Saturday, June 27, 2009

Toxic War and our Vets

This past weekend, I visited high school friends (link) and am suprised to hear of classmates who are Viet Nam vets that are still physically suffering. Agent Orange?

Here is an article that brings to light more of the tragic health problems of our vets today. And while you are looking into this subject, please google 'depleted uranium' - a real shock!

In this May 18, 2009 photo, Steve Moore recalls his brother, David, through photographs at home in Dubois, Ind. Sgt. David Moore died last year of a lung disorder after serving in the National Guard in Iraq where his brother believes he was exposed to a deadly chemical. (AP Photo/Brian Bohannon)

Did toxic chemical in Iraq cause GIs' illnesses?

By SHARON COHEN, AP National Writer Sharon Cohen, Ap National Writer
June 27, 2009

Larry Roberta's every breath is a painful reminder of his time in Iraq. He can't walk a block without gasping for air. His chest hurts, his migraines sometimes persist for days and he needs pills to help him sleep.

James Gentry came home with rashes, ear troubles and a shortness of breath. Later, things got much worse: He developed lung cancer, which spread to his spine, ribs and one of his thighs; he must often use a cane, and no longer rides his beloved Harley.

David Moore's postwar life turned into a harrowing medical mystery: nosebleeds and labored breathing that made it impossible to work, much less speak. His desperate search for answers ended last year when he died of lung disease at age 42.

What these three men — one sick, one dying, one dead — had in common is they were National Guard soldiers on the same stretch of wind-swept desert in Iraq during the early months of the war in 2003.

These soldiers and hundreds of other Guard members from Indiana, Oregon and West Virginia were protecting workers hired by a subsidiary of the giant contractor, KBR Inc., to rebuild an Iraqi water treatment plant. The area, as it turned out, was contaminated with hexavalent chromium, a potent, sometimes deadly chemical linked to cancer and other devastating diseases.
No one disputes that. But that's where agreement ends.

Among the issues now rippling from the courthouse to Capitol Hill are whether the chemical made people sick, when KBR knew it was there and how the company responded. But the debate is more than about this one case; it has raised broader questions about private contractors and health risks in war zones.

Questions, says Sen. Evan Bayh, who plans to hold hearings on the issues, such as these:

"How should we treat exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals as a threat to our soldiers? How seriously should that threat be taken? What is the role of private contractors? What about the potential conflict between their profit motives and taking all steps necessary to protect our soldiers?

"This case," says the Indiana Democrat, "has brought to light the need for systemic reform."

For now, dozens of National Guard veterans have sued KBR and two subsidiaries, accusing them of minimizing and concealing the chemical's dangers, then downplaying nosebleeds and breathing problems as nothing more than sand allergies or a reaction to desert air.

KBR denies any wrongdoing. In a statement, the company said it actually found the chemical at the Qarmat Ali plant, restricted access, cleaned it up and "did not knowingly harm troops."

Ten civilians hired by a KBR subsidiary made similar claims in an arbitration resolved privately in June. (The workers' contract prevented them from filing suit.)

This isn't the first claim that toxins have harmed soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; there have been allegations involving lead, depleted uranium and sarin gas.

This also isn't the first challenge to KBR, whose billions of dollars of war-related contracts have been the subject of congressional scrutiny and numerous legal claims.

Among them are lawsuits recently filed against KBR and Halliburton Co. — KBR's parent company until 2007 — that assert open-air pits used to burn refuse in Iraq and Afghanistan caused respiratory illnesses, tumors and death. (KBR says it is reviewing the charges. Halliburton maintains it was improperly named and expects to be dismissed from the case.)

Earlier this year, several members of Congress asked Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to investigate potential burn pit hazards. He replied that his agency is conducting a health study of 30,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and noted the VA "has learned important lessons from previous military conflicts" as it deals with environmental exposure questions.

Some veterans advocates say the military is more attuned to health risks than it was in Vietnam and the Gulf War, but still falls short.

"I'm a realist — things are going to get burned, things are going to be blown up," says Tom Tarantino, an Iraqi veteran and policy associate at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "But I think the DOD (Department of Defense) could do a better job at tracking what people are exposed to. If there's a big pit outside your base, you need to know what's going on and do tests ... so if people start getting sick, they won't spend years trying to figure out what's wrong with them."

This isn't a natural fit, he concedes, since the Defense Department "is a war-fighting agency, not an environmental protection agency. But I think there's a lack of information out there."

This case stems from the chaotic start of the war in 2003 when a KBR subsidiary was hired to restart the plant, which had been looted of equipment, wiring, even metal roofing and siding. The Iraqis had used hexavalent chromium to prevent pipe corrosion at the plant, which produced industrial water used in oil production.

It's the same chemical linked to poisonings in California in a case made famous in the movie "Erin Brockovich."

Hexavalent chromium — a toxic component of sodium dichromate — can cause severe liver and kidney damage and studies have linked it to leukemia as well as bone, stomach, brain and other cancers, according to an expert who provided a deposition for the civilian workers.

The chemical "is one of the most potent carcinogens know to man" and it can "enter every cell of the body and potentially produce widespread injury to every major organ in the body," said Max Costa, chairman of New York University's Department of Environmental Medicine.

KBR, however, says studies show only that industrial workers exposed to the chemical for more than two years have an increased risk of cancer — and in this case, soldiers were at the plant just days or months.

The company also notes air quality studies concluded the Indiana Guard soldiers were not exposed to high levels of hexavalent chromium. But Costa says those tests were done when the wind was not blowing.

Both soldiers and former workers say there were days when strong gusts kicked up ripped-open bags of the chemical, creating a yellow-orange haze that coated everything from their hair to their boots.

"I was spitting blood and I was not the only one doing that," recalls Danny Langford, who worked for the KBR subsidiary. "The wind was blowing 30, 40 miles an hour. You could just hardly see where you were going. I pulled my shirt over my nose and there would be blood on it. I also saw the soldiers. They had blood splotches on their masks."

Larry Roberta, a 44-year-old former Oregon National Guard member, remembers a strange metallic taste and dust everywhere. He sat on a bag of the chemical, unaware it was dangerous.

"This orange crud blew up in your face, your eyes and on our food," he says. "I tried to wash my chicken patty off with my canteen. I started to get sick to my stomach right away."

Roberta had coughing spells and agonizing chest pains, he says, that "went all the way through my back. Whenever I breathed, the pain got more sharp. ... Every day I went there, I had something weird going on."

