Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (October 23, 2019)

DONALD HARRIS 58, of Philo drowned while surfing early Sunday morning off Point Arena Cove. According to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department’s Shannon Barney, “Another surfer paddled out to check on him and found him floating in the water with his surfboard next to him. He brought him in to shore and began CPR.” Paramedics took over CPR but Harris couldn’t be revived and he was pronounced dead at 9:21 a.m. 

LIGHT FALL RAINS brushed Anderson Valley last Saturday morning and again on Sunday with perhaps a tenth of an inch of measurable moisture reaching earth. Later this week temps are expected to rise into the high 80s with mid-week winds expected to generate red flag warnings and perhaps another “public safety power shut off.”

AN ATM MACHINE will soon be installed at the Live Oak Building, downtown Boonville,  brought to the community by Anne Fashauer and the Redwood Credit Union.

JACKSON FAMILY WINES has announced the purchase of Tim and Michelle Mullins’s Balo Vineyards winery, vineyard and tasting room on Highway 128 in the heart of Anderson Valley. The purchase includes the 14-acre property, with 6.5 acres planted to organically grown Pinot Noir, a winery with a 7,000-case production capacity, and a  Philo tasting room. The purchase price was not disclosed, but the property had originally been listed at $4.6 million. Local wine people say Jackson wanted a tasting room/hospitality center because the former  Edmeades place was not approved for one. 

THE BOARD MEMBERS of the Anderson Valley Historical Society are pleased to invite all AV Historical Society members, and all of our museum docents, to a Members and Docents Appreciation Party at the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum on Sunday, October 27 from 3:00 to 5:00. We’ll have food and drinks for you and a great assemblage of Anderson Valley folks who all share a love of our history and our beautiful museum. 

Without our members, who contribute financial support that makes possible our physical upkeep, capital improvements, new exhibits and outreach, we would not be able to provide this great cultural resource to our community and to our county’s many visitors. And without our precious docents, who volunteer weekend afternoons to serve as such knowledgeable and gracious hosts, our museum would not be the welcoming, accessible spot that it has been for so many years. 

Non-members who would like in on the fun are certainly welcome. All you have to do, of course, is to become a member as you come in the door, or sign up to be a docent. So to one and all, this is a chance to get fed and feted as an AV Historical Society supporter. That’s what we call immediate gratification!

That’s all for now. Hope to see you at the Membership and Docents party! For more information, please contact Sheri Hansen at 272-7248. (Jerry Karp)

DRIVE-BY IN BOONVILLE? A preliminary hearing into the shooting in downtown Boonville on August 7th was scheduled for last Thursday, the 60th (legal deadline) day since the alleged shooters, Marshall Leland Stillday, 19, and Alfredo Asher Knight, 18, both of Hopland, and both suspected gang-bangers, were arraigned on charges of attempted murder. However, some last moment complaint from one of the defense lawyers, public defender Douglas Rhoades, caused the hearing to be postponed until Monday at 10:00 — well past deadline for our beloved weekly newssheet. The reason for the delay was discussed in Judge Keith Faulder's luxuriously appointed chambers, and the only explanation given after they came out was that the judge found "good cause" to reset the hearing date — a 60-day time waiver had been taken earlier during the process, to give the lawyers time to prepare, but some lawyers need more time than others. 

Stillday, Knight

WHAT WE ALREADY know from the Sheriff’s original presser is that the defendants, Stillday and Knight, followed the intended victim (un-named, so far) from the Boonville Pic’N’Pay to the last southbound street-light in Boonville — near the Pennyroyal Goat Farm — where the vic pulled over to let the tailgating silver Mustang pass. Rather than pass, the defendants allegedly pulled in behind the vic’s vehicle and fired a shot through the back window, barely missing the vic’s head, then sped away southbound on Highway 128. Video surveillance footage from the Pic’N’Pay was used to identify the defendants who were later, on the following Saturday, pulled over and arrested after a “routine” traffic stop. A handgun of the same caliber used in the shooting was found in the silver Mustang. 

WE HOPE to provide more details next issue, after the prelim; unless, of course, the defendants elect to waive prelim and move directly to trial. 

(Bruce McEwen) 

THE BOONVILLE FAIR BOARD has apparently decided not to participate in any perc testing of the Boonville Fairgrounds back lot for the possible distribution of processed wastewater. Although there is still some question about who has the final say about the possibility of using the County-owned Fair property, the Community Services District is reluctant to press the issue without the Fair board’s participation. Meanwhile, the County has imposed more stringent, more expensive water testing requirements on downtown commercial businesses many of which seem to be supporting the proposed Boonville water project. But there’s significant resistance to the wastewater project. The CSD Board members can’t understand the local resistance to a municipal sewer system for Boonville: They wonder how anybody could be against an upgrade that is funded by the state when there are known septic problems in downtown Boonville. Besides, they are convinced that the treated wastewater isn’t sewage and new processing technologies make the effluent nearly odor-free. Opponents have pounced on the  “nearly” assurance as evidence that the smell factor has not been satisfactorily addressed. 

THE COMPLAINTS WE’VE HEARD so far include: Not in my backyard; you didn’t talk to us first; we don’t care what the engineers say, it’s still sewage and it will stink; not my problem; too much government; and it’ll cost too much even with the state financing.

FOR NOW, the wastewater system proponents are still trying to find a likely site for distribution of the processed wastewater. 

FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA told the Community Services District Board last week that ambulance services on Highway 101 corridor and in Anderson Valley are becoming more precarious by the month. Late October will see four Anderson Valley primary ambulance volunteer EMTs out of the Valley, which presents a local ambulance staffing problem that the Chief and Ambulance Manager Clay Eubanks are working to solve. 

CHIEF AVILA also reported that there seems to be consensus at the County/Board of Supervisors for adding camping facilities to the Transient Occupancy Tax list, with most of the proceeds going to the County’s emergency services. But there’s no consensus on a possible sales tax increase for emergency services because the County’s three (four if you count Point Arena) incorporated cities apparently have competing tax plans. In addition Chief Avila supports a tax increase that is limited to the unincorporated areas only. At the moment it looks like the Bed Tax campgrounds supplement proposal will be on the March 2020 ballot. 

THE CSD BOARD also authorized the Chief to acquire a smaller, more mobile fire engine for Signal Ridge with funding provided by a combination of equipment reserves, a donation from the Volunteer fire-fighters association, strike team reimbursements, and fund-raising now underway by Signal Ridge residents.  The indefatigable Signal Ridge volunteer firefighter, Olie Erickson, is working with Anne Fashauer on a gala BBQ/spaghetti dinner at the Fashauer Vineyard, 21600 Greenwood Road to be held from 2-6pm on Saturday, October 26. Music, food, wine — the works. $20/person donation requested. To contribute directly on line go to: and search for “new fire truck anderson valley volunteer fd.” The tireless Erickson told the CSD Board last week that he also had more fundraisers in the works.

A GO FUND ME campaign has been launched to help buy a new fire truck for the Greenwood Ridge Fire Department. According to the GoFundMe campaign, the department's current truck will need to be replaced at a total cost of $82,000.

To view the GoFundMe please visit:

Update: We have reached the $3,000 match! Thank you everyone!

We have been given a second match — if we raise $15,000, we will be given an additional $15,000. I know we can do this!

The Greenwood Ridge fire truck needs to be replaced. We're raising funds for that replacement - a total cost of $82,000.

MICHAEL JAY SANER, 60, of Navarro, was found guilty of murder in the first degree by a Ukiah jury last week, meaning his shotgun murder of Willy Gonzales, also of Navarro, was willful, deliberate, and premeditated. The defendant will be formally sentenced on November 21st at 9 a.m. in Department B at the County Courthouse,  Ukiah.

A VISITOR to Mendo Planning and Building headquarters in Ukiah writes: "The County building department does not know how to build a workable bathroom. In the women’s bathroom there are 3 stalls. One large one for wheelchair. The normal size ones were meant for children or midgets. So shallow you can not actually go in and get the door to actually close. There is not enough room between the toilet and the door. Then of the 3 sinks only one faucet worked. And there were no paper towels. It was, however, squeaky clean. Just totally dysfunctional." 

RESTORING STREAM FLOWS and Increasing Water Supply: Strategies for Farms, People and Fish in the Navarro River Watershed — Community Meeting at River’s Bend Retreat Center, Tuesday, October 29, 6-9 pm. Potluck supper 6-7 pm, presentations begin promptly at 7:00 pm. Updates and strategies regarding water supply reliability and storage, fisheries restoration, soil and water conservation, flow enhancement and volunteer monitoring will be shared by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Mendocino Redwood Company and Shippensburg University.

Restoration Projects Tour, Wednesday October 30, 9 am – noon. Tour will begin at the AV High School parking lot. We will visit off stream water storage, large wood, rainwater catchment and stormwater projects. To RSVP for the tour call 462-3664, ext. 103 or email These events are being paid for through funds from the CA Wildlife Conservation Board, Prop 84, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *