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Valley People (Jan. 17, 2018)

NAVARRO again plugged at the mouth. Paul McCarthy of Elk and the indispensable MendocinoSportsPlus reports: “The USGS river gauge said (1:15 pm) the river level was 2.60’ - but Highway 128 will flood if it bears the 4.0’ and the sandbar stays intact. There have been two Highway 128 closures this season - one for 38.5 hours this month and one for 36 hours last November. In November, 2016 the sandbar flooding caused Highway 128 to be closed for more than 5 days, ironically, it was for 128 hours."

Navarro Mouth, Monday, 3pm, approaching low tide.


RINGMASTERS Angela DeWitt and Captain Rainbow write to remind us that the 27th annual Grange Variety show nears:

“IT'S TIME kick that act you've been thinking about for the VARIETY SHOW into high gear.

“Ah yessss, these wet Winter days and nights are a perfect time to polish that gem, turn that sows ear into a silk purse, write that epic poem, pick up that dusty fiddle. Or that wacky skit you promised us last year.

“AND never forget the ever present desire to see our animal friends onstage, singing dogs? dancing goats?, we hear there's a Yak somewhere in Mendoland, can we fit it onstage? you know we'll try. “C’mon, take a chance, it's the best crowd in the world! We accept acts from anywhere with very few questions asked. Don't wait, we'll even help you develop your act. If you don't want to jump up and hear that thunderous applause get your friend to do that plate spinning act you saw 'em doing in the kitchen. It's not rocket science, but come to think of it we did have the Boonville Space Program launch a few rockets from the parking lot several years ago, so get creative!

“DON'T WAIT, CALL NOW, operators are waiting: Captain Rainbow 895-3807 or Angela 895-3362”

SHERIFF ALLMAN told the LA Times that inland Mendo is going back to sirens as the most effective mass alarm system. We could use sirens here in the Anderson Valley, too, from Yorkville to Navarro.

THE HOLMES RANCHERS, some of them anyway, are hoping to prevent installation of a cell tower up top. The opposition doesn’t seem to be coming from the Tin Foil Hat types but every day residents who object to reminders of industrial civ in their otherwise bucolic neighborhood. AT&T pays a nice annual stipend to property owners willing to host a tower….

CORRECTION: JOHNNY SCHMITT has written to say much as he'd liked to have bought the property next door to expand the Boonville Hotel, it has in fact been purchased by someone else, a couple associated with the Hotel by the name of Casey "who bought it to protect affordable housing in the valley and hope to expand it from the current two residences into more if the county finally allows some creative density here in town. The two houses are currently rented out to Lucia Flores, our housekeeper, and another local family, who will remain as long as they would like at their fair rents. There is no plan or discussion for an expansion of the hotel at this point, other than the two story unit (2 rooms) we are currently trying to obtain a permit to build on the hotel property, right between the laundry room and the studio/bungalow structure. That is a whole other boondoggle, having spent over $20k on paper already trying to get a permit and the end is nowhere in sight. We are very concerned about affordable housing in the valley and luckily so are our investors; we would be remiss to take any more rentals off the market to expand the hotel."

I'LL TAKE this opportunity to also be annoyed with the County's inflexibility re the Boonville Hotel. Everything the Schmitts have done in Boonville has been a major plus for the town. Their projects should be expedited, not nit-picked by people with no skin in the game.

ONE MAJOR PROBLEM with the County, is that you seem to always be dealing with — how you say in Ingress? — people who lack flexibility, people of limited imagination, people who should not be invested with authority. Aesthetic arguments are in vain. Any plan that departs from a three bedroom, two bath reinforced bunker causes brows to furrow. The Acropolis? Sorry, no handrails. The Grand Mosque of Istanbul? Oh no. Not enough setback and way too round. The Lincoln Memorial? Too tall. Doesn’t meet earthquake standards.

HERE at the AVA construction site, it took us repeated trips to Ukiah to get simplicity itself accomplished. A glance at our plan should have gotten us an immediate green light, and then a final inspection and sign-off when we were finished. Noooooo. Because of contradictory directions from B&P we were forced to spend a lot of money we didn't have, on top of which we endure the weekly fiscal insult presented by the Supes as they rip off everyone’s property taxes for one dubious expenditure after another including as a first spending priority, themselves.

ON THE PLUS SIDE, the spiffy little house at the Elder Home in South Boonville (SoBo) went up fast and clean. The builders did a nice job. As an elder, and forty-year resident, please put me on the waiting list.

STOPPED in at WalMart, Ukiah one day last week to buy some goldfish. Strewn about the mammoth store's perimeter were clusters of the homeless, most with their stuff piled in shopping carts or simply mounded next to them. The bulk of this growing army were massed between WalMart and Taco Bell. It's a scene implying collapse, an absence of competent authority, a harbinger of the chaos to come. “Hurry up please it’s time. Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight. Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.”

INSIDE THE STORE, a lot of the customers looked like they were about a half-step from homelessness themselves. WalMart's the only store in the area where the poor can stock up on necessities. I also couldn't help but notice that most of my fellow shoppers were overweight, not to mention the store’s staff, were dangerously overweight. I'm not likely to be confused with Peter Pan myself, and I’m more worried about my fellow fatso-watsos than I am in judgement of them. I read somewhere that 71 percent of US are too fat, the result being premature death from a range of malignancies. A doctor told me once, "You'd be surprised how many people come in here for a routine visit who have no idea their heart is about to seize up. We take a lot of people straight into surgery." All it takes to stay reasonably fit is an hour a day, maybe not even that, to keep the heart muscle muscled.

WALMART'S GOLD FISH MANAGER said he couldn't sell me any fish — $1.25 each — until 8pm. "We just got a new shipment in," he said by way of non-explanation. I asked why 8pm. "Beats hell outta me," he said.

I PUT GOLDFISH in a livestock trough and, when the daily provocations that come with the newspaper biz become violently annoying, I walk outside to watch the fish swim around. Years ago a raccoon fell in trying to catch my fish. He was thrashing around in about three feet of water before I came up with a two by four he could climb out on and save himself. We live close to nature here in Boonville.

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