Valley People

by AVA News Service, June 17, 2010

A YOUNG WOMAN from Chico is doubly nonplused at the loss of her I-Phone. Nonplused at herself for walking off without the phone after enjoying a lunch at  Moss­wood Market Sunday afternoon, but just as nonplused at the person who found it and refuses to return it. That per­son keeps answering Chico Lady's missing phone when the Chico Lady calls her number, but won't speak and so far hasn't left it where the Chico Lady can retrieve it. Please call Chico Lady at 530 342-8292 if you know which of our six mopes is walking around with a cell phone he shouldn't have.

SPEAKING OF CELL PHONES, now that everyone has them, emergency call boxes are being installed all over Mendocino County. Here in the Anderson Valley we now have one up on the Ukiah Road, another one near Navarro, and more to come.

BEE STINGS can be fatal. When a camper at Hendy Woods was stung last Thursday she showed signs of impaired breathing, the telltale indicator that she might stop breathing altogether if she weren't airlifted over the hill, pronto. She was, and she's fine.

BAMBI CAN ALSO be fatal. About 4pm Sunday after­noon a motorcyclist atop a spotless black Harley struck a deer on 128 near Flynn Creek Road. The impact neatly sheared off the Harley's carburetor but otherwise left the motorcycle intact. What appeared to be Anderson Val­ley's entire emergency response capacity – at least three fire trucks, the chief's command vehicle and deputy Craig Walker – was soon on scene but was unable to locate the Harley driver, although his carburetor-less vehicle was parked neatly off the road as if he had merely decided to pull in for a close-up look at a red­wood tree. Bambi? Fate unknown.

THE COUNTY OF MENDO, the broke County of Mendo,  recently paid a guy $4,000 to drive over here from Sacramento to talk about free enterprise. While local government talks about innovation and new busi­nesses, a few people, independent of government, or in spite of local government, which is historically more of an obstacle to small business than a facilitator of it, somehow manage to plunge ahead with timely, interest­ing projects. The Mendocino Grain Project, for example. It's aimed at bringing grain production back to Mendo­cino County where it once thrived, and continued to thrive up until, roughly, World War One. The small communities of vast Mendocino County were largely self-sufficient. Now, of course, we're largely dependent on an unsustainable system of long-haul re-supply. Our very own Doug Mosel, Sophia Bates and John Gramke have 21 varieties of grain once common in Mendocino County planted on 12 acres near Hopland. Not a huge experiment but a timely start on back to the future. Sophie farms in Philo with horses while the Hopland grain field is dry-farmed and worked by vehicles run on bio-diesel. These intrepid souls are the wave of the future.

DICK BROWNING'S LETTER says the school bond measure was “a strong validation of the job our teachers and school staff do year in and year out.” An appointed member of the school board, and it's been years since there's been an actual election for that noble post, Browning deludes himself if he thinks the vote was any kind of endorsement of the job the staff does. I, like many people, voted Yes simply because I don't want the physical plant to fall down on a hope and a prayer that some day the place might be reputably run. But until that glorious day AV Unified will continue to turn out straight-A students who can't write a coherent sentence or perform the simplest mathematical calculations, the rigged, in-house hiring practices characteristic of the institution will continue as a model of nepotism and cro­nyism, staff will continue to blow its own horn so loudly as to arouse suspicion that even they in their raucous self-delusion know the truth. Of course in the County whose schools are run by people who think niggardly is a racist insult it'll take a revolution to recapture the schools from the dunces running them now.

WILLIE HOUSLEY WRITES: “The Anderson Valley Cubs Youth Football will be holding sign ups for foot­ball on Saturday July 31, from 9am to 4pm at Boonville Fairgrounds. Ages 7-15 years old accepted. For more information call William at 485-4879. Oh, and one other thing as well: The Cubs Invitational Men’s Softball Tournament fund-raiser will be July 31 through August 1 at the Boonville Fairgrounds. $250 per team. Proceed will benefit Anderson Valley Youth Football. Trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and All-Tourney t-shirts for everybody. Contact Willie at 485-4879.”

