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Valley People (January 11, 2023)

AV FIRE CHIEF AVILA reports that the Anderson Valley has been relatively unscathed by the series of recent storms, but with more to come, the Chief and his selfless crew remain on full alert.

THAT TERRIBLE single vehicle rollover on 128 last week near the Elementary School involved long-time Signal Ridge residents, Bill Allen and Nancy McCloud, who had to be extracted from the wreckage with the Jaws of Life apparatus. Nancy suffered minor injuries but Bill remains hospitalized outside the county. The couple’s daughter, Olivia Allen, is at the family home with her mother.

JEFF BURROUGHS reminds us of '64 when the Navarro rose to the top of this pole! 

Note: subsequent investigation reveals this high-water marker is not near the Navarro but the Eel instead (near Weott). A recent comment from Glen Sievert about this photo: "Close to the confluence of the South Fork & Main Fork Eel, heights in Weott had more to do with backwater from the main fork just downstream than water from the South Fork itself. Also a massive debris jam on the new 101 bridge at Dyerville made it worse. Evidence in Weott shows eddying & not flowing water as the Main Stem level inhibited the South Fork flow during the historic crest. The flows coming down the main stem were incredible."

AS SCHOOL RESUMES, it resumes with septic system problems at the Elementary School. Superintendent Simson has ordered up Porta-Potties.

WE’RE FORTUNATE to live in a community with so many angels, one of whom, a modest man who would cringe at the recognition, initials BW, has delivered crucial assistance to a local family in dire need, assistance not readily available from the agencies funded to provide it.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY SENIOR CENTER’S popular annual crab feed is Saturday, January 21. Happy hour at 5:30, dinner at 6pm, at the Apple Hall at the Fairgrounds. Festivities include raffles, a silent auction and a no-host bar. The featured Crab Meal this year will cost $60 which includes salad, fresh bread and dessert. An economy spaghetti dinner option will be $20. It’s a benefit for the Senior Center which does a lot more than their wonderful weekly lunches and dinners. Tickets can be picked up a the Senior Center itself or at AV Market, Lemons Market in Philo or from any Senior Center Board member. Call 707/895-3609 for more info.

CITY OF POINT ARENA LOCAL EMERGENCY The City of Point Arena has issued a Declaration of Local Emergency in response to ongoing storm events. It is forecasted that additional and continuing storms related to the series of atmospheric river systems threatens Point Arena by bringing heavy rainfall, widespread flooding, strong winds and wind gusts, falling debris, downed trees and extensive power outages. Additional significant winter weather events are projected to impact Point Arena and the region into next week. Significant additional rainfall is forecast for the region along with moderate to high winds. Recent rainfall has left the soil very saturated making it more likely that trees will fall. Residents should be prepared for prolonged power outages and road closures. Please avoid all nonessential travel as hazardous weather conditions will likely result in further downed trees and powerlines, as well as localized flooding. Do not attempt to drive through flooded areas, assume that downed powerlines are still energized, and stay out of the way of first responders and work crews. Point Arena City Hall will be open from 9am to 4pm each day with full power until overall power is restored. Residents are encouraged to visit City Hall to charge electronics, use the internet, and receive storm updates. City Hall phone lines are down but calls can be received at 707-353-0004 or by email at The Emergency Declaration ensures the City's eligibility for State and Federal disaster assistance and funding for recovery efforts. Paul Andersen <>, City Manager

YOU THOUGHT it was windy where you were? But Steve Heilig notes: “Pablo Point, a peak just north of the city of Bolinas which sits at an elevation of 937 feet, recorded the strongest wind gusts in the Bay Area during Wednesday night’s storm at 101 mph, according to the National Weather Service.”


When the wind works against us in the dark,

And pelts the snow

The lower chamber window on the east,

And whispers with a sort of stifled bark,

The beast,

‘Come out! Come out!’—

It costs no inward struggle not to go,

Ah, no!

I count our strength,

Two and a child,

Those of us not asleep subdued to mark

How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length,—

How drifts are piled,

Dooryard and road ungraded,

Till even the comforting barn grows far away

And my heart owns a doubt

Whether 'tis in us to arise with day

And save ourselves unaided.

— Robert Frost

TREEWORK If anyone needs any trees cleared from the storm or are concerned about specific trees don’t hesitate to call me. Free inspections and estimates. — Devin Elliott, (707) 513-9535 <>

PENNYROYAL FARM: Ten years ago this past May we rolled our first tank of milk through the creamery doors and made our inaugural batch of cheese and what a way to celebrate that anniversary with our Boont Corners Vintage being featured as one of Culture Magazine's Best Cheeses of 2022! The creamery earned another top award at the ADGA Goat Milk Products Competition with our Pepper Moldunes winning Reserve Best in Show and 1st place. At the American Cheese Society Competition Awards, there were over 1500 entries in 120 categories and 4 of the 9 cheeses Pennyroyal Farm entered placed 1st or 2nd in their category -- the best we have ever performed at ACS! Both Fratty Corners and Boont Corners Two Month won 1st place in their respective categories, and Boont Corners Reserve and Boonter's Blue won 2nd place in theirs. You can join us in celebrating our creamery's best with a wedge of each in our limited Bahlers Cheese Quartet.

