Around Mendo Island

The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming…


From  Josh Harkinson
Mother Jones

STARTING ABOUT 90 MILES northwest of Sacramento, an unbroken swath of national forestland follows the spine of California’s rugged coastal mountains all the way to the Oregon border. Near the center of this vast wilderness, along the grassy banks of the Trinity River’s south fork, lies the remote enclave of Hyampom (pop. 241), where, on a crisp November morning, I climb into a four-wheel-drive government pickup and bounce up a dirt logging road deep into the Six Rivers National Forest. I’ve come to visit what’s known in cannabis country as a “trespass grow.”

“This one probably has the most plants I’ve seen,” says my driver, a young Forest Service cop who spends his summers lugging an AR-15 through the backcountry of the Emerald Triangle—the triad of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties that is to pot what the Central Valley is to almonds and tomatoes. Fearing retaliation from growers, the officer asks that I not use his name. Back in August he was hiking through the bush, trying to locate the grow from an aerial photo, when he surprised a guy carrying an iPod, gardening tools, and a 9 mm pistol on his hip. He arrested the man and alerted his tactical team, which found about 5,500 plants growing nearby, with a potential street yield approaching $16 million.

Today, a work crew is hauling away the detritus by helicopter. Our little group, which includes a second federal officer and a Forest Service flack, hikes down an old skid trail lined with mossy oaks and madrones, passing the scat of a mountain lion, and a few minutes later, fresh black bear droppings. We follow what looks like a game trail to the lip of a wooded slope, a site known as Bear Camp.

Thousands of Californians Confront Gov. Brown at Anti-Fracking Protest…


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From 350.org

Farmers, Health Advocates, Environmentalists From Across State Converge on Sacramento Today to Urge End to Oil Industry’s Toxic Technique

Driven by growing concerns about earthquakes, air and water pollution, and climate change, thousands of Californians from across the state are protesting today in Sacramento to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to stop fracking.

Organized by the statewide coalition Californians Against Fracking and more than 80 individual environmental and public health organizations, the protest and march feature speakers from around California who are forced to live with fracking in their communities and are organizing to end the use of this toxic way of producing oil and gas.

See photos from the rally here and speaking list here.

“People need to know what fracking looks like,” said Rodrigo Romo, a former farmworker and activist in heavily fracked Shafter, CA who will be speaking at the rally.

“In the Central Valley there is no buffer between fracking sites and our community; there are wells next-door to schools and agricultural land. It is time for our decision makers to listen to us and stop fracking.”

Gov. Brown’s administration recently issued oil industry-friendly rules that give a green light to the harmful practice. Farmers, health professionals, environmental experts, residents from impacted communities and activists from throughout the state are urging the governor to end fracking to protect the state’s air, water, health and climate from fracking pollution.

KZYX Common Ground…


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From KING COLLINS
Mendocino County

Dear Inland folks,

I think I got it (beaten into my head): KZYX, our community radio station, is financially good, and technically good and getting better in so many ways. And folks, I believe it.

Yet somehow there is a lot of dissatisfaction out there and ideas about how things could change, like programming and how programming decisions are made, and other ways of getting local news, or maybe we should just get the FCC to kick ass. All kinds of ideas.

Some of these things are really important issues, hot issues, and probably won’t be resolved quickly.

But there is common ground and a foundation to build on, because what most people want DOES NOT THREATEN the financial or technical stability of the station, and does not require going to the FCC.

Most people understand they can’t have their way in everything. BUT…

WE THE REASONABLE want our questions answered and our ideas heard. Adding that to the mix at KZYX won’t diminish our financial and technical stability, will it? In fact it should help in every way, because it taps the skills and knowledge of a lot of valuable human beings.

How about you folks out there, the listeners, the members, the readers of this blog: What do you think?

But specifically I ask each of the candidates for the board:

Do you agree that after you are elected you will find a way to communicate directly to us members? You know, like you cared about us, the suckers who elected you?
~~

New Local Blog: TABU — Towards a Better Understanding…


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From JAMES LEE
TABU
Anderson Valley

[Jamie Lee, an occasional contributor to Ukiah Blog over the  years, has created a new blog, TABU, well worth your visits. Also, the Anderson Valley Advertiser has upgraded its handsome website, TheAVAcom, to make it more accessible. -DS]

Why this Blog?

This blog has been set up to provide all with relevant, timely information that affects us all.

