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Valley People (June 5, 2019)


After a parched first-half of May (following a dry April) the second-half downpours added to our already ample rainfall totals this year. Yorkville received 6.7 inches in May, while Boonville got 5.4 inches. Monthly totals for the 2018-19 rainy season:

Boonville (total to date: 53.1")

  • 5.4" May
  • 0.7" Apr
  • 7.3" Mar
  • 17.7" Feb
  • 11.5" Jan
  • 3.7" Dec
  • 5.3" Nov
  • 1.4" Oct

Yorkville (total to date: 71.1")

  • 6.7" May
  • 1.8" Apr
  • 10.1" Mar
  • 24.9" Feb
  • 14.4" Jan
  • 5.8" Dec
  • 6.0" Nov
  • 1.5" Oct


Steve Mize passed away on Sunday, May 5th. He loved Anderson Valley and the people who call this beautiful place home. A memorial service will be held Sunday, June 9th from 1-4 p.m. at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds picnic area. 

Please come share a memory, a story, or a photo, or bring a large index card with a special message for the family to keep (cards will also be available at the service). Beverages and the main meal will be provided, but sides and desserts will be potluck: names starting with A-J please bring a salad or side and K-Z please bring a dessert.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY and happy anniversary mom, grandma, aunt Eva. The valley misses you every day. The flowers are in bloom and the deer are out of the garden. We love you. We hope you're well." From the Holcomb-Pardini families, and seconded by all of us. Eva Holcomb was a truly bright light whose loss we all mourn.

AV FIRE DEPARTMENT FIREFIGHTER EDDIE PARDINI was the first of the Spring 2019 EMT students to take the National Registry Test. That patch looks good on you, Ed - Congrats!

FLAG DAY CHILI COOK-OFF & FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY. Boonville Veterans Memorial Building. Saturday June 15. 2019, 1-4pm. Sponsored By American Legion Redwood Empire Post 0385. Note: No Super Hot Chili! First Prize $200. Second Prize $100. Third Prize $50. To Enter as a Contestant Call 707-895-9363 (Ray)

DARNDEST THING. For a few days last week an elaborate camera apparatus was strung on a county traffic sign at Boonville Elementary. The county's public works guy said it was not a county camera. "All our cameras are accounted for," he said. Vero Barragan at the Superintendent's office went out to have a look, reporting that the mystery device had nothing to do with the school. CalTrans said AV Way is county responsibility, not the state's. Then the camera disappeared, and darned if anybody has any idea about the whys and what fors of the thing.

AS WE LINGER at the Elementary School, locals will want to know that Rebecca Johnson is at the District Office after 35 years at the High School reception desk. Rebecca replaces Sheila Leighton who has retired.

EVENT FATIGUE? Sparse turnouts for all Valley events last week, including the pair of musical events at Lauren's, which usually draw a crowd. But given the pure volume of events in proportion to The Valley's scant population.....Winter events are best because lots of people want to get out of the house, but when the sun's shining.....

AV HAS LOST resident deputy, Craig Walker, who left for a job in the Bay Area. In his absence, the tweeker colony at Navarro has expanded and has been emboldened by the deputy vacuum, much to the unhappiness of Navarro residents. The tweekers tweek and engage in all manner of motorized hijinks and misdemeanor criminal activity. It's a bad situation for everyone because some of these characters are vindictive, meaning people are afraid to call them in. Craig Walker, AV's departed and much missed lawman, kept them in check. They're wayyyyyy outta control at present, especially on the weekends when their numbers are reinforced by yobbos from other areas of the county. It’s past time for a major crackdown.


The 6th grade, presumably with a basic grasp of our lingua franca, moves to the junior high school on Monday, June 10 at 6pm.

Graduating high school seniors will attend an awards night at the high school on Tuesday June 11 at 7pm.

The 8th grade, presumably with an even firmer grasp of Gringolandia's prevalent tongue, graduate on Wednesday, June 12, at 6pm.

And on Thursday, June 13th at 7pm, high school seniors formally emerge from 12 years of instruction to confront a world of turmoil and woe. 

THE HELICOPTER buzzing up and down The Valley on Sunday and Monday belonged to AT&T as they installed a cell tower or two, one of them for sure on the Navarro Grade not far from the Pacific. The towers are designed to look like lean, very lean, trees, a design sop to local aesthetic sensibilities.

ASKED what all the chopper traffic over Boonville was, AV Fire Chief Andres Avila replied, “I have the same question.  I was told everything from 'It is PG&E installing new poles in their transmission lines' to 'Clint Eastwood is filming a new movie up there!'  The only thing that I can tell you for a fact is,  AVFD did not run any emergency or conduct any drill in that area.”

ROLLOVER ON HWY 128, YORKVILLE, MILEPOST 37. Saturday morning.

The Anderson Valley Fire Department & ambulance have been dispatched as well as air ambulance CalStar 4.

The landing zone for CalStar 4 will be the Meyers Family Vineyard on Highway 128.

One first responder said, "As reported, solo vehicle on its roof on the shoulder (of the roadway)." Another said it was in the same location as an earlier accident today.

It sounds like "minor injuries" but the accident site is "on a really bad corner" and will need traffic control.

The air medical response was canceled. The ground ambulance will continue to the scene.

DOES IT NEED SAYING? People, lots of them, drive too fast.  And they’re drunk. Or altered via medications. Or stoned. Or simply nuts.

NEED A LIFT around the vast Anderson Valley? "The Anderson Valley Experience, driver and hosted by Victor Presley at 510-612 1165." Mr. Presley is a pleasant young man who, I believe, is an Uber guy, but he's definitely the guide you want for wine tasting, short vineyard tours, even a garden walk.

BOONVILLE'S FERAL CAT problem is one more tiny piece of evidence that there is no consensus anymore on much of anything. Fifty years ago, before the anthromorphs had quite the influence they do now, and before the contemporary phenomenon of ferocious Cat Ladies, feral cat feeding stations were unknown.

THE MENDOCINO COUNTY Animal Shelter long ago became a No Kill facility, the result being a shelter teeming with feral cats and feral dogs, especially pit bulls, most of them unadoptable, all of them spending their institutional lives in small cages. Used to be that wild cats and dogs were put down failing adoption. 

THANK the dope community for the over-large pitbull population. Myself, I've never known a pitbull owner who wasn't at least half a psycho. I better add before somebody — cat ladies are especially unreasonable — accuses me of hating four-footers that I still miss my dog, Roscoe, and I'm the devoted part owner of a cat, Alice. Roscoe, incidentally, was half pit and occasionally took a nip at me, which I considered the very height of ingratitude given the attention I lavished on him. The breed's reputation for unpredictability, however, is deserved.

SO HERE IN BOONVILLE, feline fanatics are feeding feral cats. Both cat feeding stations are in neighborhoods, one of them on uninhabited property owned by an elderly woman who has asked the cat feeders to cease and desist. They haven't, which I think is typical of the times — that otherwise law-abiding people ignore the welfare of the wider community and simply do whatever they want to do. In a more heavily populated area, a neighborhood in Ukiah for instance, maintaining a feral cat population would not be tolerated. Any argument there?

AV Way Cat Feeding Station

A FRIEND OF MINE is tasked with maintaining the feline-fouled Anderson Valley Way property owned by the elderly woman who wants the cats gone. He says cutting the grass is a regular fecal adventure he absolutely dreads. He has confirmed my drive-by number of "somewhere between twenty and thirty cats."

ONE RECENT DAY, I did see two women in uniform jumpsuits doing something having to do with cats at the Anderson Valley Way property. (The other feeding center is on Haehl Street in central Boonville, a heavily populated neighborhood.) I don't know what the two jumpsuits were doing, but they may have been attempting to trap the cats to neuter them, but here's the rub; after neutering the cats they are returned to the property they came from, which does nothing to relieve the total population of accumulated wild creatures at an address whose owner does not want them there.

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S POLICY? "Feral cats brought to the Ukiah Animal Shelter MUST come into the shelter in an approved have-a-heart cat trap…This policy is for the safety of shelter staff who must transfer the feral cat into a cat cage. The shelter offers FREE spay & neuter for feral cats who will be returned to their area. Please call the Clinic at 463- 4782 to find our surgery dates. If you wish to bring in a feral cat to the shelter please call 463-6453 in advance to be sure we have room in our feral cat room." 

TRANSLATION: By the time you set your trap, and after you've imprisoned a series of skunks, raccoons, foxes, and maybe even a bobcat, and you finally catch a feral cat in your Cat Lady-correct trap, you call the Shelter to see if there's room for your prisoner! This process is not particularly viable, or viable at all for the average person conscientiously trying to do the right thing by his wild cats. And inhumane because most rural dwellers will simply dispatch the unwanted animal themselves. Or dump it somewhere, as happens all the time in Anderson Valley.

I CALLED Rich Molinari, the director of the County's shelter. He was helpful and, better yet, clarified the county's ordinance-driven feral cat policy. "We want the permission and blessing of the property owners where there are cat colonies. They can be moved without being euthanized," Molinari assured me. He said he definitely did not want to create a public nuisance and emphasized that he would call the persons involved to seek an amicable resolution.

DISASTER PREP: Also last week, Hopland Fire took part in a county wide training exercise in Anderson Valley. This training simulated a vegetation fire sweeping through a populated area, giving firefighters training on protecting and defending structures that are going to be impacted by the fire front."

FIFTY YEARS AGO, very few people lived in the Mendo hills. Here in the Anderson Valley, circa 1970, forested sub-divisions began to appear as the old ranches and timber tracts were broken into 10, 20 and 40-acre parcels. When it was latterly suggested that hill muffins pay a fire protection tax the muff's cries were heard from Gualala to Covelo, but without CalFire's aerial fire fighting capacity the muffs would be in year-round peril.

AN ON-LINE COMMENT: "How about a Boonville bypass? Just an idea. Pros might be having a reliable emergency alternative other than going through the fairgrounds. I remember when Cloverdale got its heart back and now the road warriors just fly by way over there. Make the streets safe for the community helps build community. Willits must be enjoying it, too. I like the idea!"

ME, TOO. Funnel the through traffic directly into the middle of Mendocino! Oddly enough, a calmer version of the funnel fantasy was once proposed by prominent Mendo attorney, Jared Carter. Carter's idea, as I dimly recall it, would have created a freeway from I-5 to the Mendo Coast, with on and off ramps at 101 around Willits. And some of us remember when the forces of greed and destruction seriously proposed, right down to specific plans, a scheme to run a freeway through Marin to the Marin coast, that plan coming after another serious but mercifully defeated proposal for an entire town at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Marin Headlands!

FROM WILLIE BROWN'S column in the SF Chron: "....Windows on the World, Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik gets it right: This story about the lives affected by 9/11 should blow the hinges off the doors at festival competitions. It's co-written by our own independent filmmaker, Robert Mailer Anderson, and hurray for him."

WINDOWS was screened at the Anderson Valley Grange on Sunday afternoon to a small but appreciative gathering of perhaps forty or so locals. My nepotistic take on it? I liked it with two caveats — one scene depicted some kind of degenerate’s bar where the young hero is directed to investigate the whereabouts of his missing brother. We all know our culture is seriously on the skids but a hellish depiction of the absolute dregs at play didn’t fit the rest of Young Werther’s otherwise wholesome quest. My second caveat was a graphic sex scene. Most people over the age of ten (probably younger given modern media) understand the basics of reproduction, but sex scenes now appear as a matter of filmic course, but why? The story line featuring a handsome, lovestruck couple implies consummation, doesn’t it? Like, we need documentation when the implications of their relationship are obvious? I loved the scenes featuring Anderson Valley’s very own Rene Auberjonois, a performance worth the price of admission all by itself. And all the old beatniks in the audience were delighted to see an unbeatable rendition of New York, New York from the Last Poets as performed by Abiodun Oyewoke.

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