Stett Holbrook: your article is inexcusable and insulting to the citizens of Calistoga. This is uninformed and lackluster reporting. My hometown people stepped up within hours to feed, clothe, house and comfort our Lake County neighbors without fanfare. When Red Cross showed up My people were threatened and volunteers were turned away. It's my understanding that this group you speak of (CVNL) did the same. Any research you may have done doesn't reflect any effort. I'm appalled that tha Bohemian would even publish such garbage.
CVNL played no role, the citizens of Calistoga did. Red Cross is an absolute joke.... You should do a more thorough job in your investigation. As I read this article I could not help but chuckle at the inaccuracies and the fact that you gave kudos to the wrong folks makes me question your credibility
Kat Kosta: The nonprofits mentioned in this story were clearly not the only ones who helped during the fire. And it's clear local volunteers like you played a critical role, as indicated in this sentence: "Within hours of the outbreak of the fire, local volunteers stepped up to help." While I don't mention the good work you did I don't believe the article takes away from your efforts.
Viri Agapoff: The purpose of the CVNL story was to explain their role as the county-designated emergency volunteer center coordinator. There are certainly more stories to tell and I'm interested to hear about your experiences (positive and negative) with CVNL and the work you and others did.
I agree with the above two comments
My name is Viri Agapoff,
I recently came across your article titled, "Into the Breach North Bay nonprofits rose to challenge during Valley Fire" and I believe you have been miss informed or at least not given the whole story due to not being present during this tragic event. I'm not sure if another article being written is in order or if you should alter your current publication but, there are a lot of people that volunteered which have been effected by the idea you have portrayed when you wrote the CVLN came in a few days later and "fixed" our overwhelming donation situation. It also states that they CVLN came in and worked with the local volunteers and did not just "take over". This is incorrect too. I can see how they would like to portray themselves as the donation situation saviors, but this is inaccurate.
My town of Calistoga was faced with aiding our friends from Lake County who were affected by Valley Fire. Collectively we got organized and started running a donation and distribution center. I worked over many days directing dozens of volunteers to bring some calm and comfort to the fire evacuees. We had over 200 volunteers each day, over the 14 days that the shelter was open. "Valley Fire Volunteer, Calistoga" was a grassroots group that was formed because we saw a lack of direction from Red Cross. The Red Cross was turning away not only donations but, Volunteers. Their reasoning was, "We are not set-up to handle physical donations and are only asking for monitory donations to help the fire victims". With this knowledge, we set up a volunteer booth. Where "the local resident volunteers", could receive and organize the donations.
We organized a mini "store" for the fire survivors to find the items they needed. The first few days we had many clothes, limited toiletry items (ie: shampoo, conditioner, and soap.) and blankets, sleeping bags and minimal tents on the first three days. For three days we ran shop 9am-10Pm. As the rain was coming we used facebook, word of mouth and local volunteers to bring needed donations. Tents, tarps, air mattresses and flashlights were supplied by donations from people and businesses from all over. We helped get the survivors through that rainy Wednesday. The next few days is where piles of donations were nice but, lacked the items being requested. Hair ties, specific size sock and underwear requests, flashlights, rope, work boots for men to get or go back to work, diapers, baby bottles, baby food, baby wipes, etc. We asked for specific items and the community came through. There was one mother with a special needs child needed to have them sleep on a cot. The Red Cross said that she could sleep inside with her child however her other two children would have to sleep in a tent outside. We asked the public if they had a RV that someone could lend and someone came through and they were able to all sleep together in the RV. Our volunteers walk through the tented area to ask for specific donation needs throughout the 14 days. As lists came in, we filled the requests by going through the donation piles. The items not found, local volunteers were given lists and went to Walmart, the dollar store and other stores to fulfill the needs of these survivors. On Tuesday evening days after we had been working A member of red cross approach our table and said we were working illegally and that we needed to bring our volunteer sign in signs down. I met with the regional CEO of Red Cross, and call them out on their lack of management. I left the meeting with the promise that they would have a plan in place by the next morning so we could worked under their direction. This is something that never happened. In fact we got the endorsement of Carlene Moore the fairgrounds manager to continue our efforts on site.
