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Valley People (Aug. 7, 2019)

THE BOONVILLE AIRPORT OPEN HOUSE/Airport Day and Potluck Dinner is this Saturday, August 10 at the corner of Estate Drive & Airport Road. A Coast Guard contingent is scheduled to arrive at 11 AM by helicopter. They will be landing and spending a few hours here. The public is welcome to visit with them. Other festivities begin at noon. Potluck dinner at 5pm. Drinks provided. More info: Cindy or Kirk, 895-2949.

JERRY KARP WRITES to tell us that KZYX has received a $100K gift from the Dean Witter Foundation. “We thought folks would be interested to know about the major contribution, and to learn what we're considering to be the best ways to make use of those funds. Please check in with station manager Marty Durlin if you have questions.”

DONNA PIERSON-PUGH WRITES: Hi Fair Fans, This Friday 8/9 is the deadline for submitting paper entry forms for the produce, flowers, home arts, with a separate form for each division. You have until 8/31 if you submit them online! Be sure to include any item that you may have, as if you don't submit it there is no problem, but you can't submit something for which you have not included on the entry form. Download from and print these forms. Submit the forms to: Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show, PO Box 458, Boonville, CA 95415

All Livestock Must Enter Online!

Online entries close August 30, 2019

Paper Entry Forms – due August 9, 2019

Entry forms may be faxed to (707) 895-3011 only if no entry fees are required. Use a separate entry form for each division.

Remember to sign entry forms.

POCKET CHANGE: Kevin Harvey, a Silicon Valley multi-bucks, owns the vertical vineyard at Navarro called Rhys Vineyard. In 2017 he bought into the old Masonite site north of Ukiah where he plans a winery amid the stark concrete slabs and pop-up manufacturing plants. Additionally, Harvey owns 4,500 acres west of Highway 101 near Laytonville which drains into Ten Mile River and the South Fork of the Eel. At this ecologically sensitive site, Harvey bulldozed a protected wetland and filled in a streambed, the better to plant grapes. For this atrocity the “entrepreneur” has been fined $3.76 million by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Given that the guy’s a billionaire we can safely assume he calculated that the damage he wrought in Laytonville was simply a cost of his boutique winery business.

HARVEY occasionally flies into Boonville International. I happened to be walking past the airstrip one late morning when he’d just arrived in a spiffy plane seating maybe a dozen people. I asked the pilot who the plane belonged to. “Sorry, I can’t tell you,” the pilot said. But an airport informant divulged the great secret.

AT NAVARRO, Harvey the magnate bought the old Horse Haven Ranch, a dilapidated Valley landmark of color-coordinated red barn and house. Because Mendocino County has no grading ordinance, or any other laws that might deter a well-heeled wine investor from committing crimes against nature, Harv proceeded to plant grapevines on hillsides so steep Mendocino County is just about the only county in the state where he’d be permitted to do it.

PERTINENT on-line comments re Harv’s depredations: 

• Why don't they remove and shred the plants like they do to the other green plants that are put in illegally? Also, was there any archeology survey done being local Tribes lived all over the area hundreds of years ago!

• Yet he keeps to keep the land with all illegal grading in place. $3.7M is chicken scratch to this guy. He wins! The land should at the very least be donated to a conservation organization as recompense.

• No militarized raids on this place though. No troops. No ransacking of the facility.

• Do they have to restore the land or do they get to keep going?

JULY didn’t seem any warmer than usual at this time of year in the Anderson Valley, but in the rest of the world it was the hottest month the world has experienced since record-keeping began more than a century ago, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a program of the European Union, surpassing the previous records set in July 2016. “July has rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at the local, national, and global level,” warned Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization. “This is not science fiction. It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now, and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action.”

A FACE BOOKER ASKS, “Has anybody gotten sick from drinking the spring water on the 128 in Yorkville at mile marker 176?” That water would be well on to the Sonoma County end of Highway 128 where suddenly the long-dormant water pipe drains into a trough-size concrete basin has begun flowing again. I was so happy to see its resumption last week on my trip south, I pulled over for a swig, and it was as sweet and as refreshing as I remember it from yesteryear. No ill effects so far.

THE GOOD NEWS. The first pink ladies are thrusting their optimistic heads through the summer-baked soil, an annual appearance that always seems so magical, so encouraging that beauty can so suddenly, so unexpectedly burst forth where one least expects it.

I'VE AMASSED quite a collection of California history, among it a very odd book called Deep Valley based on the direct Mendocino County experiences of anthropologists, Burt Agrinsky and Mrs. Agrinsky. The Agrinskys spent months in the middle 1930s talking with Pomo elders, some of whom remember their first exposure to the "goddams," as these first ravenously murderous white settlers were called by the Indians. Instead of writing a straight investigatory account of what must have been fascinating stories of true history, the Agrinskys attempt to re-create native speech, in 300 pages of, "Yes, I, too, often think about these troubling stories. But what happened, happened far away. We all know that the creatures from the south are dangerous...." and on and on.

BUT IN THE BOOK'S INTRO, we get much more straight reporting of what an old man actually told the anthro-investigators as he emphasized the centrality of family to native culture, contrasting it to the rootlessness of ol' whitey: "....the white people were different from us. They wanted to take the whole world for themselves. My grandfather told me that the white people were homeless and had no families. They came by themselves and settled on our property. They had no manners....." (Still don't, but that's another story.) 

STRAIGHT REPORTING on Mendo County's early days is always interesting, but when you write a whole book in dialect that reads like a bad Tonto and the Lone Ranger script.... well, the fascinating become unenduringly tiresome.

UNRESERVEDLY RECOMMENDED by the Boonville weekly as the kind of dream tenant any landlord would want to rent to: “Hello all - 

My uncle Michael Connelly, a long time Mendocino coast resident, needs to move out of his current place ASAP (owners are selling the property) - he is looking for a 1 bedroom or studio apartment/ cabin/ house - 1 level, not stairs or just a couple with a railing... bathroom and kitchen in the rental... He can afford $1000 a month give or take. He is clean, respectful and would be very grateful.

Please let me know if you have a rental or know of one.

Thank you so much!

Anica Wiggle, 684-9829

LOW FLYING CHOPPERS EXPLAINED: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will continue to inspect power lines in Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties for the next couple of weeks, using helicopters equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. The inspections are part of PG&E’s expanded and enhanced vegetation management work, implemented following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires as one of many additional precautionary measures intended to further reduce wildfire risk.

CONCERNED IN COMPTCHE: “Many Comptche neighbors are concerned about traffic safety here in town and out Flynn Creek Road. First are the drivers who speed through town — especially by the store and Post Office, where there are lots of cars pulling in and out and where this is supposed to be a 25 mph zone. The 25 mph zone starts at the west end of the Comptche valley, past the school and church, and ends east just past Peterson's barn. Plus, there is no speed limit sign on the Comptche Road for drivers who turn right off Flynn Creek Road. Many continue with the speed they drove on Flynn Creek Road. We are pedestrians here. Second is the vegetation — mostly blackberry bushes and poison oak — that is growing into the roadway, over the white lines. The only trimming that has been done in a few years is from the vehicles breaking off the tips. This is also really dangerous for cyclists. Is there any help available from the 5th District?”

ED NOTE: The number of vehicles speeding through central Boonville makes it only a matter of time before someone is hit and killed or badly injured. Years ago, Philo, after an accident that killed a child, rose up in a fairly effective protest to slow traffic, which resulted in pressure on CalTrans to install speed-slowing signs. Since Comptche roads are County responsibility, Comptche, failing to get help from the County, might consider direct action up to and including creative tactics to physically slow traffic.

AV High Leadership Class and Principal, circa 1945

MY COLLEAGUE, The Major, announced last week that we've produced the one thousand eight hundred and fiftieth ava as of this Wednesday, and that's counting from the first issue under present auspices in January of 1984. Yes, my friends, and as our many detractors put it, "36 years of vicious personal attacks, lies, half-truths, fabrications, gratuitous libel, wrong-headed opinion, and demented humor." Heck, nobody's perfect, but in recent visits to the archive hidden deep in the hills east of Boonville, and trying to be objective as I can, I'd say our record has been pretty good, serving nicely, I'd say, as a much truer, clearer Mendo picture over these years than is available elsewhere. Biggest journalo-regrets? Being completely duped by the rolling scam involving the Bari Bombing for at least six months too long, and not being able to nail down the perps who committed the Fort Bragg Fires of 1987, which I'm sure we could have done if the accumulated evidence hadn't disappeared from the DA's office, the last a perfect metaphor for how this stumbling jurisdiction operates at its command levels.

WHAT I MISS MOST are the years the paper was hand-made, the pre-internet years, when the content was more varied, more argumentative, much livelier. The eccentrics who used to mix it up in our pages seem to have either passed on or they've gotten their own websites. Not that we're quite entombed, but cyber-production is more impersonal, the end product much less varied than it was when there was more room for drawings, many of them by local artists, and long quotes from eminent thinkers. But newspapers are fading and will soon disappear. The blip-brains don't read anything longer than a line or two, or read nothing at all and, despite the steady stream of state, national and global catastrophes, the culture, to me anyway, seems dull, blanded down. The incentive to keep at it, however, comes from the pure joy I get knowing that all the right people hate us. Now, if they'd only write in…

KULTURE NOTE: Recommended reading — "Picture" by Lillian Ross, the justly renowned writer for the old New Yorker, gives us a complete account of the great director John Huston's '50's sabotaged film adaptation of "The Red Badge of Courage." Must reading for all the young people writing film scripts and attempting to hit it big in Hollywood, this is a riveting portrait of Huston, a master, and simultaneously a depressing picture of studio bigwigs who simply don't get it. And still don’t given what’s playing these days in the walk-in theaters.

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