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Valley People (May 18, 2016)

Kuny & Grandson
Kuny & Grandson

DAN KUNY, well-known Mendocino logger, is in a Modesto hospital after suffering a major woods accident Tuesday. First reports say Kuny had been falling trees in the west Sierras when a tree fell on him. An experienced faller much in demand by private timber companies and CalFire, Kuny is also a long-time local high school football coach renowned for his winning team at Anderson Valley High School.

KUNY, 61, was nearly killed early Tuesday morning when a tree fell on him as he worked in a forest near Jackson in the Sierra foothills. Kuny's workmate, a young man so far identified only as Jeff, is credited by the badly injured Kuny with saving his life. It was Jeff who found the almost fatally injured Kuny, and it was Jeff, reinforced by men working nearby, who cut Kuny free from the tree crushing him. A helicopter medical team carried the downed logger to the Doctor's Medical Center, Modesto, where he has already undergone surgery on a crushed ankle. According to his close friend, Tony Pardini, Kuny was "awake and laughing this morning that he's happy to be alive." The irrepressible Kuny suffered at least two cracked vertebrae, a broken collarbone, a separated shoulder, four broken ribs, and broken fingers. Brittany Kuny, the logger's daughter, said Wednesday that her dad was alert and talking although suffering considerable pain. "I hold the phone up to his ear so he can talk to people close to him." Ms. Kuny said that doctors told her her father's muscular frame "saved his internal organs from being crushed." Kuny is a famously fit man committed to weight training much of his adult life.

AS OF LAST THURSDAY Kuny had been moved from ICU to a private room at the Modesto hospital where he's recovering from the nearly fatal logging accident earlier last week. Lisa Kuny says her father "is in a lot of pain," but good spirits. The Kuny family is trying to get their patriarch moved into a hospital in Mendocino County.

THE OLD LOGGER is going to need some help paying off a very expensive helicopter lift out of the woods where he was nearly killed. Please donate at the GoFundMe page the Kuny family set up. (Just search for “Kuny” on the home page.)

ODD MYSTERY, but all mysteries are in their separate ways, aren't they? This one has Anderson Valley people scratching their heads. Someone apparently broke into the Cakebread vineyard at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way, Boonville, and opened the valve on the larger of the two ponds there, releasing many thousands of gallons of drought-precious water to no constructive purpose. We were first alerted to the empty pond last week by Tom McFadden who, like all of us, daily noted the full-to-the-brim irrigation pond, known locally as The Big Dig. Then, Tom saw, the pond was suddenly empty. The smaller pond just to the west of the Big Dig appears covered in a dead-looking brown. Cakebread would like to hear from anybody who may know who committed a fairly large-scale act of vandalism. ("Break-in" is a little too dramatic to describe access to the site. Anyone can simply walk in anytime.)

FRIDAY, DAN DUCKHORN, principal owner of Goldeneye in Anderson Valley, hired eight planes to fly in an undisclosed number of marketing reps for an annual soiree of sorts at his winery across from Jack's Valley Store. Met at the Boonville airport by a sleek black limo bus out of Sonoma, the honorees were swept off for their ten-minute ride to Philo at about 3:30 only to be returned to the airport in time for the whole pack to be flown out by 7:00. It must have been dinner with their wine — a good pairing, I'm sure. A call to Duckhorn, St. Helena, Saturday morning verified that these same high-end wine pushers had been flown to Napa County following Boonville, put up for the night and they were wandering the Duckhorn property as I spoke with the tasting room person answering the phone. One might assume that the whole venture started early in the day Friday and would continue through the weekend with other venues. Ahh, the richness and pleasure that can be bought from the profits of good wine.

A COUPLE FOLKS have been asking "What's up with the Big Dig pond? Where'd all the water go?" A worker at the neighboring "horse" barn cum Vineyard Logistics was bewildered as well so I contacted Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford, Napa County, the owners of the vineyard enterprise now residing on the final resting place of Archie Schoenahl's old apple orchard at the west end of Anderson Valley Way. Jack Cakebread also owns the vineyards and pond surrounding Archie's old packing shed on the right just after crossing the Anderson Creek bridge going West out of Boonville. I got this email response from Toby Halkovich, Cakebread's pleasant vineyard manager: "Hi David, I appreciate the heads up on the pond water. Apparently someone broke into the property and opened a valve. Anything you may have seen or noticed could be helpful. Thank you, Toby" That pond had been filled in the middle of winter when there was plenty of water. Now, I would assume, they will have to exercise their riparian water rights to extract the water from Anderson Creek that they will need to keep their grapes flourishing. The straggling fish population will surely suffer. A big sarcastic "Nice goin' Dude." to the perp on this one.

JEFF SKOLL, bless his soul, the multi-billionaire owner of Shenoa for the past 12 years has done absolutely nothing to occupy the eight houses and 12 fully appointed cabins on his 160 acre property other than an un-permitted therefore illegal remodel to the communal dining hall. The place sits empty. Yet every year during the low flow spring and summer months he installs a river pump with a three-inch pipe to suck several acre/feet of water out of the Navarro River. This is in addition to the two wells active on the property, one of which makes 26 gallons a minute. Last week he reinstalled the pump and it lurks there ready to suck.

TIM MULLINS, owner of Balo Vineyards as well as Vineyard Logistics has been pumping out of Indian Creek for sometime. I don't know exactly when it started but it appears that the amount of water sucked has exceeded 30 acre/feet. This might have something to do with a leaky pond complained about a month or two ago by a local resident. And if it continues into the dry months most certainly such usage will negatively impact riparian ecology.

SO HERE ARE FOUR SHORT STORIES that have at least one thread that connects them all. None of these very wealthy people live in Anderson Valley. None of these very wealthy people are in Anderson Valley to make a living - they have already secured enough money to live happily for the rest of their lives. Anderson Valley is a playground for them — a toy, and building empires is the game. We Valley residents, even the old-timers, are but ants scurrying for the crumbs of the castle cakes. (David Severn told all four stories)

A DINNER AND MUSIC BENEFIT for long-time Elk and Albion Teacher's Aide Lynda Aubrey will be held Saturday, May 21 at the Greenwood Community Center in Elk. Lynda is recovering from chemotherapy and radiation treatments for neck and tongue cancer. The proceeds will help to ease Lynda's financial burden as she recuperates over the next couple of months. The fundraiser starts at 4 p.m. with lottsa food and lottsa music. Donation at the door is $20. Children under 6 years of age free. No dogs please. Information at 964-9109.

OUR FAVE local painter, Rebecca Johnson, will hold an open studio May 21, 28, 29 which she promises will consist of "new paintings about traveling light, puzzles, pieces and reflections on the grand plan." Wylie Barn, Navarro. (Really nice work by a talented person. You won't be disappointed.)


CESAR SOTO, the terrific all-round Anderson Valley athlete has been named to the All Empire team for 2015-16, and a more deserving guy can't be found north of San Francisco. Soto was among 150 high school athletes honored last week at the Friedman Event Center in Santa Rosa. He plans to attend San Jose State University to study business administration. (Personal observation from watching Cesar play football, basketball and baseball: The kid's a perpetual motion machine who plays football with the kind of ferocious abandon of someone twice his size, basketball as a full-court whirling dervish, baseball like a miniature Pete Rose. Soto makes everyone around him better.)

EASY, ELS, easy old girl. Els Cooperrider posted this on the MCN chat line: "Mendocino Redwood Company declined (again) to participate. Therefore, according to station policy, the show would not be BALANCED and FAIR reporting!!! All efforts were made to have the opposition to Measure V participate, all in vain. KZYX is making sure that WE THE PEOPLE won't be heard either! As a 25+ year KZYX member I'm blown away by this."

BUT A CALL to KZYX's Raoul Van Haul elicited a prompt denial. "As I told Els, if we can't find someone to present the other point of view we would just give MRC an hour some other time." The show will go on. Van Haul said that here has been a perception of one-way discussions on KZYX. (I'll say. A quarter century of them.) Van Haul pointed out that MRC was invited by their hosts, which probably made them think they'd be ganged up on. Which they wouldn't be because none of the people they'd be talking with are the kind of people likely to be rude or unreasonable. MRC oughta show up. I was much encouraged by Van Haul's comment to me that KZYX was intent on bringing true debate to the local airways, which would certainly be a first for Free Speech Radio, Mendocino County.

SIDE NOTE re KZYX: I think the new management ought to be given a chance to take hold before all the nutballs, er station critics, start piling on. Those circus-like board meeting don't do much to shake the ancient public perception that the whole show is wall-to-wall crazy people. Ms. Dechter is smart, capable, reasonable, as is the rest of her team. They will have a very difficult time dragging the station out of the deep fiscal hole dug by previous management, not to mention overcoming that previous management's grotesque hostility for almost everyone except the station's inner circles, which are also an ongoing prob because they are arrogant and relentlessly rude.

I CALLED ELS. We, or at least I, enjoyed a discussion of the issues involved with Measure V, only disagreeing on the "teeth" in the initiative. I see a faint outline of ancient molars that have no bite. Els sees teeth. She said that if Measure V passes, MRC could lose its 'green' certification, which could cost them plenty. The teeth, if I understood her correctly, are implicit in the measure.

TRUE CONFESSION, truer contrition. I have regretted for many long years not supporting Mrs. Cooperrider for supervisor over David Colfax. Big mistake. And, as I told her, I regret the barbs I've directed her way over the years. So I'm here to say I'm sorry. "Els! Listen to me! I take it all back. You were right, I was wrong. Forgive me my child, and from this date forward let us together walk the paths of righteousness!"

HAS HE GOTTA SHOW FOR YOU! He, of course, is Dave Evans of the Navarro Store, Mendocino County's premier live music venue and impresario, all in one improbable place. Among other big-time acts appearing under the redwoods this summer, Dave is bringing us the Subdudes; Joe Louis Walker and the Boss Talkers; Robben Ford, the justly renowned guitar player, raised in Ukiah and now a fixture on the world music scene; the Jimmy Hendrix Revolution Tour, fully endorsed by the Hendrix family (ask Dave to tell you his Jimmy Hendrix story); and the LA Bonfire with their AC-DC tribute. (Dave's website is at

ALL OF THE ABOVE and Guy Kephart already at the grill, where Dave appeared last weekend and will appear throughout the year Fridays through Mondays, 11-4:30.

ANDERSON VALLEY CHIEF ANDRES AVILA on Measure V. First, Chief Avila told us that he thinks the fire hazard issue still needs more study. He points out that there may be an additional fire hazard and that the tree-killing chemicals used can be a problem, but "these kinds of fires are not entered, they're surrounded, fire lines are set." Ordinarily, firefighters are not directly exposed to the smoke. Accordingly, Avila doesn’t like that some advocates use the "safety of firefighters” in their arguments for the measure when not all firefighters are of a like mind about it. In fact, many are opposed for one reason or another. Avila agrees that the Albion situation is perilous, and a wider perimeter should be established between the dead trees and residential areas at Albion and any other area where there’s a residential neighborhood close to treated trees. Avila also agrees that MRC killed too many trees on too many acres too fast — especially if their main argument is that hack-n-squirt is good in the long-term.

AT EASE pot farmers. Those are PG&E helicopters flying low and slow as they inspect power lines, not aerial DEA observation posts. The power monopoly's aerial patrol is scheduled from roughly 8am to 5pm on Monday, May 23. Areas to be patrolled include: Little River/Albion, Ukiah/Talmage/Calpella, and Yorkville. "In addition, we are performing upgrades to and extending the height of some of our electric transmission towers in the rural area near Ukiah/Talmage. Crews will use a helicopter to transport equipment and the new tops of the towers to the existing towers where they will be installed. Helicopters are scheduled to be used June 2nd-5th."

RACIALLY PROFILING THE AB STAMPEDE, a reader notes: "While waiting for a ride to work at quarter to 7:00 in the morning for two days in a row 12 then 13 out of 15 cars that flew by were driven by Asians. Then on both days between downtown Philo and Greenwood Road, one then two times across a double yellow line was passed by Asian drivers in a big hurry. Usually the front seat passenger was slumped over asleep."

CALLED the County Office of Education on Monday to see if our hard-hitting lead educators had adopted a transgender bathroom policy, surely an issue likely to spawn many hundreds of leisurely donut hours as the issue is defined, re-defined, refined, in-serviced, round-tabled, paradigmed, consulted, curriculum-developed, excellenced, dedicated until someone says... "Hey, how many of these watchmacallits are there in the County, anyhow?" I see great fun ahead, and called the MCOE compound to kick off my amusement. But I called at three minutes after the noon hour and the brain trust was out to lunch (sic). Lunch is very important to these people. In fact, lunch just might be the purpose of the organization, the evident absence of any other tangible duties being as it is. Back in the day, the MCOE gang enjoyed a quite lavish spread prepared by their own on-grounds cooks, one of many perks enjoyed by the Talmage apparatus which, like Topsy, just keeps on growing, although it does not do a single thing that couldn't be done cheaper and better by the individual school districts of Mendocino County. A little known fact: The Terminator, when he served as Governor, tried to terminate the state department of education and the remaining county offices of education, recognizing that their full effect was to make education impossible. The edu-blob was too large and absolutely ferocious in its own defense, and Schwarzenegger was unable to off them, one of several right-on reforms he tried but failed to accomplish. Nobody called back from MCOE. They probably did a hurry-up, all hands in-service to conclude I was pranking them.

STEVE SPARKS explains the totally unnecessary hassle over adult use of the high school soccer field. It's been sensibly sorted out after much insensible hysteria about one fight, one cop called, some boorish adult behavior, and so on, but not any kind of big deal, especially in a community where there used to be fights every weekend, all weekend, all over central Boonville. Fly over to the Vulture's nest in this week's paper for the details.

NO BASEBALL STATS this week, but we can report that our undefeated Panthers have brushed Mendocino aside and this week only need to beat Point Arena in one of two games to proceed to the playoffs.

THE VALLEY CHAPTER of the Independent Career Women is holding an open house next Wednesday (25 May) at the Anderson Valley Brewery's tasting room, food provided, 6:30-8:30pm. Any woman interested in joining is invited and most welcome to attend. Consistent with the newly adopted federal gender guidelines, any male who feels like a woman next Wednesday night is also invited to attend.

A MUST ATTEND: Anderson Valley Farm Supply's annual Customer Appreciation Day, 8am-6pm, THIS Friday, May 20th. Great deals on lots of stuff, vendors and food from noon on.

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