Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (December 29, 2021)

DR. MARK APFEL has announced his retirement from his many years at the Anderson Valley Health Center. Dr. Apfel was primary among the Center's founders when it was first located in 1976 in the now abandoned Ricard structure at the south end of Boonville. 

Dr. Apfel

APFEL will certainly be missed, as will his fellow retirees, Lauren Keating, restaurateur; Bob Maki and WT Johnson and their version of Starr Automotive; Rebecca Brendlen, office manager AV Unified.

MOST WELCOME NEW EDUCATOR: Louise Simson, Anderson Valley superintendent of schools 

BEST NEW MENDO BAND — Thirty Aut Sicks outta Boonville — Guy Kephart,  Maye Dickinson and Art Folz 

DURING A TRIP TO RANCHO NAVARRO last week I couldn't help but notice how the Rancho seemed so much more fully occupied than the last time I'd visited. Every parcel of the 10-20-acre development looked as if somebody was at home, and lots of the parcels featured eyesore shipping containers. But from up on Bald Hills Rancho Navarro all looked like forest, a reassurance that property owners had left the forest over-story pretty much untouched, and had planted even more redwoods. Only twenty years or so ago the Rancho was only about half-occupied but is now pretty much filled to capacity, thanks to the Green Rushers who've rushed in just in time to watch the marijuana market crash. 


Tuesday, January 11, Home vs. Round Valley. Games at 3:30, 5:00, 6:30, 8:00pm (Girls/Boys JV, Girls/Boys Varsity)

Friday, January 14, Away vs. Laytonville. (Same times)

Tuesday, January 18, Home vs. Mendocino. (Same times)

Friday, January 21, Away vs. Potter Valley. (Same times)

Tuesday, January 25, Home vs. Point Arena. (Same times)

KIRK VODOPALS WRITES: "Rancho Navarro is especially beautiful this time of year since most of the weed traffic has died down. I had to go start my neighbors generator yesterday. Our internet service is based on a repeater at his house to bounce a signal down to mine. His place is off grid and he’s out of town regularly. So, the kids and I tromped through the woods straight up the hill to his place. The forest was thick with huckleberry, tan oak and redwoods- none of which were greater than 18 inch diameter. Didn’t see any poison oak on that hike. I wish that was the case on my property."

MR. V on a hike whose route, if not experience, old timers will recognize: "Attempted a Christmas Day mountain bike ride from Navarro to Albion. Saw a pileated woodpecker on Flynn Creek Road. Headed up Tank 4 with the dog. Waterfalls everywhere as the good Lord intended. Trudged up Tank 4 assuming I’d hit the ridge road. Came up short about a quarter mile so threw the bike on my back and slogged up the 70% slope. Stopped just below the ridge to snap a photo and make a quick AVA online post. Cold wind blew hard making my warm sweat turn scarily cold. Headed down the ridge road north. Took the first left west and immediately hit brush. Wasn’t this the trail I rode years ago? Slogged through the brush for half a mile. Even the dog seemed disenchanted. Realized quickly that the westward slog was failing. Shed a soggy layer and headed back to the ridge road. Zipped down Larmer gulch with frozen knuckles. Out Keene summit and headed home as the sun went down. Warm shower, hopped in the van, dark beer, and Christmas cheer with the loved ones in Albion."

IT'S NOT UNUSUAL to see early narcissus, but daffodils in December? Someone much more observant than me, please tell us if daffs in December are not unprecedented.


Our training focus for December was search and rescue on the fireground. Our first responders practiced techniques for searching the interior of a structure and removing victims. The month culminated with a drill at AVHC in their new construction area, where we were able to use the rough framing to make training a little more challenging. In AV, interior firefights are a low frequency/high risk operation so though we don’t use these skills often, it’s important to be ready. Thanks to AVHC for the use of the space and thanks to Cal Fire E1165 for joining us. 

SPEAKING of our justly esteemed first responders I nevertheless have to say that I think the $350,000 allocated by our CSD for a water tender is excessive. Should go without or wait for a more reasonably-priced one comes on the market.

CHRIS JONES wished all his friends in Boonville and Ukiah a happy New Year. 


Many years ago a friend and neighbor asked me to help him wire the house of another neighbor. A man I had never met. The house had 12v wires hanging all over the place and was both dangerous and gave little light. Over a few weeks we wired the place for 120 volt power. Shortly after finishing I was able to meet the owner of the house and in time he became a close family friend. The man was Kary Mullis. 

