The hand-to-hand combat at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms doesn’t end when drills are over. A lot of the Marines are apparently taking their work home with them. It’s a real muckenfuss. Reports of domestic violence within families on the base have nearly doubled in the past two years—from 227 in fiscal 2007 to 446 in 2009. Since 2007, the number of counselors in the base’s family advocacy program has grown from three to eight. Even that is not enough, says clinical case manager Cindy Barker. “We’d like to have 10 therapists,” she tells reporter Mark Muckenfuss of The Press-Enterprise. “We’re very busy. Every week we have cases that come in. They’re either referred by (military command), self referred or referred by law enforcement.” Experts anticipate the problem will get even muckenfussier when these trainees come back from their actual combat deployments. “The PTSD issue is humongous,” says Peggi Fries, executive director of Haley House in Barstow, part of San Bernardino County’s network of shelters for abused spouses and children. She’s talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lynn Moriarty, executive director at Shelter from the Storm in Palm Desert, says she’s also noticed a rise in the number of military families seeking protection from domestic violence—and it’s very muckenfussesque. “I’m old enough to remember Vietnam,” Moriarty says. “I did some work at the Vietnam veterans’ center in Sepulveda. It was one of the saddest experiences of my professional life. Many of them were very, very ill. My fear is that we’re beginning to see this now and I believe it’s only the tip of the iceberg.” Muckenfuss!
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
A naked blow-up doll blocks the carpool lane on the 60 Freeway in Mira Loma, and the California Highway Patrol stops traffic for 12 minutes—from 1:16PM to 1:28PM —to clear the abandoned plastic girlfriend from the roadway. After the San Bernardino Sun dutifully reports, the bloggers quickly drag the story down to the lowest common denominator. “My girlfriend playing on the freeway again,” sighs Big G . . . “Wonder if they had it in a car so they could use the carpool lane?” wonders Montclair . . . “I want it back!” says Smurf . . . “Street tramp!” summarizes Gimme A Break . . . “A candidate for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors,” insists Wimpus Joe . . . “Wow, the first story I have ever read here without a comment about illegal Mexicans,” marvels Snuggles . . . “That was the nicest-looking woman anybody has seen in Mira Loma since . . . well, forever,” says Dave in Crafton Hills. “No wonder traffic was backed up.”
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1
Three Valleys Municipal Water District Board member Xavier Alvarez is sentenced to five years in state prison for defrauding the water district by illegally registering his ex-wife for health benefits. Alvarez is the same guy who was convicted in 2008 of violating the Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes false claims of military valor. He had claimed he had received the Medal of Honor. Of course, Alvarez’s absence leaves an opening on the board, which in the spirit of all this fraud decides to deprive the district voters of their democracy by appointing Alvarez’s replacement. Why? Democracy costs too much—the estimated $80,000 to hold an election.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2
More bad budget news for UC Riverside—on top of a $51 million deficit, employee pay cuts and higher student fees are translating into fewer students graduating or transferring, which will mean fewer freshman admissions next fall. On the bright side, less hazing!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3
Only about 40 four-legged creatures make the time in their soooo busy schedules to gather on the lawn of the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley for the third annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony. Bad dogs! And not one sheep! That’s a horrible turnout. And many of those who did show up were rude, rude, rude. While the Rev. Elwood Hall presided over a service that began with several readings from the Old Testament and featured the vocal solos of Orange Community Master Chorale choir member and soloist Rob Kaiser, many in the canine crowd joked noisily among themselves, barking and even occasionally yipping. If our pets can’t show a little more enthusiasm for a yearly service in which people go out of their way to celebrate them with prayer, song and remembrance of their deceased colleagues, then screw ’em. In other dog-related news, the Dodgers clinch the West Division.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4
The Sheep Fire—so called because . . . well, that’s a matter of contention on The Press-Enterprise blog, but I’m hunching on the fact it has something to do with all those no-showing sheep at the Blessing of the Animals—burns 1,500 acres in the Lytle Creek area, and shows no sign of slowing down. B-a-a-a-a-a-d sheep!
MONDAY, OCTOBER 5