Valley People

by AVA News Service, November 10, 2011

THE BALLOON GUY is back, and there are more than a few people in the Navarro area not particularly happy to see him. Last Thursday, Balloon Guy apparently launched himself aloft in his battered basket and patchwork balloon from somewhere on Gschwend Road, drifting up The Valley toward Philo while his rasta dude assistant followed along on 128 in a full-size pick-up truck. As Balloon Guy flew heedlessly low and slow at elevations estimated by witnesses “as tree top level,” pregnant ewes in two pastures were startled into full gallops, and pregnant ewes are not supposed to run, and boy o boy were some ranchers hot, with one threatening to “crank off a couple of rounds at that nut's balloon if he comes over us again.”

BALLOON GUY'S name is Kevin Herschman. He calls himself Hot Air Balloon Adventures, and from the look of the thing, hand-stitched by its owner, it would seem to be a rare example of truth in advertising. Herschman was here in 2010 for a weekend festival called Mendo-A-Go-Go. People lined up at $75 a ticket for a ride lasting 20 to 50 minutes. The law says aircraft of any kind are supposed to stay at least 500 feet above terra firma, and Herschman is licensed by the FAA. He says his balloon can soar as high as 12,000 feet but he usually confines his flights to 6,000. Herschman's truck is inscribed, “The sky's not the limit.” In theory, he can be reached at 225-772 4208.

REGINALD B. THATCHER, a one time resident of Anderson Valley, is believed to have committed suicide in 2005. Anyone who can confirm Mr. Thatcher's passing is urged to call us at 895-3016.

A READER WONDERS: “In Oakland, on Telegraph between 42nd and 43rd, there is a shoddy storefront with BOONTLING in big letters -nothing else. Any connection with Anderson Valley?” None that I know of.

WHAT A GAME in Point Arena last Saturday. Unfortunately, Point Arena won, and won in spectacular style on their last offensive play of the game on a perfect pass up the middle, which was almost intercepted by the dependably magnificent Omar Benevides, but wasn't, and Boonville was sent reeling into muddy defeat. A Point Arena friend welcomed me to what she called “Gopher Stadium,” and I thought back over the years to the many nights in the acoustic horror chamber of the Point Arena gym, the gale-force winds sweeping the baseball field, and settled in for frigid football in Saturday's pounding rain. There was a big turnout of Boonville fans, their vehicles lining the east side of the field and home made tamales for sale at Point Arena's snack stand. Meanwhile, back in Boonville, our championship soccer team also playing in the mud and the rain and gopher holes lost a heartbreaker to Emery on a tie-breaking penalty kick.

LAURA HAMBURG has abandoned her proposed “Mendocino Generations” marijuana dispensary in downtown Boonville. The license application has stalled in Planning and Building, and persons close to Ms. Hamburg have told us she’s now looking at a location somewhere north of Ukiah, not in Yorkville as previously rumored. The County has put its dispensary regulation ordinance process on indefinite hold in the wake of the federal crackdown on Northcoast dispensaries.

A BOONVILLE WOMAN writes: “I was walking to the AVA office last Friday when, crossing Highway 128 in the crosswalk near the post office, I saw a truck approaching in the distance, but I deemed it safe to cross, figuring he would slow down as he got closer. Instead, he never slowed down and I ended up running out of his path. When I turned around and raised my arms in a 'what’s up?’ sort of gesture, he gave me the 'bird.’ I proceeded to call 911 and report him and his ironic license plate, ‘DANGER 6.’ The truck was a white Ford F-series with a toolbox in the back. It turned up Mountain View Road. I’m happy to be alive.”

WE HOPE the CHP or someone in badged authority acts on the above complaint. This Danger 6 oaf might have killed the lady if she'd tripped or otherwise paused in the crosswalk. We're short on law enforcement at the moment. Deputy Squires is out with a shoulder injury, Deputy Walker is mostly unavailable while he trains his German-speaking police dog, and our very own Luis Espinoza is still going through the Sheriff's Department's hiring procedure. All three of them could have been counted on to track Danger 6 down.

THE TALENTED Ashley Jones has donated two of his one-of-a-kinder wood creations as silent auction pieces, all proceeds to the Anderson Valley Teen Center, while his stunning acrylics are priced by you, the buyer. Mr. Jones' work can be seen at Laughing Dog Books in downtown Boonville.

