DANNY AND GINGER JOHNSTON have raised three, smart, well-behaved, ambitious boys, the kind of youngsters any school district would be delighted to have in their classrooms. The Johnston's athletic son, Scotty, is now a senior at Anderson Valley High School where senior students are required to complete a “senior project” to graduate. Scotty's project is as ambitious as he is: the resurface and general rehab of the outdoor basketball court at the high school which, of course, is both a welcome upgrade of the high school plant and an expansion of after-hours recreation opportunities for the entire community.
THE RECENT UPGRADE of the high school's tennis courts was a comparable community enhancement. It was accomplished by a group of local tennis players, mostly adult, and the revived courts have also revived tennis as an athletic option for Anderson Valley's young people, many of whom have since exercised the option.
SO, WHO COULD POSSIBLY object to Scotty Johnston's senior project? I admit I wondered if the kid could pull it off. He needed money, he needed savvy logistics help in arranging for and scheduling the complicated job, and he needed encouragement. Which he got from his parents, and which he got from a lot of us, and which he drummed up himself through a three on three hoops tournament, and which he got by beating the donation drums on his own.
BUT WHAT HE didn't get from the high school principal and, it seems, the high school's supine faculty, is so much as an attaboy. What he got from them, especially the principal, was a gratuitous insult for his family c-ceed to, and unobjected to, by the high school faculty.
THE AUTHOR of the insult was the school's egregious principal, James Tomlin, recently in the local news when the Anderson Valley School Board voted, wisely, as it is again evident, not to renew his contract.
HERE'S TOMLIN to his staff: “This should be done on a weekend! We have 4 classrooms right next to this area. I realize that academics & learning are not a priority to 'Goober' & company, BUT this is a school....”
“GOOBER” is Mr. Johnston's childhood nickname, which Tomlin also wields as an insult. Mr. Johnston is Scotty Johnston's father, and Scotty Johnston, to repeat, is the kid who has organized the resurrection of the outdoor basketball court.
IT SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE SAID that Mr. and Mrs. Johnston are absolutely committed to the academic success of their children and, as evidence of their commitment, their boys regularly appear on the school's honor's list.
WHAT TOMLIN doesn't mention is that the school itself demanded that Scotty complete his project before he graduates, and of course Tomlin is indifferent to the work Scotty did coordinating the appearance of the paving contractor to coincide with other work the contractor was doing in the Anderson Valley. And the former principal neglects to mention that the high school has been a construction site for three years now while its aging plant is modernized. Besides all of which, once the paving crew is set up they'll have the whole show completed before classes even start.
TOMLIN CONTINUES: “…This obviously should be done with the consultation & consensus of the staff, but I guess that kind of thinking help get me canned. This is really unacceptable, and why would it be sprung on us with only a 3 school day notice. This is the kind of incredible disrespect, non-inclusion, of the folks on this campus, that I have quite unsuccessfully tried to be a firewall against this year. This is just another of the bombs dropped on the staff & campus that we have had no say in. I hope the next principal refuses to tolerate this kind of nonsense. Unacceptable! Jim T.”
“INCREDIBLE DISRESPECT”? Tomlin would seem be the last guy to invoke that one, and all that's left to say about him is that a majority of the school board clearly made the right decision in refusing to renew his contract as principal.
SUPERINTENDENT J.R. Collins wasted no time apologizing to the Johnstons in a handwritten letter, singlehandedly redeeming whatever residual sense of honor AV Unified may possess.
IN THAT SAME whiney communiqué from Tomlin, the teacher's representative, Jim Snyder, commiserates with his martyred principal, and adds a lunacy of his own: “Thanks, Jim, but those of us who work at this site have never really had much control of our campus, e.g., The Supe ordered me to let people have use of the tennis courts during school hours???? Campus security, I think not.”
RIGHT, SNYDER. Local tennis players are a big time security hazard. But seriously, dude, the true hazard to The Valley's young people comes from their being at the mercy of… well, never mind. I'm sure you're doing the best you can.
THE HIGH SCHOOL staff has been unsupervised for years. Anything goes. The ag teacher, for instance, uses the school vehicles (and fuel) as her own, teachers are unevaluated, friends and relatives get hired and paid outside any normal hiring process, and on and on. If ever an institution needed a thorough housecleaning it's this one. Bring in a new principal from outside with one instruction — weed these people out.
A YOUNG GUY was nearly killed the other day when he leaped into the Russian River from 30 feet up Squaw Rock near Hopland and hit his head on a boulder not visible to him pre-dive. That site is hazardous to people of all ages. The river moves with deceptive rapidly in that area, and isn't as deep as it appears. The Press Democrat described the site as “Frog Woman Rock,” the politically correct re-name of several years ago when “squaw,” without supporting historio-linguistic evidence, was deemed insulting to Native American females. A commenter suggested Squaw Rock be called “Female Native American Mineral Calcification Formation”
ON APRIL 1, 2013 Anderson Valley Resident Deputies Craig Walker and Luis Espinoza initiated a fraud investigation after receiving complaints that a Navarro resident, Elle Marteeny, 34, had passed fraudulent checks at several businesses. The investigation quickly expanded after deputies learned Marteeny also allegedly diverted assets belonging to her boyfriend's ill father, Richard Bloyd, 71, of Navarro. During the course of the investigation, deputies determined Marteeny used Bloyd's identity to obtain credit and checking accounts in his name, all without his knowledge and consent. Bloyd has been hospitalized since January, 2013. Instead of taking care of Bloyd's legitimate expenses, Marteeny diverted funds for personal benefit. On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, Deputies Walker and Espinoza served a search warrant at the residence Marteeny shares with her boyfriend and the ailing Richard Bloyd. Deputies were assisted by personnel from the California Highway Patrol and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Inside the residence, officers found documents indicating Marteeny forged Richard Bloyd's name on multiple checks and had opened several credit card accounts in his name. Marteeny is believed to have accumulated upwards of $20,000 in debt in Bloyd's name over an approximately one-year period. Based on the investigation, deputies arrested Marteeny for Elder Financial Abuse, Identity Theft, Committing an Offense while on Own Recognizance. She was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where she was booked and held in lieu of $50,000 bail. Persons with information on this matter are encouraged to contact Deputy Walker at 707-463-4086.
THE ENCHANTED FOREST FESTIVAL, described by Fire Chief Colin Wilson as a “rave,” and as “Sierra Nevada Music Festival Lite,” is scheduled for the former Boy Scout Camp in Navarro from June 28 to July 1, the weekend after the Sierra Nevada Music Festival in Boonville. According to the permit application for the event, signed by Jeremy Mayberry of Mendocino, the festival will be “drug and alcohol free.” But Chief Wilson said this would be its third year and it certainly hadn't been drug and alcohol free in the past. Mayberry's permit says the Forest Festival is expecting 1500 people over its four-days.
ANYONE INTERESTED in getting a closer look at the mega-eyesore CalFire fire bunker south of Boonville might want to attend CalFire's Open House on Thursday, May 2, at 11am. Incidentally, CalFire erected this thing without so much as a single public hearing.
EVEN THOUGH THE REBUILT OUTHOUSE at Boonville International will contain nothing but “toilet paper and a hole,” and is in effect a non-movable porta-potty, the county's Planning Department has told Airport representatives that it requires the same permit as a bathroom septic system in a new home. Environmental Health, another county agency, has said that the outhouse doesn’t need a permit because it’s just a porta-potty. It is hoped the two county agencies will soon introduce themselves to each other.
THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT is forming an ad hoc committee to hire a new fire chief to replace Chief Colin Wilson who retires in October. Last week, the Board decided to do an “open hiring,” meaning applications from outside the Valley will be considered, which seems unnecessarily cumbersome considering that a pair of perfectly qualified current firefighters have said they intend to apply for the job — Clay Eubank of Yorkville and Andres Avila of Yorkville. The ad hoc committee will be headed by newly appointed CSD board member Neil Darling. (Mr. Darling replaces Deborah Sarsgard who had to step down a couple of months ago due to ill health.) Another Board member, as well as one or two members of the District’s Fire Protection Committee and an as-yet unnamed local senior firefighter from a neighboring district or Calfire will also sit on the ad hoc committee.
TOM MCFADDEN NOTES: “Well, tonight I am in a hotel in Davis waiting on my daughter Maegan to turn up late so that we can set out by rail in the morning. We are going to New Orleans via Glenwood Springs and Chicago. What I want to say is that I am sorry for having opposed the movie project - It was not a problem at all. World music festival likewise. What I want to do is support the young people in their dreams and in their plans-after all I do think the ball is in their court now.”
SPEAKING of whom, you must know by now that Tom is rightly considered one of America's premier woodworkers whose handmade furniture is regarded as works of art. And on display right here in Boonville at Tom's combined home and studio.
CHIEF WILSON provides a belated follow-up to last week’s mention of the controlled burn of a small house in Philo a couple weeks ago: “Yes, we burned a small house on the old ‘Art’s Apples’ property about two miles west of Philo. We had several local fire departments participating: Comptche, South Coast, Redwood Coast and Mendocino. We started about 10am making small fires and sending student teams in to put them out. As the day progressed we allowed the fires to get bigger and finally completed the burn by letting the building go at about 3:30 in the afternoon. It took about an hour for it to be completely consumed.”
THE 31ST ANNUAL BOONTLING CLASSIC Footrace is on Sunday May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) at 10am at the AV Elementary School. If you can't find an entry form, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you one. It's that time again. Get in shape for summer fun. Fastest runners get medals and ribbons, but there is a drawing for prizes, too. Entry Fee: $8 ($2 discount for North Coast Striders). T-Shirt: $10. Late Reg. Fee: $10. Pre-registration deadline is May 4th. Race day registration is 8:30-9:30am. Plaques to top man and woman. Ribbons to top 3 in each division. Drawing for prizes!
ASKED ABOUT SECURITY for the event, Bruce Hering, aka Uncle Sam, replied: “We could offer side arms to participants, but most would refuse because the added weight would ruin their time…”
GREG KROUSE REMINDS US: “Those delectable doughy disk will soar over the griddle as Granger Flap Jack and Bill Bacon cook at Anderson Valley Grange Local food Flapjacks and Social Breakfast, Sunday, Jan 28th 8-12:00 between Philo and Boonville on Hwy 128. Diggin at the Granges roots with the AV Foodshed, you’ll find local wheat, eggs, milk plus fruit juices and syrups will be served at good prices. The hotcakes sizzling are an old secret Granger concoction and alternative gluten and dairy free version will be available plus eggs and bacon. Ooh eh ya! Ya’ll can’t beat dat! Contact 895-2667. Plus tasty music with an open microphone for budding musicians and poets. Down home food, ambience and chatting.”
A PHILO MOTHER accused of child endangerment after her 2-year-old son was brought to Ukiah Valley Medical Center with methamphetamine and a life-threatening amount of alcohol in his system was in Mendocino County Superior Court Thursday in her ongoing case. Samantha Delvalle, 22, and Raymond Mabery, 21, who was also at her home when sheriff's deputies arrived, face charges of child endangerment, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia. Delvalle and Mabery were in court last Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing, but Ukiah attorney Justin Petersen, who represents Mabery in the matter, said he needed more time to obtain from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office an audio CD and review it with his client.
Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cox said she had sent Petersen the disc, along with a disc containing pictures, but Petersen said in the midst of another trial he couldn't find the audio CD and would work on getting another copy from the DA's Office. Delvalle's attorney estimated previously that the preliminary hearing might take a minimum of two hours. A preliminary hearing is the district attorney's chance to show the court enough evidence to bind the defendant over for trial.
The pair is due back in court May 7 to confirm their May 29 preliminary hearing date. The charges they face stem from an incident when Delvalle's 2-year-old son was picked up from her house by his grandmother. The woman noticed the child was sick, and took him to Ukiah Valley Medical Center when she smelled alcohol in his vomit, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported previously. Deputies responded to the hospital to investigate the child abuse report, and then went to Delvalle's home, where she and Mabery appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance, according to the MCSO. Deputies found alcoholic beverage containers and a methamphetamine pipe where the toddler could reach them, the MCSO reported.
— Tiffany Revelle, courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)