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Valley People (May 27, 2015)

ERNESTO CONTRERAS, 19, of Boonville died last Wednesday afternoon when his silver, four-door Toyota Corolla, southbound, unaccountably left Highway 128 at a high rate of speed near Jack's Valley Store and struck an oak tree. Ernesto apparently died on impact but was pulled from the car by passersby before it burst into flame. The single-car accident was reported at 4:08pm. Ernesto's death has sent shock waves of grief reverberating through the Anderson Valley where he was widely known and highly popular. "Everyone loved that kid," a coach at Anderson Valley High School commented, echoing a unanimous Valley opinion of the young man. Ernesto lived with his family on Haehl Street, Boonville.

LORETTA HOUCK: Verbatim from Loretta's husband, W.Dan Houck, as posted on the Treehouse Facebook page: 'Hmm, that May 10th update had so much more to it when I posted it. Lots of other stuff about She Who Must Not Be Named opening her eyes, arching her eyebrows in inimitable sorts of ways as I talked to her, waggling her foot at the offer of a foot rub, giving the thumbs up when the doctor (who we call Saint Germaine) asked her to and such. That first post also brought up my clumsy, Luddite ways concerning this social media stuff. Of course that post via my tablet was one handed, one fingered in fact, in the cafeteria of the hospital. I even put in a witty line about how the last time that finger got such a work out was in my nose. Apparently my ineptitude resulted in the rest of the story from appearing. This post I type with two fingers, on the desk top computer at home. I would rather be with my true love in Santa Rosa but as I am not a rich man able to abandon work to sit with my recovering wife I have had to get back to work.

LORETTA is getting better. From the start of this nightmare she has been present. In the first four days after the accident she moved in very purposeful ways. Many of which were uniquely my love. Cracking her knuckles one handed, crossing her legs, raising a single eyebrow and other things that only I may have recognized. The pros; her nurses and doctors, have said that such behavior is often a baseline to which the patient returns after the brain swelling subsides. And there has been a lot of brain swelling. Now Loretta moves mostly on the right. As the nurses were rearranging her in bed two days ago, she reached back to scratch at a bandage on her ass. But her left also works. As I was watching the Houston Rockets clean up on the L.A. Clippers on Sunday I was massaging her left hand. Several times she squeezed firmly with that hand. She has also been opening her eyes a lot more. Often, as I prattle on, she has the glazed look of one who desperately wants to but can not change the station. Many a KZYX listener can no doubt sympathize and maybe even empathize.

ALL OF WHICH is to say "We have no idea." This is a marathon and not a sprint. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI as we in this terrifying club know it, is a long road. She Who Must Not Be Named has had her brain rebooted and we are waiting to see what Loretta 2.0 is like. Thank you all for the massive support you have given. It is comforting to know that when the all star team of doctors and nurses start to pull back their supporting hands there is a wide net of friends and family hands ready to take over. I will do my best to keep you all informed here. Also, I will be back in The Treehouse on Thursday the 21st. It has been said that tragedy plus time equals comedy. There has definitely not been enough time for me to see comedy in this situation. But I also know that my best friend would not want me to lose my sense of humor nor to stop goading people into a laugh.'

SINCE W. DAN posted this on May 19th, Loretta has been moved to a rehabilitation facility in the Bay Area where she will continue to receive the highest level of care.

A BOOVILLE READER WONDERS "what all the noise has been about this week echoing from the airport from just after 7am to 4pm...The planes being intermittent are tolerable but has this become an unending construction site? Just curious what the hubbub is and who this is benefiting or is paying for this?"

IT'S FINISHED. The FAA required that the air strip juuuuuuuust right, and the contractor had to come back and smooth it off to government specs.

GREG KROUSE WRITES: “Put on your swinging shoes for another Boonville Big Band Dance Concert at the Philo Grange on May 30. Great swing era music, food, drink and dance contest on the best dance floor in the County. Festivities start at 7:30. Get ready for a sumptuous night of frivolity and swing! Only $10 at the door. Philo Grange is located at 9800 Highway 128, Philo, CA.”