Russell Kimberling, a former Indiana National Guard captain, had severe sinus troubles that forced his evacuation to Germany. After returning, he became alarmed one August day in 2003 while escorting some officials to the plant in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

"I jumped out of the truck and I turned around and they (KBR staff) had full chemical gear on," he says. "I looked at some of my soldiers and said, 'This can't be very good.'"

"They could have told us to put chemical suits on," Kimberling adds. "There are so many things that could have been done."

Ed Blacke, hired as plant health, safety and environmental coordinator, says he became worried after workers started having breathing problems and a former colleague sent him an internal KBR memo outlining the chemical's dangers. Blacke says when he complained at a meeting, he was labeled a troublemaker and resigned under pressure.

"Normally when you take over a job, you have a briefing — this is what's out there, here's what you need for protective equipment," says Blacke, who testified at a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing last year. "There was nothing, nothing at all."

Blacke and Langford were among those whose civil claims were resolved in arbitration.

Kimberling is among nearly 50 Guard veterans — most from Indiana, a smaller number from Oregon and West Virginia — who've sued.

Mike Doyle, the Houston lawyer representing the soldiers and civilians, maintains KBR knew as early as May 2003 the chemical was there, but didn't close the site until that September.

"Once they (KBR) found out about it, they didn't tell anybody and they did everything to conceal it," he contends. "You have (KBR) managers in Houston, in Kuwait City who knew about this. Their staff was getting reports and soldiers and civilians who were in the field were told, 'No big deal. There's nothing to worry about.'"

The lawsuit cites minutes of an August 2003 KBR meeting that mentions "serious health problems at the water treatment plant" and notes "almost 60 percent of the people now exhibit the symptoms."

In a recent wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, KBR chairman William P. Utt suggested the company be given some latitude with its military contracts.

"We think there ought to be some consideration given in many of these claims to the same protections the government has from these suits that exist," he said.

He also said KBR has been unfairly targeted in war zones. "People think there's an opportunity here in Iraq, let's paint it on KBR, then we'll worry about making the facts precise or correct later," Utt said.

As for the water plant, KBR says once it learned of the chemical, it took precautions to protect workers, notified the Army Corps of Engineers and led the cleanup. It says the Corps had previously deemed the area safe.

KBR also points to Army tests of 137 Indiana Guard soldiers that showed no medical problems that could be linked to exposure, as well as a military board review that found it unlikely anyone would suffer long-term medical consequences.

But Bayh and Doyle say those tests were done too late to be valid and note that soil tests were taken after the contaminated area was covered with asphalt and gravel.

Doyle also disagrees with KBR's contention that workers weren't there long enough — weeks or months — to have elevated cancer risks.

It can take a long time for symptoms of illness to surface — five to 10 years or more for cancer. But some of those who say they were exposed are already ill.

Gentry, a retired lieutenant colonel who commanded the Indiana Guard unit, is in the late stages of lung cancer, which has spread to other parts of his body, according to his friend, Christopher Lee.

Gentry hasn't sued, but in a December 2008 deposition he recalled complaining to his superiors after his soldiers were told by KBR workers the orangish sand was a cancer-causing chemical. He said it was "very disappointing" that KBR managers didn't share that information.

"I'm dying because of it," he said.

While acknowledging he wasn't 100 percent certain that's why he has cancer, Gentry — who served a second tour in Iraq — said his doctor "believes the most probable cause was my exposure to this chemical."

KBR's actions, he said, had put "my men at risk that is unnecessary."

The Indiana, West Virginia and Oregon National Guards have sent hundreds of letters to soldiers notifying them of possible contamination and urging them to seek medical attention. The Oregon Guard also set up a Facebook page and reports about 15 soldiers have reported medical symptoms.

Bayh has introduced a bill calling for a special medical registry that would require the Department of Defense to notify all military members of exposure to potential toxins — and provide comprehensive medical care. (It would be limited to those serving after Sept. 11, 2001.)

A similar notification measure was approved Thursday in the U.S. House, an amendment to the defense authorization bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, an Oregon lawmaker.

All these measures come too late for 1st Sgt. David Moore, who served with Gentry.

He thought his persistent cough in Iraq would stop when he returned home. Instead, breathing became difficult; he eventually needed a chair in the shower because he could no longer stand, says his brother, Steve. Moore had nosebleeds, too, and boil-like rashes behind his ears and on his back, arms and legs. He went from doctor to doctor. "None of them could ever figure out what it was," his brother says.

By late 2007, the one-time construction worker — who had been "strong as an ox," and ran 3 1/2 miles every other day — couldn't even venture outside, Steve Moore says. But he didn't give up.

"He was always upbeat," his brother says. "He said, 'They'll figure it out, they'll figure it out.' He thought that until the last time I talked to him. You could see the fear in his eyes. They had him on 100 percent oxygen and he still couldn't breathe. He requested to be put on a ventilator so they could figure it out."

Moore died in February 2008. The cause was lung disease. His death was ruled service-related. His brother believes it was hexavalent chromium.

Larry Roberta, the former Oregon Guardsman who needed stomach surgery after his return, still has physical and emotional problems: Post traumatic stress. Mood swings. Nose polyps. Chest pains. Migraines that can keep him bedridden for days.

He takes two inhalers — he can't walk a block without them — and high blood pressure medicine every day and testosterone shots every two weeks.

"I have 100 percent disability," he says. "I've got a long laundry list of things that happened to me while I was there. If you add it all up, I'd be almost 200 percent disabled."

Roberta recently testified before Oregon lawmakers, urging them to set aside money for Guard members who develop cancer from exposure to the chemical.

His wife, Michelle, says her husband's illness has dramatically changed his outlook.

"He has no ambitions for life anymore," she says. "At his age, that makes me very sad. I worry about him every day."

Kimberling, the former Indiana Guardsman, struggles as well.

The father of two young children — he's a pharmaceutical salesman in Louisville, Ky. — says he hasn't been able to get life insurance because his possible exposure is mentioned on his medical records.

Sometimes, he says, it's hard to sort out his real aches from his fears.

"I feel like I'm a 38-year-old in a 60-year-old's body," he says. "There are a lot of things that seem to be going south a lot quicker than they should. Sinus problems ... pain in my joints that I've never felt before.

