Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Judge halts aerial moth spraying in Santa Cruz County
San Francisco Examiner
April 24, 2008
by Garnace Burke, AP
FRESNO, Calif. - A California judge dealt a major setback to the state's campaign against an invasive moth on Thursday, ruling that aerial sprays must halt over Santa Cruz County until agricultural officials do a full environmental review of their anti-pest program.
The ruling could keep planes from spraying a pesticide targeting the light brown apple moth for up to a year, while the state studies the spray's effect on people and the environment, said county spokeswoman Dinah Phillips.
Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura vowed the state would appeal the ruling immediately. In a statement, he said the decision was delaying "the safest, most progressive eradication program available."
After meeting with lawmakers and environmentalists, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday the state would suspend aerial sprays until Aug. 17, by which time further "acute testing" of the spray's impact on humans would be complete.
"The light brown apple moth is a serious threat to California's forests and agriculture. If left uncontrolled, the moth would have a devastating impact on our state's environment and economy," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
But hundreds of people complained of feeling sick when planes applied the first round of spray along the central coast last fall. State environmental health experts recently said those reported illnesses can't conclusively be tied to the pest eradication efforts.
Soon after the sprays, the County and City of Santa Cruz filed suit against the state, saying Kawamura broke state law by authorizing aerial campaign without the benefit of environmental review. Environmentalists filed a similar suit in Monterey County Superior Court, which is scheduled to be heard May 8.
Burdick ruled the state had not proved the moth infestation constituted an emergency, a category that would have allowed authorities to avoid the lengthy state review process.
Assemblyman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, who has written two bills critical of the program, said he hoped the ruling would "make way for additional science-based, independent third-party review" of the state's plans.
Meanwhile, dozens of Santa Cruz residents cheered Judge Paul Burdick's ruling Thursday, Phillips said.
"When the judge announced his decision, a tremendous cheer was raised," she said. "I can still see dozens of people outside my window giving each other high fives."
Agriculture officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking further information about the ruling's impact in the San Francisco Bay area, where authorities also planned to send up planes to drop a fine chemical mist this summer.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture have said the agency may go ahead with the spray campaign regardless of the ruling because the moth threatens to destroy millions of dollars' worth of valuable crops.
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Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008
I am sending this out, even though, the spraying in Sonoma has NOT YET been put on the calendar by the USDA. You might be wondering... what's the big deal... we are sprayed all the time with the vineyards. This is different. This would be above your house,your children's schools, in your neighborhoods. Please check out the attachment and go to the site: www.StoptheSprayMarin.org
We can organize something in Sonoma County, but my preference would be to focus and concentrate more people at the rally in Marin County on May 10th (see attach.) and let our local papers know that a large group of Sonomans are supporting Marin.
Santa Cruz has already been sprayed with over 600 adults, pets, wildlife (dozens of birds found dead. Waterways foaming up) and their children, coming down with numerous health issues. Santa Cruz County will be sprayed again,every 3 months (for a week) for 3-10 years! So will Marin and we don't know about Sonoma, yet.
I hope you can make it to Marin. If not please, please let your friends and neighbors know.
If you have any questions you can contact me at 933-0312. If you want more info from either Frank or Paul (the Marin Coordinators), I can give you their contacts. They are working 24/7 with little sleep so I and Will are the in between people in Sonoma ... for the meantime!
Paul has the contacts for all the Mothers Clubs in Sonoma County. If any of you are involved in the Clubs and would like to organize something in Sonoma, let me know.
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Moms March to Stop the Spraying Simultaneous City March
Sat, May 10, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera, Marin, California 94925
Gather in Parking lot at 9:30 - begin march at 10, Rally is over at Noon.
Moms March to Stop the Spraying Simultaneous City March Day Before Mothers Day
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The California Alliance to Stop the Spray (CASS)
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Begun in 1998 with one kindergarten class and a $1,000,000 federal grant, dual immersion now spans grades K-5 at Flowery and grades 6-8 at Adele Harrison Middle School.
By 2010, Flowery will have accomplished its goal of becoming a dual immersion magnet school. We are proud to offer this high quality program of choice for Sonoma County families, and are committed to educating all children for success in a global society.
Sonoma, Calif: Cornerstone Gardens
By KATIE ARNOLD
The New York Times
Published: April 27, 2008
Usually when I hear the words “garden center,” I glaze over, imagining rows upon rows of tiny plastic containers, sprouting stalks so wobbly and forlorn it’ll be months until they resemble actual plants. I picture tedious displays of hose nozzles and my horticulturalist husband rattling off the Latin name of every species in sight.
The first sign that Cornerstone Gardens, on the southern outskirts of Sonoma, is not your typical garden center is the long-dead Monterey pine outside, its skeletal limbs coated in 25,000 blue plastic Christmas balls. Then there are two 11-foot-high Adirondack chairs, and a “flying” picket fence levitating 7 to 10 feet above the perimeter.
And that’s just what you can see from the road.
In addition to Blue Tree and 16 other “concept gardens” designed by leading landscape architects, the nine-acre complex is home to a local boutique wine collective, a cafe and a handful of design shops. Artefact Design & Salvage, crammed with architectural antiques from Europe, stocks Italian carved fountains and sandstone garden orbs from France, as well as finds from closer to home: pressed-tin house numbers or jars of Napa-made hand cream. Across the courtyard, there are mod knickknacks at Zipper Gifts (gold-plated fortune-cookie place holders, $12).
