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Valley People (May 11, 2016)

TRAUMA on top of trauma for the Lisa Kuny family. Two weeks ago, Bobby Kuny, 18, and a senior at Anderson Valley High School, saved his mother and another woman from major mayhem by shooting a crazed drunk wielding a chef's knife. The drunk, Lorenzo Rodriguez, survived and now faces attempted murder charges.

BUT THE NEXT DAY, Mrs. Kuny and her three children were ordered to leave the home near Hendy Woods that they'd just moved into. The property owner, Don Gowan, wanted them out. Mrs. Kuny had worked out a share arrangement from the permanent tenant, Cassandra Gowan, not approved by Don Gowan, the property owner. As of Monday, the Kunys are homeless. Mrs. K had hoped to stay on at least until the end of the school year. The Kuny children are all well behaved. Bobby a gentle soul whose hobby is flower arranging, has got to be just about the least likely gun guy in Mendocino County. If Bobby hadn't had the presence of mind to run for his antique .22 revolver his mother and Cassandra Gowan might not have survived the mad man.

ON A MUCH HAPPIER NOTE, I ran into Ron Black at Anderson Valley Market the other afternoon. I knew the Yorkville man was much in demand for his multiple gifts at many forms of enterprise, but I didn't know he was also an acclaimed artist whose work in concrete and glass has elevated those two ordinarily prosaic substances to art form. At Redding's stunning Sundial Bridge, Ron's creations are featured at the Domke Plaza. We'd reproduce them here if black and white would do them justice, but for now you can find them on our website.

UNRAVELING THE MYSTERIES of the Navarro River, a reader writes: "No rainfall showing on any of Anderson Valley’s rain gauges today (at 1pm), yet the Navarro River has risen just under 10% in six hours."

Which seems like a good question for a hydrologist. But until we hear from one, we'll take a crack at it… Since that little one-inch rainstorm a couple weeks ago, the level of the Navarro River has been in steady decline (from 3.58 down to 2.82 feet). Then, this morning, the level inexplicably rose (2.82 to 2.91, which seems more like a 3% increase, but still…). It doesn't seem like it has rained enough lately to account for this rise, so we're wondering if it might be due to the fact that the mouth of the river recently closed, which is now causing the meager flow of the river to accumulate and thus raise the level a tad.

MARSHALL NEWMAN, a Navarro watcher for more than fifty years, says: "I appreciated the offered explanation on the river level, but I am not convinced, for a few reasons.

1. The USGS flow/level gauge is at a location just west of where north fork and south fork of the Navarro River meet. The location is perhaps half a mile east of Dimmick campground, almost certainly beyond the reach of water backup from a sand-closed river mouth.

2. While the change in river level was perhaps 3%, the change in Navarro River flow rate by 1pm was nearly 10%.

3. Despite only 0.03 inches of additional rain recorded in Boonville since 1pm, the Navarro River continued to rise and flow is now more than 10% higher than it was two days ago, and a few percent higher than when I sent the e-mail. To be fair, other rain gauges between Philo and Navarro recorded significantly more rainfall. I still think the Boonville gauge is often wrong — recording less rain than actually fell.

AND THEN the Navarro River water level and flow dropped like a rock, explained by Paul McCarthy of Elk this way: "In regards to the Navarro River — no mystery — the high tide is throwing water over the sandbar and it is accumulating causing the river to rise. Last December, if you remember, 128 was actually closed because of this effect — the sandbar was significantly larger in height.

MIKE KALANTARIAN:  "This big drop (3.02 to 2.85 feet) happened between 2 and 4 pm yesterday (Saturday). High tide was at 1pm. I wonder if the river breached then, thus causing the drop." [Yup, it did.]

CELEBRATION OF WOOL, Casari Ranch in Point Arena, Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22. "Free event for people who love fiber arts and the sheep who make it all possible."

VALERIE HANELT of Yorkville Writes: You are receiving this email because you are a member of the Yorkville History Group. Or I know you might be interested. Please pass on to anyone else who would enjoy this event. Also, you might want to call some of your friends who don’t have email who are especially interested in Valley history.

MARILYN HIATT, daughter of George Washington Hiatt, who grew up in the Mountain House during the 1930’s and 1940’s, will be our very special guest. She is coming to speak about the history of the area and, in particular, living at Mountain House with her family. The current tenants of her childhood home, Dale and Noel Byrne, have generously invited us to visit the home and grounds.

JOHN ALDEN, the owner of Mountain House Estates, has organized this event and we are going to be able to tour the wedding and event center that he and Lane have been working on for several years. John grew up spending a great deal of time on his grandfather CL Nielson’s Y Ranch on Fish Rock Road, which he now owns with his brother. So he is a Yorkville High Roller from way back.

WE WILL START our event at Mountain House Estates at 38000 Hwy 128 on Saturday, June 18, at 2 pm. Marilyn will give a presentation about the history of the area. John has enlarged photos which will help to understand the layout of the area, as many of the buildings are now gone. We can carpool to Mountain House (or walk) as the parking is limited at Mountain House.

PLEASE RSVP to John Alden at

You are welcome to bring along others who would be interested in the history of this part of our Valley.

Please bring a plate of finger foods – savory or sweet. Napkins, plates, and punch will be provided. There will also be books to buy from the AV Historical Society that feature Mountain House area and Yorkville.

WE HAD ORIGINALLY planned to offer this event this fall but there were scheduling difficulties. Hope you can make this with only 5 weeks notice!



PATRICK PEKIN visits Boonville, and Dave Severn reports: "I spoke to judge candidate Patrick Pekin while he was campaigning in Boonville last week. He is pleasant and seems to understand that even lawbreakers are people. I had talked briefly with him at the Goat Fest, and I was flattered that he wanted to cross the street to say hello. I told him that I nor anyone else could really tell who would make the best judge, but I felt Keith Faulder was a shoo-in based on name recognition alone. Pekin shrugged and said, 'We'll see.' He said he has Boonville Fire Chief Andres Avila's backing. And that would be because candidate Pekin is a volunteer firefighter in Mendocino. He certainly deserves credit for that. But I didn't think to ask him the critical question as to how experienced he is with the law."

AN UNUSUAL FOREST on the northern Mendocino Coast where the arms of ancient “candelabra” redwood trees mysteriously rise straight toward the skies will become accessible this week to the public for the first time in more than 100 years. The so-called “Enchanted Forest” will become accessible to hikers on Friday via a new 2.3-mile trail at the southern end of the 58-mile Lost Coast trail, according to Save the Redwoods League.

BOBBY KUNY, as his high school Senior Project, is creating a memorial in honor of veterans and active duty service members. It will consist of a redwood slab and brass engravings representing each branch of the armed services, and inscribed, "In honor of all veterans and active military personnel." The artifact will be placed for permanent display in the American Legion/ Senior Center in Boonville following an unveiling ceremony on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th. Donations in care of or made out to Bobby Kuny may be sent to Box 400, Navarro. Information at:

CALTRANS said yesterday that they will install a temporary signal on Highway 253 up near the top of the ridge on May 9 for major road repairs, including a new retaining wall and repaving. One way traffic will be in effect 24/7 with up to ten minute delays. The signal is expected to continue to October with work wrapped up in November. For more info call Caltrans media rep: Phil Frisbie, 707/441-4678.

DANCE BENEFIT for St. Elizabeth Seton Church, Sunday, May 15th 8:00pm - 12:00 pm, Apple Hall Boonville.

THE MANY HAZARDS of walking in Boonville, a rural community. Loose, aggressive dogs like the pitbull who menaced me a couple of weeks ago, or the confined canines who lunge at their fences as you pass by. Heedless bicyclists silently rushing up behind you as you're focused on avoiding the many ankle-busting hazards of roadside Boonville, who then wave merrily at you as if to thank you for not being run over by them; the persons you'd rather not see who seemed perpetually lying in wait to see you; exhaust fumes from the steady stream of through-traffic; unattended to road kill; cellphone yappers; the effete little dogs who lean out of car windows to assault you with their yips; grotesquely oversized pickup trucks taking up so much space they block the curb; adult men in little boy shorts walking tiny dogs on expensive leashes; speeders; slippery mud where there doesn’t appear to be any mud; high-beams in your face at night; low-hanging branches; sidewalk potholes; drivers who give you the finger simply for being on your feet.

PEDESTRIAN COMPENSATIONS: the people you do enjoy seeing; spring flowers; fresh air mostly; the pure joy of being a still ambulatory old guy (— Mark Scaramella)

FUNDRAISER-BENEFIT FOR LYNDA AUBREY: Saturday, May 21, 4pm. Pura Vida plus local music and dance, food and drinks, silent auction, and raffle. Greenwood Community Center, Elk. $20 donation at the door. 964-9109

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