The Mendocino Beacon - Weekly newspaper published since 1877 with news, sports, obituaries and classifieds.
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www.mendocinobeacon.com A N AWA R D - W I N N I N G C O A S T PA P E R F O R C O A S T P E O P L E S I N C E 1 8 7 7 137th Year, No. 28 Abalone justice: Part 3 of 4 Going Green for Earth Day 75 ¢ Includes Tax Thursday, April 17, 2014 Linda Perkins and Bill Heil look at the single concrete arch option Caltrans showed as an option to replace the Albion River Bridge. That would make Albion match the classic 1930s Roman Arch construction used in the coast's three Depression-era bridges, Jack Peters Creek at Mendocino, Jughandle Creek at Caspar and the world famous (among engineers) Russian Gulch bridge. Frank Hartzell photo. By Frank Hartzell firstname.lastname@example.org Caltrans wants to sell locals on the idea of removing and replacing both the Albion River and Salmon Creek bridges, while grudgingly offering alternatives to save the historic Albion structure. That was the impression most of 40 Albion residents got from a meet- ing April 10 with top Caltrans engi- neers and planners at Albion School. Residents were impressed by the volume of information given out by the previously tight-lipped state agency. But they plan to double check everything that Caltrans said, both about the safety and engineering issues surrounding the Albion River Bridge and the prom- ises for better traffic management during the dual replacement project. "Caltrans wants us to believe that a new bridge is the only sensible option," said Albion resident Susan Waterfall. "A visionary engineering team might come up with a different solution that would enable us to keep the road and the bridges in Albion scenic and safe for tourism and local traffic." Nobody so far seems to be con- testing the need for a new Salmon Creek Bridge, although there is a discussion about whether the new one should be east or west of the existing bridge. The Albion River Bridge, said to be the nation's last tall wooden bridge on a major highway, is even more unique than that, having been built from recy- cled products during steel rationing in World War II so that air defenses could be shipped to Fort Bragg at a time when the Japanese seemed on the way. Salmon Creek is a steel bridge dying from rust. Because Albion is a community cut off by the removal of either bridge, Caltrans is planning both bridges to be on a new alignment, rather than where the old bridge is located. Residents liked that idea. On hand from Caltrans were Frank Demling, Caltrans project manager for Albion and Salmon Creek bridges; Adele Pom- merenck, senior environmental planer; Kevin Harper, senior bridge engineer, and Lena Ashley, design branch Chief E3. The group shared thousands of pages of information with the crowd, along with numerous conceptual drawings of what the replacement bridges would look like. CVFD turns 50 Annual Big River Clean and Canoe Editor's note: Longtime court reporter Don Claybrook wrote this four-part series before resigning his position in order to attend law school. By Don Claybrook Staff Writer The back story The 2013 abalone season ended last Nov. 30 and began again this year on April 1. And, as has been the case for the last several years, the 2013 season was marked by turmoil, tedium and ultimately triumph, especially in the sentencing phase at Ten Mile Court. As interviews were conducted and research was being done for this series of arti- cles, the working title was, "Abalone: The convoluted sentencing debacle at Ten Mile Court." Because the season ended on a happy note with standardized sentencing becoming the norm rather than the exception, those who were in tune with the music actually began to feel a bit relieved about the whole sentencing conundrum and the aforementioned title was jettisoned for one more appropriate and less accusatory. However, not everyone was dancing to the music. Forrest Gump sentencing Because he was fairly new on the job and because there is clearly a "learning curve" including an educational compo- nent concerning abalone sentencing, Judge Clayton Brennan had everyone from Mendocino Abalone Watch (MAW) to the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW), as well as honest abalone pickers and divers, upset with his on-again off-again sentencing. In the classic movie "Forrest Gump," Forrest was fond of saying, "My momma always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" Sentencing at Ten Mile Court for Abalone: From the ocean floor through the courtroom door Part 3 of 4: Sentencing Mendocino Abalone Watch co-founder Rod Jones, left, smiles at a diver happily holding a 10-inch abalone during the 2013 season. MAW photo. See ABALONE on Page 15 