Valley People

by AVA News Service, May 4, 2011

GARY ABBOTT of Boonville was headed to Philo about 6am Tuesday morning when, on the Philo side of the Grange, two horses suddenly appeared in front of Abbott's truck. They'd apparently run on to the highway from the west side of 128. Abbott, a native of Boonville, could not avoid hitting them. Abbott was uninjured in the collision but one horse was killed and the other suffered two broken legs and had to be put down. Traffic was one-way for several hours while the unfortunate animals were hauled off.

A SAD event found newsworthy in the great world beyond Anderson Valley informed us that “Deputies caught up with the 17-year-old Philo girl in Ukiah, where she led them on a low-speed pursuit and finally pulled into a Talmage Road gas station, authorities said. Deputies were alerted to her flight by her mother, Susan Juster, 67, who said she heard the girl start up the car around 10 p.m., a short time after she'd been told to go to bed. When Juster went outside to stop her and attempted to open the driver's side door, the girl drove away, causing her mother to fall and hurt her hand, authorities said. Deputies later spotted the car on Highway 253 in Ukiah and turned on lights and sirens in an attempt to stop it, the sheriff's office said. The driver eventually pulled over in a gas station on South State Street and Talmage Road, authorities said. The teen was arrested for suspected auto theft and battery, and was booked into Mendocino County Juvenile Hall, authorities said.”

THE GIRL had apparently been strongly advised to stop seeing a boy friend, by all accounts the kind of young fellow any parent would want to keep their young woman away from. But the lovestruck lass took off anyway, and at 17 how do you stop them? Mrs. Juster has our sympathies.

MEANWHILE, the entirely wholesome Boonville Panthers knocked off Upper Lake at Upper Lake last week, 3-2, as Garrett Mezzanato came as close to throwing a no-hitter as it's possible to get, giving up only one bleeding single.

WITH THE ANDERSON VALLEY AMBULANCE on the edge of extinction because it lacks sufficient volunteers, one can only marvel at the obtuse tight-fistedness of the Ambulance Board's 9 (count 'em) trustees who refuse to cash-support YES-Camp, a hands-on introduction to emergency services for young people, 14-18. At a mere $300 per camper for the 7-day course at the Willits Boy Scout Camp, and with the Ambulance Board's own by-laws requiring “community out reach,” what the heck que pasa here? Anderson Valley ought to be sending half the high school to this thing. And don't say the Ambulance Service isn't sitting on a nice hunk of dough because we all know different. There's at least a hundred grand just sitting there doing nothing but watching the Ambulance die a slow death.

STOPPING in at the always rewarding Fort Bragg Bakery last Friday noon for sandwiches and a loaf of the Bakery's excellent French bread, I spotted my old friend Logger Brian Clark, devoted son of Nash Mill's cherished Kay Clark. As I enjoyed a brief chat with Brian my wife scooped up the goods and exited the shop. When I got back to the car she said, “Somebody bought us lunch.” Quick! I said. Let's get out of here before Somebody changes his mind. (If that was you, Brian, I owe you.)

MARY PAT PALMER, writing for the Anderson Valley Chamber of Commerce, rightly holds up Burroughs Construction as an example of the quality businesses dominant at the Chamber: “John Burroughs arrived in Anderson Valley in his late teens. Following graduation from AVHS, he went to the Oregon Institute of Technology, then followed college with union carpentry work in Ukiah. Among many other projects was a radar Station in Point Arena that included 27 houses – basically a small town. John then struck out on his own, getting his contractor’s license in the early 60’s and working here in Anderson Valley. At that time he was one of the few contractors here in the valley and very busy. There were no electricians nor plumbers in the valley and so he became proficient in these skills as well. Burroughs Construction has, from the beginning, focused on custom-built homes. They work with prospective homeowners to provide quality, personalized buildings with fine cabinetry and other owner chosen details. They built Sherri Hanson’s parents’ home when she was a teenager, as well as many other homes, to include that of Brad Wiley, built in the early 80’s. All of the redwood in the Wiley home was milled on the land. The Wiley home is full of exquisite built in cabinetry. John even built the doors in the Wiley home. He has also taught Jeff this difficult and detailed work. Through the years John has kept his eyes open for sources of reclaimed redwood and other wood. He loves his work and has no plans to retire anytime soon. The company reflects the many years of steady work here in the valley. Mike Reeves joined the company 40 years ago. Son Jeff, also union trained, has worked with John for about 2 years. There are three other full time employees, all from Anderson Valley. Together they make Burroughs Construction a quality outfit, recognizing and rewarding the different skills of each person. From drafting the drawings to the electricity to the plumbing to the fine finish work, they can do it all. Burroughs Construction uses the skills and good reputation of other Anderson Valley businesses to interface with his business. The highly respected Rancheria Real Estate refers people to Burroughs Construction. John used Torrey Douglas to build his website. Burroughs Construction is a good example of an excellent Anderson Valley business belonging to the AV Chamber of Commerce.”

ZINA HYDE CUNNINGHAM WINERY and the Ledson Harmony Foundation, widely assumed to be one in the same, have donated $5,000 to the Anderson Valley schools. The Zina-Ledson combine has contributed more than $25,000 to the schools over the past two years.

