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Valley People (March 10, 2021)

BOB BRENDLEN has died. Well known as “Fisherman Bob” on the Northcoast for his impressive knowledge of local fisheries, Mr. Brendlen made his home in Boonville for many years, raising a large family here. He also owned a place at Lake Tahoe for a few years and was a familiar figure in the Mattole Valley.

CHRIS ISBELL of Navarro suffered a severe stroke last week, so severe he may not survive. He is presently hospitalized in Ukiah. Chris had been living in Navarro and working with Doug Johnson. It was Johnson who found the incapacitated Isbell and summoned help from the Anderson Valley Ambulance. Chris, who began his working life as a logger, was also a skilled handyman and locally famous as a fisherman and guide to the Navarro River. He was married to the late Judy Waggoner-Isbell and a loyal stepfather to her grandchildren.

RUMOR in real estate circles says the old June Ranch is for sale, or soon will be. Roughly 840 acres that runs northwest off Ornbaun Road, the property is also the site of the Jeans Family homestead, Anderson Valley's pioneer black family.

CAPTAIN RAINBOW is departing for Iraq to join his partner, Yvonne Dunton. Ms. Dunton is an experienced aid coordinator in the world's hotspots who is presently assigned to that turbulent country. The Boonville-based bon vivant and maestro of the annual Anderson Valley Talent Show, Captain Rainbow was working with Ms. Dunton in Burma a few years ago when they were both nearly lynched by an angry mob that claimed the unwitting couple had insulted their religion. 

THE BURMA INCIDENT. Captain Rainbow, whose given name is Robert Salisbury, had been living and working in Myanmar, formerly Burma, in an area of that country where Buddhist mobs, helped by the notorious Burmese military, had been murdering the minority Muslim Rohingya population. He and Yvonne Dunton, were affiliated with a German charity called Malteser International in a place called Sittwe where they worked with the persecuted Muslim minority, the Rohingya. In March of 2014, a Buddhist mob accused Ms. Dunton of improperly handling a Buddhist flag. 

ACCORDING to foreign press accounts, Buddhist mobs attacked offices of foreign nongovernmental organizations when riots erupted in Sittwe on Wednesday (March 26th, 2014) after Ms. Dunton was seen taking down and allegedly “disgracing” a Buddhist flag flying at her rented house. Anderson Valley friends of Ms. Dunton reported that Ms. Dunton was merely lowering the flag with no intent to offend anyone. But ethnic tensions were running high in Sittwe where Buddhists have lately seized any pretext to attack the area's Muslim minority, since driven from the country into Bangladesh, a great crime defended, incidentally, by Myanmar's president, Aung San Su Kyi. Ms. Dunton was simply trying to maintain her organization's neutrality by removing the Buddhist flag, which was not supposed to be placed where she found it.

AN ANGRY MOB soon materialized outside Rainbow's and Ms. Dunton's house demanding Ms. Dunton and Rainbow. Their home was already being pelted by stones, and the bloodthirsty crowd was growing larger, when police arrived to escort the Anderson Valley couple to a secure police guesthouse. Ms. Dunton and Rainbow, the same day, made their way to the relative safety of Yangon, as did the staffs of all twenty-three aid organizations working in Sittwe.

YVONNE DUNTON, in her own words, google Yvonne Dunton on the website.

LAST WEEK'S free COVID testing at the Anderson Valley Fairgrounds was a bust, with fewer than 30 locals showing up to get tested. The AV Health Center, whose efficient staff had seamlessly convened prior testings, was unaware of this County-sponsored event, which was barely advertised and preceded by an overly complicated on-line sign-up. 

A LOCAL WOMAN posted this message: “Anyone know a blond haired guy with dreadlocks probably in his 40’s that drives a newer gray/silver Audi wagon? It’s no one I’ve ever seen in the valley. Probably a coast person. Please let me know. He passed me on 128 headed to Cloverdale on a double yellow/blind corner then stopped in the road making it impossible for me to get by him, came at my window and spit and screamed at my daughter and I in our car this evening. He was tailgating me so close I couldn’t pull over. It’s not Joshua from AV...”

SHE WAS PROBABLY too unnerved to get this nut's license number, but most of us who travel 128 regularly have had death-defying vehicular adventures of one kind or another. Mr. Dreadlocks seems not to have internalized the Rastafarian message of peace to all beings; the worst incidents I know of have involved men intimidating or even trying to kill women drivers, as happened to a local woman some years ago when a man tried repeatedly to bash her car off the road as she drove southbound between Philo and Boonville. I've come around blind corners to find an oncoming car in my lane. Only my lightning reflexes spared me a head-on. And, pre-cellphone, I followed a guy from Yorkville so drunk he was regularly in the oncoming lane. I finally got around him and ran straight to the Cloverdale Police station where a cop was dispatched pronto to intercept the drunk as he came off 128 at the Cloverdale junction. Years ago, when traffic wasn't nearly the volume it is today, we enjoyed a resident CHP officer named Burl Evans who was driven outtahere because some loud, influential locals thought they should be exempt from the traffic laws.

