Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on September 25, 1987 · Page 1
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 1

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Friday, September 25, 1987
Page 1
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4 MAGIC NUMBER Giants Invade Atlanta tonight Fade 10 Get ready f for the big celebration Page 2 f ^H >•***„* WEATHER MENDOCINO COUNTY — Yesterday" ^ 78 51 Increasing clouds tonight in the far Last year 60 55 north, otherwise fair. Lows in the Rainfall 40s and 50s. Variable cloudiness overnight rainfall Saturday in the north with a slight • rj.OO chance of showers. Fair in the Year to date 00.00 south. Highs from the 60s to the Last year 01.80 80s. UkiahDaUv Friday, September 25,1987 © 1987, Donrey, Inc. "Journal Vol. 127 No. 136 18 pages Serving Mendocino County, Calif. 25 Cents Harwood to shut down Willits mill Oct. 30 By RANDY FOSTER Journal Stall Writer WILLITS — Harwood Products, the largest employer in the Little Lake Valley, will start shutting down the larger of its two Willits plants on Oct. 30, the company's president said today. Harwpod plans to consolidate A plant milling operations with its Branscomb facility. "With the continued improvements in productivity and cost reductions," the company announced in a press release, "the Branscomb operation is projected to exceed the combined sawmills' production of one year ago." For now, the company said it will continue operating its smaller rcmanufacturing plant in Willits. Company President Bud Harwood said efforts would be made to transfer some of A plant's employees, although some layoffs are predicted. The plant employs about 200. There are conflicting reports about the number of layoffs that will occur, and Harwood was unwilling to comment beyond his company's Thursday press release. Insiders say the company plans to cut its overhead by 35 percent, including cuts to administrative and mill crews in Willits and Branscomb. Other observers say the company will lay off between 60 and 140 workers. Operations for the most part will cease on Oct. 30. Some support functions, such as shipping, maintenance, security and administration, will continue until the A plant's inventories are sold and office space becomes available in Branscomb. The company plans to start a third shift at the Branscomb facility on Nov. 2. In a flyer released to its employees, Harwood said it would interview "interested, qualified A plant employees" who meet requirements specific to the Branscomb facility. The interviews arc scheduled for Oct. IS. Those not selected will be laid off, although they can be considered for rahire it Branscomb or the Willits remanufacturing plant as positions become available. The company is using a severance pay; plan as incentive for A plant employees to remain working until Oct. 30. Employees with 20 years service or more will be paid two weeks plus one. day for each year of service over 20. The pay will be calculated at $10 per hour. The scale progresses down to employees with less than one year of service, who will each receive $100. Rumors have been whispered in Willits for some time that Harwood was planning to close its A plant, but news of the decision still struck civic leaders hard. "It's a very important part of this community," said Willits Mayor Herb Giese. "It will be a significant loss." ' Harwood Products is the largest remaining family- owned lumber company in Mendocino County. UCTS R«ndy Foster The day shift continued working olfl^athlrlgllwB'htdrles at Harwood's'A plant on State Route 20 in Willits. But employees were anxiously awaiting decisions that will affect their employment after Oct. 30, when the plant will close. The Harwood family has been in the timber business in Mendocino County, with other holdings in Humboldt and Santa Cruz counties, for 35 years. They now employ about 450 people between plants in Willits and Branscomb, and own thousands of acres of timberland. But the company has had cash flow problems because of the fluctuating nature of the timber industry, and recently sold off its trucking assets in another attempt to trim its costs. Over the past few years the Harwoods have sold some 50,000 acres of timberland. The entire company has been for sale for several years with no takers. Harwood said sale of the A plant site and assets is still being negotiated, but unless a deal is struck by Oct. 30 the facility will be put up for auction. Once work is consolidated in Branscomb, the facility will begin three-shift, 24-hour operations. "The company has significantly improved productivity and cut costs," Harwood said. In order to further strengthen the company's position in the industry it is consolidating all of its sawmill operations." Weinberger: Iranian ship to be destroyed MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said today that the Iranian vessel attacked by U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf would be "destroyed in the most effective way possible." Weinberger made the comment during an interview aboard a U.S. navy frigate in the gulf, where he flew by helicopter hours after arriving in the region for a five-day visit. HThe ship will be destroyed. It certainly will not be handed back so that it can engage in further activities," the Pentagon chief said. Asked how it would be destroyed, he said, "In the most effective way possible." He told members of a Pentagon- prganized pool of reporters that the area where the 1,662-ton Iran Ajr was attacked by U.S. helicopters Monday had been "charted" and that "several more" mines were found. Weinberger did not say when the Diplomat: No summit unless It's in the U.S. MOSCOW (AP) — President Reagan will meet this year with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev only if the summit takes place in the United States, a senior Western diplomat said today. The source, familiar with last week's talks in Washington 'I would hope that the political will of the United States is as strong as the men out here defending us,' Weinberger said. destruction would take place, only that it will be announced "as soon as it's finished." The United States said the Iran Ajr was planting mines in international waters of the gulf. Iran has acknowledged the boat was a naval vessel but denied it was sowing mines. "When the locations are all known, and we're pretty close to that now, then the normal (mine) sweeping operations would commence. We re quite hopeful and reasonably confident that all the mines that this particular ship laid could be destroyed," Weinberger said. Five Iranians were killed and 26 others taken into U.S. custody after the attack on the Iran Ajr. The survivors are to be returned to Iran on Saturday, U.S. officials said. Weinberger described the alleged Iranian minelaying as "one of the grossest violations of which the Iranians have been guilty ... this putting lethal weapons, mine systems, in international waters." He said the United States would destroy any other such vessels. "We're very hopeful that this one episode will be a sufficient warning so that they will stop it, but we are not going to go on the basis of hopes," he said. Weinberger said the Monday incident had provided "absolutely incontrovertible proof that the Iranians were laying mines in the gulf. Weinberger arrived under tight security and went to the USS Hawes, a guided missile frigate that is among the U.S. warships escorting U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tankers through the gulf. The defense secretary told the 200-member crew of the Hawes, in a speech from the bridge, that they were doing "the most important military duty" for the United States at this lime. He said he brought greetings from President Reagan, who "wanted me particularly to let you know how important the works are that you're doing, not only for the United States, but for our allies and indeed for all the countries interested in freedom." The 3,585-ton Hawes is a sister ship of the USS Stark, which was struck by an Iraqi missile May 17. Thirty-seven Americans died in that incident, which Iraq said was accident. "I would hope that the political will of the United States is as strong as the men out here defending us. And I would hope that everybody recognizes that there are going to be some risks involved in this operation, and that means there will be good days and bad days,-" Weinberger said. "But what we saw with the destruction of this Iranian minelayer and the gathering of this absolute evidence of what they were doing, was regarded by the men who did it as a routine daily effort, and we regard it as an extraordinarily effective achievement." Contra rebels propose cease-fire TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — A top Contra rebel leader says he will declare a cease- fire early next month in compliance with a new regional peace plan. Adolfo Calero, head of the Honduras-based rebel coalition known as the Nicaraguan Resistance, made the proposal Thursday. When asked about the proposal in a later interview, he declined to give further details. Also Thursday, Salvadoran leftist rebels proposed a temporary cease-fire to coincide with peace talks they are to hold early next month with the U.S.-supported government of Napoleon Duarte in San Salvador. Calero said his group "will decree a cease- fire beginning Oct. 4 after Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo (the Roman Catholic archbishop of Managua)... negotiates the opening of a I uteral dialogue with the Managua regime." Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega appointed Obando Y Bravo chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission called for in the peace plan, which On 73 and the presidents of four other Central American countries signed Aug. 7. Calero also said the U.S.-funded Contras will soon release 30 Nicaraguan soldiers they captured. Last week, the Contras freed 81 Nicaraguan soldiers captured during the past two years. Minister Eduard said the Soviets informally agreed on a U.S. venue and that no other site wa> under discussion. Speaking to reporters on condition he not be identified, the source said Reagan "won't go anywhere else" to meet General Secretary Gorbachev. "Obviously., there will not be a summit meeting unless it's in the United States," the diplomat said. Teachers' pension fund chairman pleads guilty to extortion, -misuse SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gilbert Chilton, former chairman of the state teachers' pension fund, pleaded guilty to extortion, conspiracy, misuse of funds and tax evasion — then sobbed and apologized. Thursday in U.S. District Court, Chilton changed his pleas from innocent under a plea bargain. • Judge Raul Ramirez said the result could be up to 35 years in federal prison, a $125,000 fine, payment of $457,502 in delinquent federal income taxes, and an order to repay embezzled funds. U.S. Attorney David Lcvi said afterward he is satisfied that Chilton is facing a sentence comparable to any he would have faced if convicted in a trial. Levi added he is uncertain about the fate of the miss- ing funds, but hopes to learn more during the process leading to sentencing, which was set for Nov. 18. Chillon, 43, gained notoriety from a 1982 bribery and extortion scheme that channeled a $50 million State Teachers' Retirement System loan to a wildcat oil company owned by an ex-convict. He evaded authorities for four years, and has been held without bail since surrendering May 15. At the close of Thursday's hearing, Chillon asked to make a statement but broke into tears, whispering "Oh, my gosh, Oh, my gosh," between sobs. Fighting for control of his voice, he added, "I would like to publicly apologize to those to whom I've caused injury or harm.... I'm sorry." Open meeting lawsuit dropped By PETER PAGE Journal Stall Writer A supporter of Supervisor Norman de Vail has dropped a lawsuit charging that three other supervisors violated the state open meeting law in making an appointment to the county planning commission. Barry Vogel, attorney for Charles Peterson, of Point Arena, offered to drop the suit if the county would not press for attorney's fees. The supervisors agreed to the deal after a closed meeting with County Counsel Peter Klein. Supervisors Marilyn Butcher, JohnCimolino and Nelson Redding earlier this year voted against de Vall's nominee, Al Weaver, of Elk, to represent the fifth supervisorial district on the planning commission. They instead voted as a blqck to put Bob Canclini on the commission as representative of the fifth district. Peterson, de ValFs campaign manager, charged in his suit that the three supervisors coordinated their actions by discussing the upcoming appointment through an intermediary. The Brown Act, which governs public meetings in California, forbids public officials from taking actions based on discussions of a majority of the commission outside of a public meeting. All three supervisors denied any wrongdoing. In a pretrial decision, Judge Arthur Broaddus ruled against Peterson on almost every point in his suit, but left the matter on file, with permission to amend the complaint. Neither Vogel nor Peterson could be reached for comment, but people familar with the case say they were unable to prove that an intermediary was used to pre-plan the Canclini appointment. "I think he has just come up with no evidence to support a Brown Act violation," said Klein. Arson certain in coast fire FORT BRAGG — An arson task force has conclusively proved that one of two disastrous fires Sunday was deliberately set. The Piedmont Hotel, a popular Fort Bragg restaurant since 1914, was destroyed by a fire set by an arsonist early Sunday, according to Fire Chief Bob Ramage. "We have found traces of gasoline, and we have sent those to the lab in San Francisco for confirmation," Ramage said. The Associated Press quoted Police Chief Joe Mayberry as saying investigators are "90 percent sure" the same arsonist was respon- . sible for fires at the city's courthouse and library. Ramage said the destruction of the library, a building three blocks from the Piedmont and about the same age, was so complete that all traces of what ignited the blaze may have been eliminated. Mayberry said a team of 24 investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has concluded that the restaurant was broken into and gasoline poured into two dining rooms and the kitchen. Investigators administered polygraph tests to a few people connected with the investigation, but the procedure was described as routine. Ramage said there arc no specific suspects in the case.

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