber optic cable went from inland Mendocino County all the way out to the coast from here. I mean, we’re talking a chunk of change to take trees out, compared to how much it costs to underground a quarter of a mile of county road.” Asked if he has PG&E at his home or business, he said, “No, I don’t do business with PG&E. I find them unreliable and overpriced.” PG&E has received authorization to pass along much of the cost of its wildfire mitigation efforts, including vegetation management, to its ratepayers, plus 15-20%, depending on which account it lands in. Resident Donna Pierson Pugh thinks this may have something to do with the company’s approach. “I do think that perhaps they’re making a choice in doing the clear cutting and limbing, which is perhaps more attractive to them because of the ability or the option they have of passing that on to consumers, as opposed to burying of lines or putting the insulated lines in instead of the current lines,” she noted. A few days after the meeting in the park, Supervisor Ted Williams spoke about a meeting between county staff and company representatives, to ask PG&E to hold off on cutting until after some discussion with county government. “It looked like about 91 trees marked,” he reported. “These are good-sized trees. It would have a significant impact on the park, which is owned by the people, and I think PG&E can find another way to mitigate the fire risk without cutting hundreds of feet in either direction.” He is confident that “we’re going to be able to find a compromise.” He supports undergrounding the lines, but added, “The county likely doesn’t have the authority to force PG&E to underground, and I know they will cite significant expense. That said, in this case, we’re only talking about a fifth of a mile and I think they can find a workable solution that doesn’t involve taking out a redwood forest.” He said he thinks the role of the supervisors is to “steer the discussion,” but that “likely, we will need to involve our state reps.” Asked if he supports direct action like tree sitting and blockading the roads, he said, “I hope it doesn’t come to that...I hope we can have a rational discussion, sitting down to discuss options. Ultimately, it may come to that, and I support the people taking a stand. These are their trees. This is their park.” For David Severin, the potential crisis of the park is an opportunity for the neighbors to get together to do something about climate change and the future. He walked through the park before the community meeting, and said he saw a lot of work that he could do himself to “dress up the park and make it a lot friendlier,” like sprucing up plaques and walkways. “I have twelve grandchildren,” he added, “and I feel a really strong obligation toward those grandchildren and to the future that I’m handing off to them. And this park is important for that. For them.”
6 minutes | Oct 26, 2021
Redistricting advisory commission seeks public comment
October 25, 2021 — Now that the census is over, a citizens’ commission is working with county staff to advise the Board of Supervisors on redistricting, or plans to readjust the boundaries of the county’s five districts. The fifth district will remain geographically complex, including the south coast, Mendocino and Albion, and points inland. But the fourth district has lost population, while the third is too big, so some adjustments will have to be made. The difference between the biggest and smallest districts can’t be more than ten percent. But in a geographically large county with a small population, it’s all about fine-tuning. The commission has added more meetings, one at 6:15 pm on Wednesday October 27th and another on November 3rd. The commission is also giving a presentation to the Board of Supervisors today (October 26th) at 1:30 pm, where commissioners hope to rustle up a little more public comment. The county must submit its final map to the state by December 15th, or the state could have a judge decide the boundaries. The deadline for the advisory commission to receive maps from the public is October 29th. The board will identify its preferred map on November 9th. You can submit your public comment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can watch the meeting on the county youtube channel.
6 minutes | Oct 24, 2021
Hopkins burn scar vulnerable, big changes coming up for Juvenile Hall
October 21, 2021 — The burn scar from the Hopkins fire could cause a lot of environmental damage if it’s not mitigated before a serious storm, though straw wattles are scheduled to be installed along the waterway today and tomorrow. And the county’s juvenile hall is preparing to house serious youth offenders who have previously been incarcerated at state facilities.
7 minutes | Oct 22, 2021
U.S. Forest Service plans salvage logging research in Mendocino National Forest
For Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, this is the KZYX News for Friday, Oct. 22. I’m Sonia Waraich.Fire and forest ecologists virtually all agree that prescribed and cultural fires will be an important tool to stop catastrophic wildfires from ripping through the state’s forests. But what should we do about forestland that’s already been burned by a fire? The U.S. Forest Service’s answer in the Mendocino National Forest is salvage logging. That’s a somewhat controversial practice when they cut down and remove dead trees to keep the amount of flammable material in the forest to a minimum.Cynthia Snyder is an insect specialist and one of the people on a field trip through the parts of the forest where the August Complex Fire hit last year. She’s hacked off a piece of bark from one of the burnt trees nearby and shows us the insect boring holes and frass, or little wood scraps, they leave behind.Those bugs are damaging the wood of those trees and making it harder for the Forest Service to find loggers to do the work. But research is showing salvage logging may not always be the best tool to use in every situation.So the Forest Service is building on that research. Hydrologist Hilda Kwan describes the research project and the agency’s prescription: salvage logging some, all or none of the dead trees in a specified plot.Silviculturist Radek Glebocki explains why this site specifically was chosen.That was U.S. Forest Service silviculturist Radek Glebocki, hydrologist Hilda Kwan and entomologist Cynthia Synder on a tour of the parts of the Mendocino National Forest that were burned by the August complex fire last year.For the KZYX News, I’m Sonia Waraich, a Report For America corps member. For all our local coverage, with photos and more, visit KZYX.org. You can also subscribe to the KZYX News podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.
