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Valley People (Feb. 14, 2018)

VAL MUCHOWSKI WRITES: "Anderson Valley's Rancheria High School's fate will be determined on Tuesday at 4pm at the AV Cafeteria. If you know anyone who has attended or graduated from RHS, let's show up! Our kids deserve better!" Ms. Muchowski is a former teacher at the school. Justin Rhoades adds that the school board will also discuss other personnel cuts as well, affecting all three schools.

ASKED LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON if Rancheria was on the chopping block, Superintendent Hutchins replied: "The short answer is no. Earlier in the year, the Board appointed an advisory committee to give recommendations on ways to reduce the expenditures of the District. One of the many creative ideas the committee considered was temporarily suspending Rancheria High School and moving the program to the main high school campus. As the committee examined the cost benefits, in closer detail, the benefit to the budget was not enough to warrant temporarily suspending the Rancheria program. It is no longer included in the proposals going to the Board tomorrow."

ACCORDING to an attached budget reduction chart the school is considering five cost-cutting scenarios, most of which involve teacher reductions through attrition, and administrative staff cuts.


5th District Supervisorial Candidate

At Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville

Friday, February 23, 2018, 3-5pm.

His Experience: Fire Chief of Albion‐Little River; Business owner and Software Developer; Author of 2 County Measures that improve fire services; Father and husband.

Some Priorities: Establish county‐wide Internet; Increase Affordable Housing; Encourage Livable Wage Jobs; Strengthen Fire & Emergency Services; Protect Our Environment.

THAT LIGHT RAIN Sunday was so light, so startlingly rare I ran outside to enjoy the spectacle, tracking the drops until I lost count at 2,351.

THE CHP reported an ostrich running loose on 128 near mile marker 37 one day last week. Animal Control was dispatched to investigate. A reader commented that the ostrich was probably not an ostrich but an emu, which he’d previously seen in that area near the Pronsolino Ranch.

THE LATE MIKE SHAPIRO’S legacy office space in the form of train cars, central Boonville, is being re-configured for office space, at least that part of the complex that used to house Doc Chaulk’s veterinary services. Torre Douglas is moving her invaluable Lemon Fresh Design from her space down the street at the Farrer Building into the re-designed rail car, with Debra Keipp’s massage services to follow.

JESSE SLOTTE, severely wounded in Iraq, has pled guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor stemming from a Potter Valley episode imperiling his estranged wife and the couple's infant son. The heavily decorated former Army sergeant has now been sentenced to a period of intense therapy, which he is court-ordered to continue when his first course is completed. He will be back in court in March for review.

NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Opponents of the proposed cell phone tower atop the Holmes Ranch are not confined to tin foil hat types, but are mostly people alarmed by recent reports that seem to confirm negative effects on the brain from exposure to towers placed on firehouses in Southern California. KPIX Television recently offered a segment on the firehouse findings.

ALEJANDRO SOTO has become the area’s leading high school hoops scoring leader. Anderson Valley may be languishing in fourth place in the NCL III ratings with a 7-4 record, but their "Big Man" Alejandro Soto has taken over the league scoring lead averaging 21.6 over 21 games - Mendo's Nakai Baker has had the top spot most of the season. Baker has a 19.7 points-per-game average over 22 games. (MendocinoSportsPlus)

THE ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD now consists of Wynne Crisman (president), Saiorse Byrne, Kristie Hotchkiss, Dick Browning and Craig Walker. The board has renewed Superintendent Hutchins’ contract for another year and, at its recent meeting, gratefully accepted a donation from the Unity Club to the Elementary School music program in honor of Robin Lindsay.

