THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT BOARD announced last Wednesday night that Patty Liddy, wife of Steve Sparks, has been hired as the District's new secretary effective in January. Ms. Liddy replaces retiring secretary Joanie Clark who, we understand, will soon replace CSD trustee Neil Darling. Darling has said he plans to resign his position in early 2014.
COUNTY FAIR MANAGER JIM BROWN has informed the Board of Supervisors that County Fair he manages out of the Fair's Boonville headquarters is looking financially better. “Nine months ago our budget showed a $146,000 shortfall. We have done a number of things since then. At this time we are looking at only a $46,000 shortfall. Some of that is because the business assistant who retired and came back as hourly is now fully retired. So that position will go back out after the first of the year at an hourly rate. The state Fair and Exhibition board is also looking at the possibility of one more year of funding with an allocation of $40,000. What it will do after that I'm not sure. The movie ‘Need for Speed’ was a big boost for us as far as cash flow ($40,000). Through our new website we are procuring some new events for next year and some other ones that we are in negotiations with that hopefully will take care of the last $40,000 shortfall. But that won't take place until the following fiscal year. One of our maintenance guys has retired. We will hire him back as an hourly worker after the first of the year. So we have conquered quite a few hurdles, but we have not reached the final goal that we had hoped to at this point. But we are a lot closer than we were nine months ago. I think with these other things next year the budget should reflect at least a balanced budget next year.” (We've printed the Need For Speed benefit to Mendo elsewhere in this week's paper, and thanks to Supervisor Hamburg for steering us to it.)
TWO ACCIDENTS Monday, one about 3pm when a man, not yet identified, driving an ATV on Anderson Valley Way near the Tebbutts' gate, flipped the vehicle, sending his young female passenger flying. The ATV landed on the man's leg. He was helicoptered over the hill to the hospital in Ukiah. The young girl was taken by ambulance to Ukiah. About midnight, a woman, also not identified, driving alone to the Mendocino Coast, apparently fell asleep at the wheel and ran off 128 near the Philo Grange, taking out a stretch of roadside fencing, as her vehicle careened off the pavement. Mystery Woman's car was totaled, she was uninjured.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY, as most of us know, is more and more impersonal, less neighborly. Tiny example: For years, UPS drivers could leave packages bound for the more inaccessible addresses west of the Navarro River at the very end of Ray's Road. The drop-off spared the driver the long trek across the river and up the hill to Highland Ranch and points in between. But now that Highland is owned by Blackberry Farm, a non-profit eco-blah de blah funded out of public ed money, the Blackberry magnates had their lawyer write to UPS with a demand that their parcels be delivered all the way up the hill by the drivers, even though Blackberry people go up and down the hill every day. The Blackberry magnates, by the way, have the feds after them for recovery of public money. To some us, though, they represent the New Vibe.
THAT INCH OF RAIN we got last week hasn't dampened outback combustibility. A stubborn wildland fire just to the south and east of Retech (Hopland) broke out last Friday morning about ten and wasn't fully extinguished until after 10pm. Another much larger fire continues to burn in the hills near the Geysers on the Sonoma-Mendo border northeast of Cloverdale.
AS OF JANUARY 1ST, under the Taste California Act, distillers of fine and not-so-fine spirits can sell booze samples. Until then, they've got to give tastes away. The implications for Mendo? Not too many, but there are some local wineries branching off to include brandy, and we've long been home to that most excellent brew, Germain-Robin. So, my fellow dipsos, we'll soon be able to knock back shots of fine, low-cost Mendo brandy in the splendors of some of our plush local tasting rooms.
LORETTA HOUCK WRITES: On Friday, November 29, the day after Thanksgiving, Laughing Dog Books will again have their “Give-A-Book” trees decorated with the titles of books needed by the Anderson Valley Schools' libraries. For the fourth year in a row, the librarians at the AV High and Elementary Schools have given us their “wish” list of books needed for their shelves. Customers can select a title from the 2 live trees on loan from Anderson Valley Nursery's Ken Montgomery. They will receive a discount off the cover price of the book they choose and the book will be given to the school library. In the past three years, we have provided more than 150 books to the 2 schools. Thank you to everyone who makes this possible and Happy Holidays to all!
