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Valley People 8/19/2009

DICK SAND said he was trying to get his weight down the last time I talked with him. Dick was puffing long 128 toward Bradford Lane south of Boonville as I trudged in the opposite direction. “I try to get up and back every afternoon,” Dick said, taking a good twenty minutes out of his afternoon exercise to chat with me and Shorty Adams, who'd pulled over to join the conversation. Dick's famous garrulousness seemed to increase after the death of his wife of many years, Lovella. He choked up whenever he mentioned her, but Dick, as unmoored as he was by the loss of his wife, stayed busy, he said, “and I try not to think about the past too much.” Until recently, the Boonville old timer was a familiar sight behind the wheel of the Senior Bus, and for many years prior was a fixture at The Valley's fundraising events where he could be counted on to serve behind the grill or the bar. Dick told me he was very pleased with the interview Steve Sparks did with him a few months ago for this paper, and that he looked forward to resuming his volunteer work with St. Elizabeth Seton's Church. But Sunday morning, a little after 7, as he drove out to the Coast to help a friend, Robin Quirk, with a garage sale, Dick was stricken. In his last moment, though, he managed to pull off the road in the area of mile marker 4 where he was soon found dead by a park ranger.

JUST UP the road, that Sunday morning, in the vicinity of mile marker 7, as Andy Fisch of Philo walked his dog about 1pm on a skid road near Dimmick State Park, Andy Fisch couldn't help but see a straw bale with a mostly full wine bottle perched on it. As Fisch approached he saw the still body of a man, noting that the man's chest was not moving, and just as quickly Fisch realized that the man was dead. Fisch saw a string leading from the dead man's trigger finger to a rifle, placed in the crook of a tree where it aimed straight back at the deceased. The dead man, a resident of Fort Bragg, had apparently enjoyed a final glass of wine, if enjoyed is the word for the circumstance, then pulled the fatal string and fled this life. A suicide note left nearby made it clear to the police what had happened and why.

HIS MANY FRIENDS in The Valley will be saddened to hear that Sherman Juster has died. The gentlemanly Philo grape grower was a retired superior court judge who occasionally filled in at the old Anderson Valley Justice Court where his decisions were dependably fair and always proportionate. Mr. Juster was one of those rare Valley residents about whom it can honestly be said, “He had no enemies.”

ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 30th The Apple Farm in Philo will host an afternoon of food and wine tasting that includes a silent auction and a farm tour led by hosts Tim and Karen Bates. Tickets are $40 per person. The event features locally grown or wild-harvested organic and biodynamic cheese, meat and produce, all complemented by wines from Mendocino County’s organic and Biodynamic wineries. The Apple Farm festival follows an even larger one in Ukiah at Dark Horse Vineyards on Saturday, August 29th for $135 per person. For more information and registration about the two-day festivities go to or phone 1-800-449-6483.

STILL NO OFFICIAL confirmation as to the new owners of the old Boonville Brewery property in central Boonville, but all signs point to Gary and Virginia Island, long-time Valley residents.

NATASHA WING, author of the best-selling Night Before series, recently traveled to Boonville from her home in Humboldt County to interview Wes Smoot for an article Ms. Wing is writing for the August issue of Highlights, the magazine for children.

CALTRANS did a nice job cleaning up the gang graffiti scrawled on the bridge abutments at Anderson Creek on the Philo side of 128. It will cost a small fortune to fully restore the high school gym to its pre-graffiti state.

STEPHANIE MARIE GRACE CARINE, 18, and Juan Carlos Valdiva-Medina, 22, both of Philo, have taken out a license to be married.

ROY ROGERS & The Delta Rhythm Kings put on a great show at the Navarro Store last Saturday night, and now Mendocino County's premier live music producer Dave Evans is gearing up for Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer on Labor Day Monday, 3pm, with our very own David Dart loosening up the crowd at 2pm. Better get your tickets now because they're going fast.

MARY PAT PALMER WRITES: “I am looking for someone to share this 16.4 acres of heaven here in Philo. Currently, the land is roughly 13 acres of mixed redwood forest, and about 3.4 acres of mixed garden/home. I will continue in my house and the 2/3 acre fenced around it and my herbal medicine garden. There is also a yurt with established vegetable garden, fenced for about 1/2 acre and there is also a large trailer with addition (4 bdrms total) which also has a fenced garden. Water catchment capacity is currently about 20,000 gallons and there is a spring which has fed the holding tank each year through the summer. Solar electricity. Not suitable for groups — a single or couple would be best for drought consciousness, maybe up to 2 children too. Please contact me if you are interested! (Reply-To:

THE INVALUABLE MR. GLEAN will come and get your unharvested or excess fruits and vegetables which he then hauls at no charge to food banks in Ukiah, Fort Bragg or drops off here our very own food re-distribution center in Boonville at the Methodist Church. Just last week Mr. Glean gathered more than 1400 pounds of organic pears and apples, “seconds, as they're called,” from the Apple Farm in Philo and left them with the delighted managers of the three named food banks. Mr. Glean will also be happy to relieve you of packaged foodstuffs and other edibles you are unable to consume. Call 895-2772.

AND CALL MR. GLEAN AT 895-2772 if you can help glean the lush harvest of 60 Gravenstein apple trees at Boont Berry Bert's place on Lambert Lane, Boonville.

OF ELEVEN SOLID and well-qualified applicants for manager of the Evergreen Cemetery, Clyde Doggett of Boonville has been selected by the Cemetery's board of directors to replace the truly irreplaceable Don Pardini. Don is retiring after many years of unmatched commitment to the collective memory of this community at its final repository on Anderson Valley Way. There are people resting in the burial grounds that Don restored and then protected all these years who go all the way back to the Revolutionary War, and include everyone from ancient Indian families through veterans of the Civil War to pioneers and yesterday's children. The proper maintenance of a community cemetery is absolutely essential to the history of that community. Fortunately for us we had the good collective sense to entrust Don Pardini with the task. Clyde Doggett is certain to be a worthy successor.

THAT WAS A NICELY managed sports fund-raiser Sunday night in the Apple Hall organized by the Booster Club with the always efficient Palma Toohey and Candy Slotte much in evidence as ultimately most responsible. The place was packed when I stopped in for my plate of spaghetti, which I thought was very, very tasty, and the girl's volleyball team did a fine job as waitresses as did, I understand, the boy's soccer team at the clean-up end of the event. Some $1500 was raised to pay for fall sports.

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