Valley People

by AVA News Service, October 15, 2013

A PAIR of smash and grab car break-ins Sunday evening, one in central Boonville in front of the Hotel, one on Anderson Valley Way at the apartments. Deputy Walker said the two robberies occurred “sometime between 4 and 8pm.” The smash and grabber, wielding some sort of blunt object, knocked out the window glass, reached in and took whatever was on the front seats of both vehicles. In one he found $900 in cash the victim cannot afford to lose. So far as anyone knows, these are the first smash and grabs to occur in The Valley. Deputy Walker can be reached at 272-0567.

STACY SOBELESKI and Patti Wilson have been appointed to the two vacancies on the Anderson Valley School Board. Mrs. Sobeleski seems to us an excellent appointment; Patti Wilson, freshly retired from long-time employment as the school district's bookkeeper, may or may not be a wise appointment given her insider status with the district. This school district certainly does not need another palsy-walsy on its school board. On the other hand, if Mrs. Wilson, wife of Boonville fire chief, Colin Wilson, proves to be independent, her knowledge of school finance could be helpful. We'd hoped local contractor Robbie Lane would have gotten the appointment. A smart, plainspoken guy with a child in the schools, Lane would not have been beholden to the baleful trio of school board president Martha Bradford, her male doppelganger, Superintendent Collins, and auto-yes vote, Dick Browning. Their smugly oppressive dominance for so many years has made the schools into a kind of self-perpetuating monument to rural nepotism. The school board theoretically overseeing Nepo-Unified may or may not been improved, but holdover trustee Erica Lemons is a definite plus, as is the addition of Mrs. Sobeleski. We live in hope.

LILY LEIGHTON is fundraising again to travel to the Reveil Matinal Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in December 2013. This will be Lily’s third trip to Haiti to volunteer in the orphanage after her first trip there for her Senior Project in 2011. Lily has also recruited a fellow Mills College student and friend to go with her. This trip will focus on working with a team to help build a wall around a piece of land, purchased to build a new and expanded orphanage. Lily is currently a sophomore at Mills and is studying to become a nurse. Her interest is public health with a focus on the social determinants of health on a national and international level. Please help support Lily and the twenty-three girls in the Reveil Matinal Orphanage by donating to her campaign. She hopes to raise $2,000 to cover the transportation costs and gifts for the girls. You can do this by sending a donation to her at PO Box 405 Navarro, CA 95463. She thanks you greatly for your support.

MIKE BROCK of Boonville walked out of Ukiah last week with a cool $873 cash when Mike's Peachland Road pumpkin was found to be the County's largest this season at 873 pounds. At a dollar a pound… The County record is held by Ben Fillmore. Ben grew one that came in at 1,109 pounds!

WE NOTE that the versatile man of many parts, Morgan Baynham of Philo, is doing business as (1) California School Health Services and (2) California School Medi-Cal Consulting service.

THIS SATURDAY, the 19th, the Boonville Farmer's Market offers fresh picked chestnuts from Tom Brewer's Chestnut Ridge Ranch, a rare opportunity to get this most delectable product of God's bounty fresh off the tree.

THAT WAS SUPERVISOR John McCowen, accompanied by Boonville's very own Jeanine Pfeiffer, whose Bar Team won last Thursday's Trivial Pursuit by half a point over Mark Scaramella's and Muriel Ellis's, Fed Up With Fed Fools.

THERE'S ALWAYS the local angle: Dr. Randy Schekman, the 2013 winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine, is a part-time resident of the Sea Ranch. Dr. Schekman is a professor at UC Berkeley. Dr. Kary Mullis, the 1993 winner of the Nobel Prize for his breakthrough DNA discoveries, is a part-time resident of Navarro, making two Nobels for Mendocino County.

A PLEASANT young man called Ethan Pines called to place a classified ad. Mr. Pines was looking for the young woman he'd seen out in front of the Boonville General Store with a joke-swap table. “You tell her a joke, she tells you one. You swap jokes. It was great. And we'd like to her to do it at our wedding in early November.”

CINDY WILDER WRITES: “Gleaning Party! At Blue Meadow Farm Friday & Saturday, October 18 & 19. We still have great tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, pumpkins & zinnias for sale, but we need to turn the field to plant garlic, greens and our winter cover crop. Come help pull out & compost our summer plants & take home whatever veggies and flowers you want.”

THE FIRST REVIEWS are in, and Coq au Vin, the new restaurant at Floodgate, is getting all raves. A friend says, “They're simply excellent. They had an extremely successful restaurant in Danville for something like 17 years so they have it down like pros. Very nice folks. Marie is gracious, warm and relaxed. They've done a lovely job on the remodel; it's quite warm and inviting. Full most nights. Reservations a must. And incredibly priced for the quality. Lots of people are driving over from the Mendocino Coast. The menu is country French — Beef Bourguignon….coq au vin….fresh fish…lovely butter lettuce salads…etc. etc. They even offer escargot! My friend ordered a raspberry tart for dessert that was one of the best pastries I've tasted in these parts in years. I had the pork medallions….ou la la. For me though, Aquarelle is the best…..lighter, fresher…..easier on the digestion.

"STONES AND EMBERS at Philo is also very nice…tried it out last week for the first time. Quite good. Unique….gourmet of course. Enjoyed a pizza with spicy chicken sausage, chilis and parmesan…..one with bacon and arugula. I had the soup…celery root/apple/porcini mushroom…..very rich and delicious. It's a tiny little place…nice feeling. Good prices. A nice addition to the Valley….and they're open for lunch!”

CHIEF WILSON updates us on the Dear Meadows fire last Tuesday (8th October) afternoon: “At 1:45pm we were dispatched to a wildland fire on Dear Meadows Road just west of Boonville on the south facing slope overlooking Boonville. When responding we could see a small column of light colored smoke about half way up the slope. A local resident guided us in to the nearest access to the fire, which turned out to be about 800 feet above the road which meant that the initial attack had to be done with hand tools and aircraft. After ascending the steep slope above the road we found a small approximately one-quarter acre) fire that had apparently started in a small marijuana garden located on a knob at the edge of a large opening. The fire was small and slow moving which permitted a direct attack with hand tools. Bombers from the CalFire Ukiah Air Attack Base arrived shortly after we did with the Helitack crew and chopper 101 from Howard Forest next on scene. The Helitack crew are an elite group of specialized firefighters similar to the Hot Shot crews who work for the US Forest Service on major campaign fires. The helicopter drops them off as close as possible to remote fires and they pack in and cut a hand line around the fire. In this case the fire was contained with a combination of these resources before a hose lay could be completed. This particular fire was complicated by the presence of the dope patch which had recently been harvested with approximately 30 pounds of bud drying on a wire clothesline adjacent to the fire. Due to the fact that we had to have an inmate hand crew on scene to complete the containment line and assist with mop-up operations we were compelled to request a law enforcement officer to secure the processed marijuana. Normally, we turn a blind eye to marijuana gardens, particularly small ones like this that appear to be “mom and pop” type operations. The presence of the inmate crew and the need for fire crews to return to the site over the next 24 to 48 hours to recover equipment and ensure the fire did not rekindle drove the decision to request law enforcement. I mention this because I feel it is important that people who are involved in grows of any kind are not afraid to call 911 for fire or other emergencies because they fear the loss of their crop or other legal issues. Our priority is fire suppression not law enforcement and, speaking for myself, I try to focus on the business of dealing with emergencies. On many occasions during my tenure I have responded to various types of emergencies and ignored both indoor and outdoor marijuana grows. This isn’t a moral or ethical position, just a real worldview of how things work. I think many fire officials have similar views but, of course, we can make no guarantees on this subject. Probably the best advice I can give is to take the necessary precautions to insure that your growing activities don’t result in the ignition of fires. After speaking with the property owners, it was apparent that this was a “trespass grow” that they had no knowledge of.

WE MISTAKENLY left off a credit notice for last week’s photo of retiring Chief Colin Wilson and incoming Chief Andres Avila. The photo was provided by Larry Vail, Chief Wilson’s brother-in-law.

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