Valley People

by AVA News Service, July 29, 2010

WILLIE HOUSLEY reminds you parents out there that it's time to sign your boy childs, 7-15, up for youth football this Saturday at the Boonville Fairgrounds, 10am to 6pm, which gives you 8 full hours to get it done. Information at 485-4879 or 895-2688.

TO HELP FUND Youth Football, a men's softball tournament is being held this weekend, also at the Fairgrounds. $250 per team. Still not too late if you want in. Call Willie at 895-2688.

SLOW FOOD, local food, buy local — it's all good and it's also just about the best thing going in Mendocino County, not that the elected leadership makes it any easier. Given the proliferating numbers of farmers not only in the Anderson Valley but throughout the County, that the elected leadership could, among other helpful things, lean on Caltrans to make roadside stands easier to accomplish? Tasting rooms sail right on through the process, but mom and pop farms? Why right here along our uniquely blessed twenty miles of fog-cooled fertility, Yorkville to Navarro, a splendid array of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh eggs, and even fresh talk might nicely comprise a Farm Trail, a healthy antidote to the Booze Trail, not that I have anything against the bottle, having been devoted to it for years. But Caltrans would need to widen the wide spots. We already have a foodshed group that might exert pressure at the right spots, but as a local farmer recently observed, “An association of farmers is like an association of artists,” meaning that getting strong-willed people like farmers to cooperate in their common interest is never easy, and moving our career officeholders to do much of anything at all that isn't wine related, is nearly impossible. This weekend's Not So Simple Living Fair at the Boonville Fairgrounds will offer an array of reality-based farm strategies. This event, by the way, is not at all the jive hippie affair of yesteryear; the Not So Simple Living are, well, No So Simple. And they're serious.

NEXT TUESDAY afternoon at AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the playoff-bound San Francisco Giants, Al Green's Greenwood Ridge Dragons will take on the Bay Area All Stars. The Giants will be in Colorado that night, but if you're in The City (and there's only one, just as there's only one Valley), you can watch local athletes Tom Rodriguez of Maple Creek and Al Green of Greenwood play some afternoon baseball in America's most beautiful ballpark. First pitch 2:15pm. We've got ten tickets to this unprecedented sporting event here at the office, and absolutely free. First come first served.

AT LEAST TWICE a week I eat lunch downstairs at Mosswood Market, now owned by the delightful Pilar Echeverria. Mrs. E has bought the business from the equally delightful Sharon Hurley. Looking around The Valley, I quickly run out of fingers counting the small businesses run by women. The businesses that aren't run by women are also run by women although there's a man up front. As has been said of me and my newspaper business, “He'd be sleeping in doorways if his wife wasn't keeping track of everything.” But if you haven't visited Mosswood lately, it remains, as always, a delightful place to eat.

AN OUTFIT based at Humboldt State University, Arcata called Schatz Energy Research Center, has released a study that seems to indicate that indoor pot grows are responsible for a dramatic spike in Mendocino County energy consumption. In 1996, Mendo ran at an average 605 kilowatt hours per household, but by 2009 Mendocino County's sparse population of about 90,000 people was racking up 768 kilowatt hours of annual electricity. (There were roughly the same number of people in the county in 1996.) And these figures exclude Ukiah, which provides its own power. Humboldt County, with double the population of Mendocino County, has seen its power load per household go from 446 kilowatt hours to 673 kwh, less than Mendocino. And the news from Pot World is that medical marijuana dispensaries much prefer indoor grown marijuana; it's said to be of better quality. Which means more indoor grows.

I BRING IT UP because more than a few locals suspect that recent power outages in Philo and Navarro have occurred because of the new and excessive demand on old PG&E equipment, and it's a local fact of life that a whole lot of people who used to grow marijuana outside are now growing marijuana inside.

THE GOOD NEWS is that Kay Clark, pleasant as ever, celebrates her 83rd birthday on August 10th.

A PHILO MAN whose name still hasn't been released, was arrested Sunday on charges of spousal abuse when he punctuated a violent argument with his significant other by setting fire to the weeds outside the couple's rented trailer at Starr Automotive. The woman ran down the street screaming the alarm, and very soon the gallant Jerry Mabery was running towards the blaze, which was still small enough for one man to extinguish, which Jerry did. Just barely. Small fires can quickly become big fires, especially when the late afternoon breezes are up as they were when Philo Man set this one because he was upset with Philo Woman. Jerry Mabery just may have averted a very large disaster, and good on him for doing it.

VIOLET RENICK, an Anderson Valley Native American, and there's not many of them besides Violet and her brother Art Knight and Art's kids, offers a timely suggestion for what to do with the old Palace Hotel a-crumbling in the center of Ukiah. Give it to the Indians. A sign on the Palace door once read, “No dogs, no Indians.” Violet suggests that the hotel could become a historical site with a sign outside that said “No dogs, no pioneers.”

DON DENNEN bought what became the Heritage House in 1949. It was Don and his family that made the property just south of Mendocino into one of California's premier get away spots. The Dennen family eventually sold the business, there were a succession of owners, each deeper in debt. It now sits abandoned, a victim of bank funny money, and a darned shame too. Don Dennen had many interesting stories about the place, among them this one when he'd found it as an abandoned farm house. “A ship went down off Point Arena a few years ago, and there were some divers around trying to raise it. One of them came up here and asked if he could take a look around. He came into the old house and said, 'Yes, this is the place all right. George used to sit there.' He pointed to the dining room. He said, 'There was a big table there where they laid the money and a couple of pistols. George used to pass out the money.' The diver had been in the rum-running business. They would boat the liquor into the cove and hoist it up on a cable. Then George would make the payoff. In November of 1934, the diver was looking at a newspaper. It told how two FBI agents were killed in a gun battle at Barrington near Chicago. But in dying they shot George Baby Face Nelson. He died four hours later in the arms of his gun moll. 'It was George,' said the diver.”

