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Valley People

CAN'T MISS the large Boonville signs pleading that our deputies and now our health center be saved. It looks like we'll probably lose our enormously popular junior deputy, Craig Walker, whose assiduous attention to The Valley's criminally oriented population has so nicely supplemented that of long time resident deputy Keith Squires, and unless some sort of funding miracle occurs, the Health Center will also be lost.

YOU CAN SAY that we don't have a very large criminally-oriented population, that we don't need two deputies, but you would be ignoring the outside-based drug trade rooted here, and you'd be ignoring traffic control, and you'd be ignoring the quality of life stuff like the petty thefts that can quickly become not-so-petty thefts if our local thieves think no one is watching them. The local Mope population requires two people to police it. And we're likely to lose half of that capacity because the Supervisors voted 3-2 last week to slash the Sheriff's already bare bones budget.

SUPERVISORS HAMBURG, SMITH AND PINCHES voted to whack the Sheriff's budget, McCowen and Brown voted to wait to see what the total local, state and federal budgets look like when the fiscal year commences in July. Pinches said immediate cuts would save a lot of general fund money immediately, Smith was, as always, incoherent and Hamburg said Monday that “The layoffs will hopefully be rescinded...we expect that the legislature will come to an agreement on vehicle license fees (VLF) before the 6/30 expiration date. Both Democrats and Republicans favor an extension but the Rs are trying to leverage their support for the VLF extension to get cuts in other areas of the state budget. If the BOS had chosen to delay (as McCowen and Brown favored) we would have risked having to 'backfill' funding for those positions (in the MCSO and Probation... The DA took care of it by backfilling with funds he already had in his budget) into the new fiscal year...backfilling means coming up with general fund dollars that we clearly don't have given the month or so it takes to layoff county employees. My judgment was that we couldn't wait. We can always 'rescind' right up to June 30th.”

THE ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER will close in five months if its income remains short of its annual expenditures. Emergency pleas to local moneybags and Sunday's fundraiser at the Boonville Fairgrounds notwithstanding, the Center's survival doesn't appear likely even if the moneybags come up with a quick million or two.

LAYTONVILLE'S clinic, I understand, has been spared the axe because it gets federal aid and we don't. Why? Laytonville is a “Federally Qualified Health Center” and we aren't. We're merely a “Federally Qualified Health Center Lookalike.” I guess we have to be an identical twin. Which I don't get but maybe you do.

OUR HARDHITTING federal and state representatives are, of course, “very, very concerned about our situation.” Which is the extent of the help we can expect from Congressman Thompson, Assemblyman Chesbro, State Senator Evans, all of whom, for sure, can be counted on only to furrow their brows for photo ops to go with their rhetoric of concern.

IF OUR HEALTH CENTER were to re-name itself The Anderson Valley Enological Research Center there's no doubt that Congressman Thompson himself would soon appear at the Health Center's front door with a Brink's-size load of federal cash.

THE DEAD MAN WHO WASN'T. Last Thursday evening about 6, bicyclists returning from a jaunt up Navarro Ridge Road saw that the silver Volkswagon Jedda they'd noted on their way up Navarro Ridge Road was still at the gate across the road. The bicyclists paused to have a look around, and soon saw an elderly man asleep, perhaps permanently asleep, stretched out in a sleeping bag. An empty bottle of anti-depressants and a fully consumed bottle of alcohol lay within reach of the deceased. And there was blood on his neck. The cyclists hustled down to Highway 128 and soon flagged down the South Coast Ambulance Service's emergency vehicle which, not so fortuitously as it turned out, just happened to be passing by. The cyclists and the Gualala EMTs returned to the presumed dead man in the sleeping bag. The Gualala EMTs said they thought the man was dead, but because they didn't have their protective rubber gloves with them they didn't want to touch him to make sure, a peculiar stance for emergency services personnel but that was the stance they took. Soon “1144 near Navarro” — dead body — was heard on scanners all over Mendocino County. Anderson Valley's EMT Holly Newstead was soon on-scene. Ms. Newstead quickly discovered that the dead man was not dead. She also couldn't help but see that the dead man who wasn't dead had apparently cut his own throat with a boxcutter, which was also found within his reach along with the empty bottle of sedatives and the drained whiskey bottle. The dead man who wasn't dead, it was surmised, had washed down the sedatives with the whiskey and had then cut his own throat, somehow managing to miss an artery. One could say he'd hit a triple without touching any of the ultimate bases. Emergency protocols kicked in and soon the dead man, now retrieved from wherever we go next, if there is a next, had survived. He was soon wafted dramatically upwards by emergency medical helicopter, perhaps wondering as he ascended if he'd won a charter flight to the Pearly Gates. We know the dead man who wasn't dead is 68 years old, that his surname is King, and that he's from Berkeley.

IN OTHER TRUE LIFE local adventures last week, a woman appeared in the office doorway exclaiming, “Bruce! I'm not nuts anymore!” This bold claim is one that few persons in Mendocino County could make with full confidence they wouldn't immediately be refuted. It was Catherine Filby who wasn't nuts anymore. Catherine had certainly been a consensus Difficult Person during her two-year stay in the Anderson Valley, but never psychotic to the point where Deputy Squires had had to cart her off as a full-blown 5150. Catherine went on to say that she was living and working in Garberville, that her children were doing well, and that she was enjoying a day away from home and work revisiting her old haunts in The Valley. Best of all, and speaking here as an uncredentialed non-professional but a person with many years experience with aberrant behavior, Catherine was indeed no longer nuts. She looked good, laughed a lot, expressed remorse for acting like a nut when she lived here, and said goodbye after a visit of maybe ten total minutes. The true nut would have settled in for at least an hour's monologue heedless of what you might be doing. I was happy to see the reborn Catherine when she didn't wear me out with her reclaimed sanity. Most nuts, when they topple over the edge, never come back.

SEEKING “JUSTICE,” is a 70-pound three-year-old black dog who “resembles a pit bull but isn't a pit bull.” Justice was last seen near Nokomis Elementary school in Ukiah. He has cropped ears and, despite his formidable appearance, is timid and withdrawn. His owner, Tiffany, is offering a reward. If you've seen Justice please call Tiffany at 367-2409

NORRIS PINOLI'S many friends are invited to a “surprise” open house on June 18, 2011, 1 PM until 4 PM at the Fairfield Inn banquet room, 1149 Airport Park Boulevard in Ukiah. “The occasion is Norris Pinoli’s odometer rolling over to 90. No gifts. Norris was born June 16, 1921, at the Hammer Olsen Ranch in Philo with Minnie Olsen as midwife. It was Minnie who named him Norris.”

BILL TAYLOR'S Traveling Salad University is on the road! If you want your greens tossed and “the secrets of Floodgate Farm Salad Mix,” hook up with Bill on Sunday, June 12th, 2-5, at the Fairgrounds parking lot, from where Bill will take you “3 miles to the southeast” where everything green thing will be revealed. Info at 707-877-1668 or

DAYLA HEPTING REPORTS that she's fully recovered from a long illness and is again fully herself, happy at her Montana home: “Just got back from a wonderful trip to San Francisco. I went to City Lights and got a comic book history of the Beats and an Allen Ginsberg autobiography. Hoping it would inspire me to write. I always envisioned writing a book in my retirement but so far I have writer's block. Nothing comes to mind. I appreciate getting the AVA every week. Keeps me up to date on the Anderson Valley. I still consider that my home. It is just too expensive for me to live there on social security. I go to visit Rick [Hepting] in September. He is making a living doing websites in Mexico. I go once a year for two weeks. I really enjoy him. He has mellowed with old age and gotten over his fear of social contact…”

MIKE BLACKBURN and Hunter Sagaiga have been named to the Northcoast League's first team basketball all stars. Hunter, incidentally, is the first freshman to be so honored in many a moon, so many moons we can't remember the last time a freshman was named to the first five. Mike, incidentally, qualified in the sprints for the Meet of Champions last weekend in Berkeley but was unable to go because of a pulled muscle.

RUBY PENA, a senior at Boonville High, was named to the first team all league girls quintet while Mirla Gaxiola, a sophomore, made the second team and Gimmena Manriquez, a junior, garnered an honorable mention.

DEPUTY WALKER cautions Valley residents that there's been an outbreak of tool theft lately — chainsaws, compressors, hand tools. The deputy suggests that you jot down the make, model, and serial numbers of your portable items, which makes it a lot easier for him and Deputy Squires to recover them when they turn up in the front yards of the usual suspects.

CODY HOOVER NOTES: “Just for the record for my last story about the Boonville Beerfest I was heavily assisted by my partner and girlfriend, a beer aficionado and home brewer, Meriam Benezra. She helped round it out with more talk about the actual beers at the fest and her own observations. I filed the story with two pseudonyms to accompany the story, Silenus (the god of beer) and Dionysus (the god of ritual madness and ecstasy and Silenus's drinking companion) since it was a collaboration. But the story appeared with my name only. Meriam is a fine writer, deserved to at least be represented by a fake name indicating that the article had two authors.”

CATHERINE FILBY mentioned during her visit last week that she was on her way to Comptche where the Beauty of Glazenwood that grows on the old post office was in full bloom. “It only blooms once a year,” she said, and if I hadn't had to work I think I would have driven over to Comptche myself to see a sight I've never seen.

AN ALARMED CALLER alerted us to what he thought might be the elimination of Kristy Hotchkiss's invaluable Citizen's Class, via which immigrants master enough English to pass on into full citizenship. Ms. Hotchkiss has taught the classes for at least a decade, and just this year steered eleven of our friends and neighbors to full legal status. What has happened, though, is that there weren't enough people for both a day and a night class, so the two classes have combined to become one night class with, as always, Ms. Hotchkiss at the helm.

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