Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sherman’s Ashes

Interview by Elizabeth Sealey

Photo by Elizabeth Sealey

Elizabeth Sealey:  Hi, everyone!  This is Elizabeth with Music Beat from Fantom Penguin.  I am here with Sherman’s Ashes who just finished one of their sets.  Guys, why don’t you introduce yourselves for the new fans out there who don’t know you guys?

Chris Bentley:  Chris Bentley, drums.

Gray Harris:  Gray Harris, guitar and vocals.

Eric Thompson:  Eric Thompson, bass.

Elizabeth Sealey:  Alright, so guys, I’ve seen you guys play in the past and I actually got an interview with one of the fans earlier who is a new fan to you guys.  They really got into to you!  How would you define your sound for your new fans?

Gray Harris:  Metal.  I’d say Rock and Metal.  If it sounds good to me or us, we rock it.  We try to make it sound better, I think.

Chris Bentley:  Yeah.

Gray Harris:  Yeah.  Rockin’, heavy.  Groove!  You want to rock out and be all Metal  but you also wanna be able to dance to it and do things to it so . . .

Elizabeth Sealey:  I saw some dancing going on out here earlier!  Not just the little mini mosh pit, some of the people really got into you guys!  With being part of the music scene you want your music to stand out more than anybody else’s.  What are some of the songs that you think makes you stand out more than some bands around here?

Eric Thompson:  Blood and Romance.

Elizabeth Sealey:  Blood and Romance?  Why don’t you tell me about Blood and Romance?

Eric Thompson:  Uh – You’ve heard it. 


Gray Harris:  Why’d you say Blood and Romance?

Eric Thomson:  I don’t know, it just has like a kind of a thrash kind of opening but it doesn’t really go there, that whole extra . . . you know.

Chris Bentley:  I think the main thing is there’s melody involved.  There’s definitely singing.

Eric Thompson:  Yeah, that’s how it breaks.

Gray Harris:  Yeah.  That’s important, a hook, a melody, something that you can sing along to.  Dynamics is another thing.  Dynamics.  That one we really show off, Dynamics.  And then I don’t know about these guys but I’ve come to like the lead part, I like to try and show off and that’s where I want to try and stand out from other people.  This is how I play solo.  This is how I play guitar.

Elizabeth Sealey:  So it’s not just you guys standing up there and singing and playing instruments; you really put a show on for the crowd?

Gray Harris:  Yeah.

Elizabeth Sealey:  You pull them into the music.

Gray Harris:  Uh-huh.

Elizabeth Sealey:  And a lot of bands, really get on stage and they just sing into the microphones and they play their instrument.  You guys really get into this, especially you as the drummer.  I mean you were going at it tonight!  That was insane!  How long have you been playing the drums?

Chris Bentley:  Oh, about twenty years?

Elizabeth Sealey:  Twenty years?

Chris Bentley:  Yeah, I’m old!


Elizabeth Sealey:  Was drums really your first avenue into the music?

Chris Bentley:   Absolutely – well, other than piano lessons when I was a kid.  Everybody starts there.

Elizabeth Sealey:  So what with being a drummer, do you draw inspiration from other drummers in other bands or do you have your own unique style, your own unique sound?

Chris Bentley: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.  When you hear something cool, you go wow!  I could nick that, play with that.  Absolutely, all the time.

Elizabeth Sealey:  What are some of you guy’s musical influences, bands that you grew up listening to that you wanted to be like when you first started playing the music scene?

Eric Thompson:  Prong, Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Primus but we don’t get really, you know, get anywhere close to that shit but stuff like that.  Alice in Chains is a huge one for me personally.

Gray Harris:  Alice in Chains.  Anything that you hear on the radio.  I don’t want to sound like a sell-out geek or nothing like that but if I could sell out, I would.  If I could get played on the radio, I would.  If I could get my video on something, I would.  I’d do it at the drop of a hat.  

The Reader's Column

Pot Head Media
by Linda Miller of Palo Cedro

If the posters about the effects of Cannabis were true, many women in the United States would be using it to improve their sex lives.  “Unleashed Passions, Wild Orgies, Weird Parties,” or “Marijuana Girl: She traded her body for drugs... and kicks,” and the well known: “Reefer Madness: Women cry for it - Men die for it - Drug crazed abandon.”  These were posters used to demonize pot.  The Spanish term, “marijuana” was changed to “marihuana,” to utilize racial prejudice to sway opinion.  Anyone who has ever smoked or used pot can tell you that pot does not lead to the insanity depicted in these types of social media.  If it did, my girlfriends would be putting it in their husbands’ food on a regular basis.

