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Valley People (January 25, 2023)

PANTHER BASKETBALL: There are five more varsity high school games remaining in the season starting this Friday, Jan. 27 in Potter Valley at 3:30pm. The four remaining games against Point Arena (home) Tuesday Jan 31 at 3:30, Laytonville (home) Friday, Feb 3 at 4pm, in Round Valley Tuesday Feb 7 at 3:30pm and finishing at home against Mendocino on Thursday, Feb 9 at 4pm. Junior high home games are Wed Feb 1 v. Fort Bragg at 4pm, Round Valley on Feb 2 at 3:30pm and Mendocino Middle School on Feb 6 at 3:30pm. 

THE AV ADULT SCHOOL will be starting classes on Jan. 30th. If you are interested in any of the following go to the first class and they will sign you up on the spot. English for Beginners Tue. 5:30-8 first class 31st. Intermediate/Advamced English Mon. & Tue. 5:30-8:30 starts the 30th. Speaking and Writing for Daily Activities Wed. 5:30-8:30 starts 1st. Citizenship Tue. and/or Fri. 11:00-1 starts 31st. High School Equivalency flexible schedules. 

Conversational Spanish:

Level 1 Monday 5:30-7:30, starts Jan 30th

Level 2 Tuesdays 5:30-7:30, starts Jan 31st

Level 3 Wednesdays 5:30-7:30, starts Jan 1st

Creative Writing Tuesday 2-5, starts Jan 31st

For more information call 707 895-2953  or email

JEFF BURROUGHS:  A lot of you will remember fondly the small town atmosphere and the feeling of being taken care of at the Anderson Valley Health Center in Boonville. Well up until about 3 years ago that was how things ran at the clinic but now, well let's just say the place delivers a horrible experience from beginning to end. The one, and the only bright spot is the primary care physician that replaced the retiring Mark Apfel. But getting an appointment to see the doctor these days is an impossibility. Here is what happens if you call to make an appointment... First you get a recording that puts you on hold for up to 5 minutes, then a receptionist, if you can call her that, answers the phone and proceeds to tell you the Doctor is booked until March, 2 months? Seriously? The “receptionist” must be convinced your health care needs are worth getting you into the clinic sooner. After answering some questions and pleading your case to be worthy enough you are told the nurse will be given your information and will call you right back. But the nurse rarely ever calls back so you call again but this time you ask to be transferred directly to the nurse because asking to speak to the doctor directly is not on the list of possibilities. It's like the front desk staff has been told, Do not let patients talk to the doctor. You can leave a message for him but the couple times I did that I am sure that the message was never given to the doctor because he never got back to me since. So you get transferred to the nurse's line and you are put on hold and if you're lucky enough to get through it's a frigging recording. The last time I got transferred to the nurse no one ever did answer, I waited on hold for 15 minutes and no one answered! I called back again but now it's a different receptionist who starts asking all of the questions I answered to the other receptionist. They transfer me to the nurse, I wait 5 minutes and they hang up on me. What a colossal waste of time.

MICHAEL TURNER: Concerning Jeff Burroughs complaints about the AVC Health Center. Kudos to Mark Apfel. With his departure local patients are now experiencing what’s been going on around the country for the last decade. And it’s not good.

Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes.

1) Triage by the least competent. This has long been a problem in medicine: untrained people answering phones and prioritizing patient care. There used to be some checks, when I first came to Ukiah my office had a receptionist who had worked there 20 years. She knew the patients and had the ear of all the doctors.. Nowadays receptionists are replaceable parts, underpaid and uninterested.

2) Everybody is too busy. Doing what?, you ask? Entering data into the computer. The demands of the electronic medical record tyrannize the workday. Doctors and nurses are working nonstop, entering endless amounts of data. It’s a hermetic world, quite apart from direct communication with patients on the phone or even walking into the office.. Direct patient contact is actually an interruption of their workday.

It all reminds me of something an older colleague said to me in the early days of managed care: “Gosh, under this new paradigm, the best patients are those that never come in at all!”

— Michael Turner MD, happily retired.

FOR RENT to senior(s) age 62+: The HOUSE at the AV Elder Home. Senior-friendly amenities, 2 BR, 1 bath, all kitchen appliances, fenced back yard. Approved dog/cat OK. On Hwy 128 in Boonville. Available mid-Feb. $1500/month + deposits. Utilities not included. Inquiries: or 707 895-3820

SCHOOL SUPE Louise Simson had gone to considerable effort to mobilize a staff and student reception for visiting royalty, aka Congressman Huffman. The Congressman himself, shortly before he was due to appear, had an aide call Boonville to say the Congressman could not come. No excuse given.

ELIZABETH JENSEN: I am reaching out again as we need new members to join our Anderson Valley Parks & Recreation Committee!

With the AV Community Services District (AVCSD) formally acquiring the land around our local park, our next step will be the application for funding to bring all our ideas for improvements, including the amazing Skate Park, into reality!

Our first target is the Clean California Local Grant which provides funds to local communities to beautify and improve local streets and roads, tribal lands, parks, pathways, and transit centers. But to receive this grant will take a lot of planning and hard work and we need your help! 

We meet on the 4th Wednesdays of each month from 2:15-3:15pm and commitment can be as simple as attending those meetings (in person or via Zoom). For those with a little more time and energy, you may also dedicate a few more hours a month towards helping develop plans for park improvements or coordinating contacts and resources for new park developments and to support the grant application. 

We'd love to have fresh energy and new ideas as we look to broaden the park and recreational services available here in Anderson Valley. If you have any interest in joining us, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or simply come to our next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 25 @2:15pm at the AV Fire Department building in Boonville.


Mrs. Berry's place was mentioned in the diary of Mrs. Jack London in their 1906 visit to Boonville. This was when it was owned by the Berry family. (Colorized photo.)

