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Valley People (August 25, 2021)

DOUG ELLIOTT: Longtime valley resident Doug Elliott passed away at the end of July in Texas, where he was staying with his son John and family. He died peacefully after a brief time in hospice care, with John at his side. Doug survived his wife Bev by barely four months, and passed just days before what would have been their 67th anniversary.

AS OF MONDAY MORNING, the Boonville Fair was on. The nice lady who answered the phone at the Fairgrounds office said, “They haven’t shut us down yet.”

BUT THEY MIGHT. 5th District Supervisor, Ted Williams, (native of Comptche, fyi), said Monday he was checking with Dr. Coren, the county’s health officer, as to the status of the Fair.

WE, AND THE FAIR, live in hope. The banners are up, the zinnias are planted, the parking lot’s 19 handicap slots are empty, football season has commenced. All we need now is the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Ferris Wheel.

The board of the Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighter’s Association has made the difficult decision not to offer the Hamburger Booth at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show.  We have participated in the Fair for countless years as a way to add to our funds to support the AVFD volunteers and as a way to contribute to the atmosphere of the Fair.  We base our decision on the fact that the number of Covid cases are on the rise in our county.   Our primary responsibility is to be able to respond to the needs of our community and by participating we would be putting our volunteer’s health at risk. With this decision the Association will look to other means to raise funds.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: Girl’s Volleyball has spiked into action mostly on the road, but locals will be able to see Coach Kendra McEwen’s formidable squad here at home against Fort Bragg on Wednesday, September 1st, 5:30pm. Futbol, coached by Adrian Maldonado, will be at home on Wednesday, September 15th against Tech, all home games start at 4:30pm. Coach Toohey’s revived football team kicks off against South Fork at South Fork on Friday, October 8th.

UH, seems like Ms. McEwen has resigned as volleyball coach, which is unfortunate, to say the least, because she’s not only correct in her beef, she’s a truly excellent coach. Former coach Flick McDonald has stepped in to succeed Ms. M. whose statement follows:

To AVUSD Superintendent Simpson and all parties concerned: please accept this letter as notice of my resignation as volleyball coach at Anderson Valley High School effective immediately.

This morning I received a call from the superintendent informing me that the district would sever our working relationship if I did not take down a post I put on my personal facebook page yesterday. This is what the Post says:

“I just finished probably getting the most covid exposure I've had during this whole pandemic, coaching a volleyball game at Clearlake high school. Not a single mask on their team, coaching staff, or even the refs, and probably five masks total in the half-full stands. No hand sanitizer, no airflow. About 98 degrees in the gym and even when I opened the doors myself, the refs close them -- said there is glare on the ground. Keeping it classy, Lake County. Jesus. My whole team will be getting tested, that's for sure. I'm so mad, sad, and disappointed.”

I also commented, “I'm totally shocked. It's like the admin/adults are not even trying. In my coaching experience (through this whole pandemic!) I found the kids to be incredibly good at following protocol if you just set it, and get them used to it! It's not that hard!”

I wrote the post after leaving the game feeling compromised because I'm pregnant and I have trained myself and my team to be very careful about keeping ourselves as safe as possible from covid exposure. I kept the privacy settings set so the post is not public and used grammar and sarcasm I would not use more publicly, but it's a small community and word spread fast. Though what I said was honest, in retrospect, I realize that the post probably caused alarm that led to unnecessarily charged yet likely productive publicity about the shortcomings in our volleyball program’s safety protocol in this difficult time when operating a sports program at all is a valiant effort.

My first call in the morning was from the principal who is a friend of mine telling me firmly to not post on social media about things related to student  health and safety, and to instead call him. I pointed out that I did call my primary superior, the athletic director, and that the post was actually about my health and safety too. I said I'm not comfortable with only being allowed to share things that paint the school in a positive light. But it is true that I did not give him the chance to respond first, before going public with my anger and accusations.

I was then called by the superintendent who threatened to fire me if I did not take the post down. I said, it's nice to meet you, but I am disappointed to feel reprimanded rather than supported. She apologize for that, and told me I should know I would always be supported to take my team and leave a context that feels unsafe. I asked, How I should know where the line is; what counts as dangerous? I have not been given guidelines. I assume the other school would enforce masking and that their gym would be well ventilated, especially considering that the same school had to cancel a contest seven days prior to this due to four of their volleyball players getting exposed to covid in a classroom. But even the officials showed up unmasked and they said it's not required in that county.

When I explained to the superintendent that I have not received any official information from the district about safety protocol or expectations regarding covid-19 and that I have personally designed our safety practices and purchased our own masks and sanitizer for my team this whole time, she informed me that there are masks and test kits available for us that the district has. This is the first I've heard of this. She offered to have a meeting with me as soon as today, because I have been included in no meetings, no e-mails, not even pointed to CIF guidance, which I have accessed online but all of which looks to me to be outdated. I assumed that our school, state and conference officials have been working to develop these guidelines and that I would receive them soon. Instead of assuming, I should have spearheaded an effort to bring together the authorities to develop very clear protocol and make all expectations explicit well before the games got started.

Prevention can’t happen after the fact. The conditions at yesterday's game were unsafe. I have confidence that the district will do what it can to make sure that future contests won't pose the same threat, especially when we play across county lines where health and safety mandates may not be the same as ours. I would be happy to provide input to developing those guidelines based on my years worth of experience coaching during this pandemic. But for my own health and safety I must resign from the position. I hope that someone else will step in because those 25 athletes who have worked so hard to play safely deserve a season. Perhaps without a pregnant coach, the risk-benefit analysis can afford them a little more gametime than they could get with me.

It has been an honor,

Kendra McEwen, Philo

Sydney Howe (10), Stella Hill and Raina Clifton (3) were all smiles Thursday night during Clear Lake's home match with Anderson Valley. (Trett Bishop/courtesy photo)

OUR NEW SUPERINTENDENT, Louise Simson, asked for comment, replied: “We thank Coach McEwen for her service and dedication to our students and families. We wish her all the best and send good wishes and health to her with the upcoming arrival of her child.”

HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, Jim Snyder, reports that 7-12  enrollment combined is 230 students. ”We only have one ‘new’ staff member this year at AVHS. She's not new to us, but has returned after working at the Elementary School. Gabrielle Visco, who was the AVHS Librarian, then moved to the Special Education teacher at the Elementary, has now joined our staff. She is teaching Special Education. 

BILL KIMBERLIN: If your car doesn't look like this, you probably aren't from Anderson Valley.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to support our local seniors - become an AV Village volunteer today! 

Hello Anderson Valley Village members, volunteers and perspective volunteers,

Do you have a little time in your schedule and room in your heart?

Please join our team of much needed volunteers to support our elders as they age in place! Hours are flexible and dependent on your availability; every little bit helps.

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities, with our biggest need being rides to medical appointments (usually in Ukiah), tech support, friendly visits or calls, light help around the house and garden. Again you choose what you feel comfortable doing and how often.

There is some paperwork and a short training, that can be done on Zoom if need be, but your contribution is much needed and greatly appreciated!

Because we are working with a vulnerable population we do require our volunteers to be vaccinated - thank you again for the support!

Contact the coordinator for more info or click below for the application and handbook - (I can always send you hard copies in the mail as well) 

Anica Williams

Anderson Valley Village Coordinator

Cell: 707-684-9829


Mailing address: Anderson Valley Village

P.O. Box 576 Boonville, CA 95415


HISTORY RETAINED - For years this marker was in front of a Church Street building, a quiet reminder that Ukiah has a streak of naughty in its long history as the commercial hub of an agricultural and timber region. Then it was removed, much to the chagrin of some fans of local history. Now, thanks to a facelift of the downtown area, the marker has found a new home just down the block at the corner of Church and State streets.

Look what’s back! 

The plaque has been incorporated into Ukiah’s Streetscape design. Its new home is on the SW corner of Church and State Streets. We will have a full history of the plaque up very soon!

A huge thank you to Mo Mulheren, Elias Laughton, Shannon Riley, the City of Ukiah for their collective effort to get the plaque remounted.

ANOTHER REASON for lamenting the purchase of the June Ranch by minor league timber magnate Roger Burch (Healdsburg) is both its significance as the site of Native American habitation for thousands of years and, latterly, the once upon a time homestead of a former slave, Daniel Jeans who, married to a Native American woman whose name is lost to time, raised a family in Ham Canyon, as it was known at the turn of the century. Daniel Jeans was and is important to the history of Anderson Valley. He cleared the land for The Valley's first school — the little red school house, as it's known today — which he also helped build. I doubt Burch bought the place out of nostalgia for its history, and am surprised the timber on the 800-plus acres is worth the several million dollars Burch paid for the property. 

NOTE to coach Toohey from an old Boonter: “If Toohey wants another suggestion for the AV Panthers in Boontling he might consider Bahl tomkers: Good Cats or Plenty Bahl tomkers for really good cats. Tomker seertle is Boontling for cat fish, seertle being fish.”


We are sad to have to cancel the Yorkville Social

With an eye to community safety, Yorkville sadly announces the annual Ice Cream Social will again be cancelled this year. The recent spike in coronavirus cases and guidelines for outdoor activities make a barbeque and close interaction inadvisable. 

The Yorkville Ice Cream Social is an annual community bash hosting a cookout, book tables, produce stands, auctions, raffles, kid’s activities, and, of course, ice cream. It’s also the central fundraising event for the Yorkville fire station. The Yorkville Community Benefits Association, which runs the Social, will be presenting alternate events to bring the community together and to raise funds for the fire station. Look for a return of the Virtual Farm Stand, an expanded Silent Auction, a year around book sale cabinet, and expanded fund raising opportunities.

* * *

Yorkville Community Benefits Association — August 2021 

The 2021 Ice Cream Social Cancelled, so sad! With an eye to community safety, we sadly announce our annual Labor Day Ice Cream Social will be cancelled again this year. The recent spike in coronavirus cases and guidelines for outdoor activities make a barbeque and close interaction inadvisable. We were so looking forward to seeing everyone again this year! The Labor Day Yorkville Ice Cream Social is both our major community get-together and the central fundraising event for our fire station. The Yorkville Community Benefits Association (YCBA), which runs the Social, will be presenting alternate events and opportunities to raise funds for the fire department and the new water tender building. Look for a return of the Virtual Farm Stand, an expanded Silent Auction, a year-round book sale cabinet outside the post office, and more information about how you can participate in our combined fire safety goals. 

For more information about the Yorkville Community Benefits 

Association (YCBA), visit 

Please Visit our Website 


PO Box 222, Yorkville, CA 95494


BETH SWEHLA: "Just an FYI – Wanda, Kim and Kelley were honored with a very nice party and all were given a retirement gift."

DAVE EVANS at the Navarro Store is desperate for help. “Doesn't anybody around here want to work?” he lamented today. Pay's not bad at $18-$19 an hour to start.

EXCUSE ME FOR WHINING, but the Sacramento outfit we lease our office trailer from just bumped our monthly rent up almost a hundred bucks for, get this, “service charges.” Unspecified service charge because there aren't any services provided. We haven't seen them since the day they hauled the thing over here. And they want $50 grand for it if we try to buy it! A bare singlewide thirty years old. Sooooo, they'll be coming to get it the week of October 1st, having warned us there will be “retrieval” fees. Anybody out there with a surplus trailer, 12x40? Cheap? Real cheap?

OLIE ERICKSON WRITES: "My friend Angela DeWitt, borrowed my engine to help a nearby county fight off an aggressive fire. That’s what she does. She's like that. She also takes her stick. Cause you never know when the waves are right."


Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - July 2021

Despite the vagaries of temperature, weather, water, smoke and sadness, our trees, shrubs and row crops continue to produce to one degree or another as you can see from our VAP (Value Added Product)production list on the farm report. There are some things that can't fruit without a wet winter and a reasonably steady spring/summer temperature, e.g., white currants, but on the whole, we've had good sets on the established trees and bushes.

Most of the plum varieties overwhelmed us with fruit this spring, although the Green Gage took a bit of a breather. Because we planted the gherkins and cucumbers in raised beds under a shade cloth cover, we’re finally having a great crop which is thrilling since they’re always a hit with customers. But what we’ve realized is that we'd have to cover the entire farm with a floating shade cloth to have all our crops produce so well. Many plants shut down at temperatures in the 90's, okra being the exception and it looks great.

The tomatoes are not happy; too bad because the sauces and Bloody Mary mixers are some of our most sought after products. The fruits that finish later in the season, some pears, apples and peaches, are still small and hard. The tree leaves are dry and the branches are drooping, even breaking, from the fruit weight and the dryness. Fig trees set twice and the giant Kadota fig had an abundant early set despite the tree looking very damaged this spring, from what we’re not sure. And we don't know yet if the second set will survive. The Mission fig had a weak first set and looks good for a second. We’ll see. Meanwhile the Brunswick died back so far that it hasn't yet recovered. The berries in barrels have done well, Marion, Rasp, Tay, but those same in the ground were too dry...there wasn’t enough rain for them to tap new roots this past winter. On the other hand the Himalayan blackberry maze, a huge pruned and caged from birds version of a blackberry bramble, is producing more than it ever has and from which we produce great quantities of a variety of jams. Surprisingly strawberries are producing well, but they too, are in raised shade covered beds.

For the past several years, we've kept track of the harvest season for most of our crops and this year a number of them are harvesting several weeks early...grapes and some apples so far.

The world is in chaos and the best we can do to help is to focus on food. There is a lot of talk of regenerative agriculture, building soil, rotating grazing, etc., but in our experience not only is none of that possible with little water and very high temperatures, but we can’t even do the basics...make compost from our garden waste...because we can’t spare the water to keep it moist let alone cooking. No fire has come through our valley, but the heat and fire pall is probably killing off the soil bacteria just as thoroughly as a hot burn.

Up until now we've been very lucky - we still have some water, food, a great community of workers/friends, our accidental social life in the folks who stop by to shop, and no fire. Watching our plantings dry and sometimes die, and our animals suffer from the smoke, is very difficult. Imagining “the wild” that's suffering and burning is unthinkable.

Stay well,

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg

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