To subscribe to Daily Breaking News, once a week essays and, when necessary, a “Head’s UP” announcements (like a Fukushima event) please subscribe to receive emails in the right hand column..

I ask nothing for this service other than you share information you find relevant, or this blog itself, with your list serve, family and friends.

The first step towards needed change is education. We must know what is going on, how it happened, what has been successful, what has failed and what options are available to us to design a much better future. Only through us all educating each other can we be better informed and help raise all to higher forms of consciousness. I believe this is why the internet was created.

Alan York, Biodynamic Pioneer, Has Passed…


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From Organic Wine Journal

Alan York, a leading consultant for biodynamic viniculture, has passed away at 62. He worked extensively with Mike Benziger at Benzinger Family Winery, and other wineries around the world. Fellow grape grower Phil Coturri had this to say:

“Alan was a horticulturist at heart. Loved plants, gardens and the teachings of Steiner. His passion and understanding of biodynamics helped spread the word internationally. I will always cherish the time I spent with him walking vineyards, talking about balance. Talking about healing the earth by understanding our soils and the environment in which our plants grow. Celebrating balance in life, wines and earth.”

Benziger Winery sent us the following about Alan’s life:

Alan Lynn York was born January 18, 1952 in Whitehouse, Texas and grew up in Morgan City, Louisiana. He told vivid stories of pirogue trips into the swamps and marshes nearby. He loved visits to Granny York, Aunt Willie and Uncle Lloyd on their farm in the pine forests of East Texas. Alan hated school and ran away to California at age 16. He returned home, finished high school, then moved permanently to Santa Barbara, California where he met his first love: horticulture.

Alan never willingly read anything until he began to garden. Then he read voraciously

Alan Chadwick Website…


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From alan-chadwick.org

E.F. Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful, called Alan Chadwick “the greatest horticulturist of the 20th century.” Using the Biodynamic French Intensive Method, which he developed, Alan led the movement that pioneered organic gardening and farming in North America. But Alan Chadwick was far more than an accomplished horticulturist. He taught, prodded, cajoled, and berated his many students until they became competent, authentic, and creative human beings; or at least that was his goal for them, as he would settle for nothing less. As Allen Kalpin, a long-time Chadwick apprentice, once said, “He was a gardener of souls.”
~

“It is all a mystery. The grass is grass. It’s a secret. It’s a mystery. You can’t know it. You can’t understand it, and you mustn’t try. Because the moment you try you can’t perceive it. When you stop trying to understand it in words, you will begin to perceive it. You do begin to perceive it.”

“There is one rule in the garden that is above all others. You must give to nature more than you take. Obey it, and the earth will provide you in glorious abundance.”

“We are the living links in a life force that moves and plays around and through us, binding the deepest soils with the farthest stars.”
~~

Willits Council Member Madge Strong to Gov. Brown: Delay Further Water-Using Construction on Bypass…


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From Save Little Lake Valley

January 28, 2014
Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: Drought & Implications for the Caltrans Willits Freeway Bypass

Dear Governor Brown:

You recently declared a drought emergency in the State of California. The week before, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and the Willits City Council had both declared a state of emergency in our area. Our county and its residents are experiencing water rationing.

Even with severe restrictions, there is uncertainty, if we do not receive substantial amounts of rainfall to fill our reservoirs and recharge our groundwater aquifers, that we can make it through 2014 with water for basic human needs. Under these circumstances, it would be unconscionable to proceed with extremely water-intensive construction on the Willits Bypass project this year.

In 2013, Caltrans reports having used at least four million gallons from local wells for dust control and compaction on the project. Activities during the coming 2014 season would far exceed that amount, with continued earth-moving, dust control, compaction and adding cement mixing for construction of bridges and a one-mile long aqueduct. Those local wells and those millions of gallons of water are essential for the survival of 13,000 people living in the Willits area!

At the same time that the bypass project plans to use large amounts of water, it also plans to pave over nearly 90 acres of wetlands in our small valley. Those wetlands are critically important in recharging our aquifers, not to mention their role in flood control, cleansing water going into salmon-spawning creeks and supporting other wildlife. In your declaration about our water crisis, you also wisely mentioned the importance of protecting and restoring wetlands.

Even if or when the current drought eases, there is a way to substantially reduce the wetlands impact of the Willits Bypass project. Some of the damage has already been done

For one year, two women exclusively ate food produced within Mendocino County… Now, they will write a book about their adventures…


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From Sarah & Gowan
Eat Mendocino Kickstarter Project

How Eat Mendocino was born…

The Eat Mendocino project was created from a belief that healthy, fresh local food can be accessible to all and that local farms are critical to addressing food insecurity in our communities.

We embarked upon a year of eating exclusively local food because we believe that the key to healthier people and vibrant communities lies in creating strong local food systems. So, we put our bodies to the test. We decided to embody the local food web by becoming entirely dependent upon it.

How this project is different than what Barbara Kingsolver or Michael Pollan did…

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver changed the way that many people thought about food. Her efforts to produce her own veggies and meats and support local farms were laudable we love her writing. Here on the Mendocino Coast, the Noyo Hill Farm said that they had more people sign up for their CSA program the year that her book was published than ever before. Which is awesome. But, when people compare our project to her endeavor, we have to clarify that what we did was far more intense, consuming, and geographically bound. She purchased staples such as grains, oil and spices from the store. Their family was allowed exception foods such as coffee or chocolate and they ate out at restaurants. Our “rules” were more unforgiving. We ate only local grains, oils, and spices, made our own sea salt from sea water, and removed all imports from our lives.

Fukushima: Mendocino Response Team…



mMendocino Fukushima Response Campaign

From enenews.com

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors action minutes, Oct. 22, 2013: [...] Board Action: Upon motion by Supervisor McCowen, seconded by Supervisor Pinches, and carried unanimously; IT IS ORDERED that Consent Calendar items 4(a – t) are approved/rejected as follows: [...] Approval of Letter to President Obama Calling for International Assistance to Address the Continuing Fukushima Crisis – [Sponsors:] Supervisors McCowen and Gjerde — Approved

Draft of Mendocino County’s Letter to President Obama: Deteriorating conditions at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex clearly constitute an international crisis of epic proportions that requires the highest level of international scientific and technological assistance in an effort to minimize the continuing damage to international health and safety. [...]  We therefore call upon you to issue an Executive Order directing all appropriate federal agencies to assist in leading an international effort to avert what appears to be a looming catastrophe of unprecedented dimensions. [...] the reactor cores from units 1, 2, and 3 have melted down and are widely believed to have penetrated the floor of the reactor buildings. [...] Groundwater also flows freely through the site resulting in the uncontrolled discharge of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. [...] In addition to the requested Executive Order, we also call upon you to assure that the federal government is conducting all appropriate monitoring and testing to assess the level and impacts of radioactive contamination to west coast communities and the near shore marine environment. [...]  >> View the County’s letter to President Obama here

Will Parrish Hearing Today 1/23/14 10:30 am Ukiah… Press Conference 12 noon…


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~~

Willits Bypass: Will Parrish Needs Your Support…


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From CAL WINSLOW
CounterPunch

Will Parrish needs your support. He now faces eight years in prison; in addition, $490,000 in fines, “restitution”.  And for what? For delaying a freeway, the “Redwood Highway” – the California 101.

Parrish is a journalist here in Willits, in Mendocino County. He is also an activist and a teacher. His trial is scheduled for the County Courthouse in Ukiah, at 8:30 AM, on January 28th.

Will’s crime must be peculiarly Californian, a crime against a freeway. It must, from the grave, be raising Ronald Reagan’s hackles, jolting his memory. We’re told, incessantly in the media, this delay also enrages our ordinary travelers; drivers, it seems, now delayed five minutes (or so) along the main street of Willits on the trip to Eureka.

Willits, Eureka, Mendocino, Humboldt, why here? In this wildest corner of the state? “California’s transportation infrastructure – once the freeway wonder of the world – now lags hopelessly behind…”, Mike Davis tells us this, and quite rightly, but you can’t say they’re not trying. The issue here is a bypass.

Mike’s down south, where the people are. Things are different here.

Sara Grusky: Pricing the Priceless — Willits Bypass and the Willits Wetlands…


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From SARA GRUSKY
Green Uprising Farm
Willits

Caltrans says that Mr.  Will Parrish owes them about a half  million dollars ($481,588 to be exact) to cover the “direct and indirect costs” of the delays in the construction of the Willits Hwy 101 freeway bypass.   These costs were incurred, according to Caltrans, during Will Parrish’s 11 day occupation of the contractor’s wick drain machine in his attempt to stop the largest wetlands fill operation in northern California in half a century.  Caltrans seeks to bill Mr. Parrish for this half million dollars.  They have informed the District Attorney’s office that they wish to include these claims for “restitution” in connection with Mr. Parrish’s prosecution for unlawful entry onto Caltrans’ project site in the case of  People v. Parrish.  Mr. Parrish’s case is currently scheduled to be heard in Mendocino Superior Court onJanuary 27, 2014 at 8:30 am.  Please attend this important event.

