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Valley People (Aug 27, 2014)

RATHER TENSE AV Ambulance fundraiser at the Boonville Fairgrounds yesterday (Sunday), what with a petition circulating to recall the Health Center's board of directors as the young new doctor, Logan McGhan, was introduced as the partially purged old doctor, Mark Apfel, looked on.

WE ALWAYS FEEL apprehensive for new people stepping into unhappy situations, especially in the Mendo context of Nice People everywhere at the controls, and the Anderson Valley Health Center is definitely an unhappy situation, made more unhappier than need be by the sphinx-like silence of the Board as to Apfel's future.

OUR BOARDS OF DIRECTORS are, as we know but are loathe to admit, self-selecting and self-selected. The school combine, to name the most egregious offender, selects safe people to insert on the school board whenever there's a vacancy. When there's an actual election they beat the bushes for an “appropriate” candidate, i.e., a pliable person unlikely to do anything that upsets teachers and administration. Ditto for the Ambulance and Health Center boards, the cemetery board, the Fair board and so on. But when the pool of “appropriate” people is as small as ours in the Anderson Valley, you get the same social circle of people, pretty much, on all the boards, although the inappropriate people, formerly known as rednecks, still control the Fair board and the cemetery boards.

IF THE HEALTH CENTER BOARD continues to allow the Apfel situation to fester, they could destroy the Center. Angry people will head over the hill for the Adventist combine, and angry people will no longer donate to the Center, and that will be the end of it, at least in its present form. Maybe the end game here is to scale the Center back, but scapegoating Apfel is an awfully sleazy way of going about it. He founded the place. The trustees are (or were) his friends of many years. I'm mystified at the silence from them. And doubly mystified at the way the Board and whomever's running the Clinic (the Gualala “experts”?) is treating the guy. I don't get it any of it. I keep thinking that there's an X Factor at work here that has the board scared, hence their silence. But if their silence is attributable to fear of personal liability, and they think there's something they're liable for, then they really should resign now before they bring the whole house down and cause even more bad feeling than they've already caused. And real liability.

A READER WRITES: “The problem at the Health Center is not the board members as individuals, it's that they continue to allow themselves to be pawns of Diane Agee who is either continuing to call the shots behind the scenes, or said something to them in the past that is still motivating their actions.”

ATTENTION DINERS! Someone left three very nice “orange-ish” cloth napkins, 2 quality forks, and a stainless steel steak knife at the Ambulance benefit at the Fairgrounds. Please call 895-3595 to retrieve your things.

BIG POT BUST west of Signal Ridge last week, characterized by lots of locals as that “big cartel bust up off Signal Ridge from the back side of the Rossi Ranch all the way to Pipers.” 20,000 plants, maybe more. The raid involved two helicopters, wood chippers, Fish and Game, and numerous law enforcement people.

SUNDAY MORNING’S EARTHQUAKE was not widely felt in Mendocino County, and not felt at all in the Anderson Valley. It jolted — more like rolled — people awake as far south as San Francisco. The 3:20am event did significant damage in the downtown Napa neighborhoods and some in nearby Vallejo where it struck hardest and to which it seemed mostly confined.

photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

SODDEN THOUGHT: If major earthquakes begin to occur in Northern California with the frequency they occurred in the 19th century, most of us will be living outdoors.

BETH SWEHLA, ag teacher and FFA advisor at Anderson Valley High, will be presented an Honorary American Degree at the National FFA Convention in Louisville in October. Miss Swehla said that she hopes to take four AV High students with her, but an accompanied itinerary would cost about $5,300 and she has to raise the money in hurry. Donations made payable to the Anderson Valley Agriculture Institute can be sent to the high school, PO Box 130, Boonville 95415.

A FIRST IN ANDERSON VALLEY: Normally at Steve Sparks weekly quiz at Lauren's the reading out of the categories is fairly ho-hum: Geography, History, Current Events, etc. But Major Scaramella was surprised when his  “90s Music” category was loudly cheered by every young person in the room. “Well, I stopped listening around 1970,” The Major said, “so I guess it's possible there were some nice tunes in the 90s.”

CSD BOARD CHAIR Valerie Hanelt has tentatively set Wednesday, October 15 for a presentation from the Valley Trails people on their plans. Trustee Kathleen McKenna, who is actively involved in the planning project seemed reluctant but agreed to the discussion and the date. Exactly who will present and what will be covered remains to be seen.

THAT WAS THE UKIAH High School football team working out last week at the Boonville Fairgrounds. The Ukiah contingent helped pay the field rental fees by assisting Fairgrounds workers spiff up the premises for the annual Fair the weekend of September 12th. BTW, a sensible new state law limits football practices to 18 hours a week and also restricts sets limits on full contact.

THE WEE BOONT FOUNDATION, “strongly supported by Anderson Valley Brewing Company, recently donated upwards of $120,000 to local area non-profits thanks to the overwhelming support from thousands of craft beer enthusiasts who descended upon the 18th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Festival held on May 3rd, 2014. To date, the Anderson Valley community has benefited from the proceeds of this event to the tune of over $1,000,000.

“FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS of the inaugural Legendary Boonville Beer Festival in 1997, AVBC decided to invite other breweries and vendors and charge admission to raise profits for their community. This year, the annual “steinber hornin’ tidrick” (beer drinking party) featured more than 80 breweries and record attendance of over 6,500 thirsty “minks and kimmies” (girls and guys) from as far away as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and even Europe to experience what has been dubbed by many as “The Top Bucket List Beer Festival of All Time.”

TREY WHITE, president and owner of Anderson Valley Brewing Company comments, “Year after year, we are amazed by the dedication and loyalty of the Anderson Valley community, our fellow craft breweries and the thousands of beer fans from across the West Coast and beyond who travel far and wide to share good times, great beers and provide funds for worthwhile community causes in Mendocino County.”

“PROCEEDS went to dozens of organizations such as the Anderson Valley Animal Rescue, AV Historical Society, AV Fire Department and Volunteer Firefighters Association, Navarro River Resource, AV Land Trust and KZYX Public Radio.

HIGH IN THE HILLS east of Boonville last week, none other than the US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, was rusticating with his wife, Samara and children, Hillary and Zachary.

THE LATEST in unneighborly annoyances from the local wine industry include the recorded sounds of a distressed parrot played at top volume. The idea is that the sound of a tortured psittacine scares lesser birds off ripening grapes. At least we get the parrot calls and the bird guns during daylight hours. In the spring we get frost fans with an accompanying decibel- level of 747s, and the fans kick off anytime between midnight and 4am, and they stay on until the sun's all the way up.

OUR NATION'S FUTURE returned to their studies Monday morning, taking one more step in a 12-year process that hasn't changed much since I began my “educational experience” in a different time in a totally different country. I remember the process as a matter of lining up for this or that and ticking down the minutes until recess and the final bell at 3:20 in the afternoon. High school is a priapic blur focused on girls and sports. College classes were a waste of time save for the hours I was able to read on my own, which is what I also did from the time I could read because at a fairly early age I realized adults were not reliable sources of sound information. Teachers were timid, fearful creatures who went weak in the knees whenever the principal appeared in the room. I've always thought the notion that teachers are desirable “role models” is almost completely false. The only role model-like teachers I knew either got fired or worked on the edge of unemployment. They were smart and funny and ate lunch alone. Books, even read randomly and “age-inappropriately” (as today's child experts would be likely to say), were more and more helpful as I grew older and as their information more and more coincided with what seemed to me to be the reality, often the better, more hopeful reality a child holds out for. At the high school level, history was taught as a series of American triumphs over funny-looking people who weren't Americans. College was more liberal but still pegged to a lot of assumptions since un-assumed. I remember an elderly woman in high school teaching the basics of composition that emphasized orderly outlines before we were permitted to set sail on a blank page. The instruction all seemed irrelevant to a kid who had to make his way in the world. The guys who took the shop classes learned enough of the basics of carpentry, printing, mechanics, to get themselves employed for pretty good pay. If today's schools apprenticed young people out to people who have real non-blah blah skills for at least half the school day, public ed would be much more relevant than it is. I did enough as a kid to get out with a diploma and eventually went on to college for another diploma as useless as the first one, and I had the advantage of stepping out into an economy that hired people who could make enough to rent shelter and have enough left over to have some fun. It's much harder now, and the culture is much crazier. About half the young ones I saw this morning eagerly waiting for the school bus had their mesmerized heads tilted downward at hand held electronic devices, on which played I'd rather not know. I suppose a few of them, against all the odds, will learn how to read and maybe even do simple calculations without electronic assistance. About the rest of the world they'll get a relentless pounding of prissy liberalism whose underlying message is, “Be Nice.” But it's not a nice or welcoming world the young will be stepping out into, and most of them will be wholly unprepared for it.

A READER WRITES: Scaramella's article on Grape Lovers is another dead on great analysis. They are doing more studies; the lead person is Nancy Smith, WC Project Director, San Francisco, 415-418-6518 if he wants to scare up more info on current plans. Indian Creek is dry most of the way from Clearwater Ranch to Highway 128. The upper reaches are holding on and this is an hisstoric blue line creek on all California maps! Coincidentally, Balo is at 128!

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