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Valley People (June 26, 2019)

RICK BLAUFELD. Rick Blaufeld has died at age 73. Ragtime Rick Blaufeld, as he was known throughout the county and the country, died from leukemia on June 8th at his daughter's home near Navarro. Blaufeld had lived in Mendocino County since 1972. He played with many famous bands and performers over the years. Known for his generosity, Ragtime Rick taught music at the Community School in Mendocino where he also co-owned Mendocino Music. A memorial gathering will be announced.


“Hello Anderson Valley,

I want to let those of you who have known my mother, Linda Newton, over the 40 years that she has lived in Anderson Valley that she is on Hospice care in Ukiah. If you would like to visit her or talk with me, please text (908) 303-3689.

Jenny Pfurr (Newton).”


Walla Walla Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, Strawberries, Lettuce, Zucchini, Kale & Collards

The rain water tank is full! — T. Petrie

Blue Meadow Farm, 3301 Holmes Ranch Road, Philo (707) 895-2071

A FRIEND WRITES: "How about dinner for you and the misses at the Harbor House restaurant in Elk? Dinner for two: $466.02, wine not included."

THESE FINE DINING anecdotes always remind of Katherine Hepburn's restaurant strategy. She said she brought a couple of hard boiled eggs to the table, refusing to pay the even-then inflated prices charged. My primary objection to eating out is its time-wasted factor, but I speak as strictly a food-as-fuel guy. The last time I ate out I thought I'd have to jump the kid reading the seemingly endless specials of the day to get him to stop.

A 3.2 MAGNITUDE QUAKE near Hopland last Wednesday morning (June 19) rattled windows in Southern Mendocino County at 7:36 a.m. More than a score of reports of movement from reported from as far north as Ukiah, south to Healdsburg. Then, later in the week, a HumCo quake register over 5 on the rictus scale, swaying light fixtures and rattling nerves. 

PATRICK FORD presents AVHS graduating senior Cecile Lyon with the American Legion 2019 scholarship.

THE CAT-FEEDING station at the June property off Anderson Valley Way remains in place. A cat lady, Cathy Rapp, continues to feed the feral felines assembled there for morning and evening meals. Mrs. June, elderly and confined to her home on Ornbaun Road, has tried to prevent the ongoing cat project from trespassing on her place but to no avail. I noticed Monday morning that someone has gone so far as to post a “Cat Crossing” sign at the site.


The Fourth Thursday: At Lauren’s restaurant in downtown Boonville on Thursday, June 27 at 7pm. (Steve Sparks, Quizmaster)

FLYNN CREEK CIRCUS IS BACK with amazing feats and unparalleled artistry in their new show: Out of Hat! On Wednesday, July 3rd, the evening performance benefits Friends of the Fort Bragg Library. The Friends invite you to support the Library Expansion Project in Fort Bragg. We are building a larger library to serve patrons from Elk to Westport and beyond! Join us in Mendocino's Friendship Park at 7 pm on Wednesday, July 3rd for the time of your life.

PETIT TETON  in the merry month of May: Summer is here and we're already exhausted. It's been a very difficult spring with planting delayed due to rain, very erratic hot and cold weather, insane politics, terrifying news from scientists regarding global warming, daily reports of all the beauty of nature being destroyed...from lands to animals to bugs...and worst of all for us, the demise of our best friend ChiChi. I just don't feel like writing. Take care and be well. Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Kreig, Yorkville

CHRIS JONES (right), formerly of Boonville, celebrates his 55th birthday with friend Ryan Wise of Portland, Oregon.

AV VILLAGE, Gwyn Smith reporting: “The next meeting of AV Village will be at Lauren's on Sunday July 14th, 4:00 to 5:30, as usual.

This meeting should be fun. Several local writers, from amateur to more professional, will share some of their work. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the author's presentations.

These are people you know! (But may not know they write)

So come and enjoy.

AV Village Monthly Sundays

Planning Tomorrow, Enjoying Today!

PG&E'S announcement that its customers in high risk fire areas should be prepared for outages that could last for as long as five days at a time seems fairly specific as to which areas it considers high risk. The Anderson Valley certainly has areas that qualify, but central Boonville? Evidently. PG&E will throw the switch on the trunk line for the whole area, Boonville included. We're debating whether or not to invest in a generator in case the power monopoly shuts us down for more than a few hours, days seeming inconceivable. We're solarized but still routed through PG&E's grid. If it goes, we go, and given the spectacle I saw at Ukiah CostCo the other day as three separate parties walked out the door with several generators each, I thought, well, gee, what are the odds we'd ever use the thing? Odds say, Yes, we mos def would use it. 

EDITOR KC MEADOWS of the Ukiah Daily Journal neatly summed up PG&E’s summer strategy: “Go ahead and hate us,” was the message from a PG&E spokesperson last week as the company appeared before the Ukiah City Council to explain their plan to shut off our electricity regularly all summer. The company has told the city these “safety” shut-offs could last as many as five days at a time and there may be as many as 80 days this summer when electricity is off.

PG&E says these shut offs are necessary to avoid the repeat of devastating wildfires caused by downed live power lines.

Never mind that the technology exists that taps ultrafast synchrophasor sensors to detect and turn off broken power lines before they hit the ground. It is used by San Diego’s power company and communities in Europe, but PG&E thinks that’s too expensive. It’s easier to simply shut us all down over and over to cover their own liability.

PG&E wants us all to be ready to be without power for five days at a time. They want us to help our neighbors, store water, stock up on non-perishable food, keep our gas tanks full, find someplace else to keep cool, buy generators, and so on. They say it’ll be good for us anyway to be prepared for long power outages because gosh, there might be an earthquake someday.

Oh yes, this will be good for us. Tell that to the local restaurant or grocery store that has to throw away hundreds of pounds of perfectly good food over and over again. Tell that to the gas station whose pumps are off for days at a time during the busiest tourist season. Tell that to the people who depend on oxygen tanks or dialysis.

PG&E is punishing the citizens of California for making them take the responsibility for the wildfires their badly maintained equipment caused. This is the company saying “See? You want to blame us, OK here’s what we’re going to do about it.”

We applaud the City of Ukiah for being proactive in getting the word out and at least trying to plan some remedies for local citizens, including setting up cooling stations, making sure water and sewer still operates and even perhaps trying to get some power generated from the city’s tiny hydroelectric plant.

We think the state of California needs to do more to keep PG&E accountable for the economic havoc they could cause this summer up and down the state. PG&E needs to be watched carefully throughout this process to ensure that after these “safety” shutoffs power is restored as quickly as possible, and not whenever PG&E believes it can afford to. The company should be required to inform the public exactly how long a power outage will last, not just an estimate of “between 8 hours and five days.” If they have to buy more helicopters to inspect lines, or hire hundreds more line workers to carry out those post-outage inspections as fast as possible, so be it. We unfortunately see a company that will be sending excuses out to the public about why an outage that should take hours, stretches to days.

We hope that the dire warnings PG&E is giving turn out to be hyperbole. But we don’t trust them to do what’s best for the consumers, only what’s best for their own bottom line. We’ll all be watching.”

WE WROTE to Supervisor Williams: “Are the odds strongly in favor of AV suffering power shut-offs in the coming months? PG&E charts seem to indicate outages would be more likely inland. Any way to tell? Should people invest in generators? We'd like your input.”

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS promptly replied: “Re summer power outages, the Supervisor said, “I’m glad you asked. In the name of fire safety, PG&E will be encouraging thousands of portable generators to be run against dry grass on gusty days during the peak of fire season. What could go wrong? They’ve warned outages could last five days and they’ll be walking the lines for visual inspection prior to re-energizing, because they haven’t installed equipment capable of detecting shorts. They’ll “probably” give us a little notice, the type that’ll encourage bank runs, but no promises. Given that the transmission lines between Lake and Mendocino counties are in a high fire severity zone, all county residents should anticipate losing power. At the 51 minute mark of the video presentation by PG&E at Ukiah City last week, one of their experts explained that they are not spraying Roundup on private property before going on to explain their use of Glysophate (the active ingredient in Roundup) on private property. She said those wishing to opt-out should call 800-743-5000.”

GENERATORS were flying off Ukiah CostCo shelves the other morning, and I was there just after the doors opened. I saw three different persons buy 3-4 each, a hefty precautionary investment for the outages promised by PG&E for this summer. The generator buyers are taking PG&E at its dubious word, but how dubious are PG&E's announced plans? We'll find out, probably the hard way. We’re low power priority because there aren't many of us attached to their grid. So what's to prevent PG&E from turning us off simply to provide power in their more lucrative and secure markets? Nothing. They do whatever they want to do. We’re at their mercy. 

ON-LINE ADVICE FOR POWER OUTAGES: “Get a Honda 2k and a bunch of power cords with splitters.

Also a bunch of candles. Those tall Catholic jobs are very good.

But as long as the tv and internet is powered up screw it.

Once in the nineties there was a snowstorm and a freeze and the power was down for two weeks.

A backup generator is a basic necessity.

Unless you live in a city.

But even then,….”

A LOCAL FACEBOOKER ASKS: "Anybody else noticing the lack of honeybees this year? Last year, I'd sit outside with my eyes closed and the hum was constant. This year, there's nothing there to hum. A handful of the native, bumblebees but, that's it. Alarming and very, very sad."

I'VE NOTICED that absence, too, and have also noted that the bumblebees are going strong. Nothing against the bumbles, but the absence of the honeybees' work product, honey, and the loss of their essential pollinating duties, is downright alarming. I daresay that part of the honeybee absence in the Boonville area seems attributable to the simultaneous withdrawal of the commercial hives belonging to Patrick Kalfsbeek, the Arbuckle farmer who, for the past several years, maintained a string of hives through Boonville and Philo. We had a stack of Patrick's hives here in the center of town which, from our inexpert perspective, seemed highly successful. We miss the bees, and we miss visiting with Patrick on his visits to Boonville. The honey he gave us from his Boonville hives was right up there with the nectar of the gods, which we've only heard about, but Patrick's honey just might be it.

CALTRANS is doing emergency work on Highway 128 from Hwy 1 to Flynn Creek Road. One-way traffic control from 6am to 7pm. Five-minute delays. Also guardrail work from Mill Creek to the east limits of Philo. One-way traffic control from 6am to 7pm. Ten-minute delays. (Through Friday, 6/28.)

Emergency work on the Boonville end of Hwy 253 from the Hwy 128 junction to Singley cattlepass will continues this week. One-way traffic control from 7am to 7pm. Up to ten-minute delays.

NON-EMERGENCY OF THE WEEK: June 21/5:50 pm – Commercial fire in Philo, reported “smoke coming out of the chimney” at Brutocao Cellars. First in units at the Brutocao winery in Philo were unable to locate smoke or a chimney. Subsequent radio traffic indicated the initial report may have been for a pizza oven in use at the Brutocao location in Hopland. 

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