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Valley People (July 17, 2019)

BOONVILLE is getting a marijuana dispensary in the rejuvenated Live Oak Building, which seems like a clear case of Coals to Newcastle given the abundance and availability of home grown. Nationally, the unlicensed sellers are thriving, the licensed store fronts not doing so well. Given the choice between the more expensive legal pot and the less expensive illegal, your average consumer is and will go for the less expensive. 

THE AV HISTORICAL SOCIETY will host its Annual Membership meeting on Sunday, at 1pm in the Rose Room next to the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum in Boonville. A talk on the old local logging railroads will be featured.

THE AV SCHOOL BOARD  is planning to convene a special meeting on Tuesday, July 23, to be held in the high school career center, not in the sensory deprivation tank known as the high school cafeteria.

WE FOUND A SECOND DOCTOR, at least for now. The Anderson Valley Health Center’s director, Chloe Guazzone-Rugebregt, informs us that Ramnik Kaur, “a female family practitioner” has arrived and is at work with the Boonville center on a “temporary-to-permanent basis.” Meanwhile, Mark Apfel, Mendocino County’s senior practicing medical man, continues to serve the Anderson Valley community as he has for the past fifty years, surpassing in active years, I believe, the highly respected Willits physician, Mills Matheson.

FRANK’S FIREWOOD has updated their website. Interesting site for a venerable Valley business. Check it out at:

VISITING the Anderson Valley recently was Robert Waring, for years a teacher at Anderson Valley Elementary, now running his own English language school in Taiwan.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY FOOD BANK serves nutritious and healthy food to over 90 families. They appreciate all the people who donate financially and who provide food from their extra garden abundance. "We have three items that we can use this year and we are putting out this request for help: a small wagon to help people take their produce to their cars for delivery; a dolly to help take the food off the delivery truck and into the church Food Bank area — the boxes of food can be pretty heavy. And a refrigerator — our current one is too small and insufficient for storing food that needs refrigeration until the next food bank distribution.” If you can donate any of these items get in touch with Benna Kolinski,


Friday 7/19: Fiesta night with live music from Coastal Legend Keeter Stuart. Happy Hour starts at 5:30 and delicious homemade Mexican food served at 6:00ish.

Saturday 7/20: 4th Annual BBQ Competition! Join us for a fun evening of delicious BBQ and decide who is the best griller in town. Eating Starts at 5:00pm, $27.00/person includes Ribs and all the sides. Please RSVP for this one so I can make sure we have enough ribs for everyone.


11750 Anderson Valley Way in Boonville

Now Open: Blueberries, Peaches, Plums, Olive oil, Herbs and flowers.

INS SCARES are not unknown in Mendocino County or the Anderson Valley. The word that la migra is in the area circulates fast, and children are kept at home rather than risk capture at school while their parents listen for that awful knock on the door. Which is a helluva note that a large part of our population lives with fear so intense, so constant. If think the INS ought to focus on the deportation of criminals, not ordinary, productive people without whom the flimsy economy of this county and many others would collapse. 

I MAY BE the only person left in Boonville who remembers an INS raid circa '73, the only one I know of ever in the Anderson Valley. And I remember it because the screaming and general 4am tumult woke me up as it occurred two hundred yards down the street at a house directly across from the elementary school. I didn't know the Mexican family living there, but by the time I arrived at the pre-dawn scene the neo-gestapo proceedings had ended with the apparent arrest of several adult males. No local cops were involved, and I never could find out what had happened as the rest of the people in the home had also disappeared. And this sorry episode was fifty years ago, long before the Fox News Warriors began their rampages.

