Valley People (April 26, 2017)

by AVA News Service, April 26, 2017

ON THURSDAY, MAY 4TH AT 5:00 PM, there will be a tour of the Denmark Creek Fish Barrier Removal & Riparian Enhancement Project led by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District. This project was implemented in October 2015 and consisted of removing the legacy/old highway crossing, including about 100 feet of metal/cement culvert(s), to open up fish passage and remove a chronic sediment source to the creek. We will walk and talk through the restoration project with before and after photos and tell the story of how this part of the creek now serves as great habitat for yellow legged frogs and as a corridor for river otters and one day, hopefully soon, steelhead trout!

Denmark Creek is located half way between Boonville and Philo. Directions: take the frontage road off of Hwy 128, where Lichen Estate Winery is located, we will meet in the cul-de-sac at the base of Vista Ranch Estates road at 5pm. This project was funded through Prop 84/Department of Water Resources and the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program/California Department of Natural Resources. For more information call 895-3230.

MARSHALL NEWMAN WRITES: “On my drive to and from Anderson Valley yesterday, I noticed the barn just north of Mountain House has begun to fall down; the roof gone and the back wall falling outward. The barn is certainly old, though it is hard to know if it was built by Alexander McDonald between 1859 and 1880, his son Richard McDonald (between 1880 and at least the 1920s) or – though unlikely – someone more recent. Since Mountain House was the midway stop on the way to the Cloverdale railhead in 19th and early 20th centuries, many Anderson Valley ranchers spent the night there while bringing their sheep to market, probably stabling their horses in that barn. Sad to see it go after all these years.”

THE COUNTY’S limping justice system, a daily process only tangentially related to justice, managed to put our hardworking genius of the stitchery, Suzan Topales, on trial last week. Although Suzan was the victim of repeat threats and embarrassing public bullying from Kelli Adams, a mentally ill Boonville woman, Suzan’s testimony was met with sarcasm and idiot skepticism by the officers of the court. Kelli, you could say, is also a victim of the court system where she definitely does not belong. So you have a good two full days of expensive lawyering and court time to hold a mentally ill woman responsible for acts she commits when she is removed from reality, and an honest woman has to spend a day away from her work to convince this apparatus of wildly overpaid lawyers that she’s telling the truth!

JOY ANDREWS, who splits time between managing our Community Services District and clerking at Lemons Market, Philo, has managed to find time to talk with outside banks about finally getting at least an ATM machine for Boonville.

BOONVILLE was jumpin’ over the weekend with art exhibits, all our restaurants open and crowded, a flower show, a goat extravaganza, the whole of it a positively urban torrent of events.

THE GOAT SHOW at the Boonville Fairgrounds packed ‘em in for a milking contest won by the versatile Sheriff’s deputy, Matt Kendall, with Joe Craven snagging second, County superintendent of schools Galletti, third. Rob and Barbara Goodell’s goat dish won the cooking contest as the Byrnes’ wee bairns took home best of show.

AT THE MENTION of restaurants, everyone I know who’s eaten at Navarro’s Bewildered Pig comes away raving about the place. Some locals of the food-as-fuel type, me included, have assumed that prices excluded us. They don’t. Every Thursday night there’s a weekly special for $17 or less, and on Fridays there are three course dinners for $30 which, for food of this quality, is a very big bargain. The culinary excitement this tiny place has inspired has already spilled out of the Anderson Valley and into the national media, reminding me of the early days of the New Boonville Hotel under Vernon and Charlene Rollins, circa middle 1980s. Gastro-fanatics were flying in to Boonville from all over the country to eat at the New Boonville. Same phenomena with the Bewildered Pig.

HERE COME the beer drinkers this weekend at the Boonville Fairgrounds, the 21st annual pound ‘em down fast-fest. An estimated 8,000 beer lovers showed up last year, and at least that many are expected this year. Warm weather is predicted for Saturday, which is good news for the visitors, many of whom camp out for the weekend.

GEORGE GONZALEZ, Mendocino County CalFire unit chief. Tuesday, April 18, 2017, Board of Supervisors meeting:

“We currently have three engines staffed in Mendocino County year-round. On May 1, we will hire another three engine companies. At our peak we will have 16 engine companies, two air tankers, a helicopter, four dozers, and a spotter plane, covering Mendocino County. That increase will begin May 1. Our concern is that the grass crop for the last five years has not really grown to its fullest potential. It's already doubled from what we have historically, so there will be a large grass crop and associated fire danger. That's my concern as fire chief for the county. We will be pushing defensible space as much as we can on social media. We have defensible space inspectors on hand and trained as well. It will be an interesting year for us.”

BILLED AS A “community meeting to shape the future of education in Anderson Valley, a town hall meeting,” shapers of the educational future assembled last night (Tuesday the 25th) in the high school cafeteria, and by golly we were there to look and learn. Unfortunately, however, Tuesday nights are hours past our weekly print deadline…. so, some kinda report next week for you print people.

LAST TUESDAY’S school board meeting promptly commenced at the advertised time of 7pm. The school board is attentive and on-task, the most conscientious board in some time. Students are represented by Hugo Chavez who looks like he’d much prefer being elsewhere, as what young person wouldn’t. Four of the five trustees have children enrolled locally and seem to keep close tabs on what happens on both campuses. School board meetings are held in the excruciatingly uncomfortable, sterile confines of the high school cafeteria, a kind of sensory deprivation tank cleared of all signs of life for these monthly meetings. The evening’s business included a discussion of the new structures proposed for the Elementary School grounds. Tiny house structures are one possibility but someone has dismissed them as “chicken coops,” not that that characterization necessarily will exclude them from consideration by the committee of parents and teachers who will make recommendations to the board. There was a report out of closed session about a disciplinary hearing for a high school students who’d brought marijuana brownies to school to sell. The student was put on tight probationary status rather than expelled. Don Almeida, the smart and personable man steering bond-funded construction at both school sites, reported that all was proceeding according to plan, a summation echoed by bond man Michael Riemenschneider of Eastshore Consulting and son of Mendo Superior Court judge, David Riemenschneider. Long-time district teacher, Leslie Hubbert, complained of the process by which she’d been moved from one teaching assignment to another. The board looked impassively back at her without comment. We’ve learned that Bill Sterling is raising money to expand and enhance the science program at the high school while Robert Anderson has donated a series of books to the school library and is in discussions with Superintendent Hutchins to make the library more user friendly.

KIRA BRENNAN reminds us that the annual mile run for elementary school kids saw the girls running on Wednesday, boys on Thursday, the events being part of Ms. B’s efforts to instill life habits of fitness in the little ones.

THE PURCHASE of a super bullhorn known as LRad (the least powerful one available) was pulled off the Supervisor’s consent calendar for discussion last week by 5th District supervisor Dan Hamburg. Sheriff Allman wants the device for locating lost or stranded persons. A handful of Coast hysterics— Hamburg’s core constituency — said they were concerned that the device might be used against protest crowds, although the only time in the long history of Mendocino County a protest assembly was large enough to even consider extreme crowd control measures occurred in 1990 during a Redwood Summer rally in Fort Bragg, and that rally, apart from shouted threats by counter-protesters, was entirely peaceful. At the Supe’s meeting last week, the Sheriff quickly agreed to the pointless stipulation that the bullhorn cannot be used for crowd control. Hamburg, as always playing his tiresome Blue Meanie card, amended approval of the purchase to prevent the Sheriff from deploying the device for any purpose before final approval by the Supes, as if the Sheriff had immediate plans to rush out and destroy the hearing of the Albion Nation.

HAMBURG got his colleagues to agree that the LRad will not be used for “crowd control.” Of course if the Sheriff had said he wanted to split the eardrums of, say, Trump supporters there would have been no objections from either Hamburg or the Coast crew of the Yellow Submarine.

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: Many more of Hamburg’s constituents complained to Supervisor Hamburg about the much louder wind machines used by Anderson Valley vineyards for much longer periods of time to protect their grapes from light frosts. That noise, on 35 spring mornings three years ago, was not based on speculation but on real noise far exceeding the legal level of 50 decibels. The frost machines kept much of Anderson Valley awake all night, night after night after spring night. Supervisor Hamburg’s reaction was: Yeah, it’s loud, but they can do it, the County approves of it, because it’s ag/grapes, so it’s ok. Even though the local wine industry brags that noise is considered when permitting wind machines, it clearly is not.

UNSOLICITED PLUG: Mendocino Optical on School Street, about block south of Mendocino Books, Ukiah. Several bumbles, drops, crunches, and stomps had broken my glasses in three places. I taped a lens back, bent the frame more or less back to its original contour only to step on them again. I knew if I took my eyes back to where I bought them in Marin they'd talk me into a major cash outlay for new frames, maybe even a whole new set of peepers.

THE MAJOR to the rescue. My colleague is the very model of thrift. When I told him I hated to be ripped off for a new pair of glasses, he said he'd take mine to Mendocino Optical "to see what they could do."

WHAT THEY DID was save me a couple of hundred bucks. I was certain my glasses had been damaged beyond repair, and I know that's what the Marin crooks would have told me. But Mendo Optical, The Major reported, disappeared into their back room for a couple of minutes, re-emerging with what might as well be a brand-new pair. Total charge? Ten bucks!

One Response to Valley People (April 26, 2017)

  1. Matt B Reply

    April 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Really nice to see the efforts of the Bewildered Pig represented in your paper. They have worked very hard to bring a special dining experience to the Valley and include locals via their Thursday night efforts.

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