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Valley People (November 13, 2019)

WORLD WAR ONE, and a local casualty thereof, a Veteran’s Day reminder that the cemeteries of the Anderson Valley are the forever homes of at least a thousand veterans all the way back to the Civil War: Ruel William Day, died in combat at age 31 near the end of World War One. He was descended from the pioneer Day family of the former Day Ranch in Philo.

EYES ONLY, BOONVILLE: Andres Alvarado, a familiar sight around town instantly recognizable for his positively military bearing, and also as a hardworking man of many practical horticultural skills, remains confined to the Lakeport Post-Acute Care Home from a stroke that last year paralyzed the left side of his body. A local visitor reports that Andres, 84, although dreaming of returning to his native Mexico, is in otherwise good spirits and that the facility itself is clean and the food good.

NANCY MACLEOD & BILL ALLEN have been recognized as American Craft Week Artists Extraordinaire for their Signal Ridge straw bale house with its unique furniture and paintings. If you’ve never seen it, wrangle yourself  an invitation. Art House is an experience well worth the trip deep into the hills west of Philo.

DR. BURNS FROM MENDOCINO ANIMAL HOSPITAL will be at the Anderson Valley Farm Supply seeing patients on Thursday, December 19th. She's there between 2:00 and 4:00 pm. People can always check the events section of our Facebook page for more information - it's always posted when we're going to be there. 

BOONVILLE QUIZ THURSDAY. This Thursday, Nov. 14, the Big Boonville Quiz returns to Lauren’s restaurant at 7pm after a three week hiatus. This will be the only Quiz in November as the 4th Thursday will be Thanksgiving (November 28th). Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master

LISTEN UP, SPORTS FANS! Wednesday afternoon (today for readers of the paper-paper), the Anderson Valley boys soccer team, perennial small school powerhouse, will be playing for the small school championship against Mendocino right here at home in the North Coast Section Division Championships. Last Saturday, Anderson Valley boys soccer won the semifinal CMC division match against Tomales 4-2. Goals were scored by Cristobal Gonzalez, Lucas Kehl, Alex Tovar, and Irlen Perez. AV vs. Mendocino  kicks off at 2pm this afternoon)

OUR DISTAFF Boonville powerhouse, the Anderson Valley girls volleyball team, got into the playoffs but lost in the second round of the championships to Calistoga, world famous home of the mud bath and the great running back, Louie Giamomma, the great pitcher, Bob Knepper, and the great coach, Dick Vermeil. Mud baths worked for them big time, and seemed also to have worked with the Calistoga girls.

FROM GENTLEMAN GEORGE HOLLISTER: “The weather we are currently experiencing in Comptche is similar, or the same as what we experienced during the 1977 drought year. That would have been the Fall of 1976. The nights were clear and freezing. The days were warm and dry. That year the grass did not turn green. Most people in 1977, with range land, had livestock so there wasn’t much of a fire hazard, and there weren’t any notable fires, either. Water was short, so there was a push to provide government money for people to develop water, including farm ponds. Imagine that. Our total rainfall for that year was 16 inches with a significant amount of rain coming in August of 1976. Much of the native vegetation suffered, including the redwoods. Marin County ran out of water and a pipe was placed on the Richmond Bridge coming from the East Bay to provide water to Marin.”

ENDLESS SUMMER. Again. Gentleman George is correct. One eerily warm day after another with no rain in sight. As GG has rightly pointed out it's like that dry year of the 1970's, the year Marin County piped in water from deep in the East Bay, neatly bypassing equally parched Richmond. Here in Anderson Valley, neo-home of Mendocino County's wine industry, the monarchs of the vine have their vast sprinkler systems going full blast. We understand from reliable sources inside the quality booze biz, that many vineyards are finally compelled to pay labor a better wage, if they can find labor, because of an ongoing shortage of farm workers.. And advertised high end real estate around here, wildly over-priced to begin with, languishes on the market. Orange Man's daily boasts about the robust economy he's allegedly created doesn't bear local scrutiny where we have hundreds of employed people surviving on food stamps.

THE SOUND we all dread, have always dreaded in the Anderson Valley, is the sound of sirens, never more unnerving than in this year of Biblical-quality fires. And we can hear the siren for what seems like forever as they keen through Boonville almost all the way to Philo. This morning, Thursday, the dogs, as always, went off first, a chorus of moaning, howling canines that's always the siren precursor. Then, as we snap on our scanners, Anderson Valley's emergency services vehicles whine past and, finally, a CHP vehicle screams all the way over the hill from Ukiah, through Boonville, and on to whatever vehicular catastrophe awaits, our length of Highway 128 having become a regular Blood Alley. This morning's siren were apparently inspired by, in the words of a local, "a big white truck with a camper van smashed into a tree in Philo."

HARSH WORDS FROM CEO ANGELO: “I don’t believe anything PGE reports right now. Everything they told us was inaccurate. They have good staff (Alison Talbot) as liaisons but they don’t empower or inform their liaisons. PGE is creating a public health emergency for the people in Northern California. Something MUST be done before someone dies due to PSPS.”

ON-LINE COMMENT: "Do you honestly think that PG&E shut down all their power generation plants statewide? They didn’t. They cranked up the turbines and sold that electricity out of state. For profit. While we sat and shivered in the dark."

HERE AT BOONVILLE’S beloved weekly, we were pretty much incommunicado for five days. We posted what we could of our usual array of essential information and piercing insights, but we could not print our paper-paper, the first print edition we’ve missed publishing in forty years. It was a perfect storm of impossibilities for the paper-paper. First the blackout, then Healdsburg Printing’s entire crew was evacuated and locked out of their print shop and, perhaps worst of all, the lady who puts the paper together, the remarkable Renee Wyant, was stuck in Portland. Those of you who get the paper-paper, don’t blame the Post Office for the missing issue. There wasn’t a paper. And there wasn’t any excuse for PG&E unplugging us either.

THE NEARLY five full power-free days established beyond all doubt, my fellow Mendolanders, that we're a low priority population every which way, there being so few of us at about 90,000 souls that if we disappeared altogether it would be weeks before the rest of the world realized we were missing. If the power outage had lasted any longer, the low intensity panic we saw over the last week of it in the scramble for fuel, batteries, booze (booze running a strong third emergency priority in the larger population concentrations), water, and canned foods. The lesson we've drawn at the ava bunker from "the new normal" is that we should be prepared to go it alone for a month. At least. We'd debated investing in a generator, but the NO's won on the assumption that our captors, the PG&E monopoly, would free us after a day or two. Well into Day 5, and an entire week's work put on hold, generator here we come. I think most of us have drawn the only conclusion available — next time we'll be ready, if not completely ready at least prepared for a week removed from Western Civ.

A FEW LOCALS wondered why Boonville High School was closed during the outage given the large array of solar panels ordinarily powering its buildings. Answer: Sun power is routed through lines owned by PG&E. When they're de-juiced, solar or not you're cursing the dark. (The ava's stark compound is also solar powered but we, too, are routed through PG&E lines and fumble for our Rice Krispies in the Stygian gloom until the hostage-takers allow us to again turn to merry King Sol for energy.)

THE LEMONS family kept the Philo Market open during the power shut down, as did, in Boonville, Rossi Hardware, Pic&Pay, AV Market, Lizzby's, Boontberry for a while initially, and the Redwood Drive-In. All these businesses kept Boonville re-supplied. Not sure about the redoubtable Dave Evans at the Navarro Store but he was surely also on duty. All-in-all, the Anderson Valley looked after our own, checking on elders and universally doing the right thing throughout the emergency.

 WE'RE IMMENSELY GRATEFUL to the Anderson Valley Fire Station and personnel who graciously made room for us to rejoin cyber-communications long enough to post a few items of, hopefully, general interest. Chief Avila and Assistant Chief Angela Dewitt, apart from keeping an eye open for local emergencies, also found time to answer our emergency related questions.

A COUPLE OF PEOPLE at the AV Community Services District were not shy about pointing out that this power outage is yet another reason to develop the water and sewer systems for Boonville. Plans include a heavy duty back-up generator to keep water and sewer running when PG&E goes out again — as it most assuredly will.

NOT TO BE DETERRED, the Halloween “Dark Carnival” party, a fundraiser for KZYX, at the Philo Grange drew revelers from all over the County.

KORLA PANDIT, PG&E’s Sikh spokesman — Sikhs wear turbans — reminded old, old timers of a cornball tv show from the 1950’s featuring a black guy from St. Louis named Redd who called himself Korla Pandit and pretended to be an East Indian prince. Nobody, not even his children, knew his true identity until he passed away at his home in Petaluma sometime in the 1970s.

Korla, PG&E spokesman (left); Korla, TV showman (right)

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