Valley People (Aug. 2, 2017)

by AVA News Service, August 2, 2017

BOONVILLE AIRPORT DAY & Potluck Dinner, Saturday August 12, 2017

Join us for a fun day at the Boonville Airport. Festivities begin at Noon. Potluck Dinner at 5pm. Please bring your favorite Potluck dish. Drinks provided! Corner of Estate Drive & Airport Road, at the Boonville Airport. No RSVP necessary. For additional info contact Cindy or Kirk at (707) 895-2949 (Kirk Wilder)

NO PRESSER YET from the Sheriff’s Department, but there was a large-scale pot raid in Navarro last Friday afternoon. The raid team had assembled near the Masonite Road so, presumably, the bust was either out the old haul road or somewhere in Rancho Navarro. There were four arrests, but three persons ran and remain on the loose. One bustee somehow suffered a serious gash to his forehead and had to be airlifted outtahere.

NEIGHBORS counted 35 shots fired from the Padilla place on Indian Creek Road on Saturday, but when one nabe called Padilla to request a cease fire, fire ceased. Padilla’s compound is ringed with security cameras, which apparently recently captured Dave Severn having a look at current neighborhood water arrangements up the hill from Indian Creek Road. As Severn, 75, was walking to his car a junior Padilla roared up menacingly on an ATV for an exchange of unpleasantries. The days of free range hiking in the Anderson Valley are long-gone, as are the days when lawyers and courtrooms were the absolute last resort.

MIGHT BE A HOT ONE. Katherine Reddick, the dismissed principal at Anderson Valley Elementary, has said she would demand an open public hearing which would compel the Superintendent and the AV School Board to reveal the reasons for Ms. Reddick's termination. All public school employees have the legal right to a public hearing. Most, of course, prefer to shuffle off silently. Ms. Reddick seems much more combative than the run of the mill school administrator. Tuesday night's meeting could be a hot one. (To psychically prepare, we recommend The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.) Stay tuned. The fireworks, if any, happened after we went to press.

SCANNERS crackled to life last Thursday (the 27th) at 12:48 pm) with reports of an all-out mobilization to put down a fire near Mountain View Road at Redwood Ridge Road, aka Colfax Boulevard. CalFire’s spotter plane soon clarified,  "It appears to be an eighth to a half of an acre in the grass, looks to be extinguished by citizens on site." Which, with the help of local emergency responders, it soon was.

TONY PARDINI and son are just back from a fishing trip to Alaska where they enjoyed the hospitality of another Valley guy, Olie Erickson.


Cherry, Early Girl & Heirloom Tomatoes

Walla Walla Onions, Zucchini, Zappallito

Corno di Toro, Gypsy, Bells, Pimento Peppers

Padron, Anaheim, Poblano Peppers

Rosa Bianca, Black & Asian Eggplant

Strawberries, Sunflowers, Snapdragons, Zinnias & starting 7/25, Misha’s lovely flower bouquets

(Blue Meadow Farm, 3301 Holmes Ranch Rd, Philo  95466   895-2071)

THE AV COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT Board has authorized Fire Chief Andres Avila to hire a part-time administrative assistant for the Chief, and for Emergency Services Manager Clay Eubank (who is now in charge of the newly merged Ambulance Department of the Fire Department, having formerly been manager of the non-profit AV Ambulance Service.) Three people have applied for the new position and one of them is expected to be on-board soon, bringing the AVCSD staffing to five: Chief Avila (full-time), General Manager Joy Andrews (part-time), District Secretary Patty Liddy (part-time, now on extended leave in Europe with her position being temporarily filled in by Erin Malfavon), Emergency Services Manager Clay Eubank (full-time) and the soon-to-be hired Administrative Assistant.

THE AMBULANCE MERGER was official as of July 1 and the Ambulance has responded to several calls already, not that patients have noticed any real difference. Chief Avila told the CSD Board last week that the merger, however, has created a number of additional administrative/technical tasks which are “stressful” and which are hard to complete with just himself and Eubanks who still have to do their regular day-to-operations, responses and management, thus creating the need for the part-time assistant. The assistant will also help with office and paperwork tasks, as well as checking on the District’s far-flung stations, equipment, personnel records, training programs, etc.

ENGINEERING AND PLANNING for the possible water and sewer systems for downtown Boonville is now well into its third month with the Sonoma County consultant having already mapped out service area options, water sources, capacities, requirements, comparisons with other water and sewer districts in the area, etc. They have also begun water quality testing at several existing wells in and around Boonville. The water planning project is supposed to be completed in the fall of 2018 followed a few months later by the sewer system planning which the State Water Board is funding to the tune of up to $1 million.

