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Valley People (July 23, 2014)

AIRPORT DAY (aka “the Boonville Aviation Knowledge and Folklore Convention”) is Saturday, August 9 starting at noon at the airport area near the corner of Estate Drive and Airport Road (in Airport Estates) with a potluck dinner at 5pm (drinks provided). Everyone’s invited. No reservations required. (We understand that some individual pilots are willing to take people on rides over the valley, although those would be private arrangements, separate from the Airport Committee which sponsors Airport Day.)

NAVARRO FLATLINES! A reader writes: “Hello gentlemen, I wanted to pass an idea that I had along in regards to perhaps including the Navarro cfs totals with your weekly rainfall info that you include in the paper. As you can see the flows just crashed. They have been taking a steady downturn, but this is the lowest on record that we have since 1950. I will confirm that the gauge is indeed still working but this is reflective of what has been happening over the past weeks/months, a steady decline. In the recent past and in 76'-77' we have seen .50 cfs for a 1-3 weeks, but not until the end of August early September.” 76-77 was also a drought year, but present readings are the lowest ever. We'll try to keep better track of the disappearing Navarro.


THE TROUBLED Anderson Valley Health Center seems less troubled after Ric Bonner, chairman of the Center's board of directors, explained recent Center developments to some twenty persons attending a Community Services District board meeting at the Boonville Firehouse last Wednesday night.

BONNER SAID he was prompted to make the presentation by “rumors flying around,” not mentioning that many of the rumors were spawned by cryptic, incomplete and occasionally evasive prior statements from the Board and management of the Center.

ALTHOUGH several critics of the Center's management were in the audience, Bonner's presentation was not interrupted and the Q&A afterward was polite and informative.

BONNER said that most of the recent changes were undertaken after a recent federal agency review of the Center's operations found a variety of administrative deficiencies. The Board had brought in some executive staff — a Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer, and Financial Officer, from the Southcoast/Gualala clinic to help in dealing with those issues, managing to further estrange many Anderson Valley people in the process, especially the way the thuggish manner in which the Gualala wizards carried out the dismissal of a popular, long-time Center employee. (Without explanation the woman was abruptly told to hand over her keys and marched off the premises on the spot. She had committed no crime and, in every respect, had been a model employee.)

THE GUALALA MANAGEMENT TRIO cost the Boonville Health Center much more than a single Center director would have cost, but there were, apparently, difficulties in finding a single director. The Gualala team, fortunately for Anderson Valley, will again be confined to Gualala as of the end of July.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY CENTER'S board of trustees has hired locals for management positions who are “transitioning” into their new roles. Sharon Spiller will be the new CEO, Fabi Cornejo will be the new COO and will handle billing, and Dr. Gorchoff will be the Center's new Medical Director effective Tuesday, July 8, replacing Dr. Mark Apfel who will reduce his hours to 20 hours a week, seeing patients. Apfel will continue to see patients; he will not be administering anything beyond his daily commute from his home on Vinegar Ridge to Boonville.

BONNER said Dr. Gorchoff has extensive experience with federally supported health centers both in Sonoma County and Hawaii where he will continue part-time administrative duties while performing similar part-time administrative duties for Anderson Valley.

THE AV HEALTH CENTER has also hired a new doctor named Logan McGhan. McGhan will pick up the slack left over from Apfel's reduced hours. McGhan starts August 25. He is a family practice physician who is fluent in Spanish. A graduate of the Guadalajara Medical School, McGhan recently completed his residency at UCSF/Fresno. Two new nurses/assistants are also being hired, as are a dental assistant and a billing clerk.

BONNER went on to say that last year's budget was around $2 million and that they expect to break even when the final numbers for July 2013-June 2014 are in. Next year's budget is in preparation and is expected to be larger than last year's, but Bonner wasn't prepared to offer a number because the new staff is still working on it and some grant applications are still pending. (The 2014-2015 budget is expected to be released on August 25.) This is on top of an $11,000 a month payment on the Center's facility upgrade loan until the $1.7 million balance is paid off. Bonner added hopefully, “But we're in pretty good shape. We have a $180k per year rural/migrant grant and we have applied for $190k more,” adding that the Center is still dependent on getting at least $125k per year of donations from fundraisers (beer and wine festivals), and private contributions.

(BACK IN MAY the board announced, “We were notified by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) on May 27th that the AVHC was approved for a 3 year project period from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2017. The grant is for community and migrant/seasonal worker health programs and totals $756,951 per year. This is the longest grant period that can be awarded and was issued with no restrictions or special requirements. This is the best possible outcome for the AVHC and reflects the hard work and diligence of the staff and management who oversaw the October 2013 HRSA site visit and audit, the implementation of corrective actions to resolve prior deficiencies (unrelated to the current issues) and the grant proposal document.”

BONNER SAID that the Center's “dispensary” (it's not a pharmacy, technically) is still not open because they have not yet resolved a series of administrative and procedural problems which were identified in the federal review. Dr. Gorchoff is supposed to making the reopening of the dispensary a priority.

CSD Board chair Valerie Hanelt thanked Bonner for his presentation and telling him that everyone hopes the Center stays open.

OTHER CLINIC NEW HIRES include: Stephanie Long, RN, began working at AVHC on April 15, 2014. She came here from the Ukiah Valley Medical Center and has five years experience as an RN.

