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Valley People (March 4, 2020)

EARL JAY ‘PETE’ PETERMAN died Thursday February 6, 2020 in Ukiah at the age of 93. Born on May 16, 1926 in Pennsylvania to Hazel Constant and Edward Peterman, Earl called Mendocino County his home for 55 years. He served in the United States Army Air Corp during World War II, and worked as an electrical engineer for over six decades. Earl's memory will be carried with love by all who knew him. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, March 14, at 11am, at the New Life Community Church, Ukiah. Graveside service will be on the next day, Sunday, March 15, at 4pm, at the Evergreen Cemetery in Boonville.  

FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: “In response to a flurry of private messages regarding the County's response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): California has identified 34 cases of coronavirus. Of those, 24 were involved passengers from a cruise ship or from repatriation flights from China. Our State has the first case of "community spread." Another ~8,400 residents within the State are being monitored for COVID-19, but only 200 test kits have been available. The Center for Disease Control had a glitch with test kits. State and local health departments to begin testing next week. The rate and methods of spread are still being studied. Watch for fever, cough shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, but given how similar this list is to the flu, keeping COVID-19 out of Mendocino County is unlikely. Washing hands and taking reasonable exposure precautions will hopefully buy time for the health system to ramp up detection and treatment plans. Concern has been expressed about the lack of releases from our local hospital and Public Health. Go easy on them. There isn't much substance to share, beyond what is trickling down from the federal and state authorities. The potential impact to health and economy are not discounted. State government is treating COVID-19 as the greatest present health concern. I'll share noteworthy details, but I'm not going to litter social media with releases lacking substance. In preparation for storms, PG&E power shut offs and now COVID-19, I urge the public to stock up on supplies. If we have an outbreak, it'll be better if we're not all rushing for supplies at once.”

FROM the Anderson Valley Health Center: “Hi all, We are instituting precautionary measures at the health center starting next week due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). If you are concerned you could have Coronavirus, please CALL us if you have cough/fever AND one of the following: have traveled outside of the United States in the past 14 days or have been exposed to a known Coronavirus patient. If you are unable to call, we will have a doorbell by the main entrance, if you have flu symptoms (cough AND fever) and are unable to call us please come ring the bell and a nurse will come to evaluate you outside the health center. Thank you and good hand-washing goes a long way!”

THE LATE GENE SCARAMELLA, a native of Manchester, remembers that "In the fall of 1918 the big flu-influenza epidemic hit the coast. Every day I saw a hearse go by taking people to the cemetery. Fortunately, out of the five of us in the family, Dad was the only one who caught it. He was quite sick but he recovered. It was a very, very serious epidemic."

CRACKPOT CORONAVIRUS THEORIES seem to be spreading faster than the virus itself. Do your community a huge favor by relying entirely on medical professionals for advice, such as Dr. Michael Turner, a local medical man, who writes:

“It’s just the flu”, is the new catchphrase from the Mad Dog Right, emanating from Trump through Mulvaney to Limbaugh and of course all the way down to Philpott. (Of course no experienced health care worker would ever say “it’s just the flu”. Patients with colds say they have the flu; patients with the flu say that they’re going to die.) Virologists and epidemiologists around the world are trying to build a model of this outbreak. As of yesterday, the conservative estimate is that 10% of the population will become infected, with a 1% mortality rate. This translates to 325,000 deaths in the USA. The most gloomy prediction posits a 70% infection rate with 2.5% mortality, or 8,100,000 deaths. The big variable here of course is how much we still have to learn about the virus’ behavior. But the other variable will be the degree of public compliance with public health recommendations. This is why the “it’s just the flu” mantra is not just silly, but criminally dangerous.

— Michael Turner MD


The excitement is building. The Anderson Valley Variety Show only happens once a year and this year's show is right around the corner (March 6&7). The buzz is on, your friends and neighbors are getting ready, rehearsing, cobbling together costumes, the grand piano will be freshly tuned, and the hall is getting spruced up as well. Over the 28 years the Grange has done this show, there have been many, many memorable acts. We watched kids grow up on stage. We saw people we know do things we never imagined they could. There are no tryouts for the show; we don't call it a "talent" show on purpose. What it is is uniquely ours, an expression of the Valley. And guess what? We are way cool and we know how to have big fun! This year's show promises to be another ringer. Some of our old favorites and some new faces too. We DID chase down a couple of highly trained animals to add to the mix! Join us, March 6th and 7th (different acts each night!), show starts at 7pm, doors open at 6:30pm. Come early, have a picnic and tailgate in the parking lot! Enjoy food and beverages provided by AV High School Juniors on Friday — pazole and tamales! Saturday night are Jay Newcomer's famous ribs, plain and simple. And don't forget the giant 50-50 raffle! Ah yes, the excitement is indeed a-buildin’!

MARSHALL NEWMAN NOTES: “Everyone will be talking about this dry spell soon enough, but one element that San Francisco weather forecasters have mentioned is – despite this being a leap year – this has been the driest February in San Francisco since 1854.”


As climate scientist (and author of the Weather West blog) Daniel Swain noted: "Well, it's official: most of California just experienced driest February on record. Locations like Ukiah, Sacramento, Redding, & San Francisco recorded no rain at all during a month at peak of the rainy season." Here in the Anderson Valley we weren't completely shut out as both Yorkville and Boonville recorded 1/25" rain during the month.

MONTHLY PRECIPITATION for the 2019-2020 rain season, thus far:

  • February 2020: 0.04" Yorkville; 0.04" Boonville
  • January 2020: 4.76" Yorkville; 3.97" Boonville
  • December 2019: 12.96" Yorkville; 7.28" Boonville
  • November 2019: 3.12" Yorkville; 2.19" Boonville
  • October 2019: 0.04" Yorkville; 0.07" Boonville

YTD (Oct 1 - Feb 29) TOTALS: 20.92" Yorkville; 13.55" Boonville

THE PHILO CAFE has gone through many incarnations, and is about to enter another, this time as "The Company Kitchen" featuring Gringo-Mex food. We spotted the justly famous chef, Libby Favela, at the site last week, so it seems to be a safe bet she will be in charge of the Mexican menu. American food could be anything from hamburgers to meat loaf, but whatever's served it's going to be good. Viva the revival!

SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS commenting on Facebook about Mendo’s failed pot permit program: “Public safety, roads, homelessness and so many other needs could benefit from cannabis taxes, but our program has left tens of millions of dollars uncollected. By my estimate, less than 5% of cultivation has transitioned to the regulated market.”

CLAY EUBANKS, Anderson Valley’s Emergency Medical Services Officer (formerly AV’s Ambulance Manager) reported last week that: “Overall there has been great shift coverage the past two months. We have several new folks who have been taking shifts including two from Albion and one from Comptche. … We have a new recruit still in the pipeline. He is a nurse at the clinic and lives in Yorkville. I suspect he will be a great addition. … The next training will be focusing on the Corona Virus. Jen Banks from Coastal Valleys (EMS) will be coming to give us the latest update. Several crew members have expressed some concern about it and I felt it would be good to get our LEMSA’s (Local Emergency Management Services Agency) perspective."

AMONG our town’s many distinctions, Boonville also managed to linger for some years on the Super Fund clean-up roster, a distinction lasting for seemingly interminable years. Recognition that we had a water pollution prob began when drinking water at the Elementary School tasted suspiciously of gasoline, and fire breathing not being part of the curriculum, investigation soon revealed the culprit as leaking fuel tanks installed near the bus barns at about the same time as students abandoned The Valley’s one-room school houses for the centrally-placed school at Boonville. Those leaking tanks had been in place since the early Jazz Age. A seemingly endless (and often comic) clean-up commenced, paid for by the heavily indemnified school district and other large pots of public money eagerly drawn upon by all manner of cleansing expertise for what? Twenty-five years? The ancient tanks were removed, a great pile of earth dubbed Mount Fuma was piled up to the rear of the school grounds for a quarter-century of alleged fumigation, and finally hauled outtahere. But to this day neighbors continue to have their ground water tested. You might call their eternal trepidation, The Curse of Mount Fuma.

LAST YEAR THE COUNTY paid $85,000 for a consultant to assess the county's parks, and the 85k was only for "Phase One" [see note below]. The consultant found the obvious — that without either on-site managers or somebody looking in on the parks every day, they parks would revert to flora, and some of whose fauna now include the defendant community. 

