DON'T FORGET next Tuesday evening's (July 30th) community meeting at the Boonville Fairgrounds, 6pm, where Rasta Fest 2013, among other matters, will be critiqued.
A VISIT from Robert Kraft is always a "learning experience," as the edu-crats might say. Locals will remember Robert from his years as the Triple A guy who appeared at our all hours emergencies of the vehicular type. He now lives in Bandon, Oregon. The guy's a natural born archivist. Every time I've seen him over the years he's given me, or shown me, something of historical interest. On this trip, Robert and his daughter Alicia appeared in our office with a disk containing several recordings of national television shows that featured The Valley's famous Boontling speakers, a valuable bit of local history which, thanks to Mr. Kraft, will now be available to all of us just as soon as I get it down to the Little Red School House Museum.
WHEN THE SKIES began to go gray Monday afternoon, I'll bet every firefighter in The Valley sent up a silent prayer that the afternoon dark didn't portend lightning strikes. The skies are still dark Tuesday morning but so far no fire and one spectacular sunset, one spectacular dawn.
THE NOT-SO-SIMPLE Living Fair this weekend is a highly evolved version of the Simple Living Fairs of yesteryear. Those raggle-scraggle events were organized and dominated by time capsule hippies synonymous with, well, a woo-woo chaos of feral children, unattended dogs, inedible but "organic" glop-ball meals, and stoned doofuses naive enough to believe they had something to teach the rest of us. Today's weekends, you will have noted, have been amended to correspond with reality, as indicated by the 'Not So Simple' that precedes the old Simple Living. Farming has never been easy or simple. There are now lots of serious local people engaged in local, small-scale farming unrelated to the marijuana industry. Many of them will host exhibits this weekend at the Fairgrounds for a total event well worth attending. Workshops begin at 10am Saturday morning, with music Friday night by Foxglove, and Saturday night Pura Vida. For a complete run-down, including schedule of workshops, workshop descriptions and presenter information, visit our website http://notsosimple.info.
ANDERSON VALLEY'S dirty little secret. For rent ads that last more than a week mean, and we're definitely talking mean here, that the landlord won't rent to Mexicans. Which is illegal and could get the landlord majorly sued as soon as someone makes an issue out of it.
THE LOCAL housing squeeze is the result of the takeover of the Anderson Valley by the wine industry, leaving it us to everyone but the wine industry to provide housing for its workforce. That's another forbidden subject, of course, and one with many ramifications and implications that might at least be partially alleviated by the wine industry being compelled to provide housing commensurate with its labor needs.
DEPARTED AV school principal Jim Tomlin and Mrs. T now reside at Cobb, Lake County.
HERE at your beloved community newspaper, we look forward to meeting our new principal, Michelle Hutchins, handpicked by Superintendent Collins, Donna The Inevitable Pierson Hyphenate, and comrade Martha Bradford, People's Commissar to the school board. There are people who say, and I'm not going to mention their names and the goldurn negativity associated with them, but these meanie faces are already making statements like this: "OK. This lady has been selected by these featherbedding feebs so don't expect anything to change." 'Anything,' I suppose, refers to the prevailing sloth, insider hiring and general incompetence characteristic of the high school for going on three decades. Myself, however, I look forward to meeting you, Mrs. Michelle Hutchins, although I'm sure you've been forewarned to stay clear away from your beloved community newspaper. (Boy, some people!) But we soldier on in the face of this unwarranted hostility from comrades Bradford, Collins, Donna The Inevitable, and the rest of the apparat. I'm sure they mean well. (Actually, I don't think they mean well at all, but that's a subject for closed session, if you get my drift.) I want to "share with you," Mrs. Hutchins, my opinions on the educational state of things in Boonville. I suggest you immediately work to fire at least six people, insist on a dress code for faculty so they at least look like they haven't wandered in off the street, demand that they correct papers, show up on time, don't leave early and so on. Michelle! Listen to me! I'm on your side! Don't believe everything you've heard about your beloved community newspaper! Of course it's true, but we're starting a new day here! My door is always open, kiddo. Drop by anytime.
GREG KRAUS, a capsule history of the Philo Grange: "While talking with Grangers from Redwood Valley, Little Lake (Willits), Whiteboros (Albion) and Laytonville at our Pomona Regional meeting, a Little Laker, noted that they were right behind the AV Solar Grange 669 with 670 and wondered when we incorporated with the State and National. As the Grange burned in 1985 and our current certificate was 1992. I recalled Morgan Baynham, local Granger had put an article up of the AV Historical records, so we grabbed it off the wall. One of the Little Lakers, popular Annie Waters, said maybe we should get some cake and celebrate. We were eating local pork Ala Grange Master Norfleet and other nice dishes from the other Granges. I said why? She said well your Grange is 75 years old today.
According to the Sketches From Anderson Valley Text, we were formed on July 21st, 1938 with our first meeting in the Philo Methodist church. All the timbers were donated by the first grange members and a loan for other supplies was liquidated with dances and events. The Grange was an important center of the community at the time and well still is. Grangers supported those at war by paying their dues so they would continue to be Grangers during their service. Just before the first Grange burned, Grangers donated their curtain to the AV Historical Society which was created by a Tuttle who was in Hollywood. The screen lives now in the Tuttle complex behind the Red School house has a pastoral scene in its center and is surrounded by advertisements of then charter members (businesses.) It's real swell!
Grangers will be at the Not So Simple Living Festival at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds this weekend. We have a map of the 187 granges throughout the golden state and a nice brochure talking about what we were, have become and where were going. We will be at the County fair also. Come get some of the finest pancakes in the county made with organic local buttermilk, local eggs and Ukiah milled and grown Red Fife Wheat from the Mendocino Grain Project. Next month our bacon will be local and may be found in BLT on Sunday, August 11th from 8:30 to 11 AM. The Fort Bragg Grange sold 450 plates of pancakes last month and visited us to see what we were up to. They liked our cakes and wanted the recipe for the pancakes and contact information for the local wheat. That is one fine compliment. Pay attention, things are growing at the Grange
LAST WEDNESDAY EVENING the Community Services District board decided that they had not mishandled the authorization for the expenditure of more than $35,000 in advance for engineering runway repaving and widening, a partial payment for what is estimated to be over $70,000. Airport manager Kirk Wilder pointed out that the description of the project by Mr. Bowers last month was incorrect: the actual project could be as large as $600,000 to $700,000, not the $200,000 to $300,000 previously mentioned. When the question concerning the mishandling of the authorization to do the engineering first came up, several board members conceded that perhaps it had been mishandled and a motion was made to that effect, and seconded. But during the discussion the Board convinced themselves that they had done nothing wrong, or, if you will, in the prevalent new pejorative, inappropriate.
THE AIRPORT project had been mentioned here and there in earlier meetings, and those mentions were plenty discussion of pre-authorization to spend the money, even though Board member and budget committee chair Kathleen McKenna agreed that she was "surprised" when she saw the bill last month.
ON THE QUESTION of whether or not future engineering and related authorizations would be required to go through the budget committee and subjected to specific board vote, the board never made it to that question, having spent so much time convincing each other that nothing was procedurally amiss.
RIGHT HERE it's probably a good idea to re-state what's involved here. Correct me if I have it wrong: Should large expenditures of public money, or even small ones, be subject to orderly scrutiny prior to being approved? If I diverted $35 grand from your checking account with a breezy assurance, "Like we talked it over whenever it was, and we all said, 'Go ahead. No problem'," would you approve?
FORMER General Manager and long-time CSD watcher Gene Herr agreed that the authorization should have gone through the Budget Committee and approved by the Board considering the amount of work being done. She was ignored.
AIRPORT Manager Kirk Wilder told the Board that there was plenty of money in the Airport's account — General Manager Joy Andrews clarified that the $50-some thousand remaining in the Airport account was after the "surprise" $35k bill had been paid and deducted. Wilder also told his colleagues that the FAA has $150k of cash available just for the Boonville Airport upon request. Presumably, if the engineering costs more than available funds, all the Airport people have to do is summon up the FAA's money and it will magically appear, no questions asked. Therefore, the Board seemed to be saying, there's no need to run the authorization through the pesky budget committee or the even peskier public.
BOARD MEMBER Fred Martin considered the allegation that they had mishandled the engineering authorization to be “harassment,” and board chair Valerie Hanelt said that dealing with impertinent questions about whether or not they had followed the law in sort of giving the Airport Committee approval to proceed was a big reason so few people wanted to be on public boards these days.
NEWLY APPOINTED board member Neil Darling disagreed, saying that the question was valid, and not harassment. But Darling agreed with his colleagues that the subject had been given enough attention in earlier meetings, never mind that there was never any explicit decision to authorize the spending of public money, only the broad outlines of the project were discussed and no vote was taken on anything regarding the runway upgrade project.
THE AIRPORT'S consultant went ahead with the design work with the apparent approval of the Airport Committee when he learned that federal FAA money might become available for project this year if the engineering could be rushed through.
YOUR REPORTER has not seen the minutes of last Wednesday's meeting as of this writing so no final decision has been made about the filing of a Brown Act complaint. The board has not yet addressed the question of whether future runway project authorizations need to come before the board in advance so that basic issue remains open. If the Board decides to ignore the question and turn over all financial decisions about their projects to the Airport Committee without review by the Budget Committee or the Board, a Brown Act complaint will have to be filed. Why? Because it's a dumb, irresponsible way to do the public's business.
CSD BOARD MEMBER NEIL DARLING, who chairs the District’s hiring committee to replace retiring Chief Colin Wilson with a new chief, announced that the District's application deadline had passed with only one application, from senior Yorkville firefighter Andres Avila. Apparently senior firefighter Clay Eubanks, who had previously indicated interest in the position, decided not to apply. Chief Wilson gave a ringing endorsement of Mr. Avila, saying that he would make a good fire chief who would be entering the job with a level of experience similar to his own when he first was hired as chief. Since the consensus of the board and the firefighters seems to be that hiring from within the department is preferred, Mr. Darling and his hiring committee will now proceed to conduct a background check, reference checks, and an interview with Mr. Avila, after which, and assuming there's no problem, Mr. Avila will be hired effective October 1 and Chief Wilson will retire November 1. Chief Wilson also said he would be happy to work with Mr. Avila during his first few months on the job.
COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO congratulates Nathan Schenck, Audio Arts and Acoustics major from Philo on being named to the Dean's List for spring semester 2013. To be named to the Dean's List at Columbia College Chicago, students must have taken at least 12 credit hours and have a 3.75 grade point average or above for that semester. Columbia College "is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts to nearly 11,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. Atta boy, Nathan, a smart kid, as we all know.
DEBBIE HOLMER'S way back research at the Fort Bragg Advocate is always of interest, as is this note from the July 12, 1913 edition of the paper. "At the games held in Point Arena at the recent Fourth of July celebration, two Mendocino boys, Albert Brien and William Hansen, competed and by their prowess, captured a number of prizes. Brien, who competed professionally, received two cash prizes, winning the 100-yard dash, in which he beat the Boonville crack, McGimsey (scion of a pioneer Boonville family), and taking second place in the shot-put. Hansen won four gold medals and two silver medals. He was first in the high jump, broad jump, pole vault and shot-put, and second in the 100-yard dash, and the hop-skip-jump."
AND "George Studebaker, the well-known Anderson-Valley orchardist, was here yesterday with a load composed of cherries, peaches and apples which he readily disposed of."
MELISSA MEADER WRITES: "Hi Yogis. There is still time to join Yoga for Men with Chris. Get strong and healthy in a supportive environment. Come to the AV Grange at 5:30 with your yoga mat and blanket, some mats/props available if you need to borrow one," adding that "Chris Chilcote has been an athlete all of his life and has had a yoga practice since 1989. He works with his body in his profession as a contractor and knows the pitfalls of working without the maintenance of a yoga or stretching and strengthening practice. Now he is bringing his years of practice and awareness to all of the men who have thought that yoga isn’t for them or that yoga is only for flexible folks. This class is exclusively for men so that the focus will be entirely on men’s health and their body needs. You can look forward to learning to de-stress, regain flexibility, strengthen and stabilize your lower back, lower blood pressure and rejuvenate all the systems in your body! To register send payment to Melissa Meader, Box 474, Philo. For more information call Chris 272-0879. Bring a yoga mat and a firm blanket. $108 for 12 weeks; $72 for 6 class pass; $15 drop-in; $192 for twice a week Mondays with Melissa.
REPORTS FROM POINT ARENA say the salmon are running thick and big, with lots of them upwards of 20 pounds. $8 a pound off the boat.
SAMANTHA ANN MARGARET DELLVALLE, 22, of Boonville alcohol will serve 270 days in County Jail as part of a suspended state prison sentence ordered by Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman. Ms. Delvalle admitted to allowing her toddler son to ingest life-threatening amounts of methamphetamine and alcohol, although the exact circumstances of the baby ingesting these substances is not known. It seems Ms. Delvalle was more negligent than willful. At her sentencing on July 9th, Ms. Delvalle was warned by the Court that a violation of any term of her probation will result in her being sent to state prison for up to four years. Having reviewed the Probation Department’s social study of the defendant and sentencing recommendation, Judge Moorman explained she had decided not to impose a state prison sentence on Delvalle, allowing the defendant to, instead, serve her sentence in the County Jail. The Court said it had reached this decision because of the defendant’s young age and lack of a criminal history. Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cox, however, argued for the imposition of a state prison commitment, citing the overall seriousness of the case and the fact the child could have easily died. Cox argued this was an appropriate case "to send a wake up call" to other parents in community who may pass their days in drug and alcohol-induced hazes. Delvalle had entered a guilty plea on July 9th to felony child abuse and endangerment, following her arrest in Boonville in March of this year. A co-defendant, Raymond Earl Mabery, age 21, was also charged with child abuse, but also with being under the influence of controlled substances and possessing drug paraphernalia. Prosecutor Cox said the case against Mabery, a relative of Delvalle, is still pending. Delvalle’s son was rushed to Ukiah Valley Medical Center by his grandmother who became concerned over how sick the little boy appeared after she picked him up at Delvalle’s house. At the hospital the boy was found to have dangerously high levels of methamphetamine and alcohol in his system. The boy has fully recovered and is now in the custody of his biological father.
JUST IN from the DA's Office: "Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cox said the toddler boy involved in the case is in the custody of Child Protective Services and a foster family, and not with the child's biological father."
WAY TO GO, VINCE! Vincent Longo of Elk has been named to the Dean's List at Ithaca College, New York. A Television-Radio major, class of 2015, the Elk scholar studies among 6,100 undergraduate and 400 graduate students.