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Valley People (February 24, 2024)

THAT was a good deal on fresh cooked crabs at Lemons just in time for the Super Bowl. When Lemons says fresh, you can be sure it's fresh because they fish most days out of Noyo. Also, Lemons is still looking for a clerk. Nice people, pleasant atmosphere.

IF YOU HAVEN'T already signed up for Danilla Sands amazingly timely Mendocino Action News - Fire, Traffic and Other Emergencies — you'll wait hours, maybe days to get the straight skinny on local disasters. Ms. Sands is the go-to person for it all.

ADD lookalikes — Greg Sims and Jimmy Carter; Charlie Hiatt and Christian McCaffrey; ABC reporter Ginger Zee and Stephanie Marcum.

ROSS TERNAN BURK was once featured on America’s Most Wanted, a popular show in the Anderson Valley like it was and is everywhere. At Burk's on-screen appearance one Saturday night, about half of Boonville bolted upright in their Barco-Loungers, then sprinted for their phones to tell the show’s host, John Walsh, that Mr. Burk, an ace mechanic, had lived among us rural innocents for two years, having spent most of that time as an employee of the late Larry Lombard’s at Airport Estates where Lombard produced small aircraft and aircraft parts.

BURK went by the surname Adam while he lived and worked among us. Much in demand as a handyman, Burk often exchanged work on houses for a place to live, which he had done most recently in Ukiah. The fugitive was universally described by locals as “friendly” and “always helpful.”

BURK’S WIFE, Tiffany, and the couple’s daughter Brittany, a child of five or so, had only recently departed the Anderson Valley. Their last known address in Boonville was the Dilley place on Mountain View Road where he parked his motor home. Burk worked with Dilley at Lombard’s enterprise adjacent to the Boonville air strip. Burk had been seen flying a small plane over Boonville the last Saturday afternoon before his national notoriety, apparently unaware that in a matter of hours his image and misdeeds would be seen by the many millions of Americans who faithfully tune in America’s Most Wanted every Saturday night.

MUCH of the fugitive’s property remains at various sites in The Valley, most of it in the Airport Estates hangars of friends. Burk also often worked on aircraft at the home of John Schnaubelt, whose property in the Airport Estates subdivision northwest of the high school was next door to retired Los Angeles police officer, Kirk Wilder. Deputy Squires also lived nearby. “Lots of people have told me that Burk's wife and little girl were at my house trick or treating a couple of weeks ago!” the deputy said, chuckling at the irony of Burk's proximity to local law enforcement. 

“WE just missed him Saturday night,” Deputy Squires said the Monday after Burk's appearance on national television. “America’s Most Wanted comes on here at 9pm, he left town at 7pm. We were told he’d left to visit relatives in Lafayette.”

BUT AMERICA’S MOST WANTED airs at 6pm on the East Coast. Burk may well have been tipped off that he was now famous east of the Mississippi and all over Boonville, too.

BURK was also well-known in Wyoming, the scene of his crimes. He was wanted in that state for “aggravated robbery” and aggravated burglary,” ordinarily not the kind of crimes that qualify an outlaw for America’s Most Wanted, where serious practitioners of far more spectacular forms of mayhem were featured weekly. Burk must have seriously annoyed Wyoming to have gotten himself up front with the relentless John Walsh, the program’s determined host. Walsh warned viewers that Burk was not only “armed and dangerous,” but that he’d vowed not to be taken alive, always a guarantee that the person who makes such a promise will eventually be confronted with an armed force of the size and firepower equivalent to a small nation.

ACCORDING to the Natrona County (Wyoming) Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Burk is 45 years old, 5’6”, weighs between 165 and 185 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes, a tattoo on one arm that is not described, and a scar on the left side of his face. As friendly as Burk was during his days in the Anderson Valley, the Unity Club was advised not to try to take him into custody on their own.

AMERICA’S MOST WANTED said that Burk, whose father was an attorney, jumped bond in March of 1993 back in Wyoming where he’d relieved a dope dealer of his drugs, cash and a gun, and had also robbed a legitimate businessman of $30,000 in high performance vehicle parts. The businessman subsequently kidnapped Burk and beat a confession out of him, a generally non-sanctioned means of obtaining information, but in Burk's case upheld by the Wyoming Supreme Court. Burk was convicted of these crimes but had not appeared for sentencing. Soon after his television appearance, Burk was rounded up in the Bay Area by the aforementioned small army, but what became of him is not known, to us anyway. Burk would be in his 70s now, his daughter in her early thirties. I've always wondered if Mrs. Burk stuck by him. 

