ANDERSON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL graduation is Thursday night, 7pm, at the high school gym. Expect a full house and, we hope, a cool evening. We finally extorted the graduation pictures from mysterious high school procedures, and now hope we've managed to place the correct name with the right person. We know some of the grads, but having been out of the teen loop for a couple generations now, a number of the young people are new to us.
MENDO LUCKED OUT last fire season, and I hope we luck out again. But it's already real dry out there. The rain we had this past winter didn't soak in because, I guess, the five previous years of low rain had hung the land out to dry and forgotten for five years to bring it in.
AS GENTLEMAN GEORGE HOLLISTER, the Comptche logger put the fire danger, "Once a fire gets going it doesn't matter how many dead trees are out there on MRC land. Once it gets going anywhere near the Coast it'll burn all the way to Ukiah." George is probably right. The last big fire was when, 1934? I was also intrigued by an historical tidbit George dropped on me; he said that back in the day farmers let their cows graze in the redwood forests, that the cows ate the shoots of non-commercial tree species before they could crowd out baby redwoods. Maybe MRC could buy a herd or two.
VIOLET RENICK has got to be among Anderson Valley's most vivid personalities, if not the most vivid. She is for a fact the sole remaining Valley citizen born and raised here to Native American parents who themselves were the last native people in The Valley who spoke the ancient language and knew the ancient ways. Although Violet now lives on the Pinoleville rez she still rightly considers herself a resident of Anderson Valley, a literal native of the Anderson Valley. Last weekend Violet returned as guest speaker at the Spirit Weavers gathering at Camp Navarro where, from all accounts, Violet's riveting stories of the original people she descends from was the highlight of the festivities.
JOHN LEWALLEN REMINDS US.... "Land of Frozen Laughter" Opening at Gallery Bookshop June 10
Dear friend, Barbara and I would love to see you at the new book opening of "Land of Frozen Laughter," my report on two years in the Vietnam War, a completely unique view of the war and culture exactly as I wrote it in 1969. The event is at the beautiful Gallery Bookshop in the Village of Mendocino, Friday, June 10, at 6:30 p.m. Barbara is preparing seaweed snacks from the Land of Delightful Laughter! I'll read and comment on passages from the book, and invite all to discuss its relevance to today's wars, returning veterans, and the worldwide efforts for Peace Conversion. Heartfelt thanks for the people at Gallery Books who, as you can see from their announcement, understand me and the peace work we are doing with the book.
COACH KUNY on the mend. I stopped by the Kuny home in Ukiah last Wednesday to find the patient in good spirits, his ribs much less painful, his vertebrae back where they should be, the bruises that covered his entire upper torso fading fast. His most troublesome medical problem is his crushed ankle, presently being held together with a virtual hardware store of screws and bolts. The 61-year-old logger is anxious to get back to work in the woods where a falling tree he thought was fixed in place suddenly fell, crushing the unsuspecting Kuny. Logger Dan has a long road to recovery, and a tsunami of doctor and hospital bills to pay. The rescue helicopter ride out of the mountains was not covered by Reach or Calstar, although the Kunys belong to both. This guy has given the Anderson Valley community many thousands of hours of volunteer work. Whatever you can spare for him can be directed to: https://www.gofundme.com/24jaj55w
RIVER WATCH. The Navarro River has been steadily dropping. While hanging a bit below median flow rates it is certainly doing better than this time last year. Baby ducks are swimming with their moms, frogs and turtles occasionally plop into the water. I spotted a baby turtle about an inch in diameter on the rock beside the Shenoa swimming hole. The water is still cool but the algae is starting to come on. Not many fish this year even though there seem to be plenty of depressions in the gravel river bottom that appear to be the fish nests known as redds. Redds up Indian Creek were spotted by a neighbor with two lamprey eels nearby so maybe those that I see are eel nests as well and not steelhead or salmon. Lampreys have been rarely spotted the last few years and this makes me wonder if the babies I found last year in the azolla under the Philo/Greenwood Road bridge have grown into a comeback surge for that species.
JEFFREY SKOLL'S river pump at Shenoa was humming away Monday morning. It's a mystery why he needs all that water for a non-functional, dormant enterprise. And for some reason he had the section of a road that parallels the river bulldozed wider in a truly haphazard and environmentally deviant manner.
UPSTREAM, Wentzel is set up and probably pumping. Timothy Mullins of Balo has taken a little less than an acre/foot out of Indian Creek this past month. Jack Cakebread has refilled the "Big Dig" pond that was drained, supposedly by vandalism a couple of weeks ago. I believe that amounts to about 35 acre/feet of water that disappeared.
IN MY NECK of the woods — Ray's Road — there seems to be more fox and considerably fewer turkeys and quail which makes sense. And everywhere it is still truly verdant. (David Severn)
KATHRYN PORTER, white courtesy telephone please. Ms. Porter, of the Anderson Valley Way Kathryn Porters, the editor of Boonville's beloved community weekly urgently needs to speak with you. Please call 895-3016 at your earliest convenience.
NOT TO PICK ON THE GUY, but Anderson Valley's most intriguing winemaker, Kelly Boss, has successfully made a deal with DA Eyster to trade a big cash fine for a misdemeanor or two. In May, 2014 Boss owned two parcels - 14 acres on Cameron Road in Elk, and 20 acres on Chardonnay Lane in Philo in the Holmes Ranch subdivision. There were combined mortgage payments of $13,000 per month on the properties. For six months prior to his big bust by the County Drug Task Force, Boss's monthly PG&E bills were averaging $4,500. During the subsequent raids on Boss's two properties, $31,111 in cash was seized along with processed and packaged bud. Another $8,100 in cash was found in another building stuffed in a manila envelope. In a downstairs laundry area, a rotating bookshelf was found, concealing a steel door leading to a hidden drying room many more pounds of dope were found.
ENCOURAGING to see the stop and start work on the Live Oak building back in start mode. Live Oak's first rehab began back in the 1970s when a couple by the name of Humphrey bought the long dormant old garage. I believe Humphreys hired the late Wayne Ahrens to paint the eye-catching oak tree on the building's front facade. I always thought Wayne's painting defined the structure, gave it a vivacity it otherwise lacked.
SPEAKING of central Boonville architecture, an uncomfortable number of locals have asked me, "What the hell are you doing with your property next to the Redwood Drive-In? You've always been quick to comment on everyone else's buildings and here you come with, of all things, some kind of industrial-strength trailer right on our main drag!"
I WONDER if you rubes are familiar with the concept of Work In Progress, aware that Rome wasn't built in a day and that even the most unsightly lily can be gilded to look real purty? You watch, you just watch you scoffers, as that site is gradually transformed into one of the great, small beauty spots in all Mendocino County! At this time next year, the weekend tourist flow will be slowing to catch its breath at the pure Edenic splendor of this newspaper's last stand, its final resting place, repository of Mendocino County's true history, and a must see rivaling any in all of the Anderson Valley, and I expect every single one of you premature critics to be crawling through the concertina security wire and on up to my desk to say, "We don't like petunias. Can you do roses or something more interesting?"
INTERESTING? Did he say, "interesting"? If you happen to be out on the Mendocino coast the rest of June, you will definitely want to have a look at Virginia Sharkey's far more than interesting "Yosemite Paintings" at the Partners Galley, 335 North Franklin, Fort Bragg. The kid can paint!
MAJOR EXCITEMENT for me Tuesday night when a friend invited me over to see a pair of Great Horned Owls. I've heard them, or at least thought I've heard them, but have never seen one, probably because I didn't know that they don't come out until it's just about dark. But these two suddenly materialized at the tops of two trees not far from where I was perched with a pair of my friend's super binoculars.
THEY WERE BIGGER than I'd expected, and even in the dying light, I got a long look at their majestic vigilance as they patiently surveilled the freshly cut field before them, a banquet of scurrying nocturnal creatures.
MY FRIEND said she'd seen this mom and pop pair airlift jack rabbits up, up and eternally away and worried for her cats, which she'd placed securely indoors well prior to the arrival of the Great Horned ones, potential cat-nappers. "The owls are out here every night about this time. I just can't even think about them carrying off my cats." My informant explained that the owls drop silently on their prey from the sky, landing with such force with their lethal talons that their prey is dead before it knows what hit it.
