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Valley People (Nov. 2, 2022)

UH OH. A warm, dry winter is in store for much of California as La Niña conditions are slated to persist through at least January, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency’s U.S. Winter Outlook, released last week, spells trouble for the drought-dried state as it enters what is typically its wettest season, when rainfall and Sierra snowpack help replenish water supplies that carry it through the rest of the year.

BOONVILLE QUIZ (Thursday, Nov. 3): The popular Boonville quiz will return for the first Thursday next week: November 3rd. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quizmaster

BETH SWEHLA: Five AV FFA members traveled to the 2022 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Over 69,000 FFA members, advisors and guests attended. We traveled to North Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. We participated in convention sessions, workshops, and visited various local agriculture business and cultural attractions. We made so many new friends! It was an amazing week!  Thank you to everyone who supported this trip!

STUDIO APARTMENT FOR RENT, PHILO. Available now. Call 895-2865.

BURN BAN LIFTED. Effective Friday, October 28, 2022, at 12:01 a.m., the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Mendocino Unit will be lifting the burn permit suspension. CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Chief Luke Kendall is formally canceling the burn permit suspension and advises that those possessing current and valid agriculture and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days. Agriculture burns must be inspected by CAL FIRE prior to burning until the end of the peak fire season. Inspections may be required for burns other than agriculture burns.

Burn Permits are now available online from CAL FIRE at

YORKVILLE HISTORY JAUNT. A wonderful Yorkville History Jaunt happened last Sat. Oct 29th when  interested parties met at the Hill Ranch in Yorkville. From the ranch  they walked about one quarter mile to see a nice classic car collection and a  presentation about them by the owner/restorer a long-time Yorkville  resident. After the car tour the group returned to the Hill Ranch to  view the new Ingram Cemetery and eat lunch while hearing about the  history of the Hill Ranch and Ingram Ranch from historian Jim Hill. The Coordinator was the indefatigable Val Hanelt of the Yorkville History  Group. This group sponsors one tour in Yorkville a year to promote  knowledge of local history. If you are a history buff, keep your eyes and ears open for next year’s jaunt.  

CHRISTMAS IS COMING  Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Unity Club Christmas Bazaar, back after the two year Covid absence. This year the  Bazaar (a great place to start your Christmas shopping) will be on  December 3rd 10-4pm. Santa will be there.There is still time to sign up  for a booth if you have wares to sell. Call Alice Bonner, 707/895-2545. (Terry Sites)

FAL ALLEN: “The only thing I regret is that I didn’t start sooner.” - The first thing Fal had to say, before even sitting down to kick off a conversation. 

Fal Allen decided to join up with AVFD in 2012 after being approached by Chief Colin Wilson. The timing was right, because Fal had been reflecting that “...everyone should participate in community. For the first 30 years of my life, I just didn’t and felt I should pay back some.” Since then, he’s ranked up to captain and has done more than his share of paying back (he’s also an AV Senior Center board member). When calls come in during the day, Fal leaves his post as Brewmaster at AVBC to respond out of Boonville, and at night he’s one of two volunteers responding out of Rancho Navarro. 

Fal’s in it for the immediate and long-term feeling of giving back. “The fire department is exciting. It gives an immediate sense of helping the community. The fire, the traffic collision you go to - you can see some immediate value in what you did that day.” 

What’s most difficult about being a first responder? “We’re exposed to people’s worst days. Sometimes that can stick with you forever. And the fear of making it worse by not performing to your highest ability.” And while this may be the case, he still urges anyone considering volunteering to “Run! Join immediately! Particularly if you live in the Deep End!” After ten years with AVFD, Fal’s relating more and more to Garth and Judy Long, who held it down in the Rancho for many years, waiting for new recruits to come along so they could finally turn in their gear. Fal’s not going anywhere yet, though - he’s still having fun: “Who doesn’t want to drive a big, red firetruck!”

