Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 11, 2004 · Page 1
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 1

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Ukiah, California
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Thursday, March 11, 2004
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Ukiah boys battle Newman .Page 6 Weekend UKIAH UNIFIED entertainment Tax increase considered .Page 3 .Page 1 IN! In Brief . Class, ad Comics . Crosswor Forum.. Jumble . Landers 50 ce.. u_ LO .4 §§- --2 LLI < < . .6 <%- ~ -10 The Ukiah o: 2 Q .14 ,d Mendocino County's local newspaper URNAL % Tomorrow: Mostly sunny THURSDAY March 11,2004 Serbia, Montenegro bound Sheriff's lieutenant working to help friend he met on Kosovo duty ByPEIJEANTSAI The Dally Journal When Lt. Tom Allman went to Kosovo in October 1999, he didn't just get a glimpse of a post-war country and its people. During a yearlong tenure with a United Nations peacekeeping assignment, he also developed a friendship kept alive over the years with regular e-mails and phone calls. Allman returns next week to Serbia and Montenegro for a 12- day trip to see his friend Strahinja Besevic, a 28-year-old United Nations employee with a passion for basketball. But the Mendocino County officer's trip won't merely be recreational. Allman will use the meeting as another attempt to help Besevic achieve his dream to visit the United States. "He was a good friend and of all the times he helped me, I think that was the only one thing he asked: if he could visit the States," Allman said in an interview in his Willits home. Fulfilling that dream hasn't been easy. Every December since 2000, Besevic has applied for a visitation visa to be denied by U.S. immigration officials. Allman pursued a written campaign to get Besevic here, corresponding with Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa) and U.S. Embassy officials in Belgrade. After meeting in an office setting, Allman and Besevic - who described his friend as a "very good person" - bonded by playing basketball in a makeshift court in the Kosovo U.N. building. One of the reasons Besevic wants to visit the United States is to see his favorite NBA teams, including the Sacramento Kings, a team popular among Serbians because it features two Serbian players. Coming to the United States has been a wish for the last five years, Besevic said in an e-mail interview. He said he wants to visit because it is a very modem and interesting country. Aside from never having seen the United States, Besevic doesn't get much chance to travel. As a Serbian living in an Albanian- occupied province, he keeps a low ^ -^"iJY\O ^ c> •t** 1 ***-** o 3r ^«^ s ° ^^•'-,^ w\a<> -?v* 0 ;";l^ r f ,,,o-,^ oV ' i " \., /••"" '--'n •,/>(') '•V'"' i , M/'-' . . i'C ' ( ^J> Wo^'-'^-^rVA"'.. ;> . ()}."*•" fiJ^-fy-'^- profile, being careful about speaking outdoors where enemies might recognize his accent. "It is very difficult at this moment for me, as a Serbian, to live in Kosovo," Besevic said. Allman had stronger words about his friend's daily situation: "He's almost like an animal ~ trapped right now." Visiting family outside his safe- house radius is also a challenge. Besevic would work in Kosovo and then bring what salary he Amy Wellnltz/The Dally Journal Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Tom Allman looks through memorabilia from his year in Kosovo from October 1999 to October 2000. Allman served as one of hundreds of law enforcement officers in the International Civilian Police Program following the Serbian-Albanian war in Kosovo, which ended June 1999. (Left) A child Allman befriended in Kosovo S ave him an inscribed ook as a farewell gift. could to his mother in Belgrade. During his trip abroad, Allman helped Besevic visit his mother by driving his friend to the Serbian border. See SERBIA, Page 14 PUBLIC HEALTH THREAT County gears up ahead of W. Nile By MARK HEDGES The Dally Journal The challenge of dealing with the imminent arrival of West Nile Virus is taking on added significance as the temperatures rise and the critters start to fly. "We're kind of right in the process" of preparing for West Nile, said Mendocino County Agricultural Commissioner Dave Bengston. Earlier this week, Bengston and his department met with Randy Williams of Lake County Vector Control, "because we don't have vector control or mosquito abatement (in Mendocino)," Bengston said. Vector control districts are tax-created authorities, and Mendocino County voters have never passed a tax for such an agency. Now would be a great time to have one, because it's likely that at some point in the spring or summer the migrating bird populations will transport the West Nile Virus to Northern California, just as they have carried it across the United States from where it first emerged -- probably due to airplane travel — from points beyond this continent. Bengston said Williams is "helping immensely" - sharing his knowledge of mosquito identification, "looking at 'em through scopes." "We're also right in the middle of doing a number of things," Bengston added. "We're making arrangements to try and supply our own mosquito fish and (today) there is a statewide teleconference call the Health Department is doing which they've invited us to sit in on so that both departments will be up to speed on what's going on." See WEST NILE, Page 14 Charles Diaz murder trial FBI officials swarmed downtown Uklah Wednesday before 1:30 p.m., to transport federally protected witness Anthony fait to the Mendocino County Courthouse. Tait testified In the trial of former Hells Angels member Charles Anthony Diaz, who Is charged with the 1986 murder of a Fort Bragg family. Tait previously went undercover for the FBI to Investigate Hells Angels. Diaz is shown at left Wednesday inside the courthouse. Amy WcllnlU/The Dally Journal Ukiah Unified considers increase in property tax for school projects The Dally Journal With the passage of Proposition 55 - the $12.3 billion school construction repair bond - Ukiah Unified School District is now putting its modernization projects on the front burner, Superintendent Gary Brawley told the board at its Tuesday night meeting. The 25-year-old Ukiah High School is in serious need of repairs, as is a section of Pomolita Middle School, Brawley said. Projects at Ukiah High School will include satisfying Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, improving the heating and air conditioning system, refurbishing the classrooms and repairing roofs. At Pomolita School, the board is 'considering modernization of the old shop classes and the gym locker rooms, Brawley said. The goods news is that Prop. 55 will make these projects possible. The not-so-good news is that Prop 55. is a matching participation fund, meaning the district has to put out a certain number of local dollars to qualify for state funds, Brawley said. Coming up with alternatives to increase local funds for the projects will require some board brainstorming, and quite possibly, some more money from local taxpayers. One of the options being considered is an adjustment to the property tax rate. In 1974, the voters of the school district passed a bond measure, Brawley said, and he explained to the board, bond by bond, what the district has accomplished over the last 30 years with the money raised from that measure. The proceeds from those bond sales and tax revenue were designated only for projects at Ukiah High School, Brawley said, referring to the bonds passed in 1974. The tax rate in 1974 was set at 49 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The property tax and the bonds were scheduled to be retired in 2010, Brawley said. In 1980, the board took action to reduce the tax rate from that See SCHOOLS, Page 14

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