7 minutes | Oct 21, 2021
"We're at the beginning of the end of Prohibition"
October 20, 2021 — With the repeal of the latest cannabis ordinance and deadlines looming, legacy growers are facing more uncertainty than ever. Growers have until the end of the month to submit their applications — again — through an online portal, and the end of the year to get licenses from the state. The moratorium on Phase III growers under the original cannabis ordinance, which has been reinstated, expires in March. And growers have been shelling out tens of thousands of dollars on environmental consultants and engineers to satisfy the state’s requirements, especially from Fish and Wildlife. “It’s been a horrendous experience,” said Clifford Morford, a legacy grower who co-founded Heartrock Mountain Farm in Potter Valley with his son Daniel. They have been on the road to compliance for four years. Daniel is the optimistic one, though he compares the current historical moment to watching the Ranch Fire creep across the ridgelines to the edges of his farm, where fought it off with the help of friends and family. “I feel like something’s coming that’s going to change the face of the cannabis industry in California,” he reflected. He used another analogy to describe what he thinks the moment calls for: “It’s the fourth quarter,” he said. “And we’ve gotta throw a Hail Mary, gotta send one deep, score a touchdown, do a two-point conversion, and then maybe do a side kick and a fumble recovery and a field goal.” “I have less hope than Daniel does,” his father admitted. “He says we’re gonna make it, and we might. I’m gonna do everything I can to make it happen. But I have a feeling that one day we’re gonna wake up, and oh, it’s over. And they won’t care, the powers that be. It’ll be easier to administer their program with five big farms in Salinas and a dozen down in Santa Barbara, and they’ll grow all the weed we need, and everybody will be happy, except those that want the experience of smoking our weed.” The Morfords spent $12,000 to engineer two stream crossings in pursuit of a lake and streambed alteration permit (LSA) from Fish and Wildlife. That’s not quite half of what the LSA has cost them so far, since it includes work on a pond and some planning and replanning of culverts. Daniel says they’re still sitting on some product from last year, but not as much as some of their friends. They don’t even know what the price will be this year. As Daniel got up to let the dogs out, Cliff made a key distinction. “It’s easy to move it,” he noted. “It’s harder to get paid for it.” Michael Katz is the Executive Director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance. He hears a lot of stories like the Morfords’, and his optimism, too, is tempered with uncertainty. But he’s hanging a lot of hope on news from county Cannabis Program Manager Kristin Nevedal about a checklist that serves as the site-specific environmental review that growers need to get their state licenses. Previously, he reported, it seemed like 90% of the growers trying to get through the system using the checklist, called Appendix G, would not make it. That does not seem to be the case anymore, “and so while we don’t know exactly what that means,” he acknowledged, “we are still hopeful.” Appendix G might not work for everyone who is trying to get legal under a county ordinance that does not have a discretionary permit process, which the state requires. There is also some confusion as to whether the deadline to submit applications is October 30th, or if applicants whose documents have not been reviewed by that date will be left out in the cold. The online portal hasn’t entirely eliminated the application headache. Katz reported that, “dozens and dozens of folks who are trying to go along with what’s being requested are finding that things are changing, things that are seemingly not related to certain requests are being asked for, and so this confusion has led to people having to re-submit their submissions, multiple times.” Nevedal was not available for an interview. She is working on a grant application for the county to receive $18 million from the state to get the local cannabis program in shape. Katz thinks this money signals a good faith effort on the part of the state to help legacy growers in jurisdictions that are having a hard time reconciling their ordinances with Prop 64 and other state rules. Finally, Katz’ optimism, too, is tinged with an awareness of historical irony. “Capitalism is not really designed to support small businesses,” he observed. “People are definitely viewing this time period as another extinction event among the community of small operators, who started the movement to create cannabis availability to everybody. Without the small farmers in California, there wouldn’t be a legal cannabis market rolling across the world right now.” And small cannabis farmers will go to extraordinary lengths to keep doing the thing they love. Daniel Morford, who writes poetry and jokes and attends seminars on the consciousness of plants and people, reflected that, “probably the reason I’m more optimistic than my dad is he’s in the office doing the paperwork and I’m on the farm doing the farm work, so I’m up there in the mountains hearing nothing but wind through the trees, thinking to myself, I would torture people to work in an environment this peaceful.” He’s never been as happy for a season-ending rain as he is right now. It’s a historical event in history-changing times of drought, wildfire, and public policy. Katz, too, calls for historical perspective. “We have to not give up,” he insisted. “We have to continue working. My hope is what drives me, and our hope as a community is that we understand the challenge of this time period. I mean, we’re at the beginning of the end of prohibition.”
7 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
Don’t call them private security: privately owned companies hired as “safety managers,” “safety contractors,” and “Safety Specialists”
October 19, 2021 — As the difference between safety and security in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest is parsed with utmost refinement, one thing remains clear: the logging sites are dangerous. Two activists have complained of significant threats, one of them caught on video. EPIC, the Environmental Protection and Information Center, has sent a letter to Wade Crowfoot, the California Secretary of Natural Resources, asking him to restore peace. And, although Cal Fire’s chief legal counsel Bruce Crane wrote on July 2nd that “The current JDSF closure order prohibits any private security, armed or unarmed, from entering JDSF,” two unarmed private security firms have been present in two sites. One was hired by a private company, while the other was paid upwards of $110,000 by Cal Fire for just over a month’s work. Cal Fire, the Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention, manages JDSF, where protests against logging have been vigorous. Mendocino Forest Products, the sister company to Mendocino Redwood Company, purchased the contract to log Soda Gulch. They hired Two Brothers Logging to fall trees and Lear Asset Management for safety. In a press release, Mendocino Redwood Company described the contractors as “licensed and bonded Safety Specialists…(who) are simply filming and alerting trespassers to the active operations.” Lear is a private security company best known for armed raids on trespass grows. John Andersen, the public policy director for MRC, confirmed that the company had hired Lear as a safety contractor, but said Trouette and his staff are not carrying weapons on JDSF. Kevin Conway, the Cal Fire forest manager in JDSF, said safety managers are permitted on logging sites, but did not lay out the parameters of their duties, other than to specify that they must be unarmed. The presence of the safety manager, or the Safety Specialist, did not rule out the possibility of a non-accidental death, according to one unidentified logger in Soda Gulch on October 5th. Michael Hunter, the Chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, described the encounter to KZYX and shared the video of the incident. Hunter said that as he stood near the loggers, “I recorded everything. I said hey. Please don’t kill me by accident today. And the old man says, oh, it won’t be by accident. I got that on recording, too, and I said, well, don’t kill by purpose either, please, ‘cause I don’t feel like dying today.” Last week, Matt Simmons, a lawyer with EPIC, wrote in his letter to Secretary Crowfoot that on the same day, U’i Wesley, an activist and Native Hawaiian singer and dancer, had a separate encounter. She was parked by a logging gate when two masked men pulled up in a large black truck with no license plates. “They didn’t say who they were, they didn’t say we’re with the police, or we’re with Cal Fire. They just came up to her and said, you need to leave. And when she said that she wouldn’t, they responded by reaching into their pocket and throwing bullet casings at her face and saying, you know, it’s dangerous in here. And I think any reasonable person would feel that that was a death threat.” Reflecting on the fact that both recipients of the threats were people of color, Simmons said, “The really sad truth is that Mendocino, just like all of America, has been a place of violence against people of color for a really long time. And Jackson itself is Northern Pomo and Coast Yuki territory. And there’s a reason it’s not anymore, right? It’s because of violent acquisition by white settlers. And in some ways, it feels like we’re just sort of seeing a continuation of that.” In a video he posted on Facebook, Hunter had a long verbal encounter with a man later identified as Paul Trouette, the head of Lear Asset Management. Simmons was skeptical about what he called a loophole allowing Trouette, a professional private security provider, to operate as a safety manager or Safety Specialist, in an area where private security is not allowed. “Now what it looks like is that MRC has hired Trouette and are calling him a safety manager in order to have a loophole in the rules that require them not to hire private security. I did a little bit of googling on Paul Trouette, and I don’t think he’s the guy you hire to be a safety manager.” Recently obtained documents show that Cal Fire itself hired a private security firm called Armorous to provide unarmed guards and a patrol car around the clock at the Caspar logging site from June 8th through July 5th. Payments for two guards overnight and three during the day came out to almost $111,000. Conway said that their presence did not violate the agency’s chief legal counsel’s opinion that “CAL FIRE cannot cede control of activities on JDSF, for law enforcement and security purposes, to any person or entity at any time as JDSF is required...to always be under the direction and control of CAL FIRE personnel.” Conway pointed out that this statement was part of a letter to the owner of a logging company who wanted to hire private security to protect his logging operations. In contrast, Armorous was hired by Cal Fire and was acting under control of the agency as what he called a “force extender.” He also emphasized that the guards were not acting in a law enforcement capacity. He said they wore uniforms and did not carry weapons, and that their vehicle was marked. He said at the moment, there are no plans to bring the guards back into JDSF. Usually, he said, the public respects forest closures, and the current situation, where some portion of the public wants to put themselves and workers in harm’s way, is very new territory for the agency. He urged those who object to the logging to use the public process to express themselves.
7 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
Potter Valley Project relicensing effort facing costly hurdles
October 18, 2021 — Efforts to take over the license for the Potter Valley Project have had some significant setbacks lately. One is an expensive equipment failure that could take up to a year and a half to repair. The other is that the Two Basin Partnership, a coalition of entities seeking to take over the license from PG&E, has not been able to secure the funding it needs for studies that are necessary for a final license application. The Partnership asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for some extra time to come up with the money, but FERC refused. Now the Partnership is worried that the Commission could ask PG&E to surrender the project. Meanwhile, with the license set to expire in mid-April, the Friends of the Eel River, who have long called for the removal of Scott Dam and eventually full decommission, think that their objective might be nearer than they expected. For Alicia Hamann, the Executive Director of Friends of the Eel River, the failure was a stroke of good luck. “Even with all the in-depth work we’ve done (on Scott Dam) looking at seismic stability and landslides and potential failure of the needle valve and problems with the foundation and all kinds of problems, the failure of the transformer bank is something we never considered,” she reflected. “So this just kind of goes to show that there are a great number of ways that this project is really aging, and really unreliable.” But Janet Pauli, of the Potter Valley Irrigation District and the Inland Water and Power Commission, which is part of the Two Basin Partnership, says that if PG&E surrenders the project without an heir, nobody knows what will happen next. Much of the uncertainty could be resolved with studies that would answer questions about what it would take to operate the project. But the source of the money to pay for those studies is uncertain, too. The Partnership had hoped PG&E would foot the bill, which the company did not do. And state and federal funds haven’t materialized, either. The Partnership’s current plan includes removal of Scott Dam and modifications to Cape Horn Dam, a plan that requires extensive examination. Pauli says it would take $12-15 million to complete all the studies that the Partnership has submitted to FERC in order to answer questions about water rights, the impacts of the sediment that would be released from Lake Pillsbury, the impact that removing the dam and lake infrastructure would have on Lake County, and what future diversions would look like. Initial due diligence on all those studies, she said, would take about a million and a half dollars. Now there’s another expense: the five to ten million dollars PG&E estimates it will cost to repair or replace the transformer bank at the powerhouse. Hamann expects that if PG&E gets stuck with that bill, the company could gte authorization from the California Public Utilities Commission to pass it along to ratepayers, plus ten percent. Right now, the project is diverting about ten cubic feet of water per second, a drastic reduction due to the drought. Pauli explained that greater water generation depends on the project’s ability to produce power. That has significant implications for Lake Mendocino. Under the current license, and with the ability to produce power, diversion through the Potter Valley Project could exceed 250 cubic feet per second (cfs). But “if they can’t produce power, they physically cannot put that volume of water through the powerhouse,” Pauli said. In the wintertime, minimum flows through the East Branch of the Russian River, plus contract flows for the Potter Valley Irrigation District add up to 45 cfs, “And that’s a far cry from the 270 or so cfs that they normally would be able to divert,” Paui noted. “That means the amount of water going into Lake Mendocino would only be the 45 cfs plus whatever other natural flow there would be from Cold Creek drainage in Potter Valley.” Hamann thinks the partners have had enough time . She wants them to withdraw their notice of intent to apply for the license, and let the dam removal begin. “What we would hope to see in a license surrender process is surrender, decommissioning, and then dam removal,” she said. She thinks “options for an ecologically appropriate continued diversion” are still possible, but “it just means the folks down in the Russian River who benefit from that water are going to have to pay up for some new infrastructure to be built.”