Our work there ended when the Calistoga Fair Grounds Closed it's location and moved everyone to Middletown, The hidden Valley golf course and the moose lodge in Clearlake Oaks. The Wednesday and Thursday prior to the Calistoga Fair Grounds closing local volunteers and CVLN volunteers were asked to help pack the donations into Home Depot boxes which were donated by Home Depot. There were quite a few volunteers from CVLN that did show up to help pack items and move them via forklift and golf carts. This is the point when CVLN brought in volunteers to help pack. One of our local volunteers delegated in the main "store" area which item should be packed first include our "store" within a few hours. CVLN volunteers and management told us that they were there to help with the logistics of packing the items and shipping them up over the mountain. There was a discrepancy at one point. A CVLN volunteer information collection person thought that we were going to share our whole list of volunteer contact information with them so, they could use the volunteers for future situations. When our volunteer booth Coordinator heard about this she tried to let me know but, I was so busy I didn't understand what she was talking about. Our volunteers from local areas did not expect to sign up for a list for CVLN to use in the future. About an hour later the head of CVLN asked me to dismiss this volunteer because she was causing issues. At this time, I was also belittled by the head of CVLN in charge of the location being told that I was backstabbing and two-faced. After The manager of the CVLN was rude and belittled me I didn't really feel like I want to do work with them anymore. Conveniently, this happen the day before the end of our help as local volunteers was needed. The last day of packing the items, local volunteers, were told by CVLN that they had the situation "under control" and no longer needed our help packing the donations into boxes. At this point, the non-profit, "Points of Light" President George H. W. Bush's thousand points of light group and their partner, UPS, delivered the goods to fire victims once they were allowed back into the fire area. This was a big help because there was no way for us to get the boxes that were packed over the hill.
As time is going on our local volunteers have gone over the hill to sort donations at the Lions Club in Middletown and kept in touch with local fire survivors helping them replace items needed that they lost in the fire. A month ago, life changed for a lot of us but, we are in this for the long haul. We will be communicating with valley residents as the days continue. This will be an uphill struggle to help and assist any that need it. Our Facebook page in a few days had over a 1000 followers. We just held an event this past weekend where we went Middletown and distributed over 150 new VANS shoes to the kids affected by the Valley Fire. These were generously donated by Freedom Skateboard Shop in Ukiah. We just feel that there are other stores that need to be told.
I have no idea where you got your facts but being a community member for my whole 31yrs of life being a graduate from Calistoga and also having my own house that faces Carlene's office and is less than 50 ft away from evacuation center and worked my ass off helping the community for the whole week these evacuees had nothing. I had them shower at my house and do laundry. I volunteered on top of my 60 hour work week. I was there the first night of tragedy and was up untill 4am guiding traffic and assisting. Yes the first night red cross was there. But let me tell you the next morning it was the community that took over not RED CROSS or CVNL. This is appauling to read and you as a writer need to get the facts straight before you publish shame on you!!!
Thank you for this in depth look at this important issue. Very interesting and informative.
Thats my little sister.... im so unbelievably proud of you. I love you sooo much and miss you
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The federal government should make it legal to grow up to 500 or 1,000 plants so that it will be legal to farm on a commercial level without allowing mega-corporations to monopolize the market.
I like that it's grown by thousands of people in relatively small amounts with love and care about the product and not for the love of money.
The issue of legal marjuana has very little to do with weed itself. More of a government issue of how to tax it. Many years ago tobacco companies designed packs for joints. How to get billions of dollars from citizens legally growing pot. Another case of the "Almighty Dollar" over common sense.
The wine industry could clear up much of the water controversy by telling us how much water they use, groundwater and surface water. Claims that the industry is sustainable are made without supporting data or a clear definition of sustainable water use. The wine industry is a business run by the numbers. If they are using so little water, where are the hard numbers about acre feet pumped from the ground or the river? Each vineyard knows how long their pumps run, their capacity, how many emitters they have on their drip lines and how much water goes on the vines. That they are so reluctant to provide this information certainly gives the impression that the truth about where our water goes is being hidden from us. Concealing this information keeps a lid on a political uproar and keeps the value of vineyards high for potential investors who do not realize the critical water situation in Sonoma County.
