BIG EXCITEMENT last Thursday evening in Hungry Hollow a little after 7 when deputies were summoned to sort out “a neighbor dispute.” Brandon Johnson, a neighbor complained, had shot another neighbor's dog the previous day, and Johnson was presently “in the roadway near his residence causing a disturbance by playing loud music and shouting obscenities.” Arriving deputies could hear Johnson shouting generalized denunciations and shouted at him to meet them at an unoccupied pickup truck at the foot of his driveway. Johnson came running at them with “a metal object in his hand” which, as he came within about 15 feet of them, the deputies couldn't help but define as a pistol. “The deputies took cover and withdrew their sidearms for protection.” Johnson stopped and briefly pointed his gun in the direction of the deputies. Apparently deciding he'd rather not commit suicide by cop, Johnson tossed his weapon into the bed of the unoccupied truck. Deputies learned Johnson was prohibited from possessing firearms due to past criminal convictions as well as a current domestic violence restraining order issued against him. He was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm while prohibited from having one. The Philo man is being held in the County Jail on bail of $200,000.
THE BOONVILLE FAIRGROUNDS was ablaze in zinnias and bustle last weekend as the annual County Fair kicked off Friday with a soccer game Friday night between small school champs Anderson Valley and Point Arena — won overwhelmingly by AV — and a football game pitting Anderson Valley against Point Arena, also won by AV going away. The football game was preceded by a ceremony honoring two popular World War Two veterans, Willis Tucker and Paul Titus who were presented with two memento coins. The rodeo packed 'em in Saturday night, as did the sheep dog trials on Sunday, won again this year by Kevin Owens of Yorkville. It's a wonderful little fair, probably the last best of its country kind anywhere in the state.
SUNDAY'S FAIR parade was delayed for almost an hour because two illegally parked cars (one with a vanity plate reading “SEALOV”) sat in clearly marked “no parking” slots blocking the parade route.
BOB MAKI to the rescue! Anderson Valley's all-purpose Starr Automotive emergency man, after a long wait for an authorizing CHP officer towed SEALOV and the other obstructing hunk of steel outtatheway, and the parade was on.
GRAND MARSHAL: Boonville Nonagenarian Freda Fox waved to her friends and fans from Bill Holcomb’s perfectly restored Merc. Other highlights included two Mendo-specific floats stuffed with all-age hippies banging arrythmically on a variety of battered noisemakers and lead by one of the Valley's comely fire dancers twirling blazing batons. Then came the always impressive mounted Mexican horse patrol out of Sonoma County in tight formation followed by several local emergency vehicles, sirens blaring.
NEW THIS YEAR: Three shiny Mexican lo-riders, their chassis lowered on command to an inch off the pavement. Jed Adams passed by on a flatbed of mobile barbecue grills manufactured by local guy Steve Rhodes. Jed distributed hunks of meat, fresh off the grill, to the multitudes. And the Mendocino Rugby team, wholesome-looking (by Mendo standards) young bruisers who passed out their game schedules as they went. And there were groups of costumed Mexicans and Mexican dancers enlivened by mariachi music.
SEVERAL MENDO ELECTED OFFICIALS, including supervisors Dan Hamburg, John McCowen and Dan Gjerde, Sheriff Tom Allman and District Attorney David Eyster, cruised by in the bed of a pick-up truck closely followed by the Anderson Valley Ambulance featuring a couple of fetching women, one in form-fitting jeans, the other in short-shorts; their good health was, you could say, manifest. The proximity of babes, politicians and the ambulance may or may not have been a deliberate sequence.
DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER reported that this year’s fair was peaceful. Friday, a couple of juvenile drunks visiting from the Mendocino Coast were hauled over the hill to the junior felon's holding facility in Ukiah, and on Saturday, four adult drunks and a carney were arrested and driven to the senior felon's holding facility at the County Jail. The carney was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. On Sunday, law enforcement headed off a couple of Ukiah gangbangers before they could get inside the Fairgrounds. Both mokes were on probation, both had open warrants and both were in possession of misdemeanor amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine, complete with a meth pipe. One wore a nasty looking dagger in his waistband and was also charged with felony possession of a dangerous weapon.
OLD TIMERS are still talking about Tony Pardini Jr., the gifted young Panther quarterback because we all remember when Tony Pardini Sr. was Boonville's field general, and a heck of a player he was, too. The kid, only a freshman, looks like he'll outdo his old man.