SUPERVISOR John McCowen was spotted last Thursday at dinner at Lauren’s Restaurant with the Mendo-based journalist, Christina Aanestad, a single woman presently freelancing for public radio stations around the state while she helps with the radio and newspaper communications arising out of the Mendocino Environment Center, Ukiah. McCowen, a bachelor, owns those premises at 106 West Standley housing the MEC.

CORRECTION: We announced last week that the Occupy Hendy Woods event would be last weekend; it's this weekend, Friday the 11th through Sunday the 13th. Organizers especially hope locals will show up for the “General Assembly” on Sunday morning from 10am to noon for some serious discussion about how to keep Hendy Woods up and running.

THE BOONVILLE WINTER MARKET will begin the following Saturday, Nov 12, 10:30 — 1:00 in front of Boonville General Store. The 10th Anniversary Edition of Secrets of Salsa Book Release Celebration will be on Saturday, November 19th from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Boonville Hotel's “Shed” behind the Farrer Building and Paysanne Ice Cream. We hope you can come help us celebrate, taste the six new scrumptious salsas, and enjoy the mariachi music!

KZYX LOST ITS SIGNAL Sunday evening from about 6:30pm to about 8:30pm. The station's manager, John Coate, explains what happened: “The building that houses the 90.7 transmitter as well as the STL (studio transmitter link) that beams it over to 91.5, is owned by Cal Fire, to whom we pay rent. The power to that building has a 400 amp main breaker switch that is defective. It flips off the power to the building for no apparent reason, and does it at inopportune times. Last night was one of them. Often when it happens, and it has happened numerous times to our extreme frustration, Rich or I can get up there within 45 minutes and flip it back on. Last night Rich wasn't there, Mary was on her way to the Bay Area and so I drove down there in my truck from Little River and flipped it on and then stayed there for a couple of hours to make sure it didn't flip again — something it has done numerous times, and in fact had done it last night. The signal went down for a bit and our bookkeeper who lives not far from there went up and flipped it for us. But after about ten minutes it flipped again. I couldn't ask her to stay there and deal with it so I drove down. Last week I went up there with the Cal Fire electrician to change it with a new one, but when we got there he saw that he had only one of the two items you need for such a big device: the switch itself and the 'trip mechanism' (which is the part he didn't have). SO he ordered it, “put a rush on it", and when it gets here he says he will go up and install it. I don't know about the time process involved with Cal Fire and the speed with which they can get things, or if it's a weird part or what. But we needed it fixed already. Rich was going to call him today. I drove to LA today and don't yet know if he did. I am going to ask him now.”

COLD SPRINGS, where the broadcast gear is situated, is way to heck and gone up on Signal Ridge, deep in the Coast Range mountains. It's a long haul from Philo where Mendocino County Public Radio is located.

BILL TAYLOR’S Fall Salad University class occurs on Sunday Nov. 13, 1-4pm with herbalist Wendy Read, and Jaye Alison Moscariello. Meet at the Boonville Fairgrounds Parking Lot at 1pm for a 1:15pm departure to the nearby garden. Cultivation and medicinal properties of dozens of plants, including those that do best in winter will be discussed. Green smoothie and salad to taste will accompany a small meal (potluck contributions welcome). Rain or shine (heavy rain may reschedule). Call 877-1668 or just show up.

AFTER LAST WEEK’s exchange with Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie Jr. in Eureka wherein Frisbie Jr. informed us that he would no longer being sending us road bulletins because of a Caltrans joke we made in the early 1990s (!), we discovered that the road information bulletins are published on the Caltrans website. We asked the irony-deficient Mr. Frizz if it was ok for us to use the web-bulletins. “Yes,” Phil The Magnanimous shot back by e-mail, “the content of our web postings is for public use.”

COINCIDENTALLY, Mr. Frisbie was quoted in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat last week on the status of the repaving of Highway 128 in Anderson Valley: “We have two more paving projects which will occur next spring/summer. Between the two projects, paving will occur from Lambert Lane in Boonville to the Sonoma County line. There will be several locations which will not be paved due to storm damage repair projects which will occur over the next few years. Those locations will be repaved as part of the storm damage repairs.” He didn’t say where those locations are but, gee, a guy can't think of everything.

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