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Valley People (September 15, 2021)

THE HOPKINS FIRE that broke out near Calpella north of Ukiah Sunday afternoon was declared “forward progress stopped” about 10pm Sunday evening and evacuation orders were reduced to warnings. Fire size was estimated at 275 acres. At least 20 structures were known to have burned down. No injuries or deaths were reported. No cause has been reported. Air and ground crews rushed to the scene and were widely praised for keeping the fire from blowing much farther north across Highway 20 in the brisk winds.

A LOCAL ASKS: “Who’s this bleep? (White Tesla CA license 8TRA312) 

“This Tesla passed me on a blind corner at the top of 253. Did the same thing to three other cars without giving any of us the chance to pull over to safely pass. The KZYX stickers implies they are local…

“PS. The issue I had with this person wasn't that I was going too slow or the persons in front of me. This driver just shoots up behind you and before you can get to a place to pull over, they are flying around you, sometimes passing multiple cars. I'm not a fuddyduddy, love fast cars and have done my own stupid shit that nearly got me killed. I am old enough to know better and this person just seems to not GAF about anyone or anything. We live in the country folks. Bambi can jump out whenever. Plus, for whatever God forsaken reason, cyclists love this flipping stretch of hwy. Between those 2 factors and the occasional asshole that's in my lane going the opposite direction, 253 is a effing nightmare. I get home and need damn drink. Maybe if someone knows this person they can pass on a message from the rest of us.”

FROM THE ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER: “Hi Community-We have been getting a lot of calls asking about the Boonville fair and whether we think it is safe. Given the state of the covid surge in Mendocino County, our recommendation is that large scale events whether outdoor or indoor and vaccinated or not are not safe right now. Our emergency rooms are beyond capacity, so any more surge than what we have now will be devastating in many ways. If you do choose to go to the fair, our advice is to stay 100% masked at all times. We are sorry to say, this may be a good year to stay home.”

AND forego my annual corndog? Not a chance. Boonville's beloved community newspaper will be there Friday morning, as per ancient custom. Haven't missed a Fair since '71 when, as a woke kinda dude fresh outta Frisco, I was surprised to hear the rodeo announcer tell all manner of un-PC jokes over the PA system, heavy on hippie gags. “Why did the hippie go to Garberville? He heard there were no jobs there.” I thought that was pretty funny at the time, but I'll bet I've heard it 500 times since.

I'VE MENTIONED this before; I've mentioned everything before; which is one of the many advantages of publishing a newspaper in the county where history starts all over again every day, and you are whatever you say you are, and this is the last time you'll see a semi-colon from me. Down with equivocal punctuation! Down with stuttering prose! Tight and bright. Get on and get off.

ANYWAY, Slim Pickens was a rodeo caller before he hit it big in the movies. Remember him yee-hawing as he rode the A-bomb in Doctor Strangelove? He called a rodeo in Boonville in, I believe, the late 1950s, commenting that Boonville was the roughest town he ever worked. Friends who grew up in the Anderson Valley remember sitting outside Boonville's several bars to watch all the weekend fights when bars posted warning signs, “No Corks,” meaning woods workers couldn't wear those spiked logging boots inside because so many guys got punctured with them during Saturday night combats. And all through the 1970s the Boonville Fair required a large police presence to maintain order among all the drunks and annual combatants.

ALARMING SCANNER CALL coupla days ago said a black man had just taken a girl at gunpoint from her Peachland Road home, lower Peachland. The responding deputies somehow wound up at High Peachland looking for the alleged excitement about five miles behind them down the hill. Whatever happened must not have been as thrilling as advertised because there has been no further mention of it anywhere.

LAST WEEK AV FIRE RESPONDED to a medical aid in Hendy Woods State Park. Our first-in firefighter left his grocery basket at Lemon's, came to scene in his own vehicle, and located the patient on the trail in the care of an off-duty paramedic. They were able to guide the rest of the responders to the patient, who we then carried out to AV Ambulance. Thanks to Cal Fire for assistance. 

IF YOU'RE GOING…. If you’re going to the Fair, please look for my window at the Home Arts Bldg, to the right outside the side entrance, opposite the Ag Bldg, “Cooking With Friends.” You’ll see my miniature 1970’s “Hippie Kitchen” and my 1940’s/’50’s “Mexican Bohemian Kitchen,” plus part of my doll collection. — Nancy MacLeod

SALSA SECRETS! It's tomato and pepper season, which means it's time to make salsa! 

Just a friendly reminder that the Secrets of Salsa cookbook is available and contains many ingredients for fresh and delicious salsas written by fellow community members, friends, and neighbors here in Anderson Valley! 

You can pick up a copy at local businesses like Boontberry, The General Store, AV Market, The Boonville Hotel, or contact the Adult School 895-2953 or

Proceeds from sales of this book go toward adult education in Anderson Valley via Anderson Valley Adult School/ Escuela de Adultos de Anderson Valley such as GED/Hiset test fees, a fund to help folks apply for their citizenship, scholarships for Spanish and other community classes, and more. 

They make a great gift, too!

BOONVILLE, eyes only. A Facebooker notes: "AV Way- The old nursery’s water has been leaking aggressively for two weeks! I’ve talked to the men managing the property about it twice and nothing has been done. Anyone else who can put pressure on this situation? Massive waste of water." I'm surprised there's massive amounts of water at that site, but Ms. Cakebread will want to know about this before her pump burns up."

OUR NEW SCHOOL SUPE, the delightful and enthusiastic Ms. Louise Simson, reports that the resumption of in-person school is off to a roaring start. “The kids and staff are happy to be back and the learning and socializing are flourishing! We have two new playgrounds at the elementary that are awaiting final inspection. We are working hard to restore the school sites and refresh appearances. Staff are relishing engaging with students in person and innovating content to capture students' interest. Attendance has been very strong, and parents/guardians are mindful of keeping their students at home if they have cold/flu symptoms, which is a tremendous help. I have enjoyed attending sports events and thank the coaches for their commitment and care with the athletes. Beth Swehla's ag program is in full bloom, and I could not believe the amount of eggs her kids collected on Tuesday following the long weekend! We started our “pooled” Covid testing today. More than 200 students and staff participated in this weekly testing program offered by the State at no charge to our District, including providing the testing costs and personnel. In addition to the pool program, we are deeply grateful to the Health Center Staff for their on-going commitment with providing PCR tests to our staff and for Leah and Fabi's collaboration and time."

BELOW is our parent letter going out this week. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Louise Simson

September 8, 2021

Dear AVUSD Community,

Many thanks to all of our parents, guardians, students and staff that allowed participation in the first “pooled Covid-19 testing” on the site today. There are always some blips during on-ramp of any new program, but we are thankful for the information that this testing result will provide and today went very, very smoothly. If any sample in the pool comes up “positive,” medical staff will be on-site to administer rapid tests to individuals in that pool. If you want to add your student into the “pool”, contact your school office. Two Registered Nurses were collecting the samples today. They will return on Friday, if necessary and will reappear every Wednesday thereafter.

We thank parents/guardians who have kept their students out of school with any signs of illness. We appreciate your consideration of the other school members, and look forward to welcoming your students back to school when they do not exhibit symptoms of illness.

I want to reiterate any symptoms that require immediate testing:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of Breath
  • High Fever over 100.4
  • New cough

Please seek out a PCR Covid-19 test for these major symptoms, as you keep your student out of school….

CONGRATS to Athletic Director, Arthur Folz, and our student athletes for an outstanding sports schedule! Join us for the following games: 

Please remember to remain masked at games!


  • 9/17 5pm against CSD
  • 10/15 6pm against Upper Lake
  • 10/22 6pm against Potter Valley


  • 9/16 6pm against Mendocino
  • 9/21 6pm against Point Arena
  • 9/28 6pm against Laytonville

Boys Soccer:

  • 9/17 4:30pm against Sonoma Academy
  • 9/29 4:30pm against Credo
  • 10/1 4:30pm against Calistoga

As always, the door is open. Call me with any questions or suggestions.

— Louise Simson, Superintendent

IT OCCURS to me that Rebecca Brendlin and I are just about the last people around the Anderson Valley who could, if we put on our thinking caps and thought real hard, list all the school superintendents back to Mel ‘Boom Boom’ Baker. Who else out there remembers Bob Vogen? John Peterson? And who can forget Superintendent Wobbling Eagle?

THE ANDERSON VALLEY GRANGE is participating in the Fair again, by entering a Display Booth in the Agricultural Hall. This is an annual fundraiser, with the proceeds going to our Scholarship Fund. So while we expect a reduced fair attendance, we will be represented in our display in the Agricultural Building.

We could use your help with:

Tuesday 9/14 6PM at the Grange Hall to glue all the seeds onto the display. This will be done in the auditorium with lots of spacing. Masks are required, the tables will be well spaced. Please abide by social distancing guidelines. Of course family groups can cluster about a table.

Thursday 9/16 starting about 4PM will be the setting up of the display. The Grange theme this year is “Variety is the Spice of Life”. Some extra help is needed in decorating, but the biggest need is your extra vegetables and herbs. So please put some type of veggie or a spring of spices from your garden in a tote bag and drop by the display and leave it for us. The last fair we did was a bit slim on veggies, so all is appreciated.

Just drop them off and go on your way. Thursday really is the best night to enjoy the fair, it's free, uncrowded and is pretty much just exhibitors only. 

If you have any questions, contact Andy Jones, Mea Bloyd or Gail/Bill Meyer our distinguished fair display committee chairs. 

Anderson Valley Grange #669

Post Box 363

Philo, CA 95466


FOOTBALL IS BACK. Coach John Toohey will lead his revived Panthers against visiting California School of the Deaf this Friday evening, kickoff at 6pm. The game is also a restoration of the Fair tradition of a Friday night football game at the Fairgrounds. Coach Toohey comments: “This is their first year playing 8 man football. It was just a few years ago their program was really strong and were regularly covered by ESPN. We have no idea what to expect or what is going to be coming off their bus Friday night.”

ALTHOUGH the following poem is set in Ohio, it applies to high school football everywhere. It's also the best poem ever on that national subject.


In the Shreve High football stadium,

I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,

And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at


And the ruptured night watchman at Wheeling Steel,

Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.

Their women cluck like starved pullets,

Dying for love.


Their sons grow suicidally beautiful

At the beginning of October,

And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.

MATT LEFEVER'S coverage of Sunday's Hopkin's Fire (Calpella) was the work of a real pro. The intrepid Lafever went live from the scene, striding through the smoke and embers as the main body blaze retreated. Also an excellent job from local firefighters and CalFire's aerial crews. We've come to take them all for granted, but we literally couldn't live safely without them.

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