I requested a copy of Caltrans’ half a million dollar itemized budget through the California Public Records Act and received it a couple of days ago.  It is quite an extraordinary piece of accounting by the entity that is now the landowner of one-third of Little Lake Valley.  On behalf of

Right To Democracy: Stop The Slaughterhouse Now…


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From DAVE SMITH
Redwood Valley

We need to call out the planners of the Ukiah Valley slaughterhouse group on their true, long-range plans… which are, in my opinion, to expand and supply large amounts of meat to the Bay Area after getting approval of a small local operation right here in our Ukiah population center. And they are going to use the so-called “Right To Industry” County ordinance proposal to help force it on us.

Right To Industry? What’s next, “Right To Retail” so we can’t protest Walmart expansion? There is hardly precedence for this type of ordinance anywhere in the country. Why Mendocino County? Why now? This is nothing but a Chamber of Commerce / Employers Council / Realtors / Builders Exchange sucker punch.

Rather, as citizens, we need to maintain our own “Right to Democracy” that this would destroy. Becoming the Harris Ranch North meat processing center for the Bay Area is not what local citizens will accept. The slaughterhouse long-range plan to grow big is obvious because they want it near the Russian River, with sewer hookups for water and waste management, and close to 101 for shipping to the Bay Area.

Rather, to supply meat to our local, northern California region, we need appropriate, decentralized, small-scale, USDA inspected, mobile slaughter… on the ranches themselves. This approach is successful in several areas of the country.

Let’s hear it for the NIMBY’s and the Do-Gooders…


From DAVE SMITH
Redwood Valley

The ‘Right To Industry’ bullshit and Slaughterhouse plans are forcing themselves on Mendocino communities. Some will shrug their shoulders in passive resignation, others will nod in welcome to a colonial economy; some will smile in anticipation of self-interested benefit, others will nod off in a non-caring stupor.

Wendell Berry:

There’s  a lot of scorn now toward people who say, “Not in my backyard,” but the not-in-my-backyard sentiment is one of the most valuable that we have. If enough people said, “Not in my backyard,” these bad innovations wouldn’t be in anybody’s backyard. It’s your own backyard you’re required to protect because in doing so you’re defending everybody’s backyard. It is altogether healthy and salutary.

The environmental movement was founded and built by so-called NIMBYs, and Do-Gooders. They responded to the poisoning and destruction of our shared natural environment, first revealed by Rachel Carson in her book Silent Spring, by opposing it in their own backyards, neighborhoods, watersheds, and communities. They took personal responsibility, as good citizens and their elected representatives do in a democracy. I say good for them, good for us. If we don’t take responsibility for our own backyards and communities, who will? There are some things that should not be in any one’s backyard or neighborhood, and those who are most motivated to stop them are those who are immediately and locally affected. And when someone says that government should just get out of the way, they are saying democracy should just get out of the way.

Citizens throughout America are mourning the loss of uniqueness, identity, and community in the places they live. A “sense of place” is built on cultural and economic diversity with appropriate and sustainable scale and technologies. When misguided leaders in our community try to impose their will on local citizens, who is there to challenge them? Without strong local voices opposing the harmful out-dated practices of the past, we wouldn’t have the many positive alternatives available to us now.

Why the ‘Right To Industry’ Ordinance Must Be Stopped…


 

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From AVA PETERSON
Redwood Valley
[Further to her previous letter]

It has come to my attention that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors intends to vote on a Mendocino County “Right to Industry” Ordinance on December 10, 2013. This ordinance has now been revised by “County Staff” and will be presented to the Board for a vote on December 10th.

The Mendocino County CEO just initiated a 6-Day Public Comment Period which ends on December 10, 2013. The CEO lists various “Stakeholders” forgetting to include Mendocino County Residents, the major stakeholders, in his quest for public comments.

This “Right to Industry” Ordinance (which reads like an “Industry Protection Racket), would protect current and future industrial operations from complaints by neighbors for a wide variety of problems that should be addressed on the local level by our supervisors who are elected to represent the interests of all the people of Mendocino County. In addition there is no definition for many terms within the ordinance including the word “nuisance”. Thus, many interpretations may be used due to lack of clear definitions.

This “ordinance” unleashes all current and future industrial operations to pollute our air, water, soil, negatively impact our roads, sewage treatment plant, local wells, and would increase noise, night lights, chemical releases, excessive use of ever-larger billboards, lower property values without county compensation, lower quality of Russian River Water (along with tributaries), and also impact neighboring industries who may not appreciate having a dusty, dirty, noisy, polluting neighbor.

This “ordinance” has the potential to reduce the quality of life throughout Mendocino County. And it could impact future businesses and residential properties in the Ukiah Valley and other areas by undermining the quality of life and health of the residents of Mendocino County. It should be noted that changes take place in zoning areas in Mendocino County from time-to-time which could impact more and more residents of our county as these changes occur.

Take Action! Are you a Mendocino “Stakeholder”? — “Right To Industry” vs. “Right To Democracy”…


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[This is how they will try and prevent us from opposing the population-center slaughterhouse... What's next, "Right To Retail" so we can't protest Walmart expansion? Hardly any precedence for this anywhere in the country. Why us? Why now? This is nothing but a Chamber of Commerce / Employers Council / Realtors / Builders Exchange sucker punch. -DS]

From AVA PETERSON
Redwood Valley

It has come to my attention that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors intends to vote on a Mendocino County “Right to Industry” Ordinance on December 10, 2013.  This ordinance has now been revised by “County Staff” and will be presented to the Board for a vote on December 10th.

The Mendocino County CEO just initiated a 6-Day Public Comment Period which ends on December 10, 2013.  The CEO lists various “Stakeholders” forgetting to include Mendocino County Residents, the major stakeholders, in its quest for public comments.

This “Right to Industry” Ordinance (which reads like an “Industry Protection Racket”), would protect current and future industrial operations from complaints by neighbors for a wide variety of problems that should be addressed on the local level by our supervisors who are elected to represent the interests of all the people of Mendocino County.

The information below was forwarded to me on December 4, 2013.  I am making the assumption from the information below that the “Public” is not considered a “Stakeholder” by the Mendocino County Executive Office or the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

Please note that your feedback or public comments should also be directed to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

Take Action! Ukiah Valley Slaughterhouse Update…


sHorse Slaughterhouses

From RON EPSTEIN and JAN ALLEGRETTI

If you are genuinely concerned about the prospect of a slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley, and have time and energy to devote, please come to our meeting Saturday, December 7, at 3:00 p.m. at the MEC.

As you may know, there’s a very active ongoing effort to build a slaughterhouse in Ukiah. The Economic Development Corporation (EDFC) is spearheading the effort, and we’ve heard that at least one wealthy investor has expressed an interest in financing the facility. We’d like to update you on what we know and what we’ve heard—you’ll find the details below.

Also, we’re planning a meeting of people who have concerns about this effort—those who do not want any slaughterhouse in the Ukiah valley, as well as those who want to put restrictions on its location, size, economic, environmental, public health, and social impacts. If you are one of those people, and have time and energy to contribute over the coming months—or longer—please consider attending. If you can’t attend, please contact us by return email to let us know how you’d like to be involved.

Jim Houle: The Fantasy World of Costco…


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From JAMES HOULE
Redwood Valley

To The Ukiah City Council

Our City Manager fantasizes that a Big Costco Box will bring in great sales tax receipts and that the city will be able to pay off its indebtedness from the RDA fiasco, as well as new loans to build $6.2 million worth of access roads to Costco. This, they hope, will put the City on a sound financial footing. But there are a few problems with living in such a fantasy world:

There is no need for Costco: Ukiah people are not under-dressed nor poorly fed for lack of another big box discount store. We already have plenty of clothing stores, food emporiums, gasoline stations, and drug stores to meet our needs.

There is no money to build the new highway 101 interchange: The State Finance Department has said that the City Council cannot use revenue from the 2011 RDA bond nor from the expected sale of 15 acres to Costco to develop roads and interchanges needed to funnel shoppers into Big Box parking lots. Show us the money!

There is no adequate plan for the proposed interchange:

Take Action! Ukiah Share Space…


logoFrom SCOTT CRATTY
Ukiah

The Vision

To create a thriving, community-centered cowork space and business incubator that supports Ukiah and Mendocino County entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The Ukiah Share Space will be a place for people to:
* share space, resources and skills,
* incubate new businesses and projects,
* foster and celebrate our entrepreneurial spirit, and
* create new local jobs.

The Need

Communities across the country are in need of a new type of economic revitalization — a type that is based on delocalization of basic needs and essential goods.

Localizing food production, reviving local manufacturing and reintroducing cooperatives are all pieces of this puzzle. The Share Space is a central location where these things can happen under one roof. It is a hub for sharing resources, learning new skills, finding sustainable solutions and incubating the new local economy.

The Ukiah Share Space Cowork and Local Economy Center will be organized as a public-private partnership between the City of Ukiah, EDFC and its partners.

Elements of the Center will include:
* Cowork Space
* Start-up Office Space
* Incubation Services
* Local Investment Opportunities
* Green Design Lab
* North Bay Made
* Reuse, Repair & Share Resources

Benefits to the community include:
* Incubation of new businesses and jobs
* A gathering place to support the local economy

Herb Ruhs Responds To ‘Are We Cooperative or Competitive?’…


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From HERB RUHS
Boonville

The trauma I experienced when I found a post here on UkiahBlog supporting the bombing of Syria (I have a similar trauma whenever I encounter heartlessness, being actually bombed does wonders for one’s consciousness on that level) is beginning to heal. Let’s hope something like that does not happen again here.

I am compelled to comment here now because the question that Slate attempts to dredge up from more than one hundred years ago (Are We Cooperative or Competitive?), in a short biography of the sainted scientist Kropotkin, is actually no longer a question in active scientific debate. This sort of sophistry, seems to me, to be the love child of American Anti-intellectualism and the new Corporate Feudalism, so I seldom read anything from Slate unless it comes to me by a trusted aggregator like ICH or The Smirking Chimp. Scientifically educated and open minded people around the world know the answer to the question

Mendo Island: Buying Books and eBooks Online Locally…


MBC400Mendocino Book Company, Ukiah

From DAVE SMITH
Redwood Valley

These three Mendocino County independent, locally-owned bookstores sell new books and ebooks online…

GalleryGallery Bookshop, Mendocino

Four-EyedFour-Eyed Frog, Gualala 

TOP TEN REASONS TO NOT ONLY SHOP LOCALLY, BUT SHOP LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES

  1. KEEP DOLLARS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY’S ECONOMY
    For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy, creating jobs and expanding the city’s and county’s tax base. For every $100 spent at a national chain or franchise store, only $14 remains in the community.
  2. EMBRACE WHAT MAKES MENDOCINO COUNTY UNIQUE
    Where we shop, where we eat and hang out—all of it makes our village home. Chain and franchise stores are growing more aggressive and threatening to change the unique character of our town. One-of-a-kind, locally owned, independent businesses are an integral part of what makes Mendocino County a great place to live.
  3. FOSTER LOCAL JOB CREATION
    Studies show that locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than national chains.
  4. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT
    Local business owners tend to set up shop downtown and in walkable neighborhood business districts, rather than developing on the city’s fringe or in suburban strip malls accessible only by automobile.

Will Parrish: Valley Oak, Tree of Life…


w(inspired by Polaris, a mighty valley oak that stood at the northern end of Little Lake Valley)

From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
Save Little Lake Valley

Valley oaks grow precisely in areas where the dominant society insists on erecting its cities and industrial empires, and its freeways: in valley bottom lands, where these long, flowing, almost vine-like oaks thrive in moist loamy soil ranging between the Inner Coast Ranges and across the Transverse Ranges, in much of Central Valley, and in various other pockets of California.

It is said that valley oaks never grow without a wild water source within 70 feet. Some Indigenous people have called them “Water Oak.”

As with coast redwoods, it is likely that 97-98 percent of old growth valley oaks have been destroyed in the past two hundred years throughout their native range.  They have often met this fate in a manner even less dignified than the redwoods.  Millions of them have been hacked to the ground like trash, often merely because they stood in the way, not even to be milled or used for any specific purpose.

But valley oaks are nothing if not dignified.  These regal trees are thought to be the largest and longest-lived oaks in the world.

For thousands of years, they have been a “tree of life” for Indigenous people who dwell in California interior valleys.

Their leaves have provided tinder, earth oven lining, and fodder for stock.

Their galls have provided material for hair dyes, medicines, and basketry.

Their burls have provided bowls, cups, dippers, ladles, and mortars.

Their sprouts have provided material for basketry, digging sticks, arrows, boats, traps, fire drills, cooking tongs, stirring sticks, clothing and games.

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