Mullis had just received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He was a noted biochemist. In recognition of his role in the invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith and was awarded the Japan Prize in the same year. The New York Times described PCR as “highly original and significant, virtually dividing biology into the two epochs of before PCR and after PCR.” He had the idea to use a pair of primers to bracket the desired DNA sequence and to copy it using DNA polymerase; a technique that would allow rapid amplification of a small stretch of DNA and become a standard procedure in molecular biology laboratories. PCR is also valuable in a number of laboratory and clinical techniques, including DNA fingerprinting, detection of bacteria or viruses (particularly AIDS), and diagnosis of genetic disorders

Perhaps you remember the O.J. Simpson trial. The one where we heard, “If the glove does not fit you must acquit.” While Mullis did not feel O.J. was innocent, he, as the father of PCR stated the technique of PCR as used by the police was incorrectly done. PCR is a very delicate technique that requires special treatment in the collection of evidence. Mullis gave information stating the evidence was incorrectly collected and processed. The trial is often characterized as the trial of the century.

During the trial Wendy, my wife, and I, spent many sessions with Mullis and O.J.’s lawyers, including Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, as he explained the flaws in the process used. In the end, between the glove and the PCR, OJ walked. 

Due to the new and extensive use of PCR many new ideas were brought forth and tried. I just once again watch that early 90s movie Jurassic Park. Remember how they took blood from a mosquito to recreate dinosaurs? While that was a movie, Mullis was later hired to try to do this. As we know, dinosaurs do not again walk the earth! But again his time trying was exciting for his local friends as he reported his work and thankfully (as shown in the movie) failed in his attempt.

Mullis died in 2019. But I was lucky to spend many hours in his company. While much less scientific, he loved trying new and indeed crazy ideas. He built a huge cannon like potato gun that he fired into the nearby void. Also his well-stocked koi carp pond was used for his 200-foot tall propane fountain. He sank a hose into the pond, turned on the unregulated tank of gas, and lit it on fire! 

Crazy indeed, but rather spectacular. Crazy tho he was, I miss his brilliance and friendship.

A STORY in Wednesday's PD described a firefighters' blood drive, reminding me of the days when at least a couple of times a year the regional blood bank would set up at the local high school and take Valley blood all day including, as I recall, blood donations from the older high school kids. The donor set-up was on the gym stage. The late Carl Kinion of Boonville probably still holds the regional record for pints donated. He gave literal gallons.

I ONCE TRIED to sell Anderson Blue at a commercial blood bank in Eugene, Oregon. My primary motive was curiosity at how the commercial blood outfits worked. This one was paying thirty bucks per, but when I got to the head of the line in a room full of unhealthy people, almost all men, all of them looking half dead,  I was told, "You're too old, Mr. Anderson. You've got to be under forty.” In terms of drug and alcohol consumption, my fellow donors' average age had to be around 200, and their blood must have run heavily to pure dope or Gallo Muscatel. I tried to investigate the science behind young blood vs. old, but the guy at the counter had no idea, and the quack overseeing the sales was too busy to talk to me. 

AS A FAITHFUL READER of Jody Martinez's 'This Was News' column in the Ukiah Daily Journal, this recent item especially intrigued me. Jody had culled the following news from the December 25th, 1939 edition of the Redwood Journal: “Potter Valley. After suffering with hiccoughs for two days, Ralph Hughes was taken to Ukiah to consult a doctor Sunday. The physician found he had an injury in the arm from a piece of steel, which had caused the affliction.” This is exactly the kind of random information that stays with a guy who will now wonder for the rest of his days how that doctor established cause and effect.

AND THIS WAY BACK social note from Jody's collection directly applies to Anderson Valley: “Dinner Celebrates Installation of Bell System. To celebrate the installation of the telephone, after many hard efforts to secure it, Mrs. Ed Zeni gave a dinner at her home at Yorkville. Everyone present enjoyed a ravioli dinner with other good things on the menu. A special feature of the dinner were the cakes iced in white with ‘Luck to Bell System’ inscribed.” The after dinner hours were devoted to telling stories about the telephone.

I'D GUESS that the Zenis were especially happy to get phone service to their place so far west of Yorkville out Fish Rock Road it's almost in Gualala, relieved that at last being connected to the great world outside.

ALSO IN POTTER VALLEY of 1939, “Joe Raymond was severely but not seriously bitten by a coyote recently. He and Floyd Vaughan were on the J.E. March range where the dogs caught the coyote and got it into the creek. Thinking the animal dead, Mr. Raymond got hold of its hind leg to drag it out when it turned and grabbed him through the hand, making a nasty gash with its teeth.”

HEADED WEST in the early evening dank of the Deepend where, rounding the curve at the Navarro Store and Presto! Magico a panorama of Christmas at the Navarro Store. 

Proprietor Dave Evans explains, “We weren't going to set up the annual lighting of the Store this year , but the following crew insisted on volunteering their time to do it for the community as it's been a tough year for all of us and they thought it would put a smile on everyone's face driving by the store, and it did !”

Chief Elf, Kim Kice, with Tommi-Ann Lovelady, Carol Bloyd, Lisa Mckenzie, Kevin Bloyd.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

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