THE EDITOR HAS COVID. It kicked in big time Friday morning, diagnosed and medication obtained the same day. People who visited the ava this past week should get tested. Apologies to you all. And deepest thanks to all of you in the undeterred minority whose good wishes cancel out the much more numerous who would prefer… Last Friday began uneventfully. Did my morning exercise regimen of 350 push-ups in five sets of 70 each, then forty-to-fifty minutes of a double-time walk on AV Way. Out the door for San Anselmo by 9 but on the road south suddenly began to feel weak and woozy, it not occurring to me it could be the onset of the dread covid. By the time I reached marvelous Marin, all I could do is stagger through the door and fall down on my bed, my saintly wife and daughter attending. No appetite, no power, less energy, wicked cough, body aches — the full plague monte. Cordoned off in one of the castle’s rear rooms, saintly wife and daughter leave nourishment at my closed door. I’m enrolled in One Medical, an on-call medical service in lieu of the shuffling old medical man of my youth who would arrive smelling of alcohol and smoking unfiltered Camels. “You’ll be alright, sonny. Just a touch of the flu.” I’ve always preferred him, but here we are in a different, but not better, time. Via One Medical a prescription for something called Paxlovid arrived which, after three sleepless nights, has begun to reverse symptoms enough to prop me back up at my work station, feeling grateful for medical science. I expect to be non-toxic by Friday. Thank you again to all you well-wishers. 

NEXT BOONVILLE QUIZ As we had a Quiz just a week ago, on the 5th Thursday of December, this month we will not have one on the 1st Thursday as usual. We shall return for the 3rd Thursday, January19th, and look forward to seeing you there. Happy New Year to one and all. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quizmaster

JUICE BAR IN LITTLE RIVER! I just wanted to send out an email and let everyone know that Juice Me now has a juice bar and Little River at Dennen mo’s Victorian farmhouse that is open to the public from 8 AM to 2 PM daily! Come by for fresh pressed organic green juice, root juice, turmeric juice, and ginger shots! We are temporarily not in stores, but will be back in stores in a couple of weeks as we wait for a new permit for our new Fort Bragg facility. We hope to see you at the juice bar. We are so serving vegan and vegetarian breakfast and lunch items. Email me with any questions. Thanks for your support over the years! Daphne Mejia <>

A NEW DOCUMENTARY FILM, whose first episode is called “The Bone Yard” (the first part of a three part series called ‘Manifesto of a Serial Killer’) about former Anderson Valley residents, Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, gets off to an encouraging start — Lake's suicide via a cyanide capsule while in police custody when he apparently realizes his sordid rampage of murder and kidnap has ended with his arrest. Ng, Lake's partner, has been in custody for years since, another person who should have been either offed or packed off to a permanent prison years ago but for a turgid legal system that tacitly permits endless appeals, taking whole years between decisions.

LAKE AND NG, plus Lake's then-wife, Caralyn ‘Cricket’ Balazs, made their happy home in Philo in the early 1980s. I won't identify the two addresses to spare the present owners the onus of association with mass murder, but old timers know them well. My memory of the two psychos was seeing Lake and Ng trucking along 128 in full camo, and Lake’s ad in the ava looking for people to play war games with. At the time, he also functioned as an Anderson Valley volunteer firefighter and the organization's recording secretary. “Yeah, yeah, Bruce, he was a nut but he had beautiful handwriting,” was one post-mass murder local assessment of Lake.

I MAY HAVE HELPED get Lake's wife fired from her job as a teacher's aide at AV Junior High when my daughter alerted me that a woman who worked at the school named “Cricket” had asked several of my daughter's classmates to pose for Cricket’s “photographer” husband in a hot tub at the couple's home. Nope, not having it, and Cricket was fired. And life went on in a community then way too tolerant of aberrant behavior, a key tenet of the Do Your Own Thing-ism prevalent at the time.

IN LIGHT of her husband's subsequent rampages, I've always thought Cricket knew a lot more than she ever copped to. (So did the cops, according to the documentary. It was on her Calaveras property that Lake and Ng did their murdering.) Last heard from, Cricket had a new man and was living in Covelo, a community well known for its elastic social standards, but that was years ago, and I only knew about it because the new man called to ask me not to mention his wife's new life, as if a person intimately associated with horrific events can simply turn life's corner for rainbows and unicorns, but as many dubious characters before and after her have discovered, Cricket may have fully adopted Mendo's convenient amnesia that declares you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every day.

LAKE AND NG apparently hadn't begun their kidnap and murder campaign when they lived in Anderson Valley, but they had come spectacularly to the attention of federal authorities for somehow stealing a cache of weapons from a Marine Corps armory in Hawaii, and double somehow managed to get them all the way to Philo where, one memorable day, a big black helicopter landed on Highway 128 near Lemons Market, disgorging a black-clad swat unit who soon had an address on Ray's Road surrounded. Lake and Ng were arrested, the weapons recovered and, for their third arrest somehow, were soon released from custody. The Valley's resident deputy, Keith Squires, said after the event that if Lake and Ng had shot it out with the feds “they had so much gear they could have held out for a long time.”

A COUPLE of years later, when the remains of all, or most of their victims were discovered in Calaveras County near the Boonville-size hamlet of Wilseyville, the authorities spent a fruitless week searching for possible remains on the grounds of the killers' former Philo address.

WHAT doesn't seem to be known is that Lake, prior to moving over the hill to the Anderson Valley, had been ordered off Greenfield Ranch, a hippie-heavy collective north of Ukiah, where he had rented a tractor and was building a bunker of the type he later constructed in Wilseyville. He was even too creepy for Greenfield's socially elastic counter-culturalists.

AMONG Lake's depraved papers — he fancied himself something of a philosopher, having been inspired by the novel “The Collector” by British author John Fowles, also about an imagined kidnap of a sex slave — were repeat mentions of a local high school girl who worked at Jack's Valley Store. That kid probably dodged a literal bullet.

THE WORLD CLASS PSYCHOS of yesteryear could afford the rents of Mendocino County up through the 1970s, but they've since been priced outta here.

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