GREETINGS FAIR FANS from Donna Pierson-Pugh: “The Mendocino County Fair is the weekend of September 14-16 and a brand new event is happening in the Ag. Building. “Freaky Fruits” and “Mammoth Zucchini’s “ is going to be a fun and interactive experience. First off, bring your crazy carrot, apple with a nose, wonky tomato or any odd looking garden edible to the fair before noon on Sunday and sign-up to win a $100 cash prize. Same prize will be paid for largest summer squash (zucchini). Everyone has that one that got away, and now it could be worth a hundred bucks. Simply bring your entry to the rear of the Ag. Building between Thursday evening and Sunday at noon and fill out the card, place your entry on the yellow bleachers across from the giant pumpkins and you’re in! Live judging will occur on Sunday at 1:30 and you can help choose the winners. Crowd reaction will determine the champion, so bring your loudest chants, screams, and whistles and join in to choose the 2018 Champions. It’s going to be really fun.  See you at the Fair! Donna Pierson Pugh for the Fair Boosters.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: The Fair needs to boost itself via a comprehensive booth fee reduction that would attract a lot more in-County participation. Boonville’s beloved weekly newspaper enjoyed the three years we bought booth space at $490 plus insurance, the cost of which we mostly recovered via the sale of books and remnant t-shirts. The Fair contributed….well, nothing, beyond directing us to the spot where we could erect our own booth and place our own table. And we were stuck between a pair of the most undesirable neighbors conceivable, the Democrats and the Republicans! $490 to spend a weekend with Hillary and Trump? I ask you…..

BOONVILLE WINTER MARKET HOOKS TROUT. The certified BFM vendors recently voted on the future of the Boonville Farmer's Market. 12 vendors were polled and 8 of them responded.

Item 1: Whether to stay with MCFarm or become a renegade market.

  • 7 vendors voted to stay with MCFarm
  • 1 vendor opted not to vote but voiced a complaint that the market needed more local support. It is suspected that we all share the same opinion.

Item 2: Whether to approve Trout as the Interim Market Manager

  • 8 vendors voted to approve Trout.
  • No one opposed the proposal.

THE SWINGIN BOONVILLE BIG BAND formed in the year 2000 as an Anderson Valley Adult Ed. class, will return to Laurens Cafe in Boonville on Saturday February 17th. This is the 18th annual show at Laurens, and the band considers it sort of home base since its first public appearance was given there. The band currently is 20 musicians strong. The band plays mostly classic hits from the Great American Song Book. Singing sensation Sharon Garner will headline the show. Break out your dancin shoes and join in the fun. The show starts at 9:00 PM and runs to 11:00 PM. Admission is $10.00 and all proceeds benefit A.V. Adult Ed. Music. The Dance floor at Lauren's is bigger than one would expect after they clear out the tables and the floor itself is smooth and good for dancing.

IT'LL BE A HOT ONE! “Dear KZYX board candidate, Thank you for your interest in holding a seat on our Board of Directors. We are in the process of organizing an on-air candidate's forum. This will be held Monday March 5th at 7:00PM in Ukiah. Once the location is secured we will let you know. We look forward to seeing you then. Ed Keller, Election coordinator, KZYX.”

MY ONLY FEAR is election, the remotest of remote possibilities because local public radio is a closely held private club, a kind of parthenogenic entity capable only of exact duplication of itself. But on the off chance you’re interested, I agitate for the following: An end to legacy blacklisting (a dozen or so people have been non-personed since the station’s virgin birth); a clearly drawn annual budget; the combining of the positions of station manager and program director, neither of which seem to have specific duties but no duties that can’t be dispatched by one person; and an hour of purely local news every weekday morning supplemented by call-ins.) Anything unreasonable here? he asked, stifling a scream. (KZYX always reminds me of that ancient joke about academic infighting being so nasty because the stakes are so small.)

DEBRA KEIPP WRITES: "I went in on the 30th to apply for the KZYX board of directors. I filled out paperwork and they told me I had to be a member. I'd just been to Santa Rosa for minor surgery and hadn’t taken much money or valuables with me, as directed. I didn't have $50 on me to pay membership that day. The next morning, the 31st, while driving to Philo, I heard on the ten o'clock show the announcement that that day was the deadline to sign up to run for the board. The 31st! So I stopped in and paid my membership @$50! The next day I received an email saying that in good conscience, they could not accept my application for the board."

