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Valley People (Oct 28, 2015)

A SPRINKLING of rain dampened Anderson Valley early Monday morning. Forecasters say we'll get up to another quarter inch Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHERS overcame a stubborn Stuart Hall by a score of 32-24 Saturday afternoon at the Boonville Fairgrounds. The visitors from San Francisco seemed a lot tougher than they were several years ago when the Boonville boys pounded them into submission by half-time under the lights at Kezar Stadium.

BOONVILLE travels to Tomales this Saturday to take on the host Braves in a 7pm league game. The League championship is still up for grabs between four teams with one loss each — Boonville, Calistoga, Point Arena, and Upper Lake. Gazing into the murk of our crystal sphere, we see Boonville in a playoff game against Upper Lake, the only team to beat us this season. With two regular season games to go, AV is tied with Roseland Prep in second place, just behind Calistoga which the Panthers visit today, Wednesday, October 28th. If AV wins both matches (the second one is on Friday, October 30th at Point Arena) the Panthers would share the regular season league title, and get a very high play-off seed. Those play-offs will begin on either Wednesday, November 4 or Saturday, November 7, depending on the seeding. Whatever the date, the first game will be at home.

DON PARDINI has gifted us with an attractively bound scrapbook of the collected editorials of the ava's founder, Homer Mannix for 1957 and 1958. Homer's paper was a fascinating enterprise housed in the old Mannix Building, itself almost as intriguing as his newspaper in its labyrinthine combination of small apartments and ground floor businesses. The upstairs apartments housed some colorfully mysterious persons including Homer's typesetter, Marie Helme. Marie, a veteran hand typesetter from Michigan, had come west after a stay in a state hospital for treatment for her compulsion to disrobe and stroll about public places, which was then considered aberrant behavior.

THE PAPER was put together the old fashioned way — by hand, with Marie's flying fingers plucking each letter for each word out of an overhead letter's case. Homer's Advertiser had to be among the very last newspapers in the country to be hand typeset and printed on an ancient hot lead press in the back room of the Mannix Building. Imagine assembling ten thousand words by hand every week, and getting it done in about six hours before shuffling down the street to the Boonville Lodge for a mini-bottle of Miller High Life. One afternoon as Marie sat in her old black top coat on her reserved stool at the end of the bar, a man was shot off the stool next to her. Marie, unfazed and unhurried, finished her beer and walked back to her apartment in the boss's building.

WHEN THE RAMBLING old structure was destroyed by fire a quarter century ago, it marked the end of an era that always reminded me of John Steinbeck's stories from the Salinas Valley with, in my opinion, Steinbeck's characters not quite as vivid and various as Anderson Valley's, circa 1940-1980.

HOMER was a good, clear writer. He got to the point and got off the page. It's wonderful reading back through his opinions. Here's one, and remember before you get all indignant about his casual reference to wife beating as an insignificant misdemeanor, Homer was born, as I recall, in 1920, and the Anderson Valley was not the bastion of correct thinking it is these days.

ALMOST 60 YEARS LATER, and still no “suitable place” — Editorial by Homer Mannix, June 4, 1957:

“The question of where to locate an 'honor camp' in the county has come up several times recently. Everyone agrees that something has to be done to relieve the badly overcrowded county jail. [Then located on the top floor of the County Courthouse.] There is over double the number of inmates than the jail was built to handle. Most of us will agree that the best thing for all concerned is to take the misdemeanor cases out of the cells and allow them to be doing some useful work. Both the prisoners and the County would gain from this. It seems that no matter where the supervisors turn to set up an ‘honor camp’ local opposition sets up a big howl and run the supervisors off of the chosen spot. Sure they are all for it, as long as it is somewhere else. Almost any community in the County must have plenty of work on roads, parks, etc. that could be performed by the inmates of the jail, work that would go undone because of the lack of funds to do it with regular labor. The board has assured the people that the only inmates who would be assigned to these camps would be misdemeanor cases. No sex or violent cases would be confined there. In most cases it would be the fellow from down the road a ways who was sent up for drunk driving, beating his wife, non-support, or writing a bum check. There is one thing for sure. We the taxpayers are going to have to let our sheriff set up camp somewhere at a cost of $30,000 or $40,000 or we are going to have to foot the bill of several hundred thousand dollars to build a bigger county jail. So far, Anderson Valley has not even been considered for the honor camp location. But three of our local organizations — the Lions, the Oddfellows, and the Farm Center — have endorsed the location of a camp in this area. In fact the Farm Center went on record endorsing a camp wherever the supervisors decided to locate it. We would like to see the Supervisors take more action in locating a spot and spend less time talking about it. No matter where they look they are going to find some opposition. And after a little time, hysteria might set in and opposition could grow into a pressure group in short order. Faulkner Park was mentioned as a possible location but since that it has since come to light that this land was deeded to the county as a park and for camping purposes only. But we are sure a suitable place can be found."

