Valley People

by AVA News Service, September 25, 2013

THE SCANNER CRACKLED Monday with the ominous news that a woman at the Hanes Ranch west of Boonville had suffered “full cardiac arrest.” The next bulletin instructed emergency responders that the woman, Michelle Hanes, had not survived.

IN OTHER DISASTERS, a cherry picker plunged down a hill Saturday morning at the former Chatham Ranch southeast of Yorkville off Haehl Grade. The man operating the equipment was taken by Cloverdale ambulance with injuries later downgraded from serious to not-so-serious. The property is presently owned by Dr. George Lee.

BACK IN THE DAY, circa early 1970s, the former Chatham place, featuring a stately pre-war, mansion-size house that still stands, was home to a group of hippies, among them a guy busted for LSD manufacture. And before that, back in the roaring twenties, and this may be more myth than reality, the Chatham house functioned as a fun palace for urban male roisterers, its main feature being attractive single women of mercantile disposition. Farther up in the hills, a respectable single woman built herself a stone house — the only building material immediately available to her — in which she lived for many years with her retarded son, raising much of their own food. The old lady, up into her nineties, walked from her stone house into Hopland when she needed things she couldn't produce herself, a round-trip journey of about twenty miles. She hauled her store-bought goods in an old baby carriage. The stone house remains, and is still occupied, probably by less hardy, less resourceful people.

COACH KUNY was delighted with his football team's big win over Potter Valley last Friday night in Potter at one of the most delightful, old-timey football fields in the County, a swathe of tree-lined green alongside the headwaters of the Russian River. Final score, Boonville 28, Potter Valley 8. Our JV's pounded PV a lot to little, very little. The Panthers are at home this Friday night at One Goal Stadium at the Fairgrounds, Boonville. The good guys play Rincon Valley Christian. JV's kick off at 6.

THE BRANDON JOHNSON affair, as reported last week, did not include Mr. Johnson's version of events, which are more or less as follows: Mr. Johnson's Hungry Hollow (Philo) neighbor is Mary Aigner, best known as the primary blocking back at radio station KZYX. Mr. J says Aig's dog was on his property worrying his penned horses, and not for the first time.

Local sheep ranchers simply shoot loose dogs so, you might say, there's precedent for what happened when Mr. Johnson saw Mary Aigner's dog again harassing his animals. He says he shot the intruding pet with a pellet gun but managed to wound it so severely, and feeling sorry for the suffering animal, he finished it off with a real gun, which was still in his hand when the police, sirens off, appeared in his driveway. He assumed the driveway commotion was an Aigner counter-attack, and ran out to confront his neighbor. It wasn't Aigner. It was deputy Luis Espinoza and another deputy out of Ukiah. As soon as Johnson saw it was the police in his driveway he immediately threw his gun in the bed of his pick-up.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY SENIOR CENTER is getting squeezed by the County for additional rent and cleaning fees. The Center does can't afford a rent increase and does all its own cleaning. Negotiations for local veterans to buy the building for a token dollar from the County are underway. We wrote to Supervisor Hamburg to ask that he get the County to hold off the rent increase and so-called cleaning fees.

THE SUPERVISOR'S laconic response: “I'm not aware of negotiations with the vets. I do know that there has been a conversation with GSA but no formal offer has been made by the vets to the county. There are ongoing discussions with respect to senior center operations although rent is not among the issues under discussion."

GREG KROUSE, PHILO GRANGE MASTER, WRITES: “It’s back! The Cops & Robbers Ball, for Halloween on October 26, Saturday evening from 7:30 to 11:30 PM. Slim McKonn, hosts his famous Costa Cabana nightclub with the renown Mix Nuts Dance band plus an All-star floor show. A SpeakEasy in the back, a jail, Dominos Café will serve Donuts, Joe, Nachos, and more. Slim sez, 'Better come in character Tirties to da forties: wise guys, coppers, floozies, hard boiled dicks, card sharks, G-Men, Untouchables, dames, judges, pick pockets, newsboys, reporters, da whole dang ding! Only $15 bucks for a great night. It’s gonna be good cuz it’s my club, ya see, and I gonna do good dat night and give da profit to da health clinic in Boont town. Better set dat date and figure out what to wear, cuz youse either good or youse bad. Eider way you gotta be at da Cops & Robbers Ball Oct 26 at da Grange, I mean da Costa Cabana Club in Philo.'”

A NEW NOTARY in Boonville at Laughing Dog Books. Loretta Houck can now provide this service for you, along with new, used, and audio books, reading glasses, hats and great t-shirts. Loretta can also help with your special orders (272-READ [7323]) or you can go to her website, www.laughingdogbooks.com and order e-books or regular paper titles from the comfort of your home. Laughing Dog is laughing every day, except Tuesday, 10-5.

AUGUSTIN ALVAREZ PENA, 42, has been the one and only suspect in the October, 2009, shooting death of Cloverdale resident Santos Alvarez, 24. Pena, a former resident of the Anderson Valley and Potter Valley, was discovered early this year living in Jalisco, Mexico, and has now been extradited to Sonoma County where he is awaiting trial on murder charges. The shooting occurred at a warehouse on Cooley Lane, Cloverdale, where Alvarez worked. Cooley Lane is about a mile north of downtown Cloverdale. A witness identified Peña as the shooter. When police arrived, they found “dozens of pounds of marijuana ready for street sale” and the dead Alvarez not far from a handgun assumed to be the murder weapon.

GOVERNOR BROWN has signed a bill that makes it illegal for drivers to come within three feet of a bicyclist on state highways. Assembly Bill 1371, or the “Three Feet for Safety Act” requires motorists to keep three feet between their vehicles and any cyclist before they pass. Penalty for first-time violators is $35. Hmmm. This one's sure to cause lots of arguments as he says, “I gave the lycra-clad bleep at least three feet,” and the lycra-clad bleep says, “That guy almost knocked me off my 35-speed Italian import.”

A CALLER was indignant that when he tried to sign up for the master gardener program at the Botanical Gardens near Fort Bragg, he was asked to fill out a background check form. He said he had a minor legal history incurred when he was very young and would not “humiliate myself” trying to explain it “to a bunch of old ladies” when all he wanted to do is refine non-criminal gardening techniques. “Why does a gardening class need a gd background check?” he wondered. Probably, I opined, because the Gardens prefers not to train marijuana personnel who might flaunt a certificate with the Garden's imprimatur on it, but I was only guessing.

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