Valley People (Nov. 1, 2017)

by AVA News Service, November 1, 2017

WE ARE SADDENED to learn that Bernice Clow has died, wife of the late Jim Clow. Jim Clow was manager of the Boonville Fair and Fairgrounds in the 1970s and 80s. Some of us will remember Bernice from the days she was an unfailingly friendly presence at the Anderson Valley Market. Our condolences to Bill and Lindsay Clow, sons of Jim and Bernice and natives of Anderson Valley who still live here. Lindsay continues in the tradition of his dad as a member of the Fair Board.

YORKVILLE RANCHER LARRY MAILLIARD was appointed to the AV Community Services District Board by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Mailliard will take the seat now held by Kirk Wilder who is stepping down after many years of productive service.

JENNIFER DENISE MENDOZA, as confirmed by the CHP, is the name of the young woman involved in the terrible single vehicle accident in Navarro the late morning of Friday, October 20. She miraculously emerged unscathed from the wreckage of her car.  Some locals, and at least two eyewitnesses, said the young woman responsible for the accident was our Jennifer Mendoza, a medical assistant at the Anderson Valley Health Center. The CHP, however, said Jennifer Mendoza in the accident is from Phoenix, Arizona. We called our Jennifer Mendoza at the Health Center but, as we went to press, she hadn’t called back. Will the real Jennifer Mendoza please stand up?

IN OTHER NEWS from the Deepend, a small army of Fish and Wildlife agents descended on the Bloyd home in downtown Navarro last Friday morning at 7am, and stayed through the lunch hour. Who and what they were looking for has not yet been revealed. Our call to F&W’s Eureka office was referred to headquarters in Sacramento. Fish and Wildlife, by the way, is one of our more elusive public agencies, but “I’m not at liberty blah blah blah” is commonplace at all levels of public agencies from the Anderson Valley Health Center to Trump. So you get a twenty-man raid team dicking off half the day in Navarro but no one in the agency is “available” to confirm, even minimally, what the raid was about?

THE WEATHER went from Fall to Winter Monday morning at exactly 11:20am, when a cold wind blew in from the north, harbinger of rain beginning Friday.

TRACY ANDERSON is the first graduate of the Anderson Valley schools to come back and run one. She proudly points to the varsity sports letters on her office wall that she won as a high school basketball and volleyball veteran of many winning games and matches in the Boonville gym. We immediately commenced a round of ‘Remember When’ from our flush common stock of local memories. Presently in her first year as principal of the elementary school, when Tracy left Boonville for the big world beyond, her diploma had been certified by none other than Superintendent Ron Snowden;  her mom, the late Terry Anderson, was helping get the Anderson Valley Health Center started, a vital community institution then staffed by barefoot doctors in the dubious premises of the now abandoned Ricard Building; the Valley’s ambulance was crafted out of an ancient station wagon, and our purely volunteer fire department often made do with garden hoses. Principal Anderson marvels, “It’s all come a long way since then.” Tracy’s dad, Jim Anderson, still lives in the Anderson Valley. (The kid has roots!) Tracy began working for Safeway in Ukiah while still a high school student, and kept on working for Safeway through college at SF State, enjoying life in the Bay Area cities of San Francisco, Alameda and Orinda. The energetic educator has a 27-year-old daughter engaged to be married, and provides the additional intelligence that she has never been far from the Anderson Valley, an extended tour of Africa notwithstanding. Tracy worked a year at the old Unicorn School in Philo and for many years just over the hill in Ukiah.  Tracy’s partner is Mark Theiss, who locals will remember from his beginnings in the wine industry with Tony Husch, the original Tony Husch. He is now with Kendall-Jackson, launching his career in wine with Jed Steele, the original Jed Steele. He and Tracy have lived for many years in Healdsburg, from where Tracy commutes to her work in Boonville. Having worked in the Ukiah schools for 17 years, “I’ve pretty much done it all,” she says, “from special ed to administration. When the job here opened up, I said to myself, ‘Now this would be interesting.’” And it apparently has been. “I love it here. This staff is really, really good and everyone is so friendly. Good things are happening here, for sure, as we address the new fact of English-language learners.”

TOMMY LEMONS AND SONS have rapidly transformed the building once home to the justly renowned Libby’s Restaurant. The old structure has been home to many successful eateries, but was overdue for rehab. The Lemons are exactly the kind of multi-talented family you’d want with you if/when industrial civilization rolls to a halt. They fish, hunt, garden, build, repair — you name it. Those of us, ahem, like me who manage to create cash out of pure wind always want to stay on the good side of people who can actually feed and shelter us.

WHERE’S COASTAL VALLEY EMS? In all the depressing excitement of the Redwood/Potter Fire Emergency, we’re not the only ones wondering where the County’s Emergency Medical Services Agency has been. Mendocino County contracts with the Sonoma County office to manage emergency services (typically ambulance service). And clearly there were special challenges for all emergency responders during the fires. But we can’t find anything CVEMS contributed. What, if anything, should they contribute? Several local fire officials are mulling the question and are talking about asking Official Mendo to spell out exactly what we’re supposed to be getting for the nice nickel we pay them.

A RELATED CONCERN of local fire officials is, “Who do we talk to?” On paper, Health and Human Services Agency head Tammy Moss-Chandler is the official responsible for the Coastal Valley contract, but there’s no real oversight and Ms. Moss-Chandler has no background in emergency services. A whole host of issues very important to Mendo’s approximately two dozen fire departments are difficult to talk about because there’s  no one to raise the issue with. The Board of Supervisors is usually the court of last resort as demonstrated most recently when they voted 3-2 to hold off putting CalFire Dispatch out to bid. No one had done any background work on the dispatch situation. Coastal Valley simply presented a Dispatch Request For Proposal to the Supervisors to sign sight unseen, no analysis.

LATELY there’s some talk about how the Proposition 172 public safety sales tax revenues are going to be distributed to local fire departments, if they’re again distributed to local fire departments. The fire departments really need a specific, set amount to divvy up, not endure an annual begging bowl ritual. The County already has the money and could easily steer some 172 money to the County’s fire departments.  Supervisor McCowen says he wants to revisit the allocation method, and let’s hope he does. In the wake of the recent fires, the importance of adequately funded local Fire Departments has become even more obvious, yet our fire people are still having trouble even figuring out who on the County staff to talk to, much less having an advocate for this essential and cost effective service. Compared, say, to the wild profligacy of spending on Mental Health, Tourism Promotion, First Five, et al, the County’s fire departments are models of fiscal prudence.

BESIDES THE PROP 172 SALES TAXES that ought to be used to help underfunded local fire departments, a big chunk of the Bed Tax ought to be allocated to them as well. Instead of giving the tourism promotion people an unquestioned blank check every year, the Board of Supervisors should create a reliable source of supplementary funding that local fire departments can depend on and budget with consistently. If it’s good enough for the tourism promoters (who simply claim — evidence to the contrary — that they do some good), isn’t it past time to set up a reliable funding mechanism for fire departments? The inland fire departments contributed a lot more to the recent fire response than the tourism people or Coastal Valley EMS, and the County is responsible for all of Mendo’s remote regions not covered by a fire district, yet every year it’s like pulling teeth for these essential services to get their fair share of the public safety money. And, such is the confusion at the County level, the fire people can’t even figure out who to complain to! (Mark Scaramella)

RANDOM BLIPS from a failing mind. Walking the sepulchral morning streets of San Anselmo, which  are sepulchral at all hours except for Mexicans doing the real work during the day, two women walking fluffy little dogs in opposite directions, paused to exchange, I guess, dog notes. As I drew opposite, the dogs started to fight. I laughed. Both owners turned to glare at me, one saying loudly, pointedly, "You can see why she doesn't like men!"

MY GRANDDAUGHTER recently attended a birthday party where one of the little girls, a pre-school classmate, was dressed as a boy. The girl-boy's parents explained, with suspiciously needy alacrity to everyone and anyone, that their daughter's gender preference was male, hence her boy's outfit. A five-year-old has gender preferences?

A FILM FESTIVAL in Boonville? Yup, all last weekend at the revived Live Oak Building in conjunction with wine festivities, we understand.

JUST SIGNED UP for Woodlands Wildlife, a newsletter I learned of from Ronnie James, the Mendo Coast's go-to wildlife person. Lots of interesting stuff in the first one I've received and, better yet, available for a modest donation of whatever you can afford. "100% of your donation will be used to purchase food and medical supplies for injured or orphaned wildlife or for educational purposes." Woodland Wildlife, Box 1336, Mendocino 95460.

SPEAKING OF WILDLIFE, seems to me there's been an explosion of foxes lately. I see their scat everywhere, more than I remember seeing in past years. Caught a glimpse of one jumping off our office porch the other morning just after I'd fed Skrag, the cat that's adopted us. The fox had apparently chased Skrag off and helped itself to his breakfast. Had to re-feed ol’ Skrag, who was insistently demanding more.

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