THE HOT WEATHER. Sigh. Monday, it was 104 in Boonville, hotter yet over the hill in Ukiah. Our usual late summer pattern is two-to-four hot days relieved by the inevitable cooling fog moving up The Valley from the Pacific, settling in overnight, breaking the heat, reintroducing perfectly temperate soft summer days. We get spoiled here in our twenty square miles of paradise with our climate as easy as Southern Marin. But this hot spell will last at least two weeks, maybe longer.
POWER was out in Boonville from very early Tuesday morning until 7:30. Disoriented coffee drinkers were walking around with empty, supplicating cups at Mosswood and the Redwood Drive-In waiting for caffeine to resume their power.
THE SUPERVISORS have reappointed Christine Clark, Jim Hill, Eva Johnson, Wes Smoot and Gene Walker to the Anderson Valley Cemetery District Board.
DEBORAH CAHN of Navarro Winery writes, “The Anderson Valley Senior Center is having a Special Guest Chef Dinner with Chef Star White from Pennyroyal Farms, on Friday, August 24 with Happy Hour at 5:30 and Dinner at 6:30. The menu will be a three-course dinner featuring Boonville’s very own Pennyroyal Cheeses. Dinner will start with a summer salad with a cheese tart, on to a chicken breast stuffed with laychee pesto stuffing and finish with a terrific cheesecake. Your $30 ticket includes a $10 donation to the Senior center and also complimentary glass of wine or beer. We really hope you can make it to this fun evening. If you would like to come, please send me your mailing address and I will put your tickets in the mail with an envelope for you to return payment. You can also call the Senior Center and collect tickets from there (895-3609. Hope to see you there.”
DIANE PAGET'S solar cooking workshop has been rescheduled for this Saturday August 18th from 10-12:30pm at the Boonville Farmers' Market in the Boonville Hotel. Music will be provided by Michael and Lesley Hubbert. Eat and support local!
MENDOCINO COUNTY environmentalists, some of them anyway, are alarmed that we could be fracked. The Point Arena-Elk area is known to contain fairly large oil deposits, for instance, as once did regions of Humboldt County in the vicinity of the eponymous Petrolia. There are no laws in California preventing fracking as a method of oil extraction.
COULD MENDOCINO COUNTY indeed be fracked? And if it were fracked, what the frack would it be fracked for? Since great swathes of the County are owned by either the Mendocino Redwood Company or the government, these two entities would own the rights to most of whatever's down there. And what is down there? Way back there were some smallish copper mines, one of them lying in the canyon between the Feliz Creek headwaters and Yorkville's Y Ranch. But that was surface mining. In Covelo there was some rock (jade?) and coal mining done by Italian nationals before World War Two, hence a few Indians named Gino and Carlo. We know that there are hot water springs here and there which, I suppose, might be tapped for energy as they are at the Geysers in Lake County. But Mendo's hot water springs seem awfully small compared to the whole area of them in Lake County. And we know there are oil deposits in the Pacific vastness off Point Arena and Elk. But those deposits aren't commercially attractive, are they?
WHEN I ASKED former 5th District Supervisor Norman deVall about what might lure large-scale extractive interests to Mendocino County, he replied, “The most interesting map I ever saw in the Planning Department was of the County showing hot water springs. The Anderson Valley is ringed with warm water sources. Add to that the Manchester Anticline just to the west and that the largest limestone deposit (limestone=cement) in California is on the Greenwood-Philo Ridge Road and you have the next economic era. I have no doubt that we're on top of ╘natural’ gas fields and hydro-petroleum. A few years ago I met up with some petro geologists chipping away at the cliff edge in Point Arena Cove who showed me what they were looking for: oil. During WWII Atlantic-Richfield drilled for oil at Point Arena and developed a producing well. But history has it that it was so laden with sulfur that it wasn't put into production. I've also heard that oil deposits have been found leeching into Wages and San Juan Creeks on the northcoast. We would do well to pass an anti-fracking initiative in the County.”
FROM THE NOVEMBER 2ND, 2011 edition of the AVA: "We spoke with former Hendy Woods Park maintenance man Joe Falanga last week. It was his agitation (at the risk of his job) that got the water system at Hendy Woods upgraded. Falanga confirmed that, yes indeed, the state had, since Falanga's transfer to the Sierras, spent something like $40k to upgrade the water system. But now, having made the investment in the water and septic systems, the state plans to close down Hendy Woods and 69 other state parks. Falanga suggested that we check out a recent report circulating among State Parks employees that State Parks Deputy Director Manuel Lopez recently authorized large expenditures — around $600,000 — of accumulated vacation pay to retiring State Parks bigwigs."
IN OTHER WORDS, your beloved community newspaper scooped everyone on the State Parks disaster by a year. No, no. No applause. Save it for our next triumph.
ROBERTA WERDINGER alerts us to, "The Comprehensive Keith: A Centennial Tribute," an exhibit of over 50 paintings of Northern California scenes by master landscape artist William Keith, which will open at the Grace Hudson Museum on Sunday, August 26.
I THINK it was Keith who painted a stretch of the Navarro back in the 1860s. That painting is occasionally on exhibit at the California Historical Society near Third and Mission in San Francisco. Keith, an immigrant Scot, lived from 1838 to 1911. He was a pal of John Muir's and he was married to Ralph Waldo Emerson's sister. He was a wonderful painter whose work is well worth risking the horrors of Ukiah to look at. His painting of the Navarro, by the way, was of a couple of elegant ladies being rowed upstream (I think) by a gentlemanly man, perhaps the first and last scene of its kind in the Anderson Valley.
ACCORDING TO THE CHP, a hazmat team is still working to clean up a large diesel spill after a tanker truck overturned and hit a tree on Orr Springs Road just before noon Wednesday. The tanker crashed at 11:42pm and spilled 500 gallons of diesel into Ackerman Creek west of Montgomery Woods, closing Orr Springs Road for three hours. Driver William Pipes, 68, of Redwood Valley, was hauling 1,800 gallons of diesel west on Orr Springs Road when, for reasons still under investigation, the truck ran off the south edge of the road, rolled and hit a tree, causing the fuel spill, according to CHP spokesman officer Steven Krul. CalFire extricated Pipes, who was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with moderate injuries where he was treated and released. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Pipes wasn't wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash; the CHP does not believe he was driving under the influence. The truck, a 1980 International, belongs to Redwood Coast Fuels, Inc., of Ukiah.
YOU WILL HAVE NOTED that Mr. Pipes is 68, meaning he's still doing a tough job beyond retirement age.
THE DEMOCRATS have opened a Re-Elect Obama office in Willits at 716 S. Main.
OF COURSE you already know who real estate people refer to as “dinks”—“double income, no kids.”
FIRE CHIEF COLIN WILSON WRITES: "Sorry I didn't get this to you earlier but I've been burning the candle at both ends lately. We were paged on Monday August 6 at about 5:45pm for a wildland fire at 16171 Big Meadow Road which is just off Nash Mill Road and just past Mill Creek. Our units were first on scene and found a relatively slow moving fire something over an acre in size that was starting to move up a steep slope adjacent to a home and below Big Meadow Road. The first in units initially provided structure protection for the residence then began hose lays up both flanks. The air tankers and the CalFire Helattack crew arrived and dropped retardant across the head of the fire just below Big Meadow Road. Additional Cal Fire units arrived and the fire was contained by about 7:30pm. Cal Fire crews worked through night mopping up. The fire was caused by an excavator working on the property. Regarding the Red Flag Warning for dry lightning last week: There was something between a 20% and 30% chance of dry lightning on Saturday August 4 that did not materialize in this area."
NEED COMPUTER HELP? For anyone in the Anderson Valley area looking for technical support (for those of us who are not computer savvy) I would like to recommend High School student Cali Mendoza who is looking for summer employment. He is a great teacher/ tutor for all those computer questions and skills that are needed. Cali is very knowledgeable and has a wide range of skills. He has been my tutor for the last year and I highly recommend him. Please call me if you are interested, or call him directly. He can meet you in the Boonville wireless area or travel to your home.