Claudia Clow: The boy on the left is my grandfather, Glenn McAbee, to his right is his father, Sam McAbee, and his grandfather, John McAbee, and an his Uncle.

Tanya Dockery: The people in this picture are my great great grandfather and his sons and grandsons. The McAbees.

Jeff Burroughs: The hotel ledger with Jack London's signature from when they checked in is on display at the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum in Boonville.

ESTHER MOBLEY: The 2023 forecast for the U.S. wine industry is here, and it doesn’t look sunny.

Wine consumption in this country continues to grow at a slower and slower pace. Young people are still drinking a lot less wine than older generations. The rising cachet of wellness culture has rendered wine (and alcohol more generally) into a kind of villain.

And now, on top of it all, a recession may be looming.

These are some of the takeaways from Silicon Valley Bank’s State of the U.S. Wine Industry Report. The study, published Wednesday, is one of the most closely watched barometers of this $61 billion national industry.

None of the report’s major themes are surprising — they are continuations of trends that have been brewing for years. But the current economic climate, coupled with the ongoing slowdown in wine consumption, presents new challenges.

“Nobody in the industry likes bad news,” said Rob McMillan, the founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s wine division and the author of the report. He hopes the data will be a wake-up call to the industry, which is consistently “missing the mark,” he said.


KZYX'S MANAGER, Marty Durlin, and the president of the station's board of directors, Dina Polkinghorne, presented themselves Monday night to field questions from listeners, most of whom were unhappy about the firing of station program director, Alicia Bales. Station stalwart 'W. Dan' Houck moderated.

MS. BALES did not call in to present her version of events, leaving Ms. Durlin and Ms. Polkinghorne unable to discuss what they defined as a “personnel matter.” Ms. Durlin said early on she was in her 28th year as a radio station manager, later confirming that she will be leaving her position soon. She said she had hired Ms. Bales based on Ms. Bales abundant qualifications for the position, but relations had soured and Ms. Durlin could no longer “support” Ms. Bales.

IN LIEU of any comment from Ms. Bales we can only conclude that her dismissal was justified. The callers in defense of Ms. Bales, none of whom knew why Ms. Bales had been fired, defended her for reasons unrelated to her job performance. One caller said she was happy Ms. Bales was gone from the station because she'd canceled the ‘Left, Right and Center’ program.

MY OVERALL IMPRESSION of the hour-long open-lines session was that Ms. Bales support seems confined to the “activist” community she's been identified with for years, and that community is much reduced, average age of the women remaining about 75.

WE ALSO LEARNED that “News Director,” Victor Palomino, had left the station for a job in the Central Valley. Got a kick out of his rare reports on KZYX's scant morning news, always hoping he'd introduce himself with a clattering of hooves and a “Hi Ho! It's Victor Palomino!” 

JUST TRY and get an honest budget out of KZYX. We don't know how many people get paid, we continue to wonder why a tiny radio station needs both a station manager and a program director, especially given that the program line-up has remained the same for many years. I'd say KZYX's best bet is to hand the reins over to the smart, capable Sarah Reith, but instead I'm sure we'll get the patented Mendolib “national search for excellence” as an excellency from within the incestuous semi-public radio station steps into the breach.

STATION MANAGER DURLIN: “One of my first tasks was to find a new program director and I recruited and hired Alicia Bales who I knew through a friend and from her participation in National Community Radio conferences. She was a skilled and highly qualified candidate. She knew Mendocino County and we hired her. I encouraged and supported Alicia until, despite her impressive achievements, I could no longer support her. I’m really sorry it came to that.”

JAN WAX (Philo): Friends, I'm astonished that a KZYX manager, who is leaving in 2023, has just fired the best program director the station has had in a long time. If you feel this move is outrageous, that the ELECTED Board did not have a voice in this firing of Alicia Bales, please let the station hear your feelings. No reason for the firing has been offered. We need transparency!! 895-2448 or 895-2324 or - also the KZYX Board of Directors' email is Thanks.

MONICA FUCHS ADDS: Transparency? We asked for that for years!

MY COVID REPORT. At the risk of becoming one more tiresome geezer talking about his medical problems, here goes. “Anyway,” the garrulous old coot began as the people who could plausibly make a run for it, did, leaving only those who'd been raised to be indulgent of the elderly, “Anyway,” my account might be useful to you if you get this very bad flu, but it's not life threatening if you're reasonably fit at whatever age.

I GOT SLAMMED on a Friday morning. It hit me so hard and so fast I considered pulling off the highway before I conked out totally and caused an accident. I imagined the Press Democrat story: “Irresponsible to the end, controversial Boonville publisher, Bruce Anderson, died Friday morning in a massive commute hour pile-up caused when his vehicle unaccountably reversed itself into oncoming traffic. Widely known as a before-noon drunk, Anderson seems to have deliberately thrown his car into reverse as his last act of cruel disregard for the public welfare…” 

ANYWAY, I tested positive on that Friday a week ago, negative the following Friday. In between there was lots of coughing, a general weakness, congested lungs, loss of appetite, two bottles of Robitussin, sleep in between spasmodic coughing spells. Throughout, I was confined to a rear room of the castle from where I communicated with my wife by telephone. She did not seem to mourn our week-long separation, but she's never been given to emotional display. 

TESTING negative so quickly was apparently due entirely to a drug called paxlovid, which speeds up the duration of covid. Nine days later, I'm still kinda weak, a little more deaf, taste buds still out, a little hacking and wheezing but able to resume my responsibilities.

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman January 25, 2023

    Impressive that multiple locals recognized people in the colorized Boonville Hotel photograph.

    On another subject, sad to read about the state of affairs at the AV Health Center.

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