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Valley People

THE FLYNN FIRE was declared fully extinguished late last Thursday. A small army of CalFire vehicles still packed the parking lot of the Boonville Fairgrounds early last Wednesday morning, but from everything we'd heard from our Comptche correspondents the Flynn Fire was effectively out by then. By the end of the day Thursday, there were still 37 engines, 24 crews, and 651 personnel on scene but the dozers, air tankers and helicopters have been released for duty elsewhere. Total estimated acreage burned: 195. One injury. Nine structures destroyed, including one home.

THE FIRE BEGAN Monday afternoon (1st October) a little after two at the home directly behind the Comptche Volunteer Fire Department on Flynn Creek Road. It destroyed that home and four outbuildings. Its cause remains under investigation.

BOONVILLE FIRE CHIEF Colin Wilson fills in the blanks: “During the initial attack, Albion, Mendocino and Anderson Valley Fire Departments were requested for mutual aid. We eventually provided three engines, the first of which was from our Navarro Station. This engine was assigned to structure protection at what happened to be the residence of a Comptche Firefighter who had responded to the fire earlier leaving his own home unprotected and in the path of the fire. As luck would have it he responded to another structure which was the residence of another Comptche firefighter who was also off protecting someone else’s property. Both firefighters homes were saved but it was a very close call in both cases. The fire was burning within the perimeter of the 1931 Comptche Fire which burned over 33,000 acres and started on Sept. 22, 1931. At the time of the Flynn fire the temperatures were in the 100 degree range and the humidity was very low creating the conditions for a recreation of the 1931 burn. There have been many changes between then and now but I think the principle reason for holding this fire to 200 acres with only one home lost is the development of the fire service in Mendocino County. Cal Fire with their extensive fleet of engines, dozers, helicopters, air tankers and most importantly well trained and equipped people is a very large part of this equation. The mutual aid system in California is second to none and the response to this fire was a remarkable example of that.”

OUR HOME TOWN FOOTBALL TEAM romped to a  60-28 victory over host Rincon Valley last Saturday afternoon, reserve players topping off the Panthers first victory of the season.  Scott Johnston got the game going with a big bang when he ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. The Panther's powerhouse junior varsity team also racked up another victory. Friday night, the Boonville boys take on traditional rival Mendocino at the Boonville Fairgrounds, a homecoming game for the Panthers, which means lots of pageantry and pretty girls plus an excellent football game. JV's kickoff at 3pm, varsity at 5.

PG&E WILL SHUT DOWN power to the Anderson Valley from 9pm Saturday until Sunday morning at 8am.

THERE WILL BE LOTS of people taken completely unawares. They're called Ten Percenters. As a kid in the Marines, the Marines called the unaware people, the people who never seemed to get the word, who never knew what was happening,  Ten Percenters. I was a perennial Ten Percenter, which eventually led me to journalism, national occupation of Ten Percenters.

INTRODUCING CAROL BAKER, the new person at the Philo Post Office. Ms. Baker replaces the irreplaceable Joe Dresch, who has retired. Ms. Baker comes to us from Comptche and has received merry thumbs-up reviews from the many new faces she sees over the counter at Philo.

SHEILA TO THE RESCUE! The designated executor of the late Bruce Longstreet’s household estate, Sheila Leighton, hearing of the Comptche family burned out of house and home by the Flynn Fire, donated Longstreet's household goods to the burned out family. The former station manager at KZYX and lately manager of the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service, the popular Longstreet died of cancer three weeks ago. A kindly, generous man, Longstreet would certainly have approved of Ms. Leighton's timely gift of his household's useful items to a family in need.

JUST ASKING, but why is the high school's ag teacher driving the school's pick-up truck on her personal business, like to her home and back?

ARE YOU GOING LOCAL in October?  This week (the AVA week that is) from Wednesday (10/10) to Wednesday 10/17) C’mon Home to Eat features: 10/13 Boonville Farmers’ Market with fresh, local produce/food and an available apple press to make your apples into cider; 10/13 Hendy Woods Jamboree with local food potluck; 10/15 Farm and Garden Show on KZYX 1-2 p.m.; and daily at the elementary through high school fruit/vege tasting and school lunches with local food.  Many more restaurant specials are coming up in October (including the opening of Aquarelle), meanwhile ask at the Boonville General Store, Boonville Hotel, the Boont Berry deli, Buckhorn, Floodgate, Lauren’s, Mosswood, and Paysanne for local selections. Anderson Valley Market, Boont Berry, and Lemons all have shelf-talker labels on their AV produce. If you want to check out the many upcoming local food events—or read about the many reasons to eat locally, look up the Mendocino Local Food Guide website at

THE SUCCESS of this year's Saturday market owes much to the steady management hand of Bill McEwen, a pleasant, affable man just right for the difficult task.

A COUPLE OF SURVEYS of wine industry people just released by the University of California at Davis say that this fall's grape harvest is looking strong, but there's still a shortage of premium wine grapes. Growers also lament a labor shortage, which they hope to remedy via higher wages and benefits, labor contractors and mechanization.

THANKS TO A North Coast Opportunities grant the AV Foodshed is putting up signs in local store and restaurant windows indicating that they sell or serve local food. There will be pennants flying outside local food events with the local food logo, and the October calendar of events is posted in the usual spots. Alongside the calendar is a map made by Jeff Ballantine with a circle around Anderson Valley so you can see what eating within a 100-mile range looks like.

BRONWYN HANES of the Anderson Valley will be in Superior Court, Ukiah, on Thursday, October 18th, 9:30am, Courtroom A, for a preliminary hearing on allegations she embezzled over $20,000 from the Anderson Valley PTA.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY community and all other lovers of Hendy Woods are invited to camp, eat, sing, hike and generally enjoy our great park this Sat. and Sun., Oct.13-14.  Come on Saturday and set-up camp; $35 per campsite for up to 8 people with 2nd car $8. There is the usual $8 day-use fee (per car) if you just come for the afternoon/evening. On Saturday at 5 pm there will be a potluck at the visitor center area followed by a campfire at about 7.  A sing-along will be lead by the ever fun-loving, friendly Patty Liddy.  Musicians are invited to bring instruments to jam during dinner or following the sing-along. On Sunday morning Bill Sterling will lead a bird walk at 8:30, Linda McElwee will lead a natural history hike at 9:30 and there will be a town hall meeting to discuss future plans for the park at 11 am. Important note: Please bring flashlights/lanterns; there is a scheduled PG&E power outage in Philo on Saturday night-Sunday morning. Hope to see you all there for all or part of this fun event!  Questions? Call Janet Anderson, 895-2575 or Deanna Apfel, 895-2307.

ROB AND BARBARA GOODELL remind us, “Mendocino Permaculture announces the 31st annual Chestnut Gathering on Saturday November 3rd at the Zeni Ranch on Fish Rock Road from 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., rain or shine. The Zeni family’s 100+ year-old dry-farmed European seedling chestnut trees are living examples of the productivity and sustainability of tree crops. They developed their homestead and have been living, farming, and ranching there for five generations. Pick up your own fresh chestnuts for $3.00/lb., enjoy chestnuts roasted over an open fire, a local food potluck, music, and sharing local gardening/ranching successes. There is no fee for the event. No dogs, please. For more information: Mark Albert 462-7843, Barbara/Rob Goodell 895-3897, Jane Zeni 895-2309, or Linda Zeni 884-4208.”

ASSEMBLYMAN JARED HUFFMAN has gotten a name change for the California Department of Fish and Game, which will soon be called the Department of Fish and Wildlife and comes with a new science panel that will advise on conservation measures. (AB2402) Huffman is about to become the Northcoast's congressman in the new long tall congressional district running north from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border in a narrow strip containing a 2-1 Democrat registration. Former congressman Thompson is moving next door in a district nicely gerrymandered to accommodate his Blue Dog views.

SPEAKING OF SPIKE, we received the following press release last week: “The community is invited to a coffee and tea klatch to meet with Jared Huffman, candidate for US Congress in California’s Northcoast Second Congressional District, in Boonville on Saturday, October 20, from one to three in the afternoon. This community meeting with Jared Huffman is hosted by John Lewallen and Barbara Stephens-Lewallen. It will be at MendoDragon. To find MendoDragon, go south on Lambert Lane by the Boonville Hotel, and follow the Huffman signs at the first left. MendoDragon is the house at the end of the road on the right. For information, call John and Barbara at (707) 895-2996.”

UH, if you're going to see Huffman you better head west on Lambert Lane before you start looking for puffs of smoke, big red eyes, four-foot teeth, and the giant vegan lizard beckoning you thence. In living fact, Lambert Lane runs west off 128.

JONATHAN LETHEM (born February 19, 1964) is an American novelist, essayist and short story writer. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music , a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction  and detective fiction , was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn , a National Book Critics Circle Award -winning novel that achieved mainstream success. In 2003, he published The Fortress of Solitude , which became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2005, he received a MacArthur Fellowship . Mr. Lethem will be in conversation with Robert Mailer Anderson of Boonville and San Francisco at the Herbst Theater, Thursday, October 25th at 7:30pm. Balcony tickets are still available from City Box Office.

WE LEARN from the Fort Bragg Advocate, that Randy D. Bloyd has been arraigned for alleged violation of parole in Ten Mile Court.

HEARTENING to see attractive buildings rising on the site where the Mannix Building once rested, the front structure with a 19th-century like false front. Hats off to the developer, Aaron Weintraub for a job well done.

HOME INVASION SEASON is upon us, but so far this year not so much as a rumor of nary a one because, and this is where the rumors begin, Mexican growers are now fully organized into a kind of co-op whose members you violate at extreme peril. It's a gringo, however, who is suspected of ripping off a local gringo grower for several pounds of primo bud.

IN THE SPIRIT of Mendocino County's right-on small farm movement, we've got a flock of 20 laying hens and two roosters, one of whom jumped the fence from Mrs. Frazer's pen and never went home. But our hens aren't laying, the loafers. We're lucky if we get two eggs a day. We asked around. One opinion was especially intriguing. “Our guess crows or ravens. They take the eggs whole and carry them to a pole or tree to eat them. We've found shells far from our coop.” We kept watch. No sign of interest from bird world, and no evidence that nocturnal creatures, like skunks or foxes, we're getting into the pen, which is quite secure day and night. Emil Rossi pointed out that chickens don't lay when they're moulting, and there were lots of feathers around the pen, and our crew did look rather denuded. We're inclined to think Rossi is probably right, but there's no more moulting underway and the loafers still aren't producing.

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