Blurring the line between art and commerce, Cornerstone is so high-concept that even its founder has trouble describing it. “It’s always been hard to explain to people,” said Chris Hougie, 56, an entrepreneur and former toy inventor who started Cornerstone in 2004 after visiting Chaumont, a collection of folly gardens in the Loire Valley. “I wanted to change the notion of what a garden can be — a place that’s as much about ideas as about plants.”
The garden’s rotating exhibits now include an orchard of plastic daisy pinwheels designed by Ken Smith, an above-ground “wishing well” by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, and Pamela Burton’s sloping hay-bale bunker adorned with feather grass and a lily pond. Don’t try too hard to figure this place out: It’s much more fun to feel, rather than think, what the gardens are trying to tell you. Best of all, you won’t have to remember a single Latin name.
Cornerstone Gardens, 23570 Highway 121, Sonoma, Calif; (707) 933-3010; www.cornerstoneplace.com.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
"People in Shasta County in Northern California took samples from ponds, HVAC filters, tops of sheds and solar panels to see what was falling out of these chemtrails. Solar panel efficiency dropped considerably when the spraying was going on. The professional lab tests showed abnormally high and unacceptable levels of aluminum, barium and strontium. There are no sources for these chemicals in this area except from what is falling out of the sky. Investigations of US patents indicate that these are the chemicals being sprayed to make cloud cover. After the jets spray, the DU's rise. Citizens are not being told about these low DU readings, about the spraying nor do we ever get UV alerts like they get in Australia. We are making appeals to our County Air Quality Board and our Senator, Barbara Boxer to investigate the source of these chemicals."
(source: Dangerous Ozone Depletion and UV Levels Increasing)
"After reviewing the evidence proving that poisoning from aluminum, heavy-metals, and hundreds of chemicals is rampant, it is clear that, for self-preservation, we must incorporate a lifestyle change that involves regular cleansing rituals and a living foods diet. We have shown that environmental pollutants are a major cause of hormonal imbalances, cancer, thyroid problems, neurological disturbances, learning disabilities, memory loss, depression, food allergies, and parasites. The value of colon and kidney cleansing, and liver flushes hasn’t been discussed enough. If we are going to do more than survive the coming changes, becoming a conscious consumer and gardener now will initiate the reverse of the poisoning and start the healing our troubled planet."
(source: A practical guide to removing toxins from the body)
Apr 21, 2008
Rice Shortage Prompts Costco Calif. Rice Rationing
Reporting Thuy Vu
MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS 5) ― Rice is a popular dish in many Bay Area homes, but now there's a shortage that is making the cost of the staple unstable.
The cost of a 50-pound sack of jasmine rice has soared to $21.99. There have been so many buyers flocking a Costco in Mountain View that two other brands of rice were completely sold out Monday.
Costco is now posting signs limiting how much rice you can buy based on your previous purchases. Our video report has more behind the reasons behind the ration, and how consumers are cutting back on rice.
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PROMISE FROM GOD'S WORD
From Matthew 6
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Monday, April 21, 2008
By PAUL ELIAS
Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO—A government lawyer on Monday urged a judge to dismiss a lawsuit charging the Department of Veterans Affairs with failing to properly treat thousands of veterans for mental illness, saying the VA runs a "world class" medical care system.
In opening statements of the trial, veterans' lawyers painted a diverging portrait of the system, one in which suicides and suicide attempts are rising at alarming rates because of VA incompetence and recalcitrance to address the issue.
Two veterans groups have joined in a class-action lawsuit against a sprawling VA system that handled a record 838,000 claims last year. U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Conti is hearing the case in a two-week trial, without a jury.
Justice Department lawyer Richard Lepley argued Monday that the VA has responded to the unprecedented number of claims, which officials say is being driven by aging Vietnam veterans and other warriors of the Cold War era, by launching a massive new hiring process.
Lepley told the judge that the VA has added more than 3,700 new "mental health physicians" to a mental health professional staff of 17,000 that treats increasing cases if post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological problems in the last year.
"We are staffing up," Lepley said. "We can't do it overnight."
Government lawyers say the VA has been devoting more resources to mental health and making suicide prevention a top priority. They also argue that
the courts don't have the authority to tell the department how it should operate.
Earlier in the morning, veterans lawyer Gordon Erspamer told the judge that the VA isn't doing enough, calling for the judge to order a massive overhaul of how the VA processes claims and perhaps hire a "special master" to preside over the agency.
Erspamer cited a RAND Corp. report released last week estimating that 300,000 U.S. troops—about 20 percent of those deployed—are suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Erspamer showed the judge two e-mails written last year among high-ranking officials that said an average of 18 military veterans kill themselves each day—and five of them are under VA care when they commit suicide. Another e-mail said 1,000 veterans under VA care attempt suicide each month.
And many of the 900,000 troops currently deployed in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon need to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, Erspamer said.
The plaintiffs' lawyer also complained that it takes too long for the VA to process new claims—an average of about 180 days and probably longer for post-traumatic stress.
It also takes an average of more than five years for the VA to decide a veteran's appeal of denied coverage, Erspamer said. In the last six months, 526 vets have died while awaiting word of their appeal within the VA, he noted.
"This is a serious problem," Erspamer told the judge.
In addition to overhauling the system, Erspamer said veterans should have access to lawyers and other court tools that they're currently barred from using in the VA appeals process.
The government's attorney countered that involving more lawyers in the process will add to the delays rather than reduce wait times. Lepley also argued that it takes the VA longer to process claims than typical private insurance companies because it has to prove a veteran's disability was incurred during service time.
Lepley noted the VA will spend $3.8 billion for fiscal year 2008 on mental health and announced a policy in June that requires all medical centers to have mental health staff available all the time to provide urgent care.
Monday April 21 2008
The US army doubled its use of "moral waivers" for enlisted soldiers last year to cope with the stress of the Iraq war, allowing convicted sex offenders, people convicted of making terrorist threats and child abusers into the military, according to new records released today.
The army gave out 511 moral waivers to soldiers with felony convictions last year, relaxing its recruiting standards in order to admit them. Criminals got 249 army waivers in 2006, a sign that the high demand for US forces in Iraq has forced a sharp increase in the number of criminals allowed on the battlefield.
The felons accepted into the army and marines included 87 soldiers convicted of assault or maiming, 130 convicted of non-marijuana drug offences, seven convicted of making terrorist threats, and two convicted of indecent behaviour with a child. Waivers were also granted to 500 burglars and thieves, 19 arsonists and 9 sex offenders.
The new data was released by the oversight committee of the House of Representatives, which also noted that "poor record-keeping and maintenance" prevented the military from tracking how many convicted criminals had received moral waivers before 2006.
Henry Waxman, the Democratic chairman of the oversight panel, wrote to Pentagon personnel chief David Chu to seek more details on how directly the rise in waivers stems from Iraq-related recruiting needs.
Waxman told Chu that while "providing opportunities to individuals who have served their sentences and rehabilitated themselves" is important, the waivers are a sign that the US military is stretched too thin.
The total number of moral waivers in the military reached 34,476 in 2006, or nearly 20% of all enlisted soldiers, according to the Palm centre at the University of California.
Recruits with felony convictions are more likely than other soldiers to drop out or be released from the military, often at a significant cost to the US government.
More than one felony conviction disqualifies recruits from the army or marines, even with a moral waiver, but the navy and air force can admit those with multiple offences. Still, the army and marines have stepped up their moral waivers while the navy and air force have cut down since the Iraq war began.
By DON THOMPSON
April 16, 2008
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state social services agency on Wednesday was moving to shut down nine homes used for child daycare and foster care after an audit found registered sex offenders living there in violation of state law.
The revelation came after state auditors compared the addresses of 75,000 licensed facilities, including foster family homes and in-home daycare centers, with the state's database of registered sex offenders.
California Department of Social Services Director John Wagner said the audit found that the addresses of 49 sex offenders matched those of 46 child care facilities.
The department was able to confirm nine of the cases during inspections of all 46 facilities that were completed Monday, Wagner said.
Three license suspensions already are in effect — two in Los Angeles and one in San Bernardino. In the three cases, one offender had been convicted of sexual battery while the other two had been convicted of oral copulation with a minor, said Larry Bolton, the department's chief lawyer.
Two foster children were removed Wednesday by Los Angeles authorities responding to one of the cases, Wagner said. In another case, a sex offender was living in a home with three children and two grandchildren.
Investigators are interviewing the children who had contact in each of the homes or day care centers.
"We haven't finished the interviews, but no indication yet" that any child was actually abused, Bolton said.
The department would not immediately give details on the other six pending suspensions.
The Bureau of State Audits asked for the department's database of licensed facilities in November, but the social services agency did not learn of the matches with sex offenders until last week, Wagner said. The audit is due for release Tuesday.
Of the 46 address matches, 25 were in Los Angeles, eight in the Central Valley, seven in the San Francisco Bay area, four in San Diego, and one each in San Bernardino and Sacramento.
In most cases, the department's inspectors could not verify that a sex offender was living at the address or found that the offender was there but children were not present.
It is a violation of state law for daycare and foster care licensees not to report the names of any adults living in or associated with their facilities, Wagner said.
The Department of Social Services needs that information to conduct background checks on the license holder and others living at the home or child care center. Had the department discovered a resident was a sex offender, the license would have been denied or suspended, Wagner said.
Three of the 49 sex offenders are on parole, but none was found to be living in improper housing, said Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
One of the three was living in an elder care facility that occasionally might have taken in foster care children. That person was moved to a different location Wednesday as a precaution, Hinkle said.
State Auditor Elaine Howle declined to comment about the Department of Social Services action on Wednesday.
On the Net:
California Department of Social Services: http://www.cdss.ca.gov/
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When you visit this site you can enter your address and a map will pop up with your house as a small icon of a house. There will be red, blue and green dots surrounding your entire neighborhood. When you click on these dots a picture of a criminal will appear with his or her home address and the description of the crime he or she has committed. The best thing is that you can show your children these pictures and see how close these people live to your home or school. This site was developed by John Walsh from Americas Most Wanted.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Saving the snow leopard
Sonoma conservationist dedicated to preserving endangered cats
By Bob Norberg
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
April 15, 2008
Chhinsu, an 18-year-old snow leopard, lazes in the corner of her cage in an Occidental preserve, moving only her watchful amber-green eyes and occasionally her tail.
The tail is what often gives them away in the Himalayas, where their coloring provides such perfect camouflage in both rocks or snow, said Rodney Jackson of Sonoma.
"Aren't they beautiful?" Jackson asked, watching a leopard in its cage. "Those eyes, they have such a faraway look, like they are looking for the mountains."
Jackson, 64, has spent half of his life working to save the snow leopard, establishing the Snow Leopard Conservancy and working in the 12 nations where the endangered cat lives.
