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Valley People (December 8, 2021)

AV GRANGE HOLIDAY PANCAKE BREAKFAST: Are you in the mood for the holidaze? Yeah, we know it's a bit different smiling behind your mask, not quite knowing if you can give that big bear hug. But, the Grange may have a way to be together safely. Let's break bread,(er pancakes), together! Sunday, December 12 at the Grange in Anderson Valley we are having the Holiday Grange Pancake Breakfast. Doors open at 8:30 and we serve until 11:00. 

We'll be dishing out the classic David Norfleet secret recipe flapjacks, (Gluten free upon request),bacon and scrambled eggs with all the usual trimmings, coffee, tea, orange juice plus some seasonal surprises. Live music, not elevator Xmas stuff, the local real deal. In the big hall, with social distancing, you and your family will be smiling behind those masks. PS. We'll supply disposable plates and utensils but feel free to bring your own. 

THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHERS first basketball games of the season were Friday, Nov. 19 in Tamales. On Friday-Saturday, December 3-4, they played in the Point Arena Jolly Roger Tournament starting at 3pm. We will post those results as soon as we get them. Their first home game will be against Potter Valley on Tuesday, Dec. 7 with start times listed as 3:30pm, 5pm, 6:30pm and 8pm. which refer to JV Girls, JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys tip off times. On Thursday-Saturday, Dec 9-11, they will play in the Cloverdale John McMillan Holiday Invitational at times not yet announced. After that they play two more away games in Point Arena on Dec. 14 and Tech on 7:30. Then Xmas break followed by the first home game of the 2022 against Round Valley.

TUNE IN. Lew Chichester writes: "When the Anderson Valley Panthers basketball team travels to Round Valley in 2022 for a league game you can listen online to the varsity competition. Round Valley Community Radio KYBU has two excellent sports announcers, Julian Medel and Mitch McCarty, who provide the play by play live on 96.9FM. The radio broadcast only extends to the Round Valley area but anyone can listen online by going to on a computer or phone and click on “listen.” We have a brand new, 500 seat capacity gymnasium at Round Valley High School, home of the Mustangs, and are looking forward to an exciting season of games in 2022. Tune in, in Round Valley: 96.9FM, the rest of the world:

BETH SWEHLA (AV Ag Instructor): "Hello from the livestock pastures at the high school, If you happen to be walking by the creek. If you happen to get close to the school fence. You are going to trip a Gadfly Critter Alarm that is very loud and scary. It is part of our mountain lion deterrent plans."

A RESIDENT of Signal Ridge told me that phones were out in his area for several weeks until, frustrated with AT&T's lack of response, he called, of all people, Assemblyman Jim Wood. Wood's Ukiah office, that is. Wood himself is probably available only to persons representing the grander interests, especially those bearing cash-money. Anyway, two days later phone service was restored to Signal Ridge, whether through Wood's rep or, my informant speculates, AT&T found an older tech guy who knows how to fix the old equipment in the more remote pockets of Mendocino County.

IF YOU ARE ELDERLY PLEASE do not go up a ladder to clean your roof & gutters. We will do it FREE for your safety. Stephen Dunlap, Dunlap Roofing, Mendocino/Fort Bragg 707.964.8735, Ukiah/Inland 707.462.7506,

JOHN TOOHEY: “A huge thank you to everyone who donated to our trip to Levi's Stadium!” Coach Toohey, with a cash assist from generous locals, drove his Panther football team to Santa Clara last Sunday where they watched the resurgent Niners knock off the Vikings.

BOBBY BEACON — publican, raconteur, gentleman, owner and host of the world famous Beacon Light bar uniquely placed on a rural ridge top high above the Pacific just south of Elk — called to say that the vintage Beacon Light “ad” we ran last week from 1971 had been misinterpreted by a few people who called for dinner reservations this weekend. But he hasn't served meals at his establishment for years, going on to point out that this very week the Beacon Light celebrates its 50th anniversary in business.


Join me, Elizabeth Jensen, for ADULT BALLET @ The Studio Sobo on Wednesdays 5:30pm-7pm thru December 15. We will begin with 45-60min Ballet Barre, followed by 30min Centre with Adage, Pirouettes and Allegro. All levels welcome. $5 Donation suggested. #fortheloveofdance

LOCATION: Studio SoBo is located at 14275 Hwy 128 in Boonville. Please park on the street. You may enter thru the driveway next to the AV Fire Department building.

ATTIRE: Whatever you can move comfortably in and not be distracted by. 

SHOES: Ballet shoes are helpful but you can also just be barefoot and bring a clean pair of socks (although they are a bit slippery for the studio floor, they can be helpful for certain Barre exercises and Centre turns).

HAIR: I recommend securing longer hair out of the face with barrettes or elastic bands (not scrunchies or other items that fall out).