7 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
Desalination plant arrives in Fort Bragg, state passes prescribed burn legislation
For Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, this is the KZYX News for Friday, Oct. 15. I’m Sonia Waraich. It’s a Wednesday afternoon in late September and technicians from San Diego are installing a desalination unit at the Fort Bragg water plant. Heath Daniels works for the city and will be responsible for operating the desalination system when the Noyo River’s water becomes too salty. The river water can become salty during king tides, which happen when the moon’s gravitational pull causes water levels to rise several inches. That’s been an issue because the river hasn’t provided enough fresh water to dilute the saltwater that gets into it during those events, which prevented the city from being able to pump water from the river. For the moment, the rain’s eliminated the need for the city to use the desalination system.Daniels says the desalination system is standing ready for when the streamflow in the Noyo does get too low again. City Manager Tabatha Miller told the Fort Bragg City Council on Tuesday that they did end up using it recently for a few days.The rain and the arrival of the desalination system have left the city in a secure enough position to downgrade its drought emergency from a Stage 4 water crisis to a Stage 2 water alert. Miller says the drought isn’t over yet, but people in the city don’t have to conserve as much as they were during the summertime.There’s no need to get water trucked in from Ukiah anymore either. The city put a stop to that last week.On top of all of that, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting Mendocino County has a pretty good chance of getting its usual amount of rainfall through the rest of the year.The impacts of the drought might be less severe for the moment, but catastrophic wildfires are still raging across the state. Scientists say the solution is to fight fire with fire and now the state agrees. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the last of three bills that are going to make it easier to conduct a prescribed burn on private land. Lenya Quinn Davidson is with the UC Cooperative Extension and an authority on prescribed fires.Experts recognize we need more of these fires on the landscape in California, so the state decided to make it easier for tribes and private landowners to conduct burns without having to worry about paying the firefighting costs if the fire got out of control. Twenty million dollars was also set aside in the state wildfire budget for a prescribed fire claims fund.Quinn-Davidson says the fact that you couldn’t get insurance made it really difficult to do a prescribed burn even with increased investment from the state. But she says the benefits of conducting prescribed fires can’t be overstated. A prescribed fire project in Sequoia National Park was able to change the behavior of the wildfire there and protect the General Sherman Tree, which is the largest tree on Earth.For KZYX News, I’m Sonia Waraich, a Report For America corps member. For all our local coverage, with photos and more, visit KZYX.org. You can also subscribe to the KZYX News podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.
6 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
"Is anything ever really saved?"
October 13, 2021 — PG&E crews have moved decisively into the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. On Friday afternoon, chainsaws roared along Mattole Road, as forest defenders prepared a tree sit to protect old growth habitat trees. “These are our last big Douglas fir trees on the coast of Northern California,” said Gabrielle, a landowner who lives near the park and has worked in conservation for years. “Some of these have been saved, which raises the question: is anything ever really saved?” One of the activists, who goes by the name Farmer, outlined the situation. “Because so much environmental destruction is happening right now, we have to do a kind of triage,” he explained. “People sit in trees, people blockade roads with their bodies, people build structures to ascend in the middle of the road and they can’t be taken down easily. People do all kinds of stuff to stop logging out here...we’re almost always prepared to do it.” Forest defenders also monitor logging plans, but, he added, “In this case, in the PG&E situation, there are no plans to look at. There’s no reports to read. You can’t look at maps that tell you where the trees are going to be cut down. So it’s all completely opaque and all we know is what we see on the trees. All we know is the mark. And the mark, as you know, is unreliable.” One of the marked trees is a huge charismatic Douglas fir called Dotty, because of the spray painted dots on its trunk. Dotty towers over a grove of smaller trees, all of them also marked. Gabrielle described the tree and its surroundings. “It’s incredibly large, especially in comparison to what we have left,” she said. “In our watershed, which adjoins at the top of this hill in the Mattole watershed, we have about eight percent of our original forest left, probably less, so every tree like that is really significant and important.” She paused as a tree hit the ground, just out of sight down the hill. “As you can hear, it’s really large trees that they’re falling,” she remarked. “And it’s really sad because they’re storing incredible amounts of carbon and it’s counterproductive to be removing them at this time...where is the protection, and where are the people who are getting paid to protect them, and why is there no environmental impact report?” She added that the tree removal in the park “is already on land that people worked hard to save and did a lot of fundraising for, and contributions came from all over the country, all over the world, and people believe that this area was saved, and fragmenting it and destroying the canopy connectivity is really not okay.” Mander is one of the tree sitters prepared to take up residence in a tree that’s already a home to many. Their first night in the tree, they spotted voles and flying squirrels, important food sources for iconic birds of prey that also nest in the forest. Old growth trees that appear to be damaged have been marked for removal, but Mander pointed out that what look like flaws are ideal nesting sites for wildlife. “From where I am, I can see very complex crowns, old broken tops, really key habitat features,” they noted. “There’s a lot of moss and lichen, some are starting to accumulate canopy soil...in other areas of the state, they’re undergrounding a lot of the power lines, and I think it would be absolutely reasonable to ask them to do that, in protected old growth groves, in a state park.” So far, the tree sit has not been revealed to crews on the ground, but, Mander added, “That is what I and others are prepared to do, if they go after those trees.”
7 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
"It's really expensive. And it doesn't work."
October 12, 2021 — By now, everyone in the region has noticed clear-cuts around PG&E wires, from Deerwood to Hopland to Humboldt and Sonoma Counties. PG&E’s ill-maintained equipment causes fires that kill people and animals, and burn down towns and rapidly dwindling habitat. In response, the utility is removing the vegetation that could catch fire if it comes in contact with the lines. The Sierra Club’s Wildfire Mitigation Task Force wrote a cost benefit analysis of how effective — and cost effective — the program is. Here’s the short version: “It’s really expensive. And it doesn’t work,” according to Nancy Macy, the task force chair. “How can it work? You can’t cut down every tree that may or may not, sometime in the future, have a problem.” The research team analyzed documents from PG&E and other utilities in California, and found that PG&E’s bare copper wires meet vegetation with disastrous results almost twice as often as other utilities. But in addition to undergrounding lines, the other companies are replacing bare copper distribution wires with triple insulated steel core cables and installing computerized circuit breakers for protection from broken wires. Southern California Edison has estimated that steel-core triple insulation for its lines costs $428k per mile. PG&E estimated that its enhanced vegetation management program of clear-cutting under the lines would cost $405k per mile. But by the end of August 2020, the program costs came out to $416 million. That’s almost half a million dollars per mile for a program that doesn’t even address the main causes of wildfire. The analysis “shows a meager 5% reduction in projected ignitions by PG&E unders its vegetation focused plan. Worth noting, PG&E will be spending over $4 billion in the period between 2020 and 2022, for vegetation management alone.” “I don’t think we were really surprised,” Macy reflected. “It came out that if you add up the costs of enhanced vegetation management, which is around $2 billion a year, it costs a whole lot more to cut down the trees and pay the contractors and deal with the slash and all of that, than it does to rebuild the infrastructure. PG&E has already paid two and half times as much as it paid in 2020, when it far exceeded its budget. “So we do not know (how much it will cost),” Macy concluded. “And that’s the scary thing.”
6 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
Redwood Valley Grangers honor the past, look to the future
October 11, 2021 — Four years after the Redwood Complex fire displaced much of the community, and two years into the pandemic, the Redwood Valley Grange is still serving as a hub for people to come together over books, food, herbal tea, and art by people they know. We’ll hear from grange members about how the grange served the community in the aftermath of the fire, and what’s next.
6 minutes | Oct 8, 2021
Logging in JDSF is unsafe. Who's making it that way?
October 8, 2021 — The debate about who is responsible for dangerous conditions in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest has heated up. Protestors insist that the logging is contributing to climate change while Cal Fire, which manages the forest, claims that protestors are endangering themselves and tree fallers by forcing loggers to stop working in the middle of a precarious task. Another concern that has been raised this week is the presence of a man who looks very much like Paul Trouette of Lear Asset Management in Soda Gulch on Monday. Mr. Trouette did not respond to an email from kzyx yesterday, asking him if he was providing private security on the site. In a long video that was live streamed on Facebook by Michael Hunter, the tribal chair of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, the man identified himself only as a “safety officer.” Lear is a private security contractor best known in Mendocino county for armed raids on illegal trespass cannabis grows in timberland. But private security, armed or unarmed, is not allowed in the state forest, according to Cal Fire chief legal counsel Bruce Crane. In a July 2 letter to Myles Anderson of Anderson Logging, Crane said “CAL FIRE will not allow private security, armed or unarmed, “protecting” Anderson Logging operations on the Caspar 500 THP,” or timber harvest plan. The Caspar 500 is a separate plan from the Soda Gulch area, which is not being logged by Anderson Logging. In an email yesterday, Anderson stated that his company is not affiliated with Soda Gulch and has no other contracts for logging on JDSF. He also said Anderson Logging has no contracts with Trouette or Lear Asset Management. But he has expressed an interest in hiring someone to provide security. On July 6, he wrote in a letter to Ronald Aruejo, the District Manager at the Department of Industrial Relations in the division of Occupational Safety and Health, that he was willing to hire a private security firm if Cal Fire could not or would not secure the Caspar 500 against protestors. He was responding to a Cal OSHA complaint that his employees “were falling trees towards other employees and other people in the woods...causing an unsafe work environment.” He argued that “When people approached the area in which we were working we stopped therefore we did not create an unsafe condition.” Kzyx program director Alicia Bales was in the forest on June 15 and recorded a variety of responses on the part of the loggers. She described one group of loggers who stopped what they were doing when activists approached. Moments later, she could be heard saying, “We are right here,” as chainsaw blared and trees cracked. Kevin Conway, the Cal Fire forest manager for JDSF, confirmed that Anderson Logging is not currently doing any work in the state forest. He said that Mendocino Forest Products has purchased the contract to log Soda Gulch, but he did not know which logging contractor that company was employing. Mendocino Forest Products is the sawmill for Mendocino Redwood Company, which owns 350 square miles of timberlands in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. An email to John Andersen, MRC’s director of forest policy, about who was logging Soda Gulch, and if the company had hired Trouette, elicited an automatic reply saying he would be out of the office until Monday. Conway confirmed that CalFire’s stance “across the landscape” is that the agency does not want private security on JDSF. But he said CalFire does allow contract purchasers to hire safety observers, whose job is to document possibly unsafe conditions on behalf of the contractor. There are no specific parameters for the safety observer’s duties, but Conway did confirm that they are not supposed to be armed. The man interacting with Hunter in the Facebook video was also filming with a cell phone, but was not visibly armed. When Conway was asked about images of trees that are still standing and have had deep wedges cut into them, he suggested that protestors behave less recklessly and added that he was “disappointed that loggers have to walk away before finishing tree-felling operations.” He did not know who was providing safety observer services in Soda Gulch. The man who was counter-filming Hunter was not wearing any safety gear. Tom Wheeler, the director of EPIC, the Environmental Protection Information Center, says it’s important for protesters to document what they see in the forest. He classifies environmentalists like the Mendocino Trail Stewards, who create highly produced YouTube videos in the state forest, as citizen journalists, documenting hazards that it’s in the public interest to know about. “They’re going into the forest and they’re showing that Cal Fire is not cleaning up the slash after logging,” he said. “They’re leaving large slash piles which can serve as jackpots of fuel in the event of a forest fire, and really cause high-severity fire behavior if the fire were to hit them. The Mendocino Trail Stewards are showing the road construction work, which is going to bleed sediment into salmon-bearing streams. They’re showing that Cal Fire is marking these trees. These massive huge trees that are six feet in diameter, wider than I am tall. And that Cal Fire is claiming that they are cutting these for carbon sequestration. So it is perfectly within their right to document abuses by the government.”
