Valley People

by AVA News Service, August 24, 2011

LILA KNIGHT has died. Lila, the last of the Anderson Valley Pomos, was the wife of the late Art Knight. The Knights lived for many years near Lemons Market in Philo. Art Knight worked for most of those years for the late Smokey Blattner, hauling sand and gravel and developing Valley wells. Lila Knight was an absolutely pivotal figure at the old Clearwater Ranch where her patient kindliness greatly benefitted the disturbed children assigned there.

THE SAME can be said of May Wallace, also a former employee of the Clearwater Ranch. Mrs. Wallace, in addition to her essential presence in the turbulent lives of dependent children, served as a foster parent to many otherwise unmoored young people. Both women lived long and productive lives rooted in commitment to the young.

AT LAST WEEK’S Community Services Board meeting there was some discussion about what some saw as the Budget Committee's gratuitously unfriendly reaction to bicycle trail proponent Melissa Meader. The Budget Committee people explained that part of the problem was that Ms. Meader spent a good bit of time describing the desirability of the bike trail but by the time it even came to a vote to put it on the agenda as an off-agenda item, Ms. Meader had to leave, making the vote to put the item on the agenda essentially moot. Everyone at the CSD Board meeting agreed that they liked the idea of a bike trail, were in favor of some kind of application for bike path planning funds, and generally were supportive of the idea, and that it was “unfortunate” that Ms. Meader felt that she had been disparaged. Fortunately, the deadline for the grant application has been pushed back until March of 2012 so there's plenty of time to regroup and put together a grant application to the satisfaction of both the bike trail advocates and the paper pushers.

AIRPORT MANAGER Kirk Wilder reported that the annual Airport Open House a week ago Saturday was a “great success!” One of the many highlights included another flyover from a Coast Guard C-130.

THE SUDDEN RESIGNATION of a freshly hired AV history teacher has resulted in local boy Keevan Labowitz's appointment as replacement. The son of Kathy Bailey and Eric Labowitz of Nash Mill, we remember Keevan as a very lively student at AVHS. Keevan is hustling home from Kenya to take up his new duties. By next week we hope to know what he's been doing in Africa, but whatever it was it certainly can't help but make him a more effective instructor.

A YOUNG FAMILY MAN named Don Harris has also registered to run for the Anderson Valley School Board. Mr. and Mrs. Harris have three young children and live on the Holmes Ranch, Philo. Mr. Harris lists his occupation as “public relations.” There are now five persons vying for three seats on the board. Long time, some might say eternal, incumbent Marti Bradford and appointed trustee Dick Browning had said they intended to step down. But the entrenched core of our uniquely nepotistic school district, a tight, self-interested alliance of administrators and teachers, have obviously persuaded Bradford and Browning to stay on, Bradford and Browning being accurately viewed by the district's ruling cadre as automatic yes votes for whatever the ruling cadre wants to do. Two dissident candidates, Ernie Pardini and Ben Anderson, “Bendini,” as they've been dubbed, have registered to run, as has Mr. Harris about whom little is known. If history is any guide, Bendini will be clandestinely opposed, meaning they will be gossiped about and backbitten off stage with little or no opportunity to present their views in honest and open debate. Strange, isn't it, that the ruling apparatus of a public school district would behave in such a frightened and furtive manner, but that's what happens when fearful, grasping people achieve unopposed control of a public entity. One would think that school people, of all people, would be capable of forthrightly defending themselves and their educational strategies, but.....The election is in November, and if you have even a residual respect for democratic practices you will not vote to retain Marti Bradford and Dick Browning.

MY VIEWS, which are seldom shared by my son though he bears their burden, is that our schools have long needed intelligent, vigorous leadership. NONE of the existing administrative contracts should be renewed. I'm FOR fresh young faces in those three positions.

FIRE CHIEF Colin Wilson gave the CSD Board a short report on the fatal tanker rollover near the Mendocino-Sonoma County line on August 2. “We responded to a fuel tanker rollover near the County line at about 8pm on a Tuesday evening. The truck had struck a private vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, killing the driver before the trailer rolled onto its side spilling gasoline and diesel totaling nearly 4,000 gallons onto the roadway. A total of ten agencies were involved in the response. Most units were released by about 3am the following Wednesday morning and the removal of contaminated soil and replacement of damaged payment took a little over a week to complete. Unfortunately, this was the second time in ten years that we have had a fuel tanker spill in our district. The earlier event occurred on September 11, 2001 in the town of Navarro. The cleanup from that event is still underway because the diesel got into a local well contaminating drinking water. Considering the size, this most recent spill was relatively quick and easy to clean up.”

MURIEL ELLIS, well into her eighth decade, has returned from a motoring adventure which took her from Yorkville to British Columbia, across Canada, down the American east coast and across the United States to her home base in Santa Rosa. Muriel, solo, drove her own car the whole way, stopping where she liked.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: The Chinese food at Asian Village, South State Street Ukiah. Cheap, authentic, good as any you'll find in Frisco. Outback Chinese restaurants tend to bland down their food for us rural Roundeyes, the thinking being that we're pretty much stuck at the Chop Suey and Fortune Cookie stage of gastronomic development. Not this place. The food at Asian Village is the real deal.

DEPUTY WALKER advises locals to be careful about letting “recycling operators” access your “junk.” In recent months, a number of entrepreneurs, frequently young Mexican men driving small-ish flatbeds, have appeared in the Valley to offer their salvage services to local landowners. Deputy Walker has received a few complaints about one of the operators. This guy drives a modified white Toyota pickup and has a tendency to take more stuff than he's been authorized to take. If in any doubt, ask salvage operators for their business name or license and verify them on-line or call the home office and make sure they’re legit. Or call Deputy Walker at 272-0567.

ANYONE who missed the thoroughly enjoyable concert of Bill Taylor playing his original compositions at Preston Hall in Mendocino this past Sunday will have a second opportunity to hear him play this Saturday night, August 27th, at Lauren´s Restaurant, from 9-10:30pm. Accompanied by singer Jaye Allison Moscariello and county music celebrity Paul McCandless, Bill brought us through many places and feelings as we listened to his short and varied songs. McCandless will not be accompanying him in person at Lauren’s, but you will hear his artistry thru the magic of technology. This is a must-hear concert by one of the Valley’s musical talents, long-hidden under the wide brim of his organic farmer’s hat. Don’t miss it!

SEVERAL Signal Ridge residents told us after reading last week's item about the sickly horse in the neighborhood that Animal Control has been out to check and concluded that the horse was simply old, not starving.

THE LOCAL FOOD people will have their Quarterly Foodshed Potluck meeting on Thursday, September 1, at the Boonville General Store. Potluck from 6-7pm. Meeting from 7-9pm. Bring your local food potluck dish with serving utensil and your own dishes. On the agenda: Not-So-Simple Living Fair recap; Local Food Guide Website update; October C'mon Home to Eat discussion; December Holiday Dinner discussion; and more to be announced. — Cindy Wilder

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