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Valley People (July 13, 2016)

JUDY WAGGONER expects to be back in her Navarro home this week after a prolonged Santa Rosa hospital stay to recover from the consequences of severe diabetes. Daughter Lisa Kuny writes: "She is doing well, still in Santa Rosa hospital recovering. She has been through alot the last 3 weeks, it has been very tough on her. For any of you that truly know my mother, you know that she has a sense of humor like no other, she uses that to bring herself out of the deepest most troublesome situations and in the meantime make sure that she is making people around her laugh as well. The nurses and doctors there love her, her strong attitude and pure love for everyone. Great news is, she will be getting out as soon as Tuesday... and be going to a Rehab Assisted Living in Ukiah. I dont know which one yet, but as soon as I do I will post, because I know that there are quite a few of her true friends that will take the time to see her….

UGLY ASSAULT Friday night in Navarro following the AC/DC tribute band concert at the Navarro Store when John Wolfe viciously assaulted Anne Knight. Wolfe and Mrs. Knight are neighbors in Navarro and both have worked at the Boonville Brewery where Wolfe is still employed. After viciously striking Mrs. Knight with enough force to push her teeth through her lip, injuring her so severely she was carried by the Anderson Valley Ambulance to hospital in Ukiah where it took 14 stitches to close her wound. Locals who witnessed Wolfe's attack were so angered that the alarmed Wolfe fired warning shots in the air to warn off the crowd before fleeing into nearby woods. There remains much threatening talk among Navarro residents that the assailant "better not come back here." Wolfe turned himself in Saturday morning to Deputy Craig Walker and, as of Tuesday, remains in the Mendocino County Jail.


WE DON'T KNOW WOLFE. He's a new name to us in a community now so fluid that people can live here for several years, as is the case with Wolfe, and still not be known beyond their immediate work and social circle. Used to be we were much more of a community in that we all knew each other or at least knew of each other. Wolfe's assault on Mrs. Knight, a grandmother, could easily have killed her. We assume the DA will prosecute Wolfe for the full felony assault he's charged with, and not some kind of plea deal where the charge is reduced to misdemeanor battery.

AS OF PRESS TIME, Wolfe was still confined at the Mendocino County Jail on $30,000 bail. His book photo has not been posted on the Sheriff's website.

RECOMMENDED READING: "Slave to the Vine" by Darren Delmore, a frequent contributor to this newspaper. Young Mr. D has toiled in both branches of Mendocino County's thriving intoxicant industries, wine and marijuana. Available from your local bookstore and, of course, the Amazon octopus.

ODD TO SEE the garish No Trespassing sign affixed to the front gate of the AVA's old home on Anderson Valley Way. For many years we welcomed everyone and anyone through our purely decorative gates, including a small number of people we wish we'd headed off on Anderson Valley Way, short of our driveway. Now this. Truth to tell, I tried to buy the place back when it came up for sale last year but got out-bid by the present owners, whoever they are. It's a problem parcel, for a fact, but as the creator of the problems I was not intimidated by them, adjusted to them over the years, lived with them. Well, heck, the city people who bought it are welcome to call on me, but I sure wish they'd take down that nutty, unneighborly, unwelcoming sign.

OUR PRELIMINARY REVIEW of the Blackbird Ranch expansion plans, and their "Mitigated Negative Declaration" at the old Highland Ranch deep in the hills west of Philo, reveals at least three significant areas that need much more attention before any permit is granted. In fact, a partial EIR appears to be required because emergency ingress/egress over the narrow Shenoa Bridge could block people trying to evacuate in an emergency while at the same time blocking emergency vehicles coming in from the opposite direction.

ALSO, the preliminary mitigated negative declaration says almost nothing about what the water and sewer systems will look like at full build-out. The Blackbird operation is going from a residential capacity of 36 to a much larger capacity of 292, which means water and sewer systems need major upgrades. Yet the EIR says nothing about septic systems, and for water it simply says that the Blackbird project needs a sign off from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. There's nothing indicating where the water will come from, if there's enough (the plans include a large commercial kitchen), and what the water quality is. Anybody else wanting this large an increase in capacity would have to submit full plans and specs about how water and sewer systems will be enlarged to handle the large increase in transient accommodations.

IN ADDITION, the methods of making sure the recommended mitigations and upgrades are actually conducted are in many cases limited to simple notification of the relevant County office. There's no specific schedule, no specific description of the nature of the mitigations (most having to do with road quality and width) and minimal enforcement mechanisms.

THERE’S ALSO NO MENTION of the obvious cumulative traffic impact of pending development at neighboring “resorts” such as the former Shenoa. Taken together with the large capacity increase at Blackbird, the traffic on rural Ray's Road will represent a major safety hazard for the many families and children living along that road.

NARROW, lightly-traveled, rural residential roads have been protected against far less intrusive schemes than that proposed by Blackbird.

IN SUM, the "mitigated negative declaration" has some big holes in it and the project needs to be significantly reconsidered to make sure the holes are filled.

BLACKBIRD is reached two ways: off Greenwood Road and via Ray's Road in the heart of Philo. Ray's Road is County-maintained until the motorist reaches a year-round, one-lane bridge. As mentioned, in an emergency, this bridge could quickly become a lethal bottleneck. We don't pretend to speak for local people on this matter, but we think the County should compel Blackbird to use Greenwood Road for access rather than be allowed to radically increase traffic along the heavily populated (by rural standards) Ray's Road.

A DECADE or so ago, I often walked the Ray's Road Bridge when it was a swinging footbridge. Then, when some multi-bucks or other built the year-round bridge that spans that section of the Navarro, I walked it some more with my late dog, Roscoe-Cough. One afternoon, R-C and I were about mid-span when a sleek black Buick appeared just to our rear. A horn rudely honked and the sedan pulled along side of us. An older woman glared at us and buzzed her window down. "You are trespassing!" she spat. "So?" I replied. "Get off this bridge right now," she said. I said, "If you promise to take care of my dog I'll jump if it would make you any happier." Having made her stand for the sanctity of private property, up went the old bat's window and off she flew. I assumed she was grandma to the mogul who built the bridge, but it was about that time that I fully realized a different kind of person was now dominant in the Anderson Valley, a money person with no sense of anything except maybe more money and a desire to prevent us unwashed from enjoying the natural beauty of our home ground.

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