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Valley People (Jun 29, 2016)

IT WAS SO HOT today I saw a dog chasing a cat — and they were both walking. —Johnny Carson

AS OF MONDAY, June 27th all outdoor burning except for campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property with landowner permission is banned. We're all invoking our mightiest mojo to prevent the big fires we avoided last year in Mendocino County, which seems even drier at the end of June than it was at the end of last June at this time.

BOONVILLE POLLING STATION volunteer, Kathleen McKenna, writes: "Provisional ballots are issued to 2 types of voters: those who are not registered in our precinct and those who are registered but are permanent vote-by-mail (VBM) voters and do not have their ballots. At the recent primary election in Boonville we had 39 provisional voters and most of these were of the permanent vote-by-mail type. Voters registered in the Boonville precinct (500005), who would rather vote at the polls instead of getting a ballot in the mail, can change their VBM status 3 ways. 1. Call the Elections Office (234-6819) and request a registration form. 2. Register online at 3. The back page of the sample ballot that arrives about 6 weeks before the election has a postcard form to request VBM status. This form can also be used to change back to regular status. There is no box to indicate such, but just write a note indicating your preference and mail.

SEEMS TO ME there was an election earlier this month. What happened? Anybody out there know the results? Oh, the votes haven't been counted yet? This is nuts, even by Mendo standards. (See Mike Kalantarian's open letter to the Supervisors this week.) Ah, Mendocino County, a permanent feast of misrule, as someone said of misrule on a much grander scale.

BACK IN THE DAY, the County's politically interested — left, right and center, center especially — would gather on election night in the County Courthouse. As the vote was tallied, a lady from the County Clerk's office would tally the numbers on a big chalkboard in the lobby. The vote was in by midnight, and we all had a grand time visiting and discussing the results as they were tabulated. Tabulated with a piece of chalk on a big chalkboard. Now, in the age of electronic miracles, we still don't have the results from an election the first week in June! What has happened?

THE KUNY REPORT. Logger Dan is confident he'll be back in the woods some time in August after the woods almost killed him in May. "I feel pretty good," Dan said during our visit last Wednesday. "My ribs are pretty much healed, my shoulder is ok, it's only my ankle now." That ankle, crushed when the nearly fatal tree fell on Dan, is encased in a flexible new walkable cast. "I went to the weight room for the first time since the accident the other day. Did my reps with ten pounders. I felt pretty good afterwards, but about 3am I woke up sore as hell. I've got a ways to go to get back in shape." A committed weights guy since he was a kid, doctors told Dan it was his conditioning regimen that saved him. His body was strong enough to prevent damage to his internal organs. The doctors were surprised that Dan was 61 years old. "They told me if I hadn't been in real good shape I'd be dead."

THE JUNGLE-QUALITY growth behind Shorty Adams house in Boonville understandably worries the venerable Adams and his family, especially given the prevailing drought conditions. If a fire got going between Highway 128 and Anderson Creek, as it has several times in the past, once burning Shorty's garage and an antique car housed there, well, Shorty, is 87 and at an age where he shouldn't have to worry about dire possibilities of the preventable type. The Adamses wanted to clear the growth themselves at no charge to the jungle's owner, Mike Shapiro, whose bordering property is a menacing combination of ancient orchard, tall, dry grass and miscellaneous shrubs whose tentacles are threatening to engulf Shorty's modest dwelling. Shapiro, himself at an age where venerable is not mis-applied, has responded to the Adams' offer to clear the brush to a standard fire safe hundred foot clearance with the following, which has left the Adams nonplussed:

AGREEMENT: This is an agreement between Michael Shapiro and Alton ‘Shorty’ Adams. This agreement covers the mowing/cutting of brush/clearing between the back of the property owned by Adams and the property owned by Shapiro. This agreement allows a one-time access to Adams or those employed by Adams to conduct such brush removal. The removal is limited to a swath 8 to 10 feed wide and no more. Adams or those employed by Adams are responsible for removing all debris from the brush removal; it is not to remain on Shapiro property. This agreement does not allow for any future maintenance of this swath and grants no other access to Adams or those employed by him. If any claims arise in the future Adams will pay for legal fees and costs associated with those claims.” (Blank Signature blocks for Michael Shapiro and Alton ‘Shorty’ Adams)

IF YOU'RE WONDERING why our fire authority doesn't intervene, they say they can't because Shapiro doesn't have a structure on his property bordering Shorty's the 100-foot clearance rule doesn't apply. Which sounds to me the narrow-est possible interpretation of fire safety but, as the young people say, Whatever.


INCIDENTALLY, Marin County amended their fire code in 2012 to stipulate that neighbors have to keep their property fire safe. In other words, in Marin, it’s 100 feet period, in obvious recognition that fire does not recognize property lines.

WILDLIFE NOTES, A READER WRITES: "About 10:00 I get a call from Boonville where a guy has been observing an abandoned baby squirrel all day, and that the mother hasn't returned for it. I swear to myself and tell the guy to bring the squirrel to my house. We nursed the little cutie all night with syringes of Pedialite, and he perked right up. Next day, I come to find out that there is NO official wild animal rescue service in Mendocino County whatsoever. I'm told this by Sonoma County folks who are trying to take up the slack. "Little Chipper" lucked out because the Sonoma County Wild Bird Rescue folks were in Hopland at Real Good's 20th anniversary event. They kindly took Chipper to the mammal rescue people in Sonoma County, where he will be raised until he's old enough to be released back into the wild. Yet again, I'm amazed that in a county such as this, there would be no organized group of crazy animal people who would jump at the chance to take on the care of injured/baby/abandoned critters. I did speak to one woman who is in the process of forming a non-profit in the county for this purpose, so maybe this will happen sometime in the future."

THE LATE LEE REYNOLDS of the Holmes Ranch was the local go-to person for wounded animals. I remember visiting Lee's hilltop aerie one day when she was nursing a broke-wing crow, a baby owl, a fawn, and a raccoon. But the writer is correct: presently there is no sanctioned injured animal person or facility anywhere in Mendocino County.

COPPER-METH-MONTE: "On 06-16-2016 at about 1:30 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were informed of a copper wire theft occurring within the last several weeks from a closed lumber mill building in Philo...." Etc.

THE MILL SITE is now owned by Gary Island, who also owns the perennially thriving lath mill across the street. Monte Rose, 43, of Philo and, lately, Manchester, had been seen at the mill by people who have known him for many years, and also know that Monte has battled methamphetamine addiction for a long time, battles he has often won battle only to lose the war. He's a much sought after mill worker and, for years, had stayed sober and employed only to relapse several months ago.

LONG, SAD STORY SHORT: Monte, who knows everything about mills and their machinery, stripped the presently non-working mill of "several hundred pounds" of its copper wiring, which he promptly sold over the hill in Ukiah, so close to the scene of his crime that, several days after the original theft, when Monte returned to the metal recycling yard to sell more stolen copper wire, Sheriff's deputies, hot on his trail, quickly corralled Monte in the WalMart parking lot about a mile away "with numerous stolen scraps of copper wire in his vehicle.


"ROSE," the Sheriff's press release says, "was also found in possession of a concealed revolver with ammunition. Deputies observed Rose exhibiting symptoms of illicit drug usage, evaluated him and determined he was under the influence of a controlled substance. A criminal history check revealed Rose was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. Rose was arrested for grand theft, being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Rose was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail."


BAIL set this low means Monte will do a few months in the County Jail while the owner of the inoperable mill, Mr. Island, is left to ponder his undoubtedly irrecoverable losses.