WHAT DO KING CHARLES and the editor of an outback newspaper have in common? Both have cancer. His majesty's is prostate, mine is thyroid, and has expressed itself as a cancerous tumor pressing against my vocal and breathing apparatuses. 

THURSDAY MORNING I had a hole punched in my throat to make breathing easier. That operation required a five day stay at UCSF's new Mission Bay site. I'll eventually have one of those mechanical voice boxes to speak with. In the meantime, I'm mute with only a modern etch a sketch to communicate with.

I HAVEN'T been in Boonville for a long month because of tests and related medical consultations in the city. I like the doctors and have every confidence in them. They tell me my affliction is not the more complicated cancer of the thyroid type and don't anticipate difficulties removing it, which they will do in the middle of March in a second, more prolonged stay in the hospital at Mission Bay for me.

I HAD the option of surgical removal or a year-long chemotherapy via oral medications during which patients feel as depleted and all round lousy as the old methods of chemo. As mentioned, I've opted for surgery.

MY FAMILY — I'm truly blessed with a strong one — has bundled me back and forth to and from medical appointments and has helped enormously steering me through the labyrinthine processes of modern medicine. Without my family urging me on, I would have let nature take its course, grateful I've lived as long as I have. Post surgeries, I fully expect to stumble on for a few more years.

I FEEL GOOD except for reduced walking stamina caused by constricted breathing. But I've been able to exercise every day and work long distance while my estimable colleague, The Major, holds down the AVA's Boonville headquarters. Mike Kalantarian has also offered continuing practical support. I expect to be fully restored by the end of March and again spending most of each week in the Anderson Valley, my heart's true home since 1970.


(REPORTS FROM THE OR in San Francisco are that the Editor’s tracheotomy went well with no difficulties. He is recovering from the surgery and being “monitored.” The Editor was back in limited communication by Sunday. — ms)

OUR CONTINUED APOLOGIES for the extended delay in access to the new elements at the Boonville Community Park. Again, serious errors were made during initial installation that halted any continued work and we are in negotiations with the installer at this time to resolve the pending issues. In the meantime, please keep clear of the new elements and marked off areas. Thank you for your continued patience as we work to keep our play areas safe while we bring new improvements. (Elizabeth Jensen)


This last week AT&T activated phase 1 of the Comptche Fiber Internet upgrade, making it possible for Comptche residents living along the Comptche-Ukiah Road to get internet speeds up to 5Gbps directly to their homes. To celebrate, the Comptche Broadband Committee and AT&T will host a launch ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, at 10:00 am at the Chapel of the Redwoods. Eligible residents will be able to sign up for fiber internet and have installers activate their service that afternoon.

Come on down to sign up or to discuss the state of internet services with Mendocino and industry representatives, or just to check out the church’s 300Mpbs connection. Refreshments will be available.

Chapel of the Redwoods Baptist Church

31201 Comptche Ukiah Road, Comptche, CA 95427

10am – 2pm

Jim Gagnon


Take a trip down memory lane with Barbara and Rob Goodell, Bill Seekins, Captain Rainbow, Mary Pafford and Bernie Bernstein. Listen to personal accounts of Mendocino County’s “back to the land” era. This month's event is a collaboration between the AV Historical Society and AV Village!

To get you into the spirit check out the KZYX Promise of Paradise, Back to the Land Oral Histories of Mendocino County recordings:

This month's AV Village Gathering/ Valley Chat is a collaboration between the AV Historical Society and AV Village! Everyone is welcome.

Consider carpooling. Village members, let us know as soon as possible if you would like a volunteer driver and we will try to find one or bring a friend that can give you a lift.

*Note New location for this gathering.

More info & to Please RSVP (space is limited):

Anderson Valley Village: (707) 684-9829,


The Floodgate Pot Store and Puffery.(Coming soon)

AV HOUSING ASSOCIATION WINTER FUNDRAISER for their Tiny Home Project will be Saturday February 24, 6-9pm at Weatherborne Winery, 8750 Philo School Rd., Philo, CA 95466. 

