Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (January 8, 2020)

GENE WALKER has died. A long-time resident of Boonville, Mr. Walker’s death will be keenly felt among Anderson Valley’s old timers. A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday, January 25th, and a full obituary is being prepared.

BILL STERLING. Please join family and friends to celebrate and recognize the life of William Wallace Sterling who passed away December 1, 2019. Memorial Service will be held on January 19, 2020 at The Anderson Valley Grange: 9800 Hwy 128 Boonville, 95415. Service will start at 2pm. Light fare and refreshment will be provided.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Wings for Learning/Alas Para Volar, at Wings for Learning, PO Box 835, Boonville, CA 95415, or to The Callipeplon Society, P.O. Box 678, Philo, CA 95466. For more information, or concerning Bill’s memorial, please send an email to, and one of the family will respond.

OUR SCANNER crackled to last Thursday (Dec 2nd) with a report that a "38-year-old male possibly electrocuted, worker shocked by power lines." AV’s fire chief, Andres Avila, soon explained that the victim was a bucket man on a tree trimming crew on Flynn Creek Road near the junction of Flynn Creek and 128. Avila said the victim seemed ok but shocked (in both senses) when AV’s first responders arrived. The still unidentified worker was taken to Coast Hospital for a precautionary check and released. 

AV FIRE DEPARTMENT emphasizes that we have no reason to suspect arson in connection to the multiple recent structure fires in Anderson Valley, Chief Avila said last week. This is a time of grief and hardship for several local families. Please avoid harmful speculation. There are many factors that can increase the risk of fires. If your home's electrical system or heat-producing appliances are not recently installed, consider professional evaluations or upgrades. Here's to increased fire safety and awareness in the new year. (AV Fire Department)

THE COUNTYWIDE AMBULANCE DEFICIT should be a top priority with the Supervisors, especially given the recent horror stories caused by a shortage of them. An on-line comment sums up the problem: “I just witnessed someone having a diabetic emergency wait close to half an hour for medical transport in Ukiah because there were no ambulances available. The fire department ended up having to transport. It's a scary problem for which I don't know the solution.”

SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS is on the case! “Ambulance coverage remains a serious concern county-wide. Late last night (Friday night, Jan 3), we were at “level zero” availability again on the 101 corridor (meaning units allocated, next call potentially queued with delay). As I look for places to trim, it’s with the intention of subsidizing ambulance services without another tax. Our priorities need to better reflect public safety. Ensuring 911 emergency medical response is the responsibility of the County, not fire districts or hospitals. When I hear our County finances are in good shape, I immediately flash on the services we're failing to provide. It'll take public demand to address the ambulance situation. To reach a minimum acceptable level of service without another tax, it'll take difficult decisions about priorities. I've seen ‘level zero staffing’ 9 times since Dec 23.”

ALSO FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: (From a recent presentation at Coast Hospital) “Where Coast Moms are Delivering, 2015-2018: 65% of Fort Bragg pregnancies delivered at Coast Hospital; 36% of pregnancies from women living in Caspar, Mendocino, Little River and Elk delivered at Coast Hospital.” 

AS DOCTOR GLUSKER has pointed out, without delivery, there’s really not much point in a local hospital. The subject arose because elimination of ob services at Coast Hospital has been suggested as a cost-saver.

VACANT commercial space in the Anderson Valley is, proportionately, as alarming as Tommy Wayne Kramer writes about in Ukiah. In Boonville there's the perennially vacant Ricard buildings, abandoned since 1975; Pic 'n Pay, Lizzby's and the bar next to it are gone completely in one mammoth blaze; the Buckhorn is vacant; Tindall Market is empty; the Rookie-to Gallery is empty. Down the road in Philo the Poleeko Roadhouse is vacant as is Stone & Embers restaurant. 

THE FIRST BOONVILLE QUIZ of 2020 will be Thursday, January 9, 2020. Hope to see you there. Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, and Brain Exercising 2020. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master

SOME BAD FEELING at the upper reaches of the Holmes Ranch, Philo, where long-time resident Tom Jones has been repeatedly reported by a neighbor for allegedly neglecting a horse on his place. Jones has just as repeatedly been found to be providing excellent care for the animal. Jones' unhappy neighbor is Tish McLeran, from whose property Gordon Cameron Hettrick, 57, went missing in March of 2007. Hettrick's remains were finally found in January of 2008 in an area which had been thoroughly searched several times over the months following his disappearance. A hole in Hettrick's skull, and the suspicious discovery of his remains where several searches had been carried out, prompted many locals to suspect that Hettrick had been murdered. The Sheriff's investigation, however, determined that Hettrick had died from a combination of exposure and the AIDS he was ill from.

BUT HETTRICK'S SISTER, Mrs. Ellis, emphatically declared at the time Hettrick's remains were found that “Gordon disappeared from my cousin's house, not a care home. He did not die from exposure or HIV. He was murdered. He died from high velocity blunt force trauma to his head. I am his sister and the person who caused this for financial gain is walking free. Read the coroner's report and the police reports and interviews including the search reports. His name was Gordon Cameron Hettrick not George. Thank you.”  

THIS MONTH’S GATHERING "Disaster Preparedness and Emergencies!" on Sunday January 12th 4 to 5:30 pm at Lauren's will look at the power outage, the impact and how we the Village/ our community can better navigate it and look after each other. Refreshment provided. We are always looking for people to bring finger food, if you would like to bring food to this gathering let us know — thank you! 

Next month’s gathering will be Sunday February 9th — topic TBD, we are always looking for suggestions. 

AV Village Volunteer Training: 

We also have a volunteer training Sunday January 12th 3 to 4 pm (right before our monthly gathering) at Lauren’s — we ask each new volunteer to complete this short training; please RSVP with our coordinator (contact info below) if you can attend. Thank you! 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us:

Anica Williams, 707-684-9829

THE SANDBAR at the mouth of the Navarro breached Saturday afternoon a little after 4pm. The Navarro River sandbar had re-formed, as it does before big rains, but the additional light rainfall of Thursday and Friday was enough to pry it open for now. But we still haven’t had the big rains that keep the winter Navarro full and barreling west to the Pacific. 


  • 1/14: 8pm. At Home. AV High School gym. Vs. Point Arena.
  • 1/17: 7pm. Away. vs. Round Valley. Round Valley High School gym, Covelo.
  • 1/21. Away. vs. Potter Valley. Potter Valley High School gym, Potter Valley.
  • 1/24: 5:30pm. At Home. AV High School gym. Vs. Mendocino.
  • 1/31. 8pm. Away. vs. Point Arena. Point Arena High School gym. Point Arena.

THE FINAL DAY of 2019 was largely uneventful in the Anderson Valley, but I did find a dollar bill while on my morning walk, which seemed a harbinger of maybe another dollar bill some time. Boonville, reeling from a bad fire year, its beating heart now piles of rubble where a lively bar and store and humble homes once stood, the speculation begins about what might restore our little town to at least a semblance of its former, raucous self. 

OVER THE HILL to Safeway, the CostCo gas pumps and coffee and cookie at Sunny's Donuts, the always sunny Maria at the counter. At Safeway, a young woman was explaining to an old man, "This year will be better for me because I divorced him. I'm not going to be anybody's maid." The old man replied, "Good for you," and turning to me with a big grin, "Ain't that right, old timer?" I said I wanted to hear the ex-husband's side of it, which neatly put an end to the checkout line's bonhomie. The nerve of this gaffer with hearing aids the size of water wings calling me, me with my jaunty red and black holiday scarf, “old timer!" The indignities of age are endless. And then they end. Full stop. 

AT THE FAULTLESSLY ecumenical Sunny's Donuts, proprietor Maria prides herself on remembering her customers. She forgot my name. I told her it didn't matter, that old white guys are pretty much interchangeable in their wispy white beards and pink faces. "No, Bruce, you get a free apple fritter. Take it. That's the deal." For all its aesthetic terrors, there's one place in Ukiah that really knows how to do customer service! 

BACK at the Boonville bunker, other than the usual on-line tiffs with keyboard out-patients, the last day of the year remained uneventful. After dark? Used to be, celebratory gun fire and mysterious explosions began at sundown on New Year's Eve. No more. I did hear a series of muffled gunshots from somewhere on Lambert Lane about 9, then another volley from the same area awakened me at the magic hour, and here we were — 2020 had commenced. I ask you, has the national vision ever been more opaque?


Many of you know me from doing various video-editing jobs around the valley during my teen years. Well now I'm a senior in film college in Los Angeles! I'm so thankful to all the community members who hired me and gave me little film projects around the town; this definitely prepared me for where I am now in my career.

For my thesis film project, I am directing a 15-minute short film that focuses on sexual harassment & assault; but parallels it in a new & interesting way to inform people about how much extra time, thought & energy women put into being safe (especially living in the city). For this, my crew & I are raising $6,000 to cover the cost of production so that we can make this the best it could possibly be. 

This is the biggest project I've ever taken on, and it will not only establish my style, but kickstart my career and show what my crew and I are capable of. 

I'd be so extremely grateful if you guys would check out our fundraising page. We've got 11 days left in the campaign & are just below halfway of our goal! If I've ever done a video for you, or helped you out in some area of film, please consider helping us out. It's not just a donation, you get super cool rewards in return, depending on the donation amount. Every dollar counts for us, and even if you can't donate, you can share the link to our page, which is extremely helpful!

Thank you so much, feel free to visit Worst Case Scenario Film to learn more about this project or ask me any questions you have! Thank you guys!

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *