THE SUPERVISORS will hear the appeal of Gary and Phyllis Kaliher for a full-bore winery at the top of the Holmes Ranch on Tuesday, March 14th at 2:00pm in the Board Room on Low Gap Road, Ukiah. The Kalihers, represented by John Behnke, want to expand their upper Holmes Ranch operation to a production capacity of 7,500 gallons, up from a capacity of 5,000 gallons a year. They also want to erect two signs heralding their business, permission to allow on-site tastings and an ok to sell wine out of their combined home and winery. They’ve previously been denied these permissions by the Planning Commission, although the Department of Building and Planning has given the Kalihers an enthusiastic thumbs up.
A CLEAR MAJORITY of Holmes Ranch residents do not want a commercial winery anywhere on the subdivision, which is zoned rural-residential.
I WAS SADDENED to read the obituary for Doris Allen in Tuesday’s Ukiah Daily Journal. Mrs. Allen was the wife of the late Jay Allen. Together, they ran the Ukiah Theater from 1953 until Jay’s death in 1987, and a more gracious couple never faced the endless provocations presented by responsibility for half the town’s children every weekend for all those years of long Friday nights and endless Saturday matinees. How the Allens did it all those years and did it so well was a local marvel.
NOTICE the promiscuous application of chemical weed killers as soon as you get over the county line south into Sonoma County? Dead brown in the vivid greens everywhere you look in SoCo. Caltrans went down kicking and screaming when their poisons were banned here, not they’ve given up trying, but Mendo, thanks to local like Bruce Hering, Diane Paget and Bev Elliott, no Round-Up is deployed by public agencies in this county.
IN FACT, it seems to get real dumb real fast when one crosses over into Sonoma County. At Cloverdale commence the “3 Lanes All The Way” signs, translating as the delusion that an expanded freeway from Healdsburg south will be adequate to ferry traffic fast and free past the Santa Rosa-Rohnert Park slurbs. Thirty lanes might do it but even the pavement people don’t dare ask for that many.
STOPPED at Cloverdale Chevron the other night to gas up on my way to Sebastopol for an event called, “Cooling Annie Haught.” (More about that later.) With my nozzle stuck in my tank, and without it occurring to me that that simple act might also serve as a metaphor for the evening’s entertainment farther south and two hours later, I popped into the station’s mini-mart to pick up a few sticks of jerky for my wife. She loves it but is indifferent to me, not that I ever cease trying to ingratiate myself with her by the odd treat here and there. The lady at the counter asked, “Do you share these with your dog?” Confused, I replied, “My dog? I don’t have a dog.” You’ve got to be careful what you say about dogs and how you say it these days. Thirty years ago you could blurt out without fear of giving offense, “I don’t have a dog because I don’t like dogs.” Not now. The dog people are everywhere. Dogs are everywhere too. In vehicles, at the dinner table, in bed with their owners, at work, pooping in the parks, on the sidewalks, bounding up from all directions to slobber all over the unsuspecting. The country’s like some kind of canine horror film where the dogs take over. Anyway, these days a dog person might bite you if you give dogs a thumbs down. But then it hit me. “Do you mean people buy jerky to feed it to their dogs ?” She answered as if I were retarded. “Yes, of course,” she said. Of course? I thought to myself. What the hell do you mean of course. Surely you can’t mean it’s sensible to buy a small delicacy at two bucks a pop to drop down the insatiable maw of a beast? “Lots of people feed it to their dogs,” she continued, looking at me as if I’d just dropped in from, well, Boonville or somewhere. “Most of the jerky we sell is treats for dogs.” I headed south with another piece of evidence that the end is near.
DON’T TELL ANYBODY but Laura Miller, the director of KZYX stopped by the paper Monday afternoon to drop off an ad. I’d never met her before and encountered her Monday as I was gnawing a crust of post-lunch Eli Bread on my way into the AVA inner sanctum to bark orders at the Major. Thinking at first Ms. Miller was a process server because she was nicely turned out and appeared to be smiling, I prepared to introduce myself as one of my brothers, in case she was a hostile. I often say I’m one or the other of them until I can get a read on a stranger. If they’re hostiles I give them my brother’s address in Ukiah. If they’re merely nuts, I dispatch them to my other brother’s house in Frisco. Anyway, the smiling lady said she was Laura Miller of KZYX. I had no reason to disbelieve her, although I can’t remember the last time a KZYX staffer smiled at me. I resisted an impulse to give Ms. Miller a great big hug because it might be misinterpreted. We chatted briefly and Ms. Miller departed, still smiling.
CONNIE J. PENROSE and Dale R. Theiss of Philo pleaded no contest to misdemeanor theft of $1,661.90 in utility services in Ten Mile Court last week. They have been placed on 24 months probation and ordered to pay restitution in full to PG&E. The couple had ingenuously tapped into a power line near their Philo home and tapped the power monopoly that ordinarily taps us first at artificially high rates for the benefit of its overstuffed stockholders and its overpaid executives. PG&E recently got a completely unjustified rate increase from its stooges sitting on the Public Utilities Commission, an increase that will make it that much harder for low income persons to power their humble homes.
BUMPER STICKER spotted on the old pick-up truck driven on 101 near Healdsburg by an even older coot: “Women want me, fish fear me.”
LYNN ZIMMERMAN picked up the phone at the Elementary School the other day when I called looking for someone else. Having just read a story in the Chron that the numbers of children as young as pre-school age are forced to take strong drugs to make them “manageable,” I asked Ms. Z how many Valley youngsters are on heavy control meds. “Less than one percent,” she replied, “and those children are medicated only by a doctor and with the permission of their parents. Ms. Z said the idea of children on behavior -modifying drugs rather disturbed her too.
THE REAL PROB is diet and lack of exercise, seems to me, but then I’m not a doctor either. Start pounding down the negative food value items at an early age means an early grave, on the way to which is long stays at Diabetes City, among other unpleasant stops. Every time I pass the high school and see the soft drink machines malignantly beckoning unwary, untutored young people, it’s only another reminder that most adults don’t really care what poisons the young ingest.