7 minutes | Oct 8, 2021
Supervisors discuss $20 million in cannabis grants
October 7, 2021 — The Board of Supervisors discussed applications for over $20 million in state-funded cannabis grants this week. The $2.2 million dollar equity grant was awarded to the county last year by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The much larger Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant Program was approved as part of this year’s state budget as a way to help local governments move cannabis businesses into the regulated market. Mendocino County was one of seventeen cities and counties eligible to apply for a certain amount, in this case just a little over $18 million. But applicants to the smaller equity grant are frantic at the possibility that they won’t get their awards before the deadline in February. If the county doesn’t allocate the funds by then, the money will have to go back to the state. Equity grant applicants must be able to demonstrate moderate income, which is just under $68k for a household of two, and that they suffered specific harms from the drug war. About fifty people have applied for awards, which cap out at $50k. Twenty three of about fifty applicants have been approved so far. Supervisor Glenn McGourty asked cannabis program manager Kristen Nevedal if she was still suggesting that recipients get all the money up front, before the proposed projects are completed. Nevedal said yes, because a lot of the proposed projects couldn’t be completed before the clock runs out on the grant. “Those are really generous terms,” McGourty noted. “I’ve never seen grants like that before in my life.” Supervisors pondered eliminating the income threshold for the equity grant, or prioritizing various criteria. Though Nevedal said applicants typically use tax returns to prove their income, Supervisor Ted Williams said he wanted to make sure the awards were not going to anyone who had failed to file taxes. Nursery owner Ron Edwards took issue with bringing taxes into the discussion, and he and Williams had an exchange during public comment. “That’s absolutely possible,” he said, when Williams asked him what it means when someone grows 10,000 square feet of cannabis and reports zero income. “You could get bad clones from someone and you don’t pass the certificate of analysis,” Edwards offered as an example. “Remember, cannabis is reviewed more than any other product that goes to market, so there are a lot more ways for this product to fail.” Communications on the part of the county as well as the grower community could use some improvement, he allowed, but “we are here addressing the equity grant issue, and I think that’s what the focus should be.” The board agreed unanimously to prioritize applicants who are up to date on their taxes, with preference given to those who have already applied. The county itself has until November 15 to apply for the $18 million grant to get its provisional permit holders over the line to their annual state licenses. Williams had a couple of gripes, and suggested that the county send a letter to the state, saying the state system doesn’t work for the county. “It’s like the state sent us a puzzle, and it’s missing half the pieces,” he analogized. “I know it’s an eighteenth century approach, but maybe we should pass a resolution, send it back to the state, and just be open about it. We tried. This program doesn’t work for our county. What do you want us to do?” He also doesn’t think the money will go very far, with short-staffed county departments, the high cost of living, and expensive contractors, “if we could find one who would take this project. And you’ve got to wonder about anybody who thinks this is a good assignment. Eighteen million sounds like a lot. It’s not enough to get the job done...these are Band-aids.” But Michael Katz, the director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, sees the grant as a sign that the state is taking the plight of small growers seriously. “I would say this is a significant Band-aid,” he opined. “It’s more like triage...so the state is not throwing their hands up. They’re continuing to move this conversation forward and that’s what we need to do for this substantial component of this community. We don’t get to throw our hands up and walk away.”
6 minutes | Oct 7, 2021
Ukiah High Offers Pomo Language and Cultures Course
October 6, 2021--Mendocino County’s Ukiah Unified School District is proud to offer, for the first time ever, a Northern Pomo Language and Cultures class at Ukiah High School. Buffie Schmidt, of the Sherwood Valley Rancheria, serves as instructor to the 40 students she teaches. Both the school district and Schmidt hope this groundbreaking course will revitalize Pomo languages and traditions, and help reconnect native students to a legacy from which they have been disconnected for centuries.
