Valley People

by AVA News Service, August 27, 2013

GREAT SAVE last Thursday morning by Anderson Valley's firefighters backed up by CalFire. Anderson Valley Fire Chief Colin Wilson reports: “The ‘Deer’ incident near the ridge at the top of Deer Meadows drive was about a two acre fire on the Lewis property about 2.5 miles up from Highway 128. One of our lookouts, Jenny Palmer, called it into our Boonville station about the same time someone else called it in to 911. When the first AV Fire units got on scene the fire was about an acre and a half, burning in grass and mixed hardwoods and immediately adjacent to a cabin under construction and an outbuilding. AV Fire units provided protection for the structures and the CalFire helicopter (Copter 101) arrived in time to extinguish a 100-foot tall fir tree that was ‘torching’ within 100 feet of the house. Additional CalFire and AV Fire units arrived and contained the fire with a perimeter hose lay. Other AV Fire units were released with the exception of two water tenders. Four CalFire engines remained at the scene to complete ‘mop-up’ operations. The cause of the fire had not been confirmed when I left but there was a trash pile of construction debris near the house that looked like it might well have been the origin of the fire. There was no damage to the structures — the fire mostly just burned the dried grass. In doing follow up on the Deer Meadows fire we have learned that neither the owner or the contractor was present on the parcel for over two weeks prior to the fire, which would pretty well rule out burning construction debris or other materials in the fire pit as it first appeared. At this time the cause of the fire is undetermined."

THE CHIEF REPORTS that on Tuesday morning, "We were dispatched this morning at 0941 for a small roadside spot fire at 18501 Hwy 128 (the Mathias property). Cal Fire’s Boonville engine 1150 was first at scene and contained the fire which had grown to about ¾ of an acre. There was no damage to structures or timber. The origin of the fire was at the roadside but no specific type of ignition was identified by the time I left the scene."

ON ANOTHER SUBJECT," the Chief continues, "we had a walk-in report of someone using fireworks in the Mill Creek, Clow Ridge Rd. area. The reporting party lives on the upper Nash Ranch and said he heard what he first thought were gun shots coming from the area south of his property somewhere between Mill Creek and Clow Ridge Road on Friday night at about 0945. It appeared that the location was most likely near the end of Hungry Hollow Rd above Mill Creek. Firefighter Terry Farrelly and I drove to the area and interviewed several residents all of whom were aware of the event. Eventually we determined that the most likely location was the Obergin Property at 18500 Clow Ridge Rd. After walking into the property we found the exploded remains of fireworks confirming that fireworks had been used there. We will be working with Deputy Craig Walker to notify the property owner that fireworks were used on his property and that fireworks of any kind are in violation of the law in Mendocino County. I was particularly concerned that anyone would be foolish enough to be using fireworks in late August for all the obvious reasons. On the off chance anyone else is unaware of the ban on fireworks and the potential legal and financial ramifications for violating that ban hopefully they will read this report. If a fire is started through the illegal use of fireworks the responsible party can be held completely responsible for the cost of suppressing the fire. In today’s world where both fixed wing and helicopter aircraft are routinely utilized on wildland fires the cost can become very expensive very fast."

BTW: "Engine 7471, our Boonville wildland engine returned last night about 9 pm from a strike team assignment that had them committed to two fires; the Swede Fire southeast of Oroville near Bangor and the Houghs Fire near Taylorsville north of Quincy. The engine was out for a total of eight days."

THE ANDERSON VALLEY Fire District is about 142 square miles, running from mile marker 8 on Highway 128 at the Sonoma County line, to mile marker 51 at 128 and Highway One where the Navarro River reaches the Pacific. The Yosemite, or Rim Fire, has consumed about 260 square miles as of Tuesday noon.

TWO LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS, Clay Eubanks and Charlie Paget-Seekins, and one Valley fire truck, were dispatched first to a big fire in Butte County, then to another fire in Plumas and have returned safely to their homes in Anderson Valley. Chief Wilson tells me our department has six people qualified for dispatch to the big blazes. They're compensated at about $30 an hour, and our fire department gets paid for the fire truck, too.

