West Marin Citizen


In our willingness to do anything to get a photograph, we wildlife photographers, like paparazzi, sometimes seem to have no shame. If you’d seen me on my deck in my shorts Friday snapping pictures of a coyote, I’m sure you would agree.

As it happened, I’d spent the afternoon using a Weed Wacker to cut back grass along both sides of my driveway, which is about a tenth of a mile long. Needing to wash up after the work, I had taken a shower and was just starting to get dressed when I looked out my bedroom window and spotted a large coyote in the field below.

Without pausing to pull on a shirt or trousers, I grabbed my camera and hurried outside as quietly as I could so as not to scare the critter away. By now, the coyote had crossed my field and was nosing around near my parked cars.

I wondered if it was sniffing around for this doe I’d spotted by my cars earlier.

The coyote stuck around long enough for me to take its picture before it disappeared into a clump of (appropriately enough) coyote brush. As soon as it did, I called my neighbor Jay Haas about the sighting, and from his vantage point, he managed to spot the coyote too.

A bobcat wanders around a car belonging to two guests.

I don’t know what it is about my parking area, but it attracts wildlife as if it were a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain.

I’ve been able to photograph both predators and prey hanging around my cars — coyotes and deer, bobcats and rabbits  — as well as wild turkeys, great blue herons, and countless other birds.

A brush rabbit, also known as a cottontail.

Near the bottom of my driveway is the top of my neighbors Skip and Renée Shannon’s driveway, and they have their own ecosystem of squirrels, crows, hawks, and owls.

Fledgling great horned owl. Photo by Renée Shannon

Renée, who is the business manager and ad director for The Point Reyes Light, last month told me Skip had been outside when a young great-horned owl fluttered down from a pine tree and landed in the grass. Skip quickly called to Renée to get her camera, and she was able to photograph the bird before it managed to fly a short distance and land on a woodpile.

Renée then phoned ornithologist Jules Evens of Point Reyes Station, and he caught the fledging owl and took it with him to a Tomales Bay Watershed Council meeting in the National Seashore.

“Someone at the meeting was on her way to San Rafael, so I gave the owl box to her, and she delivered it to Wildcare (Patient #488),” Jules told me later. “Apparently it had a fairly common blood bacterium [found] in owls and hawks.” The “prognosis,” he added, was “not good.”

Mystery skulls. Photo by Linda Petersen

My story took an odd turn a week ago when Renée’s counterpart at The West Marin Citizen, Linda Petersen of Point Reyes Station, discovered two animal skulls on the ground between her garbage cans and back fence. The immediate question was: what kind of animal?

Linda checked skull photos online and decided they looked like pig skulls. I emailed photos of the skulls to Jules and to Chileno Valley rancher Mike Gale, and both agreed Linda was probably right. “They appear to be medium-size porkers,” Mike wrote back.

That, however, doesn’t explain how the skulls ended up on the ground between Linda’s garbage cans and back fence. Did someone hold a luau and chuck pig heads over her fence? “Pretty rude of someone to toss them into her yard, eh?” Jules mused.

A group of mostly West Marin residents calling themselves Marin Media Institute last Friday bought The Point Reyes Light from Robert I. Plotkin, who had owned it four and a half years.

Having owned The Light for 27 of its 62 years, I’ve been following the developments closely.

The paper plans to incorporate as a nonprofit with scientist Corey Goodman of Marshall as chairman of the board and journalist Mark Dowie of Inverness as vice chairman.

Tess Elliott will remain as editor, and ad director Renée Shannon has been promoted to business manager. Missy Patterson, 83, who has worked at The Light for 28 years, will continue as front-office manager.

From left: Missy Patterson shows off the new look of The Light, which once again has the Point Reyes Lighthouse in its front-page flag; editor Tess Elliott; and business manager Renée Shannon, who holds an issue with the  flag Plotkin had used.

