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A TROUGH of low pressure and associated cold front will impact the region late tonight through Tuesday with rain, gusty southerly winds and much cooler daytime temperatures. Drier weather with rebounding temperatures will develop Wednesday into to late next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A foggy 49F on the coast this Sunday morning. The sun ALMOST came out at my place yesterday, but not quite. The fog bank stretches from Seattle to San Diego. After some possible sun later today rain is forecast for Monday & Tuesday, & then again early next week.
ANDERSON VALLEY EVENTS today:
Free Entry to Hendy Woods State Park for local residents
Sun 10 / 08 / 2023 at 7:00 AM
Where: Hendy Woods State Park
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3013)
AV GRANGE PANCAKE and Egg BREAKFAST
Sun 10 / 08 / 2023 at 8:30 AM
Where: Anderson Valley Grange , 9800 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/2858)
Sun 10 / 08 / 2023 at 12:00 PM
Where: 12761 Anderson Valley Way, Boonville, CA 95415
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3539)
The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 10 / 08 / 2023 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville , CA 95415
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/2933)
‘GREEN LIGHT’ FOR NEW MENDOCINO COUNTY COURTHOUSE
by Mike Geniella
State court officials are in final negotiations with two nationally recognized firms to jointly oversee the design, engineering, and construction of a new $144 million Mendocino County Courthouse.
The contracts are expected to be formally signed by the end of October; a step that is being described as the “green light” for a long sought local project that promises to reshape the downtown Ukiah core. The California Judicial Council currently designates the Mendocino County project, and another smaller courthouse in neighboring Lake County, as the highest priorities on a list of 20 active courthouse-related work statewide.
The soon-to-be signed state contracts give new impetus for local agencies to prepare for changes that are coming to the core of Ukiah.
“This is a major milestone,” said Kim Turner, executive officer for the Mendocino County Superior Court. “The judges are excited. I am excited.”
Turner said she’s been engaged for months at the state level in review of proposals for the new courthouse from major construction and architectural firms. In late September, the state selected Hansel Phelps Corp. and Fentress Architects, two Colorado based firms with experience in designing and building state-of-the-art government, academic, medical and transportation facilities across the U.S. and around the world. Both firms are highly rated nationally for embracing “green” design and construction techniques.
Hansel Phelps and Fentress each have Northern California regional offices and have worked together in a “design and build” process that is now a state requirement. Their completed projects include the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland and a new administrative complex in Contra Costa County.
“The state process is very complex and detailed but once the contracts are formally signed, we are there,” said Turner. She said the formal awarding of the contracts is expected by Oct. 31. The official timetable now is a year-long development of final design and engineering plans followed by a review by the Division of State Architect and the state Fire Marshal.
Construction at the Ukiah site is slated to begin in early 2025, according to Blaine Corren, a spokesman for the Judicial Council of California. The state acquired the site in 2016, and initially planned the new courthouse to be completed by 2020 but budget crunches delayed the project until now.
If all goes well for the Ukiah project, Turner said, “It is possible we could have the first spade in the ground by this time next year.”
The new 82,000 square foot courthouse will be built on a 4.1 acre site that wraps around the historic Ukiah Train Depot on Perkins Street. Existing railroad tracks run immediately west of the location.
A conceptual design prepared for the new courthouse in 2021 depicts a three-story block-like structure surrounded by parking for 160 vehicles. The initial proposal drew a lukewarm response from the public.
Turner said the two selected firms are likely to present modifications to the existing design concept for the new seven-courtroom building, which was specifically developed for the rectangular shaped site south of Perkins Street.
Turner said there are limitations, however, to possible changes in the current concept because of the physical space available for the building, parking, and other ancillary needs.
“Also, we cannot exceed the approved budget, or the square footage,” said Turner.
Turner said once final plans are in place for the new courthouse, there will be an opportunity for public review locally.
The new courthouse is to be built three long blocks away from its current historic site in the center of Ukiah since the 1860s.
The fate of the current 1950s-era main courthouse, and an adjacent century-old limestone clad building fronting School Street remains uncertain. Ownership will revert to the county of Mendocino County when the courts move into the new courthouse.
The existing courthouse is a mishmash of offices and courtrooms, with elevator access limited to three of its five floors. Millions of dollars in deferred maintenance undermines the structural integrity of the 72-year-old building, which has been labeled a “high-risk seismically deficient building” by federal agencies. As it is, the current courthouse suffers from inadequate heating and cooling systems, inmate security issues, and “woefully inadequate” state and public parking even with city-owned parking lots in surrounding areas.
State officials from the beginning rejected any possibility of gutting and remodeling the current courthouse as some officials including District Attorney David Eyster advocated. The existing structure is considered “seriously flawed,” according to a state analysis. Currently, the county District Attorney’s Office occupies most of the ground floor but there is no room for the District Attorney provided in the new courthouse.
There has been talk of razing the existing courthouse structure that fronts State Street and turning the space into a new downtown square. The historic limestone clad annex facing School Street could be saved for other public use, according to proponents.
Locally, it is a dollars and cents issue that is fueling uncertainty surrounding the demise of the county courthouse downtown.
The city of Ukiah hopes a new courthouse will spur commercial and retail development along a random section of Perkins Street but there is no longer a redevelopment agency to help finance any development-related projects.
At the county level, finances are shaky at best. There has been talk that some scattered county offices could be consolidated in the old courthouse, possibly saving lease and maintenance payments but that raises the question of what agency would be responsible for costs to bring the building up to code and seismic safety standards. Whether the county has significant money available for any major upgrades is questionable. Some members of the current county Board of Supervisors insist the county is already suffering from a $7-$10 million structural budget deficit.
In the private sector, meanwhile, downtown shop and restaurant owners are worried that relocation of the county courthouse from its historic site will seriously alter the volume of foot traffic that they depend on.
