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Valley People (November 21, 2023)

Blanche Brown

HONORING BLANCHE BROWN: The AV Historical Society chose Blanche Brown for the Mendocino County “Her Story” temporary exhibit. The exhibit is on display at the Mendocino County Museum through Christmas Eve. Sunday’s event that was mentioned above will include the reading of An Ode to Blanche Brown as well as a sharing of the many contributions she made to Anderson Valley. (Sheri Hansen)

KATHY BORST long time Anderson Valley teacher and Yorkville resident celebrated her 70th birthday in style at the Greenwood Community Center in Elk. A fabulous huevos rancheros brunch was served up by Libby and her family. Kathy was lauded for her generosity and loving nature by both family and (lots of) friends. Always one to hold firm opinions she shared her lifelong dislike for the “Happy Birthday Song” and encouraged us to sing her an alternate she personally selected that went like this: “Stay on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, stay on the sunny side of life. You'll feel no pain as they drive you insane if you stay on the sunny side of life.” Happy 70th Kathy! (Terry Sites)

TAMMY HEUETT KUNY & DANNY KUNY celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this week.

COACH TOOHEY on a tough playoff loss to John Swett: 

It was tough - we were stuck in traffic and only had about 30 minutes to change and warmup and it showed - we were only able to manage scoring on a safety in the first half. We found ourselves down 28 to 2. In the second half we made it a game, coming within a possession twice, but weren't able to close the gap. We had a couple of turnovers fall through our grasp that would have given us the opportunity to take a lead in the second half but it just wasn't written in the stars for us Friday night. 

They had some tough players, an incredibly fast and shifty running quarterback that gave us trouble in space, two active defensive tackles and a division 1 commit inside linebacker.

 Lining up and running power against them like we've done to everyone this year was challenging and inconsistent, but we were able to dig into our bag of tricks in the second half and formation them in ways that made their structure vulnerable and made sure that Gus Spacek was the one dealing with their star linebacker. Once we had that secured, the ball started moving and we started our comeback run.

Defensively we adjusted by slowing our rush and squeezing the pocket with our ends to try and contain their backs. This forced them to play football instead of live off of playground athletics, and we were able to force them into some mistakes that gave us extra possessions. We just came up a little short in the end falling 37 to 29 — a one possession game after a miserable first half. 

It's been quite a season, a season that's really taken three years to build. This group does not have the experience of the 2011 team, or the talent and sheer dominance of the 2015-16 squads that Kuny coached - but given the makeup of the league, having to compete with the likes of charter/private schools, and schools in the bay area talent pool, I think this team has earned the right to be spoken of in similar regard to those squads. We were undefeated against our Mendocino county cousins, in three games outscoring our NCL 3 legacy teams 163-50. 

I am beyond proud of this group of athletes for how they grew up over the last 7 months. They have all become better young men over the course of this season. I am encouraged about each and every one of them as individuals and where they might go from here.

Now we look to the future. Unfortunately we are left with only 5 returning players and a local culture of resistance to the physical dangers of playing football. I don't know what kind of future this game will have in Boonville beyond this school year, but if there is one thing this season has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in my mind, is that the transformational potential of the game of football, and the amount of consistency, accountability, communication, respect and sheer work it takes to be successful playing this game, not only outweighs its dangers, it is the dangers themselves that are integral to the teaching of these invaluable lessons - and while I will continue to coach a brand of football that is as safe as possible, I will also fervently defend the game as an important and vital educational tool for the development of young men of a certain demeanor. 

AV PANTHER BASKETBALL SEASON is upon us, and so is the Redwood Classic!

November 29 through December 2, 2023 

Stay tuned for more updates soon!

BILL HOLCOMB TURNING 90. Bill's got six years on me, but we share memories of much American history, and for a decade now I've had special regard for people close in age to me because there are fewer and fewer of us. Bill's memories of the Korean War would be more vivid than mine because he would have had friends who went off to fight there. I remember it from newsreels and a handful of neighborhood tough guys who got in trouble doing dumb drunk stuff when they got home, but our memories of the great world outside would have commenced about then.

CHRIS PHILBRICK: This picture of Bill Holcomb’s 1956 Mercury convertible in your announcement that Bill is turning 90 has special significance for me. In 1960, my mother owned that car and I was a senior at Ukiah High School. A beautiful cheerleader, Arlene Wymer who was a sophomore, asked me if the cheer squad could borrow that convertible for a parade. I reported back to her that they could borrow it but only if I was the driver…I wasn’t stupid. She sat beside me in that parade and that led to many dates over the following years. My mother gave me the car and I drove it off to college at San Jose State University. Arlene and I recently celebrated our 59th wedding anniversary.

In 1967 my father, Don Philbrick, passed away at the age of 57 and we had to get everything off the old lumber mill site because the property was leased from Masonite Corporation. My Merc was parked in a garage at the mill site so I drove it over the hill to my brother Jerry’s ranch and parked it under a lean-to. I never realized that it wouldn’t move again for the next 20 years. Meanwhile every sort of animal had its way with that poor old Merc…horses, cows, squirrels…you name it.

In the mid-1980’s Jerry called me at my home in Fresno and said “Hey bro…I did something that you probably won’t be very happy about. I gave your merc to some old guy in Navarro who wants to restore it.” I replied, “That wasn’t your car to give away and I had plans to restore it myself when I retired.” To which he responded “I know. That’s why I decided to beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission.” I’d never heard that phrase before and I’ve hated it ever since!

Anyway, last week I posted on Facebook a black and white photo of my merc in front of Arlene’s house in 1960 with her posing on the hood. The VERY NEXT day the picture of Bill in the restored merc appeared in your paper. It was an amazing coincidence because I have not seen that car since 1967.

You can be sure on December 16th I will mosey on over to Apple Hall, meet and congratulate Bill, and give my former merc a kiss on the fender for helping me meet that sophomore cheerleader… The love of my life.

PAUL THEROUX puts us geezers in context: “…It means we grew up in the same world, in the austere aftermath of World War II, that we knew the same terrors and tyrants and heroes, as well as the same cultural touchstones, certain fashions, banned books, forbidden words, items of slang, the music of the fifties — rock 'n' roll and jazz. We were in our early twenties in the tumble and conflict of the sixties: the civil rights movement, Vietnam, women's lib, a new way of looking at ourselves and the world, the hope we felt seeing oppressive institutions shaken up; we shared a bellicose mood, too, thanks to guerrilla wars and decolonization in Africa. We had lived through an era when authority was challenged by people like us…”

FLOODGATE IS BACK! Nostalgics are pleased to see the Floodgate restored to its original look and dimensions.


The Floodgate Building is available for rent.

Commercial Kitchen

Right on Highway 128

1600+ square feet

Building could also be used as a restaurant, home, office, tasting room, gallery, etc.

$2500 a month

Please call (707)895-3517 if interested or have questions 

WALKING in the Anderson Valley, at least the Boonville end of The Valley, is pretty much confined, for me, to a couple of miles along Anderson Valley Way and a couple of miles along Lambert Lane, although I see a few of my early morning cohort striding through Boonville to the high school and Airport Estates, the constant traffic buzzing past mere feet from them. I prefer the peace of Lambert Lane running west of Highway 128. I try not to go out too early — before first light — to avoid startling the occasional vehicle on Lambert by suddenly looming up out of the dark like some horror movie creature. But that dusty stretch of lightly settled dirt road is perfect for a walk, tree-lined, the first light golden on the hills.

A BOONVILLE WOMAN WRITES: “My homeowner’s insurance policy got canceled due to fire hazard, i.e., living on a dead end street, steep slopes and close proximity to combustible vegetation. But my lender required me to get flood insurance because I live in a flood zone. Am I drowning or burning up? Make up your freaking minds!”

LOTS of locals have been cancelled by the insurance racketeers, as the industry flees disaster-prone California.


At the Boonville Brewery

Intersection of Hwys 128 & 253

with music by DJ Nasty

Theme: Favorite Cozy Weather Foods

Friday, November 17, 5-7pm

LUCINDA ANDERSON of Boonville and San Francisco led Brown University to a 3-0 victory over Quinnipiac in the national women's college soccer playoffs. 

Lucinda and Company, ranked third in the country, play at Stanford this Friday. Brown has never advanced this far in the nationals. To get to Stanford, the Brown women defeated nationally ranked Harvard and Princeton. 


Can you believe it's already time for the toy drive? To donate: bring a new, unwrapped toy to a local collection location before December 8th. In past years, popular selections have been lego, soccer balls, and art or craft kits. Thanks so much to everyone who has donated and made someone's holiday a little brighter! Toy distribution is on Saturday, December 9th from noon to 3pm at AVFD.

You can drop off your new, unwrapped toy (ages 0-12, about $10-$15) or a monetary donation at any of the following locations: the Yorkville Post Office, AV Market, Lemon's Market, the Farmhouse Mercantile, and the Fire Station in Boonville. The toys will be collected on December 8th and handed out at the Anderson Valley Fire Department Boonville Station, 14281 Hwy 128 - Boonville, December 9, 2023 - From 12:00-3:00p.m. Questions/more info: Call 707 895-2017.


Get your Boonville Beerfest tickets starting today

Beerfest is returning to the Anderson Valley on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. The theme? Still working on it… trying to be creative and connect the month of May with The Fourth and Be clear we’d like to spend it With You, but in a way that encourages people to dress up and be festive. It’s a puzzler. We’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, you can NOW purchase tickets for Beerfest at early bird pricing (limited time only).

And when you do, know you're contributing to some excellent causes. Together we raised over $50,000 for local charities last year, bringing the event's lifetime total to almost $1.8M raised. Cheers to you for that.



From October 30th until November 5th, nine Anderson Valley FFA members and two chaperones attended the 96th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Over 70, 000 FFA members from around the nation were in attendance.

It was a week of visiting many agriculture businesses, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Purdue University Agriculture Dept. They saw a rodeo and a Indy Pacers NBA game. They participated in convention sessions and FFA member workshops. They volunteered their time at White River State Park in the FFA National Days of Service.

It was an unforgettable experience.

Thank you to Antonia Marin for being a chaperone.

Thanks to all those who donated so these students could have this experience.


Sunday, November 19th

*3 to 4:30 PM

Anderson Valley Senior Center

Refreshments served

Join Vickie for a chat about how she gets her farm ready for the winter. Vickie will give a little history of how she got into farming, talk about what she does to close up her farm and how she gets ready for the new garden in the late winter/ early spring.

More info & to RSVP:

Anderson Valley Village: (707) 684-9829,

*Note earlier start time for the winter gatherings.


Hendy Woods is resuming the Free Days On the Second Sunday of every month in 2024, the Hendy Woods Community is covering the Hendy Woods State Park’s Day Use fee ($8) for local residents from the following communities: Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, Navarro, Comptche and Elk - Know your zip code. Enjoy a free visit to the park on us and stroll the old growth redwood groves and beautiful meadows, hike the trails, and unwind along the river! Note: Day use is from 8:00 AM to Sunset Want to join our great team and support your wonderful park? We are always looking for motivated Volunteers for the Hendy Woods Visitor Center, remove invasive plant species and lead forest walks! Interested? 



by Emily S. Mendel

Eisa Davis’ Pulitzer-winning play, written partly in the dying Boontling dialect of Anderson Valley, follows an 18-year-old girl with the power to tell fortunes though a town full of secrets.

There are some beautiful scenes in Bulrusher, Eisa Davis’s lyrical coming-of-age story of life in 1955 in the remote-yet-storied California town of Boonville. That’s the settlement in Anderson Valley where the citizens speak Boontling, a dying dialect of more than 1,000 words. The program contains a glossary of Boontling words.

Yet, despite its poetics, Bulrusher is a bit jumbled because it is pulling in too many directions at once — it’s a folk tale, an exploration of the treatment of Native Americans and of race in the mid-1950s, a Tennessee Williams-ish account of a town full of secrets, a view of sexual awakening, belonging and genuine love, as well as a touch of logging industry economics. The jumbling diminishes but does not destroy what is an expressive and emotional work of art.

Bulrusher runs through Dec. 3 at Berkeley Rep’s Peet’s Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley. It is approximately two hours and 45 minutes long, including one intermission. Masks are encouraged but optional for performances from Wednesday through Saturday. Mask-wearing is required in the theater on all Sundays (matinees and evenings) and Tuesdays. Post-show discussions and closed captioning are available at specific performances. Tickets $22.50–$134, subject to change, can be purchased online or by phone at 510-647-2949.

BILL KIMBERLIN:  We are starting to see the vineyards change from summer green to a winter version of red here in Anderson Valley. I got my burn permit from the fire department today so I can start burning the pile of brush I have collected all summer. Not sure how global warming is going to affect Northern California but I used to say that if the ocean off of the Cliff House in San Francisco was five degrees warmer, there would be beach front hotels all the way to Daily City.

One Comment

  1. Beth Swehla November 21, 2023

    Hum…That is an old picture of FFA members. There is only one from Anderson Valley FFA and that person did not go to the National FFA Convention.

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