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Valley People 2/10/2010

BLACK ELVIS LIVES! The nifty carving disappeared two weeks ago from its long-time pedestal across the road from Jack's Valley Store. Black Elvis had been assumed stolen. But Black Elvis remains in The Valley. Not only does Black Elvis live, he was seen deep in conversation Saturday with Johnny Winter in front of the Navarro Store. The store's proprietor is Dave Evans, a man long accustomed to that neighborhood's unique visuals. Dave says he hustled out on his deck, wondering, “What the heck is that? Elvis Presley?” Still wondering at what he thought might be his overactive imagination, Dave returned to his cash register, and when he looked back outside Black Elvis had disappeared! Next day, with Navarro as always on Sundays deep in prayer and related pious observance, Black Elvis was again out in front of the Navarro Store, this time in apparent conversation with the Chef Barbecue Mannequin. “And then he was gone,” Dave reports. “I don't know what the heck is going on, but I saw what I saw and it was Black Elvis.”

LITTLE NATALIE MARCUM, the infant daughter of Mike Marcum and Belma Soto, is at home with her mom after a mercifully brief stay in the hospital where the child was treated for pneumonia.

JEFF BURROUGHS went steelhead fishing on the Navarro last week, “but the water was so high and the fish are moving through so fast they don't stop to bite.

KIM CAMPBELL teaches English at Boonville High School. I told her I'd been in touch with several female students who'd said they'd read Catcher in the Rye. I was mildly surprised that Salinger was still being assigned. The girls said they didn't like it all that much although they said Catcher was a classmate's favorite book. Ms. Campbell explained that she thought most contemporary high school readers probably found Salinger's prep school frame of reference difficult to relate to, but that they did read a lot of Catcher-like knockoffs told from the perspective of estranged teen dudes and dudettes, these terms being mine not Ms. Campbell's. She said her female students, as recreational reading, enjoyed vampire novels with both genders into thrillers of the Ludlum genre. In the classroom, I was happy to learn, Ms. Campbell instills literature chronologically — I got such a jumble of non-sequential stuff as a kid I'm still confused — beginning with Beowulf, Chaucer, on into Macbeth, Swift and so on to 1984, meaning the young ones get some sense of how we got from Grendel and Hrothgar to Ann Rice.

GRANGE MART, first Sunday of every month, Philo Grange, where shoppers can now buy Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese, slow food, local food. Cindy Wilder tells us that the Farmers Market and the Grange's Winter Flea Market have combined into one event every Sunday, 1-3, rain or shine. Info at 895-2949.

JERRY COX stopped by last week with Matt Finnegan, the latter being one of three candidates, including incumbent Meredith Lintott, for District Attorney. Ukiah attorney David Eyster is also running for the top prosecutor slot. Finnegan, a fit-looking young man with a shaved head and a quick mind, said he was most interested in bringing some consistency to prosecution policies, a goal Eyster also shares, shares with most of us in fact as we marvel at the thrilling arbitrariness of who gets dragged into court and who doesn’t.

WITH HOME INVASION season in full swing, and bulk pot prices much lower than last year with growers sitting on product for lack of buyers, the negative national economy is even affecting Mendo’s largest export crop.

PHILO’S HENRY GUNDLING and Al Green, acting under the auspices of the Redwood Forest Foundation, are among the prime movers of an effort to distribute 700,000 young redwood trees abandoned by Pacific Lumber when PL went bankrupt and abandoned its nursery in Fortuna. A couple of weeks ago, these otherwise wasted redwoods trees were delivered to distribution points at Mendocino College, Ukiah, and to Fort Bragg at Dirt Cheap where any old one who wants to plant redwoods can pick them up absolutely free of charge. The Redwood Forest Foundation will also plant a memorial tree in return for a small donation. Information available from Lin Barrett at 937-4808.

DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER and Mrs. Walker spent last weekend in New Orleans. The affable Walker says they visit the city this time every year, with no foreknowledge that the Saints would even be in the Super Bowl let alone win it, making their weekend a truly memorable one.

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