For his work, Jackson is a finalist for the Indianapolis Prize, a prestigious award from the Indianapolis Zoo being given for the second time.
The $100,000 prize is the single largest award for work with a single species, zoo spokeswoman Karen Barns said.
"What he has done with the conservancy has a lasting effect on the survival of that animal," Barns said. "As a researcher, his work and his contributions to the body of scientific knowledge is impressive."
"And he is out there doing his work in remote areas, places only mountain trekkers go to, where he lives in a tent for a month," she said.
Barns said the prize also is used to inspire youth.
"A lot of kids are looking for heroes and looking at sports stars when people like Rodney are the real heroes, they are the Indiana Joneses," Burns said. "It may turn young people onto a career option maybe they have not thought of."
The winner will be announced in September.
Jackson said he believes there are 4,000 to 7,000 snow leopards remaining in the wild, with 400 in captivity in zoos and private breeding programs in North America and Europe.
Chhinsu and another snow leopard, Ashakiran, who is 7, were born in captivity and are at Leopards Etc., a nonprofit preserve in Occidental where Barbara and Rob Dicely keep 19 cats that are used for education and special events.
Both snow leopards have been used in fund-raising efforts for Jackson's conservancy.
"They are one of the five most endangered cats on our planet," Barbara Dicely said.
Snow leopards are shy animals that, because of the harsh conditions in which they live, are seldom seen, she said.
"There is a mystery about them," Dicely said. "The African cats, people see them, but people don't see snow leopards. It's a mystical part of the world where they live."
Jackson has been working to preserve snow leopards since 1974, when he took a three-week trip to the remote area of Dolphu, Nepal.
"That was prime snow leopard habitat," Jackson said. "We found that the animals were being hunted by the villagers, and we saw what a rare animal they are."
Snow leopards are found in a dozen countries that include Nepal, China, India, Pakistan and nations that were part of the former Soviet Union.
Jackson's work requires him to spend half the year in Sonoma, raising money and writing reports and grant applications. His conservancy raises about $300,000 a year.
The other half is spent in the Himalayas, living and eating in villages where the way of life has changed little in 400 years.
"The food is sheep heads thrown into water and boiled, eyeballs of sheep, legs of yak, I don't even want to know what I have been eating," Jackson said. "I basically become a vegetarian there."
Moms mobilize to stop moth spraying
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The vision of airplanes rumbling slowly over San Francisco, spraying a pesticide mist on parks and playgrounds, has now mobilized one of the most effective lobbying groups in the world.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture's plan to eradicate the light brown apple moth with aerial spraying over the city this summer was already in an uphill fight. But when 100 or so mothers and kids showed up at City Hall on Monday afternoon with signs like "Keep Your Spray Off My Baby," it was clear that the battle had entered a new phase.
"Nothing gets people more irate than a government institution spraying their kids from a plane," said Jared Blumenfeld, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. "It's a bad movie. And nobody wants to be in that movie."
Lynn Murphy, a mother of two, was at Monday's rally, somewhat surprised to be chanting "Stop the Spray" along with everyone else.
"I don't consider myself an activist," said Murphy, who lives a few blocks from Golden Gate Park, where the most moths have been found so far in the city. "But when it comes down to your children and protecting your family, it seems so much more urgent. I never thought I would be talking to my 4-year-old and telling her that we are going up to the state Capitol to talk to politicians."
Nearly everyone agrees that the moth is a serious threat to crops. As Blumenfeld puts it, "the fear is that it is going to go after the crops in the Central Valley and cause billions of dollars in damages."
The debate is about what action to take and whether enough advance planning has been done. Local politicians have lined up to slow down the process, demanding environmental studies, public hearings and a moratorium on aerial spraying.
Mayor wrote to governor
Mayor Gavin Newsom sent a formal letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on March 20, urging "further review of the planned spraying before the state moves forward."
And city Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will introduce a symbolic resolution opposing the aerial spraying at today's board meeting.
"C'mon," Mirkarimi said before the rally, "who does spraying in San Francisco? This isn't Stockton."
Frankly, there is some debate about exactly how dangerous the spraying really is. There's been lots of discussion from scientists on both sides of the issue.
But never underestimate the power of an extremely worried mother.
"I have a 7-year-old son," said Michelle Darby, a spokeswoman for the California Alliance to Stop the Spray. "And if we get sprayed, we're moving out of California."
Murphy said she heard about the spraying from her daughter's preschool e-mail group. In the last two weeks, she and some other moms have written a piece for an independent newspaper and have created a Web site, playnotspray.org. The San Francisco chapter of California Alliance to Stop the Spray was only formed four weeks ago and already has an active, and growing, mailing list of over 200.
Echoes of medfly spraying
Nearly 30 years ago, spraying for the medfly sent the Bay Area into an uproar. The medfly (short for the Mediterranean fruit fly) was seen as a huge threat to crops. In 1981, then-Gov. Jerry Brown ordered helicopter spraying of the pesticide malathion over the Peninsula. The plan caused so much concern that the Red Cross opened shelters outside the spray zones for worried residents. That controversy may be over, but it hasn't been forgotten.
"It's amazing how people still talk about that like it was yesterday," Blumenfeld said.
At this point it appears that the state is going to go ahead with plans to spray for the light brown apple moth. There has already been one spray cycle on the Monterey Peninsula in October, but the results were anything but encouraging. Concerned families left their homes, and some of those who stayed say they experienced respiratory problems and stomach pains.
Mirkarimi says state officials didn't exactly fill him with confidence as the Monterey spraying approached.
