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Valley People

PASTOR DICK COOLIDGE of Comptche has died. He was 95. The Coolidges established the soon thriving Chapel of the Redwoods in Comptche in 1979 where the church produced an annual Passion Play and was even more well known for its lively services at which Coolidge's daughters, including the famous Rita Coolidge, often joined the choir.

THAT MUCH ANTICIPATED high school expulsion hearing was headed off by attorneys before it got to the public stage, and headed off before it got to the school board too, as it turned out, in an agreement that keeps the kid in school and on track for graduation but excludes him from extra-curricular activities. The agreement was presented to the school board Monday night for their signatures. The matter was complicated by its [predictably] inept handling by high school principal Tomlin, but Tomlin's heavy-handed bungling was successfully challenged by the Sanchez family's attorney, Rod Jones of Mendocino. The Sanchezes came away from what became a month-long ordeal hugely grateful for the community support they received and doubly grateful for living in a community that really is a community.

IT WASN'T as if the Sanchez boy wasn't contrite, didn't understand that he'd lost his temper and he'd have to suffer for it, but this thing could and should have been resolved fast and fairly without forcing the family to the expense of defending themselves with an attorney.

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL has begun with a very young and, in some cases, totally inexperienced starting nine, about half of whom have never played the game. The novices nevertheless gave the Clearlake jv's a good game before succumbing, 10-4 and respectably acquitted themselves in a scrimmage with Willits during which a Willits kid wound up pitching for Boonville. Coach Anderson singled out Erick Martinez, Jose Gaxiola and Oren Klein as having played well.

THE COMMUNITY ACTION COALITION has sent out this announcement: “Parents: Are you wondering what to tell your teens about the consequences of using marijuana? Get accurate information about marijuana in this non-judgmental talk by well-known prevention expert Ralph Cantor. Tuesday night at 6:30 in the HS Cafeteria coffee and cookies will be served- all are welcome. Info, 895-2146.”

WHY DO PARENTS have to be assured that this guy's talk will be “non-judgmental”? Non-judgmental is a big part of the teen dope prob, isn't it? Young people should not be smoking marijuana. Period. It makes them stupid and slow, and makes a lot of them permanently stupid and slow, as a glance around Mendoland makes obvious. Or permanently schizophrenic if they've been born with a genetic pre-dispostion to mental illness. The confusion around here comes from the local adult stoners who always manage to make it sound as if pot is simply one more harmless high, kinda like a double Red Bull or a can of Bud Light. It's a strong drug as hazard-inducing as alcohol, although you still hear people say, “Well, hell, I'd rather have my kid smoking pot than drinking. And I rather be shot than hanged. So what? The little dummies should be emphatically ordered, “Don't smoke this crap unless you want to wind up like.....” Pick a name of your preferred local pothead. If your aspiring dope head has any brains he'll choose not to do it.

MAIRE PALME of Gwschend Road, an early riser, a very early riser, was out walking at 4am Tuesday morning when she heard the tremendous crash of a large tree falling, and soon saw a downed redwood giant lying dead across both lanes of Highway 128. Maire was soon joined by Antonia, a custodian at Anderson Valley High School who was on her way to work. Together, Maire and Antonia served as emergency traffic control until a tree crew, delayed by “a cow incident” arrived to clear the debris, and soon after they'd set to work traffic, of which there is a surprising amount in the early hours, could move safely again. Maire said she and Antonia “spent our road-time chatting about our lives; two people from foreign countries with accents. It turned out,” Maire said of her new friend Antonia, “that she is making the food for the 'My Own Identity' poetry reading in Lauren's Cafe Wednesday and I had made the fliers. Life gives us lovely surprises even if the tree is not amongst us anymore and the cow, bless its bovine heart, might be grazing in the greener pastures. The Tree Men arrived - two sparkling and smiling men - and the night started drifting towards the dawn. P.S. Thank you, Monica, for supplying us an emergency light.”

STEVE SPARKS, also of Gwschend Road, departs today (Wednesday) for a month's visit with his family in Birmingham, England. The maestro of many Valley events, the affable Sparks leaves behind, or at least postpones, an odd dispute with a neighbor, a man also from the never fully united United Kingdom, Mr. John Stott, a Scotsman, who, since their unhappy encounter, has referred to Sparks as that “bleeping English bleep.” From what we can gather, Sparks says that Stott, as he passed Sparks home on Gwschend one recent afternoon, deliberately disturbed Sparks' dogs then, when Mrs. Sparks ordered Stott to move on, Stott insulted Mrs. Sparks. Which brought Mr. Sparks hustling down his driveway to confront Stott. Stott says Sparks knocked him to the ground and Stott broke his wrist in the fall. Sparks says he merely cocked his fist as if he were going to strike Stott and Stott fell over in dread anticipation of the blow. Stott subsequently made his way to Ukiah where he filed a complaint against Sparks with the Sheriff's Department. Deputy Walker is sorting it all out.

LORETTA AND W. DAN write: “Wanted to let everyone know that Laughing Dog Books will be closed March 26 through April 12, reopening Friday the 13th. WDan & Loretta are fleeing the continent for geuze, real Belgian chocolate, and “champagne”; plus a little fondue in the homeland and fish & chips in a real British pub. If anyone has books they need to order & receive before then, let us know immediately; we won't be placing any orders after March 14.”

IF YOU SEE a vaguely familiar face in Boonville this weekend it may belong to the actor Ed Norton, in town with his dad to hunt pigs in the east hills.

BARBARA GOODELL WRITES: “In celebrating and giving thanks for the tenth anniversary edition of the Secrets of Salsa cookbook with six fabulous additional new recipes, the Adult School Steering Committee realizes help is needed in marketing, bookkeeping, mailing, and deliveries. Without the salsa cookbook we might be looking at closing the doors of the adult school. The cookbook continues to be a volunteer-driven community project. Every penny of the sales go directly to providing adult English literacy, citizenship, and GED classes. If you would like to help us in any minor or major way in the selling or distribution of the books, please contact Barbara at 895-3897 or email . ¡Buen provecho!”

THEY SAY MARCH comes in like a lion, leaves like a lamb. The lion of March was roaring Tuesday as chill, blustery winds blew through The Valley, puffs of pure white cloud scudding across the clear skies east to die over Ukiah.

A UKIAH READER reports that she was “walking down School Street at 10:30 pm the other night I was stunned, no, horrified to see an exterminator truck parked outside Patrona. They undoubtedly paid a pretty penny for discreet, late-night service. Everyone in the restaurant biz knows downtown is overrun with rats, bats and need to hide!”

ONE OF THE MANY ironies of public life in Mendocino County is the volume of rightly indignant demands for federal government “transparency” put against the local reality of every public body in Mendocino County, from the supervisors down through school boards, behaving with less transparency than Stalin's Politburo. (Uncle Joe at least got out regular scraps of misinformation via Pravda.) The local libs, of course, are the most furtive, the most secretive, the most given to undemocratic practices, and certainly the most likely to shove the shiv in from behind. Another prob with local government is the transient nature of our populations. You have people new to the area sitting on the various boards who have no knowledge or even curiosity about the institutional history of the agency they are allegedly supervising, supervising unto permanent paralysis and death, in many cases.

FIRE CHIEF COLIN WILSON said Tuesday morning that the structure fire Monday afternoon at Rancho Navarro consumed a detached bedroom but did not spread to the main house. “It was fully engulfed when we got there,” the Chief said. “There wasn't much we could do.” A neighbor had seen smoke coming from lower Appian Road and called the blaze in. We've learned since the fire was at the home of the Blyth family. Chief Wilson speculated that a faulty electric heater may have been responsible for igniting the cabin, although it had not been recently occupied.

JEFF OM Mani Padme Hum writes: “I'm promoting a bike race in Boonville this coming July 14th. It's a first for the Anderson Valley and Mendocino County (there are mountain bike races but not road bike races). I am working on community outreach. One of my goals is to have a very well informed public, in particular I want as many people in the valley to know about the race as possible. Being that these are my home roads I want to see this event succeed and I'm hoping to turn it into a larger format event if all goes well this year. It's a boon for the economy in the Valley as the race will pull in up to 500 people on race day plus their friends and family. I'm working hard with the Chamber to ensure as many businesses are involved as possible so everyone can reap the benefits of having a large amount of upper to middle income tourists in the Valley that weekend. I'm working with John Coate at KZYX to get some stuff on air about the race. What concerns me most is that people on the route will be surprised and this inevitably leads to complaints. If I could get some sort of on-going stuff going in the AVA about the race, a small blurb maybe about a local business of the month that is helping out at the race (right now I've got a lot: Philo Ridge Vineyards, The Hotel, Bite Hard Cider, AVBC, The General Store, Cycked, The Mendo Coast Cyclists…) that would be great. I'll be stuffing flyers into mailboxes on the route to engage people about the race and make sure they know it's happening. This type of event is different from a tour in that bike races don't stop, the riding is very aggressive and sometimes we get a bad apple in the peloton who yells something stupid. I'm trying to buffer this type of stuff because I feel that this event can help Boonville, Elk and the surrounding communities as long as I can get good local support. Google Boonville Bike Race for more info.

KEEP HENDY WOODS OPEN! Navarro Vineyards Earth Day Celebration, A Benefit Barbeque & Auction To Keep Hendy Woods Open. Theodore Roosevelt once said “a grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great beautiful cathedral.” Mendocino County is fortunate to have an abundance of spectacular “cathedrals” gracing its landscape with our state parks. Hendy Woods State Park in Philo is one of the 8 state parks slated for closure by this summer, July 1st, 2012. In honor of Earth Day, Navarro Vineyards, together with the Hendy Woods Community, is sponsoring a benefit barbeque & silent auction to raise money to help keep Hendy Woods State Park open. Please join the Anderson Valley community on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, from noon to 3pm at Navarro Vineyards, 5601 Hwy 128, Philo, CA 95466 for an afternoon of fun with delicious locally produced food, Navarro wines, music and a silent auction. Celebrate Earth Day in a beautiful Anderson Valley setting, while helping Hendy Woods stay open for all to enjoy. Tickets for this event are $45 for adults, which includes 2 drink tickets, and $25 for children. Purchase your tickets now, as this will be a sold out event. Tickets are limited, and only available online at If you wish to support this event, but are unable to attend, you can purchase a “no show” ticket for $25. All proceeds will go toward keeping Hendy Woods open. Contact: Navarro Vineyards, 707 895-3686/800 537-9463. Email:

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