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Valley People (Apr 2, 2014)

Robert 'Captain Rainbow' Salisbury
Robert 'Captain Rainbow' Salisbury

I NEVER thought I'd write this sentence: "Rainbow has sparked an International incident." The popular Boon­ville man, whose given name is Robert Salisbury, has been living and working in Myanmar, formerly Burma, in an area of that country where Buddhist mobs have been murdering the minority Muslim population. Rain­bow and another Valley resident, Yvonne Dunton, are affiliated with a German charity called Malteser Interna­tional in a place called Sittwe. Last Wednesday, March 26th, a Buddhist mob came very close to harming Rain­bow and Ms. Dunton when Ms. Dunton was accused of the improper handling of a Buddhist flag. International aid workers are required to maintain a strict political neutrality wherever they work; Myanmar is presently suffering ethnic tensions between the majority Buddhist population and the country's Muslim minority.

ACCORDING to foreign press accounts, last Friday (March 28th) Buddhist mobs attacked offices of foreign nongovernmental organizations when riots erupted in Sittwe on Wednesday (March 26th) after Ms. Dunton was seen taking down and allegedly "disgracing" a Bud­dhist flag flying at her rented house. Anderson Valley friends of Ms. Dunton report that Ms. Dunton was merely lowering the flag with no intent to offend anyone. But ethnic tensions are running high in Sittwe where Buddhists have lately seized any pretext to attack the area's Muslim minority. Buddhist extremists are placing their flags, or attempting to place them, on all the area's buildings, including the structures rented by international aid agencies. Apparently, Ms. Dunton was simply trying to maintain her organization's neutrality by removing the Buddhist flag which was not supposed to be placed where she found it.

Sittwe House formerly rented by Salisbury and Dunton
Sittwe House formerly rented by Salisbury and Dunton

AN ANGRY MOB soon materialized outside Rainbow's and Ms. Dunton's house demanding Ms. Dunton and Rainbow. Their home was already being pelted by stones, and the bloodthirsty crowd was growing larger, when police arrived to escort the Anderson Valley cou­ple to a secure police guesthouse. Ms. Dunton and Rain­bow, the same day, made their way to the relative safety of Yangon, as did the staffs of all twenty-three aid orga­nizations working in Sittwe.

Yvonne Dunton, leaving Sittwe
Yvonne Dunton, leaving Sittwe

YVONNE DUNTON, in her own words, Google Yvonne Dutton on the website.

LAST TUESDAY, the 25th of March, the Navarro was running low and slow at a mere 22 cubic feet per second. It was almost closed at the mouth when I drove to Fort Bragg last Wednesday. It started raining late Friday night and rained hard into Saturday. The river came up fast, very fast, to where it was soon running Saturday at 5000 cubic feet per second. By Monday afternoon, despite periods of heavy rain, the Navarro was down to around a thousand feet a second then, by Tuesday morning, it was around 2,000. So, Mr. Wizard, how do you know all this? Check it yourself by googling Navarro River Gauge. And what's the point, Mr. W? I think it demon­strates how fast the Navarro rises and how fast it sub­sides, and how draws on its waters should be calibrated to strictly coincide with high flows regardless of the time of year.

THAT BIG SHINY RED apparatus parked at the old service station in downtown Boonville? Boonville Fire Chief, Andres Avila, tells us it's to permanently fill the existing drinking well at the little bodega because it's been contaminated and "the second project is to remove the ventilation lines, piping to the service island, the service island, and also the canopy because it will be compromised during the removal of the other debris. These are now being removed because it was determined that even though the tanks have been removed years ago, that these items still contribute to the release of contami­nants in the local ground water. The soil around the pip­ing is being shipped off in the red container and new base material will replace it. Contamination monitoring and corrections have been going on for many years and this is another development in the process."

SPEAKING OF FIRE CHIEFS, our retired chief, Colin Wilson, was riding in an Anderson Valley engine in the processional to the Fort Bragg memorial for slain deputy Del Fiorentino, when our truck was rear-ended by another fire truck. Chief Wilson was hauled off to Ukiah Adventist Hospital where he was found to be uninjured.

