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Valley People (Apr 27, 2016)

RE SATURDAY'S SHOOTING near Hendy Woods, I should say I've known the Kuny family all the way back to when patriarch Danny Kuny was a freshman at Anderson Valley High School. Our families have been friends for fifty years. It follows that I've known Bobby Kuny all his days, and all his days he's been the nicest kid any of us could imagine, an usually gentle kid who is popular among his peers and pulls good grades at the high school. When Bobby's name appeared as the shooter in the first reports of Saturday night's events, my first thought was, "If Bobby shot someone he had to have had a good reason." As things have turned out, Bobby in fact behaved heroically. If he hadn't shot the rampaging Rodriguez there could well have been three dead bodies by the time police arrived, Bobby's among them.

I'M NOT EXACTLY what you'd call a Gun Guy. I learned military weapons as a kid in the Marines, but I've seldom fired guns since, beyond test-firing the ones I own. I know guys who treat their guns better than their wives and girl friends. I own guns because I know the police are at least a half-hour from where I am and, in my capacity as newspaper person and as an aggravating personality type, I get my share of threats, some of them credible. I understand and support bans on automatic weapons, but it seems to me only prudent to have a gun handy in a rural setting — a shotgun in my case — especially in a time of crazy-making drugs and free-range psychos.

BOBBY KUNY'S GUN was more of a barely functioning antique than it was home defense unit. And to give you an idea how responsible the kid is, he kept his gun in a lock box in a drawer near his bed. If he hadn't had that inherited keepsake and been willing to use it, I might be writing his and his mom's obituaries instead of writing how proud I am of him.

IN THE AFTERMATH of the Health Center Planning Session whose first moments The Major found unendurable, we were informed that the Health Center apparatus actually found the session useful. Center Manager Chloe Guazzone tells us that in fact, “The AVHC Board and staff successfully completed a strategic planning process after one community night and a weekend working retreat with board, staff and key stakeholders. … AVHC board and staff felt this approach ensured that everyone who participated had an equal voice in the process. We have come out with five key directions for the next five years including: 1. Ensure the highest quality uniform care and service. 2. Coordinate care for the whole person including increasing access to new services and bringing our services out into the community. 3. Stabilize funding sources and assure financial sustainability and health of the organization. 4. Prepare future leadership of the clinic and board. 5. Get the Word Out about our services to all community members.” Ms. Guazzone says they’ll finish the strategic plan in late May or early June at which time they will invite comments. The plan will include detailed implementation and action timelines. “We thank the more than 45 community members who came to share their ideas and participation. Without their help we would not have a deeper level of understanding of the issues, concerns and ideas for our future success.”

CHRIS BING WRITES: The time has come once again for our annual AV Elementary School student art show at Lauren's Restaurant in Boonville. This year the theme is "Too Much Monkey Business." We've added an extra two weeks to this popular show and all the work will be up by May 1st for public viewing. The third-graders' birds are being finished this week. I'd like to thank everyone who's helped this show happen: AV Arts; AV ED Foundation; and the AVPTA. Also Bob Fowler for lending us his stuffed Greenwing Teal and Karen Altaras for her donation of art materials and, most of all, the teachers, assistants, parents, and kids, who make it so much fun to bring art to AV Elementary.

INSPIRED by the fine story on the history of Navarro rendered by Steve Sparks and Wes Smoot, a reader sends along these archived factoids:

1. Ukiah Republican Press, Friday, March 11, 1910, page “HOTEL AINSLIE AT WENDLING. Joe Ainslie has opened the Hotel Ainslie at Wendling. Joe has renovated the place and installed new furniture and now has one of the finest places in the county. He is a particular friend of the traveling public and is assured of a good run. Joe believes in courteous treatment and lots of it backed up with a good square meal and this is what the guests want.”

2. Ukiah Daily Journal, Friday, December 30, 1910, page 2: “BLEVINS HAS TAKEN THE HOTEL AINSLIE. Word received from Wendling this week is to the effect that the Hotel Ainslie, conducted for several years past by Joe Ainslie, has changed hands, Sam. E. Blevins, a brother-in-law of Mr. Ainslie, having assumed the ownership. This is one of the best country hotels in the county and is the headquarters for commercial travelers covering the route to the coast by way of Anderson valley. In addition to this it has gained a reputation as a first-class resort for campers and summer tourists, inasmuch as there is the best of fishing and hunting in the vicinity, and it enjoys a good patronage through the summer months from this class of trade. It is an ideal for an outing. Mr. Blevins is a painstaking host and spares no effort to obtain the best that the market affords for his tables and his guests are treated with the greatest deference. It is a foregone conclusion that he will make a success of the business, for under his management the cuisine and service cannot but please.”

3. Ukiah Daily Journal, Friday, December 24, 1915, page 2: “FIRE AT NAVARRO. Navarro, Dec. 8 — The hotel occupied by V. Giannini, known as the Ainslie hotel, was destroyed by fire Monday night about 9 o’clock. The origin of the fire is unknown, but it is supposed to have started from a defective flue. Mr. Giannini’s loss was considerable, as he had just laid in a winter’s supply of provisions. The building was insured. — Beacon.”

MATEO LaCAMPAGNE, son of John and Andrea LaCampagne, recently of Navarro but lately of Sonoma County, is now the starting pitcher for the 13-year-old division of the elite Redwood Baseball Club out of Santa Rosa.


Does this kid look like a ballplayer, or what? He is a ballplayer, for a fact. Last week Mateo pitched a solid seven-inning no hitter to give his team their seventh win in a row. The week before he pitched five shut-out innings in the first game of a double header against a team of 14-year olds from Petaluma, a town famous in little league circles. These games were played on full-sized varsity fields with a 60-foot pitching distance. Mateo already throws hard, especially for a kid his age. Keep an eye on this guy.

MAY DAY PLANT SALE and Celebration! Ready to garden? Come buy your spring and summer vegetable starts, ornamentals, berries, succulents, and maybe even trees from various local vendors at the grand opening of the 2016 Boonville Farmers' Market on Saturday, May 7th. The seeds and plants have been locally chosen to reach their maximum production quality and fruiting flavor in our Anderson Valley climate. The UCCE Master Gardeners will have a table to answer any questions you might have about planting and/or, undoubtedly, there will be other experienced AV farmers and gardeners on hand with advice. Joining the marvelous music, vegetables, meats, mushrooms, olive oil, preserves, soaps, salves, and plants will now be the Boonville General Store with its fresh baked goods. And don't forget the kid's corner. All this from 9:30 to noon at the Boonville Hotel parking lot.  Amanda, the GM, is in the process of creating a Facebook page: Friends of the Boonville Farmers' Market. Until that is up you can also check out or send Amanda an email at

THE GREAT JOE BLOW BLAND playing their famous "unidentified rock & roll" (i.e., UFR&R, not UFO) will start their big Blow Out at Lauren's on Saturday, May 7 at 9pm. $5 cover.

NOT EVEN MAY, but the Navarro is almost closed at the mouth. Couldn't help but notice last week that the electronic billboards on 101 had their drought warnings on. Locally, the rapid early drop in the Navarro and the apparent failure of the rain that we did get this year to soak into our aquifers, means we indeed remain in Worrisome Parched Status. Quite a few of us Boonville people draw our drinking water from the conveniently tapped spring a few miles up Mountain View Road. That spring ordinarily runs strong right out of the side of the hill, but the last few years, as this year, it's running low and slow, as if the rains of the recent past hadn't happened.

LOTS OF CALIFORNIANS also agree that we remain deep in Drought. According to a recent poll by the Field Research Corporation found that 76% of their respondents called the water shortage serious last year while this year 62% say we've got to husband our water although the Sierra snowpack, source of much state water, is at 66% of normal right now. Last year at this time it was at 5%.

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