THE BOONVILLE LODGE and its 13 jobs are being killed by an absentee landlord, a Sebastopol man named Johnson. The Lodge will be dead by January the first. Johnson has more than doubled the lease price he charges the popular bar and restaurant from $1500 to $3500. The increase is not only beyond unreasonable, it's lethal. The Lodge can't possibly pay the increase and stay in business. We all like to eat and drink in Boonville, but in a small community with nine places to find good food you'd have to be serving eternal life and triple orders of fries to even begin to break even with a nut of $3500 a month. Especially in the winter months when all our restaurant businesses struggle, and struggle all the more lately in an economy in freefall down, down, down. Landlord Johnson must be dumb, greedy, or delusional. All three, probably. Nobody's going to rent bare Boonville space for $3500 a month, as Johnson will soon discover. The owners of the present Boonville Lodge, Carroll Pratt and Tom Towey, transformed the old Lodge from a bucket of blood to an attractive, well-run place that serves honest drinks and good food at reasonable prices. The reputation of the old Lodge was so fearsome that three years after it's miraculous re-birth as a place to have a drink without fearing for your life is still being overcome. The Independent Career Women, for instance, would not have held their annual dinner in the old Lodge. In the old Lodge the ICW would have been the dinner. The ladies are meeting at the Lodge this year, and then the Lodge will close and all the hard work that's gone into the place will be lost, and the 13 people who worked there will be looking for other work in the Anderson Valley in January when there's no work to be had.
MATT EVANS OF COMPTCHE, widely known as Matt The Rat in that community, has not only been found not guilty of child porn charges, he has been declared “factually innocent” of the charges brought by the Fort Bragg Police Department and the Mendocino County District Attorney's office. The two law enforcement entities had assumed that the sordid images found on a computer were Evans's responsibility. They weren't, and charges were eventually dropped, dropped and extinguished. Moreover, every agency involved “shall seal their records of arrest and prosecution relating to this case for three years,” then destroy their records of arrest and prosecution and that “the finding that Mathew Wyatt Evans is factually innocent shall not be admissible as evidence in any action.” Evans' attorney on the matter was David Eyster of Ukiah. Evans remains, however, a registered sex offender.
CORRECTION: The Anderson Valley Film Festival is the last weekend in January, not the third weekend in January as reported here last week.
WILLIE HOUSLEY reminds us that the full range of movies is available at La Elegante, Boonville, freshly re-opened for your viewing pleasure. Willie, a terrific running back a few years ago, says he will give a free movie rental to all members of the high school's fall sports teams “in honor of the great seasons they had.”
WHICH THEY DID, with the football, soccer and volleyball teams all reaching the small school playoffs with the volleyball going all the way to the championship game against Rincon Valley, and the soccer team to the semi-finals against Branson of Ross. Although the football team qualified for the playoffs they were unable to meet Hoopa at Hoopa because of injuries. Incidentally, a volleyball player expressed the suspicion that Rincon Valley had pre-heated their gym to positively equatorial temperatures on the assumption that our girls would be unaccustomed to playing in, but despite some initial wilting our team came roaring back to make the contests close indeed.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY Animal Rescue's invaluable, free spay and neuter program expires on April 1, 2010, but if you hop right on it and contact the Mendocino Animal Hospital at 462-8833, or the North State Animal Hospital at 468-5965, or the Yokayo Veterinary Center, 462-8625, or Kathy at 485-7307, you can get your cat fixed! Free!
JESSICA FRIEDLAND, 23, of Albion, was badly injured Thursday afternoon shortly before 5pm when her pickup truck flew, literally it seems, off Highway 128 near Flynn Creek Road and smashed into a redwood tree. A four-year-old boy traveling with Ms. Friedland was not injured. The child, reportedly, was not secured by a car seat and climbed out of the wreckage on his own, but Ms. Friedland remained trapped in the tangle of crushed metal. “Her legs were entangled in the crushed lower portion of the vehicle,” Anderson Valley Fire Chief Colin Wilson told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “We ended up having to pretty seriously disassemble the car, and it took quite a while.” The boy was taken by ambulance to Fort Bragg's Mendocino Coast Hospital for a precautionary exam. Ms. Friedland, who sustained major injuries, was flown by air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
TRAVEL NOTES: Johnny Schmitt recently enjoyed a vacation in Italy, Leslie Hummel warmed up for winter in Hawaii, and Dave Severn just got back from Ithaca where he met a grandson for the first time, newly arrived Huckleberry, the first child of Dave’s daughter Marigold, a graduate student at Cornell.
THE ED SLOTTE family is headed to Fort Lewis, Washington where the Slotte family will spend Thanksgiving with Staff Sergeant Jesse Slotte and his family. Sgt. Slotte is back on active duty after nearly being killed in Iraq by an IED. He has since undergone nearly 60 surgeries, the most recent last month on one of his ears. Little Felix Slotte, the youngest son of Jesse and Maricella, is back in school and doing fine after his lengthy surgery last year to remove a brain tumor. Sgt. Slotte mans a deployment desk at Fort Lewis where he counsels new soldiers and helps old soldiers readjust to life without constant incoming. Meanwhile, here in the Anderson Valley, Ed and Candy Slotte are responsible for collecting 200 holiday gift packages for Sgt. Slotte's 4th Stryker Brigade, Combat Team. Donations can be dropped off at Lemons Market, Philo; All That Good Stuff and Anderson Valley Market, Boonville. (See page 7 for preferred items.)
SHANNON ARCHER of Navarro has been booked into the County Jail on a bail of $100,000 arising from an episode occurring at a trysting spot a mile or so up Peachland Road from Highway 128. Ms. Archer was upset that her teenage daughter was seeing a young man named Joseph Martin. Ms. Archer somehow discovered that her daughter was with Mr. Martin at the Peachland location. Finding the couple there, Ms. Archer pulled her vehicle across the road to prevent Martin and Ms. Archer’s daughter from driving off. In the ensuing confrontation, Ms. Archer, brandishing a pistol, struck Martin in the head with the weapon, which discharged at least twice, putting one or two bullet holes in Martin’s car.
LOCAL SHEEP RANCHER Sam Prather came away with the Grand Champion Columbia ram award — aka The Prize Ram — at the Annual North American International Livestock Show in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday, November 19th. He also won first place with his Columbia ewe in the Columbia sheep show.
RICH AURILIA AND DAVE ROBERTS, lately of the San Francisco Giants, have formed Red Stitch Winery, and you can be sure their chardonnay will hit at least .240.