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Valley People (March 11, 2020)

COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT, Michelle Hutchins, reports:

“We are working closely with Public Health to be sure our school leaders have the most up to date information. We plan to create a county-wide workshop for education to prepare for a potential epidemic that could include school closures. Of course we want to do everything possible to keep schools open as it is disruptive to close schools but public safety is of most importance. We negotiated a good price for our schools to employ a distance learning solution quickly with a non-profit company called Acellus to lessen the impact a school closure would have on a community. This specific solution can be used with or without technology access so connectivity will not be an issue. In addition to Acellus, we are creating a menu of options schools can use to deploy independent learning opportunities if kids are asked to stay home. We are also getting licenses for schools to be able to video conference meetings so that the administrative functions would continue. At this point, we are not being told to keep kids home unless they exhibit flu like symptoms which is the same thing we do now."

BOONVILLE’S SUPERINTENDENT, Michael Warych, confirms: “We're in the process on both counts” [re possible school closure]. “We've been working on it for a while now. Superintendents and MCOE are scheduled to meet this week to coordinate plans. A brief discussion is on tomorrow night's local Board agenda.”

TRANSLATION: If Mendo’s public health doctor says close the schools, the schools will close. As will high school baseball season although AV High has found a coach for this season in Matt Bullington, the school’s history teacher.

POLLING STATION NOTES begin with high praise for our four Boonville poll watchers, Bob Vaughan; Kathleen McKenna; Carolyn Short; and Linda McClure, with our veteran poll monitor, Carolyn Short, in senior supervisory position. 

AS EXPECTED, there were more provisional ballots to sort this year because of the large increase in “no party preference” voters who didn’t get a Democratic ballot. Ballots were mailed out so early that quite a few people seem to have lost them over the weeks prior to election day, and were showing up at the polling station asking for  provisional replacement ballots. "It's hard to gage turnout," said one poll worker, "because Anderson Valley is still primarily a mail-in ballot precinct, but we sure have been busy today." That seemed to be true while we were there because the line to sign in was backed up outside the Apple Hall door.

IN LATE JUNE of 2016 Navarro’s Mike Kalantarian wrote to the Supervisors:

Open Letter to Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:

Today is June 27. 2016. Twenty days have passed since our Primary Election took place, yet we still lack meaningful results (more than half of our votes remain unaccounted).

Six-and-a-half hours after the polls closed 11,320 votes were tallied and posted. Two days later (June 9) we were informed that at least 16,525 ballots remained uncounted, and since that time we have received no updates.

We should not have to wait this long; therefore, I am asking you, the Board, to 1) investigate the problem, and 2) find a solution. If we need to hire temporary workers (jobs!) to get our results processed more quickly, let's do it. At the very least, a few updates along the way would be much appreciated.

Imagine if you were one of the candidates for judge this time round — their race is close. Same for the residents of Fort Bragg, who await the results of their Measure U (only 22% of the Fort Bragg vote initially got posted). Much hangs in the balance for these people, their lives currently in limbo.

As for the main event of this election, the presidential primary, a majority of Mendo's Bernie votes remain uncounted. The parade has long since moved on and many of our voices were never even heard. This is a crappy version of democracy, and we can, and should, do better.

Mendocino is one of only seven counties in California that handle election results in this unresponsive way. I suggest we leave that sorry bunch and join the other 51 counties that provide updates as their ballots are processed. You can see that list here:

Thank you for your consideration of this matter (it would be nice to have this resolved before November rolls around).

THE SUPES DID NOT RESPOND and have done nothing about slo-mo vote counts since. Given this year’s likely higher-than-average provisional votes, it’s likely the Mendo count will take even longer to complete, although enough results have been posted to indicate likely outcomes, as outlined below in off the record. 

THE WILD PONIES of Robinson Creek have reappeared on the Ukiah end of Highway 253. The small herd roams the vastness between Boonville and Ukiah, and has for a number of years now. But last Tuesday, March 4th, Animal Control, Mendocino County Search & Rescue, along with All Hands Equine Rescue were successful in the relocation of seven Robinson Creek Ponies while the rest of the herd seems to have retreated deep into the hills west of Ukiah, east of Boonville. The CHP and Animal Control had received multiple calls that the ponies had been wandering into the road, causing some near accidents.

RUBBLE WATCH: Removal of the debris from December's disastrous fire in central Boonville was supposed to commence in March and word filtering through our endless summer and on into the AVA bunker says the rubble clean-up begins Monday. Might have begun sooner but for the usual confusion in the permitting County bureaucracies, beginning with the complexities of getting a demolition permit. As of Monday noon, the rubble remains unaddressed, not even so much as a guy in a hardhat gazing contemplatively at it.


The Company Kitchen is open for business! Dinner tonight is from 5-8, come and get it! 

Business hours are 

  • Tuesday 11:30-2:30 and 5-8
  • Wednesday 11:30-2:30 and 5-8
  • Thursday 11:30-2:30 and 5-8
  • Friday 11:30-2:30 and 5-8
  • Saturday 11:30-2:30 and 5-8

A MAGNITUDE 5.9 earthquake was reported Sunday evening at 7:59 p.m. at the usual tectonic junction 60 miles west of Fortuna, centered off the North Coast in the Pacific Ocean. The earthquake occurred 62 miles from Eureka, 65 miles from Myrtletown, 68 miles from Arcata and 70 miles from McKinleyville. No tsunami warning was issued for coastal areas, and no damage was reported. Thousands of people on the USGS website reported feeling weak to moderate shaking from the Oregon border to the San Francisco Bay Area, some as far inland as the northern Sierra foothills surrounding Chico.

Preliminary local anecdotal reports:

5.6 earthquake felt in Ferndale, long & strong

Strong and long in Surfwood

5.9 86 km west of Petrolia

It was a right on the fault line according to the USGS.

FILIGREEN FARM on Anderson Valley Way here in Boonville always has something interesting going on, some intriguing project underway that's visible to passerby, the latest being the re-model of Buster and Velma Farrer's farmhouse only feet from the roadbed behind the first lime-green fence I've ever seen, perhaps the very first lime-green fence in all of vast America! But it works, at least to my perhaps aesthetically challenged eye. Moreover, I think Velma Farrer would be pleased with her long-time home's re-do, given her tropical interim in pre-Castro Cuba where, as in all the Mediterranean, color ran riot. I never could reconcile the shy, demure Velma with old Havana, or with crusty Buster for that matter.

BOONVILLE QUIZ MOVES UP AN HOUR. After deliberations at the highest level, it has been decided that the General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz will begin at 6pm starting this week, Thursday, 12th March, at Lauren’s Restaurant. This will allow folks to get home earlier (the Quiz will end at approximately 8pm) and also, for some, the option to come to eat dinner and play the Quiz straight from work rather than going home first. We shall see how this works for a few weeks and welcome your comments. Hope to see you there. Cheers, 

Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master

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