Valley People (Jan. 25, 2017)

by AVA News Service, January 25, 2017

SUNDAY AFTERNOON'S RAIN left a fairly heavy snow on Boonville's hills, and the final downpour washing down the curtain on the third storm in a week fell fast and hard.

THE NAVARRO RIVER PEAKED Sunday afternoon at a couple of feet above flood stage. Highway 128 remained closed all weekend but reopened Monday morning about ten.

IF IT READS, it ledes! Liz Dusenberry reminds us that the AV Library will be closed February 11 through March 4th. The library will reopen on Tuesday March 7th. Come on in and stock up on your reading. We are located in June Hall at the Fairgrounds. We are open Tuesday 1:30 4:30 and Saturday 2-4.

RAINY DAY work out tip. The sheltered grandstand at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Up the stairs, down the stairs thirty times, and you’ve gotten your aerobics for the day. Boring, but no pain no gain, they say, and you’ve got the place all to yourself.

LOCALS LONG AGO NOTED how radically through traffic drops off on Highway 128 when the iron bar is drawn across the road at Flynn Creek, Navarro. Before Caltrans installed that physical barrier the heedless would plow on past the Road Closed sign only to be marooned a few miles later, resulting in costly rescue ops. However and whatever, it seems only courteous, though, for both the County and Caltrans to advise outsiders that they can get to and from the Mendocino Coast via Comptche. I’ve known people who turned around in Boonville when they saw the Road Closed 16 miles ahead sign who then drove over the hill to Ukiah, north to Willits, west to Fort Bragg, which is a much, much longer detour than Comptche.

ADD TO THE LONG LIST of Valley People we miss, Mike and Lee Montana, formerly of Navarro, presently of Los Lunas, New Mexico. We’ll take this opportunity to announce that henceforth persons wishing to leave the Anderson Valley must have their exits approved by this office.

AND BEST WISHES to John Burroughs who has recently undergone open heart surgery of the voluntary type, meaning John, who’s building a house in Fort Bragg at age 80, was not flown outtahere by medical chopper. He volunteered to go in for the operation.

ROAD CLOSURES caused by heavy rains have wrecked havoc with high school sports schedules. This week, the Boonville Panther basketball teams have a home game (Tuesday night) against Geyserville (varsity only), a make up game in Covelo on Thursday, and another away game in Potter Valley on Friday.

THE UKIAH ANIMAL SHELTER dog kennel areas reopened to the public on January 18 at 10:00am. People looking to add a dog to their family are welcome to meet all of our adoptable canines during our regular hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10-4:30 and Wednesdays till 6:30.

DEPARTMENT of Unintentional Humor: "Anderson Valley, California. The Valley’s grapes aren’t exactly underrated—big brands have started gobbling up cooler climate, Pinot-friendly vineyard land the last few years—but visiting the area is still. Located almost three hours north of Sonoma and Napa, getting there requires determination, time and the traversing of a mountain pass. [Boonville is two hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge] but the reward is a low-key country experience void of luxury hotels and faux-Euro Disneyworld wineries. Boutique tasting rooms sympathetic to the forest landscape line the valley floor, while a spectacular, shadowy tunnel of towering redwoods gives way to the misty coast of Mendocino at the end of 128. November marks the appearance of delicious and rare maple syrup-flavored candy cap mushrooms." Lauren Mowery, Forbes.

Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association

THE FOLLOWING REPRESENTS an historic development. Read on to find out why.

(1) Dear KZYX General Manager: I’m writing an article that touches on the records management at KZYX. In particular, I'd like to know more about the decision making process that went into content development for the new website here: http://kzyx.org/#stream/ Especially when it's compared to the old website here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20170108234731/http://www.kzyx.org/

It appears that somebody made a decision to remove a number of records including: -- General Manager Reports (7+ years) -- Meeting Minutes (7+ years) -- MCPB Policies & Procedures -- Audited Financial Statements (11 years) -- Form 990s (15 years) -- Registration Renewal Fee Forms (15 years): Would you mind telling the reasoning behind that decision, and who made it? Sincerely, Scott M. Peterson, Mendocino

* * *

(2) Dear Scott, Thank you for your kind inquiry. I’m pretty sure we’ve spoken before. Are you not the Scott Peterson who interviewed me at length by phone on Saturday 27 November, a few days before I took up the general manager job? Since your inquiry is copied to an email that I’d guess is the Anderson Valley Advertiser, I’m assuming you are reporting this story for the AVA; I’d be grateful if you could confirm this. In any case, I’m happy to answer your questions!

