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Valley People

ED SLOTTE, high school basketball coach, is breathing easier this week. Last week he had exactly five guys out for the varsity, this week he's got seven, none of them named Garrett Mezzanatto, at 6'4” the Panther's go-to big guy. Garrett is still on crutches from a bad knee injury sustained in the last football game of the season at Point Arena, an injury made even more onerous by his family's struggle to get an MRI for that injury, which they finally got Monday with results still out. Used to be sports insurance at the high school level cost about three bucks and covered everything. Not anymore. If you want comprehensive coverage for your kid it will cost you $500, and that extortionate fee is arranged by the school! If your kid plays three sports you're looking at $1500 a year, and few families in Anderson Valley can afford either the five or the triple five. The basic school sports insurance seems to cover everything but an injury.

CHRISTINE CLARK is back in her Philo home, doing well and getting better every day after her terrible medical ordeal with msra, a kind of mysterious infection that can be fatal and nearly was in Christine's case. But Christine is now recovering, and she's grateful to the many people who took the time to wish her well, and isn't it true that well wishes are often the strongest medicine there is?

MRS. W.T. JOHNSON rightly wants us to know that “My husband, W.T. Johnson, has been referred to as his, I suppose, alter ego, J.T. Johnson, on a couple occasions in the newspaper over the past few years. While I know W.T. just doesn't have quite the same ring to it as J.T. does, nonetheless, it's not his name. I tend to find a few laughs in it, but I think it's beginning to rub him a bit wrong. I just waned to bring that to your attention so I don't have to hear him raving about the house again. Thank you, Jessica Johnson.”

CRIMENY, what a dumb mistake. I admire the guy, his quiet get 'er done competence, his unfailing good cheer. W.T. has rescued me a couple of times, once when I had my truck stuck in a most unlikely place. But W.T. didn't laugh and he was kind enough not to ask me how the heck I'd managed it.

QUINCY STEELE has a limited edition of an excellent rosé he's created, which is now available at Laurens Restaurant. Ask Lauren for “Quincy's Calvino Jones.

THIS JUST IN from John Lewallen: I have just filed a formal Public Records Act request with the California State Parks Legal Office in an attempt to find out who decided to close seventy state parks, and what process was used to make this decision.  At a November 1 State Assembly hearing, Bill Herms, Deputy Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, testified that a small group of park professionals decided which parks to close in a series of meetings which were not noticed or open to the public. Then, Herms testified, the meeting notes were destroyed.  “This process seems to violate the letter and spirit of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, which requires that major state agency meetings be noticed and open for public attendance, testimony, and recording,” Lewallen stated. “Now there’s lots of expert and public testimony that closing state parks may cost state and local governments more than keeping them open, and devastate local economies which depend on park visitors for livelihood.”  Lewallen called on Jared Huffman, Chair of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, and Roger Dickinson, Chair, Accountability and Administrative Review Committee, to nullify this flawed decision to close state parks, and hold new hearings open to the public. “Our legislators should not be allowed to abdicate their lawmaking responsibilities to people who meet secretly and destroy their notes,” stated Lewallen.

FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS of Handley Cellars are invited to visit the winery on Friday, December 2nd to lift a glass in celebration of the season. From 4 to 6 p.m., holiday treats and libations will be served and special discounts offered. The annual Holiday Open House will take place in Handley’s tasting room, located at 3151 Highway 128 in Anderson Valley, between the towns of Philo and Navarro. Information about the winery and upcoming events can be found on the website,, or by calling 895-3876.

A DROP-FALL drunk had dropped and fallen at the highway end of our office driveway last Wednesday morning about 8. Deputy Craig Walker and the AV Ambulance crew scooped him up and into the ambulance for the trip over the hill. Deputy Walker said he wasn't local, “but he was so drunk he was lucky not to be dead.” Speculation: The guy was probably a chronic freshly released from the County Jail. Hitchhiking back to his home base of Fort Bragg he'd become totally stupified in Boonville and passed out. The drunk with him looked very, very concerned but he was still ambulatory.

ON A TRIP to Fort Bragg the other morning, I was momentarily confused by the roundabout smack in the middle of Highway One at Simpson Lane. I knew about it in theory, but I hadn't expected it in fact. I predict there will be lots of accidents there as people brake in sudden confusion at an unanticipated but required swerve in an otherwise straight stretch of highway.

THE FORT BRAGG Steak House just up the road from the roundabout, and assuming you make it safely past the road block, er roundabout, throws a heck of a good breakfast at a surprisingly low price. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

ANDERSON VALLEY Animal Rescue says it “has lots of kitties who need homes. Some would be good as working barn cats, some friendly, some not so. OUR Barn cats are free, although donations are always welcome of course. If you have a ranch, barn, shed, warehouse, or know someone who does, we need a place for these guys. All community cats are spayed/neutered, rabies vaccine and ready to go. Call for more information — 707-621-2912. We currently have around 13 housed in a facility that is closing...we will more than likely always have this 'style' of kitty available, but we are in a bit of a pickle soon — so thanks.”

YOU NEVER KNOW who's going to walk through the office door. The other day it was Mrs. Richard Kruse of Albion, beleaguered wife of accused child molester Richard Kruse, the man who founded and ran a water ski club for young girls only. Kruse was subsequently accused of violating at least one of the girls. I told Mrs. Kruse that she looked quite chic in her subdued brown ensemble with matching hat. “You look grayer than I imagined you looking,” she said, going on to tell me that her husband was going to trial and “he's going to win because he's innocent.” She said she was tired of people looking at her “like I'm Mrs. Scumbag.” I said I thought most people were fair, and that if the case went to a jury, a jury would surely make the correct decision as to her mister's guilt or innocence. She hadn't lingered, and when she was gone, I thought, 'A nice lady, but if the charges against her husband are true, and DA Eyster is adamant that they are, I would have to wonder how it came to be that she hadn't known that she was married to the worst kind of man there is?'

THE NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY will hold its holiday potluck luncheon on Sunday, December 4th at 12:00 noon, at the Greenwood Community Center in Elk. Everyone interested in native plants is invited to attend. Please bring a main dish, salad or dessert to share, plus your own beverages. The noon luncheon will be followed by a special program on our gorgeous native bulbs, starting around 1:30. The program speaker is Mary Sue Ittner, whose stunning photos help convey her boundless enthusiasm for native bulbs. She is a founding member of the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy and is the administrator for the Pacific Bulb Society’s online discussion list. Mary Sue and her husband, Bob Rutemoeller, enjoy traveling abroad to observe and photograph wildflowers — especially bulbs. For information about the program please call 882-1655 or 882-2528.

WHEN I READ that Congressional candidate Jared Huffman had said, to a great cheer from the Hendy Woods crowd, that “I've been endorsed by Mike Thompson and Wes Chesbro,” a cold chill of nearly overpowering despair swept over me. That statement, by itself, is reason enough to vote for Norm Solomon. I won't hold it against you, my dear fellow Valley People, but what on earth were you cheering?

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