DON CARSON has died. He lived for years in the last house at the top of Lambert Lane, Boonville, with his wife, Betsy, a talented artist who died two years ago. Don had been housebound and in failing health himself ever since the passing of his wife. The Carsons were active Grange members who began the yearly Grange exhibit at the annual County Fair in Boonville. Wanda Owens looked in on Don regularly, and we know Don was grateful for Wanda's many kindnesses to him.
THE FIRST DAY of Spring, which was Sunday, began dark, damp and dreary, but by the time Spring had sprung at exactly 2pm, the sun was shining, the birds singing, the scent of new lilac everywhere, and all was young and hopeful on Mendocino County's acre of God's green earth.
DO IT YOURSELF COLIFORM TESTING? Assistant AV Ambulance Service Manager Aaron/Cob Martin reminded us last week that a company called Micrology Labs (micrologylabs.com) sells a home coliform testing kit called “Coliscan Easygel” which allows a homeowner to easily test their tap water for coliform levels and provides more information about the amount of contamination than the typical Alpha Labs “Yes or No” results. One website we found (weberscientific.com) sells the kits in packs of 50 for about $90, and a 20 milliliter bottle (for about ten tests) for about $14. Mr. Martin estimated the cost himself at around $3 per test. (“Coliscan media incorporates a patented combination of color-producing chemicals and nutrients that mark coliforms and E. coli in differing colors for easy identification and isolation. This means that a test sample of water or other material may be added to the medium, and coliform bacteria will grow as pink-magenta colonies while E. coli will grow as purple-blue colonies.”) In the wake of the disturbing recent coliform test results for downtown Boonville, this home-method sounds like a cost-effective alternative to the $40-$80 testing available through Alpha Labs in Ukiah. (There’s even an instructional sampling-testing video on YouTube. Search for Coliscan.)
SPEAKING OF BOONVILLE WATER, CSD Board Chair Valerie Hanelt advises us that the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento has upgraded Boonville’s planning grant application from “active” to “submitted.” Which apparently means that it will now get processed as a serious application. The Water Board and the potential engineering company that would do the actual planning estimate that if the Water and Sewer system planning is done at the same time, the total cost of the planning would be around $1 million (most of which is for x-number of test wells, apparently). If done separately, the water and sewer system plans would cost much more. Several bureaucratic processes are underway which run more or less in parallel, only one of which is the $1 mil engineering-planning process. Grant and loan applications have to be processed, public hearings and votes have to occur, and Mendo’s Local Area Formation Commission has to approve the CSD’s application to “activate” their “latent power” for Water and Sewer. Even if things go as optimistically as Ms. Hanelt hopes, the process could still take upwards of five years. According to a chart Ms. Hanelt picked up while at the Water Board HQ in Sacramento last week, Boonville’s poverty level statistics mean that Boonville would qualify for substantial subsidies and loans if a water and/or sewer system were ultimately approved for construction.
ALL OF A SUDDEN it's raining nice ladies. Coupla weeks ago Ms. Dechter, freshly appointed director at KZYX, stopped in to introduce herself, the first KZYX director in the quarter-century history of the station to cross our threshold. Then, just last week, Chloe Guazzone-Rugebregt paid us a visit. She's the new administrator of the Anderson Valley Health Center, and a major factor in the long hoped for stabilization of what has been a tumultuous recent past for the Center. Priorly, Michelle Hutchins, superintendent of the local schools, has climbed the daunting stairs of the Farrer building's second story to discuss developments under her purview. Of course we're not totally charm-deprived on a daily basis because right down the hall from our dank and foreboding quarters are the offices of Gwen Smith, Torrey Douglas, Angela DeWitt, and Dawn Ballantine, although they wisely tend to scurry past the profane din emanating from the first door on the right.
MS. GUAZZONE-RUGEBREGT, appearing in person to answer our question about the current status of the Health Center's pharmacy (aka “dispensary”), said the pharmacy had re-opened in November — quietly re-opened — because the Center has been short-staffed. And, attention dope heads, the pharmacy doesn't carry the oxy drugs or other hard stuff, so don't try clawing your way in at 3am.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT of the re-opening of the local clinic dispensary, Ms. G-R explained, had been posted on the Center's website late last year. It had been closed because the feds didn't approve of its supervision, apparently thinking it was too loose. Given the constant wheedling of opiate addicts all pharmacies are subject to strict accounting, although representatives of the dope community tell us they can get their oxys on the street but they're expensive. Heroin is the common substitute for pharmaceutical downers, and it has been available in Mendocino County for many years, especially in the Mendocino-Fort Bragg sector.
