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Important events as reported by daily newspapers and summarized by Daedalus Howell.

Saturday 11.04.00

University of California plant pathologist Matteo Garbelotto is seeking a weapon with which to wage war against the raging sudden oak death epidemic that has affected hundreds of thousands of trees in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. According to the Marin Independent Journal, Garbelotto has been conducting tests to determine whether certain fungicides and phosphorus compounds will do the trick. If not, a more radical treatment, jocularly dubbed "The Axe," will be used.

Sunday 11.05.00

Despite the rampant e-failures dotting the Internet business community, San Rafael's Dominican University has added a new e-business major this semester to teach students whether they're dot-coming or -going. Boris Porkovich, dean of the university's School of Business and International Studies, boasted to the Marin IJ, "No one else in the Bay Area does a full undergraduate degree that is really specifically focused on e-business." Perhaps because most accredited colleges adhere to the antiquated Old Economy notion that real business schools should study real businesses with real business models rather than churn out diplomas as worthless as yesterday's hi-tech stock options. "To me, the leading edge right now is mixing reality with online," says instructor Americ Azevedo, whose online neural map may have taken too many hits.

Monday 11.06.00

Therapist Shannon Simonelli spent five years at a secure facility in Utah working with repeat youth offenders, convicted of armed robbery, rape, and murder. There, she got "a lot of attitude." Now established in Marin County, she can expect to get a lot of dough from parents whose teens need a taste of Simonelli's "gentle persuasion" (yes!), reports the Marin IJ. The therapist is starting a stress-reduction group for teens at the Stress Management Center of Marin in Larkspur. "I create a safe container, a safe place, to explore [personal] issues," says Simonelli. "Kids need structure, they need containment. . . . They're careening from side to side trying to find where the parameters are." Like rats in a cage, baby.

Monday 11.06.00

Napan Henry Michalski has amassed 40 years, worth of political memorabilia, some of which were on display at the Napa City-County Library through election day, reports the Napa Valley Register. "I dream of having my own museum," said Michalski. "I could fill a good-sized room with my collection." Indeed, Michalski could own a good-sized room if he had been amassing another form of presidential collectible--the greenback. If Michalski had put away a dollar a day for 40 years with compounded 8 percent annual interest, he would have $107,327.93 But then he wouldn't have all those cool buttons. No word on what an "Anderson for President" bumper sticker fetches these days.

Tuesday 11.07.00

Taking the lead from Mel Brooks, Santa Rosan David Ramirez set out to live Robin Hood: Men in Tights by embezzling $225,000 over two years from his employer and donating it to the now-defunct Redwood Empire Ballet. Ramirez, a 50-year-old senior claims supervisor for the California State Automobile Association in Santa Rosa, pleaded no contest in Sonoma County Superior Court to grand theft and tax evasion on Monday, reports the local daily. "I've never handled a case like this. Normally, bad guys steal money and do bad things," said prosecutor Bruce Enos. "This guy stole money and did good things." That is, if you consider amateur ballet a good thing. The Redwood Empire Ballet hung up its tutus in 1998, when it ran out of money. No word if a second embezzlement investigation has been launched. Says Ramirez's attorney, "He felt a need to help the arts. He's a real ballet fan. He couldn't control his behavior." Sometimes, you just gotta dance.

Tuesday 11.07.00

In an area renowned for its water woes, residents of an unincorporated area south of West College Avenue in Santa Rosa have a veritable tsunami of troubles gushing from their taps, reports the local daily. State health officials have confirmed that drinking water in dozens of wells is contaminated with tetrachloroethylene, a deadly chemical that is used in dry cleaning and causes birth defects and cancer. "Every time I turn on the tap, I think about it. Every time we shower, we're afraid to breathe," said one resident, who did not comment on whether or not her teeth were whiter or well-pressed. State officials have told residents any level above five parts per billion of the chemical is a health risk. Several wells have registered above 300 ppb, and one unlucky resident, Tina Vassar, has a well that tested at 572 ppb. "Right now, I'm at ground zero," said Vassar, who apparently has no plans to go into the dry cleaning business. "I'm devastated."

Tuesday 11.07.00

The Argus-Courier website reports that the Petaluma Police Department is looking for a man who rode a bicycle onto the St. Vincent Elementary campus the morning of Oct. 26 and "yelled, behaved strangely, and rode away." The suspect was described as a white male with brown hair cut in a "shaved-bowl" style--the exact coiffure of noted performance artist Hans Gelbing who was scheduled to perform his "spoke-and-word" poem cycle Ich bin ein Liegerad ("I am a recumbent bicycle") on the campus.

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From the November 9-15, 2000 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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