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Letters (May 19, 2022)

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After a hiatus of two years, the Anderson Valley Wildflower Show resumed at the County Fairgrounds April 30-May 1. Many AV Unity Club and community members came together with tremendous energy to make it happen. The public was extremely supportive and appreciative of the event. We would like to thank everyone who made the 2022 Wildflower Show such a success. 

The Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society returned this year with books and posters to offer and was kept busy with many visitors’ questions. Also joining us this year on Saturday was an information table from Hendy Woods.

Thank you to Anderson Valley Jr/Sr High School’s art instructor, Nadia Berrigan, whose students exhibited beautiful watercolor wildflower paintings. Unity Garden Section members selected by vote three artists to receive $50 youth development awards.

An invasive plant table with specimens, pictures and information regarding the damage these plants cause to native species provided a necessary counterpoint. 

A special thank you to our Publicity Head for gathering items for the Silent Auction from businesses up and down the Valley, in addition to our members who provided gifts. Their generosity resulted in the largest contribution to the Unity Garden Section Scholarship Fund in its history.

Many thanks to the following business contributors: The Bewildered Pig, Bee Hunter Wine, Farmhouse Mercantile, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Domaine Anderson Winery, Philo Ridge Vineyards, DragonFly Designs, Wickson Restaurant, Anderson Valley Farm Supply, Pennyroyal Farm, California Native Plant Society, Lauren's , Anderson Valley Brewing Company, The Pot Shop, Brashley Vineyards, Twomey, Navarro Vineyards & Winery, John Hanes Gallery, The Company Kitchen, Weatherborne Wine Corp., Scharffenberger Cellars, Boont Berry Farm, Disco Ranch, Rossi's, Northwest Tire & Oil Company, Gowan's Fruit Stand, Mosswood Market, Lula Cellars, Anderson Valley Market, Lemon's Market, The Rock Stop, and Foursight Wines.

A big thank you to Deleh Pasewalk and her helpers from the Teen Center for the especially delicious food available in the tearoom. 

We also wish to thank the following people who helped our club members with collections, identification, plant donations, set-up, or cleanup: Jade Paget-Seekins, Lynn Halpern, Caleigh Lennerth, Hans Hickenlooper, Kristy Hotchkiss, Scott Hulbert, Sarah McCarter, Ric Bonner, Anita Soost, and Angela DeWitt. 

Thank you to Becky Johnston and the Fairgrounds staff for all their help, as well as to Robert Rosen, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company and the AV Methodist Church for allowing us to place our advertising banners on their respective fences.

We extend an invitation to community members to join us in next year’s Wildflower Show adventure. Contributors with new ideas can only help improve this unique event. Additional collectors knowledgeable or interested in identifying plants are especially welcome. 

Please email Jean Condon or Mary Ann Grzenda at if you are interested.


Anderson Valley Wildflower Show Committee

PS. The Anderson Valley Unity Club Garden Section is proud to announce the winners of three $50 youth development awards to outstanding art students from Nadia Beringer’s art classes at Anderson Valley Jr/Sr High School. The awards were in conjunction with the annual Wildflower Show held at the Fairgrounds April 30-May 1. Fifteen students submitted beautiful watercolor paintings for the exhibition. Kellie Crisman, Gibelli Guerrero, and Miranda Mendoza are the three winners. 

There is a wonderful relationship between Anderson Valley schools and the Unity Club. Blanche Brown, teacher at the one-room Peachland School, began the show as a project with her students in 1926. The Unity Club took on the responsibility of the show in the late 1950s. We have encouraged student participation for many years. Their paintings, photographs and other art work have joined hundreds of flower species on display in June Hall. On the Monday after the show, students and their teachers enjoy the specimens and work on class assignments related to botany.

Most of the funds raised by the Unity Club throughout the year are given to graduating seniors as scholarships. One award is specifically given by the Garden Section to a student who has an interest in the natural environment.

Congratulations to Kellie, Miranda and Gibelli. 


Jean Condon and Mary Ann Grzenda, Co-Chairs

Anderson Valley Wildflower Show

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Dear Editor:

I am supporting Michelle Hutchins for Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools. She has demonstrated her competence in the past four years in this role and is the best qualified candidate for the position. 

Superintendent Hutchins will successfully complete her first term as an effective executive and competent leader of a staff of over 175 people, managing programs that support 13,000 students and schools across all 12 school districts in Mendocino County. In contrast, her opponent is a support staff administrator whose duties are limited to one district. 