I WAS WONDERING about the carrying capacity of these avian menaces — surely a cat, unlike a rabbit, wouldn't go peacefully — when a murder of crows broke out crying, well, "Murder!" Tucked away in some odd vault in what's left of my memory I knew big gatherings of crows were called 'murders.' I couldn't remember why, though, and now I knew. "It's the owls. The crows are massing to drive off the owls."
THE CROWS were massed all right. There must have been a hundred of them cawing away in an alarmed chorus. The owls had disappeared, and I couldn't blame them. "They'll be back," my friend said. "They're up in those two trees every night."
THE NAME of the male person written up on the CHP's traffic "incident" page has still not been revealed. A vehicle containing mystery man careened off the Ukiah-Boonville Road last Friday about 4:15pm near mile marker 5.4. The Anderson Valley Fire Department & Ambulance, as well as CalFire, quickly appeared on-scene. The CHP called it a "traffic collision with major injuries." A man, who'd been headed to Boonville, had climbed from his wreckage some thirty feet off the south side of the road and was standing by the side of the road when the emergency people arrived. He was transported to UVMC by ambulance with "a head laceration."
CONGRATULATIONS to Michelle Hutchins, principal/superintendent at AV Unified who is now superintendent alone, meaning our school district is looking for two principals — one at the high school, one at the junior high where Lura Vieira is leaving her principal job for a position with the Fort Bragg Middle School.
SHERIFF ALLMAN WRITES: "Ok Mental Health Warriors, I need your help. We are getting very close to having 2,502 signatures of Mendocino County Registered voters. I need to do a final push so we can was this up in two weeks. If you accept my challenge, please send me a PM with your address and I will mail you a petition to sign and return. Each petition can take 10 signatures, but you don't have to fill it up. I will mail you a petition with a return envelope. Can you help? We have almost 2,000 signatures. You can make a huge difference."
SONYA NESCH, long-time mental health advocate fleshes out the Sheriff's proposal: "If the Sheriff’s Initiative passes, we can take care of people locally who need inpatient treatment for psychiatric and substance use disorders. This will mean high quality, immediate and ongoing treatment support, AND good jobs for local people. This also offers a good reason for Mendocino College to offer 1 and 2-year Psychiatric Technician Programs at both Coast and Inland campuses. We envision Integrated Treatment with both conventional and alternative treatments that include: acupuncture, neurofeedback to teach self-regulation of brain function, cranio-sacral, neuromuscularskeletal integration, mindfulness and more."
KZYX and the paper chase. I think these seemingly perpetual document requests of KZYX's new management are unfair. And un-chronological because the problems the paper chasers are chasing began under the previous management which, of course, was not only incompetent, but like all incompetent regimes high and low, insanely secretive. The station's new director, Ms. Dechter, has made it clear the files are available to anyone who cares to look. She's picking up the pieces left to her from the nearly fatal Coate-Aigner years. I say give her some time, some breathing room.
BRUCE McEWEN on the meth scourge: "The trailer park reserved for Seniors on North Main Street, Ukiah, used to be one of the most enviable retirement spots in Ukiah for elderly folk of limited means. But since Prop. 47 it has become an un-guarded prison yard, w/ thuggish dope addicts and dealers ruling the erstwhile quiet boulevards, and peaceful roads for wheelchairs. Where it was once all about Meals on Wheels it’s now meth on wheels and get outta the way, you old fool! The dealers put up “Neighborhood Watch” signs, and co-opt the Rule of the Park, and anybody who doesn’t like meth can go hang…! Thank you, "progressive" Governor Brown and Lt. Guv. Newsome! Come on back home and see how y’all like it. The parolees and probationers know the old folks can’t stand up to them physically and so they’ve moved in and taken over, bullying the old people making “suggestions” about maybe kicking down some cans, maybe some spare change, eh, old man– whaddaya say? — and keep yer mouth shut about the meth, you old chump – Or Die!
THE AV HOUSING ASSOCIATION’S BIG BBQ BENEFIT is this Sunday from 3-7pm at the Navarro Ranch (Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn’s vineyard) at 5801 Highway 128 in Navarro. Ribs by Chef Olie Erickson and appetizers, chili, salad, etc. by chef Jared Titus plus local beer and wines and a silent auction. Live music by Joe Blow. $35 for adults. Sponsored by the AV Lions Club. For more info and tickets call Angela DeWitt at 707 895-3525.