A FIVE-TON truck registered to Veritable Vegetable of San Francisco overturned on 128 Monday shortly before noon about a quarter mile from the Yorkville Fire Station. The truck, which had just made a stop at Boonville's Boont Berry Farm, was southbound empty after delivering the organic produce Veritable specializes in to markets from Boonville to Mendocino and Fort Bragg. The driver, Jose Ramos, 36, of Daly City, had over-corrected after drifting off the roadbed, hurtled across 128 and up the embankment where his truck fell on its side and slid downhill towards Beebe Creek. Ramos suffered a gash to his head but was able to climb back up to the road where he collapsed. He was soon airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. A small amount of diesel from the partially overturned truck's fuel tank was spilled. Emergency responder Colin Wilson, Anderson Valley's quick-thinking fire chief, was able to fashion an impromptu plug from duct tape and wood that neatly dammed one of the truck's fuel tanks. A HazMat team was on site Monday afternoon cleaning up the small amount of fuel that did spill.
IN OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICES news, Monday evening about 8 o’clock a control burn that went out of control not far from Indian Creek Bridge, Philo, required two volunteer fire crews to restrain it. Which they quickly did.
SOLOMON FOR CONGRESS volunteers are urged to appear on the patio of the Boonville Hotel this afternoon, May 2nd, 5-7pm to make phone calls for the candidate. “Bring you cell phones,” Jerry Cox reminds Solomon people. A veteran of many, many political campaigns, Cox says, “We'll instruct volunteers on how to make calls. You could swing this election.”
A RESIDENT of Indian Creek was startled Monday afternoon to discover a Google car on Indian Creek Road busily taking pictures of the family homestead. “The Google car had a little blue thing like a soccer ball on its roof. When I asked the guy what he was doing he identified himself as a Google employee based in Lake County.” The Google guy went on to explain that he was taking digital photos of properties for Google Streetview. When asked to erase the photos of this particular property, he did.
TERRY RYDER WRITES to “urge all to attend “Cocktails with Mimi” at the Grange Friday or Saturday Night. Director Marcus Magdaleno who also directs our AV Teen Drama Group has done a fabulous job of coaching the talented actors of the AV Theater Guild to go over the top and then some with their performance. Having been a puppeteer for many years I have a great fondness for the perfect exaggerated gesture and clowning in general. These guys give this strictly for laughs play all they’ve got. Very, very funny and appropriate for all ages the “cocktails” are not a major player in the plot. This is mainly all about watching crazy people do crazy things. If you like smart with your silly this is your kind of play. The only thing lacking is a Vicar jumping in and out of windows and you won’t even miss him.”
A CRYPTIC press release promises that Miss America will appear in Boonville at “Camp Avary for a fundraising event for the children of the incarcerated.” No date has been set and no one seems to know where in the heck in the Anderson Valley Camp Avary is. You know?
A VIGILANT and determined Supervisor Hamburg made it clearer than clear to a Caltrans rep last week that if Big Orange tried to raise the speed limit through Philo, “You will run into a huge amount of opposition in my district.” It took a huge amount of agitation to get the speed controls we presently have in Philo, agitation reinforced at the time by a credible threat to shut down the highway if Caltrans didn't at least attempt to slow traffic through Anderson Valley's second city.
GREG KROUSE amends his opt-out-of-smartmeters letter in this week's blast to say that the opt out can be simply accomplished via the PUC's website. Greg says he didn't want to suggest that the elderly or otherwise disabled were being taken advantage of by PG&E in not being able to cease service by SmartMeters.
IN AV BASEBALL, the boy's team split doubleheaders with Mendocino in Mendocino and Covelo here at the Boonville diamond. The games in Mendocino set local historical precedent in that the coaches of both Mendocino and Boonville were of Chinese ancestry. Coach Hee of Mendocino, whose family goes all the way back to the Mendocino Joss House, and coach Anderson of Boonville who, on his mother's side, descends from the Hakka people of southern China and the Southeast Asian diaspora.
COACH ANDERSON cited the play of Eric Martinez; Chava Gutierrez, who knocked in a winning run; Justin Soto, who pitched both ends of the Mendo doubleheader, losing one, winning one; Scotty Johnson; Jose Gaxiola; Omar Benevides, and Oren Klein. (Mr. Klein clarifies that he missed a previous game for a doctor's appointment, not dialysis.)
NORM CLOW writes regarding the sale of the Boy Scout Camp at Navarro: “That’s sad news, but at least the Scouts will still be able to use it. My first summer camp there was 1961, and I worked on the staff for four summers 1967-70, and spent time there for numerous other events. It was a great place with a lot of good times that served Scouts and others for many decades. One unusual memory that sticks out is in 1967 the camp director, Dick Hacke, who was also the Yokayo District Executive, gathered all of us staff together and informed us of a major dope bust in the Navarro area. There was some thought that there may be more raids to come near the camp. (There weren’t.) Turns out it was Charles Manson and his crew.”
WE HAVE the brief account of that bust somewhere. It appeared in Homer Mannix's AVA, and cites by name several of the women later arrested for murder and mayhem in Los Angeles. Old timers tell me it was the Manson Family, from their rental on Gschwend Road in Navarro, who introduced marijuana to The Valley's young people.
A FRIEND sent me a poll of Marin County high school students circa 1968. It showed about half of them had already smoked dope. Asking around Anderson Valley circa April of 2012 about the incidence of marijuana use among our young scholars, a high school girl diplomatically replied, essentially, “Some do but some don't.” Hope more don't than do because it's a dangerously debilitating thing for a kid to get into, a major energy drain at a time of life you have some. Energy, I mean.
