Press "Enter" to skip to content

Valley People (Dec 3, 2014)

A READER WRITES: “According to the National Weather Service, Boonville got nearly 0.40 inches of rain Friday and early Saturday morning. However, over roughly the same time period, Navarro River flow — according to the United State Geological Survey — dropped from just over 100 cubic feet per second to approximately 35 cubic feet per second, with most of the drop taking place near midnight over two or three hours. Sounds like a gauge problem, but we likely will never know.”

THE NAVARRO was then still plugged at the mouth, so it could be that the recent rains measured slower because they simply joined the back-up. Beats me, too, though.

FROM MENDOCINO SPORT PLUS (early Saturday): “Rainfall and some relentless pounding from high surf should breach the massive sand bar at the mouth of the Navarro River shortly — if it hasn't already. High tide today was 3:11 pm (4.87 feet) and the sand bar was taking a beating. Although the river is backed up and has flooded the parking lot closing Navarro State Beach the past several days, the USGS river level gauge is only at 2.97' — nearly 20 feet below flood stage.”

MIKE KALANTARIAN WRITES: Drove to the coast Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014, and pulled over at a Highway 1 turnout to observe the mouth of the Navarro from high above. The river is still landlocked, but there is now only a very thin strip of sand separating it from the Pacific. The tide was high while we were there and the waves around Pinnacle Rock were falling just short of reaching the river. We stayed and watched awhile, hoping to see it breach, but as the tide began to recede, just after noon, it looked like a lost cause for the day. After last week's rains, the river is extremely high. The road to Navarro Beach is closed, the section near the old inn is deeply underwater. The entire northern half of the beach is submerged. Even half the campground is underwater. The saddest sight of all was the campground's half-submerged PortaPotty. (That can't be good.) I'm guessing this weekend's storm will finally break the sandbar down, and the Navarro will once again flow into the ocean (for awhile). I'd sure like to be there to see it happen. It could be quite a show. There is a lot of water just sitting there, ready to go."

AND DAVID SEVERN brings us up to date on the Navarro in the Ray's Road area: "Saturday morning the Navarro River was flowing crystal clear. The past week's rainfall had flushed away most of the algae and fine river bottom sediment. Sunday morning the River was a murky green and opaque, unusual because it didn't seem like it had rained that much over night. A trip upstream showed Indian Creek to be flowing clear as well as Rancheria Creek - the culprit was Anderson Creek where the water was coming down a chilly coffee latte brown. I'm not sure why a diluted tan turns green but it might have something to do with what I noticed Monday morning as I dove into the now clear again river. Under water things looked as if they were bathed in bright bronze or golden light. I surmise that it might be that the water was actually a tea made from all the fallen leaves. I don't know but to me it is all so very beautiful and wondrous. "Another curiosity was discovered on that Sunday morning up Rancheria Creek looking for a clear hole deep enough jump into. A spike antlered buck lay on the gravel river's edge about a week dead. For over thirty years I have been going to the River - often sharing the peace and tranquility with my four legged cousins, but never before have I found a dead deer on the River's edge. This was the third deer in what, two months? I dunno what's going on. I'll tack on here that about a week ago just off of deeper Rays Rd., Philo (If Rays Rd. goes far enough to be called deeper) I found a pile of bear apple scat, a sure indication that those hairy guys have been visiting for a snack. Again that would be a first in over thirty years of roaming the Philo wilds. I'm thinking that vacationing at the local resorts might be getting even more exciting."

THAT'S a very nice restoration of the long-closed Yorkville Market, and good luck to the new proprietors about whom we hope to soon know more. Ace reporter Terry Ryder is on the case!

A COUPLE of peeved grandparents grabbed me the other day to ask why our coverage of AV football had been so sparse. I thought we'd covered the basics but conceded we might have done more if Ken Hurst had been available to do away games. Next season we'll pick it up. Promise.

GREG KRAUSE REPORTS: "I got a resolution against wind machines and night time ag noise up at the regional Grange and accepted. We will distribute it after the next meeting Sunday in Jan. I am also getting info on New Zealand 4 prop wind blades that can go at slower speed to work on Bennett and others along with Ag Commissioner. I think we can do this without confrontation next spring."

WE LIVE IN HOPE. But here at your beloved community newspaper we're pursuing a more aggressive strategy on the safe assumptions that the frost fan people won't budge; that the Ag Commissioner will support whatever the Wine People tell him to support; the County and our alleged supervisor will continue to pretend that the frost fans are not a problem; and the Planning and Building Department, where responsibility for the Right To Farm ordinance lies will continue to be non-responsive to our formal complaint, now six months old.

AV GIRLS are again triumphant, sweeping away all opposition to win the small school volleyball championship. Long-time coach Mike 'Flick' Macdonald, architect of nearly three decades of winning teams, had retired this season but, when his replacement coaches suddenly departed for personal reasons, the arch-coach resumed leadership in time to lead the girls to yet another crown.

ON FRIDAY, Nov. 21 12:26pm. Robert Clark of Boonville was arrested on Mountain View Road on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear at a court hearing. A few minutes later a threat was reported also on Mountain View Road but was declared “unfounded.” A few minutes later a caller reported “suspicious circumstances” on Wendling road in Navarro. Law enforcement declared the circumstances to be a civil problem.

LOCAL SUGAR? The Apple Farm (Philo) reports: "We grew a bunch of sugar sorghum for a seed crop this season but lots of it won't mature. We borrowed a sorghum press from Redwood Valley and it's all set up and working. I boiled off the first batch yesterday and it's delicious. But, our whole crew left for Mexico yesterday and there is still a whole field of cane. It takes about four people to press it off. If anyone is interested in coming and harvesting cane and pressing it off this week — they are more than welcome to. We have a propane evaporator pan as well and could work out a community boil. I hate to see this crop go to waste — which will happen as soon as we get a hard frost! Contact me, Sophia, if you can get a group together. — 684-0028 or 894-8520."

HELP! A Mendo Coast man I've known for many years has experienced something of a low-grade, non-drug-related breakdown, perhaps cracking under an unhappy set of circumstances consisting of advancing age, no family, money anxieties, and ongoing skirmishes with his landlord. The guy is smart, very witty, has always been employed, would certainly pay his own way out of his modest social security income (is there any other kind of social security income?) and is absolutely, scrupulously honest. He's presently regaining himself in a hospital setting but needs a long-term place to live. Would he be difficult in, say, a spare bedroom or the cabin out back? No. He'd be good company. I'd house him myself but my inn is full. If you have something or an idea about something please contact the AVA, Boonville.

PETIT TETON FARM'S MOTTO is "We grow it. We can it." We want you to know that our commercial kitchen is filled with a unique selection of gift ideas in the form of farm-made fare from sweets to savories, meals to sides, all produced locally on our farm from fresh produce grown by us. We would welcome your visit to the farm just four miles south of Boonville at 18601 Hwy 128. Email: for hours or check out our website: or just drop in when the OPEN sign is up.

TWO COMPTCHE AUTHORS will be signing their books at the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino on Dec. 13 from 5 to 8pm. As part of “Shop Local” Saturday these authors suggest books make great gifts and you get to meet the authors too! Daniel Parker wrote “Cooking by Flashlights” about being a “back-to-the-land” homesteader in Comptche 40 years ago. Nature, his family, and unpredictable livestock make funny stories. Katy Tahja has written five books of local history including one this year on the 50th anniversary of the Comptche Volunteer Fire Dept. Her earlier books usually deal with railroads. Stop by and say Hi!

GENE HERR'S friendly take on the Health Center Board meeting (see, does not entirely coincide with my impressions, although I certainly agree with her about the status of the clinic software and most of the other routine areas of discussion are of course useful.

TO ME, the Health Center Board meeting seemed meandering, confused and detached from Clinic operations. I don’t see how the present board will be able to retain new board members if meetings continue to wander like this one did. Only the true iron butts can sit through more than 90 minutes of obliquely relevant vaporizing.

I LEFT after about an hour and a half and the proceedings had only reached the middle of the “agenda.” The announced survey/needs assessment results were of the “Duh” variety — Mexican people want a Spanish speaking doctor (which they now have); medical services are more important than non-medical services; wait times for seeing a doctor or nurse can be long. A simple printed report was all that was needed, yet they spent a confusing half-hour trying to figure out the meaning of the results. Which were apparent.

BILL STERLING, who at least is articulate and to the point, diplomatically said very little and didn’t have much to report. Then he fled, er, left for home or a stiff drink. Sterling's executive recruitment effort is not likely to produce results, as the board tacitly admitted because they immediately started talking about what they'd do if nobody applies.

NO ONE really knows how to use the clinic's fancy clinic management software — “training is needed” — and it's going to cost a lot (nobody knows exactly how much) to upgrade it (apparently different vendors have offered substantially different cost estimates) and it will have to be upgraded soon (but they don't know exactly when) and then they'll all have to be re-re-trained on the new upgraded software (including the complex-on-its-own billing module) which is much more complex than the present one, and important to the clinic's financial future.

DURING THE DISCUSSION of the need for policies and procedures, Dr. Mark Apfel said that they indeed already have policies and procedures (that the Board members didn’t seem to be aware of) but they don't really follow them. Thereupon commenced a long discussion of a “dissident channel” where employees could go to someone outside the management structure with their gripes about what's not working — which no self-respecting new manager should need, much less want. (I certainly wouldn't want to manage an operation which needed a “dissident channel.” If you can't come to the manager with your complaints about things not working, you've got the wrong manager, right off.)

NOBODY talked about finance or budget numbers. (As Ms. Herr notes, they need “some sort of budget vs. actual monthly report”). Nobody asked about how many patients are being seen and for what and what the near term patient load potential is. Nobody asked how Dr. McGhan or Nurse Arbanovella are doing now that Ms. Spiller is gone.

THE BOARD ought to just get out of the way and let the Clinic run itself, and tell Mystery Man “Charles,” the far away fed, “We're working on it.” That excuse is good for years of delay. Sad how people go weak in the knees just because some DC bureaucrat asks a question. (— Mark Scaramella)

MOST MENDO OFFICIALS are too timid, too unwilling to risk making people angry to run an efficient meeting. Very few people in my, ahem, vast experience with Mendo meetings, are capable of moving things briskly along, too reluctant to interrupt a droning, repetitive monologue, too slow to gavel down an outpatient. The suicidally indulgent niceness of the chairperson is routinely taken advantage of by the insensitive, the badly raised, the unmannerly, the boorish, the certifiable, to hamstring public affairs. Permitting the garrulous to simply babble on naturally devolves into no one paying much attention to the meetings, fewer and fewer people attending the meetings, fewer and fewer people wanting to participate, the meetings becoming nothing more than aimless gab sessions, the interested public (small to begin with) becoming uninterested. The bureaucracy theoretically overseen by a board of directors is set adrift, and inevitably sails into the hands of an “executive director” who has realized that he/she can pretty much do whatever he or she wants to do for good or ill. Whatever public business the organization may be responsible for takes a backseat to the priorities of the small group of insiders that grows out of aimless processes.

AS ONE former manager of one of these organizations once explained to us after being ousted and moving to Sonoma County: “Most of these organizations are just incestuous little groups.” Keeping a meeting on task isn’t hard, it just requires a consistently firm hand that makes it clear to everyone present that there’s only so much time and if one boor is allowed to hog the metaphorical microphone everybody else will suffer, as will, probably, the agency in question because only the self-interested will remain involved.

THE ONLY PERSON we’ve seen run a good meeting in all our years of attending public processes was local physician Ron Gester back in the 90s at a joint meeting of the Ambulance Service and Community Services District boards to discuss joint emergency protocols. Although the meeting constantly threatened to devolve into rambling anecdotes and personal opinions, Gester made it clear that the meeting would not go beyond a certain time. He politely asked people to be brief, and to summarize their views, and when they were they didn't, Gester touched them with a velvet-wrapped, verbal cattle prod. "Thank you, but we have to get to these other items on the agenda.”

OTHER techniques to keep meetings from droning on too long include setting a time limit for people who are not addressing items on the agenda, requiring people to ask their personal questions after the meeting, and suggesting that better yet they put it in writing and mail it in. While it may seem polite to let one person go on and on, it’s extremely NOT nice to everyone else to suffer through endless presentations. (Mark Scaramella)

MENTION OF MEETING ETIQUETTE, reminds the editor of the absolutely worst, most frustrating meeting he ever attended, this one a Green Party gathering mired in mysterious hippie protocols seemingly devised by the late One True Green, Richard Johnson, and just as seemingly devised by OTG to keep himself synonymous with Mendo Green. The result? There is no Green Party in Mendocino County, and no political presence to the left of Democratic Clintonism.

THE MEETING that has ever since caused me to react to certain local names like they're human No Go Zones, was, of course, presided over by the ubiquitous Johnson backed up by a diminutive fascist brandishing a flute. The flute midget said he was the "Vibe Watcher." If the Viber Watcher didn't like your vibe, the little goosestepper would tootle you into silence. Would-be speakers were also instructed that they would have to remain silent if they didn't possess a stalk of asparagus fern, which was supposed to be cooperatively passed around the circle. (Circles are mandatory seating arrangements in Mendocino County, the false idea being that circles are "non-hierarchical." Long story short, I was tootled by the vibes monitor every time I tried to say anything, and wound up grappling with a nearby eco-hag for my turn with the fern. These crackpot gatherings were of course viewed by their participants as somehow making the world a better place, and Johnson, when he finally shuffled off to organic eternity, was hailed by Mendo crackpot-dom as a huge loss. Google Green Party today and you'll see that Mendocino County, home of the greenly righteous and true, has no Green Party.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *