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Valley People (November 27, 2019)

MIKE HULBERT, 60, of Willits, has died. Mike was found dead at Motel 6 in Ukiah of apparent alcohol poisoning. Mike and his brother Steve, who died in 2017, grew up in Boonville where both are fondly remembered by many of us. 

LAW ENFORCEMENT TO THE HOOP! Justin Rhodes of Fish and Wildlife is coaching girls’ basketball this season while Luis Espinoza is back as boy's coach. The season kicked off with the Panther girls pawing Roseland Collegiate Prep in Santa Rosa, 20-17 as the Panther boys were cuffed, 35-33. Coupla days later, all four Panther teams were seriously mauled by Upper Lake.

STACY SQUIRE’S USE PERMIT for an AirBnB rental about two miles up a private road behind the old Horse Haven ranch between Philo and Navarro was unanimously denied by the Planning Commission Thursday. Neighbors unanimously objected on grounds of privacy, fire hazard, road maintenance, driving hazards, and security problems. Use permits are required for AirBnB rentals not on publicly maintained roads. 

LEAD by neighbors Don Shanley and his wife Laura Quatrocchi with their former County Counsel Terri Gross, the neighbors attorney, the eloquent Terry Gross, argued against the permit application which would also open the door to major events like wedding or parties with a simple administrative add-on permit. 

MS. SQUIRE ARGUED that she has paid for several road improvements on the upper portions of the road to her property and implied that her neighbors have some personal animosity toward her. She thought the neighbor concerns were overblown for such an insignificant permit application and that she needed the supplemental income. 

DIANE WEIDEMANN, Fifth District Commissioner, said she’d driven that “problematic” hard-to-drive road to the property and that it was simply not a place to bring random city-slicker or brightlighter visitors. Commissioner Jacobsen cited liability problems associated with the risk of damage from strangers on such difficult steep and windy roads. Another Commissioner cited the applicant’s history of non-compliance with prior conditions and that she’s been renting it on AirBnB without a permit already. Commissioner Madilyn Holtkamp cited the fire hazard especially since the applicant wouldn’t be present during the rentals. 

MS. SQUIRE can legally rent the property on a longer-term (greater than 30-days at a time) basis without a permit. And she has 30 days to file an appeal, although her chances of reversal of an unanimous Planning Commission vote would seem to be remote. 

OLD TIMERS will recall that Nick Alexander, son of Dragnet's Ben Alexander, first owned the Squire place. It used to be accessed via the Holmes Ranch. 

Jack Webb (left), Ben Alexander (right)

A TRAILER FIRE last Thursday afternoon (21st November) off Nash Mill Road was quickly knocked down by Anderson Valley firefighters. AV Fire Chief Andres Avila said neighbors called the fire in after they heard an explosion in the area and  soon saw smoke rising from a fifth-wheel on Lazy Springs Road. Initially called in as “an explosion” and “three people including a child” as occupants,  firefighters arrived to find an unoccupied fifth wheel and a car in flames. Shingles on a nearby well-house were also on fire and were quickly extinguished by arriving AV units accompanied by a Calfire helicopter a firefighting crew to help our volunteers in putting out the fire. An air tanker was called off when ground crews were able to handle the blaze. Chief Avila said the fire began in the living room of the fifth-wheeler but had not determined a cause although the fire did not appear to be marijuana related. 

MICHAEL SANER 60, formerly of Rancho Navarro, convicted of murder in the first degree in the shooting death of William “Willie” Martinez, also of Navarro, has been sentenced to 50-years-to-life in state prison. Judge Cindee Mayfield presided. After hearing defense attorney Patrick Pekin’s request to use her honor’s discretion to not add the enhancement of the “use of a firearm,” Judge Mayfield said, “I don’t find this an appropriate case to strike the gun enhancement [which in effect doubles the 25-to-life for the murder]. The murder appeared to be premeditated and the alleged blackout [from Saner’s use of drugs and alcohol] was really not all that compelling in mitigation. In fact, there was not much evidence of anything mitigating presented that was helpful to Mr. Saner. His criminal history consisted of numerous convictions, such as battery, brandishing, violations of court orders; in short, he has not lived a “predominatingly law-abiding life.” In view of Saner’s inability to pay, the judge reduced the victim’s restitution fund fine from $10,000 to $1000 and waived the $712 fee for the presentencing investigation and report from probation. “In all this time the defendant has shown no remorse for his actions nor the taking of another human being’s life, nor any acceptance that others may have a different view than his. He still considers himself the victim,” said Judge Mayfield. Saner was also sentenced to a year in jail for a trailing misdemeanor, and given credit for time served on that count. (Bruce McEwen)

ANNUAL Holiday Community Dinner, Sunday, December 8th, 5:30 at the Anderson Valley Grange, Philo

Yes folks , it's coming up sooner than we all think. Sponsored by the Foodshed and the Grange, our yearly FREE gathering for one and all. Started in the late 80's it's become a wonderful tradition. Come have a delicious dinner, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing provided by Grange and Foodshed and all the extras provided by everyone else, i.e. a monster potluck with you bringing desserts, salads, drinks, vegetarian options, and, if you can swing it, your own utensils. There's a kids zone, Lynn on the white grand piano with dinner music and perhaps some caroling, and a long line where you get to hang out with friends and neighbors. As always there is much need for volunteers to cook the turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing before the event and folks to pitch in, run the kitchen, serve, set up, decorate, clean up and on and on. Helping out is a great way to meet and greet both new and old members of our community. If you want to help out before, during, or after the event please call or email Cap Rainbow 895-3807 or 

LAST WEDNESDAY the Community Services District (CSD) Board approved the purchase of a new ambulance. More than half of the $210k cost will be covered by a special federal grant that Ambulance Manager Clay Eubanks arranged. The rest will come from the Ambulance Service Foundation (formerly the Ambulance Service non-profit before it merged with the fire department which retained its savings account as part of the re-organization for just this purpose). The new ambulance is on order and is delivery is expected by March of next year. The current ambulance will be put into reserve status and parked at the Boonville firehouse as back-up but not on active standby because there’s not enough volunteer staffing to keep both vehicles available for dispatch. 

THE CSD’s Recreation Committee is exploring community use of the weight equipment at high school.

DIRECTOR Kathleen McKenna reported that she attended a recent meeting with County Parks staff (now part of the County’s recently created Cultural Services Agency with the library and museum) and their paid consultant who is doing a “needs assessment” for the three parks in The Valley — the Community park near the high school, Faulkner Park on Mountain View Road and Indian Creek Park in Philo. 

THE DISTRICT BOARD also decided to set up a Standing committee to oversee the pending water and wastewater projects. The committee will consist of Board chair Valerie Hanelt, director Kathleen McKenna and CSD General Manager Joy Andrews. They will meet on the first Thursday of the month at 10:30 am and everyone is welcome to attend. The committee is a more formal version of the loosely organized "Boonville planners." But as the project has proceeded to the point of making agreements with locals for water wells or wastewater treatment and distribution, the Board apparently felt that a more formal group with regular meetings was needed. At the moment the drinking water project is proceeding with arrangements being made with potential well owners or property owners with potential well sites. We are not aware of any significant resistance to the drinking water project. However, the wastewater/treatment project has hit a snag because they have not been able to identify a location for the treatment plant and wastewater distribution field. The Boonville Fair Board has resisted requests to allow the district to conduct a percolation test on their back lot and other sites present various technical  or geographical problems. "The wastewater project is stymied for now," said Hanelt. "The setback requirements limit the potential sites,” and large portions of the airport property apparently do not adequately percolate. “We are in jeopardy of not being able to do this project," Hanelt added. For the time being the committee is exploring several parcels on the south end of town which look promising but the property owners have so far not given the go-ahead.

THE AV Firefighters Association has received a $25,000 donation from two local property owners home-based in San Francisco in appreciation for the Fire Department’s work, particularly in the area of fire preparedness. The money will be used to replenish the Association’s savings account, which has been drawn down to subsidize several new pieces of fire rolling stock. 

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