Michelle Ambrois, RN, started with AVHC on June 30th, after graduating from Mendocino Community College.

Elaine Wagner also started working on June 30th. She is a Medical Assistant who graduated from Boston Reed Medical School and has 15 years of previous experience.

Yanet Mendoza is the new Dental Assistant. She attended elementary school in the Valley and most recently worked for an Oral Surgeon in Sonoma for 7 years.

Clarisa Anguiano is our new Receptionist. She graduated from Anderson Valley High School in 2013, and worked as an intern at AVHC in 2012 and 2013. She intends to work for AVHC and continue her education in Public Health Administration.

HERE AT YOUR beloved community newspaper, we see these contretemps as additional confirmation of our long-held opinion that non-profit boards of directors, especially here in “liberal” Mendocino County, are mere tools of whomever they've hired to administer whatever. When church mice and low-grade authoritarians are your boards of directors, the rats win — cf the Mendocino County Office of Education; MTA; First Five; KZYX, the Ukiah City Council; the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service, so on and etc.

THE BALO WINE JUGGERNAUT is grading the property at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way at the north end of those three crater-like empty ponds just south of the Balo project. A call to Balo assured us that Balo isn't planting grapes on the site, but intends to build something in the way of structures. Some of you will recall that Balo, owned by a youngish stockbroker named Tim Mullins, also just bought the old Live Oak Building, which will be transformed into a gastro-shrine devoted to fancy foods and wine. Cakebread Winery now owns the crater-like ponds installed by grape scofflaw, William Hill. Old Timers will remember when the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way was planted in apples, and the Gerbers of Gerbers Baby Food built a modest home next to their orchards, and spent much time here. That, of course, was in a time when even moguls seemed modest, proportionate.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY has been transformed so fast and so thoroughly by all these mystery money people that if it weren't for a few landmarks like Gowan's Oak Tree and Anderson Valley Market, the transformation would be positively disorienting. Coulda bought the whole show, Yorkville to Navarro, for a hundred grand cash in 1970. Well, maybe not that cheap, but who possibly could have anticipated these Gatsby-like people buying the place up for millions upon millions?


THE LOCAL ANGLE. With the news that Glenn Burke will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is unlikely to be mentioned that he once had a Boonville boyfriend, circa the late 1970s. It was no secret then that Burke was gay, and Burke didn’t try to keep it a secret. The Dodgers went so far as to offer him a big pot of money if he would marry a woman. Any woman. When he said he wouldn’t, the Dodgers traded him to Oakland where Billy Martin publicly described Burke as a “faggot.” It wasn't long before Burke was out of baseball, probably pro sports most backwards-thinking ball game. We now have gay football players and gay basketball players but no uncloseted gay baseball players.

SOMEHOW BURKE had met Boonville’s dashing school superintendent, Gerald DeFreeze, a handsome, athletic man with whom it seemed that half the women in The Valley were infatuated. Burke became a frequent Boonville visitor who wowed local kids with his standing stuffs on Gene Waggoner’s outdoor basketball court. (He was an NBA-quality hoopster.) I don’t remember it even occurring to anyone that either Burke or DeFreeze might be gay, and it was always exciting to see the affable Burke, a famous ballplayer, around town. DeFreeze moved on, got sick from AIDS and died. Burke had a much rougher road that included drug addiction, prison and a homeless death on the streets of San Francisco from AIDS at age 42.

FAMED BLUES guitarist, Johnny Winter, died in Switzerland on Wednesday. Winter once appeared in Navarro where Dave Evans of the Navarro Store has put Anderson Valley's wide spot in the road on the big time rock and roll map. The store features a striking wood sculpture resembling Winter in its parking lot. We understand that Winter's appearance cost Evans a cool twenty thou, in cash, handed directly to Winter before he would emerge from his motor home to perform. A huge crowd turned up for the improbable event under the redwoods.

Navarro Store (Winter statue/carving on left)
Navarro Store (Winter statue/carving on left)

GREAT CONVERSATION? “Rep. Jared Huffman Invites You To A Harvest Celebration. Please join Congressman Jared Huffman for an intimate (our emphasis) reception at the beautiful (sic) Goldeneye Winery. 9200 Highway 128, Philo,

Sunday, August 17th 4:30-6:30pm. Fine Goldeneye wines (not the rotgut we pour for the tourists), Light appetizers (Velveeta cheeseballs on toothpicks), Great conversation (only if the speakers are imported from England), Tickets $25.00 per person.”

ED NOTE: For $500 cash money Jared himself will give you a great big hug. For five grand, cash, well, we can't get into lurid speculations in a family newspaper.


Back in the mid-90s, a waitress at a Mendocino Coast restaurant went through the motions of formally pouring my father a sample sip from a $28 bottle of wine he reluctantly ordered with dinner. My father, the youngest son of Italian immigrants, born on the Mendocino Coast in 1908, was uncomfortable about being treated so royally for an overpriced bottle of wine in such a modest setting. Laughingly, he stared at the sample sip and asked, “Has anyone ever rejected a bottle of wine after sampling it?” The waitress thought for a moment and replied, “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I think maybe twice.” (Mark Scaramella)

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