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Valley People (July 27, 2016)


EVERYONE who knew John Hulbert is saddened at his passing. A rare son of the Anderson Valley who remained here all his life, John was a quiet, unfailingly pleasant man with a wonderful sense of humor. He was known to most of us through his work as Pac Bell's man in the Anderson Valley, the man you could call directly for help with our then-simple communication line to the outside world. John once owned the Boonville property I now call home. I had been meaning to call him to learn the history of the place only he could tell me about only to hear that he was gone. John's passing is the loss of a rare human archive of the history of this odd and unique place. My deepest condolences to the Hulbert family.

MONDAY BEGAN with a full-on Drug Task Force raid in the Peachland hills east of Highway 128. Non-drug property owners, among them families with small children, are very unhappy at the instability of their neighborhoods created by transient and, of course, armed growers. A midnight gun battle last month between would be dope thieves and the crew of a large-scale garden may have been the last straw for Peachland residents. "Get these people outta here!" was the way one resident put it, and it is mos def a consensus opinion — there, here and everywhere.

JOHN WOLFE, the man facing felony assault charges for attacking Ann Knight three weeks ago, has made bail and has returned to his Navarro home. Wolfe also faces the loss of his job at the Boonville Brewery where, we understand, management is discussing how to react to pressure to fire him. Since his case is pending, Wolfe, legally considered, is innocent until he is formally convicted.

ANOTHER SATISFIED CUSTOMER of the Yorkville Market. "I stopped on my way out of town Friday and got a delicious rueben sandwich. The "new" place is totally boffo! I was very impressed. Anyone who is heading in on 128 should know of this gem. I think the market could really benefit from a warning sign some distance to the south, to give unsuspecting drivers a chance to decide and pull in."

FIVE TRUSTEE SEATS are available on the Anderson Valley Cemetery District Board. Apply through our Community Services District office, Boonville.

CATCHING UP with the Coxes, the Rancho Navarro Coxes that is: Rebekah Cox Rocha just hired as the new Principal for the Cesar Chavez Language Academy, a new dual immersion charter school, Santa Rosa while her enterprising sister, Mary Anne Cox, is the new proprietor of the Driven Soul Fitness program for women in Ukiah and a co-founder of Fuel, a food and nutrition program.

KATHY COX, matriarch and long-time Spanish teacher at AVHS, returns to the classroom to teach Spanish 202 for the 1st semester and Spanish 203 in the 2nd. Mrs. Cox's students receive credits through Mendocino College and will receive enough credits to qualify for a minor in Spanish. Mrs. C will also teach 2 adult ESL classes at the AV adult school, one Beginner and one Intermediate level class.

THE PATRIARCH? He's writing his memoirs and doing lots of reading and corresponding with old friends.

ASHLEY JONES popped in Sunday afternoon to present us with one of his finely rendered abstracts. "A Pollock," I exclaimed like I know what I'm talking about. Next best thing, though, a Jones, and it has added much lively energy to our new office. Interesting man, Mr. Jones. A competitive swimmer at Stanford who became a Navy underwater demolition man with what became the Navy Seals. And he can paint.

LEMONS MARKET is the latest victim of one of these ridiculous "undercover" tobacco stings, hence the store's hurry-up cover over tobacco products. The authorities find an underage but innately corrupt kid to trot in to a neighborhood market for a pack of cigarettes. If the harried clerk at the register sells the smokes to the innately corrupt kid, the whole store is put through a bureaucratic wringer. Meanwhile, every kid in the County has unimpeded access to marijuana and probably half of them regularly smoke it. Not to mention unimpeded underage access to Cheetos, Moon Pies, Little Debbies, Fox News, and potato chips.

ON THE SUBJECT of our nation's future, how annoying is the ubiquitous thump-thump of big bass "music"? Morning to night in downtown Boonville, and often into the night. Something about its monotony seems to soothe the moronic breast. Of course it's also low-level aggression, undifferentiated, about which nothing can be done. Check that: Deputy Squires one glorious day many years before he retired simply opened the trunk of a rolling nuisance, ripped the guy's entire sound system out, and drove off with it.

THE AVA’S REPORT on Julia Brock’s Babcock-Rawles Graveyard presentation to the Historical Society missed a few things which we’re happy to add. The modest Ms. Brock was not the “leader” of the graveyard mapping project; she was the “presenter” and a member of a student team which not only measured and cataloged the graveyard but also did the mapping. The team included fellow students Mathis Weyrich, Tony Pardini, Hanna Cruz, Hugo Chavez, Raul Malfavon, Jacob Delgado and Rebekah Fennel. Also, it is not Ms. Brock’s Senior Project, although it could become one. Further, Tony Pardini was the student trained in mapping techniques by Colin Wilson, not Ms. Brock.

