Valley People (March 25, 2020)

THE WAY it seems to be working out, we're the beneficiaries of a kind of cordon sanitaire that has so far kept the plague to the south of Mendocino County. The virus is centered, as of Sunday, in the Bay Area and decreases with each county north, and even in the Bay Area it hasn't reached the terrible incidence it has in New York. And since we’re naturally socially distanced because there aren’t very many of us, one more reason to count our blessings. 

FROM HERE, the most startling development on the week was the announcement from County authorities that visitors are unwelcome, aggressively unwelcome, with police visiting hotels, motels, inns, and even bed and breakfasts to notify these facilities, "No Visitors." What's next, roadblocks on 101?

AS MENDO SHUTS DOWN, it can't be any clearer that our economy is service-based, and suddenly several thousand servers are out of work, out of income but, hopefully, not out of their homes. We'd always thought in an emergency that our visitor-based economy was precarious given that frivolities are the first to go when the economy goes south. But the whole national show collapsing at once? Nobody saw this coming. 

HEARTENING that people are stepping up, people like Boonville's Amanda Hiatt, who posted this note today: "Need groceries, prescriptions or animal food picked up in Ukiah. Let me know we would love to help you out! Costco, Raleys e cart, etc. Or if you just want some kfc chicken!"

IF YOU’RE in a position to do it, try to order takeout meals from The Valley’s restaurants, all of which are struggling with the sudden upside down economy, as are all The Valley’s paycheck working people. If you’ve got a few extra bucks, please spend them locally. 

BOONVILLE SHELTERS IN PLACE: Notebook: 

Closed/Empty: Boonville Hotel, all of South Boonville, Philo Ridge Tasting Room, Lauren’s restaurant (but employees arriving, presumably for later opening), Uneda Eats restaurant.

Open: Anderson Valley Advertiser, Boont Berry Store, Redwood Drive-In, Mosswood Café (but closed in the afternoon), Rossi Hardware, Boonville Post Office, AV Market, Boonville General Store/Market (but closed in the afternoon), Disco Ranch. In fact, Boont Berry Store got a large pallet delivery of organic food from the “Unfi” (United Natural Foods Inc.) truck Thursday afternoon.

All the open stores had minimal traffic and customers. 

The CSD Office/Firehouse looked closed with one vehicle out front and a sign on the door said “No in person Visitors; call or email…” etc. 

Vehicles/traffic: Very light, but: a PG&E van came through, as did a Friedman’s delivery truck, a Home Depot delivery truck, and the aforementioned food delivery semi-truck, among a few others.

A couple of County Ag Department techs were conducting an annual gas pump calibration test at the Redwood Drive-In. (Mark Scaramella)

BY 7PM Thursday evening most of Boonville had nearly turned into a ghost town. Only AV Market, the Drive-In and Lauren’s were open (take out only), but very few vehicles nearby, most probably belonging to staff.

Ricardo Suarez at the Redwood Drive-In said Thursday evening that he had had a very good winter season and was upbeat until the last few days when business fell away. “Most of the time we don’t realize how vulnerable we are,” Suarez mused as a barbecued a few chickens outside his local landmark establishment. “But this is a pretty strong reminder. Makes you reconsider what’s really important. I hope it doesn’t last too long.”

EYES ONLY, BOONVILLE: The Anderson Valley School Board presently consists of Dick Browning, Saoirse Byrne, Kristin San Miguel, Erika Gatlin, and Justin Rhoades. All but Browning, have children in the local schools, which is as it should be.

THE SCHOOLS are closed but staff is being paid. Some staffers are working on-site (e.g., cafeteria workers), some working part-time on-site and part-time from home (e.g., teachers), and some are on call at home (e.g., child care workers)

STUDENT MEALS are available for pick up 11:00 - 12:30 each day outside the elementary campus (breakfast and lunch in one bag).

SCHOOL MEALS IN AV

Parents and Guardians of Anderson Valley,

Starting next Monday, March 23, school meals will be provided on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only. No meals will be available for pick up on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

Meals will include two breakfasts, two lunches, and two milks. Pick up will still be outside of Anderson Valley Elementary School from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

This change will remain in effect through Friday, April 2, after which time meals will be discontinued because of Spring Break, which is scheduled for April 3 through April 12, 2020.

Thank you, as always, for your continued patience and understanding.

(Anderson Valley Unified)

RUBBLE REMOVAL of the burnt out remains of last December's "Lodge Fire" has begun! The December fire in central Boonville destroyed the PicNPay store, Lizbby's restaurant/bar, formerly the Boonville Lodge, and two nearby cottages. The cleanup began Friday morning. By Friday afternoon a skilled operator of a rented skip loader, perhaps property owner/Sonoma contractor Dave Johnson, a retired contractor, had finished the demolition of the burnt cottages and was sorting much of the debris into separate piles for metal, wood, plastic, etc. Presumably, the work will proceed in stages as each pile is loaded into dump trucks and hauled outta here. Then, as we understand it, the empty, damaged PicNPay structure itself will be razed and separately removed. 

ON A RELATED NOTE, we understand that the water and septic system on the Lodge parcel had been upgraded to current codes well prior to the fire, meaning that Johnson might be able to rebuild in some manner. Monday morning a couple of guys in white Hazmat suits were at work on what’s left of the rubble.

I WAS STARTLED last Thursday morning during my aerobic tour just before dawn by a man standing motionless on AV Way just past the elementary school on that little rise in the road shaded by trees. I didn't see him until I was about three feet away when I yelled good morning full volume, which he didn't acknowledge but didn't seem to be startled either. No reason for him to be standing there away from driveways, and not a place where anybody would wait for a ride. If you were in one of the cars that passed us, please call me at the ava office. You must have seen him, too, tall white guy, maybe with a backpack. Second time something like that has happened to me on AV Way. The other time someone walked past me so close in the dark he brushed my shoulder, but that was some time ago.

YORKVILLE MARKET ADJUSTS

"This last few days has brought new attention to the COVID-19 pandemic and how we should be addressing this situation as a community. First, for the time being, the Market will remain open for our normal business hours. However, in order to help keep the Yorkville community healthy, we will be cancelling our happy hour gatherings for the next several weeks. For our health and yours we are wiping surfaces after contact and will maintain our high level of sanitation in the kitchen and greater store area. We are focusing our attention on take-out items and I will be sending out a regular menu of what we have available. "

— Lisa Walsh, Yorkville Market

HAZMOBILE COLLECTIONS SUSPENDED FOR 30 DAYS. The recently announced hazmobile visit to the County Fairgrounds in Boonville on Saturday, March 28 is cancelled.

MOBILE VET SERVICES at the AV Farm Supply have been cancelled until further notice. 

JESSICA AND KEVIN WELCOME YOU! Boont Berry will be open during this crazy moment in time. In addition to our normal selection of food, we are offering take out deli food, street side delivery of preordered items and special orders of bulk items. We are also hoping to be able to deliver food to those who can't leave their homes. Just give us a call. 707-895-3576

PETIT TETON MONTHLY FARM REPORT - FEBRUARY 2020

I will attempt to avoid the "news".

We're sheltering in place which for us is just another day on the farm. We and our employees, who we consider our community, recently sat down to determine how best to be prepared for the unknown we are free falling into. A list was made (we're lucky - food is not on it) and we're attempting to execute it. We guess you're doing the same. 

This year seems to have zoomed through spring after an almost water-less mild winter, and now that many trees and flowers have finished blooming we are feeling winter weather - weeks of grey cold drizzle, occasional hail, and frosts at night. Since early February our 170 chickens have been laying like it's Easter only slowing down now. Even the seasons are out of joint. What we're going through and will be transitioning into, was predictable although the connections are never mentioned... climate collapse, overpopulation, germs gone rogue are all of a piece. 

We are ramping up our plantings of crops since food is needed by all (more than toilet paper), and so far, we're being allowed to provide it at farmers' markets and our farm. Like everyone else, we are struggling to change our habits and learn this distancing, hand-washing, no contact with anything business. Habits are hard to break! But we are lucky to be in an "essential" business that requires outdoor activity and caring for animals. 

Please take care of yourselves and others and listen to the dictates of science, not politicians. Change is very scary but also creative and clarifying in the end. 

— Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Krieg, Petit Teton Farms, Yorkville

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