HUH? "Good conscience?" That's almost funny, but they may have some rule — the ink in the rule book at the Philo bunker is never dry — about being a member for the year prior to a rubber stamp anointment, er, election.

“YOU ARE OLD, Father William,” the young man said,

“And your hair has become very white;

And yet you incessantly stand on your head –

Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,

“I feared it might injure the brain;

But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,

Why, I do it again and again.”

I MUTTERED the opening stanzas of the venerable reminder Saturday morning as I walked into the Drake High School gym for an all-ages free throw contest. I was five for ten during the warm-up throws, but fired up three air balls in a row to begin my for-the-record allotment, winding up at eight for twenty. Launching the third of the three air balls, I remarked to the two bemused kids doing the rebounding, "I don't remember the free throw line being this far back." They chuckled, and one of them said, “That’s where it’s always been.” I slunk out of the gym vowing to practice before next year's contest.

FROST FAN ALERT. Get ready, Anderson Valley, for an exceedingly noisy Spring. The summery weather has caused plant life to bud out early. That means no fruit this summer because the March and April freezes will kill the blooms. Grape blooms? The frost fans strewn from one end of The Valley to the other will undoubtedly roar into life from midnight to sun-up many mornings of the Spring months, destroying the sleep of at least a thousand persons.

BUT, but, but…..but doesn't the County have a noise ordinance? Isn't it against the law in Mendocino County to create a sustained din exceeding 50 decibels? Uh, there is no law in Mendocino County, short of murder, that the wine industry can't ignore with impunity, even noise levels that exceed 80 decibels in some residential neighborhoods.

HOPLAND is almost as happening these days as the Anderson Valley, Mendocino County's most happening community. The Hopland Hotel is about to re-open with an entire new interior, right down to reconfigured rooms and bathrooms and air conditioning throughout the venerable 19th century structure. A friend tells me that the new owners have even hired a curator to re-do the library off the bar, meaning real books in place of those Reader's Digest tomes that historically fouled the hotel's library shelves.

RE THE HOPLAND HOTEL, Dave Smith writes: “My honey is Jacquie Lee, former proprietor of the Garden Bakery (now Mama’s Cafe) in downtown Ukiah, 2 doors down from my former Mulligan’s Books. Jacquie was once temporarily employed by a new owner of the empty Hopland Hotel named Thatcher Inn. Jacquie’s job was to install a new kitchen. In the process the owner needed to stock the library with books whereupon Jacquie brought in her Mom’s old books and Encyclopedia that she wanted to get rid of anyway. Thus she provided many visitors a good laugh, including me, when entering the gorgeous library to find mostly Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Jacquie, who chuckled when she did it, defends herself: ‘At least they had nice spines.’”

THE EXTERIOR paint job on the Hopland Hotel re-boot is controversial, to say the least. It's so dark I half-expected Vampira to stick her head out an upstairs window. The dark gray paint job, I'm told, is to avoid creating one more repetition of a preciously restored, ghostly white Victorian astride 101. The new owners of the Hopland Hotel have succeeded in achieving their desired singularity. Driving south, I was so startled by the looming dark of the building I turned around for another look. I'm not sure yet if I like it, but it's definitely a grabber of a visual.

THE HOPLAND SUPERETTE remains closed. I miss it, everyone misses it. For many years the store was our one and only Hopland venue. We sold between 30-40 papers a week there before newspapers lurched onto the endangered species list. We understand that the Kong family got into a terrific in-family beef that lead to the demise of the store, mostly presided over by the vivid Ava Kong. I won't forget her calling me up one day so worried that she was tardy paying her bill that she said she was going to drive to Boonville to pay up! The bills had gone out maybe three days prior.

ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF Angela DeWitt writes: There was a fire in Yorkville on Saturday. It was an escaped burn, driven  by windy conditions through dry grass, held to 2.5 acres.

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