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Valley People (September 30, 2020)

CONFIRMATION was received yesterday that three Hollywood movie stars, presently on location in Fort Bragg, will take part in the big Sunday parade at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show in Boonville. They are Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint and Jonathan Winters. The three are starring in the movie “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!” being filmed on the coast between Mendocino and Westport. — Fort Bragg Advocate, Sept. 23, 1965 (Any old timers out there who remember this appearance?)

FOR THE FIRST TIME in years, maybe ever, there is competition for the three at-large seats on the Anderson Valley Community Services District board of trustees. Stacey Rose, of Boonville, will try to unseat one of three incumbents — Hanelt; Soderman; Christen. The Rose insurgency has inspired some grumbling among the trustees who point out that Rose has never indicated any interest before or since signing up to run for election, an election which will cost the CSD roughly $4,000 as its share of the cost of Boonville participation on the November ballot. It is assumed that Rose, “retired military,” represents Boonville locals opposed to a water and sewage project wending its inexorable way to a likely vote if the opposition is large enough to force one. At its meeting last week, the CSD board received but ignored as irrelevant an anonymous letter strenuously denouncing Rose.

THE PROCESS TRULY IS… CSD Board Chair Valerie Hanelt writes: Hi Mark, In the AVA this week you stated: “…a water and sewage project wending its inexorable way to a likely vote if the opposition is large enough to force one.” This is a serious enough misconception that I need to correct you: This sounds as if there is a vote only if there is opposition. That is not how the process works. There WILL be a vote - a separate vote for each project. Once the projects have finished the design process and nailed down all their components, the rate adoption process will be shared with the public . Once the rate structure (base rates/usage, etc.) has been approved by our CSD Board, every parcel will receive a "rate letter" explaining the monthly payments the parcel will be incurring. The parcel owner can respond in one of two ways: do nothing OR send in a protest. The protests will be counted. If the number of protests reach 50% plus 1 of the "hook up" parcels, the project is defeated. For example, if we have 200 drinking water hook ups, 101 protest letters would have to be received to defeat the project. This is called the "Proposition 218 Vote" - which ensures that property owners have a say in any new property related fees and charges. There is still a lot of time for public comment and education before we reach the Prop 218 vote (rate letter). We still have the CEQA and the LAFCO processes ahead which require public notice and meetings. We will also have two Zoom meetings about Boonville hydrology and health. We are getting closer to finalizing the design of both systems, so hope to start these public meetings Winter/Spring 2020/2021.” Ed note: Scaramella is innocent, the editor is the guilty party.

THERE’S MUCH UNHAPPINESS at Rancho Navarro, a hilly chunk of water-short land at the northwest end of the Anderson Valley. It was grid-ed out without regard for its topography and sold as parcels as a rural development in the late 1960s with a common clubhouse, pool and homeowners board of directors, the whole of it breathed into life by a hustler named Fernhoff who spent the rest of his life in related lawsuits. Rancho Navarro is just down the road from the Holmes Ranch development, which did take the topography into account, and does have a homeowner's/road association board of directors but no clubhouse and pool. The Holmes Ranch has always been slightly more up-market than Rancho Navarro, being part-time home to world class celebs like author Alice Walker, bourgeois communist Angela Davis and the more plebeian former Playmate of the Year, the late Donna Ronne, the last doing a memorable stint as the Boonville Dump attendant, never failing to transform that weekend chore for us locals from mere off-load to delightful encounter with her merry patter and memorably un-correct jokes. Although large-scale marijuana ops aren't unknown on the Holmes Ranch, small-scale marijuana gardens have thrived at Rancho Navarro for many years, early on featuring a Princeton graduate named Lipmanson who managed to parlay his second bust in a row at the same site into a law degree when he brought a bogus but winning suit against the County of Mendo and used his winnings to go to law school, subsequently joining the legion of under-employed lawyers hanging around Northcoast courthouses wrestling each other for assignments processing the indigent on into state prison for $75 an hour. The rub? Rancho Navarro’s property owner’s rule book prohibits commercial enterprise, which marijuana grows obviously are.

I ASKED a parent of an Elementary School child how she thought on line learning was going for her 7-year old. “Pretty good,” she said. “No problem with hooking up to the teacher. Sometimes my daughter gets a little lost in math when she isn't finished and the class ends, but overall I don't have any criticisms.”

HAVEN'T CHECKED yet with the parents of high school students, but off the top, for high school kids, boys especially, cyber-learning may work better without the, ahem, distractions of the contemporary coed classroom. It doesn't seem widely known but school principals are also tasked these days with enforcing dress codes, prohibiting boys from wearing ganga-banga thug gear to school while ensuring that girls dress “appropriately” meaning, it seems, not showing up togged out as commercial street tootsies. Jeez, when I was in high school girls couldn't wear dresses that went any higher than their lower shin bones. Today, it's, "That's a high school kid!!?"

REGULAR MEETING OF THE WATER PROJECTS COMMITTEE Anderson Valley Community Services District To be held via teleconference Phone # 669 900 6833 Meeting ID 845 5084 3330 Password 048078 Public comments must be submitted by 10:00am on October 1, 2020 electronically to Thursday October 1, 2020 at 10:30am Call To Order And Roll Call: Recognition Of Guests And Hearing Of Public: Approval Of September 3rd, 2020 Regular Meeting Minutes Changes Or Modification To This Agenda: Report On Drinking Water Project Report On Wastewater Project Public Outreach Concerns Of Members: Adjournment:

THE AV Fire Department’s website features a new video providing information on Wildland Fire Behavior, Evacuations and Sheltering in Place by retired AV fire chief Colin Wilson. Go to the AVFD home page ( and scroll down to the announcement panel. This video was recently added to the site as an alternative to doing in-person presentations for local Fire Safe Councils due to the virus. If there is sufficient interest, we will do additional videos on related wildland fire preparation issues.

THE NOVEMBER 3, 2020 ELECTIONS • Official Ballots will be mailed October 5, 2020 to all registered voters in the State of California, including Mendocino County voters. If you do not receive your ballot by October 15, 2020, please call our office so we can get you out a replacement ballot. During this pandemic, we encourage you to stay home, stay safe, vote the ballot you receive in the mail and return your ballot either through the mail or a Ballot Drop Box Location (listed below) at your earliest convenience. With this election, we can open and process your ballot as soon as we receive it. We cannot upload any results until 8 pm on Election Night. • When returning your voted ballot – NO postage is necessary, whether you mail your ballot/envelope or deposit it into a Ballot Drop Off box.

IF YOU ARE A REGISTERED VOTER and you haven't yet received your sample ballot, you might wonder if the Elections Office has your correct address. If you did not get a sample ballot, call the Elections Office (234-6819) to confirm your registration. Actual vote-by-mail ballots go out next week. (Kathleen McKenna, Boonville Precinct volunteer)

BIG DRAW! Only 300 tickets available - find a firefighter and get yours today! $20/ticket FOUR picnic table winners will be selected on October 16th. Each table comes with a bonus gift: • Two will come with a household AVFD Ambulance Membership • One will come with a gift basket donated by the Farmhouse Mercantile • And one will come with a BBQ and briquettes for the full picnic experience. Look at this beautiful redwood picnic table! Hand made by a few of AVFD's finest. The drawing will be held 10/16 and streamed on Facebook Live. Chief Colin Wilson (retired) has agreed to pull the winning tickets. For more info call 707 895-2020

BILL KIMBERLIN WRITES: "The fiber cable that was laid through the valley many years ago now, reminded me of how things used to be. In the old days the phone only went to Boonville. Beyond that, we had what was called, "the farmer's line", which was a community, built and operated phone line from Boonville to Navarro, somewhere. The community line only went along 128. Each group of neighbors was responsible for the wire and polls to their houses, and everyone together took turns maintaining the basic Hwy. 128 line. It was a party line as I remember. If you picked up the phone and someone was talking, you had to wait your turn. In the winter, it would often go dead as falling tree branches busted the wires. This meant jumping in the truck and driving slowly along, from pole to pole, looking for the break. I can't remember ever actually going out in a storm to fix it. I don't think we thought the phone was quite that important. We would wait for a break in the weather, and then go. Today, we probably feel like it's worth going out in the rain to stay connected. Not us personally, of course, but certainly for the people who fix the phone, the television and the electricity. Still, it was exciting to have the phone ring. Especially in winter. Our entertainment was pretty much limited to the arrival of the Monkey Wards catalogue and news about how high the river was getting. Well, I'm still interested in how high that river gets, but now I'm also interested in who else wants to know.”

THAT WAS A 400-POUND-plus pig struck and killed recently by an unlucky driver just north of Boonville at the little red school house, probably a matriarch (I think it was female) of the drove we've seen for years wandering the Peachland area. I've seen them early in the morning in the vicinity of the Elementary School, whole families of as many as thirty or so. Used to be, way back, herds of pigs were driven south, hence “drove,” by local ranchers to the railway at Cloverdale, driven by dogs like sheep. Of course some of them escaped into the hills where they've prospered ever since. Around '70-'71 I managed to catch a baby pig that we raised to adulthood as a pet. Called him Wilbur, tame as a dog. But when he grew larger than a dog, so big and so hungry he once turned over the dinner table, Wilbur had to go. Somehow we got in touch with Harold Hulbert and Ernie Pardini, expert pig butchers. The kids froze wide-eyed as Harold and Ernie deftly rendered Wilbur as carcass, fully prepped to become pork chops and sausage, which we subsequently accomplished at a home butcher in Potter Valley. As the Wilbur adventure turned out, we had to give all his memorial meat away because none of us city people could forget that we were eating him. Having known him so well we felt like cannibals.

A RECENT scare story in one of the international tabloids warned that there's been a “time bomb explosion” of super pigs who can reproduce at 3 months and grow to 400 pounds. The alleged monster oinker “eats livestock and destroys thousands of square miles.”

WHEN I FIRST SAW my friend TJ Bird's little leather helmets and chest shields, I didn’t know what I was looking at, but TJ explained they were protective gear for his pig dogs. I thought TJ was funnin' me, but he explained that he'd spent a lot of time and energy training his dogs to run down pigs, and that a pig cornered by dogs could, and some time did, kill their canine tormentors. The miniature catcher-like protective gear designed for pig dogs ensures the dog's safety until his owner can arrive, at which time the owner, if he's the real deal, and TJ is the real deal, jumps on the pig's back and cuts his throat.

IN FULL garrulous old coot mode this afternoon, I feel compelled to mention a guy I met in Hawaii in 19 and 63 named Ray Arujo who hunted pigs up close and personal in the wilds of the Waipio Valley, so this method of pig knife hunting is not particularly new. Not a sport for everyone of course, but it sure puts to shame these boys with high powered, scoped rifles that do their hunting from a thousand yards away.

AND ONE MORE pig story: I can't remember whether he told me or someone else did, and Tommy Lemons Sr., being a modest fellow unlikely to brag on himself, someone else must have mentioned it. The way I remember the story, Tommy once shot a large tusker that disappeared into the underbrush. Tommy, not a man to let an animal suffer, crawled in after him to finish him off, only to have the old boy come lunging at him in one final retaliatory burst. Tommy lived to tell the tale, but just barely.

IT’S NO SECRET that the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg loved wine (even if a bottle of Opus One could put her to sleep), but she was also a key figure in expanding the free commerce of alcohol in the U.S., Tom Wark writes in his blog: “She embraced an interpretation of the Constitution that has led to a radical re-imagining of the role of state regulation of alcohol.” — Esther Mobley

A COOL MIL FOR AV CLINIC The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded $79 million in construction and other capital support to 165 health centers in disaster prone areas in the U.S. The awards, called the Capital Assistance for Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts (CADRE), aim to ensure access to healthcare and increase health center capacity to serve their communities after disasters. Anderson Valley Health Center (AVHC) is proud to have received the maximum award of $1 million to renovate the existing health center to improve disaster readiness and ensure our full range of services remain available through a crisis with a particular emphasis on mental health. AVHC is one of a few critical disaster resources during a crisis in Anderson Valley and is a first stop for community members seeking assistance. AVHC has been planning for a larger remodel for over three years and has plans to add over 5,000 square feet of new office space, a behavioral health reception area, a new teen clinic, acupuncture and specialty service rooms, telehealth exam rooms, and more. AVHC plans to install an additional solar array that will continue to highlight our commitment to combating climate change and to being the first LEED certified health center in California.

UNDER the auspices of Sarah Larkin, the nursery at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way seemed to prosper. It was called Goodness Grows before it suddenly closed in a flurry of rumors that somehow a glib tweeker-pot grower who lived up on Mountain View Road not far from the Boonville Dump got involved and everything associated with him went blooey, including the wonderful Goodness Grows. Not so old timers will recall that a man assumed to be some kind of high flyer from the Bay Area name of George Bergner, bought the old Schoenahl apple orchard and developed the nursery property with two nice little yurt-like redwood buildings on it out of which he sold apple juice. Prior to Schoenahl, much of that area was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gerber of the baby food fortune. The Gerbers occasionally occupied their modest house just down the road from what became Bergner's apple enterprise. That house, occupied briefly by Bergner himself, who was also invested in the New Boonville Hotel when it was owned by culinary criminals who fled for Oregon in the middle of the night. The has been vacant now for years after Bergner went broke. The Gerber place was quite modest compared to some of the spreads that latter day savages have since built up in the hills, the diff being old money modesty and new money barbarism, you might say if you're given to gratuitous insult. After Bergner disappeared, Wendy Ludwig created a fine little nursery at the former apple enterprise, and Wendy herself, like Sarah Larkin after her, knew everything about plants. When Bergner had evaporated, the many productive acres of apple trees were bulldozed and burned in what amounted to sacrilegious pyres by a Napa Valley bullethead named William Hill who planted wine grapes on the site, leaving the nursery property alone, which, fortunately, was not Hill’s. Looking west from the defunct nursery, now closed going on two years, you can see an unplanted space in the middle of Bullethead's vineyard — The David Severn Indian Burial Ground Set Aside. Severn, with a big exploratory assist from Jed Adams, discovered that Bullethead's vineyard was the previous site of an Indian burial ground and an inhabited place for thousands of years prior to the bulletheads of the world the bulletheads have pretty much destroyed. Severn got an archeologist to verify that the site was indeed sacred, and there it will be, un-graped, in perpetuity. Also at the very end of AV Way a dirt road runs west into the hills, there is now a modern bridge that crosses the stream separating the hills from the flats. The old bridge was a rickety affair that miraculously lasted to serve auto traffic into the late 1980s with only a single mishap having nothing to do with its condition. It involved three drunk, legally blind, men, including Larry Parsons, the famous little blind winemaker of the Holmes Ranch, creator of the also famed braille wine label. Parsons, since deceased via a Yorkville car crash, and perhaps the least sympathetic handicapped person in the country at the time, and his two friends, all possessed blind man concessions in Bay Area public buildings. That night, drunk, and how and why three blind men were drunk driving around the Anderson Valley remains unknown, but somehow they wound up at the old bridge west of Anderson Valley Way where they paused to relieve themselves, with one of the blind men stepping off a forty-foot drop into eternity where he thought the bridge was. When I asked Larry about his friend's fatal accident, he said, with an amused chuckle, “Heh-heh. I told him to watch that first step.” Larry's exit, incidentally, was also (presumably) something of a fluke. His underage daughter at the wheel with Larry in the back seat, daughter piled into an unyielding madrone on the far side of Yorkville. Of the four persons in the car, only Larry died. Not a scratch on anybody else.

AVA HEADQUARTERS rests in a small sea of pavement, the site having been a drive-thru coffee kiosk. But considered from a fire perspective our place still has plenty enough vegetation and trees, most of them small trees, but every day I can't help imagining them, dry and as brown as they are, as potential menaces that might suddenly combust in the afternoon furnace. Trees everywhere in The Valley, especially redwood and pine, demonstrate their stress in brown patches rain may or may not revive. Used to be when the leaves of our deciduous trees turned gold and red early in September, it meant that rain could rain any time. Now? Rain might not arrive until January, if then.

SIGNAGE UPDATE, Anderson Valley: Two for Trump, one on AV Way, one at the junction of 253 and 128, but three Biden-Harris posters in that traditional hotbed of bolshevism, Boonville's Airport Estates. In '72, Mendo went overwhelmingly for Nixon by something like 80% to 20%, but the hippies had just moved into the hills and were still focused on stoned grab ass, only bothering to vote if a comrade from a full moon boogie was running for something. This election? Most Trumpers keep it to themselves so it's hard to even estimate their numbers, but I'd bet they'll get about 40% of the vote, which is usually the Northcoast split. The farther east you go, that split is reversed, and by the time you get to I-5 the split is 90% Trumpers, 10% Democrats.

ONE MORE illustration of Anderson Valley's historically fluid demographic happened with me in a recent personal experience, which I realize occurred against the national statistic that the average American moves 15 times over the course of his long life. AV seems, though, ever more transient, especially lately. I sold my truck to a man I'd seen around town for at least ten years, and friendly-type dude that I am, I'm sure I've often good-vibed him with a friendly greeting. But when the man arrived at my office to complete our transaction, he looked around at what he seemed to think was odd decor, and said, “What do you guys do in here anyway?”

One Comment

  1. Douglas Coulter September 30, 2020

    The Russians are Comming
    The best movie ever made on the coast.
    I was just like the young boy who wanted to kill those damn commies
    Things have not changed much and as I read anti socialist, anti Marxist, anti protest rants it is clear, money is the enemy of human rights.
    More addictive than any drug
    You can never have enough

    To the tune Little Help From My Friends

    What would you think if I bent all your spoons
    Just to cook up some smack for my need
    Lend me some cash and I won’t pay you back
    Cause I have a rich habit to feed
    Still I get by when I rip off my friends
    I can get high when I rip off my friends
    I wonder why I don’t have any friends………

    I can see Donald Trump with a big Mexican straw hat quoting
    Treasure of the Sierra Madre…..we don’t need stinking badges

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