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Valley People (Nov 12, 2014)

THIS IS PROBABLY a waste of our time, dear reader, because we always forget, but Thanksgiving week we gotta have everything by Sunday, 5pm, because we gotta print first thing Tuesday morning. Got that? Sunday, 5pm, deadline for print.

HelenLibeuWE WERE ALWAYS great admirers of the late Helen Libeu, and close enough to her to visit with her at her home in Duncans Mills and picnic with her at her old growth redwood grove up Peachland Road here in Boonville. There have certainly been noisier environmentalists on the Northcoast but none as effective as Helen who fought off Corporate Timber from her seat on the State Board of Forestry and through her strong influence with the Northcoast's elected Democrats, from Congress on down. I remember a dinner in Santa Rosa where one bigwig Demo after another stopped in at Helen's table to pay court. When she talked, they listened, and they always returned Helen's calls. (Much of the mainstream regarded the enviros of that time merely as dopeheads and nutcases, there being plenty of both in the so-called “movement.” During the tensions of the Redwood Summer period, and even as well-placed and influential as she was, someone burned Helen's cabin down at Peachland, not that Helen was at all deterred from speaking out against clearcut of the Northcoast's forests then underway. Another time tree rustlers stole a (now) rare pepperwood tree off her Peachland place, wrongly figuring that a little old lady wouldn't notice. That theft was financially motivated but the arson was a direct message to Helen to cease and desist interfering with Big Timber's master plan for the Northcoast, as clearly articulated by L-P's boss, Harry Merlo: “We want it all, and we want it all now.” L-P and G-P got it all, too, stripping the area of its primary resource and the thousands of jobs that went with it, but Helen, as formidably intelligent a person as you will know, fought them every step of the day.

THE REAL SARAHS with our very own Sarah Songbird will be performing at Lauren's Saturday night November 22.  Special guests include  Spec MacQuayde, storyteller, along with talented local musicians. Admission is $10 at the door, with the Real Sarahs opening at 9 p.m.

LOCAL WIT or the ravages of time and neglect? The sign atop the old Boonville Lodge now reads 'Oonville,' and below Oonville, 'Loon.'

SPEAKING of time and neglect, Mrs. Ricard, of the rambling Ricard Slum in South Boonville, grew up in the Anderson Valley. Why the old girl would want to inflict a permanent eyesore cum firetrap on her old hometown remains a mystery.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY PANTHER'S undefeated football team beat the second place and division rival Mendocino Cardinals Saturday evening at the Boonville Fairgrounds. The game was a lot closer than the 50-30 final score. The Panther's Redwood Bowl victory ran their victory streak to 10-0. It was a hard fought game with too many penalties and turnovers — including three exciting Panther interceptions, one a “pick-6” for a touchdown. AV’s star running back Cesar Soto made several impressive runs that had the large crowd gasping, as did Mendocino’s stand-out, triple-threat quarterback, Preston Salmans. But in the end the Panthers were the better team and took home the league championship and the coveted Redwood Bowl trophy. Only two of AV’s starting squad are seniors, so next year promises to be another good year for the Panthers. — Mark Scaramella

COACH DAN KUNY deserves major attaboys for his years of work with local kids. First off, the guy sets a good example in that he keeps himself physically fit, meaning he sets a good example, especially in the anti-male context of public schools these days. Second, Kuny's the best kind of football coach in that he never lets his players get away with bad sportsmanship. Wherever his football teams go, fans say, “Now there's a nice bunch of kids.” The coach's overall influence has positive ripple effects here and everywhere, especially in the lives of the young men who so much enjoy playing football for him. The coach, a logger in his paid hours, told us last week that as soon as football season was over he was off to the Sierras for some hurry-up work before the snows begin.

OUR ESSENTIAL LIBRARIANS ASK? “Did you ever visit the AV Library in the Home Arts building at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville? If so, you might have noticed the new AV Foodshed Bookshelf. We have a variety of books and DVDs, running the gamut of rural living skills. Our books and DVDs can be checked out on the honor system during regular library hours, which are Tuesdays 1:30-4:30 and Saturdays 2-4. To find out about donating books or DVDs, please call 895-2949.”

NANCY CHARLES NOTIFIES US THAT: “The Annual Meeting of the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service will be held on November 17th, 2014, 7:00pm at the AV Health Center conference room.”

STEPHEN A. VAN HEIDEN & GEOFFREY D. POMEROY of Boonville have filed a fictitious business name statement on October 15, 2014 for conducting business in Mendocino County as “Natural Products of Boonville.” Their company will be engaging in the production of edible mushrooms and mushroom extracts, primarily shiitake and lion's mane, as well as seasonally offering heirloom vegetables such as specialty greens and tomatoes.”

THE LATEST from our back-to-the-future management at the Anderson Valley Health Center, the Center having returned almost full circle to the staff it began with at the outset of the recent turmoil. When the Center's opaque board of trustees, now backed by a community advisory board that has zero confidence in those opaque trustees, all of them from this one small community, gets around to selecting a new CEO for the modest enterprise, things will be truly circled, but hopefully not circular in the sense of circular firing squads.

SODDEN THOUGHTS. Look no farther than the Anderson Valley Health Center for a primo example of the penetration of big biz management-think. Come on, a “CEO” for a tiny outback clinic? “Chief Financial Officer” for bookkeeper? All this title inflation gets seriously in the way of clear lines of responsibility, not to mention clarity itself.

WE'VE ALREADY worn out our readers with complaints about the nutty secrecy characteristic of our public agencies. Why? What is there to hide? Why do we tolerate secrecy where our money is being spent? The answer is obvious enough. Secrecy happens when you get public boards of trustees who delude themselves into thinking they're doing the right thing by blindly supporting the people they're supposed to be supervising, even saying NO to occasionally. Secrecy is the root of the recent upset at the Anderson Valley Health Center, and that's what happens when boards of trustees are self-selecting groups of palsy-walsys, complete with token Mexican-Americans and student representatives.

“WE SAW THE LOSS of two community leaders last week,” writes an optimistic Health Center reformer, “Rod Basehore and Diane Paget. Attending their memorial services I was reminded of the many community efforts both had engaged in over the past three decades to build the structure of Anderson Valley that we enjoy today. Many of you commented to me that we had managed somehow to settle the issues that threaten our clinic, and our health care. I think we may have made a beginning in getting the Board to talk to us, but the future of the clinic is far from assured. Your skills in financial management, information technology, physical plant maintenance and development, personnel recruiting, public relations, fund raising, volunteer organizations, grant solicitation and management, program needs assessment and planning, are all areas where this board needs help. Please think about your own skills and experience and consider talking to Board Chair Ric Bonner, or to Heidi (Knott) about how you can volunteer to help.”

THIS IS ALL STUFF the Health Center Board itself is supposed to be doing while ignoring the obvious sociological fact that Anderson Valley isn't a “community” in any known sense of the term. What we have, from Yorkville to Navarro, is a series of affinity groups with little or no knowledge of or interest in each other. “Community” last existed here circa 1970, and its hubs were the schools and then, ironically, the Anderson Valley Health Center. (The latter shunned in its beginnings by the 'necks as a “hippie” enterprise.) That was a time when we all knew each other, usually through our children. Wine grapes and wealthy retired people changed the place, not that I'm suggesting it changed for the worse, but it changed from a traditional community to the multi-communities we have. I look around at our public bodies and, with the exception of the CSD board — a relative bastion of clear-headedness — and I think, “Thank the goddess these people don't have powers of summary execution.”

EXHIBIT A: In her last message, freshly appointed Health Center Board trustee Kathy Cox said the Board was working on selection of a new clinic director, a task complicated by the need to decide what they are recruiting for: 1. Executive Director only, or Executive Director combined with duties of chief operating officer (does a clinic this size really need these positions separated?); 2. Executive Director for an independent clinic, or Executive Director shared with other clinic; 3. Executive Director for a clinic which owns and operates the building housing it, or Executive Director for a clinic which rents space from another entity; 4. Executive Director for a clinic which operates primary health care for an isolated rural population with high proportion of patients near poverty level, and considerable population of seasonal agricultural workers (the two parameters for our current grants); or other (future additional?) emphasis.

MR. DICKENS? LITTLE DORRIT? White courtesy telephone, please.

“THE CIRCUMLOCUTION OFFICE was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.

“THIS GLORIOUS establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.”

NO SOONER CITED, than appears this timely bit of irony: “If you are a voting [our emphasis] member of Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show, please attend the meeting Monday at 7:00 pm, in the Dining Room at the Fairgrounds in Boonville, to cast your vote in the election of our new Fair Board members.”

THE AV FOODSHED 3rd Sunday Potluck this month is on Sunday Nov 16, beginning at 3 pm with the potluck about 6 pm, at the AV Grange in Philo.  It is entitled Fermentation Fest 2, to follow up on last year's very successful Fermentation Fest.  There will be a flyer out soon with details.

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