HAROLD HULBERT has died. He was 67. Services will be held Friday, July 27th, at the Apple Hall, Boonville, beginning at noon. I spoke briefly with Shirley Hulbert only last week, and just as I asked how Harold was doing, an insistent man ran through my office door and up to my desk, causing me to prematurely break off my conversation with Mrs. Hulbert just after she'd said that Harold wasn't doing very well. It's bothered me for a week now that it may have seemed to Shirley that I'd been rude. I was very fond of Harold, Anderson Valley High School class of 1962, born and raised in Anderson Valley on the old Hulbert Ranch near Philo. My daughter was absolutely distraught when she got the news of his death. She's been saying for years, all the way back to her high school days, “Harold Hulbert is my favorite Boonville person. He's just the best. He was always so nice to me. I hope I get to see him at Fair time.” My daughter was hardly alone in her esteem. Anybody who knew Harold could see that he inspired immediate affection in children who seemed to know instinctively that Harold liked them, and that nothing bad could happen to them while Harold was there. When he wasn't working in distant places, Harold never missed a local ballgame, devoting many hundreds of hours to youth football as a linesman, one of the guys who spends long Friday nights dragging the chains up and down the field. He was a big, burly guy, self-deprecating, modest, never one to go on about himself. I'd always heard he was very good high school football player, a lineman, which made sense because he certainly had the size for it and we all know he loved the game. He always got a laugh out of me. At the gym one night for a basketball game, Harold, looking straight ahead, said to me, “Some guy asked me today if I was you.” What did you tell him? “I didn't tell him anything; I killed him.” Another time Harold said he'd heard my nephew had just bought a ranch in the hills above Boonville. I said he'd heard right, joking that we were thinking of starting our own town up there in Bell Valley. “What are you guys going to call it, Harold said, “Communistville?” And he told me how he and Mick Bloyd used to fish the length of Jimmy Creek, hiking from the Valley floor all the way up past Bell Valley to the very top of the Anderson Valley watershed, camping, pan frying the fish they'd caught, a way of living for young people now gone. Harold's passing, to a lot of us outside the large embrace of his own family, is momentous. There's no replacing people like him here, those dwindling numbers of old timers who know every inch of the land, every family history, every story about this unique and vivid place. With Harold gone, it's like the 'c' in community has disappeared. He fought off leukemia for nine long years. I'd ask him how he was doing and he'd say, “I'm doing all right,” with never a mention that he was fighting for his life. But his last year, his daughter Melanie Pardini said Monday, Harold was increasingly unable to beat back the beast he'd fought off all those years. But, she said, Harold not only had his family with him when he passed Sunday, he was able to go fishing with his grandkids only two weeks ago. Fishing with the kids would have made Harold very happy. He lived for his family. He was a good one, a rock and, like everyone else who knew him, I'm very sorry to see him go.
A PROBLEM with the installation of the solar system at the Elementary School seems to have been resolved. The school’s solar installation contract was awarded to Real Goods Inc., which is no longer the humble alternative energy outfit begun in Hopland by John Schaeffer, the former Rainbow Ranch communard. Real Goods is now part of a large conglomerate called “Gaiam,” as in Gaia the, uh, mysto-mumbo term for the Earth preferred by the crystals and Tibetan peace flag brigades. Gaiam purchased the commercial part of Real Goods years ago and has since acquired several other alternative energy companies. The firm's home office is now in Louisville, Colorado outside Boulder. Its “West Coast Headquarters” is in San Rafael. A young man hired by a subcontractor of a subcontractor of Real Goods to help with the installation of the racks for the solar panels being installed at the Elementary School complained that he was not being paid what he was supposed to be paid. When the school's construction manager, Don Alameida, had penetrated the thickets of contractors and sub-contractors, the kid got paid and will continue to get paid in a timely manner. Odd, isn't it, that it takes two layers of subcontractors to install the racks for solar panels?
ANDERSON VALLEY Youth Football and cheer practice begins July 30th at 5pm at the fairgrounds! It’s not to late to signup we will be at the fairgrounds on the 30th at 4 pm for any last min sign ups! Ages 8 years old by September 1 thru 8th grade! It's a $10 free! GO CUBS! Thank you Alisha Ornbaun Varsity Cheer Coach
JUDY WAGGONER-ISBELL of Navarro, daughter Lisa reports, “doing much better. She has started dialysis and they are making plans for her to move back to the Assisted living in Cloverdale soon.”
BILL TAYLOR WRITES: “The Boonville Farmers' Market is a fun place to meet your friends, hear music and shoot the breeze. It is also the result of a major effort by farmers to offer quality healthy food. If you like to eat, and shop at the supermarket to save money, or out of convenience, or because you don't know what will be at the Farmers' Market, please consider the reality that even a bit higher price is more than offset by the higher vitamin and mineral content, vibrant enzymes and better taste of what local farmers can bring you fresh every Saturday morning at the hotel. Planning your meals around what is in season means produce at its peak rather than produce stored a long time or transported a large distance. And if you show up primarily to hang out and tell the farmers what a great thing they are doing, please consider doing major shopping too. Your health and the ability of the farmers to keep bringing you food will both benefit! Floodgate Farm's salad mix and other produce has been only making biweekly appearances lately. Please note it WILL be there this Saturday July 21 (second in a row) in spite of what you may have heard last week. It will NOT be there Sat. July 28 but instead some of its salad mix and kale chips will be at the vendor space at the Not So Simple Living Fair all day Saturday (until they sell out).”
A WIRE STORY in Tuesday's papers heralded the return of Bald eagles to Northern California, the re-appearance of our magnificent national bird being attributed to pesticide restrictions, habitat protections and a program that raised the eagles in a specialized hatchery, all of which combined saw the removal of the eagles from the endangered species list in 2007. “Pairs of the fish-eating raptors have been spotted at San Pablo Reservoir near Orinda, Del Valle Reservoir near Livermore, Calaveras Reservoir on the edge of Santa Clara and Alameda counties, San Antonio Reservoir south of Sunol, Lake Berryessa in Napa County and Lake Sonoma in Sonoma County.” But right here in the Anderson Valley, soaring high over the east hills separating us from the Ukiah Valley, there are at least a half-dozen Bald eagles, all of them carrion-eaters. Deputy Squires said recently he'd seen at least that many feasting on a pig carcass in the Bell Valley area.
TERRY RYDER checks in: “In Praise of Humans who love Animals I attended the PAWS Fundraiser at the AV Brewery on Sunday. I want to go on record that I bow down to Cheryl Schrader whose vision of saving animals in the Anderson Valley has mitigated the suffering of untold numbers of animals who are most of the time unable to protect themselves. It shows that just one impractical and obsessed person really can make a difference. I also want to bow down to Steve Sparks who is also impractical and obsessed and proves it daily by lending his energy and caring to so many causes both hopeful and hopeless. The love for animals that he shows by supporting AV Animal Rescue with his prodigious talents and tendencies...I know they feel the love. So hurray! for all the dogs and their people who came out for the event. Hurray! for the Lions Club for serving a great meal in the heat and the smoke selflessly as they always do. Special thanks to Lionesses Judy Long and Christine Clark who are indescribable and indestructible. The crew who took charge of the raffle and the silent auction were a well-oiled machine or efficiency and cheerfulness. I especially loved watching the dog who could catch a Frisbee in mid-flight as this is poetry in motion to watch. The little dog Alli-Gator who is completely blind but can climb a ladder, go down a slide, jump through a hoop and catch a toy because his owner never gave up on her was awesome. Sparky, the dog who has no use of his back legs but runs around like crazy in his special wheeled cart because special people helped him get his mobility back warmed my heart.”
EFREN MENDOZA needs a little help from his friends, and he has lots of them who may not know that he is under-insured and very ill with cancer. The long-time Valley resident has always donated many hours to a variety of Valley charities, including the Anderson Valley Health Center. This Saturday, 5-8pm at the Philo Grange, the Friends of Efren Mendoza are holding a benefit dinner and dance to help Efren pay his medical bills which, of course, are considerable. If you can't be there, please send contributions c/o Box 337, Navarro 95463. This is a really good guy who'd do the same for any of us in a time of need.
YOUR BELOVED community newspaper was one of many local e-mail addresses recently bombarded with cryptic messages from Jan Wax, some of them arranged as poems, all of them incoherent, which wouldn't necessarily rule out the creative work of some of our Mendocino artists. I doubted that Jan had suddenly taken leave of her senses and, sure enough, she soon sent out an explanation: “Cyber-baddies have hacked my contacts list. If you get an email from me that suggests you should be working from home and making millions, it's not my fault. Please delete. My regrets, Jan.”
LEMONS MARKET was closed Wednesday from 8 until about 1pm, as a film crew took over the premises, the film crew that advertised for “hippies and bikers.” The cast apparently features some well-known actors and actresses, including a dude called Adrian Grenier who, it was explained to me, “is known by everyone under the age of 30” and, more precisely, “he looks kinda like a handsome version of Charles Manson.”
LAST SATURDAY was a busy but frustrating day not only for local emergency responders, aka the Anderson Valley Ambulance, but responders from two neighboring counties as well, all of them called out for Anderson Valley incidents.
ABOUT 11:30 Saturday morning the ambulance was summoned to the Boonville Hotel parking lot where a five year old seemed ok but had briefly gone unconscious and had vomited several times. The child absolutely had to be seen by the ER doctors in Ukiah, and off he went in the ambulance.
ON THEIR WAY over the hill, the ambulance crew was told by Howard Forest Dispatch, which seemed not to understand that the AV crew was fully occupied, to respond to a “vehicle versus bicyclist” incident on Mountain View Road. Since the ambulance was already transporting the five-year-old, Howard Forest summoned a Ukiah ambulance to the Mountain View Road incident where a large scale bike race was underway on the lightly traveled road to Manchester. (The dispatch center is at the top of the Willits Grade just off Highway 101.)
FIVE MINUTES LATER, Howard Forest asked the beleaguered but fully occupied AV Ambulance to drive out to Yorkville where an 86-year-old man and a companion had taken a tumble, apparently in tandem. Fire Chief Colin Wilson told Howard Forest that our ambulance was occupied, and everyone listening in began to wonder if Howard Forest was paying attention. But Howard Forest promptly mobilized a Cloverdale ambulance for the Yorkville incident. Two minutes later Howard Forest again tried to dispatch the Anderson Valley Ambulance to the Yorkville incident.
WHEN THE CLOVERDALE ambulance arrived at the Yorkville location, probably an hour round-trip for the Cloverdale crew, the geeze and the wheeze both declined assistance.
MEANWHILE, THE UKIAH ambulance had arrived at the bicyclist versus vehicle call on Mountain View Road, but was unable to locate either a downed cyclist or the villainous black Mercedes that had allegedly run him down. Time consumed for Ukiah? A good 90 minutes.
LATER THAT DAY, at about 6:5pm, an “18 year old male,” situated way to heck and gone up on Clow Ridge somewhere east of Heather, was reported to be “unconscious and non-responsive,” a description that might also apply to millions of fully ambulatory 18-year-olds. Clow Ridge is 45 minutes off 128 behind a locked gate or two. The Calstar medi-chopper was not available to rescue young Mr. Non-Responsive so a Reach helicopter was summoned from Lake County. When Philo emergency responder Joe Gowan arrived at the “unconscious and non-responsive” youth he was conscious and responsive. He also refused assistance. The helicopter was told to go home, as was the AV ambulance which had also been dispatched but was called off before they got all the way up to the top of the ridge.
OUT OF FOUR CALLS SATURDAY, three ambulances were turned away or couldn't find anything, several fire engines responded and were turned back, including the Anderson Valley Calfire crew, and two medevac helicopters were in the air before they were called off. All four calls got the full flashing red lights and sirens. The child transported to Ukiah is fine.
MR. WELLS, that Mountain View Road gun guy arrested for cultivation last year? No prosecution, and that invariably means, well, draw your own conclusion.