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Valley People (April 14, 2021)

STEVE SPARKS WRITES: “Natalie Matson, sole owner of Lauren’s for the last year, is in escrow to buy The Buckhorn building and surrounding property from Gary Island. She plans to combine the best of both establishments, with Lauren’s food driving the way. She will also have a full liquor license. I must emphasize that I am not in any way involved financially and would like my name to be kept out of any discussions both regarding that topic and also any staff positions — none of which I am interested in taking. This is entirely Natalie’s project and, apart from offering general restaurant/pub advice based on years of experience and being her bookkeeper, I shall not be involved at all in the day-to-day running of the establishment. I do however, with the Major’s assistance, plan to start The Quiz up again and, even more importantly, hope to visit often to enjoy copious amounts of Guinness and spicy wings with a Lauren’s Burger and fries.”  

A POIGNANT PLEA from a young working guy of the type whose dilemma both our former resident deputies, Squires and Walker, would have wrapped up without even leaving their homes: “Whoever took my truck for a joyride last night please return my keys. My name is Jason Killilia and I’m the welder at the brewery. Please!” (Did Jason get his keys back?)

UKIAH NEWS, APRIL 10, 1873: “From the report of the Secretary of the State Viticultural Commission, just compiled we glean the following statistics relative to grape growing in Mendocino county: Total acres in grapes, 204; acres in bearing, 183; acres of wine grapes, 190; acres of table grapes, 14. The figures for the whole State are as follows: Total acres in grapes, 168,366; acres in bearing, 122,168; acres of wine grapes, 90,223; acres of table grapes, 9,360; acres of raisin grapes, 68,837.”

ANGELA DEWITT, and may she multiply: “For my birthday this year, I'm asking for donations to Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association. I've chosen AVVFFA because of the work they do to support AV's first responders. From meals at training to making sure we have safe equipment and apparatus, this small and dedicated group takes excellent care of our volunteer firefighters and EMTs. Facebook pays all the processing fees for you, so 100% of your donation goes directly to the nonprofit.”

HELP WANTED. Queenie’s Job Openings. Come to work at a great restaurant. Queenie’s (Elk) is looking for a part time waitperson. Monday's and Friday's. Busperson for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Please email at or call 877-3285.

CHIPPERDAY PROGRAM - There is a curbside pickup chipper program to select areas throughout the County on a rotating basis during the year. Please note; pickup will occur within 1 to 2 days of the stated pickup date, depending on volume and the number of reservations. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us:

PETER LIT has just published, “As Far As The Mind Can See,” and is available from Matson Mercantile in Elk; or from The Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, which is sponsoring a short reading Thursday 15 April at 6 pm, via zoom. 

Goggle: Authors' Night on Zoom, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books. 

It is also available through his website --   --   or Peter Lit,     Greenwood Rd., Elk, CA 95432.

AS BOONVILLE'S frost fans roared off about one in the morning, the ninth morning they've gone off over the past two weeks, I'd earlier happened on a news segment about heavily regulated French vineyards, some of which burn paraffin in rows of little buckets among their vines to save their grapes from the freeze. Some of us will remember barrels of burning diesel in orchards, mos def unhealthy for everyone except the fruit, and not acceptable for many moons. The Boonville weekly sued over the fans, a major impetus for our suit being that they made the last few weeks of Hugh Scaramella's life more painful than they needed to be. Of course we lost in the wine-soaked courts of Mendocino, as a good hunk of the wine gentry turned out to make sure the judge made the correct decision for them. The annual aural, sleep-destroying assaults on the Anderson Valley are an excellent, real life lesson in capitalism, which I doubt I need to spell out. .

BRIAN WOOD: “I’ve lived on my property in Boonville for over 20 years, before the acres of vines were planted around me. The grapes came, later the fans came. The number of frost fans seems to be increasing every year. A look on google earth shows at least 10 fans surrounding me within a radius of about 1,500′. The closest is 230 feet from my property line. Last night they started at 1:45am. I am probably supposed to be glad they’re not using our precious groundwater like they used to to fight frost (never mind what the local brewery pumps out of our aquifer and ships around the country). … As long as I’m bitching about agriculture, it’s not just noise pollution we have to deal with in Boonville, it’s odor pollution with all the grows every fall. More power to moms and pops, but I hate the smell. Now I’m afraid new county regs could allow the 10 acre vineyard next door to replace an acre of their grapes with pot.”

SOMEONE IMPERSONATING the police is using the ava's phone number as their call back number. “Hello, thank you for calling back. I'm the fake police. Send me money and I won't arrest you.” In sophistication this one reminds me of the slow kid who called the Ukiah PD years ago to say he was holding a woman hostage at the old Kentucky Fried Chicken place next door to the Ukiah Theater. “You better tell these people to give me some free chicken or bad things will happen.” The upshot? Police Chief Johnson brought the boy into his office and, looking sternly at him, said, “Son, we have a lot of weirdos in this town already, and we don't need any young ones. Don't you dare do this again.” 

BRING YOUR OWN HOUSE. The County is looking for a live-in attendant for the Indian Creek Park Campground, having gratuitously alienated the last host, Russ Clow, who kept the drunks in line and the campgrounds in perfect order and repair. Russ’s reward was to be asked to leave during the winter months by one of the County drones operating under “Cultural Services,” out of which Indian Creek is “managed.” Anyway, if you want to deal with these people, here are some of the job requirements: “Hosts must be over that age of 21 and physically able to carry out the assigned duties. Hosts must supply a suitable recreational vehicle or trailer, described as a motor home, travel trailer, truck camper or camping trailer in good repair, not exceeding 26 feet in length, subject to approval from County staff. Hosts must also complete a County of Mendocino Volunteer Application with North Coast Opportunities, be interviewed by County staff, and supply personal references. The County will also require a copy of the following: proof of a valid Driver’s License, vehicle registration and proof of vehicle insurance.”   

STILL NOT SURE what it is, but something has wiped me out for two weeks, something totally enervating whose symptoms mimic covid. But I've been double vaxxed with the moderna potion, and assumed whatever was battering me would pass. It got worse. My machinery ached, no appetite, body heat felt positively malarial, hurt to swallow, cough, neck swelled to bullfrog dimensions, voice an appropriately amphibian croak. 

FAMILY INSISTED I get checked out. I don't exactly distrust the medical profession, but ever since on my third visit to a Frisco doctor asked, “Excuse me, but what was your name again?” I watch them all closely for attention lag. I considered hauling myself to the Adventist's emergency room in Ukiah, but I have an enemy on staff there and feared not emerging ever again to the inspirational sights of West Perkins. 

I DIDN'T want to fight either Ukiah or the medical vegetarians, so I called the Anderson Valley Health Center, where I was asked to describe my symptoms. I described them without exaggeration.  

THE CLINIC called me back, probably after a quick Oh god not him huddle to invite me to come on in. The Center's reception area is a half dozen attractive Catholic ladies, one of whom bustled out to meet me at the door. My hearing's poor in aurally perfect circumstances, so when the young woman asked, “Do you have any of these symptoms?” I replied, “All of them.” She ushered me inside where, as I stood reading the entrance way plaque with all the names of the locals who had made the Health Center possible, most of them gone to their reward, another young woman, this one Anglo and rather anxious, approached me to ask me to please wait outside, “and you can sit down while you wait if you want.” She was nice about it, but who would have stopped me from sitting?

MS. ANGLO RETURNED to say, “What we would like you to do is get in your car and pull around behind the back door.” I did as directed, imagining the visual poignancy of an old man in a battered Honda with 313,825 miles on it, a vehicle his wife refuses to ride in because of its untidy interior — “This is a work vehicle, dear” — an old wheeze considered so toxic in his home town its medical center could not hazard him inside, well hell, nothing poignant about it, I was getting curb service! 

SOON, another young woman in hockey-like protective gear was sticking a device in my ear, a piece of wood in my throat, a third gizmo attached to a little finger. And then a man in full hazmat appeared pushing what appeared to be a lunch cart with what looked like battlefield supplies on it. It was Dr. R, who I've begun to consider my personal caregiver, hoping his chagrin is not too great if he happens to read about his new responsibility. Dr. R stuck another piece of wood down my throat, briefly throttled me to check my swollen neck, took a long look down my gullet and said, “I think it's strep,” which I always thought was a sore throat, not a full body assault. He asked me to call him if the thing persisted, and I drove the one mile back to my office, locked the door, and slept. As of today, Monday, late afternoon, the symptoms are beginning to recede.

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman April 15, 2021

    Good to hear the AVHC came through. Feel better!

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