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Valley People (July 30, 2014)

EllenTinkler-smallELLEN TINKLER has died. A long-time resident of Ray's Road, Philo, Mrs. Tinkler had been disabled by Lou Gehrig's Disease. Mrs. Tinkler was a retired elementary school teacher. She is survived by her husband, Ron Tinkler, and two children, daughter Omi and son Jesse.

CHARLIE PAGET-SEEKINS continues to recover from serious injuries sustained in a tree-felling accident early this month, while Mark Pitner, who suffered a severe stroke, has begun rehabilitation at the UC Davis. Both men are ambulance volunteers and quite popular in the Anderson Valley community. A benefit fundraiser will be held for them on Sunday at the Philo Grange.

STREAMS OF UNCONSCIOUSNESS…102° in Boonville on Sunday, 99 in Ukiah, not the first time we've swapped hot spots with Ukiah but Boonville is usually 8-9 degrees cooler than the County seat. Vibes are better in Boonville, too, especially when the Simplifiers are in town for their annual confab at the Boonville Fairgrounds which, from all accounts, went quite well. Kudos to the organizers!

IT'S SO HOT and so dry that lots of Valley residents report deer are coming down out of the hills in unprecedented numbers in search of water and food.

HAVE YOU NOTICED that the old oaks, the large ones especially, dropped a lot of their still-green acorns early in July? Naturalists say that premature shedding is one more sign of drought, and especially bad for wildlife who will be without that crucial food in late fall.

DROUGHT NOTES, A Reader Writes: “I drove to the Coast yesterday, via Highway 128, and was alarmed by the amount of green algae present in the Navarro, from the closed mouth of the river all the way back to the put-in point east of the Highway 1 bridge. Beyond that the view of the river is obscured by foliage until it takes its first big dogleg north and then east again, where you can see more large blooms of green algae dotting the way. I've never seen so much algae along that stretch. It does not look healthy.”

Mouth of the Navarro, July 2014
Mouth of the Navarro, July 2014

LIZ DUSENBERRY reminds us: "Summer is flying by and the Mendocino County Fair is only a few weeks away. That means it is time for the library to close. Our last open day will be Tuesday, August 5th. So come on in and stock up on your reading. We still have a lot of books for sale, at $3 per bag. Library hours are Tuesday from 1:30–4:30 and Saturday from 2–4. The library will reopen October 7th."

AMONG THE ITEMS on the AV Health Center Board agenda at Monday night's meeting were a series of status reports from the newly installed management team, an update on what they are calling a “community needs assessment,” and a proposed “Dispensary Operating Policy” presented by newly hired Medical Director Dr. David Gorchoff which the Board approved.

THE LONG ANTICIPATED DISPENSARY POLICY is a bit of an anti-climax, containing just four statements which don’t sound like they would have needed a person of Dr. Gorchoff’s considerable qualifications to prepare: “Policy: It is the policy of AVHC to maintain a licensed dispensary on site as a service to our patients. This dispensary will maintain a limited formulary for the purpose of providing access to medications for our patients, with particular attention to those who: 1) require medications immediately due to an urgent health need; and/or 2) have significant barriers to obtaining medications elsewhere. The dispensary will operate in compliance at all times with: 1) all federal and state regulations and rules; and 2) all rules and regulations governing the federal 340B Drug Discount program. Charges for medications will take into account patients’ ability to pay as well as all overhead and labor costs of dispensing. The dispensary will be operated by trained, appropriate staff to assure that clear, auditable documentation and separation of duties occurs as is necessary and appropriate.”

FABIOLA ‘FABI’ CORNEJO, the Center’s new Chief Operating Officer, assuming that we’re all familiar with the full range of healthcare acronyms and staffers' chummy first names, reports that, “Vanessa Perez has accepted the billing position that was offered. She is now training Clarisa Anguiano to the front desk/reception responsibility, which was Vanessa’s previous position. With Vanessa assisting in the billing process we are now submitting claims twice a week for a faster reimbursement turnaround." And so through work flow assessments and other mysterious bureaucratic procedures.

DR. GORCHOFF’S “MEDICAL DIRECTOR’S REPORT” begins with, “I regret that I will be unable to attend the meeting this month.” (Presumably Dr. Gorchoff will be available by speaker phone.) “Just a reminder that my new (approximately half-time) schedule at AVHC does not begin until after Labor Day. I have 3-4 days on site for the rest of the summer, and I am keeping in close contact with [Executive Director] Shannon [Spiller] during this transition period.... I will be speaking with [newly hired family practice physician Dr.] Logan [McGhan], and Shannon and I will be working together...." and so on with various assurances.

THE HEALTH CENTER BOARD’s AGENDA for Monday night's meeting is an improvement over previous agendas, providing some actual information and useful attachments. But they still have a ways to go before they’re up to minimal Brown Act standards, such as giving the public at least three business days advance notice, inclusion of a full budget presentation, and avoidance of acronyms and first names. But any step in the direction of candor is encouraging.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY CATHOLIC COMMUNITY at St Elizabeth Seton Church, Philo seeks a music/choir director for its Sunday services. Some music experience required. Catholic identity not required. Interested call Jerry Cox @ 895 3342 or reply to

DESCENDING on foot from the deep hills west of town the other afternoon, I saw what I at first took for a mirage at the ranch gate. An attractive woman was beckoning me. Me? She nodded. I drew closer. It was Joy Andrews, general manager of the Community Services District. “You have a goat loose on the highway,” Joy said. “Some CalFire guys lassoed it and are waiting with it down the road. I'll give you a lift back down there.” I issued a standard sweat-grubby apology for gym-ing the lady's vehicle — “I've been hiking and rolling around in the dust,” but Joy was undeterred and off we went. It was hot. I'd been looking forward to a Bud Light, not wrestling a goat back up the Ukiah Road. The CalFire guys handed me the human end of the strap. At the other end the goat was already digging in. “Nice of you guys to stop. Thanks. It isn't my goat but I'll assume family responsibility for it,” I said. Joy and the CalFire crew departed. I pulled on the strap around the goat's neck. It emitted a piteous cry like I was deliberately choking it which, you could say, I was, but only to get it to come with me. Tough love. We were maybe three-quarters a mile from the gate where the rest of the herd lingered. The goat wouldn't move, and I couldn't move it more than a few feet at a time without seeming to strangle it. The thing bleated every time I pulled its leash. I felt manipulated. “Please just cooperate,” I pleaded. The goat looked back at me with its blank, dead eyes. I wondered if goats were dumber than sheep. I thought maybe the heat was getting to me if inane questions like that were bouncing around my head. Cars passed. I thought I heard laughter. “Look at the old goat roper. Har-har.” It occurred to me that maybe I could lift the thing over the fence back where it belonged. Just get it up there and dump it over. But just as I almost got it up high enough to drop back inside its authorized confines, the goat frantically kicked out at me and I dropped it. I tried again. Same thrashing and unsuccessful muddle of cloven hooves and man-made curses. What's that half-man, half-goat called in mythology? Pan? Satyr? Pan, as I recall, is more wholesome but not, in my case, age-appropriate. Satyr? Flattering, kind of, but also not consistent with advanced age. It took me about an hour to pull the goat back to where it belonged, but the struggle was almost worth it the beer was so good.


MOVING ALONG here on a hundred degree day in Boonville, like every other Bay Area sports fan I was sorry to hear that Giants broadcaster, Mike Krukow of Kruk and Kuip, has a partially debilitating muscle disease called inclusion-body myositis. Kruk's reduced to canes and walkers, old before he's really old. We were both pitchers at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, although I played some outfield and even pinch-hit on those occasions it was either me or no one. I tell people I was a Mustang "BK," Before Krukow — about 8 years before Krukow, in fact. For years I thought I was 3-2 for the two years I served up home run balls, but when the athletic department sent my late brother our stats — Bro held the homerun record at Poly for several years and went on to play in the old Milwaukee Braves system — it turned out I'd gone 4-6 for two years running, better than I'd remembered. In my last year I'd lost interest in sports, having gone all the way over into radical politics and beatnik-ism. The only game I remember is one I pitched against UCLA because in that one I struck out a guy named Ezell Singleton, an All-American football player as a running back. Whiffed him a couple of times. Like a lot of old guys, I bet, I sometimes wonder how good I might have been if I'd worked on my game, really worked on it. But I didn't, and it wasn't until the early 1970s in the Cloverdale Fast Pitch Softball League that ball games became fun again, even though I was a catcher and the fleet-footed Tommy Wayne Kramer roamed centerfield, four of an eclectic squad of first-wave hippies, hip-symps like me, perfectly respectable people like Craig ‘The Milk Man’ Bilbro, Dave Domenichelli, unelected mayor of the town with the memorable Blind Man calling invisible balls and strikes.

IT MUST be the heat. Someone shut me up before I start confessing crimes!

CITY NOTES. The Golden Gate Bridge will at last install a suicide net, a thin filigree of steel netting that will catch jumpers almost immediately after they take the plunge. Like so many people, I was worried that the Bridge's aesthetic would be destroyed by a safety net, but it seems that a genius engineer has come up with one that will be virtually invisible, but it will cost $76 mil, a price other engineers say could be reduced by lots and lots with a simpler design.

NOTING that there were only 12 showers for the homeless in the City of San Francisco, a city teeming with liberals, many of whom have more bathrooms than Louis the Sun King, Doniece Sandoval, a public relations executive, had the genius idea to convert defunct Muni buses into mobile shower stalls. Presto! Magico! Less than a year later Ms. Sandoval had personally raised the money for a fully functional prototype, a bright blue bus emblazoned “One Shower At A Time.” The thing hooks up to fire hydrants and all systems are go, complete with an attendant. Ukiah and Fort Bragg could use one each. Ms. Sandoval got 'er done at a cost of only $75,000.


AN OLD TIMER WRITES: “I was in AV earlier this week. At the Confluence, it looks as if Rancheria Creek has stopped flowing completely; I saw only water pools and gravel bars. And it is only late July! This is the worst I have seen Anderson Valley’s creeks and rivers look in 57 years." (Ed note: The “Confluence” is where Rancheria Creek and Indian Creek meet to form the Navarro River.)

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