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Valley People

LUIS ARMANDO PACHECO was 23 when he died in last Wednesday’s collision with a Coast-bound gasoline tanker on 128 near the Mendo-Sonoma County line. $1300 in cash was found on Pacheco’s body. When law enforcement tried to notify his next of kin based on Pacheco’s Mexican identification papers — he did not have an American driver’s license — they discovered that his listed address was a mansion in a wealthy area of Santa Rosa. The car registered to Pacheco also listed the mansion as his home. The mansion’s occupants had never heard of Pacheco. They told Santa Rosa police that law enforcement people from various agencies had been at the house looking for Pacheco two months ago.

PACHECO WAS KILLED when the trailer of the fatal gasoline tanker swung across the divider line and into the oncoming lane where Pacheco’s 2005 Toyota Camry had at just that instant appeared. The young man was crushed to death in his car. Emergency workers speculated that the tanker’s liquid load shifted, forcing the trailer into the other lane of the twisting two-lane highway. The driver of the truck, Terry Ward, 56, of Santa Rosa, was uninjured.

AN EMERGENCY RESPONDER wondered about the inflexibility of the protocols dictating on-scene behavior. “There are all these protocols but they don't actually help the situation many times. We stood around down there for about three hours watching the fuel leak from a hole that was only about 2 inches wide. Someone could have just walked up and put duct tape on it and most of the fuel would not have spilled. Now traffic is going to be obstructed for days if not weeks and hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent on cleanup. Lots of fuel spilled into roadside vegetation when it could have been easily plugged. I’ve counted over 20 full sized commercial dumpsters that were being filled with dirt from the roadside. And that has to be shipped off to God knows where. The ditch is now about 250 feet long and about 8 feet deep and about 5 feet wide. There was at least $1 million or more worth of equipment there waiting for the fuel to leak out. You'd think that among all that equipment they had there would at least be some kind of sealing tape that could have been used. Then they could have stabilized the truck and brought in an empty tanker and kept it from spilling. We spend all this money and we have all these fancy protocols and when we actually get on scene all we do is stand around and watch the fuel leak out.”

THE ANDERSON VALLEY LION’S big benefit for the AV Ambulance Service is this Sunday, (August 14th) from 4:30 to 7:30pm at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Tri-tip dinners at $15 per adult, $8 per child, “plus liquid refreshment, cookies, good times and good friends.”

SATURDAY NIGHT about 11:30 deputies stopped a silver Chevy Tahoe near Navarro when they couldn't help but see it “swerving in front of them.” Shaun Branch, 32, of 2261 Market Street, San Francisco, was subsequently arrested with “approximately 966 grams of processed marijuana packed for sales inside of the Tahoe.” Branch's bail was set at $25,000.

A READER WRITES: “Regarding Ms. Hamburg’s plan to establish a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Boonville: A few months ago when they wrote about the need for dispensary rules, the Grand Jury called on the Board of Supervisors to pass a moratorium on new dispensaries opening until the Board adopted an ordinance. It would be interesting to see what the Board would do if local citizens were to request such an action in Ms. Hamburg’s case.”

A COLLECTION of AVA’s 2003 to 2011 is yours for the taking at Down Home Foods in Fort Bragg.

NASH MILL NEIGHBORS of the Plowright property on Little Mill Creek are pleased that the present occupants, “even if they are convicted felons,” have tried to clean up their area of Little Mill, but “we hear shots fired up there all the time, and if these people are ex-felons how come they have guns?” The prob, according to Deputy Walker, is that these particular ex-felons are not on parole, meaning if law enforcement wants to look around their place for guns law enforcement has to get a warrant first. From the time a “shots fired” is called in on 911 to a warrant to search a property where the shots are coming from takes at least a day or two, by which time the arsenal will be nowhere to be found. Neighbors also note that the always exciting Plowright acres are now minus “about 20 trees so their pot garden can get enough sun.” The garden is of course festooned with medical marijuana 215 cards.

RUMORS that the Boonville Post Office has been targeted for closure are false. Boonville Postmaster Colette Hann says the Boonville P.O. is safe. For now. There are specific early warning signs that a particular post office is being eyed for closure or consolidation and, so far, those signs have not appeared in Anderson Valley.

THE BOONVILLE POST OFFICE, incidentally, exists in its present incarnation, in a structure owned by Janese June of Boonville.

DAVE EVANS, Anderson Valley's premier musical promoter, called Monday to say that the great Charlie Musslewhite put on “our best show ever! Everybody, and we had way more than 500 people, arrived early and stayed to the bitter end. Charlie just blew everyone away, and even did two giant encores. Nobody wanted to leave. It was all just great, the greatest night we've had here.” Dave said the “Steven Bates band opener was also great. He brought in some fantastic special guest musicians who blew everyone away. Bass player David Hayes from the Van Morrison's. Fritz who makes Fritz Bros guitars with Roger Wood. James Preston on drums. Not the typical Steven Bates band. What a show for the first two hours! They just tore it up out here! And then here comes Charlie Musslewhite! He brought a guitar player named Matt Stubbs who made Carlos Santana look like an amateur. Charlie just couldn't have been any better. It seemed like almost everyone in the Valley was here, and people were here from all over the north coast and beyond. When Charlie started it sounded like the Coliseum was applauding! It was so loud. During one break, Charlie shouted, 'Where's Bruce? Where's Bruce?' More cheers. But no Bruce!” (Bruce says he would have been there “to see Charlie, the only big time musician I know, and a great guy besides, but.... “ Dave added that Saturday's big event at The Navarro Store “came off with no problems. No cops. No jerks. Everyone, including Turkey Vulture, had a great time.”

THE SECOND MAN found dead in that trespass marijuana garden near Rutherford in Napa County over the Fourth of July weekend has been identified as Jose Gumercindo Avila Zuniga, 29, of Santa Rosa. Zuniga and Wilfredo Ronaldo Rivas-Velazquez, 43, were found shot to death in the garden on July 1st. The garden was linked to Carlos Guerrero of Boonville who remains in the Napa County Jail while police search for the presumed killer, 21-year-old Carlos Perez, a man described with a leprously villainous appearance complete with “sores on his face and arms who walks with a limp.”

A READER WRITES: “Laura Hamburg's reply to your questionnaire reads like a not particularly creative press release. The only difference between her medical marijuana dispensary and Guerrero's Tire Shop is that one will be officially declared a marijuana dispensary and the other one will not because the Hamburgs have the money and connections to make theirs legal and the people down the street do not. And it does look bad when her father is a supervisor who happens to be on the committee to draft the dispensary regulations. The impression I have is that they think they are above the petty rules that ordinary people have to comply with.”

POLICING is often described as “muscular social work.” Here in the Anderson Valley our two deputies spend much of their workweek sorting out matters which, in a truly adult world, they would not be called on to mediate. A typical example of wasted police time occurred when Deputy Walker received a 911 call from a recent quinceanera at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Two 16-year-old girls were woofing at each other over a chair, perhaps about which of their young majesties was entitled to sit on it. It was not a dispute which should have required law enforcement response. But the parents of the two girls had gotten involved and one of the mommies was complaining that one of the daddies had pushed her daughter, and the mommy of the pushed daughter was demanding that the pushing daddy be arrested for “assault.” This infantile contretemps required that Walker spend several subsequent hours interviewing the people involved and writing a report on it. The report will go to DA David Eyster who will snort, “Morons!” and that’ll be the end of it. As Walker rightly complains, “If we make this kind of production over these kinds of incidents we would never have time to do anything else. There's going to be at least one scuffle at every one of those things. It's very aggravating when people do this. No injuries to anyone including the girls. The whole incident was obviously avoidable and inappropriate anyway. I spoke to all the parties involved and told them to grow up. They didn't like that.”

TAKE A FRATTY PIKE is Boontling for wine walk, although the originators of Boontling might not include the word “wine” in the phrase. The four tasting rooms involved in last weekend’s fratty pike are Foursight, Philo Ridge, Zina Hyde, and Londer. Christy Charles of the Foursight tasting room reports that wine walk is ongoing and doing quite well. The promotion features a turn-in card which, if it’s signed by all four tasting rooms, you get four bottles of wine for 4¢. (McEwen)

PHOTOGRAPHER Bob O’Connell’s open house at Laughing Dog on Saturday certainly benefited from the wine walkers. Bookstore proprietor Loretta Houck had laid out some wine and cheese, and the photos sold well —post card sized prints of the talented O’Connell’s work went for $5 each. (McEwen)

BIGGER THAN EVER turn out at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday. Kale was a big seller. People I talked to said the fresh kale put an extra zip in their smoothies and casseroles.

Me, I want my kale steamed and served plain with maybe a splash of balsamic vinegar. Some plain brown rice on the side. No frills, nothing fancy, just plain old country fare, for a man of settled opinions and salty onions. (McEwen)


ADRIAN ALVAREZ is the proud father of Avigal Alvarez, the girl honored at Saturday night’s big quinceanera. Mr. Alvarez was in a shirt and tie the same shade of blue worn by his daughter and her maids of honor. Father’s pride and joy may have picked these clothes out, but Dad paid the hefty bill for all the fancy gowns and decorations, the rental of the Apple Hall and DJ Alex Favela. There were cars parked all the way down to the Redwood Drive In for Miss Alvarez’s big night. (McEwen)

THE LAST of the trees fell at about 11am on Monday at the property just north of the Redwood Drive In. Rick Owens, Keith Lee and Johnny Ray Harding were out there with their saws clearing the property for a new house Tom Jones is building for his daughter, Christina. (McEwen)

ON SUNDAY long-time Quaker Dr. Herb and soon-to-be cannabis pharmacist Laura Hamburg attended worship services at the Live Oak Building in downtown Boonville with Pastor Dave and Pastor Eric presiding. Everybody’s on a first name basis in Boonville, and by next week Ms. Hamburg will be known simply as Laura.

LAURA SAYS she’ll call her medical marijuana dispensary Mendocino Generations where it will be installed in the old ambulance barn next door to Pastor Dave’s and Pastor Eric’s church in the Live Oak Building, two temples of worship, you might say, side by side. Laura’s medical marijuana dispensary is rented from Ed Carsey for $800 per month. “It’s tiny, but sweet,” she said of the old garage. She plans to remodel the front with some glass and a conventional door, but keep the garage door to secure the place at night. Laura said of her new neighbors, “They really still don’t want us [her dispensary] to be there, but to go and worship with them was really wonderful.” Laura plans to hold an open house — a “meet and greet” — not an official opening, on Tuesday, September 6th, at 6pm. (McEwen)

ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING announced last week that last May’s Boonville Beer Festival raked in some $90,000 for The Valley’s non-profits. Trey White, the personable president and owner of AV Brewing declared, “We are quite proud that the folks from the Anderson Valley community, our fellow craft breweries and the thousands of beer fans from across the West Coast and beyond continue to work together to share great times, great beers and provide funds for great community causes.” Proceeds this year went to the Anderson Valley Animal Rescue, Parent Teachers Association, AV Elderhome, AV Education Foundation, AV Sports Boosters, AV Senior Center, AV Historical Society, AV Fire Department and Volunteer Firefighters Association, AV Ambulance Service, Kimmies, Navarro River Resource, AV Land Trust, AV Health Center, AV Housing Authority, AV Lions Club, Emerald Earth Sanctuary, and the Mendocino County Fairgrounds. “Many of our grateful recipients made note that their non-profit would not be in existence without the generosity of the Anderson Valley Brewing Company,” added White. Last May’s 15th Annual Boonville Beer Festival featured over 80 breweries and saw a record attendance with more than 5,000 supporters despite the weak overall economy.

WENDY READ of the Caretaker’s Garden on Lambert Lane will be teaching a class at the new medical marijuana co-op at the Leonard Miller Center in Mendocino, across from Frankie’s Ice Cream Store, on Sunday, August 13th at 11:30am. The title of Wendy’s presentation is “The Non-Psychoactive Medicine in Cannabis.” Ms. Read’s class is part of an on-going series of classes to be held at the new Coastal co-op. The Caretaker’s Garden is an herbal apothecary where Ms. Read makes meds for a variety of ailments and disorders with acupuncturist Liz Schroeder and body worker Margie Enos contributing their skills to the healing arts. (McEwen)

SPEAKING OF HEALING, The Editor called to say he would be back at work next week. I made the mistake of asking him to describe his present medical status. “Imagine wooden abalone mallets, fish hooks and mini-roto rooters applied to your most sensitive body parts, and I’m not talking about the bottoms of my feet. If medical marijuana beats this treatment plan, please tell Laura Hamburg to sign me up.” (McEwen)

HIGH SCHOOL Ag instructor Beth Swehla writes: “We were in Ukiah again at the Redwood Empire Fair last week. The weather was good and so were the kids (of course they were, they are from Anderson Valley). Seven FFA members showed livestock at the Redwood Empire Fair. Poultry Meat Pens: Danny Espinoza, Jesus Hernandez, Jesus Lievanos, and Aaron Alvarez. Rabbit Meat Pens: Esmeralda Espinoza and Emmanuel Barragan. Meat Goat: Ernensto Contreras. “We are the Champions” could be heard playing from our campsite! Everyone won something! Here are some of our winnings. Poultry: Grand Champion Poultry Meat Pen to Jesus Lievanos. FFA Reserve Champion Poultry meat to Jesus Hernandez. First Place Novice FFA Poultry Showmanship to Aaron Alvarez. Best of Show Chicken to Daniel Espinoza. Rabbits: Reserve Champion Rabbit Meat Pen to Esmeralda Espinoza. FFA Reserve Champion Rabbit Meat Pen to Emmy Barragan. First Place Novice FFA Rabbit Showmanship to Emmy Barragan. First place Otter Mini Rex Rabbit to Esmeralda Espinoza. Meat Goats FFA Reserve Champion Market Goat to Ernie Contreras. I know there were more winnings but I can't think of them off-hand. The kids made friends and had fun.”

THE 3RD ANNUAL Mendocino Women's Retreat in Philo at River's Bend (formerly Wellspring) is the weekend of September 30th. The 3-day event is open to all women of the area. Info at:

LUIS ALBERTO GUERRA-PEREZ, 26, of Boonville, was driving drunk on May the 20th of 2010 when he struck the Navarro-bound vehicle of Tom Smith, a long time and highly respected Valley resident. Smith had survived liver transplants and the largest tsunami in human history on a visit to Thailand in 2004, but he did not survive the collision with Guerra-Perez. In his memory, The Valley’s soccer pitch was named Tom Smith Field. Val Smith, Tom’s widow, read a letter at Guerra-Perez’s sentencing that she’d written in Spanish. Mrs. Smith urged the genuinely contrite Guerra-Perez to break free from alcohol and use his prison time to improve himself. The young man received five years in state prison for vehicular manslaughter and will be deported to Mexico when he is released.

MIKE McPHEE, a 70s graduate of Anderson Valley High School with fond memories of his years here, has a page up on Facebook on the theme of “You know you’re from Anderson Valley when….” Lots of Valleys residents past and present have been filling in the blanks, and the hilarity seems infectious as more and more people check in. There's even some discussion of a possible book developing from the posted memories. Samples include: “You know you're from Anderson Valley…

…“when the DMV came to the Fairgrounds and your license test consisted of once around the only block in town and then parallel parking in front of Fair office! No stoplights, no traffic — take the test and you were good to go. P.S. I drove myself there; Mom was busy on the ranch.”

…“When you've learned how to swim in the river...not even knowing about pools and swimming lessons for so many of your growing up years.”

…“in fourth grade you are taught to Harp the Boont, take a trip to the Briney in the wee heese school mosh, something those kimmies from the bright lights do not understand.”

…“you knew the hermit that people think is fiction at Hendy Woods, was just there and thought it was funny that they actually have the hermit hut trail. I took extra cigs & food for him.”

…“When you had Mr. Rapp for science in the old science room that you got to by crossing over the 'bridge.”

…“you have a Lion's Club Calendar in your home that lists the birthdays of everyone in the valley - wedding anniversaries too! “

ERNIE PARDINI has filed papers to run for the school board, as has Ben Anderson.

A DRESS CODE the high school leadership vows to enforce this year awaits returning students. Gang togs and maidens wrapped in inspirationally libidinous form-fitting fashions inconsistent with the school’s scholarly mission will be suppressed.

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