Valley People (April 17, 2019)

WILDFLOWER SHOW coming right up on May 4th and 5th, more than 300 flowers, grasses, and tree branches will be identified and on display at the Boonville Fairgrounds (June Building). The plants most beneficial to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds will be the focus of plants-on-sale this year. Lots of information will be provided, including which plants and trees host caterpillars that help songbirds feed their young. Plant talks will be given by naturalists; attendees are welcome to bring in plants for experts to identify. Some of Susan Gross’s striking botanical art pieces will be on site, and for sale -- two pieces will be offered on raffle! 

ANOTHER Do Not Miss event is Customer Appreciation Day at AV Farm Supply where, among many other attractions we’re promised, “Once again, Libby’s will be cooking tacos for our annual Customer Appreciation Day! May 10th from 12:00pm - 5:00 pm.”

ANN FASHAUER WRITES: A few years back I did a survey asking folks what they would like to see in the Valley. One of those most requested was a gym of some sort. 

There is an opportunity to have one but it would require support from the community to make it happen. That support would require a certain number of people to have annual memberships in the range of $55-75/month. After that the gym could then take members on a sliding scale, with those who can paying more and those who can’t, less. It would be run by a non-profit. There would be costs such as insurance, staffing, rent and utilities.

I’m polling you all as community members and I’d love a response back, either for yourself or someone you know or who is in your family, if they think they could support this kind of monthly cost for at least a year. Thank you, Anne at anne@annefashauer.com

LIVING WITH WILDFIRE in the Navarro River Watershed, a free three-part series on consecutive Tuesday evenings at the Firehouse in Boonville, featuring experts from the Mendocino Resource Conservation District and the Fire Safe Council, as well as AVFD Chief Avila. 

  • 4/30 - Fire Behavior and Home Hardening 
  • 5/7 - Fire Behavior and Best Management Practices for your Property
  • 5/14 - Organizing and Communicating at the Community Level

Attendance at all three isn't required. 

Learn what factors might affect fire behavior in your neighborhood and what you can to do to be prepared. Learn how to identify priorities, and how to leverage your neighborhood's organization for resources.

RSVP by email or 707/895-2020

ANOTHER NEW WINERY? Nope, "artisanal" marijuana according to BusinessWire: "We are one of the few groups in California who are creating and building our own brand, Anderson Valley Reserve, versus white labeling to a distributor,” said Hue Freeman who formed the group in June 2018. “This is much harder to do but we believe this is truly the only way to support the small craft farmers during this turbulent time in this evolving industry.” Anderson Valley Farms is a community-based and family-oriented organization that is deeply embedded in Anderson Valley. The company’s local roots and commitment to cannabis cultivation run deep. Some of its members have been growing continually since the 1970s, and some belong to families that have lived in Anderson Valley for generations. What unites the group of farmers is their dedication to their community, environmental sustainability, and quality production. The Valley’s climate is unique with its hot days and cool nights throughout the summer making it an ideal environment for cannabis, producing rich terpene profiles. The Valley is also known for its world renown Pinot wines.”

CORRECTION: Last Friday's exciting high speed chase over the hill from Ukiah, through Boonville and up Greenwood Road ended when the bandido, a parolee out of Eureka named Robert Paul, whose stolen truck had blown a tire, ran into an embankment not far from the Signal Ridge junction. 

Our initial report said the chase ended when the thief inexplicably pulled over and surrendered. Of course if he hadn't blown a tire and run off the road, who knows what mayhem may have ensued.

AN AV PERSON POSTS: "Ted Williams, I am hoping you can come up and see Signal Ridge Road for yourself- it is REALLY dangerous. The road crew did some work on the first section of dirt road a few days ago, and it is somewhat better. But we have no idea when they will get to the section above Panorama Way. It has been bad for several months. There is a virtual lake about 1/4 mile past Panorama, that takes up more than half the road, and it is quite deep, and very dangerous. A neighbor who lives near it told me that he has nearly been creamed going around it a couple of times, because it is on a sharp turn. A couple of other neighbors filled in some other potholes near that part, but that was obviously a stop-gap measure, and is barely holding. I have been asked by several different neighbors to have you take a look, and hopefully get some action on it. Thank you so much!!"

AND TED PROMPTLY says he'll have a look. (How many years has it been since the 5th District has had real representation? This guy is the real deal.)

BOONVILLE SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS take place in a kind of sensory deprivation tank — large space, bright lights, blank walls, poor acoustics, hemorrhoid seating, in an overall ambience of a police state interrogation room. During the school day this uninviting room serves as a cafeteria, and presumably enlivened by exuberant youth. Of course most of us Americans received our haphazard indoctrinations in comparably excruciating spaces, and by now several generations of us assume physical and visual discomfort in any enterprise associated with public education. And to think that prior to World War Two school campuses, including Boonville's, were erected with first priority going for their appearances and comforts. Then, The Fall, as best represented by Ukiah High School's windowless, neo-factory design, all of it site-prep for education, job, jail, death in similar spaces. Every school in the country of any size is now a matter of architectural form following an essentially authoritarian function.

BE ALL this as it objectively is, Tuesday night's meeting of the Anderson Valley School Board, previously limping along with a minimum quorum of three persons, albeit a sensible quorum of Saiorse Byrne, Elizabeth Jensen and Dick Browning reinforced by the sensible, stabilizing back-up of interim Superintendent, Michael Wayrch, is now reinforced by a fourth trustee, Kristin San Miguel, who was interviewed and seated all in a swoosh, Tuesday night, and duly sworn to protect the Boonville schools from "all enemies foreign and domestic." (It's the old state loyalty oath from the commie-hunting 1950's grabbed whole to apply to 2019 school trustees.) We now have four trustees. Is there a fifth volunteer for this thankless task?

THE MOST interesting school business takes place in closed session, the one last week convening at 6pm, open session at 7. Closed session included discussion of "public employee discipline, dismissal, release." It was not revealed in open session who got the ax, nor is it likely to be revealed unless that person tells us the nature of his or her fatal sin. If it truly is a fatal sin, and over the years there have been some scorchers, the sinner will shuffle silently off into eternal edu-anonymity. Also in closed session, and confirmed in open session, the board agreed to hire Celeste Echeverria as full-time high school office assistant, along with a discussion of "labor negotiations," the province of trustee Browning, himself a former school administrator.

LIKE MANY school districts, Anderson Valley is facing a budget deficit of roughly half a million out of annual expenditures of roughly seven million, 80 to 85% of which goes to staff pay and benefits. The district also faces the loss of long-time key employees, including high school principal Jim Snyder and occasional fill-in principal Robert Pinoli; at the elementary school, Linnea Totten and Mitch Mendosa are gallantly taking early retirement to spare the possible layoffs of younger colleagues.

KIRA BRENNAN offered a spirited and timely pitch for physical education which, as she pointed out, is especially crucial in these sedentary times as more and more children succumb to bad food and no exercise to such a degree that childhood obesity now joins our nation's many rolling catastrophes. The editor of this publication asked the board to at least consider moving board meetings back into high school library where meetings were held for many years, the trustees only resorting to the uninviting cafeteria for those exciting occasions when this or that school staffer is in the dock.

THE SENIOR CLASS'S Senior Trip for a jaunt to Los Angeles was approved. The class will stay in Tustin and tour Universal Studios. They've raised almost ten thousand dollars for the adventure, which they estimate will cost them nearly that amount.

TRACY ANDERSON, Elementary School principal, presented a comprehensive plan that seemed to cover every possible emergency, of which there are many in these troubled times.

INTRODUCING KRISTIN SAN MIGUEL: My name is Kristin San Miguel and I am the newest member of the Anderson Valley School Board. I grew up in Western Massachusetts and have lived in this valley for the last 12 years. I currently live in Navarro with my husband and two daughters; a first grader and a 14 month old. Since my daughter had her first year of preschool when she was three and a half, I have been getting more and more involved in the school. I started volunteering at Peachland Preschool once a week, which was really fun and a great way to get to know the kids and teachers there. I continued volunteering once a week painting outside with the kindergartners, weather permitting. Now I am leading the Daisy Girl Scouts once a week during the after school program. I am also involved in the PTA. These experiences have helped me to become familiar with the kids, the teachers, and also the administrators. Being a parent and someone who helps out at school I am learning about the many different strengths and challenges of this district. I am very excited to be able to have the opportunity to be an advocate for the kids and to respond to the needs and values of this community. I am also very focused on creating more opportunities for parent involvement and finding new ways to get parent input on important school matters. On that note here is my contact email: ksanmiguel@avpanthers.net

THE AV THEATRE GUILD’S production of “Early One Evening At the Rainbow Bar & Grille” (written by Bruce Graham) is coming soon at the AV Grange on Friday May 3rd and Saturday May 11th. Directed by Marcus Magdaleno and starring a recognizable cast of local thespians, doors open at 6 with curtain at 7pm. $10 admission at the door. “Mature Audiences.”

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