City and county representatives have formed an ad hoc committee and are engaged in talks about the future of a downtown without the courthouse at its heart. But so far, no plans have emerged.
What is clear is the new state-financed courthouse is likely to be the costliest local public works project ever, and its relocation from Ukiah’s core promises to reshape the face of downtown.
UPCOMING HISTORICAL SOCIETY EVENTS
On Saturday, October 14th, join us at the Historical Society on Saturday, for our collection clear out sale: https://www.mendocinocountyhistory.org
Over the past few years, the Historical Society of Mendocino County has been cataloguing their collection and removing any items that no longer fit their mission of collecting, preserving, and sharing the diverse history of Mendocino County.
Hundred of history books covering all topics will be for sale, as well as many rare, first edition, signed by the author, and out-of-print history books. The majority of the books range from the 1930s to more recent publications. Prices range from $1, $5, $10, $20, and up. Additionally, there will be a small selection of antiques for sale.
Our next general membership meeting will be held in Fort Bragg on Sunday, December 17th at Silver’s at the Wharf, located at 32260 North Harbor Drive. Check-in will start at 11:30 and lunch will start at noon. There will be a presentation about the Finnish community on the coast given by Sylvia Bartley, a long time Mendocino County Historian. We will also have our book, “The Nelson Brothers,” by Allen Nelson available to purchase at a discount. The cost for lunch will be $25.00. RSVP now! email@example.com
BIG RIVER RESTORATION TOUR, 10/28
If you’ve been curious about the work that’s been going on along Big River, a talk and field tour examining its ecological importance and recent stream restoration efforts is scheduled for Saturday, October 28th beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Preston Hall in Mendocino. The event is being hosted by The Institute for Conservation, Advocacy, Research, and Education in collaboration with California State Parks and Trout Unlimited. Terra Fuller, Senior Environmental Scientist for California State Parks, Anna Halligan, North Coast Coho Project Coordinator for Trout Unlimited, and Engineering Geologist Elias Steinbuck will speak about restoration projects to benefit fish, wildlife, and water quality including the newly-completed fish passage project located at Dry Dock Gulch. The public is invited to attend. A field tour will follow at 1 p.m., but is limited to 4 cars and 16 attendees willing to carpool; advance reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, contact Christina Aranguren at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space in this rare and special event.
PURPLE PIPE PROJECT - A billion gallons of water recycled - Ukiah celebrates achievement Thursday
by Justine Frederiksen
Fifth-graders from Yokayo Elementary listened politely Thursday morning as a state water official praised the city of Ukiah’s recycled water program — until he mispronounced the name of their school.
“Yo-kay-oh,” a few of the students exclaimed, and Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, quickly corrected himself, adding: “I knew I would get that wrong!”
Esquivel was in Ukiah on Oct. 5 to help the city celebrate creating one billion gallons of recycled water with its Purple Pipe Project, which four years ago began taking water from the sewage treatment plant and putting it back into use for applications like irrigation and dust-control.
“How many of you knew that flushing the toilet was part of the water cycle?” Esquivel asked the kids before thanking all of the employees at the city’s facility for their hard work, then encouraging the students to consider pursuing similar vocations. “These are jobs … that are only going to continue to increase, with the challenges we are facing (in terms of water supply).
“I go up and down the state, so I know there is a lot of tension (surrounding water rights and availability), but this community is a model — a model of how you take what can be anxiety around those challenges and actually turn it into action,” Esquivel continued. “These last few years I know have been hard in the Russian River Watershed, and they have been hard throughout the West, and even globally. This (recycled water facility) is a 21st Century project for these 21st Century challenges that we’re all facing.”
Then Esquivel introduced who “we are all actually here to hear from” — Yokayo fifth-grader Axel Alvarado, who read a speech written by all the students in his class.
“Imagine the Russian River dry and empty, farmers without water to feed their crops and kids without green grass to play on. Is this the future we want?” said Alvarado. “Luckily, our water treatment plant is keeping that from becoming a reality.”
Teacher Emily Williams, who said Alvarado was chosen to read the speech because he was well-spoken and frankly “the bravest,” said she started bringing her class to the facility because the father of another of her students works there.
“And it’s been great for them to see it during the drought, and then during this time of abundance,” said Williams, standing near the enormous ponds that the city uses to store reclaimed water before delivering it to vineyards, parks and other properties via miles and miles of purple pipe.
Of course, many of her students didn’t need to visit the treatment facility to understand how water supply affects both the environment and the economy of the Ukiah Valley, as many of them have parents who work for grape growers who resorted to “dry farming” during the ongoing drought, which significantly reduced their yield and therefore their need for workers.
“So they already know how a lack of water can affect their lives,” said Williams of the loss of income many local families faced due to the drought.
“As the climate changes, we have to think about new ways to get water,” 1st District Mendocino County Supervisor Glenn McGourty told the crowd. “So this facility represents the future — the idea that we don’t use water once then throw it away, that’s very wasteful. We have the ability to use it at least twice, and it’s really extraordinary for a little town like Ukiah to have such a sophisticated water system.”
“In an era when climate change challenges all of our traditional norms, and when every drop of water is precious, this accomplishment stands as a model for responsible water management,” said Mayor Mari Rodin. “Today, as we celebrate the one billionth gallon of recycled water, we are reaffirming our commitment to the future. Recycling water is more than just a technical achievement, it’s a statement that says we value our environment, and we understand the challenges posed by changing climate and the unpredictability of our rainy season. And we’re ready to lead by example. We’re acting not just as a city, but a partner in the Ukiah Valley.”
Second District Mendocino County Supervisor Maureen Mulheren said she had been honored to introduce the facility in a similar ceremony in 2019 when she was mayor of Ukiah, and was looking forward to Phase 4 of the city’s recycled water project, which will deliver reclaimed water to many more schools and parks and “our community will actually see the Purple Pipe go into the ground on the other side of the freeway.”
READY TO GO STRAIGHT
I am 37 years old. I live in Ukiah and am currently homeless, unemployed and incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail for vandalism. I am only in jail because I missed my court date, mainly because the courts are so overworked and understaffed that when the police ticket people and set the court dates they schedule the dates out 90 days from the date of the incident.
I'm not saying I'm completely without fault. I could have taken steps to ensure that I made it to court. But I thought I could do it on my own. I was wrong.
My lifestyle: I'm homeless and unemployed and because of this situation I have made several bad choices. But I'm now ready to rectify those choices. I am ready to turn my life around and make a change for the better. I am already well on my way towards sobriety and would prefer not to get back into my old habits. If anyone would be willing to help someone who truly wants a better life, I would appreciate it. I do not know exactly how long I'm looking at, but that's no matter to me. What matters is what I have to look forward to when I get out of here.
I hope someone who reads this will feel in their heart to possibly help me out with a job. I can do a lot of different things. My main interests are cooking, manual labor and auto mechanics. I also grow plants very well. I can grow all kinds of houseplants or I can grow weed. I'm hoping to find work and a place for myself my daughter and dog to stay. If I can get that then I can definitely change my life. If anyone would be interested in helping someone change himself please write to me personally at Warren Beck A#74145, Mendocino County Jail. P.O. Box 247, Phoenix, MD 21131 (a maildrop).
Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from someone soon.
Thanks again, God bless.
COACH JOHN TOOHEY:
Homecoming was an interesting game. We had a soccer game scheduled for Thursday night but the opponent, Credo High School, had it scheduled for Friday and they made an error by not showing up. We moved the game to Friday thanks to our official’s flexibility, but that meant that three of our football players could not show up until halfway through the second quarter of the football game. We were holding a two score lead before they showed up but we were letting them hang around due to some early turnovers. Jack Spacek was carrying the load on offense for most of the first half until Eric Perez arrived in uniform. For a first year football player, Eric has an amazing feel for how to navigate traffic in the run game. He found the end zone immediately on his first touch and not a defender laid a hand on him. He ended up with three touchdowns on offense and one on defense after intercepting Round Valley - we are a different team with him in the game.
Defensively, we struggled a bit as Round Valley was predominantly a throwing team, and we have had limited reps and almost no game experience in how to zone drop against the passing attack. The kids adjusted on the fly well enough to get some big Stops and let the offense take the game over - but we will have to work on tackling in space this week.
Some other notable achievements came from Freshman Eric Valesco who recorded his first two touchdowns of his athletic career. Orion Chagoya, who last year didn’t know the difference between football and footloose, was making himself extremely hard to block and recorded a huge QB sack and multiple pressures. Miguel Marron, after improving his grades, was eligible for his first contest - and before bilateral calf cramps reminded us all he wasn’t in game shape, he was making big contributions on both sides of the ball. Homecoming King Sam Guerrero and Junior Fullback Luis Perez made it easy for all of our skill players to find the end zone. The Spacek Brothers were, as usual, the physical soul of the team.
We are currently 3-3 - 2-0 in league.
Next week will be a different kind of opponent: Roseland University Prep is a school of 500 students pulling from the quarter million population talent pool that is Santa Rosa. They are a “public” charter school with nearly 30 players. They run a single wing offense behind some big bodies. “Why is a school like that in our league?” is a common question - and a legitimate one, and the answer to that question is as complicated as it is unsatisfying.
That said, this group is up for the challenge and looking forward to blocking and tackling regardless of the political maneuvering that happened to put the opponent across the ball. We are playing very well against our traditional opponents, and we’re playing intelligent, sophisticated football.
We will be away the next two weeks - at Roseland Saturday at noon, and then at John Swett, another 500 student school in Crockett just outside Vallejo the Friday after. Then we have Cornerstone Christian of Antioch at home before finishing with familiar Potter Valley to wrap up the season.
ROSE FOWLER, daughter of Boonville’s master woodcarver Robert Fowler, is proving the adage “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” As a first time entrant in the Mendocino County Apple Fair, she entered five paintings and was awarded two 1st place ribbons, one 2nd place, and one 3rd place.
INDIAN CREEK PARK (Philo) is the only park in the County Parks system that allows overnight camping. It is a popular retreat for many – visitors from all over the country have enjoyed this quiet “getaway” spot only 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Besides the roomy campsites, Indian Creek Park offers running water, picnic tables, clean restrooms, and BBQ grills.
Indian Creek Campground's 10 sites are open on a "first-come first-serve" basis beginning the first weekend in April until the last weekend in October. Enjoy this amazing weather before it's too late!
Campground rates are $35.00 per night, this fee includes 1 vehicle. For any additional vehicles there is a $5 fee.
Measure Q will be on the Nov. 7, 2023 ballot in Fort Bragg:
“Shall the City of Fort Bragg’s special purpose transactions and use tax (streets sales tax) for the maintenance, repair, and reconstruction of the City’s streets, which is currently scheduled to expire on December 31, 2024, be extended, until repealed by the voters, at the current one half of one percent rate, generating approximately $1,352,000 in revenues annually that can be used by the City exclusively to maintain, repair, and reconstruct the City’s streets?”
JEFF GOLL: AVA, really good packed issue today with Frank Hartzell's "Cal Fire will try to Restart its Stalled JDSF New Vision" and good writing again with James Kunstler's Halloween parable. Convoluted meetings with the JAG board combined with "Cal Fire taking the position that they are not subject to open meeting laws but are more like foreign diplomacy" is no way to treat the public interests of "The People’s Forest." "It's the process we must follow," Kevin Conway said. Wash, rinse and repeat. No wonder Michael Hunter, Priscilla Hunter and Polly Girvin were no shows at this meeting. On it goes…
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Rascal is a handsome, cheerful boy! When he came to us as a stray, he had skin and eye issues, but our clinic is giving him the best care, and he’s feeling so much better. In our Meet & Greet Room, Rascal was happy to see new faces, and would show them his supper awesome zoomie skills! We introduced Rascal to a female dog, and he was all play, so he could possibly go to a home with a k9 buddy! Rascal is a supper good boy, but we recommend basic obedience and daily exercise to keep him happy and healthy! Rascal is 2 years old and 53 lively pounds.
For more about Rascal and all our adoptable dogs and cats, head to mendoanimalshelter.com
For information about adoptions, call 707-467-6453.
Check out our Facebook Page and share our posts! And, if you’re looking for a puppy, the shelter is full of the cutest and sweetest pups.
Click here to see them all!
LONG STORY ABOUT COVELO (Early history is inaccurate, but it all catches the vibe, so to say)
An Awful Legacy of Violence in the Round Valley
Beneath the rugged beauty of this corner of Northern California lies a history of forcibly relocated Indigenous tribes and genocide. Today, unspeakable crimes continue.
by Daniel Duane
News of the murders of Nicholas Whipple and Ruby Sky Montelongo, earlier this year in the remote Round Valley of Mendocino County, caught my attention because of two irreconcilable truths. The first of these, Mendocino’s role as paradise in my private California cosmos, dates to the early 1970s, when families from my childhood block in Berkeley pooled money to buy 5,600 acres near the Mendocino town of Ukiah in order to start a commune that they called Greenfield Ranch. Summers, Mom and Dad drove us to Greenfield in the VW, let my sister and me skinny-dip with hippie kids and walk moonlit forest to cabins where kerosene lanterns lit the windows and live bluegrass harmonized with the night crickets. Decades later, when my wife and I wanted our own two kids to drink from that Aquarian source, we dropped them at Camp Winnarainbow, near Greenfield, to learn tie-dye and juggling from Wavy Gravy, 1960s political clown.
The second related truth, shadowing the first, is the mass murder of Indigenous people in Mendocino during the gold rush—and, in the Round Valley itself, historical evil so night-dark that it operates like the event horizon of a black hole, from which no light escapes. I wondered, in other words, whether there might be something important for me to learn—some way to make sense of our shared present tense—in the story of how Nicholas Whipple, 20-year-old poet, father, and enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, wound up dead by the side of a road on the cold morning of March 29, beaten so savagely that only during a later autopsy did anyone figure out that he’d also been shot at close range with an assault rifle. I wondered the same about Ruby Sky Montelongo, age 16 and likewise a Round Valley tribal member, found on April 15 and killed, authorities suspect, by a girl whose name was not being released because she was herself only 15 years old.…
THE DMV WRITTEN TEST FOR SENIORS
I just took the DMV written test from hell! In fact, even the staff there said many are complaining and even lawsuits have happened. We're told lawyers revised the test given them by DMV for approval!
The electronic version is filled with number of feet, and amount of fines and number of seconds and other memorization detail to recall along with other tricky questions—some not in the manual and one absolutely not accurate!
I failed it twice—never happened before for me on their tests! So I studied some more and created what I call is a “cheat sheet” of data from the 100 page manual that includes all those numbers they seem to think we should memorize. Then I retook the test — this time the paper version. Much easier! I passed.
If anyone wants the cheatsheet email me. I'll be happy to share it.
* * *
I agree, the test is ridiculous and has nothing to do with testing your fitness to drive.
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I agree that the DMV test is ridiculous. I'm embarrassed to say how many times I failed after never failing a test in 55 years of driving.
Definitely take the paper test. At first I did it on the computer and sometimes didn't read the question carefully enough. As soon as I clicked on an answer I knew it wasn't right, but couldn't change it. On paper it's easier to take time to think and you can go back and change your answer (they give pencils with erasers!). Some of the questions made no sense. Makes one wonder who comes up with these tests. Good luck to all!
EVER NOTICE the absence in many bookstores, new and used, of true crime books? There are thousands of nonfiction true crime tomes out there, but they're hard to find on bookstore shelves. I've always envied Ann Rule's break-through idea that made her a fortune — simply re-write and jazz up police reports. Her most interesting book, for my money, is the one she wrote about a charming young man she worked with on liberal political campaigns, Ted Bundy. Ann had no idea her smart, unfailingly polite workmate was spending his recreational hours raping and murdering young women, 37 of them in all.
WHICH brings me to the AVA's true crime collections, Behind the Green Curtain and Mendo Noir, steady sellers going on 25 years now, and a bunch of Mendo crime stories yet to be collected. The stories hold up pretty well, if I do say so myself, as pictures of Mendocino County at the time.
LARRY WAGNER'S LATE DAHLIA:
Mine, too. My purples bloomed only last week.
MEMO OFF THE AIR
Technical issues, dang.
KNYO’s transmitter is off the air for repair. But I’d prepared a show, so I did it last night, all night, streaming live on the web, anyway, and now I’m having problems uploading the recording.
I’ve sent a message to Hank, but he has a life and I’m not expecting help immediately. I have theater work tonight and can’t get back to this until probably midnight PST anyway.
As soon as things are resolved I’ll update this.
Sorry for the interruption of service.
FREE UP THE JIVAN MUKTAS
Non-Dual Realization Swami Sarvapriyananda Lecture WAKE UP!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTL3uZyDMs8
Warmest spiritual greetings, Please know that I am available on the planet earth for frontline direct action in regard to the environmental global crisis and related peace and justice issues. As this world segues from the dark phase of Kali Yuga to the Satya Yuga age of truth and light in the yugic cycle, let we the jivan muktas take appropriate action, by destroying the demonic and returning this world to righteousness, which is the explicit role of the avatar. Simple as that.
