Valley People

by AVA News Service, December 9, 2010

DAVE BROADBENT, with his wife Barbara and son Clint at his bedside, passed away early Saturday morning at his home on the Holmes Ranch. Dave had been a heavy equipment operator for Caltrans and the County of Mendocino, but had lost the use of his legs in an automobile accident 16 years ago. In all the time I knew him, I never heard him complain, even after he'd had his esophagus removed more than a year ago in a fight against cancer. Lots of people suffering terrible physical pain are able to put on a stoic public face, but Barbara confirms Dave also endured the excruciatingly painful final year of his life with the same silent, non-complaining endurance he'd endured the loss of his legs. There wasn't even the impulse to self-pity in this guy. Built like an NFL linebacker with a boisterous sense of humor as large as he was, Dave Broadbent could be what the aggressively correct might call a polarizing figure. He wouldn't hesitate to say exactly what was on his mind, and often what was on his mind was the pure craziness of much of Mendo's public life, especially school management. Which is where I got to know him. Our views tended to coincide, and we became friends. Dave would clomp into the school board meetings on his metal crutches and seat himself in the middle of the front seats a few feet from the trustees, who always seemed to shrink backwards in their chairs. Throughout the proceedings Dave would contribute his opinions whether or not he was included in the conversation, enlivening the dreary proceedings in often hilarious ways. The school people were less amused — well, they weren't amused at all. One memorable night as the board solemnly discussed a student trip to Costa Rica. “Hey!” Dave suddenly interjected. “I've got a better idea. Instead of the rich kids going all the way to Costa Rica, why don't they trade places for a couple of weeks with the poor kids? The rich kids could go live in the poor kids' houses and the poor kids could live in the rich kids' houses. That way no one would have to go anywhere and the school could save a lot of money!” Dave's ideas and comments inspired zero amusement in the trustees whose chairman would always reply through clenched teeth and tight lips, “Thank you, Mr. Broadbent. Item 317 on tonight's agenda is....” Dave and Barbara were among the first persons to buy into the freshly sub-divided Holmes Ranch where Dave, a blue collar guy all the way, was a kind of sociological oddity among the well-to-do and even the famous with whom he shared responsibilities in the Ranch's affairs, especially its road association. He was a great friend to his immediate neighbor the late Donna Ronne, a former Playboy centerfold, and he was on a first-name basis with Alice Walker with whom he shared a mutual affection. And name another place in this country where the human tapestry is as vivid as it is in this place, where the range and diversity of people and personalities even approaches the one we live in here? Dave Broadbent was one more star in our improbable firmament, and a tough guy in the best sense, laughing all the way to his last home. If there are school board meetings in heaven, he'll be right up front, helping out.

TOM BURGER has died. A native son of the Anderson Valley where he lived most of his life on the family ranch at Yorkville, Tom was 79. A more extensive obituary will appear next week.

THE BOONVILLE GYM was packed Saturday night when Boonville took the floor against perennial small school powerhouse, Cloverdale. And the gym got more packed as the six o'clock tipoff approached. Cloverdale blitzed us in the first half, Boonville won the second half, but not by enough to win the game, which wasn't really much of a game as Cloverdale pulled ahead by lots, early, and stayed ahead the whole way. Our team is young and inexperienced, meaning they haven't played a lot of basketball, meaning they make mistakes that they won't be making later in the season. Mike Blackburn, also a terrific football player, was named to the all-tournament team. Pinewood, a posh private school located in posh Los Altos, defeated posh Branson of posh Ross to win the tournament championship. (The Bay Area's well-to-do, even in areas where the public schools are still pretty good, have largely abandoned public ed for private schools where annual tuition ranges from $20-$30,000.) It was nice to see a revival of the cheerleaders, and all credit goes to Kerri Sanchez for reviving them. And certainly Robert Pinoli deserves high praise for putting the whole show together then pulling it off without a hitch.

CINDY WILDER WRITES: “The High School Garden is now harvesting greens, carrots, beets and broccoli for the school cafeteria. Hopefully, sometime in January, Jamie Lee will help coordinate a Food Summit to help integrate more local foods into the schools as well as promote healthy food eating.”

