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Letters (May 13, 2015)

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Dear Editor,

The Wildflower Dance was a dream come true for those that were able to attend. Laura Sloan had her group doing the Texas Two Step round and round in the Apple Hall. The twirling part looked very flashy and ready for the live band. Dean Titus and the BootJack5+ is really seven talented musicians: Rod DeWitt on drums, Chris Rossi on bass, Craig Titus on lead guitar with vocals, Dean Titus on guitar with vocals, Pat Ickes on pedal steel guitar, Sue Marcott on the piano and Susan Clark on vocals. To honor Rod Basehore’s dancing spirit they played a number of his favorite waltzes.

Other tunes had Sheila Leighton teaching the Electric Slide and that sort of looked like a floor show. Laura Sloan thought that Texas Ten Step was a typo so I taught the Texas Ten Step. Every tune that was played seemed polished and bright like the title track of an album. Dean Titus is in the phone book if you want to hire a great country western band.

Colorful giant butterflies and flowers painted by family members decorated the walls. In front of the bandstand Rod Basehore appeared to be riding his appaloosa into the sunset.

For all the fun that we had there is a large number of people to thank, it begins with Jim Devine, the Goat Fest team and the Food Shed folks who invited the Anderson Valley Grange to put on the Wildflower Dance at the fairgrounds. Grangers, Greg Krouse worried a lot, muscle man Dave Norfleet transported and set things up, Laura Baynham handled paper work and etc., Andy Jones kept us from breaking any of the many rules put out by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission we would have been in-compliant with out his strict directions. Pastries and candies were made by AV Grangers , Unity Club members and Judy Nelson. Mike Crutcher set up a four minute video so people could click on the arrow and see Rod Basehore dancing to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Twenty two local wineries and the AV Brewing Company donated their spirits.

This all might never have happened if two people had not been instantly enthusiastic when I first mentioned my idea for a waltz project, Bev Dutra and Valerie Hanelt cheered me on with great gusto and gave me the courage to take it to fruition.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Judy Basehore


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Hello Boonville people:

My name is Art Judice. I've lived in Mendocino all my 60 years this October. I love reading your paper. I started this prison term in San Quentin in November of 2011. I was shipped out of state to Arizona then to Oklahoma, an awful place. I'm now back in San Quentin. Good old California.

I'm writing to ask that you put a small note in your paper to my mother, Dee: "Happy Mother's Day — you are the best. — Your son, Artie"

I have not seen her for over three years now. She turns 80 this July. She lives in Ukiah.

Art Judice

San Quentin

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Letter to the Editor:

In January, Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila wrote in the AVA that the Anderson Valley Fire Department had been upgraded by the Insurance Services Office to an improved rating of 54 (formerly known as 8B).

By now if you are within five miles of any Anderson Valley fire station (except Signal Ridge) you should have contacted your insurance carrier for a big cost savings in your fire insurance.

Chief Avila and retired Chief Wilson worked very hard to accomplish this goal. It did not happen overnight and it did not happen without their dedicated focus on a change which not only improves our fire safety but saves each homeowner and business a significant amount of money.

Years ago when a minor improvement in the rating benefited us, people thanked the fire department by increasing their donation amounts. We would encourage you to do the same now and share a bit of what you save. Regulations have changed and new mandated safety clothing and gear are not only essential but expensive. Thank the chiefs for their work by sending a donation today. Checks are payable to the Anderson Valley Firefighters Association, PO Box 414, Boonville 95415.

The next life or property saved could be your own. We have been lucky for a long time. We have been fortunate to have had an effective, well-trained group of volunteers with good leadership. Many fires were in Northern California last year — they spread quickly and were devastatingly destructive. Clear your grounds and mail the check.

Marvin & Beverly Dutra


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Bruce Patterson's stories are always interesting and informative, particularly his recent history lesson, "Ancestry.con," AVA 4/29/15.

As another American with celto-slavic ancestry, I enjoyed Pat's family story and his capsule history of the slavs and celts.

Regarding the colonization of Emerald Isle, the recreational headhunter celts first appeared in Western Europe in about 600 BC when they crossed the Rhine from the East. One group settled in what is now France and became the Gauls. Another tribe settled on the Iberian peninsula which they used as a base for sea voyages.

It was these celts who are thought to have predominated in the settlement of Ireland that began around 350 BC with other Celts who had invaded Britain arriving periodically from the mainland.

The newcomers effectively superimposed themselves on the native tribes borrowing and adapting much of what they found to augment their own language and practices.

Much of Celtic myth and cult is in fact a much older inheritance from the original neolithic agriculturalist inhabitants and their metal using successors.

Whatever the ingredients that made up the cultural stew, something evolved on the island that was peculiarly Irish with a language scholars call Goidelic, which differed from the Celtic spoken on the mainland. These people were called Irish or Gaels to distinguish them from other Celts who dominated the British archipelago.

The writer Thomas Cahill has memorably described these Irish as "men and women riding hard on horseback, drawing the blood of their enemies, leaping about in muscular dancing and passing the damp Irish night in vigorous coupling. Even their sorrows and death are tossed off with a shrug, although they understand tragedy and receive it as convulsively as any people."

The so-called American melting pot is actually a mulligan stew where the current immigrant group is hazed and repressed by those who have gone before — the duty whipping boy.

Survivors are those with thick skins and a well-developed sense of humor.

My maternal Czech grandparents got a great kick out of funny paper cartoonist Al Capp's depiction of Slavs as lower slobovians who ate schmoo. Grandpa Havelka even threatened to raise schmoo for chow. The Chechs called each other "bohunks," but an outsider's use of the term as epithet was a call to arms.

Pat's recovery from heart surgery is welcome news. Looking forward to more stories.


Don Morris


PS. The main reference for this ramble is "The Irish Empire" by Patrick Bishop 1999. PPS. The closest thing to schmoo these days is tofu turkey.

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Greetings, Mr Editor:

I note in the 6 May 2015 edition of the AVA a "gardening tip" for elimination of the snails, slugs and other terrestrial mollusks that typically plague the backyard vegetable gardener. While the commercial product "Sluggo" may indeed be effective and convenient, and safer than using, say, arsenic, plutonium dust or a 9mm Glock, there is a much better (and cheaper!) method for accomplishing the task, namely to take full advantage of the astonishing craft and diabolical energy of nine year old boys.

For quite a few years, I too hand-picked the snails and slugs from my ravaged plants, rewarding myself with the modest satisfaction of taking them next door to my neighbor's house and feeding them to his chickens. The gastronomic frenzy induced in the average flock by the arrival of a few dozen fresh snails is something to behold. If you've ever wondered where the earth's dinosaurs really went, you need search no further: all they did was get a bit smaller and grow feathers. But, I digress. Rewarding as it was to boost local egg production and eschew noxious poisons, the dinosaur diet method did not seem to be making a palpable dent in my Fiendish Mollusk population.

Then one evening we were caught by a surprise rainstorm --ah, yes my children, in the old days it rained promiscuously in northern California!-- and my nine year old and I went outside with flashlights to retrieve forgotten canvas chairs and gardening tools. In so doing, my son panned his light across the broccoli patch and lo!, there were half a dozen snails plainly visible on the leaves, saucily munching their fill. He simply could not resist the opportunity to scamper over, pluck them off, and stomp on them before coming back and helping to put away the chairs. This gave me an idea.

I called another neighbor with two similarly aged boys, and another from across town, and had them all come over for a little impromptu social event. As the moms were convening in the dining room over tea and biscuits and chat, I gathered my four troopers out on the patio and armed them each with a flashlight; that it was still raining only made it all the more fun for them. I took up a nearby seat with a prominent flat rock set in front of me, and displayed a quart mason jar almost entirely full of pennies. The deal was, I would pay 1 penny cash American on the barrel-head for each and every snail regardless of size that was squashed here, on the flat rock in front of me --- and I would pay three cents per slug, because they were harder to hold and transport. Nothing was paid for hearsay of a snail squashed out in situ -- they had to be brought here, before me.

Now, already they were having a great time just getting to be outside in the rain after dark with a flashlight, and whoa, a veritable License To Kill? Woo hoo. But the sight of that big jar of waiting specie really did the magic, and they set to work without a moment's delay. Within three or four minutes I paid out well over a dollar and had to clean the flat rock with a whisk broom more than once. Some of the snails had been the size of golfballs and needed two vigorous tries to squish. After barely a quarter of an hour I had gone through another two dollars, but the flow of slime had yet to diminish --- only the size of the victims got smaller. They were bringing back snails the size of grapes, then marbles, then pebbles, then lentils, and slugs practically the size of specks!, but they kept on bringing them and I kept on paying even while starting to worry about running out of cash, or maybe having to switch to silver. Fortunately by that time one of the moms called in her charge, and so the party broke up, their small pockets literally bulging with loot.

About a week later it rained in the afternoon, so I invited a few of The Boys back for another evening's hunt and though not quite the gory success of the first I did go through another buck and a half over a period of maybe forty minutes. My snail problem was a thing of the past, that year.

The next spring, I repeated the process. Again it was not quite the Roman Holiday of that first rainy night, but a substantial slaughter was maintained for an hour and we all felt the safari was a success. It didn't rain again for a while, but I discovered that turning on a sprinkler and thoroughly watering as large an area as possible during the day tended to draw out whatever mollusks were in hiding that night just the same. The rates went up --two cents per snail, a nickel per slug-- but I considered we were still within sound budgetary constraints. The next year there were fewer takers, but also fewer quarry. A year after that we gave up the hunt after a few desultory tries.

So, here we are about fifteen years later, and I tell you that only this last year have I noticed any snail predation in my vegetable garden at all -- AT ALL. They've been just gone, all this while. I think our three years of intense work dealt such a blow to the local body gastropodic that they couldn't really recover for over a decade --- either that, or word got around. I'll settle either way.

Good luck,

JB Reynolds,


PS. Girls will do as well as boys, but they have to be raised right.

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Dear Editor:

Emergency Drought Regulations—

This week the State Water Resources Control Board after an eight hour hearing unanimously adopted emergency drought regulations that will have a profound effect on millions of people and businesses around the state. As would be expected numerous speakers thought the proposed regulations were too severe and they should should get special treatment. The Board rejected almost all recommendations and adopted the regulations as proposed. Sacramento where I live and parts of inland California will have a drastic cut in water use by up to 36%. Traditionally these areas have increased use of water in the summer for out side watering. Most residences have lush green lawns. To meet the goals set by the Board and avoid large fines lawns will have to go brown, which is very upsetting to many residents who think they have a God given right to a green lawn. This drought could continue for several more years and water usage would have even more draconian cuts by the Board.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


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News Flash—

“A malnourished gray whale washed up on the Oregon Coast just north of where a dead fin whale came ashore in March, and authorities in California are investigating two whales found dead along the Pacific Coast.”

No worries. The authorities are investigating.

More news:

”…several days later, a killer whale also beached itself north of Fort Bragg. Researchers flocked to the Mendocino coast to investigate the rare occurrence. However, they aren’t expected to come to any conclusions as to why the 25-foot creature came ashore to die.”

Why would they come to conclusions? Hell, they're only researchers.

“A dead whale washed ashore on a beach in Pacifica, California, Tuesday. It's the fifth whale to end up on a Northern California beach in three weeks. Experts say it's natural for whales to die.”

Whew! I'm so glad the expert is there to tell me that. Otherwise I might be really concerned about all these ginormous mammals washing ashore the Pacific coast and I might stupidly jump to conclusions. Cuz what do I know? I'm no expert or authority or even an official. I'm only a small mammal, comparatively speaking.

It's probably a good thing I'm not an expert because I do tend to jump to silly conclusions, but back on March 7, 2014 I attended a hearing in Fort Bragg titled Northwest Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, Public Meeting. It was put on by the Navy because the lowly citizens were concerned about the impact sonar weapons testing by the Navy off the coast of California would have on the whales, specifically the Humpback, especially during migration. Boy, it looks like those citizens were wrong again. It's not just the Humpback that is affected, but even Orcas and Sperm whales. Cool! I guess the Navy didn't listen to them and just went ahead with blowing things up, but truth be known, I don't know jack. I should just not think about it and listen to the experts.

Jo Torreano

Potter Valley

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Regarding May 7th article, “Lawsuit opposed to Costco denied,” all seven claims were denied. For over a year good paying jobs and tax revenue that would have benefited Mendocino County and Ukiah have instead enriched Sonoma County and Santa Rosa. Those who would rather see these tax revenues and jobs benefit the local community can be proactive by boycotting the organizations that use their employees to file these frivolous lawsuits.

Gai Anderson


ED NOTE: Yep, but Costco is going to destroy many existing local markets and the jobs that went with THEM.

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On Tuesday, June 2nd, those of us who can vote are being asked to say Yes or No to a another regressive sales tax whose primary purpose is to go to law enforcement. I'm urging a NO vote. If the People can't have a Community Control and Oversight Commission with real powers of subpoena, investigation, discipline, and the right to hire and fire so called peace officers we should not increase any funding raised under the guise of Public Safety. Sample ballots are already arriving, please take the time to open this mailing, cast your vote by mail, or by turning your ballot in to the Registrar of Voters office, or go to the polls on June 2nd. No funds for Freitas, no gold for Gelhaus, and no enrichment for Ravitch.

Irv Sutley, Chair, Sonoma County Peace & Freedom Party


Glen Ellen

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