WAIVER: Studio SoBo will have a waiver for the building and I will have a waiver for the class, so you are welcome to come 5-10min early to settle in and fill out paperwork.

COVID-19: All current Mendocino County Public Health guidelines will be followed.

- Hand sanitizer will be available outside the studio (it damages the studio floors).

- Masks are required indoors. 

*If you have any questions/concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d like to make this program work for everyone interested.


Whether you may realize it or not, you and your family most likely benefit from the efforts of our AV Parks & Recreation Department. Was your child shooting goals this fall with AV Soccer? Have you tried the local Zumba classes or Karate with Brenda or Ballet at Studio SoBo yet? Or maybe you simply just love hanging out at our local Community Park (aka Airport Park or Health Center Park)? If so, YOU have enjoyed a service of our AV Parks & Rec. 

Under the broader umbrella of the AV Community Services District (which provides for our local Fire, Airport, etc.), the AV Parks & Recreation Department supports the recreational programs in our community, providing liability insurance as well as acting as a resource for establishing relationships between service providers and facility owners within Anderson Valley. AV Parks & Recreation is also establishing an official lease agreement with AVUSD to more formally take over responsibility for our local Community Park and we are working to secure a grant to begin improvements to the park including off street parking, new play structures and more.

We meet on the 3rd TUESDAYS of each month from 1-2pm and commitment can be as simple as attending those meetings in person or via Zoom. For those with a little more time and energy, you may also dedicate a few more hours a month towards developing plans for park improvements, coordinating programs for recreation, or other efforts to improve our community.

We'd love to have fresh energy and new ideas as we look to broaden the park and recreational services available here in Anderson Valley.

If you have ANY interest in joining us, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or simply come to our next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 14 @1pm at the AV Fire Department building in Boonville.

GREENWOOD STATE BEACH VISITOR CENTER: Open 11-pm on Dec. 11 and 18. Learn about the incredible history of the town with two names.

ATTN AV: “Do you know that ground ambulance is covered by most insurance but air ambulance is NOT? It can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars after a car accident, heart attack, Covid-19 infection, lung embolism, home accident, etc. These are just some of the reasons that my sweet hero hubby volunteer EMT has put residents and visitors in air ambulances for in 2021. It's available for a very reasonable cost through Anderson Valley Fire Department and helps to fund expenses for our ambulance.”

THE FIRST TWO CALLERS on KZYX’s Dr. Drew Colfax Covid Update show last week insisted that the vaccine had made them “stupid.” Dr. Colfax said he wasn’t aware of any studies or data showing that vaccines make you stupid. The callers said they noticed a loss of short-term memory after getting vaccinated and were absolutely positive that the vaccine had caused it. Dr. Drew suspected that the callers were mistaking coincidence with causality and that it was unlikely that stupidity is a vaccine side effect. (Mark Scaramella)


From chile powders to dry goods to shirts and hats, we’re here to be your one stop shop for friends and family this year. Our 2021 harvest of Piment d'Ville is ready to go and we’re stocked with chile powders, chile salts, dry beans, and popcorn that were all grown using organic growing methods on our farm here in Boonville. We’ve put together new bundles and gift sets on our website that are ready to ship out or be picked up from our barn office on AV Way.

Subscriptions are open until December 5th for our second year of the Boon Box - our 3x a year delivery of curated goods from our farm at a 10% discount! The Boon Box is the best way to enjoy everything we produce here in Boonville from chile powders to dry beans, including trial runs on spices we haven't shared before and small harvests of beans that we don't sell on our website or in stores!

Each box is filled with an average of $50 worth of products from the farm. We also write a zine for each box and include new and favorite recipes so you know how to use each item you receive. 

We’re standing by to handwrite notes for your gift recipients and get these packages out the door! $5 from each sale of a t-shirt, hat, or tote bag is donated to the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department. If you’d like to pick up your order from the farm, use code ‘ILIVEHERE’ at checkout and you will not be charged shipping. Krissy will coordinate pickup with you via email. Questions? Send a message to Thanks so much for supporting us this year!

WHILE THE “LEADERSHIP” swapped insults and grappled in their DC sandbox, Anderson Valley, an island of rustic harmony, gathered for two significant events, the first in honor of the long-time secretarial anchor of the Boonville schools, Rebecca Brendlin, the second the lighting of the community Christmas tree at the Boonville Hotel.

THE WEDNESDAY PARTY at the Boonville Brewery for Rebecca was organized by our new hostess with the mostest, Louise Simson, superintendent of the Boonville schools who, and this is truly unprecedented for a school administrator, paid the beer tab out of her own pocket. Rebecca's retirement after nearly 40 years of calmly keeping track of the innumerable daily crises that are school offices in these fraught times was well-attended by mostly school people, past and present, who did not feign their affection and admiration for their departing colleague. The Brendlins will continue to reside in Boonville.

THURSDAY EVENING, what seemed like the entire community gathered in the garden of the Boonville Hotel to raise money for the Anderson Valley Food Bank, the occasion being that worthy cause and the sometimes annual lighting of the Hotel's Christmas tree. Covid having thrown us all off kilter, the lights failed to light, not that the electrical failure dampened the enthusiasm of the large crowd. As ancient acquaintances enjoyed the Hotel's culinary bounty — really good and lots of it — and lied to each other about how good they looked after all the years, the Singing Sarahs sang, small children, their shoes illuminated with Christmas lights, ran in and out of their gathered elders and a bona fide good time was had by all. Admission was a suggested $15 and, for this attendee, it was the best time he's had for $15 since the head-butting nights at the old Boonville Lodge.

CHARLIE HIATT stopped me the other day to ask, “Who was the guy we used to play softball with way back at the Fairgrounds? He played shortstop barefoot.” I remembered the young man, could picture him even. I walked around all day thinking about him and trying to remember his name because I, like everyone else who knew him, liked him. He had a happy vitality about him, one of those rare persons who makes everyone around him feel good. When he died by drowning when the car he was in ran off 128 and into the winter Navarro, everyone who knew him in the Anderson Valley was saddened, still saddened whenever we think of him. I remember him as “Bill Fletcher,” which I was unsure of so I asked our ace researcher, Deb Silva, to see if she could find the only memory of our barefoot shortstop most of his have. 

And she did, as I regretted all over again reading about this vivid young man’s death.

Ukiah Daily Journal, September 16, 1974 — Two persons were killed and two others escaped serious injury in a Sunday morning crash on Highway 128 about half a mile east of Highway 1. State traffic officers reported that John Thomas Miller, 24, of Martinez, was eastbound on Highway 128 at about 2:30 AM when his car missed a turn and plunged into the Navarro River. The driver and a passenger in the front seat of the car, Dana McQuaide of Philo, escaped without serious injury. Two passengers in the back seat however were trapped in the vehicle when it overturned and drowned. Dead is William Fleischer, 24, of Philo, and a 22-year-old Walnut Creek woman. Her name is being withheld by authorities pending notification of next of kin. Miller was treated at Mendocino Coast Hospital for minor injuries and released. McQuaide was not hospitalized. A number of other accidents occurred on Mendocino County roads over the weekend, one of them a spectacular crash on Highway 101 North of Ukiah near the Heart Arrow ranch in which the driver miraculously escaped with only minor bruises.

* * *

Mendocino Coast Beacon, December 12, 1974. No Manslaughter In Navarro Drownings — A tragic accident which on September 15 of this year took the lives of two young people has resulted in a jury verdict that John Thomas Miller, 24, of Martinez, the driver, was not guilty of vehicular manslaughter but was guilty of misdemeanor drunk driving. Drowned when they were trapped beneath the waters of the Navarro River were Kathleen Malolepszcy, of Concord, and William Fleischer of Navarro who were both dead when the vehicle was pulled from the river. Escaping were Miller, the driver, and his companion in the front seat, Dana McQuaide. They were apparently unable to assist the victims. According to the reports of the California Highway Patrol and the coroner's office, a sedan driven by the defendant went through a guardrail at 2:30 AM and plunged into the river. Evidence presented by Deputy District Attorney Leonard LaCasse indicated that the woman victim and the defendant had driven from Contra Costa County on September 14. They visited Fleischer, drank some wine, had dinner at about 11 then went to a dance at Navarro by the Sea. Miller had three or four scotch on the rocks while dancing. At about 2:15 AM the four left the dance and drove to the point of the accident. Miller testified that he was traveling between 30 and 40 mph when the car left the road.

ANOTHER OLD POSTCARD from Ebay, Boonville, California

THE BOONVILLE BARN SALE, conducted by Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church) will be open this coming weekend featuring Christmas items - ornaments, trees, lights and other types of holiday decorations - as well as all the usual assortment of items. Saturday 10 to 3 pm and Sunday, NOON to 3 pm. 12761 Anderson Valley Way. Look for signs and banners along 128. This will be the last sale until spring.


The 2021 harvest is complete - everything is in from the field, and we’ve got the final round of peppers hitting the dehydrator next week. As we start selling the 2021 harvest and start to dream about the New Year, it’s important for me to take a second and put the numbers down on a page to really grasp what we accomplished since harvest started in mid-August.

We harvested 23 tons of chile peppers ( 46,000 pounds of fresh chiles!) of 13 different varieties. Some will be for chile powders and some are saved for whole dried chiles headed your way in January.

We grew 5 different kinds of dry beans and threshed all 1,351 pounds with our bike-powered bean thresher.

Despite the geese eating the plants over the summer, we brought in 335 pounds of popcorn.

As the chile harvest ramped up, we closed out a dismal strawberry season and sent the majority of our 132 flats of berries to The Apple Farm for their jam. Though a small harvest, the berries still tasted great.

A few weeks ago we harvested 1.7 tons of olives from our grove! We’ll have olive oil ready to go in February.

And we mowed down our chile plants, took out the weed cloth, planted cover crop, and fully put the fields to bed this week.

Honestly, no wonder we’re all so tired! Oof!

MICHAEL WILSON reminds us that it was two years ago this week that Pic 'N Pay burned…

SCHOOL BOARD VACANCY, Boonville. Kristin San Miguel is stepping down after the December meeting with 11 months remaining on the elected term. Interested persons can call. 895-3774 for an application.

THE SCHOOLS, at least the ones here in Boonville, are beating the bushes for substitute teachers. You must be a collitch gradjit, pass a simple test, and be felony free, and next thing you know you're standing in front of 20 or so young people in a mutually uncomprehending standoff. 

I HAD a teaching job on a substitute basis once at San Luis Obispo Jr. High, taking the position out of pure economic desperation. As I recall I was the only applicant — must have been the only applicant because I had zero interest in that line of work and remember fearing that my lack of enthusiasm for the position would exclude me. But I was hired on the spot.  They were desperate indeed.

THE SUPERINTENDENT, after he told me I was hired, made clear his management priority: “The important thing is to keep them from roaming the halls.” Them? Why would “them” be roaming the halls when school was in session? It turned out that “them” had driven their regular teacher so far around the bend that when the fire department arrived to break down the classroom door she'd barricaded from inside, she was topless and dancing on her desk, on which rested what was left of a fifth of whiskey. The little savages who'd tormented the poor thing into her psychotic break were, of course, jubilant and were still talking about it when I assumed the broken reins. “You shoulda seen it, Mr. Anderson…” Etc.

THE SCHOOL YEAR had begun in September, my predecessor had wigged out in early October, Kennedy was assassinated the third week in November, and an early Christmas holiday soon ended the semester and set me free from employment. I'd kept “them” from “roaming the halls,” but pedagogically it was a wash for “them” but instructive for me, in that I learned to appreciate people who could do this thankless job, and it taught me to avoid the profession ever after, all though I did teach in the Peace Corps in an intense British context where the students jumped to their feet at my morning appearance chorusing a genuinely respectful, “Good morning, Mr. Anderson.” 

THESE STUDENTS had to pass rigorous exams that were sent off to England to be graded. I was shocked how difficult the tests were, and not surprised that only a small number of students went on to the next levels. Biggest discipline prob? Curfew. The students, boarders most of them, would stay up all night studying before exams if they weren't suppressed. The feral packs I'd kept from roaming the halls in San Luis Obispo were, in their way, interesting in their natural Americano anarchy that would soon be pounded out of them, but the Borneo students were like so many automatons in whom I stuffed irrelevant information devised by imperial Englishmen, including the History of the British Commonwealth. I told my captives, “This is how it works; you get the common, they get the wealth.” Nope, had to deliver it straight, but the smart ones laughed.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, (1) an impertinent Boonville person asks, “When are you going to do something with your eyesore property where your trailer office was? What happened to the trailer anyway? You complain about the Ricard slum at the other end of Boonville, how about you?”

THE TRAILER CROOKS, er, lessors, suddenly began charging me $70 a month more for invisible “services,” so I told them to come and get it. Now they want a shifting amount for hauling and alleged damages. That's under negotiation. At the moment we're crammed into house number one, the same house you've previously sneered at as a “manufactured home, hah hah.” 

THE MASTER PLAN for this place includes a paint job on the two manufactured dwellings which, btw, are quite spacious and comfortable, easily accommodating both the incredible shrinking ava and live-in space for its two-man staff.

OUT FRONT, I'll probably revert to my long time Mendo building strategy, i.e., bypass the county's Department of Obfuscation, aka Planning and Building, get myself red tagged, get my property tax bumped upwards. It's simpler to avoid P&B, believe me. A friend of mine down the street took 4 (count 'em) years negotiating with Planning and Building to build a simple small home for himself and his wife, a structure of modest beauty complete with a rose garden. Going the red tag route is much less stressful than dealing with P&B. My property taxes, as yours, are already too high but it’s easier to get them raised than to spend a year of sleepless nights plotting how to murder the Planning and Building bastards without getting caught. (Re property taxes; it galls me to be funding… Well, if you think the Supervisors should make $84 grand a year, ask the Assessor to double your property tax.)

I'M TEMPTED to erect a tower out front, building it higher and higher until the County pops in to ask, “What's this, Mr. Anderson?” Vertical storage, I'll say. I heard that storage buildings don't need permits…

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