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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California • Page 1

Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California • Page 1

Ukiah, California
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Ukiah Daily ournal Breaking News Princess Di killed in car crash PageA-12 Donrey Media Group 32 pages, Volume 139 Number 122 $1 tax included MENDOCINO COUNTY'S LARGEST NEWSPAPER Sunday, Aug. 31,1997 Barbara Daily Journal CDF Capt. Brian Kornegay takes a 911 medical aid call at the Emergency Control Center at Howard Forest. Firefighters ready to travel at a moment's notice LAMBERT The Daily Journal hey sleep in recyclable paper sleeping bags, take a shower when they can find one, and live with what they can stash on their fire trucks. That's what members of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection strike teams do every year during the fire season from May through November, and they enjoy it. "It's a lot of fun," CDF engineer and 8-year veteran Denise Ehnat said, who was on a strike team sent from Mendocino County to the Los Padres National Forest fire in Southern California that burned more than 25,000 acres this summer. "We camp out and sleep on or in the engines," she said, "and it may take a couple of days to find a shower." Capt. Gary Kavanagh. who has worked for 18 years for the CDF and was sent this summer from the Howard Forest Fire Station in Willils to a Humboldt County fire on a strike team, said going out of the county is kind of like a vacation because you get to see and work in a different part of the state. And while strike team firefighters like the challenge of working in all sorts of terrain, it also means working long days and being away from your family. "Fourteen days was my longest time on a strike team," Kavanagh said. And there's another reason why they do it. "Once you get fire fighting in your blood," explains Capt. Brian Kornegay. who works at the CDF Emer- Last of Willits teens pleads in spring slaying CDF Engineer Denise Ehnat shows all the nooks and crannies that an engine has for storage. They put their out of county bags where they can find space. They keep their wild land fire gear with them in the cab or they wear it as they travel. CDF crews relax and enjoy the quiet time while waiting for a call. The dozer is always ready to be sent where needed. gency Command Center for Mendocino County in Willits, "it's hard to get rid of it." Strike teams are formed by combining engines from different fire stations within a ranger unit, said Division Chief Loyde Johnson, with the Mendocino Ranger Unit in Willits. "A strike team is made up of five engines and 15 people with three people assigned to each engine," Johnson said, "and one strike team leader who is a battalion chief or a captain." Part of the adventure of being on a strike team is once it leaves the county, it falls under the jurisdiction of either the regional or state CDF offices, he said, and can be sent wherever it is needed, for as long as it is needed, all over the state. Redding is the regional center for Northern California, and Riverside is the center for the southern part of the state. Kavanagh said his team was only at the Humboldt fire a few days before being sent to the Alter Point Station to cover that station for an engine still working on a fire. "We went to a structure fire and a vehicle fire," he said, and joked with the regular firefighters at the small station that "we'd doubled their calls for the year in one day." When a fire or emergency happens in or out of the county, Johnson said, the closest engines to the incident respond and then engines farther away back up the stations that sent their engines out. "The way the CDF handles the situation is to bump up resources towards where the fire is," he said. "We have the whole state to draw from when our resources get stretched," said Kornegay. "And we can go outside of the state if we need to." All the fire fighting resources in the county, both CDF and local agencies like fire districts and city See CDF, Page A-12 By DAN McKEE The Daily Journal The last of a trio of Willits teen-agers accused in the April shotgun slaying of a 19-year-old Willits youth pled guilty Thursday to being an accessory to murder after the fact. Troy Edward Driver, 17, will be sentenced next month for his part in the April 22 murder of reputed Willits methampheta- mine dealer Paul Steven Rodriguez, defense attorney Jan Cole-Wilson told the Journal Friday. Driver also pled guilty to three charges of second-degree robbery of a Ukiah Circle convenience store and Chevron service stations in Willits and Rohnert Park. He also pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in connection with the February break-in of a Willits Coast-to- Coast hardware store. Driver also admitted to using a firearm during the three rob- beries. Cole-Wilson said. As part of a negotiated settlement, Driver will be sentenced to 15 years in state prison for his part in all the crimes, including Rodriguez' death. Cole-Wilson said Driver will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence on the three robbery charges. He will be released in about 12 years. Each of the robbery convictions will count as a "strike" against Driver under California's "three strikes" law. The teen-ager will be sentenced Friday, Sept. 19, at 1:30 p.m. in Judge Ron Brown's court. Moore sentenced too Earlier this week, 18-year-old Alissa Marie Moore was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison after pleading guilty to See WILLITS, Page A-12 Coast police chief says violence up By DAN GJERDE Fort Bragg Advocate-News Fort Bragg Police Chief Tom Bickell says he has seen many changes during his 25 years of law enforcement on the Mendocino Coast, but "the biggest change has been the increase in violent cases the increasing numbers of assaults and domestic violence." Bickell, in a recent interview, then called up information from his office computer's data base to illustrate the point. From 1990 through 1993, the report showed each year Fort Bragg officers responded to between 73 and 105 domestic violence calls. But in 1994 the number of calls jumped to 199, and the department responded to 175 in '95, 166 in '96 and 202 as of 10a.m. Friday. Bickell suspects the increase in domestic violence is primarily caused by downturns in the local economy. In response, the department is working closely with the coast's women's shelter. "When we have an abused woman we try to convince her to contact Project Sanctuary," he said. Last year's declaration by city officials and civic leaders that the town was a domestic violence free zone was an attempt to put a spotlight on the issue, he said. Likewise, he added, the state CHP ready for holiday drivers The Daily Journal The last holiday of the summer will find the California Highway Patrol out in force on the highways. CHP officers will be vigorously enforcing speed, DUI, and safety belt laws. "Labor Day is traditionally one of the worst holiday periods of the year for traffic collisions," said Ukiah area commander Captain Godon. "Because it's the final break before summer officially ends, everyone tries extra hard to squeeze in every last bit of fun they can. Unfortunately, along with higher traffic volumes comes an increase in the number of crashes. See CHP, Page A-12 is increasing attention on spousal abuse. "We're seeing money available. The state is recognizing that we probably go to more domestic violence calls than any other kind of call." "There's been a corresponding increase in drug use," Bickell added. Methamphetamine use on the rise Bickell said Attorney General Dan Lungren's recent statement in Ukiah that the manufacture and use of methamphetamine is causing more problems than any other drug is consistent with the situation in Fort Bragg. And, he said, "It's getting worse." Toxic waste from the manufacture of speed is being discovered in unmarked containers throughout the county. He also said officers are increasingly encountering people high on speed who are exhibiting "bizarre behavior." "I think it has a lot to do with our increase in violence," he said. The only assistance from the state is funding for an agent to work for the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, he said. "The state provides a supervising agent. See VIOLENCE, PageA-12 Index Classifieds B-4 Comics B-2 Crossword B-3 Features B-3 Forum A-6 Jumble B-4 Lottery A-12 Obituaries A-12 Sports A-9 Summary, local Summary, world TV listings Inside USA Weekend Weather A-12 Journal phones Main numbers 468-3500, 468-0123 Circulation Number 468-3533 Classified Number The Daily Journal is printed on at least 25 percent recycled newsprint. Low rub ink is also used. Complete the loop and recycle your newspaper.

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