7 minutes | Oct 5, 2021
Tribal Chair threatened in JDSF
October 5, 2021 — Protesters in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF), which is managed by CalFire, are facing increased hostility as the end of logging season approaches. Threats of legal action and at least one instance of what sounds very much like a casual death threat have emerged in the past few days. And a fight about activists’ First Amendment rights to document political activity is already underway. Michael Hunter is the chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, one of several entities calling for a moratorium on logging in the state forest. On Monday morning, he was in Soda Gulch with about ten other activists, filming an interaction with loggers and another man, also filming, who identified himself as a safety officer. Hunter described the exchange a few hours later on a phone call from the forest. “They started up the chainsaws,” he recalled, “revved them up, revved them up. A couple hours later, they came back to the same spot, and we were still here, waiting. And they walked down there and did the same thing, again, acted like they were going to cut those redwoods, and I said, hey, ah, please don’t kill me by accident today. And the old man says, oh, it won’t be by accident.” Hunter shared the video with kzyx shortly after our interview. The logger’s response is off-mic, but clearly audible. “What these folks are doing when they go out into the forest is very brave,” says Tom Wheeler, the Executive Director of EPIC, the Environmental Protection Information Center, “because they are going out peacefully, they are asking the loggers to stop and they are being met with hostility and threats.” In addition to threats from loggers, Wheeler says protesters are facing CalFire’s mis-use of the law to quash their First Amendment rights. Last week, he sent a stern letter to CalFire Director Thomas Porter, detailing some examples. That was in response to a letter from Jackson State Forest program manager Kevin Conway, to the president of the Mendocino Trail Stewards, a group that uses social media to drum up support for anti-logging activities. In his letter, Conway told the Mendocino Trail Stewards president, Chad Swimmer, that he had been conducting activities in the state forest that require a special use permit. Swimmer has made several short YouTube videos about the beauty of the state forest and why he believes the trees should remain standing. They feature sweeping views of the forest, an action sequence with a couple of guys on mountain bikes and their dogs speeding along a trail, and a cellist playing a tune called “Requiem for a Fallen Tree,” while seated on a redwood stump the size of a small raised stage. Most of them appear to have been filmed with a drone. This, according to Conway’s letter, is an “unauthorized special use, (which) is a violation of State law and continuing to do so will result in criminal and civil action by the Department.” Wheeler argues that the permit requirement for filming is unconstitutional. “The pretext of a need for a special permit to stop their recording is obnoxious to the First Amendment,” he stated. “This is something that is just weaponizing these permits to silence critics of the Jackson. And so that is a clear violation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment does allow for something called time, place and manner restrictions. What you can’t do, though, is you can’t use these time, place, and manner restrictions as a way to covertly regulate the content of speech. ” Conway claims the protests can be hazardous, and that a contractor was injured last week after protesters came into the area that was being logged. But Hunter says the area is dangerous because loggers are cutting deeply into trees and letting them stand for an unknown length of time before felling them completely. In a video he live streamed on Facebook yesterday, he filmed his efforts to get the safety officer to inspect a tree that had a deep wedge cut in it. “So it puts us at risk as we’re out here,” he explained. “And then they can turn around and say that we’re trying to prevent them from fixing that. They’re trying to play that game...the wedge was here before we got here. I wonder how long it’s been there.” Wheeler identifies filming in the forest as journalism, a category of speech that enjoys extra protection. “Journalism is obviously changing,” he noted. “Local print media has significantly declined in the last two decades. And in its place we have citizen journalists that are starting to record and to document government abuses...and this is an important form of journalism...it is perfectly within their right to document abuses by the government.” A few minutes after he was informed that his death in the forest would not be accidental, Hunter learned that he was unauthorized to document in the area. In the video he sent kzyx yesterday, the safety officer who is filming Hunter as he films him can be heard saying, “You are in an unauthorized area, recording something...document.” Hunter is talking over him, saying, “unauthorized in a state forest. So they can do what they want to do behind the scenes.” To Hunter, the tribal chair, the idea that he would require authorization is especially galling, on grounds that are much older than the Constitution. “We’re Pomo,” he said. “This is our homeland. This is where we’re from. So the safety guy with the logging came up and said, you have to leave. How ironic is that? I have to leave this forest so he can continue to destruct it, to industrialize it.” Hunter’s video ends with the three loggers shouldering their chainsaws and walking away with the safety officer, up a hill and out of sight.
6 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
Construction cost increases hit new jail project
October 4, 2021 — Projected construction costs for a new jail building have gone up more than 14% in the last three years, an unprecedented increase driven by steel tariffs, supply chain delays and shortages of skilled labor. In spite of several efforts to reduce costs, the architect on the project told the Board of Supervisors last week that there is a budget shortfall of $3.6 million. In 2017, the county received $25 million from the state to build a new jail designed to meet the mental health needs of inmates. Originally, the county planned to contribute a little over a million dollars, but that amount climbed to about $2.8 million as delays piled up and costs increased. The project is currently expected to cost $31.1 million. Deputy CEO Steve Dunnicliff reported that disasters ranging from global to bureaucratic are playing out in the construction project that’s still about a year from breaking ground, “starting with rebuilding thousands of houses lost to wildfires, then tariffs on construction material and supply chain impacts due to the ongoing global pandemic,” he noted. “Additionally, the state’s project approval was extended due to a change in their process.” Eric Fadness, an architect with Nacht and Lewis, which is designing the jail, said the 14.5% increase in projected construction costs since June of 2019 is based on the California Construction Cost increase, which historically has increased each year at an average of 3.5% “So an increase of 14.5% “is unprecedented,” he concluded. “It’s sort of significant of the time we’re in.” Soft costs, like fees, testing, and equipment, have increased from $5.8 million in June of 2019 to about $6.4 million. Supervisor Ted Williams implied that he expects costs to keep rising. “Would you be as surprised as I would be if we could pull it off for thirty-one?” he asked Fadness, who concurred that, “I guess I would be at this point.” He recommended that the board set aside $4 million to meet cost increases that could keep accumulating in the future. CEO Carmel Angelo pointed out that the county could tap the reserve account, “and certainly any fund balance that we may have would be applicable, as well...I do not think that there is any additional grant money...my guess is that this would be all county money,” she reported. Supervisor Dan Gjerde noted that lumber costs have fluctuated, and wondered if that might indicate that overall construction costs could go down in the next year. He didn’t seem to find the shortfall insurmountable, noting that in previous years the county has had significant close-out surplus funds. “I don’t know if that’s going to be the case this year,” he acknowledged, “with the budget being closed out last year, but if that’s the case, maybe another million dollars here, another two million there, and next thing you know, you have four million dollars.” The current timeline for the project is to award a construction contract by August of next year, followed by a notice to proceed by the end of September. Fadness said he expects construction to be finished by spring of 2024 and for inmates to move in by early summer. Williams made a motion to accept the presentation, adding that “inherently in that is to ask staff to find four million dollars from somewhere.” In another unanimous vote, the board approved a request by Dr. Jenine Miller, the head of behavioral health, to use $240 thousand dollars per year for the next four years from the Measure B fund for a crisis respite center in Fort Bragg. Miller said the facility would likely be on the campus of the coast hospital and have four to six beds, managed by Redwood Community Services. The proposal received support from the Fort Bragg City Council, the chief of police, and the Measure B committee, which passed the request along to the board. Miller also reported that construction on the crisis residential treatment center in Ukiah is expected to be complete by November. She added that a feasibility study on whether a psychiatric health facility should be located at a county-owned building on Whitmore Lane in Ukiah or be built from scratch should come before the board in January.
7 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
Third shots begin on the coast
Mendocino County Public Health Officer Andy Coren, Lucresha Renteria of the Mendocino Coast Clinic in Fort Bragg, and an immunocompromised patient talk about the third Pfizer shot, now available on the coast for qualifying patients.
6 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
State awards $1.5 million for cannabis enforcement
September 30, 2021 — Mendocino County will receive $600,000 from the state for cannabis enforcement, possibly as soon as next month. Senator Mike McGuire announced the allocation of $1.5 million of general fund monies at a press conference yesterday with sheriffs from around the north coast and Third District Supervisor John Haschak. Humboldt County will also get $600,000 for its enforcement efforts, and Trinity County will get $300,000. The money is earmarked for enforcement operations at grow sites that are diverting water illegally, harming the environment and sensitive species, and involve organized crime. McGuire emphasized that the money is not to be used for raids on small farmers working towards getting legal. “At no time will legacy farmers and small family farmers who are currently working through the permitting process, or those who are already permitted, be the focus of this campaign,” he said. “No way, no how.” McGuire said part of the purpose of the new campaign is to help prop up the legal market, which, as Supervisor John Haschak remarked, is out-competed by the illegal market. “Many cannabis growers are on the path to getting county and state permits for cultivation,” he noted. “Yet when these illegal grows are not following any rules, they aren’t paying the taxes and fees, and cutting corners at every step, the illegal market has the advantage.” All three sheriffs talked about the increase in violent crime, human trafficking, and the environmental degradation associated with illegal grows. Sheriff Matt Kendall, who approached McGuire about six weeks ago to ask for state assistance on enforcement, estimated about eight to ten thousand illegal grows in Mendocino County — and the sole priority behind them. “We’ve got some folks who showed up with a two year plan to make as much money as they possibly could, and that plan did not include did not include taking care of the environment, taking care of the folks around them, that plan did not include looking out for sensitive species,” he informed his listeners. Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal spoke about the organized crime that’s moved into all three counties. “They’re playing the numbers,” he said. “When you look at how many search warrants we do every year, it’s in the hundreds. And so when there’s thousands and thousands of illegal grows, organized crime, they’ll take advantage of it...organized crime has moved in all over. Once it was trespass grows, now they’re buying up private land, all over the county...we’ve had unprecedented homicides, as well as gun violence, throughout the county...we were hoping legalization would push some of these people out, and it has not.” The money cannot be used to hire more sheriff’s personnel at the local level, but it can be used for overtime and per diem costs as the three sheriff’s departments assist each other on enforcement operations. And Kendall expects a lot more help from the Department of Cannabis Control and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. McGuire pledged that this collaboration, and this funding, “is just the start.” Kendall added in an interview after the press conference that he also expects assistance from CDFW scientists. These specialists are qualified to document the details of environmental degradation at illegal grow sites so the District Attorney can prosecute the damage as a crime. Kendall described the new campaign as still in the planning and handshaking phase, but he expects to be able to call on state law enforcement agencies and his neighboring sheriff’s departments soon. He hopes to knock out the large illegal grows in two years.
6 minutes | Sep 29, 2021
Child hospitalized with COVID-19 "raises the specter of a pediatric pandemic"
September 29, 2021 — Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren gave a sobering covid update to the Board of Supervisors yesterday. In the last two weeks, there have been eight covid deaths at two nursing homes, and the first child with the illness has been admitted to the hospital, leading to perhaps the most chilling possibility since late 2019. Though vaccines for children are just around the corner, Coren reported that the first pediatric hospital case “Raises the spectre of a pediatric pandemic.” A state-mandated vaccine requirement with some significant loopholes goes into effect for all healthcare workers tomorrow, though it was too late for the eight vulnerable people who perished at the two nursing homes, each with low vaccination rates. The staff who tested positive were predominantly unvaccinated, Coren reported. “So while the surge in Northern California is affecting predominantly unvaccinated ten to one, it is also having fatal consequences on those who are vaccinated and vulnerable who are in contact with the unvaccinated caregivers,” he added. The mandate for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by September 30 was issued by the California Department of Public Health on August fifth. Employees may decline the vaccine due to religious beliefs or for qualifying medical reasons. Other staff in health care facilities are also required to be fully vaccinated by tomorrow. As family members are no doubt planning funerals for vulnerable relatives who died after being exposed to those exercising their right to refuse the vaccine, one member of the public called in to inform the board that they and Dr. Coren will be held accountable for tyrannical policies that amount to human rights violations. Like many who oppose the use of public health restrictions to stop the spread of disease, she relied on language borrowed from civil rights struggles, referring to the order for bars and restaurants to place signs about their vaccine policies as segregation. But Coren has been tentative about issuing vaccine mandates, declining to speculate on whether or not policy solutions could stop the surge. Coren identified Redwood Cove in Ukiah and Sherwood Oaks in Fort Bragg as skilled nursing facilities that are currently experiencing outbreaks. Gabriel Barraza, the administrator for Redwood Cove, said that Currently, one resident of 41 at the facility is isolated after testing positive for covid 19, and that nearly 80 percent of their healthcare workers are fully or partially vaccinated. Dr. John Cottle of Sherwood Oaks sentout a message last week saying that 15 residents with covid-19 were in isolation, but with an 88% acceptance rate for the vaccine, only four of the 15 had symptoms that were significant but not severe. Cottle did not respond to an email requesting more detail on Tuesday. Coren offered one piece of information that was somewhat reassuring: though there have been a total of 28 covid explosures at Mendocino County schools, there have been no outbreaks at schools so far.
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