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Valley People (February 26, 2020)

A BOONVILLE READER ASKS, “The new winery off Deer Meadow burned multiple piles of brush yesterday (Thursday) each of which was the size of a small house. They fouled the air in the entire valley. Can you get information out of CalFire or the CSD as to whether this is legal and, if so, how is it legal? My burn permit limits the size of my pile. Larger burns are supposed to have a smoke mitigation plan.” 

Dario Sattui, owner, V. Sattui Winery

WE FORWARDED this question to AV Fire Chief Andres Avila. This kind of irresponsible behavior by vineyards is common, unfortunately, in this case the aftermath of landscraping vineyard prep by the V. Sattui wine company at the foot of Octopus Mountain. The answer usually comes back as “legal, as long as…” something or other… permit… burn day… But without any consequences, sanctions or fines. Sometimes, somebody in authority goes so far as to say it’s a bad idea. But a range of neighbor-abuse continues, everything from 2am frost fans to air pollutions. Years ago there was a vineyard prep burn by William Hill who’d cleared and burned hundreds of apple trees at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way to make room for a vineyard. That burn was so bad that you literally could not see the Valley floor coming over the hill from Ukiah. No consequences, of course. 

AV FIRE CHIEF Andres Avila: “These piles are larger than AV Fire Department is allowed to issue under our current burn permit program. I was told that this burn was a legal burn operation that was authorized by Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (MCAQMD). MCAQMD has very specific requirements that are followed prior to issuing a large burn permit (wind direction, inversion layers, drying period for fuels, etc.). I can't comment on the smoke from Thursday because I was in Yorkville and did not see it. Controlled burning will undoubtedly create some smoke, but MCAQMD's regulations are intended to prevent any unhealthy imposition from smoke generated while burning. Fire agencies are also involved for the obvious reasons of controlling any unintended fire escapes into the wildland, adjacent structures or neighboring properties. Both agencies have regulations to regulate improper burning as it relates to their jurisdiction. If there are questions related to local air quality, residents should contact MCAMD. If the burn is a fire hazard or is out of control, they should contact their local fire department.”

TRASH PICKUP has become a problem at the Community Park next to the Health Center. For the time being the garbage and recycling cans are being removed because, reportedly, some people have been dumping wet garbage like soiled diapers and food waste both cans making it difficult and messy to deal with. Elizabeth Jensen who has been working valiantly to keep the park clean and usable has suggested that some signs be added in the wake of the trash can removal: Keep Boonville Beautiful. This is a Community Park, Please Keep it Clean. Pack in, Pack out.” 

RESTORING STREAM FLOWS and Increasing Water Supply: Strategies for Farms, People and Fish in the Navarro River Watershed - Community Meeting at River’s Bend Retreat Center, Thursday, March 5th, 6-9 pm. Potluck supper 6-7 pm, presentations begin promptly at 7:00 pm. Updates and strategies regarding water supply reliability and storage, fisheries restoration, soil and water conservation, flow enhancement and volunteer monitoring will be shared by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and Shippensburg University. 

Restoration Projects Tour, Friday March 6th, 9 am – noon. Tour will begin at the Anderson Valley High School, please park in the tennis court parking lot. We will visit stormwater, off stream water storage, large wood, and rainwater catchment projects. To RSVP for the tour call 462-3664, ext. 103 or email

These events are being paid for through funds from the CA Wildlife Conservation Board, Prop 84, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

SPEAKING of fish and the half-dead Navarro, Dave Severn reports that he’s seen clusters of big steelhead pooled up waiting for enough water to get upstream to spawn. A completely dry February doesn’t make life easier for the few valiant fish that still try to fight their way back to their places of birth, that multi-streamed Valley network feeding the Navarro.

KATY TAHJA: "Saw an actual traffic jam in Comptche, both lanes stopped, because first you had the wild turkey scouts, then most of the flock, then the stragglers, all crossing the road as patient motorists waited for the flock to pass by. I must admit I looked at one of the young hens and wondered how long you'd have to crock-pot it to make it tender…"

THAT PHILO power outage last week? Roughly a thousand people affected over several daylight hours unto about 8pm? The version I got was one of the young guys from outside the area, some from as far away as Mississippi, was limbing a big tree on Rays Road. As a passerby cautioned the kid to keep a big limb from falling across the power line, the kid duly cut the limb, it fell across the power line. A PG&E lineman appeared an hour later to cut the power, which remained off for nearly 8 hours.

INSIDER HUMOR. A re-upping subscriber writes, “Maybe Trump will pardon Jerry’s horse,” the joke being that Jerry Philbrick of Comptche, a militant Trump supporter, had mentioned in a letter to the editor that he’d been thrown from his horse, necessitating a trip to Coast Hospital for repairs.

THE 30th ANNUAL mondo boffo Variety Show will be at the grange the first weekend in March, on Friday and Saturday nights. There will be tickets available a week ahead of time at Lemon's and Anderson Valley Markets, and there will be tickets available at the door. Everyone holding a ticket will be admitted, although seating is limited, so come to the grange early if you'd like a seat. The party in the grange parking lot is part of the fun, there's locally made food for sale, all your friends will be there, and raffle tickets will be available to purchase. Proceeds go directly to our community.

THAT NIFTY little two-story house arising just off 128 near Navarro, is the work of local contractor Jeff Burroughs, with a big assist from Troy Huron, two local boys made good.

AND not so nifty bordering on sad is the shuttered Goodness Grows Nursery at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way, a viable business destroyed by a combination of flim-flammery and bankery. Now it just sits there, more decrepit by the day. Someone, somehow oughta be able to sort it all out and get the goodness growing again.

SEEKING GOOD HOME for a sweetheart one-eyed welsh terrier, coming on to four years old. He’s very affectionate and decidedly a people person. Please reply to

LISA WALTERS has died. A long-time resident of the South Coast, Lisa was a reporter for the Independent Coast Observer, the MendoNoma weekly based in Gualala. She wrote a lively stick, as the old timers used to say, always managing to enliven the staid pages of the ICO with her varied accounts of the doings of the odd assortment of characters drawn to Point Arena and points south. Lisa had been ill for some time and incommunicado, but I’ll never forget her first visit to Boonville. Arriving at our office she announced, “I just got propositioned three times at the bar [the old Boonville Lodge] by two men and a woman, and I was only there for about five minutes!” Lisa, with her alert eye for the absurd, took a lot of great stories with her. 


Sponsored by: Blessed Sacrament Church and Greenwood Community Church

 Saturday, March 14


Greenwood Community Center

Entertainment: Matthew Tyson and the Wild Elk band

Corned Beef and traditional rum cakes provided by the churches. Bring a dish of your choice and BYOB.

Silent Auction and 50-50 raffle

No charge but bring one of your favorite dishes. This is a fun event.

Lots of good food and great company.

UNEDA EAT is Boonville’s latest entry into the local dining arena. Uneda Eat, from the first accounts we’ve received is a welcome addition to an already attractive array of restaurants stretching from Yorkville to Navarro. Uneda has transformed its area of the Farrer Building into an attractively beckoning kinda rustic space where, over the years we’ve seen a variety store, Bruce Bread, antiques and way, way back the Farrer’s general store whose second floor was a community dance hall and, on occasion, a courtroom. 

ATTENTION EVERSOLE MORTUARY, UKIAH: The state of Washington now allows "licensed facilities" to sell a mixture of wood chips, straw and, I think, flesh-eating mushrooms, to reduce one's earthly remains to a (smallish) natural organic heap suitable for the garden. What with cemeteries running out of space, this natural rendering seems likely to be the next big thing in the death biz, maybe even in Mendo.

MYSELF, I would prefer that Native American practice of hoisting the corpse up in a tree where it's not only closer to heaven, or a version thereof, but provides handy snacks for an array of wildlife. Probably impractical for most of us, but preferable to us claustrophobes over sealed caskets six feet under. 

ADD LOOK ALIKES: Pro Wrestler Brock Lesnar and Philo resident Ken Hurst

Lesnar, Hurst

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