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Valley People (May 6, 2020)

YES, ANDERSON VALLEY, you were hurled from your slumber at 2am Monday morning by the apocalyptic din loosed by frost fans, but please recall the consoling words of your friend and neighbor Ted Bennett of the Navarro Winery, “My grapes are more important than your sleep.” Twenty nights of massive disturbance is a small price to pay for the welfare of not only Ted and his grapes, but for the success of Mendocino County’s primary industry! 

CHECKING AROUND mostly deserted Boonville, I couldn't find anybody who'd gotten a stimulus check. The government, such as it is, says the $1,200 stimulus checks are on the way.

THE LADIES at the Anderson Valley Market told me today that a surprising number of outsiders are still passing through, asking questions like, "Is there a hotel around here?" 

THE SOCO County Fair has been canceled for the first time since WWII. The Mendocino County Fair, Boonville's largest annual draw, hasn't formally announced that it, too, is off, but it probably is. Dr. Doohan told Supervisor Williams on Tuesday that she didn't see any chance of the County Fair happening this year. But she hasn't made an official announcement.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM floated the possibility of a resumption of school in July. AV High School principal Jim Snyder joined a statewide chorus of public school administrators to say, "I don't see opening in July as a viable option for our district. I think that his statement makes it clear that it's a possibility for schools to choose to go that route, but the decisions to do so are still up to the local governing boards. At this time the school does not have any plans to modify our start date for the 2020-2021 school year, but we are going to be looking at what kinds of accommodations we will need to make based on the current situation at the time. We have to plan for a wide range of scenarios, but it's still far enough out that I have no idea what the reality will be. We have not made any staff changes at my school site." 

EYES ONLY, AV: Sid Frazer has been appointed Acting Principal at the Anderson Valley Elementary School for the remainder of this school year. Former principal, Stacy Anderson, is on a leave of absence.

I'M ALWAYS RELUCTANT to comment on local school matters, which is invariably like walking into the very viper's nest itself, but I'm certainly happy to see Sid at the helm where I think he should have been a long time ago.

BOONTLING is a recurring subject in the outside world, but until a friend mentioned that the Charles Kuralt television segment on Boontling could be found on YouTube, did I hurry to find the 1975 film. There it was, and there they were, as vivid on film as they were in life: Johnny Peterson of the Peterson Ranch now a winery; Donna Pardini at the takeout window of the Redwood Drive-In; Burl Evans, our resident CHP officer, and a guy we’ve missed ever since; Jack June, retired timber cruiser and apple farmer, and even Jack’s son, Eric, interviewed as a child on the playground of the Little Red Schoolhouse when it still functioned as a kindergarten. I was quite moved by seeing these people again, fully alive and probably excited and a little intimidated by speaking Boontling to a national audience. That was a good time in the Anderson Valley when we were still a community of people all known to each other. Now? Strangers living in the same place arrayed, if at all, in affinity groupings, community in any real sense long gone.

1975. Took me back to my old neighborhood where, one fine Spring morning, Mike Shapiro had just rototilled my garden and I was contemplating some volunteer plants I didn’t recognize. Old Man Leese leaned over the fence and said, “Them there’s castor beans. You can kill people with them things.” Billy and Wanda Owens also lived next door and soon Hazel Teague was a neighbor. Across the street was Lloyd Mason and his family,  and next door to the Masons was the fearless Paul Titus and his wife, Vera whose memorable Christmas gift of a chili jelly I still savor. One morning I thought my house was on fire. Paul calmly explained it was only my chimney shooting flames about thirty feet into the air. “It’ll burn out. Don’t worry about it. Happens all the time.” And it did. On another occasion, a group of criminals had moved in next door. They’d yell and play loud music and fire off automatic weapons at night — the full lowlife monte. I’d asked them to turn the music down when it was vibrating my windows only to get ‘Death to you, gringo,’ stares back. I saw Paul walk up to a guy playing that music max out of the trunk of his car, and I feared that Paul would be attacked. But the guy just ignored him, and Paul walked back across the street, but if the music disturbed him at that distance it gives you an idea what it was like five feet away at my house. I called Deputy Squires, who was quickly on-scene, and watched as Squires, without a word to the perp, jerked the booming music box out of the guy’s trunk, threw it in the back of his rig and drove off with it. “Keith,” as everyone in the Valley called him, got ‘er done in those days, riding herd singlehandedly for nearly three decades, a truly great cop. The criminals? The Sheriff’s Department raided them one late rainy night, and they disappeared.

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

  • April 2020: 1.60" Yorkville; 1.05" Boonville
  • March 2020: 1.84" Yorkville; 1.80" Boonville
  • 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 TOTALS (Oct 1 - Apr 30): 24.36" Yorkville; 16.40" Boonville


We are a locally inspired and managed non-profit organization. Our mission is to help older adults remain active, connected, and independent in the place they call home while enhancing the quality of life in our community. See what's new in the valley. 

We currently have 53 members and 50 trained volunteers ready to lend a hand — Thank you Anderson Valley! Important - Do you have a couple of people you can call if you need a ride in a pinch??: We want to make sure our members (and the community as a whole) are covered as much as possible in quick response situation, like a ride home from the ER or the side of the road if your vehicle breaks down (but not emergency situations). For info call Anica Williams at, Anderson Valley Village Coordinator. Cell: 707-684-9829: Email:

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