RSVP on-line at: or by Phone: 707 895-3525.

THE AV HOUSING ASSOCIATION will host an evening of wining and dining at the Weatherborne Winery Tasting Room near Lemons Market in Philo on February 24, 2024. The festivities will start at 6pm and continue until about 9pm, including a presentation of the Housing Association’s Capital Campaign goals: particularly using Tiny Homes as a solution for low income housing in Anderson Valley. The evening will be fueled by soup from Libby’s Catering and wine donations from local wineries. Housing Association Co-Chair Kathy Cox will start the evening with a welcome. This will be followed by Co-Chair Carrie Castro who will discuss the Tiny Home concept. Representatives  from Navarro vineyards will talk about how they have successfully housed their farm workers. A representative from the Tiny Home industry will explain how other California counties have successfully adopted Tiny Home ordinances and how they have helped increase housing stock. Supervisor Ted Williams will wrap up the panel on how Menodicno County is working to adopt a Tiny Home ordinance. Don’t miss this informative meeting!


A rendering of what the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles will look like when finished.

FRANK HARTZELL: So the only way to go over bridges in the Bay now is have Fast Trak.  Now when you do they don’t just send you a bill, which was fine they tack on a $10 toll evasion fee. You can’t stop and pay toll. You can only buy a fast trak, which I'll likely never use more than 1-2 times in a year and it expires, another crock.  If toll is $17.50 they ought to just say that, not rob me like this. No choice, no option to pay means I was robbed to me.


  1. Dobie Dolphin February 24, 2024

    Frank, There are 3 other options for paying bridge tolls:
    Cost (Golden Gate Bridge)
    $8.75 FasTrak
    $9.00 Pay as you go (license plate account and one-time payment account)
    $9.75 Toll invoice
    $6.75 Carpool rate
    I went over a few times last year, either letting them know (online) the day before I was going to cross or getting sent a toll invoice. I was never charged extra.

  2. Donald Cruser February 25, 2024

    Sorry to hear about your cancer. I have an 18 year old grandson with a malignant brain tumor so I have been reading up on the disease and I am going to make a few recommendations for your survival. There is no charge for this good advise.
    It sounds like you are at a stage where surgery is essential and preferred over chemo and radiation. However, you should ask your doctors about immunotherapy(sp). I have hope that all cancer treatment will evolve in this direction. Here is how it works: As I am sure you know when some foreign disease invades you body your immune system responds by sending out your white blood cells to destroy the invader. The trouble with cancer cells is they have the ability to resist the white blood cells and keep on growing. With immunotherapy they give you a drug that enables your white blood cells to go in and destroy the cancer cells. this is a highly preferable approach than the toxics of chemo and radiation and can still have benefits after surgery.
    A supplement is found in a variety of mushrooms. After hydration mushrooms are the next best immune booster. The Japanese use them extensively in treating cancer. There is a business in Washington state called Fungi Perfecti that offers books, extracts, and supplements. I often see bags of powdered mushroom combinations at grocery outlet. They are easy to add to soups and gravies. I am attracted to the combination of immune boosting foods with immunotherapy. it is also important to go down fighting since there is always a mental factor. Some years ago PBS did a three night special on cancer and the thing that stuck with me was that two different doctors at different times said,”Some people get well and we don’t know why.”
    For what it is worth I would also recommend reading the Blue Zone books to get a model of a life style that enables a person to live healthier and longer (12 years on average). They studied the 4 or 5 Blue Zones around the world and isolated 9 components in their life styles that kept them healthier for longer. Being aware of these factors and emphasizing them is a wise thing to do. The Adventists are the only total vegetarians, but the others eat primarily a plant based diet (95%). If you want real science it wasn’t that long ago that the World Health Organization conducted a large world wide study looking at cancer stats combined with diet and concluded that red meat is a Category I carcinogen, right in there with tobacco and plutonium. It doesn’t help that here in the U.S. the cattle are fattened up with gmo corn laced with another carcinogen, roundup. It is time to give up those grease burgers.
    I am the first to admit that I am in over my head giving advice here. However, it is important to try everything and find something you believe in. The AVA and your incisive writing has greatly enhanced my life here on the north coast. Hang in there.

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