A SATURDAY AFTERNOON vegetation fire in Deep Peachland at Lone Tree Ridge northeast of Boonville had the area's entire fire fighting capacity, including inmate crews, on high alert. But the Anderson Valley volunteers, reinforced by a bucket helicopter, a fixed-wing chem-retardent bomber quickly extinguished the blaze, whose cause is unknown.

SPEAKING of Peachland, the attempted assassination of Mr. Hardy Nieto's late-model pick-up truck, found bullet-ridden and on its side about a mile and a half up Peachland Road two Wednesday morning's ago, remains a mystery. Nieto said the vehicle had run out of gas, and he'd trudged off for fuel, only to return to his shot-up transportation. When we went down to Starr Automotive to have a look at the truck, it had already been driven off. Checking with Deputy Walker, the deputy says no report on the incident had been filed with local law enforcement. No harm, no foul, I guess.

THE VALLEY'S VETERANS honored fallen comrades Monday morning at Evergreen Cemetery, Boonville, with a simple ceremony of remembrance. Vietnam was the last war fought largely by a draftee army, and even the Marines were supplemented by draftees near the end of that one. Our local cemeteries are final home to quite a number of local boys who never came back from that war and all the wars preceding it.

MEMORIAL DAY doesn't mean much to most people anymore. With a professional armed services most Americans have nobody in the military, don't even know anybody in the military, and the day is just one more long weekend dedicated to beer and great slabs of beef.

SOUTHBOUND TRAFFIC through Boonville seemed unending Monday, much of it moving too fast for conditions. The CHP could have written fifty tickets an hour as the urban lemmings fled south. We were happy to see Deputy Walker appear about 3pm. The mere sight of the deputy's patrol wagon had an immediate slowing effect.

SUPERVISOR WOODHOUSE visited the office last week, as he laughingly confessed, "To see for himself the jerks who've been insulting me every week" since he took office. Nice man, clearer on the issues face-to-face than he is at public meetings. We agreed with him on some stuff, disagreed on other stuff. We came away impressed by Woodhouse's willingness to engage, and to argue without getting angry. His 5th District colleague, Lord Hamburg, could take lessons.

AN ANXIOUS BBC PROGRAMMER called early Monday morning looking for Steve Sparks who has become something of an international sports celebrity as he visits his ancestral home in Birmingham, England. "The BBC radio slot, Steve reports, "will complete the ‘hat trick' - I’ve already been in the Birmingham Mail newspaper (2-page spread) and will be on BBC television later in the week. All because I have been a supporter of Aston Villa since conception and have maintained a season ticket for decades and now have made the trip from California to see them in the English F.A. Cup Final - England’s Super Bowl… Back from the real world to the bucolic balloon that is Anderson Valley in a week or so… Cheers, Steve"

Superfan Sparks
Superfan Sparks

DAVE SEVERN WRITES: It is sometimes almost unbelievable what kind of information a suspicious mind can glean from the social grapevine even when language tends to be a barrier. But two days ago I heard two words of a farm worker conversation outside Lemons Market, "aqua" and "Weentzeel" along with an arm flapped in the air in the southeasterly direction that would roughly point toward Roland and Barbara Wentzel's property out behind the Philo Saw Works that set me wondering.  Back in February I had made mention that the Wentzel's had removed their pumping apparatus from the river seemingly in response to a previous mention that they had repositioned their pipes for better access due to low flow conditions. At that time the Navarro River was flowing at about 85 cfs. Generally the CA Water Resources Control Board cuts off water appropriations at 200 cfs. Because of drought conditions this year they cut off all fishing in all Mendocino coastal streams as well when the Navarro gauge got below 200 cfs. Having heard those two words I became suspicious and decided to visit the Wentzel Vineyards again. Sure enough my hunch was right. The Wentzels have replaced their pumping equipment and they certainly have not done so in early preparation for the next rainfall. The pump was not running when I visited Monday afternoon but a simple flip of the switch is all that it will take. The River, by the way, is again at historic lows at 8.3 cfs. and most of the ponds I see are pretty low as well. About all we can do is pray for the fish and as in my case grumble.

HUNTER SAGAIGA lived in Boonville for a few months during his teen years. A gifted athlete who dominated the County's summer basketball leagues, Sagaiga, a modest, charming kid during his Anderson Valley sojourn, was the last guy one would expect to find on a maniacal rampage like the one described in Bay Area media.

ONE OF THREE young men arrested last week "on suspicion of homicide and other offenses" for allegedly hitting and killing a woman during a police pursuit in downtown San Francisco last month, Robert Pelesauma, 19, Hunter Sagaiga, 19, and Faavesi Koka, 18, all San Francisco residents, were jailed on suspicion of homicide, conspiracy, evading police, possession of a stolen vehicle and multiple counts of robbery. The trio had committed several armed robberies leading up to April 10th, the day of the deadly chase.

Pelesauma, Sagaiga, Koka
Pelesauma, Sagaiga, Koka

BOONVILLE TEACHER HONORED. Winners of the 2015 California State Science Fair were announced during ceremonies that took place May 19, 2015 at the California Science Center. This year's fair drew 968 students from 425 schools statewide, with finalists selected from a volunteer pool of scientists and engineers from private industry and higher education. Students took home a combined total of over $50,000 in cash prizes. The presenting sponsor for this year's event was Northrop Grumman Corporation with additional support from Chevron Corporation, Southern California Gas Company, THE MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and Gilead Sciences, Inc. James Snyder, a teacher at Anderson Valley High School in Boonville (Mendocino County) was named California State Science Fair Teacher of the Year

IF YOU'RE not eating right in the Anderson Valley, it's your own fault. How can you resist, for one example among many local eat-where-you-live examples, Pam Laird's Blue Meadow Farm where Pam is presently offering:

  • Strawberries
  • First Sugar Snap Peas
  • Walla Walla Onions, Leeks
  • Red Russian & Lacinato Kale, Spring Mix
  • Heirloom Tomato, Pepper & Eggplant Starts (a few)
  • 2014 Garlic & Walnuts

Blue Meadow Farm, 3301 Holmes Ranch Road, Philo 707-895-2071.

AN ABALONE CHECKPOINT was set up at the Boonville Fairgrounds last Wednesday morning by Fish & Game. About 50 armed officers were checking southbound through-traffic much of the day. Motorists who said they'd been diving, and motorists who said nothing but possessed diving gear, were pulled into the Fairgrounds parking lot where their vehicles were searched. No reports yet on arrests or the number of abs confiscated.

THESE EVENTS conjure up images of what a police state would look and feel like, with many more armed and uniformed people than seemed necessary for a simple ab interdiction. Officers arrayed themselves at strategic intervals in Boonville to chase down people who copped panicked u-turns when they saw the mandatory stop ahead. One year, three young doofi, with some 150 pounds of processed marijuana in their car, did a sudden U at Anderson Valley Market, only to be chased down and relieved of thousands of dollars of product. Is all this necessary? Yes, because poachers are looting the resource, and if their thefts continue at the rates we've seen lately, the state will be forced to close down the Mendocino Coast to abalone fishing entirely.

SPEAKING OF STONERS, last week we fielded about ten phone calls, some of them lengthy, from various persons associated with a marijuana ballot measure. And it was our deadline day, a day we don't have the time to listen to repeat versions of, "Ah, um, like you do legal ads?" The callers wanted to know deadlines for an ad announcing their electoral effort. Then costs. Then sizes. Then, "I'll talk to the committee and get back to you." Then sizes again. And cost again. And back to the committee. One phone call at a time. And then nothing. The pot brigades who claim the drug doesn't hinder performance and general mental functioning are like drunks who claim they aren't drunk.

GLUTEN-FREE. Correct me if I'm wrong, but drivers backing into oncoming traffic are supposed to wait until through traffic passes by and it's safe to back out, right? So I'm cautiously making my way toward the Ukiah Co-op to deliver the week's consignment of Boonville's beloved newspaper when a small white car began to back out into my oncoming lane. And kept backing out. Only my lightning reflexes, undiminished by time and the bottle, prevented my from running into sudden intrusion into my land. The white car honked indignantly as I swerved around it and pulled up in front of the store. Assuming I'd just eluded one more incompetent piloting a powerful machine beyond the pilot's capacities, when the white car pulls up alongside me and this chihuahua-like creature sticks her beak out her window and shrieks, "Common courtesy says you wait for a car backing up! And you were speeding through the parking lot!" In the therapeutic voice I deploy for encounters with the outpatient community, I calmly replied, "Common sense says you don't back into oncoming traffic. And I wasn't speeding.” Mentally kicking myself for even getting into it with this nut, I assumed our interface was over. I'd been proceeding with all due caution, as always fully aware that many of my fellow motorists are, every which way, impaired.  But it wasn't over. "You are very wrong, mister, very, very wrong," the harridan continued in a red-faced tiz. I walked on into the store. But when I came back out there she was, laying in wait, as she re-commenced shouting, this time emphasizing each word, "You-Are-So-Wrong!" Philosophically, existentially, she had a point. My shortcomings would be way too many to fit into her organic vehicle, for sure, but the point was that the rules of the road were on my side.


On Sat, May 16, 2015, at 10:12 AM, David Severn wrote:

I've made a couple signs and I'm going to be at Goldeneye at 11:00 or before while the wine drinkers are going in to party. All are welcome to join me.

On Sunday, May 17, Robbie Lane Wrote:

Well, Dave, is it any wonder why nobody takes us seriously, when a grand total of 6 of us even cared enough to show up? Pretty disappointing, how everyone can piss and moan about the injustice of this whole situation, and then sit on their hands, hoping someone else will fight their fight.

* * *

On Sunday, May 17 Greg Krouse wrote:

Dave and Robbie

There are various reasons some of us did not come. I can only speak for mine. For me, I am the leader of an organization (Grange) that has to work with the wineries and I did not agree with the plan to do the action at the Pinot fest. My action can be misconstrued to be representative of my grange and I can not do that. There was some mention about doing it solely at the tech meeting. That would have been different. Direct action is a choice.

Further I do my work politically and am working to go to the Supes where I think a real change can and should happen. If you convince one winery, then what about the others? Case in point was the idiot vineyard owner in Napa who would not change out his fans for really old really noisy motors in the air, when even the local vineyards around him offered to purchase them for him or share in the costs to get neighbors to stop complaining. Some of our local wineries have tried to change like Charles and Roederer.

I have worked on this issue since last year’s first event, with many calls to the Supes, Ag Commissioner and wineries.

I researched the New Zealand Noise ordinance and the fan blades then recalled the Supt and Ag Commissioner with that info. I worked on a county wide resolution by the Mendo Cty Granges which was accepted and I plan to take to the supervisors. I saw Deborah Kahn of Navarro the day before and she told me that they are working on getting the quieter blades. Her response came from a call I made to her when they started to use the fans again. I was recommending the New Zealand fans. She told me at the time she was looking into them but I think it was after Mark sued them. I plan to talk to Arnaud Weyrich of Roederer about asking the fan rental companies to get the quieter fans. They rent a lot of them.

If we make a change at the county level then other counties will follow. We are hardly alone. Folks in Sonoma and Napa are equally angry that their rights are second to the Wine industry.

Thus there are many ways to work on this issue. Your action probably got some news action. I could hear the fan sound effect from the Grange and it sounded like it does at night. I think you will have an impact. There are some serious issues in this process that the county needs to considered and I did weigh in at the Direct action meeting to say that I felt it was important not to put all of our eggs into one basket with one action when continued action at the county level is where the change would happen.

It can not be just one event. The cumulative effect of complaints, phone calls, letters to supts, attendance at supts etc is what will make it happen. It is how we got herbicide free roads, GMO free farms and will get no standing dead tress in our forest. That group flooded the chambers so that a backup room was also full!

Frankly, if the action you did happened in the Supes Parking lot I would be there. It is a different target. But I think direct action comes after you have exhausted other channels. The supervisors have not heard enough from us formally. Direct action could follow that formal attention. However I think I can make a direct statement to the Supts that gets the message across. What is useful at the supts is several speakers with different parts of the story as they only give us 3 minutes to speak. We can present longer written comments though. I appreciate what you did. Greg

On Mon, May 18, 2015 at 9:03 PM, Greg Krouse wrote again:

My point isn't a pat on the back, but simply to say there are many ways to skin this cat. I think inroads are being made from everything being done. Grg Thanks Greg - I know you have done a lot on this. I wasn't there b/c I was teaching all weekend.... I would have been there tho and do support the actions in addition to working with the BOS and other organizations...

On Tue, May 19, 2015, at 5:37 PM, Valerie Adair wrote:

I'd like to ask why the fan was set up on Balo property, in protest, during Pinot Fest when Balo doesn't use fans? This anti-fan protest is creating an even stronger "us & them" vibe in Anderson Valley...not all of "them" use fans. Valerie Adair

(Which begs a big question, doesn't it Valerie?)

On Tue, May 19, 2015 Lynda McClure wrote: Hi Valerie: The fan recording was on the back of a pick-up. For a while it was in front of Goldeneye, who use loud fans and were hosting a festival event. At the end of the event the truck was parked across the street from Goldeneye and slightly north/west. I'm not sure where Balo is located, but if it's next to Goldeneye I'm sure they got noise. You know how far reaching and loud that fan noise can be. Is it the reaction from community residents to loud fans that causes bad vibes, or is it the vineyards who keep valley residents awake all night, night after night who exasperate the "them-us" vibe? I personally don't think business profits should trump human rights, and sleep deprivation is a form of torture, according to the UN. There are a good number of the vineyard managers and owners who are finding better ways to protect their crop from frost. I would make the argument that it is the bad neighbor vineyards who really don't care about the health and well being of the people who live in Anderson Valley, and even more don't care about the damaged community relations they cause the other vineyards, who deserve criticism, not the people whose quality of life is so affected. Anyone can give a call to Roederer (also the owner of Sharffenberger and Domain Anderson,) Navarro and their Penny Royal Farms, Goldeneye (owned by Duckhorn), V. Sattui, Cakebread, and Elke and ask them to join with other vineyards in respecting their neighbors. That's a nice, quiet action and would go a long way to help our friends who can't sleep when it's cold. Best wishes, Lynda.

On Wed, May 20, Valerie Adair Wrote: Thank you Lynda, I understand and agree with everything your wrote. I was talking with a friend from Balo Vineyards and their staff was confused (once they finally realized what the noise was outside) as to why the speaker system was "targeted" at them, since they don't use fans. When the truck was moved across from Goldeneye it was parked on land skirting Balo property. Without communication as to the events of the day, Balo felt targeted. Actions like that, without communication create more enemies then allies. Valerie Adair, Philo.

TO WEINSTEIN SECURITY: Subject: Out of line employee. My name is David Severn and I live in Anderson Valley. I am 73 years old, well respected in the Valley and seasoned at speaking my truth in constitutionally protected ways. When I showed up Saturday at the Pinot Fest on Highway 128 in Philo to talk about frost fan noise I was accosted physically by the big belly and shoulders of your #19 Bruce something-or-other who wanted to shove me around like he was King Beerbelly's lead bodyguard. Not until he was re-stationed across the highway was I able to exercise my rights to peacefully be on public property. Thank you for the other security personnel who all acted professionally. Bruce, on the other hand, needs either retraining or reassignment to janitorial duties. David Severn, Philo.

FROM WEINSTEIN SECURITY: To David Severn. Subject:  Out of line employee. Dear David, Thank you for the feedback on the services we provided this past weekend. I realize it took you time to look up our email and send your thoughts. I apologize for any awkwardness that our officer may have caused you. This is not typical behavior of Bruce. Although not an excuse, perhaps this was an isolated incident because of a personality conflict or the circumstances at the moment. I am pleased to hear that the others were behaving in a manner that was suitable. We will be sure to make note of this. Maureen Weinstein, Chief Financial Officer Weinstein Security, Inc. Windsor. "When Experience Counts and Security Matters"

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