Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on September 15, 1987 · Page 1
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 1

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 15, 1987
Page 1
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13 Giants win in ninth Pages Cancer's 'Jail & Bail' Pages WEATHER MENDOCINO COUNTY — Partly cloudy this evening over the northern mountains and patchy low clouds along the North .Coast. Otherwise fair with lows in the 40s to lower 50s. Northwest winds to 30 mph. Wednesday, sunny with highs in the 60S to mid 80s. Temperatures H L Yesterday 78 54 Last year 71 49 Rainfall overnight rainfall 0.00 Year to date 00.00 Last year 00.00 Ukiah Daily Tuesday, September 15,1987 1987, Donrey, Inc. 'Journal Vol. 127 No. 127 14 page*' Serving Mendocino County, Ca 25 Cents Forest Service pledges $600,000 for restoration Bv RANDY FOSTER Journal Staff Writer Government officials Monday met to sort out priorities for rehabilitating some 61,000 acres of wildland scorched during the Mendcnhall fire, efforts that will be bolstered by some $600,000 in aid from the U.S. Forest Service. Meeting in Ukiah, representatives from county, state arid federal agencies kicked off the first in a series of meetings that wil 1 map out strategies to decrease adverse effects of the Mendenhall, Fouls and Forks fires. Some $740,000 will be needed to mitigate the problems caused by the Mendcn- hall fire. Among areas of •Effects the loss of ground vegetation will have on rainwater run-off. Much of the burned area comprises Lake Pillsbury's watershed, a region that ultimately provides drinking water for 300,000 people in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. Muddy run-off could effect water quality as well as reduce the life expectancy of the reservoir. "Timber harvests in the area. Much of the burned-out area comprised prime timberland. Logging industry estimates put the costs for lost timber and reforestation anywhere between $40 million and $100 million. *Fish and game, increased turbidity in the Eel River^ waters can adversely affect concern: salmon and steelhead spawning. Jack Kennedy, who is heading the the Forest Service's 25-member rehabilitation team, promised some $600,000 or more will be funneled into the Mendcnhall restoration project. The Forest Service estimates additional funds of some $57,000 will have to be footed by the Bureau of Land Management and $84,000 by local private landowners. Short-term, emergency rehabilitation objectives include preventing loss of soil and deterioration of water quality. Some $239,000 of the Forest Service's cut will be dedicated to soil protection, including the planting of grass seed to hold soil in place during the rainy season. The balance, some $360,000, will be directed toward correcting problems caused by some 90 miles of roads and trails constructed during the fires to speed access to trouble areas. Officials hope the emergency rehabilitation phase of work will be completed by mid-October, when winter's rains usually begin. But county officials say long-term effects may not be adequately addressed in the rehabilitation program. "There is concern about the entire Pillsbury basin, not just the half that burned," said Linda Bailey, an attorney representing the county's water interests. "This is an emergency situation, but there's a whole picture that can't be ignored." She urged better protection of forest lands not already damaged by the fires, including resistance of pressures to increase logging hi other areas to make up for the lost timber. "That could lead to even more buildup of sedimentation in critical water storage reservoirs," she said. "We'd be robbing Peter to pay Paul." The Forest Service rehabilitation team includes soil scientists, hydrologists, geologists, native plants specialists, landscape architects and archaeologists. The county is putting together its own damage assessment team. Destruction caused by Mendocino County's fires dating back to the Tyler fire of Aug. 29 will be included in the study, which is scheduled to make its initial report by Sept. 28. Asbestos removal Job is underway By SUB BRAKKEN Journal Mat) Writar Behind Civic Center Ten yards ot wallboard containing asbestos are being removed this week from the old school buildings on the Ukiah Civic Center property. Workmen from Petro Power, a Vallcjo firm that specializes in asbestos removal, were on the job today wearing protective masks, hoods and clothing.' The asbestos is mixed into transite board that lined furnace rooms hi the two 10-foot modular buildings. Since the asbestos is only 10 percent of the transite .material, the hazard is minimal, according to the workers. The school buildings have been on the site since 1947, according to Ukiah Unified administrator Jack Daniels. In the past few years, they have been used as classrooms for Adult Education and South Valley High School. Because the asbestos was not exposed, Daniels said, there waf no harm to students. Asbestos was used in many school buildings built between 1946 and 1972 as a fire retardant Air-exposed asbestos that is inhaled has been known to cause cancer and lung diseases. State law requires asbestos material to be removed by a state- licensed contractor. The material is then taken to a hazardous waste site in Salinas. The City of Ukiah, which now owns the school buildings, is paying Petro Power to remove the asbestos at a cost of $12,000. Once the asbestos is removed, city workers will continue tearing down the buildings. The site will then be used for landscaping, parking and possibly the future extension of Bush Street, according to city engineer Bob Pedroncelli. He said the project is expected to be completed by the end of the Mike Harrlngtop, left, and Roy Waller from Petro Power In Vallejo remove panels con- week in tune for the Civic Cen- talnlng asbestos from school buildings soon to be torn down In back of the new Ukiah ter's opening on Sept. 26. CMC Center. NWP engineer survives ride in tunnel of fire EVM! By PETER PAGE Journal Staff Writar For 16 years Ken McLeod has been a railroad man, but eight seconds of an otherwise routine haul from Petaluma to Willits is certain to be the most vivid memory of his career. McLeod, an engineer for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, drove two tankers of liquified propane gas and four empty boxcars through a burning tunnel near Cloverdale late Saturday night. He lived to tell about it. "I just came around the bend and the flames were coming out of the portal," McLeod said, when finally contacted at his Santa Rosa home Monday night. The train was moving at 30 mph when McLeod spotted flames jetting from the tunnel a scant 100 feet ahead. A freight train doesn't stop in a hundred feet, so McLeod slammed shut the windows'in the cabin and kept going. "You had two choices, go for it or try to stop, and the second choice wasn't going to work," he said. At 30 mph the ride through the 350-foot-long tunnel took about eight seconds, but it was the longest eight seconds in the lives of McLeod and his two crewmen. "We shut the windows, but it was sucking the smoke in," he said. "It seemed like an eternity because we wanted to get the hell through there." McLeod stopped the train when it cleared the tunnel and then called for firefighters. Al Delsid, a Cloverdale firefighter who responded, said the train created a vacuum behind it as it passed through the tunnel. The air rushing in after the train fanned the flames into an inferno. "When we got there it looked like there was one jet engine at each end of the tunnel blowing out fire," Delsid said. One of the two locomotives pulling the freight cars stalled, but the other never quit, McLeod said. In any case, just the train's momentum would have carried through the tunnel, he said. Amazingly, the train suffered no damage, except the outside arm rest on the locomotive was singed. McLeod was particularly impressed with the durability of the propane tankers. "I guess they can do quite a lot of damage if they go off," he understated. Firefighters could do little more than let the tunnel fire burn itself out, and keep it from igniting the surrounding grassland, Delsid said. The heat of the fire vaporized the water as fast as it poured from firehoses. Jim Loveland, a spokesman for the Southern Pacific Railroad, parent company of the Northwest- em Pacific, said bids are being solicited to reopen the heavily damaged tunnel. It is uncertain how long repairs will take. "It is very possible we will never know what caused the fire," Loveland said. The Cloverdale Fire Department said the cause remains under investigation. The tunnel fire is another blow to the Eureka Southern Railroad, an independent operation linking Willits and Eureka on what was formerly the NWP tracks through the Eel River Canyon. "That's our only through track, so it is definitely affecting us," said Eureka Southern spokesman John Kosack. Eureka Southern freight switches to the NWP at Willits. The Eureka Southern continues to operate logging trains hauling timber to mills in Eureka and passenger excursions from Willits to Eureka. The company's own operations were shut down for two to three weeks by a fire in the tunnel at Arnold, just north of Willits, last month. Repair crews laid new track around the tunnel, and Kosack said there are no plans to reopen the passage. Medicare premiums projected to rise Doctors' bills blamed WASHINGTON (AP) — The Reagan administration blames skyrocketing doctor bills for a projected 38.5 percent increase next year in the premiums paid by the nation's 31 million Medicare recipients. "We're looking at an increase of that magnitude, given the cost of doctor bills to the program," said Chuck Kline, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human •Services. The premium increase in the Medicare "Part B" program is calculated each year by HHS under a formula set by Congress,.Kline said Monday. • The 'calculated increase has not been approved formally by the department secretary. Otis R. Bowen, or the Office of Management and Budget, but the projected figure "is probably very close to what the final one will be, if not the final one," Kline said. Kline said the final figure will be published in the Federal Register by Sept. 30. The Medicare program was created in 1965 and now provides insurance for about 31 million people, most of them elderly. Their monthly premiums would increase more than a third, from $17.80 to $24.80, beginning in January unless Congress alters the formula or makes an exception, Kline said' The annual cost to each individual would go from $214.80 to $297.60. Bob Hardy, a spokesman for the Health Care Financing Administration, an arm of HHS, said the administration has no leeway in calculating the figure, which is based on the claims experience of the program. "These are tentative figures; they still have to go through OMB," Hardy'said. "But under the Medicare law, we must take a look at what should be charged." Medicare recipients do not pay .premiums under the other portion of Medicare, Part A, which pays for hospitalization, but they pay a deductible for the first day , hospitalization. That amount is now $520 and Kline said he expects that to go up "a little bit." The Washington Post said in today's editions the department planned to announce a $20 increase in the deductible. By law, premiums paid by Medicare beneficiaries must coyer 25 percent of the Pan B expenses, Kline said. "It is determined by the cost in the previous year," he said. "Using that formula, you come up with those numbers." City, Masonite study co-generation By PETER PAGE Journal Matt Writar Ukiah and Masonite are considering teair ng-up to produce electrical power. The Ukiah City Council tomorrow night will likely approve an application to the federal Western Area Power Administration for a $30,000 grant to pay half the cost of studying the feasibility of using the steam produced at Masonite to spin turbines and generate power. "I think the study will show there is a benefit to be had by both parties," predicted City Manager D. Kent Payne. Resource Management International, a Sacramento consulting firm already retained by Ukiah to study the possibility of building a hydroelectric plant at Scott Dam on the Eel River, has offered to submit the grant application at no cost, with the understanding it will get the study contract if the grant is awarded. "We have talked about flu's with people at Western to see if they would enteratin it, and they think it is something worth looking at," said Henry Koner, vice president of the consulting iirm. A cogeneration power plant at Masonite would utilize the steam generated there to spin turbines, Koner said. The project potentially offers Masonite, which uses almost as much electricity as all of Ukiah combined, long term stability in power costs, he said. The city could gain a relatively cheap source of power for periods of peak consumption, like sweltering summer afternoons, when power is most costly, Koner added. Because the process recycles steam already being generated, there should be no effect on air quality, he said. Payne said the discussions with Masonite have been broader than just a shared cogeneration power plant. "For instance, the city doesn't have an industrial (electrical) rate, so we have the flexibility to negotiate something beneficial to both Masonite and the city," Payne said. John MacGregor, vice president of operations at the Ukiah plant, was not available for comment this morning.

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