EUGENIA HERR WRITES: "I have been away for several months due to Richard's illness which required being close to various medical facilities. We have been home now for some time and have help in the house. Since this has been a new and difficult learning experience, I thought it might be good to pass some information on regarding this part of Aging in Place.

"WE HAVE FOUND an excellent agency that provides In-Home Care in Anderson Valley. Called Sequoia Senior Solutions, they serve Mendocino, Lake, Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties. When we first got home, we needed help round the clock. Now we have help for 10 hours a day, and will reduce that to 8 hours soon. The personnel who have worked for us are all competent, some are fantastic. They provide supervisory companionship, meal planning and prep, transportation, run errands, light housekeeping, and help with personal care such as bathing and grooming. They are not certified medical personnel, but our helpers do verbal guidance and demonstration of necessary physical, occupational, and speech and swallowing therapy.

"YOU CAN REACH the Ukiah office at 462-3227, for additional information about their interview and assessment process, or go on line to The Agency provides the vetting and scheduling of the employee, they pay the employee and handle all tax matters, they bill you for service and will provide time records to your physician….

"IMPROVED Senior care is one of the topics listed on the Anderson Valley Health Center's strategic plan. To find out what they have discussed, and what they intend, call your closest Board member or Kathy Cox who I believe chairs that committee effort. "

DAVE EVANS at the Navarro Store is looking for an experienced grill man. Dave stresses "experienced and personable grill man" to replace the experienced and personable Guy Kephart, who is now working full time as a glazier out of Ukiah. The multi-faceted Mr. K is hard pressed to do both.

THE EBULLIENT PROPRIETOR of the Navarro Store is also of course the gifted impresario who brings top drawer music performers to his stage under the redwoods. When I talked with him Monday morning, Dave could barely contain his enthusiasm for the August appearance of the legendary guitarist, Randy Hansen, described everywhere as "the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix." Dave exclaimed, "People are already calling me about Randy. They can't believe he's coming to Navarro." We're a couple of weeks away, but tickets are already on sale at 895-9444.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, and on the off chance you're interested, the public hearing for Nancy K. Donovan and Stephen J. Peters before the State Water Resources Control Board has been rescheduled. It apparently involves violation of a cease and desist order for diversion of "unnamed stream tributary to Maple Creek thence Rancheria Creek thence Navarro River. The hearing has been rescheduled for October 12, 2016.

MS NOTES: It appears that Donovan and Peters are owners of an eight acre Yorkville vineyard called “Lost Creek Vineyards.” They don’t appear to be an active vineyard since the website associated with that name and address says it’s owned by Stephen Petrucci. But it's typical of the Water Board to go after the small vineyard without much access to high-priced lawyers and engineers while ignoring massive diversions in the Ukiah Valley and at other grape venues in the Anderson Valley.

THE SORDID MATTER of Lorenzo Rodriguez has been put over a week. Rodriguez was shot by high school senior Bobby Kuny in April of this year as Rodriguez menaced his live-in girl friend and Bobby's mother, Lisa Kuny. Rodriguez faces a felony conviction for assault with a knife, criminal threats, drunk driving, driving without a license. He has lived in the Anderson Valley for nearly twenty years although he was deported several times and will almost certainly be deported again.

NAVARRO STORE FAN NOTE: "The good people are everywhere, and everywhere is here! The Navarro Grocery Store is an imaginary mindset which transforms you into a picnic aficionado; the quality of their in house freshly prepared sandwiches would make Alice in Wonderland extremely happy! There is even the most reasonable gas pump for Regular. Check this out: bring or buy a bottle of local wine, cheeses, breads, or freshly prepared sandwiches (of course, veggies are awesome here) and occupy one of the tables in the non Magic Mushroom setting with carved objects to delight your senses."

SPEAKING OF NAVARRO, we hope locals didn't associate the assault by Mr. Wolfe on Ann Knight with the AC/DC concert that night. The awful attack on Mrs. Knight occurred long after the music ended.

BUT NAVARRO endures as a troubled spot where The People Who Never Sleep roar about in vehicles of all sizes at all hours and generally make it difficult for the wonderful oasis of the Navarro Store to do business. There isn't room in the County Jail for misdemeanor quality-of-life offenders, so it just proliferates in this county and everywhere in the land. Not that I'm necessarily recommending it, but the time-tested "Comptche Visit" would seem to be in order here.

HOPE my friend and long-time neighbor, Wilma Brink, is ok. A full regiment of emergency services vehicles surrounded her home on Anderson Valley last week. When I called around to find out how she was doing, I got a full blast of "We're not at liberty…” How naive of me to cling to the long gone notion of the community we used to have here where the current well-being of friends and neighbors was assumed. Wherever you are, Wilma, we all hope you are well.

IT’S UNANIMOUS! Blackbird Ranch Expansion Proposal Sent Back To Drawing Board. After a lengthy meandering descriptive introduction from Planning Staff and four Blackbird representatives — which raised several new subjects that the public has not had an opportunity to review — everybody in the room besides the Blackbird people — including County staff and the Planning Commissioners — had good reasons to put off Blackbird's application to expand their “ranch” from a 38 person facility to a 292 person combo resort-group home-charter school facility at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting in Ukiah.

A PARADE of more than a dozen Anderson Valley people, most of them neighbors of the proposed Blackbird expansion, denounced the project for a wide range of reasons: size of the proposed expansion (almost as big as downtown Philo itself), traffic (students, guests, construction, service vehicles, etc.), road conditions, emergency access, water inadequacy, unanswered septic questions, non-habitability of yurts, comingling of “non-profit” “education” and for-profit resort activities, safety of guests, students, neighbors and animals, the unreliability of the applicant and their failure to deliver on earlier promises, their complicated and suspicious conglomerated corporate “non-profit” structure, the “sloppiness” of the County’s “mitigated negative declaration,” the incompatibility of the project with the rural characteristics of the area, the removal of a large number of acres from timber production to vineyard and resort use (the remote property overall is about 250 acres), the “disingenuousness” of their proposed methods of bringing students and guests to and from the facility, mistreatment and underpayment of worker-“interns,” misguided conversion of a private road to a public road, increased fire danger, lack of communications with neighbors and the public in general, crude and unsuccessful attempts at legal intimidation of neighbors (“we’re not stupid” was uttered several times), lack of analysis of the many impacts the project will have, unfairness of the loose permit terms compared to strict rules imposed on neighboring facilities, nuisance generation, deed restrictions on nearby roads not taken into account, inadequate definition of the project and its various stages and lack of benchmarks over the seven year proposed project period, lack of adequate access to medical care, inadequate parking, potential impact on endangered species in area, and the general lack of any support for the project from the community.

UPSHOT: Send the project back to the Planning Department for “refinement” and bring it back to the Planning Commission again perhaps in December. (See this week's front-pager by David Severn)

NEITHER OF ANDERSON VALLEY UNIFIED'S new principals have yet to be confirmed by the School Board, but rubber stamps are poised while I say, preliminarily, "Wow!" And, "These two hires promise to make school business more interesting than it's been since the Wobbling Eagle regime."

OUR likely new Elementary School Principal was briefly famous a few years ago for an obituary she wrote in the Reno Gazette-Journal for her mother. Let's say most moms aren't remembered in quite the same way. I must say I admire the lady's prose style, and how often can you say a school bureaucrat even has a style? I sure hope Ms. Katherine Reddick is confirmed as Elementary School principal.

THE UNCONFIRMED new principal for Boonville High School is Keri St Joer. He seems to be about 60 and, according to his Facebook and LinkedIn pages, a political brother. (Yeah, yeah. Takes one to know one. Our guy grew up in the Modesto area of Stanislaus County. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 where he studied political science and Spanish. After a few teaching jobs he settled for 12 years as the Spanish teacher at Antelope Valley Union High School in northern L.A. County. He was a school administrator and principal in Alaska from 2009-13. For two years (2013-15) after that he was the principal at Frazier High School in the El Tejon USD - south of Bakersfield. (The town was 20% Hispanic.) Last year he was the Assistant Principal at South San Francisco High School, with a student body of 1500 of which 52% were Hispanic.

(CAN WE ASSUME both new hires speak Spanish?)

ST. JOER is an admirer of crypto-fascist Anne Coulter and, in 2012, he wrote of abortion: "This is really just an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. A woman always has a choice. She can choose to sleep with a man or not. Once she makes the choice to sleep with him, now she wants to avoid the consequences of that choice," adding, "the same thing can be said of AIDS. They want to choose to live a promiscuous lifestyle but avoid the consequences of that choice.”

PLUNK this guy down in the big vat of impenetrably smug lib-labism in which all of Mendocino County floats, especially its school people, and by golly I hope St. Joer gets hired, too.

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