A BAD THING HAPPENED in central Boonville about 4pm Sunday, but by 9pm a very good thing had happened at the same place. The bad thing happened when a Subaru, driven by a woman later arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, and containing three teenage girls, rear-ended a pick-up driven by a dad with his wife and their little girl as passengers. The pick-up was struck with such force it was shoved off the highway and into a Fairgrounds walkway pole, while the Subaru veered onto Lauren's front porch, taking out a combined phone and power line and the timbers holding up the overhang. No one was seriously hurt, although a total of five people from the two vehicles involved were hauled over the hill by ambulance to be checked out.
LAUREN HERSELF was soon on-scene. At first glance she must have assumed her popular restaurant would be out of business for some time. From a distance, damage looked significant. But The Good Thing had commenced almost immediately when Anderson Valley's volunteer firefighters went to work on Lauren's fallen overhang and, by the time night had fully fallen, what had appeared to have been catastrophic damage to the front of the enterprise had been converted to a face lift, complete with new supports.
MONDAY MORNING, the only evidence that a major collision had occurred were Lauren's crushed planters and the severely bent metal pole at the Fairgrounds. That pole, incidentally, seems to have prevented the careening pick-up from crashing through the doors of the Apple Hall. Any pedestrian in the path of either vehicle as both left the roadway would have been seriously injured.
THE SUBARU had set out from Mountain View for a camping stay near Fort Bragg. It was clearly being driven at a high rate of speed when it reached central Boonville.
I HAD BEEN ENJOYING the twin delights of a taco and Anel's radiant smile at Anel's restaurant when the vehicles collided down the street. There was the inimitable sound of vehicles colliding, then pop, a sizzle and the lights went off at Anel's. People poured out of the bar next door, and we all began to speculate about what had happened. Soon, a large crowd of kibitzers had assembled behind the yellow crime tape fencing off the two damaged vehicles. An onlooker, commenting on his fellow onlookers, said, "This is the biggest local crowd I've seen since the night the Mannix Building burned down."
RAINA FAIGEN, 20, Mountain View, has been identified as the driver of the careening 2002 Subaru Outback. Emiliano Soto-Valencia, 28, of Boonville, was driving his Ford pick-up at about 30 mph when Ms. Faigen's speeding Subaru hit him from behind. Soto-Valencia's wife and four-year-old daughter were taken to Ukiah Valley Medical Center with minor injuries.
POWER REMAINED out at Anel's and several locations in the downtown area until later in the evening; Anderson Valley Market never did lose power.
THE SUBARU'S THREE passengers are identified as Kate Robbins, 16, of Watsonville; Alanna Reyes, 18, of Walnut Creek; and Sophie Drukman-Feldstein, 16, of San Francisco. Ms. Faigen was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on $30,000 bail.
MAJOR ATTA BOYS for our volunteer fire department. They went right to work on Lauren's and, by 9pm, it was hard to tell that anything so drastic had happened there.
CAPTAIN RAINBOW must be in Burma by now while we await his first dispatches from that long-sequestered country. We all enjoyed Rainbow's accounts of his stay in Sri Lanka several years ago and now look forward to his reports from Myanmar.
NOW THAT GRADUATION PARTIES ARE OVER and done with for another year, it's time to get down to business. The AV High School Boys' soccer team begins summer practices next week, 6pm on Wednesday, July 10, at Tom Smith Field behind the school. As usual it is expected that around 25-30 student athletes will be competing for spots on the roster so they are all encouraged to come out on Wednesdays for the next month, before Mondays are added to the practice schedule for August. The team won the Championship for the second time in three years last season, and with many players returning it is hoped that the program's winning tradition will continue. Reaching the play-offs eight years in succession does not just happen — it all starts with practice and training. See you out there, lads! — Coach Steve Sparks.
THE 149th Vassar College commencement on May 28th conferred bachelor of arts degrees on 612 graduating students including Cassidy Hollinger of Boonville, a young woman we remember as if it were yesterday waiting tables at the Buckhorn.
FOUR BORDER COLLIE/MCNAB PUPPIES, just five-days old, are in desperate need of a “mother.” Their actual mother became ill during birth last Friday and, although she will survive her upcoming surgery, she cannot support them with the milk they require for the next three or four weeks. During this crucial period of the pups' lives, the vets at Mendocino Animal Hospital want to find a temporary home (that could become permanent) requiring a private space and bottle feeding a few times a day. They want the puppies to stay in two pairs. If anyone can help these pups survive, please contact Kathy at the vets in Ukiah at 462-8833.
THAT DRILLING APPARATUS at Guererro's Tire Center in downtown Boonville last week was measuring air emissions from the long abandoned fuel tanks beneath that site. The high octane ground water that had caused so much consternation for so many years has, we understand, been cleared up.
THE RAVE at the Boy Scout Camp in Navarro this past weekend drew quite a crowd, with parking and camping at the Hulbert Ranch near Gowan's serving as a parking lot and camping area, with shuttle buses running celebrants back and forth all weekend.
IT'S HOT AND GETTING HOTTER, with temperatures averaging better than a hundred degrees from Boonville to all points east. Sunday, it hit a hundred in Mendocino County's most happening town, which is Boonville, if you absolutely must be told. It was 99 in Ukiah, 100 in Covelo but a balmy 88 in Willits where our ace eco-reporter, Will “Hawk” Parrish was, until Monday morning, strapped to a piece of road building equipment in protest of the Willits Bypass. Fort Bragg, our county's coolest town in every respect, from its dashingly handsome population to its many civilized amenities to its perfect weather, was 66 and clear. Temps in Anderson Valley will remain globally toasty all week, and won't cool until Saturday when a redeeming fog is expected to blanket the Mendocino Coast, whistling up through the redwoods to return the Anderson Valley to the temperate zone. In the interim, your beloved hometown newspaper recommends that you walk slow and drink a lot of water.
A FEW SMALL fires over the last several days, but nothing to speak of except for one oddity in the Hopland area where a few of acres of vineyard were destroyed by a slow-moving blaze.
SAN FRANCISCO is a small city. I often run into people I know, and I've had some peculiar encounters with people who seem to know me. "Are you....?" No, I'm his brother. I can take a message for him, though. A couple of weeks ago at 8th and California, trucking south on 8th to see the Diebenkorn at the deYoung, an older woman piloting a big Mercedes leaned out her window and yelled, "Way to go, Bruce. Whooeee!" That kind of enthusiasm for my public appearances is quite rare, non-existent in fact, so when another lady on a bicycle near one of my fave overlooks at the west end of the Presidio commenced waving and smiling, I focused what's left of my distance vision and darned if it wasn't Wendy Ludwig who's given me hours of free gardening advice over the years.
THE ANNUAL SALMON Barbecue is this Saturday down in Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg. Proceeds support salmon restoration efforts, this year fish counts in the Usal Forest and work on spawning grounds in the Noyo River. 11am to 6pm, $30 at the entrance, $23 in advance from Harvest Market, Fort Bragg. This being a good salmon year, the fish should be right off the boats. Nice event, good cause.
GOOD TO SEE DAVE EVANS back in the live music business this year with two great shows. On Saturday, July 15th, Dave presents Roy Rogers and the Delta River Kings with Boonville native Guy Kephart on the grill. Music at 6:30, gates open at 6.
LATER THIS SUMMER, the amazing blues man, Charlie Musslewhite, will appear at the amazing Navarro Store venue with his two brothers for a rare family appearance of a genius musical family. Stay tuned for the date.
THE THURSDAY before Rasta Fest, Claudia Jimenez was startled to look out the window of her Boonville business, All That Good Stuff, to see a scruffy white guy in a t-shirt reading "Staff" trying to get into her car. Claudia hustled out to confront him. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Oh, I thought it was my friend's car," Scruffy replied, moving gingerly on down the street. Scruff was also disavowed by the Rasta people setting up across the street at the Fairgrounds. I bring it up because it's the only incident during that weekend that even looked like a crime.