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Valley People (June 24, 2020)

A TRAVELER WRITES: “I was driving back from Manchester towards Boonville on Mountain View Road on Tuesday, 16 June at around 7pm. All of a sudden I saw blinking red lights in a place where I didn’t think any light should be. It was a semi with two big trailers behind it heading  east on Mountain View. Close to Boonville, there’s the narrow bridge — there’s no way he could get over that bridge. Thank God there was enough room to get around him. He was stuck. It would make a great story.”

IT’S AN ANNUAL story, though, and perhaps even more often that a big rig impales itself on the S curve/grade a mile from Boonville. Happens even more often on the Hopland-to-Lake County road out of Hopland.

RUMORS that crack is being sold on Lambert Lane, central Boonville, seem confirmed by the sudden increase in late night traffic. I asked a local man, “Whatever happened to crank? His reply, “Crank is sooooo 80s.)

UKIAH APOLOGIZES. Re: Downtown Streetscape Project: Conditions have changed since our June 12 update. Contractors are installing and connecting major sewer lines in the area between Church and Henry Streets, work that may require running “bypass hoses” across State Street temporarily. Additionally, temperatures are expected to reach 100 degrees. In order to minimize further disruptions to traffic and keep the workers safe, starting Wednesday, June 17th: Work may begin at 6:00 am instead of 7:00 am, and Church Street will be closed. I apologize for the late notice and the additional disruption. These sewer lines are several decades old and have come with some surprises. The good news, in addition to the fact that we'll have all new infrastructure, is that we'll never have to do this again in our lifetimes! — Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager


[1] And the great city is forgoing cola raises for employees. Possible furloughs. Hiring freeze. Possible layoffs. And budget cuts to needed from entities within the city. Just like the homeless highway built along the dilapidated railroad. Which is now a great spot for litter graffiti old needles and vandalism. Just another project underway.

[2] There will be a brand new road, and a brand new sidewalk for the decomposing Palace Hotel to come crashing down upon. Then, there will be all sorts of heavy equipment and vehicles that will proceed to tear up this new project to demolish the Palace and haul it away. I swear, some of our officials try to put their shoes on first, and then their socks. And, I wonder what budget the funding will come from in order to do all the necessary repair work that will be needed? Maybe it should come from some of our local official’s exorbitant salaries. And will we end up with a new street, but no businesses left to shop in? Probably. State street will end up being a row of pot dispensaries, massage parlors, and tattoo businesses. Just what we need. That’s progress for you. One step forwards. Two steps back. Do the holy poky and spin yourself around.

[3] Ahhh, how correct. The Rail Trail. Come visit Ukiah and visit the Rail Trail. Play pick up the needles with your kids. See who can find the most without getting pricked. If you get pricked, then you lose,….bigtime. And…”The entire project is expected to be complete next spring/summer, depending on weather.” It really should say “whether,” not “weather.” This is whether or not any businesses are still in business. Whether or not the project unearths some additional huge expense that will cost zillions more, and delay the project. And then, with all due respect to my good friend John, (huge respect)…his comment… But first they have to “survive the construction phase.” Survive? Please define survive. And until next spring or summer? One can survive on bread and water. But, will local businesses be able to live on bread and water until next spring or summer? And did you open your business to just survive or to prosper? What attempts are being made to help you prosper,….and not just hold on to a life raft, treading water? And let me ask you this. Are the correct decisions being made in order to help your business prosper? Yes, maybe down the pike in a year or two, you will be in a better position to prosper. Question: Will you be out of business with a “for rent” sign in front? How long did it take to rent out the “Dig Music” location? (I miss Dig and Mike and his wonderful wife) And this was pre-virus. The city needs to get off of pot, and view the larger scope of things, or it will lose more and more of everything good. Or is it too late? I can see the future. Can you? Do you like what you see? What will you do about it? Well?


2020 has been a very stressful time for many and it’s unfortunate to add to the public’s anxiety by posting information that is confusing. Many people these days get their ‘news’ solely from social media. I truly believe most individuals who are posting and sharing information are doing so for the good of their communities. But folks need to realize that some things can become politicized.

I feel compelled to clarify what seems to be a confusing topic right now - who is in charge of what, related to the COVID-19 response?

This pandemic has taken the entire world by surprise and put many in a panic. Agencies that have little to no experience in handling emergencies have been thrust into a rapidly evolving emergency event. They are to be commended as so many of them are stepping up to the challenge and performing well.

This COVID-19 emergency event is a health emergency. We all know that but what does that mean when it comes to responsibility?

A health emergency calls for the Public Health Officer to make decisions (health orders) to protect all of us. The Public Health Officer reports to the Board of Supervisors and works hand in hand with the Department of Public Health. In Mendocino County, Public Health is under the umbrella of the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). The primary responsibility of enforcing the Public Health Order(s) falls to Public Health and or HHSA. HHSA has a Special Investigations Unit, with their own Peace Officers, who have full jurisdiction and authority to enforce the Public Health Officer’s Order(s).

Under the law in the State of California, the Sheriff of the County may also enforce the Public Health Officer’s Order(s) but it is not a primary responsibility. During the initial shut down during COVID-19, there was a closure of the court system. The Sheriff’s Office is mandated to provide Deputy Sheriff’s as Bailiff’s in the court system. Due to the shutdown of the Courts, the Sheriff’s Office was able to assist or augment the Special Investigations Unit with the education and enforcement of the Health Officer’s Order(s), by temporarily reassigning those personnel to this special detail. We anticipate the Courts will be reopening soon, so we won’t have the personnel to continue that same level of assistance much longer, but we will continue to assist where we can.

The Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division is divided into three sectors; Coast, North, and Central. With the current shortages of Sheriff’s Deputies, on any given day, we might have two Deputies, per shift, on the Coast Sector and four Deputies Inland (North & Central). In a county of 3,878 square miles that is literally hundreds of square miles for each of these Deputies. Deputies must travel hundreds of road miles between calls in the various scattered communities of the County. In a given sector these two deputies must answer all calls during a shift. The daily domestic violence calls, burglary calls, assault and battery calls, child abuse calls, and more, must take a priority.

While we have encouraged all of our communities to adhere to the Public Health Officer’s Order(s) from the very beginning, we would like the public to understand we still have murders to solve, missing people to find and continue to try to stop crimes before they escalate. Currently calls for service and crimes of violence are on the rise.

We’ll continue to assist the Special Investigations Unit when and where we can, but please understand that violent crimes will always be a priority with the Sheriff’s Office.

Again, we urge all of you to adhere to the Public Health Officer’s Order(s) and we know the majority of you are.

Thank you.

LOCALS probably know that way, way, wayyyyyy back Boonville was called Kendall City after our present Sheriff’s pioneer family. The Kendalls eventually re-located, the Sheriff tells us, to the South Coast, and Kendall City became Boonville after…..Pick one — Daniel Boone; Boonville, Missouri; or some guy named Boone who happened to wander through. 

THE PHILO DRIVE-IN. Some great films were shown last weekend (June 19-20) at the first Anderson Valley Grange Fundraiser Drive-In Movie Theater! The lot opened at 8pm, show began at 9. Friday night’s show “Young Frankenstein”, Saturday’s the family favorite “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!” Suggested donation was and is for the next event, $10 per person. The bathrooms were available and snacks at reasonable prices for purchase. Sound delivered via vehicle radio antenna.

MARIJUANA PRICES are back up, and backyard farmers who'd gone dark for a couple of years are back out there. We're informed that the real nice money for local dope is obtained outta here, but if you can't get your product outta state, you'll get four or five hundred a pound, if that, from connected exporters.

ANOTHER GREAT REVIEW for the home team film and now the book, ‘Windows On The World’: ” affecting road drama written with a mix of delicacy and grit by Robert Mailer Anderson and Zack Anderson... It’s not just an adaptation of a movie in comics form but something that is a living, breathing creature on its own. A lot of that is due to Jon Sack‘s incredible art.”

CALFIRE SUSPENDS ALL BURN PERMITS “The increasing fire danger posed by dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region is prompting CalFire to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Areas of Mendocino County. This suspension takes effect at 12:00 a.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves. The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at”

AV FIRE CHIEF Andres Avila told the Community Services District Board about the luck of getting a new ambulance just in time on Wednesday night: “Four days after new Ambulance 7420 went into service, old ambulance 7421 went out of service for mechanical issues. [An impressive pool of leaked oil was found underneath where it was parked.] The ambulance has a 2006 Ford Power Stroke Diesel which is infamous for its many issues unless bullet proofed. The Ford dealership has given us several options ranging from full engine replacement ($19k), bullet proofing [replacing and relocating several components which are ill-located in the ’06 engine design] the existing engine ($13k), or trying to fix a single symptom now with an uncertainty that it will be entirely fixed. Clay [Eubanks, Ambulance Manager] and I will be discussing this with Angus [Loop, mechanic] tomorrow morning. If we decide to proceed with a large expense project, I will need to get Board approval prior to committing funds over my spending threshold which will cause delays in the repair.” 

THE CSD BOARD DECIDED to hold off on any decision about repairs until more info about the options is gathered and considered. Meanwhile Anderson Valley’s new ambulance is working well and is greatly appreciated by local ambulance volunteers. (Mark Scaramella)

104 IN THE SHADE here in Boonville at 2pm last Thursday afternoon, and a toasty, globally-warmed 104 Monday as the summer winds pick up and we hope the sun sets and the winds die without that dread spark we all live in round-the-clock feat of. The daily deluge of bad news has everyone on edge, un-reassured by our captain that our ship of state can stay afloat. There's a prescient and darkly hilarious scene from Terry Southern's “The Magic Christian” that depicts a lunatic, and even a chimpanzee, at the controls of a luxury liner as it plunges full steam ahead toward Manhattan. Every time Trump lurches to the podium I'm reminded of that book. 

JIM ROBERTS of the Madrones writes: “We wanted to be open with our community and share how we are approaching a measured reopening of our business at The Madrones and The Brambles. We have spent the last two months in lodging meetings as well as members of committees to work towards a safe reopening when the state and county allows it. We have had direct collaboration with our Supervisors and meetings with the county PHO. To be perfectly honest, we have been on the conservative side of the spectrum and want to make sure we protect our community, our employees and our guests. 

For this first phase we will only be allowing one unique set of visitors per guest quarters weekly. This will allow us 3 days between visits. We will also only be at 75% daily occupancy for the initial phase. Our target is to have all businesses open at The Madrones by the first of July. We will have to go through a self-certification process, in fact all businesses need to do this including any vacation rentals. Failure to do this will put you in violation. Please reach out to Brian C. Adkinson or myself if you need any help in finding this information. We would also like to know what other restaurants, wineries and businesses will be self-certifying and reopening.” 

NOT SO OLD old timers will remember the Madrones before it was the Madrones, and merely a utilitarian concrete bunker-like structure that served as an all-round plumbing and pump workshop. Then it became Charlie Bass’s video store, and now the splendid sorta neo-moorish Madrones complex. (BTW, is Charlie still with us? How about his ex, the former Mrs. Bass?)

NO BOONVILLE MUSIC FESTIVAL AGAIN THIS YEAR. A Message From Warren Smith And The Epiphany Artists Family

Dear Sierra Nevada World Music Festival Friends and Family:

Warm Greetings to everybody. We are acutely aware that in a “normal” year, for 25 years, right about now we would be busily and excitedly packing up things for Marysville, Angel’s Camp, and then Boonville. And we know that for ourselves and thousands of others it is a big hole in our Summer and our lives, musical and otherwise, not to be heading there now. Mainly, we miss you! And of course we miss the music. Especially in these challenging, troubled, not to say insane, times, the Festival always served for so many as an oasis of good vibes, great sounds and dancing, tasty food, and of course a big wonderful annual reunion for so many of us. A “conscious party” and a magical weekend, as so many have called it. Most of you know that the festival has been on hold due to Warren’s health, and now with the coronavirus. We won’t go into details about the ongoing challenges he, Gretchen, and others have faced and continue to deal with. We have tried over the past two years to find a way to present the Festival in some form but just could not make that work - and wouldn’t have been able to in any event in this year of the pandemic. It’s probably safe to say that every one of the festival staff, volunteers, vendors, and everybody involved dearly wish we were gathering this week in Boonville. It is actually a hardship for some not to be able to work at making the event such an enjoyable success. We regret this intensely. But Warren wants everyone to know this: 

“It is very difficult not to present the festival, especially during these times. I mourn the inability to gather as a community. Arriving at SNWMF each year has always felt like coming home. Gretchen and I miss all of you. We worry knowing that so many are suffering without work or social outlets. 

While our world may seem chaotic and confusing, the rising global voice against injustice is exciting. It’s more important than ever that we continue to spread the music and the message, and embrace our similarities and differences as humans on this earth. I take solace in knowing that each of us have nurtured and can continue to nurture a world family peacefully united in celebration of the universal spirit of music - the foundation upon which the festival is built - even while physical distancing.

SNWMF has stayed the course for a long time now. Our community is strong. I know we all will keep working to make the world more equitable, loving and peaceful. In the words of Bob and Peter: “Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.” As always, forward ever, backwards never. Love and respect, Warren.”

If there is any chance, we will see you again with live music playing when the time is right. At this point we still cannot know what the Festival future will bring. But we have always been grateful to everybody involved in helping to make the musical and other magic that has been the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. We wish you all good health, great music - and peace.

Epiphany Artists, Ryde, CA 95680

THAT TASK FORCE assembled in the parking lot of the Boonville Fairgrounds early Tuesday morning moved on to Philo to serve a warrant on a presumably dangerous hombre. Kinda refreshing that placid AV still has a few. Used to be, when the place was a lot livelier, we had a bunch.


Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - May 2020

Dear friends,

We, the human population, are in upheaval; we have shoved the wild to the brink of extinction and it is responding in kind; the climate, in tandem or cahoots with the viruses, is working a different angle with the same goal of resetting the balance of the earth. 

Meanwhile our farm continues to grow food, is supporting great numbers of birds - nesting on or next to the house are swallows, finches, phoebes, hummingbirds and orioles - and a wide variety of wild animals, native plants, and trees. Last year's acorn set from our very old (200 years?) and huge Valley Oak, mother to the front flower and fruit tree garden, was massive. In the past I have made acorn flour, but no longer have the time, so we collect the acorns for the pigs and I pot up as many as I can for future planting (see picture of our hot tub deck bedecked with oak starts). Right now there are near 30 which I just stepped up to bigger pots. The leftovers, and there are lots, plant themselves wherever they fall and require pulling or digging up...a lot of labor. Of all the remediation we have performed on this land, growing and planting trees is my favorite, followed closely by pruning and shaping them. 

When we moved to Anderson Valley sixteen years ago, during our first spring the Valley Oak had a big acorn set. I put acorns in pots and was thrilled to watch a number of trees grow. About two years later we planted six of them along the road to our 501 property. They are now fourteen year old juveniles, well over 25' tall and have filled out making shade for the chickens. Each one has a different character and I love one best for its shape, leaf, color, and structure, which is more graceful than the others. (See the photo of the mom tree in the background and my fav in front.) But they are all my children, along with the hundreds of other trees of various types we've planted over the years, at least 25 of which we grafted. I don't play favorites; sometimes gawky youths grow to beauties with a careful pruning or a slow maturing, or one's eyes realize that gawky too can be beautiful. 

Happy summer solstice; happy Juneteenth...If you're feeling down, losing yourself in nature may bring you up. 

Stay well, Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Kreig

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