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE at Handley Cellars! Friends and neighbors of Handley Cellars are invited to visit the winery on Friday, December 6th to lift a glass in celebration of the holiday season. The annual Holiday Open House will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in Handley’s tasting room on Highway 128 between the towns of Philo and Navarro. Holiday treats and libations will be served and special discounts offered. A portion of the wine sales will be donated to the Boonville Food Bank. For information about the winery and the event, please call 895-3876.
NOW FOR OUR weekly Post Office lament. The Independent Coast Observer, a weekly newspaper, is based in Gualala, As the crow flies, Gualala is 20 miles from Boonville; in road miles via Mountain View Road, 44 miles. The ICO's edition of November 8th arrived in Boonville on Wednesday, November 20th. A subscriber in Indiana says he has yet to receive a November edition of your beloved community newspaper. Ditto for subscribers in LA and New York. HumCo papers were a week late the first two weeks of November. If our Post Office ladies — Sheila, Collette, Jean, and Jan The Mail Lady — ran things, the mail would not only get where it's supposed to get, it would get there on time.
SATURDAY, Clyde Thompson, 67, diving for abalone, drowned off Salt Point State Park. On Sunday, Oakland resident and abalone diver, Alan Rosenlicht, 57, was pronounced dead after emergency divers “found him unresponsive in the water” at Fort Ross State Park. The abalone season runs from April through November, and every season older men, unaccustomed to the rigors and complications of the sport, don't live to dive again.
VOTERS in the town of Sonoma narrowly defeated a measure that would have restricted hotel development in the already tourist-overwhelmed community. Looking around tourist-underwhelmed Anderson Valley, I have to wonder how long it will be until someone figures out that the “wine country experience” sold by Napa and Sonoma counties, which is your basic mob scene experience, is available here at a much less frenetic pace, complete with an array of restaurants equal to anything in Napa and Sonoma in a far lovelier natural surrounding?
HAVING ACHIEVED geezer status myself, I think I'm entitled to comment on the sartorial habits of my fellow wheezes, one of whom was slurping a giant ice cream cone as he emerged from Paysanne here in Boonville last Sunday afternoon. This old boy was togged out in a striped, candy cane shirt and shorts ensemble with red running shoes, the shark's belly white of his spindly shanks on full display. I wonder if Americans have gone blind. I wondered at Mrs. Geez sending the old boy out in public dressed like death's summer vacation, although she was probably down the street for a double decaf latte, wowing the clerks in her tank top, mini-skirt and ballerina shoes. Contrast our human and architectural eyesores with, say, the old Italians sitting around their ancient plazas in their worn dark suits, all of them presenting the understated dignity consistent with their years. Judged purely by the visuals they present, lots of aged Americans look like lunatics.
A WASHINGTON STATE WOMAN whose story was told by Barack Obama last month as evidence the Affordable Care Act is helping Americans, now says the insurance exchange made a mistake and she can’t afford a plan. Jessica Sanford was named by the president in a Rose Garden speech regarding Obamacare after she wrote a letter to the White House thanking them for helping her get health coverage. But last week the 48-year-old self-employed single mom got a letter saying she was given a lower insurance quote and higher tax credit by the state’s exchange than she actually qualified for due to a “system error.”
A READER WRITES: “Here's a painful tidbit for your record: the price of regular at the Chevron station in Mendocino next to Schlafer's Garage is $6.25 a gallon! According to Bloomberg.com the national average is $3.66. According to AAA the highest average is in Fresno at $3.91, which makes Mendocino the current record holder for a gallon of gas at over $2.34 higher than Fresno and $2.59 cents higher than the national average. The greed blows strong along the coast. Mendo Chevron is way more than half way past the world record, which is in Norway at $10.08 a gallon.”