Contrary to the nonsensical claims made in a mailer recently sent by her opponent, in the past 3.5 years, Superintendent Hutchins has provided leadership during wildfires, widespread power outages, and a pandemic of unprecedented proportions. She was very present in all of those difficult calamities and brought resources and personal support to address them to school districts all around the county. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Hutchins was very involved in helping county schools and communities mount an effective strategy to the pandemic. I was in many of those meetings with her along with other key health officials and county leaders. 

Personally, Superintendent Hutchins worked with myself and Mendocino County Public Health to organize a vaccine clinic at the MCOE River Campus specifically for the residents of the surrounding Talmage neighborhood where the MCOE office is located. We passed out flyers to all of the immediate neighborhoods in English and Spanish, and generated a great response of 85 people who showed up for the two-hour clinic. The event was very well organized, ran smoothly and had positive outcomes as Mendocino County emerged a leader among rural counties in the state to promptly vaccinate its population. Superintendent Hutchins was extremely positive and supportive in making this and many other events a success. 

Under her leadership, MCOE served as a hub for COVID logistics in Mendocino County and distributed over 45 tons of personal protective equipment and at-home tests. 

Superintendent Hutchins is a champion for ALL students and districts, and has restructured MCOE to be more efficient, effective, and responsive to the changing educational state mandates and needs of school districts across the County. She has recruited a very talented leadership team and staff. She has teamed with the California State Office of Education, state wide politicians, neighboring county offices of education, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, and other educational leaders to deliver these programs. She is innovative, imaginative and delivers more than the status quo. 

In her previous job as Superintendent of the Anderson Valley School District, she led her schools to very high student achievement on standardized tests and was a standout rural school district with a high number of English Language learners. 

As a former member of the Ukiah Unified Board of Trustees, I can say with confidence that these strategic shifts have finally brought MCOE into the modern era and will better serve districts, students, and taxpayers. 

By contrast, her opponent comes from a district that is still struggling to bring their student achievement up, despite millions of dollars over many years in state grants and numerous consultant efforts to improve test scores. 

Superintendent Hutchins has her eye on the future of our county and has participated with me and many other local leaders in MOVE 2030, an effort by WEST Company to create a strategic plan for building economic capacity in our county’s communities. Her expertise in the subjects of building our student workforce development, digital learning, continuing education for people making career  changes, and improving the economic conditions of our county’s communities make her an important contributor to improving the future prospects for students that want to stay here post-graduation, and the financial well-being of all Mendocino County residents.  

Finally, Superintendent Hutchins has a great personality that allows her to work well with others. She has faced adversity personally and professionally, but is resilient and has a positive attitude that also allows her to have empathy for others who face challenges. This quality is very important and helps her be inclusive to all students and staff who may not always be noticed or appreciated for their differences. 

In a time when cyber bullying is so prevalent, when I further reflect on the personal qualities, I want educational leaders to embody and model for children empathy, kindness and intellect. Superintendent Hutchins has integrity and the depth of experience needed to serve in addition to those personal qualities needed to inspire. 

Above all, I hope you will exercise your right to vote in the upcoming election. And I hope that you will join me in re-electing Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins. Learn more about Superintendent Hutchins on her website:


Glenn McGourty 


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To the Editor: 

Nicole Glentzer, challenger for Mendocino County superintendent of schools, recently sent a negative mass-mailed “personal” fundraising letter over the signatures of six retired Mendocino County Office of Education people. It accused County Superintendent Michelle Hutchins of not being prepared with support and direction to school leaders during the pandemic. They want to “make sure that voters know the truth.” 

This is the truth: (as per The Willits News, October 16, 2021 edition) “On Friday, October 8, the Mendocino County Office of Education and Mendocino County Public Health Department hosted a meeting of local K-12 educators where Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren complimented educators, saying that schools have effectively “stopped COVID at the door.” Of the 33 student cases reported, all were traced to outside contacts and none to school.

Through this awful, unparalleled time, MCOE was a literal command center for ever-changing directives from the health officer, CDPH, SDOE, and the Governor’s Office, sometimes the night before they went into effect. They met sudden, immense staff/student needs for everything from PPE to computers and hot spots through a competitive and often broken supply chain. 

