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Valley People (May 18, 2022)

CLINIC ALERT: Dear Community, Health Center staff are severely impacted due to covid-19. Please expect delays on the phones and for triage. We ask for your patience and kindness as we are doing our best to keep our services up and running. If you have a scheduled appointment this week, we will call you if there are any changes. The dental department is closed for the week. Please do not hesitate to call 911 if you are having a medical emergency.

BOONVILLE’S AMERICAN LEGION POST #385 will again observe Memorial Day with a service on Sunday, May 29, 2022, 11am, at Evergreen Cemetery, just north of Boonville on Anderson Valley Way. They will honor vets who have passed away. In addition, this year, with the threat of war again alive, co-organizer Greg Sims said they’d also honor those who yet live, especially those who have served and are in combat. “We do this to honor all who have served, living and those now gone,” said Sims. “I hope everyone who feels the same can attend.”

FLINGING SPRING IN YORKVILLE — It looked like the “Old Days” in Yorkville on Sunday May 15th as friends and neighbors met to eat and greet at the First Annual Spring Fling. Sponsored by the YCBA (Yorkville Community Benefits Association). It was a chance to catch up and reconnect post-Covid. Attendees were asked to bring desserts and there was a truly groaning board full of homemade sweet treats — probably three times as many as could have possibly been eaten. But abundance is a good thing and there was lots to send home for family who could not make it to the event. Main course provided by the YCBA: All American burgers and hotdogs with all the fixings. An array of salads — macaroni, potato and cole slaw —topped by a beautiful mixed green provided by Scott Hulbert. Dogs and burgers grilled by an experienced crew including Peter Gordon, Curtis Frost (Frosty), and Bob Sites. Set up went swiftly with set-up crew including Lisa Bauer, Doug, Tina Walter, Peter Gordon, Kathy Borst, Terry Sites, Kay Jablonski plus many others. Yorkville is known for its “Go-Getters.” Chief go-getter for this party was Lisa Bauer the most charming “Miss Bossy Pants” ever. She has enough energy and ever-positive expectations to carry any day to a successful conclusion. Thank you Yorkville Community for keeping the flame of a vibrant local community alive. (Terry Sites)

LONG SHOT CANDIDATE for 5th District supervisor, John Redding, has posted vote-for-me signs here and there the length of the Anderson Valley. So far, spotted only a single roadside sign of incumbent Ted Williams. And Redding’s signs are wayyyyyy too dense, defeating the drive-by purpose of election signs, which is to get the candidate’s name out there.

A PHILO READER WRITES:

I just got my sample ballot for the June election. There’s information about the school facilities bond that for some reason has not been mentioned in all the promotion coming out of the District and their new Superintendent. Generally, I agree that some work needs to be done on Boonville’s aging facilities. But…

I did not realize how much this is going to cost. According to the sample ballot the District wants a total of $13 million in bonds (i.e., borrowed with interest), at about $725k per year from Valley property owners at a rate of 6 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value. That doesn’t sound like much — until you do the math. In the Valley’s overpriced housing market that means that a typical $500k property would be hit for $300 per year for this bond. Ouch. I'm already paying over $5,000 per year in property taxes.

Then we get to the list of activities the borrowed money is supposed to cover. Keep in mind that Anderson Valley Unified, like most area schools, is seeing reduced enrollment which should translate to reduced facilities needs.

 “I am not aware how they came up with their list nor if it was ever publicly discussed by the School Board or public, but I don’t recall it being on a Board agenda. Here’s the (annotated) list of things AV Unified wants to spend the $13 million on:

“Specific School Facility Project List. The items presented on the following list provide the types of school facilities projects authorized to be financed with voter-approved bond proceeds. Specific examples included on this list are not intended to limit the types of projects described and authorized by this measure. The following types of projects are authorized:

Acquire, install, repair, or replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning and purification systems. (Probably necessary.)

Renovate, modernize, construct and expand aging and outdated classrooms and school facilities, including furnishings and equipment. (Expand? Why if enrollment is declining?)

Upgrade, repair, replace, acquire and/or install infrastructure such as electrical, water, gas, plumbing, drainage, septic and telecommunications and other technology systems. (Probably necessary but I don’t like the sound of “other technology systems.”)

Update sites to meet handicap accessibility (ADA) requirements. (Minor improvements like walkways and such, probably ok. Major stuff is best left alone to retain grandfather status and avoid expensive but minimally helpful remodeling.)

Construct, furnish and equip a new multi-purpose room at the elementary school including related facilities. (Should not be necessary with declining enrollment because there should be existing rooms available to use for a “multi-purpose room.”

Replace or repair roofs, doors and windows. (Probably necessary.)

Refurbish high school gym including flooring and ceiling. (Didn’t they replace the gym floor (expensively) just a few years ago, and wasn’t the gym roof repaired under the prior bond measure?)

Update, modernize, and improve restrooms, food service and cafeteria spaces, kitchens, and other support spaces. (Probably necessary.)

Improve student and campus safety by acquiring and installing security systems, monitoring systems, communication systems and fire and life safety systems. (What safety problems have they had? Why will this generic list “improve” safety?)

Acquire, install, upgrade and/or repair landscaping, lighting, walkways, paths and parking lots including signage. (No need to use for bond money for this. This should be ordinary maintenance and repair work.)

Renovate, upgrade, construct, expand and equip agricultural program facilities and classrooms including indoor and outdoor areas. (I don’t see a need for “expanding” the ag facilities.)

“I also object to the open-ended, blank check nature of this measure. The way they’ve proposed the bond means there is no closed limit on spending, and no way they’d ever spend less than the full $13 million.

The editor is singing the praises of the new Superintendent. But I don’t know and don’t trust the school board to stay on top of these projects to make sure they don’t creep into more work, more change orders, and other non-essential areas. In addition, we don’t know how long Superintendent Simson will be around. At the rate that they say the money is coming in, we’ll be paying hundreds of dollars a year extra per parcel for at least 20 years. The work will probably take at least three years and inflation at its current rate will take a major bite out of what they can do.

“I would have preferred to have a much more narrowly defined list of projects of just the most obviously needed work for less money and over a shorter period. As it is, combined with all the other taxes, fees, and charges in the pipeline (including the Boonville water/sewer project), Anderson Valley, and Boonville in particular, is being asked to finance quite a bit these days, even though Boonville is said to be an “extremely economically depressed area” according to census data.

“I’m open to hearing anything the District might have to say about this nearly blank check facilities bond measure, but I cannot vote in favor of this over-sized bond measure as it is presented, especially when they say, ‘Specific examples included on this list are not intended to limit the types of projects described and authorized by this measure.’

Name Withheld, Philo

SUPERINTENDENT SIMSON RESPONDS: Thank you for the opportunity to respond. The Board of Trustees discussed and voted on this bond measure in numerous open sessions and followed the legal process for placing the measure on the ballot. The list of facilities projects is always lengthy as a protection that any necessary work that may required will be covered within the scope of the approved bond. I highly encourage anyone that wants to visit the sites and see the current condition of the properties to please do so on May 12 at 4:30 at the high school or on May 19 at 4:30 at the elementary school. It is also important to realize that the .06 cent tax on $100 is based on the assessed value NOT THE CURRENT MARKET VALUE. Consequently, a long-term property owner is taxed at the assessed value currently on the roll, not a fair market value.

Please do not hesitate to send me an email at lsimson@avpanthers.org for a personal tour, a chance to sit down and visit about the facts or just an opportunity to meet. — Louise Simson, Superintendent, AV Unified

ED NOTE: Our property here in central Boonville is assessed at $550,000.  We pay about five grand in annual property tax. Measure M would bump the tax about $300. I am for Measure M because the school plants obviously need a lot of work. 

THE AV HIGH SCHOOL FACILITIES TOUR

ONLY ONE PERSON SHOWED UP for the big walk-through tour of the High School’s aging building complex on Mountain View Road last Thursday evening. So I got my own personal tour of the facilities and proposed bond-funded work with Superintendent Louise Simson and Architect/Project Manager Don Alameida. 

Ms. Simson put a positive spin on the lack of turn out, saying that the lack of interest must mean that nobody has any problems with the project. We weren’t so sure, saying that it might just be lack of public interest in nearly everything these days, or maybe, in the diffuse media of the times, not that many people knew about it. 

We knew Mr. Alameida from his fine work as the project manager (but not architect) for the prior bond measure from back in 2010-2011, so he is already familiar with the work to be done this time since much of it is what was left undone from that prior bond — mostly infrastructure upgrades and classroom remodels, plus some safety improvements. 

This year’s proposed $13 million bond measure, Measure M, would cover much of the work, and be paid back by Valley property owners over the next 20 years at about $60 per $100k of assessed value per year. As is standard for these kind of borrowed money school projects, by the time the finance people and the banks and inflation all take their cut, less than half of the bond value will be available for actual project work. 

Just like ten years ago, there’s not much question that the high school’s aging facilities need major improvements, mainly with water, sewer, electrical systems & lighting, heating/air conditioning, etc. And four classrooms remain to be remodeled from the previous bond which was discontinued about half-way into it because of changes in financial conditions and rates. 

The High School’s chemistry lab is so old that it reminded me of the lab I took chemistry classes in in Fresno in 1960. (The experiments my chemistry teacher — he was a biologist, not a chemist — conducted back then frequently went hilariously awry.) 