THE FIRE was on property owned by the late Frank Lewis, whom we assumed was still the present Frank Lewis until a Deer Meadows neighbor of his told us just this Monday that Frank died two years ago. We knew him fairly well. He used to hang out at the AVA until he got mad at us over an argument about, of all things, fascism. Frank, a retired merchant seaman, was a dogmatic dude with a surface affability but the kind of guy you mostly tuned out as he preached his skewed gospel on a range of issues. He claimed to be a Marxist but most of his information came from the New York Times, which most Marxists would say is simply the propaganda arm of the White House. One day Frank, whom we called White Man Frank because of his dramatically non-Marxist race views, announced that America was a police state in full fascist bloom. Nope, not even close, we said. Probably headed in that direction but we're still a ways out, and even when we get there it'll be techno controls and media manipulation, not boots to the teeth. But to hear Frank the brownshirts were already marching over the hill from Ukiah. He seemed thrilled, and definitely preferred the jackboot brand. He soon showed up with a stack of books on fascism. "You morons think I don't know fascism when I see it?" he shouted, dropping the books on the counter in the face of a nonplussed visitor, and off he stomped. Never saw him again. He was pretty tedious all-in-all, as only dogmatists can be. An isolated guy who, like all isolated people, go slowly crazy in their alone-ness. You indulge them until they become intolerable, and that's the end of them. White Man's stepdaughter now owns his little place up on Deer Meadow.

COACH KUNY stopped in Tuesday, as always enthusiastic about this year's football prospects. "I'm a little short on varsity players, but the guys I've got are good ones. I have a bunch of JV's. We're going to have a good season." Coach Kuny and his teams will be in Laytonville this Friday to kick off Football 2013.

STATE PARKS has rented almost all the Labor Day Weekend camping spots at Hendy Woods to a Russian evangelical group, much to the chagrin and even outrage of locals. The Rooskies are said to be bringing all their own firewood, food and other supplies so there will be no gain for local business. "Camp Skala," as the three-day camp is called, managed to make the reservations through the automated reservation system at ReserveAmerica.com. There are some controls on the automated system, but we're told the automated system can be beat simply be all the people in one group registering separately. But the Anderson Valley, always a graciously welcoming place except when it isn't, looks forward to making the visitors feel at home.

JOHN CHAMBERLIN'S memorial party will be held Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, at the Greenwood Community Center in Elk. Potluck, bring your own drinks. Music by dozens of John's friends, a silent auction and a memorabilia sale. Come celebrate John's life and wife and all our years of dancing together! (John was a talented musician and artist well-known on the Mendocino Coast.)

BLOOMBERG NEWS ran a long story last week about the guy with the longest mail delivery route in all the United States, 187.6 miles out of Mangum, Oklahoma, which takes mailman Ed Bull a little more than 9 hours. Those are flat miles, but mailman Ed Bull has got to face down tornados and fire ants.

JAN THE MAIL LADY leaves her Yorkville home very early in the morning six days a week, drives to Cloverdale to pick up the mail, backtracks through Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, over the Greenwood Road to Elk, then south to Point Arena, and way to heck and gone up the hill to the old Point Arena Air Force base. Then she drives all the way back to Cloverdale the way she came and finally home to Yorkville. Jan does 174 miles a day over a geography much rougher than any in Oklahoma, and she's done it for years with nary an accident, at least an accident that was her fault. She puts in 11-plus hours a day. Rachel Olivieri, out of Willits, drives 150 miles six days a week, also over rough terrain, traveling east to Covelo and north into the mountains where Mendo, Humboldt and Trinity counties come together. For long, hard days delivering outback mail, we've got to go with Jan and Rachel over the Oklahoma guy.

HEADLINE OF THE WEEK from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: “Healdsburg prepares to repair roads in poor condition.” Guess Healdsburg already fixed the ones in good condition.

THIS JUST IN. Malcolm West, "with a little help from his friends," will exhibit his watercolor landscapes and still lifes, pen and ink drawings, portraits, and more at Lauren's Restaurant through September and October.

MENDOCINO COUNTY HAS CONCLUDED a series of budget presentations, one held in each Supervisorial District and hosted by a local group. The Fifth District presentation was held last Wednesday evening in Boonville and was hosted by the Community Services District. Which put it in direct conflict with the CSD meeting across the street. Which meant that the local host was unable to attend. The AVA has heard that 25 or so people showed up, which may have included a contingent of five or so from the County. After some introductory remarks by Supervisor Hamburg, CEO Carmel Angelo went into detail about how poor Mendocino County is compared to Napa. This is news? Budget Officer Kyle Knopp then went into detail about the dismal state of County finances what with retirement and other costs shooting upward while County revenues have been flat for the last few years. We are told that most of the questions had to do with public safety, with people complaining that the resident deputies keep getting assigned to work out of central command in Ukiah.