Before you pick abalone • Check regs: www.dfg.ca.gov • The new start time is 8 a.m. • Be safe in the ocean. O'Donnell given Red Cross honor Albion Bridge meeting See BRIDGES on Page 16 Caltrans presents local residents with two proposed plans Half a century ago, in 1964, after a series of fires destroyed homes in the Comptche area, local citizens decided to form a fire department. This year, the Comptche Vol- unteer Fire Department will honor its first 50 years of serv- ice with a capital campaign, a celebration at the Comptche firehouse on April 26 from 2 to 7 p.m., and a brand new book recounting CVFD's history by local author Katy Tahja. At first, Comptche firefight- ers didn't even have a fire engine, but thanks to strong support over five decades from citizens, businesses and the Comptche Area Fire Auxiliary, CVFD has grown into a mature local fire department. Today, 30 well-trained and equipped volunteer firefight- ers, four fire engines, a rescue vehicle, two water tenders and a command vehicle are ready to respond from the 5,000- square-foot Comptche fire- house, which was built entirely with donated labor, materials and funding. This Saturday, April 19, join community leaders, local business owners, visitors and conservationists for the annual Big River Clean and Canoe in honor of Earth Day. Hosted by Mendocino Land Trust in partnership with Catch-a- Canoe and Bicycles Too, this "Party for the Planet" event takes place at one of the most widely celebrated and impressively beautiful locations in Mendocino County: Big River estuary. At 10 a.m., meet in the Big River parking lot east of Highway 1. Mendocino Land Trust staff will outfit you with tools, trash bags, snacks and beverages readying you to tackle invasive plant species and unsightly litter. You are encouraged to bring your own sunscreen and gloves. In addition, the Land Trust's Big River Stewardship coordina- tor, Nicolet Houtz, will give a brief talk on the history and ecol- ogy of the location so that you can better understand how important your efforts are. This portion of the Clean and Canoe ends at noon. River cruise Afterwards, if you made reservations in advance for a 1 or 2 p.m. launch time, you can enjoy a leisurely, hour-long cruise on Big River courtesy of Catch-a-Canoe and Bicycles Too. Their launch site is located on the south bank of Big River, just off of By Matthew Reed email@example.com Sara O'Donnell, executive director and co-founder of the Cancer Resource Cen- ters of Mendocino County, was honored today, April 17, by the Sonoma, Mendo- cino and Lake counties chapter of the American Red Cross at its 11th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast. With offices in Mendocino and Ukiah, CRCMC is the first non-facil- ity-based cancer resource center from Marin County to the California-Ore- gon border. "I was surprised, humbled and honored to be in such inspiring company with the other nine honorees chosen by the American Red Cross," O'Donnell said. "I really share this award with the incredible staff at CRC and with every person the Cancer Resource Centers has ever served. They are all the true heroes." See COMPTCHE on Page 14 See HONOR on Page 16 NOAA releases proposal for national marine sanctuaries NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has released a proposal to expand the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones (GFNMS) and Cordell Bank (CBNMS) national marine sanctuaries, two of 14 sites managed by NOAA, located off north-central California. The agency is accepting public and stakeholder com- ments on the proposal and related regulations through June 30, according to an April 15 news release. Point Arena coast The proposal is intended to protect the distinctive marine ecosystem north and west of the sanctuaries' current boundaries. It would include waters and sub- merged lands off of Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, including North America's most intense "upwelling" site offshore of Point Arena, the release said. The nutrients brought to the surface during upwelling events at Point Arena are carried south into the sanctuaries by the prevailing California Current; these nutrients fuel an incredibly productive ocean area protected by GFNMS and CBNMS. The sanctuaries are destination feeding areas for endangered blue whales and humpback whales, sharks, salmon and seabirds like albatrosses and shearwaters that travel tens of thousands of miles. Food that results from the Point Arena upwelling center also supports the largest assemblage of breed- See BIG RIVER on Page 15 See MARINE on Page 14 Community invited to participate CRCMC founder lauded for work Marine sanctuaries may be extended north to South Coast O'Donnell Fire department celebrates history