Valley People

by AVA News Service, December 7, 2011

A DRUNK, still not identified because he refuses to reveal his name, was driving a 2000 Dodge Dakota pickup truck he'd stolen in Fort Bragg when he and another vehicle were pulled over by a CHP officer Saturday afternoon in Boonville. The truck thief apparently thought the other vehicle was the one being sought by CHP officer Sgt. Braden Moffett. When the thief realized he was the object of the stop he took off, Sgt. Moffett in hot pursuit. Finally careening off Highway 128 and into a tree not far from Cloverdale, Mystery Man, uninjured, was arrested. He is being held in the Mendocino County Jail, still refusing to identify himself.

POINT ARENA has received the go-ahead to install bike lanes on three separate stretches of Highway One. 14 bike paths are being developed between Point Arena and Manchester, and by golly if the fog eaters can do bike lanes so can we!

AS 2011 BEGINS to recede in our rearview mirror, allow me one more complaint about Glen Ricard, the intransigent owner of the abandoned, ramshackle, fire trap perpetually greeting us at the south end of Boonville.  When I arrived here in 1971, there were four businesses and the fledgling Anderson Valley Health Center in that building, all of them fronting Highway 128. I also recall a bar run by Jim Boyd of Yorkville, a feed and grain operation, a laundromat, and one more enterprise I can't recall. I think Karen Ottoboni's brother owned the building, which he kept fully functional. When he died Ricard bought the place for, I'm told, $75,000. It limped along unmaintained for a few more years as it tenants dropped off. The laundromat disappeared as did a pizza parlor operated by the Portlock family, and then it was vacant. And it's just sat there ever since, crumbling, vandals occasionally breaking its windows. I noticed just the other day that Ricard has replaced the latest round of shattered glass. Resisting a temptation to re-break them I walked on, wondering why this major eyesore and health and safety hazard is tolerated. Ricard also owns at least two well-maintained structures in the village of Mendocino where abandoned buildings are not permitted, and he lives in a well-kept home in a gated, high end Little River subdivision overlooking the ocean, also a site where the unsightly is not tolerated, although the unseemly seems to be. I know for a slam dunk fact that Ricard has turned down jaw-dropping cash offers for his Boonville wreckage, yet he continues to simply sit on the property while he sticks a daily thumb in our eye. It's way past time to abate this guy. I hope our Community Services District Board makes Ricard its first 2012  priority.

NORM CLOW writes from Las Vegas: “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.”

I TOOK IN four tournament games myself, and of the teams I saw, including perennial powerhouse Branson, the best coached five by far was Laytonville, led by Mark Kelly. I could have sworn Inker McCovey, the great Hoopa coach, was on the bench with Kelly, but I'm told that although Inker had appeared earlier in the evening with Hoopa, the Inker look-alike was Corey James. I met Inker years ago when some Hoopa kids stayed at my house, back when visiting teams stayed with local families instead of Ukiah motels. (Don't get me started on what used to be, but used to be used to include night time awards banquets at the Apple Hall, to which the community was invited to enjoy a pot luck supper as the trophies were awarded. These days we get a hurry-up affair in the high school gym, and no one outside ever knows from nuthin'.) Inker or no Inker, Kelly seems to have channeled Inker's hustling, fundamentally sound style of play. Best Laytonville team in years, and a pleasure to watch. High schools play a run-and-gun NBA-style game, which I don't find particularly interesting and would have derided in my playing days as merely “6th period gym.” Today's high school hoopsters launch all kinds of improbable, low percentage shots, including cascades of caroming 45-foot jumpers. Used to be you got benched for free lancing. A disciplined team like Laytonville, which almost knocked off perennial powerhouse Cloverdale, will usually beat the wild bunches, and even Laytonville didn't have anybody who could shoot reliably from outside. But neither did this year's powerhouse teams, including state champs Pinewood. The Cloverdale state champion teams of the McMillan era would have run Pinewood out of the gym, down 128, and clear back to Frisco, and the Boonville teams of the Tolman era would have won this year's tournament, no problemo. The Tolman teams could put five guys on the floor who could shoot. Most high school teams are lucky to they have one consistent outside guy. This season's Boonville edition got whomped twice. The homeboys haven't played much basketball, but they're gamers, and Coach Slotte has them playing hard and having fun, which is the point after all.

NOTE TO JIM TOMLIN: For at least a couple of decades, the high school principal's amplified remarks have been inaudible because his mouth is too close to the mike. Back boy, back!

LUIS ESPINOZA, born and raised in the Anderson Valley, will become a full-time member of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department on December 12th. Deputy Espinoza is slated to work The Valley after tours of rookie duty in Ukiah and Fort Bragg. He will join the popular Craig Walker and, perhaps, the legendary Deputy Squires, currently out on medical leave as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

THE BOONVILLE HOTEL'S Christmas tree at the corner of 128 and Lambert Lane is an absolute delight. It brings a much needed and hugely appreciated yuletide cheer to Boonville, Mendocino County's most happening community. Melinda Ellis told us Monday that not only did the tree lighting ceremony sponsored by the Hotel draw an overflow crowd of delighted Valley-ites, it raised more than a thousand dollars for the Anderson Valley Food Bank.

