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Valley People (June 29, 2022)


A celebration of life is planned for Vera Titus, Saturday, July 16th, 1pm-4pm, at the fairgrounds picnic area. Everyone welcome.

A FIRE WAS REPORTED IN YORKVILLE Friday afternoon. We asked Fire Chief Andres Avila about it.

“The fire was seen and reported by Yorkville Ranch residents who saw smoke in the hills south of Hibbard Valley, then promptly called it in. The fire was located in a PG&E easement for a distribution line where a tree strike caused down powerlines.  Upon arrival units found a slow moving fire in the chips and sapling understory. Heavy fuels were adjacent and uphill but the fire was stopped prior to entering the dense fuels. Total acreage was less than half an acre. AVFD was dispatched to a medical aid in Philo at the same time. Both incidents had good response times and resources because of our dedicated volunteers.”

ALSO FRIDAY AFTERNOON, this comment: “Some people are absolute pigs. Hendy Woods bridge gravel bar is covered in garbage,” but then kudos to a guy named Cody for cleaning it all up.

RENEE LEE: Review of ‘Elvis’

1) Different than I thought it would be.

2) Austin Butler did an outstanding job of portraying The King. 

3) I learned a lot of things about his early childhood and his musical influences that I didn’t know about as I only remember him in old black and white movies or the unfavorable media snapshots of the disaster he was in the final years. 

4) I cried even though I knew the inevitable.

5) It wasn’t Bohemian Rhapsody. 

Pro tip: go pee before the movie. It’s nearly 3 hours long. 

ON THE ROAD with a Deepender: The family and I just returned from a quick backpacking trip. Got up at 3 am last Tuesday and drove 8 hours over the Sonora pass. Beautiful drive. Dropped into Bridgeport in HWY 395 and headed south to the Green Lake trailhead. Made the 3 mile hike to green lake and found cold lake water and lots of mosquitoes. Got up the next morning and headed down the mountain straight for the hot spring. Had it all to ourselves… Overcast and slightly breezy. Hopped in the car and zipped through the Carson Valley and into the Disneyland that is South Lake Tahoe. Why I stop there every time is a mystery. You can’t even access the lake in some parts without paying a fee. Spent one night in a hotel then headed home to Paradise (the Deep End). 

— Kirk Vodopals

MORE DISENGENUOUSNESS from Supervisor Ted Williams: “Anderson Valley Fire pays EMTs $30 per 12 hour shift on only ambulance covering HW128, county line to Paul Dimmick park(Albion). $2.50 per hour! Some days shut down due to staffing. Unsustainable. Value of your life? County responsibility? Time to prioritize ALL public safety.”

MARK SCARAMELLA SAYS,  “Using AV Ambulance’s underpaid and volunteer responders and their marginal funding situation to help justify a dubious and unjustifiable sales tax proposal is pretty hard to take. If the Supervisor was so concerned about the AV Ambulance situation why didn’t he (and his fellow Supervisors) allocate even a small part of the pot tax revenues per 2017 advisory Measure AJ after he was elected in 2018? Why does he continue to pretend that a vague and amorphous Joint Powers Authority might someday help while denying stop-gap funding in the meanwhile? Why has he continued hand over more than $600k to Sonoma County’s grossly overpriced Coastal Valley EMS outfit without question and then pretend that that money is somehow going to emergency services? If Ambulance services are such an important part of “public safety,” (which of course they are) why haven’t he and his fellow Supervisors honored the so-called Lomita decision which clearly spells out the County’s legal obligation to support Ambulance services?”

INCLUDE ME in the Angelo Pronsolino Fan Club. Way back, when I first descended on the unsuspecting Anderson Valley, Angelo volunteered to play for our softball team. Our? We were a half-dozen deluded libs who'd assumed the delinquents we were responsible for would somehow be less delinquent under the redwoods than they'd been under the street lights. Emil Rossi and Sam Prather also joined up, along with Dick and Joan Warsing. Angelo, Emil and Sam had obviously been pretty fair country ballplayers and represented our first old-timer friends in the Anderson Valley, along with John Slotte and our suspicious neighbors across the road, Marvin and Lucille Herried. It was a nice summer of softball and getting to know our way around this fascinating place, my strongest initial softball memory of which is a fly ball to center field where Joan Warsing was just lighting up her cigarette as it landed at her feet.

ERNIE PARDINI: Someone asked me the other day if I disliked taking care of my dad in his old age. I said “of course not. After all he did for us growing up? I remember my dad taking my brother and I swimming every Saturday during the summer. He would drive us down to the Greenwood rd. Bridge and stop right in the middle of the bridge. He got a big kick out of tossing my brother and I over the rail into the deepest part of the swimming hole. It was so much fun! Especially after we got the sack untied.


Until we can build our new fenceline, we need to establish a “temporary” fenceline. Anyone have extra T-Posts they could loan the AV CSD to hold up temporary fencing at the new parking area for our local park? 

I’ve got a post driver and zip ties but will need 10-15 more t-posts to establish a safe perimeter around the parking area.

Got resources to help us build the permanent fenceline? Know someone who does? Please reach out and let us know as we welcome all the community support we can get in improving our local park!

Have other ways you’d like to help? Please, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

(415) 713-3833

Thank you!

ENJOYED A VISIT Wednesday morning from Fort Bragg City government in the form of Police Chief John Naulty and Mayor Bernie Norvell. It occurred to me that if Ukiah and Fort Bragg swapped governments, Ukiah would be straightened up in a month, Fort Bragg destroyed.

DAN KUNY, logger extraordinaire, told me he's never seen the woods this dry. I've never seen my acre this dry, and the past two days of scorching heat, when the wind picks up in the afternoon, thoughts run kinda like apocalyptic.

EVEN THE WILDLIFE seem disoriented. Standing in the relative cool of early Monday evening, a young squirrel suddenly ran up my colleague’s leg, all the way to his shoulder, took a quick look around before realizing his mistake and, scrambling back down and up the nearby redwood, colleague commented, “I know I don't move much these days, but this is the first time I've ever been mistaken for a tree!”

AMONG all the things I just don't get, include radios on Harleys. And Boonville’s Redwood Drive-In next door gets a lot of them. Such a din. I thought the point of the bike was the country air, the wind in the hair, the pure freedom of the open road. Then a biker told me that some guys even have mini-tv sets on their dashboards.

YOU'RE getting to be an old timer if you remember when the Anderson Valley Ambulance was an elderly station wagon and the emergency room was at the old Hillside Hospital in Ukiah. If you remember when a fast-talking fellow named Fernhoff first subdivided Rancho Navarro you're also well on the way to full Old Timer status. And if you graduated from the old high school on Anderson Valley Way you are mos def an Old Timer.

COUNT ME among the many people who think the schools made a big mistake when they dropped home economics classes. As the economy tanks, and will continue to tank because no one is in charge at the federal level of government, a mandatory high school class called, “How To Be Poor and Still Have a Good Time” would be useful to millions of young people, few of whom these days can manage rice and beans.

OTHER SIMPLISTIC suggestions from the Boonville daily on-line and weekly in an antiquated paper-paper, include night lights and a basketball court to go with them. Works literal miracles in a lot of areas where kids without stable homes and lots of excess energy burn it off playing hoops instead of outlaw. Or just open the Boonville gym for a few hours every night and get the CSD to pay someone — I nominate John Toohey — to keep order.

HEY! You have any real news today or are you just going to ramble aimlessly on? Yes, I do, and if you're patient I'll get to it. Preliminarily, how many years have we worried, “Mendocino is becoming too much like Carmel?” But millions of people, including Dirty Harry, love Carmel, and love Mendocino just as intensely, although I can't remember the last time I swerved off Highway One to “the village” on my way to the true jewel of our fair county, Fort Bragg, pausing here to note that Point Arena is also muy cool-o and will probably stay that way because it's just a little too far from the golden arches.

ANYWAY on the eternal general topic of the Carmelization of Mendocino, a discussion now in its sixtieth year, a family named Schaeffer is developing their 35 acres just to the north of the Albion River Inn, and have been approved for a big house, a deck almost as big as the house, a big garage, a big “family care unit,” a big chicken coop (?), two big pump houses, a really really big solar installation, and a proposal to build a really big lodge/inn, and 8 (eight, count 'em) duplex rentals. (Incidentally, I remember asking the late Jerry Philbrick, a local guy born and bred, what he thought of contemporary Mendocino. “I'd like to drive through there with a flamethrower and a goddam crate of hand grenades,” he replied. That's what I loved about that guy. Ask him a question and you got an answer you'll never forget.)

ADDITIONALLY, just up the road, the Glendeven Inn and the Cobbler's Walk have been bought by a group called “Soul Community Planet.” (Cult alert!) The soul community says this is their ninth international project. These global transcendentalists intend, they say, a spa, a vegetarian restaurant, no radios or television sets in the rooms, with the whole show “done in Scandinavian motif” whatever that is.

THE SUMMER EDITION of Word of Mouth is out. WOM is an in-county quarterly food magazine published by Holly Madrigal of Willits with a big assist from Torrey Douglass, the talented graphics wizard based here in Boonville. 

I PARTICULARLY enjoyed the piece by Torrey on Filigreen Farm, the busy biodynamic garden on Anderson Valley Way. I first met proprietors Chris and Stephanie Tebbutt when they were installing the gardens at the Boonville Hotel when Johnny Schmitt first took it over. The Tebbutts worked at such a furious pace I had to sit down and rest just watching them.

Boonville Hotel

AS A NEIGHBOR just down the road puzzling over my drooping geraniums, I've watched the Tebbutts grow their multifaceted operation to the dazzling enterprise it is today. I walk past the place every morning and invariably there is something interesting going on, presently what seems to be the total destruction of a neighboring series of gray, motel-like structures which, as can be seen, several new structures, one of them partially complete, are arising.

IT SEEMS “biodynamic” is simply an obfuscating term that means careful, thoughtful, non-industrial farm practices. When I looked it up I got this skeptical definition: “Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture based on pseudo-scientific and esoteric concepts initially developed in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner. It was the first of the organic farming movements.”

HARRUMPH. But whatever Stephanie and Chris call their farm, it's beautiful, inspirational even, and certainly high among Mendocino County's truly most interesting and optimistic phenomena — small scale mom and pop farms. 

AND I LEARNED that the Indians called the Anderson Valley, “Taa-Bo-Tah,” which allegedly translates as “long valley,” a fact I will accept on a provisional basis until I consult my Native American informant, Violet Renick, born and raised in Anderson Valley's last Pomo-speaking family, the Pomos having farmed the Boonville area biodynamically for 12,000 years.

I ALSO enjoyed “Living the Legacy” by Polly Bates, an affecting remembrance of her remarkable grandparents, Sally and Don Schmitt, whose long and productive lives live on through their children and grandchildren in their various enterprises in the Anderson Valley.

MEANWHILE, ORION SITS IN THEIR TRUCKS: A Reader Writes: A couple dozen bright clad Orion (PG&E) Tree people were out in Faulkner Park in Boonville today. After the couple of hundred people-hours the first group spent messing around our 13 acres, this gives a whole new dimension to the word boondoggle. That whole fleet of pickups that they drive- ugh! Somehow we’re paying for it. After all that they are spending, I wonder how much more it would have cost to just bury the lines. Certainly a much better long term solution.

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman June 30, 2022

    Re: Kirk Vodopals’ Green Lake camping trip.

    Yes, Sierra mosquitos can be nasty this time of year. They won’t be so bad in a month.

    Next try the trailhead at Virginia Lakes, just a few miles south. The uphill hike goes past three or four beautiful small lakes with spectacular views of the Sierra crest. Nearby campsites can be a bit exposed. After crossing the crest into Yosemite, the landscape is more stark and the hiking mostly demanding cross country.

    Did you go to Buckeye Hot Springs? Interesting spot, though often busy.

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