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Valley People (Aug 26, 2015)

COUPLA CALLERS wanted to know if 128 is closed south of Boonville to Cloverdale. Yeah, after dark it is. If you're setting out for Frisco at 8pm or later, better head east on 253 then south. It's only about twenty minutes out of your way.

EVERYONE is invited to another Anderson Valley All-Year Reunion. We are asking for $20/person, payable at the door, which will include a wonderful spaghetti dinner prepared by Marti Titus and Dot (Crawford) Gialdini. Bring your own drinks. Coolers, ice and water will be provided. Class pictures will be taken between 1:30 and 4, so if you want to be in your class photo, be there during that time. There will again be a yearbook corner.

JEFF BLAUFELD writes: Saw this fellow crossing Whipple Ridge headed towards Philo last week.


JOEL WALDMAN OF ELK died at home Wednesday. He'd been ill with cancer. Joel was a frequent voice on KZYX and known to many people in the Anderson Valley and the Mendocino Coast.

BYE BYE GRAFFITI ON NAVARRO BRIDGE. We noted Jeffco Painting & Coating have been staging equipment near the Navarro Bridge - don't be surprised to see one-lane traffic guided by a stop light (to be installed soon). Signage around the site was installed last week. Although Caltrans District 1 hasn't posted on it yet, we can assume Jeffco will be doing what they did to the Salmon Creek bridge — sandblast off the paint and repaint the structure. This graffiti will become only a memory. (From the essential MendocinoSportsPlus)

SCHOOL NEWS. SUPERINTENDENT HUTCHINS WRITES: Summer is winding down and Anderson Valley is back to school. I am thrilled and honored to kick off the school year and serve as the new Superintendent while also continuing as the High School Principal. My staff and I have been very busy this summer getting ready for the new school year and the parents and community will notice some exciting changes. During my two-year tenure as the High School Principal, one of the most consistent requests for review and change from parents is what we feed our children through our Cafeteria service and to offer more choices. We spent many hours reviewing the food options offered, the nutritional value of our food, the vendors providing our food, and what it costs. Our long-term vision is to offer healthier, locally grown food provided by local farmers. This will be a multi-phased approach to getting there and we are happy to announce that we have put the first phase of this vision in place. Beginning this week, we changed the menus to provide healthier choices. Breakfast: The children are being offered healthy cereal options with creative packaging. The cereals are whole grain, low sugar, individually packaged with familiar names such as Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs. They are also being offered Greek yogurt, granola and fresh fruit each morning. Lunch: In addition to a hot lunch option previously provided, we now have vegetarian and gluten-free meals. Students are also offered yogurt and fresh fruit with their lunch. Again, it’s about having more healthy options. Super Snack: At the end of each school day, all children will be offered a super snack that contains a protein, whole grain, fruit and vegetable. We are very excited about these healthier menu changes. As for the next phase of this project, we are beginning conversations with local farmers and putting the processes in place to continue marching toward our vision for locally grown food in our Cafeteria service and will update the parents and community as we implement the next phase. Stay tuned…

LITTLE RIVER'S Harvey Chess, has used a lifetime of practical, hands-on expertise as a grantmaker and grant seeker to create a useful, thought provoking and all-inclusive handbook about the never-ending quest for resources among nonprofit organizations.

Chess’s just published compendium is Functional and Funded: The Inside-Out Strategy for Developing Your Nonprofit’s Resources. In clear and concise language, this book offers readers a potent strategy to strengthen an organization before and after submitting its proposal for consideration - absolutely essential in today’s competitive funding marketplace.

Meet the author at Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, hosting Harvey Chess on September 11, 6:30 p.m. Refreshments for all.

ECO-NOTES: The deer have darkened. I don't know what that means, but if it has anything to do with a winter coat it is just one more in a number of indications that we'll have an early cold/rain season. One of the "doe eyed" sweethearts sat peacefully two mornings in a row in the same place along the Navarro River's edge as I walked past without showing any anxiety at my presence. By the way that the evergreens — madrone, tanoak and bay laurel — have been losing their leaves you'd think fall started a month ago. The forest floor crackles with a brown carpet of crisp dry leaves. I don't quote the USGS Navarro River gauge so much because it seems to be only sporadically accurate. Currently, it has been charting the flow rate as being perfectly flat but my eyeball assessment finds each day with a little more underflow, a little less surface flow, which would seem to indicate a steady drop. Other anomalies include mushy soft apples, green apples and apple blossoms all on the same tree in the orchards terraced above the Navarro. Croaking frogs greeting me a month or two ago have disappeared and are now replaced at the end of August with polywogs. Tanoak acorns falling while still green - many of them cracked open but uneaten by the squirrels. The first week of August, I hand delivered a personal letter to billionaire Jeffrey Skoll at his empire headquarters in Palo Alto requesting that he have his Philo Shenoa property caretakers stop sucking water out of Navarro River. I explained that I had logged his usage there for the month of July to be over five acre-feet of water on the parcel that has no occupants or agricultural activity. This morning, Monday Aug. 24, I have recorded pump activity since July 23 that accounts for over 6.5 acre-feet of water (2,118,031 gallons). Skoll has his men take the water out of a pool at the confluence of Anderson and Rancheria Creeks. The water that fills the pool is by underflow as it is bank to bank dry gravel on the reaches just above his pump on both creek beds. I continued my morning walk up Anderson Creek to the bridge serving Boudoures and Wentzel properties and was dismayed to find that the scattered pools along the non-flowing creek were devoid of any little fish at all. Nada. In fact the only water life I saw were a few skeeter bugs that some people call Jesus bugs because they walk on water. Jesus! What's going on? Heading home along the highway, I noticed the ground below an oak tree outside the white fence in front of Goldeneye covered with undeveloped acorns and the vines inside the fence hanging with large clumps of deep purple grapes. I expect there will be plenty of wine for us all even if there is no food (or home) for the wildlife. By the way I also saw two identical flyers taped to a PG&E pole just south of the entrance to Indian Creek Campgrounds that stated in 3 lines "Ukiah, CA - 911- Protect our children". The pole was just above what might well be a winter watercourse and the ground for some distance around had obviously been cleared chemically. Can anyone explain if this is an environmental statement or what? (— David Severn)

OF COURSE YOU KNEW that Mendocino County ranks 4th and Humboldt County ranks 2nd in “natural amenities index” of all counties in U.S. According, anyway, to the Washington Post. HumCo is real purty but I think Mendo has the edge if we were to match "natural amenities."

LEAD STORY for two days now in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, a real newspaper as our many critics never fail to remind us: "Sharon Stone filming movie in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa is abuzz over movie filming. A crew that includes actress Sharon Stone is in town shooting the film 'Running Wild,' about the plight of wild horses in the drought-stricken American West. …"

BOONVILLE, CIRCA 1970. Or is it? Maybe an old, old timer can place this business. I don't remember one that looked like it. Could it be the old Floodgate Store when the Averys owned it? The caption identifies the two women as Cynthia Couple and Rae Greco, out of towners apparently.


HEALTH CENTER BOARD meets in the Senior Center, Thursday (August 27th) at 6pm. Everyone seems quite pleased with the Center's new director, Chloe Guazzone-Rugebregt and, after the weirdly chaotic interlude of bureaucratic confusion of last year, Anderson Valley's mini-hospital is again operating on an even keel. We understand that the Clinic's pharmacy awaits only approval from the Board of Pharmacy to resume its handy dispensary functions. It's a drag to have to drive to Ukiah to get prescription filled for cough medicine, complete with an unintentionally comic lecture about the codeine in the syrup from Rite Aid's pharmacist. "You understand, Mr. Anderson, that this medicine, consumed inappropriately…" We never did understand why our pharmacy was closed but apparently it had something to do with loose accounting.

A BIG WELCOME HOME to Engine 7471 from the Anderson Valley whose strike team members have been fighting the big fires in Humboldt County. Thanks to Chief Avila and Firefighter Aaron Martin, who spent the first two weeks out, joined by Firefighter Benjamin Glaus a week into the assignment. Batallion Chief Clay Eubank and Lieutenant Charlie Paget-Seekins relieved Chief Avila and Firefighter Martin two weeks in, and are at this moment returning with Firefighter Glaus, after another two weeks. Additional thanks to the firefighters who stayed home and picked up extra duty while our resources were thinly spread. The strike team could be assigned again at any time, so if you happen to see them around town give them a big Thank You.

A CHRON PUFFAROO in the paper's Sunday edition is called, "Drive through the heart of wine nirvana. The wine trail along Highway 128 begins in Winters, weaves through redwoods and finishes on the Mendocino County coast." And so on. The Anderson Valley, teeming with interesting people and featuring a positively Parisian array of restaurants and accommodations, gets only two mentions, all be them deserved — Navarro Vineyards and the Boonville Hotel. I learned from story that there are 4,285 wineries in California, four thousand of them seemingly in our valley.

I ALWAYS ENJOY the reports from the Petit Teton farm south of Boonville, and look forward to taking my grandchildren there for an instructive visit to a small family farm producing a startlingly broad array of produce and products, from fish to fresh eggs. I was interested to read that Petit's wells, neither of them very deep, are still producing. Lot of locals aren't so lucky, and have been buying water for months.

THE SOTO FACTOR. The Press Democrat describes Anderson Valley's powerhouse football team this way: "Anderson Valley, the defending NCL III champion, has every reason to be optimistic as the 2015 season opens. The Panthers went undefeated in 10 games last year, and they welcome back Cesar Soto, one of the most dynamic players in the league. Soto was the league’s offensive MVP as a junior last year after slicing up defenses as a running back. He was also one of Anderson Valley’s best defenders as a linebacker. The Panthers’ have other key players coming back, too, like seniors Will Lemons, Erin Perez, Jared Johnston and Alejandro Gutierrez, and junior Tony Pardini." Undefeated last year, Coach Dan Kuny has almost everyone back from that team, and that team was among the best ever outta Boonville. This team is shaping up as the best ever.

BOONVILLE AIRPORT MANAGER Kirk Wilder told us about an upcoming aviation history event in Ukiah when one of the few remaining airworthy B-17s in the world will visit the Ukiah Municipal Airport the weekend of September 18-20. Called the Aluminum Overcast, the meticulously preserved old bomber is on a nationwide tour. Interested people can “stand in the footsteps of a waistgunner or sit in the bombardier's seat and relive history by experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly in one of the most vital and magnificent aircraft of World War II. Flights in the Aluminum Overcast cost between $400 and $475 depending on when you buy your ticket. Flights are from 10 AM to 1 PM and ground tours will be available in the afternoon from 2-5 PM. For more information go to or call 1-800-359-6217.”

BECAUSE THE abandoned Ricard Building in downtown Boonville may be included in a water and sewer district under the supervision of the AV Community Services District, CSD board chair Valerie Hanelt is attempting to meet with the property owner, Glen Ricard of Little River, to see if he will participate in the water and sewer plans that have been underway for the last few months for the Boonville area. The ever-optimistic Ms. Hanelt has made a few inquiries and plans to invite Mr. Ricard to the next water/sewer planning meeting, which appears to be set for October at which time she will also ask him what his plans are for the property. Representatives from the County Planning Department and the County's Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) are expected to attend. Ms. Hanelt says consideration will be given to development of a community water system, a community septic system, or a combination of the two. Ms. Hanelt has been told by the LAFCO executive director that it would cost about $5,000 for LAFCO to process an application to activate the district's "latent" water and sewer district powers. If the project moves forward to a planning grant, that $5,000 could be reimbursed as part of the state's planning grant process. Plans are also underway to post an informational question and answer water-sewer page on the district's website.

WE OFTEN field inquiries like this one: "My betrothéd saint and I will be coming up on thirty years of wedded bliss this October, and we've been casting about for someplace reasonably nearby to go for a little celebration; the thing is, wherever we go for the weekend, the poor woman still has to make it back by first thing Monday for work. As a speaker of truth unafraid to voice an opinion, and a fellow who's steered me right in the past ('Stay the hell away from Ukiah,' I believe was your first admonishment), I was wondering if you might be able to suggest someplace for us. Sonoma & Napa counties seem hopelessly given over to the sniffy 'Wine Country' thing, rather lost on locals such as ourselves, particularly a seasoned home-brewer, though I do enjoy hoisting a retail microbrewski now and then when the occasion demands. Still, neither the yobbos at Lagunitas nor the groovy guys at Mendocino Brewing have seen fit to start an in-house B&B. (B&B&B? Could there be a ready market for this...) Since it's one of those Big Round Number anniversaries we even looked at the Big City and places we've never been to like the Claremont (and the Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons, St Regis, Fairmont Heritage, etc. etc.) and my jaw has been repeatedly sprained and bruised by dropping open and smacking the table when I see the prices they're asking. Oy vey. I'm not exactly a hick farmer, but Jesus, do people really pay six hundred bills + a night…for a hotel room? Whoosh. So we're thinking about going north. Mendocino township is a little artsy-pretentious for us, and Point Area too downmarket. I know you're a fan of Fort Bragg, but it might be a bit far for us and of course the vile Mr. Affinito's footprints seem to be everywhere in that town's hostelry trade. Still, I trust your judgment. My uncle used to frequent some romantischer spot in Gualala for his amorous adventures — the Breakers Inn? — but I've heard positives and negatives. Thanks in advance...."

LOTS OF PEOPLE think the Albion River Inn is the goods, right down to its bar and restaurant and its nice views out at the Pacific. Since I'd sleep outside before I'd pay more than 50 bucks for a room, I can't vouch for the place. We have a bunch of nice places to stay here in the marvelous Anderson Valley, and we have a variety of restaurants, all of them good, and I'm not just doing boosterism here. Boonville Hotel. We also have a lotta good food.

MY CORRESPONDENT WROTE BACK: "Thank you, sir, for the idea. Never thought of Albion. I did have a look at the Boonville venues, and if you can believe it, they're already booked for nearly all October. Times must be improving up there -- for some, anyhow. The Boonville Hotel restaurant does look appealing for a special occasion meal, I must say. Though I still kind of miss the Horn of Zeese, myself. And speaking of the great outdoors I even suggested camping to the old girl, but she reminded me it'll be October, and even with global warming an alfresco anniversary is more than she's prepared to tolerate. Ah well. Wimmin -- what can ya do but love 'em."

WHATEVER YOU DO be sure to stop at the Yorkville Market on your way through. It's got all kinds of great take out food and the best cookies ever! I love that place.

MY CORRESPONDENT continued his search: "You know, I did feel the Boonville Hotel had a "Self-Conscious Hip" look to it, and over the years I have come to loathe the word "boutique." Back in the '70s the word invoked a nice safe sense of coy/cute -- mostly it told you that stylish homosexuals were decorating and/or running the place; now it just means Snotty and Lunatic Expensive. Do they really believe I'm going to count the freaking number of threads in my bedsheets? Criminy.

I'm a bit sad to report, too, that the Albion River Inn has joined the 'Pamper' At Any Cost And Baby Do We Mean Cost trend. If you want the log fireplace and the swanky bathtub for two (featured in most of the rooms) then you're looking at about four Franklins per night. Although these days, maybe that will just cover the cost of the water? After all that's one big ol' tub-full, just for some ritual hanky-panky. The two token Proletarian rooms (shower only, gas fireplace) are a mere two Franklins.

I suppose the reassuring side is to consider that if this is indeed how them One Percenters live, at least they're being robbed at every step they take.

I still haven't investigated the 'Air B&B' thing, which I'm not inclined to use since first it's plain weird to camp out for the night in some total stranger's house, and second I don't fancy it on principle. Like the appallingly-named 'Über' (do they have a picture of Hitler on their logo?) the whole thing seems to have been created just as a way of 'cleverly' skirting around local taxes and licensing fees. I know everybody thinks starving the government is perfectly OK and even fun (or if you're a Republican, a sacred duty — except of course for their own copious paycheque) but it strikes me as smug and antisocial. We'll see, I suppose. Thanks again…"

I DIDN'T want to be toooooo unfair to Ukiah. I always try to steer people to the wonderful Grace Hudson Museum and, for those interested in a real deep dig into Mendocino County history, the Held-Poage Library. Lodging in our county seat? Well, you have Ukiah's Motel 6, perhaps NorCal's most exciting small town motel, at least since Point Arena's Sea Shell closed for a re-do, but only a fully armed sociologist would find it interesting.

THE DIALOGUE CONTINUED: "Ah, Motel 6. Growing up in L.A., my family was big on Palm Springs as a weekend getaway destination, and it was also where my dad's medical faculty meetings tended to be held (until the organizers discovered Las Vegas). This was the early 1960s, before Bob Hope took the town over and re-branded it. It was rather a sleepy little burg, where side-streets (like Indian Canyon Drive?) were lined with huge oleander bushes and head-sized rocks painted white, with mostly blank stinking desert beyond; the biggest excitement my sister and I had was renting bicycles and pedaling up to Palm Canyon & back while my folks were at a meeting or were playing golf. We always stayed at Motel 6 -- because it actually cost only six bucks a night. I thought it was perfectly comfy, too, even though I was usually relegated to the creaky "roll-away" bed. (I also was fascinated with the paper band on the toilet that proudly announced in pale blue lettering that it had been "Sanitized For Your Protection!" It had never occurred to me that I needed protection from toilets.) But then, on one trip, we noticed an ominous change: the sign had been altered to read "Motel 6 Palms". The place had indeed changed hands, and my dad's face bore a thunderous countenance coming out of the office, where, as he put it, "they tried to stab me eleven dollars for the same damn room!" He did not often resort to profanity, especially not in front of my sister and me, so I knew this spelled the end of an era. I actually liked Las Vegas more, as it turned out, because back then it was Frank & Dino's town, all "booze, broads & ring-a-ding-ding," absolutely no place for a 12 year old, and wandering through the casinos (at least until I repeatedly got caught & thrown out) gave me what I felt was a rare, privileged glimpse of the soft corrupt underbelly of the Grown-Up World; respectability was an obvious thin bogus veneer, in Vegas. But the motels we stayed in were definitely back in the $6 a night league. Some were even cheaper! Sigh -- it's all like some kind of dream, now."

GREAT DAY IN ELK — The 41st fun-filled “Great Day in Elk” will be held this Saturday, August 29, from noon until 7pm.  The parade starts at noon on Highway 1, with floats, tykes on bikes, Smokey the Bear and lots more. The carnival follows, with game booths and prizes and do-it-yourself craft projects for children. There's a $100 grease pole, a massage booth, a watermelon-eating contest, sack races, bounce house, crafts fair, a cake auction, silent auction and a raffle.  Daytime food includes Terri’s famous oysters, tamales, Caesar salad, fresh baked focaccia bread, Moroccan lentil soup, old-fashioned hot dogs and lots of homemade goodies. There will be fresh-pressed Greenwood Ridge apple cider and Elk's famous margaritas, along with soft drinks and beer.  The live afternoon entertainment includes the family-friendly funk of Soul Shakedown, belly dancing and juggling. This year's dinner will be an outdoor barbecue from 3:00 to  7:00 p.m. featuring grilled tri-tip with polenta, black beans, salad and dessert and stuffed Portabello mushrooms for vegetarians. So, come to the “Great Day” in the coastal village of Elk, located 5 miles south of Highway 128 on Highway 1, and enjoy a fun-filled family day while supporting the Greenwood Community Center. For more information call 877-3245 or go to No dogs please.

Rosi Acker - 877-1800

One Comment

  1. Jeff Costello August 26, 2015

    Re Motel 6: I stayed in the Ukiah branch one night and didn’t notice anything odd except the dumpy donut shop next door. I haven’t eaten a donut in 30 years, so sociological observations is all I get from these places. Cheap is about all you get at motel 6 and no matter which one you stay at, I guarantee a difficult and annoying time getting a computer online, if that is a concern. If they want to be cheap, I can’t understand why they don’t just have an open network instead of giving out passwords that don’t get you anywhere except on the phone to speak with a “tech” person who has got be paid something. Are they afraid some homeless person will sit down somewhere on the property and bootleg the signal? He could say he’s looking for a “job” or trying to contact his “family” -these are two foolproof sacred words in USA. You can get away with nearly anything if you say it’s connected to job or family.

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