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Valley People (September 22, 2021)

WHITE TESLA STRIKES AGAIN: Saffron Fraser writes: 

“OMG! It happened. 15:50 leaving from my road, a county road, onto a state highway. Where the posted speed limit is 35mph. Cool. As I crest an uphill with a blind curve there is a bicyclist chugging away to get up that hill. I slow down giving safe space. Note the speed, uphill, is about 30. As we reach the top of the curve and start to go downhill, I'm still careful of the cyclist, and I give space. I'm turning LEFT with brakes and signal to enter a well-marked drive. And a white Tesla overtakes and passes me out of the blue as I'm attempting to make my turn, endangering, not only myself, but the oncoming car, and the cyclist. Now, don't get me wrong. Bicycles on and in the road are scary. But, that's a life out there. I was shaken, to say the least. Between the Philo Church and Toulouse Tasting Room. A 5 minute drive to work (yes, I couldashoulda walked) gave me the shakes.”

A PASSERBY, noting that our old office is being dismantled, drove up to ask what was going on. “You're not going out of business, are you?” No, I explained, last night some guys took off with the deck and were just hooking up the trailer to take it too when I caught them in the act. It was just before dawn and too dark to ID them. “I'll bet it was the same bastards who stole my bicycle,” she said. “I hope you catch them.”


We had a major failure of the ambulance bay door. The right-side lifting spring completely severed and we could no longer could use the door. After getting a technician out to fix it, it failed again to the point of hanging off the track on one side with the ambulance stuck inside. They came back out and fixed it (under warranty) and it is now in good working order. AVFD’s back up ambulance again became a major asset when it then became the first out ambulance until the repairs were completed. As preventative maintenance I will be having a service technician provide safety checks along with a lube, oil and filter service for as many station doors as we can fit into the budget. 

The County has provided AVFD 40 rapid tests for first responders. I am told that they are not to be used as routine screening but rather for weekly testing of our unvaccinated members. Since that number is down to only one inactive member, I will be sparingly using them for any exposed AVFD members to protect their family members and the possibility of unknowingly passing the COVID along to others. In addition, I have been told that first responders will be provided the opportunity to get their Covid booster in late September. 

Coincidently, as a precautionary measure I took a rapid COVID test prior to returning to the district after my deployment on the River Complex. The rapid test came back positive and was reinforced by the following PCR test confirming the results of the rapid test. I am now self- quarantining and following our local Public Health guide lines while working remotely. AVFD officers are covering duty shifts until my release. 

Last week, Elk CSD notified me that their Elk Evacuation Grant through CALFIRE had been approved. This grant will provide roadside fuels reduction for 140 acres along Philo-Greenwood Rd. and possibly Signal Ridge Rd. AVCSD/FD supports this grant application because it not only is beneficial to our neighbors in Elk but it will also increase egress safety to many Anderson Valley residents in that area as well. Clarification is still needed on whether or not Signal Ridge Road is also included in the approved grant. I will advise the Board when I know more the Signal Ridge portion of the grant. 

ACCORDING to an in-person voter, the turnout at the Boonville Fairgrounds polling place for the Newsom Recall, “was very light.” A light turnout supposedly works to the advantage of the Magas. It didn’t.

LONG-TIME COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT GENERAL MANAGER JOY ANDREWS has told the CSD Board that she will be resigning and moving to Oregon next spring. Board Chair Valerie Hanelt writes: 

“Joy Andrews, our incomparable District Manager for the last 11 plus years told the Board last Wednesday night that she would be tendering her resignation as of May 1, 2022.  Joy informed us that she will be moving to the Portland, OR area.  She outlined her plan for the transition; helping with the search, training the new employee over several months, developing a binder that covers all the minutia of her job (it will be huge), being available by phone, and trying to assure us that she will do everything possible to leave us in good hands.  Nevertheless, we are devastated to lose such a valuable and loved team member.  We wish nothing but the best for her and some lucky employer will bless their lucky stars she came to Portland.”

