OOPS! When a Philo woman called Monday to say that three helicopters were flying low over The Valley's second city, she said, “I called you because the AVA always knows what's going on,” adding, “I now know what those poor people in Afghanistan must feel like.” I put the caller at ease, blithely informing her that the choppers belonged to PG&E doing line checks. Which is what I assumed. Then I find out Tuesday morning that the choppers were in fact the aerial arm of this summer's marijuana eradication offensive. They were training people for this season's pot raids on what to look for from the air. Our crafty devil weed farmers, you see, are always a step ahead in basic concealment techniques. The trainees will be buzzing The Valley into next week.
GAZING RAPT over my back fence at what I assumed was a spectacular bush rose, I called its owner Joy Frazer for the lowdown. Turns out Joy is comparably bedazzled but baffled. “I've been trying to have it identified,” she said. “I thought it was a rose, too. But it's not a rose.” Joy explained that more than a year ago Berna Walker's grandson had given Berna six ball-like confections of seed and fertilizer for Berna's birthday, one of which Berna gave to Joy. Joy planted the mystery package in her back yard and suddenly this burning bush, you might say, appears. “This is First time it's bloomed,” Joy told me. “I planted it about a year and a half ago. The instructions said 'Put it on top of the ground and water it,' which didn't make sense to me so I planted it. First I got yellow flowers, then blue, then white and a variety of other things that faded away and then this bush came up.” Joy said she was taking a cutting to the Garden Club in the hope someone there can identify it. She said she would let me know what she finds out.
A BOONVILLE WOMAN remarked that four graduation ceremonies culminating in a high school graduation production that lasted “2.5 hours,” seems a little much even in this, The Age of the Child. The festivities pack 'em in, though. Standing room only at all four.
THOSE PRE-GRADUATION signs that popped up everywhere in The Valley struck me as kinda, I dunno, beside the point. “Parents who host lose the most,” the signs said. A drunk kid can lose his life, the parents maybe a civil judgment.
OUR THEORY here at your child-free community newspaper is that so many young people are so cosseted in their early years, so preached at during their school seat time by waves of pious hypocrites, that by the time they're big enough to elude adult supervision they go out and do all kinds of dangerous things.
MO MANDEL, aka Mohan Mandlebaum, formerly of Boonville, will perform at the Punchline in San Francisco the weekend of July 2nd. The Punchline being Frisco's premier comedy club, only the best acts are booked for weekends. Mo also will appear on NBC's “Free Agents,” a new weekly comedy show scheduled to begin this Fall. Always a talented kid, and now a very funny adult, Mo is on his way!
MANY OF YOU know Vern Piver, the true mayor of Fort Bragg, a former professional baseball player, former logger, former host of the annual salmon barbecue, former coach, ace rhododendron grower, and all-round great guy. Vern's getting on, and he's been fighting off The Big C for some time now, but he and Betty still muster the time and energy to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society via a Skunk Train outing on Sunday, June 26th, and nobody who ever bought a ticket said he didn't have a great time. Just this past Monday, Vern himself was at UCSF beating back the C-beast. He knows whereof he speaks.$70 per ticket, and every nickel of it going where it should go — a good time for the ticket holder on the Skunk, hope for all the people fighting these terrible afflictions. Send the money to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, c/o Vern Piver, 208 Sanderson, Fort Bragg 95437.
A READER just back from Reno writes: “Dear Reno, Nice to see you again! But this will be the end of our visits, I can't see you anymore! Next time, as I drive by you, I will just throw all my money out the window! And that WILL be the end of our affair!”
THE RASTAFARIANS are trickling into town for this weekend's Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, a largely self-contained event complete with its own food and drink booths , the whole of it confined to the Boonville Fairgrounds. Thousands of the dreadlocked beasts appear annually, then disappear, a vanishing act in three days.
PULLING out on to 128 late Monday afternoon a young Rastafarian, or maybe a bush hippie I hadn't seen before, caused me to shrink to my right when he suddenly loomed up outside my car window. I darn near screamed. The kid looked like a werewolf. “Dude! You startled me,” I said. He stared back. “So?” he said.
SALMON FILM Festival Sneak Preview Showing Rivers of a Lost Coast and a few shorts is Friday, June 24th from 8-11pm at “The Shed” behind the Farrer Building (Ice Cream Shop) in Boonville. Bring family & friends, dessert and/or a beverage to share, and a blanket or lawn chair to sit on — this is an outdoor film venue. Sponsored by the Navarro River Resource Center and the Anderson Valley Land Trust in conjunction with the Salmon Restoration Association’s Salmon Film Festival July 1st and 2nd in Fort Bragg. For more information: go to www.nwwg.org or www.andersonvalleylandtrust.org or the Salmon Film Festival website at http://salmonfilmfestival.wordpress.com or call 895-3230. No charge.
SPEAKING of the Navarro, that streamside property owner who's got a No Trespassing sign on the sliver of beach below his place surely knows that federal law says all navigable American streams belong to all of us, and all of us have a right to them.
ARTISANS looking for a local community event to display your art work can join the AV ArtWalk on July 9th from 3-6 pm. Local merchants provide spaces in front of their businesses for artists to display and sell their art work. The Anderson Valley Senior Center will provide shuttle service to drive visitors to the various venues along highway 128. Please contact Susan at 895-9291 so that she may assist you to find the perfect venue for your work. There is no charge to participate in this event. Venues are beginning to fill up so please call at your earliest convenience. (— Susan Bridge-Mount)
KEVIN BURKE of Philo caught a young 15-inch rattler at his Philo home last week. Burke thinks this year’s unusual weather may produce a larger than average number of rattlers in the Valley and suggests that the AVA start a Rattler Watch feature. Anyone with rattler sightings or encounters is welcome to report them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 895-3016.
ACCORDING TO the “class proposal” submitted to the Community Services District Recreation Committee, this year’s Not So Simple Living Fair at the Boonville Fairgrounds (July 22-24) is a weekend of workshops, presentations and information tables about farming, gardening, animal husbandry, alternative building techniques, power generation, seaweed and other wild food gathering, basket making, fermentation and other food preservation. The times being what they are, how to do these things, things that our great grandparents knew how to do, just might soon come in handy. A potluck dinner and dance on Saturday night round out a weekend of instruction. Camping will be available on the Fair Grounds Friday and Saturday nights. The whole show is a project of the Anderson Valley Foodshed Group.
IF YOU HAVEN'T seen Trudy Smith's wonderful wildlife paintings at the Philo Post Office, they're worth the trip even if you get your mail in Boonville, Yorkville OR Navarro.
ANOTHER FIRST-RATE local artist, this one a maker of musical instruments, David Dart of Navarro, will display his work at the forthcoming Fine Woodwork show at Fort Bragg's Odd Fellows Hall, July 8 through August 7.
ANNOYING PRESS RELEASE on the front page of Tuesday's Ukiah Daily Journal. “County gets grant for healthy lifestyles push.” How much the grant is worth is not mentioned, but in living fact it will likely mean two unconditioned nice persons, with direct connections to the usual insider hiring, going around the county telling everyone bored enough to listen that smoking is bad for you, that you shouldn't eat junk food, booze is also a long-term negative, and that some kind of strenuous exercise every day will definitely prolong your television watching days. Is there a single person over the age of five anywhere in this country that doesn't know this stuff? Besides, the only way you're going to get Americans to do any of it is at gunpoint, and nobody's written that grant yet.
STAN ANDERSON tells us that the Mendocino County Republican Central Committee, a group we thought was extinct, at least in Mendocino County, will meet next Wednesday (June 22nd) 7-9pm, Moura Senior Housing, 400 South Street, Fort Bragg.