LONG-TIME LOCAL carpenter David Jones of Navarro has to move. He needs a place to put his Fleetwood trailer where he can apply his carpentry, caretaker and other skills in exchange for the space. He also can pay some cash. Jones says he's very strongly connected to Anderson Valley and people here, and would hate to leave just because he can't find a place to park his trailer. If you've got space and can use some skilled help call David at 895-9230.

NORM CLOW WRITES: “Four years later I thought I'd drop you a line with a bit of news for Valley People. Austin Clow was just awarded Bachelor of Arts in French with a minor in linguistics from the University of Texas in San Antonio.

He is enrolled for the fall semes­ter in graduate school there to earn a master's in teaching English as a Second Language and obtain his Texas teaching credential. All of this is in preparation for a doctorate in linguistics. Along with his native tongue, he speaks French, Spanish, Russian, some German and taught himself basic Old English, Old Norman French, Latin and Greek, all for his own research purposes. On top of that he’s going back to work on Chamorro and Pohnpeian from the Pacific Island days in the 90s. (So I guess you could say that when I tell someone I just don't understand my son anymore when we talk, I actually have a pretty good reason.) I have to give some real credit to Jerry and Kathy Cox for starting him out right with the French and Spanish classes back at Anderson Valley high school. Austin actually graduated from Oak Ridge high school in Spring, Texas in 2004. Anyway we're doing fine. I'm at the Bank of Las Vegas. (It occurs to me that we bankers probably shouldn't be allowed to be having this much fun these days.) Ruth is working at Family Christian Stores. Hope all is well. See you at the ballpark. Norm Clow, Las Vegas, Nevada.”

THAT TERRIBLE ARKANSAS flash flood last week occurred in an area of that state many locals come from. When I saw Caddo Gap in one of the stories on the dis­aster, I thought of my old friend, the late Jerry Kaufman, who always called it 'Caddy Gap.'

IT'S OFFICIAL. Johnny Schmitt says he'll open the Ice Cream Pump on July 1st. Not under that name, but a name to be determined by the new proprietor.

LOOKS LIKE JACOB GOWAN will be starting at defensive end for Stanford this fall. A red shirt freshman, Jacob has four years of eligibility. He's assumed to be the first Valley-born athlete ever to play big time college football.

SUNDAY'S CHRONICLE cited Mad Dog in the Fog, the famous San Francisco sports bar on lower Haight Street, the ninth best place in the world to watch the World Cup. Mad Dog in the Fog was elevated to its pre­sent eminence by The Valley's very own Steve Sparks who used to own it.

THE PHILO METHODIST Church's bake sale will be held on the porch of Lemon's Market in Philo this Satur­day, June l9th beginning at 10 am. All kinds of baked goods will be available for sale including the famous huckleberry pies. Pat Hulbert will host the event and she says you better get there early if you want a pie.

GOT BRUSH? NEED CHIPPING? The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is providing a second round of free chipping for people that are doing clearing around their homes and driveways to prepare for wildland fire defense. This round is available to anyone residing in Anderson Valley. We will be conducting the chipping at the end of July so contact Colin at 895-2020 to get the details and get on the list. Call before you cut. (–Colin Wilson)

COUNTRY & WESTERN SHOOTOUT: A lot of Boonville folks were a little put out with the Deputy Sheriffs Association last Saturday. The deputies were eager to use the big Apple Hall at the Fairgrounds for their “1st Annual Country Western Shootout,” but they didn’t feel any inclination to advertise the event. As a fairly predictable result, nobody came. I stopped by five times during the day-long “battle of the bands and barbe­cue,” but never saw more than a handful in attendance, and these few were mostly roadies with the various bands. The lack of advertising explains a lot of the poor attendance, and the prices explain the rest. I wanted a burger and a beer, but one look at their beer prices cured my thirst: $7 for a plastic cup of brew — and after seeing the burgers, I lost my appetite: They were those pre-formed discs — God only knows what they contained — all dried out and curled like weathered shingles. they went for $5. The hot dogs looked like campfire kindling. Same price: $5. I know it was supposed to be a fund-raiser, but it seemed more like a stick-up. What’s the penal code section for trying to sell overpriced “bur­gers”? I can’t say the deputies didn’t advertise at all. What they did is circulate a bunch of free tickets. And on Friday the Ukiah Daily Journal gave them a front page picture and write-up – it must have been a slow news day. The tickets were a little suspect, since no one was taking tickets. The thing was free. I guess they hoped to make a killing on the beer and “burgers.” But you could get a better beer in a cold glass for half that price across the street at Lauren’s; and the burgers there were actually edible. “Proudly Presents,” the tickets read. If there’s to be a 2nd Annual, I hope they invest a little more pride and publicity in the project. The first was certainly no occasion for pride. It was so poorly attended, the depu­ties themselves didn’t even show up. Country won the shootout. There was no Western music. Country divorced Western back in the early Seventies and mar­ried rock. Jazz occasionally trysts with Western and the offspring is called Cow Jazz, which is my own genre of music: My new CD ‘Legends of the Dead’ is currently available, for those who have never heard Cow Jazz, and aficionados alike. – B.McEwen