First and foremost, please rest assured that no decision was made to omit any content from the old website in the transition to the new one. Planning for the transition was under way before I joined KZYX on 1 December, but the amount of work involved in this transition was prodigious, requiring that substantial time be carved out of our busy schedules to train staff how to manage the site and how to transfer content from an antiquated platform that was very different architecturally and operationally from the new one.

Strategically, we took a decision to carry out the transition ourselves, rather than relying on outside consultants, to ensure that we would develop the capacity in-house to manage and populate the website. In other words, our small staff — already diminished by a maternity leave, a serious medical leave and the departure of one staffer, and also challenged by the recruitment of a new general manager facing his own learning curve — took on a very substantial computer programming project for the benefit of KZYX listeners. The work of getting key staff fully trained and actually carrying out the transition was simply more than we could manage in the limited time before the agreed switchover date, Tuesday 17 January. So not everything was ready on Day One, nor is everything in place today.

We prioritized the most active and important portions of the website: starting with the home page, which captures stories from our KZYX News team and from National Public Radio, and establishes the basic design and navigation logic of the site. This involved a lot of back-end engineering, to ensure that audio clips were ready for on-demand streaming and that pictures and audio synced properly with headlines and text.

Second priority was to prepare basic pages for every radio program that we broadcast, which at last count totaled 96! This was an enormous undertaking, and the basic descriptions are only the start. Next, each programmer will have to be trained by one of our staff to update and manage their pages, which will dramatically improve the quality of information that listeners can obtain about our programming. Likewise, our news team are shifting to a set of powerful production tools that are part of the new website, and this, too, requires time and training. Priority is also being given to heavily visited pages such as Community Calendar.

All of the website work has been done at a time of heavy extra programming and news demands on our diminished staff, particularly news demands relating to the elections and inauguration and the heavy weather hitting our county and affecting our listeners. Needless to say, our highest priority at all times at KZYX is public safety, so on many recent days, we slowed or dropped our work on the website to ensure we kept the broadcasts up and running through some very heavy weather and power outages, and kept our reports fully updated about evacuations, flooding, road closures, accidents, power outages and other public safety issues.

The content items that you have kindly identified as not being present on the site are not unimportant; quite the contrary: they are highly important to our mission of transparently serving our membership and listeners, and duties under our broadcast license. You are mistaken to assume that they were deliberately omitted. Content will be restored over the coming weeks as time permits, although we have no choice but to maintain the high priorities of keeping the station on the air and providing timely public safety reporting. I plan to edit some of the older content for brevity, clarity and readability.

I appreciate that you’ve shown us the courtesy of asking about the changes in the new website. I now ask that you be patient with our staff and volunteer programmers as we work through the deeper reaches of the website to complete the transition, a process that will take weeks. We’ve been mindful to post announcements on the website explaining that it’s very much still a work in process, with a long way to go before we’ll be happy with it. Perhaps not everyone has seen these.

Finally, I’m sure you'll agree that the website already is far more attractive, dynamic, informative and easy to navigate. We are pleased with the preliminary results so far, and are determined to make it better with each passing day.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email. Thanks for your support.

Best regards,

Jeff (Jeffrey Parker, General Manager and Executive Director, KZYX, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting)

* * *

(3) Dear Mr. Parker: Scott Peterson isn't writing on assignment for the ava, although he often submits stories to us which we publish. Clearly, you have answered his question here, and you may be amused to know that you are the first GM in the long and troubled history of the organization to have taken the time to answer an inquiry about management. I am much encouraged that you have, and I wish you every success in your historically difficult position. Please don't hesitate to call or write if you need anything from us.

Editor, AVA, Boonville

I DARESAY that Peterson is the only person in the County who has not only read the KZYX website but read it so carefully he knows that it’s been changed. Parker’s civilized response comes as something as a shock after years of incompetent KZYX management. I’m sending in my membership renewal, not that I listen much or expect much in the way of interesting, lively talk on local issues, but simply as a vote of confidence in the guy.

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