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Valley People (Apr 30, 2014)

JORGE CERVANTES, 49, of Philo died Thursday afternoon a little after 4pm when the car he was riding in suddenly veered off Highway 128 at the bend in the road at Mile Marker 32 on Highway 128 above the CalFire station. The white BMW overturned and Cervantes, thrown from the vehicle, was killed when the car landed on top of him. The driver of the BMW has been identified as Francisco Javier Perez-Fernandez, 25, of Boonville. Perez-Fernandez was arrested at the scene for gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of marijuana. Officer Kylar Adams of the CHP said that Perez-Fernandez is also believed to have been speeding.


LAST FRIDAY MORNING at 8:19, a vehicle left Highway 253 at mile marker 3.0 and came to rest in the creek bed. The female driver somehow managed to climb out of her upside-down and demolished car to climb up to the road where she summoned help. Still not identified, the woman suffered only minor injuries.

BEFORE I START HOLLERING at you about the Noise Machines, Boonville's very own Mo Mandel, a very funny guy, will be headlining at the Punchline in San Francisco from Wednesday May 13th through Saturday May 17th. The Punchline is downtown at Clay and Battery. If you google The Punchline SF it will take you to the site where you can purchase your tickets.

THE 18th Annual Boonville Beer Festival happens this Saturday (May 3rd) at the Boonville Fairgrounds, 1pm until 5pm. (Pound 'em down fast, dudes!) Gates open at 12:45. $55 at the door, cash only. Designated drivers get in for $5, no beer. Camping available on a first come first serve basis. The beer lineup is muy impressive-o, with more than 75 breweries participating. Seems the dispute between State Parks and the Fest have been worked out. Parks alleged too much babysitting drunks last year and had threatened to close Hendy Woods this weekend. Hurried conferences arrived at a calming of mutual fears.

AND THIS: Jeff & Jay At Lauren’s. An Evening of Original Singer-Songwriter Entertainment at Lauren’s Restaurant in Downtown Boonville, Saturday, May 10. Show starts at 9pm. Good Food, fun and entertainment with good friends and great musicians, Jay Watkins and Jeff Falconer. Jay lived in the Anderson Valley for many years. You may have seen him at the Variety Show! Tickets: $10 at the door. A portion of the proceeds to benefit the Navarro River Resource Center, info 895-3230.

JUST IN! Emergency Noise Meeting, Wednesday at the Philo Grange, 7:30. Everyone welcome, including the Noise People. You want these things stopped, be there!

AURAL ASSAULT, TAKE 9. This one started at 2am last Tuesday morning, the 22nd. And we got another one this Tuesday morning, the 29th, a kind of follow-up sneak attack that began a little after 5am. The month before we got it eight straight mornings. Imagine the Blue Angels flying over your house for six non-stop hours beginning at 2am. Or the Daytona 500 roaring past your front door most of the night. The unholy racket comes from gargantuan propellers that warm the vineyards a degree or two. They kick off automatically when it gets close to freezing. And it was close to freezing. The things are posted in many of Anderson Valley's 80 or so vineyards the length of the valley almost as if by design to create a maximum noise nuisance for the maximum number of valley residents. And they all go off at once between midnight and 2am and stay on until an hour after the sun rises. Their purpose is to protect this year's grapes from frost. They make a racket which has to be heard to be believed. In my neighborhood we triply believe because we have these propellers on three sides of us. The take-off runway at SFO is as silent as the heart of Borneo by comparison.

THE FROST DEFENSE MACHINES, whose decibel din exceeds all known legal limits, probably rouse a couple of thousand residents of Anderson Valley. Which they did this morning promptly at 2am, then torqued the propellers up to max-din at 4am.

WATER used to be used for frost protection. Even knowing that winery's promiscuous spraying was draining the Anderson Valley watershed, the sprinklers provided a splendid sight. There's nothing beautiful about pure noise at 4am.

THERE ISN'T ENOUGH water this growing season to protect vines by water because we're in a drought. But there are more and more vineyards, and more and more straws in Anderson Valley's streams. And more and more of these giant noisemakers.

MOST OF THE PROPELLERS are new either this year or have been installed the last few years. They are, in other words, a freshly introduced nuisance. The County's Right-To-Farm ordinance says farmers can't introduce new nuisances. Nearby residents must live with the old nuisances, the nuisances that were there before the neighbors. Neighbors could sleep through the old nuisances. Neighbors can't sleep through the noise these things make.

