Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (July 5, 2023)


AV Skatepark Project Fall Fling Fundraiser

September 16th @ 3:30. AV Brewing Company (Boonville). Stellar line-up of local bands, yummy local food vendors, live auction and raffle! Stay tuned for details and advance ticket purchasing.

Volunteers needed! Please sign up here if you’re willing to help cover a shift at the event.

Raffle items needed! If you have any enticing items that you’re willing to donate to our raffle, please email our raffle coordinator at


This Thursday is the fifth Thursday of the month and the Quiz is held on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays. So there will be no quiz this week at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn. Looking forward to seeing you on July 6th. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster.

AV FOOTBALL COACH, JOHN TOOHEY: I thought you might like to have a link to our athletics and football website. I have a number of dedicated TA's next year who will be working exclusively on content, reports, and media for all of our athletics programs. If you have any questions about the upcoming season, please let me know. We had 23 signed up and participated in spring practice and a lot of returning experience. We are expecting a lot of improvement this coming season. (More info at

EVERY FEW YEARS I suggest consolidating the county's small schools for the purpose of fielding one competitive, 11-man football team, and this year I'm asking Boonville football coach, John Toohey, what he thinks of the idea. Anderson Valley; Point Arena; Mendocino; Laytonville, and Covelo, combined, could play up a league. Head coaches would rotate. Players would get together for group practices a couple of days a week to master a simple playbook. The rest of the week they could work out on their own. As it is, each of the small schools has maybe five athletes really into the game. Together, they'd have one formidable team.

REMEMBER BILL AND DONNA FAIT? Nice people. She worked at the Redwood Drive-In, he was a school bus driver for the Anderson Valley schools. A devoted Christian, Bill wasn’t offended by his community nickname, “Bible Bill.” He is also remembered for a peculiar episode one afternoon near Navarro when Bill, with a busload of little scholars, suddenly pulled over to place an emergency call back to the bus barns. The Devil had suddenly appeared and was now riding shotgun on Bill’s bus! Worse, Beezlebub seemed poised to assault Bill and take off with a busload of innocents! A substitute driver was hurriedly dispatched, but by the time the new driver appeared, Bill’s righteousness had beaten back this sneak attack by the sulphurous fiend, and all was well.

BILL AND DONNA left Boonville to become Church of Christ missionaries to the Ukraine. The Faits visited Boonville from Ukraine while Bill recovered from a surgery to remove what he described as “a tumor the size of a grapefruit,” which was flourishing in the orchard of Bill’s lower intestinal tract until it was discovered by a trio of Russian doctors that Bill describes as “super-competent.” The extraction was performed at a state hospital near Marivpol, a port and steel mill city of 400,000 on the Azob Sea where Bill and Donna represented their church. “Marivpol is called the ‘Miami of the Ukraine’,” Bill told me before adding that he’d heard the Azob had frozen over this winter so their Miami isn’t likely to be confused with ours any time soon. Bill was a veteran of 11 years driving an Anderson Valley school bus before he retired and headed out to the new Russian frontier, which they’d left years before today’s catastrophic fighting had commenced. I hope they’re well and prospering and unmolested by you know who, who never sleeps and is omni-present.

WHILE we’re wondering whatever happened to….. Whatever happened to Catfish Jack (Chauvin), Boonville’s harmonica player extraordinaire. Ebullient dude never without a smile. Jack became Catfish Jack in the days he and his family operated a fish market in Oakland patronized by some well-known blues musicians who would come into the store and ask, “How’s the catfish, Jack?” Which, in these days of surname reconfiguration, was soon amended to, “How’s it going, Catfish Jack.” Which stuck.

CATFISH JACK CHAUVIN'S HEALING JOURNEY Fund, organized by Gary and Margaret Pace Howe


(From the Minutes June 1st 2023 Water Projects Meeting)

The majority of the site work at the Valley Views site (in Boonville across from the Methodist Church) was completed on May 30, 2023. Engineer Steve Klick will return to the site tomorrow or early next week to take another round of groundwater level measurements and place protective covers over the monitoring wells. So far depth to seasonal high groundwater appears to be sufficient, but soil lab analysis may take an additional three weeks or so.

Drinking Water Project: Still awaiting water well acquisition contracts. Possibly three still out.”

Public Outreach For Drinking Water: Third mailing to be sent out June 1 or 2. It asks for a response by June 15. Current count for 195 parcels in proposed water district is 86 ‘yes’, 38 ‘no,’ 3 ‘maybe.’ There was a discussion about whether the (Airport) Meadow Estate non-responders would be included in the third survey.

AV AMBULANCE STAFFING STRETCHED THIN. AV Fire Chief Andres Avila told the Community Services District last Wednesday (June 21): “Our volunteers were able to barely pull off staffing the ambulance for two recent large events, Bike Monkey Race and Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (SNWMF). District staffing was maintained but stretched thin during both events. Our backup ambulance was utilized during both weekends when the other was committed on an incident. On the other hand, the last week of June we may need to down-staff the ambulance due to several volunteers all becoming unavailable at the same time. Clay [Eubanks, Ambulance Manager] has sent in a request to MedStar [Ukiah private ambulance company] for personnel and Clay and I will be trying to fill the gap. Down staffing means that the ambulance does not have a person sitting at the ambulance quarters on shift and available to respond immediately. The ambulance will still likely respond but on a delay and if enough EMS volunteers are available.”

