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Valley People (May 6, 2015)

ANNE LILJENGREN, 41, has died. Well-known in the Anderson Valley where she attended school and later taught, Miss Liljengren was found dead of natural causes in her South Lake Tahoe home. A memorial gathering will be held in the Apple Hall, Boonville, Saturday afternoon, May 9th, with a barbecue following.

LorettaHouckLORETTA HOUCK suffered severe brain trauma just before 6pm Thursday evening when she fell backward out of or over the tailgate of her husband's truck and hit her head on some large rocks the couple was moving in preparation for the beer festival. Mrs. Houck is a well-known and popular member of the Anderson Valley community, as is her husband, Dan Houck, a programmer at KZYX Radio, Philo. Mrs. Houck owned and operated Laughing Dog Books in downtown Boonville for several years. Dan Houck reports that Loretta is at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital “where a neurosurgeon operated to relieve swelling and to deal with massive hemorrhaging and inner brain blood clots,” he said. “The operation was a success but we will not know the extent of the damage for quite some time. She is in ICU. They will monitor the swelling that may occur for five days or more. She has squeezed my hand and wiggled her toes when asked. She has not opened her eyes but has moved her eyes quite a bit. I will try and update as information comes in.”

DUDE FEST 2015, aka the “19th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Festival” ( came and went in Boonville over the weekend as thirsty young beasts from everywhere and anywhere gathered at the Boonville Fairgrounds to pound down the suds. It's a remarkable event. You've got about 7,000 former high school linebackers and their dudette former pom pom girls getting blotto over about a five hour period then heading for their campgrounds. Ordinarily given these givens we might expect some medium-strength rioting, but this thing is so well organized a steady stream of drunks simply straggle peacefully back to their campgrounds with nary a prob.

DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER said Sunday that the BeerFest crowd was well-behaved. Among the several arrests, two were local drunks. “We referred three people to medical for what amounted to alcohol poisoning, and I know the CHP made a couple of drunk driving arrests.” Walker laughed as he described a drunk driving arrest he'd about 6:30pm Saturday evening near Boonville Elementary on a Fort Bragg man named Francisco Aguirre who said he'd been speeding because he needed to get to Las Vegas in time for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight! Aguirre was booked for DUI and driving without a license.

BEERFEST NOTES: Two guys were so loaded they couldn't eat the expensive Boonville restaurant meal they'd ordered. A young woman camping near Philo for Beer Weekend darn near chopped a finger off trying to cut up kindling with one hand while holding a beer in the other. This newspaper's ace crime writer, Bruce McEwen, picked up a few extra bucks ferrying drunks to their campsites in a wheelchair. Enterprising locals sold tacos and tortas to the beer drinkers, whose overall boost to the downtown Boonville economy this past weekend was considerable.

YOUNG MAN at the Ice Cream Pump commenting to another young man: “These beer babes aren't bad, but you oughtta see the babes at the World Music Festival!” (World Music is coming right up, June 19th through the 21st. The great Jimmy Cliff will be top a star-studded lineup in Boonville, Mendocino County's most happening town.)

WITH COMMERCIAL SALMON FISHING having begun Friday, look for fresh salmon to go on sale soon at Lemons Market in Philo. The Lemons fish out of Noyo, and short of buying salmon off the boats at Noyo, Lemons offers salmon as fresh as you'll find it.

WHEN DOES A HORSE BARN BECOME A CHURCH? Answer: When it's purchased as a pre-constructed kit from Sand Creek Post and Barn, delivered on site, and assembled, and coming soon to Boonville.

TAKE IT AWAY, Padre Jerry Cox: "These barns have a majestic rustic appearance with massive exposed beams and soaring ceilings which in themselves effect a feeling of spiritual space for assembled worshippers. The interior space will feature traditional church details, allowing for a seating capacity of 225 persons and provide room for meaningful participation. No longer will many of our community have to stand shoulder to shoulder for an hour in the rear of the small chapel of St Elizabeth Seton in Philo.

