Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (June 30, 2021)

AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA reports that he and his crews from the seven AV Fire Stations have finished their informal survey of water availability for firefighting this year. Not surprisingly, the creeks and ponds are low and few if any will have any water for heli-drafting or dumping. However, the water storage tanks, both private and public, are full. There’s a large tank farm at Hendy Woods, there’s a swimming pool at Rancho Navarro, there’s the new 30k gallons in maybe ten newish tanks at the Philo fire station, there’s the Fairgrounds above-ground tank in Boonville, there are new tanks near the Yorkville station, plus a number of private tanks with fire-compatible fittings that could be used as supplementary water sources. So firefighting in Anderson Valley this year will depend on the type and size of fires — there may be enough water for structure fires, especially on the Valley floor, but fighting wildland fires will probably involve more backfires and firebreaks than water suppression. Plus, of course, the presumed availability of Calfire air and ground resources. (Mark Scaramella)

LOUISE SIMSON is Anderson Valley’s new superintendent of schools. Ms. Simson assumes her duties on Thursday, July 1st. She has earned a credential in school administration as well as a special education credential. She has held her current position as Principal/Assistant Superintendent at Vallecito Union School District (Calaveras County), a district of 600 students, for five years. 

THE ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD consists of Dick Browning; Kristin San Miguel; Erica Gatlin; Justin Rhoads; Saoirse Byrne.

KATHY WYLIE NOTES: “As an aside, I had occasion to drive home through the Anderson Valley late this past Saturday night. The greenhouse lighting emitted from a 'farm' on the North side of 128, just East of Gschwend road, were STUNNINGLY bright, lit up the entire valley there, and appear to be wildly non-compliant.”

BRIAN WOOD WRITES: “I tried, with no success, inquiring about the poor condition of Shield's Cemetery by going online and calling the number I found there for the Anderson Valley Cemetery District. I had gone to Shield’s Cemetery earlier today to visit my daughter’s grave, and it appeared there had been no upkeep to the grounds in some time. It is the worst I have seen it in 27 years. The grass is tall and dangerously dry. There are two deer skeletons in the lower area. A couple redwood trees in the lower bottom are dead or dying. Poison oak is spreading all around, including on the grave. 

I don’t expect much, but the weeds and poison oak have always been kept under control. Another ongoing problem is the gate you must drive through to get up there is getting harder to open and close. 

I assume there is some minimum standard for how the grounds should be kept. Curiously, there used to be a metal sign wired to the fence going in that had the names and a contact number of the Cemetery District. It wasn’t there today. I hope that doesn’t mean the cemetery has been abandoned by the district.” 

MR. WOOD subsequently reported: “I received an email reply about Shield’s Cemetery this morning from the AV Cemetery Board Chair: ‘I have forwarded your message to our cemetery manager. We are working on getting the maintenance updated. It has been hard during the COVID to get work done. The new signs were out to get updated and the shop went out of business and took our signs with it. We are doing our best under the circumstances. Christine Cark, AV Cemetery Board Chairman’.”

THE EDITOR CALLED the cemetery district's manager, Alicia Perez, who is responsible for cemetery maintenance. Alicia said Shields had recently been mown but she's got to wait until the rains come to fire up the burn pile. Shields looked pretty good the last time I was up there but it's been a year. As a cemetery, Shields is much more attractive than Evergreen in Boonville, which is desert-like in its newer areas for lack of trees, but Babcock is the most pleasing of all but, I believe, closed to further interments. I plan to have a look at Shields tomorrow (Thursday) and will report back. When I learned that Alicia, whom I've known for many years, was in charge of the cemeteries I was happy with her appointment because I know her as hardworking and conscientious. I don't know if she's paid for full-time, but I know it's got to be a full-time job not only arranging burials but keeping Anderson Valley’s several (5) burial grounds ship-shape.

AS PROMISED, I hooked a right off 128 this morning (last Thursday), winding up through the Gowan's apple acres to Shields Cemetery, where I found it fresh cut and orderly. Case closed.

HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY MOM! (Carolyn Short) She moved here to Sacramento to be closer to us this past year, after spending 75+ years in Boonville. She is having her hair done this afternoon, then we're taking her out for dinner tonight. A few surprises are in store today, and again tomorrow.


Every Friday at 4-6pm. At the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, 17700 Boonville Rd

BROCK FARMS: Sweet summer has arrived at Brock Farms, here is an update . We have summer squash, cucumbers, beets, garlic, shallots, eggplant, cabbage, potatoes, basil, salad mix, onion, chard, kale, broccolini, and tomatoes are trickling in.

VELMA'S FARM STAND AT FILIGREEN FARM: Open Friday 2-5pm and Saturday 11am-3pm! We will be offering vegetables including lettuce, kale, beets, chard, turnips, broccoli, cabbage, cilantro, fennel, kohlrabi, and summer squash. We will also have fresh flower bouquets, our 2020 olive oil, quince apple butter, dried prunes and raisins. All items are certified biodynamic and delicious! Follow us on Instagram for updates @filigreenfarm or email Annie at with any questions. We accept cash, credit card, check, and EBT/SNAP! 

BLUE MEADOW FARM IS OPEN: This Week at Blue Meadow Farm. Our spring greens were hit by wind, weather and ravenous critters this year, but summer brings walla walla onions, zucchini, sunflowers and very first tomatoes. Blue Meadow Farm , 3301 Holmes Ranch Rd, Philo, (707) 895-2071

THERE GOES THE RIPARIAN ZONE. A reader writes: “Take a drive to the Navarro River bridge at the foot of Philo-Greenwood road. Not only is that beautiful stream heartbreakingly pathetic, now PG&E’s clearcutting gang has turned parts of the surrounding landscape into a desert. Truly awful.”

HOUSING IN ANDERSON VALLEY, two on-line comments:

(1) So, as someone desperately looking for a house to be able to remain in Anderson Valley and also as someone who walks AV Way quite often, I'm curious who owns all the empty houses and how is it acceptable to just leave them sitting empty while there is a housing crisis in our community and long term AV families are constantly having to move away? I need answers and solutions. 

(2) I'd like a situation in Anderson Valley as well but I wanna pay no more than $450 including utilities. No more crappy apartments either. That's why I've been living in a 1978 rv for 6 years. Unless I pay up the nose or want to have roommates I can't afford anything better. All across the country. This first happened to me soon after graduating from St. Helena high back in 1976. Not into crying poor. I made my choices. Make them still but for crying out loud! When is it going to stop? 

THE TWO COMMENTS above are daily repeated everywhere in Mendocino County and have been voiced for years in the Anderson Valley. One major prob here in AV is county zoning; there aren't many parcels on the valley floor where, say, a trailer park might be installed. (Years ago, when one was proposed for East Fitch Lane, the haute bourgeoisie rose up to defeat it purely on a class-aesthetic basis.) Most of the county is zoned 20 acres and up, the idea being to keep Mendo largely rural. But houses kept vacant or available only to well-heeled transients are a major prob in the Anderson Valley and on the Mendocino Coast.

I ALSO WALK on Anderson Valley Way, even breaking into what might indulgently be viewed as a jog on especially exuberant mornings, and I lived on Anderson Valley Way for forty years and can't believe my former home now rents for $600 a night, or whatever extortionate price the city yuppos who own it charge, and so I have witnessed first hand how working people have been priced outtahere. I count at least six vacant but habitable dwellings on AV Way, one on lower Lambert Lane and up in the hills? Who knows? but I suspect lots and lots. It's also obvious to us locals that many of our friends and neighbors do not presently live in First World conditions. 

ANOTHER OBSTACLE to local housing is the County of Mendocino, which I've experienced first-hand with the tiny, two manufactured houses I've placed on my acre in central Boonville. I won't re-bore you with the details, but the County, to put it gently, complicated every which way what should have been a simple process. I even felt it necessary, as others have, to pay a guy as a kind of expediter to get 'er done, and even he was often mystified by the arbitrary obstacles placed in his path.

THE LATE MIKE SHAPIRO, bless him for the houses he was able to get built in The Valley, but he was often thwarted in his valiant efforts to build affordable housing and declared before he died he wouldn't even try to do new projects. Just too frustrating. 

VAL HANELT ON VALLEY HOUSING SHORTAGE: “It’s all about infrastructure: sewer and drinking water. If the new projects go through parcels will be able to be developed. Vacant homes on AV Way will have drinking water laterals supplied as part of the State’s $34 Million investment in Boonville. Parcels in Boonville from Hutsell to Anderson Creek bridge (including HS and Clinic) will have both sewer and drinking. All our parcels are RC (rural community) and can add a second residence or granny unit. This will allow more rental housing so folks can use their parcels to accommodate their family needs or increase their income. We have been working on this for 6 years and if we can get through the final steps we could start construction in a year or two. Perhaps turn on faucets and flush toilets in 3-4 years. I know this is not comforting to those desperate NOW but believe me, we are working on this problem. 

The Anderson Valley Drinking Water project ($19 million) and Sewer ($16 million) projects have been in the planning phase for six years. Go to the window of the Fire Station to see a map of the projects. The sewer treatment plant will hopefully be located in town (now considering Shapiro property). This is state of the art MBR processing — solids taken away, effluent (liquids) treated to tertiary (drinkable in many parts of world) and injected into the ground. There is no odor and only the building is visible. By 2036 half of LA’s drinking water will be produced by MBR technology just like ours. They will blend MBR tertiary effluent with regular drinking water. Military forward installations use MBR. As hard as it has been to be one of the only three communities of our size in Sonoma, Mendo, Humboldt, Del Norte with NO infrastructure for the last 40 years, at least we will have the most advanced system possible very soon.” 

Mo Mandel

COMEDIAN, Mo Mandel, born and bred in Boonville, will be celebrating his 10 year anniversary of being a headliner at the esteemed SF Punch Line in downtown San Francisco. From July 21 through July 24th he will be headlining 6 shows.

The Punchline has re-opened with Covid guidelines. To be sure to get a seat to enjoy one or more of these hilarious shows reserve your tickets way ahead of time.

The SF Punch Line is located at 444 Battery Street, SF, CA 94111. Call the SF Punch Line 415-397-7573 to reserve your ticket(s).

This will be a great event and an enjoyable way to bring laughter into the troubling times that we are starting to emerge from. The goal is to sell out all the shows so spread the word to all your friends and family members and have them spread the word.

(Benna Kolinsky)

One Comment

  1. Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

    RE: “Most of the county is zoned 20 acres and up, the idea being to keep Mendo largely rural.”

    That, and Mendocino County turning down a University, when Humboldt got one, was part of the same “keep it small” “slow growth” mentality. No one of any intelligence in their 20’s or 30’s stays for the remaining low wage jobs or lack of a social scene (aka the missing amphitheater or music venues in Ukiah). It’s a brain drain and a skilled worker drain. Like I’ve been saying, we need to adopt a smart growth policy… and SOON!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *