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Valley People (Jan 1, 2014)


Steve Williams

Henry Hill

Alyce Falge

Harold Perry

Raul Malfavon

Deborah Sarsgaard

Robert Tomkins

Clyde Price

Mike Langley

Elizabeth Carson

Leo Howard

Brian Blumberg

Bert Schlosser & Tom Croak

Diane Zucker

THAT BIG FEDERAL DRUG RAID on a downtown Boonville property is two weeks old now, but its effects continue to ripple through The Valley. Targetted was Jose "Chato" Mendoza, a highly popular long-time local resident and graduate of Anderson Valley High School. Chato had departed for Mexico by the time the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrived to bust him, but it is rumored that a big hunk of cash was confiscated along with a very large consignment of bud, packaged and ready for delivery to America's insatiable drug market. Sergio Vasquez, 26, and Jorge Pena, 20, were arrested and identically charged with marijuana for sale, possession of a firearm and illegal entry. Both men were released on bail after four days in the County Jail. Pena's bail had been set at $25,000 while Vasquez's was set at $50,000.

A WEEK LATER, Mendocino County's Drug Task Force again visited Boonville where they arrested Fermin Mungia, 45, charging him with marijuana for sale, possession of a firearm, a sawed-off shotgun, and illegal entry. He remains in the County Jail on bail of $50,000.

ROUNDING out the crime report for 2013, Jerry Anaya, 21, of Navarro, on charges of domestic violence and possession of drug paraphernalia.

STEVE SPARKS WRITES: “The two year project undertaken by Wes Smoot and Steve Sparks, ‘Then and Now — The old homes and buildings of Anderson Valley,’ will hopefully be concluded this summer in the form of a book for the Anderson Valley Historical Society. Ideally, the authors still need a few photographs to complete their task and two of these, which must be from before 1940, are of the Ed ‘Fly’ Singley house on Highway 253 (a very recognizable large house on the left of the highway about five miles out of Anderson Valley) and also Lauren's Restaurant in Boonville, when it was the Lester Bivans Store (before it became Zittlemen's, Mary Jane's, Laughing Deer, and Soundbite). If anyone has such photographs, or knows where they may be found, please contact Steve Sparks at 895-2460. A presentation of their project as it reaches near-completion will be made to the public by the authors at the annual Anderson Valley Historical Society meeting on March 23, 2014. Comments, corrections, and additions to their work, and that of major contributors Donald Pardini, Eileen Pronsolino, and Pat Hulbert, will be gracefully accepted at that time.”

THE UKIAH VALLEY doesn't yet require Spare The Air days, but driving over the hill from Boonville on these eerily dry and brightly sunny winter days, the brown smoggy haze hangs over the County seat not as thick but just as ominously as it does over LA.

OUR INFORMAL SURVEY of Boonville's Christmas retail business tells us that local commerce was off 10 to 20 percent this season.

BELATED CONGRATULATIONS to AV High football standouts Cesar Soto; Jesus Hernandez; Will Lemons; and Jesse Owens for being named to the NCL Football All League Team, 2013.

SLOW LEARNERS. Ukiah Unified is investing $282,000 in laptop computers for its 900 third and tenth graders. The devices will allegedly “help students transition to the Common Core State Standards,” according to district Superintendent Debra Kubin.

UKIAH'S EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP is apparently unaware that the LA schools invested more than a billion bucks in electronic learning devices many of which were immediately either altered or sold by students delighted at the sudden gift. More teachers and smaller classes might help Johnny learn to read and perform a few simple math tasks, but so long as the state is passing out tax money for school districts to buy gizmos, school districts will buy gizmos.

ONE OF THE (BOGUS) ARGUMENTS for laptops “for the kids” (all rise), is that laptops will reduce the expense of textbooks because the devices come with the software equivalent of textbooks, but without the paper. But, the LA school board ignored all arguments against using construction bond money to pay for iPads for LA students, including a crucial one that the cost of mostly unnecessary “automatic updates” to the electronic textbooks is more expensive than the expense of occasionally updating actual textbooks.

FOR TWENTY YEARS NOW we’ve been told that computers in the classroom would somehow improve US education levels and test results.

BUT, according to a recent report from the highly regarded Programme for International Student Assessment: “Among the 34 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, the United States, where computers are prevalent in classrooms, performed below average in mathematics in 2012 and is ranked 26th... Performance in reading and science are both close to the OECD average. The United States ranks 17 in reading, (range of ranks: 14 to 20) and 21 in science (range of ranks: 17 to 25). There has been no significant change in these performances over time..."

MY GRANDFATHER is supposed to have died, alone, unknown, a stranger to his wife and his sons, in a furnished room on Charles Street. My own father spent two or three years in his late 70s alone at the farm in Hanover. The only heat was a fireplace; his only companion a halfwit who lived up the road. I lived as a young man in cold, ugly and forsaken places yearning for a house, a wife, the voices of my sons, and having all of this I find myself, when I am engorged with petulance, thinking that after all, after the Easter egg hunts and the merry singing at Christmas, after the loving and the surprises and the summer afternoons, after the laughter and the open fires, I will end up cold, alone, dishonored, forgotten by my children, an old man approaching death without a companion. — John Cheever

FROM GRANT AVENUE and its tributary alleys, San Francisco Chinese streamed by the hundreds to march along the Embarcadero and sing the song Chinese soldiers sing as they march to war. They stood in drizzling rain, old men and women of the East and boys and girls born in the Occident — cheered announcements that picketing of ships loading scrap iron for Japan would be discontinued in favor of a Nationwide campaign for the declaration of an embargo against the enemy of China. The great demonstration, novel yet somehow typical of San Francisco, was primarily to thank the longshoremen for their support for the Chinese in their initial attempt to stop shipments. From piers 45 and 45A the Chinese marched far down to the foot of Clay Street, past the ILWU hall, cheering and singing, and then up Sansome past the offices of the Waterfront Employers’ Association, where boos were sounded. In the lead was a huge banner saying “Thank You Longshoremen.”

Arise, ariseforward to the fire of the enemy — arise, arise,” they sang in Chinese. “Use our blood and flesh to build a new Great Wall. Arise.” It was a song of the volunteers. Then the schoolboys and girls shouted “Rah, rah, rah, longshoremen.”

— SF Chronicle, Dec. 22, 1938

PERSISTENCE. We bought the Anderson Valley Advertiser in January of 1984. The end of 2013 marks the completion of the 30th year of Anderson Valley Advertisers under our ownership (with a three year break from 2004 to 2007). 1560 readable papers, the rough equivalent of 800 average length books.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. See you all in 2014.

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