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Valley People (May 26, 2021)

RED BEARD IN PHILO? The young fugitive causing considerable consternation from Elk, through the Anderson Valley to the west hills of Ukiah has managed to elude a fairly large law enforcement search for him. He might be so elusive because he's a resident, I mean he may have a safe harbor somewhere in the vastness between Elk and Ukiah. The rifle he's carrying was apparently stolen from a Philo residence, and he's variously been spotted on Cameron Road near Elk, Philo and upper Low Gap Road, Ukiah. The guy does seem to know his way around out there. Apart from his red beard, the kid resembles hundreds of scruffy young men backpacking hither and thither.

THE BATTERED Navarro River, Marshall Newman reports:

“As of this morning, (5/21), Navarro River flow is 43% of the 69-year minimum recorded for this date, which happened in 1977. 

COVID has negatively affected the schools as it has so many areas of American life. High school principal Jim Snyder is trying to get photos of this year’s graduating seniors for the Boonville weekly’s annual photo tribute to the graduates, but reports are that the school was unable to get the class together this covid-complicated year for photographs, the ava’s usual photo display may not be fully possible. 

A GRADUATION CEREMONY will be held on Friday, June 11th at 7pm, but it’s by invitation only due to social distancing requirements. Senior Awards night is Wednesday, June 9th at 7pm. Both events will take place on the high school’s outdoor stage to the west of the gymnasium. 

BAD NEWS, but typical of the Fairgrounds operations: “Just found out we cannot open the Library today (Tuesday the 11th) as planned. Gina told us the Fairgrounds needs an Additional Insured from our Insurance. Cindy has been talking to the Insurance Co., they have changed the rules, it now has to go through Underwriting, so we do not know when we will be open. Can you post this on the sites? And we will keep everyone updated. Thanks, Liz.”

THE PUBLICLY-OWNED Boonville Fairgrounds make it very, very difficult for the public to avail ourselves of its facilities. “Additional insurance” for a library? Please.

DROUGHT WATCH: The drought is bad, as we all know, but this week we learned that it’s even worse than we thought. It’s so dire that the Town of Mendocino has banned the refilling of hot tubs. Gasp! First refillings will generate a warning (assuming the hot tub scofflaw is caught on video by some hyper vigilant busybody videographer with a cellphone). But if you’re caught refilling your hot tub again you could be slapped with a $250 fine. 

IN FORT BRAGG, no mandated restrictions have been issued for their Stage 1 drought declaration. So far. But, according to City Manager Tabatha Miller, “At a Stage 2 or 3, it gets a little harder, and that’s when we force our hotels and restaurants to stop providing towels and sheets on a regular basis.” Fort Bragg is also considering mandating disposable cutlery and plates at city restaurants.

AV FIRE CHIEF Andres Avila told us Thursday that he’s in the process of trying to take an inventory of water for firefighting in Anderson Valley. Unofficial reports have it that vineyard ponds that can serve as an emergency firefighting water source in a normal year are mostly so parched they don’t have enough for a helicopter water dipper bag to gather up.

CALFIRE, CHIEF AVILA REPORTS, doesn’t use their own in-house water tenders for firefighting, mostly hiring commercial water tenders or call on tenders from local fire departments. If water sources are low when a fire hits this year, the tenders will have to drive farther to refill, if they can refill. Otherwise, firefighting strategies will have to be modified to manage the fire depending on the conditions on the ground, relying even more heavily on backfires, bulldozers and hand crews. We have not heard how the big air tankers will refill during the drought, but obviously that will be a challenge as well. The specially modified DC-10 and 747 air tankers can hold between 12,000 and 19,000 gallons of water, but that kind of volume is going to be hard to source this year. (Mark Scaramella)

BOONVILLE FARMERS MARKET NEWS: The first couple Boonville Farmers Markets of the 2021 season were a great success. We had veggies from Logan Family Produce and Inland Ranch, who also brought eggs and meat. There were several varieties of mushrooms from The Forest People. Natural Products of Boonville brought a lovely selection of garden plant starts. The Boonville Barn Collective had a beautiful display of seasonings and soon they’ll have strawberries. Scott Miller the knife sharpener was there sharpening an impressive spread of gardening implements, and Angels Touch had a wonderful selection of body products. Fridays 4-6pm at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, 17700 Boonville Rd.

BROCK FARMS (at the foot of Peachland) will open for the season, Saturday, May 22. Open hours: 10 to dusk Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 2 Sunday, and closed Mondays. We will have the following produce available: chard, kale, salad mix, spinach, sugar snap peas, carrots, turnips, broccoli and eggs. Coming soon are: basil, cabbage and zucchini.

KAITLIN WILTJER ASKS: "Did you witness this? Last night [Monday, 17 May] between 9:30-10:00 I was driving through Boonville towards the coast. As I was passing the Buckhorn a car started flashing their lights, which at that time I realized I left my high beams on (I don't do well driving at night and I'm also human). So I turned them off immediately. Next thing I see in my rear view mirror the White SUV aggressively turn around. There was a small dark car behind me that got driven off the road and the SUV was behind me with their brights on. I started to pull over and they cut me off, I tried to get back in the road, and got cut off again. They were driving very close to me and at one point I almost stopped and they tapped the back of my car. I tried to grab my phone to call 911, as I was swerving to miss the parked cars. I started speeding up and the SUV screeched their tires and flipped back and went the other way. Please if you were the car that witnessed this, please let me know! Also please drive safe at night. I was scared for my life and this was right in Boonville." 

THERE'S WAY too much maniacal driving through all areas of the Anderson Valley, especially Boonville where, by my informal, daylight count, every fifth vehicle is driving through town above the speed limit. When we enjoyed resident deputies they would write a reckless driving ticket if they happened to see the recklessness. But for inexplicable (to me anyway) jurisdictional reasons the CHP is solely responsible for Highway 128, whose traffic volume seems to grow by the day. The jerk who menaced Ms. Wiltjer should be arrested, and maybe will be if he can be identified, but there are multiples of him out there, unfortunately, and we need the CHP over here on a regular basis to crack down on the scofflaws.

MY NEIGHBOR, Mr. Suarez, has a lot more patience than most of us. The same night as Ms. Wiltjer's adventure, there was a terrific din from next door at Mr. Suarez’s Redwood Drive-In where a young man too old to be tantruming in the middle of the night or any time of day was screaming incoherently and beating on the fuel pumps. The Drive-In closes promptly at 8pm. Mr. Suarez puts in long hours, and he was still cleaning up inside his restaurant when the screamer started screaming. My colleague, The Major, pulls the ava's night shift. The commotion next door roused the night shift who hustled over to the fence where he could clearly see Mr. Suarez talking calmly to the young psycho. “I was going to jump the fence and help out if that guy hit Ricardo [Suarez], but Ricardo talked the nut down and everything ended peacefully.” 

FROST FANS IN MAY? In the third week of May? Yes, they roared to life in the pre-dawn twice last week although there was no frost that first day, raising the specter that the Lords of the Grape will disturb our sleep whenever the temperature falls below 40 degrees. Class action anyone?

LAST THURSDAY morning there was no frost to justify the din which, by my count, now stands at 35 nights that some thousand residents of formerly bucolic Anderson Valley have suffered disrupted sleep. It's a relatively mild lesson in colonialism, I guess, where a handful of mostly outside investors, wholly dependent on immigrant labor they take little or no social responsibility for, dominate a large area of Mendocino County and all its elected officials from judges down through building inspectors, sucking up finite sources of water, poisoning the land, reducing the property values of their neighbors, and blasting those neighbors out of their beds more than a month of mornings every year.

THE FRIENDS OF THE MENDOCINO COLLEGE Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences, an affiliate of the Mendocino College Foundation, is pleased to announce the awarding of three scholarships to worthy Mendocino College natural science students. The Mary Lou Koeninger Memorial Scholarship in Earth Science will be awarded to Ana Delgado Mendoza this year. Two scholarships sponsored by the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society will also be awarded: Missael Barosa has been nominated for the 2021 Brandon Pill Memorial Scholarship, and Erin Orth will receive the Greg Grantham Memorial Scholarship.

Missael Barosa

MISSAEL BAROSA. Missael Barosa was raised in the small town of Philo. “Since I was small I have always loved wildlife and enjoyed being outside,” he says. He has done field work in the local agriculture industry, including testing grape vines for harmful pests. Although the COVID-19 mitigation over the last year slowed his academic progress, Missa plans to graduate from Mendocino College with a degree in Natural Resources by next year. He hopes to transfer to Sonoma State University or Chico State University to complete his Bachelor of Science in Education. “I spent a great deal of time walking around exploring the outside nature, instead of being inside.” Missa’s goal is to ultimately become a ranger or a lab assistant/scientist that spends a lot of the time outside the lab. The Brandon Pill Memorial Scholarship is an annual award presented by the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society.

SPRING POETRY CELEBRATION: 46th Anniversary * 16th consecutive Revival

As with last year, the event will be held in the air and on the air at KZYX&Z, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting. Dan Roberts will begin presenting the 2021 open reading submissions on June 6, but act now to get your work in by this Sunday, May 23. Pick up a smartphone, record up to four minutes of poetry and email it to . It’s easy as emailing photos! For encouragement in detail, see Do it now! Send your recording to Dan Roberts at Info: Gordon Black, (707) 937 4107, Let’s hear it from you!

ME? You asked for it, Gordy, Herewith My poem. It’s called, Raincoat:

The rain and the wind blew through the curtains

late at night.

She said, “Close the windows,

you fool.”

But, I said, the air is so sweet,

my dear, but not as sweet as you,

and she put on a rain coat and

went back to sleep.

GORDY? Gordon? Mr. Black? Can I get this one on the radio with Dan? No, you say. So peremptory your No, and us stalwarts for the spoken arts all these years? Still No? I thought we had a relationship, an understanding. I know we’ve had our differences, but the both of us with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel…. My poem either goes on the air with Dan or your dentures, Gordy, disappear!


Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - April 2021: “Several years ago I planted a cactus garden in our entryway. The original cuttings came from the Yountville Veteran’s Home gardens but have been added to over the years with native plants and some fruiting varieties. I was motivated by the idea that California will slowly become desert over the next number of years and by our need for variety in our canned cactus products, but mainly because I love cactus. My visit to Pasadena’s Huntington Museum and Gardens on my first trip to CA inspired my passion. I’m an artist and the colors, textures, linear quality and patterning in the heat and glaring desert light capture my imagination. But when they finally bloomed I was bowled over by how brilliant and profuse the blossoms were, and how fake, almost plastic, they looked which made the plants seem surreal. We’ve always made prickly pear drink mixers and jelly, but now from the Trichocereus cactus fruit we’ve created a jelly called Golden Torch that is nearly black. since cactus never has much flavor on its own, we add flavoring, but cacti health benefits are excellent and black jelly is certainly exotic.

The second set of not very good photos are of a duck house that Steve built. They had been sleeping in the pig trailer which was needed to take the pigs to market. The previous owners of the property left an old handmade flat-bed trailer with two large truck wheels and the new coop is designed to rest on top of it. The tires were flat and the rims so rusted that it was a job to remove the bolts to take the tires off. Once done Steve was told that the rims had to be sanded and powder coated to be able to put on new tires. (I’m responsible for the poppy orange color for the powder coat.) The house can be lifted off the trailer so it will be useful elsewhere. We plan to move the ducks to various planting areas for them to clean them up. Of course, sturdy fencing will be required since it is our understanding that all critters prefer duck to chicken when out foraging.

The above is all to avoid the painful discussion about the non-renewal of our fire insurance which will end in July because of the high fire danger. We are not alone in this and will write about it in depth once we’ve finished our research.

Take care, be safe, be wary, be happy.” (Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg, Yorkville)

YOGA CIRCUIT TRAINING Thursdays 5 -6 Behind the Boonville HS Gym

AV-B-Well and the Wellness Coalition presents the AV 4-Week Fitness Challenge with Raffle Prizes!

The AV Wellness Coalition is sponsoring this 1 month Fitness Challenge, now in its second week. Please take a look at this Calendar and see if there is anything that might interest you.

I am doing a Yoga Circuit training class on THURSDAYS 5-6 at the Outdoor 'Par-Course' equipment behind the AVHS gym.

The class is a Yoga inspired approach to using the outdoor equipment that includes proper alignment, strength training, and stretching. The class consists of a warm up stretch, 8 'stations', 2 Power walk laps and a Yoga cool down.

Come if you wish and spread the word for this health inspired Challenge. 3 more weeks!

There’s also a new posture class that Abeja is offering on the last two Tuesdays on the high school stage/lawn by the gym 5-6.

All activities offered at the high school stage/gym will be relocated during the last week for graduation ceremonies. Please check with instructors about the location for those classes 6/7-6/12.

Please be Fully vaccinated!

Love to all. I hope you are well and enjoying this beautiful spring

Kira Brennan

THE ALBION FLEA MARKET: The sale will continue on Saturday and Sunday this weekend AND Memorial Day weekend, from 9 to 4 each day. There are ads in all the coast papers. It's $20 for a space, reply to 937-0145 to reserve and get more info. There will be different vendors each weekend, so always new things for sale. The Jotul stove is still available, but needs work, plus ALOT of equine items, like saddles and tack, plus furniture, china, children’s toys, so much stuff, you'll have fun browsing thru it all. We are up Albion Ridge Road 3.2 miles from Hwy, right next to the grammar school. 

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