Superintendent Simson said that the list of things to be done is much longer than what they will probably get to, so some prioritization and scheduling will be required, mostly focusing on the basic infrastructure and the classroom remodels. 

One difference this time will be that Mr. Alameida will be both the architect and the project manager since the work is mostly an extension of what was already planned for in 2010, saving a nice chunk of overhead. If the Community Services District water and wastewater projects are approved and the state pays for that project with state grants as hoped, the School District won’t have to do as much in that regard. But the timing is so far unclear and Mr. Alameida said he’d certainly keep that in mind as the bond project proceeds.

BY CHANCE, Mr. Alameida happened to also have been the architect for the contractor who built the County’s new, grotesquely overpriced Crisis Residential Treatment house on Orchard Street in Ukiah. Despite the County’s claim that the expensive Sacramento architect, Nacht & Lewis, “designed” the building, it turns out that they only “designed” about 40% of it (despite charging for the “design”), and that was for a modular concept which was later changed to conventional stick-built home construction “to save money.” Alameida ended up finishing the design of what he agreed was nothing more than a $1 million house using Nacht & Lewis’s partial concept work under subcontract to Cupples Construction, adding yet another layer of cost to the project. Alameida, one of the most direct, knowledgeable and sensible building project guys we’ve ever met, said he couldn’t imagine a more expensive way to handle a home-building project, but by the time he was involved, all that was left to do was determining and sizing construction materials and finish work — the actual final design work.

ANOTHER school walk-through is planned for this Thursday at the elementary school at 4:30pm, where less of the Measure M bond-funded work is expected to be done, mainly a proposed “multi-purpose room” if there’s money available after the high school work is complete.

(Mark Scaramella)

MEASURE M & OTHER SCHOOL UPDATES

Dear Anderson Valley Community,

We hope you had a wonderful week!

Many important events are coming up over the next few weeks. Please mark your calendars and join us:

Important Dates:

  • Bond Walkthrough at the Elementary School–May 19 4:30 p.m.
  • Preschool graduation May 27–Preschool Lawn
  • Prom May 27–High School
  • Sixth grade graduation June 6–High School
  • High school awards night: June 7 –High School
  • Eighth grade graduation June 8–High School
  • High school graduation June 9–High School--Ticket Required

Measure M

Measure M ballots have been mailed and may be returned to fairgrounds ballot box during office hours or mailed. All ballots must be turned in or mailed by June 7. A fact sheet is attached. Join us next Thursday at the elementary school for a tour at 4:30 p.m.

Wasc High School Committee

If you are interested in serving on a focus group committee for the high school accreditation process, please let me know. This is a great way to let your thoughts be known about areas of strength and areas to grow.

We Need Teachers And Aides

We have several full and part-time teaching openings. You don't need a teaching credential. If you have a Bachelor’s degree, we can work with you to get a required temporary permit. If you have 90 units and are currently enrolled in a credential program, we also have some options for short term permits. We need some help! Please call Sara Hayward at (707) 895-3774 ext. 603. We are also seeking support staff.

Covid Testing

We had one positive pool this week district wide. Thank you for your vigilance in keeping students home when they are sick.

FRIENDS OF FAULKNER PARK: 

Will a computer program decide the fate of the old growth redwoods at Faulkner Park?

That’s what we are being told! Hoping to receive assurances from PG&E that the old growth redwoods at Faulkner County Park near Boonville would not be cut, we were dismayed to be told on April 29 that, so far, no permanent reprieve was being offered by the company. Instead, PG&E is planning to use its new “analysis tool,” i.e. a computer program, to make a determination. The answer may not come for several months.

PG&E Regional Vice President Ron Richardson and his staff presented the news about the “analysis tool” to Friends of Faulkner Park (FOFP) and concerned community members at a meeting Friday, April 29, called to provide an update on current plans regarding the fate of the park’s old growth redwoods.

Undergrounding this quarter mile of line or installing hardened wires and circuit breakers is completely feasible and would eliminate any fire safety concern. But instead, PG&E managers are trying to save some money, defer to a computer algorithm, and let it take the blame for cutting the old redwoods that were here hundreds of years before the 12 KV local service electric line.

The 30-acre old growth redwood grove that is the core of Faulkner Park is a significant remnant of what is left in Mendocino County and the world after logging wiped out more than 95% of the original 2 million acres of Coast Redwoods. The Park has been protected since 1930.

Much of the discussion regarding Faulkner Park has been around fire resiliency. But just as important, we need to consider the preservation of these old growth redwoods as a central pillar to a complex ecosystem. In the face of climate change, we cannot let a devastating tragedy take place right before our eyes, in our community, literally in our backyard.

In late 2021, PG&E contractors had marked for cut at least 52 of the park’s old growth redwoods under its Enhanced Vegetation Management (EVM) program. The local community organized in opposition and gathered letters and petitions from folks ranging from neighbors to the current and retired Fire Chiefs of the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department. This opposition, and informed analysis of how cutting these trees would increase local fire danger, was communicated to PG&E CEO Patty Poppe in January. An informal “pause” to potential implementation of the cut has been in effect since then.

We are not going to just accept a computer’s decision to cut these old trees. If a regional vice president has to defer to a computer algorithm for a decision here, who in PG&E does have the authority to save these ancient trees? 

PG&E will only have itself to blame for whatever response the community launches if the company tries to cut any of these ancient redwoods. This is a grove made up of intertwining giants. There is no reason to cut a single one of these trees when the company can either harden the wires and use circuit breakers or put the line underground

FROM MENDO PARKS: “We are excited to announce tickets are live for an afternoon with Captain Fletcher! June 11th, come to Navarro Beach and celebrate the legacy of the Inn! 

There are only 60 spots. 

Your ticket includes:

- A tour of the Inn by our expert docents

- A rare tasting of the limited edition Captain Fletcher Rye, distilled by Crispin Cain of Mendocino Spirits

- A gourmet Roundman's Smokehouse sausage sandwich grilled fresh

- Music on the lawn by Steven Bates

Tours and tastings last one hour.

Event benefits  Mendocino Area Parks Association

THE AV HISTORY MUSEUM, a.k.a. the Little Red School House, will have a gathering on Sunday, June 5. Open to all and admission is free! Complimentary food and drinks, too! 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1056282001632707

DRIVING EAST over the hill to Ukiah a week ago, the distant Yolly Bollys were painted white with a fresh coat of overnight snow, and farther east there was probably enough snow up on the Mendocino Pass for the adventurous to do a little cross-country skiing as the adventurous have been known to do in that unvisited winter locale. The trip over the Pass is highly recommended for the sights to be seen its lonely length. North to Willits, east on 162 off 101, through Covelo and up and over into the Sacramento Valley the whole way on Highway 162, arriving eventually at the I-5 town of Willows. From Boonville it’s 4-5 hours depending.

RURAL LIFE, a comment: “Chickens aren’t much trouble to care for. Let them out in the morning and feed them (and collect the eggs). They will go into the coop by themselves around dusk. Shut the door to keep out predators. 

I had a lot of trouble with predators when I was free-ranging my chickens and my previous house. No problems for the first year, but chickens will eventually attract predators, even if you have none to start with. Your best bet for protecting chickens from predators, aside from a secure chicken coop, is a good dog. If you can obtain such a dog, he/she will also kill all the rabbits that are eating your garden and protect your goats from the coyotes. Unfortunately, few dogs fit this bill. My daughter and son-in-law who live next door had such a dog (part Great Pyr and part Akbash), but he died last summer. 

My present dog is a sweet, lovable creature, but he is strangely indifferent to all intruders but the UPS man. 

But I have decided to get a gun and learn how to shoot it. I see baby rabbits all over the place. (Not good, if you have a garden.) There is also a neighbor dog that has stolen at least one chicken–as shown by another neighbor’s trail cam–and probably several. I have been told that if you fire a shot or two over his head he won’t come back. 

But chickens are scarcely any trouble at all, if you can get control of the predator problem. Ducks are also really delightful–much cuter than chickens, and their eggs are esteemed for baking. And  get a couple of geese. They are the equivalent of junk yard dogs and a standard Mossberg 500 shotgun. They don’t cost a lot and will last 5 lifetimes. They are modular; many different accessories are available for different applications, i.e., chokes, barrels, different size shot, slugs buckshot. But just out of the box with the 26″ barrel with a ventilated rib and 3 included chokes and a few boxes of #4, 5 or 6 shot will be pretty much all you’ll ever need to deal with any problems that might arise around the homestead.

AFTER OUR WEEK of winter in May, it's hard to imagine that the worst summer of drought ever is coming right up. Shasta Lake is currently at 55% of capacity, and it's the largest reservoir in the State Water Project, carrying water all the way to LA's lawns and swimming pools. The Colorado River is reaching a shortage so severe that larger water cuts are likely for Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico. The Sierra snowpack? Already dried up. Water officials reporting to the U.S. Drought Monitor say 2022-23 is shaping up as water-disastrous.

NOT TO BE TOO BORING on the subject, but as cities and towns up and down Highway 101 enact water conservation measures, construction, especially in Sonoma County, continues as if it were boom time 1950. But here's the insta-town of Windsor approving a 387-unit, $150 million development! 

DAVE SMITH notes, “You don’t have to go to SoCo. Look at all the building underway in Ukiah.” 

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