The Mendocino Beacon

August 14, 2014

The Mendocino Beacon - Weekly newspaper published since 1877 with news, sports, obituaries and classifieds.

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Anytime, anywhere. Subscribe to our e-edition. VISIT MENDOCINOBEACON.COM KNOW IT. ALL. BRIDGES » PAGE 7 Berkeley professor debunks Caltrans SPORTS » PAGE 8 Athletes get ready for fall sports David Jones and Blaze Birge defy gravity in an aerial performance on Saturday. Flynn Creek Circus was in Mendocino from Thursday, Aug. 7 to Sunday, Aug. 10. Part of proceeds from the event benefit- ted the Community Center of Mendocino. Refer to page two for the story. Circus Flynn Creek Circus performs under big-top tent in Friendship Park KELCI PARKS - FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE-NEWS Classifieds .......13 Crossword ......... 9 Obituaries ......... 6 Opinion .............. 4 Sports ................ 8 Weather ............ 3 INDEX County government and the Broadband Alliance of Men- docino County are asking county residents to fill out a quick online survey aimed at measuring the impact of the Internet and phone service outages that began Sun- day, Aug. 3 and originated from the Comptche-Ukiah Road area. The survey is located at https:// toutage. "The purpose of this data gath- ering is to assist the alliance, in coordination with county elected leaders, to resolve this connectiv- ity issue for many of the coun- ty's residents and prevent it from happening again," said county CEO Carmel Angelo in an Aug. 8 news release. Links to the online survey also can be found on the Broad- band Alliance's homepage at, or on the county's homepage at under "Areas of Interest" on the right hand side. The Mendocino Coast Cham- ber of Commerce urges busi- nesses, institutions and commu- nity members to participate. "T he fiber cut last Sun- day, about 10 miles inland on Comptche Ukiah Road, created essentially a shutdown of the telecommunications infrastruc- Survey HOW DID 2-DAY OUTAGE AFFECT YOU? County, Broadband Alliance urge everyone to answer online survey By Justine Frederiksen @justfrederiksen on Twitter Seemingly overnight, a small city sprung up just north of Lay- tonville with the sole purpose of battling the fire that has blanketed much of Mendocino County in smoke. The city, carefully laid out in an open field just off Highway 101, provides everything people need to prepare them for a 24- hour shift on the fire lines: Wa- ter, food, equipment, fuel, infor- mation and rest. The first stop for most visi- tors to the city, officially known as the Incident Base Camp for the Lodge Complex Fire, is the trailer where the people as- signed to keep the public, media and firefighters informed work to gather the latest information and disseminate it as quickly as possible, creating maps, flyers and signs on-site. " Yes, we have our ow n Kinko's here," said spokesman Koby Johns, who is normally based in Fresno, but came to Laytonville several days ago, along with countless other Cal Fire firefighters from across the state, to help run the base camp. "We're here so the local fire- fighters can stay available to respond to what they need to," said Johns, explaining that the teams deployed to set up base camps are very experienced with "operating the machinery and installing the infrastruc- ture needed" to get the bases up and running, and that in- Lodge complex fire A CITY BUILT TO BATTLE FIRES Base camp provides water, food, fuel and strategy KELLEY HOUSE » PAGE 6 The ill-fated tour of the Sue Merrill THIS WEEK'S WEB BONUS Visit our Facebook page for daily posts By Chris Calder Last week's Internet outage af- fected hundreds of households, businesses and institutions on the Mendocino Coast, but some are hopeful that a relatively quick modification to the system, which AT&T refused to do last October, might go a long way toward pre- venting a repeat. In October 2013, Mendocino Communit y Net work a sked AT&T to connect the Mendocino Coast to an existing fiber optic line that runs from Mendocino south. AT&T refused, saying the line was "unavailable," according to MCN manager Sage Statham. Now MCN and Sonic, its part- ner service provider, have made the request again, while they and other local officials look at a range of solutions. Taking stock The outage began at about 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 3. Most service was restored late the afternoon of Tuesday, Aug. 5. Over the past week, local households and busi- nesses have been taking stock of what happened and trying to fig- ure out backup plans for a com- munications system whose weak points have been exposed. The outage mainly hit the area between Albion and Westport. Westport was less affected as far as Internet goes because all con- nections there are by satellite. But even in less affected areas, ba- sic communications services for many became unreliable. Among the major effects: • The 911 system to at least part of the coast failed for most of the outage and hundreds if not thou- sands of people's phones failed, effectively excluding them from 911. People without phone ser- vice were instructed, if they were listening to the radio or word of mouth, to drive to the nearest fire station and report emergencies. The Sheriff's department put on extra patrols in the town of Men- docino in response, and Sher- iff Tom Allman noted that the absence of a pay phone in Men- docino is now a public safety con- cern. • Dozens of businesses had to work on a cash-only basis. Bank ATMs were down for the du- ration, except for Mendo-Lake Credit Union, whose ATM stayed up the whole time. Mendo-Lake was also able to access custom- ers' accounts after Monday morn- ing, according to the Fort Bragg branch manager. Other banks de- clined to comment, but were ap- parently unable to use their com- puter systems. • Some benefits accessible Outage IMPACT OF 2 DAYS WITHOUT INTERNET, PHONE STILL ASSESSED 'Redundant' lines are needed to reduce likelihood of another crippling outage By Frank Hartzell Just when Albion residents were preparing to suffer years of traffic delays and grudgingly go along with Caltrans' plans to tear down both their Highway 1 bridges, a leading expert has come to town with a simple mes- sage: Stop! Wait! Dr. Hassan Astaneh, UC Berke- ley professor of structural and bridge engineering, contradicted or seriously questioned every rea- son Caltrans has given to replace the Albion River or Salmon Creek bridges at an Albion Community Advisory Board event at the Led- ford House on Aug. 5. Astaneh said he "loves" the tall wooden Albion River Bridge and called it a historic treasure that should be saved for future gener- ations. "My conclusion is that there is absolutely no engineering or eco- nomical reasons to replace the Albion River Bridge. As I have shown in [an extensive report], the arguments that Caltrans has made to justify the replacement do not hold up to engineering and scientific scrutiny," Dr. As- taneh said. The professor, sought around the world for advice about bridges and bridge collapses, was hired by local property owner John Dan- hakl to give an independent as- sessment of the two bridges and Caltrans' plans to replace them. Astaneh repeatedly emphasized his findings were preliminary, al- though he felt strongly enough to present them publicly and "start the conversation." Game changer? Caltrans had the community nearly sold on the need to re- place both bridges. Not now. All of the 10 people queried by this re- porter after the Astaneh lecture had changed their minds to some degree. All were surprised by the speech. Many await Astaneh's fi- nal report and plan to do more of their own research. Most were also irked at Caltrans for present- ing what now looks like a one- sided case. Two Bridges UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR SAYS CALTRANS IS WRONG, ALBION RIVER AND SALMON CREEK BRIDGES CAN BE SAVED "No engineering or economical reason" to completely replace iconic coastal wood bridges How did Internet, cell phone outage impact you? See below. Updates from the Albion Community Awareness Network. Page 5 Inside this week BRIDGES » PAGE 7 OUTAGE » PAGE 14 SURVEY » PAGE 14 FIRE » PAGE 13 » Thursday, August 14, 2014 75 CENTS FACEBOOK.COM/MENDOCINOBEACON Volume 136, issue 45 8 52659 03865 7 A NEWSPAPER

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