THE MONDAY BEFORE the big hoops tourney, Boonville traveled to Calistoga, land of the mud baths, Renee Lee reporting: Last week the AVHS Panther hoopsters traveled to the picturesque Napa Valley to take on the Calistoga Wildcats. The JV Boys got off to a bumpy start with the first game of the evening and their season opener. The nervous Panthers struggled to find their groove in the first two periods while contending with Calistoga's hot hands. The Panthers trailed the Wildcats 19-9 at the half. After the halftime break, the Panthers were redeemed by coming back with a vengeance applying brutal pressure to the Wildcats’ offense, putting a freeze to their hot shooting. The Panther offense came alive too, and we had a ball game! The completely stunned Wildcats found themselves in a tie game 36-36 with 2:45 remaining in the game. The final minutes were complicated by a flurry of fouls putting Calistoga into bonus land, allowing them to steal the victory 41-36. Only if there were a few more minutes!!  Kudos to Scott Johnston (led team with 5 steals), Brandon Wiard, Jose Gaxiola, Danny Espinoza for their hustle and the rest of the team for working over the Wildcats and making them earn their win. This team has a lot of talented, developing athletes and should do well this season. Brandon Wiard led scoring with 12 points, followed by Scott Johnston and Jose Gaxiola 5 each, Pablo and Christian Mendoza 4, Justin Soto 3 Carlos Espinoza 2 and Danny Espinoza 1.

WITH SEVERAL PLAYERS just joining up following volleyball playoffs—or should I say, championship (Yea Panthers!)— the Lady Panthers have really just started to get some practices in and come together as a team. This was their first game as well and they had their share of jitters too. With that said, these ladies did a great job and should have a promising season. According to Coach Bryan Wyant, he hasn't seen a team this athletic, collectively speaking, in quite awhile. The Lady Panthers fought hard against the Calistoga Wildcats despite three starters; Itzel Perez, Gimmena Manriquez and Rubi Peña running into early foul trouble. The Wildcats ran past the Panthers with the halftime score 18-7. The ladies clawed their way back in the second half outscoring Calistoga and holding the Lady 'Cats to only four points in the third. In the end, the Wildcats walked away with the win 31-20 but not because of lack of effort on the AV's part. Rubi Peña scored 7, Gimmena Manriquez 6, Itzel Perez 4 and Mirla Gaxiola 3.

IN THE FIRST QUARTER, the Varsity Boys took control of the ball from the very start and never looked back. Gone was the nervous team from the previous week. This new team Panther performed like a well-oiled machine. Smooth passes and assists, amazing tips ins, and graceful ally-oops kept the crowd in awe as if they were watching a flying trapeze act. You couldn't help but get an adrenaline rush from Mike Blackburn, Sergio Gutierrez, Hunter Saigaga's silk-like steals and endless energy as the Panthers made basket after basket pounding the Wildcats 22-6 in the first quarter. AV continued scored 23 more points in the second period. Irving Jimenez, who has really stepped up this year, came off the bench and scored a few quick jumpers. He and Garrett Mezzanatto were busting down the boards and grabbing rebounds left and right. Meanwhile, the sleepy Wildcats were starting to wake up, sinking a few buckets but the Panthers kept up their lead 45-18 ending the half. The Wildcats more than doubled their score in the third quarter, outscoring AV 19-14. The Panthers were getting tired though and they were unable to keep on the wave they were riding in the first half. Lazy fouls and turnovers plagued the rest of the third and fourth quarters. Coach Slotte rotated new players in and kept rotations going throughout the remainder of the game. It was great to see that everyone got playing time that night and a lot of players posted points on the scoreboard. Mike Blackburn led with 28 points, followed by Hunter Saigaga 18, Garrett Mezzanatto 11, Irving Jimenez 10, Jason Sanchez 4, Chava Gutierrez4, Omar Benavides 3, and Sergio Gutierrez, Carlos Mendoza and Eric Guerrero with 2 each.

AND: “The AV Grange and the AV Local Foodshed Group invite you to a Holiday Community Potluck Dinner and Holiday Sing-along on Sunday December 12th at 5:30 p.m. at the Anderson Valley Grange #669 in Philo. Please bring a side dish or dessert for 6 – 8 people, including local ingredients if possible, with a serving utensil. Also please bring your own eating utensils, plates and cups. Willie Bird turkeys, local lamb & wild pork roasts and mashed potatoes & gravy will be provided. This is an alcohol free event.”

NOT THAT I INTEND to offend people doing good things, but why would a Christmas dinner be “an alcohol free event”? Festive meals should be “mandatory alcohol events,” shouldn't they? Intoxicants being Anderson Valley's primary business, and wineries perennially prepared to donate quality booze, seems kinda neener-neener-ish to throw “an alcohol free event” in the heart of a place so committed to altered states of consciousness.

LU VICKERY of Manchester writes: “Please help the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers spread the word that on Wednesdays of December 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers are offering free admission plus holiday treats and hot cider. Be among the first to view the newly painted Lighthouse, join us for a glass of hot cider and share holiday cookies with friends and staff. Climb to the top of the 115 foot Tower; tour the Museum in the Fog Signal Building and Shop for Holiday gifts in our Gift Store. Open daily, 10am – 3:30pm — Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, 45500 Lighthouse Road, Point Arena.”

TUESDAY MORNING'S sunrise was absolutely gorgeous, an explosion of every possible shade of red, orange and pink, then the day turned a wintery gray with the news that Claire Walker is retiring as librarian at the Elementary School. Always gracious in the manner of the Southern lady she is, Claire has successfully been encouraging the little ones to read for many years now, and here's wishing her irreplaceable self well as she leaves the shelves well stocked and every book where it should be.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY AMBULANCE had a very busy weekend. Thursday began with a flurry of calls, one of them involving a woman about to give birth, then a couple of non-life-threatening runs on Friday, then Saturday evening about 6:30 a head-on collision four miles up the Ukiah Road from Boonville in which one person, an adult, suffered a broken leg. Later that same night, at about 8:45, my good friend Doug Roycroft, 72, of Albion, driving towards Philo in his battered 1990 Mazda, and traveling at the age-appropriate, fogey-ish speed estimated by the CHP at 30-35 miles per hour, somehow managed to leave the road near Gowan's Oak Stand and pile into a tree. Doug was hurt bad. When I called Santa Rosa's Memorial Hospital early Monday morning, which is when I first learned of my friend's catastrophe, the ICU nurse said Doug was asleep “and doing well.” When I called back Tuesday morning, Doug, still in intensive care, sounded quite chipper. “How are you?” he asked. How are you, my man, is more to the point, I said. “Cheated death so far,” Doug replied with a patented Roycroft chuckle. “I skidded as I approached the S-curve at Gowan's, put on the brakes and they didn't do anything. Instead of making the turn I went into a tree. I think I might have hit the gas instead of the brake.” Doug was on his way to Lauren's Restaurant in Boonville where he functions as doorman at Big Band appearances. “I do that now because I can't play the trumpet anymore.” Extent of injuries? Eight broken ribs and a shattered pelvis. “They're going to screw me back together in a couple of days, soon as the swelling goes down,” Doug said, adding with jolly fatalism, “Oh well, you take what life gives.” Doug said he was very pleased with Memorial. “I'm a happy camper, happy as a guy can be in the circumstances but” he said, “ironically, the only place on my body that really hurts is where the seat belt cut into the muscle on my left side.” Doug will be in the hospital for at least another couple of weeks. I reached him at 525-5300.

DEPARTMENT of unintentional hilarity: The headline in Monday's Ukiah paper: “Council To Write Post Office A Letter.”  You might as well pick out your favorite old growth redwood tree and write her a letter, but the reference here was to the Ukiah City Council responding to a rumor that the P.O. intends to close down Ukiah's graceful old post office, the one on the West Side where the dying town's mostly depleted charm hangs on, the one whose WPA murals alone ought to keep it open. So the Ukiah City Council is writing P.O. Central to lobby against the PO abandoning the structure. Nobody wants that, which is probably incentive for the P.O. to go ahead and do it, but as it has worked out the Post Office has no plans to abandon it and the rumors are, as usual, only rumors.

WHAT ISN'T A RUMOR is this Saturday afternoon's Anderson Valley Chorus and 8 Voices, 4pm, at Lauren's Restaurant. Also at Lauren's the following Saturday, which would be December the 18th, the essential Lynn Archambault conducts the annual Anderson Valley Sing-A-Long.

HOSPICE of Ukiah will offer a Volunteer Training Course beginning January 8th and continuing through February 26th, 10:00am to 12:30pm. This free 8-week course is designed for those interested in the care of the terminally ill and their caregivers. Course facilitator is Leah Middleton RN.  Class will be held at 620 So. Dora St. in Ukiah. To register call 462-4038

MO MANDEL appears on Modern Family tonight (Wednesday December 8th) on ABC. Check your TV Guide to see what channel and what time the show comes on in your area which will vary depending on your source of tv reception. Mo, of course, is the son of Benna Kolinsky and Dan Mandelbaum of Boonville, and a heckuva talented guy.

LISA MOREHOUSE of public radio's California Report spent a productive recent week in the Anderson Valley, coming away with a smart and fair assessment of our wine industry, especially its possible negative effects on Valley water. Ms. Morehouse's report aired last week, and included appearances from a bunch of Valley notables, including Dave Severn; Captain Rainbow; Zack Rasmussen; Ester Soto; Sarah Bennett, and what seemed to be a cast of many, many. Good reporting front to back.

GIVE BEV DUTRA a great big E for effort. Bev recently appeared before the Board of Supervisors where she rattled off a series of spending categories that the Supes could either reduce or eliminate altogether. Their reaction? Silence, although Carre Brown did thank her for coming over the hill.

AS THE SUPERVISORS wrestle with a large and growing deficit, one effect we might feel in the Anderson Valley is the loss of our popular deputy, Craig Walker. Walker is on the cusp of what is shaping up as as many as a dozen layoffs in the Sheriff’s Department. Meanwhile, of course, the Supervisors are paid to drive to work, they spend a huge amount of annual money on “memberships” and “education” and so on, as Bev Dutra irrefutably pointed out two weeks ago.

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