LOTS OF PEOPLE are understandably upset about the many illegal marijuana grows underway in the county, not only in historically lawless areas like Covelo but the traditionally more staid precincts of neighborhoods like Anderson Valley and Comptche, both of which are long-time pot producing precincts but not to the overwhelming extent they are this season. But leave it to supply and demand to reduce the number of grows for next year. Local growers can't even unload last year's dope, and this year we've got Bulgarians in Covelo and Serbs in Comptche with huge grows and not so much as a green card among the lot of them. It's sad. Both wine grapes and marijuana are heavily chemicalized and require lots of water, which a lot of these outsized hoop houses get from whatever water is closest, environment be damned. Our watershed is taking its most severe beating ever, but they say Mother Nature bats last. Well, Ma. The eco-bases are loaded… 

THE GOLDENEYE WINERY, PHILO, WAS REAL UNHAPPY LAST WEEK About This Free Stuff Planted In Front Of Their Establishment

I PASSED A KID up on the Ukiah Road driving a red high rise pickup across whose windshield was inscribed in bold type, “Strokin.” Watch it, kid. You could go blind.

OLD TIMERS will tell you that even in the driest years Indian Creek, Philo, flowed on. The year-round stream of all these years, eons probably, has gone dry. The fish stranded in remaining pools have been easy prey for the lush wildlife thriving in the upper reaches of the stream as it tumbles down out of the Peachland heights. An important feeder flow to the similarly dead Navarro, Indian Creek's unprecedented halt is more evidence that this region's water crisis is indeed a crisis. 

A READER WRITES: “I caught Alan Alda on Colbert the other night and he had Essential Tremor pretty bad —but he's plenty functional and cheerful and as intelligent as ever. Making educational podcasts. The band played "Suicide is painless" His father, Robert Alda played Sky Masterson, the high roller who falls for a salvation Army lass, in the original Broadway Guys and Dolls. Unlike Brando, who had the part in the movie, Robert Alda could really sing. A friend who plays the mandolin has ET. Says it has improved his tremolo.”

THIS YEAR'S FAIR saw diminished participation because of covid fears, but diminished as it was it was a successful three days of rural events, and as satisfying to this Fairgoer as any he's attended over the past 50 years. Greeted by a skeptical friend (?) as I entered the Fairgrounds Friday about noon, “Us senior cheapskates always come on Senior free day, huh Mr. Editor?” I'd have paid twenty, at least, to get in while the exhibits are fresh. And they were, as was a most savory slice of the Apple Hall's traditional apple pie, served up by Mrs. Grace Espinoza, both of us undoubtedly ready to recall the many years Ruby Hulbert, aka Grandma Pie, having mobilized a large crew of local ladies, was up late for days prior, baking what seemed like an unending oven-fresh bonanza of pies.

PLEASED to see my friend, Mea Bloyd, take a blue ribbon for her floral exhibit while mom, Amy, racked up big wins in the baked goods category.

COMMUNITY ENTHUSIASM for the revival of the annual Apple Bowl football game was evident in the large turnout for the game between Anderson Valley High School and the California School for the Deaf. From the deep east bleachers, the two teams seemed evenly matched, but the visitors pulled ahead in the second quarter and stayed ahead. CSD used get off the line of scrimmage via an emphatic second or third vibration from a big bass drum on their sideline. No drum Friday night, and I'll leave it to Boonville coach John Toohey, to fill us in. The high school's versatile Arthur Folz — he teaches academic classes and coordinates the school's busy sports schedules — appeared to be the evening's maestro, bringing off the event without a visible hitch, complete with the usual pro-quality announcing by Ernie Pardini, and even a color guard provided by the American Legion.

COACH TOOHEY: “The game got away from us when we had to shuffle personnel around on defense after some calf cramps set in. That, some turnovers and some inexperience penalties kept us from taking control of that game, but everything that caused us to lose can be fixed at practice so we are pretty positive about where we are at right now. The opponents don't get any easier so we have to keep getting better, but all in all it was a pretty great Friday night.”

I COULDN'T help but notice the large number of locals who did not stand for the national anthem, certainly a departure from years past. I overheard one end of a gruff exchange when a man seated in front of me angrily explained to somebody down on the field why he hadn't stood, words to the effect that “the flag doesn't represent me anymore.” Well, it sure as hell represents me, and I've spent my entire adult life opposed to this country's policies, foreign and domestic. But these bitter chasms between us citizens is recent and sad. And ominous. Used to be you said where you stood, I said where I stood, but we still managed to pull at the same oar. No matter what, we had more in common than not. No more. This working man at the Boonville football game Friday night seemed ready to go to war.

SATURDAY NIGHT'S RODEO drew a goodly crowd, but the sheepdog trials Sunday morning was standing room only, having become Fair weekend's most popular event, and the only event that draws people from all over.

LIKE THE FAIR, Sunday's parade was diminished but, as always, fun. Just before the sirens heralding the parade's start, a time capsule hippie strolled past strumming a ukulele. Then came grand marshal Bill Holcomb in his cherry Merc, fire trucks, horses, a gang of enviros hauling a giant papier mache salmon with the reminder that fish need water, a wonderful six-piece Mexican band complete with two kids, one of them quite small providing a trumpet chorus, a subdued float of Anderson Valley Grangers, Sheriff Kendall in a department jeep, Rossi Hardware, and Smokey the Bear.

JEFF BURROUGHS WRITES: "For 7 years I was the parade announcer for the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show but when I called to check in on Friday I was told someone else would be doing it. I thought it was a little more than rude that they never even called me to let me know. I had my friend Tom Allman all set to join me and I had made a hat with fair memorabilia to boot. My great grandfather Harwood June was instrumental in getting the County fair in Boonville and he was the manager for more than 20 years so I had a lot of pride being a part of something he was a part of. They didn't give me an answer why they did this but after every parade I announced I was told by many attendees that I did a great job so I am pretty sure it wasn't my performance. After spending Sunday moping around the house I was told that the person with whom they replaced me with did a terrible job. That helped a little. lol"

BOOTH rentals have become so pricey only the Democrats and Republicans can afford them. But even they were absent this Fair. The last time I bought space it cost me $600 bucks and I had to bring my own booth! My wife is still complaining, $600 and the Boonville Fair inextricably linked whenever the Fair is mentioned. The Fair Board really ought to re-think rental prices for locals, but “this is the way we've always done it and if you don't like it…” But the late Jim Clow, Fair manager extraordinaire, was reasonable, flexible, and, best of all, imaginative. Doubt the current apparatus would even consider the beer run that Jim instituted, or even a beer-free county runner's contest, a kind of dusty track meet, which we saw once in rural Scotland where the winners all the way down to little kids got cash instead of ribbons and trophies. Participation was heavy.

IF YOU WE'RE WONDERING why the no parking signs were positioned on Highway 128 last Thursday morning for a Sunday event, you are unlikely to be reassured by the explanation that they're placed the length of the biz district for the Sunday Noon Fair Parade. The legally toothless signs read, “No Parking Sunday 6am-1pm.” Which visitors between now and Sunday will assume means NOW until THEN. And six in the ayem? Ricardo Suarez, Ricky Adams, Pilar Echeverria, and I are the only people up that early anywhere in the Anderson Valley!

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman September 22, 2021

    Sorry to hear how Jeff Burroughs was treated by the Fair this year. I wish people coming in to new positions would talk with those leaving those positions so they might learn who has handled various tasks in the past and how they handled them. Those new folks may want their own people, but they still should know and make contact with those who did the work previously. They may discover the people doing those jobs are the right people for those jobs.

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