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Valley People (Mar 16, 2016)

LINDA BRENNAN died yesterday at the hospital in St. Helena. She was 74.  A smart, cheerful, caring woman, Mrs. Brennan was a long-time resident of the Anderson Valley who was highly valued as a teacher at Anderson Valley Elementary School. As a long-time friend put the sad news for all of us, "We are already missing her tremendously."

THE LANDMARK APPLE DRYER at the Goldeneye Winery in Philo was gutted by fire late last Tuesday afternoon. The blaze was reported about 4pm. Flames could still be seen flickering beneath the tin-roofed structure at 5 despite valiant efforts by Anderson Valley's volunteers to extinguish them. A woman, still not identified, was injured in what was, apparently, a minor explosion of some sort. The injured person was hauled over the hill by ambulance, treated at the hospital, and released.


GOLDENEYE is the former Johnny Peterson Ranch converted to its present function as tasting room and guesthouse. Boonville Fire Chief Andres Avila assessed the event this way:

"THE FIRE in Goldeneye Winery’s iconic "Apple Dryer" was reported about 4:00pm Tuesday. The winery is located at 9200 CA-128 in Philo. Our AVFD firefighters did an excellent job working on this old apple drier structure fire in Philo yesterday. Crews worked late into the night on overhaul and extinguishment. There was an occupant injury reported [she was not harmed] and the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time. The flames seem to have primarily emanated from the laundry room to the right of the dryer proper."

laundry room

MONDAY, AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA ADDED: “I am proud of the excellent work that our firefighters provided. All worked hard, safely and efficiently to accomplish their tasks. When the crew is called upon to work in unfortunate circumstances like this, they give it their all! The volunteers who participated in this partial save last week were: Jim Minton, Angela Dewitt, Roy Laird, Paul Lasiki, Kris Kellem, Ben Glaus, Charlie Paget-Seekins, Aaron Martin, Clay Eubank, Colin Wilson, Carlos Espinoza, Jimmie Johnson, German Ochoa, Kyle Clarke, Moy Perez, Sarah McCarter, Tim Holiday, Fal Allen, and Rusty Pronsolino.”

THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHERS jumped out to a 10-0 lead against visiting Chester High School in the Boonville gym last Wednesday night but were unable to overcome the persistent visitors, falling to Chester 58-54. The first-ever Division 6 CIF first-round NorCal basketball championships was close much of the way, and the Panthers missed a flurry of shots in the final two minutes that could have wrung victory from the jaws of defeat, but Chester, led by an agile 6'7" center, was able to hang on for the win.

ANOTHER enthusiastic capacity crowd turned out to watch the hometown boys who, as always, put on a great show, combining speed and a tenacious defense that forced the visitors into numerous turnovers. Although the Panther season closes on a losing note, Coach Luis Espinoza and his team will be remembered as among the best in Anderson Valley's long and illustrious basketball history.

THE OVERFLOW CROWD in the Boonville gym erupted in cheers and enthusiastic applause at Riley Lemons' impromptu and stirring rendition of the National Anthem that preceded the game, as wonderful a performance of the Anthem as any we've heard anywhere. The previous week, a recorded and ho hum Anthem was played as the game's prelim. But last week, the recording wouldn't play and Miss Lemons, at first summoned to get the thing to work, picked up the mike and memorably belted out the Anthem herself. We hope to see her sing at a Giants game this summer, and by golly, with Riley's permission, maybe it can happen. The kid deserves a larger venue.

THE GREAT FIRE OF '31. The Comptche Fire of 1931 did not burn from the coast to Ukiah. Smoke from it could be seen from the coast to Ukiah. In September, 1931 the "Great Comptche Fire" started along Big River, many miles inland. It swept up over the hills around Comptche then raced southward, roughly paralleling the eastern side of what is now the Flynn Creek Road, turning westerly near the Navarro River, but stopping several miles east of the mouth of the Navarro. The 1931 fire spared most of the Albion River except for its farthest east branches. —Malcolm Macdonald

COMPTCHE'S LEGENDARY LOGGER, Jerry Philbrick, called Sunday with a brief statement that he said he wanted to get off his chest. When the famous woodsman speaks, people listen. "I've been here all my life and I'm 79 years old. I've seen the changes come through here that are pretty awful in some ways. The thing that's really bothering me is this election. The things that have happened over the last ten years especially since President Bush went into Iraq looking for the weapons of mass destruction and couldn't find them started a war. Then Hillary got to be Secretary of State. Then she took Libya out, and was responsible for Somalia, and I can't even tell you all the places where we stuck our noses in where we don't belong. Now weapons of mass destruction are starting to show up in the hands of ISIS. They just poison gassed a bunch of their own people. They're chopping heads off and putting people in steel cages and dropping them in the rivers and drowning them. And we have to go over there and fight them with the rules of engagement that Obama has instituted in our military so our guys can't even raise a weapon until they're shot at. Those are the rules we have to operate by. If Hillary Clinton -- I don't want to offend you -- but if Hillary Clinton gets in office we might as well blow the world up and let the pieces float right off into space."

I BROKE IN to say I wasn't for Hillary, that I agreed she and Bill are a couple of ongoing disasters, that I'd do a header off the top of the Farrer Building if I were forced to vote for her.

PHILBRICK continued. "Good for you! If we don't get our heads together and do something about it — we have weak-kneed, blabber-mouthed jelly-bellied person for a President now who can't do nothing right. There's only one guy who can straighten this country out, and I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but that's Donald Trump! I just have to say that."

ROBERT ANDERSON of Boonville and San Francisco has been awarded the San Francisco Arts Medallion for his work in establishing the SF Jazz Center and, last week, responding to an invitation from the President, was in Washington for the White House State Dinner.

WE THOUGHT we heard a distant wind machine from down around SoBo just before midnight a week ago Monday night. Has all my lonely agitation to mute these infernal machines gone for naught? But it could have been a large diesel pick up truck that drove by a few seconds later because I couldn't hear the fans as I started walking north to home, 300 yards from my workstation high atop the Farrer Building. At 11:30pm the Weather Underground said the temperature in Boonville was 37. The predicted low from various weather sites ranged from 36 to 45 overnight. Has the early bud break meant early noise, early sleep disturbance for the Anderson Valley? —ms

OUT OF an apparent overabundance of caution, Caltrans closed Highway 128 near the Flynn Creek Road late Sunday afternoon, presumably thinking it might rain enough overnight to flood the Highway. But the National Weather Service prediction for Sunday/Monday was: “Showers, mainly before 11pm… New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.” Since the rain on Sunday was light all day we didn't see much chance that the Navarro could jump up over 23 feet and on up to maybe 27 feet and flood overnight. Either way though, it’s likely to be re-opened early Monday before most Mendocino residents arise, some of them singing. (And indeed it was re-opened about 2:30pm Monday afternoon. We don’t know if it ever actually flooded.)

FOUR INDIANA RESIDENTS were pulled over by local law enforcement at the Redwood Drive-In in Boonville Saturday night because the pick-up’s plates popped up as associated with an outstanding warrant for meth sales out of Indiana. The driver, Joshua Stanley, 31, of Wawaka, Indiana, first tried to give deputies a false ID, which didn’t work because the deputies already had the wanted info derived from Stanley's license plate. After adding false ID to the charges, and finding the proper ID, deputies then noticed that Mr. Stanley didn’t have a valid driver’s license under his correct ID, and that he had some go fast powder in his pocket. Stanley was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County jail where he may be extradited to Indiana on a felony meth warrant. Deputies speculated that Stanley and his three passengers — one of whom was a 16 year old pregnant girl — were in Mendo to make a drug connection with a Valley resident. A pile of welfare and infant medical applications from the County's Health Department was found in Stanley’s pickup. Stanley’s three fellow Hoosiers, ranging in age from the 16-year old to a 42 year old, were released in Boonville with a suggestion that they might want to return to Indiana.

MARY AIGNER, recently departed program director at KZYX, is now a principal in the Love In It medical marijuana cooperative based in Albion. "Ol’ Mares," as she's affectionately known around the AVA for her sunny disposition, brings years of experience to her new position.

BOONVILLE NATURE NOTE. February, usually our big rain month, was a big disappointment instead, but March is determinedly making up for its inadequacy. Our valley at least, is being inundated with one storm after another and we're closing in on "normal" with 44 inches now. It's a joy to hear the Rancheria river roaring at night, rain pelting the roof, wind blowing branches, buckets and garden chairs around, frogs in chorus day and night leading to pregnant frogs in the broccoli rows, to see the yaks and the cow stuffing themselves to sated immovability, gangs of quail cleaning the "lawn" leading to the Pink Barn, to have the gutters overflowing, mud streaming across the driveway, a waterspout shooting from a drainage pipe across the road, the grasses growing by inches each day. Everything is green and blooming and it's gonna to be a helluva weed whacking year! — to go with a helluva election year. —Petit Teton

COMMUNITY Christian Easter Church Service and all are invited.

Time: 8 AM.

Date: Easter morning.

Place: In front of the Boonville Methodist Church, 13850 Highway 128, Boonville. Valley Bible Fellowship is hosting this for the entire Valley.

Come join us for a time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There will be hymns, prayer, fellowship, refreshments, and reading of the Bible (the resurrection account). No admission and no offering will be taken.

For information call Pastor Dave Kooyers at (707) 895-2325

IMMUNIZATION rates for seventh-graders at Mendocino County are up 2% from last year. The 2015-16 school year was the first to be affected by a new California vaccination law that requires students to produce proof of vaccination status before first attending school. Home-schooled students are not required to be fully vaccinated. While SB 277 won’t require complete vaccinations until next school year, parents or guardians had to file “personal belief exemptions” and receive approval before the first of the year. Exemptions will no longer be granted, but a medical professional may grant an exception for children whose health may be compromised if they receive a certain vaccine. 94% of Mendocino County 7th graders were vaccinated. The lowest rate at a public school was Willits Charter with 77%. Instilling Goodness was the lowest private school at 47%. Both of these schools are heavy on quack-quack parents.

NOW IN ITS 19TH YEAR, the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival has expanded to include more wineries and events than ever. This year’s festival, to be held May 19-22, will showcase more than 60 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir producers, and will include an extra day of winemaker-only events. Tickets for the 19th annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival go on sale March 15 at

MAKE AMERICA GYRATE AGAIN! The Swingin' Boonville Big Band will be performing at the Anderson Valley Grange in Philo on Sat., April 2. Music starts at 7:30, tickets at the door are $10. Bring your dancing shoes and swing the night away!

FOR BASIC road closure information the Caltrans website is useful. Type in the pavement you're most concerned about — Highway One, 128, 253, 20, and so on.

FROM the May 16th, 1909, edition of the Fort Bragg Advocate News: "Stricklin, the Negro who shot Matthias in the Union Lumber Company's yard here several weeks ago, was tried in the Superior Court last week. The jury, after hearing the evidence, brought in a verdict of guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to serve two years in San Quentin by Judge White."

TRANSLATION: Matthias had it coming, and juries, then and now, are reliable gages of truth and untruth.

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