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The Madera Tribune

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Fire is the wrath of the Almighty

October 24, 2017

The fires in Northern California are a great thrashing for the people who lost their home and also for the wine industry as well.


These 21 wineries were destroyed in the fires:  James Cole Winery, Signorello Estate, William Hill Estate Winery, Kenwood Winery, Kunde Estate Wineries, B.R. Cohn, Frey Winery, Nicholson Ranch, Chateau St. Jean, Stag’s Leap Winery, Paradise Ridge, White Rock, Hagafen Cellars, Helena View Johnson Vineyards, Segassia Vineyard, Ancient Oak Cellars, Mayo Family Wineries, Gundlac Bundschu Winery, Vin Roc, Oster Wine Cellars and Golden Vineyards, according to Fortune magazine.

(Webmaster's note: Later updates revealed this not to be the case. According to Gladys Horiuchi of the Wine Institute, "About 10 to 11 wineries were burned. Others mentioned had some damage but the main wineries are there and are operational. These wineries should not be on this list: William Hill, Kenwood, Kunde, BR Cohn, Frey, Nicholson Ranch, Chateau St. Jean, Stag's Leap, Gundlach Bundschu and others. Overblown news came out initially, but proved not to be true." Mayo Family Vineyards is also fully intact.)


This is a blow to that area and the industry that will be near impossible to come back from for most.

 

(Webmaster's note: There are about 1,200 wineries in the three counties most impacted by the fires. Heavy damage or destruction to less than a dozen wineries is not a blow that will be "near impossible" for the industry to recover from.)


Former Madera County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Erica Stuart lives in the Petaluma area and has been very good about helping to disseminate information during this crisis.


Earlier this year I was fortunate to visit the Charles M. Schultz Peanuts Comics Museum in Santa Rosa. After that visit I bought a membership to the museum. The museum complex is comprised of three sections. The Snoopy’s Home Ice skating rink, the museum proper and a separate gift shop building. The spectator’s area of the skating rink houses the Warm Puppy Café.


During his career what is now the museum building was Schultz’s studio and offices. He had lunch every day at the café as he watched the skaters through a glass wall.


The museum has been posting daily update on conditions in Santa Rosa. I am thankful to report that while the fire never reached the museum complex, it did destroy the residence of Schultz’s widow, Jean Schultz, and the home of their son, Craig Schultz. I shudder to think just how many of the most precious pieces of the Schultz archives were retained in his home and now are terminated.


The museum is closed until future notice as the power is out. I imagine the museum’s six or eight outdoor sculptures will need cleaning from smoke and ash that the winds have brought in.


While I try my best to be a non-violent person, a fitting punishment for firebugs is a ride in a cremation oven. Instead they are sentenced to three hots and a cot for what in California can be considered a non-violent crime.


I find it hard to comprehend how a free trip home is a fitting punishment for people in this country who commit crimes.


One of the many problems in the aftermath of the fires is looters. Here these poor people have had their homes reduced to charred rubble and criminals are sifting through the ashes to claim anything of value that may have left. I saw a mug shot of one woman who had stolen checking records in order to steal the identity of a fire victim.


I admire the restraint of the law enforcement officers who catch these monsters. The innocent-until-proven-guilty policy may be the bedrock of our legal system, but in my dark fantasies a summary execution is what these people deserve.


Gov. Moonbeam recently declared California a sanctuary state. If the president makes good on his threat to withhold federal funding from places that don’t cooperate with ICE warrants, this state will be hard pressed to recover without national money.


While northern California was still on fire, yesterday a Chevron oil refinery in El Segundo caught fire.
I can’t help but think the Almighty is seriously ticked off at California and these fires are payback for all the evil doings in the state. Pray for those who are suffering at this time.

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