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Valley People (January 15, 2020)

George Gowan

GEORGE GOWAN was found dead last week at his home on Floodgate Creek off Gschwend Road. Controversial among his neighbors for the accumulation of vehicles on the property, Mr. Gowan provided a kind of sanctuary for adrift locals. An estranged son of the late George and Mildred Gowan, he was 77 upon his death, and had returned to the Anderson Valley from many years spent in Oregon.

THAT WONDERFULLY MERRY Christmas display at the Navarro Store should not go un-acknowledged. It was a community effort by varsity decorators, who included Kim Kice; Carol Bloyd; Alyssa Mackenzie (sp?); Tommi Ann Lovelady; Linda Shaw; and Denise Brendlin.

DAVE JOHNSON of Sonoma owns the blitzed property in the center of Boonville. We've been trying to reach Johnson to ask him when the mounds of rubble and wreckage left from the terribly destructive fire last month might be removed and the property returned to productive use. 

THE COUNTY won't make rubble removal and restoration easy, although we understand a sufficient portion of most property insurance policies, probably including Johnson's, contains ample reimbursement for clean-up.

JOHNSON'S piles of debris from a once thriving complex that included the old Lodge, the Pic-N-Pay Market, Lizzby's Restaurant, and several small housing units, are subject to the following procedures (each of which contains many more details), meaning central Boonville may look like the London Blitz for many months:

STEP 1: Submit an “Asbestos Notification form for Demolition and Renovation” to Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (MCAQMD).

STEP 2: Submit a “Grading Notification” to Mendocino County Air Quality Management District.

STEP 3: Obtain a Demolition Permit from Mendocino County Planning and Building Services if the structure was a complete loss, or a Remodel Permit if the structure incurred partial damage.

STEP 4: Have the ash tested for hazardous waste classification.

This test is to determine which solid waste facilities are permitted to receive the ash once removed from the property. The ash is sampled and analyzed for hazardous properties to determine the waste classification. 

STEP 5: Complete cleanup of the structure.

Clean-up of the material may be performed by the property owner or licensed contractor with any of several licensees…

IN OTHER WORDS, Welcome to Rubbleville for the foreseeable future. The owner of the property, Mr. Johnson of Sonoma, is impossible to reach by anyone except, presumably, his insurance agent. Johnson’s phone has been disconnected and he doesn’t do e-mail, compelling us to write to him requesting an update on his plans for the parcel. We don’t expect a response but we live in hope.

WE KNOW that Boonville Fire Chief Avila has been in touch with the relevant agencies to get things moving towards clean-up. What happens beyond clean-up depends on the elusive Mr. J.

FOUR DEPUTIES appeared mere feet from the AVA bunker early Thursday afternoon to arrest Lamberto Magana-Perez for felony domestic abuse. 


We don't know the man, but the way we live now, even here in the tiny population of Boonville, the peoplescape has changed so thoroughly and so often we don't know most of our neighbors. In this case, I knew the grandfather — great grandfather? — of the youngish woman who seems to have inherited the property, but this guy? Total stranger probably associated with one of the young women who live next door, all of them with small children. To be charged with felony abuse, Magana-Perez probably hospitalized his wife, mother of his children, neighbor of mine.

SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS are usually held on the second Tuesday of the month, but this month the January meeting will be held next week, Tuesday the 22nd. Superintendent Warych explains, “We had a long winter break this year and decided to delay the January meeting until the third Tuesday in order to accommodate parents and staff who might still be out of town.”

A READER WRITES: “On my way out of the dentist’s office in Ukiah last week I was surprised to see a good-sized Mendo deputy accompanying a middle-aged woman in a gray jumpsuit with a big grin on her face showing her few remaining teeth on the way in to the dentist.” 

I REMEMBER former Sheriff Tony Craver remarking that the police save a lot of amphetamine addicts from themselves by arresting them, and we all know, or should know by now, the police do most of mental health’s heavy lifting in the county despite, for instance, the county spending $20 million annually on  mental health “services.”

THE BOONVILLE DONUT, a reader's comment: 

"Stopped to pee at the Redwood Drive-In and found one of the best bleeping doughnuts I've ever had. They're homemade, with a thick, crispy outer shell and a remarkably soft, moist interior that crumbles a bit when you bite into them. They're crowned with just the right amount of sweet frosting. Cake doughnuts generally aren't my favorite, but these were so good I almost drove back for more. Hip chains should be shook! If you find yourself in the area for any reason, stop and get a doughnut here."

ED NOTE: Told ya. Nobody makes a donut like the donut still made right here in the Anderson Valley at the Redwood Drive-In, Boonville. And the Mexican food is also excellante! Why just yesterday I was there with a pair of visiting dignitaries, Mr. John Arteaga and Mr. Jeff Blankfort, both of West Hills, Ukiah, who said they’d be back. And these boys have certainly been around enough to know their tacos from their tulips. 

THE DRIVE-IN'S proprietors, Mr. and Mrs. Ricardo Suarez, are also the only business in Boonville to maintain a bathroom open to the public, maintenance of which, given the consequences of incompetent toilet training over the last fifty years, is a full-time job in itself. The Suarezes are a crucial Boonville institution who should be supported by all correct-thinking Valley people. 

BOB ABELES of Boonville kicked off some lively back and forth re the proposed water and sewage infrastructure proposed for central Boonville. Mr. Abeles was reacting to a mischaracterization of critics of the project as agents of misinformation: “Editor…there are some who are opposed to the projects and spread misinformation" — (From yesterday’s CSD water update report) So, anyone with objections to the project or how it is being carried out is a spreader of misinformation? That sounds like a line straight out of the HBO show Chernobyl.”

WHICH PROMPTED Gwyn Leeman Smith of Boonville to comment, “Hear, hear! There are many legitimate reasons people can be opposed to these projects, lack of good information chief among them. To lump people who oppose as those who spread misinformation does not work in any of our best interests and is just wrong. Continuing to provide and disperse correct and thorough information throughout our community will go a long way to combat the misinformation out there now. Onward!”

SONNY PETTIJOHN, also of Boonville:

“There is a website that provides correct information for those that are & should be interested.

CSD Board Chair Valerie Hanelt: “I apologize for that phrasing. How about “we often find that opposition to the projects is based on incomplete or misinformation”?

JOY ANDREWS, CSD General Manager: “Hi Bob, I see how that comment Valerie wrote could be read that way but I don't think it was intended to generalize all those who oppose the project. Unfortunately we are finding a lot of incorrect information being talked about in the community and we are making it our current focus to educate people even more so they can be able to make an informed decision. Thank you again for attending our most recent meeting and for your questions/concerns. I hope we can get all those answered for you.”

BOB ABELES soon wrote: “I thought you might enjoy reading this message I received from Phil Williams. Apparently, he is working for the CSD, and it might be reasonable to assume he wrote it on behalf of the CSD. Hell of a PR campaign they're running.”

FROM PHIL WILLIAMS: “Characterizing Ms. Hanelt’s observation that ‘there are some who are opposed to the projects and spread misinformation’ as a conclusion that ‘anyone with objections to the project or how it is being carried out is a spreader of misinformation’ does violence to the King’s English. Mr. Fowler is likely rolling over in his grave. The use of the conjunctive “and” merely indicates Ms. Hanelt’s observation that there are some who possess two characteristics: opposition to the projects and dispersal of misinformation. Ms. Hanelt does not say, or even indicate, that those who object to the project are the same who are spreading misinformation. Furthermore, in your mischaracterization of her observation, you improperly mistake Ms. Hanelt’s necessary condition (i.e., ‘opposition to the projects’) for the dispersal of misinformation as a sufficient condition for said dispersal. As an example, while it is necessary to have fuel to start a fire, the presence of fuel by itself does not produce a fire; one must have, from what I remember, heat, oxygen, and fuel to start a fire — fuel is therefore a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for the event of a fire. While it is entirely logical that one must oppose the projects in order to spread misinformation (i.e., opposition is necessary), that does not mean that opposition to the projects is sufficient in and of itself to result in the spread of misinformation. Ms. Andrews was being too diplomatic, sir; in no way does the most rudimentary understanding of the English language support your publicly-broadcasted mischaracterization of Ms. Hanelt’s observation. But the damage is now done. A gentleman would offer her an apology in the same forum in which the slight was given.”

ED NOTE: Mr. Williams is a lawyer the District hired (through the state as part of the planning grant) to negotiate and prepare the formal contracts with the well owners who will provide the agua for the planned water system. The guy seems to have a lot of time on his hands, and his grammar lesson is off, too. Mr. Abeles’ point that critics of the project were carelessly portrayed as misrepresenting the project was clear enough and grammatically sound until lawyer Williams, belting out a gratuitous supper song to his employers, the unsuspecting people of Boonville via their Community Services District, offered a distinction without a difference while, I daresay, the people of the affected areas of Boonville would prefer that he, a shameless Healdsburg nuzzlebum straining to both smack up to the ladies driving the project bus and demonstrate that he was the fifth smartest kid in his high school English class, restrict himself to the parameters of his contract.

AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA took justified umbrage at a remark by a local critical of the recent fire response to the blaze on the Carsey property behind Lauren's Restaurant. The critic said he'd seen someone he assumed to be a firefighter fumbling to get the Fairgrounds hydrant flowing, fumbling that seemed to delay the effort to extinguish the fire. The Chief said the bumbler, armed with the wrong wrench was from the Fairgrounds; he was not an AV Firefighter. The AV Volunteers arrived as this man, not identified, was using the wrong wrench to try to open the hydrant. Firefighters Clay Eubanks and Eddie Pardini soon had the hydrant open with the correct five-point wrench they carry on their engines, and the water soon flowed. 


Petit Teton is growing beautiful and tasty turmeric and ginger in its aquaponic system and the harvest is coming in. We are selling ginger fresh and turmeric fresh or dried. We also have pork, beef and squab for sale as well as fresh kimchi and kraut and our array of preserved foods.

SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS: “I attended a Fire & EMS Sustainability Ad Hoc meeting in Anderson Valley this morning with Supervisor McCowen dialing in. We'll offer an update at the Jan 21 BoS meeting. Dave Roderick (Hopland FPD), Chief Andres Avila (Anderson Valley), Chief Sue Scarberry (Laytonville), Tony Orth (Brooktrails Township CSD) and Michael Schaeffer (Comptche CSD) shared concerns and suggested direction. Where Supervisor McCowen and I have opposing ideas, I might bring action items independently, but we'll do our best to present an update in unity. I believe it's time to set expectations, either that we'll make hard decisions and change course or leave status quo unchanged. No matter where you stand on EMS relative to other needs, this will be a good meeting to attend.”

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