"These guys aren't ready," he said. "They couldn't even come to agreement amongst themselves whether workers should stay in the fields or not. So does that mean people should stay in their homes?"
What many people find hard to imagine is that the current plan is to spray the entire city of San Francisco, not just Golden Gate Park and Treasure Island, the two sites where the light brown apple moth has been trapped with the highest frequency.
"The state is saying they want to eradicate the moth," Blumenfeld said. "We don't think that is possible. But if they are going to try, they are going to have to spray the entire city."
It is the idea of the planes spraying the Financial District or Fisherman's Wharf that seems to shock everyone. Would day care centers put tarps over their play structures? Would kids playing in backyards be buzzed by a fog-spewing airplane?
"I think it is madness," said Rodger Raderman, who lives in Pacific Heights. "I had trouble believing it. They are really going to do this?"
So far they are. A.G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, was concerned enough to release a statement in response to the CASS rally on Monday.
"I am confident," Kawamura said, "that a thoughtful review of the facts about this pest will show anyone that this program's success is critical to our economy, our environment, and public health."
Good luck with that. Because at this point, the anti-spray groups are convinced that there is only one way to stop this: public outrage. And they're planning on delivering it, beginning with a trip to Sacramento this week. Those who support the spraying can expect to get an earful.
"This," said Blumenfeld, "is one of those things that you don't want to be on the wrong side of."
Attend an upcoming meeting or protest regarding the plan to spray the Bay Area with a moth pesticide:
State legislators are expected to discuss the spraying plan at a hearing before the Assembly Agriculture Committee on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the State Capitol, room 4204, Sacramento. There will be time for public comment.
State Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, is planning a protest "play-in" on April 28, on the Polk Street steps of San Francisco City Hall. Kids are welcome.
For more information on the spraying plan, log on to:
State Department of Food & Agriculture, www.cdfa.ca.gov.
Anti-spray groups www.playnotspray.org and www.CASSonline.org.
C.W. Nevius' column appears on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Whether a picnic in the park, a spinach salad at the Sunflower restaurant, or an ice cream at Ben and Jerry's - it's all good.
And while taking a walk around the Plaza, I was reminded it was the last day of the Sonoma Valley Film Festival when I saw an interesting limo in front of the Sebastiani Theater.
Tomorrow Sonoma will be back to 'normal' as the Hollywood crowd travels back to their homes.
Born in Hollywood and growing up in Burbank, the Hollywood scene is familiar to me: former actress Joan Leslie is my cousin, one uncle was a film editor and another was a casting director, and my father worked as a grip for both Paramount and then Universal studios most of his life. When his mother and 4 brothers first moved to California, they all were extras in silent movies! His favorite actor was Danny Kaye ('the nicest guy & great dancer in spite of having club feet!') and his most exciting adventure was going to Egypt in 1954 to work on the movie 'The Ten Commandments.'
On my father's return from Egypt, he brought us LOTS of souvenirs and to me, he gave a little Bible from St Catherine monastery which I still have. Interestingly enough, ours was not a Christian home, but much later in life I did become a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ with my first trip overseas was to Israel in 1994 which unbeknown to me beforehand, included a hike up Mount Sinai, located at the St Catherine monastery.
It wasn't until a few years later that I connected the dots: my earthly father helped make the movie "The Ten Commandments" but my heavenly Father made the original Ten Commandments!
The Press Democrat
April 13, 2008
Tax rebates for most low and middle-income Americans will be sent out next month.
To receive your rebate, you must file your tax return by Tuesday's tax deadline or apply for an extension and file by the Oct. 15 extension deadline.
But remember, "the earlier you file, the earlier you receive the payment," said Jesse Weller, IRS spokesman.
"The quickest way to get your stimulus payment is to e-file your return and elect 'direct deposit,' " he added.
How much will my rebate be?
It is $600 for individuals earning up to $75,000 and $1,200 for couples earning up to $150,000. Parents also may receive $300 for each child. People who do not earn enough to have to pay taxes may also receive $300.
When will I receive the money?
The first round of rebates will start to go out May 2 to May 16, based on the last two digits of your Social Security number. Information about that process can be found on www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=180250,00.html.
Am I eligible?
You're eligible if you have a valid Social Security number, can't be claimed as a dependent on a tax return and have either an income tax liability or "qualifying income" of at least $3,000.
Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income and certain benefits from Social Security, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement.
How can I receive the stimulus payment if I do not earn enough to have to pay taxes?
You may e-file for free for a tax return solely to receive your economic stimulus rebate with one of the seven companies listed on www.irs.gov/efile/lists/0,,id=179739,00.html.
The IRS has made "extraordinary efforts" this year to reach out to qualifying groups like seniors and those who receive veteran's benefits, Weller said.
Still have questions?
Call the IRS Stimulus Hotline: 866-234-2942 (Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday)
Thursday, April 10, 2008
In Sonoma Valley, an oasis of history, food, and fine wine
By Kathleen Thompson Hill
Globe Correspondent / April 9, 2008
SONOMA, Calif. - Your weakened dollar can go a long way in Sonoma Valley, if you know where the locals dine - which can also be where movie stars, big name hi-tech founders, and celebrity chefs and winemakers hang out. They tend to hide in the hills around town, and when they do emerge onto Sonoma Plaza, savvy restaurants and hotels studiously keep secret who dines or visits, all of which makes this region more alluring.
For 24 days in 1846, Sonoma constituted the entire California Republic. Now it's a food- and wine-centric historic town by Western standards. The eight-acre Sonoma Plaza was laid out in 1835 by General Mariano G. Vallejo, commander of the Mexican armed forces for California, partly so Vallejo could drill his squad of soldiers. Later it served as a dusty train turnaround, void of plants, trees, or grass.
Today the plaza is covered with a lush lawn and shade trees, and you can find children's playground equipment, a duck pond, and fountains. It serves as home to Sonoma City Hall and is a center of activity, from a lively farmers' market with loads of music to arts festivals.
Historic adobe buildings around the plaza that once sheltered Italian meat markets, dance halls, illegal underground wine storage, and even brothels, now house some of the region's most expensive houseware shops and dining spots. There are also some cheap eating opportunities.
Sunflower Caffé occupies the Salvador Vallejo Adobe, a home built by Indian labor for Mariano Vallejo's brother in the mid-1840s. The Sunflower's singing chef, Curtis Dorsett, makes perfect omelets, a toasted salmon sandwich with goat cheese, his signature chicken salad, Sonoma duck breast, and a perfect grilled cheese on whole wheat. If Dorsett's cream of tomato soup is on the menu, do not miss it.
Owner James Hahn bought the Sunflower on a lark and has instilled his love for good food and wine at reasonable prices. There are several hidden seating niches and extended outdoor seating. Locals greet one another from early morning to late afternoon. According to Hahn, the back patio offers "our alternative to the traditional happy hour," with lamb burgers, oysters, and tastes of flights of wines with flights of cheeses.
A block away, Carol and Sam Morphy remodeled what was once an agricultural feed store where parents used to take their kids to purchase fuzzy yellow chicks that would grow up to lay organic eggs.
After retiring from the corrugated box business in 2000, Sam and Carol loaded their three kids, cat, and dog into their Suburban and moved east to Madison, Conn., near New Haven. Neighbors enticed them to try the nearby Pizza Works, and Morphy immediately thought, "We have to take this back to California." A year later, they were in Sonoma working on The Red Grape.
Daughter Megan, an Endicott College hospitality program graduate, serves as general manager. With a gorgeous sheltered patio, the Red Grape produces perfect thin-crust pizzas, the best Cobb salad anywhere, zabaglione, gnocchi, shellfish spaghetti, rib-eye steak, and chicken with pesto.
On the north side of Sonoma Plaza, Mary's Pizza Shack reigns supreme for family dining and specialties from founder Mary Fazio: pizzas with heavy scoops of tomato sauce and cheese, robust but healthy salads, fried calamari, daily soups, and killer garlic bread.
Should you spot one of the valley's famous comedian or movie star residents, do as the locals do and don't say a word. And if you buy a Sonoma T-shirt, the T-shirt rule applies: Wear it somewhere else.
Sunflower Caffé, 421 First St. West, Sonoma, Calif., 707-996-6645. sonomasunflower.com. Sandwiches $5.50-$12.50; salads $7.50-$9.50.
The Red Grape, 529 First St. West, Sonoma, Calif., 707-996-4103. theredgrape.com. Sandwiches $8.25-$10.95; salads $6.50-$13.95; pizzas $10.50-$15.25.
Mary's Pizza Shack, 8 West Spain St., Sonoma, Calif., 707-938-8300. maryspizzashack.com. Sandwiches $2.95-$9.25; salads $$5.25-$10.55; pizzas $6.75-$25.95.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
As a mother of 2 and grandmother of 3 (Brooklynn was born last month and Lauren is due next week!) - I am outraged and saddened by this news:
Planned Parenthood Kills Record Number of Preborn Babies
by Devon Williams, associate editor
In Kansas, judge delays hearing on 107 criminal charges.
A record 289,650 preborn babies were killed at Planned Parenthood clinics in fiscal year 2006-07, an increase of nearly 25,000 from 2005-06. The nation's largest abortion provider, which received $336 million in taxpayer money last year, is responsible for 25 percent of all abortions in the U.S.
Jenn Giroux, president of Women Influencing the Nation, said the numbers in the 2006-07 annual report show Planned Parenthood is clearly a for-profit business.
“What jumped out at me more than ever was the amount of our tax dollars — one third of their budget — (from) taxpayers that completely disagree with killing unborn children,” she told Family News in Focus. “It is horrifying, and taxpayers aren’t going to stand for it much longer.”
In Kansas, life advocates are taking action. The Overland Park Planned Parenthood clinic is facing 107 criminal charges, filed by Johnson County, Kan., Prosecutor Phill Kline. And notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller has also been under investigation.
In Overland Park, a pro-abortion judge has postponed a hearing against Planned Parenthood. The hearing, scheduled for today, has been delayed until May 27.
Giroux called the delay frustrating.
“Every time there gets to be a point of legal scrutiny, somebody — an elected official, a judge — steps in to allow that veil of secrecy to remain around these abortion clinics,” she said. “It’s very frustrating. It is screaming for some type of judicial oversight from outside the state.”
In response to the news from Kansas, pro-family groups — including Focus on the Family — signed a letter asking Congress to suspend Planned Parenthood's funding until the allegations were resolved.
"Kansas is a good example of the ongoing and significant allegations that have been leveled against Planned Parenthood in recent months," said Dawn Vargo, associate bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action. "This raises serious questions about whether Planned Parenthood should be eligible for millions of dollars in taxpayer money each year."
U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., plans to offer an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill in the next few months to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood. He offered an identical amendment last year.
"I just think it's wrong that the largest abortion provider in America is the largest recipient of non-abortion funding under Title X," Pence told Cybercast News Service. “It's time to pass the Pence Amendment to keep taxpayer money out of the hands of Planned Parenthood."
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Baby Jacob Neely (20th week) 4d ultrasound sucking his thumb
Small quake was felt by some this morning but not where I am in Boyes Springs area of Sonoma:
A 2.9 earthquake struck early Wednesday morning in northeast Santa Rosa.
Press Democrat source
A U.S. Geological Survey report put the quake's epicenter near Skyfarm Drive and Glen Eagle Court in the city's Fountaingrove area. The quake occurred at 5:19 a.m.
Did you feel it? If so, please leave a comment below.
By trekkie_widow | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:58AI felt it...the kids slept right through it. Nice little jolt.I was in the Northridge earthqauke. NOW THAT WAS A RIDE!!!
By krisco24 | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:58A
Yes, we felt it. Woke us both up. Just a little one, but the whole house shook. Fell right back to sleep!
By Mailmandolin | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:57A
I thought it was a truck going by at first. No big deal.
By ellilarrieu | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:54A
I'm in Sonoma (Fetters Hot Springs); I did not feel it, but the little beagle next door really started wailing exactly at this time.
By Tan1662 | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:46A
Good Jolt and then rumble. Just the normal California Earthquake. Better than my alarm clock to get me up for the day. Only let's schedule tomorrow's quake for 6 am. Thanks.
By pyratediver | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:45A
We live in NE Santa Rosa and both my wife and I felt it. There was only a tiny bit of shaking, so we both rolled over and went back to sleep.
By muzicmstress | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:45A
Yes, sitting at my PC, reading news around 5:19am, a sudden JOLT, very unexpected! Scary, we must all be prepared for the "big one"
By hiitsmeblondie | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:29A
I felt a small jolt ~ EARTHQUAKE! no big deal ~ did we just have another one? it is 6:28 am now, maybe an aftershock! oh well! everyone have a great day!
By smoketer26 | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:25A
It felt like a sudden jolt, followed by the sound of the ground trembling. Not very powerful after the initial, single jolt. Aside from catching me off-guard, there wasn't much to it...
By oklandraida84 | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:23A
i did not feel it but its california when i hear earth quake i will just be like oh really cool! Earthquakes aren't rare
By alysia | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:15A
I barely felt it but it did freak out my dog.
By BlahBlah | Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 06:07A
I felt it. Whooptie do!
The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 2.9 struck at about 5:19 a.m. Wednesday near Santa Rosa.
According to the USGS, the earthquake had a depth of 3.8 miles and was centered 3 miles northwest of Santa Rosa and 52 miles northwest of San Francisco City Hall.
Click here to find out more!
A few NBC11 viewers called the newsroom to report they felt the shaking but said that nothing was damaged.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
"In Masonry, every thing has a double meaning. Thus, the Mason candidate is practicing occultism throughout his degrees without knowing it. False interpretations are given to keep him from suspecting the institution to be anything less than noble and upright in purpose. This deception, this false interpretation is called allegory. Allegory is defined as; something where the language is one thing and the meaning is another. Masons practice the virtues of brotherly love, forgiveness, and charity--on the surface. They do this as a ploy, to make their satanic religion appear acceptable and sugar coated --- to the community. Belief in God (by whatever name he is known to them) is a condition of membership. To receive the benefits of Freemasonry every candidate has to confess his belief in one, eternal and true God, creator and ruler of the universe, and in the immortality of the soul. No candidate for Masonry, however, is to be asked for the particular opinion of his religious belief, so Lucifer as this prerequisite god is quite acceptable. Its members are taught masonry's precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides. Freemasonry is deep into the occult, and it is also connected with the cult known as Rosicrucian."
From their website, here is the list of Sonoma Masons
Video of California State Capital building showing Freemason symbols
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Natural Solutions Foundation President Gen. Bert Stubblebine and Executive Director Dr. Rima Laibow attended a March 3 Town Meeting in Corta Madera, California where citizens are organizing to stop forced aerial pesticide spraying being planned by the state.
Forced Drugging: 5 Year Spraying of Level 3 Toxin on Entire San Francisco Bay Area
April 2, 2008
Spraying for a Non Existant Pest Every 30 Days for 5 years!
Rima E. Laibow, MD Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation
If you have to swallow a drug you don´t want to take, that is forced drugging. If it is pumped into your veins, that is forced drugging. If you are forced to breath it, and so is your dog, your spouse, your infant, your grandmother and your neighbor, that´s forced drugging, too. And that is precisely what is going on in the San Francisco Bay area. And if you are breathing a sigh of relief because you don´t live in the Bay area, don´t. We believe California is being targeted for something that will come to an arial sprayer near you in the near future: If California decides to stop this madness, the EPA has said that it will seize jurisdiction and spray anyway. Obviously, spraying for a pest that does not exist has a purpose far beyond the so-called "pest".
California has decided to spray the entire San Francisco Bay area, every man, woman, child, duck, bee, fish and ornamental shrub for the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM), depicted by the government as a threat to the entire agricultural structure of Northern California despite the fact that it may not even be established in the Bay area and has never done any damage to anything and is not an agricultural pest. Their solution? To spray a moth heromone solution, called Checkmate ©, which allegedly disrups the mating behavior of the male LBAM. It is bonded to tiny flakes, heromon and other shaped particles of a plastic which allegedly dissolves slowly over 30-70 days, releasing its disorienting chemical. The heromone is mixed with a toxic brew of "inert ingredients which, although labeled "inert" are biologically active and are, in fact, known carcinogens. The plastic particles are small enough to travel deep into the lungs where they break down with unknown consequences: the material has never been tested on human.
