Valley People

by AVA News Service, February 23, 2011

MR. QIONG WANG is either the most committed poacher to prey on Mendocino County in years, or he's operating under the prevalent Asian delusion that all Asians look alike to Round Eyes. Two weeks ago, deputy Craig Walker busted Mr. Wang for possession of 36 abalone, half of them under legal size and all of them out of season. Fresh abalone can bring upwards of $50 each from Asian restaurants in the Bay Area. Deputy Walker had stopped the San Francisco resident for speeding south through Boonville. The purloined delicacy was clearly visible in all its flagrantly illegal abundance in Mr. Wang's vehicle, and Mr. Wang was duly arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail. Mr. Wang quickly bailed, but his booking photo and the details of his aborted Mendo foray were printed here.

SCARCELY A WEEK LATER, alert Philo residents spotted Mr. Wang driving west towards the Mendocino Coast. They'd recognized Wang from his photo in last week's paper. Deputy Walker was quickly alerted that Wang was back, the deputy promptly alerted Fish and Game and, as incredulous game wardens looked on, Wang strode out of the surf near Mendocino with what turned out to be 50 abs, at least half of which were again under size and all of which were again out of season. The determined Wang had rented dive gear and had returned to the scene of last week's crime to poach more abalone. And he was busted again, and booked into the County Jail again, and here's his photo again, and if you see him again headed west for the sea, call deputy Walker again.

LUCILLE ESTES of Airport Estates is recovering at her son's Clearlake home from a broken leg she suffered in an in-home fall a month ago. Justly famed for her spectacular and perfectly maintained gardens, Lucille, is resting easier knowing that her gardens are being meticulously cared for in her absence, with her good friend and neighbor Diane Herron checking on everything every day.

FOR SOME REASON, County garbage czar Mike Sweeney refuses to notify this fine publication when his hazmat crew is coming to Boonville, meaning lots of locals remain unaware that they can drop off hazardous stuff at the Boonville Fairgrounds parking lot absolutely free. Sweeney, of course, remains the sole viable suspect in the 1990 car bombing of his former wife, Judi Bari. In 1980, he was the sole viable suspect in the firebombing of the old Navy air station near Santa Rosa. And from the late 1960s until the middle 1970s, Sweeney belonged to a Stanford-based Maoist cult involved in numerous Bay Area bombings and at least one murder. Of course here in Amnesia County, this unique resume gets the guy a cush job worth a hundred grand a year, pay and perks. Sweeney seems to resent my bringing this stuff up.

STEVE SPARKS and the pending Buckhorn Boonville restaurant have, in a perfectly amicable parting of the ways, are asunder. Steve says he's simply too busy with other responsibilities to help run another business. The Buckhorn is due to open by mid-March.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHERS concluded their season last week with a rout in the Boonville gym of visiting Mendocino. Now, it's on to the playoffs and a likely repeat meeting with archrival Point Arena. Boonville takes on Summerfield Waldorf of Santa Rosa tonight (Wednesday) in the Boonville gym. Assuming the Panthers, ranked 5th among the Northcoast's small schools, trounce the Dorfs, a safe assumption, the Boonville quintet will travel to Point Arena, an unsafe assumption every which way, where they will again face the 4th ranked fog eaters in the acoustic torture chamber of the Arena gym. Three weeks ago, Point Arena ran the Boonville boys right off their floor, laughing to an easy 30-point victory. A return match is hugely anticipated. There were no probs between the players at that now infamous game, but while it was underway, several mohawked Point Arena fans, clearly drunk, had heaped abuse on Anderson Valley's team and fans. After the game, another Arena drunk was flattened by a Boonville player when the fan grabbed the kid by the neck. And a menacing coven of screeching harridans — “like the witches in Macbeth,” as a Boonville spectator described them, had loomed up out of the Pacific mists to chant mysterious curses at Boonville's departing fans. It was all rather unnerving as everyone on both sides of the hill looks forward to Saturday night's re-match. Ferndale, a perennial small school power in all sports, is ranked top seed in the small school basketball playoffs, Laytonville is seeded number eight.

A YOUNG FELLOW named Octavio Medina, 20, of Gualala, is the guy who was flattened by one of our players at Point Arena that night. The Boonville kid had caught Medina's sister trying to filch a camera out of the Boonville kid's backpack when Medina came to his sister's defense, getting himself a quick tko for his misguided gallantry. Then Medina shows up in the Sonoma County Sheriff's Log for being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a loaded, concealed firearm without a permit, trespassing, destroying property, killing a pig without a hunting license, driving without a license.

COINCIDENTALLY, a nice lady just called from the Point Arena schools to ask about running an ad for a school bus driver, prompting a certain wise guy to immediately ask, “What? Nobody over there could pass the drug test?” I say no way they're getting our Shorty, the national school bus driving champ, now into his sixth decade on the road and never once so much as a fender bender.