"THE EXTERIOR appearance of the barn erected on the eight acres fronting Hwy 128 will fit nicely into the rural character of Anderson Valley.

Presently a Capital Campaign is being conducted by members of the Catholic community of the Valley, with a goal of $850,000 toward which $625,000 has been collected in cash and other assets. The Campaign gladly accepts onetime donations as well as 36 month pledges resulting in larger gifts. The Campaign is being directed by Gerald (Jerry) Cox, Director, John Schultz, Treasurer, Gloria Ross, Jeanne Collins, Coleen Schenk, Teresa Guerrero, and Jorge Mejia.

DONATIONS and gifts can be sent to: St Elizabeth Seton Church, P.O. Box 761, Boonville, CA. 95415. For more information contact Jerry Cox 895-3342 or John Schultz 801-580-1851.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK! Shauna Espinoza reports: "Our first two little leaguers went to their very first Giants game today, and now Thomas wants to be a baseball player when he grows up! What a great evening for them. A night they will never forget, I'm sure.

Annie Gutierrez (T-ball), Thomas Torres (Machine Pitch)
Annie Gutierrez (T-ball), Thomas Torres (Machine Pitch)

THE MAYPOLE DANCE at Big River on the glorious first day of May reminds us of our early youth when we practiced for the big day a week prior. At our elementary school, us boys in white shirts and ties, the girls in white dresses, did a unified hop and skip around a large, vertical tree limb, properly denuded for the occasion. The phallic implications of the ancient ceremony hadn't occurred to me until Joseph Campbell's essays on myths, and I'm certain those implications never occurred to the schoolteachers of 1950.

Photo Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus
Photo Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus

NAVARRO By The Sea remains closed despite the rains of a week ago. The river is closed at the mouth, the water is backed up, flooding the campground and preventing beach access.


WHAT SEEMS odd to us is that the weekly USGS chart shows an increased Navarro flow with periodic plateaus mid-day (pumping?). But where is this increased flow coming from? The Noyo, with no significant up-river draws on it, shows the usual spring flow decline. The battered Albion, the Garcia, the Gualala are not gaged.


KNOW YOUR LOCAL OLIGARCH. Gilman Ordway owns seven parcels in the Anderson Valley surrounding Lazy Creek Vineyard totaling somewhere between 750 and 1150 acres, mostly in grapes. Ordway has three different Highway 128 addresses and a PO Box in Wilson, Wyoming, home of Dick Cheney, aka Doctor Death. Ordway, however, is something of a liberal, having contributed to the Obama campaigns. He was one of the first Jackson Hole landowners to donate a conservation easement on his property to the Nature Conservancy. He has endowed several scholarships at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He graduated from Yale University, class of 1947, and received a law degree from the University of Colorado.

ENCOURAGING signs of life at the Philo mill where a smallish crew is preparing the big blades to resume converting logs to lumber.

AND NEXT DOOR, the mill shacks are being rehabbed and the adjacent old growth redwood grove has been cleared of years of accumulated undergrowth by the new owners, same people who own The Madrones.

CORRECTION: Rebekah Cox Rocha, daughter of Jerry and Kathy Cox of Rancho Navarro, is the new principal/teacher at the Geyserville elementary school, not Geyserville High School.

STARHAWK? We thought maybe the Not-So-Simple Living people had grown past woo-woo, that a more grounded, sophisticated group of people had transformed the old crackpot-heavy Simple Living Fair to an event of broad value to all of us. And, mostly, Simple Living has done that. But this year there's been a major step backwards with the selection of Starhawk, a kind of latter day Madam Blavatsky, as keynote speaker. One would think that as the ecological situation grows more dire, the Simple Livers would bring in a water expert or some other person with a relevant, practical message for people trying to live more sensibly. Nope, we get… Starhawk who we bet is picking up at least five grand for the intellectual equivalent of a Tarot reading. Couldn't find out who made this decision, but whoever did ought to be composted.

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