THE GRAPE PEOPLE say they have no choice but to turn on the noise when there's a danger of frost, that the giant propellers are their only option to the shortage of water. Of course they've all planted grapes in known freeze areas, but they're here, they're rich and they're politically powerful — they own all our reps, from our Congressman to our Supervisor — and if we don't like it we can just sigh and get up early and wait for the Redwood Drive-In and Mosswood to open to get a cup of coffee and an only-in-Boonville custom-made donut while we wait out the custom-made racket.

US NON-GRAPE growers have one option — serious loss of sleep for X-number of days every year for their $30 bottles of wine. There's talk of a class action lawsuit, but that's just talk so far.

THE THINGS are so loud they overpower all known preventatives. 4am and wide awake. Everyone the length of the valley, everyone within earshot of a vineyard, was awake. If we were organized we might have brought off the first pajamas-and-nightgowns riot in history.

THE GRAPE PEOPLE who also live here are at least apologetic. The outside-owned wineries — Roederer serves nicely as Exhibit A — let loose volumes of lame-brain blah-blah about how they employ people and we should be grateful that they're here and so on. Do they have another argument? O yes. The noise machines are an ecological step up from their blank draw on our river water. Mr. Hobson's Choice, more like. And also untrue because they grab what water they can anyway.

IT'S AN ODD and unprecedented thing happening in the Anderson Valley. The large majority of people who live here are being seriously disturbed, feloniously disturbed at this point, because a new business says their welfare is more important than the night time peace of several thousand of their neighbors.

QUICK STORY regarding Diane Hering's affectionate thank you letter on behalf of her memorable dad, Bruce Hering. Years ago, a woman called Mary True was working with us at the mighty AVA and living up at Colfax's on Redwood Ridge. Mary invited my wife Ling and Ling's Indonesian friend, Yeni, to her birthday party at her house. Bruce Hering was there, and there was dancing. Ling and her friend Yeni being from conservative Asian-Muslim cultures where no one dances, not even young people unless as part of a ritual cultural observance of some kind, but here was this very lean old guy hully-gullying at every angle imaginable all over the room. Ling and Yeni marveled for months about Bruce's dancing that night. They loved it!

HE'S NOT GOING to want anyone to know, but there are no secrets in the Anderson Valley, and this one is already out: Brian Schreiner has throat cancer and begins chemo at the VA this week, a treatment that will last for a total of five weeks. When I talked to Brian Monday the retired special ed teacher was as upbeat as always. “Prognosis is good,” he said. “They caught it early when I was down there for a routine physical. I haven't felt anything. Funny thing is I've never smoked.” Brian speculates, “It must be something I picked up in Vietnam.” This is a tough guy. Combat-wounded in Vietnam, Brian describes that particular trauma as, “I got off the plane, got shot, got back on the plane.” Got throat cancer, got it out, got home to Boonville.

“I'M THE FAT WHITE GUY you wrote about last week.”The voice on the phone was not happy.“You got every single fact wrong.”Are you a fat white guy?“Yes.”Then I got two facts right.“My truck isn’t blue, either.”Is it a truck?“Yes.”I now have two-and-a-half facts right.“Who told you about it?”I can’t tell you.“Was it that little blankety-blank, you know that guy…? “My informant appears to be of normal functioning, I said, adding, I have two remaining virtues: I’ve never given up a source and punctuality.“The County Dog Catcher saw it. Deputy Massey showed up too, and the CHP. I exchanged insurance information with the other guy and that was it. It wasn’t a big deal. No citation.”

THE FACTS: The fat white guy was attempting a u-turn near the Boonville Methodist Church when he “clipped the back door” of a 2001 Acura. The fat white guy beat on his own steering wheel in frustration at his own ineptitude at not avoiding the Acura. He did not beat on the Acura.

IN THE NEWS BIZ, especially when reports from the field are as vague as this one was, you go with the story you’ve got. I went with the info I had because…because I thought the account I’d heard was funny. I rightly figured that someone, some neener-neener type, or the persons involved, would fill in the blanks, “the true facts.” That’s what usually happens, and that’s what happened here. All I knew initially was that “a fat white guy,” unnamed, had been in a fender-bender accident near the center of town and had “flipped out.” Fat white guy, I concede, is vague. I’d prefer “burly,” maybe “portly” if we were talking about an older gentleman. Apologies to all the fat white guys who have had to deny involvement.

BIG FOOT IN PHILO? A man by the name of Buggs Adamson is featured in this YouTube video. He describes a Big Foot sighting somewhere in Philo in 1970. For no specific reason from anything Adamson said, I had the impression his family's property was somewhere along Mill Creek. Anyone know the guy or of him? Or Anderson Valley's Big Foot?

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