"I'm not sure if it's the anxiety of finding out about it or not. I kind of know and feel it's just a matter of time before it catches up with me."


Kimberly Hefling in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Former Sonoma Coach Tatton Update

Sonoma Valley soccer coach faces more charges in sex case

Previous Post

Published: Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 4:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 4:11 p.m.

Lawyers for a former Sonoma Valley youth soccer coach now facing more than 30 counts of inappropriate sexual activity with one of his teenage players are trying to obtain the girl’s health records.

But that brought a strong rebuke from prosecutors as a preliminary hearing was set to begin in Sonoma County Court Thursday for Gregory Vance Tatton, 43, and ultimately led to a delay in the hearing until the issue is resolved.

Tatton entered not guilty pleas to an amended criminal complaint that added 21 additional charges against the former soccer coach. He was initially charged with 10 counts.

Tatton, who now lives in Southern California and is free on $150,000 bail, is charged with 18 counts of having sex with the girl, seven counts of lewd conduct and six counts of oral copulation with her.

None of the alleged acts include allegations of force, but by law minors cannot consent to sexual activity with adults. The girl, who was a player on Tatton’s under-17 Sonoma Valley traveling soccer team, was 15 and 16 years old at the time of the alleged incidents, according to court documents.

Tatton’s lawyers said Thursday they are seeking information about the girl’s school history and mental health care. They have subpoenaed documents from three high schools the girl attended and “treatment and counseling records from Kaiser Permanente,” said defense attorney Ethan Balogh.

Prosecutor Jason Riehl called the effort to obtain that type of confidential information about the girl and her parents “borderline harassment.”

It is improper to subpoena the girl’s interviews with psychiatrists, psychologists and medical personnel and mental health assessments and diagnoses involving the girl and her parents, Riehl said.

“These are things that very clearly should not be provided to counsel,” he said.

Balogh of San Francisco and fellow defense attorney Tamara Rice Lave of Berkeley also subpoenaed records believed held by the girl’s mother, apparently including calendars.

Judge Arthur Andy Wick said the court has already received some subpoenaed records from the girl’s current high school and Kaiser, and they have remained under seal.

Wick set a July 23 hearing discuss which records may be disclosed.

The preliminary hearing was reset for Aug. 13, after which Wick will decide if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

According to court documents, the girl revealed the sexual relationship to a psychologist, who alerted law enforcement.

Sheriff’s detectives said Tatton arranged to get the girl out of school during the day for get-togethers. After the parents removed her from one high school, Tatton was seen driving by her new campus, the girl’s mother said.

In December 2007, the parents got a restraining order against Tatton after they said they learned of several inappropriate incidents.

Investigators say most of the alleged sexual acts occurred in Sonoma County, but at least one happened during a soccer trip to Southern California.

In May, Tatton turned down a plea bargain after a closed-door mediation session. According to a member of the girl’s family, the deal would have included a sentence of about 4 1/2 years in prison.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

9/11 Qui Tam Oral Hearing June 23, 2009

Press Release, June 17, 2009


23rd June 2009 – Manhattan, New York – The Qui Tam Case of Dr. Judy Wood - Docket Number 08-3799-cv), DC Docket Number: 07-cv-3314 is to have an Oral Hearing.


PRLog (Press Release) – Jun 17, 2009 – In 2005, a number of reports were issued by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) which were the result of a study, mandated by congress, to "Determine why and how WTC 1 and WTC 2 collapsed ...". In April 2007, Dr. Wood, with the help of a Connecticut Attorney Jerry Leaphart, lodged a “Qui Tam” complaint against some of the contractors employed by NIST. This complaint followed an earlier "Request For Correction" (RFC) with regard to the same NIST WTC reports, establishing her as the first to address the fact that this report did not even contain an analysis of the collapse of the WTC towers.

Dr. Wood’s original RFC defined how NCSTAR1 is “fraudulent and deceptive” because it does not address the profound level of destruction of the WTC towers that seemed to violate the laws of physics. NIST denied Dr. Wood’s RFC, admitting they did not analyze the collapse. That is, the spokesperson for NIST admitted that they did not fulfil the mandate by congress. (The title of the report is “NIST NCSTAR 1 – Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers,” yet they did not analyze the "collapse" or even determine if it actually did collapse.) Dr. Wood's subsequent appeal to NIST was also denied, though the Qui Tam case - against some of the contractors that NIST employed - went forward.

Tower Turns To Dust

In the original RFC, Dr. Wood stated that “NIST cannot make a statement that the World Trade Center towers came down in ‘free fall’ on one hand”, and then say “that doing so is a form of collapse.” Wood also stated that “Use of the descriptive word ‘collapse’” is incorrect and points out that according to NIST’s own data, their explanation of how the towers were “dustified” does not satisfy the laws of Physics. Dr. Wood uses the word “dustify” because she has identified a new phenomenon where the building was turned to dust - it was not vaporized by high heat nor was it smashed by kinetic energy. She concludes from her study, that a new type of Directed Energy Weapon was used to destroy most of the WTC buildings. This weapon appears to utilize “field effects” in its operation and so is fundamentally different to known types of directed energy weapons such as lasers and masers. Contrary to what Dr Wood’s critics say, her Qui Tam submissions do not discuss the use of “ray beams from space”, but they focus on a number of pieces of evidence which indicate the presence of field effects in and around the WTC complex on 9/11.

Dr. Wood also points out that Applied Research Associates (ARA) – one of the defendants in the Qui Tam action - were one of the contractors for the NCSTAR reports and that they are a significant developer and manufacturer of Directed Energy Weapons and/or components of same. This therefore would be one example of where there was a “conflict of interest” in producing a truthful report.

Dr. Wood’s Qui Tam documents include a study of additional evidence to illustrate that NIST’s contractors exhibited “willful blindness” when they produced their part of the NCSTAR reports. For example, the contractors’ own explanations did not address the fact that much of the steel in the towers turned to dust before it reached the ground. Dr. Wood’s submissions include a study of some of the effects seen in the aftermath of the WTC destruction (anomalous dust effects, anomalous rusting) and anomalous effects seen on some of the surviving WTC steel girders, pictures of which were included in the original NIST reports. The girders are bent and deformed in unusual ways – and because the towers turned to dust, the effects on the girders cannot be explained as being caused by a “gravity-driven collapse”. In Dr. Wood’s submission, certain effects on metals and on objects near the WTC are also considered – such as inverted or flipped cars, and cars which are “toasted” – but show damage inconsistent with a hot fire. Dr. Wood’s later research has also documented the presence of Hurricane Erin, which was closest to NYC at about 8am on 9/11.

Though Judge George Daniels initially dismissed Dr. Wood’s case in June 2008, his ruling did not address the evidence that Dr. Wood’s Qui Tam case was based on. A decision was therefore made to lodge an appeal and another round of submissions took place. This appeal is now scheduled for oral argument on 23rd June 2009, in the Ceremonial Courtroom (9th Floor), Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, Manhattan, New York City, and is open to attendance by the general public.

For more information, please use the details below.

Jerry Leaphart, Jerry V. Leaphart & Assoc., P.C. 8 West Street, Suite 203 Danbury, CT 06810 phone - (203) 825-6265 , fax – (203) 825-6256, e-mail:

Dr. Judy Wood/Qui Tam Case:

NIST’s filings of the RFC’s and responses can be found at:


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Help Wanted: Apply Online to Work at the Bohemian Grove

Bohemian Grove is a 2,700-acre campground located at 20601 Bohemian Avenue, in Monte Rio, California, belonging to a private San Francisco-based men's art club known as the Bohemian Club. In mid-July each year, Bohemian Grove hosts a three-week encampment of some of the most powerful men in the world. (source)

1,200 vie for jobs at Bohemian Grove

Published: Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 10:32 p.m.


Along with local youth, summer job applicants at the exclusive Bohemian Grove encampment near Monte Rio include an architect, a financial planner and a mortgage adviser. “It would have been unusual in the past to see people from those areas,” said Matt Oggero, general manager of the San Francisco-based men’s club. In a possible sign of the economic times, Oggero said the club has experienced a “moderate increase in adults” applying for a short-term job at its annual summer encampment for rich and powerful men.

Nonetheless, the number of older adults still remain in the minority. About 400 of the roughly 600 workers will be under 23 years of age, said Jennifer Robertson, the club’s human resources director. Many of the older workers are educators on summer break, homemakers and retirees. The club has received about 1,200 applications this year, the first time in which potential workers could apply online. The numbers of applicants appear higher than last year.

The club’s 2,500 members will gather July 9-26 for the private annual encampment at the 2,700-acre retreat in the redwoods near the Russian River. In past years, the grove’s members and guests have included former U.S. presidents, business leaders and entertainers. The encampment, which has been held there for 120 years, at times has drawn protesters seeking to draw attention to the private gathering of shakers and movers. But for more than three decades, the grove also has been a major employer for high school and college students, perhaps second only to the Sonoma County Fair.

This year’s encampment will happen in a summer when local youth may have to hustle more to find work. “It’s definitely tough, but there still are jobs out there,” said Karen Fies, director of Sonoma County’s Workforce Investment Board. At the grove, the starting wage is about $10 an hour, with higher pay for some jobs and for those who previously have worked there. About 200 workers will return this year. “In many cases they’ll work their high school years and even college years,” Robertson said. The jobs, available to men and women, include baggage handling, valet parking, commissary work and serving as waiters and assistants in the main dining area.

A small number of workers started employment during the club’s Spring Jinks gathering in late May and will stay on through the July encampment. Both Oggero and Robertson said the quality of the applicants each year is outstanding. “The majority of the people we interview we end up hiring,” Robertson said. In recent years, an annual talent show has been staged by grove employees for their fellow workers. One year a club member took time to watch the show and later asked to hand out the award to the winning group. “It was Jimmy Buffett,” Oggero said. He recalled that “the kids just went nuts,” and the entertainer went on to serenade them with “Margaritaville.”

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or

--- end ---

Here's the craigslist ad to work at BG:

And here are the jobs for BG:

Various Grove photos found on the internet which provoke questions about these secret summer meetings. (click pics to enlarge):

Btw, have you ever heard of the Belizean Grove, a women's elite group started 10 yrs ago? Read more here:
Here is the link to their website:

Friday, June 12, 2009

From Rosalind Peterson June 12, 2009 RE: U.S. Navy Petitions to Washington, D.C.

June 12, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

Please let everyone know that the delegation from Connecticut and California (Rosalind & Meredith Smith), spent this past week lobbying the U.S. Congress to defeat the U.S. Navy plan to harm marine mammals, other aquatic life and animals, along with negative impacts on human health, air and water.

We all arrived in Washington, D.C. armed with petitions from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and also from other states in the United States. We hand delivered petitions to California Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon. In addition, Meredith Smith is staying in Washington, D.C., this coming week to lobby against the Navy.

Meredith arranged to meet at 4:00 P.M. with California Congressman Mike Thompson on Thursday, June 11th, to discuss what plans could be worked out to have Congressman Thompson work with us on congressional hearings into the Navy program. Meredith presented Congressman Thompson with a second binder containing all the petitions that we have gathered since we gave Thompson's aide, Heidi Dickerson, the first binder containing all of the original signatures gathered prior to the time that KTVU filmed the event in Fort Bragg, CA last month. Meredith was also going to let Congressman Thompson know about the binder presented to Heidi Dickerson last month since he did not seem to know that the public had presented his office with this binder full of petitions from all over California.

Today and during her stay in Washington, DC next week Meredith will be meeting with additional members of Congress and will be hand delivering our petitions to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Her efforts on behalf of the citizens of Mendocino County are to be highly commended. When she returns she will be reporting on the success of her efforts in Washington, D.C.

While the delegation was in Washington, D.C. this week we brought color brochures, packets, and information about the Navy Warfare expansion to every member of the U.S. Senate. In addition, we visited the offices of over 300 U.S. Congressmen with regard to this issue. There were many that did not know about this Navy plan and many expressed interest in learning more about it. Our elected officials seemed surprised that the Navy plan involved, as Congressmen Thompson and Waxman had stated in their letter, both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the regions around the Marinas Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, the gulf of both Alaska and Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean from California to Oregon.

It should be noted that our elected officials were surprised that the petitions we collected were from real people and not just from anonymous people on the Internet. One staff member was completely surprised by this information.

Meredith Smith, owner of the Mendocino Cafe, should be commended for her efforts both this week and next week in bringing this information to the attention of our elected officials. It is now time for all of us to follow through with calls to our elected officials in Washington, D.C., over the next three months at their toll free number (1 866) 220-0044 to let them know that we are going to continue to speak out, collect signatures on petitions, and work toward congressional hearings to protect public health and our marine mammals.

Your continued work on this project - writing letters, gathering signatures which will be presented again to our elected officials (hand delivered), telephone calls, letters to the editor will all have a positive effect. Thank you again for all of your efforts and work on this project. If we work together we can initiate change and end this Navy Warfare expansion project.


Rosalind Peterson
Post Office Box 499
Redwood Valley, CA 95470
(707) 485-7520

More information:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let's Look at 9/11 Again

Listen to a very interesting interview with Dr. Judy Wood from April 23, 2009, on The Rollye James Show to discuss the evidence that FREE ENERGY technology was demonstrated on 9/11. Click here to listen.

And here are a few of the MANY photos from Dr. Wood's website:

June 16, 2009 UPDATE

Recently received an email from Andrew Johnson who just self-published on a book comprised of many articles from his website:

The result is a 300-page 6x9 book with a cover graphic design by Nick Buchanan titled, "9-11 Finding the Truth". Please check it out for free here:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Authentic Cannon Ball Found in Sonoma

Authentic Cannon ball once fired from General Vallejo’s fort/barracks on Spain Street towards what is now known as the Field of Dreams little league field on 1st Street West. The cannon ball is over 100 years old.

Historic California Posts: Sonoma Barracks (Including El Presidio de Sonoma, El Cuartel de Sonoma, Camp Sonoma, Sonoma Post)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shriners and Freemasonry

Luther Burbank (1849-1926)

Horticultuist and naturalist, Luther Burbank moved to Santa Rosa, California, in 1875 where he established Burbank's Experimental Farms. He was raised in Santa Rosa Lodge No. 57 on August 13, 1921 and coroneted an honorary 33 degree Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (AASR) (SJ) on October 20, 1925. Burbank died the following year on April 11th. source

Since Freemasonry has attempted so strenuously to claim that they are just a "good ole boy" fraternity that does good works and has a good time, most people will be shocked to learn the bitter truth behind that facade. An insidious by product is to keep husbands and wives out of churches & away from the Truth.

Satan does not need to receive worship to achieve his goals. All he has to do is to keep a man from following Jesus. Satan knows that anyone who does not follow in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ does not have God. (2 John 9) Freemasonry teaches that due-paying Freemasonry alone is one's guarantee for Heaven without any intervention needed by Jesus Christ which is a satanic lie.

Freemasonry is a hidden fraternal order and defined by them as a system of morality. The first three steps are the Blue Lodge. The first degree is called Entered Apprentice. The second degree is called Fellow Craft. The Third degree is called Master Mason. Most men only go to the third degree, but if one chooses, he may advance either through the York Rite or the Scottish Rite. The Scottish Rite has thirty-two degrees. In each degree, the Mason pledges himself to a different Egyptian deity.

There is a thirty-third degree that is largely honorary, but the thirty-two degree give you access to becoming a Shriner. As a Shriner you will pledge yourself to the pagan "god" Allah who lies that Jesus did not even die on a cross and that God has no Son. This pagan 'Allah' never once shows that it knows the real name of God (Jesus/Yeshua/Yahweh/I am).

Most Shriners are decent guys who do bow to the pagan Islamic Allah. The Shriner is given a red fez with an Islamic sword and crescent jewel on the front of it. This sword emblem originates from 7th century Arabia when the Moslems, under the leadership of Muhammad (aka: Mohammed), slaughtered all Christians and Jews who would not bow down to the pagan moon god Allah. It is a symbol of subjugation. The Shriners appear to have begun innocently enough; except for their link to and allegiance to the pagan moon god (note the crescent emblem) Allah.

The Illustrious Grand High Priest swears in new members who put their hands on a copy of the Muslim Koran. Can we imagine a Christian preacher swearing off the God of Israel by embracing the pagan Allah? They do. The initiate swears a long oath that culminates in a typical Masonic vow of secrecy unto death which includes an oat to Allah.

Shriners obligate themselves by making unholy oaths such as allowing the piercing of their eyeballs with a three-edged blade, and the flaying of their feet if they should reveal their Shriner "secrets" which are all nonsense and inconsequential to begin with. Shriners worship the false god Allah as the god of "our" fathers.

An Actor, William Florence, and a juggler and magician, Dr. Walter M. Fleming, began the Shriners in the early 1870's. Doctor Fleming devised the rituals, intended as a parody of Islam. He died in 1913 and left his family penniless, having spent all of his money to gain Masonic medals and decrees.

The Masonic Shriners wear a red hat known as a Fez named after a town in Morocco, where in 980 AD, 50,000 Christians, including women and children, were brutally murdered by the Muslims. As the streets ran red with the Christians’ blood from the massacre, the Muslims dipped their hats in that blood as a testimony to Allah. The red Fez symbolizes the slaughter of Christians in that town. The Masons still wear the red Fez adorned with the Islamic crescent symbol.

There are Christians, all over the world, who even today, suffer greatly and some have even given up their lives because they refuse to compromise their faith in Christ. And yet, professing Christians who are involved in the highest ranks of Freemasonry (Shriners) honor the persecution of Christians. A Shriner honors Islam and its symbols.

A Shriner traditionally prays by facing toward Mecca, and he must make a blood oath of allegiance to the pagan Allah as his god and to Mohammed, who cringed at even the sight of a cross, as his prophet. Remember Christians: Allah is that non-existent god of Islam who does not acknowledge Jesus as his Son, and he doesn't acknowledge the work Jesus did on the cross.

John 3
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 8
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

June 8, 2009 UPDATE

A few more links:
The Deadly Deception: Freemasonry Exposed by One of Its Top Leaders - Jim Shaw

Famous Shriners

Music or No Music at Emmy's Spaghetti Shack Sonoma Restaurant?

Emmy Kaplan, owner of new Sonoma Restaurant
Emmy's Spaghetti Shack
6411 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476
Hours: Sun–Thurs 11:30am–11:00pm
Fri & Sat 11:30am–12:00am

(see former post)

Thu 6/4/09 6 PM
No music for Emmy's yet

Angry neighbors have refused to accept a Planning Commission decision and now the Sonoma City Council will have to decide whether or not to let Emmy's Spaghetti Shack have music.

On May 14, after hours of heated debate, the Planning Commission granted Emmy Kaplan a temporary use permit to allow acoustic and prerecorded music at her new restaurant, the former Deuce, at 691 Broadway, during specific times of the week. Neighbors of the property vehemently opposed the decision, saying the noise would ruin the tranquility of the neighborhood. Last Friday, a sizeable contingent of neighbors filed an appeal, asking the City Council to re-examine the Planning Commission's decision. It was signed by 33 residents whose properties are within earshot of the restaurant.

"There's a feeling that the Planning Commission hasn't really reviewed this and what it will mean for the neighborhood," said Elizabeth Monnet, a resident of First Street West. Until the appeal is heard, the commission's decision is suspended, in this case until the July 1 council meeting, according to Sonoma Planning Director David Goodison. At that time, opponents and supporters of the music use permit will again be allowed to address the council. Until then, Emmy's Spaghetti Shack will remain quiet.

"It's a real buzz kill," said Kaplan, adding that she learned the day of her grand opening that the permit was suspended. "We had DJs planned for the whole summer."

Kaplan said once she was granted the permit she began booking acts eager to perform in Sonoma. She shelled out for deposits on DJs and acoustic musicians and sunk cash into new sound equipment for the restaurant, all of which could be lost if the council decides to pull her permit. Kaplan was born and raised in the Valley, she opened her first restaurant of the same name in the Bernal Heights area of San Francisco, and after years of working in the City, decided she wanted to raise her son in the Valley where she grew up. She took over Deuce restaurant and began to transform it into a second Emmy's Spaghetti Shack, which she dreamed would have live music just like her San Francisco location.

When she began researching the permitting issues around live music, she found her options were confusing and limited. City officials suggested she apply for a permit that would give her the privileges of a nightclub, with music playing late into the evening. Prior to the Planning Commission meeting, the city sent a letter to all the neighbors that outlined her request for a nightclub use permit, sparking an immediate and heated response from residents who didn't want their neighborhood to become the focus of a raucous party scene.

"It's become more of a response against the night club concept, which I never proposed," Kaplan said, explaining that she wants to run a restaurant with music patrons could enjoy while eating, not a nightclub. "People are against the business before they know what the business is, which I don't understand."

The day of the Planning Commission meeting, Kaplan amended her request, asking instead for a permit to have live acoustic and pre-recorded music during specific hours and days each month. During the meeting, many of the neighbors asked the Planning Commission to suspend making a decision until they had more time to process the change to the proposal. The commission instead decided to grant a temporary, six-month permit to see how the noise impacts the neighbors.

From Monnet's point of view, "the 33 people who signed the appeal all have different concerns. However, I think we are all in agreement that the Planning Commission rushed into a vote without working out some of the details relating to this new music permit," Monnet pointed out that, "For example, what is acoustic music? It hasn't been defined."

Monnet said the neighbors are not against the restaurant, but want more oversight of the process, including a more complete understanding of how the music levels will be monitored.

"It's not like Bernal Heights where you can't hear a damn thing over the traffic," Monnet said. "Because we're in this Valley with these mountains behind us, the acoustics are brilliant."

Monnet added that she has concerns about safety if a steady stream of patrons, who have been drinking, pour out of the restaurant. Kaplan has already promised she will provide security at her restaurant to keep any rowdy customers in line, but said she does not anticipate having this problem and employed the security guards in an attempt to appease the neighbors.

"Posting a security guard at the door will not help control what goes on outside the club - in the parking lot and on the street - regardless of the good intentions of the owner," Monnet wrote in a letter to the City Council. "For this reason, we urge this commission to solicit input from federal, state and local law enforcement before any vote to establish a nightclub in Sonoma."

Kaplan wants a chance to prove that she will be a good neighbor, including respecting the city's noise ordinance. "There are laws on noise, which I was not going to break," she said.

Kaplan also pointed out there are numerous restaurants throughout the Valley that frequently have live and pre-recorded music without bothering with permits, including the two prior restaurants that occupied that venue, Deuce and Au Relais.

"There's always been live music at that venue, except for when it was a morgue," Kaplan said, referring to a time when the location housed a funeral home. "It's almost as if I'm being punished for asking for a permit. I should have not asked and then I could have been grandfathered in."

--- end ---

May 22, 2009
Six-month permit granted for Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack
Walt Williams Special to the Sun

Walking into the Sonoma Planning Commission meeting last Thursday, one could see that something important was about to take place. Often sparsely attended, every seat was filled, with people sitting in the aisle. Two factions were there to plead their cases. One faction consisted of residents near the site at 691 Broadway who had banded together to stop what one called the “nightmare nightclub.” And the other comprised friends of Emmy Kaplan who had rallied to express a message of change, hoping that Sonoma was getting a new place to dance and listen to music.

In the middle of it all was Kaplan, who had written up an addendum to her original project narrative. Many of the neighbors envisioned a late, loud party environment with live amplified music outside every night. Kaplan attempted to quell those fears with her amended handout.

Jim Mayer, who lives at 720 Broadway, summed up the feeling of most of the neighbors. “This is a mixed-use area,” he said, “and businesses close at 9:00, people will be in the streets, smoking, talking loudly. You have to ask yourself, ‘Would you like this in your backyard?’”

Brian Borges, who lives at 808 Broadway, countered, “The intention is not to create a big party scene, but create something for the community. Emmy grew up here and now wants to return and do something good for the community. We should support that.”

Commission member Ray Gallian noted that support for a permit was running at about 2-to-1 among those in attendance. The commission eventually voted 7 to 1 to grant Kaplan a temporary permit, for six months. Under that permit, no live amplified music is permitted. Instead, pre-recorded music will be allowed outdoors from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, as well as acoustic (non-amplified) live music Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pre-recorded and acoustic music will also be allowed indoors during normal hours of operation daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. All music must conform to a maximum sound level of 60 decibels in the daytime (up to 9 p.m.) and 50 decibels at night (after 9 p.m.). Planning Commission Chairman Michael George noted that the decibel reading for conversations at the meeting itself were registering over 70 decibels.

“I want to be a very good neighbor,” Kaplan said. “It’s not a rowdy nightclub – it’s a restaurant.” Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack is scheduled to open next Friday, May 29.

Other planning commission approvals included a one-year extension of an approved exception for a secondary arbor at 226 E. MacArthur St., an exception to the side yard setback to allow for a carport at 558 Second St. E., operation of a mobile food service trailer at 1001 Broadway (in front of Old School skate shop), legalizing restaurant use at 897 West Napa Street (Tortilleria Jalisco), and expanding and remodeling 19270 Sonoma Highway (Sonoma Rentals).

The commission rejected a proposal to remove two redwood trees from 301 E. MacArthur St. and discussed at length the rezoning of two residential properties to allow for their use by Vintage House Senior Center. The meeting was adjourned 30 minutes after midnight.

--- end ---

Fri 5/15/09 5 PM
New restaurant gets temporary music permit

Thursday's meeting of the Sonoma Planning Commission was like a scene from the 1983 classic "Flashdance" when all of Sonoma's young hipsters came out to support the approval of another live music venue in Sonoma, while the older neighbors just want those darn kids to turn off that racket.

In the end, a compromise was reached when the commission agreed to grant a six-month temporary use permit for music at Emmy's Spaghetti Shack, which will replace Deuce Restaurant, to see how the noise impacts the neighborhood. The audience filled the Community Meeting Room and poured out into the hallway during what had to be one of the most well attended planning commission meetings in recent history. While the commission had a packed agenda of eight items, almost everyone in the room was there for item four, a request by restaurateur Emmy Kaplan for a use permit for live music. Kaplan recently purchased Deuce Restaurant at 691 Broadway, which she will transform into Emmy's Spaghetti Shack, providing a second location to her successful restaurant of the same name in Bernal Heights in San Francisco.

"I wanted to create a restaurant here that is affordable, that appeals to all types of people," Kaplan said. Initially, Kaplan sought a nightclub use permit that would have allowed her to amplify music into the night. But the backlash to that proposal was immediate and forceful as many neighbors said they would fight allowing the usually quiet neighborhood from becoming a nightly hot spot. So Kaplan updated her proposal, instead asking for the opportunity to have prerecorded and acoustic music performances, which would be kept to a strict limit.

"I want to be a very good neighbor," Kaplan said. "It's mostly Friday and Saturday that there will be music."

Kaplan asked permission to have prerecorded music, defined as music from a CD, MP3 player or vinyl record to be maintained at a level that meets the City's noise ordinance, outside between the hours of 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and inside daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Kaplan also asked for permission to have live acoustic music indoors from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. She also sought to have live acoustic music in the outdoor patio once a week Monday through Thursday between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and four times a month on Fridays and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Finally, she asked for the right to hold a monthly karaoke party. "I'm very happy you've amended your application in the way that you did," said commission member Michael George. "You absolutely seem like people who want to work with the community."

Dozens of community members rose to spoke, either in favor of or against the issue. Supporters said the town should support a young native daughter's quest to build a business in her hometown and bring some vibrancy to Sonoma's lackluster nightlife. Opponents said there are enough music venues in Sonoma and warned this permit will stay with the property long after Kaplan, and the next owner may not be as committed to working with the community.

"One of the attractions of Sonoma is that it is a place to have fun," said Earl Blue, who supported the project. "I think we all need to lighten up on each other."

The commission hesitated before moving forward with a vote, citing a need to further process the late change in Kaplan's application. Commission member Ray Gallian was vocal in his support of the measure, and eventually the commission posed a motion to grant a temporary permit for six months, which passed with seven ayes and one nay.

Kaplan is still in the process of renovating the restaurant, which will open in the next few months.

Reader Comments wrote on May 16, 2009 2:30 PM:
" Congrats for bringing in live music to a wonderful new venue. I am a strong supporter of independent music and look forward to its opening. To those who were against this type of entertainment, please take the time, when it opens, to stop by and check it out. Live acoustic music is completely in a world of its own and can be appreciated by all ages. Cheers! " wrote on May 16, 2009 5:12 PM:
" Liz took the words out of my mouth. Give Emmy's new place a chance. " wrote on May 16, 2009 6:53 PM:
" I love music and I love the idea. Hope it is a raging success! " wrote on May 21, 2009 11:01 AM:
" I love music and entertainment and think that Sonoma needs more of it. However, this is simply the wrong location and Ms. Kaplan's proposal was flawed and blatantly disregarded the concerns of people that live in the surrounding residential area.

Restaurant --yes. DJ's and live music outside late into the night as young kids and parents try sleep in their beds-- absolutely ridiculous.

The last minute submittal of a revised application was not ethical nor fair to allow the public adequate time to assess and raise the appropriate questions with the commission.

The commission simply did not do their job and showed no willingness to ask the difficult questions. Instead just did a favor to a local girl. It is a shame. " wrote on May 23, 2009 6:29 AM:
" Seems that any person or business still has to abide by the noise ordinance laws. Though, I may not have all the facts and an exception may have been made here for this business.

And if the noise becomes a nuisance, that can be addressed if or when it occurs rather than cutting off a potential profitable venue before it even gets a chance to succeed...or fail.

The economy is not a lifeboat and it would be nice if the folks who are established give others a chance to do the same without putting up so many barriers to the freedom of exchange. "

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Fed

Contrary to popular belief, the Federal Reserve is not federal nor is there a reserve.

In the following video clip, Rep. Alan Grayson asks the Federal Reserve Inspector General about the trillions of dollars lent or spent by the Federal Reserve and where it went, and the trillions of off balance sheet obligations. Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman responds that the IG does not know and is not tracking where this money is:


From Wikipedia:

The Federal Reserve System (also the Federal Reserve; informally The Fed) is the central banking system of the United States. Created in 1913 by the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act (signed by Woodrow Wilson), it is a quasi-public and quasi-private (government entity with private components) banking system[1] that comprises (1) the presidentially appointed Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.; (2) the Federal Open Market Committee; (3) twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks located in major cities throughout the nation acting as fiscal agents for the U.S. Treasury, each with its own nine-member board of directors; (4) numerous other private U.S. member banks, which subscribe to required amounts of non-transferable stock in their regional Federal Reserve Banks; and (5) various advisory councils. Since February 2006, Ben Bernanke has served as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Donald Kohn is the current Vice Chairman (Term: June 2006–June 2010).

Section 5 of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 states that the Federal Reserve Banks are owned, through stock issuance, by private member banks. The issue of private ownership has been one of controversy for numerous reasons.

Dennis Kucinich has repeatedly stated, "The Federal Reserve is no more federal than Federal Express". Kucinich also stated that "we need to have public control over this if we're going to have public policies in the public interest."

One of the first criticisms of the private nature of the Federal Reserve system was Charles August Lindbergh who criticized the problem of private banks working against the best interests of the citizens: "The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That Board administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is Private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Clemente Inn

2007 photo from Sonoma Index-Tribune

2009 photo from Sonoma Index-Tribue

Clemente being razed
Highway 12 eyesore
June 2, 2009

The Clemente Inn is coming down.

A team from Dave Deming Demolition in Sonoma started tearing the Highway 12 historic eyesore down Saturday, and continued on Sunday. After tearing down most of the building on the Keaton Avenue side, and taking about four feet of bricks off near the top, the crew will put the demolition on hold until next weekend when there is less traffic along Highway 12. Also, Flowery Elementary School will be getting out of school for the summer on Friday, so there won't be any school traffic to deal with. Marty Edwards, the owner of the Clemente Inn since 2000, said she doesn't know what will happen after the building is razed since all of her money is going into the demolition.

"I didn't get any redevelopment funds, loans or grants," she said Monday morning. "I didn't even get a written answer from the redevelopment agency." Edwards has been dealing with the Sonoma County Redevelopment Agency for months seeking money for demolition or seismic upgrades or whatever it could do for her. "The reality of getting redevelopment money is probably about zero," she said.

"They told me they couldn't fund demolition, then they said they could but only if they owned it," she said.

Edwards offered to sell the property to the redevelopment agency more than 2-1/2 months ago, but was told it would need an appraisal which could take a couple of weeks. She said the redevelopment agency staff is finally coming out to visit the building on Friday, but the demolition has already started and she said they couldn't fund the demolition retroactively.

"It was my intention to preserve this historic building," Edwards said. "But by the time I bought it, the roof had already collapsed. I tried to do some shoring up, but it was too dangerous."

Back in March, Edwards told the Springs Redevelopment Advisory Committee that it would cost in excess of $500,000 just to stabilize the building - a building, according to Edwards' application, that the county's assessor has valued at $194,000.

"This historical landmark has been vacant for 40 years," Edwards said. "I've owned it for nine years. And the economy isn't helping right now."

The building was labeled as "dangerous" in November 2007, by PRMD.

At the March meeting, Edwards said a preliminary estimate on the cost of the demolition, which includes hauling away the debris and disposal fees, is about $75,000.

There have been signs in the boarded up windows of the inn warning that the building is made of unreinforced masonry and "You may not be safe inside or near unreinforced masonry buildings during an earthquake."

The Clemente Inn was built about 1912 and was a hotel until the Great Depression.

In 1977, the Clemente, apparently still impressive from the outside, was declared an historic landmark by the State of California. The insides, however, were beginning to rot.

In the early 1980s it was purchased for $25,000 by Kenneth Crutchlow of Sonoma and England, along with a full set of restoration plans.

Since then, the building has passed through a number of owners, all the while continuing to deteriorate.

In a matter of a week or two, a building that has raised the ire of Springs residents for years will pass into history.

--- end ---

Februray 3, 2009 story from the Sonoma Valley Sun:

Clemente Inn: Will it be demolished or revived?
Bonnie Durrance Sonoma Valley Sun
source and link to photos

Marty Edwards, owner of the Clemente Inn, has moved one step closer to making real her vision of people dining, music playing, the old charm of the 1920’s alive and kicking in what is now just the shell of a grand old hotel.

The building, located at 17367 Sonoma Highway in Fetters Hot Springs, has been vacant for 30 years, and is now condemned. Edwards has been trying to get it renovated for eight years, working, through a maze of economic difficulties, permit conundrums, and governmental entanglements which has brought her time and again to stalemate.

Two recent developments give her new options for moving forward. In November, the Sonoma County Permits and Resource Management Department (PRMD) determined that any use within the current C2 Retail Commercial Zoning designation will be acceptable. Previously, Edwards had been limited to restoring the place to a hotel, a business plan that would be unsustainable. “It just wouldn’t pencil out,” she said. Now, should she succeed in restoring the building, she will be allowed to turn it into a restaurant or café, which is what she wants to do.

The second, crucial, decision was made just last week by the Sonoma County Landmarks Commission, which has issued a go-ahead for her to apply for either partial or complete demolition, offering her a choice in the way forward. To get permission, said Lisa Posternak, Landmarks Commission staff planner, she had to submit three things. First, an historic resources evaluation report, photographs and architectural drawings, all approved by the landmarks commission. Posternak said the Landmarks Commission has approved both issuance of a permit “to completely demolish the building and issuance of a permit to demolish the wood portion (i.e., partial demolition) and stabilize the unreinforced masonry portion of the building.” She said Edwards has not yet applied for either permit, and that PRMD Code Enforcement will be establishing both a deadline for applying for a permit and for completing the work.

Edwards is pleased. “I’m going to start 2009 in a big way here.” She is now preparing to file for her permits, and there are decisions to be made. “There’s a fine line between applying for a demolishing permit or applying for a rehab permit,” she said. To keep the façade, which she’d like to do, is tricky. “You have to temporarily brace it and then go in and do permanent bracing. You have to do it twice.” She will be working on plans for this next step.

The dream is for the place to be a little restaurant. “I can see it! I think the neighborhood would love it. Music and food at the corner of Heaton and Highway 12 – as opposed to a falling down brick building. That would be nice. I get all excited about that.”

The Clemente Inn, once a popular restaurant and inn in Fetters Hot Springs, in the 1910s and 1920s, was built and run by Charles Clemente, who had moved to the area from France. In 1979, the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation described the place as something out of Masterpiece Theatre. “The dining room was large, with papered walls, a large wooden bar, potted ferns, tables, a player piano, a victrola and a small dance floor. The entry vestibule contained comfortable benches along the alcove with embroidered pillows, large scenic photographs on the walls, and a rocking chair. The family lived in rooms on the ground floor of the original house. A basement room in the northwest corner which has its own exterior door was once an ice cream parlor, exactly when, it is not known, but probably between 1912 and 1919.”

The Clemente family ran the place as a country restaurant and inn until 1928 when the property was sold. Then, a series of owners used it as a grocery, an inn and finally an apartment building.
The building has passed through numerous hands over the years, but no one has successfully resuscitated it. The roof has collapsed and the walls of the original frame building are collapsing. The interior has been gutted and all that remains is the framing.

About Me

My photo
Over the years my opinions have changed but this will never change: Jesus Christ, Lord, God and Savior, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for my sin.