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Valley People

LAURA HAMBURG will speak at the meeting of the Community Services District Board on Wednesday, September 21st. Visitors usually speak at the beginning of the meeting, which would put Laura on at about 5:30pm. The CSD is already on record as opposed, but Laura can be very persuasive.

SPEAKING of the proposed medical pot dispensary for downtown Boonville, one wonders if the School Board will take a position. One would hardly expect them to be for it, what with their constant efforts to keep pot out of the schools.

CORRECTION: Lila Knight, wife of the late Art Knight, who died recently, was not a Pomo as we wrote last week. Mrs. Knight was a “Mountain Maidu” who grew up in the Sierra Nevadas before moving to Anderson Valley to work at Clearwater Ranch.

ALICE BONNER of the Anderson Valley Land Trust writes: “Have you ever wanted to hike or paddle the Navarro? Now's your chance in a very fun way. The AV Land Trust has received a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service to study the river for potential year-round or seasonal water trails. Come to the Philo Grange on Saturday, September 10th at 9am to learn more about how you can help this effort. Volunteers are needed to: hike the river in segments; paddle the river; document fish and wildlife observations; document man-made features; photograph the river at regular intervals; mark locations with a GPS; tabulate surveys; assist with a web page; assist with developing and editing reports. Info at 895-2545 or

KEEVAN LABOWITZ, his mom tells me, will assume his duties as an Anderson Valley junior high teacher “the day after Labor Day.” Keevan, who has substitute taught at AVHS, began his recent stay in Kenya on a college internship but stayed on to help form an organization called the Manyatta Youth Resources Center, whose work can be found at a website called Always a lively young guy, Keevan will be a most welcome addition to the local faculty.

A READER WRITES: “I remember the good old days when selling marijuana was basically an outlaw operation. There was an element of excitement and danger, not to mention a decent buck to be made. We were happy to be free of conventional rules requiring permits, licenses, fees, bureaucrats, taxes, employees with benefits, contracts, etc. Now, with Ms. Hamburg’s recent application for a high-profile pot boutique in downtown Boonville as a perfect example, the whole shebang has gone uptown with yuppies and paperwork and formal rental agreements and storefront signs like 'Mendocino Generations' or 'Herban Legend,' or 'Compassionate Heart.' Call me a criminal, call me old-school if you want to, but I want nothing to do with pseudo-legal, trendy, groovy pot merchants who say they want to rub me down with pot-ointment, and play new-age music while charging me over $100 an ounce for pot which I have no idea where it came from.”

HIGHWAY 253, aka The Ukiah Road, is slated for $1.54 million in state transportation money for repair of two slipouts that occurred in the winter of 2005-2006. Caltrans plans to use the money to build retaining wall similar to those constructed lower down the sloping Ukiah Road towards Boonville. The work is expected to start next spring and be complete by the winter of 2012. Locals can anticipate months of one-lane automated traffic control stop-lights at both locations during construction.

ARTHUR HOBBS, the Boonville man arrested on several drug-related charges last week, has also been identified as a relatively new member of the Boonville Dumpster Divers. As crimes go, dumpster diving is not high priority, but the Boonville Transfer Station is entered so often it's become a fairly major nuisance of the ongoing type. The Divers either climb the fence or cut holes in it to gain access to the Mountain View Road bins. Once inside, and fueled by that go-fast white powder formally known as methamphetamine, they energetically burrow into the trash, tossing aside soggy diapers, yard waste, cat and dog corpses, and mystery substances of all kinds — to get to “the really good stuff.” They leave a big mess for dump attendant Willie Housley who is paid to manage the place not clean it up four mornings a week. The regular divers are known to deputies Squires and Walker, as is Mr. Hobbs, a relative newcomer to the late-night enterprise.

ADD LOOK ALIKES: Jean DuVigneaud and Michael Kitchen, the latter the star of Foyle's War, the highly acclaimed BBC series, the former corruscatingly at home on Greenwood Road.

THE FAST MOVING storm system that passed through Mendocino County early last Wednesday morning brought lightning strikes and about 15 minutes of rain with it. Lightning sparked at least one wildland fire when it struck a tree in outback Philo in the general vicinity of Clow Ridge, burning maybe a half-acre before our intrepid volunteers located and then extinguished it.

BACK IN 2004, I parked my truck at the Fort Bragg Cemetery which, incidentally, is eternal home to a female survivor of the Donner Party, and hiked the Skunk line tracks to the first tunnel, a distance of three or four miles. I had the vague idea of walking on through the tunnel but hadn't realized how long it was and I hadn't brought a flashlight. Shuffling along in the early morning fog, a steady stream of transients loomed up out of the mists, perhaps as many as twenty of them alone or in pairs, all of them walking to Fort Bragg. They took careful note of me as I passed in the other direction. On the Pudding Creek side of the tracks there were quite a number of camps, nicely outfitted with tents and sleeping bags and cooking facilities. I wondered how many people were living between the cemetery and the tunnel, and may have still been wondering when I rounded a bend to discover a man defecating on the tracks, a sight that so roiled my sense of what ought to be I yelled at him to move his jarring visual out of my viewshed. “I'll move you, big boy,” the man replied, but, hiking up his trousers, he moved on down out of sight while I stood where I was, regretting that I hadn't brought my personal defense unit if the defecator came bullrushing back out of the bushes. Over the years, and probably like many locals who hike the outback, I've had several uncomfortable encounters with menacing persons. This one I'd brought on myself, and I waited several whole minutes until I was sure he was gone before I walked on.

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