BASKETBALL. Our very own Luis Espinoza ought to be Northcoast Coach of the Year. He took a group of non-basketball players, but very good athletes, and molded them into a championship team, and he did it without a single reliable outside shooter-scorer! Under a lesser coach the AV boys would have won, maybe, half their games or fewer. But the coach got them playing a truly tenacious defense that forced their opponents into numerous turnovers, from which the Panthers bulled their way under the basket to lay-ups. And they played as a team, which is the way the game is supposed to be played.
I DISAGREE with Coach Espinoza about his guys being just about the best local team ever. I'd say they would be in the top ten perhaps, but we've had some very good basketball teams around here, several of which beat big schools like Cardinal Newman and Ukiah when big schools still dared play little schools.
WAY BACK, the AV team starring Gene Waggoner, Charlie Hiatt, Leroy Perry, Danny Huey, and David Knight is probably the best AV team to come outta here. They had size and they could all shoot, really shoot. The Jerry Tolman teams of the early eighties beat Ukiah bad, twice, narrowly lost to state champs Cloverdale, and lost only to Fort Bragg in the playoffs, a game they should have won by twenty but got themselves out-coached by the late, great Vern Piver. Before them there were the Don Summit-John Stevenson teams, the Rick Wyant teams that were very good. Later came the Pete Boudoures-led teams. All these guys made up very good basketball teams that would resoundingly thump this year's squad, which, I hasten to add, would certainly give them all fits because this year's team played the best defense of any team I've seen here. Most high school teams at any level are lucky if they have two guys who can shoot. Two of the teams mentioned here — the Hiatt-Waggoner team and the Tolman teams — could put five kids on the floor who could shoot, meaning they were basically unstoppable and could play with anyone.
THIS SATURDAY, March 26 at the Anderson Valley Grange in Philo, pianists Spencer Brewer and Ed Reinhart will be 'Dancin' on the Ivories', sharing the stage performing their unique and broadly varied styles of music. From boogie-boogie to jazz, boot stomping blues to semi classical, these two brothers from a different mother will wow, swoon and bring a smile to the audience. Performance starts at 7:30, admission is $15 and tickets can at be purchased at the door. The Philo Grange is located at 9800 Hwy 128 in Philo. For more info call 895-2958.
TOBY MICHAEL SHAPIRO October 2, 1946 -March 6, 2016 Toby Shapiro quietly passed away on Sunday, March 6th, after a short battle with advanced lung cancer. He was surrounded by loved ones. Toby was born in Ross, California, and graduated from Sir Frances Drake High School. He attended Chico State where he perfected his bridge skills and ultimately achieved Master status. He was a carpenter by trade; a bridge teacher; a woman's softball coach; a gardener. He had a unique sense of humor and could be counted on to clearly see life's foibles. He was a good person who lived his life on his own terms. Toby was preceded in death by his mother Helen Frey Shapiro, and is survived by his father Carl Shapiro, his brother Joseph (Maxine) Shapiro, his sister Sylvia Shapiro, and his four children Amelia, Aaron (Melissa), Shirin (Luke) Martin, and Kevin (Danna) Davenport, and his grandchildren, Chloe, Emma, Orion, West and Lily. There will be a wake held on Saturday, April 2nd, at 1:00 p.m., at The Red Barn Ranch, 16181 Mountain House Road, Hopland.
A FAMILY DELEGATION of Andersons raved about their tasting room experience at the FourSight Winery last Saturday right here in Boomsville. Not only did they love the wine, but marvelled at host Bill Charles' recitation of Mother Goose rhymes in Boontling, which was taught in the local schools when Bill was a lad. As one Anderson put it, "I've been in a lot of tasting rooms but I've never had more fun than we had at FourSight!"
THE AV PANTHER Boys Baseball team thumped Calistoga last Friday 15-1. Winning pitcher: Jonas Lane, with JT Carlin and Jared Johnston pitching in relief for 12 combined strikeouts. Offensive stars:
- Cesar Soto: 2 for 3, 3 runs scored, 1 RBI
- Jared Johnston: 2 for 3, 3 runs scored, 4 RBI
- Tony Pardini: 2 for 3, 2 RBI
- Juan Garcia: 2 for 3, 3 RBI