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Valley People (October 28, 2020)

VOTERS who plan to vote at the polls this year, should bring their vote-by-mail ballot with them. If you arrive at the polls without your vote-by-mail ballot, you will have to vote provisionally, which requires filling out additional forms and placing the ballot in an envelope that is processed separately from regular ballots. If you are not registered to vote, you can register at the polls on election day and vote provisionally. 

— County Poll Worker, Kathleen McKenna, Boonville

THE GOOD NEWS, THE BAD NEWS: Flu shots and covid testing, Chloe Guazzone, Anderson Valley Health Center Director: “It has taken us all morning to get all the data in. We did 230 flu shots in two hours. That is more than we have ever done at a free flu shot event and we are now considering a second date in the coming weeks. On another note, UCSF has abruptly cancelled the contract with the county that allows us to provide free surveillance testing in the community (as of October 31st). We are trying to figure out what we can do, and next steps, but it is looking highly likely that free covid testing in Anderson Valley, Laytonville, Fort Bragg and Gualala will not continue without an alternate solution. We urge the community to contact elected supervisors and the public health officer if they would like to advocate for free local testing. “


We at the Anderson Valley Health Center are dismayed to learn that UCSF has cancelled its contract with the county for surveillance testing with incredibly short notice of October 31st. This means we are not able to provide free Covid testing beyond our last day of Thursday October 29th. Our Alliance for Rural Community Health partners (MCC, RCMS & LVHC) are working hard with the county to come up with another option for testing in Gualala, Fort Bragg, Anderson Valley and Laytonville. If it is important for you that free Covid testing remain available in our areas of the county, we encourage you to contact your supervisors and/or the county public health officer.

I'D PLANNED to get my flu shot last Wednesday, but the  line to reach the high school's drive-thru vaccination center was clear out to 128. Soooooooo, not wanting to globe-warm by idling for however long it took to get punctured, I gave up and returned to News Central.

A FOG BELT READER WRITES: “I've forwarded, below, an email from the Arena Theater. They, too, are showing CoCo at the pop-up drive-in at Arena Cove but it's pretty pricey. $30 for a car with three people and $5 each for more people in the same car. Also, they have a lot of rules. The Grange sounds like a much better deal and if I were moved to see that particular movie I'd seriously think about seeing it at the Grange, the drive and gas be damned!”

STEVE AND MARIE SILLETT have been climbing the redwoods at Hendy Woods, not simply for the heck of it but to measure the old growth trees for scientific purpose. The couple was surprised to find so many giant redwoods thriving so close to each other. They said all the other really, really big redwoods they've investigated are loners — one here, one way over there. The Silletts, by the way, discovered the height of that huge redwood in Montgomery Woods, and the stupendous heights of those legendarily huge trees in Humboldt County. We all knew they were tall trees, but we didn't know exactly how tall until the Silletts climbed them to carefully record their lengths.

SOME GOOD NEWS, albeit from beyond our planet, is the annual Orion Meteor Shower, on display nightly through November 7th.

MARSHALL NEWMAN WRITES: “I heard the story of the P-39 crash on Fish Rock Road (has to be the same incident – how many planes crash here?) around 1960, soon after we Newmans moved to Anderson Valley. Apparently several people heard the engine sputter and saw the pilot bail out. By the time he reached the ground, a welcoming party of three or four locals had gathered nearby to greet him.”

CHESTNUTS! The Zeni Ranch announces the 37th annual Chestnut U-Pick will be held on Saturday, October 31st (yes it is Halloween!) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Zeni Ranch at 30995 Fish Rock Road outside of Yorkville. All Covid masking, hygiene, and social distancing rules will be in effect. If you have a temperature or do not feel well, please do not come. You can bring your own picnic lunch and a pumpkin to carve. Adult and children’s distanced costume contest. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are OK, but you are responsible for your dog. Chestnuts are $3.50 a pound u-pick and $4.50 a pound picked. Fresh, raw honey, T-shirts, and our popular nut sacks will also be available. For more information call or text Jane Zeni at 707.684.6892.

SERGEANT CLINT WYANT has been promoted by the Sheriff’s Department: Clint was born and raised in Mendocino County.

Sergeant Wyant’s youth was spent in Anderson Valley until his family moved to Ukiah when he was in the 5th grade. 

He graduated Ukiah High School in 1996 then attended Mendocino College, studying criminal justice.

Sergeant Wyant applied with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and was hired in 1999. He has been with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office now for over 21 years. 

Sergeant Wyant began his career assigned to the Corrections Division, later promoting to Corporal. 

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office sponsored Sergeant Wyant by sending him to the College of the Redwoods Police Academy, where he graduated in 2006 and became a Deputy Sheriff-Coroner. 

Sergeant Wyant worked in the North and Coastal sectors from 2006-2015. 

During this time he was a field training officer and is a senior member of the SWAT Team, where he serves the roll of team leader. 

Sergeant Wyant was assigned to the Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau in 2015 where he has investigated a variety of crimes, ranging from child abuse, sexual assault, robbery and homicide.

He applied for a Patrol Division Sergeant position and was promoted to an acting Sergeant position in February 2020, ultimately being promoted to this full-time position on October 4th, 2020. 

JOHN SCHARFFENBERGER is a man of many distinctions, among them major entrepreneurial successes in businesses as unlike as wine and chocolate. If contracting covid and defeating it had anything to do with initiative, the modest Philo man could rightfully claim that he got it, beat it on his own, and add the triumph to his impressive resume. And beat it he did to become the first resident of the Anderson Valley to go public with his dire experience. Our covid survivor forthrightly states that at his age, 69, and being HIV-positive, his pre-existing conditions put him high up on the covid hit list. On the plus side of the candidate ledger, this candidate does everything right. He was and is very fit and physically active. 

Take it away, John Scharffenberger: 

 “I went with a friend to Colorado to get away from the constant isolation. We stayed a few days, hiking and biking and rafting and playing tennis. On my way back when I got off the plane I started feeling kinda crummy. I stayed in a hotel by myself in San Francisco and woke up with the worst fever I’ve ever had —102, 103. My friend got tested and came back positive. I think I got it from him because everyone on the plane was masked up and they were constantly wiping everything down.

“I got myself back up to Boonville where I jumped into bed with all my clothes on and stayed there for four days. I kept in touch with Kaiser’s covid line so I could be monitored by them. They like to do it this way to keep people out of the hospital. They were great. I didn’t have a sore throat or any of the other symptoms you hear about. My lungs were clear. The high, fever-like temperature was it, but it was bad enough. From the get-go I knew I wasn’t going to die from fever. 

“Basically I just sweated it out. People left me food, and a friend did my shopping. It was boring just lying there, drinking lots of water, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Kaiser told me no Ibuprofen or anything like that. I felt better after four days but I was weak and tired. I tested positive, which didn’t surprise me. The [County] Health Department called after I got tested, and kept on calling every other day for two weeks to do track and trace of who I might have been in contact with. I feel fine and I can travel now, but my immunity ends after four months. I feel incredibly lucky. My friend who tested positive has no symptoms, no nothing.”


Here are my selections for the 2020 CA ballot propositions:

14 -NO- Once upon a time I was a dewey-eyed youth who saw this type of spending as a good thing. No more. My experience has taught me that this type of bond measure is simply a scheme to put public money into the hands of private business. If stem cell research is as promising as I believe it is, private businesses should be able and willing to fund the research themselves. After all, under our crapolicious health care system they stand to reap obscene profits.

15 -YES- I believe that it is right and proper to close the loophole in 13 that allows commercial property owners to pay far less than their share.

16 -NO- It’s difficult to see how 16 makes any practical difference one way or the other.

17 -YES- It is the right thing to do. Once someone has served their sentence, their punishment should end. Otherwise, how would redemption be possible?

18 -NO- Silly and unwieldy.

19 -NO- Looks like more gravy for the wealthy. NO.

20 -NO- The old “hit them harder” ploy, not buying it.

21 -NO- This isn’t the housing solution we’ve been looking for.

22 -NO NO NO NO- Not having anything polite to say about Uber and their attempt to legislate their business plan, I’ll just say it again: NO!

23 -YES- If you’ve ever seen the inside of one of these dialysis shitholes you’ll immediately understand why oversight is badly needed.

24 -YES- The more privacy protection, the better.

25 -YES- Stick it to the bail bondsmen and all the other fine folk who profit from pre-trial incarceration.

Thanks for reading, and please get out there and Vote Like Your Life Depended on It.

FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: “In my short experience as county supervisor, the most anguishing moments have been off camera, far removed from bow tie Tuesday. At times, tears have been the natural response to constituent stories of hardship born out of government dysfunction. Systemic social services dysfunction cannot be solved by a Tuesday board vote. Notional platitudes are both accurately explanatory and a collective cop-out. In contrast to the varied perspectives associated with most issues, I see my colleagues as purely collaborative partners in attempting to concretely address the hardships of mental health treatment. Local government is not internally conflicted, but rather a warped puzzle piece in a picture of structural deficiency. Solutions are most apt to emerge through collaboration, increased public awareness and our willingness to halt the visceral tendency to dwell on culpability.

On May 9 of last year, at a "Stepping Up" event hosted by our county in partnership with Mendocino County National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a father shared his daughter’s experience with modern day criminalization of the mentally ill. While waiting for a psychiatric hospital bed, she stayed in solitary confinement in our county jail for over four months, allowed out every other day for an hour between midnight and 2am. The elements of this story have been deemed accurate by our county mental health staff, professionals who do not oversee mental health treatment or confinement conditions in our antiquated jail. As I understand, this fact pattern was not an anomaly, but rather representational of the way our society treats (and further injures) the mentally ill. I want to assure you that these egregious shortcomings have been rectified, but regrettably, I cannot. Protecting public money is an important component of my role, but the opportunity for change through silence has lapsed. It’s now time to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. More questions than answers at present.”

MONDAY MORNING’S light frost caught me, and probably you, unprepared, in my case unprepared to protect my two-year-old poinsettia. As president and sole member of the Poinsettia Rescue Society, formed thirty years ago when I belatedly noticed that millions of the brilliant plants were thrown away after Christmas, I began collecting them, re-potting them, nurturing them, bringing them inside when it got cold. They’re brilliant plants, more attractive to me in their multiplicities of green than they are blushed red or, worse, anemic pink and white. So, I had a  two-year beaut out in front of the office, left it out over the weekend expecting cool but not frigid overnights, and… this morning it’s fairly shrieking, “You betrayed me! My deep green leaves are curling and soon I’ll be one more exploited, abandoned poinsettia…