BLACK ELVIS? Bill Taylor writes: “A few nights ago, Wednesday, February 10, around 9:30pm as it was after our AV chorus rehearsal, I was driving on Philo-Greenwood Road and saw a short man in a white suit with dark skin heading towards Elk around mile marker 9.1. He was not hiding but just walking. I thought nothing of this until I read of a similar person in Valley People and wondered if it could be the same person.”
THE GRACE HUDSON MUSEUM, Ukiah, is showing a collection of Maynard Dixon's desert and Indian paintings, 71 of them. Dixon if a wonderful artist whose work many of us recognize at a glance from the Western novels and illustrated advertisements Dixon lent his talents to. If you've never visited the Grace Hudson, and you should anyway, this exhibit is really quite special and ought to get you there.
A PRESS RELEASE I first took as an odd joke, reads, “Black cat sale. Due to the large number of Black Cats in the Ukiah and Fort Bragg County shelters, for the entire month of February these beauties will be 'on sale' for the low adopt fee of $50. Sales price includes all appropriate vaccines and tests, spay/neuter and a microchip. Information at 467-6453.” Large sectors of our population still cling to black cat myths?
THAT WAS NOT a black cat spotted last week behind Anderson Valley Market last Friday night. That was a mountain lion, a mountain lion that emitted one of those rarely heard cries “kinda like a girl screaming,” as Jerry Bloyd and Kim Nunley, who live behind the market, described it. Jerry said his dog is ordinarily fearless, but the combination of the cry and those uniquely luminous yellow eyes staring out of the brush, kept man and beast at a safe distance. It may be the same lion seen snacking on a deer carcass on Peachland Road.
THIS WEEKEND at the Boonville Fairgrounds we have the International Alsace Varietals Festival complete with a winemaker dinner at the Boonville Hotel and “a grand tasting with a reduced price for designated drivers.” The Chronicle's notice of this event referred to the Anderson Valley's “well-known but still small and untrampled wine region,” and here's hoping it stays that way, untrampled that is.
A BALMY 70 degrees prevailed for much of Monday, and if it wasn't the falsest false spring day in memory, name another besides Tuesday.
THE AV UNITY CLUB, as Bev Dutra and Terry Ryder inform us, “is partnering with the AV Community Action Coalition, is raising funds towards a K-9 dog for resident Deputy Sheriff Craig Walker. A K-9 offers safety and security to both deputy and community. Such dogs are expensive, costing approximately $12,000. An additional $850 is required for a bullet/stab proof vest. Deputy Walker has agreed to take on the commitment to the dog and necessary training. The Sheriff's Office is able to provide $6,000 and Sheriff Allman is backing the project. The community needs to raise the amount of $6,850. We are asking for donations from individuals, families, organizations and businesses, so that we can all share in this opportunity to make Anderson Valley safer. We hope to organize children and youth in a variety of projects, earning funds towards the life-saving vest. Please join with us. We hope to raise the $6,850 by a May 20th deadline. Look for donation jars in participating businesses. Mail your tax deductible check to: The Unity Club. Box 563, Boonville 95415. Make checks payable to AVCSD with the notation: Deputy Dog Fund. Thank you for your support in making Anderson Valley safer and more secure.” – Beverly Dutra, AV Unity Club (895-3447), and Terry Ryder, AV Community Action Coalition, 895-2146.
LOCALS were happy to see Mike Langley last weekend. Mike was in town to retrieve some of his belongings from his long-time home, now former home, on Anderson Valley Way. Mike enjoyed dinner at Libby's in Philo with his old friend Jerry DiFalco before heading back to Chico where he now lives.
AN IRATE CALLER, Boonville guy, wanted to know if “the county bought off Cox?” Cox being deputy Cox of the Sheriff's Department who sued the county, alleging his supervising officer in Covelo had sexually harassed both Cox and his wife. The case has settled with No Talk stipulations agreed to by all parties to it, but we're told the taxpayers, as represented by County Counsel, agreed to pay deputy Cox's legal bills believed to be somewhere around $12,000.
THE TEEN CENTER'S major update of the Anderson Valley phone book is expected to be complete sometime in March following a final proofing. More than a mere telephone directory, the book also serves as a kind of community gazette, meaning it tells us who and, often, where we are. Proceeds from the book sale benefit the teen center, re-energized by its personable and dauntless director, the vivacious Meade Williams.
AT LAST WEEK’S Community Services District Budget Committee meeting questions were raised about exactly who is responsible for maintaining the community park wedged between the Health Center and the high school's Tom Smith Soccer Field. Elementary School Principal Donna Pierson-Pugh said funding to create the park had originally come from Suena Latina with the school insuring and maintaining the property; adult soccer players are “supposed to” pick up trash. Ms. Pierson-Pugh said this tri-lateral responsibility for the park hasn’t worked out. Some people think the park – a sliver of the high school's northwest corner consisting of a beguiling ceramic arch, a couple of picnic tables, the usual forlorn swings and monkey bars, and an overflowing trash receptacle – should be the school’s responsibility; the CSD’s Recreation Committee having nothing to do with it.
EUGENIA 'GENE' HERR, this community's memory bank on matters related to the Community Services District, attempted to clarify the lines of authority for the park. “The original grant from the State for the resurfacing and additional court at the high school tennis courts was made to the CSD because the terms of that particular grant excluded schools' eligibility. Through a co-operative lease agreement the school agreed to carry the insurance for the courts and maintain them while the CSD oversaw the grant operation for the construction and was able to allow use for the general public at hours approved by the school. The lease was for 25 years and has long since expired. The courts are the full property and responsibility of the school at this time. The ‘original development of the park’ was an ad hoc joint effort of the then Recreation Committee and a group of parents, Anglo and Latino, who got some donated and scrounged equipment and with school permission put it on an unused corner of the school. It was maintained sometimes and sporadically by the school. The more recent improvements are on a much grander scale but have not at any time that I have been aware of been a part of any CSD program, nor budgeted, nor insured. I think Donna's statement that ‘parks’ are the responsibility of the CSD is incorrect. The CSD has no parks. The CSD has latent powers to own and operate powers should they ever acquire any. To do so would require LAFCO action to expand a latent to an active power, and that would require demonstration of some funding mechanism for the activity. At present the CSD has title to a museum building; the costs of operation of the museum and the program of the museum are covered through the lease agreement with the Anderson Valley Historical Society.”
HERR CONTINUED: “I hope that Donna's statement does not signal an attempt by the schools to force expansion of the role and responsibility of the CSD in recreational activities by somehow distorting the past record. Historically, CSD recreational efforts have been funded by grants, donations, and volunteer activity. The hybrid activity of the teen center, part school grant, part volunteer, part subsidiary of the Recreation Committee, continues to cause concern because it is not sustainable. If members of the public, or the school community wish to spend CSD property tax revenue on recreation programs they should organize a benefit assessment or parcel tax effort to secure property owners' approval for that use. Otherwise the money is diverted from fire protection and our 24 street lights, uses which voters have approved.”
STEVE SPARKS WRITES: “After many hours of in-depth negotiations, I am pleased to announce the return to The Valley of the General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz. We shall resume the brain-teasing and all-round fun evenings on Thursday, March 4th at 6:45pm at Lauren's Restaurant! LAUREN'S RESTAURANT! (No need to shout, Steve. We heard you the first time.) Please note the slightly earlier 'kick-off' time. Tell your friends and bring them along, and let's begin with a bang and show Lauren, who has never seen a Quiz, what a wild and profitable night it is! See you on the 4th. – Cheers, The Quiz Master or just Steve will do.”
NADIR LOHRY at Pik and Pay says he's noticed a fall-off in his business since The Boonville Lodge closed last month. The absence of human activity generated by the Lodge, especially at night, seems to cause travelers to assume the only place open in town is the Redwood Drive-In which, to be sure, is also an unfailingly pleasant place to pause on the long journey up and down 128.
DR. JACK POWER of the Anderson Valley Health Center is clearly a man of many gifts, among them mastery of the piano. The doctor stopped by last week with a disk of his recordings plus a helpful essay he'd written on a Debussy piece, the one about the cathedral and the “general debauchery” of medieval France. Dr. Power's renditions immediately lifted us from the winter doldrums, and seems to have lifted us clear into spring, judging from this week's weather.
JEFF BURROUGHS went fishing on the Navarro last week. Of the “three or four boats” Jeff saw, “one guy hooked one, and I caught and released another, and that was about it. It's shaping up as the worst fish year ever around here.” Jeff said he drifted on down to the lower end of the river but still no fish. I asked if the gang of harbor seals clustered at the mouth were intercepting the run. “No, I don't think so,” Jeff said. “They'll get their share, but I think there are more factors than the seals,” the number of which Jeff put at about twenty guarding the mouth. “There might be an El Nino thing going one where the food supply is affected. Usually by now the fish have spawned and are on their way back to sea, but they just aren't here this year.”