THE GOOD PEOPLE of Anderson Valley are thanked by Lake County's emergency services people for their donations to the Valley Fire. Sarah McCarter and Tim Holliday took all the items to Lake County last week. Grateful as they are, Lake County most needs cash from here on out. Donations can still be made at the Boonville Firehouse.

THE EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE looking into the possibility of merging the local ambulance service with the fire department met again last week. There’s still momentum in the merger direction, but questions remain about funding, financing, budgeting, membership, staffing, costs, liabilities, organization, etc. The looming “Exclusive Operating Agreement” for inland ambulance service being worked on by the County is also a factor. While the EOA may benefit the ambulance service in some ways, it may also undermine the service’s local autonomy.

PRESENTLY, the Ambulance Service's expenses are about one-quarter of the Fire Department’s. After additional research is completed, a joint meeting between the CSD Board and the Ambulance Service board would probably mean things are getting serious. If so, such a meeting would be agendized and publicly noticed per the Brown Act.

ANOTHER THING BEING “EXPLORED” by a local committee is the under-used community park over by the Health Center in the northwest corner of the high school grounds. The park is on school property but newly appointed school Superintendent Michelle Hutchins says it’s becoming a bit of a maintenance burden. Theoretically, the park is more of a Recreation Committee project, but there’s no money or staff to manage the — what? quarter-acre? — at the moment. Sueno Latino is also a major participant in the discussion. The local Recreation Committee is willing to discuss transferring responsibility for the park to the CSD/Recreation Committee, but who handles the trash? Who issues the permits? Who mows the lawn? Who maintains the playground equipment? This stuff isn't exactly Camp David-quality, but look for the discussion to go on. And on.

LORRETTA IS GETTING BETTER: As I walked into Loretta's room, she spotted her hat and immediately said, aww there's my pretty hat, grabbed it and put it right on her head, obviously eager for what was to come. As we were ready to go we headed out the door, but the occupational therapist diverted us over for a brief session where Loretta received a nice neck and shoulder massage. Now we were set, so we wheeled on out to the patio where we soaked up the early afternoon sunshine and spoke of chocolate and pinot gris, ironing and wild bulls. It was a pleasant visit with lots of laughter, a handful of questions, and some tears. She was very chatty and engaging. So happy to see her and her smiling face. — Shelly Englert

WE FOUND THIS ODD ITEM in a last month's Mental Health Board report:

“Mental Health Department Director Tom Pinizzotto will collaborate with the ASO’s [Ortner Management Group and Redwood Quality Management Company, the County's two mental health private service providers] and the Boonville Clinic.”

We suggest the "Boonville Clinic" (aka the AV Health Center) avoid Mr. Pinizzotto or whoever else the County tries to foist off on us.

ANNOUNCING the AVA's freshly appointed School News correspondent, Ms. Rosamaria Guerrero, a senior at Boonville High School. Why would a smart, attractive high school girl want to affiliate with the estranged senior citizens who publish the newspaper? We don't know and she isn't saying.

AS OCTOBER wends its way to Halloween, the Anderson Valley and Mendocino County have dodged a howitzer-size fire bullet. Wednesday's promised half inch of rain should dampen our tinder dry woods and hillsides enough to prevent even the possibility of fires until the big rains kick in in January, assuming some rain between now and then.

ADD SIGHT 'EMS, as the late great Herb Caen would say: The hippie woman, 30-ish walking around the Fairgrounds parking lot with a pacifier in her mouth. Say, does hippie still work as a hurry-up descriptive? The couple bicycling to Portland from LA about to pitch their tents next door to the Redwood Drive-In when they were alerted to a much more hospitable and aesthetically pleasing camp at Hendy Woods, and pedaled on grateful for the tip. And our very own homeless guy, a familiar scruffy sight in downtown Boonville before he moved on. Pleasant kinda dude, actually, and happy to accept unsolicited donations from Valley People passing by.

CREATIVE USE of an old propane tank by Jim and Gloria Ross on Anderson Valley Way, Boonville, darned if they aren't reproducing.

Anderson Valley Way Pig & Piglets
Anderson Valley Way Pig & Piglets

A NAVARRO RIVER WATERSHED MONITORING PRESENTATION —Monday November 9th, from 6-9 pm at the AV Grange in Philo. Dr. Christopher Woltemade, Geography-Earth Science Professor from Shippensburg University, will be presenting on "Stream Temperatures in the Navarro River Watershed: 2014-2015 monitoring and Heat Source computer modeling"; Nancy Smith from the Nature Conservancy (TNC) will present on TNC's 2013-2015 flow monitoring analysis; Dave Ulrich, Fisheries Biologist from Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) will present on recent surveys of Steelhead and coho Salmon populations in the North Fork Navarro sub-basin; and Kirk Vodopals, hydrologist for MRC, will give a quick update on recent restoration efforts that MRC has been implementing in the North Fork Navarro. There will be a potluck from 6-7 pm, presentations will begin promptly at 7:00 pm. Everyone is welcome. For more information call the Navarro River Resource Center 895-3230. — Linda MacElwee

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