Craig Louis Stehr
Thank you so much to the incredible members of the Ukiah Valley Trail Group for inviting me to their amazing fundraiser Friday night!
It was truly inspiring to witness the passion and dedication of this volunteer organization. The UVTG is committed to preserving, enhancing, and establishing trails in the Inland of Mendocino County. They serve as a vital information center for trailwork, promote volunteerism, and work closely with land managers and partners to plan and execute projects. Through their tireless efforts, they ensure that our existing trails are well-maintained and open to all, while also creating new trails in our undeveloped lands.
I spent two weeks in portions of Idaho and Utah and always, with a rare exception or two, had cell phone coverage and access to the internet. Even when driving down a highway with literally no one in sight. This is because cell towers are everywhere, even in the remote rural areas.
This was on my mind when I read in the WSJ today how companies are "bringing the office" to remote workers who moved away during Covid. This means companies rent office space (WeWork for example) in the communities where their dispersed work force are located.
Which finally gets me to my point. Give the green light for the cell providers to build new towers in the County, including on the mill site. Collaborate with WeWork to build office space. Recruit remote workers who don't want to go back to SF, LA or Sacramento to work.
Hard work, right? Controversy, to be sure. What's the alternative? More decline until the County, especially the coastal areas, has only tourism and low paying jobs?
A READER WRITES: Was craving some theater, and came across this. Thought you would get a kick out of it: a play set in Boonville is coming to Berkeley Repertory Theater. Looks like a zinger. Boonville must have a million stories!
LARRY PARSONS, THE BLIND WINEMAKER OF PEPPERWOOD SPRINGS
Interviewed by Bruce Anderson (November, 1984)
Ed Note; What is most impressive about Larry Parsons is his utter lack of self pity. There are people who say that not only does Parsons lack self pity but that he is feisty and aggressive, standing on its head the stereotype of the dependent blind. Larry Parsons was born to a family of prune and cotton pickers in Bakersfield 37 years ago. Parsons has overcome the double whammy of extreme poverty and his disability, to achieve an enviable and unique place among California winemakers. It’s been a tough road but Parsons is a tough cookie.
* * *
AVA: I must say I admire you enormously. You are not regarded as a handicapped person by the locals, which means to me that your strength of personality has caused people to forget or ignore it. The quiche eaters seem rather fearful of you, another plus. Right off I'd like you to tell me if this story is true. I’ve heard a lot of Larry Parson’s stories but this one is my favorite:
One day the deputies were called to the Holmes Ranch because a posse of immediate neighbors.was claiming that you were hunting quail by leaning out your window and blasting away while the kid who was driving directed fire by shouting, “Left, right, up more, down…’’ and so forth.
Parsons: Absolutely untrue. I happened to be in the vehicle of a local high shool student who was hunting. I was just along for the ride.
AVA: How do you account for the extreme hostility directed your way by certain persons?
PARSONS: I think some of it arises from the fact that people resent me because I have something going and they don’t. That along with mistrust of business people generally and the fact that my winery is out of sync with the neighborhood. They would probably rather have me down on 128 with all the other wineries. The have-nots have to learn that the haves will not be pushed around. I won’t tolerate any kind of harrassment.
AVA: When did you move up here to the Holmes Ranch?
Parsons: We arrived in May of 1980. There was a barn-like structure on the property we connected to the home we built. Five acres of grapes were here, planted by an airline pilot and a school teacher.
AVA: What attracted you to Anderson Valley?
Parsons: It’s a wonderful mixed bag of people. We have an opportunity for relationships of any and all styles. In the city you tend to associate only with people like yourself. It’s the variety that makes living here very attractive. Plus, I’m not far from business interests I maintain in the Bay Area.
AVA: I’m trying to inform myself about wines and the wine industry so I hope you will tolerate some of the dumb questions coming up. What attracted you to making wines?
Parsons: I come from a family of alcoholics! I think the interest grew naturally out of my family circumstances. I started tinkering when I was about six, trying to make wine and beer at home.
AVA: Why did it take so long for Anderson Valley to become a recognizable area for growing premium grapes?
Parsons: Probably because of its isolation. The Napa Valley is much closer to the markets and only recently has there been an awareness of the unique growing conditions of Anderson Valley. There is now much more awareness of quality wines.
AVA: Is the Valley well-known among people who fancy wine?
Parsons: It is still little-known. Anderson Valley is often confused with Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. But it is obviously becoming more and more identifiable as a distinct area. The New Boonville Hotel, the wines, the wineries, your newspaper, Boontling, all seem to be putting the place on the map.
AVA: It seems to me, as a person ignorant of the industry, that every weekend there is a wine contest somewhere and all the wineries award one another gold medals, sort of like a little league awards dinner, everyone gets something. Last year, there was a very amusing story in the Press Democrat about a hot shot European wine writer: whose trip out here was financed by Napa Valley wineries. In the course of a talk, the wine critic said that 80 percent of American wines weren’t worth a damn. He quickly reneged when he realized that wineries weren’t going to pass out freebies to their critics. So what are the standards? How can you tell a mediocre wine from a good one?
Parsons: We are influenced by marketing strategies. Probably most people’s wine buying is determined by advertisements of one kind or another. The truly sophisticated let their palates be their guide. There are four and five dollar bottles of wine superior to twenty dollar bottles, let me tell you. But there are all sorts of prejudices at work that determine the success of certain wines and wineries. A number of California winemakers know that our wines are as good as any European wine. But many Europeans have a bias against anything American, especially wines because they have seniority in the field. A good wine is one you like. It can be that simple. Don’t let the experts tell you different. My advice is to stop reading and start tasting!
AVA: How about the wine experts, the judges at all these contests?
Parsons: Most are terrifically prejudiced. They taste all day. Their palates are overwhelmed. Many of them don’t have the same taste as John Doe Public. The small wineries have to compete for the attention of the wine-buying public so competitions are important, like them or not.
AVA: Did the fact that Reagan took Husch wines to China with him make any difference?
Parsons: Of course it did! The publicity and resulting name recognition that came to Husch as a result of Reagan’s purchase was invaluable to Husch.
AVA: Are wine critics corruptible? Can you buy good press?
Parsons: If you can I’ve never heard of it happening. They must get tons of free wines but I’m not aware that gifts of wine influence their opinions.
AVA: Is it possible for these huge wineries to make quality wine?
Parsons: It’s possible, but the bigger you get, the more difficult it is because of the increase of variables, more things can go wrong.
AVA: Do you make any attempt to sell your wines locally? .
Parsons: Vernon Rollins, at the New Boonville’ Hotel, helps all the Valley wineries enormously because he stocks them all. But some places, like the Heritage House, still have all out-of-county wines for sale. I understand, though, the Heritage House will soon go local. I’m the new kid on the block in this business so I’ve got to work hard for recognition.
AVA: Will you still be making wine when you’re an old man?
PARSONS: Yes! I love wines and winemaking.
I love the romance of the industry.
AVA: How dependable is your labor force? I understand there was intense competition among wineries for pickers this season.
Parsons: The Mexican work force is becoming more sophisticated. Harvests are their big chance of the year to make some real money and they informally have banded together to get top dollar. More power to them. They are wonderful. hard working people. Some entrepenuers of engineering should move to the Valley to employ these people. They wouldn't regret it.
AVA: Have you a parting remark or shot for us?
Parsons: Yes. If more people would learn braile, all the blind drunks could find my wines on the shelves easier!
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, October 7, 2023
RYAN LEE, Portland, Oregon/Laytonville. DUI.
VANCE MADSON, Willits. Robbery, probation violation.
GREGORY NEELY, Willits. Domestic battery, assault weapon, short barreled rifle, unspecified offense.
SEAN POTTS, Sutter/Ukiah. DUI.
EDUCATING THESE DAYS
In my many years as an elementary school teacher I saw plenty of two-parent families with difficult children as well as the well-behaved and competent ones from single-parent homes.
Many children are better off without two adults who are constantly fighting and making a household filled with strife. Look around at the many famous individuals from the arts to politics who have come from one-parent homes and thrived.
What needs to be done is not condemn those who are unable or unwilling to be part of a two-parent family and instead spend money to fix the root of this: poverty, along with lack of education, parenting skills training, job training, affordable health care and child care. Improve these things and children might grow up to be better people as well as better parents.
THE TRUE STATE OF THE NATION
KEN BETTS: While in college (with arguably more than an IQ 80) I worked two summers in the auto industry on the shop floor to pay my way through. That was in the 70's. I was paid about 9 dollars an hour for a day shift and extra for the night shift and over time. I earned enough to pay for my college education. According to https://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1976?amount=9" I was earning the inflation adjusted equivalent of about 50 dollars per hour! That's three times the current rate of 17 dollars per hour. Seems quite obvious why workers are pissed off. They are paid only 1/3 of what they were paid 50 years ago.
MAUREEN CALLAHAN: This may be, dare we hope, a revolutionary moment for women's sports, one we'll look back on as the fight that changed everything. On Thursday, elite female swimmers at Virginia's Roanoke College revealed the trauma they'd suffered after a transgender athlete had joined their team without consultation. Shockingly, they said they had been abandoned by their coach, their university and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) - which still has no rules or practices regarding trans athletes in women's sports - and left to deal with the ramifications entirely by themselves. How remarkable these young women are. Such a public stance would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. All you have to do is look at the backlash suffered by anyone who has dared speak up against Lia Thomas. Even parents of female swimmers at the University of Pennsylvania, where Thomas began swimming on the women's team after transitioning, had to write a letter of protest anonymously. That was in December 2021. Flash forward to this week when three captains of the Roanoke team spoke exclusively to DailyMail.com about their ordeal...
TRAVIS, DON’T FUMBLE TAYLOR!
by Maureen Dowd
The blond glamour girl and the sports superstar were doomed from the start.
The galaxy exploded when Marilyn Monroe, sex goddess, and Joe DiMaggio, Joltin’ Joe, married at City Hall in San Francisco on Jan. 14, 1954. Sequins at bat.
I have a black-and-white shot of the two kissing at the ceremony — Marilyn in that sweet black sweater with a white fur collar. I got it because it’s a journalistic artifact: The New York Times photo editor who chose the picture got demoted because Marilyn’s mouth was slightly open and the publisher considered it a breach of taste.
During their honeymoon in Japan, Monroe took a side trip to entertain the troops in Korea. The reception she got, singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in a glittery dress on a freezing day, was rapturous.
“It was so wonderful, Joe,” she told her new husband when she returned. “You never heard such cheering!”
“Yes, I have,” he replied churlishly.
And that was the end of that. DiMaggio married the luminous star and tried to snuff out her light. He got furious when she filmed the famous scene for Billy Wilder’s “The Seven Year Itch,” standing over a Gotham subway grate as her white pleated halter dress went up in a pouf. The self-regarding sportsman didn’t like the competition, so he tried to turn the most scintillating sex symbol in the world into a hausfrau cooking his spaghetti.
I’d like to think things have changed in seven decades, that men are thrilled to be in romances with high-powered women, try to be supportive and are happy to share the spotlight with magnetic partners, with nary a worry that they’ll be eclipsed by these wonder women.
But Chloe Domont’s sizzling erotic drama, “Fair Play,” which debuted Friday on Netflix, posits that competition between the genders is still a dicey issue.
Emily, played by Phoebe Dynevor, and Luke, played by Alden Ehrenreich, both work at a financial firm as analysts. They are in love and get secretly engaged. But when she is promoted to portfolio manager, a spot that Nepo Baby Luke assumed would be his, their relationship tanks.
A brooding Luke can’t or won’t have sex and accuses Emily of leapfrogging over him because she’s “hot” and must be sleeping with the boss — even though she clearly has superior financial instincts. He rattles her confidence by telling her that she dresses “like a cupcake,” referring to a small ruffle on her high-necked white blouse. Passion curdles into violence.
The movie revived my old feeling that, while the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, the perfume of female power can be a turnoff for men.
Have men evolved on the issue of equality more slowly? Even very successful men have confessed to me that they feel intimidated by powerful women, preferring mates who are more malleable and more awed by them.
And so, I worry for Taylor Swift.
Her romance with Travis Kelce, the charming Kansas City Chiefs tight end, has mesmerized the country in a Mars-Venus moment. The macho NFL is thrilled that Taylor’s joyous appearances at games are luring more of her perfervid female fan base to watch football. (I admit, I tuned in to the Chiefs-Jets game to see the colliding constellations of “Swelce.”)
Swift seems to be in a win-win situation with Travis. Either she gets a boyfriend or another revenge song. (“There is nothing I do better than revenge,” she sings.)
And certainly, it’s a windfall for Travis in terms of soaring jersey sales, podcast audience and demand for appearances and ads.
But capitalism aside, will their crush get crushed by an avalanche of attention?
Even Travis’s brother, Jason, the All-Pro center for the Philadelphia Eagles, brought up the issue of Taylor as distraction. Were she and her squad — Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Sophie Turner — deflecting the spotlight? Sequins on the gridiron.
After the singer’s appearance at MetLife Stadium last Sunday night, Jason asked Travis, “Take away your feelings for Taylor. What is your honest opinion on how the NFL is treating celebrities at the games?”
Travis said it was exciting to show who was at the game but conceded, “They’re overdoing it a little bit, for sure, especially my situation.”
The brothers are good sports. On a recent episode of their podcast, they called a segment the “Swiftie Version,” answering questions like “What is a field goal?” from Swift fans who are now neophyte football fans.
Asked at a team news conference on Friday about his new paramour, Travis replied with a sexy smile, “I was on top of the world after the Super Bowl, and right now even more on top of the world, so it’s fun, man.”
And he doesn’t have that look in his eyes that guys who hook up with megafamous divas sometimes get, as if they want to run for daylight.
Swift understands the complicated dynamics better than anyone. As she sings in “Midnight Rain,” “He wanted a bride. I was making my own name.”
FROM AL JAZEERA:
Why did Hamas attack Israel?
Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi has told Al Jazeera that the group’s military operation is in response to all the atrocities the Palestinians have faced over the decades.
“We want the international community to stop atrocities in Gaza, against Palestinian people, our holy sites like Al-Aqsa. All these things are the reason behind starting this battle,” he said.
“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth,” Mohammed Deif, the Hamas military commander said, adding that 5,000 rockets were launched.
“Everyone who has a gun should take it out. The time has come,” Deif said, according to reports.
Hamas called on “the resistance fighters in the West Bank” as well as “our Arab and Islamic nations” to join the battle, in a statement posted on Telegram.
What is the Israeli government saying?
The Israeli army warned Israelis who live near Gaza to stay in their homes or head to shelters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country is in a war it “will win”.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel “will win this war.” Hamas, he said, had made a “grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel”.
What is the latest on the ground?
Israeli media reported gunbattles between bands of Palestinian fighters and security forces in towns in southern Israel. Israel’s police chief said there were “21 active scenes” in southern Israel.
Al Jazeera’s Walid al-Omari, bureau chief in Ramallah, says Israeli forces surrounded a house in the Ofakim settlement and negotiations are under way with Palestinian fighters who are allegedly holding hostages.
The Israeli Ministry of Education says all kindergartens and schools will remain closed across the country on Sunday, expanding a previously announced decision.
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz says he had ordered the state-run electricity company to halt supply to the blockaded enclave.
Follow all the latest updates in our page.
What are the international reactions so far?
The Czech government has condemned Hamas for launching “terrorist attacks” on Prague’s traditional ally, Israel.
The European Union’s foreign chief, Josep Borrell, expressed solidarity with Israel.
The French foreign ministry said France condemned the “terrorist attacks under way against Israel and its population” and that France expressed its full solidarity with Israel.
The UK “unequivocally condemns” a surprise attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Israel on Saturday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel.” and that India stands “in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”
Egypt warned of “grave consequences” from an escalation in a statement from the foreign ministry carried by the state news agency on Saturday. It called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger”.
Lebanese group Hezbollah issued a statement on Saturday saying it was closely following the situation in Gaza and was in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance”.
An adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said Iran supported the Palestinians’ attack, the semi-official ISNA news site reported.
AMERICAN WOMAN LIVING NEAR GAZA offers firsthand account as Hamas opened fire on Israel: ‘Never been this scared’
by Doree Lewak
(Adele Raemer, 68, a Bronx native, moved to Israel in 1975 and lives on a kibbutz a mile from Gaza. A day before the Hamas attack on Israel, the retired teacher posted a video celebrating Kibbutz Nirim’s 77th anniversary. Hours later, terror struck, which Raemer documented on Facebook. Speaking to The Post’s Doree Lewak after a harrowing 17-hour day, a weary Raemer said, “I’m safe – for now. Safe-ish.” Three members of the kibbutz and nine terrorists were killed. Her grandkids’ home was infiltrated by terrorists, who were shot by her son in law.)
6:33 am: Suddenly out of nowhere, massive barrage, non stop.
7:26 am: For the past hour, Israel has been majorly under attack. This is just totally unprecedented. We never had anything like this before.
