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Valley People 12/30/2009

CORRECTION: Boonville Fire Captain Jim Minton was awarded Officer of the Year. “He Who Shall Remain Nameless,” who may or may not be Tim Haliday of Fish Rock, was Engineer of the Year. Also, it should have been noted last week that several firefighters are retiring this year: Richard Bristow of Signal Ridge, Fred Martin of Holmes Ranch, Garth Long of Navarro, and Jim Rutherford of Yorkville, all of whom must know how grateful the rest of us are for their many years of service.

OF ALL THE FILMS that will be shown at the forthcoming Anderson Valley Film Festival at the Philo Grange the weekend of January 29th to January 31st, don't miss Rivers of a Lost Coast, a documentary narrated by Tom Skerritt who played the Rev. Maclean in A River Runs Through It. Featured fishermen include the legendary Bill Schaadt of the Russian River with clips of Northcoast rivers and streams from the 1950s when fish ran in them, and lots of old fishermen lamenting what was. “And the kid looks at you and says, how could there have been thousands of salmon here, you're just like an old man exaggerating. And then I have to correct him, not thousands, tens of thousands.” (Russell Chatham) The filmmakers are Justin Coupe and Palmer Taylor one or both of whom are expected to be present to discuss a movie you won't forget.

JORGE GONZALEZ. 39, of Occidental, sustained major injuries a little after ten last Wednesday morning (23rd December) when the big rig he was driving went over on its side at mile marker 1.67 on Highway 128 near Highway One. Gonzalez's daughter, 14-year-old Britney Gonzalez, was not injured in the collision. Both Jorge Gonzalez and Britney Gonzalez were wearing seat belts, the CHP said. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

RATHER STARTLING comment by attorney E.D. Lerman in the current New Settler Interview that Judge Eric Labowitz, by refusing to recess court on a terribly hot day, was responsible for Ms. Lerman's subsequent miscarriage. I read it twice to make sure I was reading what I was reading.

DAVE JOHNSON, owner of the Boonville Lodge premises, was at the Lodge last Saturday taking photos of the fixtures, probably his first step to claiming most of them for himself. Johnson has already said that the pool table and the custom-built bar rendered by The Valley's talented woodworker, Olie Erickson, are his but they aren't.

THE LOSS of The Lodge means 13 jobs gone and the loss of thousands of hours in sweat equity invested in the business by its owners, Carroll Pratt and Tom Towey, especially Tom Towey whose huge task it was to on-site manage the place, which meant doing everything from clearing blocked plumbing to hand-to-hand management of the unmanageable. To the community served by The Lodge its closing means the loss of the only bar between Cloverdale and Mendocino, and it means the loss of robust meals at reasonable prices, and it means a great social big hole in the place we live.

THE FIRST of many Caltrans cross walk warning figures has been replaced, this one in the middle of 128 in central Boonville where it was repeatedly run over from the first day it went up. The fluorescent yellow-green warnings are supposed to slow traffic to permit safe pedestrian crossings from The Lodge side of the highway to the Post Office side of the highway, but the first upright pedestrian safety symbol erected by Caltrans was struck so many times it was rendered destroyed, and struck so many times recreationally by the jubilant motoring locals who used it as a kind of vehicular target practice it was destroyed even faster. We'll see how long the new one lasts. I give it three months.

TERRY RYDER checks in with a reminder that the no fee Drawing Class at the high school is open to all, “and starts January 5th and will meet once a month the first Tuesday 5:30-7:30 PM. Still life set ups will be available and we can also do drawings of each other (clothed). Junior High students through seniors- everyone is welcome, Room 9 at the High School. Bring Paper, pencils, pens, charcoal, pastels — whatever you have. Supplies provided to those who need them, we can share. Bring a drawing board or something flat and smooth to draw on. Questions? call Terry 894-8429.”

GOVERNMENT at all levels is broke, Mendocino County included, but that hasn't stopped the County's “Wellness Program” from considering “a chair massage program performed by a certified massage therapist to allow employees to obtain a 15-minute massage on their break or lunch time.”

CLIFF LEDE of Napa and Cliff Lede Winery has purchased Breggo Cellars, the grape and wine enterprise founded on the former Rawles Ranch northwest of Boonville by Douglas and Ana Stewart. Apparently the Stewarts are staying on as stewards of some kind.

A READER sent along a You Tube video outlining an increasingly frequent problem in Mendocino County, tribal disenrollment. Indians are being declared non-Indians and kicked out of their tribes, the incentive for the expulsions being the ancient one of pure greed. The smaller the tribe, the fewer people there are to share casino profits with. A good friend of ours, Eric Enriquez, was bounced from both Coyote Valley and Pinoleville for simply complaining about the way their tribal councils were being run. This guy's family goes back to the very beginning, and suddenly he's non-personed.

KAREN OTTOBONI called to say that the ElderHome has raised $19,500 towards a $50,000 matching grant, most of it from a dozen new donors. “We need more,” Karen said, “$31,000 more.” If all you angels out there have your ear trumpets pointed towards Boonville, hear the plea for this very best of causes, shelter for Valley old timers.

HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR Laura Essayah writes from Morocco: “Hello again. I am now writing from my father’s laptop in the car. We are on our way to the small village near El Jadida where the school is located. Coming from Marrakech, we’ve been driving for two hours with one hour to go. The drive is beautiful. It’s been raining on and off all day and so the land is very green. Where there isn’t grass there is dirt, well, mud. Without a map, anyone who doesn’t read Arabic is out of luck and even if you can read the signs, they don’t make them easy to understand. We’re passing through a village named Sidi Smael, according to our map. It’s made up of dirt houses, a few run down eating places and a Mosque — every village in Morocco has one.
The sun is coming out now and I’m starting to notice more and more the dogs on the side of the road. They’re hard to notice embedded in all the garbage. Even though I knew about these living conditions for dogs last year, it’s hard for me to see them again.
We’re getting closer to the village. The kids will be waiting anxiously to see what I have brought, and my father and Jamal have organized it so that they’ll film everything from our arrival at the school, to the delivery, to the departure. I look forward to seeing everyone and the progress they’ve made since my father donated the 3000 Euros in March of this year. (Next Day) Today was ‘beginning-a-new.’ I cannot put into writing the feelings that rushed through my mind, body and soul as I stepped out of the car onto the dirt ‘playground.’ All I can say is that my stomach turned upside down as I felt the rush of enthusiasm the kids brought with them as they approached the car. I first handed out colored crayons to all the children. Without saying a word, I could tell they were grateful. I met with the six teachers and we took both suitcases into one classroom to layout all of the supplies. They were excited to see what I had brought. We then distributed pencils and pens to the children, some waiting patiently in the other classrooms, and some in single-file line outside the door. I let the teachers organize the rest of the supplies between them. (Later that night) I only spent two and a half hours with the children today, but I left with a memory that will last forever. Two of the teachers who spoke French expressed how touched they were and thanked me over and over again. We shared the same joy. Today was just part of a journey I plan to continue. I can do more. Today was ‘beginning-anew’.”

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