The Dimmick Ranch announces 2nd payment to the Mateel Community Center

[Humboldt County, CA January 29] The Dimmick Ranch is pleased to announce that Tom Dimmick will be making the third scheduled payment of $200,000 on or before February 1st to the Mateel Community Center. “We are happy to make this payment to the MCC and know that it will help them carry on their valuable services to our community through their varied and unique programs.” The final payment of $50,000 to the MCC is due in September and will be made on or before its scheduled due date.

The Dimmick Ranch is looking forward to Reggae Rising ’09 to be held July 31st – August 2nd at the historic Dimmick Ranch and French’s Camp on the banks of the picturesque Eel River.

Someone sent me this clip – mainly because I’m it it. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I only vaguely recall the interview, and don’t really remember the people who did it or exactly when.

I’m told that this is an excerpt from a longer documentary that got lost in the Reggae War shufle. Can anyone fill me on on the details?

by Cristina Bauss

by Cristina Bauss

By all accounts I’ve heard, Reggae on the River at Benbow was a great party. The Journal sent a correspondent who said as much in a review that will run in our next edition. Cristana said she had a great time too and wrote about it in her Nocturnal Nomad blog.  (I borrowed the photo from her without asking- thanks Cristina!)

Apparently the Mateel made some money, and as a result, they’re already announcing the return:

From: Mateel Community Center

Reggae On The River Is Back For 2009 & Beyond

In the wake of a very successful revival of Reggae on the River, held July 19 as a single day rising from the ashes event at Benbow Lake State Recreation Area in Southern Humboldt, the Mateel Community Center is happy to announce that this beloved local tradition is back and will continue to be synonymous with the center’s offerings for years to come.  Although the date and venue for 2009 are still undetermined, plans are already in the works to continue rebuilding this community fundraiser and this year’s event was a beautiful start.

Blessed with perfect weather and a back to the roots vibe, Reggae on the River 2008 was a very special celebration that brought together local families and longtime fans for some great reggae music and a whole lot of healing energy.  Both a financial and spiritual success, the festival will play an important role in stabilizing the community center’s finances, enabling the next 6 months of operations and setting the stage for the continuation of the great Reggae On The River tradition.

Stay posted to for 2009 festival updates, which will be coming soon.  For more information, call (707) 923-3368 and make plans now to join the Mateel Community Center and continue your Reggae On The River experience for 2009 and beyond.

This won’t be news to most of you. The press release from Mateel V.P. Garth Epling came while I was out of town. It gives some details on the deal made between the Mateel, People Productions and Tom Dimmick to end the Reggae War.

Mateel Signs Peace Accord with Dimmick, People Productions

July 17, 2008

The Mateel Community Center Board of Directors has agreed to drop its claims against Tom Dimmick and Carol Bruno’s People Productions rather than to continue to battle in the courtroom. In return, Dimmick and Bruno will pay Mateel a half million dollars. They will also dismiss all of their lawsuits against the Mateel, its staff and Board of Directors. The Mateel will retain ownership of its trademark, Reggae on the River, kicking off a new era of Reggae this coming Saturday at Benbow Lake State Park.

We feel the need to get on with our lives is important to many people in the community, and that the courtroom drama only continued to hold us all hostage to a future of fighting over a very uncertain outcome. The months of legal battling, the cost of the lawsuit to Mateel donors, and a desire to get on with our real job-running the Community Center, has led us to this difficult decision. Both sides were also motivated strongly by Judge Warren, who twisted everyone’s arms to get us to settle the case. At this point, we feel the settlement path best fulfills our fiduciary duty as the Board of Directors of the Mateel.

We are ever so grateful to the hundreds of community members who’ve supported us through this difficult struggle. It’s been amazing to watch the outpouring of people’s energy to help at the Mateel—something which will need to continue for the Mateel to thrive as a local Community Center. While we believe that the $500,000 isn’t nearly enough, it will help to re-establish a modest reserve for the Mateel, as well as help pay for long-deferred maintenance of the building. But the future of the Mateel no longer lies at the feet of a monster Reggae show—in fact, it remains in the capable hands of the people of Southern Humboldt, and the Mateel will remain strong with ongoing community support.

I was up late the other night, aimlessly channel surfing, when I came across this 1998 movie, A Civil Action that looked interesting. The film is based on a true story. John Travolta stars as lawyer Jan Schlichtmann, who went broke representing families suing companies accused of dumping cancer causing toxic waste.

Something resonated with local events when, at one point in the action, Schlichtmann paused to ruminate:

The odds of a plaintiff’s lawyer winning in civil court are two to one against. Think about that for a second. Your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette are better than winning a case at trial. 12 times better. So why does anyone do it? They don’t. They settle. Out of the 780,000 cases filed each year, only 12,000 or 11/2 percent ever reach a verdict.

The whole idea of lawsuits is to settle, to compel the other side to settle. And you do that by spending more money than you should, which forces them to spend more money than they should, and whoever comes to their senses first — loses. Trials are a corruption of the entire process and only fools who have something to prove end up ensnared in them. Now when I say prove, I don’t mean about the case — I mean about themselves.”

Heard this weekend from several well-places source that a long mediation session before Judge Warren has resulted in a negotiated settlement of the Mateel v. Dimmick and People Productions lawsuit.

A note from the Dimmick Ranch folks confirms that it’s true. “But we are not yet ready to release the details.”

All I can say is, peace is good. Let the healing begin.

More later…

{update – sort of]

Garth Epling writes to say the negotiation session lasted 15 hours, and,

The terms will not be confidential but are not yet final so I can not release any details.
If all works out we will reach final agreement some time in the later part of this coming week.

Take care,

- Garth

What: Mateel Community Center’s Reggae on the River
Where: Benbow Lake State Recreation Area (Benbow, CA)
When: Saturday, July 19, 2008
Who: Culture w/ Kenyatta Hill (above), The Wailing Souls, Katchafire, Warrior King & more!
Why: A keep-the-name-alive-forever fundraiser for the Mateel Community Center

Reggae On The River Rises From The Ashes & Lands In Benbow July 19

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, on Saturday, July 19th, the Mateel Community Center will revive Reggae on the River as a single-day, roots reggae and world music celebration at Benbow Lake State Recreation Area in southern Humboldt. A transitional year for the event, with issues still unresolved in the festival’s ongoing legal dispute, Reggae on the River 08 will be an in-house production offered in a keep-the-name-alive-forever spirit, with hopes to return the festival to 3 day event that will again support the work of both community non-profits and the Mateel Community Center.

In keeping with the paired down theme, the festival will eschew top heavy headliners this year and will feature a deep and top class billing of international talent including Culture with Kenyatta Hill, The Wailing Souls (w/ Ziggy Marley’s backing band); native New Zealanders, Katchafire; Jamaica’s conscious dancehall and roots sensation, Warrior King; dancehall diva, Sister I-Live; and Jamaica’s rising star (and local favorite), Stevie Culture, with more talent TBA. Additionally, the event will offer vendors, a children’s area, delicious food and drink, a beer & wine bar, and plenty of irie vibes on the beautiful shores of the Eel River in Benbow Lake S.R.A.

Don’t miss this chance to support the work of MCC while helping keep Reggae on the River alive. Tickets will be offered soon at the affordable, family friendly price of $45 for MCC members (at the MCC office only), $50 in advance, and $55 at the gate (if available) with kids 12 & under free. They will first be available for purchase at the Summer Arts & Music Festival at Benbow Lake SRA on the weekend of May 31 & June 1 (look for them at the Mateel info booth), and will then be available at local outlets and online at beginning Monday, June 3. Advance tickets are advised as capacity will be limited.

Visit either or for further talent announcements, plus state park camping info, and other festival tidbits. A variety of vending options are also currently available for craft and food booths (with non-profit organizations receiving food booth priority). For more information on vending at Reggae on the River, contact Ashley Wilma at 923-3368 ext. 31 or email her at To volunteer, or for more general questions about this year’s single day Reggae on the River festival at Benbow Lake SRA, contact the MCC office at (707) 923-3368 or send an email to So mark your calendars now and don’t miss the return of this beloved SoHum tradition on Saturday, July 19.


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