MARILYN DAVIN: The non-report about the wonderfulness of Mendo’s public schools cleverly avoids actually revealing the state’s annual student test scores, which aren’t pretty. As just one example of scores for Mendocino County’s 14 schools, Anderson Valley’s scores were by far the lowest: a shocking 19.52% drop in English scores, a drop of 15.73% in math. The only district to show improved scores for English were Leggett and Point Arena. Yea, we know, the pandemic, the new fall guy for all the state’s ills – so terrible, so (importantly) beyond our mortal control. And yet… many of the state’s districts showed impressive gains in academic achievement, some in poor districts. It’s all good and well to rhapsodize about how grades don’t matter so much, that a school’s “supportive atmosphere” and parent participation are equally (or more) important. Tell that to college registrars when it comes time to apply to post-graduation schools. Like it or not, grades are a key measure of success to pass through the rapidly narrowing door to what’s left of the middle class.


[1] If you have recently driven a road trip to Santa Rosa, what, approximately, did your gas expense cost you?

[2] This is not a direct answer to the question but... In case that you haven't noticed the price of fuel, diesel or gasoline, difference between stations in Cloverdale are up to $1.00 per gallon. The Chevron and Shell on the South end of town for Diesel as of 2 weeks ago was $7.09 per gallon while the small 7 Eleven type store on the North end was $6.08 per gallon. Gas prices were similar in the huge discrepancy in prices. The small store near the car wash was at $ 6.27 for diesel. For a pickup running Diesel that's about $30-$40 that remains in your pocket.

[3] Neither is this an answer to your question. The bathroom at the QuickStop on the north end of Cloverdale is always clean.

[4] Speaking of Cloverdale: The fantastic local grocery store Dahlia & Sage in Cloverdale also has very nice, clean bathrooms. They also have a good deli, including sushi and sandwiches, made on the premises. They carry lots of local and regional food items, including local meats, seafood, cheeses, baked goods and pastries. They have outdoor seating for enjoying your food. Worth a stop in Cloverdale.

[5] And fresh, local produce.

ARTISTS OF ANDERSON VALLEY show their fall colors. Veterans Day Weekend Studios Open to the public. Follow the signs along HWY 128. I am one of many. My studio is open November 12, 13, Saturday and Sunday, 10am. - 5pm. Inspiration inside and out. Take a break drive along our valley, find the art you dream of, visit a place like no other. (Rebecca Johnson)

HAZMOBILE A NO-SHOW: A reader writes: After taking the time to collect and box our materials for disposal, Saturday morning we drove half an hour to Boonville to meet the hazmobile, as listed on their schedule. Other folks had arrived, as well. No hazmobile was there, and they never showed up. This morning I called the Mendo Recycles hotline to ask why they cancelled and heard a muffled, barely audible message stating “Due to a staffing shortage no one is in the office to take your call…” Three quarters of the way through the message the voice tells us that “due to a staffing shortage” the hazmobile program is suspended. I haven’t seen or heard any announcements informing county residents of this. One would think they’d have the kindness and courtesy to save us the hassle by issuing a county-wide notice via all media that the program is not operating, rather than just a phone message. Must be “due to a staffing shortage…”

BOB ABELES: “A big shout out to the fine wine makers of Anderson Valley for their cacophonous fan symphony this morning.”

TWO MORNINGS in a row, and by “morning” we're talking one am until sunrise, hundreds of us have suffered sleep deprivation because, as Philo wine mogul memorably informed us, “My grapes are more important than your sleep.” 

THE ACOUSTICS of our formerly rustic valley are curious. There are homes on Lambert Lane whose residents say they only hear the frost fans if they go outside. Others, only yards away, compare the din to a combat Huey landing on their roofs. Here at AVA headquarters, the din is loud enough to disturb our sleep, and we're about a mile and a half distant from the machines. 

THE FROST FANS are a huge imposition on the people of the Anderson Valley, many of whom still don't know that they negatively impact property values. If you sell, you'll have to disclose to your buyer that for a month or two every year the buyer will have to remain awake from midnight to dawn. No, ear plugs do not blot out the giant chopper clamor. Hundreds of people cannot sleep through it.

GIVEN the number of home arsenals in the Anderson Valley, I'm surprised (and hopeful) that a local marksman hasn't planted a couple of rounds in these can't miss nuisances. I'd do it myself but all I have is a shotgun, and even with that I'd probably miss. 

VALLEY ACOUSTICS. Years ago, circa the early 1970's, when the Moonies operated a brainwashing center on the property now called Sheep Dung Estates, we could hear the would be recruits chanting, and we were five miles south of them. The Moonies were then rightly regarded as a cult, but these days and millions of dollars later with a daily Washington newspaper, they're at least as respectable as, say, Trump, whom they of course support 

LAST WEEK, AVHS soccer avenged an early season loss to visiting Sonoma Academy. This marks the first time AVHS has defeated Sonoma Academy in over 4 years. Tied 0-0 for most of the match, the clutch game winning goal was scored by freshman forward Damian Eligio with some huge saves down the stretch from goalkeeper Jose Pareda! This win is sending our soccer team into the post-season with a lot of momentum as they await their playoff seeding this weekend! GO PANTHERS!

THE SOCCER PANTHERS, seeded number uno, are alive in the playoffs, with a bye this week.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL, coached by Sarah Kreinhop, advanced to the second round of their playoff only to lose to hostess powerhouse, San Anselmo’s San Domenico.

A READER WRITES: It’s the time of year when chimney cleaning comes to mind. For years there were a couple of chimney cleaners businesses on the Coast. Now there appears to be ONLY ONE guy who has locked in business from Sea Ranch to Westport; the coast is his because he has no competitors. He can also charge a lot for one chimney to be cleaned. Anyone out there interested in a new business? The equipment is not that expensive and yeah, you gotta love climbing high, but if you charged less than this loan competitor, you’d have tons of customers. 

DO YOU WANT A SKATEPARK IN BOONVILLE? If so, the AV Skatepark Project needs you -- and all passionate supporters -- to show up to the upcoming November 8th AVUSD school board meeting to prove to the board that the AV community stands behind a skatepark. Here are the details:

What: AVUSD School Board will decide whether to transfer community park property to AVCSD, making or breaking the possibility of a skatepark. 

When: Tuesday, Nov 8, 5:30pm 

Where: AV High School Cafeteria 

How: Show up and WEAR GREEN to show your support! Or show up early and buy an official AV Skatepark t-shirt.

Visit to learn more, sign the petition and donate.


Noor Dawood, Anderson Valley Adult School, office: 707-895-2953

JEFF BURROUGHS: Now here is another rare but very small photo taken around 1875 of what would become the 2nd town of Christine, also known as Christine Landing, It shows the John Gschwend home still under construction (no roof) it still stands today and is owned by Christine Clark and Justin Clark...Johns descendants, and can be seen if you were to stand in the driveway of Handley?? Cellars and look across 128 (West). It is covered in Vineyard now, surprise-surprise, and might even be called Christine Woods Vineyard??

CHECK this edict, my fellow technophobes. The NCS playoffs require all tickets to the game to be sold digitally and visitors must use their smartphones as the ticketing device. I don't have a smart phone, and I'm sure a lot of us geezers are similarly blessed, so how do get in? (We don't.)

PURE RACKETEERING for the purpose of funding a high school sports bureaucracy that has no real reason to exist: “NCS is working with GoFan to go exclusively to online ticketing for all rounds of section championships during the 2022-2023 school year. Tickets must be purchased online in advance through GoFan Ticketing. No cash sales will take place at the event. Admission Fees: General Admission (adults) $12.00; Special $5.00 (seniors, students, & children with adults).”

Here is a shortcut link to the ticketing page:

Please share this link to anyone interested in attending.


To get a Powerball ticket. The jackpot's worth a billion dollars tonight.

You realize your chances of winning are the same as not playing?

I understand that, but thank you for the reminder.

Then why do you play?

I play for the same reason millions of people play, to imagine what I'd do with the money.

What would you do with the money?

I'd buy a life time's supply of macadamia nuts, but beyond that I have no plans.

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