Valley People

by AVA News Service, April 7, 2011

SARA IVEY, the pleasant and capable manager at the Boonville School’s office, graciously provides the latest personnel updates: 1. Kira Brennan has applied to return to duty from leave of absence 2. Robert Waring, long-time 6th grade teacher, has been granted a one-year leave of absence 3. Mary O'Brien is retiring in June 4. Kathy Cox is retiring in June 5. Rae Sokolow is retiring in June 6. Kathy Borst has been granted a reduced workload for next school year 7. Todd Adams has resigned.

CONTRARY to persistent rumors, Jeanne Collins, wife of Superintendent JR Collins, “has absolutely no intention of returning to work at AVUSD.” That rumor arises out of the perennially lurking community suspicion that school hiring is an insider's game which, truth to tell, it has been for many years.

AL GREEN of Greenwood Ridge Vineyards has assembled an interesting little book detailing his family's relationship with the great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The nicely produced tome, replete with helpful photographs, contains a number of amusing epistolary exchanges between Al's great-aunt, Rose Pauson, and Wright, as Wright designed and built a house for Ms. Pauson that would be described as among Wright's “most creative.” Look for Building the Pauson House at a bookstore near you, which would be Laughing Dog Books right here in Boonville.

THE NEXT regularly scheduled AVCAC Steering Committee meeting will be next Wed. April 6th at 5 pm in the Family Resource and Career Center. We'll update on the deputy situation, “Give Back” campaign and learn about prescription drug abuse. (— Colleen Schenk)

IF YOU'LL haul them off and split them, free firewood can be had in stump form by calling 895-3276.

CHAYA MANDELBAUM, Boonville born and bred, has been honored by the New York chapter of the Federal Executive Board as this year's distinguished service award recipient. The prestigious recognition cites Mandelbaum's “exceptional performance as a labor trial attorney litigating and successfully trying before federal courts and administrative bodies significant cases.” The citation lauds the young lawyer for ensuring that “millions of dollars were restored to more than a thousand workers in the New York Metro area.”

THE ANDERSON VALLEY Land Trust is sponsoring a spring wildflower hike on the Galbreath Wildlands Preserve at the headwaters of Rancheria Creek, deep Yorkville, on Saturday, April 23rd from 9:30 to 1pm. Galbreath, if memory serves, was a Marin County insurance executive who left the 3,670 pristine acres to Sonoma State University. Info at 895-3150.

JANIE SHEPPARD tells me that the murals we've all had occasion to admire at the old Ukiah Post Office were the WPA work of Ben Cunningham, whose work also graces Coit Tower in San Francisco. Cunningham went from Ukiah to become quite well known nationally. The present citizen's struggle with Post Office Central over the fate of the Ukiah PO is important if for no other reason than Cunningham's art rests in the lobby. His Ukiah mural, Janie says, had to be negotiated with Ukiah bigwigs who probably feared that a WPA artist might insert certain pinko features if he were left to express his true feelings, as Diego Riviera did at roughly the same time when he included a portrait of Lenin in a mural commissioned by Rockefeller. Rockefeller had the work destroyed. It's hard to even imagine a famous artist these days who would dare risk the wrath of the padrone class, but in the 1930s there were still a few all-outers around. If you've never seen the Ukiah Post Office's Cunningham mural it's well worth stopping by for a look.

GASOLINE is $4.07 a gallon at Cloverdale, right around $4 in Fort Bragg, an average of $4.40 a gallon in the Anderson Valley. I used to try to decode writing on economics until a guy who knows his onions wised me up. “All a dummy like you has to know about what's happening and what's likely to happen is to watch how the dollar is doing in relation to other currencies, and the price of oil.” He was right. Right now the dollar is fairly strong against other currencies, but oil is just over a hundred dollars a barrel and likely to rise given the level of unrest in the Middle East. Fuel goes up, everything goes up, and the overall economic prognosis is not good, but you already knew that.

EVERY WEEK, a representative sample of humanity appears in our office high atop the Farrer Building in downtown Boonville. Last week, along with the usual tourists and kibitzers, an emaciated fellow called David Wood walked slowly through the door. For a panicked instant he'd come to die, but as it developed Mr. Wood said he'd passed successfully through death's indiscriminate door some weeks prior to his arrival in Boonville. A resident of Fort Bragg, Mr. Wood said he'd found a cure for the cancer that had almost killed him and does kill thousands of people. “Just out of the corner of my eye,” he explained, “I once saw a reference in Harper's magazine to something called dichloroacetic, and when this tumor appeared in my chest, and the doctors were going to put me on chemo and all the other stuff I knew would kill me, I remembered that Harper's reference.” A little research soon took Mr. Wood directly to the stuff which, I believe, he said he'd found in Mexico. And here he was to urge me to pass along the good news.

THE SIEGE began on Friday night, the 25th of March when a woman named Judith L. Jackson, 51, of Gualala, was carried kicking and screaming from the bar at the Sea Ranch Lodge, a venue ordinarily free of low rent behavior. Ms. Jackson was subsequently charged with public intoxication and the usual stuff that goes with it — resisting arrest, terrorist threats and on through the gamut of the full alcoholic freakout. The deputy who'd had the unhappy task of hauling Ms. Jackson to the Sonoma County Jail said it was his “worst trip ever.” But that Judith L. Jackson was instantly and, it must be said, gleefully assumed to be Judith M. Jackson, aka Sister Yasmin.

SISTER YASMIN lives on the Southcoast, but she hasn't seen 51 for a good twenty years and, as a Rastafarian, is committed to herb, not alcohol. Yaz nevertheless did a preemptive telephonic strike on me that began, “Bruce, you bastard, I know you're going to write this up, but put this in your pipe and smoke it, Brucie baby: It was not me!” And so on, nevermind that I already knew that the old bat who'd been carted off from the Sea Ranch Lodge was not the old bat I was talking to. We were soon surprised to receive a letter from the poor guy who manages the Sea Ranch Lodge rightly denying that neither he nor anybody who works at the Lodge had identified Judith L. Jackson, 51, as Judith M. Jackson, 106. We even got a call from the arresting deputy! Sister Yasmin, it seems, had worked the phones so relentlessly that even the poor cop who'd had to arrest the other Judith Jackson felt he had to call Boonville to ask us not to report what we weren't going to report anyway.

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