ADD LOOK ALIKES: Josh Jennings and Brandon Belt; Bruce Hering and Carl Purdy.

THE 15th ANNUAL Boonville Beer Festival is upon us. 1-5pm Saturday the 14th of May at the Boonville Fairgrounds. This thing draws thousands of beer drinkers to Boonville every year, with a huge hunk of the profit going to Anderson Valley's do-good entities. Over the years the festival, begun by Ken Allen, founder of Boonville Beer, has donated nearly half a million dollars to Valley groups.

AS ALWAYS, the Unity Club's wild flower show last weekend was simply terrific, a perfectly organized collection of prevalent local flora with knowledgeable people standing by to answer questions. All this and a snack bar, a nice selection of guide books, a plant sale, and even some very nicely rendered wildflower drawings by Gene Herr's father. I did wonder, however, at the inclusion of calla lilies and yellow iris among the invasive plants like the dread star thistle. Yellow iris and calla lilies can invade my space any time.

FABULOUS is probably too modest a word for it, but last weekend in Boonville was something else — again. It all started Friday afternoon with Happy Hour at the Boonville Saloon where proprietors Shelly Scaramella and Marsha Martinez have proved themselves the young businesswomen we knew them to be. From there I went to the Buckhorn for a fish & chips supper of superb quality from the kitchen of legendary restaurateur Tom Towey. Huge chunks of golden fried cod and inimitable French fries, with a monkey dish full of house-specialty tartar sauce, malt vinegar, and a tray full of any kind of condiment one could wish for — and Patty Liddy, aka Hummingbird, was there too, just returned from England to draw me a pint of stout. Patty took her meal break and joined me with a pizza — the Buckhorn’s two new pizza ovens are really a hit with pizza-starved locals! She gave me a report on her globetrotting adventures, including an update on the imminent return of her famous companion, Impresario Steve Sparks who was detained with a family emergency in Jolly Old England, but will return shortly. It must be said of the Buckhorn that they employ at least two dozen people who would otherwise have no job locally. This is significant because most of the other restaurants are pretty much family-run operations, where getting a job is strictly a matter of nepotism. After dinner I went to Lauren’s where the Three Musketeers, Nora, Cora and Rita, were working the tables; the trio of inseparable friends, reunited after a long winter during which the wicked old world had drawn them in different directions to distant lands such as Mexico and the Bay Area. At 9 o’clock, the Big Band dusted off some priceless old jazz standards to a noisy and boisterous crowd of, er… just little old me — but they really put their hearts and souls into their music and I, for one, was quite pleased. Lauren’s and the Headlands in Fort Bragg are the only places where you can get a regular diet of live jazz for the price of a horn of zeese or a pint of beer, and it’s a rare privilege for cool cats who don’t live in the city. There was one other fellow who came in — he thought the Mermen were supposed to be playing, but was told that that would be the next night, Saturday night. The Mermen are a famous local psychedelic rock trio — bass, guitar, drums — with a cult following from San Diego to Seattle, and those who heard about the Lauren’s gig dropped what they were doing and lit out for Boonville. Many of these Mermen fans camped at the Fairgrounds overnight and came to our little coffee klatch at Mosswood Market Sunday morning, where locals of diverse political persuasions discuss all the headlines in the national and local news. Mosswood is another newish business, having just about a year ago been taken over by the gracious hostess and superlative pastry cook, Pilar Escheveria-Mendoza. Following this invigorating encounter, I breakfasted at the newest restaurant in town, Mis Potrancas (formerly Yuri’s), next to the Boonville Saloon. Mis Potrancas is Spanish for ‘my fillies,’ which is how owner Raul Mendoza honors his two beautiful daughters, and one darling granddaughter. Mis Potrancas is a Mexican restaurant with lots of American favorites, such as the Omlette Jamón (ham and cheese omelet), which I ordered and which came with sourdough toast slathered with strawberry jam, hash brown potatoes, ketchup and hot sauce. Raul’s daughter Melinda was waiting tables and she reported they had a big crowd Saturday night, their opening night, and were very hopeful to make a success of it. Raul is a long-time local, having worked at Husch Vineyards for the past 27 years, and Melinda is a graduate of AV High. Bueno suerte, Mis Potrancas! And great good luck to all the new businesses in town! (— Bruce McEwen)

CALFIRE announced last week that burn permits are now required prior to any outdoor burning in Mendocino County effective May 1, 2011. Permits can be obtained at the Boonville Fire House. But even with a permit, you can play with fire only on “permissive” burn days.

THE AGENDA for Tuesday’s (yesterday’s) Supes meeting in Boonville managed to be almost entirely irrelevant to the Anderson Valley: “Convene as Air Quality Management District; Reconvene as Board of Supervisors; Accept report from Fair Manager; Adjourn to Goat Cheese Tour at Navarro Vineyards; General Plan Implementation Discussion; Closed Session.”

IF THE SUPES are interested in small farms, and we would suppose they are, the freshly constructed goat farm at the southwest end of Boonville, which is the project of Ted Bennett's and Deborah Cahn's daughter Sarah, might somewhat redeem their trip to Boonville, but only if County policy makes it easier for such small-scale enterprises to get up and running. Crimeny, as it stands, a building inspector appeared over here a couple of weeks ago to tell Johnny Schmitt he had too many businesses going in one structure, that structure being the thriving Farrer Building! Boonville is the town where County Planning and Building, reinforced by our own fire department and Community Services District board, tolerates Glen Ricard’s derelict firetrap at the corner of Haehl and 128. And Planning and Building is hassling Johnny Schmitt for too many businesses at one site?

THE SUPES won't be talking about the status of law enforcement in the Valley or the proliferation of roadside tasting rooms, two areas of concern for many locals. And the Supes simply ignored Bev Dutra's suggestion that if they're coming to Boonville how about a simple round table discussion so locals can make Valley priorities clear to the leadership? It seems that County Counsel deemed that one somehow dangerous to legal protocols.

WE DID A QUICK lowball estimate of the cost of Tuesday's Boonville meeting. Eight hours for 12 people who cost the taxpayers an average of $100k per year gross each just staying home in Ukiah, plus travel at 50¢ per mile for half of them. $50/hour for 8 hours for 5 supervisors and 7 staff or $50 x 8 x 12 = $4400. Plus mileage for four cars (assuming they carpool): 4 x $.50 x 50 miles = $200. Estimated total: $4600 for a meeting during which not a whit of the public's real business will be transacted.

THIS SATURDAY, May 7th, there will be a Mother’s Day Bake Sale on the porch of Lemon’s Market beginning at 10 a.m. The Bake Sale proceeds will go to the Philo Methodist Church. Pat Hulbert will host the event, and she reports that there will be huckleberry pies, apple/huckleberry tarts, cookies, brownies, and many more sweets. She says that if you want a huckleberry pie come early. The sale will last until the last baked item has been sold and represents a rare opportunity to sample Pat's huckleberry goods, and when's the last time you enjoyed a slice of huckleberry pie? Better get there early because the huckleberry goods go fast.

ALEXANDRA SCIOCHETTI of Fort Bragg and Jimmy Bailon of Cloverdale were the fastest female and male runners at Sunday's Boont Classic. The inevitable Jim Gibbons of Willits and Hawaii, who has won more Boonville prizes than any other competitor in the 21-year history of the event, was the fleetest senior runner. The annual contest was begun by Drew Colfax, as I recall, and subsequently managed by Drew's brother, Reed. Grant and Drew Colfax are now medical doctors, Reed is an attorney, Garth a social worker. All four boys were home schooled.) The Colfax boys got the Classic off to such a solid start that it has since become the most eagerly anticipated annual athletic contest in all of Mendocino County. Popular with both the super-competitive like the nationally ranked Gibbons, from its very beginnings the Boont Classic has also been a non-competitive family event, as it certainly was last Sunday with everyone from our good friend the intrepid Willow Douglas-Graham, a kindergartner and frequent visitor to the AVA office, to John Lewallen in his walker. I shuffled along with Bill Cook, chatting about everything from local history to Bill's recent trip to Australia as Bruce and Jo Hering maintained a steady 25-yard lead over us. For years, Hering beat me in this race when we both still ran it, and now he's beating me as we walk it. “I heard the sound of your stick digging into the pavement behind me, and I was bedammed if I was going to let you and Bill pass me,” Hering informed me Tuesday morning. Suspicions confirmed! I'd suspected I'd served as major incentive for Bruce all these years, and at last he's fessed up. A concerned citizen asked, “Do you need a walking stick now?” Which is polite for, “Are you so decrepit you need support to remain upright?” Let me explain. At the Ludwig Nursery end of Anderson Valley Way there's a pack of pitbulls restrained only by a wire fence. A walking stick will hardly be sufficient to repel them when they get loose and come after me — I walk that stretch of road several times a week — but the stick may help me vault the fence on the other side of the road before the eager beasts, straining for a bite of me every time I pass, can eat both my legs. We hadn't walked three-quarters of a mile when this Bailon kid, Miss Sciocchetti, three local high school kids — Jacob Blue, Omar Benevides and Salvador Gutierrez — sprinting just ahead of Gibbons and Bob Deines, another ace Senior runner from Willits, came hurtling back the other way. They all covered the 3.1 in about twenty minutes, and Gibbons is well into his golden years, an official Senior Citizen for years now. Also turning in impressive top-ten performances were Oren and Roe Klein of Philo, Bon Goodell of Boonville and Elk, and Joe Moroney of Philo. Local school chief, JR Collins, ran an impressive 32.25 undoubtedly making him both Mendocino County's fastest educational bureaucrat and probably the only one who can count past thirty. Later that afternoon, after complaining about his arthritic elbow and a lot of sandbagging talk about how he's “not a push-up guy,” Gibbons ripped off a quick 63 to my slow 42. I gave him a bottle of wine and a lunch at Mosswood and wondered if dared return to Boonville this Sunday for the homerun derby in which, Erica Lemons said Tuesday morning that so far as she was aware I was the only Senior entered. If Bruce Hering shows up and hits a few out I'm forever after sedentary.

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