VERY PROUD of our FFA Creed speakers today! They competed in the virtual Mendo-Lake FFA Section competition. Our four awesome FFA members placed 1st to 4th. All four will move on to the NorthCoast Region competition in April. (Beth Swehla)

THE ANDERSON VALLEY has always been a transient kind of place, and never more transient than now because lots of people with no ties to or  interest in this place beyond its convenience as a grape or marijuana venue are here to cash in and then they're gone. Covid has knocked out the few community institutions we had pre-covid, and may or may not survive this terrible time to resume when it’s over.

THERE are lots of comments like this one on Northcoast chat lines: “Please, please move pot farming down south or to Oklahoma. Leave the finest quality where it’s always been. It’s the small ma and pa gardens that made our area famous. These big grows have no soul, it’s just the money.” 

IT QUICKLY became "just the money" when Ma and Pa Back-To-The-Land discovered that their soma would fetch $4-$5 thousand a pound in the city, and right from the get the trend to big-is-better was just a matter of time, and here we are with the County easing the way for big grows, and with a large share of the pot business dominated by mellow-proof people with guns.

THE POT PEOPLE could learn from the wine juggernaut. When the wine boom kicked off in Mendocino County in the 1970s, right away you had them or their surrogates sitting as supervisors and occupying water boards. Wherever their hands on the power levers. The pot people seem educationally challenged by comparison.

BUT THEY'RE both mostly unregulated, and their joint assaults on the land and water of the Anderson Valley is evident.  

AS IN, for example, the sudden drop one morning last week in Con Creek near the elementary school. Yesterday (Monday) it was already flowing about at mid-summer levels; Tuesday, half that.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Anderson Valley Elementary School. Will we ever get away from this Gradgrindian naming of parts and re-christen the school after a memorable teacher of yesteryear? My preference is the late Blanche Brown. Ms. Brown was a gifted natural botanist and founder of our annual wildflower show. She traveled on horseback from her home on Indian Creek to her first school in Peachland. Ukiah's schools mostly are named, why not Boonville's schools?

YORKVILLE’S BOB SITES on what to do with the PG&E settlement money: “The absolute best thing for the 22.7 MILLION Dollars would be to turn it all over to the measure B committee. It probably should go to fix-up some of our roads like repairing and slurry sealing while still repairable. The Sheriff’s Department could do a lot towards making us safer. We know that’s not going to happen. So instead of throwing a big chunk of it away on consultants who don’t even live here let’s just turn it all over to the measure B ad-hock committee and wait.”

PENNYROYAL FARM. With warmer days ahead and overall wellness on the rise, we will resume service on our patio beginning this Friday, March 5! Booking details Booking for our Farm Table along with the revival of a much-requested experience, Taste of Place: Wine & Cheese Tasting will be available Thu - Mon. Both options are hosted on our outdoor patio or under our covered tent at socially-distanced tables. Reservations are required and limited to group sizes of 6 persons or less. For questions, special requests, or assistance with your reservation, please call 707-895-2410.

Before you book your reservation and visit us, please make sure that you have read through our COVID-19 Policy. It explains our safety and health precautions, policy, FAQs, etc. These will be enforced to maintain a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

BOONVILLE HOTEL: LITTLE BITS OF SPRING appearing, promises of what's to come...we're serving lunch on Sundays if the sun is shining, give us a call to save your table 707.895.2210.

Perry's take out menu for this week is posted below. Orders are placed online at and pick up is 5:30-6pm.

Take good care everyone, hope to see you soon.

3.4.21 Thursday Dinner - ROASTED LAMB TLAYUDA with mole, white beans, radish, avocado, winter cilantro, lime crema and served with something sweet too! dinner for 2/$50

3.5.21 Friday Dinner-ROASTED DIVER SCALLOPS with CAPERS and GREEN GARLIC, served with a potato puree, simple salad and a sweet finale made by Joansey. $36/meal

3.7.21 Sunday Dinner- GRILLED SIRLOIN with SALSA VERDE, and ARTICHOKE with GARLIC AIOLI- served with a butter lettuce salad and something sweet to finish. $40/meal

ANDERSON VALLEY FARM SUPPLY: Chicks are in! We have: Silver Laced Wyandotte, Easter Egger, Barred Cochin & Ancona!


Cases/Deaths per Month:

  • 229 / 9 (Jul)
  • 392 / 8 (Aug)
  • 260 / 2 (Sep)
  • 210 / 2 (Oct)
  • 420 / 2 (Nov)
  • 964 / 4 (Dec)
  • 876 / 11 (Jan)
  • 382 / 5 (Feb)

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