General Stubblebine and I made a special stop in Marin County, CA, on our way to South East Asia (where we are engaged in serious discussions about Codex and protecting Natural Health options here) so we cold attended a community meeting on the serious danger to the population and the ecology of the entire Bay Area posed by the Government of California, backed up by the Federal EPA. They are determined to expand arial spraying of a brew called "Checkmate © containing known Level 3 Toxins in both the active and ingredients. CheckMate © has never been tested on humans or the environment for safety or effectiveness. The brew contains plastic nanoflakes to which chemicals are bonded. It breaks down over about 70 days in the environment and who-knows-how-long in your lungs before it breaks down to who-knows-what. Checkmate´s effect on other life forms (including helpful insencts, fish, etc.) may be known to the manufacturer, but we, the public, do not have that information. There is, however, a considerable amount of meaningful information available. Here are some highly informative links to panel discussions and public comments on the topic created through the collaboration of the Ecological Options Network and the Natural Solutions Foundation:
STOP THE SPRAY PT 1 PANEL PRESENTATIONS
STOP THE SPRAY Pt. 2 Citizen Comments
(General Stubblebine's comments and mine are in the second half of the video)
DEBUNKING MOTH MYTHS - UC SCIENTISTS SPEAK OUT
SENATOR SIMITIAN'S LBAM HEARING - Pt. 1 - Officials and Academics
SENATOR SIMITIAN'S LBAM HEARING - Pt. 2 - The People Speak
SENATOR SIMITIAN'S LBAM HEARING - Pt. 3 - Concluding Official and Activist statements
According to two UC scientists, not only can the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) not be 'eradicated' by the forced aerial pesticide spraying of the San Francisco Bay Area planned for this summer by a state agency, but it poses no real threat to agriculture in the first place.
UC Davis Entomologist Dr. James Carey and UC Santa Cruz Arboretum Executive Director Dr. Daniel Harder present the results of their research at the March 13, 2008 informational hearing held in San Rafael by State Senator Joe Simitian, Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
Dr. Harder's report on his recent trip to New Zealand, where the LBAM is "...effectively controlled almost exclusively by natural predators in both agricultural settings and wild lands," is available on-line at:
The "dreaded LBAM" has not been definitively shown to exist in most areas to be sprayed. If two moths are found in an area it is officially deemed to be infested and the area becomes a candidate for the $75.4 million dollar spraying program. The State of California requires stringent environmental impact statements before spraying pesticides unless there is an emergency. The emergency posed by the LBAM appears to be that there is no emergency: without a problem there would be no reason to spray anything and the LBAM poses no threat of any kind. Therefore, the emergency of not having an emergency has been handled by the people who want the spraying to take place by goving to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and asking THEM to declare a state of emergency. That way, even if the Governor of California decides to issue and edict halting the spraying, the EPA can step in, take jurisdiction and spray anyway. Why? What else is in the spray?
While the LBAM has never caused any harm to any plant, animal, fish, shrub, crop, or person, Checkmate (c) has. Although the Health Departments of the various regions already sprayed failed to make provisions to find out what the results of the spraying were, or for collecting reports of its impact (actually discarding the reports that did find their way to them), local organizations quickly set up reporting systems for people in Santa Cruz and Monterey. The results were frightening. Although few doctors were aware of the possible effects of the spray, and even fewer people knew, 638 people became ill or very ill from two areal spraying episodes in Santa Cruz. We do not have figures for the number of people who became ill from a single spraying in Monterey because no collection system was set up there.
What is planned for the Bay area is not two sprayings. It is arial spraying EVERY 30 DAYS for 60-120 months for a pest which is hypothetical at best, can easily be controlled by natural preditors if it exists and requires nothing at all to control it.
Is the LBAM the target or are the people of the San Francisco Bay area the target? And is Idaho next? How about New York (where malathione has already been sprayed on people to kill the West Nile Virus mosquito), Montana? Arizona? Or perhaps, all of the US (and beyond?) Sort of like Chemtrails, perhaps?
Spraying will commence in the Bay Area in August, 2008 and continue evdry 30 days or 5 years or longer (up to 10 years) until there are no LBAM left. Since there are virtually none, or none at all, left right now, that seems a pretty weird standard. The deal is that if 2 LBAMs are found in an area, that area is deemed to be infested and the spraying will continue.
You know, there is a silver lining to this ecocidal (genocide?) insanity. The San Francisco area is coming together around this in a way that is hard to imagine unless you have seen it. I have seen it earlier this month at the meeting we attended but I have seen it before: in the 60's and 70's when America said "NO!" to the Viet Nam war. I have seen it before that in the early 60's when America said "YES!" to integration and racial equality under the law. And, most stirringly, I am seeing it now when people all over the world say "NO!" to corporate contamination of their food (Codex), "NO" to compusory vaccination (Click here () to add your voice to that roar!) and "YES!" to Health Freedom! If you read the email sent to me by an African Codex delegate, you will know that I saw it at a Codex meeting in Ghana last month when Africa led other health friendly nations in saying "NO!" to the US and its allies about unlabled GM "foods" and seeds.
When people become alerted to a threat and respond to it by taking back their power, the world changes. That's what's happening now with health freedom. What a thrilling time to be alive!