Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (April 22, 2020)

JERRY BOWERS has died. A long-time resident of the Anderson Valley at Boonville's Airport Estates, Bowers had been in ill health for some time. A full obituary will appear soon.

AND we’ve learned the sad news that Chris Halmo, a young man known to many in the Anderson Valley, has also died. His friends are lamenting their loss on social media.

LAUREN'S RESTAURANT is crucial to the community life of the Anderson Valley, not only because of Lauren's unfailing graciousness as proprietor and hostess, but because the space is large enough to comfortably embrace larger events, those events and many others enhanced by the stage at one end of the building. And the food is real good. Lauren's is an institution since February of '96 — in a place lacking the venues where bands and dances and trivial pursuit contests and even large-scale birthday parties can be accommodated. But Lauren's, like so many businesses everywhere, is in peril of going under. There simply aren't enough takeout customers to keep it alive, but if Lauren's goes, this already battered community will take a fatal blow. There's nothing here to replace it. People who can are stepping up all over the country, and there's a lot of money these days in the Anderson Valley, and right now if some of that money could step up with a *loan* to keep Lauren's alive until the plague is in full remission, that padrone would be doing the Anderson Valley a huge favor. 

THE ANDERSON VALLEY MASK MAKERS are a group of local women sewing reusable fabric facemasks they provide absolutely free to local people, especially the vulnerable and the elderly, as the vulnerable and elderly go about their essential business. An order form can be found on Facebook under AV Mask Makers. Or, for those not on Facebook, you can order yours from Laura Baynham at 895-3249.



… has breathed its final breath.

We could only stand and watch

… as it died a fiery death.

It didn't go down easy though,

… it fought a valiant fight.

All through the hours of the afternoon

… and well into the night.

The wind kept blowing harder

… with every passing hour.

fanning the quickly growing flames

… unleashing ungodly power.

Finally, as the flames died down

… and the smoke began to clear

I could hear the sounds of glasses clinking

… and the sloshing of ice cold beer

I could hear the banging of pool balls

… and the jukebox’s lonely song

and the off-key voices of a couple of drunks

… as they tried to sing along.

I could hear the shuffle of feet

… as couples danced across the floor;

the creak of rusty hinges

… as someone came in through the door. 

Then there was only silence

… smoldering embers all that remained

We'd lost a precious treasure

… town would never be the same.

— Ernie Pardini

SEVERAL DEEPEND AREA ROAD PROJECTS are up for routine approval by the Supervisors next Tuesday. The three projects are roughly nine miles of Flynn Creek Road from Navarro toward Comptche; three miles of Albion-Little River Road from the Coast inland; and ten miles of Comptche-Ukiah Road. All three projects are expected to be completed by the end of September.

COMPTCHE ALERT: “I just learned today that someone has been breaking into Comptche P.O. boxes and stealing packages and mail. I'm missing 3 things that I know of. It will be two weeks before we get new boxes. Theft reports can be made to the Albion Postmaster, 937-0667. (Sonya Nesch, Comptche)

AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA told the Community Services District Board on Wednesday that “The Lodge Building/Complex debris was completely cleaned up last month. Other than the displaced residents and any possible new construction, this historic downtown fire has finally been wrapped up.” 

AND the debris removers did a good job of it. We await to see if the owner, Mr. Johnson of Sebastopol does in the way of a re-build.

CHIEF AVILA also offered his Covid-19 virus update: “We have been running the department at high idle for the last month. Even though AVFD staff is essential services, we are trying to work abroad. Our jobs do require us to come into the office regularly for certain work but we are attempting to maintain proper distancing. Clay [Eubanks, Ambulance Chief] is working from the Ambulance quarters while on shift, Angela [Dewitt, Boonville Battalion Chief & Administrative Assistant] uses the Training Room, and I use my office in the back area. Using the intercom, teleconferencing, disinfecting while in the firehouse, and trying to come in at different times has been working well. So far, all AVFD staff have not lost any hours nor does it look like they will in the immediate future. We had our first web-based training last night using Zoom video conferencing. It worked well for the cognitive topic but it will only be useful for some trainings. Most of troops have access to and are supportive of continuing this style of training for the month of April. Once May arrives, we plan to move outdoors in small groups and provide wildland training. These psychomotor trainings are a must for proficiency and safety as we move into another very dry summer season. During the last two weeks we have returned back to normal call volume. We have had no confirmed COVID 19 calls or transports. Several incidents required full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but was used out of precaution.”

