Wed 6 Jun 2007
Immediately after Saturday’s Western Weekend livestock show and immediately after Sunday’s parade, I published unscheduled postings on the events. Also covered were the contemporaneous debut of The West Marin Pilot and The Point Reyes Light’s reporting that it had lost $62,000 to an allegedly embezzling bookkeeper.
As always, there were photos for which there was no room and stories that could wait until the dust cleared. First a look at some more of Sunday’s parade:
The Inverness Garden Club as always was one of the more colorful entries in Sunday’s parade.
What made the entry particularly unusual this year was the driver of the motorcycle with sidecart that typically is part of the entry. This year the driver, Terry Aleshire of Inverness, wore a gorilla suit although his motorcycle was decked out in flowers. The incongruity was pure theater, and spectators loved it.
A stilt-walker from Circus Finelli managed to gracefully navigate Point Reyes Station’s main street during Sunday’s parade. After the parade (and without stilts) she, along with the rest of the circus, entertained guests with comic gymnastics at the Farm Bureau Barbecue in the yard of Toby’s Feed Barn.
A satire of The Point Reyes Light was distributed to spectators during Sunday’s parade. Although stacks of the spoofs were on store counters around town, nobody seemed to know who produced it.
The four-page Point Reyes Dim was in the style of The San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Don Asmussen’s “Bad Reporter” parodies of the press. For example, The Dim’s banner headline proclaimed “Editor Throws in Towel: Towel Cries Foul.” The accompanying story reported “Point Reyes Dim’s unpopular editor Plankton has walked away from his position…. Because most of the editorial staff of The Dim has recently resigned, leaving the front-desk greeter and the lavatory attendant with the weekly burden of recreating the award-winning Point Reyes Dim, editor Plankton announced his resignation, effective this issue. ‘Everyone else is leaving — what’s keeping me here?’ the highly esteemed writer and visionary was heard mumbling as he scuffled [sic] down Mesa Road.”
Many others of us around town were also lampooned. Publisher Plankton’s paper includes a photo of a chimpanzee and tells readers it’s a picture of me. Inverness artist Andrew Romanoff, grandnephew of the last tsar of Russia, is referred to as Prince Stroganoff. Historian Dewey Livingston is listed as Dewy Lovesbeingstoned. Someone, by implication from Spirit Rock Meditation Center, supposedly sent a disapproving, albeit somewhat meditative, letter to the editor: “Dear Editor, Mmmmmmmmmmmm, mmmmmmmmm, m m m m m,” and signed it “Valley Dharma, Woodacre.”
Light publisher Robert Plotkin no doubt can handle the ridicule. He’s probably getting used to it by now. A more significant problem for him was revealed in the May 27 issue of The San Francisco Chronicle.
Plotkin has been recruiting unpaid interns to cover the news of West Marin, East Marin, San Francisco, and Sonoma County. In fact, if The Light keeps adding to the number of communities it covers, it may soon try assigning interns to Vallejo, Hercules, and Pinole, possibly along with Milpitas, Coalinga, Brisbane, and “parts” of Tehama County.
Chronicle reporter Kathleen Pender, however, warned last week: “What many students and employers do not realize is that federal and state labor laws require for-profit employers to pay interns at least minimum wage unless the job meets specific requirements.”
The California Department of Labor has announced that an unpaid internship must “be an essential part of an established course of an accredited school or of an institution approved by a public agency to provide training for licensure or to qualify for a skilled profession. The program may not be for the benefit of any one employer, a regular employee may not be displaced by the trainee, and the training must be supervised by the school or a disinterested agency.”
Under federal law, for-profit employers must pay workers unless the position meets six criteria. One says the employer “derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees or students.”
The Chronicle also noted, “Students who work in unpaid private-sector internships that should have been paid can file a federal or state wage claim and could receive back wages even if they had agreed to work for free.”
When I owned The Light, interns were required to live in West Marin during their internships, were paid (typically well above minimum wage), and received gasoline expenses — if they worked three or more days a week. The few one- or two-day-a-week interns we ever used received gasoline expenses but were not paid. It would now appear they should have been paid or — more likely — not used at all since a legitimate internship involves many hours of coaching.
But getting back to Western Weekend, here judge Kelsey Cheda of Petaluma FFA appraises junior heifer calves, awarding first place to Elyassa McClure (left), second to Janelle Kehoe, and third to Ben Ielmorini during Saturday’s livestock show.
More on dairy cows. Chileno Valley journalist Ivan Gale, who now is a business writer for The Gulf News in Dubai, passed through West Marin last week en route to an airline conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. When I caught up with Ivan, he appeared to be spraying graffiti on a cow at the ranch of his parents, Mike and Sally Gale. In fact, another rancher recently gave the Gales the cow after it fell into a ditch. The cow had been slightly injured when it was stuck in the ditch for several hours before being found, and Ivan turned out to be spraying antiseptic on some scrapes.