Valley People 3/24/2010

by AVA News Service, March 25, 2010

INCUMBENT DA MEREDITH LINTOTT, as previously noted in these pages, has distributed a re-election flier with her photo on it, a likeness so unflattering to her one has to wonder if the DA herself approved it before the thing appeared in the County’s far-flung mail boxes. The DA is really a more pleasant-looking person, more plumply maternal than she was four years ago when she was less ample, but never has she borne any resemblance whatever to the ferocious, jut-jawed rendition appearing on her election material.

“HER OLD PICTURE,” The Major consoled me, “is on Meredith’s billboard in Eva Johnson’s pasture, right here in Boonville at 128 and the Ukiah Road.” We walked south on 128 to confirm the good news. “See?” The Major said when we got there. “Just like we remember her.” We stood by the side of the road gazing at the benign likeness of Mendocino County’s lead law enforcement officer. Several eastbound vehicles passed, their occupants flipping us off. “I like her tough look better,” The Major finally concluded. “Not me,” I said. “She can sneak up on the crooks better if she looks more like herself — kind of sweet and harmless and half out of it. We’ve got too much tough in this country. Everywhere you look there’s someone either looking tough or talking tough. I’m tired of tough.” The Major consoled me. “There, there, boss. Meredith as faun, Meredith as fierce. It doesn't matter. She'll always despise us.”

FIFTH DISTRICT Supervisorial Candidate Jim Mastin appeared at an otherwise uneventful Anderson Valley Community Services District Board meeting last Wednesday night. Mastin said he wanted to get a better understanding of the issues local districts are facing. Fire Chief Colin Wilson and several board members said they appreciated the attention since there’s been no attention from the current Fifth District Supervisor, and the last time a Supervisor showed up at a Fire Department Board meeting was back in the 1990s when Supervisor Charles Peterson dropped by one of those contentious board meetings after a slate of people opposed to the benefit assessment — Ruben Thomasson, Emil Rossi, Eva Johnson and Dave Gowan — were elected to the Board. The slate, however, soon split when Johnson and Gowan decided that maybe the effects of ending the assessment weren’t exactly what they had in mind. A large crowd had appeared to watch the contentious deliberations, which had deteriorated into Talmudic-like disputes about Roberts Rules of Order. The Board even paid to have Deputy County Counsel Frank Zotter on hand to add to the confusion. At one particularly heated point, Peterson stood up to offer his uninformed opinion; Peterson had had nothing to do with the dispute prior to the meeting and had no idea what he was talking about. About half-way through his irrelevant presentation, which threatened to drone on for many more minutes, Holmes Ranch resident and long-time CSD watcher Gene Herr, whose chair was right on the aisle near where Peterson had stood to comment, turned to Peterson and said, “Why don’t you just sit down and shut up?” Supervisor Peterson did as he was told.

ANDERSON VALLEY Brewing Company Gets Eaten Alive (a.k.a. SOLD!) The inevitable has happened. Ken Allen, who founded Anderson Valley Brewing Company in 1987 and grew it into one of Northern California’s most beloved craft breweries, found a buyer for his little company that could. The new owner, HMB Holdings LLC, is a new company founded by Trey White, a former VP at the Stamford, CT-based booze distribution business, United States Beverage. In an AVBC press release about the sale, Allen is quoted as saying, “I have looked long and hard for the right person to whom to entrust our legacy and I could not have found a better partner in Trey White. His passion and knowledge of the craft beer industry, coupled with his respect for the brands we have developed, will make him the ideal person to take the Anderson Valley Brewery to the next level within the growing craft beer industry.” Yet the reaction from beer blogs and Facebook fans has been swift and sorry, with online eulogies of the old AVBC popping up across the Internet. Among AVBC lovers, fear and corporate loathing ring loud and true. In a Facebook comment, Chris Motley of Denver, Colorado, threatened, “If you guys mess with one single molecule of the Deep Enders Dark Porter, I will lose my mind. Bob Palin of Torrey, Utah, wrote, “It’s never good when the big fish eat the small fish, what a shame.” One local commenter, Lisa Manning Strom, was concerned about how AVBC’s community involvement might change, “I hope they continue the community fund-raising beer festival… and the dog friendly beer garden.” All of this anti-corporate angst is only barely offset by the desire by some out-of-state aficionados to see Anderson Valley beers get broader national distribution, which is the stated reason for the sale: “HMB will retain the current brewing and production facilities at Anderson Valley Brewery while expanding the sales and marketing capabilities.” But locals are unmoved. “Hate to sound all doom and gloom,” writes Mike Lenihan, manager of Dick’s Place in Mendocino. “It’s just that we all fear and resist change especially when it involves something as sacred as our favorite beer. It’s yours to ruin… Please don’t.” — Freda Moon

THAT YORKVILLE old timer seems to need some in-home care. He hasn't had a haircut in a long time, and it's real clear to his peers at the Senior Center that he's generally behind on his personal hygiene. But, like a lot of us not going gently into that good night, he's a tough, independent old coot who'd probably chase off an in-home helper.

MOE MANDEL on the community that made him what he is, a very funny guy. “I love Boonville. I travel all over the world and Boonville is home to the most beautiful, weird, ridiculously talented group of people on the planet,” he says in the press release for the forthcoming Hamburg event at the Philo Grange. “It’s straight out of the strangest and the best of Americana culture.”