FIRE CHIEF Colin Wilson told the Community Services District board last week that the organizers of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, as well as their staff and the several thousand rasta-rockers who showed up for the annual Boonville event, had been “very cooperative and easy to work with, as has been the pattern for the last three years,” the Chief said. Chief Wilson added that there were only three medical aid emergency responses during the three-day event, which attracted a crowd about five times the size of Boonville's population.

THE RANCHO NAVARRO fire station is complete. The bay doors, the final pieces of the construction, have been installed. An open house at the new firehouse will be held on Saturday, August 28 between 1-3pm. The station is located near the Rancho's clubhouse.

CHIEF WILSON also reported that six firefighter volunteers whose “various life changes, such as pregnancy or completion of college” have compelled their resignations from the Department. Two new recruits are in training, four more are needed.

A NEW CALFIRE station for Boonville is scheduled to begin construction in October, as we wonder what was wrong with the old one. Next summer, as construction continues during fire season, one full Calfire team will probably be based at the Boonville firehouse.

CONFUSION between IRS payroll reporting requirements and Federal Labor Standards means our fire department is no longer dispatching equipment and volunteers to staff “strike teams” in other areas of the state. Congressman Thompson is allegedly on the case because mutual aid agreements across the country are jeopardized if the bureaucratic snafu isn't sensibly resolved.

CSD GENERAL MANAGER Serena Wallace said she's signed up with the Save-Mart SHARES program. She's got cards for anyone who would like one, and who wouldn't like one? They mean your purchases at Food Maxx or Lucky generate 3% of purchase value to the District. For info contact Ms. Wallace at 895-2075.

LAST WINTER'S big rains seem to have resulted in a hay glut. Bale price has dropped so precipitously the Airport can no longer sell them for a profit. The usual buyer of Airport hay is buying this year. Airport hay is priced at $6.25 per bale, but word has it that hay is out there for less than three dollars, delivered.

THE DISTRICT has received a letter from a vineyard real estate company based in Napa County reporting that the Day Ranch , currently known as Standish, has been sold to a company in Wyoming. The Napa outfit three different groups of Chinese nationals are looking around The Valley for something to buy.

CASSIDY GEPPART of Emerald Earth, a simple living collective deep in the hills of Peachland, has been hired as the new Teen Center coordinator. Miss Geppart was recruited by former teen center coordinator Meade Williams.

THE CSD BOARD, reacting to the County's budget problems, is “exploring the possibility” of an assessment to at least partially cover the cost of law enforcement cost Anderson Valley. An ad hoc committee comprised of the Community Action Coalition, the Unity Club, and members of the Community Services District board will meet to discuss the options after they receive background information from relevant County agencies and Point Arena. Point Arena presently maintains a cost sharing agreement for its law enforcement with the Sheriff's Department.

CHARLIE PAGET-SEEKINS slideshow and talk last week at the fire house about his three months in Haiti was well attended and very well received. Charlie was affiliated with the Hands On Disaster Recovery volunteer organization. He put in many long days of hard physical work this spring clearing rubble and helping to rebuild homes and schools. As onerous and demanding as the work was, Charlie says he intends to go back for more. HODR.org tells you all about Hands On's work in Haiti.

CALIFORNIA Human Development, a nonprofit agency serving northern and central California, is seeking interested families for a First-Time Homebuyer assistance program. The program is designed to help low and moderate income households, including those with special needs, to purchase a house and maintain an affordable mortgage. It will be available to those who have not owned a home in the past three years with some exceptions, such as families that lost a house through divorce or those that currently own a severely substandard home. This First-Time Homebuyer program can serve a limited number of clients. Requests to be placed on the waiting list should be made by August 20, 2010. The California Human Development housing department has complete bilingual English/Spanish capacity and can provide information and assistance in person, by telephone, or by e-mail. Please contact Clara Turner, Housing Development Specialist, at 707-521-4763 or clara.turner@chdcorp.org.

DID YOU KNOW the Ukiah's public swimming pool charges kids $4 to get in? Way, way too much. A local mom told us that she watched a small fry slowly count out his pennies and nickels so he could get himself and his sister into the water and out of the inland heat.

THE NOT SO SIMPLES remind us: “After an exciting day of exploring the possible and practical of the Not So Simple Living Fair, you can shift your cranial hemisphere for celebration. The gigantic potluck of local foods and a meal of local meats (two goats, two lambs, and one pig) in addition to fresh salsa, beans, rice, and tortillas will be provided by the community. The meals can settle to a brief keynote address, a dedication to the totem salmon, and stories of some of participants in the first Simple Living Workshops. Then amping up a bit, the Ukeholics of local fame will warm us up for Pura Vida, the Buena Vista Social Club of Mendocino County. The break for Pura Vida will be spiced with fire dance performers and this spirit will continue into Sunday starting at 10:00 a.m. with the stories from our local farming families and more workshops. All this is free for the modest price of admission to an event that challenges the status quo by focusing on long-term solutions to some of our problems of earthly existence here in Mendocino County. Check out the schedule at http://nsslf.wordpress.com”

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