LOTS OF PEOPLE are unhappy about a recent Boon­ville high school expulsion, but what choice did high school principal Hutchins and the School Board have? An on-campus dope transaction (honey oil, we under­stand) got two kids gone. Under previous loosey-goosey regimes, the crime almost certainly would have gone unsanctioned. But most people would agree schools should be drug free. Most people, we hope, would also agree that marijuana and marijuana-related derivatives should not be encouraged among the young. On the other hand, the expelled kid, from all accounts, is not a bad guy, and because he's 18 he'll now have a criminal record. And he won't graduate with his Anderson Valley classmates. That's a real sanction, and real sanctions apply in the real world beyond the unreality of high school. We wish it could have been worked out in a way that the boy wasn't denied graduation. The second party to the drug transaction, a 16-year-old, has been exiled to the continuation program at the Elementary School. On the face of it, the penalties seem uneven, but we don't know any of the particulars. Parents always have the right to appeal to the County School Board. Years ago, I was involved in an appeal of an expelled Fort Bragg kid who'd accidentally slashed another kid who'd been bul­lying him. The Fort Bragg kid was re-admitted to school when all the facts were thoroughly reviewed by the County School Board, which overturned the Fort Bragg school administration.

RE ANDERSON VALLEY VINEYARD NOISE, here's County code 3482.5: “No agricultural activity, operation or facility, or appurtenances thereof, conducted or main­tained for commercial purposes, and in a manner con­sistent with proper and accepted customs and standards, as established and followed by similar agricultural operations in the same locality, shall be or become a nui­sance, private or public, due to any changed condition in or about the locality, after the same has been in operation for more than three years if it was not a nuisance at the time it began.”

WILL LOCAL GOVERNMENT act to enforce its own law? Has local government ever, in modern times, taken on a powerful interest?

AND THIS JUST IN late Tuesday afternoon from the National Weather Service: Frost Advisory Urgent - weather message … frost advisory in effect from 2 am to 9 am PDT Wednesday.. The National Weather Service in Eureka has issued a frost advisory...which is in effect from 2 am to 9 am pdt Wednesday. low tempera­tures...mid 30s. Locations include… Anderson Val­ley…Branscomb…Fieldbrook and Hydesville. Those with agricultural interests are advised to protect sensitive vegetation. Additionally...sensitive potted plants nor­mally left outdoors should be covered or brought inside. A frost advisory means widespread frost is expected to develop during the growing season.

THE RECENT WEEK of off and on precipitation has spared us the unendurable din of the giant propellers the vineyards deployed for 8 straight days last week in lieu of stream and pond water for frost protection. It seemed we'd had enough rain this week to satiate the Noise Monsters, but it looks like they'll be back on in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

I'D MADE a little joke that my sleep deprivation during the 8-day aural assault should at least win me some free wine, and darned if Deborah Cahn didn't show up with two boxes of the really, really good stuff. Now you know. The secret is out. Your community newspaper can be bought off for two cases. Or the cash equivalent.

BTW, AN EXPERIENCED eco-vandal tells me that the vineyard propellers can be disabled by wrapping a single pair of women's hose around the blades, but I doubt if it'll come to that, although a SoBo guy did say to me last week, "One more time and I'm going to see if those things are bullet-proof."

THE SOBO NEIGHBORHOOD seems most affected by the wind machines. We're surrounded by them. I guess 500 SoBo residents, including a man battling cancer, have found sleep impossible when these things are all roaring at once.

JUST IN. See page three of this week's paper for the unappeasing letter from the Anderson Valley Winegrow­ers Association, so unappeasing that it would have been wiser for the Association to simply say nothing. Or, gitchee-goo you bastards, try and stop us!

KZYX has been off the air since Monday afternoon. Yesterday’s storm apparently knocked out the station’s transmitter. No word out of Philo when programming will resume.

KZYX TRUSTEE JOHN SAKOWICZ CLARIFIES: “KZYX’s signal has been down all day, March 31. Almost certainly, the signal will be down tomorrow, too. The problem appears to be the main STL receiver at Cold Spring. This is a recurring problem. Maybe if KZYX spent less on payroll, and more on equipment and technology, Mendocino County would have a public radio station that really worked. Recurring equipment failures is only one good reason I filed my complaint with the FCC. There are others. KZYX is managed like a private clubhouse for the five people who work there. It’s a jobs program. Way too much of the $675,000 raised from the station’s 2,300 members is spent on salaries. And management refuses to disclose salaries."

FROM THE KZYX WEB PAGE “First 91.7 went down this morning — Monday March 31—- and then after 3 PM 90.7 went down. Both may be weather related. 91.5 is located on Laughlin Peak and even with a 4X4, it was too snowy to reach the transmitter building at the top. We hope that the problem is an iced-over antenna on the system that receives the signal from Cold Springs Peak across the county. We will not likely be able to get to it until it thaws, which could take several days. If it is ice on the antenna, it will come back of its own accord once it thaws. The 90.7 problem is under investigation. Rich is on his way up there. It could be that the power generator went down up there.”

JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES: "I SAY FIRE THE GM. Eliminate the GM position. Use that money to hire an engineer. A real engineer. Doesn’t this seem obvious? We don’t need a GM. KZYX is a small station. Five employees. 100 or so volunteer programmers who pretty much manage themselves. We need equipment that’s reliable. And we need technology, i.e., archived shows, an interactive webpage, Twitter and Facebook pages for programmers, a Ukiah studio at KMEC that uses Voice Over Internet, etc. What we don’t need is a GM — top-heavy, management, bullshit policies, internecine fight­ing."

VERY SORRY to hear that Arlene Guess has died. A long-time resident of the Anderson Valley, for years Arlene was a familiar early morning presence in down­town Boonville where she faithfully and thoroughly cleaned up after the previous evening's merriment. A lively presence all her days, we're among the many who will miss her.

THE RECREATION COMMITTEE is still seeking applications for someone to organize summer activities for youth presumed to be idle and also activities likely to be of interest to adults. The Rec committee will help you through the simple process of filling out the application and organizing the activities and location(s). Instructor stipends are available as well as a percentage of the fees for adult activities. For more information contact Rec­reation Committee Chair Linnea Totten at ltot­ or 895-2927.

THAT WAS A LARGE memorial turnout Sunday at the Philo Grange for Bruce Hering, Anderson Valley's 4th of July Uncle Sam, former volunteer Anderson Valley am­bulance driver and all-round good guy. People from all over Mendocino County attended.

AND ANOTHER large turnout in Yorkville where Muriel Ellis celebrated her 90th birthday at the home of her daughter, Terry Ryder, and Terry's companion, Bob Sites.

ON SATURDAY March 22, Boonville's very own Richie Wellington married Donna Frances of Healdsburg in the beautiful setting of the Healdsburg Golf Club at Tayman Park. The new couple will reside in Healdsburg.

FROM A WALL STREET JOURNAL last week: "The Anderson Valley: California's Coolest New Pinot Noir Appellation. The Anderson Valley has become a Pinot­phile's paradise. In 1992, the year before they founded their influential winery, Littorai Wines, Ted Lemon and his then-fiancée, Heidi, traveled the length of the West Coast, from Walla Walla, Wash., to Los Angeles, look­ing for terrain suitable for Pinot Noir. Trained in Bur­gundy, with a two-year stint as the winemaker for Do­maine Roulot under his belt, Mr. Lemon was looking for sites cool enough for Burgundy's signature red grape. They found something special in the Anderson Valley, a remote corner of Mendocino County, Calif., better known for cannabis than for grapes (the marijuana industry in Mendocino County is an estimated $6 bil­lion). “We did not find greatness,” Mr. Lemon recalled of their tasting of the few local Pinots available. “But there was a purity of expression in the best of them that really resonated with us.” And so on.

GREG GUISTI will host a tour of selected areas of the 5,300-acre UC Hopland Field Research Station on April 19, 2014 for Anderson Valley Land Trust from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The tour will include a pre-historic petroglyph site, oak genetic regeneration plots, possibly an active turkey vulture nest site, an overview of Ukiah Valley to discuss "landscape ecology", and a pause to look at wildflowers in one of the biological areas. For more information on the Hopland Field Station please go to Participant numbers will be limited to 40. Please call the AVLT office at 895-3150 or email to reserve your spot and receive more information about the day. Vehicles will be used to travel to the various sites at the field station.

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