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Valley People (Jan 29, 2014)

LAUREN'S RESTAURANT was packed twice in the last week with gatherings of friends to help Diane Hering beat back a brain tumor then crowded again as her many friends said farewell to Regine Schwenter-Lipp, gone too soon at age 60.

WHO COULD HAVE IMAGINED that endlessly sunny days, daytime temperatures in the 70s, could become ominous, oppressive even to those of us who assume rainy winters? We're writing lots about the drought because it is The Story for California. Every day brings new revelations of the drought's wide-ranging effects, from mid-winter fire warnings to Sierra bears so disoriented by the warm weather they can't hibernate, and are foraging for food in the same range land that firefighters worry could begin to burn. A bit of rain the middle of this week, however, and hope springs eternal even if spring has already sprung.

It is raining in California, a straight rain
Cleaning the heavy oranges on the bough,
Filling the gardens till the gardens flow,
Shining the olives, tiling the gleaming tile,
Waxing the dark camellia leaves more green,
Flooding the daylong valleys like the Nile.

— Karl Shapiro

WE GET LOTS of crank notes, unsigned of course. Got one the other day that claims a Valley restaurant gave a party of four food poisoning. Checked with the Health Department. No reported food poisonings in Anderson Valley. A friend told me about a Ukiah restaurant that got Yelped when a diner lied anonymously that she'd picked up a tape worm from a meal she's had there. Also not true, but the lady who owns the place says her business was noticeably off for a couple of weeks. Yelp is basically a shakedown racket. You want good Yelps, advertise with Yelp. Small business people work very hard. Does it even have to be said that it's not fair to rumor monger them?

AT 8:42am FRIDAY MORNING (the 24th of January), the Anderson Valley Fire Department was dispatched to a traffic accident on Highway 128 at milemarker 42.50 just east of Yorkville. Two Fort Bragg residents, still not identified, had been traveling eastbound when the driver lost control of their vehicle, went over the embankment, struck a tree, and rolled into Dry Creek. The occupants had left the scene and were found walking down the road with minor injuries. They refused transportation to the hospital, via helicopter or ambulance, and were released by the CHP at scene. This is another accident where seatbelts and airbags were major contributors in creating a positive outcome for the passengers in a crash with a significant mechanism of injury potential. (— Andres Avila, Chief, Anderson Valley Fire Department)

THAT VEHICLE was absolutely crushed. How the two people in the truck not only survived repeated impacts but walked away is, as Chief Avila says, a tribute to seatbelt and airbag technology. The Fort Bragg cockroach factor may also have been in play — they raise 'em indestructible up there.

BOB COLLETTE'S computer service has already helped me. Can't say enough good about the guy. A handy walk-in shop just across from Jack's Valley Store in Philo with a guy who not only can answer all your questions but can fix the goldurned things? (Pro-Design Communications 895-3186) All we need now is a bank and a pharmacy, and we'll have it all.

AT LAST WEDNESDAY’S Community Services District Board meeting, Mark Scaramella asked the Board and the Fire Chief how the drought will affect firefighting. Director Neil Darling said that it was important that the district plan for water shortages for firefighting. Did the district or the board think that we should prepare to defend ourselves or expect the county to step forward with assistance? Should the CSD try to take a role in addressing shortages of potable water locals may experience? The rest of the Board thought that any formal role of the CSD regarding water would require a lengthy application process through LAFCO, and therefore probably wouldn’t do much good in the short term even if it was undertaken.

WHEN SCARAMELLA asked how the fire department planned to fight fires during a water shortage, chief Andres Avila said perimeter lines and bulldozers would be among the waterless strategies for beating back the flames.

NO ONE was interested in implementing the state fire code to give the Fire Chief more authority to order property owners to improve fire safety. After more discussion, the Board decided to make the drought a permanent agenda item and have the fire chief address water availability for firefighting as part of his monthly Chief’s report.

TIM AND MICHELLE MULLINS of Balo Vineyards, Philo, have bought the Live Oak Building, paying $600,000 for the venerable structure, formerly owned by the Peterman family of Nash Mill Road.


THERE IS A SHORTAGE of water in Anderson Valley this year, but there is no shortage of entertainment. On Saturday, February 15, the evening following Valentine’s Day, Rene Auberjonois and Howard Hesseman will be performing at the Grange. Impress your sweetheart by wining and dinning on Friday and enjoying professional entertainment on Saturday. The show is a benefit for the A. V. Education Foundation. Tickets are available at All That Good Stuff, Laughing Dog Bookstore, Lemons Market and Lauren’s, as well as at the door. Come at 7:00 for snacks, drinks and a chance to meet and greet the actors. The curtain goes up at 8:00. Don’t miss this chance to see these gifted actors perform here again. (— Dick Browning)

HMMM. Four pages of stuff from Donna Pierson-Pugh, sub-commandante, Boonville schools. “Dear Anderson Valley Advertiser,” the letter endearingly begins, and I feel under my desk to see if my gun's still there. What could Donna Pierson-Pugh want with the Dear Anderson Valley Advertiser? Well, “The AVUSD After School Program...” and I'm instantly taken by a kind of narcoleptic seizure, a complete shutdown of my mental intake valves, fascist prose alerts turning my eyeballs red. Major! Front and center! You read it. I'm too old, too tired for this. Give me Jane Austen or kill me now.

“MS. PIERSON-PUGH,” The Major reports, “wants us to print the following, and print it free because the schools are broke from their dedication to today's youth.” The Major reads: “In accordance with federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.' It goes on to say that the government says we're supposed to print it at no charge. Don't do it, Editor. We're a business, not a charity. The nerve of these nickel-nosing toadies!”

“I GUESS,” The Major continued, “it means that all the kids eligible for government subsidized meals get to eat.” Thank you, Major. “Wait!” he suddenly shouts. “She says something at the end here that's kinda scary. She says, 'Thank you for your assistance in serving the children of our community.' My god. They're serving the kids for lunch! They expect us to go along with cannibalism? For free?”

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