Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (July 7, 2021)

THESE RED FIRE BOXES have been popping up all over Anderson Valley and people are starting to ask what they are.

After countless hours of mapping by former Fire Chief Wilson, a matching grant from the Mendocino Community Foundation, and lots of local support, we are now installing these fire boxes containing critical emergency information. 

The info includes road systems, topography, structures, water sources, helicopter landing zones, etc., and will be invaluable to both local and out-of-district first responders in the event of a large scale incident.

Chief Avila had an opportunity to use a similar resource while on strike team assignment in Kern County last year and, impressed by the efficiency, brought the concept home. Thanks to everyone whose work made this project happen.

(AV Fire Department)

LIBERTY DAY was off to a booming commercial start in downtown Boonville on Friday and on into Saturday, with veritable shoals of visitors walking around with ice cream cones, and all our eating places crowded with gourmands, local and transient. The Farmer's Market at its handy new site at the Boonville Brewery was just setting up as I cruised past, but the Brewery's tasting room was already busy, and I was told it had been busy since it opened at noon. I like the way the Brewery has made its commodious grounds available to the community. 

A WILDLAND FIRE was reported in Boonville a little before 3pm Thursday afternoon. On edge given the hot, dry, windy conditions, we asked AV Chief Andres Avila about it.

Avila: “It was reported as a 200' x 200' spot fire located in the disc golf course at the Brewery. It was extinguished by Brewery employees. AV Fire Department units were cancelled prior to arrival.”

HEALTH CENTER EXPANSION. The AV Community Health Center is embarking on a new building project! Many of you may know that Anderson Valley Health Center has been planning for a significant expansion to our building for a few years now. We will be starting on a public fundraising campaign (following a quiet phase) in early fall. However, the Health Center received a one million dollar grant from the Human Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to begin the project and has since received over $500,000 in additional grant funds. Thankfully, much quicker than anticipated, we have received permits and begun demolition as of today July 1, 2021. We will continue to keep the community apprised of new developments with the project. Thank you for your support! (Chloë Guazzone-Rugebregt, MPH | Executive Director)


Although many restaurants and businesses will be re-opening to full capacity with decreased restrictions on June 15, 2021, the AVSC will not. We will remain serving our wonderful people of the Valley the same way we have been for the last year—pick up or delivery only. We came to this decision because of the rise of new Covid-19 cases and mostly in consideration of the vulnerable population we serve. We will revisit the possibility of re-opening for congregate dining on a month-to-month basis and come up with a plan for when we can safely re-open. We so look forward to seeing everyone and miss you all so much!

MARSHALL NEWMAN WRITES: “Back in the 1970s, a man from Redwood Valley contacted my father, Irv Newman, to ask if he could rent El Rancho Navarro, the summer camp my parents owned near Philo, to use for weekend church retreats. The man later came to see the camp. As he took him on a tour of the property, my father became more and more uncomfortable. At the end of the tour, he told the fellow the camp would not be available to rent. The man took the news well. With pleasant ‘good-byes,’ Reverend Jim Jones headed back to Redwood Valley and my father never heard from him again.”

SO MANY world class maniacs have passed through the Anderson Valley and Mendocino County, that many of us have had direct experience with one or more of them. Although the Manson Girls lived in Navarro for a summer, and Big Chuck himself was arrested near Ukiah for some minor offense, the only story I've heard about the merry band of psychopaths was one I heard from a Boonville guy who told me that local kids, some of them anyway, were gifted with their first marijuana by the Manson Girls who, incidentally, aroused the attention of much older men who would drive by Manson’s Gschwend Road place  hoping to get a glimpse of forbidden flesh. 

CON CREEK is just about dry. It's down to a few forlorn puddles, In a week, it will be fully de-watered. Con Creek is the used-to-be year-round stream near the Elementary School. It has always been my guide to the biological health of our shared natural neighborhood, and, extrapolating from that small particular to the large Anderson Valley general, a dry Con Creek is muy malo, which means very bad in Mexican. No habla agua. I've never seen Con Creek completely dry. And it's about there.

CON CREEK dead. There was no sign of liquid life in Con Creek last Thursday. 

I ASK everyone who stops by the bunker, “How's your water holding up?” This morning, a hill-dwelling lady said, crossing her fingers, “My well's getting about a half-gallon a minute,” and she has a large garden, which only adds to her apprehension. A Senior Citizen answered, “Not too good. My prostate is shot. Gotta go every coupla hours,” adding, “Oh, that water. We're all on short rations at my house. My pump starts sucking sand real fast if we don't watch it. Hell yes, I'm worried. It's only the end of June.”

WE TEND TO FORGET how many hill people are on gravity-flow springs or pump from whatever streams are in their area. Historically considered, not many people lived in the hills of the county 70 years ago. In 1950, there were only 30,000 people spread over the Mendo vastness, most of whom were flatlanders. The population of our dear home of golden hills, redwoods and sea grew almost exponentially from the middle 1960s when some large ranches were subdivided and sold to the back-to-the-landers for low money down and easy monthly payments; much logged-over timberland was also sold off by the cut and runners who weren't about to wait around for the commercial trees to grow back. Bob McKee of the Garberville area almost single handedly negotiated the parceling off of Southern Humboldt and Northern Mendocino counties. What had been timber and grazing land was suddenly populated, as new settlers learned new lessons about the true meaning of homesteading in a vastness that had not been populated at all except, of course, by the native peoples who lived on it for eons without destroying anything other than each other occasionally in recreational warfare. And here we are today, thousands of little Mendo-frogs in a big pot of disappearing water on slow boil. 

ANDERSON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL GRADS were well represented in a recent Mendocino County Foundation press release about the many scholarships they awarded around the County this year. “Many of the Community Foundation scholarship awardees are first generation college students,” the presser says. “Those who receive multi-year scholarships also have the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with our donors and staff. This mentoring can be helpful as students leave their local high schools for bigger cities and school environments. The transition can be challenging and knowing that they have the support of their home community can make all the difference as students encounter the new adventures university life can offer. Please consider joining with the Foundation to make more opportunities for students available. To donate or to learn more about the Community Foundation Scholarship Program, visit our website,, or call 468-9882.”


California Retired Teachers Association Division 55 Bessie Scott Scholarship FundDavid Parra

California Retired Teachers Association Division 55 Hilmer Finne Music Scholarship FundShekina McEwen

Walter Camp STEM Scholarship FundXimena Saucedo

Hammond Trust Emergency Services Scholarship FundAlec Alarcon; Sam Douglass-Thomas

Chris P. Lo Pinto Memorial Scholarship FundErik Ocampo

Mendocino Agricultural Families’ Scholarship Fund (Winegrowers’ Scholarship Fund)Pedro Talavera; Alexandre Tovar

Jesse Pittman Memorial Scholarship FundSam Douglass-Thomas

The John Haschak Public Service Scholarship Fund (Willits, Laytonville, Round Valley)Shekina McEwen

M. Cecil and Alice M. Gowan Memorial Scholarship FundAlec Alarcon

Pearson Family STEM Scholarship FundXimena Saucedo

Scholarship Winners:

Shekina McEwen, David Parra, Eric Ocampo, Pedro Talavera
Alec Alarcon, Alexandre Tovar, Sam Douglas-Thomas (Ximena Saucedo, photo not available)

THE ANDERSON VALLEY LIBRARY Used Book Sale is underway at the Community Library in the Home Arts Building at the Fairgrounds. Tuesdays from 1-4pm and Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30pm. Last Day is July 27.

KATHY BAILEY WRITES in response to Brad Wiley on Lyle Luckert: “After living at Lyle’s Anderson Valley place for the last 34 years or so I am pretty sure I know why Lyle and Grace moved on. Water. Lyle and I graduated from the same high school in Minneapolis somewhat less than 40 years apart, a school that was only a few blocks from a chain of lakes that spanned west Minneapolis, in a town where these waters were connected by creeks and parkways from the western edge across town all the way to the Mississippi River at its eastern boundary. You grow up with that much water and what we have here in Anderson Valley and the crazy complicated water system Lyle developed to make things work for him, will always feel like a struggle. And that was when water was “normal” for here. Figuring out how to make a living on this land was always extremely challenging. At least in Bandon he could count on the water. And how great does that sound right now!”

PG&E SEEMS TERRORIZED by its own power lines, hence this scorched earth right-of-way beneath its lines at the Greenwood Bridge, creating a major eyesore at what had been a pleasant vista at the entrance to Hendy Woods. 

Lots of ‘folks’, as we're now collectively referred to by our chummy media, were arrayed beneath the bridge by the stagnant pools of what's left of the Navarro River. Others, some with small children and enough gear for a week, were trying to figure out how to get down to the water, a tricky process for years now, and it's wayyyyyyy past time for safe paths and direction signs.

INDIAN CREEK PARK remains closed. Way to go, Mendo County whose admin has gotten it closed and kept it closed.

RUSS CLOW had the Woods totally squared away and was the perfect, live-in manager, not only doing all the maintenance himself but squelching drunks and miscellaneous rowdies to keep the park the nicest public venue in the county. (Try Usal on weekends for a truly hellish camping experience.) Then the fat ladies somewhere in Ukiah began to sing, putting all kinds of alienating demands on Russ, and he packed up and moved to Willits, the result being no park for anybody, locals included.

A FACEBOOKER wondered where in the Anderson Valley this giant madrone is. I'd guess at the top of the Y Ranch, Yorkville, on property formerly owned by Jackie Potter Voll's family and, before them, Dave Severn. There's a grove of giant madrones up there and which is much more accessible on the west side of Anderson Valley Way up from the Con Creek Bridge.

HAD to laugh at a Bay Area TV clip featuring the usual beautiful female reporter asking a hat-backwards fat guy loading up on fireworks at a legal stand what precautions he'll take when he fires them off. “Well, I gotta a water hose and I'm real careful.”

LAST YEAR, the same reporter said, there were 6600 careless fireworks complaints in San Jose alone, and as Bay Area people know, as soon as it gets dark on the 4th the bombs bursting spectacularly in air all over the Bay Area make for a vividly exciting skyline, especially to the east of San Francisco.

MENDO? Illegal discharge of fireworks is always somewhat concerning in dry years, but the last several fourths, at least in Boonville, other than a few celebratory gunshots, there was no evidence of aerial displays. 

CLEO BENNETT (Mother of Jade Bennett) writes:

Jade Bennett, AV High Panther Football

I hope you can update again regarding the supposed suspicious person in Boonville being Jade Bennett. I can assure all interested that it was not Jade. Jade is currently in the Mendocino County Jail at 951 Low Gap Road in Ukiah.

Funny how two people can claim they saw Jade then print it as fact in the newspaper and it becomes fact. I can also assure you when and if you see him walking up Manchester Road he won’t be wearing a mask. And if interested Jade turned 46 on June 6, 2021.

Hope to see all of you at the Fair.


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *