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Valley People (June 8, 2023)

THE MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE at the Boonville Cemetery drew some 150 people, many of them veterans and their relatives, and a few who turned out simply to honor the people who served and serve now. The ceremonies were organized and presided over by Patrick Ford, a Marine Corps combat veteran of the Vietnam War. Pastor Dave Kooyers said the opening and closing prayers. Tom English, an Army veteran of the War in Vietnam, delivered the bugle call, To The Colors, as veteran Gregory Sims raised the flag. We then sang the National Anthem, and soon, America the Beautiful and, a few minutes on, God Bless America, the first time since elementary school I've sung all three. (Back in the day, elementary-age students sang all three prior to the day's instruction.) Curtis Frost, a uniformed, trim, fit-looking Air Force colonel, looking like he just stepped off a recruiting poster, and Sgt. Patrick Ford, in brief speeches, reminded us of the ultimate sacrifices made by many thousands of men and women in all the branches of the military services. A four-person rifle team of the local American Legion Post 385 fired a salute. The most moving address of the day was delivered by Don Shanley, who read off the names of nearly forty Marines he'd fought with who died in Vietnam combat. “These men are why I'm here today, these 18 and 19-year-old Marines,” Shanley said before reading off about 30 names of his fellow Quantico graduates who also died in Vietnam, roughly three-quarters of his class. For a small population, Anderson Valley has a large contingent of veterans, living and dead, and it was Ellen Fontaine Ingram who read all the names, including her husband's, of all the deceased Valley veterans inscribed on the cemetery's memorial wall. The ceremony closed with a rendition of Amazing Grace.

THE MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE is pleased to announce that Deputy Isaac Sanchez and Deputy Sierra Rogina were sworn in as Deputy Sheriff Coroners on May 30, 2023. 

Deputy Rogina was raised in the Ukiah area and Deputy Sanchez was raised in the Philo and Boonville area. Deputy Sanchez and Deputy Rogina both have ties to Mendocino County and have started their careers in public service by joining the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputy Rogina and Deputy Sanchez attended the Santa Rosa Junior College Basic Police Academy and graduated on Wednesday May 24, 2023. They will both begin their 18-week training program with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and will be working on Patrol throughout the County during their training programs. 

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a Deputy Sheriff with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, please visit and select ‘Careers’ on the top right banner.


Isaac Sanchez successfully graduated from his law enforcement academy and will be serving here in Mendocino County. He started serving the community as a high school cadet with AVFD in 2016. After high school, he continued his education, volunteered locally and deployed on many wildfires throughout the state over the years. He's always been a great firefighter, so we know he'll be just as good serving the public as a Peace Officer. Stay safe out there, Isaac! Thank you for your service!


A certain individual keeps dumping his personal trash into the cans at the AV Senior Center. When approached by a board member he claims he donates to the Senior Center every month (which he doesn’t) and thinks that entitles him to do dump his trash. I know this person is better off than most, but maybe that’s why, because he does stuff like this. I can’t call him out by name because I am not 100% certain it’s the person that I think it is but… I don’t know, does anyone have any ideas? 707.895.3609 (

A LOCAL WRITES: What is going on here? My daughter just came home from the store and said she saw a couple of our oldest valley old time residents begging for help to go pick his 85 year old wife up off the ground where she fell down because she couldn’t get up by herself, and he’s 95 or so, and could barely make it up the steps and into the store? They both hadn’t bathed for a long time! Where’s our help here?

I KNOW this situation. The dilemma is that the family does not want gran and gramps moved into a care home, that the old folks are, all-in-all, better off in their home of many years.

AT&T SUMMARILY cut off our land line service Wednesday afternoon. The Major, who seems to enjoy jousting with PG&E and AT&T, took over. He was bounced from one non-responsive, broken-English-speaker to another for two-and-a-half hours until an Americano came on the line to concede, “The problem is probably on our end.” The several previous phone reps were certain we hadn't paid the bill, but it took that long to discover the prob. “We probably can have it fixed by Friday,” the Americano said. And it was, along with the explanation that a bird’s nest perched on the connecting wire was responsible for the outage.

ANDERSON VALLEY’S GRAVEYARDS are permanent home to a few of California’s first settlers who took on Mexico so they could appropriate the vast estates of the Spanish and Mexican grandees for themselves. Henry Beeson, 1829-1914, was one of Anderson Valley’s pioneers and a Bear Flagger. He is buried in the Babcock Cemetery, also called the Rawles Cemetery, one of the first pioneer burial grounds in the valley. (The Indians? Uh, well, like, I think they went to Fort Bragg, then Covelo.) The Babcock is secreted in an old apple orchard looking east to the high school, which is about a quarter mile away. A majestic grove of old growth redwoods marks the west side of the Babcock/Rawles. Beeson was a private with the Mountain Riflemen, meaning he preceded the Gold Rush and was among the first Americans to settle in California when California belonged to Mexico. 

BEESON easily survived the Bear Flaggers skirmishes with Mexico and, with California firmly annexed to the United States, made a home for himself where the state Calfire station sits today just south of Boonville. Beeson was considered the finest saddle maker in the area, his work so prized it drew customers to the Beeson place from all over the state. Henry Beeson was an older contemporary of later settlers — many of them from Missouri — who fought on the losing side in the Civil War. 

THE GRAVE of the old Bear Flagger is only a few steps from Anderson Valley’s first white woman. Rhoda Crouch (?) who was born in 1805, arrived in Boonville in 1852 and died five years later in 1857. The stories these oldest of the old timers could tell us!

HURTLING past all the graves of all the wars since California was admitted to the union, we find…

GERALD L. BABCOCK, SP 5, was born here November 18th, 1948, and died in Vietnam on the 3rd of July 1973. His brother, Robert Lee Babcock, was born May 14th 1950, also a veteran of Vietnam, died in Santa Rosa in a traffic accident. Both brothers are interred in their eponymous final resting place. The Babcock family was a pioneer Anderson Valley family after whom the Babcock Cemetery was called prior to its Rawles designation. 

RAY EUBANKS marched off to World War One, the war to end all wars, and came home to marry Katherine Eubanks, a daughter of the pioneer Brown family. Ray Eubanks was born November 20th 1900, and died April 7th 1989. 

THERE ARE GRAVES of men in all six of the Anderson Valley cemeteries who fought in the Civil War, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War One, World War Two, and the “police action” in Korea, a police action that often involved battalion-strength combat in sub-zero weather, and the Vietnam War. I think I remember seeing a grave in the Evergreen Cemetery of a man who may have fought in the American Revolutionary War.

ALL CEMETERY HISTORY credit goes to Val Hanelt whose database is a masterful work of complicated research that Val first published in November of 2016. “This database is a work in progress and is constantly being updated. Its information can be accessed on two sites: and Mendocino County Indexes.”

IT’S BEEN about thirty years since those impressive wine industry signs at both ends of greater Yorkville announced, “Welcome to Yorkville Highlands.” Funny thing is there’s still only one tasting room in the Highlands and only a single visible vineyard.

AS US MENDO PEOPLE KNOW, you don’t have to go too far off the pavement to find yourself in wild places. The wildest I’ve experienced was a hike down Indian Creek not far from its headwaters at upper Peachland on down to Clearwater Ranch Road, and on into central Philo. The distance is only four miles or so, but it’s a rough, boulder-strewn four miles, a constant clamber over stone and fallen redwood tangles long ago slipped into the stream by the natural slide of portions of what is essentially a four-mile canyon. It’s too steep in most places to walk anywhere but straight down the streambed. There are lots of tiny fish in the creek, many of them new steelhead, but I didn’t see a single fish bigger than six inches in any of the plenitude of deep holes along the way seemingly designed for fish. The water seemed very warm the length of the stream, a fact attributed to the desert-like condition of Indian Creek’s headwaters where stream banks have been stripped of shade trees. Because the surrounding terrain is so rugged, there is little sign that this part of Indian Creek is ever visited apart from an occasional logger or our local Mountain Man, Monte Hulbert who makes his year-round home somewhere up in Indian Creek Canyon. Monte is a one-man encyclopedia of much of Anderson Valley’s wild country. He’s walked every inch of it, knows all the streams. There were no signs of pot growers on the four-mile trek. At one particularly treacherous confluence of stone, rushing water and deep pool, I lost my balance and fell in, spraining my wrist, destroying my camera (I’d promised a friend some pictures) and somehow snapping the straps on my pack. But other than that one minor mishap, the hike was uneventful. The only environmentally threatening sight we saw was at the bend in the stream just before we reached Clearwater; there, on its north bank, someone had cut an obviously non-sanctioned thirty or forty yards of road just above the stream. The road dead-ends where the same someone is milling a few logs. The road is new and much of it will wind up in Indian Creek with the first heavy rains. 