BARBARA LAMB of Yorkville is one of the organizers of the annual Not So Simple Living event. She'd set aside a couple of media passes for your beloved community newspaper. I'd told her that my friends John and Jan Ignoffo would be writing up their impressions of the Fair for the paper and would avail themselves of the freebies. Barbara called again a couple of weeks ago wondering what happened to the write-up. I wondered too, until this very morning's mail when my friend wrote, "The Not So Simple Fair was hippy and hokey, but if we have a future, it is in the direction that they're looking. We enjoyed most of it. I don't think that I can write about it. Thanks for the press passes and everything else."

THERE YOU ARE, BARBARA. I mention it because I don't want the Simple Livers to think we were simply trying to deadbeat them for free passes. I wanted to go myself to see the gopher guy, that amazing man who shows people how to get rid of gophers, voles, moles. The Ignoffos raved about his class, how they'd followed him out into a Fairgrounds field where he finished off a pest on the spot.

CHARLIE MUSSLEWHITE, Saturday, Navarro Store. Another classic Dave Evans presents.

"HOW TO HIT home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball... The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can." (Babe Ruth)

SPEAKING of all-world clean-up hitters, let’s give a big deepend welcome for blues legend, harp genius, and kindred amateur paranormal researcher Charlie Musselwhite, who blasts off from the Navarro Store this Saturday night at six p.m.

THE DRUNK TREE has seen its share of unidentified objects over the years: some fly, some stumble, and a few have been known to crawl. But whatever your mode of transport, just head to the redwoods and stop when you hear the brilliant harmonica. There are a lot of things wrong in the world, but Charlie and his all-star band will have you flying into the ether. As an added bonus, Boonville’s own punk rocking/grill master Guy Kephardt will be setting things on fire and grilling tasty slabs of animal flesh on the state-of-the-art BBQ. At last year’s show, upon surveying the array of hill people, growers, buyers and tourists, an old Panther buddy of mine washed down two Viagras. He was last seen paddling out to sea in a kayak with a dozen roses, a slim volume of love sonnets, and a case of Schlitz. Swing big and go deep, my friend. The only fences holding you back are in your mind.

THE MUSSLEWHITE extravaganza is the perfect close to a glorious and insane summer. Fresh off of decisive victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Halliburton/McDonnell-Douglas/Democrat war machine now turns its lustful gaze towards Syria and Iran, the Federal Reserve prints money like drunk Confederates in the basement of an Alabama brothel, and the Giants have devolved into a bush league outfit that strands runners, walks lead-off pitchers, and misplays routine Texas bloopers. Of all the cardinal sins, misplaying a lazy fly to shallow left-center is the worst. (Yeah, we’re talking about you, Candy Maldanado and Marvin Bernard.) And yet the Giants have won two out of the last three World Series, riding dominant pitching, clutch hitting and solid fielding to improbable victories.

FOR A FAN who grew up shivering in an empty Candlestick while trying to fall in love with the likes of Mike Ivie, Johnnie LeMaster and Derrel Thomas, the Giants’ stumble into the dumpster is lurid if not surprising. San Francisco is in last place in the NL West, two games behind the Rockies, a game behind perennial doormats the Padres. For the 37th time in general manager Brian Sabean’s reign SF opted to pay too much for overachieving veterans on the downslope of their careers (e.g., Barry Zito, Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and colossal bust Aaron Rowand). Sabean’s strategy has been to focus on pitching, pitching and more pitching, to the detriment of our stock of position players. We have virtually no prospects, no depth, and no power at first base or left field. Compounding our misery is the rebirth of the Dodgers, who have a brilliant new outfielder in rookie sensation and Cuban refugee, Yasiel Puig, the bigs’ best hurler in lefty Clayton Kershaw, and an operating budget that rivals the NSA’s. Charlie, can you break out that blues harp and summon the spirit of Sasquatch? Even big feet feel better when they dance. (Z)

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