Valley People

by AVA News Service, September 21, 2011

FAIR MANAGER Jim Brown said Monday that this year's County Fair crowd was quite large, up at least 30% The amiably efficient Brown attributed improved attendance to the perfect weekend weather. It rained a little last year, and people reading the weather forecasts tended to stay away. Brown happily reported. “Everyone seemed pleased, and the people I talked to said they had fun, and that's the most important thing.” The vendors, concessionaires and exhibits all did well. The Apple Cup (Soccer) and Apple Bowl (Football) played to packed houses. The exhibitors did their normal good jobs setting up the ag displays. The Sunday Fair Parade was longer than it has been. There were no significant problems. “I think one of the rodeo cowboys broke an arm,” said Brown, adding that such minor incidents are an occupational hazard in that sport. “But nobody got taken to the hospital or jail.” Prize winners in the various judging categories were all well-deserved. All in all, this year's fair gets a Gold Medal in Good Old Fashioned Family Fun. It really is no exaggeration to say that the Boonville Fair is absolutely the best fair in the state, a real gem, and Mr. Brown and the Fair Board deserve every bit of praise they get.

DEPUTY WALKER agreed that this year’s County Fair was pretty quiet. “Maybe a drunk kid or two,” said Walker, "but that was it."

DEPUTY SQUIRES remains out on medical leave with a bad shoulder. All those years of rasslin' drunks and bad guys have taken their toll. He can remember when the Boonville Fair featured drunks fighting in the middle of the highway and every other place with a large contingent of cops hustling into the wee hours breaking up combatants and picking up the pieces. Farther back, in the early 1950's, Slim Pickens, then a rodeo caller, said Boonville was the toughest little town he'd ever worked in. We seem to have evolved.

ED SLOTTE has had to put a job on hold near Northspur, that area being where fugitive killer Aaron Bassler is assumed to be hiding out.

PHILO RESIDENT Gene Herr wrote last week: "For those of you with an interest in the proposed marijuana dispensary in Boonville (between Lauren's and the Live Oak Bldg.), the Board of Supervisors will hear a recommendation: “To adopt a resolution directing County Counsel to draft an urgency ordinance pursuant to Government Code §65858 prohibiting the establishment and operation of new marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of the County, for the next Board agenda. County officials are working on amending the zoning codes and developing dispensary regulations but these provisions are not yet complete. The adoption of this resolution would direct County Counsel to draft a temporary, urgency ordinance pursuant to Government Code Section 65858, to protect public safety, health, and welfare until the County enacts dispensary regulations. Passage of any urgency ordinance requires a four-fifths vote.”

“The actual resolution says in part:

“WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors believes that the distribution of medical marijuana impacts the public’s health, safety and welfare in local communities and requires careful consideration of appropriate zoning and related operational standards; and

“Whereas, the development of guidelines and zoning regulations for the establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the County has just commenced and is not yet complete; and

“WHEREAS, based on the foregoing, the Board of Supervisors finds and determines that the current and immediate preservation of public health, safety and welfare requires that a temporary ordinance prohibiting marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of the County be enacted as an urgency measure pursuant to Government Code Section §65858 and take effect immediately upon adoption.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors directs County Counsel to draft a ordinance pursuant to Government Code §65858 which will prevent the establishment and operation of new medical marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated area of Mendocino County.”

Best available information is that the measure will be heard around 10:00. However, if you wish to speak, you would do well to get there a little early, as sometimes the schedules are flexible. Having this proposed as an urgency ordinance sets the bar high, as four-fifths approval is required. Scuttlebutt says probably McCowan and Carre Brown will support it, Hamburg likely to recuse himself. Apart from his family connection, what are his views on regulating pot sales? of pot? Pinches' prior comments indicate he might oppose additional regulation, and Kendall Smith's position is believed to be wafting somewhere between Honolulu and Fort Bragg, entirely subject to the Japanese tides.

AVA CONTRIBUTOR Will Parrish has been asked to make a presentation to the Anderson Valley Senior Government Class about the environmental effects of the wine industry, date not yet set. More later.

THE HIGH SCHOOL re-roofing project is complete. It sprung a significant leak over the winter and needed immediate attention. Funding for the new roof came out of the district's $15.25 million bond fund because, apparently, the roof was scheduled for replacement in the District's original modernization plans. The District also announced last week that the Rancheria continuation school to the rear of the Elementary School now has a new septic system. PS. The cost of advertising for bidders for the roofing project in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat was $1,179.96.

AT LAST WEEK’S meeting of the School Bond Oversight Committee, Superintendent J.R. Collins said the District “has no plans” for modulars.

AN APPROXIMATELY $2 million contract was awarded to Advance Power Inc. in Calpella for the school district's new solar system. According to the analysis provided by Sage Renewables Consulting who reviewed the bids, the District will save almost $2.5 million over the next 25 years from the new solar system. Advance Power was selected over three other area solar contractor-bidders, which greatly pleases us because we've seen their work and it's first rate.

ACCORDING TO bond consultant Caldwell, Flores, Winters out of Emeryville, $6.5 million of the voter approved $15.25 million in total authorized bond funds have been sold so far. Another $8.3 million will be sold in three smaller chunks starting in 2015 and continuing to 2021. Therefore, the school modernization project schedule looks like it will drag out into well past 2021. Complicating matters somewhat is the consultant's claim that based on the assessed value of property in Anderson Valley, the district has approximately $6.3 million worth of “remaining capacity” before it reaches its bond debt limit of 2.5% of overall assessed value. The total bonding capacity of approximately $12.7 million is about $2.5 million short of the $15.25 million the voters approved. This means that some of the projects the district originally hoped to include in the modernization project will have to be reconsidered or rescheduled. In addition, as mentioned above, only $6.3 million of the $15.25 million has been sold to date and is available for projects over the next four or five years — not counting the $2 million solar project. Don Alameida, the District's newly contracted-for Construction Project Manager, said that there is some chance the District could qualify for additional bond funds under Proposition 1D which was passed a few years ago for school facility construction financing. However, many larger school districts in the state are competing for that money as well. and the cut off for applications is next year. Upwards of $2 million could be available from this source, Mr. Alameda said. But don't bank on it, he could have added.

THE UPSHOT is that the school will have to prioritize projects for the initial $6.3 million after deducting various (and potentially significant) administrative and financing costs. So far the district has not said how it will approach this ranking process. However, as things stand we expect that it will be done by the current small group of district insiders who will review the architect's estimates (along with Mr. Alameida, we assume) and give their opinion as to how the first $6.3 million should be spent over the next four or five years. Presumably, this will focus on the elementary school campus and facilities which need more work sooner than the high school campus. If teachers, students, or the general public expect to have any role in this ranking and prioritizing of projects — as they obviously should — they will need to make their opinions known to the school board at the earliest opportunity so that these priorities reflect more than just the opinions of superintendent's private, non-public committee.

ERIN BROWN is from Washington DC. But for the next ten months she will be a resident of Anderson Valley, serving at Anderson Valley Health Center and Anderson Valley Family Resource Center. Ms. Brown is part of the larger Community HealthCorps of Northern California, which is primarily a collaboration between community health centers and partner organizations of Mendocino and Sonoma Counties and the federal Americorps program. She will be developing and providing activities for children and families in order to promote healthy eating and physical activity, as well as working towards trying to improve the capacity of the health center to provide quality health services and programs to medically underserved members of the community. “I hope to be able to bring a new view to health and fitness to the community, that it can be fun and enjoyable in many different ways,” Brown said. — David Lavine, Rural Community Health Services, Ukiah

THE COMMUNITY Service District's Budget Committee voted to recommend to the District board that they set up a bike trail account to receive donations from the community raised by the local bike-advocate group “Cycked.” By next month, the Budget Committee hopes to have received from Cycked a preliminary budget for the project with estimates of donations expected and local projects to be funded. Between now and next March, the bike advocates hope to be ready to submit a grant application to the Mendocino Council of Governments which would finance a planning effort for a Valley-long bike trail.

NICE PIECE in Sunday's Chron on Steele Wine's laid back and most pleasant Kelseyville headquarters. Most locals know that Jed Steele began here in Anderson Valley with Edmeades and, doing it the old fashioned way, worked his way ever upward to create his own fine wines.

BETWEEN THE POACHERS and ocean bornel calamities, the abalone seems to be headed rapidly in the direction of endangered species. The Sonoma County coast was visited over the last few weeks by the sudden death of thousands of red abalone caused, it is speculated, by a "virulent red tide."

A GROUP HOME kid is sent to principal Jim Tomlin's office for disrupting a classroom. Tomlin tells the kid to sit down. The kid says something like, What if I don't sit down? Tomlin says something like, What if I get a baseball bat? Now Tomlin may have said that with a great big smile on his face but we doubt it. Two weeks ago the high school disciplinarian distinguished himself by asking a kid, “Are you gay?”

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