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Valley People (Sep 3, 2014)

THE BLANDLY DECEPTIVE letter from the Anderson Valley Health Center Board in this week's paper appears three months late and takes 500 words to say all the letter writers are wrong, the Board is correct and everything is fine. Naturally, the communiqué ignores the Board's seminal role in creating the community upset.

THE LETTER is clearly the work of a lawyer or a team of them. I particularly enjoyed the colorful metaphor "the bumps along the road." Those bumps seem to have been the bodies of Kathy Corral and Dr. Apfel, both of whom have been treated like stray dogs — worse than stray dogs who at least have the SPCA looking out for them. The Board and whoever is running them, probably Ms. Agee of the Gualala clinic, is trying to push Apfel out. Why remains a mystery.

I SECOND the letter from Bill and Eva Holcomb. Apfel is probably the only doctor in the county, and certainly one of the few in the country, to make home visits. In my case, both Apfel and Judy Nelson provided in-home care for an old friend of mine passing her last days on Anderson Valley Way. Without them, Old Friend would have died in one of those ghastly, end-of-the-trail, bars-on-the-windows Ukiah charnel houses. (Note to self: Do not get defenseless old in this country.) On other occasions, Apfel came to our house in the middle of the night to offer emergency care to my disabled sister. He did that several times. Countless other locals have similar accounts of Apfel's unique attentiveness to the people of Anderson Valley. He deserves to be treated with respect.

WHATEVER the truth is of recent events at the management levels of the Health Center, the Center's board of directors has again only fueled discontent at the consumer level. Sure, there are people who complain about Apfel. They'll say he misdiagnosed this or that and so on. But isn't an occasional error inevitable with a general practice doctor who sees everyone? Does any reasonable person expect infallibility from a doctor? Any doctor?

THE MAIN BEEF most of us have remains: Dr. Apfel is being shunted aside, and is being rudely treated for reasons the Center's board of directors won't or can't divulge. The whole situation continues to fester and, as a doctor might say, should be cauterized before we lose the patient — the Anderson Valley Health Center.

BAD HEAD-ON last Tuesday (26 August) on Highway 128 a little after 2pm near Navarro. A Dodge sedan driven by William Johnson, 54, Mendocino, crossed into the oncoming lane and crashed head-on into a Ford driven by Aurens Gilmore, 48, of Hopland. Johnson was freed from the wreckage of his vehicle by a jaws-of-life device, and airlifted to Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa where he remains in serious condition. Gilmore was taken by Anderson Valley Ambulance to Adventist Hospital in Ukiah where he was treated for minor injuries and released. Highway 128 was closed in both directions for 90 minutes.

AN ANDERSON VALLEY READER WRITES: "In hard times, which is now, the deer forage in the full light of day and even eat cracked corn. Until the rains come, they are hard pressed to survive. We put corncobs, immature corn that will not fully make, and corn stalks out for them to eat on at night. Yes, they did find a way last week to CRAWL under the fence wire and ravage my flowers. They favor the taste of Madera geraniums, fuscias, nasturtiums, squash blossoms, snapdragons, potato vines, tomatoes, gladiola stalks, malvia flowers, eggplant, and basil. Oh, of course I have left out some goodies. But, you get the idea of how varied a deer's diet can be— under the right conditions.  Like finding a hole at ground level in the fence."

I FELT LUCKY to have happened in on a riveting hour of Linda MacElwee's show on KZYX last week. Ms. M was talking to a guy named Lancaster of Tucson, Arizona. For me, everything said in that hour was almost Biblically revelatory. And what was said had to do with the specifics of rainfall storage. I was aware of course that lots of locals capture some rainfall but I thought that was just a matter of downspouts and tanks from Jack's Valley Store. I didn't know you could store water in the ground itself that you could retrieve without the expense of pumps.

WE USED TO GET upwards of 40 inches of rainfall a year in Mendocino County, more than enough not to worry about conservation measures. But none of the lesser amounts of rain over the last few years are presently conserved in the inexpensive ways described by Lancaster, and all four of our four parched municipalities are now considering mandatory limits on use. The rain falls, runs off, we squander the little we capture in long showers and lawns.

THE REVELATORY conversation between Linda M and Lancaster talked about how those of us who live in Concrete Land, can, with a focus on a few simple innovations,  NOT run out of water, as millions of us in California are presently doing. I listened and hoped Mendo's civic leaders were also listening. This man brought water to desert Tucson! Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, and Point Arena, our four incorporated towns, should bring him to Mendo immediately to show us the many doable ways we can store the annual gifts from our winter skies.

THE AV SENIOR/COMMUNITY CENTER has a vegetable garden that is providing some of the produce for the meals there. All community members are encouraged to take advantage of this local food opportunity. For meal schedule and more information go to or call Gina at 895-3609.

EATERIES IN ANDERSON VALLEY that support our farmers by using locally grown produce are Aquarelle Cafe, Boont Berry Farm, Boonville General Store, Boonville Hotel, Coq au Vin, Lauren’s Café, Paysanne and Mosswood Market. (Lauren’s identifies local ingredients in many of the offerings on its menu.)

FROM THE AV FOOD BANK: Gardeners, Farmers and Produce Growers of all kinds, please remember Food Bank days (3rd Tuesday of every month) as a place to donate your extra produce. It will be greatly appreciated. Please drop off on the Monday before, behind Boonville Methodist Church. Thanks. If you need someone to glean your produce to take to the Food Bank, contact Valerie Kim at Denisse Mattei is the Food Bank director. You can reach her at 895-3763.

BEEF FOR SALE! Grass Fed Murray Grey Beef. 4 Bar K Ranch in Boonville, is offering premium grass fed beef for sale. This is local grass fed beef, raised in rural Anderson Valley, in Mendocino County, with no shots or hormones, just excellent, lean, grass finished beef. We raise our beef free range, organically, in a humane, safe, and stress free way. This insures your beef is the best quality and safest meat, that is raised and sold in the right way. Our beef is slaughtered locally, then hung, cut and wrapped by a state inspected, professional butcher shop to our specifications. We sell live beef by the quarter, and the cost is between $4.00 - $4.50 per pound of hanging weight, plus 1/4 of cost of slaughtering, hang, cut, wrap, and freeze. This usually amounts to approximately $6.50 to $7.50 per pound of packaged, frozen, premium, local, grass fed beef. The butcher equitably divides each side of beef into two quarters containing cuts from the front and the back. A quarter weighs approx. 60-100 lbs. and fits into two "banana boxes." The beef we are offering is smaller which reduces your cost to try some premium beef and it will be available soon. If interested please contact Dave Kooyers at (707) 895-2325.

IN OCTOBER, 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. Miss Swehla needed to raise about $5,300 to take four of her star ag students with her. Presto! Bingo! The money came a'rollin' in, and the once-in-a-lifetime trip for all five is on.

Beth Swelha (r) with class
Ms. Swelha (r) with class

THE SMOKE hanging over The Valley the past few days is from the not-quite extinguished blaze between Laytonville and Leggett called the Lodge Fire. There is also smoke drifting south from deep Trinity County where a huge fire is laying waste to the Trinity Alps.

ANDERSON VALLEY'S newest landmark, the Carsey House at the junction of highways 128 and 253, has resumed construction.

NOTE to candidate Galletti, Warren Galletti, running for Superintendent of Mendocino County Schools. White lettering on pale yellow campaign signs is hard to read. Bold! Warren! Bold print, bold policies!

One Comment

  1. Mathew Howes September 11, 2014

    As a former resident of Philo,I only have the highest respect for Dr.Apfel.He helped my sister through a terminal illness,and treated me in his own living room on his own time for pneumonia.I always considered Dr. Apfel as someone I could confide in,no matter how trivial or enormous the problem was.He was always straight up,and didn’t pull any punches.That bedside manner might not appeal to everyone,but I’ll take honesty and bluntness over sugar coated empathy any day.

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