ANOTHER WAG warns of Saturday night's likely basketball playoff game between Boonville and Point Arena, “Point Arena will break out its special age-dated tweek for that one.”

IF YOU happen to be on the South Coast any time during the merry month of March, you will definitely want to stop in at the Sea Ranch Lodge where the talented Lori Robinson will exhibit her paintings as “Earth, Air, Fire & Water, inspired by the dramatic California coastline,” especially the coastline running from Salt Point to Elk.

SPEAKING of mind-altering substances, is the pot museum still on for Navarro? Haven't heard a word about since it was announced as a work in progress.

ANDERSON VALLEY'S Athletic Director, Robert Pinoli, alerts basketball fans that adults can expect to pay $9 to get into playoff games, beginning with tonight's (Wednesday) game versus the Dorfs of Waldorf-Summerfield of Santa Rosa. Don't blame Bob. The CIF establishes the prices. Local school districts have no say-so.

THE 8TH GRADE GIRLS have wrapped up a successful basketball season, a season they'd said they'd have been happy to emerge from with a mere five wins. Instead, the girls walked off the season-ending court with 10 big W's for an overall record of 10-2, while their 7th grade sisters managed a sterling 6-3 season. Coach Erica Lemons is so pleased she's taking the girls to Stanford this weekend for a big-time women's basketball game, probably enjoying visits with Crystal Espinoza and Jacob Gowan, a pair of Valley scholars presently enrolled at the prestigious university. Coach Lemons said Monday that she is particularly grateful to the parents of all her players for their help and support with the two teams, and singled out Richie Wellington and Pastor Bill Nobles for their steadfast assistance with this, that and the other things without which these affairs wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Ms. Lemons also mentioned that she was optimistic that girl's softball at the high school level was looking up, singling out the formidable pitching of Daisy Mendoza for special mention. She said that with some 15 girls playing t-ball, and a high school girl mentoring junior high girls as they learn to play the game, AV High just might begin at last to develop into a softball powerhouse.

AMY SODERMAN has returned to her Boonville home with an Award of Merit from the just concluded Westminster Kennel Club’s dog show at Madison Square Garden, the second highest canine breed award possible from one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world. It was Ms. Soderman's Nova Scotia Duck Toller, a retriever, that won her the big prize last week in New York. A Scottish deerhound  bounded off with the title of America's top dog, but the Boonville pooch was right behind him.

THE ANNUAL Anderson Valley Variety Show at the Philo Grange is on for March 4 and 5, a Friday and a Saturday, with show times at 7pm both nights. $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and children and a big bargain at twice the price. Impresario Captain Rainbow must have a full card because he hasn't been out there scaring up acts like he usually is. But count on the guy to produce a great show out of our talent-packed Valley.

THE COMMUNITY Services District Board last week approved the purchase of a new “rescue engine” for Boonville. Chief Wilson told the board that the price would be below $80,000 for a “wet” unit which comes with a 300 gallon water tank. The Chief convinced the Board that the old rescue engine would not last much longer — from one to five years — and was not well suited for certain roads and terrain, being a two wheel drive, and it doesn't have a water tank. The new rescue engine will be built up on top of a basic Ford F-550 chassis obtained at a big government discount from the Ukiah Ford dealership, and equipment from the old rescue unit and some new equipment added on. $65,000 of the estimated cost will come from the Fire Department's “apparatus reserve,” and $15,000 will be donated by the Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association.

THE TEEN CENTER is planning a snow trip to Mount Shasta in late March 25 and 26, a trip they might be able to foreshorten this weekend in our own hills as snow levels drop to a thousand feet over the weekend. “We will leave from Anderson Valley High School right after school on Friday the 25th and drive to Cave Springs Resort, stopping for dinner on the road,” says the trip proposal. “The group will move into the rented cabin Friday night with option to watch movies, play games etc. (It's the etc. that worries most parents, but the trip will be well-supervised.) “Saturday will be spent skiing with a night skiing option as well. Sunday morning the group will pack up and checkout of the cabin, return to the ski area and ski Sunday morning, leaving by 1:30pm in order to arrive home by 7pm. The Teen Center will provide dinner on Saturday night, breakfast on Saturday and Sunday — all of which will be made at the cabin — and students/chaperones will bring money to purchase lunch on Sunday and to pack a lunch for Saturday.” The trip requires at least 12 students to make it worthwhile — up to 20 could be accommodated. Chaperones will receive up to $400 from Teen Center and grant funds for expenses. Participants will be expected to pay $115 each. The rest of the money will be will come from local fundraising and grants. The chaperones will not charge for their time. For more information contact Cassidy Geppert or Colleen Schenk (895-3053).

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