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Valley People

JUDY WAGGONER-ISBELL, a life-long resident of the Anderson Valley, was airlifted from her Navarro home Friday night to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa where she remains in critical condition, suffering from a complicated mix of ongoing medical crises she has suffered for a decade.

AN OAFISH FELLOW CALLED Jerry Johns was wearing a sidearm when he loudly and profanely demanded that a party of local people related to Dave Severn leave the otherwise peaceful banks of the Navarro last Saturday. The ugly eviction occurred near the Van Zandt place at the west end of Ray's Road, Philo. Johns is related by marriage to the Van Zandts. Johns confronted a family that included children, quite upset by Johns menacing manner, and seniors. Everyone else simply found him… This kind of thing is completely foreign to Anderson Valley's long history of tolerant neighborliness, besides which Johns seems to have acted illegally, not only by behaving in a threatening manner and spouting obscenities at children, but by denying his fellow citizens access to a public stream. It is likely a complaint will be filed against Johns with the Sheriff's Department.

TALK ABOUT HARD SELLS. That Christian couple, Jay and Dawn Van Sickle, visiting relatives in nearby Comptche, drove over to Boonville after church Sunday to proselytize the rastafarians gathered by the thousands in Boonville for the annual World Music Festival. How'd the proselytizers do? Not known, but there they were, pleasant, low key, earnest, giving The Message their all to the carnally committed roisterers passing by.

ATTENTION BOOK READERS! The Lending Library is open again, having been closed during last weekend's rasta visitation, and if anyone had told me in 1970 that on a single Saturday in 2012 there would be 20,000 hippies in Boonville, well, in 1970 there were only thirteen hippies all named Rainbow, and they lived here. Anyhoo, we live in strange times and a retreat to the imaginative peace of a good book helps us make sense of it all. Thank Jah! we have our little library at the Fairgrounds. BTW, during regular Library hours, Tuesdays from 1:30 to 4:30 pm and Saturdays from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, all sale books will be $3 a bag for the month of July. Come stock up on your summer reading before the Library closes again on August 11th to get ready for the Fair.

SUNDAY'S CHRONICLE featured the star of Oprah's popular Home Made Simple show, Kenneth Wingard, who, as he listed his fave NorCal pleasures, counted our very own Lauren's Restaurant among them. "Boonville," he said, "is the kind of place where you can show up for dinner in your jeans, mud on your boots, and no one looks at you funny. Our favorite restaurant there is Lauren's. Great meat loaf and chicken pot pie. She's also the resident jazz singer; she sang at our wedding."

AFTER LAST WEEKEND, you could walk into Lauren's on your hands in a star spangled jockstrap without drawing a second look. We may be rural, but we've seen it all, Mr. Wingard.

LOTS OF LOCALS have received e-mails purportedly from big shot Democrats like Pelosi and Feinstein asking for $3 donations. I'm not technologically adept enough to know if these fire sale solicitations are legit, but if you want to risk identity theft and make latte-size gifts to multi-millionaires, heck, go ahead.

THE SIERRA NEVADA World Music Festival was huge this year, drawing what appeared to be the largest crowd ever to the Boonville Fairgrounds, a fact confirmed by Cecilia Pardini at the Fair office. Cars lined 128 past the gravel pits to the south, Rod Balson's house and beyond to the northwest. And vehicles blanketed the high school campus. The event's organizers know their stuff. The thing went off quite nicely, with only a few incidents warranting the firm hand of law enforcement. On Friday night there were five arrests, three for drunk in public and two people who downed the drug ecstasy right in front of a Mendo cop. "Hey, officer, watch this!" Emil Rossi, of Rossi Hardware, told us Monday that he did a brisk business in earplugs. Earplugs? We assumed they were sold to locals. Nope, Rossi said, brightlighters. Out-of-towners. "One couple even asked me if I sold those big ones like ear muffs? I wondered why they'd bought tickets." We asked around and discovered that the plugs are widely used in the campgrounds for those preferring not to dance in their sleep.

KATHY BAILEY updated the CSD trustees on the status of the Hendy Woods Community organization's efforts to keep Hendy Woods State Park open. Although the final agreement will not be signed until July 1, she expects that it's already a done deal. "The Parks Department will still run the park,” said Bailey. “Day use will be year-round and the camping season will run from April 1 to October 30.” Reservations are available through the online reservation system at The Hendy Woods Community is volunteering 1000 hours over the summer for trail maintenance, fee collections, docents and other miscellaneous duties. Camping fees will go up to about $40-$45 a day. $40,000 has been raised for the Parks Department for this year, $20,000 of which came from the Save the Redwoods League, and another $20,000 from the money raised by HWC. Ms. Bailey expects that the arrangement Save Hendy has with State Parks will last for 3-5 years. Ms. Bailey then thanked the major donors and everyone else who helped contribute to keeping the popular local park open.

THE BIG benefit performance to keep Hendy Woods state park open is July 11th at 8pm in the Mendocino Music Festival tent, three-time Grammy Award winner Kris Kristofferson and acclaimed musician Bill Bottrell will present a special evening of musical entertainment in a benefit concert for the Hendy Woods Community. This concert is expected to sell out. Tickets are available online at or, $45 general admission online and at outlets: ($100 preferred seating available online only.) General admission tickets are available at or locally in Mendocino: Gallery Bookshop, Fort Bragg: Harvest Market, Boonville: Lauren's & All That Good Stuff. Special for family/friends block ticket purchase: 10 tickets for the price of 9 (applies to the purchase of general admission and preferred seating tickets). For purchase of block tickets or ticket/concert information contact Janet Anderson, 895-2575 or Deanna Apfel, 895-2307. Help us make this a sellout and an important addition to the money we need to continue to keep Hendy Woods open for all of us to enjoy. — Hendy Woods Community Board of Directors

FIRE CHIEF COLIN WILSON WRITES: "We were dispatched last Tuesday morning (19 June) just before 11:30 for a wildland fire at 967 Highway 128 (near the road into Perry Gulch, Navarro). CalFire’s Boonville Engine 1161 was first on scene and found an approximately one-acre fire of mixed grass and brush that had been contained by locals. The fire was reported to have been started from grass mowing that had been done earlier in the day. Fire crews remained at the scene for about three hours completing mop up operations. This fire provides a good opportunity to caution people about the potential for igniting fires by mowing dead, dry grass particularly if mowing in the hot part of the day and particularly with a flail mower, although a standard homeowner blade mower is also quite capable of producing a spark that will ignite dry grass. If you need to mow dead, dry grass, the best insurance is to start early in the morning and finish before the area has full sun on it. It’s also wise to keep an eye on the mowed area for an hour or so after mowing and have either water or a fire extinguisher available."

FRED MEDINAS, who volunteered for years to keep the TV signal beamed to us, tells us that Anderson Valley TV first went on the air in 1958 and stayed on the air until the analog TV signals out of the Bay Area were replaced by digital signals in 2009. For 51 years Mr. Medinas and a handful of comparably committed volunteers kept us in touch with the big, wide outside world.

SHERI HANSEN WRITES: Join us for an all-class reunion on Saturday, September 15, 2012, 2-8pm in Boonville. The date was chosen to coincide with the Mendocino County Fair & Apple Show. All classes are invited to gather at the Anderson Valley Senior Center, just south of the fairgrounds for an afternoon of visiting followed by a spaghetti dinner. Bring pictures and yearbooks, and spend the afternoon getting reacquainted and swapping memories. This is a BYOB and BYOC affair. Bring your own booze and bring your own chair (if you can). Most seating will be outside, so BYOJ (Bring your own jacket) too! Dinner will include Lemonade, Coffee, Tea and water. $15/person, payable at the door, BUT PLEASE RSVP (via Evite -Just click YES or RSVP directly to or 707-272-7248 or Sheri Hansen, PO Box 402, Boonville, CA 95415)! Any money left over will be donated to The AV Senior Center & The AV Historical Society. Handicap Parking and Parking for alums who graduated before 1950 will be available at the Senior Center. A shuttle bus will be cruising non-stop from the High School to the Senior Center from 1p-9p with stops in between at the fairgrounds and the corner of Hwy 253 & Hwy 128. Best parking spot - The High School! Other places to gather — On Friday night at 7:00p, there will be an AVHS football game at the fairgrounds arena (now called the Apple Bowl). The Museum (Little Red Schoolhouse) will be open Friday 1-4p, Saturday 12-3p and Sunday 1-4p. Saturday evening at 930p there will be a dance, featuring Dean Titus and his group, The Coyote Cowboys, with Craig Titus, Ed Walker & Guy Pronsolino, held in the Apple Hall Auditorium. And, if you can stay through Sunday, Sheep Dog Trials will be held at the fairgrounds at 10am and the fair parade takes place at noon. So far, the interest has been tremendous and we are expecting Boonville to be busting at the seams with Anderson Valley alums! We hope you can make it and look forward to your response to this invite. Last, but not least, this is an open invitation. So, please share it with any fellow alums for whom you have contact information. Further Questions: Call, email or mail Sheri using the RSVP information shown above.

IN 1993 ROBERT PINOLI got a job washing trains for the Skunk Train, the fabled logging railroad turned tourist line that runs between Fort Bragg and Willits. Today Mr. Pinoli runs the railroad, as its CEO. Last week at the State Capitol, Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D c Arcata) recognized the Skunk Train as the First Assembly District's Small Business of the Year for 2012. Chesbro presented Mr. Pinoli with a resolution on the Assembly Floor. During the California Small Business Association's annual luncheon on June 11 Chesbro spoke about the Skunk Train's achievements and importance to Mendocino County. "The contributions that small businesses like the Skunk Train make to our local communities are immense," Chesbro said. "The operators of local small businesses such as Mr. Pinoli enhance the business climate and quality of life for the entire population, instilling a sense of pride in our communities." The railroad that became the Skunk Train got its start in 1885 as a line built specifically for the purpose of moving massive trees from the interior of the redwood forests to the sawmills on the Mendocino Coast at Fort Bragg. Passenger service with steam engines began on the line in 1904, with service all the way through to Willits inaugurated in 1911. But stream service was discontinued around 1925 when the bright yellow self-powered cars became the choice for travelers. These cars with their early gasoline engines, combined with pot-bellied stoves that burned crude oil to keep passengers warm, were so odiferous that locals used to say, "you can smell em before you see em." The name Skunk Train has stuck ever since. Today, the views passengers take in from a ride on the Skunk Train between Fort Bragg and Willits is pretty much the same those early travelers took in 100 years ago: towering trees, deer drinking from the Noyo River, isolated fishermen's cabins peeking from the forest as the train chugs and whistles over the original "Redwood Route" through tunnels, over bridges, past open meadows. CEO Pinoli grew up in Mendocino County, and after starting at the bottom of the business he progressed to servicing passengers then to one of the Skunk Train's most distinguished narrators. Today as a local small business owner, Mr. Pinoli helps support Mendocino County's Crab and Wine and Wine and Mushroom festivals, Mendocino College and the Mendocino Model Railway and Historical Society. — KC Meadows (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

THE 15TH Annual Boonville ArtWalk is upon us, and it's a lot handier than the one you drive miles to get from one artist to another. ArtWalk's touts put it this way: "Enjoy the warm hospitality and vibrant art that Boonville is famous for at ArtWalk! Sponsored by AV Arts, the AV Chamber of Commerce and Boonville merchants, ArtWalk takes place on Saturday, July 7th from Noon - 6 p.m., with dozens of local artists and craftspeople at businesses throughout the downtown area. Creative art activities for kids and adults. A great summer family outing! Call 707-895-2204 for more information."

WILLITS' 4th of July footrace is back. The original 4th of July Family Footrace was a 2-miler that started an hour before the parade; it was held annually from 1978 to 1994, and always drew a large band of entrants. Long time Willits High cross country coach Dave Smith is race director of the new Willits Mile that also will start and finish before the 11 am parade. Go to for more information and entry forms, or just show up at 10 am on the corner of Main Street and Commercial to register. The race will start at 10:30.

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