PHILO’S Indian Creek Park, back in the day, even featured a large pond created when Dr. Marsh, the owner of the adjacent redwood grove, installed a dam near the mouth of the stream. The pond was a wonderful local amenity from the early 1950's through the early 1970s, popular with families. By the early 1970’s, with America having lost its way, the dam finally had to be removed because scumbaggery had not only become a specific liability hazard for Dr. Marsh, but the idyllic setting had been ruined for everyone, especially children, by the drunks, dope heads, miscellaneous lurks of the menacing type, cho-mo's and, as I recall, the rape of a high school girl who was also molested by one of her teachers. 

A CRUSTY OLD FASCIST was eventually installed as Indian Creek's campground manager in exchange for free space for his trailer and a modest stipend. Say what you will about fascists, they're great ones for order, and managing a park requires a willingness to confront drunken yobbos and other miscreants who think they can do their thing simply because they've rented a weekend campsite. Why the county can't simply revert to an on-site manager will probably cost another $85,000 in Phase 2 of the phony baloney study to discover. 

FAULKNER PARK, by the way, a county property consisting of a couple of picnic tables and about forty feet of trail, lies west of Boonville a couple of miles up Mountain View Road. I have never ever seen anyone enjoying a picnic there but I suppose it's been known to happen. I understand Our Nation's Future buys and sells drugs at the park, but I'm never up late enough to see for myself. Anyway, Faulkner Park also once had on-site and uniquely housed caretakers who lived in the park's restroom, startling more than one tourist who popped in to use the facilities only to discover he'd walked into the family’s living room. 

NOTE: Needs Assessment Phase II “Upon completion of Phase I [$85k], the Board of Supervisors will receive a presentation outlining the results. In addition, the Board will be presented with the timing and cost associated with initiating Phase II of the assessment. Phase II of the parks assessment includes: prioritizing recommendations for park improvements, identifying funding needs/funding strategies and a Parks Capital Improvements Plan.”

REMEMBER CHARLES PETERSON, the one-term Fifth District Supervisor and pioneer pot grower from Point Arena in between Norm de Vall and David Colfax? According to his facebook page, Peterson is “retired” and living in Thailand.

IT’S OFFICIAL: Mendocino Coast District Hospital closes its obstetrics department effective March 31

February 28, 2020 -- to whom it may concern,

Mendocino Coast District Hospital will close its obstetrics department March 31, 2020 at 5 p.m. due to decreasing birth and increasing costs of providing the service.

The obstetrics department consists of two labor and delivery rooms, three postpartum rooms and a nursery. We have one full-time employee that this will affect. This employee has been cross-training to another position and will be retained unless they choose otherwise.

The three nearest facilities that offer obstetric services are as follows:

Ukiah Valley Medical Center, 275 Hospital Drive, Ukiah, CA 95482 707-462-3111, 57 miles.

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, 1165 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 707 525 5300, 118 miles

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, 30 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 707-576-4000. 113 miles.

Interested parties may offer comments at Mendocino Coast District Hospital at 700 River Dr., Fort Bragg, California. Comments can be left at 707-961-4610. Our chief executive officer is Wayne Allen. He is at 700 River Drive, California Fort Bragg, California. The phone number is 707-961-4610.

BLOOD IN THE WATER. The rumor that a local school administrator's contract won't be renewed seems, from all furtive accounts, to be true. 

THE LOCAL SCHOOLS are far more peripheral to the life of this community than they once were, and one reason for that is that many of the people working in them don't live here, and the reason they don't live here is because they can't afford to, and even if they could afford to live here there aren't the available rentals or the affordable properties there once were. 

WHEN MY FAMILY ARRIVED in the glorious year of 1970, people of ordinary means could buy in, which I did for a thousand down and a $300 a month mortgage for a two bedroom one bath house on a half-acre on Anderson Valley Way — total price, $23,500. That place sold a few years ago for half a million dollars to a coupla Bay Area vultures who immediately put it up on Air B'nB, although continuing to rent two outbuildings to locals, undoubtedly at extortionate prices.

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