Eighty-six contributors ponied up $350,000 to: 1) buy The Light; 2) provide two years of working capital; 3) pay for a professional appraisal; and 4) cover the the legal costs of the sale, of incorporation, and of creating a nonprofit. Goodman said the price of The Light was confidential, but based on all this, I would guess it was in the $150,000 to $175,000 range.

In The Light’s Jan. 15, 2009, issue, Plotkin wrote that although he’d paid me $500,000 for the newspaper three years earlier, he’d been trying to sell it for $275,000 but had found no takers. It would be a “financial bloodbath,” Plotkin added, but “I was prepared to discount the price even more.” The Light at the time was “losing between $5,000 and $15,000 a month,” he reported.

Across the country newspapers were losing money, Plotkin wrote, so “this is not unique to The Light, although there have been some aggravating factors, namely myself….

My sensibility is at odds with many in the community.”

Of that there was no doubt. “During the first couple of years under the last publisher,” editor Elliott wrote this week, [The Light] lost one third of its subscribers; the effects of those years continue to reverberate. Our reporters still regularly hear complaints and flat out refusals to talk.”

In an article for The Columbia Journalism Review two years ago, Jonathan Rowe of Point Reyes Station wrote: “First, there was the braggadocio and self-dramatization. Most people in his situation would lay low for a bit, speak with everyone and get a feel for the place. Instead, Plotkin came out talking.

“We read that he was going to be the ‘Che Guevara of literary revolutionary journalism.’ The Light would become The New Yorker of the West…. [However] he soon showed a gift for the irritating gesture and off-key note.”

I encountered Plotkin’s “snarkiness” (Rowe’s word) almost as soon as I sold him the paper. When I tried to background him on a land-use planning issue in February 2006, he became abusive, and we had a falling out.

Plotkin (at right) then began publishing such malicious attacks on me that columnist Jon Carroll felt moved to complain in The San Francisco Chronicle about Plotkin’s “sleazy” editing.

I had been volunteering an occasional column after the sale, but I naturally stopped when Plotkin began maligning me. Joel Hack, who owns The Bodega Bay Navigator website in Sonoma County, then invited me to submit stories, and I did.

When I sold The Light to Plotkin, I had agreed not to write for another Marin County newspaper as long as he owned all the stock in The Light. Upset that my writings were now online, Plotkin then claimed in court that a Sonoma County website is no different from a Marin County newspaper. Now-retired Judge Jack Sutro, who appeared not to understand the Internet, agreed and issued injunctions against Hack and me.

But it was a disastrous victory for Plotkin. Hack would eventually respond by launching the competing West Marin Citizen, which cut significantly into The Light’s revenues. The Citizen quickly grew in circulation while The Light’s circulation was plummeting, with many of its readers switching papers. The Citizen likewise picked up a number of Light advertisers who were unhappy with Plotkin’s editorial “sensibility.”

In getting a court to bar my writing for Hack’s website, Plotkin — to paraphrase the Book of Hosea — sewed the wind and reaped the whirlwind.

As for Plotkin, how does he explain his publishing debacle? “Sadly, West Marin did not want editorial excellence,” he told The Chronicle this week. “They wanted a newspaper that would record their births, celebrate their accomplishments, and habitually congratulate them on living here.”

Last weekend, the new owners notified the press of Friday’s sale but embargoed their news release until this Thursday. Nonetheless, the moment the sale occurred, word of it spread throughout West Marin. Jeanette Pontacq of Point Reyes Station told me she returned home Friday after a month in Paris and in less than 24 hours had been filled in on most details.

Technically, The Light is now owned by The Point Reyes Light Publishing Company L3C (a low-profit limited liability company). It is incorporated in Vermont, which is common for L3Cs. That company is, in turn, owned by Marin Media Institute, which is applying for nonprofit status.

Mark Dowie (left) and Corey Goodman with the sign that once hung over The Light’s front door.

Along with Goodman and Dowie, directors of Marin Media are David Escobar of Contra Costa County, aide to Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, also active in Democratic, Latino and Native American politics; Chris Dressler of Marshall, former coastal commissioner and co-founder of Women’s Voices, Women Vote; Phyllis Faber of Mill Valley,  former coastal commissioner and co-founder of Marin Agricultural Land Trust; Jerry Mander of Bolinas, author, former ad agency president, and founder of an anti-globalization think tank; David Miller of Inverness Park, international-development specialist; Scoop Nisker of Oakland, Spirit Rock Meditation Center teacher and former KSAN newsman; Norman Solomon of Inverness Park, journalist and political activist.

There are too many contributors to list here. Contributions ranged “from a few dollars to $50,000,” Goodman said.

The question currently on many people’s minds is what will happen to The Citizen now that The Light is being revitalized. I had hoped to see the two papers merge, but a merged operation became difficult when the new owners of The Light decided to create a nonprofit.

However, both Hack and Goodman told me this week that the option of combining the two papers “is still on the table” although nothing is likely to happen right away.

Hack (above), who is justifiably proud of what The Citizen has accomplished in a little less than three years, isn’t interested in simply selling out and walking away. His paper’s hyper-local coverage of public gatherings and West Marin commerce, along with its publishing of innumerable submissions from readers, has been popular with many residents and merchants.

The Light, in turn, has made its mark with investigative reporting ever since Elliott took full charge of its newsroom.

For the past month, some people have been saying The Citizen is about to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and go out of business, but Hack insists there is no truth to the rumor. The only money he and his wife Kathy Simmons owe is about $25,000 in state and federal income taxes, Hack said. They have filed for Chapter 13 protection, which will allow them to pay off this relatively small amount over three years without incurring additional penalties for late payments.

That’s all that’s going on, and it in no way threatens The Citizen. In fact, the state and federal governments benefit from The Citizen’s staying in business because it gives Hack a source of income to pay the back taxes.

I have friends at both papers, and I hope both have profitable futures. Most of Marin Media’s directors are known to me, and I respect them. I also have a high regard for the contributors. I’m delighted they are reinvigorating my old newspaper and wish them well.

I also hope the community continues to support The Citizen. The changes at The Light have obviously changed the dynamics between the two papers, and I would be surprised if each didn’t find its own niche — which will probably require some adapting.

The Light and The Citizen have each invited me to periodically submit columns and articles, and I’ve agreed to write for both. It’s been a long winter, but springtime has finally arrived.

A Valentine’s Fair Saturday at Toby’s Feed Barn was the latest fundraiser hereabouts to help survivors of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti a month ago.

The small-scale fundraiser, which coincided with a “mini” farmers’ market, brought in several hundred dollars. Joyce Goldfield (at right) of Inverness Park sold more than $200 worth of anatomically correct gingerbread men and women.

Linda Petersen, ad manager for The West Marin Citizen, organized the fundraiser and sold $58 worth of Valentine’s cards made by second grade students at West Marin School.

In June, Linda was severely injured in a traffic accident, which killed her popular Havanese dog Sebastian. Four months ago, another fundraiser was held at Toby’s to help pay her medical bills, and last month she found a new Havanese, Eli (pictured), at the Marin Humane Society.

Other contributors to Saturday’s fundraiser were Moonflowers Bodycare (soaps and lotions), Sandra Wikholm, who sells baked goods at Wedgewood Bakery, Gaia Tea, Marin Roots Farm, Flower Power, rancher Liz Daniels, KT’s Kitchen catering, Zuma, and the Giammona brothers, Morgan and Ryan, (eggs).

Their mother Connie Giammona brought an orphan calf for a petting zoo while Kathy Simmons, wife of West Marin Citizen publisher Joel Hack, brought rabbits to be petted. The singing duo Todd Pickering & Blue performed, as did flamenco guitarist Carl Nagin.

Myriam and Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Nicasio were in Haiti during the earthquake and told about their experiences. Myriam had previously founded a nonprofit, DG Educational Services, which teaches Haitians how to raise and breed rabbits for food. Part of the proceeds will go to the project, and part will go to Partners in Health run by Dr. Paul Farmer.

Sponsoring Saturday’s fundraiser were Toby’s Feed Barn and The West Marin Citizen.

A fundraiser at Cavallo Point Sunday for Haiti’s earthquake victims brought in $15,345. The restaurant and lodge are at Fort Baker in Sausalito, and 120 attendees from East and West Marin filled a second-floor dining room to capacity.

The magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12 was, as most of us realize, a disaster beyond comprehension. Virtually every multi-story building around the capital Port-au-Prince collapsed, and an estimated 200,000 people died. (By way of contrast, Hurricane Katrina, the worse natural disaster in US history, claimed 1,800 lives.)

So many hospitals fell down that the few remaining have been overwhelmed by thousands of seriously injured survivors. Food and water are scarce throughout much of the country. Public utilities and government facilities are in ruins.

All the money raised Sunday is going to two nonprofits, Partners in Health run by Dr. Paul Farmer and DG Educational Services Haiti project founded by Myriam Kaplan Pasternak of Nicasio.

Kevin and Nancy Lunny of Drakes Bay Oyster Company contributed oysters on the half shell to the fundraiser.

Myriam’s project teaches Haitians how to raise and breed rabbits for food, and she and her family happened to be in Haiti when the earthquake struck.

Luckily they were riding on a rural road. If they had been in the school where they were headed, they might well have died because the school collapsed, as can be seen in this photo by Myriam. Some students in the school were killed, she noted during the fundraiser.

Part of the West Marin contingent, Kay McMahon and Jim Campe of Inverness, chat before the dinner.

Myriam on Sunday told the gathering about the immediate aftermath of the quake, as well as about the days that followed.

The scenes on television of desperate Haitians in Port-au-Prince struggling with each other for food and water were not typical of the nation, she said.

In much of the country, the disaster brought people together.

How Sunday’s event came to be is a story in itself. It was the brainchild of reporter Andrea Blum, who worked for me at The Point Reyes Light six years ago and now reports for The West Marin Citizen.

Only two weeks earlier, she had decided to hold a Haitian fundraiser at the Muir Beach Community Center.

Andrea invited Myriam and her husband Mark Pasternak to attend, and Mark (right) used the Internet to encourage others to take part.

When Cavallo Point chef Joseph Humphrey received word of the fundraiser, he volunteered to host a larger event and provide food, a dining room, cooks, and formal serving staff.

Cavallo Point’s restaurant, by the way, is the only Michelin-rated restaurant in Marin County, and Sunday night’s elegant dinner showed why it got the rating.

Also contributing to the fundraiser were: La Tercera Farms, Star Route Farms, Rustic Bakery, Acme Bread, Della Fattoria Bakery, TCHO Chocolates, Straus Creamery, Tartine Bakery, Cakework, Good Earth Market, Whole Foods, Cow Girl Creamery, Gale Ranch, BN Ranch, Mariquita Farms, Kendric Vineyards, Schramsburg Winery, and (as emcee) Doug McConnell.

Children, some of them covered with cement dust, huddle in the aftermath of the earthquake in this photo by Myriam Pasternak.

Every seat in the dinning room was quickly reserved notwithstanding a minimum $50 donation, and Andrea sent out word that anyone who couldn’t attend should notify her because there was a waiting list.

The only “no show,” she later told me, “was Silvia Lange, the [77-year-old Nicasio] woman who disappeared at North Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore” Jan. 23.

Her disappearance came two weeks after Katherine Truitt, 37, of Alameda disappeared while also hiking alone in the park.

Andrea (right) said Lange “signed up for the dinner at 10:21 a.m. the day she disappeared.”

In short, Sunday evening was a rush of mixed emotions. It was an uplifting event organized to help Haitians recover from a disaster, and guests came away with a greater understanding of that island nation.

However, in the background was a missing guest who may have just died under mysterious circumstances here at home.

More than 200 people showed up Sunday at Toby’s Feed Barn for a fundraising party to help pay the medical expenses of Linda Petersen, the injured ad manager of The West Marin Citizen.

Linda received numerous severe injuries when she fell asleep at the wheel in Inverness June 13 and struck a utility pole. Although she has Kaiser Permanente medical insurance through her work, Kaiser is refusing to cover all her hospitalization costs.

Linda-family

From left: Gwen van der Wal (Linda’s daughter-in-law), Linda, David van der Wal (Linda’s son), Alexis Zayas (companion of Saskia van der Wal), and Saskia (Linda’s daughter). David and Alexis manned the wine, beer and soda table.

Radio-Fantastique

Giovanni and June Di Morente brought most members of their popular El Radio Fantastique to the fundraiser.

100_3029It was a good weekend for Giovanni (at right) and June (above at microphone). Earlier in  the weekend, they’d dazzled audiences with El Radio Fantastique performances at the Dance Palace.

More than one person who heard them referred to the group as world class.

Hog-Island-Howlers

The Hog Island Howlers managed to navigate a perilous passage through sound equipment and a pumpkin-bound shoreline.

Osteria Stellina, the Station House Café, the Farmhouse Restaurant-Point Reyes Seashore Lodge, and Café Reyes  donated food and drinks. So did the Bovine Bakery, Brickmaiden Bread, the Marshall Storer/Tomales Bay Oyster Company, Chileno Valley Ranch, Marin Sun Farms, KT’s Kitchen, the Palace Market, the Mainstreet Moms, and the Tomales Delicatessen.

Susan Hayes Handwovens organized an impressive array of gifts for a raffle.

Jay-on-Hay

The audience for the music overflowed two sections of folding chairs and onto the Hay Barn’s stacks of bales.

Co-sponsors of the fundraiser include: Point Reyes Books, West Marin Senior Services, The West Marin Citizen, Toby’s Feed Barn, the Community Event Library, and individual friends of Linda.

100_3012Sam Sajjapan, who works at the Palace Market, played a Thai instrument called a kan. With him on a drum is Joy Webber.

100_2994_1Lawrence Loeffler of Santa Rosa stayed busy all afternoon barbecuing sausages from Marin Sun Farms and hamburgers from Chileno Valley Ranch. Both ranches produce organic meat.

100_3000Nick Giacomini (left) who performed with Matt Love revealed to the throng that Matt had just gotten engaged while in Hawaii.

Also providing notable performances were: Harmony Grisman and Joyce Kaufman, Todd Plummer and Friends, Peter Asmus and Space Debris.

Mainstreet-Moms

Mainstreet Moms, a group of politically progressive women, baked numerous sweets. I personally kept going back for the shortbread with a chocolate topping.

Anastacio

Using “Anastacio’s Famous BBQ Oyster Sauce,” Anastacio Gonzalez barbecued 300 oysters, mostly donated by the Marshall Store/Tomales Bay Oyster Company. Here his daughter Paula Gonzalez (at right) jokes with ticket-taker John Tornes of Tomales (center).

Anastacio concocted the sauce 37 years ago and has used it to barbecue oysters in restaurants and at special events around the Tomales Bay area ever since. In July, he began selling bottles of the sauce.

The event raised more than $3,000, Linda told me today, approximately enough to pay the medical bills she has received.

As vital as the money is to Linda, the outpouring of friendship and community support was what was on her mind after the event ended. She and I agreed this experience again confirmed what a good community we have in West Marin.

