Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (June 17, 2015)

LORETTA HOUCK faces a long, long road to recovery from the terrible brain injury she suffered last month when she fell and struck her head. Loretta and her husband Dan being a long-time and very popular local couple, lots of locals have stepped up to help however they can, most efficiently via

WHEN JIM ROBERTS of the Madrones (Philo) stopped in the other day to drop off a legal ad, I resisted an impulse to jump to my feet to applaud him. Not only has he created a kind of gastro-paradise at Indian Creek, Roberts has cleaned up Doc Marsh's redwood grove next door, restoring the grove to the park-like beauty and tranquility the Marsh family established and maintained for many years. Roberts has also restored what I had always assumed was an unrelated cabin or mill shack up on the hill next to the mill. He said he has plans for a trail and maybe even a tree house in the grove. Due west, Dr. Marsh once maintained an idyllic swimming hole on Indian Creek he had to give up when drunks and druggers began to dominate the site, bringing the inevitable broken beer bottles, bad language, moron music, and generally bad behavior that mopes characterize as "partying." Roberts has done a majorly good thing for the Anderson Valley with his remarkable transformation of the property.

WHILE PASSING out the congrats, Anderson Valley's volunteer firefighters and emergency responders always deserve our respect and gratitude. Example: One of our neighbors here atop the Farrer Building is Angela DeWitt. She occupies an adjoining office with Dawn Ballantine where she and Dawn offer accounting and bookkeeping services. When the scanner crackles with the very first notice of a local emergency, Angela — no exaggeration — sprints through the doors, hurls herself down the stairs and into her car and she's gone. We joked the other day that maybe we should get Angela a fireman's pole to cut maybe three seconds off her exit speed. Joking aside, Angela's commitment is typical of our volunteers, and we're all perennially in their debt.

SARAH KREIENHOP, now a senior at Anderson Valley High School, is a summer intern here at your beloved community newspaper. She's sponsored by the Anderson Valley Educational Foundation, and please put on hold whatever concerns you may have for the child's welfare in an office of cynical old bolsheviks until she has passed through the crucible. Ms. K is already holding her own, as her report on last Thursday's graduations makes clear. I also attended the ceremony in my capacity as front man for the Miner-Anderson Foundation and dispenser of its annual scholarships. I thought it was a pleasant and even, at times, lively event, although the venue, the sweatbox of the Boonville gym, is never conducive to early summer graduations or any other non-athletic occasion. Mr. Negative also has to wonder why the strings of clichés called graduation speeches must also be translated into Spanish, twice boring the many bilingual people in the audience and coma-tizing both sets of monolingual attendees. The medium of instruction being English, English is enough. If the medium of instruction were Spanish, Spanish would get 'er done, and us English speakers could be bored by proxy, so to speak. All-in-all, though, the overall agony was minimal, the students, as always, handsome and bright. (I was fortunate to be seated next to Len Feinstein who kept us both us abreast of the Warriors-Cavs game. Thank you, Len.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jerry Cox who recently celebrated his 90th, putting him right up there with about ten other Valley elders closing in on the century mark.

PADRE COX WRITES: "Along with the recent praise and thanks to Marty Bradford, JR Collins, and Donna Pierson Pugh for their long years of service and leadership to our Anderson Valley school children, I would like to add the name of Ms. Wendy Patterson, the retiring teacher at our Rancheria Continuation School, located on the grounds of the Anderson Valley Elementary School. Wendy has soldiered for years with some of the toughest and challenging students. As a former school counselor I visited her classroom frequently and witnessed the skill and compassion she demonstrated toward her students. Public praise is the one thing that she would not crave. But I hope this small bit of praise will provide some."

PERSONNEL NOTE: Former Boonville school supe, Jim Johnson, presently functions as the part-time edu-leader at Geyserville High School. The Johnsons live on Cameron Road near Elk, near enough to make them eligible for honorary AV citizenship, which Jim more than earned when he served as superintendent of our schools.

MARGARET PICKENS called to remind me that the watercolors of the late Malcolm West were on display at the Scharffenberger Winery, Philo. Margaret knows her art so I hustled right off and darned if she wasn't absolutely correct. The guy could paint, and much of his work is of local vistas and landmarks, which makes it twice as interesting to this particular rustic. If you're looking for something in the way of a family heirloom, something to prominently display in your livingroom, you will want to have a look at Malcolm's exhibit, and maybe even buy a painting or two. All of them are reasonably priced.

ON THE SUBJECT of aesthetics, that wood cross in front of Boonville's Assembly of God church is nicely done, complete with a replica crown of thorns perched on top, but to anchor it in a white paint bucket?


(I JUST READ some place that the Romans, and I guess everyone else in the days of the more primitive deterrents, drove their crucifying nails through the wrists, the hands not being strong enough to hold the body on the cross.)

HA-HA. That sign on the gate of the Greenwood Ridge Winery promises "100 Point Pinot." The rest of our wineries boast scores in the 90's. But Greenwood does indeed offer perfect pinot — Greenwood 100 Point Pinot.


VIOLENTLY BEAUTIFUL in Mendocino County Tuesday night last week. Thunder and lightning, rain bursts, brilliant red sunset, and a no hitter from the Giant's Heston to offset the Warrior loss in game 3 of the playoffs (due in part to subsequently disclosed key player injuries). No reports of fires but the lightning seemed to strike everywhere to the north and east. “Isolated thunderstorms,” according to the National Weather Service, with a series of good sized storm cells sweeping up the dying Navarro from Albion through Yorkville and into the pot fields and vineyards of Hopland.

I'M SOOOOO EXCITED. I have a press pass for my first concert since I saw Miss Peggy Lee at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, which would have been 1960 or '61. Peering back through the mists of time, I dimly recall that my girl friend, otherwise a stone beatnik, had inexplicably come to possess the Miss Lee tickets and had invited me to go along because no one else would. Miss Peggy Lee? I remember a voluptuous woman stuffed into a sequined evening gown breathing late night piano bar-like love laments to an early geriatric audience, a very far cry from this weekend's World Music Festival at the Boonville Fairgrounds featuring the great Jimmy Cliff whose rendition of Many Rivers To Cross is just about the most moving tune you'll hear. Yes, sir, I'm going to see Jimmy. Getting myself some fake dreads and maybe a psychedelic tie so I can fit in with the trendo-groove-o's and, as the young people say, "get down." Or get the heck out, depending on the vibe and other intangibles. (Never have been a mob scene guy.) I realize my concert bona fides are pretty thin. The music part of the Sixties went right by me. I can tell the Beatles from Jimmy Hendrix, but the only act I deliberately attended in that period were two performances by Lenny Bruce, the first one hilarious and absolutely brilliant, the second unfunny as he performed loaded and went tediously on about his multitudinous legal problems. Doubt that Lenny Bruce could work in these preciously correct times, but he paved the way for the rest of the great ones — Richard Pryor, George Carlin and my latter day fave, Chris Rock. (Where did all the prigs come from all of a sudden? This used to be a fun country, but then these uni-sex Madam Defarge personality types ran in and put the kabosh on the laughter.)

FIRST PERSON PLURAL: All new! One Night Only! A performance of women’s original monologues. Thursday, July 2, 7pm at the Philo Grange. Doors open at 6:30. $5-$10 at the door.

Featuring Christine Dill, Isa Davila, Antonina (Annie) Esposito, Benna Kolinsky, Margo Frank, Viviohn Howard.

AGROKTIMA FRESKO is a farm-to-table celebration of Anderson valley food and wine, Greek style. Enjoy five courses of culinary delights including local lamb, pork, and produce all to benefit the Boonville Farmers Market food stamp match fund. Help strengthen the local food economy while sipping fine wines from Roederer Estate And Goldeneye Vineyards. Champagne reception starts at 6 at Roederer Estate in philo, dinner at 7 on Saturday June 27th. Tickets are $100, all proceeds go to the Food Stamp Match Fund. Call 707-318-6166 for tickets, or email

THE FOOD STAMP MATCH FUND allows shoppers using food stamps to double their purchasing power at the Boonville Farmers Market, while also increasing revenue to local farmers and thereby strengthening the local food economy. Shoppers can spend $15 of their food stamps, which is doubled by the Match Fund so that they actually have $30 to spend at market. (Valerie Kim)

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *