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Valley People (Nov 25, 2015)

SCHOOL BOARD update from Steve Sparks: "Following last week’s meeting the Board now has its five members in place and expectations are high for the school’s future development. The Gang of Five features Dick Browning, Erica Lemons, and the three new members Eric Arbanovella, Wynn Crisman, and Natalie Matson, all of whom are parents of children at the school, which, while it should not be viewed as necessary, is seen by many as a criteria that is potentially very important and valuable…"

THE NEW PREACHER in town? Not a Methodist but, in his own words, "a defrocked Episcopalian from Des Moines," and he is Jonathan Hansen, a charming young married man new in town, and a big Boonville welcome to him.

RIP VAN EDITOR wrote last week, "By the way, I wonder how many people know that a member of the Avery family, the original owners of Floodgate, lives on at Rancho Navarro?" only to learn that Anna Avery, the daughter, lived here from 1989-1995. She then moved to Cloverdale, later Nevada. You see from this how thoroughly this community has changed in so brief a time, with only a handful of us remembering who was here and what they were like. My memory, or what's left of it, goes back to 1970. There are only a few people alive in the Anderson Valley whose memories begin in, say, 1925. From there back it's largely myth. Mendocino County is pretty much an unchronicled expanse.

A CREW of community-minded gardeners have upgraded the semi-abandoned garden in front of the Philo Post Office, replacing the exhausted annuals with drought-tolerant native plants. The beautification crew included Robyn Harper, Cathy Evans, Scott Rosko, Evelyn Ashton and Barbara Scott. Over a period of several days this hardy quintet managed to transform the Post Office's parking lot to a welcoming expanse of organic growth.

THE NEXT MEETING of the Community Services District’s Ad Hoc Committee planning a possible water and sewer system for impossible Boonville is set for Thursday, Dec 3rd at the Boonville Firehouse. The meeting is open to the public.

ONE WONDERS if the Ricards deign to consider themselves members of the Boonville public. Their dominant eyesore and firetrap at Boonville's south end, repelling visitors for forty years now, dies on in a kind of eternal architectural life support. CSD! Pull the plug! Abate this abomination! Better yet, eminent domain it. Take it away from the Little River kulaks! They won't sell it, they won't fix it up. Every other property owner along our main drag does what they can to enhance the appearance of Mendocino County's most happening little town. Not the Ricards. The haughty old coot and his child bride hole up at their garish, gated Little River compound with not a thought to the aesthetic horrors they inflict on innocent Boonville, a community of valiant, trying people. Could these savages get away with their Boonville Ricard Building in precious, candy-assed Mendocino where they own precious, candy-assed structures? Noooooooo. The candy-asses wouldn't stand for it. Why do we?

THE FINANCES of the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service, a long-standing and crucial non-profit, are not usually discussed much. Or at all. But since the Ambulance Service has asked the Community Services District to consider a merger with the Boonville Fire Department, the Ambulance finances are getting a rare look-see. According to a summary from Ambulance Service Board member Philip Thomas the Ambulance revenues for the last three years are around $100k per year in bills for service, donations, memberships and fundraising. Expenses are about the same. But the Ambulance has about $360k in the bank, about half of which is earmarked for a replacement ambulance when the need arises, the other half is held in reserve. A merger of the Ambulance Service with the Community Services District would probably generate some administrative savings, although a combined budget after a merger has not yet been prepared.

THERE ARE a number of other factors involved in considering the fire-ambulance merger and they are being explored by an ad-hoc committee chaired at the moment by AV Fire Chief Andres Avila. For more information or to comment or attend the next exploratory meeting, call Chief Avila at 895-2020.

LOOMING OVER the fire-ambulance merger discussion is the County’s ongoing Exclusive Operating Area planning now reaching a critical point with the upcoming release of a Request For Proposals (RFP) for inland Mendo ambulance service. Many locals worry that a big international ambulance outfit will bid low to get the contract and then try to raise rates in the follow-on years once they’re established. (cf the mega-fraud of ObamaCare for details.) And the winning bidder might also overflow into Anderson Valley, either by subcontracting with the local ambulance service with specific terms of service or simply providing their own, neither of which sound very good. Hard to believe a mega-ambulance corp would staff a Boonville ambulance, but…

THE COUNTY is also considering putting emergency dispatch services out to bid: the fire and ambulance dispatch service now being provided by CalFire out of their Willits Grade headquarters. The local fire chiefs have unanimously voted to oppose outsourcing, arguing that whatever minor problems they have with dispatch can be fixed well short of dispatch privatization. But the County has, so far, taken the position that the chiefs' opposition is holding up the release of the EOA RFP. Things are in flux, however, and could change any day.

I WAS TARDILY ALERTED that former Supervisor Norman de Vall was on KZYX last Tuesday morning, but I tuned in only to hear de Vall constantly interrupted by the host, Dr. Mind, Body Whatever. I'm always interested to hear de Vall because he talks local, and is local-knowledgeable. It was hard for Norman to get out a coherent thought about the County's bankrupt pension fund without Mr. Buttinski horning in to show how hip he is to financial matters. Another frustrating audio experience for this station member but infrequent auditor.

OUR GIRL'S VOLLEYBALL TEAM easily defeated St. Bernard’s Catholic high school out of Eureka last Wednesday night with a quick, lopsided three-match victory lead by power-spiker Alex (sic) Farber. Second seeded AV moved confidently on to the league championship match against top seed SF Waldorf in San Francisco on Saturday only to be as efficiently dispatched by Waldorf as they had previously dispatched St. Bernard's.

THE SWINGIN' BOONVILLE BIG BAND (Part of the Adult Ed. program in Anderson Valley) will be appearing at Lauren's Cafe in downtown Boonville, Sat. night, Dec. 5th. Show starts at 9 Pm. Come and celebrate the holidays with a night of great swing band entertainment.


Save the Redwoods and State Parks are offering free passes to 49 parks from Monterey to the Oregon border, including of course, Anderson Valley's very own jewel, Hendy Woods.

ACCORDING TO A NEW SURVEY from the Pew Research Center, more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since 2009. The study shows the overall flow of Mexican immigration into the U.S. is at its lowest since the 1990s. Additionally, Pew found the Mexican-born population in the U.S. declined to 11.7 million in 2014, down from 12.8 million in 2007. A majority of those who’ve left the U.S. since 2009 left on their own accord, and 61 percent of those who’ve returned to Mexico cited family reunification as their main reason. Only 14 percent said their departure was due to deportation. Many who left cited the recession and lack of jobs as a reason.

STEVE HEILIG SUBMITS this “conceptual drawing for new AVA complex next to the Redwood Drive-In”


NOT TO BORE you too many details, the AVA Collective intends three houses to the rear of the property, an AVA building and an unrelated structure at the front of the site facing Highway 128. No, Glen Ricard is not the architect. It's all gonna be real nice.

HENDY WOODS UPDATE: "I just wanted to give you an update on the status of Hendy Woods while the parks water distribution system is being replaced. As of today vehicular access by the public is being restored and the only issue is a one lane section of road at the park entrance. The public is still allowed to walk in and cycle in the park and will be directed around construction sites by the contractor. There have been a lot of questions about Black Friday free day use and Thanksgiving Weekend. The contractor plans to stop work Tuesday of next week and have all roads open through the weekend. Any questions or clarifications please let me know." — Loren M. Rex, State Parks, 937-3118 (707).

I WAS IN A LOCAL establishment the other afternoon to buy some lunch when this imperious high-end woman strode in, high heels clicking martially on the concrete floor. "Rest room!" she demanded. "It's occupied," the counter lady replied with professional forbearance. The Entitled One looked angrily at the ceiling as she waited her turn, visibly angry that she wasn't immediately accommodated. When she emerged, out she marched without so much as a thank you and, of course, no purchase. I asked the young woman behind the counter if Ms. Entitled was the norm. "Happens all the time," she replied.

MARK FONTAINE has broached an idea that County law enforcement has met with either drop-jawed incredulity or gales of laughter. Fontaine wants to put Valley civilians behind the wheels of unoccupied police vehicles where they, the civilians, would sit at strategic points along Anderson Valley's stretch of Highway, thus deterring wrongdoers by their presence when real law enforcement is off duty. Back to the drawing board, Mark.

AT SATURDAY’S FOOTBALL playoff game between Fort Bragg and Marin Catholic, at Marin Catholic's Temple of the Jock, Kentfield, this eyewitness can confirm that the game was closer than the final score, which was 49-0 Marin Catholic. MC had a little too much size, a little too much speed and they have a great quarterback, a speedy little dude with a rocket arm. Your witness, however, thinks Fort Bragg's quarterback, Kaylor Sullivan, has a better shot at a qb job at the college level because he also has a gun and seems to be the more accurate of the two with a better touch, as they say. He's also a lot bigger, and he's pretty quick. (Colin Kaepernick, the former 49er who totally lost his mojo this season, has a terrible touch, rifling 20 yard passes so hard his receivers can't handle them.)

FORT BRAGG brought a lot of people to Kentfield this afternoon, some of them presenting a rather primitive spectacle in the sedate, upscale Marin setting where pitbulls and portly tattooed women are not familiar sights.

I THOUGHT there were two plays, maybe three, that should have gotten Marin Catholic players kicked out of the game. One, a terrific blind side helmet-to-helmet downing of an unsuspecting FB player, which put him out of the game for a while, and a clotheslining of a FB runner which the FB kid miraculously bounced right up from. But both are illegal hits at the high school level — all levels of football — and the clothesline vic was very lucky he wasn't hurt.

AND A THIRD FORT BRAGG player was badly hurt; who he was and how badly he was hurt is not yet known. The game was delayed for about ten minutes as emergency services people finally carried him off the field and, eventually, on down the street to Marin General Hospital. I didn't see the play the boy was hurt on and can't have an opinion if it was clean or not.

FORT BRAGG was 11-0 coming into Saturday’s playoff game, Marin Catholic had lost one close one.

MARIN CATHOLIC, like all the Catholic schools of the Bay Area, and Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa, recruits players from all over the place. Although MC is presently at an enrollment comparable to Fort Bragg's — about 700 students — it draws athletes from all the public school districts of the area, many of them enrolling at MC tuition-free because they know they will be playing on a winning team that plays at a high skill level. A public school like Fort Bragg simply hopes it will have a group of athletes that will compete against other small schools. Marin Catholic, and the rest of the Bay Area's Catholic sports powers should have their own league. Public schools can't compete against them. But then there are, as we know, a lot of people around who think 49-0 is a contest.

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