TERRY RYDER assesses this year's Fair: “Once again the Fair picked us all up on Friday and swept us along until Sunday in a mad stream of sensory overload. From the overpowering scents of sheep wool lanolin in the Hall of Fibers and smell of sizzling corn dog oil at the concession stands to the wildly bouncing children on bungee cords and beautiful young women on prancing horses it was all good. The Fair doesn’t happen without a HUGE amount of work by a legion of people. Jim Brown and his crew seen everywhere doing everything- hands-on every minute of the Fair (and Jim is always smiling- how does he do that?). This is Cecilia Pardini’s last official Fair after over forty years. She has been found throughout every Fair weekend for all those years behind the counter in the office unfailingly helping people find answers to their questions- she barely has time to enjoy the Fair herself! Then there are the volunteers- legions of them. They give so much with only the thought of making the Fair a wonderful place. Their dedication and in some cases their expenses are great. The Fair is indeed “Our Finest Hour” in Anderson Valley each year. We see ourselves and we have to like what we see- helpful people, kind people, passionate people, unselfish people. It is good to be in Anderson Valley at Fair Time, it really is. Congratulations to both our Football and Soccer teams and their able coaches on both Apple Bowl victories- winning both games was sweet. A big “Thank You!” to all from the Anderson Valley Community Action Coalition.”
YOU DIDN'T KNOW the County boasted a rugby club? Well, now you do, and they're called the Mendocino Steam Donkeys Rugby Club founded by Liam Kidd. Based in Ukiah, and boasting our very own Jason Page, a teacher at Anderson Valley High School, the Club has players from all over the County and takes on ruggers from Sonoma County and the Bay Area in energetic, limb-risking matches at Potter Valley High School, Eagle Peak Middle School, Ukiah High School, and Pomolita Middle School.
THE GOAL POSTS at the north end of the Fairgrounds field are down, meaning the northbound team has to wait for a ref's timeout while both teams trudge to the other end of the field to attempt a field goal or kick or run-in a point after. Get 'em back up, for cryin' out loud. The field itself looks great, best shape it's been in in years, but a football and soccer field with one goal?
EARLY WINTER? According to the Farmer's Almanac, “Winter will be much rainier and cooler than normal, with mountain snowfall much greater than normal. Most of the rain, snow, and storminess will come in January and February, when storm damage will be a concern.” And Tom Stienstra remembers, “The craziest prediction I ever heard was years ago on KGO, where John Hamilton asked a rep from Dodge Ridge if he thought there was going to be a big winter for skiing. “Absolutely, a lot of snow coming,” he said. “I’ve seen the squirrels playing with their nuts.”
WE CERTAINLY hope we see a deluge year. Local streams are lower than I remember ever seeing them, and I've never seen Con Creek, near the Elementary School, go completely dry, which it has been for a month now.
PICKED up the Richmond Review, a throwaway Frisco neighborhood paper, and darned if there wasn't a nice piece on Bernice Bing called “New documentary features pioneer Chinese woman and 'beat' artist.” Most of us Valley people remember Bernice as not only a gifted fine arts person, but the quiet, modest presence at Boont Berry Farm. The film is called “The Worlds of Bernice Bing.” And there were certainly several. An orphan, Bernice made her way from Chinatown to a National Scholastic Award and on to the California College of Arts and Crafts, and eventually into the permanent collection at the DeYoung Museum. As an alleged beatnik, Bernice was known as “Bingo,” but a more un-beatnik like person there never was.
CHRISTINA JONES graces the cover of the current edition of Mendocino County Magazine. The toothsome Chef and founder of the wildly popular Aquarelle Cafe and Wine Bar here in Boonville, grew up in the Anderson Valley.
'TOOTHSOME.' Hasn't that term been disallowed? Isn't it, gasp! sexist? The PC Police really need a 9-11 line so we could stay on the path of righteousness. But Christina, as we know, is quite attractive, toothsome in fact.
SPEAKING OF FOOTBALL and, yes, like much of NorCal we looked forward all week to Sunday night's Niner-Seahawks game in Seattle. The amazing Colin Kaepernick had methodically shredded Green Bay the previous Sunday at the Stick, now in its last year as a sports venue. Count me among the minority who will miss the old place, not so much for baseball but definitely for football. Saw lots of ballgames of both types at Candlestick over the years and, as a little kid, a few games at Kezar where I can still remember being afraid of the drunks at my first exposure to masses of unruly fans. Later, as a drunk myself, I found them unintimidating. But Kezar was as wild, if not wilder, than Candlestick ever was even though people were generally much more orderly, much more restrained through the 1940s and 50s and into the 1960's right up to the Summer of Love. About '67 things went nuts in every arena of American life, but the things were always nuts at Kezar.
FROM THE CHRON of 4 January 1971: “Brawling, Beatings At Kezar. Many spectators got particularly drunk as pro football made its last stand at Kezar Stadium yesterday. The 49ers were beaten by the Dallas Cowboys and numerous fans were beaten by rioters who were beaten in turn by police. Defeat, drunkeness and brawling have been familiar aspects of pro football at Kezar for 25 years. It seemed an appropriate way to close the era.” The writer was Steve Zousmer.