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Valley People (March 8, 2023)

THE WEATHER WEEK THAT WAS, paragraphs describing the long week of unprecedented snow in the Anderson Valley:

FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA: Needless to say, we have been busy in Yorkville for the last few days. The rest of the district has held up fairly well with falling trees being the biggest impact. To date, no storm related injuries or significant traffic accidents have occurred. CalTrans and County Roads have put in a tremendous amount of work during this storm to get our roads usable again without injury. Wylatti Construction has now been contracted to take over the storm debris cleanup on Hwy 128 in the Yorkville area. This can be dangerous business so we are keeping our fingers crossed for the crews still working out there. In addition to Wylatti Construction, I also saw a company by the name of California Tree Solutions working in the area. Road crews are making good progress on clearing the Highway 128 with a follow-up crew moving east and working the highway shoulders to remove hazard trees and other brush still impacting safe commuting. Power is still out at this time in Yorkville but the PG&E crews are getting close to the end of the grid near the base of Haehl’s Grade (near MM 46.16), so it would be likely that power restoration is coming soon for the main corridor in Yorkville. Private ranches and property owners will have weeks of cleanup and repair work before getting back to normal. 

A PEACHLAND RESIDENT: “We can get out, but the road is a huge mess. There are sightlines where there were not before due to all the trees that have come down. Neighbors did initial clearing on Friday afternoon and the fire department plus residents have continued to make it better bit by bit but it is still gnarly … broken branches/trunks beside or spilling onto the road that you have to squeeze around. Lots of work to do and lots of fire fuel once it all dries out.”

SNOW AND A TIPPED OVER BIG RIG closed Highway 253 for almost four hours while heavy snow closed 101 at the Willits Grade. Highway 20 was closed for most of the day by a combination of snow and downed trees. 128 was closed for the entire week, as was Mountain View Road. Fish Rock Road, the wildest, least settled path to the Pacific from the Anderson Valley has been opened but the County recommends that only 4-wheel drive vehicles should attempt it.

ANDERSON VALLEY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Thanks to the hard work of CalTrans, Wylatti Construction, PG&E and others, Hwy 128 is now open from Boonville to Cloverdale. Power has also been restored to much of Yorkville. Construction crews will remain working in the area for the foreseeable future to mitigate the remaining issues. Please be careful of the crews still hard at work!

MONO COUNTY SHERIFF, Friday, February 24, 2023, Twitter Notice: “The roads are closed. All of them. There is no alternate route, no back way, no secret route. It’s a blizzard, people. You cannot see your hand in front of your face, let alone a snow stake to guide your way. Stay home. Or wherever you are if you aren’t home. And if you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be, you’ll have to sort that out with your significant other. We told you to make good choices.”

MENDO COUNTY SHERIFF, Matt Kendall, reminded hill dwellers, “We aren’t door dash.” The Sheriff had received requests from stranded homeowners for grocery deliveries.

“ROUTE 128 (36.5/50.9) – Emergency work in Yorkville from Fish Rock Road to Sonoma County Line continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists should anticipate up to 20-minute delays. LC#C162G” — Caltrans

NOW YOU TELL ME. Took me an hour-forty to drive from Boonville to Cloverdale on Thursday. There were four pilot car stops between Yorkville and Cloverdale. From Lawson's on 128, a week after the big snows, it looked like 128's roadsides had been strafed. Whole trees and large branches were piled on both sides of the road where they were either fed into giant chippers on the spot or hauled to the CalTrans rock yard just south of Boonville for conversion into giant chip piles. The mammoth clean-up looks about finished, and kudos to the crews who got it done so efficiently. Nothing like the damage the storm did to this stretch of normally non-threatening roadside vegetation has happened in the modern history of Highway 128. By Saturday, both lanes were open, no stop and go, no pilot cars. 


Variety Show, remember the Variety Show? The ANNUAL Variety Show. It's been 2 years, what’s with that, how did we survive? This March weekend is the traditional date for the show, but we've moved the date. You still have about 2 months to perfect that double flip off the grand piano. This is it: MAY 12th and 13th at the Anderson Valley Grange. Mark your calendars and spread the word. For those of you who came in late, the AV Grange Variety Show began 32 years ago for the “grand” opening of the rebuilt Grange, the original building from 1939 having burnt to the ground 5 years before that first show. We all had so much fun we decided to do it again, and again, and again and we're still having fun. NOW we are looking for acts. We bill it as 4 minutes in front of 400 people. You, yes you can be in it, there are no tryouts... it's a Variety show after all not a talent show. WC Fields once said, “Never work with children or animals,” well, we say bring ’em on! It's been so long folks, time to bust out! Get in touch with Abeja 707 621-3822 or Cap Rainbow 707 472-9189

AV GRANGE PANCAKE BREAKFAST: It might be wet next Sunday March 12. It might be wild from 8:30-11:00. But you can count on Pancakes with all the fixings, eggs, bacon, coffee, tea and juice at the AV Grange. It's the monthly 2nd Sunday AV GRANGE PANCAKE BREAKFAST, and remember to set your clocks an hour ahead on Saturday night or you might be an hour late for breakfast! (Captain Rainbow)

NANCY MACLEOD: “Bill [Allen] is in Alameda Hospital now. I am staying w/an old friend in Berkeley, where my car was stolen two days ago. Bill is still up and down. Yesterday he very clearly said ‘Delirium’ amongst his unintelligible ramblings. (He always talked like this in his sleep, anyway.) Usually such an optimistic person, I am feeling just now that… Well, let's just say, I'm pretty fried. This car theft thing has nearly done me in! I'll get thru' it; no other choice! When there is something more ‘interesting’ to report about Bill's progress, I'll let you know. Meanwhile, thanks for your concern! Take care, Nancy”

FELINES OF PHILO: Hey Valley Peeps! On March 8th we will be trapping community and feral cats for Trap-Neuter-Return in the Lambert Lane area of Boonville. (Right after the first bridge.) We will be trapping on a property that we have been working with. All cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped and returned to the location. Please keep your pet cats indoors on March 8th. Contact us if you live in the area and are feeding community and feral cats that are not your pet cats, or if you have questions about TNR. Felines of Philo 707-684-9439

ZOÉ ROSE ROBINSON WRITES ON BOONTSWAP: Just curious. I have two kids in AVES… has the bullying always been this bad? I mean geeze, it’s like there’s an incident every day with my fifth grader… I’ve been to the principal She, in my opinion, and from how we’ve talked about the issues is on the same page in addressing it. I think the staff at AVES has been great, but these kids are relentless…. I’m just at a loss of what to do here. What’s the deal here? Anyone know? Also it’s crossed a line from normal kids “bullying” to in my opinion sexual harassment… These kids have drawn explicit images on her backpack, and they constantly tell her super sexual inappropriate stuff in English and in Spanish. I’ve told her to ignore them, and stay away from them, but they follow her. I’ve told her to tell an adult, they give her more crap for tattling on them. I’ve told her to stand up to them, she started calling them names back and got herself in trouble. They are boys and they group up together and seek her out on the swings every day at recess. And they alienate anyone else from playing with her by saying “if you play with her we'll do it to you too.” Also let me be clear I don’t think my kid is Peter Perfect and she IS held accountable for her actions 100% when she is wrong. I’m just at a loss of what to do here. Has anyone dealt with this here before? She’s only been going to school here about three weeks. And this behavior started day one.

SUPERINTENDENT SIMSON IS ON THE CASE, as is elementary principal, Cymbre Thomas-Swett. “We are hosting a districtwide task force regarding drug use and bullying. I don’t respond to specific social media posts, but both sites have implemented empathy and kindness workshops, vaping education, and expanded our social therapy supports. We are excited that parents want to work on this situation together. The first meeting is Tuesday, March 7 at 6 o’clock in the high school library.”

AV HIGH’S AG DEPARTMENT is looking for hatching eggs. 2-4 dozen fertile eggs. Willing to pay or trade for Ag Department’s fresh non-fertile eggs. Incubating to begin on March 9. Contact Beth Swehla,

WOMEN'S CLOTHING EXCHANGE — Saturday March 11th 5pm Mosswood Cafe' ...time to spring clean our closets, and share the love of... clothes

NO LUNCHES AT AV SENIOR CENTER ON MARCH 16TH. We will have an evening meal instead with corned beef and cabbage on Thursday, March 16th at 6 pm. Bingo with prizes to follow dinner! Seniors $6/Non-Senior $8. Bingo cards $1. All are welcome!

VAL MUCHOWSKI: The Floodgate building on State Route 128 in Philo houses the Bewildered Pig, a farm-to-table fine dining restaurant with a cult following throughout Northern California. While the Floodgate building is for sale for $1.275 million, the Bewildered Pig is not for sale. In fact, the real estate listing for the building states that the restaurant plans to renew its lease in July 2023.

THE REAL SARAHS. As rising stars in the west coast Americana scene, Anderson Valley’s The Real Sarahs have distinguished themselves as skillful harmony singers and evocative songwriters. With an organic sound that enchants and uplifts the spirit, they share their special gift of vocal synergy. This ensemble creates magic with voices in harmony, acoustic instruments, and the energetic connection between artists and audience. Embracing many genres of music, you are likely to hear threads of folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and country running through their songs. Singing from the stories of their own journeys and life experiences, their original music is honest, captivating and heartfelt.

LOCALS WHO FREQUENTED the Boonville Farmers Market in the past will remember Scott Miller, the popular Ukiah-based sharpener of tools and utensils who used to be a regular at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Mr. Miller is still at it. If you need anything sharpened he can be reached at 707//272-7274 or at He’s also on facebook. He’s mobile and available to attend to your dull stuff on your site. A sharp knife is safer, a sharp tool is a real time-saver. PS. Miller is also a pretty fair country gardener also available to share that knowledge.

THE DAY I met the coyote, I was footing it west across the parched summer expanse of Anderson Creek to Ornbaun Road where the walker resumes pavement. Used to be that Ornbaun, in the dry months, served as a road. Automobiles could drive across the creek from the end of Ornbaun Road to connect with Anderson Valley Way where Pippa Hall's place is now. 

THE ANDERSON VALLEY is a kind of 'used to be” place, with the topography of only a few years ago almost unrecognizable today. 

THE COYOTE figures heavily in Native American mythology. Indians admired the coyote for its intelligence and humor. I do too, ever since, for no particular reason, I peered into the creek end of a large culvert placed beneath Anderson Valley to drain the winter rains from the east hills into Anderson Creek. 

AND THERE was a coyote staring back at me from the other end. 

THE COYOTE stared at me. I stared back. I looked away, he looked away. I smiled, I swear he smiled. The coyote didn’t move, I didn’t move. He was maybe twenty yards from me at his end of the culvert, perfectly still, gazing back at me. I wondered how long he'd keep it up. I felt a little foolish in a stare down with a wild creature.

WE LOOKED at each other for long minutes. I knew he was playing with me. I supposed at the time that he would have kept the game going indefinitely, but I finally turned away from him and continued down the garbage-strewn path from the end of the culvert to the streambed, the path that the current residents of the stilt house use as a shortcut home from town, and atheists of all ethnicities use as a garbage dump because only a person utterly without any sense of the world’s splendors could so casually defile such a beautiful place. 

EVERY YEAR there’s more consumer-culture detritus for the winter deluges to purge from battered Anderson Creek, and every year, after the rains, the volunteer alders and willows struggling up from stream’s margins are festooned with everything from disposable diapers to hula hoops.

THE SECOND PART OF THIS SENTENCE from the Press Democrat is probably true: “Police continued to investigate a fatal stabbing at a Santa Rosa high school as students and victims’ families said Thursday that the school had allowed an ongoing conflict between the students to fester until it erupted into violence.”

STUDENT perceptions that discipline is unnervingly loose seems to be true, especially considering that two older boys felt free to bust into an in-session class to beat up a younger boy. And it isn't surprising that the younger boy had armed himself with a knife in anticipation of attack. And the younger boy stabbed both his assailants, stabbing one of them to death.

MONTGOMERY HIGH SCHOOL has an enrollment of more than 1600 students, such an unmanageable number that until recently the school paid for an on-campus police officer to help keep the peace. One might expect that Sonoma County's raft of highly paid administrators — neatly removed from sight and sound of young people in their own cozy little compound — would begin to re-think their educational mission, that maybe it isn't a good idea in the context of an imploding society to place 1600 young people raised in varying conditions of social psychosis in one place.

BUT WHAT'S NEW about school bullying? There is always a small minority of cruel little bastards in any school population whatever the social-economic status of their parents, and school-related tragedies are as old as schools themselves.

ON A FATAL AFTERNOON in 1877, when all of Boonville's small population of young people attended a little red school now celebrated as Anderson Valley's museum, two older boys — A.E. Irish and John Clow — got into an argument, what about is lost in time. 

WHAT IS KNOWN is that Clow punched Irish, Irish produced a knife and was slashing at Clow when Clow's brother, Jim, ran up to join his brother in fending off Irish. Eyewitnesses said that Irish, still brandishing his knife, now confronted the two Clows, with Jim Clow apparently being the more menacing. Irish, who was moving backwards, lashed out at Jim Clow, cutting him deeply above the hip. The bleeding couldn't be stanched, and Jim Clow died where he'd fallen beneath the old pine that still shades the schoolhouse door. 

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