Thank you for this excellent and informative article. While really painful to learn how seriously our rivers, environment, wildlife and lives are being depleted and destroyed, I am so appreciative for this in-depth coverage. This conversation is long overdue and I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a movement to stop this madness, hold our politicians accountable and bring regulation into an industry that is out of control. Thank you to Will Parrish, Neighbors to Preserve Rural Sonoma County, Wine Water Watch, Shepherd Bliss and everyone else who is working so tirelessly to educate, advocate and fight for authentically sustainable standards, practices, procedures and regulations for living, working and growing grapes in Sonoma County.
It's true that your statement was in response to my question concerning your views on the Water Board's emergency order in the Russian River tributaries, but you were positing a general view on the effectiveness of regulations. You repeat and defend that view here. So, I'm not sure what you mean when you say I “misquoted” you.
You also say I'm “throwing bombs” at wine-grape growers by writing this article. That's an interesting analogy, and I'm afraid reflects a viewpoint that sees criticism as a violent threat.
The main point of my article is to examine the history and context behind the outrage against the wine industry that surfaced at the State Water Board's five community meetings in July. Many of these residents perceive that winegrowers, winery owners, and their lawyers, politicians, and experts are setting the terms within which policy struggles are waged, leading (among other things) to continued degradation of fish habitat and unfair regulatory double-standards.
I didn't criticize you for working with winegrape growers, nor did I criticize Keith Horn. I did point out aspects of the role you and he are playing, though, in helping set the terms of said regulatory and policy struggles. If you believe in the role you are playing, as it seems you do, that's understandable. I invite you to defend your position, as you did here (and I believe I gave you space in the article to do that also). If you're proud of your work, then the fact that eight of the nine people on your board of directors (according to the most recent tax statement I looked at) are wine-grape growers shouldn't feel like a criticism.
RE: Phyllis Schlafly She is a liar, delivering diatribes against girls and women who are JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING BY WORKING, something Phyllis Has Never Done. She is buys The Other Party (you know, the vicious, manipulative, cheating, law-disregarding One) and works with them to wage the War on Women--example: 963 bills against women, families in just 3 months! She has refused to debate me as I tell her as we see her.
WHO could be so stupid as to deny this nation the 9% boost in GDP that Other nations had when they codified ERA-like wording AT THE MANDATE OF THE USA, which then refused the Equal Rights Amendment to ITS OWN LADIES AND GIRLS? Besides ERA Requires NO funding, unlike most legislation!
What patriot would be behind Stopping sex discrimination, male and female? Or against the democratic (small d) American principle of equal treatment for ALL?
Wouldn't denial of gender-equal treatment TO THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS be shameful??
Let's put Phyllis in her place by passing the ERA into US Constitution. Call your state and Congressional legislators to ask...AND WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON CODIFYING GENDER-EQUAL TREATMENT in our Constitution, and putting women and girls IN THE Nation's contract with its People now?! Then email me at the address at page-bottom of our www,2PassERA.org ...while there, check out our ERA Rebuts (Schlafly's) Lies. Point-counterpoint. Knock your socks off. Also scroll down homepage until you see the pic of faculty and students turning their backs on Schlafly at her own Alma Mater. yikes!
Will - You misquoted me. You asked me about the State Board's regulation of rural residential water uses and my answer was that regulations cause conflict which is very clearly occurring in Sonoma.
As for my testimony before the State Board on the Russian River frost regulation I presented information on the surface-groundwater interactions that dominate the Russian River system and make it very difficult to find one responsible party for fish standings that are the result of cumulative effects of numerous changes in the river system. When the National Marine Fisheries Service tried to blame a grower 1 mile upstream from the Felta Creek fish stranding they ended up dropping the enforcement action because they could not show one entity was the cause and concluded it was the cumulative effects of river channel incision from gravel mining and dams, low water and nearby and upstream diversions of water that caused the stranding. While you criticize me for working with growers it was my organization in response to the 2008 frost that wrote the grant for the $5.3 million in federal funds that helped to build all the off stream ponds in Mendocino and Sonoma counties that addressed the one stranding on the upper Russian river and the other stranding on Felta creek.
I choose to collaborate with farmers and ranchers to change their land and water management practices and build the projects that benefit salmon and trout. You chose to throw bombs at the people you blame for the scarcity of fish in the Russian River. I choose to work with the people I do not necessarily agree with but who will make the changes needed to benefit the fish. Regulations have very limited effect and collaborative programs are also needed. This fact is recognized by the regulators themselves which is why the National Marine Fisheries Service which oversee the recovery of salmon and trout and the Regional Water Quality Control Board which is responsible for water quality serve as the certifiers of farm and ranch lands under our Fish Friendly Farming program. Your criticism of Keith Horn and Constellation is without merit. Constellation’s lands in Sonoma County have been certified and recertified twice by the regulators demonstrating a very high level of environmental stewardship. You need to develop a broader view of what is needed to recover these fish. Laurel Marcus
DHnomad, I appreciate your comment. I agree that it's wrong to say in a strict sense that there are no meters on water diversions. What I should have written is that the state does not meter water use. Rather, water use is self-reported via statements of diversion and use (which only a minority of water rights holders in the Russian River watershed were actually providing as of 2013). By contrast, other states with riparian water rights systems use widespread meters and remote sensors to measure consumption. California is an anomaly in this regard, and the agribusiness lobby has been a major reason for that. The chairman of the state's Division of Water Rights, Thomas Howard, has publicly expressed frustration about his agency's inability to meter agricultural and rural water diversions, since it makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to measure water use -- or cut-backs in water use -- accurately. So, I think we're both partly right and regret that I didn't provide a more nuanced description of this issue.
Otherwise, it seems that you missed a lot of important aspects of my story. I didn't claim that the water diversions I saw are escaping the notice of authority. I noted in the piece that most of the pipes I encountered appear to conform to the legal requirements of California water rights system, quoted a Water Rights staffer who said the small dams and channel diversions appear to him to be lawful (this sentence got muddled, unfortunately, and does needs a correction), and referred to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fish and Game Code Section 1600 permitting of lake and streambed alterations.
My piece provided context regarding the outpouring of resentment residents expressed toward the wine industry at the State Water Board's July community meetings. The wine industry's opposition to regulation is a key part of that story, so I quoted Laurel Marcus and referred to Fish Friendly Farming in a section describing said opposition. Ms. Marcus has herself spoken publicly before the State Water Board and advocated against stricter regulation of the wine industry's frost protection pumping. Also, since I wanted to characterize Ms. Marcus' organization accurately, I noted that all of its directors are grape growers other than Ms. Marcus herself. I wasn't attacking her. Instead, I was presenting the role she and her organization have played vis-a-vis an important aspect of my story.
I have many points of contention with this article but one in particular must be made with enthusiasm. Pumping from surface water, legally, is absolutely metered and reported. Moreover, it's done in accordance with a Water Right, requires a DFW permit and Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement. Mr Parrish is not the only one with a kayak, to believe the infrastructure in the photo plaguing my FB feed is part of an unregulated, unmetered diversion and has somehow gone unnoticed by anyone with authority is beyond foolish!
I'm sure Mr Parrish is a good guy. I bet we'd get along quite well. I'm sure we share many common visions for this place. I'm a SC lifer and I've also been farming grapes for 14 years. I find his reporting to be biased and also short sighted. I know for a fact much of what he has reported here is false. But I'm not even going to use my full name. I'm not speaking on the record or representing my employer. It's not in my interest to open either of us up to the ridiculous kind of protest that would surely follow. It's of no benefit. While that may seem like the cowards way out I need only reference this poorly reported article. I know Laurel Marcus very well, I have known her for a decade now. I've worked closely on habitat restoration and management plans. I guarantee she had much more to say than Mr Parrish quoted here. He painted her organization as crooked and unfairly so.
It's a shame so many good people will eat this up as fact and me my colleagues will suffer for it when so many of us work so hard every day to earn a living without ruining the land we farm. To do otherwise would be quite foolish.
Time to remove all pumps along the creeks and rivers.
Absolute greed and damage to the river has occurred due to pumping for grapes.
Withdraw all grape pump stations now!
Not printed was the number of residential developments demanding water from wells located with thirty feet of Green Valley Creek.
It's time for responsible local growers who truly care about the long term viability of Sonoma County's wine industry to part ways with reactionaries like Tito Sasaki and others who still defend a status quo that has led us to this point of crisis.
Millennials won't buy wine that was paid for in fish blood.
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