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Valley People (November 30, 2022)

THE REDWOOD CLASSIC basketball tournament tips off Thursday with a game between host Boonville and Victory Christian Academy out of Santa Rosa. Will the Panthers eat the Christians? We sincerely hope so. The blood will be off the floor when game two pits the California School for the Deaf vs. Priory of Woodside, followed by game three pitting Averroes of Fremont (whose sister campus is located in Dacca, Bangladesh), vs Pinewood of Los Altos. The final game of opening day will see Stuart Hall of San Francisco taking on Covelo, and here's hoping Covelo pulls off a very big win. Incidentally, the great athletes of Mendocino County have invariably been Native Americans. Up through the middle 1970s before dope and thug-reverence made its evil way into Round Valley, Round Valley High School was a small school powerhouse.

PETE BOUDOURES on the Classic: "Bring the tribes to the redwood classic. The Joe Smiths from Hupa made the games exciting (a legend in the all-native Bball tourneys in California) Hoopa, Round Valley, Point Arena before the prep schools."

I'LL SECOND THAT, and I'm pretty sure tourney director John Toohey wants to get back to a tournament without Bay Area and LA private schools coming to Boonville to play each other. Our Redwood Classic being the Redwood Empire's old hoops extravaganza, the Boonville gym used to be packed for games featuring Northcoast teams and all the Mendo fives except Ukiah, who got run outta the gym by tiny Boonville then run outta their own Ukiah gym a second time by Boonville in the Jerry Tolman years, and haven't dared play a Boonville team since.

THE FANCY private schools like Branson of Marin who, btw, recruit male and female athletes, used to be absolute tourney doormats prior to becoming the statewide basketball power they have since become. When they became unbeatable, they continued to arrive in Boonville every season to sadistically thump the locals — there are adults who love those 95-16 wins — en route to a championship game between them and some other powerhouse private school. And an empty gym. Happy to see them staying in Marin this tournament.

I REMEMBER when Branson was an exclusive finishing school for the daughters of the quietly rich and powerful, among them in her youth, famed chef, Julia Child. In the late 1960s, the girls began sneaking out of their Ross hen house to run off into the night with longhaired motorcycle beaus, and suddenly Branson's admission's office wasn't as discerning as it was in Julia's day, and soon any rich vulgarian who could afford the tuition sent his daughter to get herself a prestigious high school diploma. Then the secluded campus went coed, and then deep into sports with plenty of male and female ballplayers going on to Division One colleges. There are now private schools all over the place as desperate parents abandon the public schools.

THE REDWOOD CLASSIC has seen many great basketball players since that first Classic in 1958 when the late Sam Prather of Boonville was named to the all-tourney team, but for me I’ll always remember the 1976 championship game played by Point Arena’s Mario Oropeza and his brother Lupe — known on the Coast as the Flying Oropeza Brothers — against heavily favored Cloverdale. Mario single-handedly defeated Cloverdale, scoring 29 points, rebounding at both ends of the court, smothering Cloverdale on defense, and generally playing the best game of basketball by an individual I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. He was so good that night, so perfect, it was kind of eerie, like you weren’t seeing what you were seeing.

AT CLASSIC TIME, I always think of the late Eddie Whipple, who passed in 2017. He coached in Covelo for decades, and it was more than fitting, and long overdue, that Coach Whipple has been remembered by naming Covelo's Whipple Classic Basketball Tournament after him. The inaugural Whipple Classic didn't quite come off this year but we're assured it will roar into life in 2023.

CLASSIC organizer, John Toohey, remarks on his intention to get back to local teams: “I appreciate this conversation. I have heard many of Jim Young’s sentiments echoed by other members of the local community over many years. I do believe there is merit to all points given and I appreciate the strategies provided. We have discussed holding a Girls tournament and increasing the localization of the teams. My vision  would be to hold two tournaments (boys and girls), and return them to a 16 team bracket but with a 4 game minimum. That would require 32 games to be played which would mean we would need another nearby school, like Mendocino, to carry half of the tournament in conjunction with Anderson Valley, making this a great cross-community county wide event. We have been floating the idea of getting an organization like Camp Navarro involved to house all the teams in a central location, have it catered, and include maybe a fireside guest speaker event or something along those lines. I am not sure how much of this is even possible, but I am going to try and steer things in this direction as soon as this little half-classic is behind us. Any and all input or suggestions are highly appreciated.”  


The Acquisition Draft Agreement with the Anderson Valley School Board is being submitted to their sub-committee for review. We are also requesting permission to put a well at the Community Park which currently is on the High School grounds. The park may be transferred to the AVCSD and that would mean that particular well is on the AVCSD property. The School Board is voting on the transfer of the Community Park to the AVCSD on Nov 8. Additional testing of wells (pump tests and water quality) has resulted in Jack’s recommendation to not pursue one well. Two other locations are being studied; both owners are willing. One is a good prospect, and Jack is in town today to test the other well. If both work out there will be enough capacity for the project. Once the components work out, there will be enough information to prepare the draft water rates. This would allow public outreach to start in the early months of 2023 leading up to the Prop 218 vote. This presupposes that all negotiations go to final approval with the CSD board. Jack took questions and reviewed the time-line for the project. 

(Minutes of October Water Project Committee meeting)


No Quiz this week — something called ‘Thanksgiving' was taking place… In December instead of the 1st and 3rd Thursdays, we shall do the 3rd and 5th Thursdays. That means December 15th and a special Holiday Quiz on December 29th. Mark them on your calendars, you know it makes sense.

Happy Holidays,

Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master


Class Canned Food Drive: AVHS Students, Which class will take the coveted title and bring in the most canned food to benefit the food bank?

The goal is 200 pounds of food for the food bank.

Bins are in front of the office by class and will be counted every morning. Drop off your donation and tallies will be announced daily.

The class winner on December 14 will earn an ice cream social the day before break.

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District

Cell: 707-684-1017

THIS ORNATELY DECORATED CAR, festooned with glass objects glued to the roof and hatchback, appeared in Boonville Friday afternoon to gas up and the Redwood Drive-In. In the car were two attractive middle-aged women who walked a few yards off to do some tai chi while the pumps were pumping. 

AURELIA SUNRISING: Our community members from The Land are moving next week, and I want to take a moment to give them my deep gratitude and acknowledgement for being an active part of our community. They have prepared delicious meals from their overflow of garden produce and fed a lot of us during the pandemic just for the sake of service. They have created job opportunities and supported local businesses like mine. I thank you, friends. You will be missed! 

FYI this post is absolutely aside from all politics, judgments, and opinions. The intention here is to recognize kind humans who mean well and do good deeds. 

Drop a heart or a kind word if you feel inclined in the comment box.

Grateful to be part, and serve this wonderful community. 


Sun-dried apples and pears. 100% organic. Nothing but sun and water.

I also have ground pear and apple powder. I'm still sorting out the price of the ground fruit options. I'll follow up with another post. I've been using both as breading for meat, in smoothies, etc... The pears are sweet and, great as a snack. I tried both the pears and apples as dog treats. Some dogs gobble them down and some dogs drop them.

Pears are Comice. Apples are Gravenstein and Cox Pippin. Mixed is also an option.

They come in a really nice, resealable, mylar pouch. I also have pound-sized pouches that look basically like a bag of chips.

GIVE THE GIFT OF AN IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOST to your friends and family this season!

Organic elderberry juice. 16 oz $22

I bought these bottles with my heart instead of my head. My hope was that they are so nice that no one would throw them away. If you already bought a bottle from me I will take it as a return and sell you the next bottle of juice for $18.

If you don't care about the bottle and if you would bring me a swap-out for a PINT-sized, wide-mouthed Mason jar or similar the price is $18. The quart jars are my stock.

I take a big dose every day although it's mostly used when you are actually sick. I mix it 1:1 with honey and make an evening cocktail. It's delicious.

LAST MONDAY MORNING, we posted this cryptic report directly from the National Weather Service: “Dry weather will continue for at least much of next week. Temperatures will continue to moderate this week, with warming to above values by late in the week.” What do “moderate” and “warming to above values” mean in this context, or any weather context?

JIM SHIELDS EXPLAINS: The phrases you refer to, “temperatures will continue to moderate” and “warming to above values” are somewhat antiquated meteorologist-speak to describe changing or transitioning weather conditions, oftentimes in the context of seasonal historical weather patterns, norms and averages for that time of year.

A LOCAL COMMENTS: “So we really don't have an enforceable noise ordinance in the unincorporated areas? A neighbor a half mile away is playing music so loud that I can literally feel it and there's nothing to stop it? He started at six and it'll go until 2am. I live several miles outside of Boonville and all parcels nearby are zoned either residential or timber.”

THE FROST FANS zapped an enforceable noise ordinance years ago when our bend-over Superior Court ruled noise didn't apply to the wine industry, and frost fans disturb a couple thousand residents of the Anderson Valley for hours at a time — midnight to daylight — for years now. Loud music, a weapon of localized aggression wielded by our growing population of angry idiots, merely disturb people in the immediate neighborhood. The frost fans get everyone. The resident deputies of yesteryear responded so quickly to noise complaints that the idiocracy seldom even tried it. The noise offenders, the ones I know anyway, are also involved, I'm sure, in criminal conduct, especially dope sales. A resident deputy would suppress them and their “musical” fusillades.

LOCAL HISTORIAN KATY TAHJA will be selling her books at the Unity Club Holiday Bazaar at the Fairgrounds Saturday December 3rd from 10-4. She invites everyone with questions about county history to stop by and say Hi! (Questions about the details of Anderson Valley history are best answered by locals.) 

UPWELLING WITH MALCOLM: My new book, Mendocino History Exposed, will be a topic of discussion with host Michelle Blackwell on her KZYX radio interview show, “Upwelling,” on November 30th at 9 AM. 

In the meantime, you can pick up your copies of Mendocino History Exposed at local independent book sellers like Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino or in Fort Bragg at The Bookstore on Laurel St. as well as Windsong on Main St. offers an easier online way to order than through the impersonal corporations.

If you already have your own copy, Mendocino History Exposed's tales of our county, from pre-Gold Rush to “the tire baby” make a wonderful gift.

I PERIODICALLY GET STEROID SHOTS in my arthritic knees. I say “steroid,” but for all I know the substance they shoot in there could be Super Glue. Whatever it is, it works, and I can walk and hike without discomfort for another six months. Of course nothing's simple these days. When I called the burgeoning Boonville Health Center on Monday — it's just added a whole new wing and employs a small army of people — I was told “A nurse will call you back.” 

AT 1:12pm I got this automated response from the Health Center’s boss lady, Chloe Guazzone: 

“I WILL BE OUT of the office during the week of November 21st through the Thanksgiving holiday. As a reminder, AVHC is closed Thursday and Friday 11/24 and 11/25 in observance of the holiday. I will have limited access to email but can be reached on my cell phone for emergencies. Please contact Fabi Cornejo for all other urgent matters.”

I E-MAILED Ms. Cornejo to ask her, Que pasa? She soon replied electronically, “Hello Bruce, I understand your questioning why we would need to have a nurse call you back. Given that we are entering the holidays, we are a bit short staffed and closed on some days. This means that our appointment availability is tight. We sent your request for a nurse to give you a call back (triage) to see if she can get you in sooner than what our open schedule has. Please feel free to reach back out if you still have any other questions. Best, Fabiola”

INCLUDING drive time from my office and the shots when I get there, we're talking twenty minutes, max, round trip. I'm waiting for the summons from the Boonville medical gods.  But nothing is simple in these chaotic times.

I WAITED until 5pm with no call back from the HC, so I went off to watch the Niners play the Cardinals in Mexico City.

WHICH led to the following exchange between me and my colleague, The Major, who'd overheard my futile call to the Health Center.

ME: When I conk out, load me into a car and drive me straight to St. Mary's Hospital in the city.

HIM: I don't think I can lift you. I'm old, too, you know.

ME: Okay, call an Uber and get Rod and Taylor Balson over here and they can shovel me into the Uber. Bill the County.

HIM: We have Uber in Boonville?

ME: I think so. I met the kid who does Uber at one of the Art Walk sites last year.

HIM: Why not just call Anderson Valley's ambulance? You don't trust them either?

ME: I trust Angela but she'd have to drive me over the hill where the Adventists would finish me off. Protocols, dude, rule all.

DARNED if Nurse Michelle didn't call at 4:40pm just before kick-off to explain that they're real busy and the feds require that a few spots have to be left open for emergencies — Anderson Valley is teeming with malingerers and hypos —and the guy who can do the shots is off Wednesday but if I call Michelle at 9am Tuesday maybe “something will open up.” (Everyone being on a first name basis these days, I had no idea which Michelle I was dealing with.)

SOMETHING OPENED for late Tuesday afternoon, Michelle said, and darned if Dr. Rochat and a charming young woman MD who was learning from the master — “shadowing” Dr. Rochat called it — wasn’t buzzing around my knees, daubing needle-prep numbing substances on the both of them.  “The big needle or the small one?” the doctor joked, and soon thereafter I fairly danced out the door with two new joints.

JUST MAILED in my tear-stained property tax of $2,882.85, half of the annual $5,765.70. The other half is due in six months, the whole up $654.14. I don't entirely resent paying local taxes, but resent the hell out of paying federal taxes for all the usual lib reasons, especially those lush salaries for career officeholders as they magically become multi-millionaires for “serving.” (Themselves.) Locally, I wish I could withhold supervisor pay and benefits simply because they are taking public money under false pretenses, the primary pretense being that they have failed under the long years of Mommy Dearest to establish sensible policy and see to it that it's carried out. This group of supervisors, with the noble exception of Haschak, who earnestly tries to do a responsible job, does not function competently as a board of directors. (We apologize to Haschak for initially dismissing him as Flakey Foont.) The last five supervisors who did a smart, conscientious job? There have been lots of individual supervisors over the years who did honest work, but they were always out-numbered by the dummies and the opportunists, leavened by the occasional certified mental case. As local government complicated itself, people got elected who were and are incapable of sifting truth from untruth. But they all get their nice retirement checks whether or not they did honest work, and our property taxes go up and up to support an apparatus as rotten at the top as it's ever been.

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman November 30, 2022

    Safe travels and fortuitous landings to all those who are leaving The Land next week. You will be missed.

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