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Valley People (March 18, 1998)

THE UPSIDE of small town life: Saturday night, it having suddenly occurred to me at 7:25pm that I hadn’t bought a Lottery ticket for a chance at 7 mil (I figure I need twice that), and it taking me eight minutes to get from The Fort to the store, I called down to AV Market where Ruben Thomasson Jr. was gracious enough to buy me a dollar’s worth of Quik Pick. Unfortunately, it’s just now occurred to me on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30pm that I haven’t repaid Ruben. How mortifying.

THE LAST RESORT, central Philo, is being cleaned up and rehabbed and looking good already. Nick Alexander recently bought the property and has wasted no time going to work on it.

VALERIE BENNETT and her young son got a great big scare a couple of Tuesdays ago when a lunatic showed up at their Navarro door about 8:30pm “just as we were finishing up homework,” Valerie told me Wednesday when I met her at the Navarro Post Office. The loon proceeded to scream at Valerie in obscene terms about what he would do to her if “Jose” wasn’t there when he returned, terrifying Valerie and Valerie’s little boy, Shawn, with his wild threats. Valerie doesn’t know anybody named Jose. She called 9-1-1 but law enforcement never did show up so far as she knows because she and her son were so shaken by the intrusion they left to spend the night with friends. “We live close to the road so people do stop by if they’re stranded or need directions,” Valerie said, “but from now on the gate on the road will be locked at night.”

I’M SURE it happens all the time and is a lot more irksome to Christine Clark than it is to me, but I watched a guy help himself to a bouquet of daffodils at Riley Heights about 5pm last Wednesday, thereby slightly diminishing the annual display for the rest of us. What’s that old warning about stolen flowers and stolen love coming to bad ends? Let’s hope the curse kicked in as the thief roared off in a Mercedes towards Philo.

IRMA TURNER has informed Charmian that she remembers the very first telephone building in Boonville was actually in a little structure near the Hotel because she worked the phones in it. And Evelyn Berry hasn’t achieved her ninth decade. Evelyn is and always has been quite formidable, especially when it comes to not-gladly-suffering-fools-like-the-local-editor. Apologies, ladies.

DAVID COLFAX, of Boonville, has filed charges of assault and battery against Barry Chiverton of Philo. Deputy Londo took the complaint on March 9th, the day after Chiverton slapped Colfax at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville because Colfax had called Chiverton’s wife a c—t. Londo’s report on the incident has been forwarded to the DA who, so far, has not announced whether or not she will prosecute Chiverton. Mr. and Mrs. Chiverton own and operate the Philo Pottery Inn.

WHAT with everyone from all the five major genders on Colfax’s case, the AVA has named him the AVA’s Feminist of the Week for appearing at Sunday’s Women’s History Day festivities in Ukiah even as the story of his now famous dust-up with Mr. Chiverton of Philo ricochetted around the County.

POND POLICE? In an effort to stop illegal stream diversions, not to mention illegal appropriations of the summer flows of the Navarro, the Rancheria and Indian Creek, the State Water Resources Control Board has declared that every single Valley property owner who has an unlicensed pond on his place of whatever size or antiquity, must pay $950 to register it. The Big Boy ponds are of course in full compliance with the law because they can easily afford it although some of them are the worst offenders when it comes to taking more water than is reasonable from The Valley’s streams and rivers. There are obvious parallels to the Spotted Owl laws; the corporations simply go out and hire a wildlife biologist (they’re the proverbial dime a dozen) who writes a report saying the owl does swell without trees. But the little guy logger is just about put out of business trying to comply with a law really aimed at organizations like L-P.

MARCH’S SCHOOL BOARD meeting last Thursday night saw five teachers tenured: Jeanne Collins, the superintendent’s wife who teaches Spanish and signing; Val Smith who teaches 1st grade and whose husband, former trustee Tom Smith, nobly resigned from the Board to avoid violating the nepotism sections of the Ed Code blithely ignored by everyone in Anderson Valley except him for a quarter century; Sharon McCorkell, high school science teacher; Fran Coliner, home school teacher for grades K-8; and the most excellent maestro and music teacher Bob Ayres.

APRIL 8TH, beginning at 7pm in the School Board room at the Elementary School, persons wishing to replace Smith as trustee will be interviewed in open session by the Board. To be considered for appointment to the Board, get your bona fides in prior to the 8th. Skeptics need not apply.

THE TENURE LAWS, whose origins we might all profit from by reviewing, were enacted in the 1950s to protect the intellectual freedom of public school teachers who, if they spoke out on the issues of the day, were often accused by community fascisti of being communists or perverts or both and fired. Fast forward to Boonville 1998 where the typical teacher seldom participates in the political life of the area or shows the least bit interest in it. The tenure system, then, fought for by a handful of people who paid big prices for standing up for democratic rights, has since become a mass featherbedding system, guaranteeing the dim, the timid, the lazy, and the grossly incompetent life-time jobs at full-time pay for part-time work. It wouldn’t be so angrifying if teacher’s unions were at all progressive on social issues, but they aren’t; they function like guilds, not unions, agitating only for more for themselves. And they resist every single proposal to reform the public school system, even the ones that wouldn’t cost them or anybody else anything.

COUPLA WEEKS AGO someone or someones in Point Arena scratched AV’s school bus while the bus was parked in PA High School’s parking lot and everyone but the vandals were inside watching the game. $1,500 in repairs.

DONNA RONNE is still at her post at the Boonville Dump. Mike Mogler was only filling in for Donna during an absence. At ease, everyone.

RUMOR OF THE WEEK: It isn’t Harry Merlo and a group of his pals moving money around to buy L-P’s depleted acres, it’s Charles Hurwitz and Pacific Lumber, supposedly inside knowledge has it. Gee, I hope so; Hurwitz is just about the only guy in the timber business who’s a better all-round villain than Merlo. Maybe Hurwitz will buy L-P with the $380 million the taxpayers are coughing up for Headwaters, making the whole deal the grandslam of environmental atrocity. Go for it, Chuck!

OUR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS are undecided between Hawaii, LA and San Diego as destination for their “sneak.” Honolulu, LA and San Diego are objectively interchangeable teenage-tourist-wise, so I suggest a weekend in Frisco where all you exhausted young scholars can take in a couple of plays, eat some good food, tour the new library, the galleries, and drop in on City Hall where something interesting is usually going on. Fun, inexpensive, educational. Which isn’t ever the point of these overly-grandiose excursions and I’m sorry I brought it up.

ACCORDING to a legal notice in the Ukiah Daily Journal, Duckhorn Vineyards of Philo is also known as Decoy, Paraduxx and the St. Helena Wine Company. Locally, Duckhorn is known Eyesore, White Fence Eyesore, Redwood Stakes Painted White Eyesore, and Goddam Redwood Stakes Painted White Eyesore.

QUINCY STEELE of AVHS has been named to the 1st five of the NCL III all-league team. Dave Shapiro was honored as a second team all-league selection. Beats me what happened here; Quincy was easily the best player in the league, and maybe the best high school player in the whole county this season, large or small school, so why wasn’t he named MVP?

MENDO COUNTY operates two garbage agencies but neither or both together is anywhere near complying with a state-ordered waste stream reduction via recycling goal due to be met in 2000. The recycling emphasis is aimed at reducing the County’s waste stream which the state says has to be reduced to a trickle by the millennium, nevermind that the prob is at the corporate level and nevermind that as usual the corps are passing along their clean-up costs to the taxpayers. But don’t you just love the irony of it all anyway? Here we are in a county considered by lots of people to be ground zero for environmental consciousness and we don’t even have a recycling system. Right here in Boonville, after a couple of years of talk — every third person is of course an expert on the environment — we couldn’t figure out how to run a simple recycling operation set up at the high school. Bringing it all current and according to a story by Jennifer Poole in the Ukiah Daily Journal Monday, March 16th (Ms. Poole is an excellent reporter on the County’s fluidly dysfunctional trash policy and on the even more massive boondoggle known as the Northwestern Railroad), supervisor Richard Shoemaker, and Paul Caylor of the Solid Waste Management Authority, one of the two County garbage mini-bureaucracies, visited Boonville last weekend to do some investigative dumpster-diving. They were trying to figure out if Boonville generated enough detritus to set up a recycling operation over here that would at least meet its expenses. There isn’t, perhaps because a lot of people simply toss stuff over the side of the road. “There were a few things in the dumpster that could have been pulled out and recycled. But if in the whole volume there was another 5 percent, I would have been amazed,” Shoemaker told Ms. Poole. Shoemaker did point out the obvious that the obscene volume of trash generated in this country is “a political problem,” but left out the second and third parts of the equation which are that the corporations create most of the garbage and that the corporations own the political system. I’d say it’s time to recycle both political parties into at least four.

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