IT WOULDN’T take a lot of money and all that much labor to plant trees along the banks of the upper Indian Creek, the only trouble spot on its entire length. One doesn’t need a hundred experts and lots of money to do restoration work. Which may have been done by now. I haven’t re-visited the area in thirty years.

A FORT BRAGG friend says she is experimenting with hop plants as gopher deterrents but the results aren’t quite apparent on her tests. She says the gophers are so far mostly staying out of her garden this year, but she isn’t quite sure that the hops have kept them out.

EMIL ROSSI told me once that the only certain way to stop gophers is to shotgun them early in the morning at the first sign of their movement beneath the earth. Since I live in a neighborhood, I’m afraid this particular method of rodent repellent would likely be misunderstood and certainly unappreciated. I’ll try hops.

THE LATE MARGARET LaVANN may be gone but she’s left behind an enviable stock of vivid memories including one of the time a windy old priest, retired after years as a Navy chaplain to become the visiting priest at the Catholic Church in Philo, began a story from the pulpit of his seafaring days by fatally asking his congregation, “Did I tell you the one about.....” When Margaret yelled out from her pew, “Yes! Three weeks ago.” And this may only be part of that formidable lady’s mythology, but there’s a story of her in a physical struggle over the arrangement of the altar as the Philo parish became largely immigrant Mexican, the Mexicans insisting on the vivid, bleeding depiction of Guadalupe, Margaret and the outnumbered gringettes holding out for more gringo-traditional austerity.

JENNIFER CLARK: “Hello folks. I am a Mendocino College professor teaching creative writing at Anderson Valley High School this semester. I live in Fort Bragg, and commute to AVHS four times a week so the high school students there have the opportunity to take a college-level class without having to drive to Ukiah. Many of my students will be graduating in just over a week, and I will be attending graduation on June 8, and am planning to stay over at The Madrones for the night. I want to enjoy Wickson for dinner, along with a couple of glasses of wine, but I don't want to drink and drive to the graduation ceremony at AVHS. I do NOT want to set a bad example for my students, so my drink/drive policy is zero tolerance. I would love to hire someone to drive me from The Madrones at 6:30 pm to the grad ceremony, which starts at 7pm. It is literally a five minute drive. Any takers? I will pay a fair rate. Also, any suggestions on how to navigate this are much appreciated.”

ED NOTE: No insult intended, professor, but it seems to me that most young people need instruction in how to first compose a simple declarative sentence, then maybe a dozen or so of them making a literate whole, before they take up “creative writing.” This graduation season, as many before, most of the graduates read at a primary school level and are unable to compose a coherent paragraph.

IT'S JENNIFER [CLARK] AGAIN. "Hello Anderson Valley friends! I’m in a bit of a bind and hoping you folks can help. I need last-minute hair services! I am a guest faculty member at Anderson Valley High School this semester, teaching creative writing, and excited about attending graduation this coming Thursday. I’m not so excited about how my hair looks right now, though. Lol! I had an appt. for a cut and color with my normal stylist in Fort Bragg (where I live), but she’s sick as a dog, and can’t make the appt. Any chance there’s a stylist in Boonville who can do a cut and two-process color on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday morning this upcoming week? I can be to the salon by 9:30 am. I know it’s a long shot… Anyone out there who can help a sister out? Any recs? Much appreciated!" 

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