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Valley People (August 3, 2022)

SAM PRATHER has died. A complete obituary to follow, but most of us know that Sam was born and raised in the Anderson Valley where he was a successful rancher in sheep. A kind and generous man, for many years Sam’s barbecues at the Boonville Fair were one of the major highlights of Fair weekend. 

BE IT A LUCKY COINCIDENCE or providence but a couple weeks ago it was a true blessing for a young girl that Tony Pardini of the legendary Anderson Valley Pardini logging tribe was having lunch in one of the Ukiah Subways when she began choking. The mom started screaming, the Subway manager rushed to start patting the young girl on the back. She was turning white and going limp. Having been taught the Heimlich Tony sprang into action and taking her in his arms he gave the first upward thrust with some reserve fearing that because he was so big and strong and she so small and frail he might do damage but it didn’t work so he immediately went for a robust second and out popped a wad of saliva and lettuce. The girl started crying, her color came back and Tony knew with relief that she would be all right. He, indeed, had saved her life. When I first heard the story from a third person I choked up a bit and when I did talk with Tony he said both he and his wife Melanie who was with him at the time having lunch, cried afterwards. Saving a young girls life can certainly be a moving experience. And I know that I will always picture a metal on Tony’s chest that labels him a Life Saver. The reason for bringing up the logging connection in the beginning is because of the conundrum found in the fact that it is a requirement for those that work in the woods to get first aid training that includes the Heimlich Maneuver and that the manager of an eating establishment where the Heimlich might be far more likely to be needed apparently had no such requirement. In fact when I learned the Heimlich Maneuver I was told that patting the back actually helped to drive the obstruction down deeper. So if you find yourself moved to hug a tree out of respect you might want to take the time to also hug a logger for the same reason. I do believe Judy Bari did. — David Severn Philo

IN THE WAKE OF THE RECENT VANDALISM, local post offices have severely restricted post office box access. Until Monday, you could get your box mail in off hours. No more. You can now only get your mail during business hours.

IT’S UNDERSTANDABLE that the USPS would want to limit the box lobby hours to reduce the risk of vandalism. But we know several people who work day jobs in Ukiah or Fort Bragg, leaving before 8, returning after 5, who now have no access to their post office boxes because they are out of the Valley during the PO’s business hours.

It’s too bad that a few local criminals can restrict the general public’s mail access. Besides, it’s not clear that keeping the PO’s front door locked overnight will do much to deter any determined idiot with a crowbar.

BACK IN 2017, Fort Bragg Postmistress Denise Cisco closed the FB Post Office at night because transients were making a mess of the place.  FB has since re-opened overnight because the Police Department made it a routine patrol check. But Boonville doesn't have a resident deputy, an absence the criminals and the drug heads and their dealers, not reaching into high school kids, take advantage of. (MS)

LOTS OF GRUMBLING about the restricted hours at the Boonville and Philo post offices. Don't blame the local PO staffers. The order came from above. If you came in late, the restricted hours are made necessary by the recent smash and grab of individual boxes, a federal crime now being investigated by postal inspectors.

AVHS BEAUTIFICATION COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER DAY, Saturday, August 6th, 9-1. John Toohey: We are organizing a community volunteer work day to help our local high school campus with some much needed groundskeeping and campus beautification efforts.  There is weed whacking to be done, blackberry vines to be chopped, and an assortment of other smaller tasks to be done.  Breakfast and lunch will be served! This is a great opportunity to take some pride in and contribute to your community and help create a better learning environment for our local youth!

ELIZABETH JENSEN: Please join your community in a volunteer effort to support our local schools! [Saturday,  August 6th, 9-1] Whether or not you have kids at the Junior High or High School, this is a great opportunity to connect with your community and support our local youth. Bring friends and family and make a day of it. Together we can really make a difference.

THE WAY we live now. It's complicated, but when our mostly volunteer fire department suggested re-fueling at CalFire's large and generously funded facility a mere mile from our always struggling Boonville-based fire department, CalFire said No, citing zero insurmountable objections. Which means Boonville is working out a fuel site deal with the Fairgrounds, and we shall see what we shall see. The Community Services District Board authorized up to $100k for the project on Wednesday.

I BRING it up because it's another example of no help from our state reps, Wood and McGuire, in a relatively small matter that should be simple for either or both of them to resolve.

ROBERT 'ROBBIE' LANE: “Several weeks ago I posted about doing something to combat the Fentanyl/opioid problem that has now reached our valley. Since that time I have met with representatives from the Mendocino County Behavioral Health and Recovery Service. They are now allied with the AVUSD and will be providing drug education to our school children. I have made an attempt to chaperone a group of local students who wish to place Narcan, a life-saving opioid receptor blocker, at local businesses. Due to miscommunication, we had to reschedule our outing to speak with business owners.

I further spoke with a member of the CDC Harm Reduction Program, and was able to identify a program that has been working well in metropolitan areas; it involves placement of free-of-charge Narcan vending machines in conspicuous locations. I am exploring a number of options to obtain funding for at least one of these machines. I’ve been in communication with Ted Williams, our representative to the Board of Supervisors, asking for assistance with the purchase of the machine itself. Funding is still pending.

The initial thought was to place a machine at the post office, given that it is always open. After speaking with the post master, it is clear that this is not an option. The AV Health Center was considered, but it is gated and locked at night.

There are two available models of the machine, one of which is designed for outdoor placement. It does, however, require electrical power.

The AV Fire Department is an option, and I’ve spoken with Chief Avila. He will need a wealth of information to present to a number of committees if this is to happen.

Should anyone have a location in mind, please call me directly at (707) 489-2915.

It shouldn’t be this hard to save a life, particularly if that life belongs to your child or loved one.”


First, from eBay, an old Gowan's Oak Tree card.

Then, a ghost (goblin) from Anderson Valley's semi-recent past resurfaces in the news.


California OKs death penalty for notorious '80s serial killer Charles Ng

TRUDY SMITH: “I went to that gas station on the corner by Walmart [Ukiah] yesterday to get gas....paid $50 in cash for gas, played a $10 quick pick lotto ticket on the $999 mega millions jackpot using my debit card because I didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay for my ticket and the gas. I’m blaming myself for what happened because I’m very trusting and wasn’t paying attention. This guy charged me $60 on my card for the $10 ticket I played and put the $50 cash in his pocket! He was a tall, heavy set man, with long curly brown hair, as I remember him. My daughter noticed what had been done to me from checking the receipt. The receipt was thrown out, so I have no proof. 

I just want to show people what this person is doing so they can be on the watch for this bad person. This happened right before 6:00 PM yesterday. If anybody knows this guy, please tell him he just made my life all the harder as I won’t be able to pay all my bills this month. I was already having a bad time paying my bills, now it’s impossible! I’m on a fixed income, so I gotta be careful where my money goes.”

MENDOFEVER REPORTED Wednesday that a gray truck drove off Highway 128 on Wednesday just before noon causing a spot fire which was contained with minimal spread to nearby vegetation. No injuries were reported. By noon the vehicle and the small vegetation fires were declared extinguished.

A BIT OF BASEBALL HUMOR: During last Saturday evening’s #22 Jersey Retirement Ceremony for Giants great Will ‘The Thrill’ Clark, former Giants Manager Dusty Baker said he knew Clark was a “cool guy” early on when he called Clark at home. There was no answer. Instead, Clark’s answering machine picked up and played B.B. King’s blues classic “The Thrill Is Gone.” (Mark Scaramella)

253 ADVENTURES, we've all had them, especially with tailgaters. Recently, a youngish guy followed me all the way into Ukiah where I stopped to buy a lottery ticket at the south side store. (I'm aware of the odds, thank you all the same.) He wasn't particularly hostile, just kinda passive-aggressive, smiling when he asked, “Why didn't you pull over when I flicked my lights?” I'd waited for a long time for a 253 confrontation like this. I said, “There wasn't a place to pull over for another half-mile, sire, and I hope your liege can find it in his heart to forgive me.” He looked at me. “Huh?” I continued, “I can tell from your big shiny car you're an important person, and I knew I had to get out of your way as soon as I could. I'm sorry. Forgive me for having delayed you.” He said, “You're a real smart ass, aren't you?” I replied, “Are you a liberal?” He said, “What's that got to do with anything?” I said, “Nothing.” And off he went. I'd guess on every trip over the hill I pull over for important people five or six times per.

AN OLD FRIEND, same ancient age as me, sent me this birthday card:

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman August 3, 2022

    In the early 1960s, Sammy Prather had the coolest “tricked-out” pickup in Anderson Valley – in my mind, anyway. Rest easy, Sam. You will be missed and you will be remembered.

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