BOONVILLE FARMERS are back. We will have our first market on Friday May 1st in the parking area of Disco Ranch. Market will be every Friday from 4-6 pm. We will be offering plant starts, fresh veggies, meat and eggs, mushrooms, olive oil and natural body care products. In an effort to keep our community safe, we will not have a children's area or live music and we request that you come wearing a mask and maintain appropriate social distancing.

PETIT TETON OF YORKVILLE would like to thank the locals who have stopped by in the past several weeks, and invite the rest of you to call us for veggies, canned goods, and meat. The greens continue to grow...celery, scallion, leek, spring onion, fennel, herbs (dill, thyme, rosemary, chive , garlic chive, mint, chocolate mint), watercress, lovage, parsley, chard, kale, radicchio, endive, escarole, baby varying amounts, and if the weather ever settles down, the farm will continue to add to production.

ESTHER MOBLEY WRITES in her wine newsletter: "Bêcheur Chardonnay Anderson Valley 2018 (price varies, 13.7%): Michael Terrien’s bulk wine brand, Bêcheur, operates on dynamic pricing, meaning that the cost per bottle increases as more people buy the wine. (To snag the best deal, buy a wine as soon as it’s released.) This initial offering is a gorgeous Chardonnay from a single vineyard (but we don’t know which one; that’s how bulk wine works!). I paid $14.50 per bottle and consider it one of the best values I’ve ever purchased. It’s got rich notes of lemon curd and bread dough but also a thrilling almond skin-like bitterness, cut through with bracing minerality."

LEMON CURD? Bracing minerality? Thrilling almond-skin bitterness? In one glass? Esther, please, hold my hand, I don't think I'm ready for this kind of excitement.

CONTRARY to prevalent reports, Americans aren't buying up more alcohol to sustain them during the coronavirus shelter in place; business is not good for small craft breweries, of which the Boonville Brewery is one. 

ACCORDING to the Brewers Association recently reported these breweries, on average, anticipate nearly a 60 percent decrease in sales. More than a quarter of American breweries have stopped production, and more than 60% have already laid off some employees or anticipate needing to do so. Of the brewery owners the California Craft Brewers Association polled, 99% said their business had been negatively affected by the coronavirus closures. They also reported current sales were down 43%. Here in Northern California, brewery owners report a 42% decrease in sales.

FROST FANS again last week, with an egregiously penetrating din coming out of the Cakebread Vineyard at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way. Based in Napa, Cakebread deploys sleep-depriving fans at its AV Way site but sprinklers at its vineyard on the old Schoenahl Ranch closer to Boonville. But all the fans were on this morning although it didn't seem cold enough to warrant them. 

THE DIN emitted by these things is, one would think, unacceptable since the intrusion disrupts the lives of at least a thousand residents of the Anderson Valley while benefitting maybe 50 padrones. A class action suit might be in order, and we would certainly contribute to anybody who wants to get one going. But we've sued before. And lost. Apart from a lot of attaboys, nobody contributed to our attempt to rein in these worst of bad neighbors, and our $11 grand went for naught. In that one, my colleague, The Major, successfully negotiated a private deal with neighbors Kahn and Charles to modify their fans, and Sattui offered to pay for the installation of double-pane, sound-reducing windows in The Major's home as the other modified their fans to somewhat quieter models.

THERE ARE WAYS to modify frost fans, which Kahn and Charles did. Appeal to the Supervisors? At the time, the 5th District was "represented" by Dan Non Compos Hamburg, i.e., no representation. Supervisor Williams has been a giant step forward for the 5th District, and he undoubtedly feels our pain and might even help us organize a group hug, but given the political power of the industrial booze gang in Mendocino County, nevermind the Northcoast, good luck taking them on. 

AT OUR COURT appearances, the wine mob, in impressive force, showed up to silently intimidate Judge Henderson, not that any local judge, least of all him, would dare rule against them. And then-County Counsel Losak demanded that we pony up a million dollar bond to even gain "standing" to sue!

RUSS EMAL'S look back at the Anderson Valley of the 70's and early 80's, has inspired me to remember some men's league basketball games, circa '72 and '73, at the Boonville high school gym. I barely was aware that there was a town six miles north of our leased ranch where we, a rag tag squad of deluded idealists, supervised, more or less, a wild crew of juvenile delinquents. But we managed a pretty good basketball team composed of a couple of former college players and former high school hoopsters. When we noted in Homer Mannix's weekly ava that there was a Sunday men's league in town we signed up. That first game we handled the local boys with relative ease, but they had a bunch of very good players. And they played rough underneath. I still remember getting bounced around between Lindsey Clow and Ken Hurst, football players misplaced on a basketball court. Pretty sure the Boonville team also included Danny Huey, Charlie Hiatt, Rick Cupples, Leroy Perry, David Knight, and probably Tony Summit. While we played basketball, the delinquents fanned out over Boonville stealing stuff and hitting on hippies for dope. As we cruised past the Boonville boys by about twenty in that first game, I heard one of them say, "Well, it would be different if we had Yewgene." And another guy agreed, "Next time we’ll have Yewgene, and these beatniks or whatever they are won’t be laughing.” For a couple of weeks we joked about this mythical Yewgene. "Better knock that off or I'm going to get Yewgene." Or, "That's it. I'm calling Yewgene." And then one Sunday afternoon there was the man himself, the fabled Yewgene, an unprepossesing dude you wouldn't necessarily take for a jock. “So this is Yewgene,” we murmured. “Doesn't look like he'll present special problems.” The game starts. Yewgene. lightning quick, immediately glasses one from about a thirty-five foot oblique, an NBA-quality shot we blithely assumed was a fluke. "Yewgene lucked out on that one." But Yewgene proceeded to fire up swishers from every area of the court, including underneath where he out-jumped people a foot taller, me being one of them. We were stunned. "Who the hell is this guy?" Introducing Eugene Waggoner, Boonville native son, Ole Miss basketball scholarship, a few years later Anderson Valley High School's basketball coach.

NOTE: Yewgene, head-to-head in a basketball game with Ukiah's great athlete, Kelvin Chapman, was a sight to see. I always thought Yewgene had the edge, but Chapman gave Yewgene all that he could handle.

AV FIRE CHIEF Andres Avila: We responded to Boonville CalFire Station on Saturday for their fire alarm system showing multiple fire detectors being initiated. AVFD and CalFire were currently extinguishing an escaped control burn on Elkhorn Rd in Yorkville when this call came out. When the first in engine from AVFD's Boonville Station arrived at scene there was smoke coming from the gable vents of the kitchen building. Units discovered that the smoke was not a working structure fire but rather a pot that had been left on the stove when firefighters responded to the first call in Yorkville. All units were cancelled and the dining room was aired out. 

The property owner on Fish Rock Road, who lives in the Bay Area, was conducting a legal burn on his property Saturday when it escaped with a very slow rate of spread. In efforts to remove a very invasive and established scotch broom patch along a hillside on his property, he had been hand cutting and burning the slash. Some of the brush was up to six feet tall and the under-story was dead. Once the fire got moving into the under layer, the oily brush started freely burning and putting out a large flame length. Feeling overwhelmed by it, the property owner called in for fire department assistance. The small fire was contained to approximately 1/4 acre on his property. 


  1. Andrew November 16, 2020

    Chris Halmo was my cousin, we miss him every second.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *