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Valley People (February 15, 2023)


Alisha and John Ornbaun and their family lost their home and belongings in a fire this week.

Alisha is an employee of Laytonville School District and John is an employee of Geiger’s Market in Laytonville. Thankfully, their family is all physically ok and trying their best to deal with the tragic aftermath of this event. We are incredibly heartbroken over this news and would like to support them as best as we can. Alisha has been an amazing member of our community volunteering her time whenever she can to help our kids and we want to return the favor in her time of need. Their immediate needs are: clothes, food, pillows, blankets, and household items. Please contact Alisha to coordinate dropping off items. Also, Geigers has posted that items can be dropped off there and during the weekdays, items can be left at the school offices. In the long term, they will need financial support to replace what they have lost and support in getting other living arrangements. If you can support them in any way it is greatly appreciated.

BETH SWEHLA has been awarded the North Coast Region Golden Owl Award! 

This award is given to agricultural educators who devote countless hours, and often their own resources, to positively impact the lives of their students. Ms. Swehla was anonymously nominated for this award. She will go on to represent Anderson Valley and the North Coast region at the state level in March!


A great end to a great season, Boys Junior High A Team takes third place in the first annual Krebs Classic basketball tournament. (Coach Luis Espinoza)

THE GOOD COACHING test is simple: Are teams better at the end of the season than they were at the outset? By that standard, Boonville High School is blessed. Coach Toohey's inexperienced football team was a lot better than when they began their season. Luis Espinoza's varsity basketball team was a lot better by the end of their schedule, as proven Friday night when they gave league-leading Mendocino all the visiting Cardinals could handle in the Boonville gym. Our girls’ team, fast and scrappy as they are, was out-matched in their final game by yet another edition of Mendocino's Amazonian ladies going back to the early 1970s when the size of Mendocino High School's lady athletes was the talk of the league. Fifty years later, same-same. They grow 'em big out there in the fog belt.


(From the Minutes of the AV Community Services District Special Board meeting on January 25, 2023

Presentation of Rate Construction Methodology Recommended by Consultant (Brelje & Race). Provide Direction to Consultant Regarding Allocation of Cost (Operations, Maintenance and Replacement) When Establishing Monthly Base Rate and Water Usage Charge. General Discussion of Impact on Rates Associated with Various Levels of Non-Participation by Residentially Developed Properties. A presentation of possible rate structures for the Drinking Water project was given by Jack Locey, Engineer from Brelje and Race. The purpose of the Board’s initial discussion about rate structure was to give direction to Jack so that he could develop a range of possible rates to include in our public outreach letter to the parcel owners in the Drinking Water boundary. 

After reviewing the information the Board’s straw vote was to structure the rates, which include base rate and water usage fees, in such a way that a percentage collected would cover ongoing administration expenses (both fixed and variable) with another percentage going toward short and long-term asset replacement funding. While an actual rate structure was not chosen at this time, the Board directed Jack to return with specifics once we get our surveys returned so that we can consider actual numbers. 

A letter and survey was approved to be sent out to the [Boonville] parcel owners by RCAC (Rural Communities Assistance Corporation), the agency hired by the State to assist us with public outreach. RCAC is tasked with following up and contacting parcel owners to get 100% of the surveys returned.

A panel meeting is being scheduled the first week of March at the Fairgrounds in the evening so that parcel owners in the boundary can get information and ask questions. The possible participants are State Dept of Financing, RCAC, SAFER, AVCSD, AV Fire Chief, Brelje and Race, District 3 Waterboard, and County Planning and Health Agencies. The date will depend on the availability of panel members and is still to be decided, but hopefully will be either March 7 or 9th at 7 pm at the Fairgrounds Dining Room. 

HEART HEALTH! AV Village’s Monthly Gathering featured

Dr. Rochat of the AV Health Center who speak about heart health and what you can do to maintain it. A Village member shared her collection of antique Valentine’s cards, as well. The Village is a busy and interesting community. Join up at

BILL KIMBERLIN: I posted this on my “American Nitro” Facebook site and it got over 139,000 views. That just shows the power of movies and American legends.


Following another good turnout last week when the winners came from behind to grab victory in the final round, we are looking forward to being back in action at the General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz on the 3rd Thursday. 7pm on February 16th at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn in downtown Boonville. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster.

LITTLE DOG HAS DIED, passing peacefully at his Boonville home of many years three weeks ago. Born 20 years ago and raised by a single mother — "I was a hit and run job. Never knew my Pops, and Mom was a bit of a floozy, always running off with dachshunds, but I persevered like the champ I am."


Little Dog spent most of his life in Boonville except for two years as a pig hunter with TJ Bird in Cloverdale. “Those were good times,” LD remembered. “TJ fitted me out with my own helmet, and boyo boyo I was one tough mutt, me and my running dogs tracking down many a wild old razorback in the back country between Cloverdale and Boonville. Tell you the truth, I always felt unappreciated in Boonville where my night watch service for all those years was taken for granted. And this place was overrun with gd cats, the worst creature God ever made, right up there with hyenas. 

“I liked living next door to the Redwood Drive-In, though, because a lot of those little white fluffy jobs outta Marin County — hubba fuggin' hubba! — would pull in to gas up, and when they got a look at me, they'd jump the fence… Let me tell you they broke the sexual monotony around here. I was always a big one for the ladies. 

“Will I miss life? No. I'm in an all-dog heaven, no night watch duty and not a cat anywhere up here, but those fluffy babes outta Marin are everywhere. So long, Mendo. Don't worry about me. I'm in a better place, that's for sure.”


Hello all,

I am a resident of Boonville for 5 years.

My 13 year old son and I will be needing housing soon.

Preferably a 2 bedroom but can make do with one.

I currently work at Penny Royal and Substitute at the Elementary School.

I am finishing my Elementary Ed credentials and hope to be teaching at AV next Spring.

This Fall I hopefully will be Student Teaching at AV.

I have great references and credit.

Please help us stay in the valley!

I am going to be an awesome teacher and would live to do it here.

If I don’t find housing, I will have to leave.

DM me any options out there.

ED NOTE: Why some young people say “DM me” in their on-line messages without leaving a number or other form of contact continues to mystify us. But you might be able to reach Ms. Keller at Penny Royal Farms, 895-2410 or the Elementary School at 895-3010. 


It was a hard fought game in Covelo, but the girls ended up losing. I want to say thank you to Coach Toohey for getting the warm up shirts done in a short period of time. 

Covelo was retiring a player’s jersey that went missing in 2018 and still has never been found. They were honoring the family by retiring her jersey. Our girls team wore shirts to support the family. When I was leaving the gym, I had a man run up behind me and stop me. The man was the uncle of the girl that went missing. He said that he wanted to shake my hand and just say thank you for what our girls did by wearing the shirt. The coach said that we showed nothing but “CLASS” by making this show of support. He wanted to make sure that I told our girls thank you from the family.

ED NOTE: Khadijah Britton was taken at gunpoint in front of witnesses by a career criminal called Negie Fallis. Her remains have never been found. Fallis has been in and out of jail ever since. 

Negie Fallis

CALTRANS WANTS YOU for a Boonville Equipment Operator

Looking for a great career opportunity? We’ve got a job opening for a Caltrans Equipment Operator I (JC-354561) in Caltrans District 1! This is a full-time position located in Boonville (Mendocino County).

Under general direction of a Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor (CMS) or designee, employee operates equipment identified as Category 2 used by the assigned unit. Works individually or with a crew performing tasks related to highway maintenance work.

Operates Category 2 equipment used by the assigned unit including but not limited to, dump trucks, backhoe, loaders, mowers, brush chippers, rollers, forklift, emulsion kettles.

Employee would accomplish tasks normally performed by assigned unit, including but not limited to, paving, shoulder grading, mowing, ditch cleaning, dig outs, pavement patching, repair or replacement of signs, markers, fence, guardrail, clean culverts, traffic control, lane closures, litter removal, dispose of animal carcasses, maintenance of roadside rest areas and other duties that would be assigned to a Highway Maintenance Worker or Landscape Maintenance Worker.

Equipment care and Record Keeping: cleans, makes minor repairs and services equipment. Keeps records of time reporting, equipment pre-op/post-op, material use and other pertinent records.

Employee may travel out of town on per diem for training, meetings and other job-related duties.

If properly licensed and equipment qualified, employee may operate Class A equipment during times of emergency or unexpected/unplanned work load increases.

This job posting is open until filled. For the job description and to apply, click the link below (DO NOT send applications to Caltrans District 1 on Facebook):

Covering Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino Counties, District 1 is a great place to work, and can help provide a work/life balance with activities for the whole family.

NOW SHOWING at Mosswood Market, Boonville, the nicely accomplished paintings of Tim Poma, a talented Ukiah guy whose rendering of Boonville’s golden hills and his unique impression of the Golden Gate Bridge especially caught my eye.

One Comment

  1. Marshall Newman February 15, 2023

    Rest easy, Little Dog. Enjoy heaven and the Rainbow Bridge.

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