ROSSI HARDWARE'S window display is also a Christmas one-of-a-kinder, hearkening back to the enticing displays of pre-Fall America, that is America before 1967.

JOHN STOTT, highly skilled English gardener, is looking for a new home for himself and the mobile home he lives in, a 32-footer. John will exchange services, which come with witty conversation, for a place to park himself. Please call 707 972-1641.

THERE HAS BEEN a change in plans for the Foodshed December Quarterly Meeting. The meeting will still be Thursday December 1, 7 — 8:30 at the General Store. However, there will be no potluck this month.

HENDY WOODS COMMUNITY reminds us: “Please join us this Wednesday, December 7th as we continue our efforts to keep Hendy Woods State Park open and thriving! We will be gathering at the Grange in Philo at 7pm sharp. The meeting will include a short history and updates from the amazing Kathy Bailey, information about the new Hendy Woods Community group and how you can get involved, a brief question and answer session, as well as time and materials for letter writing, brainstorming, and other action items.  Help us spread the word! Bring a friend! We need as many people as possible to get on board so we can show California that our community cares about the park and is prepared to do our part to keep it open should it become necessary. If you cannot attend the meeting but still want to help out please take a look at our attached letter writing instructions and let your voice be heard through writing.  Thank you!”

THIS YEAR'S FIREFIGHTER AWARDS for the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department went to Angela DeWitt (Rookie of the Year), Jim Minton (Officer of the Year), Marcelino Santamaria and Jim Minton (co-winners for Engineer of the Year), and Sarah Minton (Firefighter of the Year). The award winners were selected from among the volunteers themselves, the best kind of award there is.

GIMMEE that old time community spirit, especially at Wellspring, Philo, where people are being chased off the road that runs through Wellspring to the Navarro. Not just chased off but snarled at by the caretaker or whoever the unpleasant gringo is who does the snarling. Can't believe that the property's unfailingly gracious owners, Todd and Marge Evans, would encourage unneighborliness, but Wellsprings neighbors sure are wondering que pasa and what the heck.

ENTRY FORMS are now available for ‘Out of the Comfort Zone: New Directions in Quilting,’ a juried exhibition of contemporary art quilts by Mendocino and Lake County artists to take place March 2 to July 29, 2012 at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah. Entry forms are also available at the Grace Hudson Museum, 431 South Main Street in Ukiah, or by calling the Museum at (707) 467-2836. Supplies of entry forms have also been sent to regional art centers, arts councils, quilting organizations and suppliers. The deadline for entries is January 6, 2012. The exhibition is sponsored by the Sun House Guild.

SPEAKING OF THE SUN HOUSE, I stopped in a week ago and was lucky enough to arrive just in time for a docent-led tour of Grace Hudson's home adjacent to the museum housing her paintings and lots of other interesting artifacts. Never cared much for the paintings except for a miniature done in Hawaii of an old woman, but I'd been curious about the house for years, assuming it was what it turned out to be, the home of a patrician bohemian way ahead of the rural bohemian curve who must have regularly scandalized 19th century Ukiah with visitors who included Jack London and Isadora Duncan. London may have been more than a friend. There have always been rumors that there's a semi-nude, daguerreotype-style photo of the semi-erect writer inscribed something like, “Until we meet again....” If it exists, did Grace's photographer husband take it, and if he did…? It didn't seem fair to ambush the docent with salacious gossip so I didn't bring it up. But it's always striking how iconic figures like Grace Hudson, married and divorced by age 18 to a man many years her senior she met in San Francisco when she was 16, are sanitized and sanctified down through the years. The whole person is always much more interesting than the scrupulously respectable face applied to her or him years later. The old girl was certainly among the livest wires Ukiah has seen, scandalizing at a time scandals were still possible.

REMINDER DOS, this one from Gene Herr: “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 7 PM.  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.”

DEPUTY WALKER and his K-9 Unit “Bullet” have been certified for patrol following an intensive six week canine training program. Walker says he's pleased with the results and has already put Bullet to work — successfully — on a few  drug-sniffing stops.

One Response to Valley People

  1. Norm Clow Reply

    December 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I’m one of those odd Panther fans who would certainly not be unhappy if AV had ever won more than two – 1966 and 1981 – but was really more interested in seeing some different teams and some higher grade of basketball, no matter who won. I figured the league campaign was more important as far as titles went. The two best basketball games ever played in that gymnasium were the 1990 title game between winner Bethune, South Carolina, and Brentwood of LA, which Johnny Bazzano and I broadcast live on KZYX radio, and the 2002 championship won by Hoopa in a last-second, come-from-behind, OT game over Branson. As my father posed once, do you want to see some really good basketball or do you want to see Geyserville and Covelo for the 500th time? Nothing against those two schools, but I think he made his point.

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