AS A FAMILY NEWSPAPER, and anyway reluctant to repeat Moe's story, that same press release recites an hilarious and Only In Mendo, ah, coming of age adventure of the comedian's. I wonder if the libs are ready for this guy. He works without a net.

MY FRIEND Alexander Cockburn, noting my reference to myself as a geezer in another media venue, writes: “I note intermittent but regular iteration — like some sinister theme in Wagner — on seniordom in your pieces, mottled hands shaking slightly on the cane, roguish twinkle as you tell the 200 pound Safeway girl that you don't need to be helped to your car. I say enough!” I like to stop in at Max's 540 Club on Clement in San Francisco for a beer or two. One day I made the mistake of visiting the place after dark when the clientele is very young and very loud, an impenetrable din of “So, like I said to this dude, 'Dude, like bleeping back all the bleeping way off.” That time, I tried to talk with the only other wheeze in the place, but we had to give it up. Between the music which, of course, is solidly arthymic DudeTunes screamed rather sung, and the dudes and dudettes dude-ing and adverbing each other at top decibel, it was actually painful. So, ever after, I stop in the afternoon to sit in the sun with a beer, watching the passing parade, toting up my liver spots.

NOBODY told me the indomitable Harold Hulbert was in the hospital, but I'm not the only one relieved that Harold Hulbert is now out of the hospital, and back at his Boonville home, on the mend.

WHILE WE'RE VISITING sick bay, I stopped by Valley View Convalescent Hospital, Ukiah, last Tuesday afternoon to see Dave Broadbent, pioneer resident of the Holmes Ranch. He looked great, especially for a guy who just beat back throat cancer.

ROY LAIRD AND JIM TOMLIN were kind enough to call in a Ray Hoagland update. Door Gunner Ray's comfortably established at the Yountville Vet's home where, from both reports, he's very happy.

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS has resumed its crucial meetings on Wednesday nights at 7 at the AVHS Career Center. Name a family in this country untouched by the drug plague and I'll tell you you just got here from the Kelabit Plateau, deepest Borneo. Not a one of us is unaffected. How many ways can we lament the prevalence of methamphetamine in Mendocino County, and always to be found here in the bucolic Anderson Valley? Only last week there was an obvious tweaker murder in nearby Fort Bragg, and every day we get at least one notice from the Sheriff's Department where, in can't miss neon between the lines, some crank-driven drama has had to be sorted out by the police.

THE LONGEST rural mail route in the country is out of Fordville, North Dakota. According to the U.S. Postal Service it runs 176.5 daily miles to serve 174 remote mailboxes. The Fordville route is flat, its roads straight, but snow in the winter. Our very own Jan The Mail Lady traverses 174 miles five days a week, a few miles less on Saturdays. She drives narrow, crooked, hilly roads, beginning from her home in Yorkville to Cloverdale, from Cloverdale to Point Arena, back to Cloverdale with the outgoing Netflicks and a quaint handwritten letter or two, then home to Yorkville. And she’s been doing it six days a week for many years all the way back to when Peggy Bates was Boonville Postmistress. And not a single accident, not a day the mail hasn’t been delivered. Rachel Olivieri of Willits runs a close second at 150 round trip miles a day on equivalently treacherous roads. Rachel drives to the deep outback where Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties meet north of Covelo; and then she drives back to Willits. I think Jan The Mail Lady and Rachel have the tougher routes, even given the big snows of the Dakotas.

PANTHER BASEBALL. Dropped three last week but, from all accounts, hit well. Upper Lake beat us 14-7 here in Boonville. We drove over to Clearlake where we dropped a squeaker, 5-3. Back at home Friday, visiting Rincon Valley pummeled us, 14-4. Standout player? All three games Derek Soto crushed the ball, crushed it, I'm telling you.

THE CURRENT NEW YORKER, whose fiction is turgidly uninteresting most weeks, contains a marvelously funny short story by a Dominican writer named Junot Diaz. I wondered if it would resonate with Boonville High School's largely Spanish-speaking student population, so I asked a person who might know. “Lotta profanity and politically incorrect stuff in the story?” Abundant throughout, I said. “Nah. They wouldn't dare give it to the kids.” I will, though. On the off chance a kid sees this, stop by the AVA office for the latest in corrupting prose.

THIS JUST IN: No trivia at Lauren's on Thursday night. Quizmaster Steve Sparks assures us he “will resume battle on Thursday, April 1st as usual at 7pm.”

AND LINDA MACELWEE reminds that the Navarro river Resource Center and the Anderson Valley Land Trust now share space across the street at the Missouri House, 14500 Highway 128, Suite A. Linda invites the curious to stop by “to check out the new space.”

THE ANDERSON VALLEY Local Foodshed Group and the Philo Grange invite you to the Springtime Local Food Potluck and Film Showing of “Food, Inc.” Sunday March 28th. Potluck is at 6pm, the Film at 7pm at the Philo Grange. Bring a dish to share, featuring local ingredient(s), and your own plate and utensils. For More Info call 895-2949.

NATURE, a person, if not the only person who goes by that very grand name, appears at Lauren's Restaurant the evening of April 3rd, a Saturday night. Nature is a male-type pianist. “My music is melodious and a bit unusual,” he says, surprising me not in the least.

THE SANTA ROSA COPS might want to re-think their villains. The other day they held a hostage training with the hostage takers being “an extreme environmental activist group” whose behavior was similar to “situations that have occurred.” Really? Where?

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