THE AV GRANGE 30TH VARIETY SHOW IS UP on our very own youtube channel!

The youtube channel address is: AV Grange Variety Shows. Be sure it headlines "Random Acts of Variety." The current shows will probably be the first in line on the channel. They are very slightly edited versions of each whole show both Friday and Saturday, including of course Sarah and John's rendition of Anderson Valley Ho, it's the last act on Friday night.

To find your act or somebody else's you can scroll right along until you find it.

It's not like being there live believe me. The energy in the crowd in the moment really brings the show to life. We video the show for a record of it and so people can check out their own acts. We do not shoot it like a made for TV movie. But Mr. Mark Weaver of Redwood Video fame, (he had a film featured at this year’s Mendocino Film Festival), has done wonders and hours and hours of work to bring the shows to youtube so everyone can watch it for free. In the hopefully near future we intend to create a new channel with ALL 30 shows in order, whew. Also Chad, James and Guru of Emerald Triangle TV have pitched in with amazing technology that has added extra camera angles, audience shots and much more. It's a long way from our rather primitive single hand held Super 8 camera for the first shows. And next year IN MARCH we will be getting even better. So, think about an act, you'll be looking and sounding GREAT. take a look at this most recent youtube posting.

THE BECOMING FAMOUS AV GRANGE 2nd Sunday of every month Pancake Breakfast 

July 9th is this month’s 2nd Sunday. From 8:30 to 11:00 the Grangers will be giving out the secret recipe glorious griddlecakes at the AV Grange. You can count on bacon, eggs, coffee, orange juice with a variety of toppings featuring Derek's fabulous fruit combo. A great time to meet up with friends, neighbors and soon to be friends AND the price is right. Plus the added digestive compliment of the Deepend Woogies musically adding to a friendly ambience that frankly is not found elsewhere. Come on down, we'll be there for you. 

(Captain Rainbow)


Ernie Pardini: I'm confused about something and I'm hoping someone out there help me. Last year and several years before, we had very little precipitation and lower than normal flow in the Navarro River. Temperatures were much warmer than we've had this year. Surprisingly, we had very little algae and moss in the river., even In late summer. This year we had higher than average rainfall and temperatures have been unseasonably cool so far. Yet the river is already full of algae and moss. Can anyone help me to make sense out of this?

Jeff Burroughs: Actually, over the past few years the Navarro River has suffered greatly from high density algae blooms. This year, so far, I believe has been a fairly mild algae bloom, but an algae bloom just the same. Growing up on the Navarro River I had never witnessed such a thing as these algae blooms ever happening. After giving it much thought I have come to the conclusion that these algae blooms events started happening at the same time grape vineyards became the dominant agriculture in A.V. and the same time that massive tracts of land were being used for Marijuana cultivation. The high concentrations of nitrogen based fertilizers that both vineyards and Marijuana gardens use, along with the high water demands they impose on the water table, are the sole reason for the fish killing, water contaminating, disgusting algae blooms on the Navarro River we are seeing every year. Without intelligent oversight the illegal grows and the grape vineyards will eventually kill everything in or near the once beautiful Navarro River.


[1] Rebecca Aum: Went out to weed wack, plugged in my rechargeable battery but it wouldn't go in all the way. So I tried to force it in, but no. Took the battery off, looked at the connection and there was a small banana slug squished on/in the connections. Got the slug out with a knife (sorry slug), plugged it back in but only sputtering. Cleaned most of remainder of slug/slime off with q-tips and tp and then it worked. Isn't life interesting? Is there an easy way to clean off slug slime?

[2] Jenny Harrison: Gross! One of my sprinkler heads was not sending out much water, and when I went to check, I found a fat banana slug had been forced by the water through the sprinkler head and partially out into the air. It was not pretty, either. Enjoy your dinners, lol.

BACK WHEN TV segments on Anderson Valley were introduced by “Dueling Banjos,” the music meant, “We are now entering wild country where, if one strays from the pavement one risks an unthinkable foul fate at the hands of drooling rednecks.” In “The Wine Enthusiast,” an imaginative fellow called Steve Heimoff wrote, “Anderson Valley can only be reached by twisting roads through dark forests where bears and wildcats still prowl, where you’re as likely to meet a gun-toting, right-wing conspiracy buff as the child of a flower child committed to saving the redwoods. Of course most Mendocinoites fall somewhere between these extremes, but not by much.” These days it’s all about “the unhurried Napa Valley.” The flower children are long gone, but there are plenty of paranoids left, not that you’re likely to encounter one in a roadside wine bar.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Boonville Hotel Roars Into 1998 — It’s more open than it’s ever been…

The Boonville Hotel, Anderson Valley’s oldest public structure, has seen many changes in its nearly 150 years. Until the automobile chugged in around 1915, a traveler pausing at the Boonville Hotel could stable his horse out back, get a drink, a meal, a haircut and a shave, and fall asleep upstairs, all for about a buck fifty. Among the luminaries calling the Hotel home over the years, count Frank James, famous outlaw and brother of the infamous Jesse. Frank rode on out to Anderson Valley after a failed bank robbery in Minnesota where old neighbors from Missouri, most of them on the losing side, had settled after the Civil War. Fast forwarding to the mid-twentieth century, the Boonville Hotel was beginning to slip from its foundations into a state of slow motion collapse. A few retired folks lived full-time upstairs and the bar downstairs still drew the more committed night lifers who’d hoist a few among the antiques, human and decorative, before weaving across the street for a few more at the Boonville Lodge.

