Valley People

by AVA News Service, November 30, 2011

THE GOOD NEWS. Garrett Mezzanatto, three-sport star athlete at Anderson Valley High School, sustained an ugly-looking knee injury in the final football game of the year versus Point Arena. He's been on crutches ever since, but when he finally got seen for an MRI, nothing in the knee was found to require surgery. Garrett remains hobbled, his knee swollen and painful, but he just might be able to join the basketball team by the end of the schedule.

JUST LAST NIGHT, Monday, the Panthers walloped Calistoga, and the lady jv Panthers walloped Calistoga even more mercilessly, darn near shutting out the visitors.

BACK IN THE DAY I was foolish enough to intervene in the domestic affairs of persons barely known to me. Both interventions occurred when the male was hitting the female and I had no choice but to intervene. In one, the woman told me to mind my own business, in the other the man said he was going to come back with a gun and kill me. A week later, the latter two lovebirds, arm-in-arm, flipped me off. In unison, as if they'd choreographed it. “Here's what we'll do when we see that busybody Anderson.” The domestic situation I'm about to comment on is absolutely none of my business, but I've known both parties to it going on forty years. They were my back fence neighbors on Anderson Valley Way all that time, and very good neighbors all that time, too. My pump broke down they let me tap their water. They had a party we got invited. We had a party, they got invited. Good people. Then the man had a stroke and wasn't himself. She said he'd become dangerously violent and got a court order restraining him from the 7-acre property and two houses his parents had left him. He said he was being dispossessed of everything he had and had known for much of his life, which was true, but, suddenly disabled, he was slow to defend himself. She was quick to get herself power of attorney and a lawyer. And I know he'd driven them into a deep financial hole with mortgages and a failed wine scheme she's had to somehow make right. This lady has legitimate grievances, God knows, and it may take God to fairly sort it all out. Myself, I don't quite know what to think other than sadness at the whole of it, which is what everyone who knows them feels, but I do think she could be more forgiving, not quite as intransigent as she's become. Her adamancy surprises me because she never struck me as a vindictive sort of person, and he never struck me as a man who'd be violent with his wife of forty years even if, in his altered state, he was estranged from her. He might threaten his wife, but strike her? I don't think he has it in him, but that's always easy for a person standing apart to say. Maybe the stroke did make him dangerous, but I've seen him and talked to him and I don't think so, and other people who've known him as long as I have also don't think he's a threat to anybody. Surely he could live at one end of their 7 acres without disturbing her as she lives at the other end of the 7 acres. As it stands, in this the season of fellow feeling, he's in failing health and living in a tiny trailer at the Boonville Fairgrounds while the rest of us hope there can at the very least be a reasonable accommodation.

OTHER DOMESTIC MATTERS include the news that Zachary Dale, 31, and Jerry Carrell, 26, both of Boonville, have taken out a license to be married. And, major correction here, Tara McLeer is not married to that co-worker's husband she's never met, let alone vowed to spend the rest of her life with.

ALWAYS A PLEASURE to see the Christmas lights twinkling in the cold hillside dark of The Valley's hills and the truly stunning displays that grace many homes on The Valley's floor.

SPEAKING of which, don't forget tomorrow evening's (Thursday) tree light party in the parking lot of the Boonville Hotel, a fundraiser for the essential Anderson Valley Food Bank featuring clam chowder, roast vegetable bisque and focaccia, all of it for a mere five dollar donation.

THE FINAL-FINAL school board election results in order of vote totals: Ben Anderson 448; Dick Browning 383; Martha Bradford 364; Don Harris 307; Ernie Pardini 303.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY Senior Center now has its own website at

AND THE REDWOOD CLASSIC starts today in the Boonville gym, but what Mendocino County really needs is a county-wide, or area-wide tournament, with all the high schools in the County, big and small, competing. It's hard to get interested in games between, say, Branson and Marin Academy, but Hoopa vs. Cloverdale would be interesting. In the very first classic Boonville beat Cardinal Newman, and there's a game I would have liked to have seen. But even with Marin and SF teams in the majority there are enough local teams, if you include the wilds of Lake County, to make the tournament well worth the price of admission.

A READER sent in this quote: “There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build, and yet leave a landscape as it was before.” Oh yeah? Try chickens. They build nothing and tear things up almost as thoroughly as wild pigs. And while we're discussing the animal kingdom I notice that the blue jays who dominated our feeder all summer have disappeared. Do jays migrate? Another thing: Our neighbor's rooster now flies his coop early every morning to stalk our hens, viciously attacking our rooster every time he comes anywhere near.

FIRE CHIEF COLIN WILSON is looking for a structure to burn as a training exercise for our volunteers. Call the Chief at 707-895-2020 if you've got something (inanimate) you want to see go up in flames. The Chief and the volunteers will get the necessary permits and do all the site-prep. (I nominate the Ricard property at 128 and Haehl Street.)

ODD SIGHT in Navarro last week where several people waiting for the bus were dressed as extra-terrestrials. I was reminded of Kary Mullis's account of alien visitations told in his most interesting book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field where Mullis reports his 1985 encounter with a glow-in-the-dark, extra-worldly raccoon. Mullis, a Nobel laureate, maintains a home in Navarro. “Having passed the functional sobriety test,” Mullis said he had “driven successfully” to his Navarro home where “once he turned on the lights and left sacks of groceries on the floor, he lighted his path to the outhouse with a flashlight. On the way, he saw something glowing under a fir tree. Shining the flashlight on this glow, it seemed to be a raccoon with little black eyes. The raccoon spoke, saying, 'Good evening, doctor,'“ and Mullis replied with a hello. I can't remember if this cordial man-beast interface resulted in more conversation, but Mullis said the raccoon was definitely from some other place.

ONE OF THE BEST reasons to save Hendy Woods State Park was offered by Roederer Estates local manager Arnaud Weyrich at Jared Huffman’s recent visit to the Valley. “Being a manager of a business in the valley,” Weyrich, “I see a lot of the guests who visit Anderson Valley are people from elsewhere and if they don't have a budget to go to one of the very few hotels in the valley, for some, their only choice is to go to Hendy Woods, where it is fairly cheap. It's not like we have a lot of other options. There are no big factories or plants here; there is nothing else around. If you cut off the park, that is cutting off one of the very few branches we sit on, in terms of income from people showing up to the valley and spending money.”

LORETTA HOUCK WRITES: “Next week at Laughing Dog Books: the return of the ‘Give-a-Book’ tree. I've asked the two schools for their ‘wish list’ and have placed a tag for each request on holiday trees. Customers pick a tag and buy a book that goes to either the Anderson Valley Elementary or Junior/Senior High School libraries. Last year we gave the two schools more than 50 books! Then, on Saturday, December 3 from 1-3pm, we will host a reception for the artists from Anderson Valley Jr/Sr High School, whose creations will adorn our walls for the month and will be for sale. What great holiday gifts: books for the schools, art for your walls that benefit the students! Thanks to everyone for shopping locally this holiday season.”

KATHY BAILEY WRITES: “Community members who want to find out about the proposed closing of Hendy Woods State Park and things we can do to help keep it open are invited to come to the Philo Grange on Wednesday, December 7 at 7pm. Learn a bit about the almost forgotten history of Hendy Woods and hear about steps we can take right now and in the next few months to either overturn the decision to close the park or find ways to help keep it open. This moment of truth is providing an opportunity to renew our connection with one of the signature landscapes of Anderson Valley.”

LINDA MACELWEE REMINDS US that the Grange and Anderson Valley's Foodshed Group invite you to a Holiday Community Potluck Dinner and Holiday Sing-along on Sunday December 11th at 5:30 p.m. at the Anderson Valley Grange #669 in Philo. Please bring a side dish or dessert for 6 – 8 people, including local ingredients if possible, with a serving utensil. Also please bring your own eating utensils, plates and cups. Locally raised turkey, ham and mashed potatoes and gravy will be provided. This is a family friendly and alcohol free event. Everyone Welcome! Todos son Bienvenidos! for more information call Suzy 895-2336.

One Response to Valley People

  1. Norm Clow Reply

    December 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Bruce, that wasn’t the first Classic when AV beat Cardinal Newman, it was actually the 9th, in 1966, Newman’s second year in business. AV beat them the year before for 3rd place in overtime. Seems like some school like Fort Bragg or Covelo was around for the first title game in ’58, but I don’t have it at hand. AV’s win in 1966 was a good game, about an 8-point spread, led by C. Hiatt, T. Rawles, D. Huey, E. Waggoner, R. Cupples, G. Bates, D. Pronsolino, J. Blattner and probably a couple more to whom I apologize in absentia for not remembering. As for a county-wide affair, all the teams except Ukiah have played in the tournament to one degree of success or the other, but watching the same local and league teams that play during the season over and over again is not exactly riveting action. There used to be good teams from Lake County as well that participated, even Clearlake High in Lakeport, a couple of steps up league-wise. They had a guy named Duane Pollard in the early-to-mid ’60’s who could shoot the lights out and frequently did. Middletown and Calistoga were regulars for a while. Seems like even St. Helena showed up a time or two way back when, but that may be my age kicking in. Rancho Cotate and El Molino from Sonoma County were there mid-’60’s when they were brand new. So there’s been a good mix from the general area. It can be done, but there are also more tournaments for which to compete for teams than the handful there once were, two or three actually for years. As for Branson, well, maybe they should simply be given a life-time achievement award and call it good.

    Norm in Las Vegas

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