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Valley People

SUNDAY NIGHT about 8, there was a knife assault by one kid on another at the Lifeworks Group Home, Fitch Lane, Boonville. The 16-year-old aggressor attacked a much larger 17-year-old. The victim sustained several wounds and was helicoptered to Ukiah for treatment at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center where numerous stitches repaired him for release later Sunday night. He was back in school Monday morning. His assailant was arrested and taken to the Mendocino County Juvenile Hall from where he will be transported back to the San Francisco Juvenile Hall.

IN 2004, I was roundly denounced as a racist, often by local persons whose only experience with black people is an occasional glimpse of the chef on their Cream of Wheat boxes, for suggesting that Anderson Valley High School not enroll any student with a history of violence. A mass school board meeting subsequently hooted that one down. It was, however, and certainly remains irresponsible of JR Collins, Jim Tomlin and the Anderson Valley School Board not to screen court-placed dependents prior to their being admitted to the Boonville campus. The stabber in the episode described above was due to become a member of the Boonville student body Monday morning.

FROM ALL ACCOUNTS, and my own observations, Shelly Scaramella and Marsha Martinez, are doing a truly excellent job managing the Boonville Saloon. It is not their patrons, sedate and middle-aged folks mostly, who engage in motorized hijinks late at night, racing up and down the street, revving their engines, burning the rubber off their tires, doing wheelies. The wheelie people are high school kids and kids in their twenties who never fully emerged from high school, forever 16 although they might be thirty. And even if bar patrons were suddenly exuberant out on the street, what does that behavior have to do with the two ladies managing the place? I can assure anyone concerned that having a drink under the auspices of Shelly and Marsha is kinda like enjoying a beer with your favorite teacher — fun and interesting but with definite limits. They are very good at what they do, maintaining a safe and pleasant place to have a couple, and what town doesn't need at least one of those?

GARRETT MABERY, injured last week when he swerved into traffic on 128 on his bicycle, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.

GREG KROUSE WRITES: “AV folks who want more information on smart meters, do not install stickers” and related materials, are invited to check in with Leslie at All That Good Stuff, Boonville. Greg also reminds us that petitions opposing installation of smart meters are available for signing at Jack's Valley Store and the Navarro Store.

A LADY representing the Mendocino Study Club called the other day to say that the Club was investigating the possibility of dubbing Highway 128 “The Stage Coach Road.” Why, it wasn't clear. 128 was once called MacDonald's to the Sea, which had an appealing romantic resonance to it, but “Stage Coach Road” seems only a stutter-step superior to prosaic “Highway 128,” I'd say.

AFTER SIX weeks of summery sunshine, suddenly the rain and the return of winter just in time for Cloverdale's annual Citrus Fair, an event perennially held in bad weather.

WES SMOOT is recovering at his Boonville home from a 5-way bypass heart surgery. The retired Caltrans man thought he was facing a triple re-route of his lifelines but emerged from the operating room with enough re-routed arteries to resemble a Caltrans off-ramp project.

HE'LL REMAIN ANON, but this certain annoying guy asked me this annoying question: “How come you're so critical of high school basketball?” I'm not that critical, but if I pay five bucks to get into the gym but the teams inside, from varsity boys to the third grade girls, aren't playing as well they should, I've got every right to comment on my investment. No charge, no comment.

JUST IN from the always happening hamlet of Elk, a reader writes: “This happened about two weeks ago. Recently a rich guy came to town and bought the old Keene house. Not the ex-senator's but the more expensive property next door. The guy is rumored to own fast foot restaurants in the Bay Area. Locals also refer to him as somewhat of an “asshole.” He decides to do some owner remolding without a permit (a common practice in this lawless town) and proceeds to create a pile of the ripped out materials in his back yard. Rather than haul the trash to the dump, he decides to set it afire. With Gas. The gas explodes and a huge fire erupts in the back yard. Desperately. he pushes the burning pile over the cliff. Brush on the cliff ignites. The fire grows larger. The volunteers are called. They fight the fire and put it out. They ask him for his burning permit. He has none. A minor infraction. However, a day or two goes by and “somebody” (and I'm not saying Norman) calls the incident into the EPA. A woman from the EPA shows up. She's going to get her man but first she needs the evidence. She hikes down to the beach and collects half burned articles from the cliff-diving, burn pile. Illegal stuff: insulation, plastic: whatever. Evidence in hand, she finds an 'easier' trail and hikes back up the cliff, but she comes to a fence and locked gate. She attempts to scale the fence, but slips and her hiking boot is caught. For two hours she hangs upside down on the fence crying for help. Finally, somebody hears her call and she is rescued. One wonders what will happen to this guy who pushed his burning pile of garbage over an Elk cliff. Maybe he should have jumped himself.”

A MINI-DISPUTE briefly erupted last week in the wake of our report that the Unity Club had offered to donate gas money for the Valley’s two patrol deputies. Deputies Squires and Walker have been put on limited patrol to save a few bucks in the Sheriff’s budget. Unity Club President Valerie Hanelt hadn't heard of any such offer, and denied that it had been made.