Friends of Linda Petersen, the injured ad manager of The West Marin Citizen, will sponsor a major fundraiser from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, to help pay her medical bills. It’s being billed as a “CommUNITY FUN-Raising Event.”

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Linda suffered 11 broken ribs, a tear in her diaphragm, a collapsed lung, a broken neck, two fractured vertebrae, a broken wrist, a shattered femur, a fractured kneecap, and two broken ankles when she fell asleep at the wheel June 13 in Inverness and hit a utility pole. Her popular Havanese dog Sebastian died in the crash.

The event at Toby’s Feed Barn will include performances by: Peter Asmus and Space Debris, Hog Island Howlers, Matt Love and Friends, Todd Plummer and Friends, Johnny and June of El Radio Fantastique, Agnes Burkleo, and Joyce Kaufman with Harmony Grisman.

100_2628Linda spent three months in hospitals, more than half of that wearing a medical halo screwed into her skull to immobilize her head and neck. Although she has Kaiser Permanente medical insurance through her job, Kaiser is refusing to pay for all her time in a convalescent hospital.

Emceeing Sunday’s event will be radio personalities Amanda Eichstaedt and Charlie Morgan of KWMR.

The fundraiser for Linda, who calls herself “a foodie,” will appropriately bring joy to both gourmets and gourmands.

100_2608One gastronomical celebrity on hand will be Anastacio Gonzalez (right), who will barbecue oysters with his “Famous BBQ Oyster Sauce.” The sauce is now being bottled, with retail sales having begun last July. Tomales Bay Oyster Company/the Marshall Store is donating oysters for the fundraiser.

There will be fare from notable dining spots such as Osteria Stellina, the Station House Café, the Farmhouse Restaurant-Point Reyes Seashore Lodge, and Café Reyes. Other notables donating food will be: the Bovine Bakery, Brickmaiden Bread, Chileno Valley Ranch, Marin Sun Farms, KT’s Kitchen, the Palace Market, the Mainstreet Moms, and the Tomales Delicatessen.

Susan Hayes Handwovens is organizing a raffle.

Co-sponsors of the fundraiser include: Point Reyes Books, West Marin Senior Services, The West Marin Citizen, Toby’s Feed Barn, the Community Event Library, and individual friends of Linda.

From 1920 to 1991, The New York Daily News called itself “New York’s Picture Paper” because it used photographs with captions rather than articles to report a disproportionate amount of the news.

In that spirit, this blog will now try out a Point Reyes Station Picture Posting.

snake

While carpenter Charlie Morgan was walking out my cabin’s basement door this morning, he spotted a small gopher snake slithering in. We grabbed it although it pretended it was a rattlesnake, flattening its head into a triangle and shaking its rattle-less tail. (Photo by Charlie Morgan)

The snake didn’t like being picked up and tried to wriggle free, but it didn’t strike. Its mouth was so small it probably couldn’t have even if it had wanted to. In any case, I soon released it.

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Seeva Cherms, daughter of Linda Sturdivant of Inverness Park, gave me this sign as a Christmas present two years ago.

As too many roadkills make evident, the possums of West Marin are in particular need of a safe preserve, so I’ve started one.

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A continuing problem, however, is the ancient feud between my hill’s possums and raccoons. Tense encounters occur night after night, and I’ve photographed several, such as this confrontation on Sept. 12.

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In an effort to end the inter-species unrest, I finally resorted to a two-millennia-old stratagem for keeping unruly masses complaisant. When anti-social disorder broke out again last night, I distracted the raccoon with bread and circuses — “panem et circenses” in the words of the Roman satirist Juvenal, who coined the phrase around 200 AD. The circus in those days was somewhat different, of course, although it did have lions.

barnum-animals

Tonight I tried the same ploy with the possum, and it worked until the raccoon came over and stole the bread. Raccoons are like that — even among themselves. I’m tempted to send one in particular to Father Flanagan’s Home for Wayward Raccoons in Kits Town, Nebraska.

Linda-and-BurtonMeanwhile over in Inverness tonight, Linda Petersen, the injured ad manager of The West Marin Citizen, showed up after a Volunteer Fire Department meeting to thank firefighter Burton Eubank (right).

Burton was the first rescue worker on the scene when Linda fell asleep at the wheel June 13 near Motel Inverness and hit a utility pole.

Linda suffered 18 broken bones and a punctured lung in the crash.

Burton tonight noted the dispatcher originally said the crash had occurred just west of downtown Inverness not far from Vladimir’s Czechoslovakian Restaurant. As he rushed to the scene from Inverness Park, however, Burton discovered the wreck was actually east of town and radioed other members of the volunteer fire department to let them know.

Linda remembers almost nothing from the wreck, so Burton recounted how he evaluated her condition and what he and other firefighters did to remove her from the car without causing further injuries. As it turned out, Linda had two broken vertebrae, so the precautions were crucial.

Burton obviously hadn’t learned how to do all this in one training session, I quipped. “I’ve been a firefighter 24 years,” he replied, “ever since I was 18.” Burton said that some of the VFD’s traffic-accident calls are grim but responses such as Linda’s help balance that.

And put it on your calendar that a benefit to help pay Linda’s medical bills will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, at Toby’s Feed Barn. There will be entertainment by Johnny and June from El Radio Fantastique, Peter Asmus and Space Debris, and Matt Love’s band (sometimes called the Love Field Allstars). The initial, so to speak, entertainer will be Charlie, the carpenter. Charlie, who’s also a DJ at KWMR, will be MC.

Providing food will be Marin Sun Farms, the Station House Café, Olema Farmhouse, Café Reyes, the Tomales Deli, the Palace Market, the Marshall Store, and Mike and Sally Gale’s Chileno Valley Ranch. In addition, Anastacio Gonzalez will barbecue oysters with his “Famous BBQ Oyster Sauce.” The sauce is now being bottled, with retail sales having begun last July.

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Last Thursday when I dropped by Linda Petersen’s temporary digs, Tim Weed and Debbie Daly were entertaining the recuperating crash victim with a mix of country and folk music.

The Point Reyes Station couple are among many people who have stepped forward to help Linda, ad manager of The West Marin Citizen, since her horrific wreck June 13 near Motel Inverness.  A dozen West Marin residents have been taking turns cooking meals for her, and several have provided her with transportation.

100_2628_1Linda suffered 11 broken ribs, two broken vertebrae, two broken ankles, a broken leg, a broken kneecap, a broken arm, and a punctured lung when she fell asleep at the wheel and hit a utility pole. The injuries required three months of hospitalization, including seven weeks wearing a steel-and-carbon halo that immobilized her head and neck.

Linda was released from the hospital Aug, 22 and has been temporarily staying in ground-floor quarters at Karen Gray’s place in Point Reyes Station prior to moving into an upstairs apartment.

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For the past month, Linda has been living out of boxes and is excited about the prospect of settling into her new apartment as soon as she can regularly climb the stairs.

Linda, 61, who works at the front desk in The Citizen office, can by now walk short distances with just a cane, and West Marin Senior Services has loaned her an electric scooter to get around town.

100_0148By chance, Missy Patterson, 82, who works at the front desk of the competing Point Reyes Light, also uses a scooter to get around downtown. The coincidence has led more than a few townspeople to suggest the two have a race.

“Missy said she would beat me, which is probably true,” Linda told me with a laugh. “Her scooter is bigger and more powerful.” Missy (seen here in the 2005 Western Weekend Parade) had started out with a donated scooter but a few years back moved up to a high-performance model.

Linda during her hospitalization accumulated several thousand dollars worth of bills that her insurer, Kaiser Permanente, is refusing to cover. To help raise money to pay those bills, a benefit with food, drinks, and entertainment will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, at Toby’s Feed Barn. More about this later…

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