WITH THE SALE of Gowan's Farm Supply, and Dave and Nancy moving on to Oregon "not far south of Eugene," as Dave said Tuesday morning, Anderson Valley seems that much less Anderson Valley, less anchored in the vivid personalities that make this place this place. I've always looked forward to stopping in at Farm Supply with its comprehensive array of garden and animal supplies. The Gowans are offhand about their knowledge of how to make stuff grow, but it's considerable and I always learned something from either Dave or Nancy or both, and annually marveled at Dave's pumpkin production. Mark Gowan will be staying on for a while to help the new owners, the Ardzrooni family, with the transition, but I'm only one of many people who will miss Dave and Nancy, and I wish them all the serenity they can find in their new lives on their new farm in Oregon.
HIGHLAND RANCH has also sold, going for something like $6 mil, and Shenoa, also up for sale at around $6 mil, was in escrow but the deal fell through. The properties are adjacent, Highland being the childhood home of the late Charmian Blattner, Shenoa the childhood home of our correspondent, Marshall Newman. Both properties are west of Philo above the Navarro, a hazy topo-placement, I concede, but I think of them as approached from the west end of Ray's Road, across the bridge and up into the hills.
SATURDAY'S QUICKLY SQUELCHED FIRE about six miles up the Ukiah Road was reported at 9:22am, Chief Colin Wilson tells us, a wildland fire on Container Man's property opposite the Miner Ranch. "We arrived to find the fire at about MM 5.6 or 12250 Hwy 253. It was a little over an acre with a slow rate of spread burning in grass and involving one standing and one down oak tree. Combined Cal Fire and AVFD Engine crews contained the fire in about 20 minutes and remained at scene until about 2PM completing mop up operations. We believe the fire was started from a problem with the overhead power lines because there was a brief power outage about 20 to 30 minutes before we got the call. We were unable to see what specifically started the fire but the point of origin appeared to be under the power lines."
PAMELA SUE BREDLE, 60, of Fort Bragg, was eastbound on 128 Tuesday the 5th of June about 8am when, near milepost 11, she lost control of her '97 green Malibu and it hurtled off the road and into a redwood. Ms. Bredle was airlifted to Ukiah Valley Medical Center where she was treated for minor injuries and released.
A RECENT STORY on MSNBC detailed some of the most disturbing trends across America regarding public parks, which apply directly to our ongoing effort here in Anderson Valley to keep Hendy Woods open. InvestigateWest, a Seattle-based non-profit, details how governments, from local to the national level, have broken pledges and failed to carry out their regulatory responsibilities. The National Park Service, to begin with, is charged with monitoring and reporting policies and actions by state and local governments that propose to convert parkland to private use. But in these budget stressed times, says David Siegenthaler of the National Park Service, pledges are forgotten, local agreements abrogated, and the law is broken when federally-funded parks are “repurposed.” McDonald’s, for instance, came within a hair’s breathe of converting the only public access beach in American Samoa into a fast-food franchise. Lake Texoma State Park, on the Oklahoma-Texas border, was turned into a private luxury resort, Pointe Vista, in 2008. A Benton Harbor, Michigan, park was taken over by the state of Michigan and turned into a private golf course. In Louisiana, a campground concessionaire sold off RV pads to private parties. The state of Oregon has a decade long backlog of 60 cases of park land being converted to private use. What all this adds up to for our state of California is the growing temptation of elected officials from the local to the county and state level to brush aside agreements and covenants regarding the holding and operating of park lands in trust in order to generate short term revenues and deliver to real estate developers precious public resources. Naturally, there are laws that in theory provide for compensation by way of providing alternative land of equal value. However, such provisions are widely ignored. The for- profit developers, in effect, get free land and the public is deprived of public park space. And so goes our “democratic, law based system of governance."
AS KATHY BAILEY is quick to say, we've saved Hendy this year, but unless the legislature comes through we'll be saving Hendy annually for some time to come. Kathy's and Franklin Graham's writing on Hendy and the State Parks dilemma generally has got to have been effective in pressuring Sacramento to do the right thing and fund the parks. We owe them.
MARSHALL NEWMAN informs me that "the name of the Philo Postmaster who lived on Ray’s Road probably was Marshall Wynn (senior, not junior)." Marshall Newman adds, "I don’t know about any tunneling, however." The tunnel was there, though. Mr. Wynn was certain the Japanese Army was poised to come ashore at Navarro, and when they did he and his family would scamper undetected out to the tree line and on to safety. Heck of a project for a guy in his off hours. I've heard it was forty or fifty feet long and hand dug. The old Wynn place off Ray's Road has been occupied for many years now by the Tinkler family.
THAT WAS 72-YEAR-OLD Ned Hatfield of Willits who was driving the eastbound log truck that overturned last Wednesday about 1pm at the zigzag turn on the Ukiah side of the hill. Mr. Hatfield suffered a few cuts and bruises but did not require emergency treatment. The log load had suddenly shifted, causing the trailer to overturn the whole kaboodle, Ned and all, mostly to the side of the road, which was closed briefly in both directions.
RD "BOBBY" BEACON took the death of his old friend Curt Berry very hard, and it was RD who paid to have Curt cremated and it was RD who brought Curt's ashes in RD's Humvee from Fort Bragg last Friday to the Elk Catholic Church for a funeral mass, bringing Curt back to where he began. ("Curt always liked to ride in RD's Humvee," a friend remembers. "The church," a mourner wrote, "was packed with old time ridge, Boonville and south coast families and friends who knew, worked, and grew up with Curt — loggers, ranching and working families. One more ride in RD's Humvee and Curt was in the cemetery, and afterwards there was a get-together at the community center. RD donated two cases of French wine and later opened the bar and served free drinks all around to Curt's old friends. I think he and Marylin Pronsolino organized the whole affair. The next night, the cocktail lounge was packed. Curt's brother Raymond was there with pictures of the biggest wild hog I have ever seen that Curt shot on RD's ranch in better days."
NO JOKE, a guy in the dope business tells me that a Ukiah man is charging 10 grand up front as a grow consultant, and getting it because he guarantees a hundred pounds "first time out."
SHARI McASEY of the Workers' Memorial Fund got in touch with us to find the family of Juan Lerma, the timber faller killed by a falling tree limb near Navarro three weeks ago. All we knew was that Lerma worked for Shuster and lived in Fort Bragg, but within minutes of contacting him, Captain Kurt Smallcomb of the Sheriff's Department had the family's address, and Ms. McAsey was sending the family "an immediate grant of $750 we send to the families of fallen workers." The Workers' Memorial Fund, we learned, is affiliated with the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.
FOR A NUMBER of years now, Thurston, the Ukiah auto dealer, has been offering a new car or its cash equivalent to anyone who knocks a hole-in-one on the third hole of the Ukiah Municipal Golf Course. Gotta be the third hole, 186 yards. The other day, Ryan Parrish, born and raised in Boonville, hit it with a six iron, the first guy to accomplish the unprecedented feat. Ryan's drive bounced once and rolled into the hole, and Ryan rolled down to Thurston where he collected a cool $19,000 instead of the 2012 Toyota Corolla. Thurston's reaction is not known, but we can surmise he never thought anyone would collect on that one.