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Valley People (Aug 20, 2014)

MARK PITNER came home last week, having made “unbelievable progress” in the six weeks since the popular Valley emergency services guy suffered a severe stroke. The consensus report of the people closest to Mark says, “He is walking with the aid of a walker, and his right leg is becoming ‘a little more responsive every day.’ His facial muscles are affected, but not as bad as is often seen after a significant stroke. His speech is affected, but he is ‘totally understandable.’ Cognitively, he has some trouble with focus, remembering some words, and making some connections. His right arm has not made as much progress so far, and he is currently unable to use it. Chris Chilcote and others are working on retrofitting Mark's house in preparation for his return. Jonesy and Mark have a strong support group, and it doesn't sound like there are unmet needs at this time. If things come up, Melissa will put the word out. Jonesy has asked that they not have visitors for a while, and also not a lot of phone calls. Melissa has said that inquiries about Mark can be directed to her, at 895-9541. Notes can be sent to Mark at his PO Box 456, Philo.”

JERRY WARD of Solid Waste of Willits, responded directly to complaints from locals that the Boonville trash transfer station needed more capacity or more frequent pickups. Some people were being turned away when they showed up mid-afternoon because the existing bins were already full.

“SORRY for the delay in response. The letter I received by email, I could not decipher your phone number and the number I thought it was, turned out to be a wrong one. I have resorted to email. First, I apologize for the inconvenience you sustained at the Boonville Transfer Station with the full bins on more than one occasion. Flow of garbage on weekends can be difficult to regulate from one weekend to another, especially when there are music festivals or other activities that occur during the summer months. But this is no excuse for having to turn you away from dumping your garbage, especially coming from a long distance.

“WE HAVE DISCUSSED this situation and will be placing two 6-yard dumpsters at the site, in addition to the on-site bins, to be used for any overflow that may occur over the weekends. These dumpsters will only be used for such occasions. Our local route driver will empty them on route when the dumpsters do get used. This will be in addition to servicing the bins more timely. Again, I want to apologize and believe the extra dumpsters will eliminate any future inconveniences. — Gerald W. Ward (Jerry) Solid Wastes of Willits”

HOW TO TELL when it's almost Fall in the Anderson Valley? The zinnia's are in at the Fairgrounds, the pink ladies have appeared at the most improbable spots, both kinds of football teams are getting ready for their seasons, leaves on the poplars are beginning to turn, and there's a nip in the early morning air.

HOW TO TELL if there's a drought? Emil Rossi tells me he's never seen Anderson Creek dry up, but it's bone dry and has been bone dry for several weeks. Emil said he thinks it went dry in the twenties, which is what the late Cecil Gowan, who was here in the 1920'sm also once testified to. Cecil said everything in The Valley went dry, including the Navarro. And the blackberries seem to arrive about a month earlier than they usually do and the grapes, the vineyard people tell us, are coming on now.

BEEBE CREEK, near Yorkville, I was startled to see, not only has water in it but a trickle of running water right next to the highway. It gushes southwards from its origins in a rock formation at the very peak of the Y Ranch. Dry as the hills presently are water can be abundant where you least expect it.

THIS SUNDAY, 4-7pm, big tri-tip fundraiser for the essential Anderson Valley Ambulance at the Boonville Fairgrounds, music by the gonna soon be famous, Joe Blow Band.

JEFF HANSEN of Philo/Lula Cellars is not the Jeff Hansen who is buying Point Arena’s Seashell Inn out of Point Arena. Both Jeff Hansens called today to cordially inform us that the Jeff Hansen who is buying the Seashell Inn is a Salt Lake City contractor who is moving to the Coast to realize a dream he’s had for years. He’d been looking for commercial property in the Point Arena area for several years. He also said that he's taken a close look at the Seashell and is fully aware of its occasionally sordid history and physical condition. Hansen said he plans to rehab the old motel and restore it to full respectability. He said that he knows acquiring the property out of receivership has its own set of obstacles to overcome but he’s optimistic they will all be worked out. The local Jeff Hansen simply asked that we point out that he’s not the one who’s buying the Seashell. Done!

GREAT DAY IN ELK is Saturday, August 23: Parade at noon, followed by afternoon carnival, food, activities and live entertainment. Barbecued tri-tip dinner 3-7pm. Benefit for the Greenwood Community Center in Elk. For more information go to or call 877-3245. No dogs please.

HELP! About a week and a half ago, a Willits guy lost his tool bag, his welding cart and a key ring that he'd placed in the tool bag. The loss occurred somewhere along the stretch of highway from the junction of the Ukiah Road and 128 to Nash Mill Road when Willits Guy's tailgate opened and his stuff spilled out. “I really need that key ring,” he says. “It has a couple of girl's rings on it, but the keys are what I really want back.” Reward. Call 650-771-2213 if you found the keys, and you'll go directly to heaven for helping Willits Guy out.

THOM ELKJER WRITES: “Before you buy another HP print cartridge — or knockoff — check to see if your printer uses number 98 (black) or number 95 (color). I have six of the real thing, new and unused, and want them to have a home here in the valley.”

CALFIRE, AV Fire and AV Ambulance rolled last night (Sunday, 17th August) at 3 am for a single vehicle accident just up the hill from the Cal Fire station. Everyone arrived to find a vehicle upside down in the middle of the road but no the driver nowhere in sight. In EMS lingo that's a UTL, unable to locate.

EVERY TWO YEARS Anderson Valley hosts a Mendocino Office of Education sponsored Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class. Sarah McCarter, a Volunteer AV Fire Fighter and Volunteer Ambulance Responder has been the certified instructor for at least 15 years. Once the students complete the 140 or so required hours of coursework and passed a series of chapter exams with at least an 80% grade average they must put in 12 hours of clinical time in the Emergency Room of a hospital and 12 hours of ride-along with an Ambulance Service. Only then are they able to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) Final Exam. Those who pass this exam are eligible to apply to the State of California to become Certified EMTs. It can be a challenging process especially for those with jobs or other school work. This year, so far, (They have several months to complete) seven students have passed the NREMT Final. They are Jan Pallazolla, Karen Kamb, Colin VanRee, Jamie Golden, Angela DeWitt, Otto Fraser, and Fal Allen. Otto and Colin stand out as they took the class as seniors for their Senior Projects and had to also maintain their regular high school course load. Both are off for further studies in service related fields. Colin is looking toward a medical career and Otto is enrolled in the Fire Academy in Santa Rosa. The Anderson Valley Ambulance Service always hopes to get a couple new EMT volunteers out of the class - some years they do and some years they don't. This year they got one by way of Karen Kamb a Mendocino Volunteer Fire Fighter who wants to get some experience by helping to comfort and save Anderson Valley lives. (David Severn)

AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA describes a fire last Thursday night (the 14th) that could have been real bad but for the fast action of The Chief and the AV Volunteers: “Last night we responded to a vehicle fire on Highway 253 at mile marker 6.45. When we arrived at scene, a pickup truck that was towing a fifth wheel trailer was completely involved and blocking both lanes. Both CalFire and Anderson Valley units worked together to stop it from spreading to the vegetation then worked on extinguishing the vehicle which they were able to have under control shortly after arrival. Units were on scene for approximately three hours for overhaul of the truck and traffic control until it was towed away.”

A MORE DRAMATIC account was turned in by a local: “Went to Ukiah tonight. It was dark thirty by the time I made my return trip to Boonville. Almost home, I came upon a car driving very strangely and very slowly on the wrong side of the road, in my lane. I slowed and looked beyond the Ukiah-bound vehicle to see a low-rider truck hauling an aluminum trailer full of building supplies. It was fully aflame and sitting where it stopped, between two huge redwood groves on a curve upon a cliff. I was the second car to come upon the burning truck and trailer. Everyone else was standing around saying their phones didn't work. There were at least three really expensive nice phones there which had exactly zero reception. I said to the owner of the truck and the woman in front of me, ‘No one's called 911 yet, then?

“THEY BOTH SAID they were unable to reach anyone on their phones. No reception. I looked at the burning car as small explosions escaped the blaze. What saved one hell of a fire from burning down a whole bunch of trees and wildlife was… Exactly NO WIND. The flames went straight up and so did the thick black smoke which plumed and curled up above the tree line, making a perpendicular turn before blowing Ukiah-way.

“I PULLED OUT MY CHEESY, what is called disposable Tracfone, but what I call, never fail @ $8.00. I looked up at the sky, walked over about 10-20 feet to stand in a small clearing under the only star I could see in the sky, and called 911. The important part of the call got through; by the time she asked what mile marker, the woman in front of me from Chicago, but of late from Boonville, said, we're about 6 miles out of Boonville. I walked over to what looked like a mile marker, and sure enough — 6.51 mile marker.  I lost 911 when I started walking around. Coasties swear by those Tracfones. Even folks who've switched to expensive phones for everyday use, keep a Tracfone in their glove box because they have the best reception Coastally and in hard to reach zones. Beats Verizon, ATT, all the others, and even gets reception in Gualala on occasion. I walked back over to the starry spot and redialed 911 and finished the call. Took 'em about 20 minutes to get there.

“THE MEXICAN MAN whose truck it was didn't seem like he wanted to talk about it, or didn't speak English.  He went off and stood by himself away from everyone else and sadly watched it burn up completely before the fire department arrived. They put out the rest of the flames in short order and sprayed down the ditch where hot parts were starting to roll downhill into the ravine below the cliff. Disaster narrowly averted. What a scare-show that was!”

AN ELK READER WRITES: "The PG&E guy arrived in the driveway in Elk this morning to remove the SmartMeter which they had installed only a few months ago. It seems that for those of us on a “Time Sensitive Use Rate” or some similar name for the E-6 or E-7 rate, the new SmartMeters are not smart enough to tell the difference between 3am and 3pm. So they popped back in the old electric meter and assured me that the meter reader will be around monthly for a long time to come. They've also found that the new SmartMeters need to be no more than 500 feet apart to receive and send data."

PARKING ETIQUETTE, Boonville and Philo. We park parallel to AV Market, Lemons Market, Pic 'N Pay. Outsiders nose in, city style. The other day, at Lemons’, a young woman driving a VW Bus festooned with uplift stickers — vows to commit random acts of kindness, unicorns, peace signs etc. — got herself boxed in by two parallel-parking locals and two nose-in auslanders. Not to be too judgmental here, but vehicles plastered with expressions of peace and love overwhelmingly tend to be driven by extremely violent people. This lady was no exception to the generalization. She stormed in and out of the market demanding to know whose vehicles were delaying her. When a local guy, noting she was carrying camping gear, gently explained that locals park parallel and what was her rush if she was just going down the road to Hendy Woods, the kid fairly spat, “So what's with this blocking ME in?”

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