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Valley People (Aug. 21, 2019)

BY THE END OF LAST WEEK, Calfire reported that Mendo’s first significant wildfire of 2019, the “Moose fire” on the McNab Ranch between Ukiah and Hopland, was fully confined to 225 acres. Almost 450 firefighters and associated equipment were on scene. According to unofficial reports the fire was started by the negligent discard of a cigarette. Yes, a discarded cigarette, and here’s hoping the discarder gets put in the time-out room at Low Gap. 

IT GOT UP TO 110 IN THE SHADE last Thursday by the old thermometer hanging on our deck, which runs about five degrees hot because our headquarters rest in a small sea of macadam. Official reports had it as high as 105 in Ukiah, always hotter than here. As we go to press Monday, the fog has rolled in and we’re cool at a little under 80.

CALTRANS is planning to repave a four-mile stretch of Highway 128 between Robinson Creek (Rod Balson’s house) and Con Creek (the elementary school). Expect delays through town. The $1.5 million re-pave project will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and is expected to last until the end of August. Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie Jr. said the work is “normal preventive maintenance,” explaining that a few spots in the road are “experiencing minor failure” and will require grinding work before the paving to avoid, presumably, major failure. The Boonville project is in addition to pavement repairs along a 10-mile stretch of Highway 128 out towards the Coast and on another stretch in the Yorkville area.

YOU CAN SEE her work for yourself at Susan Robinson’s website, but if you’re looking for a perfect gift for a flower lover, Ms. Robinson’s stunningly preserved pressed local varieties are just what you’re looking for. Like some of you, I always enjoyed finding a grandmother’s pressed flower in an old bible or book, but unlike flowers preserved that way, Susan Robinson manages to retain full color in those she mounts in glass. Her work can be found at Sunrobins Botanical Arts and is highly recommended both for their own sake and because all flora are found in the Anderson Valley, some of it only in the Anderson Valley.

WITH THE TEMP already a globally-warmed 90 when I walked into the Boonville Post Office the other day, I sang out, “Better get that government AC going, Collette.” The Post Office is not a government operation the postmistress replied, “it’s a private business.” O yes. It all comes back to me now. As soon as the P.O. was privatized, rates began going up and up.

SCHOOL STARTED in Boonville on that very warm Thursday last week but enrollment figures weren’t available by press time. Estimate? About 600, K-12, maybe 650. 

THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING scheduled for Tuesday the 13th was put over a week until Tuesday the 20th and will be convened in the Career Center at the high school, not the sensory deprivation tank called the cafeteria where meetings have previously been held. (BTW, you are mos def an old timer if you remember when the cafeteria was a private business. Can't remember the name of the couple who ran it, but they were succeeded by Gloria Ross, a kind, smart, efficient woman many of us still miss but whose oatmeal cookies live on at the Yorkville Market, baked daily by Sue Marcott, who learned the recipe from Gloria in Gloria's Home Economics class at the high school, circa '67.) 

AS OF THIS WEEK, there are 12 personnel changes in our school with, according to Superintendent Warych, probably four more soon. "Half of the changes are internal reassignments and half are new employees,” the Superintendent said Monday. "For now, we have three teachers new to the area and new to the District. They include:

Maye Dickenson from Windsor USD; AVES, Grade 2

Emelia Theobald from Santa Rosa ESD, AVES, Grade 3

Gabe Ott lives in Redwood Valley, AVES, P.E. intern

ARTHUR FOLZ has been named Athletic Director at Anderson Valley High School, replacing Robert Pinoli who has retired. Folz is also a teacher at the school. He’s the tall, squared away dude in shirt and tie who looks like he stepped out of 1955. 

SPEAKING of schools, the mystery remains: What do all those little kids carry in their backpacks? From the look of some of them, straining under their loads, they look like they're carrying bricks.


This fall we are offering:

Spanish 1 (formerly Beginner's Spanish): Appropriate for beginners or those who speak little Spanish and wish to improve listening, speaking, vocabulary, and practice in a supportive setting.

Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7:15 pm.

September 11th - November 27th (12 weeks)

Spanish 2 (formerly Intermediate Spanish): Appropriate for people who speak and understand some Spanish, feel comfortable speaking in the present tense, have familiarity with past tenses and wish to improve their speaking, comprehension, and understanding of grammar.

Monday evenings from 5:30-7:15 p.m.

September 9th - December 9th (12 weeks)

Cost for either class: $150 (Cost goes down if more than ten people enroll)

Optional workbook is available for $56 (highly recommended for Spanish 1)  *Scholarships are available as well as payment plans. Please email for more info.

*Free childcare available during class hours.

To register: Email or call 895-2953

WE ASKED AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA how big a financial hit the AV Fire Department’s budget would take if we suffered a major fire in the Anderson Valley. Avila said it depended on how many days it would take to contain it. Next would be whether Calfire’s ground crews were in the Valley or not. If they were out of the Valley on other fires, as they may well be during fire season, then AV would have to fight the ground part of a fire with local resources for several days, and the department would be out of pocket for that effort, but eligible for later reimbursement from CalFire. Avila recalled the 2008 Lightning Complex fire when AVFD had to respond for several days before CalFire could get mobilized, but CalFire eventually did reimburse the department for most of the initial response work. 

THE LATEST in epistolary irritations? "Warmly yours.” And always from a stranger. Message sign-offs are technically valedictions to close off salutations. I prefer my old friend Vern Piver's simple valediction, "Later" or, more formally, I prefer anything ranging from "Sincerely" to "Thank you."

SALE this week at Hedgehog Books on travel and language books, as well as books in Spanish for both children and adults. Hedgehog is to the rear of the train cars in Boonville  next door to Boont Berry Farm. Hours 12:30 to 5:30.

THE SENIOR CENTER’S BIG LABOR DAY WEEKEND FLEA MARKET is August 30 to September 2 this year. Spaces can be reserved by calling Dave at 895-2325 or the Center at 895-3609. $20/day or $40/weekend. “Clean out that barn or shed, make a few bucks and support the AV Senior Center” which is in the Boonville Vets building at 14410 Hwy 128.

AV CHAMBER MIXER. The AV Chamber of Commerce is having a Member Mixer. We want to celebrate our new Visitor Guide brochure and welcome our Members! 

DATE: Wed, Aug 21st 6-8pm, 

LOCATION: Disco Ranch, 14025 Hwy 128, Boonville. 

Appetizers and Beverages compliments of the Chamber and Disco Ranch. 

Please RSVP ASAP, (707) 895.2379 or

RECOMMENDED READING: "Lucky Country, Confessions of a Vagabond Cellerhand" by Darren Delmore. For a young man, the author has been around, having been a competitive surfer, an editor at Surfer Magazine, and experience at every level of the wine business. Mr. D is presently national sales manager for the Hass family's Tabla Rasa wines. A former resident of the Anderson Valley where he worked for Goldeneye, this is the third in his series of rollicking books based on the hard facts of the wine industry thinly disguised as fiction. Mr. D is a very funny writer about an industry, at least at its heights, that takes itself very, very seriously. The author manages to both take it seriously and have fun relaying what it's like inside its hierarchy. These accounts are instructive without ever becoming stuffy, and they move right along. The guy knows vino, and you will too after a read that's so much fun you don't want it to end, this one ending after some highly amusing adventures in Australia, also now something of a wine power. 

OVER THE COURSE of a long and often turbulent life, Wyatt Earp became a living legend. He was, at one time or another, a saloon keeper, a brothel owner, a lawman in different jurisdictions, a gambler, a miner of gold and silver, and a professional referee for boxing matches. Late in life he was a consultant for western films in Hollywood. His detractors claimed that his reputation was inflated and that he was both a crooked referee and an unreliable source for stories of his exploits. His many admirers disagreed and support him as one of the toughest lawmen of the American west. Faint rumors that the Earp Brothers owned a ranch in the Yorkville area of the Anderson Valley have never been substantiated, but Wyatt did live in San Francisco. 

Wyatt Earp (sitting second from left) as one of the Dodge City Peace Commission in 1883. Bat Masterson is standing at right.


  1. George Hollister August 27, 2019

    The census for 1890 was destroyed. But old city directories exist in libraries, and with historical societies. Mr. Earp might be in a Santa Rosa city directory from the period.

  2. Marshall Newman August 26, 2019

    Wyatt Earp owned a ranch near Yorkville? I suppose it is possible: in addition to his time in San Francisco, he purportedly briefly ran a livery stable in Santa Rosa around 1882-1883.

    • Marshall Newman August 27, 2019

      More research suggests Earp ran the stable in Santa Rosa in 1890. Or perhaps 1896. The truth is out there somewhere, but it sure is elusive.

    • Bruce Anderson August 27, 2019

      The late Wayne McGimsy (sp?) was a Valley old timer whose family went back to the beginning, or near beginning. He told me that Earp owned a place in Yorkville. But there were a bunch of Earp bros so it’s possible one or another of the family owned a ranch here. They wer all in the area.

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