From urban sites to tiny, remote schools and isolated homes, everyone gave 100% and they were universally exhausted. The retired MCOE people were never involved and couldn’t even imagine. Putting their names on such a letter does them a disservice, but displays the caliber of the challenger’s campaign. With limited qualifications, experience, and understanding of the office, she apparently can only attack. 

Superintendent Hutchins won election to a vacated post filled by an interim. She has built a superior cabinet and initiated proven programs for continuous improvement in every facet of the services and responsibilities of MCOE, all while the pandemic raged in two of her three years in office. 

Our schools need to have her continue. Her endorsement by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction shows the prominence MCOE has gained under her leadership. Go to her campaign website for her story, but better, go to the MCOE website and see her efforts in action. 

Education is a noble profession and schools are sacred places. There’s no place for these tactics in a campaign for such a crucial position. 

Charlene Ford, member, Mendocino County Board of Education (Area 3) 

ED NOTE: Charlene Ford signed this letter of support for Michelle Hutchins, which was drafted by Larry Olson, member, Mendocino County Board of Education (Area 2) and also signed by Don Cruser, member, Mendocino County Board of Education (Area 5). 

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I had the opportunity to be at a meeting of the Anderson Valley Community Services District on May 5th. I was accompanied by Vicki Williams who is a resident of the AV. The professional and thoughtful presentation made it crystal clear that the ambulance service is hanging by a thread. The presenter commented that they did not expect help from the County and did not believe the County valued the service the District provided to the community.

Ted Williams denied a funding request of $66,000 that would alleviate the problem until more permanent solutions can be found. Instead of helping to stave off a crisis, he apparently expressed the need for a County wide solution. 

Apart from the fact that more talk won't help a dying patient, there is a solution. Here it is. 

Start the stopwatch: 0:00 seconds

• Identify a number of benefits that the proposed funding would provide

• Assign a weighting factor to each one

• Score each proposal against those criteria

• Aggregate the weighted score and rank order each proposal

Stop at 0:30 seconds

Problem solved!


John Redding

Candidate for Board of Supervisors District 5



Parks Are Where Communities Happen

I fell in love with parks because of my two kids. They would use the slides and swings while I talked to other parents. A few years later, I was the community leader who obtained a state grant to build the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, a linear park. On any given day you would see bicyclists, joggers, walkers, rollerbladers and even people in wheel chairs. Parks are where communities happen.

This past Saturday I visited Bower Park, a County Park in Gualala, with Vicki Williams and a local park advocate. It's an amazing place with so much to offer! Except that it is mostly unusable due to years of neglect by the County. Did you know only $600,000 has been budgeted for museums and six parks. That the current budget approved by the Board of Supervisors has $0 allocated toward park maintenance? And did you know there is not one employee dedicated to parks?

Everywhere I have lived, parks are a low priority and take a back seat to flashier, often wasteful ones. Not funding parks adequately is wrong-headed and a detriment to our sense of community, so much of which was lost during covid.

What is needed, urgently in my opinion, is a sustained effort to undo years of neglect and that means enough funding to work off a large backlog of park maintenance projects. Set an ambitious goal of completing those over the next 2-3 years.

It will be money and time well spent because parks are where community happens.

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The most obvious indication that Michelle Hutchins is doing an excellent (bang up) job as Superintendent of Schools in Mendocino County is this: All those who are responsible for seeing the “bigger picture” for education in our county have endorsed Michelle for a second term. Not just one, or even a majority, but all 5 members of the County Board of Education support her serving another term. As does the State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond. As does State Senator, Mike McGuire. As does Assemblymember, Jim Wood. As do Mendocino Supervisors John Haschak and Glenn McGourty. No one to whom Ms Hutchins reports is supporting the opposition. Obviously, Michelle Hutchins has demonstrated her abilities to those who ultimately have to share responsibility for her words and her actions.

And her words and her actions are positive. Michelle puts student needs first. Equity and fiscal stewardship are priorities. She completed one 5-year plan even in the midst of Covid and is now ready to implement another focused on student excellence. (I can't wait.) She worked to increase disaster and emergency planning across the County, which can only stand us in good stead in the years to come. She even instigated a radio show to inform and connect the greater public with different aspects of education in the county.

From her opposition I see no positive plans--only general negativity--and no specific criticism. (Unless, for example, you're willing to ignore the 45 tons of Covid materials and equipment that Michelle dispensed to all schools in Mendocino County, MCOE support for 37 local educational entities, and accolades from local and State health departments, in spite of which her opponents maintain that she did nothing to allay the effects of Covid .) Moreover, Michelle has not been campaigning on paid time.

Michelle Hutchins does not seek out endorsements from those teachers and staff who might feel compromised by the fact that she signs the paychecks. As a former teacher and a former Anderson Valley Board of Education member who was fortunate enough to work with Michelle in both capacities, I heartily endorse Michelle Hutchins for reelection to Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools.

Kristy Hotchkiss


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Michelle Hutchins is a much needed advocate for the children of Mendocino, who will become the caretakers of our beautiful county. She is working on the development of programs in the schools to bring back skill training in ways that foster an interest in solving puzzles and enabling the development of skill sets. She values connecting students with appropriate teachers for new trades that will help transform current systems and trades to renewable types and planet-saving technologies. Vote for Michelle Hutchins for Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools on June 7.

Geordie Whinnery,

Solar Otter, Inc.

Picton, Ontario, Canada

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AN OPEN LETTER TO VICKI WILLIAMS, campaign manager for John Redding 5th District Supervisor candidate

Good morning,

I wish to Congratulate you and John Redding for attempting to keep our 5th District residents focused on issues rather than distraction. You and John have a tough road ahead of you. Your opponent, Ted Williams, has all the advantages of incumbency, and is an absolute master of distraction and the dark art of political triangulation. 

Rather than allow discussion about affordable housing, appropriate economic development, establishing best management practices within county admin, or his failure to meet most of his 2018 campaign rhetoric, he would rather stoke liberal fear of Mar-A-Lago becoming Mendo-A-Lago. As Williams tries to stoke these fears for his own political gain, I find his attempts both contemptible and disqualifying. Much thanks to you and John Redding for holding a positive vision of what we can be when we don’t throw people under the bus of our political stereotypes.

Chris Skyhawk

Fort Bragg

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Letter to the Editor

As a long-time educator in Ukiah, I have had a wonderful experience working with the youth of our community at both Ukiah High School and South Valley. My seven years of being the principal at South Valley have afforded me incredible opportunities to work with district and community leaders. The responsibility of serving all students - especially those in need - is what motivates me to get up each morning with vigor and purpose. People like Nicole Glentzer inspire thousands of others (who work with our youth) never to give up. Our work is hard, taxing, exhausting, and many times traumatic. Nicole Glentzer is one of the most critical people I directly credit for unconditionally supporting my school (and all other schools in our county) at an unparalleled level. We must elect her to the office of County Superintendent of Schools so we can all succeed.

Kris Swett

South Valley High School Principal


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I am home owner in Brooktrails Township, in Willits, CA. Many homeowners in this area are experiencing tree removal without permission or notification of any kind in the name of fire safety. I have seen it published that most of the fires in California were started by faulty electrical equipment or human stupidity and not by falling trees. Yet, PG and E is cutting down our trees.

Today, I went outside and noticed that sometime last Thursday or Friday, when I was not home, people where on my property without my permission, marking my trees. Some have yellow dots, others blue and there is also red plastic flagging tied on some branches. I have no clue what these dots mean, nor the red flagging. There are no letters of explanation either, so I do not know what plans are being made about my property, behind my back.

This all makes me very angry. We are loosing more and more freedoms in this once free country and now we are loosing the freedom to enjoy our trees. It is because of my trees have I have not yet installed air conditioning in my house, as they have provided enough shade to keep the interior of my house fairly cool during 100 degree days. The trees that are marked are the ones that block the afternoon sun. Will PG and E or the CPUC pay my higher electric bills and installation of air conditioning?

These trees that are being cut down are healthy and pose little fire risk, they shade our houses during the hot summer months, beautify our properties, sequester carbon, slow erosion and release oxygen.

I can’t help but think that there is more going on here than fire control, that much of this cutting is fueled by greed. I can’t seem to be able to find any information about how much money PGE is paying to various contractors for this deforestation, and nor can I find any information regarding how much money PGE is receiving for the sale of trees for lumber.

Please put an end to this wasteful cutting. Put pressure on the CPUC to restrict the cutting that PGE can do and allow homeowners to have control over the trees on their properties and also in their communities.


Loretta Horowitz


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Dear AVA,

I am happy to hear that Alan Crow, aka “Sunny Crow,” is still alive. I heard rumors that he passed away while in Oregon last year. Thankfully this is not true. Apparently Mr. Crow is housed somewhere here in the county jail.

So a shout out to you Mr. Sunny Crow for the way you treated my wife and 10-year-old daughter back in 2020. You picked them up while my wife was hitchhiking in Lucerne with our daughter. You paid for a motel for two weeks and bought my wife and daughter $300 worth of food. For two weeks you drove my daughter to school and paid for her school lunches. My daughter “Emily” still asks about you and misses you.

Your kindness and respect meant a lot to them and to me. Especially in a county full of weirdos and predators.

So thanks bro for being a good dude to my family while I was in prison for what it's worth. I hope you're doing okay and your situation isn't too dire.

All my best, from Vicky, Emily and me, 

Jonathan Young

Mendocino County Jail


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We live in a topsy-turvy world nowadays. Like in the old westerns. The townspeople are all behind the gunslinger when they want evil out of town. After the gunslinger does the job those same vigilantes forget about him and often turned on him next! You can even check a Bible passage that explains this. Read Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 verses 14 and 15.

I noticed some nutcase from Monte Rio of all places wrote a rather mind-boggling article with mostly queer admiration for Judge Keith Faulder. I have no clue what that was about, but what caught my attention is what was written about our famous ex-deputy district attorney Katherine “Kitty” Houston. Some criticism of her “argument” with former Judge Ron Brown, may he rest in peace. I knew Ron very well and I know Kitty. How was that even a vague argument? In my opinion Kitty has twice the IQ that Mr. Brown ever dreamed of. The Monte Rio writer (possible male chauvinist) was evidently angry because Kitty in fact won the argument as she was prone to do. If she was still running the District Attorney's Office I certainly wouldn't be in this predicament. In fact, I attempted to get her as my lawyer.

I also used to kind of enjoy ex-correctional Deputy John Sakowicz's journalism until he wrote other queer praise our John “Greasy Thumb” McCowen. Doesn't John Sakowicz realize that even though Eyster is very sneaky, McCowen is worse. It's obvious to me what McCowen was trying to prove by stealing all the county keys: “Look you stupid taxpayers and voters, I'm a thief and there is nothing you can do about it!” 

Well, both Eyster and McCowen will stand before God on judgment day. It must be getting time for the vigilante Ukiah voters to start goose-stepping to the polls yelling “Heil Eyster.”

I am happy that one way or another I'll be finally getting clear of this Nazi regime zone.


David ‘Detective Youngcault, River Crow Nation’ Giusti

Mendocino County Jail


PS. I really enjoyed Tommy Wayne Kramer's article on the plight of the homeless.

ED NOTE: McCowen didn't steal anything, Dave. He was slandered by CEO Angelo and Supervisor Williams.

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Yes, I would like to answer the question you posed in the last AVA in the Off The Record section and say I would definitely miss the Willits hospital. I got a hip replacement there two years ago, it was a good experience all the way around, and I'll probably be back for the other hip some day. Here in Southern Humboldt we have the choice of going up to Eureka or down to Willits for more complicated health issues/procedures and more of us are starting to choose Willits: it's a new facility, the people working there are nice, and the orthopedic department is nationally known—I've heard that bone doctors from around the country come for Doctor Bowen's work. We're lucky to have the Willits option and though it's fifteen minutes further than Eureka it's worth it.

Paul Modic


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Letter to the Editor

To the educators, students, parents, and residents of Mendocino County-

My name is Matt LaFever and I have been an educator in Mendocino County, specifically the Ukiah Unified School District for eight years. I've cut my teeth as a teacher at Ukiah High getting to know this community while doing what I could to create a dynamic, thought-provoking space for students.

Nicole Glentzer, through and through, should be at the helm of the Mendocino County Office of Education. She was monumental in Ukiah Unified School District's push to provide as many in-person learning experiences for students during the pandemic, a trauma many students and families are still reeling from.

Nicole and her colleagues worked tirelessly to navigate public health protocols to find room for students, parents, and staff to break the isolation and be in person. This innovative, problem-solving approach led to UUSD's partnership with the City of Ukiah, Ukiah High School's athletic programs, multiple extracurricular activities, and many others.

As an educator, my hope is local leaders commit to rebuilding the trust that was tested in the days of distance learning. This can be done by building robust, in-person, authentic opportunities for students, parents, and the community to reengage with their local schools. I trust Nicole to do it because she has done it for the last two years.

Vote Nicole Glentzer to be the Superintendent of the Mendocino County Office of Education!

Matt LaFever, Teacher at Ukiah High


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