IF YOU'VE got to get sick, Anderson Valley is a good place to do it, as Bruce Longstreet has discovered as his many friends rally to make his return from the hospital after colon cancer surgery as comfortable as possible.
SPEAKING of charitable feelings of the type converted to charitable action, Dave Severn is hugely grateful to the anonymous donor whose generosity has made it possible for a bunch of local kids to attend YES Camp, an intensive training for young people of high school age in the practical (and marketable) skills related to emergency services. Severn thinks the full complement of 15 students will be able to attend the Willits sessions. If you want to help, call Dave at 895-2011.
STANDING around with the geezers watching Doyle Drive demolished last weekend, an old boy sez to me, “Betcha didn't know Doyle Drive was named for Frank Doyle, the Santa Rosa banker. He lobbied for it as an efficient way for traffic to get on and off The Bridge.”
IMAGINE THAT. IN 1936, bankers lobbied for beneficial public works projects. Today, they lobby for changes in the banking laws so they can rob us.
THE MATTER of the sentencing of Thomas Plowright III of Nash Mill Road, has been put over until Friday, the 11th of May. Plowright I, we understand, was a dentist who bought into Nash Mill as a retreat. Plowright III ran afoul of numerous local, state and federal agencies when stolen heavy equipment was discovered on his Nash Mill property. Charges mounted from there to include a variety of criminal and environmental allegations.
AV FARM SUPPLY in escrow? Yes, and let’s hope the new owners, as yet not revealed, keep this essential Valley institution just the same. Dave Gowan mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that he was looking for land in Oregon, and here's hoping he, Nancy and family don't move that far from here.
RUMORS that the Marijuana Museum at Navarro was raided by the DEA can't be confirmed by the Sheriff's Department. They don't think it happened. A most amusing addition to local tourist attractions, the museum seems to have been chronically short on rent payments, and it's present status is more like on again, off again. The DEA, one might assume, has bigger fish to fry.
IT WON’T HAPPEN HERE! The Sonoma County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to put the brakes on hillside and hilltop vineyards. Mendocino County has no restrictions on where a vineyard can go, hence vineyards on many precipitous hillsides, especially in the Anderson Valley. (cf Rhys Vineyards at Navarro.)
DENNIS ROSATTI is executive director of Sonoma County Conservation Action. He neatly puts the case for a halt to hillside vineyard development: “Sonoma County's forests and wildlands are at risk. In an increasingly global marketplace, wine industry giants are seeking to convert existing forestlands into vineyards and water storage ponds. While the search for higher, cooler territory is partly driven by global warming and scarce agricultural land, the real bounty is high prices for premium varietals. Domestic and Asian wine consumption is up, and high demand and short supply have led North Coast vintners to scramble to fill the gap. Who is creating the increased demand for premium wine? We are experiencing a ‘generation of widening inequality,’ according to the California Budget Project. Between 1987 and 2009, the average inflation-adjusted incomes for the upper 1% of California taxpayers increased by 50%, and those of the upper 10% of taxpayers increased by 30%, while the average incomes of taxpayers in the bottom fourth-fifths declined. The median income for Sonoma County families from the 2012 census was $56,063. Only the wealthy can afford wines above $50 a bottle. Should we welcome the conversion of our forests for the upper echelon of income-earners? Years of lowered water quality and fish habitat have led to the near-elimination of the once mighty salmon and steelhead runs of the Russian River. Prior decision-makers traded environmental quality for agriculture and urban development and their industry dollars. Through great effort and cost, Sonoma County has worked to restore the habitat of the Russian River and its tributaries. Many growers are following best practices and work hard to be good stewards of the land. But much of the traditional agricultural lands on valley floors and gently sloping upland areas have been utilized. Thus, the next frontier of vineyard development is on steeper hillsides and ridgetops, many of which are forested. This pressure is leading to the next land rush in our forested and remote areas. The county agricultural commissioner's office is now dealing with this crisis. It is working with stakeholders to develop new standards for regulating tree removal for vineyards and orchards in forested areas. We applaud the agriculture commissioner and county supervisors for calling a temporary time-out on forest conversions. They recognized the lack of enforceable rules governing this major invasion into the environment and the threat to water quality through soils movement. We see utility in adopting the currently proposed standards for small acreage projects. However, we believe industrial-scale projects require more scrutiny. Regulations must protect public waterways and forests from environmental harm that any industry might bring. Thus, we recommend the following additional policy steps: Larger projects must be subject to thorough discretionary review under the California Environmental Quality Act. Treating five-acre projects the same as 100-acre projects is unreasonable. Grape industry leaders speak of the regulatory burden on small farmers. But 80 percent of vineyard acreage is owned by only 20 percent of growers. We feel a 10-acre threshold is sufficiently large to enable a small family farm or vineyard expansion under currently proposed standards. Ephemeral streams need stronger protection. These “winter creeks” carry the rainwater drainage from ridges and slopes to the “blue line” indicated streams in the general plan. Ephemeral tributaries must be protected from tree removal, re-contouring and road impacts. There should be setbacks from the top of the banks of these ephemeral streams to ensure a net-zero runoff. A process must be established to examine forest conversion impacts more comprehensively. The current process has been limited to soils impacts. Issues of habitat loss, greenhouse gas emissions, water demand and cumulative impacts of forest conversion must be examined in order to arrive at an informed policy decision. Conservation Action is not alone in this thinking. Numerous organizations and individuals have expressed their support for preventing forest loss through vineyard expansion. We are not against grape growing; we recognize the importance of agriculture, wine production and tourism for the Sonoma County economy. We are against the conversion of forests for the benefit of the 1%.”