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Valley People (Feb 18, 2015), the new website for the AV Volunteer Fire Department, was officially approved by the CSD Board a couple of months ago and has since continued to develop into an informative and useful community asset. Among the info: which engines are where and what their capacities are; insurance ratings for each area of The Valley; response statistics; benefit assessment particulars; the district’s Long Range Plan; emergency preparedness; burn permits; fire safety; why and how to volunteer; an up to date calendar of events and activities; background info and photos of the volunteers and their activities; strike teams, hazardous materials, and more.

LOCALS Paul Soderman and Tina Walters designed and assembled the website, which is maintained by staff and volunteers. Nice work. Get to know your local fire department. Check it out.

NICE TURNOUT at the Buckhorn for Steve Sparks who, I swear, seems to be the reincarnation of Homer Mannix, Anderson Valley's Mr. Everything from 1950 to 1980. Sparks hasn't yet run for public office, but I agree with the letter writer that he mos def is our de facto mayor. The guy is everywhere making this place more enjoyable wherever he puts down, from the weekly Trivial Pursuit contests at Lauren's to the Senior Center. All he needs now is a gavel and presto! we have our first mayor since Homer.

1747 Wed. delta response 7240 Signal Ridge Rd 40 yo male 1144 confirmation SO enroute staging at your discretion. 

TRANSLATION: A forty-year-old man had been confirmed dead so there was no need for red lights, sirens and careening emergency vehicles. Still no ID on the guy.

HIGHWAY 128 reopened on Monday February 9th about 2pm after the big storm. Wasn't flooding that closed it but downed trees.

COUNTED 22 PG&E trucks headed south through the Anderson Valley last Wednesday. These crews worked long and hard to get power restored to most neighborhoods of vast Mendocino County. Bless them. But curse the power monopoly's upper management and their pals at the Public Utilities Commission who, over the years, have conspired against the public interest to increase the profits of private investors, among their many crimes against the public's interest in reliable, cheap electricity. If power lines were buried like they are in the civilized countries of the world we wouldn't have large-scale outages every time the winds rise above zephyr puffs, but that won't happen because, well, because.

LAST WEEK’S RAIN TOTAL for the Rancho Navarro Ridge area went all the way up to 7.2 inches.

FROM PAUL McCARTHY'S invaluable MendocinoSportsPlus:

Sunday's 'theater of the absurd’: ‘Dramatic rescue’ of couple ‘stranded’ at the mouth of the Navarro.

In one of the most ridiculous calls for service, a kayaking couple thought they were "stranded" on the north bank of the sand bar at the mouth of the Navarro River Sunday morning — despite the fact they had a kayak — or could literally walk across the mouth to reach the southern side.


The Albion/Little Rive Fire Department, good sports that they are, turned the absurd call into a training mission, sent two swimmers across to "secure" the kayak with a line and pulled the hapless/clueless kayaking couple, their child & dog to the "safety" of the southern bank. The Elk Fire Department ambulance was also summoned, as was CalStar 4. Both of which were cancelled. The "captain" of this kayak should be BILLED for this idiotic call for service.

McCARTHY CONTINUES: The hard work and dedication of the Mendocino Coast first responders was on show, no matter how ridiculous the call.

The family in a kayak thought they couldn't "battle" the slight current near the mouth of the Navarro River and took "refuge" on the northern bank of the sand bar near Pinnacle Rock.

The river level was 5.83' (and dropping) and the discharge a lazy 654 cubic feet of water per second at the time of the incident according to the USGS river gauge.

This came over the scanner at 10am as a "water rescue" and the Albion/Little River Fire Department responded, as did the Fort Bragg ambulance, the CalStar air ambulance and the Elk Fire Department. They were all later cancelled as the true facts of the matter became absurdly obvious.

In reality all these people had to do was kayak up river along the northern bank then paddle over.

Hats off to the responding departments for their efforts, and if there was any justice, this family should have their kayak taken away and be billed for the response. Completely unnecessary plea for help — and they should pay.

At least the nearby seals had a good laugh at the witless kayakers who though they were stranded from the "raging" current at the mouth of the Navarro. They were rolling in laughter while applauding the efforts of the Albion-Little River water rescue team. The river was emptying due to the "minus" tide coming up at 2:25pm. (Courtesy, Mendocino Sports Plus)

THE EDITOR of your beloved community newspaper was in Portland over the weekend for a funeral where, stuck in rush hour traffic Thursday afternoon, he couldn't help but notice the large number of people texting. Looking around at my roadmates it seemed like they were all doing it. Speaking purely for yours truly, Mr. Gardner on crank behind the wheel, so long as he wasn't tweaked and texting he's probably fully attentive.

PORTLAND? Not quite as cool-o as fast fading Frisco but close. Us Golden Staters tend to forget that Oregon was settled earlier than California so Oregon did a bunch of smart stuff early on, like establish vast city parks in its urban areas. The town is wonderfully walkable and, today, as all you sybarites who have been there are already aware, there are also lots of coffee shops, bakeries and cheap but quality restaurants. There's also plenty of the neo-piety of the politically correct type common in Mendo — "Oregon Cares," for instance. But the droolingly false feeling characteristic of civic Eugene to the south is not as omni-present.

I SET OUT by bus to find evidence of Portland's most illustrious son, John Reed, the first and only journalist endorsed by both Lenin and The New York Times. As I was about to pay a dollar fare, the driver asked me if I was an “Honored Citizen.” Startled, I replied, “Not where I come from.” Turns out Seniors ride free if they get an “Honored Citizen” card. Comes with that side order of mawk, but I'll take it.

REED'S Ten Days That Shook The World should be required reading as the definitive account of how Lenin pulled it off. The silly movie, Reds, is a kind of visual Cliff's Note's guide to the period of history when there were still American radicals.

THE ONLY evidence of Reed was a plaque on a bench in Washington City Park. Nice park, weirdly eclectic collection of memorial statues, ranging from Native Americans to the Holocaust. The Indian memorial depicts two men gazing outwards as they say something like, “Here they come. I hope we have enough guns and ammo.” It reminded me of the old joke about the Indian dad and his son gazing out at the pre-invasion prairie. "Some day, my boy, none of this will be yours."

SLOW CIVIC LEARNERS should always include "the city that knows how," aka, San Francisco. The Portland airport is so much better organized, so much more user-friendly that it was mildly surprising to fly from the organizational genius of Portland's air terminal to the chaos of SFO, a recurring bummer for me over the years that seems more of a bummer every time I have to go any place far away. I seldom fly anywhere because the experience is so, so, so.... unpleasant that I, like most of you, avoid it where possible, but this was a family funeral so I had to go airborne.

AT PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL, or whatever it's called, we enjoyed an inexpensive breakfast at a theme restaurant called The Beach. "Can I get a window table so I can watch the surfers?" The hostess laughed and said, "Sure." The "meat eater's" omelet cost me $7 even because there's no sales tax in Oregon. We gassed up the rental car near the airport where our driver, my sister, was half out of the car before she remembered that in Oregon you're not allowed to pump your own gas, another progressive Oregon state policy which, if adopted in California and the rest of the nation, would employ millions of people full and part-time.

SIS may have set an unofficial record for the most times one family got lost in Portland over two days. I counted 11 re-routes and I took the bus to and from for most of one day. "On the off-chance I get to the airport this morning," I said to our hostess as I lugged twice as much stuff as we'd arrived with to the car, "I'll call you. If I don't get to the airport start your search in Seattle."

AT SFO I'd had to argue with my wife about baggage check. "I really don't like to wrestle an over-size suitcase into the under-size overhead bin just to save $25. I always hit someone in the head and it's a hassle getting off the g.d. plane because all the other bumbling baggage toters are also wrestling their over-size bags out of the overheads. Gimme a break. I hardly ever go anywhere so let's pay the $25." We compromised. I got to check her accumulated bargain buys on the return flight.

AT SFO, it's at least a half-mile from the plane to the luggage pick-up, then back up the stairs for another half-mile trudge to the long-term parking van and the ride back to your car. (In Portland it's bingo-bango and out the door.) Traffic in the know-how city was so bad Sunday afternoon it took us two hours to get to Marin. The globally warmed sunshine seemed to get half the population of the Bay Area on the road to heat things up that much more. My modest trip alone represented a kind of global stomp in terms of energy expenditures and cosmic damage, and I take this opportunity to apologize to The Great Mother.

AN AIR JOURNEY of just over 500 miles took up the whole day, but coming and going we flew over an entirely visible Mount Shasta and the way down the coast we flew so close to the Pacific we could see the breakers, vistas so magnificent the journey's sad purpose was partially redeemed.

SPOTTED at the Portland Airport, a fat guy wearing a t-shirt inscribed, "PETA — People Eating Tasty Animals." Which is kinda provocative these days, what with the millions of anthromorphs wandering around, especially in Portland. If he'd added, "And I eat 'em with gluten," he wouldn't make it out of the state alive.

CAPTAIN RAINBOW reminds us: The 24th annual Variety Show comin’ your way on Friday March 6th and Saturday March 7th. We’ve got a great start to this year’s acts but there are a few choice spots left in the line-up. If you have an ingenious idea for a skit or demonstration or musical performance, get your act together by calling Bill Meyer at 895 2318 or Captain Rainbow at 895 3807.

HOOPS! The AV JV boys basketball team has gone undefeated in league and has won an NCL III league championship.

THE VARSITY squad honored their two graduating seniors, Elvis Gaxiola and Gualberto Gastelum, at Tuesday night's home game against Geyserville, another win for the speedy and scrappy Panthers as they conclude an undefeated season in league play, bringing home a league championship under coach Luis Espinoza. Playoffs begin next Wednesday with our hometown heroes hoping for home court advantage where they also hope to continue their winning ways.

THE BOONVILLE GYM was packed last Thursday night for the big 65-56 win against arch-rival Mendo.

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