Valley People

by AVA News Service, August 4, 2010

BIG GARAGE SALE this Saturday 10-5 at 20210 Highway 128 about six miles out just past Meyers Fam­ily Cellars. Lots of stuff at give away prices.

EVERYONE seemed to enjoy the weekend softball tournament at the Boonville Little League field. The 8-team event, deftly organized by Willie Housley, raised money for The Valley's popular Pop Warner Football program. A very strong team out of Ukiah called The Disciples won the tournament. (See page 7 for details.)

NOTE TO THE FAIR BOARD: If you kept the field green and got the lights fixed, the little gem of a baseball field at your south end could be a real money maker for the Fair. Softball continues to grow in popularity, and Boonville offers as nice a softball setting as any in the County because it's supplemented by a variety of nearby restaurants and watering holes and, of course, looks out on America's most beautiful hills – timbered to the west, golden to the east. Teams pay two to three hundred bucks to play in tournaments and they and their entou­rages bring a lot of business to town with them.

IF MIKE SHAPIRO is a grandfather that must mean Sharon Shapiro is a grandmother, which they are with the recent arrival of eldest son Davy Shapiro's daughter, Lilah. Grandpa Mike says it's the Boonville of their for­mative years that has led all three of his boys into sports-related careers: Davy works with a Sacramento-based firm called Positive Coaching Alliance, which arranges for big time sports figures to give clinics for youth coaches; Ben, who just got married, lives in Oakland where he works for the Golden Gate Warriors; and Gabe, whose energetic dance performance on a homecoming float one year still makes me laugh, is an account execu­tive with KNBR Radio in San Francisco, the sports talk station on your dial.

TOM STIENSTRA'S must read outdoors column in the San Francisco Chronicle said Sunday that “the best drive” is Highway 20 between Willits and Fort Bragg. Hmmm. I suspect there would be a lot of opposition to that statement from people compelled to drive it regu­larly, but here's Tom's thinking: “The engineer who designed Highway 20 from Willits to Fort Bragg must have had a motorcycle, because this road has perfect curves and banks as you head through redwoods and Douglas fir en route to the coast. Pick an early morning for an open road and take it all in.” Tom said the “most frustrating drive” is on Highway One between Jenner and Point Arena, especially “if you find yourself behind a big RV, you can hit top speeds of 10, 15mph on the curves, for what seems hours.”

BECKY COX-ROCHA has been hired by the Windsor Unified School District as the district's assistant principal for “Cali Calmecac Language Academy. Becky is, of course, the bi-lingual daughter of Jerry and Kathy Cox of Navarro.

LAST WEEK'S report about the price of Airport Hay was incorrect. Airport Manager Kirk Wilder tells us that he's been out of town for a few weeks on personal busi­ness, but Boonville International is now selling baled hay for $4.00 to $4.50 per, not including delivery. Call 895-2949 or 895-2811 for info.

IN OTHER AIRPORT NEWS, Boonville International's annual, and always much anticipated, open house is coming up on Saturday, August 14 from noon to 5pm, with a potluck supper at the end of the day.

ASS KNIFE, a heavy metal band mostly from Layton­ville is catching on down below, having recently per­formed in Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Boonville's very own Wyatt Gibson plays bass for the group. Older per­sons unfamiliar with the heavy metal genre might want to know that it's not exactly dance music. And some old timers might recall that Lawrence Livermore came down out of Deep Spyrock, Laytonville, to organize a band called Green Day, as he and they went on to serious money and international acclaim.

YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW: Why are the lights and the air conditioning always on in the computer room at the Elementary School, and why hasn't the oversight committee for the $15.5 bond local voters passed in June met yet? The Elementary School grounds look like they're reverting to wildlands, too. No summer upkeep?

THEN THERE'S the sorry state of the Boonville Dump which can't be blamed on the kid the County has assigned to the site to do the best he can in the wake of the supervisor's botch job on trash hauling arrangements. The County laid off Biker Bill and the rest of the County's dump attendants in anticipation of a deal that never happened. Biker Bill, besides being a heckuva pleasant guy, managed to keep the Boonville Dump tidy despite almost nightly raids by dumpster divers. These days the Boonville Dump looks like, well, the dumpster divers are running it. If we had a supervisor I'd recom­mend calling him to complain, and the County's chief garbage bureaucrat wasn't a devious little psychopath who recently obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon I'd suggest you call him, but for now just do the best you can maneuvering around the stacks of tires and miscellaneous detritus to offload your detritus.

BORN to Elias and Shiree hatcher, a daughter, whose grandparents include Art and Sony Hatcher of Philo.

KATY TAHJA of Comptche has become crucial to local history's rather sparse archive. Her first three books brought us fascinating pictures and accounts of early Comptche, then there was her history of the Skunk Train and then a photo history of the Mendocino Coast from the last quarter of the 19th century through the early 20th century. I've got all three and, No, you can't borrow them because I don't want to lose them. Mrs. Tahja's latest book records, mostly in photographs, her alma mater, Humboldt State College now Humboldt State University. All Mrs. T's books are, or should be, available at your local book store.

COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT General Man­ager Serina Wallace offers more information on the “SHARES” program she has arranged with the Lucky, Foodmaxx, Savemart store chain. To participate you can pick up a SHARES card at the CSD office. Present the SHARES card with your purchases at the cash register of any Foodmaxx, Lucky or Savemart store and 3% of the “qualified purchases” will be credited to the Community Services District on a quarterly basis. The unrestricted funds raised will help the district cover the costs of Val­ley government.

CLARIFICATION: A fellow named Gilman Ordway owns the Valley Foothills Ranch next door to Standish Winery. He now also owns the property Standish rests on, which is the former Day Ranch, although Miles Oswald continues at the site as Standish where, as always, Miles makes wine and operates the tasting room. Got that?

GET WELL, MANUEL SOTO. The popular school bus driver is so afflicted by Lyme Disease he's frozen in a kind of facial stasis and is having trouble talking. Doc­tors are telling Manuel he may remain like this for sev­eral more weeks.

THERON MILLER has been hired by Mendocino High School to rebuild their football program this year, start­ing with a Junior Varsity who will probably play nine-man team until enthusiasm is fully re-ignited and there are enough bodies for 11-man. Mendocino, like Ander­son Valley, often fielded strong 11-man teams, and Theron himself went on to become a standout linebacker at Division One San Jose State. Theron reports that he's had an encouraging turnout of Mendocino prospects and several good practices, which isn't surprising because Theron not only knows his stuff, he has a natural gift for working with kids, a gift he demonstrated when he worked with Anderson Valley Football legends Dan Kuny and Tony Pardini and Boonville's Pop Warner teams. Theron also hopes to revive the Apple Bowl, the big Fair-time game between Anderson Valley and Men­docino.

BUT HERE IN BOONVILLE, at the high school level, football seems forever doomed. The game remains popular with the little guys, but by the time the little guys grow into big guys and go to high school, they are pre­sented with Pastor Bill and enthusiasm for the game evaporates. The young coaches who briefly blew some life into the program last year, Logo Teveseu and John Toohey, will be only peripherally involved in AV Foot­ball this year, if they're involved at all. The problem with Boonville football is at the administrative level of Anderson Valley Unified. School administration system­atically undermined Coach Dan Kuny when Kuny, who is enormously popular in Anderson Valley, insisted on running his own show, as every other coach in America runs his own show. But admin replaced Kuny with Jack Graves, a Boonville group home proprietor. Graves runs a good group home, so good he saves a few young men from lives spent shuffling in and out of prison. But out­side his group home, Graves' influence can be baleful, as it has been on Anderson Valley football. During the struggle for control of the football team, Kuny went unsupported by school administration. Graves didn't like Kuny and refused to allow his group home residents to play for Kuny. Kuny certainly did not like Graves, but Kuny was the injured party in the dispute, not the aggressor. Born and raised in the Anderson Valley, and a former star on the school's teams of the early 1970's, Kuny put every thing he had into Boonville football, including much of his hard-earned income as a logger and the many hundreds of volunteer hours he put in with the little guys at Pop Warner. With Kuny as head coach, local kids who otherwise would not play football (or anything else except maybe Trim The Dope) lined up for their helmets and pads. In the dispute with Graves, Kuny stood his ground and told Graves that he, Kuny, was the coach and if Graves didn't like it that was too bad. Graves retaliated by withholding his kids while AV Uni­fied's cringing administration dumped Kuny. (Graves also refuses to allow his kids to play basketball unless he, Graves, approves of the coach.) No other parent, local or genetic, any other place in this country, would be able to dictate how a high school sports program was run. Boonville Football 2010? Graves' stooge, Pastor Bill Nobles of the Boonville Assembly of God church, has been named coach. The group home boys attend Nobles' church where they comprise almost the entire congrega­tion of maybe a dozen people. Nobles is so large he gets called for delaying the game penalties while he heaves his bulk on and off the playing field. Call me old fash­ioned, but a coach at least ought to resemble an athlete. Graves' group home boys are compelled to attend serv­ices at Pastor Bill's church and they're compelled to play football for Pastor Bill, too. Graves' hold on Anderson Valley High School's spine-free administration tightens when state reimbursements are factored into the discus­sion: The high school's fiscal bottom line is considerably fattened by the group home's 8-10 students; they repre­sent thousands of dollars in attendance money to a dis­trict perennially scrambling for students, a number of whom have left the area because there is no longer a reputable football program. Complicating matters is Graves' quick-draw accusations of racism at the slightest criticism, and there's nothing more frightening to a cer­tain kind of liver-ish white liberal than being denounced as a racist by a black man. It's all very sad, and none of it should be. But there it is, the subtle demoralization of a whole community of people who played, then enjoyed Anderson Valley High School football for many years until it was destroyed for no real reason other than one man's vanity.

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