THE NEXT MEETING of the Boonville Planners, the ad hoc group of Boonville property owners who are semi-officially overseeing the local aspects of the planning, is set for Thursday evening, August 3, at 7pm in the Boonville Firehouse.

WITH THE ADDITION of the Ambulance Service to the Community Services District’s responsibilities, the budget for the District for July 2017-June 2018 has risen to about $725,000, but that includes $112,000 for a special Airport Layout Engineering Plan that is separate from the regular operations of the District. So the combined Fire Department/Ambulance budget is now around $600k per year. For more information go to the CSD’s website ( or the Fire Department’s website (

AND THE CSD would expand even further if or when a water or sewer or combo water-sewer district in downtown Boonville comes to pass. (Mark Scaramella)

SOME MEMBERS of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association have proposed that the next AV Pinot Festival “Technical Conference and BBQ” scheduled for a Friday in May of 2018 should be held at the old Boy Scout Camp in Navarro rather than the Boonville Fairgrounds. The promoters, especially the younger growers and bottlers, say that the attractively rustic, outdoor Navarro venue would attract more “millennials” to the event and to the AV wine scene. Older vintners oppose the idea, saying that the Boy Scout camp would be too informal and detract from the seriousness (!) of the event.

THE FIRE LOOKOUT in Lake County at Konocti is manned this summer by a dedicated cadre of volunteers. If it had been manned the summer of 2015, the three wildfires that caused so much damage to Lake County might have been spotted early enough to squelch them before they became the Biblical conflagrations they became.

HERE IN THE BUCOLIC Anderson Valley, we have the old Cold Springs fire lookout tower on Signal Ridge. Its spectacular views used to be accessible to anyone who climbed up for a look, which I used to do on a fairly regular basis. I understand these days the tower is secured from visitors, but readers more familiar with the neighborhood will certainly update us as to the tower's current accessibility, if any. Given the fire hazard presented this year in this area of Mendocino County, wouldn’t a lookout at Signal Ridge  be helpful in spotting fires before they blow up into rage-mode? I'll bet lots of us would volunteer for a shift gazing out over the miles between us and the Yolly Bollys, west to the blue Pacific.

DAVID LILKER COMMENTS: "Nice bit of writing by Mr. Bedrock on some of the unavoidable aspects of a long life. I am reminded of the saying by Blaise Pascal, ‘All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.’

I myself have two elder siblings. My brother, who retired in his early fifties, moved away from friends and family and physically isolated himself in Northern Idaho. He suffered a nervous breakdown almost immediately. He is now slowly expanding his social world beyond the confines of his house. My older sister lives in a town of about 500 souls in Southern Montana. She and her husband know damn near everyone in town, and have richer social lives than almost anyone I know.

Retirement is still a few years off for myself, and I hope to achieve a balance between my strong desire to stay home to read and listen to music, against the desire to maintain a healthy social life near the end of my days. That, and reasonably good health is about all I could ask for."

MR. LILKER’S comments got me rummaging around in my memory's rag bag: This newspaper enterprise requires much time alone, but it also, of course, propels me, Argus-like, into the life of the Anderson Valley, and more generally into the life of Mendocino County, the two pieces of geography and the people I'm most interested in.

THERE are plenty of isolates here in the Anderson Valley, which is not so much a valley as a series of mild hills bisected by twenty miles of highway, but those of us who live here consider it one place, one "community," insofar as community exists anywhere anymore. One true isolate I know is a guy who registered as a conscientious objector to avoid killing anyone in Vietnam but wound up there as a medic with the Marine Corps, and saw more heavy combat than most Marines. Ever since that grim experience, he's been the very portrait of embitterment. Way back he had a girlfriend, but she soon left, and he's been alone since 1972. His immediate neighbors know he's there, and I know he's there, but there are people who've lived here for fifty years who have never heard of him, and then they'll tell me about someone still alive they saw thirty or forty years ago but never again. People withdraw for all kinds of reasons, and who can blame them?

ONE DAY I was out for an hour or so of aerobics when, far up ahead, I saw what appeared to be a female figure walking in her driveway, but as I approached she suddenly whirled and crouched, half-hidden, behind a bush. I’m used to negative responses from the random public, but I thought this panicked dive for cover was extreme until it occurred to me that the poor thing, for whatever reason, preferred a walk to her mail box out on the road without a jolt of human contact. I’ve never seen anyone at that address, but like everyone else, I sympathize with her impulse to be left alone.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY has always been a transient sort of place, and a place that has always attracted people who just want to be left alone. It's big enough for thousands more internal exiles. Until about the middle 1970s, land near and far from the pavement was cheap, and people who preferred their own company could do it in a beautiful place with an ideal climate and with minimal contact with their fellow citizens.

PRIOR TO WORLD WAR TWO, the people who lived here had always lived here, four even five generations of them. A few of the old families are still in place, but the Anderson Valley of today, like the rest of the country, is a very different "community," a far more fluid place, a place where there are lots of single people, lots of untethered people. A large number of single people in the 30-70 demographic means a large population of lonely people just like you find in any city or suburb.

AN OLDER SINGLE WOMAN told me once that she'd always felt "a darkness" in the Anderson Valley. I said maybe that's because so many world class maniacs had drifted through here in the time of Do Your Own Thing-ism — Jim Jones; Manson; Leonard Lake; Kenneth Parnell; the Moonies, although the Moonies apparently aren't homicidal loons and, since they've become rich with their own national newspaper, they're as respectable as any other group of crackpots who pay their bills.

THE OLDER SINGLE WOMAN said the darkness she felt was something deeper than the infamous criminals who've touched down in the Anderson Valley. She described what she felt as "a kind of spiritual heaviness." I said the vibe I most often get is a schizo one of low farce mixed with bursts of terrible tragedy, but I understood, I think, what she meant; the fancy word for it is “atomization,” or isolation from everyone and everything else.

LIKE MR. LILKER, I spend a lot of time alone with a book. Lying down and reading a book is the only thing I'm really good at. Mr. L reads and listens to music. I used to listen to a lot of "dead white man's music," as the inimitable Beth Bosk memorably described Beethoven and the boys, but I haven't deliberately listened to any kind of music for years. I watched a Madonna half-time show years ago that left me in mild shock. "People pay their way in to watch and listen to this person?" I'm down to books and four periodicals for entertainment, mingled with a few movies and maybe a Netflix or HBO series. (All of a sudden, some TV is good again.)

EXCEPT for a near death, sepsis-induced interlude five years ago — I was turned back halfway down the white tunnel —and bad knees, I'm still mobile at age 78 via long walks up and down hills and sets of twenty-five push-ups a few times a day when I rise from my sedentary tasks.  If the barricades went up tomorrow to overthrow the One Percent and their government I'm in good enough shape to haul myself up front for it, but that's an extremely romantic view of the slow slide into chaos that is far more likely.

MR. BEDROCK'S mention of Kenneth Rexroth is one more reminder of how far this culture has slipped. Rexroth was a polymath  carelessly remembered these days, if he's remembered at all, as a kind of guru to the seminal Frisco beatniks. He used to write a regular column for the SF Examiner in the 1950's into the 1960's. He wrote about everything from Chinese lit to the execution of the Rosenbergs. These days, newspaper columnists seldom stray from received opinion, and a whole lot of them write pure fluff. When Rexroth was in his prime there was still enough knowledge, enough curiosity among everyday people to make his writing attractive to a large newspaper readership.

"WE THOUGHT the years would last forever. They are all gone now, the days we thought would not come for us are here." That's from a Rexroth poem, as cited by Mr. B, but those days we thought would never come have arrived for this newspaper. This week we go permanently to 8-pages. Like the large-circulation papers the internet has overtaken us. We've always depended on stand sales and subscriptions to pay the printer and the post office. Newsstands have mostly disappeared, as have paper-paper readers. (We've just learned that Village Spirits, the liquor store in Mendocino, a reliable outlet for years, is closing its doors. Corners of the Mouth, the "liberal" market in the village, has always refused to sell the ava, apparently on the grounds of repeat deviationism from, I dunno, some kind of party line never quite articulated by a party no correct-thinking person would want to belong to.  Corners, btw, has no prob with the chain papers owned by hedge funds, but we’re not talking about people capable of connecting many dots.

OUR OLDER READERS still prefer paper newspapers, our younger readers, assuming we have some, now get all their information via cyber-space and television comedians. On-line is where the bulk of the ava will now be found at The paper-paper will be a stripped-down version of the on-line paper. Old subscribers can, if they want, get both for the price of a paper-paper subscription.  Out of state people will have to pay a hundred bucks for a sub. (Out of state subs cost us more than is reasonable at current postal rates.) We'll focus on in-Mendo matters in the paper-paper, with the longer pieces on random subjects that many of our readers enjoy found on-line. Onward!

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