The sheer number of rockets that are being shot at the same time is overwhelming Iron Dome. So I don’t know where we’re going from here, but this is war. There is no getting around that. I don’t know if you can hear the explosions in the background.
8:12 am: “I’m in my safe room with my son. We locked the doors and can’t go outside, and I have to say this is very scary. I’ve never been this scared in my life.
Terrorists have infiltrated into Israel and that’s in addition to the massive rocket attacks. If you’re the praying type, pray for us.
8:53 am: There is apparently an infiltration in or near my community. We have been told to lock doors, not leave saferoom. We’re not even turning in the ac for fear it will signal a presence of people in the house. My stomach is turning. I hear much shooting, even through the thick walls of the saferoom. I need to go to the bathroom, but dare not. I have literally never been this frightened.
Her last post came at 4:54 p.m. and The Post has been unable reach her.
10:51 am: Still in lock down, terrorists tried to break into my house. So far they haven’t succeeded.
11:18 am: Hearing massive machine gun fire. No idea if IDF are here yet.
12 pm: Terribly thirsty but trying just to drink small sips so I don’t have to go to the bathroom.
Explosions as a result of Israeli aircraft bombing resistance positions in Gaza City and the resistance launching missiles towards Israel at the same time.
12:55 pm: I appreciate everyone telling me to stay safe, showing that so many care, but with terrorists going house to house I honestly do no know how one does that.
3:16 pm: We have been notified that help is imminent, but to remain locked in. (And I snuck out quickly to go to the bathroom..)
4:54 pm: Still waiting to be evacuated. Hopefully will have time to grab my shoes and medications and purse. There are still terrorists outside, and community is being slowly moved to a safer place. We’re still locked in the saferoom.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Mr. Netanyahu said early Sunday that the “first phase” of Israel’s response had come to an end, claiming that Israeli forces had fought off most Hamas militants inside its territory. Amid speculation that Israel was preparing for a substantial ground invasion of Gaza, he pledged to continue the offensive “without reservation and without respite.”
President Biden and other world leaders condemned Hamas — which the United States classifies as a terrorist organization — saying they support Israel and its right to defend itself. Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, have called for de-escalation, but have avoided blaming Hamas.
The conflict also jeopardizes a months-long effort by President Biden and his top aides to push Saudi Arabia to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel, its historical adversary. Saudi Arabia has never recognized the Jewish state out of solidarity with Palestinians but had seemed ready to change its policy.
The fighting also threatens to become a wider regional conflict with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant organization that fought a war with Israel in 2006. Responding to a call from Hamas, the Islamic armed group that controls Gaza, for armed groups in Lebanon to join its assaults on Israel, Hezbollah said in a statement that it was “closely following the important developments in the Palestinian situation with great interest.”
On Sunday, United Nations peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon said Sunday that the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border was “volatile, but stable,” after an exchange of artillery and rocket fire by Hezbollah and Israel earlier in the day.
“I WAS ABOUT 17,” Johnny Winter has recalled of his 1962 date with destiny and blues legend B.B. King at the Raven, a club in Beaumont, Texas.
“He didn’t know if I was any good or not, and didn’t want to take a chance,” says Johnny. “First he asked to see my union card. I showed it to him, and it surprised him that I had a union card. I said, ‘Please, let me sit in, Mr. King; I know your songs,’ and he finally let me play. I played his guitar Lucille. I played ‘Goin’ Down Slow’ just played the one song. He says he let me sit in for a few more songs, but he didn’t. He just let me sit in for the one song and took his guitar back. “It was fun. He had three horns, drums, bass, guitar, and organ; it was the first time I played with such a big band. I got a standing ovation, and that surprised him. He said, ‘I’ll be seeing you down the line; you were great.’ That made me feel great. It meant so much to me to have a great bluesman, somebody who I always idolized, encourage me. I always knew I wanted to be famous and that was great—it made me feel like I can do this and have people like me. “Later on, I heard B. B. was afraid we were from the IRS—that we were comin’ down to the club for his taxes. We all had on black trench coats—it was cold and nasty out—and most white people didn’t go to black clubs unless they had a reason to be there. I didn’t know he felt that way until later on when I heard him talking about it on an interview.
— Mary Lou Sullivan, Raisin' Cain: The Wild and Raucous Story of Johnny Winter
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2023
The Russian military carried out overnight missile strikes on the southern region of Odesa, Ukrainian officials said on Saturday, injuring four people and damaging port infrastructure as part of a broader effort to strangle the Ukrainian economy.
The Ukrainian southern military command said Russia had used supersonic cruise missiles that hit a boardinghouse and a granary, in the second attack on the area in two days as Moscow continued to target its ports and grain facilities.
Ukraine has been among the world’s biggest exporters of grain and a major supplier to parts of Africa and the Middle East. After Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea this summer, those exports plummeted, worsening global shortages and raising fears of famine, but Ukraine has since devised alternative routes, trying to protect a crucial source of income during the war.
Missile debris and the blast wave from the strikes also caused a fire in a garage and damaged several apartment buildings, the Ukrainian military said in a post on the Telegram messaging app, which included photographs of smashed windows and collapsed building walls. The injuries were caused by broken glass, according to Oleh Kiper, the head of the Odesa region’s military administration.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I read a book about death before the 20th century, back when I used to read books.
Back then, what we now call premature death was much more commonplace, and it happened at home much more often than it does now. And the visitation and wake happened at home, also.
Plus, kids died too, a lot. So the survivors grew up knowing that it could happen at any time.
It was common for people, including children, to think about what they wanted their last words to be. I always thought that Oscar Wilde was so clever to say “Either that wallpaper goes or I do,” but it’s possible he had that line all ready to go when he did.
Halloween is another pagan holiday taken over and used by the Catholics when they took over various pagan societies.
It wasn’t really a kid’s holiday back in the day. Just saying…