Kira Brennan 877-3479 or Cali 895 3058
ON SATURDAY, September 8th, Anderson Valley Land Trust is hosting its 3rd Annual Anderson Valley Sustainable Landscape Discoveries. It is an all day field trip to two exemplary food producing gardens. In the morning we will visit Filigreen Farm, a high-density, biodynamic farm developed and managed by Chris and Stephanie Tebbutt, featuring apples, pears, blueberries, peaches, olives for oil production, wine and table grapes. A locally-grown lunch prepared by Boont Berry Farm will be served in their redwood grove. We will then venture to Petit Teton, an 8-year old organic family farm owned and operated by Nikki Ausschnitt and Steven Krieg. Their farming style uses permaculture concepts, with careful management of land and water resources. They have 100 chickens for egg production, 4 yaks for grazing, and grow a wide range of seasonal fruits and vegetables emphasizing heirloom varietals. They recently planted an orchard of 50 pear and apple varieties, most of them grafted on the farm. To wrap up the day we will visit 2M Philo Gardens. More info at 895-3150 or andersonvalleylandtrust.org .
THE ABOVE TOUR is highly recommended. Having visited the transformed hillside comprising Petite Teton, the scope and energy of the enterprise dropped my jaw to my shoe tops.. It's a very interesting and productive farm where you wouldn't expect to find one and, I might add, a farm that comes with a lot of ingenious strategies for growing things on unpromising land. And Chris and Stephanie Tebbutt, as locals already know, are a couple of green thumbed geniuses. Their farm directly west off Anderson Valley Way, with its pond and orchards set against the west hills, is one of the great beauty spots of Mendocino County.
THE NASH MILL ROAD wars heated up a couple of different ways last week. First there was that Monday fire apparently sparked just off Big Meadow Road about 5pm on a 90 degree day by a guy operating an excavator in a brush-covered field. The blaze burned uphill, consuming three acres before prompt and deft action by the Anderson Valley Volunteers extinguished it. Then there's the heat engendered by the bad feeling arising from the departure of long-time road guy, Dean Titus, in favor of retired County road guy, Willie Roberts. Lots of Nash Millers don't understand why Willie is taking over road maintenance responsibilities from Dean.
THE BOONVILLE SCHOOL BOARD meeting scheduled for Monday night was cancelled because the school board didn't show up. Amend that. Enough of them didn't show up to convene. No members of the pesky public showed up either because the peskiest of them couldn't find public notice, belatedly locating it in the bulletin board clutter of the Boonville Post Office. Monday's meeting will, presumably, be rescheduled, but try to find out when and where. Go ahead, I dare you.
A BUSY WEEKEND for the Anderson Valley Ambulance included a dramatic ridgetop medi-vac helicopter landing that saw the medi-vac crew climb into the Ambulance with a very ill Boonville person being transported to Ukiah. The chopper medics went to work on the patient as the Ambulance proceeded on to the hospital. At last report, the patient survived the journey. Our emergency services people, all volunteers, had a heckuva time pulling a young man out of deep Maple Basin off Signal Ridge. He'd fallen into a kind of chasm at the headwaters of Greenwood Creek where he'd had to spend the night. He also was finally extracted then helicoptered outtahere.
A YOUNG READER (there seems to be at least one under the age of 60) passes along this assessment of stoner society by an actor named Mathew McConaughey: "Very few people sit around and pass a joint anymore. When I was younger, weed was just something everybody did to get a little giggly. It was the socialization of passing a joint around. And everyone kind of chuckled and it was harmless and that was it. But the modern marijuana is simply too strong to be enjoyable. I've seen people smoke a joint and their subplots become unmanageable. I've asked them, 'Dude, why are you doing this if you don't have any fun?' And they're like, 'It's just weed.' Weed is obviously not what it used to be."