GENE HERR objects to the proposed Brambles project in the redwood grove on Indian Creek adjacent to The Madrones complex in Philo:

"WILL removal of acreage zoned available for (other than transient) housing help or hurt Philo? What plans will be required for sewage/septic? How much water will be required and what will the source be? What traffic and parking plans will be required? What type of jobs will be generated? What occupation density will be allowed? Could the same type of planning be used to develop clustered housing with increased density for AV residents in Philo? Does this project fit the goals and objectives of the AV community specific plan? Can a request for rezone/amend General Plan for Philo translate into an opportunity to complete the long-delayed zoning ordinance, with community specific plans for Philo?"

FRED TARR replies for the County: "Ms. Herr: The project that you are inquiring about is located on Indian Creek just North of the County Park. The applicants have requested a General Plan Land Use Amendment of 8 +/- acres from RR-5 (Rural Residential-5 acre minimum) to RC (Rural Community) and a rezoning of 12+/- acres from RC (Rural Community) to C-2: CR (General Commercial: Contract). The applicants would like to, ultimately, develop a "rustic retreat" on the property that would include 16 units for short-term rent. The units would be either cabins, bungalows, or pole houses. They would also like to be able to develop an event center, restaurant, and possibly a small retail building. If the rezoning of the property to C-2: CR is approved, the proposed use as of Transient Habitation-resort and recreational facilities would be permitted as long as certain conditions were met. Any future development of the property would require further biological surveys and mitigation measures to protect the riparian habitat areas of Indian Creek and its tributary as well as protection to the groves of redwood forest, the red alder forest and the small stand of Douglas fir trees. The applicants would also need to provide for a 50 foot setback from the property line on State Hwy 128 so that the future development would be shielded from traffic on Hwy 128 and the applicants would have to work with Caltrans to provide for safe ingress and egress to the property. The General Plan Land Use Amendment request and the Rezoning request are tentatively scheduled to be considered by the Planning Commission on August 18, 2016 and would be considered by the Board of Supervisors in the fall. The staff report should be posted on-line in early August...."

SHORT of federal initiative and the funding that would have to come with it, housing for everyday working people is unlikely anywhere in the country, let alone unrepresented Philo. Anderson Valley is now a high-end tourist destination, hard as that obvious fact is for some of us to reconcile ourselves to. Myself, I like what Roberts has done at The Madrones. He does things nice, and his proposed project described above will, I'm sure, also be done nice. Easy, Eugenia, easy big girl.

MARSHALL NEWMAN WONDERS, "Why did the coyote cross the road? I’m not sure, but it did; Highway 128 near Peachland, Friday at about 9am. A big one, too. I’ve encountered coyotes in AV’s back country in recent years, but never one on the local thoroughfare in broad daylight."

I ONCE enjoyed an interesting stand-off with a coyote in the wilderness across the street from my old house on Anderson Valley Way. I was at one end of a culvert, the coyote at the other. We stared at each other for several minutes without either of us moving. I had the distinct feeling the cunning little critter was laughing at me. I understood then why the Indians considered them magical creatures.


Happy for summer and June rain!

  • Strawberries, Santa Rosa Plums,
  • Walla Walla Onions, Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash
  • First Peppers and Sungold tomatoes!
  • Sunflowers & culinary herbs

We now have alcohol free gasoline at the small engine shop.

Blue Meadow Farm, 3301 Holmes Ranch Rd, Philo 707-895-2071

HEAVY METAL FANS! The famous AC/DC  tribute band, Bonfire, will be in Navarro, Friday, July 8th, 6pm. Impresario Dave Evans assures us "they'll rock your socks off!" It should by now go without saying that Dave and Navarro Store Presents, is Mendocino County's premier live music venue.


CALEB SILVER, born and raised in Boonville, was in court Monday at Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg. Caleb is accused of murdering Dennis Boardman in Dennis's Fort Bragg home earlier this year. (Dennis's body was discovered January 2nd.) Caleb had grown up with Dennis when Dennis lived on the same Redwood Ridge property west of town.

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