In the early 70s, a new wave of settlers having washed into The Valley, the Hotel’s economic potential was reassessed by counterculture entrepreneurs. Before long, pizzas were being served up out back and neo-Bruegalian festivities described by the newcomers as “boogies” broke out in the staid, nearly ghostly premises.

There followed the Vernon and Charlene Rollins interlude of 1983-86 that saw the Hotel hollowed out into an upscale and decidedly urban restaurant with stunning English gardens out back created by Stephanie and Chris Tebbutts. This package drew diners from around the world, many of them flying into Boonville to sample what all agreed was world class food. But the Rollins had dug themselves into a financial hole from which they could only emerge by fleeing, leaving the Hotel abandoned and forlorn investors on the phone to their lawyers. The Hotel again fell silent.

In 1988 the Schmitts arrived from successful restauranting not far south in Napa County and, ten years later, the upstairs rooms beautifully refurbished with great food served up downstairs, John Schmitt continues to work to make the Hotel “a place everyone in The Valley will use.” The ebullient Schmitt says he wants “to get people up the steps and through the door.” All doors, he makes clear.

Beginning this Friday, the Hotel’s back door will be as busy, if not busier, than its front entrance. Libby and Jose Favela, renowned for their wonderful Mexican food across the street at Taquiera zon Taco, have joined the Schmitts at The Hotel where Libby will serve lunches people can enjoy at the bar, in the revived patio on the Hotel’s north side and out back where a takeout window will open off the kitchen. “Same low prices, same great food,” Schmitt promises.

When his presence isn’t required in Libby’s kitchen , Jose Favela will be at work in the revived gardens, once so well-known in their Tebbutts’ period they attracted thousands of visitors to Boonville all by themselves. Again, as Schmitt emphasizes, “We want people to use this place. We want people in the gardens, we want people in here for Libby’s lunches, we want people in here at night for dinner and to enjoy the bar, we want people to stay here, and we want people to know that there’s all this and a beauty parlor, too.

Beauty parlor? Yes, out in the soon-to-be bustling Hotel backyard, there already exists the Hair Salon staffed by Cheryl and Dan Kissler who now live in Anderson Valley. The Kisslers enjoyed a strong Valley following at their beauty parlor in Ukiah, now transferred over the hill to the Boonville Hotel.

Also back with the Hotel is the popular and versatile Jeanne Eliades who will function as concierge, back up chef and all-purpose factotum.

As of this Friday, lunches, dinners, the bar, ten beautiful rooms, a beauty salon, and, when the sun shines, patios and gardens.

Until Valentine’s Day, the Hotel will remain on a weekend schedule. But as of February 14th, from 11am on into the night the Boonville Hotel will offer it all and then some.

ALL those glum faces around Elk? The departure of long-time resident Mike Koepf for permanent residence in Wyoming. “I don't know what we'll do without the colonel,” said one tearful resident of the seaside hamlet, a reference to Koepf's nickname around town, “Colonel Von Umlaut,” bestowed upon him one afternoon when the volatile kraut exploded over an argument about the umlaut. “I'm a German, you little faggot! If I say the Koepf surname deserves an umlaut, the Koepf surname will get an umlaut!” The umlaut dispute is believed to be the only such dispute in Mendocino County history. The Colonel, a standout comic figure in the vividly comic peoplescape of the Mendocino Coast will, perhaps, be remembered fondly by his handlers at the FBI office in San Francisco for whom he faithfully snitched during the Redwood Summer period of the early 1990s.

PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC Co. workers on Sunday before last were continuing to investigate what caused a massive weekend power failure that knocked out service to nearly 7,000 customers in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.

SATURDAY'S OUTAGE: Power went out to 6,925 customers at 10:23 a.m. Saturday morning, the day before, however it was fully restored about 90 minutes later — shortly before noon, according to the utility’s website. As of Sunday, crews had yet to determine the cause of the outage, said JD Guidi, a PG&E spokesperson. Customers clustered in two separate areas were affected. A majority of the impacted customers — about two-thirds or 4,700 — were located in Mendocino County, Guidi added. The first area was mostly situated along Highway 128 in Mendocino County. The southernmost area of the failure was near the intersection of Highway 128 and Mountain House Road, just northwest of Cloverdale. — Press Democrat


Comptche Upholstery is back in business! After taking a year and a half to rebuild after the fire Martin Miller is back at work in his Cleone shop. To make an appointment: Call his new phone number 707-971-6221 or Email Martin at

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *