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Valley People (May 27, 2020)

HEALTH CENTER MANAGER, Chloe Guazzone, told us last week that the Center was conducting "surveillance testing" for the coronavirus in the Anderson Valley on Thursday the 14th. "We plan on testing all employees on-site at Roederer that day including both vineyard and winery employees. We are also going to test all our healthcare providers with direct patient contact and the two housing locations managed by the Anderson Valley Housing Association. Our intention in choosing whom to test was to test vineyard workers that may be traveling from out of county, those living in congregate living arrangements and other essential workers."

MS. G SUBSEQUENTLY reported "that all 129 tests we performed were negative. Most were vineyard and winery workers and the others were our staff involved in direct patient care and Ambulance and EMS staff and volunteers. We are working on more surveillance testing and will do a second round this Thursday with more to come."

THE FIRST NIGHT of the Anderson Valley Variety Show 2020 is now available on YouTube. Second night coming right up. 

A LONG UNSIGNED LETTER arrived here the other day soliciting fix-up funds for Navarro's Ice House, which the letter describes as "one of the many icons of Anderson Valley history," going on to say, "Unfortunately it has been slowly deteriorating for many years now. Its only salvation has been the herculean efforts by Ronnie Bloyd, David Jones, and a host of other local talent that kept running in to put the paddles to it keeping it living for a little bit longer. Now it is time to stop placing bandaids and to save it completely. So many other historical homes and businesses in the Anderson Valley have been lost already. I don't want this one to do the same. I just saw one come down right around the corner from the Ice House. I would hate to see that happen here. This has been my goal since I purchased the property earlier this year…" 

THE PROPERTY was purchased about a year ago by Darrell Tuttle, brother of the talented local artist, Denver Tuttle, but there is no address on the letter for interested donors to send money to.

LIKE MANY of the Anderson Valley's older structures, the Ice House has seen many incarnations, among them brothel and land office, the latter, I believe, serving in the booming pre-Depression years of the 1920s when an enterprising fellow bought up much of central Navarro and divvied it up as small vacation properties, kind of a mini-version of Rancho Navarro, both developments having in common legal beefs with the developers that took years to resolve. Navarro today is a patchwork of tiny parcels. 

NAVARRO boasts a cluster of beautiful old buildings — I feel major nostalgia just driving through the place — including but not restricted to the old school house and the once upon a time mill superintendent's rural-majestic home, also on Wendling Street.

THE NAVARRO STORE also goes back a ways, not all that long ago serving as a combined market and post office under the auspices of Mrs. Zanoni, a kindly old woman who, at the sound of someone entering her store, would totter out from her attached home to attend to business which, until the fairly recent past under retail maestro Dave Evans, wasn't nearly of the volume it is today. One memorable morning, a young guy just out of prison whose surname I dimly recall as Lee, robbed Mrs. Zanoni at gunpoint. Mr. Lee would get out of prison, do his little crime spree, and go right back to prison, as he did after robbing Mrs. Zanoni, probably a good thing for him because there was a community consensus that he ought to be hanged. On late summer nights with the cooling grey of the Pacific fog winding through the redwoods you can almost hear the many volumes of stories born in this one magic little place. 

AMONG THEM, perhaps, a line or two about the Ice House rehab that accidentally, it must be presumed, involved the felling of a large redwood tree on the adjoining property belonging to the AV Fire Department overseen by the AV Community Services District. A letter aimed at restitution for the redwood, a large one, is being drafted by CSD reps Larry Maillard and AV fire chief, Andres Avila.


Well, we thought the rain was done, but it's rained for the past week. A lot for this time of year...2+" thus far. As a result the gardens, fields and trees are lush and more beautiful than we've ever seen them. Tropical forest almost. And the weeds! Wow. Hard to tell the crops from the weeds. The greens, the textures, the flowers, everything is over the top exuberant. The roses love the cool damp; the jasmine perfume is heavenly; the mock orange shrubs are huge scented cotton balls; the large lilac flowers of the Empress tree are scattered on the ground now, but the cactus just started - huge pink, magenta, orange and red blooms. 

A visitor thought they were fake. Didn't look closely to see the flowers full of drunk bees. The flower garden is all oranges and yellows with the CA poppy vying with the various calendula shades and the yellow bearded iris. All fruit trees are loaded with sets. We're thrilled. And exhausted from weeding and planting, most recently hundreds of tomatoes and beans and winter squash, to be followed by hundreds of cucumbers, eggplant, and summer squash. 

The six flightless Indian Runner ducklings we recently purchased are now a foot tall and free ranging in the enclosed marionberry garden. We installed a bathtub sized pond and have been spending way too much time watching them play in it! They're like periscopes on legs and very cute. 

We are so sickened by current events that we will avoid the subject entirely.

Take care of yourselves and hope to see you all again one day.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg, 

Petite Teton Farm


ERNIE PARDINI WRITES: “I recently started working as a service writer at West Coast Mufflers and Auto repair in Ukiah. I know that Anderson Valley has few choices when it comes to getting vehicles repaired and was excited when I discovered the honest and quality service available at West Coast. The mechanics here at West Coast are some of the finest I've had the pleasure of working with and the Owner Mike bends over backwards to get vehicles in and out in a timely fashion. One of the techs was born and raised in Anderson Valley and is as good as they come. Those of you who know me know that I wouldn't recommend this shop if I didn't genuinely believe in the quality of the work done here. We're located at 850 S. State st. in Ukiah. Next time you are looking for auto repairs, do yourselves a favor and check us out. You'll be glad you did.”

IF OUR PHONE goes dead at 895-3016 it's because I'm at war with AT&T, a war I can't win although justice is on my side with all her mighty righteousness. I may be reduced to using one of those cell jobs designed for impaired old guys, the ones with the giant numerals and simple directions for the technically retarded. Here's what happened, although most people reading this have had versions of the same experience. The phone monopoly keeps raising my rates, charging me $150 for "desirable placement" in a business directory. Which I don't need and definitely don't want. Talked to six different people over three hours, none of whom could or would kill the fee. Instead, they tried to sell me more stuff I don't need. So I'm killing all service by not paying my latest bill, the only way to ever get the attention of a mammoth corporation. When 895-3016 goes dead, you can always contact us the old fashioned way —via the U.S. Postal Service.

THE CORONAVIRUS IS, according to reliable science, uniquely adapted to infect us humans, a new fact of life most of us, me included, have a hard time grasping the ongoing consequences of. I remember getting worked over by some bad flus before it occurred to me to avoid movie theaters and other mob scenes in the winter months. Haven't had one for years. But this corona thing is a true beast because it isn't entirely clear yet how it's spread. Obviously, though, masks and social distancing reduce the risk, a fact evident from the beginning of the outbreak when there were virtually no cases in Mendo or other outback counties. We Mendo people have benefitted from being naturally distanced, but that advantage could come crashing down if we open up too soon to the bright lighters.

DAVID SEVERN WRITES: “My and Mary Walsh’s daughter Dandelion, now for some years a paramedic in Fresno, posted this on Facebook a couple days ago but I didn’t see it until last evening. In honor of her and all the others who do first responder work and the fact that this past week has been designated EMT WEEK 2020 I thought it would be appropriate to publicize.”

DANDY ALLEGRA (Formerly of Boonville) writes:

“May 21 at 9:49 It is widely known that this old bag cries at the drop of a hat. It’s kinda my thang, ya know.. (to be fair.. I’ve gotten wayyy better over the years! 

It is also fairly widely known that EMS is (dare I say... was..?) the least favorite first responder of all the first responders. I mean, y’all like us when you need to but we do tend to get forgotten somewhere between the thin blue line and the hunky red line quite often. It’s kinda a thing, ya know..?


The last few weeks have been a totally different story. I’ve had people bless me and pray (openly) for me more in the last month then probably in my whole career. I get texts and emails and gifts in the mail nearly every day. People have offered to buy me food and coffee daily, local companies have dropped off PPE, snacks, gift cards, etc, at our HQ several times a week. There are hand written signs on every ambulance entrance of every facility I’ve been to on a call thanking “us” for serving. The Chief of Surgery at our local Level 1 Trauma Center addressed me by my first name last week! We get priority entry to stores, discounts on websites... There’s even a chapel in Vegas that will marry us for free (now THAT is a good idea…! My darling aunty from Plymouth (whom I’ve met once in life) bought me and my girls an amazing Easter brunch from 3,100 miles away.

It’s been 20something years since I wrote my first PCR. 15+ since I gussied up in the same pretty whites I still wear most days now.

Let me tell you folks. I just can’t. It’s lovely. Really. I mean, a full tank of gas comped cuz I had to fill’er up on my way home today, just cus I didn’t take off my uniform before going into the Valero?! ITS JUST NOT NORMAL!!!

I just can’t handle getting weepy 47 times a day anymore. Come on, people! I worked so hard to be a “normal person.” I’m circling the drain here, folks... Don’t let me go out like this!!

All joking aside:

To my community, to my family, to my peers...

WOW, right? Drink it up! This is an odd reality we’re living in, but this silver lining is something worth standing back and admiring. And a challenge worth standing up to meet, full fledged! They see you now, my pretties! Act accordingly.

I am so proud! And I am so humbled...


AV FIRE BATTALION CHIEF ANGELA DEWITT on how to make a dent in the local unemployment rate:

“Imagine a work force dedicated to fuel reduction and habitat restoration! Now that the roles of fire and grazing on the landscape have been reduced, Doug Fir encroachment into the oak woodlands (and other types of understory fuel reduction) has to be dealt with mechanically, a task much too big for many property owners.”


The caption says “James Beeson Sanders. Joe Sanders. At Peachland.” Due to the former’s middle name, I assume both are related to Henry Beeson, one of AV’s earliest settlers (he is buried at the Rawles-Babcock Cemetery) and the last survivor of the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846 that established the California Republic. James (1848-1923) is buried in the Ukiah Cemetery. The deer in the background is a little unusual. 


Another old postcard, Ray's Resort in Philo. This one looks to be the early 1950s.

MEMORIAL DAY, from the AVA Archive: 

JUNE 2000. WILMA BRINK reminds me that it’s the local members of the American Legion who take the time to grace the graves of veterans buried at Evergreen Cemetery with the flag every Memorial Day. Like many of us, Mrs. Brink laments that not many people take the time to remember the many young men Anderson Valley has sent off to distant wars who now rest eternally in the tranquil beauty of Evergreen, but she and a few others do every Memorial Day, and thanks to them. 

MAY 2013 SUNDAY'S UKIAH PAPER runs a feature that asks random locals an innocuous question then runs the answer with the local person's photo. (It's an ancient newspaper gambit to sell a few more papers.) Rarely does the random person say something interesting. But last Sunday, this kid Christopher Linton, student, Ukiah, was asked what he was doing for Memorial Day. He replied, "Go to the 101 Bar and Grill for the White Trash and Iron Assault concert. Plus some camping." The kid probably assumed he had to say something plausibly wholesome after honestly answering what his holiday plans were. 

MEANWHILE, as the barbecues are fired up, the Bud and the Coors put on ice, and White Trash and Iron Assault tunes up in Calpella, in every graveyard in Mendocino County rest young men cut down in wars all the way back to the Civil War, many of them dead before they were old enough to enjoy a legal beer.

MAY 2014: STEVE SPARKS WRITES: “Many thanks to those who showed up at 10am on Monday morning for the annual Memorial Day Service at Evergreen Cemetery on Anderson Valley Way. Our sincere apologies to others who heard or read that the event was at 9am or 11am and turned up for the service at those times. We were responsible for a series of poor communications that led to this confusion and we offer our sincere apologies to those folks who were inconvenienced. Redwood Empire American Legion — Branch 385.”

MEMORIAL DAY came and went without discernible pause from the beer and great hunks of grilled meat it has come to mean, but a few people did pay tribute to all those lost hundreds of thousands, most of them very young, who went off to do what they thought was the right thing and never came back. The three local vets I know best almost didn’t make it back from Vietnam. Two of them were shot up; the third returned physically unscathed but haunted, and unwell. I opposed that war and got in serious trouble for doing it, but I never once had anything but deep sympathy and respect for the people who had to fight it, and I'll always have an unending contempt for the third-rate men who made them fight it. I was lucky. I got in and out of the active Marines between the Korean and Vietnam wars, but I was young and raring to go at 17. If I’d been a few years younger or a few years older, Pvt. Anderson 1574007, MOS 0300 (mortars) would have been on the boat to Korea or the plane to Vietnam. 

MAY 2015: THE VALLEY'S VETERANS honored fallen comrades Monday morning at Evergreen Cemetery, Boonville, with a simple ceremony of remembrance. Vietnam was the last war fought largely by a draftee army, and even the Marines were supplemented by draftees near the end of that one. Our local cemeteries are final home to quite a number of local boys who never came back from that war and all the wars preceding it. 

MEMORIAL DAY doesn't mean much to most people anymore. With a professional armed services most Americans have nobody in the military, don't even know anybody in the military, and the day is just one more long weekend dedicated to beer and great slabs of beef. 

I’M VERY HAPPY with my recent visits to the Anderson Valley Health Center where I was seen by Dr. Rochat, a young guy new to the area. He jumped right on my prob — one apparently stemming from the general decrepitude accompanying advanced age — and we'll see what we shall see. Sure, I want to stumble on for a few more years, who doesn't? But I mean to say we're very lucky to have what amounts to a mini-hospital right here in the Anderson Valley. And it's sooooo nice not to wander the endless halls of the giant medical factories for one test by that guy, another test by the other guy who can't remember your name on visit five. The AV Health Center is one more major benefit of outback living.

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