GENE HERR pointed out that the comment was made by Sheriff Allman, not the Unity Club, adding that whoever made it, it was “not a bad idea” — at least on a one-time basis. Herr also expressed some disappointment that the Valley (i.e., the Community Services District) doesn’t seem interested in pursuing a modest parcel tax to backfill the budget for our own deputies. “The big negative that one hears is ‘I already pay taxes; why should I pay more? They'll just take more away from the Sheriff to fund stuff I don't care about.’” So, if a lot of people are paying for programs they don't care about, maybe it is time to be sure that they are heard, which was at the Supes Workshop on Tuesday (February 15th at 9am. The Supes discussed funding priorities for next year, and we'll have a full account of what happened in next week's paper.

PHILO’S BARBARA SCOTT cleared things up: “The idea to raise money for gas originated at the February Community Action Coalition steering meeting. Most of us at that meeting felt the community would step up with donations for gas money to get our resident deputies back on Highway 128 and on patrol throughout the Valley. Since then it seems the County is unwilling or unable to gas our deputies with local money. Too bad.”

SQUEEZING Anderson Valley’s deputies along with everyone else also seems foolish. According to a source at the County garage the Sheriff pays the County General Services Department $76 for one patrol car to make one round trip from Willits to Covelo and back. Obviously, that can add up in a County the size of Mendocino. Patrolling Anderson Valley on whatever limited schedule the deputies are on these days surely wouldn’t cost anywhere near that much.

THE SAME SOURCE at the county garage told us that the County is considering privatizing the County fleet and leasing cars from a big rental outfit and closing the County garage. But that would obviously be months if not years away and, even if it did save some money (which seems a bit of a stretch) it wouldn’t produce any savings any time soon.

TRISH BEVERLY passes along some Unity Club history. The first Club was formed in New York in 1868. 21 years later they joined with similar clubs in other states to form a Federation subsequently known as the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC). According to their brochure, they deal with legislative issues such as violence against women, child labor, health care, human rights and automobile safety. They also claim to be responsible for the establishment of 75% of America's public libraries. Nationwide, the Club boasts 168,400 local club projects. Locally they are responsible for the popular annual Wildflower Show, the Community Library, annual high school graduate scholarships, and a variety of other community activities.

MARY PAT PALMER’S essay, “The Alchemical Allure of Herbology: Transformation and the Copper Still” has been published in the prestigious Journal of the American Herbalist Guild, Vol. 9 #2. Mary Pat's contribution describes distilling, the history of alchemy and the medicinal uses of the hydrosols made in the still. She is grateful to Mary O'Brien “who provided much needed editing.” Copies are available at Boont Berry Farm and downloadable from her website

BOONVILLE still has a long shot at the league basketball title but it involves us winning and them, Point Arena, losing, and PA doesn't look like it's going to lose again before the season ends this weekend.

ALERT POLICE WORK by Deputy Walker the other night nailed a guy wanted in Ukiah for a hit and run and another guy, Mr. Qiong Wang, of San Francisco on whose back seat the deputy spotted a bag of freshly harvested abalone, 36 of them, about half under-size and all of them out of season because the season is closed.

Mr. Wang clearly intended to sell them to San Francisco restaurants where Chinese New Year celebrations are underway. Deputy Walker’s recovery of the 36 abs constitutes the Sheriff's Department's biggest ab intercept ever.

DEPUTY WALKER wants us to draw special attention to an abandoned trash-stuffed trailer deposited at the Philo end of Anderson Valley some time late Sunday night. Does anyone recall seeing on private local property a decrepit two wheeler on which a metal sign reads, “5 Star Catering?” That thing is now a huge public eyesore on AV Way, and whoever put it there ought to be ashamed of himself as he also contemplates a large fine and clean-up bill when he's identified.

THE DAFFODILS are rising. Daff lovers are annually thrilled by their sudden merry yellow appearances at the Anderson Valley Health Center, Reilly Heights, the Little Red School House.

THE GOVERNOR'S looming austerity budget will quite likely whack $500 millions from a spending category described as “Home to School Busing.” Which would mean Shorty's new forty-footer down at the AV Elementary bus barns would be retired before it ever gets on the road. In a fleeting encounter with the legendary Boonville school bus driver Monday afternoon, Shorty told us that spiffy as his new bus is he still thinks the now obsolete Crown buses “are the best darn school bus ever built.” And Shorty should know. He's driven more safe school bus miles than any school bus driver in the country, probably the world, having been on the road now for better than fifty years. Shorty also confirmed our impressions that local roads are deteriorating at a fairly rapid clip. “Oh, yeah. They're getting worse. No question about it,” Shorty said, and he should know because he's out there on them every day with loads of little kids. That looming state austerity budget won't help Caltrans in keeping abreast of road repairs. The long slide has definitely begun.

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