IT HADN'T OCCURRED to me before a Boonville woman mentioned that she was worried about the reduction in taxable property because so much local acreage has been removed from the tax base via conservation easements, thus directly reducing financial support for the local schools. The easement dodge commenced with the arrival of the new gentry, circa 1980, with even smallholders quickly agreeing to preserve their land in its natural state as, in the prevalent delusion, the environmental benefits are muy importante. We're going to try to discover how much of the local tax base has been removed by conservation easements. Landowners certainly get nice tax breaks, but the benefits to the rest of us are negligible and the schools get a little shorted. Unless one persuades oneself that conservation easements are crucial to beat back the multiplicities of accumulating environmental disasters, these particular set asides, objectively, are in reality just another tax hustle enjoyed only by the privileged. But. Hold it right there. CORRECTION. SORT OF: Patrick Miller of the Anderson Valley Land Trust called to point out my statement that conservation easements exempt property owners from paying taxes on the land thus eased. Nope, property taxes are unaffected. Kinda. Property values are lowered via the easements and taxed at their reduced assessments. Mr. Miller said there are 28 such easements in the Anderson Valley.

THE CENSUS, in my experience, has always been farcical. That the figures returned by the part-time census takers are the basis for crucial federal reimbursements is at least mildly humorous. Whether or not a citizenship question is or is not included wouldn't seem to matter, since a yes or no is impossible to verify. Living arrangements that depart from mom, pop, and 2.2 children domiciled in a stand-alone house, fatally confuses the census taker. I remember trying to explain the number of people holed up at my place, mystifying the kid doing the polling. "Do you mean you, your wife, your brother, your sister, three children, and five un-related persons live here? Who are the five un-related persons and what is their relation to you, the home owner?" The census kid pawed through his forms trying to find applicable boxes he could check off, but he was short of categories, as is America anymore. Tell you what, my lad, I said, let's pretend the unexplained people aren't here, and leave it at that. He agreed, and off he went down the street to the next nest of confusion.

MY FRIEND BOB FOWLER is just back from Scotland (My people! My people!) where he'd gone to watch a niece graduate from college in Glasgow. "It's the plane over and back that's uncomfortable to the point of pain," Bob said. "Packed in so tight I had to get up every few hours to keep from cramping, but once we got there we had a great time."

He brought back a late June issue of The Scotland Times, certainly a much less solemn mix of stories and photos than would ever appear in the New York Times. The Scot paper gives readers get a pretty girl on the front page for no other reason than her aesthetic appearance along with stories about Boris Johnson's plan to cut immigration by pegging it to a point system; a story about how Brit scientists are closing in on a cure for cervical cancer and, an odd piece announcing, "It's fine if my children are gay, says William," aka Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Inside we get young women in bikinis and a story about "hen parties" called "Proseco, naked butlers, and hot tubs on wheels," opposed on the facing page by a disappointed hen who says, "It was a drunken Lord of the Flies, Never Again." Two stories that may resonate with Americans are, "340,000 flee knife crime and high property prices" plus a sad piece called "Boy, 14, found his father dying after stabbing on train." Boris Johnson is likely to be Britain's next prime minister. He's often compared to Trump, but the resemblance ends at their mutual buffoonery. Johnson's a lot smarter and, in clips I've seen of him, often very funny, but Trump-like in policy positions.

IN MAY, we complained about the US Forest Service’s apparent refusal to reimburse local fire agencies for volunteers who go on strike teams to fight fires on federal land. Standard practice had been for the requesting agency (typically Cal-Fire or the US Forest Service) to pay qualified volunteers who go on out-of-county fire duty at negotiated rates similar to what paid firefighters get — as they should. The AV Fire Department responded with a four-person team to last year’s "Delta fire" on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and submitted the usual invoice. But the Forest Service said they wouldn’t pay unless a bunch of ridiculous billing rules were followed, including a rule that said the Forest Service would only reimburse for actual out-of-pocket cost — which for local volunteers is zero. The Forest Service’ chintzy stance seemed designed to discourage volunteers from responding to forest fires on federal land. After several months of back and forth, including forcing the local Fire Department to pay the volunteers in advance, the Forest Service finally paid the AV Fire Department $20,000 for the Delta Fire response last week, $15k for volunteers and $5k for equipment. Fortunately, the AV Fire Department has enough cash on hand to cover the advance, but some small departments don’t have an extra $15k sitting around to advance to volunteers and then wait for more than a year before it’s reimbursed. 

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