 Early history of our country shows large hemp imports that lead to laws like Virginia state passed.  You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769.  Davvy Kidd, journalist for the U.S. Observer tells us, “George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers grew hemp.  Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America, and it processed hemp.”  The word ‘canvas’ is a Dutch word for cannabis (Webster’s New World Dictionary).  Ships sails and ropes, textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, bed sheets, oil, animal feed, etc., were made from hemp until the 1820’s.  The first Bibles, maps, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, were all written on hemp (U.S. Government Archives).  Even our first flag was made of hemp, and hemp was one of our country's largest cash crops until the 20th century.  In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940’s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need be cut down.  Government studies reported that one acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees for paper production.  Plans were in the works to implement growing programs (U.S. Department of Agriculture Archives). 
 When it doesn't make sense, follow the money. What happened to this wonderful plant and its amazing uses, that it became illegal?  Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil; 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935.  Henry Ford’s first Model-T automobile was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp!  The car, “grown from the soil,” had hemp panels with impact strengths that were ten times stronger than steel. At the same time, medical preparations used cannabis for a variety of ailments. This is where the first restrictive laws began.  During the time of alcohol prohibition, hemp had to be prescribed by a doctor.  Even so, it was fashionable by upper class persons as a recreational drug. The hemp industry was growing and it was a threat to Andrew Mellon, who was DuPont's chief investor and also Secretary of the Treasury in the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover administrations.  Mellon moved to place someone loyal to him into a position to protect his investments.  He appointed family member, Harry Anslinger, former assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Prohibition, to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Anslinger had been traumatized by the effects of morphine as a child, and cannabis was grouped in with opiates.  Anslinger was a crazed, ambitious drug enforcement officer with Mellon's agenda.  Hemp was a threat to billion-dollar enterprises for both Mellon (Mellon Bank) and his close friend, Randolph Hearst.  Hearst Paper Division of Kimberly Clark, owned vast acres of timberland near McCloud, CA, and in Mexico.  The Oil industry, Mellon Bank/ DuPont, and the Hearst stood to lose billions because of hemp.

A propaganda campaign was started, claiming the “problem” was attributed to a combination of Latin Americans and Black Jazz musicians. Anslinger created “gore files” to influence the attitudes of the American people.  Hearst used his newspapers with quotes such as: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers.  Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use.  This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.   Hearst used his newspapers to create “Yellow Journalism” or propaganda.  Hearst's pretend world of the dangers of pot led the American people like sheep to believe these lies.  Their purpose was to gain public support so that anti-marijuana laws could be passed and they were.  The media had been successful and pot became illegal.
Many people still believe the “Yellow Journalism.”  We even passed a Shasta County ordinance against pot being grown outside.  Pot is no more a contributor to hard core drug use than cigarettes or beer.  Just like anything else, if used in excess, it can have harmful effects.  It has amazing uses, is a great soil amend-er, can be refined to help many ailments, especially cancer, makes durable clothes, and some of the finest rope.  It can be used to make the same “stronger than steel” plastic replacements and reduce our oil dependence.  It would threaten the oil industry, the cotton industry, pharmaceutical companies and the paper industry.  If we can just step back from the Yellow Journalism, and see the better choices.   It would be good for the country and maybe, even good for our sex lives. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shasta County Air Pollution Control Board Special Meeting, April 8, 2014

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Air Pollution Control Board met at 8:50 am on April 8, 2014 in the County Administration Building on Court Street in Redding.  Missy McArthur represented the Redding City Council.  The Shasta County Board of Supervisors was represented by David Kehoe, Leonard Moty and Les Baugh who serves as Chairman.  Mayor Debe Hopkins of Anderson was absent.

This special meeting of the Air Pollution Control Board was called specifically to pass a single item which was placed on the Consent Calendar, a letter to the California Air Resources Board thanking CARB for certain concessions it made concerning deadlines associated with the mandatory installation of exhaust filter systems now required for most commercial diesel vehicles.  The policy is widely opposed by those in the trucking industry locally because the modifications are so expensive they threaten to put small operations out of business. 

The Pollution Control board had asked CARB for a number of modifications to the policy that could ease the burden on local businesses.  Other rural air pollution control districts have done the same and CARB has implemented some of those suggestions by allowing some operations deadline extensions for portions of their fleets.  The overall deadline was not extended and has already passed.  Fleets are currently required to be in compliance unless they have been granted an extension.

At the last meeting of the Pollution Board a motion was made to send a thank-you letter and in fact the board seemed about to pass it when County Counsel Rubin Cruse stopped them.  Governments in California are not allowed to take action on items not appearing on their meeting agenda under the Brown Act.  This prevents them from coming up with a new idea and passing it at the same meeting.  This is meant to give people time to hear about it, allowing for public comment on the subject.

Since CARB was scheduled to meet prior to the Air Pollution Control Board’s next meeting, Cruse had suggested the best course of action was to schedule a special meeting.  The special meeting had one agenda item and it was placed on the Consent Calendar.  Consent Calendar items are usually considered routine and non-controversial.  Any board member, staff member or interested member of the public may request a Consent Calendar item be removed from the Consent Calendar for later discussion.

Consent Calendar

C1 was requested to be removed from Consent by interested member of the public, Charles Alexander.

Regular Calendar

C1 – Air Quality Management District  Approve and authorize the Chairman to sign a letter to Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols which expresses thanks for changes made to the Regulation to Reduce Emissions of Diesel Particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and other criteria pollutants from In-Use Heavy-Duty Diesel-Fueled Vehicles and supports further delay in its implementation (No General Fund Impact).

Charles Alexander expressed disappointment that the letter did not request a “phasing-in” of vehicles based upon their age.  Shasta County Air Quality Management District Manager Ross Bell indicated that the changes do include several kinds of phase-in schedules.  Chairman Baugh noted that these schedules are not based upon the age of the vehicle.  These phase-ins amount to deadline extensions for large fleets.  He said he would prefer a system similar to what was done for gasoline engines where vehicle over a certain age are exempt.

After some discussion the board voted to send the letter 4 – 0.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Shasta County Board of Supervisors
April 1, 2014

by Joe McGarity

Employee of the Month, Julie Stone with Chariman Baugh
Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at the County Administration Center on Court Street in Redding.  All five supervisors were in attendance.  A brief summary of each agenda item follows:

Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance

Board Matters

R1 – Julie Stone, Child Support Specialist II, Department of Child Support Services was selected at Shasta County’s April, 2014 Employee of the Month.

R2 – April 2014 was designated “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Shasta County.


R3 – The Board received the 2013 Shasta County Fire Department Annual Report presented by Fire Warden Mike Hebrard.  Shasta County Fire responded to 11,982 calls in 2013.  The full report is available online at  Click on the “About Us” tab.

Public Comment – Open Time

Jim Medland said he’d asked the county six months ago to look into “compliance concerns” regarding dedication of public rights of way.  He had concerns about possible improprieties involving a contract.  He did not specify the particular project at this meeting but indicated he had been in contact with county staff.  Chairman Les Baugh indentified Pat Minturn, County Public Works Director who was present and also County Counsel Rubin Cruse and Chief Deputy Clerk of the Board Glenda Tracy.  Baugh told him that he had the option to file a complaint with the clerk’s office if he was unsatisfied with the county’s response.

Jerry Comingdeer spoke of reforms to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.  He said the county is currently designated as the lead agency for compliance with the act.  He said he was the former chairman of the California Construction and Industrial Materials Association.  He said the Senate Bill 1270 would rewrite the mining act in such a way as to invite third-party lawsuits and usurp the counties’ control over mining activities in favor of the state.  Chairman Baugh said they would ask County Chief Executive Officer Larry Lees to look into it.

Consent Calendar

C5 and C6 were removed from Consent by Supervisor David Kehoe.

The remained of the Consent Calendar passed unanimously.

C5 – Adopt the Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) Program Needs Assessment prepared by the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).  Supervisor Kehoe commented that he had an issue with language in the item which suggests that the county not authorize a new program for DUI offenders unless it will not financially harm existing program providers which Kehoe said was against the free enterprise system.  “When it comes to government work,” he said, “anyone ought to be able to apply and compete for that work.”  Director of Health and Human Services Donnell Ewert told the board that language is in the state law and was the result of “lobbying by the providers.”  The two current locally-based DUI education providers were deemed sufficient for the time being.  A review is required every five years.

This passed unanimously.

C6 – Approve an agreement with Visions of the Cross, Inc. to provide sober living services.  Supervisor Kehoe asked for a more detailed explanation.  Donnell Ewert explained that there are currently three levels of treatment offered and that the new program would be offer a higher level of service through a pilot program where an individual who does not qualify for medical residential treatment could be provided a safe and sober environment in which to live.  The pilot program would last fifteen months and be evaluated against the other existing programs to determine its relative success.  Participants and up to two children would be provided room and board, bus passes and gym memberships.  Ewert told the board one of the most important reasons for creating a facility of this type is because many participants in family court have substance abuse issues and are ordered into recovery programs.  But many are not in safe environments either for recovery or for children and often children are removed from the parents until a safer environment can be provided.  The new facility would allow children to remain with their parents during recovery or at least to allow for quicker family reunification.  Supervisor Kehoe asked why participants were being provided gym memberships.  Ewert told him that the facility has a membership and that program participants may use it.  He told them that it’s good for people in recovery to engage in healthy exercise. 

This passed unanimously.

R4 – The Board approved sending a letting in support of Senate Bill 1455, California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act of 2014.

Health and Human Services

R5 – Authorize the Director of Housing and Community Action Programs to submit a Fiscal Year 2014 – 2015 Community Development Block Grant application which would provide funding for business assistance loans.  Passed 5 – 0

Public Works

R6 – Tabulate the Ballots regarding the formation of the Lake Drive Permanent Road Division (Lakehead Area).  This would incur a parcel charge on all homeowners within the district.  Residents voted in favor.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CARB Relaxes a Little

Shasta County Pollution Control Board, April 1, 2014
by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Air Pollution Control Board met at 8:30 am on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at the County Administration Center on Court Street in Redding.  The Pollution Control Board is comprised of three members of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors and one member each from the Anderson and Redding City Councils.  Supervisors Les Baugh, David Kehoe and Leonard Moty represent the county.  Redding is represented by Council Member Missy McArthur and Anderson by Mayor Debe Hopkins.  All five board members were in attendance as were County Administrative Officer Larry Lees, County Counsel Rubin Cruse and Air Quality Management District Manager Ross Bell.  There were also two members of the County Clerk’s staff.  This reporter was the sole member of the public present.

Call to Order

Public Comment Period – Open Time

Chairman Baugh:  “I see no one present today to do that unless Joe, you would like to address the board.”

Fantom Penguin:  Not today.

Regular Calendar


Photo by Joe McGarity
R1 – The Board received a presentation from Ross Bell, Manager of the Shasta County Air Quality Management District regarding proposed changes to the California Air Resources Board’s Regulation to Reduce Emissions of Diesel Particulate Matter, Oxides of Nitrogen and other Criteria Pollutants from In-Use Heavy-Duty Diesel-Fueled Vehicles.  The board had previously sent a letter to CARB requesting specific changes to the regulations which are widely opposed locally especially by those in the trucking industry.  The new regulations require the installation of exhaust filters so expensive they threaten to put some small operations out of business.  Bell reported that CARB had implemented all of the suggestions the Air Pollution Control Board had requested except for one.  The Board’s letter had asked CARB to reopen the agricultural vehicle and low-mileage construction truck provisions.  The definitions of certain types of low-mileage trucks were simplified and the deadline was softened to a scheduled phase-in where one would only need to have 40% of a fleet compliant by 2015 ramping up in steps to 100% by 2018.  The one area where CARB did not offer a concession was on the overall deadline for compliance which has already passed.  Vehicles are required to be in compliance now unless they have been granted an extension.

Board Member Moty asked Bell if CARB’s actions would help the local trucking industry.  Bell replied that it would give them a break for a couple of years but trucks would have to get filters eventually.  He added that the expansions of NOx regulations exempt areas could help them a great deal.  The NOx exempt areas are counties mostly in the north where the provisions regulating Oxides of Nitrogen will not be enforced.

Chairman Baugh wanted to recognize the Regional Council of Rural Counties for their leadership in this matter.  He said that while others demanded a seat at the table, RCRC knocked politely and gained entrance.  He proposed sending a thank you letter to CARB.  Board Member McArthur moved that such a letter be sent and that it repeat the request for an extension.  Board Member Moty said, “I think it’s more productive to send a letter that has that tone to it versus one of our local colleagues who just poked them in the eye with a sharp stick.”

County Counsel Cruse told the board at this point that since the letter wasn’t on the agenda it would be better for the board to move that staff write the letter and that it be agendized for the board’s consideration at the next meeting.  Baugh asked if there were a way to speed the process.  CARB meets again on April 24 and the Air Pollution Control Board only meets once a month.  Cruse and Lees conferred for a moment.  Cruse suggested that the most appropriate action would be to schedule an extra meeting.  The Shasta County Pollution Control Board will meet briefly on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 just prior to the Board of Supervisors meeting to pass this one item.

Consent Calendar

Passed unanimously