SHOOTOUT at the Okay Chorale: The Anderson Valley Community Chorus delighted a modest crowd of chorale lovers at Lauren’s Sunday night. The AV Chorus fea­tures Director Alice Vonner; sopranos Lauren Keating, Karen Crutcher, Donna Pierson-Pugh, Grace Gowan-Espinoza, Cindy Wilder, altos Jaye Moscariello, Barbara Lamb, Gail Meyer. Gail and Barbara also sang tenor with Mike Crutcher and Bruce Campbell; the bass and baritones were Bruce Longstreet and Bill Taylor. Lynn Archambault was at the piano. They sang Tick-Tock, The Blue-Green Hills of Earth, Ride the Chariot, O La Lay and, my favorite, Via Con Dios. – B.McEwen

TIE at the Redwood Drive In: The World Cup soccer match between America and England ended 1 to 1, a tie, and a very tough game to call. I missed it, but some of our local Brits were on hand to smile at the ignorance of the Yanks when it comes to the world’s most popular sport. One of the Englishmen I interviewed was gritting his teeth behind his smile when he related how irritating it was to explain what constitutes a foul — if any adult Yankee knows, she’s probably a soccer mom. Most American men, including me, certainly don’t, and I used to play the game with my nephews. So I’m glad I missed the showing of the game at the Redwood Drive In in downtown Boonville, Saturday. I might have annoyed someone with my soccer stupidity. There were plenty of Mexican Americans present too, and they certainly knew a foul when they saw one. They conversed knowledgea­bly with the UK aficionados during the post-game show while I watched some of the astounding commercials. They were better than Olympic Games infomercials and almost as good as Super Bowl ads. – B.McEwen

THIS MINOR MASTERWORK by one of the passive-aggressives at the Skoll Corporate Retreat Center, Philo, has been posted at Skoll's bridge over the Navarro at the  very end of Ray's Road. Skoll, a founder of E-Bay said to be sitting on a fortune worth between 2 and 4 billion, is trying to make access to the river, which is public property, impossible. Worse, access to the beautiful old skid road running to Hendy Woods can only be accessed and egressed at its Philo end by walking across Skoll's bridge or cutting through Wellspring Renewal Center, although I understand Mr. Multi-Bucks is hassling Well­spring to shut off access there, too. O for a return of the Newmans! Old timers will remember them, a kindly couple who fairly welcomed hikers and swimmers. They owned the Skoll place for many years. Ran a summer cap there. Fast forward to billionaires, and I know I've told you this story before, but every time I think of the bridge and Skoll I feel like telling it again: I was footing across the bridge one afternoon, having trudged up from Hendy with my late dog, Roscoe. There we were, the two of us , me and my crippled mutt, mid-span, when a woman of advanced years drove up behind us in a large black sedan, a Buick, as I recall, but maybe a Chrysler.

Roscoe and I squeezed to the side, staring at the imperi­ous old bat who was glaring at us from behind the wheel of her block-long vehicle. She buzzed her window down and fairly screeched, “Get off this bridge immediately! It's private property!” I'll jump, I said, if you promise to take care of my dog. She harrumphed and drove on. I wonder now if she was Grandma Skoll.

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