Valley People (Sep 17, 2014)

TERRIBLE HEAD-ON COLLISION just before dawn Monday on 128 opposite the Anderson Valley Elementary School. One person medi-vacced outtahere, another hauled over the hill by AV Ambulance. Who and why await CHP report.

TWO PROMINENT local wineries gone dry? Their wells, that is, and that's what we're hearing as all of us look skyward and do our individual rain dances.

FRIDAY NIGHT BOONVILLE FAIR, impressions of. It was still a hundred degrees in the deep fry shade at 5pm, but the large and merry crowd swarming the Fairgrounds was undeterred by the heat, so undeterred the overall visual was five acres of well-nourished flesh. Used to be an unbuttoned shirt here, a modest blouse there was the public dress standard; us prudes, who remember when ladies never went downtown without hats and gloves, are still having a hard time adjusting to mass amour-propre, if that's the fancy phrase for Let It All Hang Out-ism.

AS ALWAYS marveling at how much bad art my fellow County residents manage to turn out every year, this year's underwhelming exhibit was overwhelmed by a magnificent, handcrafted, wooden rowboat, a true thing of beauty. Being a journalist, I forgot to bring my notepad and pen so I might laud the boatmaker by name, but he's a marvel whoever he is.

I ALWAYS LINGER in the flower hall exhibits which, as always, were worth the linger. I used to be annually tempted to exhibit my prize Japanese maple but someone ripped it off the year I was finally going to do it. That's how attractive it was — theft-worthy. I got it years ago on Spy Rock Road, of all places, where a lady specialized in maples and peonies. I still have the peony, and have always wondered why peonies aren't more popular in Mendoland.

THE GENIUS of the Boonville Fair is its unique variety. There's something for everyone, and some of the something — sheep dog trials and wool spinners, to name two — are indeed unique. A visitor told me he'd overheard a young mommy encouraging her little boy to enjoy himself on the rides, but the kid insisted he wanted to watch the sheep dogs, which he got to do, being blessed in having both intelligent curiosity and a sensible mother.

CAUGHT the second half of the soccer mismatch between Steve Sparks' powerhouse Panthers and a wholly overmatched Potter Valley team. Then it was on to Americano football with coach Dan Kuny's speedy and hard-hitting squad running around and through Mendocino for a 42-7 win, breaking a two-year, 21-game win streak by Mendocino. And there was a Boonville football first: An official's timeout for an emergency fill of a gopher hole on the 30 before play could resume. An attractive young woman appeared in a Fairgrounds cart, poured a bag of dirt into the hazard and play was resumed. The playing field is in the worst shape I've seen, which may be due to Fair budget cuts, but it's going to cause some broken ankles.

SATURDAY NIGHT'S bull riding event at the Boonville Fair began with the first rider Michael Moore of Windsor strapped to a bull called Ira Hayes. Ira wins. “Big round of applause for Ira, ladies and gentlemen!” Next bull's called Back Alley: “How would y’all like to put y’all’s mother-in-law on that bull?” the announcer says. The crowd goes wild. Meanwhile down at gate No. 3 we’re ready to go, but a cowboy from Ferndale barely makes it out of the chute. A Redwood Valley wrangler, Chris Mathews, riding a bull called Bowline, and Mathews stays on and on, and he wins the championship as the judges score him at 79 points. We're told that young Mathews is now one of the top rodeo competitors in the country.

INCLUDED IN SUNDAY'S COUNTY FAIR PARADE, always a lively affair, was a small truck with a sign that said, “Mendocino County Supervisors.” The only Supervisor on the float was 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg, cuddled up against his girlfriend, former Point Arena mayor, Lauren Sinnott. I didn't see the effete little dog that these days accompanies the Supervisor even to public meetings, but the tiny beast may have been in the Supervisor's pocket.

TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE and maybe even a cruel aside here, but I can't resist: in my experience, and I'll concede major limitations, when an adult male not only falls in love with a small dog, but drives around with the yapping son of a beehive, it's a sure sign that full-on senility is only a woof-woof away. Given Supervisor Hamburg's performance in office, not to mention his florid history as cult and conspiracy nut, I think we can now safely say the Supervisor is certifiably 5150. Boys in the white coats? Courtesy telephone please.

FROM A WINE WISE Reader: "Only 13 Anderson Valley wineries appear to have entered wines in the 2014 Mendocino County Fair Wine Competition, and most of those were long-established names: Brutocao, Greenwood Ridge, Handley, Husch, Roederer Estate, Meyer, Navarro Vineyards and Philo Ridge. Quite frankly, the poor participation is incomprehensible; the fair should be a showcase for local wines and those out-of-towners attending the fair — each one a potential customer — are driving right past the 30 or so local tasting rooms. Not sure whether the problem lies with competition entrance costs, a lack of confidence by wineries or poor leadership by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, but a concerted effort is needed to achieve better participation next year."

THE AMAZING DAVE EVANS of the Navarro Store pulled off another of his patented, under-the-redwoods live music spectaculars, this one two Saturday nights ago with the famous Subdudes with the truly great Charlie Musslewhite coming up at the end of the month. All of us who live here know that this place is absolutely sui generis, but Dave's ability to not only bring big musical names to what most outsiders would regard as your basic remote rural location, he comes out financially ahead doing it, as do the many people Dave employs to make these locally unprecedented events happen, well, this guy is a man apart.

Join Anderson Valley Land Trust and Navarro River Resource Center for Coastal Cleanup Day on Flynn Creek. Saturday, September 20, 2014. 9AM-Noon. Please contact Trey at 707-895-3150 or avlt@mcn.org for more information and to volunteer.

AV UNIFIED is gearing up for Phase 2 of the bond-funded remodeling program. Phase 1, the elementary school remodel, went reasonably well and is nearly complete. The work itself ended up costing about half of the original $15.5 million of voter-approved bond funds (and about twice that when the interest is added in).

BOTH the conventional elementary classrooms as well as several modulars have been rehabbed. A new solar system has been installed to provide electricity to both campuses. It's not clear what remodeling will be done in this next phase at the high school because it depends on how much funding will be available via the sale of additional school bonds. For the time being the school district has authorized the architect to identify and cost-out a list of remodeling and upgrade options which will be reviewed and eventually put out to bid when the bond funding comes in.

THE DISTRICT is being cautious with the bond sales for this next phase since the broker who arranged the first phase of financing seems to have left somewhat of a bad taste in the district's mouth stemming from a small percentage of the financing which was conducted through the controversial capital appreciations bond, balloon payment method.

THE DISTRICT'S lawyer has suggested they put the bond sale process, worth tens of thousands of dollars all by itself, out to bid independently and see who responds. School bond sales are somewhat of a specialty area in the financing world, so it's hard to avoid the small number of very similar California-based financial outfits that have the necessary qualifications to sell the things. But the District might save a few bucks and get a better interest rate by soliciting new bids from brokers.

THE LOCAL AIRPORT, aka Boonville International, has received all the funding and approvals they need to begin work on repaving and widening the airstrip. The project has been in the planning stages for a couple of years now and is finally about to begin. The FAA is providing most of the approximately $900,000 the project will cost. The contract has been awarded to the lowest of the three bidders, Mendocino Construction out of Willits, an outfit Airport people seem pleased with. All three bidders submitted bids which were a few percentage points over the engineer's estimate, but within the available budget. So work is expected to begin in a matter of weeks and is supposed to take about a month in total, presumably before the beginning of the rainy season (if there is a rainy season). Airport Committee Chair Jerry Bowers told the CSD budget committee last week that this pavement upgrade should last for about 30 years so no other significant work should be necessary for a long time.

JUST SAYIN' but this young local guy — an employed local young guy who's supporting a child — seems to have been unnecessarily complicated by a State Parks Ranger. The employed young pop and a friend had rehabbed an old jeep that had long rusted at Bob Maki's garage in Philo. Finally getting it to run, and downing a few beers to get themselves running, the two shade tree mechanics took the thing out for a test drive, only to have it conk out on 128 not far from Hendy Woods. A Park Ranger spotted the two mechanics as they puzzled over their stalled project and pulled in. One beer drinker ran, our young guy stayed and was duly arrested for driving on a suspended license and DUI. Thing is, the young guy arrested hadn't been driving but he is on probation. Worse, he does tend to screw up often enough that law enforcement would regard him with extreme suspicion even if he was home asleep. For three long hours the Park Ranger and the young guy waited for CHP to arrive from Ukiah to take the young guy back to the County Jail in Ukiah, which seems to me a majorly waste of CHP and Park Ranger time, but there it is. We need nuanced law enforcement of the type Deputy Squires (and now Deputy Craig) provided and provide. Squires saved the County huge tax money by arresting only the people who needed to be arrested, not everyone he encountered who broke the law. If everyone around here was hauled off for law violations the population would be halved.

OUR OPEN HOUSE here at your beloved community newspaper was a great success, thank you for asking. Quite a number of thrill seekers made the onerous climb up the hidden staircase, among them an interesting young man who did two tours in Iraq and a North County woman who has got to be among the most versatile persons in the County, and this is a County teeming with can-do people. This lady has done everything from truck driving to home construction. She brought us some homemade Porter beer that was absolutely perfecto, apparently aware that we've always been partial to strong drink. Another lady brought us an early platter of cherry tomatoes and, as the day progressed, we began to suspect that we'd died and were looking in our own wake, such was the volume of food and drink. It was all so merry we had to waive the $2 full body hugs fee. Thank you all for coming, and we'll do it again next year, Fair time.

BALO WINERY — Tim Mullins. The major rehab of the Live Oak Building — Tim Mullins. The big horse barn and pond going in at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way — Tim Mullins. The guy is almost singlehandedly re-doing the Anderson Valley visual, and who the heck is he? The Great Gatsby?

THE FUTURE of Anderson Valley Youth Baseball is up in the air and we would like to invite the entire community to a meeting this Thursday, September 18th to discuss our options. All current, former and future baseball parents are invited as well as any baseball loving community members who want to see our youth program continue. The meeting will be held in the Fairgrounds Dining Hall at 6pm. If you have any questions, please call Shauna at 684-9126. — Shauna Espinoza

THE COUNTY FAIR at one end of The Valley, something called Bliss Camp at the old Boy Scout camp, Navarro. Quite a mob of bliss ninnies, too, many of the men in cartoon stove pipe hats, the women in green and purple hair. “Blissings to All! Come galactivate your heart space and co*create magic at our Bliss Camp four-day gathering at Camp Navarro in the beautiful Mendocino Redwoods." Etc.

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