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Valley People (August 24, 2022)


Theron Miller

We have been making arrangements for my dad's memorial gathering. It will be at Crown Hall in Mendocino on October 9th, 2022 at 5pm. It will be a potluck style buffet, we will be serving beer, wine, and a vessel of premixed margaritas with a donation jar. People are welcome to bring their drink of choice. It will be a wonderful time to share memories and catch up with old family and friends in Theron's honor. Please share with anyone that isn't on social media so everyone is aware. We want all who loved my dad to gather with us and celebrate his life.

JEFFREY ST. CLAIR reported last week that the average price of California water on the “spot market” has risen by 58% in the last year, as reservoirs and aquifers drop and the drought persists. California water is now selling for as much as $2,000 an acre-foot, a record high.

HERE in the Anderson Valley, water hauling is off because a lot of the pot farmers who needed hauled water last year for their unmarketable crops are out of the business as pot prices have plummeted. A few people who rely on springs and shallow wells are again paying between five and six hundred dollars for a two thousand gallon load. 

AN AUTUMNAL morning chill this bright Monday morning as battered Earth makes its annual turn toward winter, the sun lower in the sky, the dusk hills a deeper gold. 

AT THE WEST END of Ray’s Road, and across the bridge over the Navarro, lies a lush parcel called The Land by its most recent owners, One Touch, a San Francisco-based sex cult catering to high end sensualists who paid mightily to fine tune their orgasms at the Philo resort. Prior to the orgasm people, the property was owned by E-Bay magnate, Jeffrey Skoll, and before him the property was another high end collective called Shenoa. In the beginning, the 160 acres was a summer camp owned by the Newman Family, from whom our friend and contributor, Marshall Newman, is descended. The property is for sale for $9.5 million.

THE PLOT THINS. A guy called yesterday identifying himself as the brother of the mystery man who had the driver of his Rolls Royce sedan back into a parking space at the Redwood Drive two weeks ago. Odd tableau in itself — black Rolls sedan backing in get-away style to parking no one else ever backs into — and then three guys in dark suits, gun bulges in their suit jackets, take up wary positions at the vehicle as one of them enters the Drive-In for some take out. The caller said his brother is a very wealthy resident of the Mendocino Coast, an ava reader (!) who legitimately needs professional bodyguards. “No, he's not a criminal,” the purported brother said, “but he needs full-time security.” (Hell, don't we all.)

NOBODY FROM MENDO? Sonoma County will have two representatives in the California High School Football Hall of Fame, a new endeavor by the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation that unveiled its inaugural class on Monday. Jerry Robinson, who starred at Cardinal Newman in the 1970s and played 13 years in the NFL, and Ernie Nevers, who played at Santa Rosa High School and Santa Rosa Junior College and was one of the first stars of the NFL in the 1920s, were among 100 players chosen for induction. A ceremony is set for spring 2023 at the Rose Bowl, where the California High School Football Hall of Fame will be located.

I'D SAY Mendo's Dan Doubiago, the Tevaseu brothers from Boonville and Theron Miller from Mendocino, all of whom played Division One football and two of whom, Doubiago and Martin Tevaseu, made it all the way to the NFL.

COACH TOOHEY: AV Football is looking for more volunteer assistant coaches. Practices are 4-630 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, games on Fridays or Saturdays. Requirements: Good humans with the ability to blow air through a whistle. Hit my inbox if you’re interested or know anyone who might be!

RENEE LEE, AV SENIOR CENTER: Wow! The BBQ Saturday night exceeded our expectations! Thanks for all the love from our amazing community for your support for AV Senior Center! Far too many to thank but special thanks to AVSC board members, AVSC staff, AV Lions Club, Jeff Moss & Cruise Control, D'Ann Wallace and all of the local individuals and businesses that donated to the raffle and silent auction. Ya’ll rock!

Three misfits taking a break in the shade… Lindsay Clow, Bill Holcomb, Bryan Wyant (photo by Jerry Causbrook)

Great turn out, even with the heat! So many pitched in. Very lovely afternoon. 

Judy Basehore adorned with her beautiful bracelet that she and I had a fierce bidding war on! (I think she was rubbing it in!) (photo by Christy Kramer)

A PACKED HOUSE at the high school Thursday night enjoyed a fine grilled chicken dinner orchestrated by the maestro of large-scale dining, Terri Rhoades, with big assists from husband Steve, Nick Rhoades and Rod DeWitt at the barbecue while Marilyn Pronsolino, Estephany Arias, Wanda Johnson, took care of the many other everything else's. A wonderful community event we can never have enough of. And now a word from the hostess with the mostess, Superintendent Simson:

“My community stepped up tonight. My community showed up and showed out. I am so grateful and thankful to All Of The Parents And Guardians That Came Tonight. We Are Grateful.

