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Valley People (Jan. 30, 2002)

THE GOOD NEWS. Lots of fish in local streams, steelhead and salmon. Jerry Philbrick said Monday that he hadn’t seen “this many salmon in many, many years.”

BILL MANNIX, the late Homer Mannix’s brother, can be found every Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market in Santa Rosa selling his home brew Mannix Farm Apple Juice at the Vet’s Building. Like his brother, heckuva nice guy, Colonel Bill, and a heckuva fine apple juice maker, too, from all reports.

JEFF RUSSELL called from Crescent City to say he was hoping to see Bill Holcomb’s ‘56 Mercury convertible at the Trinity County Fair, but that Bill and his work-of-art Merc hadn’t made it that far north, thus disappointing many more than one tsunami-land car buffs.

ADMIRERS OF THE JAPANESE MAPLE, me among them, can easily get lost for a couple of hours in Mountain Maples annual catalog. The Spy Rock-based nursery now has a Potter Valley outlet, which makes its stunning array of this most variegated tree much more accessible to Boonville buyers. Mountain Maples’ catalog is replete with not only a seductive array of available trees, it contains a lot of how-to information, or how to access how-to information, including the expertise of Mountain Maples founder, Nancy Fears. At the risk of unleashing the lookee-loos on one of my favorite local businesses, Mountain Maples can be reached toll-free at 1-888-707 6522.

FROM THE CHRON’S Bug Man column by Richard Fagerlund: “I had a trapper write me when I wrote a column about moving skunks and he told me there are only three things you can do with a captured skunk. You can release it where you caught it, you can haul it a short distance so it will come back, or you can kill it.....”

A SLIGHT VARIATION on trapped skunk options. I get them all the time in my Hav-A-Heart trap, and am always happy to see them, much happier than I am to find a raccoon, possum, or a feral cat hurling itself at me against the wire. I understand, of course, that trapped skunks are not ordinarily viewed as an opportunity for an aesthetic experience, but if you’re so inclined, and I am, try provoking the little beast into at least one spray, taking care beforehand to put the sun at your back as it lets fly. You will behold a shade of lime-ish aqua-green unlike any you’ve seen before! (I know, I know. Aqua-green is the ugliest color in all creation, but not skunk aqua-marine.) I use a 15-foot bamboo pole to get the Hav-A-Heart into position, the move towards the caged skunk, which prompts it to assume a butt-end stance facing me, the aggressor. Don’t worry about getting skunked. They’re real slow getting their artillery aligned with their targets. When you see that the skunk is ready to open fire, retreat out of range a couple of steps, and enjoy  the show. Actually, skunks don’t spray so much as they squirt, and they can get it out there a good twenty feet or so but, in my experience, typically save it until they think you’re making a real move on them. Once I’ve enjoyed two or three arcs of a uniquely splendid green — skunks seem capable of repeated, consecutive emissions — I toss a tarp over the cage, reach in and release the little beast from captivity, silently thanking it for the show. Skunks, incidentally, never sprint out at you like a wild cat will, so you’ve got lots of time before it figures out its cell door is open.

THE CONSTRUCTION work at the high school for the installation of a couple of enhanced modulars, both of which, we have been assured, will not be eyesores.

CONCEDING that the legal ad is misleading, a local realtor says that Bear Wallow will cost whomever buys it a lot more than the $119,000 listed as its auction price. “There’s money owed on the first mortgage, back payments, fees for this and that, and the true price is more like $477,000,” which makes the deal, uh, daunting, considering the overall condition of the 39-acre Mountain View Road parcel and its mostly fix-er-up structures.

DOGS have pretty much put The Valley’s sheep ranchers out of business, although a few old timers still try to get their diminished flocks past the “My Dog? My Dog Wouldn’t Kill Anything” people. Your dog would kill you if it were hungry enough, or if you dressed up as a sheep and dashed across your lawn in the moonlight. The following peeved notice is posted in the Philo and Navarro Post Offices.

“SHEEP KILLING DOGS!!. Large heavy black with thick plumey tail, medium trim black with white tips and tan marking on face and chest. Three sheep dead, two injured in last two weeks. Attacked in Little Mill Creek Drainage. If these are your dogs get rid of them. If you know whose dogs these are tell the owner or call 895-3112 and we will tell the owner.”

NEARBY is posted this forlorn notice from “Irmgard.” It says: “My dog Tom is lost. 4 white legs, black tail with white tip, black back, white chest and belly, white stripe on forehead and white muzzle. 964-4171.”

IRMGARD, your missing Tom sounds like he’s gone bad, gone clear into mutton on the hoof, and now roams late-night Mill Creek, lusting for early lamb chops.

THE BOONVILLE guy who surprised Mendo authorities by reappearing in town after having been court-ordered into a residential drug rehab program far from Boonville, appeared in Judge Henry Nelson’s court the other day requesting that the judge “modify” his sentence to exclude rehab. The nonplused judge “advised” the Boonville guy that he would be wise to re-think his request, gave the Boonville guy two weeks to mull over two options, one week for each option, it seems — go into rehab or go to jail for five years. 

MY NEPHEW ROBERT M. ANDERSON, author of “Boonville,” now in its fourth week on the Bay Area’s Best Seller List, called Monday. “I’m reading at Copperfield’s in Santa Rosa tonight and a lady just called me from there to tell me not to worry, that Montgomery Village security would ‘be there for me.’ She told me the book store had received ‘hostile’ calls from ‘Boonville people’ saying that they were coming down to, I dunno, Boonville me, I guess. Then she said, ‘I guess you’re used to it, though.’ I told her, ‘No, I’m not used to it. You must have me confused with my uncle, the newspaper guy.” Robert wanted to know if I’d heard anything about him getting Boonvilled in Santa Rosa. 

NO, I said. If you were going to get Boonvilled any place you would have gotten Boonvilled in Boonville when you read here. 

THE COPPERFIELD’S event was standing room only and uneventful, as was Friday night’s reading at the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah, although a person at the Copperfield’s reading did ask, “How much has it rained in Boonville this year?” 

ORDINARILY, that’s not a literary line of inquiry. But it might have been getting Boonvilled. Ordinarily, however, getting Boonvilled is more like the young guy who walked up to Robert and Robert’s large, linebacker city friend at the Boonville Lodge one night and asked, “Hi, guys. Where’s the rest of the queers?” The linebacker wanted to pop the guy one but Robert explained, “We’ve just been Boonvilled. No big deal.”

WE USED to have no trouble getting basic info about local catastrophes from our local emergency services panjandrums, but as the CSD’s budget has grown, info flow has proportionately decreased. Call me naive, but public agencies ought to let the public know what they’ve been doing. If someone careens over the side of the hill on their way to Ukiah, we ought to at least get the barebones specifics about the event — who, why, where, when. We can’t even get a call-back from 895-2020, and when we do it’s some officious evasion like, “I’m sorry. I’m not at liberty to divulge the information you are requesting.” (You’re free, my child, to tell me whatever you wish.), The AV Health Center has always been about as forthcoming as the Nixon White House, the schools refer everything to their Santa Rosa lawyers (so why even have a school board?), the publicly-owned Mendocino County Fairgrounds are about as accessible as San Quentin’s visiting room on No Visitor’s Day and, of course, Public Radio Mendocino County, Philo, is a tax-funded private club for boring people. There ought to be a law that compels publicly-funded agencies to answer obvious public interest questions. That happy day is unlikely to come any time soon. Although it’s time consuming and often costly to do it, the only way to get too many public agencies to release information they’re lawfully obligated to release, is to go to court against them, which presents its own special public info obstacle course in Mendocino County where judges, with perhaps one exception, have made themselves unavailable to the public, especially the impertinent parts of the public.

ACCORDING to what we’ve gleaned from our scanner, a fellow tersely identified as “Whitney,” plunged over the side of the Ukiah Road at mile marker 2.98 last Friday afternoon at 11.20am. “Whitney’s”.... “red vehicle”  was spotted “30 to 60 feet down” by a passerby who called the accident in. “Whitney” did not require “extrication” from his “red vehicle” but was “bleeding from his head.” He “was transported to UVMC” where, presumably, he survived.

MONDAY, THE AV HEALTH CENTER, called for an ambulance to transport an  “84-year-old female” to Ukiah. From what we could make out amidst a virtual static-blizzard of 10-4’s from what seemed like at least a half-dozen 911 patrols, the ailing woman was on her way from Philo to Boonville where she would be trundled into our ambulance and transported to The Winter Place From Where Few Persons Over The Age Of 70 Are Seen Alive Again, Especially If They Are Heavily Insured.

READERS are again reminded that Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg is not only a much better hospital than the Ukiah hospital, it is a publicly-owned, not-for-profit hospital, one of only a few remaining in Northern California.

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