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Valley People (October 21, 2023)


The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Mendocino Unit is lifting the suspension of residential outdoor burn permits. This suspension will be lifted on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at 12:01 a.m.

CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Chief Luke Kendall is formally cancelling the burn permit suspension and advises that those possessing current and valid agriculture and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days. Agriculture burns must be inspected by CalFire prior to burning until the end of the peak fire season.

Inspections may be required for burns other than agriculture burns.

Burn Permits are available online from CalFire at Burn Permits ( Important: CalFire Burn Permits are only for residents who live in the State Responsibility Area (SRA), or where CalFire has jurisdictional authority. It is the responsibility of the landowner to check with local fire agencies to determine any additional permits that might be required and if there are any additional burning restrictions for their area.

You must have possession of a signed permit while you are conducting a burn. If you lose your permit or it expires, you will need to obtain another permit before you start burning.

Safe residential pile burning of forest residue by landowners is a crucial tool in reducing fire hazards. State, Federal, and Local land management and fire agencies will also be utilizing this same window of opportunity to conduct prescribed burns aimed at improving forest health and resiliency on private and public lands.

Before you burn, call Mendocino County Air Management District at (707) 463-4391 to confirm that you have all the required burn permits and to ensure it is a permissive burn day. Burning can only be done on permissive burn days and is prohibited on non-burn days.

For additional information on how to create Defensible Space, on how to be prepared for wildfires, as well as tips to prevent wildfires, visit http://www.Ready


"Re: CalTrans, Highway 128, and speeding traffic: Last year CalTrans had some funding for “Beautification” projects 

Re: CalTrans, Highway 128, and speeding traffic: Last year CalTrans had some funding for “Beautification” projects on State Highways and came to Covelo for a town meeting and a few idea presentations. There is a state highway, 162, right through the middle of town. The great majority of people showing up for the “show and tell” let the CalTrans engineers and project managers know that what we wanted was slower traffic, not banners, planters and painted lines on the street for a couple of bicycles. We wanted the traffic slowed down. And a few crosswalks.

CalTrans went back to the drawing board and came up with a proposal to put in a median, essentially making the roadway narrower for cars, crosswalks, and a few speed bumps. The speed bumps will be a first for CalTrans and this pilot project will be closely watched. It might work. It might not. But something needs to be done. We have vehicles going through town at 75mph, and the posted speed limit is 25! The construction is happening right now, the speed bumps going in next month. We will see how it goes…


This has likely been proposed and shot down, but, why no speed bumps on 128 in in Boonville/Philo? And/or: Speeder cameras to issue tickets by mail? Or at least the signs warning drivers they are there…)

DAVE EVANS of the Navarro Store is best known for his literally amazing, pre-covid summer concerts, bringing world-famous musicians to perform under the redwoods of Anderson Valley's Deep End, as Navarro is memorialized in Boontling. Maestro Evans said Tuesday he intends to revive his remarkable summer presentations as he simultaneously expressed the hope that he could scare up some volunteers to help him get his amphitheater performance-ready for 2024. No one since Peter Lit at the old Caspar Inn except for the irrepressible Dave Evans has managed to bring first-rate musical talent to Mendocino County. Navarro Dave has astounded us all with stars he's managed to bring to the Anderson Valley — Johnny Winter; Charlie Musselwhite; Randy Hansen; Guitar Shorty; Sub Dudes, and on and on. It's show time!

Here’s Dave Evans: 

The Navarro Store is planning on bringing back the Navarro Store / Anderson Valley Music Series next summer 2024! 

We are planning on bringing back the same caliber acts to the valley and held in the Navarro Store Amphitheater. Some Past Shows before covid:

Eric Burdon And The Animals, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, The Subdudes (Five Times), Charlie Musselwhite, John Lee Hooker Family, Guitar Shorty, David Nelson Band, New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Ronnie Montrose, Asleep At The Wheel, Walter Trout, Joe Louis Walker, Roy Rogers, Robben Ford, Ford Brothers, Blues Band, House Of Floyd (Pink Floyd Cover), Mark Hummel, Magic Dick, Lee Oscar, Pablo Cruise… and So Many More! 

Thank You.

AV FIRE DEPARTMENT is hiring a fleet mechanic. Information is available on our website. Please share widely!


Does anyone recognize these meters? I’m not sure who each one of them belongs to, but they are the power supplies for several pumps in Indian Creek. The 2 meters on the left and one of those boards is attached to a panel that’s completely collapsing. There’s bare wire underneath and these meters are hot. If anyone has any leads, I’d love to contact them to tell them they need to re-secure them. They are becoming a fire hazard. If you have any information, would you mind direct messaging me? Thanks!

* * *

Kirk Vodopals responds:

Pretty sure those meters in Indian Creek belong to Roederer Estate to operate their water diversion pumps. They’re not supposed to be operating in the dry season (roughly May to November). I recommend reaching out to the Navarro River Resource Center (they have a sign in downtown Boonville so I assume they are still operational). You can also call The Nature Conservancy to double-check the water rights situation. The Nature Conservancy spends a lot of time and rich folks money pressing flesh and sipping wine in order to “save the salmon”. I hope they are succeeding

THERE ARE BARGAIN BOOKS outside Hedgehog Books in Boonville next to Boont Berry Store, self-service only, 25 cents per book. (If you remove the bookshelf protective covers, please replace them afterward to keep the books safe from the weather.) If the weather holds the weekend of October 20-22, we will have our first Big Book Sale on the deck and in the shop. Thank you for your support.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHERS gave home team Roseland all the high flying Knights could handle Saturday on the home team’s field. 

A JUSTLY PROUD coach John Toohey writes: We came out and gave Roseland what we in the football world call “The Business”

They run an old fashion single wing overloaded offense. It’s been running over everyone. It did not run over us. We were stout, tough and relentless on defense. We traded blows early. Jack Spacek and Eric Perez ran all over Roseland’s massive front six. Their line was so effective we were calling our plays out loud at one point, telling their massive defense where we were running the ball, and scoring.

The problem came at the end of the first half. We had it tied and were kicking off. Two of our players slipped in the mud trying to make a tackle and their shifty speedy return man beat us for a touchdown. 

We tied it again in the first half. We kicked it short but Roseland was able to get the ball back to that same player and he scored again. They took a three possession lead into half-time 20-40.

Roseland has been averaging around 60 points a game. They scored no more on us.

It was a muddy slugfest in the second half. We both mustered stops against one another. Then in the fourth we scored to make the game 26 -40, Jack Spacek connecting with Omar Anguiano for a 35-yard touchdown catch.

Their vaunted single wing stunted, they went to a spread offense. Something we had seen them do on film. And the kids knew exactly where the ball was going. Another stop. 

We were on a drive midway through the fourth, and on a fourth down play, Jack Spacek carried the ball for a first down. At least it was an obvious first down to us, the opposing team, and everyone in attendance except for the individual responsible for the spot. We were half an inch short after they stretched the chains. That was our last push. Roseland ground it down and we were left watching them bleed the clock away. 

Refs who had covered our first game against Tomales came and found me after the game. They were so impressed by this team's growth. So am I. It’s been exponential. It’s been remarkable. This team played football, and would have won if not for two repeated mental errors on special teams. Ironically, Roseland’s mascot is the Knights. But they were our dragon this year, and we had a real shot to slay that beast today. We played well enough. We were close. In eight-man football a two possession football game is razor thin. 

We have three games left. If we can manage three victories, we will hunt this dragon again in the playoffs, and our kids' swords are going to be even sharper. 

BILL KIMBERLIN: This play will also be performed at the Berkeley Rep this month. A Bullrusher Is a foundling or illegitimate child in Boontling.

A co-production with McCarter Theatre Center, Bulrusher follows a multiracial girl found as an infant floating in a basket on the Navarro River in Mendocino County. It’s 1955, and Bulrusher is 18 and restless, with a gift for clairvoyance that makes her feel like a stranger even amongst the eccentric, dialect speaking folks of her predominantly white enclave of Boonville. When a mysterious young Black woman from Birmingham comes to town, Bulrusher discovers new facets of her identity — and uncovers her place in the world. A Pulitzer Prize finalist called “captivating and lushly poetic” by the LA Times, Bulrusher is infused with rhythmic language, passion, and down-home humor.


We received unfortunate news last week: the AVCSD's AV Community Park Development Plan (including skatepark) application for the CalTrans Clean California Local Grant Program was not granted. 

 (Anderson Valley did, however, receive one of the largest Clean CA grants in the state, with $4.7 million granted to AV School District for development of an all-weather track and field, which will serve as a wonderful resource for the community.)

While disappointing, this setback does not mean a skatepark in Boonville will not happen! The AV Skatepark Project has raised nearly $300,000, and community support and excitement for the project has been tremendous. We'll keep riding the momentum and find funding elsewhere to make this project a reality.

Next steps: We are currently working on reformulating projected costs and will establish new phased fundraising goals. We will then initiate a renewed fundraising campaign in hopes of securing funds through a combination of private donations and grants. Stay tuned! 

(Noor Dawood)

I REMEMBER when a writer from LA was in town talking to locals about their memories of Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, the Green Hornet and Cato of mass murder, who lived in Anderson Valley for a couple of years in the early 1980s before they went on to greater things. Ernie Pardini, who was once a neighbor of Lake’s, showed the writer around town. Ernie’s memories of the two psychos remain vivid. Lake once insulted one of Ernie’s family members. When Ernie called him on it, Lake said, “Oh, I never fight. I’m a coward. I’d probably just shoot you in the back.” Ernie just may have come pretty close to winding up in Lake’s last bunker, later neatly summing up the consensus local opinion of lethal duo: “Like everyone else around here I knew they were nuts, but I didn’t know they were that nuts.” Nobody did. I remember them walking around in camo outfits, and I recall that Lake was a volunteer firefighter who served as the firefighter department’s secretary where his meticulous script was much admired. But there were so many nuts around at the time at times they seemed to have an actual majority in Anderson Valley.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE… In the sixties school authorities had a problem, they thought, with their young scholars smoking in the bathrooms. Then it was smoking marijuana wherever on campus. Then along came young women dressing immodestly, with some young men togged out in gang duds. Lately, our nation’s future, a tiny minority of them anyway, are vaping marijuana on school grounds. The educational process is never without its obstacles.

RIGHT HERE in Boomsville, circa ’96 or so, our high school thought it had a problem with short skirts which, of course, was real enough in the context of co-ed classrooms given the naturally priapic state of the teen male. Girls in low cut tops and mini-minis were a major male distraction, which is why the girls provided it. The Catholics, to elude sexual wildcards, long ago went to single sex high schools and school uniforms. 

ONE MORNING, a 16-year-old straight A student in her junior year at Anderson Valley High School was sent home to change her dress only minutes after she’d arrived for her first period physics class. The lass had just seated herself when her teacher asked her to stand and “put my arms down at my side to see if my fingertips reached the top of the slit in my dress.”

THE SCHOOL DRESS CODE then decreed that if a student’s fingertips extend beyond the length of the skirt, the student was inadequately covered and thus represented a classroom distraction. In plain language, distraction meant that males in the class were mugged by eros and couldn’t focus on their studies.

THERE WERE BIG PROBS with the fingertip standard, apart from the obvious one having to do with the variables of human physiology: some girls have long arms and short lower torsos; some have short arms and long lower torsos. There are also major difficulties in trying to standardize erotic stimulants. What drives one person mad with desire causes another to take vows of celibacy.

THE YOUNG WOMAN accused of displaying too much flesh was surprised to be required to stand for the fingertip test. She’d bought the wholesome dress in Ukiah for a Homecoming dance. Another girl wore the same dress to the dance. “Nobody complained about it then.”

THE PHYSICS TEACHER was certain she saw dangerous flashes of exposed skin but dispatched the offending girl to the school office for a second opinion from then-superintendent J.R. Collins, who confirmed his teacher’s fleshly suspicions. Too much exposed flesh. 

THE PERPLEXED STUDENT had flunked the first test of her life — the fingertip test. She had to go home and change, later lamenting, “This was the first day I knew skirts were being measured. The whole measuring skirts thing has never happened before so far as I know. I’m not embarrassed, but I don’t think what happened to me is very fair. I was wearing a long dress and I had a sweater over the top of it. The slits are a couple of inches above the knee and they’re very narrow.”

BUT FLESH IS FLESH, and the decision stood. The young woman had officially been declared a distraction. “There were several girls in shorter skirts than mine and they didn’t get sent home.”

SOON AFTER, 12 girls were summoned to the principal’s office for skirt evaluation, one being sent home to change. “l’ll probably just wear pants to school from now on,” one resigned temptress declared. “It’s all pretty dumb.”

THEN-SUPERINTENDENT COLLINS recalled the skirt standards of his youth, the days of mini-skirts and hot pants. If the skirts of the 1960s and 70s touched the floor they passed the distraction test. But if the skirt didn’t touch the floor, it was out the door and don’t come back until you are dressed appropriately.

COLLINS HAD CONCEDED that a better standard was needed. “We plan to sit down with a couple of kids and a couple of parents and look at the policy. We started out with the loose standard of distraction and there were complaints it wasn’t objective enough, which it obviously wasn’t. Then we went to the fingertip standard which still tends to be arbitrary. We’re working on it.”

COLLINS RETIRED just as a virtual avalanche of “inappropriately” clad maidens commenced, with the school authorities beginning every school day by inspecting girls’ attire for distraction quotient.

BUT by October of 2023 at Anderson Valley High School the struggle against “inappropriate” attire has subsided into quiet strategies as described by Superintendent Simson: “We have a dress code that we try our best to enforce. Not so much gang colors but more related to sagging pants and showing too much skin. We have loaner clothes in the office.”

THE RECENT DISCUSSION of dress codes in the local schools reminded me of the time in the early 70s when I was stationed at the US Air Force Plant Representative Office at the McDonnell-Douglas plant in St. Louis. It was a good example of the unintended consequences of dress codes. At that time, one of the “mod” male clothing styles in vogue was the wide-collared print shirt with double knit pants.

My “wardrobe” at the time was mostly the US Air Force formal dress uniform: coat & tie at the office, plus a few casual street clothes. Civilian coat and tie was in limited supply. My girlfriend at the time, Chris, a St. Louis high school music teacher, wanted me to take her out to dinner for her birthday at a fancy-ish restaurant in a St. Louis suburb. I put on my “mod” outfit for the occasion. When we got to the restaurant the maitre-d said they had a dress code that required men to wear formal coat and tie. I didn’t really like the place much due to its faux formality, so I gladly turned to Chris and suggested we change plans and go to a less formal eatery. The maitre-d didn’t want to lose a customer so he suggested I go into their coat room and use their loaner coats and ties. Upon entering the large closet, I discovered that they had only one coat and tie left on the rack, a large red XXXL blazer and a long and very wide blue tie. I told Chris they didn’t have anything my size and again suggested going elsewhere. But she and the maitre-d had their minds made up that we would eat here. By this time the situation had become somewhat of a joke. So I smiled and tied the giant blue tie loosely around my neck. My print shirt had no top button so the tie just hung around my bare neck and dangled down to below my belt. Then I put on the giant red coat which hung down to my knees. The sleeves extended well beyond my hands so I rolled up the cuffs.

It was a clownish outfit, to say the least. The maitre-d didn’t bat an eye seeing that his dress code had now been met, goofy as it obviously was. He motioned us into the dining area where I soon saw why the oversized coat and tie were all they had left: All the other men in the dining room had similar on ill-fitting red coats and blue ties. We all got a big laugh out of it as I sat down to eat at the only available table, grinning at my fellow redcoat clowns. But the maitre-d and Chris didn’t see the humor. Chris never let me forget my fashion faux pas for the rest of the time I dated her.

(Mark Scaramella)

RECOMMENDED VIEWING, ‘Big Vape,’ a documentary on Netflix. I first noticed high school kids walking past the ava office often emitting great clouds of smoke, or maybe it was steam. Whatever their composition, the clouds were impressively large. 

THEN I HEARD from a local teacher that vaping, via a slick little device that looked like a computer accessory, was something of a problem because our nation's future was managing to smoke in class, concealing the cloud bi-product in their garments. And they were often inserting marijuana in the device's cartridges which, as you tokers know, is much stronger than the ditch weed gramps and grams smoked in their flower power years.

ANYWAY, Big Vape's subtitle is ‘The Rise and Fall of Juul.’ The culture having passed me by, I was aware that vaping was popular among the young, but darned if I knew why? The documentary informed me that the Juul was loaded with nicotine, its poison was disguised with wild flavors — mango, mint, even, of all things, creme brulee. Only a kid could get behind flavored nicotine, but millions did, and they were as hooked on what were essentially cigarettes wrapped in a cool-o little Bic-like thing, hooked as firmly as the Marlboro Man ever was. Bunches of keen teens wound up in emergency rooms with collapsed lungs.

JUUL was the brand name of an electronic smoke, or e-cigarette, that would help adult smokers finally quit smoking plain old smokes, and it did help lots of people abandon standard cigs for e-cigs that theoretically spared their lungs the worst stuff that came in cigarettes. 

CREATED IN 2015 by a couple of Stanford whiz kids, Juul quickly drew the buzzards of investment capital to become one of the fastest growing companies in the world.

JUUL'S GLORY was short-lived. Proven as bad as Marlboros, it was sold for billions to the Big Tobacco it had aimed to replace, and its two founders retired to live out their lives in the infamy associated with their invention, just after Juul was denounced by the FDA as a major health hazard, especially for the young, and the product has been on the defensive ever since. 


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