I am grateful to Coach Toohey for resetting the expectation of a scholar athlete. I appreciate Mark Fiero for giving parents/guardians some factual information about the dangers of vaping and what to look for.

And I appreciate your participation. Our School Is Wonderful, But We Have Some Kids That Need Some Help. Parents/Guardians Need To Work Together With The School To Stop The Vaping And Cannabis. It Is Impacting Kids’ Education. I Am Your Partner, Reach Out.

Please read the attached letter with your student, and let me know how we can support you. I have also attached the Teen Center Schedule. We want kids to have lots of opportunities to be together and enjoy one another. Good stuff!

A shout out to Terese Malfavon for her translation. We greatly appreciate her skill and expertise.

We are going to have these dinners several times a year. I hope you will make the time to come. We Appreciate You.”

WHEN CYBER-WIZARDRY first kicked in, young people seemed immediately adept. “You should put the ava together on a computer,” they'd say. “It's simple and saves a lot of time.” 

COMPUTERS didn't simplify the process, didn't save production time, made changes difficult, and made late changes, last minute revisions, almost impossible without re-jiggering all the pages, and reduced all-round readability because it reduced the number of fillers and mini-art pieces, a popular feature that many long-time readers still miss. (Remember the wonderful drawings of Celia Price?)

THESE DAYS, A SUPER-CAPABLE Boonville lady, Renee Lee, puts the paper together electronically, often having to spend literal frustrating hours trying to get the Adobe InDesign program that totes the cyber-load, to work, which it often doesn't, causing Renee many anguished hours assembling each page in another, more laborious way. “Charge us extra!” I urge her, but she won't, blaming the difficulties on the self-alleged Silicon Valley masterminds who created these mysterious processes we are dependent on.

RENEE has also done hand paste-up, as did my super-capable wife in the glory days before computers. Depending on last-minute changes, Ling could assemble a 12-pager in just over two hours, visitors marveling at her speed, which she blithely dismissed as a simple matter of filling the space, “like a puzzle.” The only errors she made, and she made very few, were on what's called “the jump,” continuations of stories she hadn't read to other pages, which she ordinarily kept to a single jump unless we wanted to hassle an annoying critic when we asked her to “See if you can jump that guy six times, Ling.” She'd grumble — “Fun and games for you, extra work for me” — but would manage the fun and games so long as it wasn't often asked of her. Changes to my own stumbling prose she limited to a firm, “That's it. I'm not making another one.”

SO THERE IT WAS. Or used to be. Big blocks of print cut and pasted onto the full-size newspaper page by hand on our paste-up boards, which ran half the length of the room. We'd then haul the “flats,” as the pasted-up pages were called, to the late, great Healdsburg Printing, where the flats were photographed and placed on tin-like plates and fastened onto the big web press. In an hour we had the finished bundles of truth and beauty to haul back to Boonville. 

THESE DAYS, Renee electronically transmits the pages to a printer in Hayward. He hauls the completed bundles of papers to Marin from where it's hauled to Boonville for distribution. Computers have saved us no time and increased the expense of weekly servings of truth and beauty to the questing savages of the Northcoast, Frisco to the Oregon border.

I THINK the net effect of computers on the newspaper business has been to make us all dumber, more distracted, and much less informed, hardly an opinion confined to me. Media people mostly agree. Newspapers, including this one, are doomed because the people who grew up with newspapers are fewer and fewer, and the competition for newspapers in tangible, paper-paper form is ever more intense from the cyber deluge, blogs, television and radio. Over the last five years, Boonville's beloved weekly, is read by more people on-line than it is in paper-paper form. And the electronic process itself has made the paper less lively, less aesthetically interesting.

HUNDRED DEGREE days lately as I join all Mendo people in praying that we're spared the big fire we've so far been spared. Like most people, I'm still mildly shocked that the catastrophic SoCo fire of '19 jumped 101 to burn out K-Mart and other big box and little box businesses and homes west of the freeway. But every afternoon when the wind comes up out of the Pacific, drought-dry as we are…



  1. Marshall Newman August 24, 2022

    RE: The Land. To take the history back farther, The property was called El Rancho Navarro when Irving and Edna Newman purchased it in 1957 and founded the summer camp of the same name. Prior to that, El Rancho Navarro was a resort established by Joe and Marian Selby in the mid-to-late 1940s. Prior to that, the property was a resort called The Pines, founded by Mary Ward and her brother James Hanen in the early 1900s and run by them until at least the 1920s and possibly longer.

    • Marshall Newman August 25, 2022

      One missing element in the article’s chronology was ownership of the property by Paul and Melody Haller beginning in the very late 1990s – when it was called Shenoa – and continuing into the early 2000s. Under their ownership, it remained a retreat center, though the name was changed to Shenoa Springs.

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