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Valley People (Sep 14, 2016)

THE ANDERSON VALLEY mourns the loss of Frank Wyant, a prominent member of our community for many years. A full obituary will appear next week.

BAD NEWS for downtown Boonville. All That Good Stuff is closing and having a Going Out Of Business Sale. Claudia Jiminez writes: “This is Claudia from All That Good Stuff. I'm going out of business and having a big sale for the rest of September 30. Everything must go, from Halloween to Christmas items to everyday gifts and all our gifts and greeting cards. All 30% off!”

THE ZINNIAS are up, the pennants are flying, the Fair Grounds are bustling — the best little country fair in all the land commences Friday in Boonville. The Boonville newspaper will display a photographic collage called “The Faces of Mendocino County,” and certain to be the talk of the weekend, if not a blue ribbon winner.

POINT ARENA couldn’t field a team last Friday night so the game with host Anderson Valley was a No Show. But this Friday night Laytonville is coming to town to take us on in the Apple Bowl Game, always a big Fair weekend attraction. Kick-off at 7pm.

YES, YES! Boonville's beloved community newspaper is also throwing its annual open house Fair weekend, which is next weekend, which would be the weekend that begins Friday the 16th of September. Stop by our new office in the middle of town. Can't miss it. A very cool industrial trailer set in a set of old fashioned macadam. Stop in and say Hello. Bob Dempel of Hopland was a recent visitor. Bob walked through the door and exclaimed, "By the goddess I think I've died and gone to heaven." Coming from Hopland, the old guy is easily impressed, but we're anxious to know what you think. Not really, but do stop in. We'll be laying out the Cheese Whiz and crackers on Saturday, but you're welcome any time all weekend.


Community Church Service

September 18th 2016, 8:30 AM

Apple Hall Auditorium, next to the Fair Office

Pastor Dave Kooyers from Valley Bible Fellowship will present:

Why Does The Gospel Of John Not Use The Word “Pray”?

Free admission/Everyone Welcome

Please come and worship with us, and then enjoy the fair for the rest of the day.

For additional information please feel free to call Pastor Dave Kooyers, (707) 895-2325.

AS MORE of our fellow citizens fall through the cracks, we have a family here in the Anderson Valley that has fallen through the cracks in the cracks clear out onto the street. This latter-day Joad family is camping out under a strip of redwoods not far from the Navarro Store. The family has roots in Navarro. Dad grew up here, graduated from Anderson Valley High School. His family owned a place at Rancho Navarro where they lived for years before moving to Los Angeles. Now the son is back with his family but without a legal place for him and, neighbors say, his raucous brood, to stay. So the family is squatting in unsightly and presumably unhealthy conditions among a narrow strip of redwoods beside Highway 128. The children are enrolled in the Boonville schools where they are said to be good students. Mom and Dad work but are under-employed. The older children work, too. But even with a regular income, there are zero affordable rentals anywhere in the Anderson Valley. Our neo-vagabonds won't be able to stay where they are for much longer, and won't want to stay where they are when the rains start. What can be done? Someone with a back forty might step up, but that's unlikely given the givens of this particular situation. County Fairgrounds here in Boonville?  Dimmick? Stay tuned.

THERE ARE FARM STANDS and then there’s Velma’s Farm Stand on Anderson Valley Way, a little architectural gem of a place with fresh produce as beguiling as its surroundings.


tebbutt farm stand

WE JUST GOT a refund check from the County via our local school district. You might be due some money back, too, if you've recently paid "developer fees" to get your building permit. The fee is calculated on an assumption that housing units mean more children enrolled in the local schools. But the local school population has not grown. Families are not moving into the Anderson Valley because there's no land at anything like affordable prices to build on. No new families, no new students, no developer fee.

BUT TO GET a building permit, Planning and Building checks the paid box for developer fees. And Planning and Building will not issue a permit until the fees have been paid. It's one of many boxes that must be checked or no permit. But, and this is a big but, school districts have been collecting the fees, and Planning Building has been dutifully checking the developer fees box, although school populations everywhere in Mendocino County have either been static or have lost students.

THE SCANNER came alive a little before 7pm Saturday with a report that a green pickup had run off the highway at mile marker 21.68 which is just about the middle of Philo. A “walking wounded possibly impaired by alcohol was being obnoxious,” so the first responders asked that the CHP get there pronto with “lights and siren,” presumably to restrain the drunk ingrate. “First responders” is scanner lingo for our noble volunteers of the Anderson Valley Ambulance. Or, I suppose, a first responder could also be a passing Samaritan first on-scene.


The Comptche Community Organization presents the 12th Wine Tasting, Art Show and Sale, Saturday, September 24 from 2-6. Come, enjoy local Arts, food and wines both Indoor and Outdoor for your autumnal pleasure.

The Hall is 1/4 mile East of the Comptche Store on Comptche/Ukiah Road

Any questions? Call Lynne at 937-3362

FOR ALL ITS VIRTUES, I can't say I look to the ICO for irony, let alone major yuks. But last week's edition of the South Coast weekly had me in stitches. Well, had me chuckling anyway.

IN A STORY by Chris McManus called "Historic PA meeting doesn't change rocky history of Mendocino's public radio,” the title of which reads like a transmission falling out of your vehicle an onto the pavement, we learn that KZYX's board of directors held a meeting in Point Arena, the first time that illustrious body has done so. (Quick! Get out the brass. We’re gonna need a plaque here!)

MS. McMANUS writes that station trustee, Jane Futcher “…reportedly said she felt underutilized and detached as a board member, that board members need jobs to do and that the station needs a strategic plan.”

THE HILARITY soon commenced with Meg Courtney’s comment in response to Sister Jane’s plaint, “There’s a plan to have a strategic plan.”

A SURE SIGN that incompetents are driving the bus, any bus, is sloppy language. A plan is a plan, and a plan is a strategy and, look! we’re back at plan again. KZYX not only doesn’t have a plan, it doesn’t have a clue. The station is broke and even loyal boosters are fed up with the perpetual bungling. So, when a trustee says with a straight face that there’s “a plan to have a strategic plan,” potential donors and members aren’t encouraged.

MS. McMANUS’S STORY was amusing throughout, an accurate rendering of a discussion by a group of people who are clearly inadequate to the task of public radio.

A COUPLE OF LOCAL KIDS are flying Confederate flags on their pick-up trucks. I know one of them, met the other Sunday afternoon for an over-the-counter exchange of views with both of them at Anderson Valley Market. They’re smart and articulate, but their information is upside down, so to speak. I suspect they’ve been inspired by Klan websites. There’s lots of them and, like Fox News, they can be seductive, especially to the young and haphazardly lettered.

MOST OF US, I think, agree that as an historical fact, the Confederate flag stands for slavery and treason. I doubt if the Boonville kids brandishing the symbol of slavery and sedition are for slavery or treason — they said they weren’t — but flying that flag as if it stands for something else, something grand, is wrongheaded, dangerously wrongheaded.


I TALKED more than they did, but they made the usual case you see on these “Aryan” websites, that the Confederate flag was the work of “Christians,” that it has something to do with the white race’s “heritage,” that it isn’t a symbol of racism and work free for me or I’ll kill you, aka slavery. The two young men said they were exercising their right of free speech, which they are, but as free speechers for much better causes have discovered, free speech can be expensive and even life-threatening.

OVERHEARD in Boonville: “I finally figured out what their master plan is for Boonville — Healdsburg!” (If we had centralized septic and water, we’d have been Healdsburg ten years ago,)

CARE-A-VAN COMES TO BOOMSVILLE. The Mendocino County Animal Care Services CARE-A-VAN will be rolling into Boonville on Wednesday, September 28, at the Boonville Grange--9800 Hwy 128. Spay and neuter surgeries are by appointment only; please call 707-888-7698. Vaccinations are $10-13 each and do not need an appointment. Stop by the Care-a-Van for vaccines, heartworm testing, feline combo testing and microchipping 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DAVE SEVERN WONDERS how it is that smart people can do such stupid things? “Why are most of us often so certain about things that turn out to be wrong? How can we Americans, snug in our world of Peace, Freedom and Democracy, be faced with a presidential election choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

“A minor case in point. Last Tuesday after meeting with others in the front of the Ukiah courthouse to see off a small contingent of Mendonesians heading to North Dakota in support of the Native American protest against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, I popped into the Courthouse to look at original court documents giving Blackbird Farm a prescriptive easement to access their property off the Greenwood Road so they can increase their guest load from 36 to 292 overnighters. (36 to 292!) The file was in the Courthouse basement and would be brought up for viewing the following day. "May I photograph them?"


“Wednesday afternoon I went back but was refused entry at the security checkpoint with my small digital camera.

"If I had a cell phone, could I take that in?" I asked.


“Since all cell phones these days have built in cameras I was baffled, but after taking the camera back to my car I returned to view the three, 3-inch-thick file folders. Maybe twenty minutes later the polite, soft-spoken clerk was at my desk informing me that they closed at 3:00 and it was 3:05. They would keep the files upstairs for two weeks for me to come back.

“With a couple hours before the Courthouse actually closed I went upstairs to the court administration office to point out the strange rules relative to cameras. There I was assured that when I returned if I called ahead something could be done to get me in with my camera.

“Let me make it clear that all parties to this little vignette were polite, pleasant and if not apologetic, understanding. As was I.

“This morning as I sat at my computer writing this I realized that I had not been given back my driver's license, which I had to provide in order to take the documents to the desk to view the docs. Thank God I look my age so I should be able purchase that bottle of whisky that might help to assuage my dismay with the current sociocultural paradigm.


California's Best Undiscovered Pinot Noirs — Anderson Valley, by Nick Passmore. “There are only two kinds of Pinot Noir fans: those who’ve never heard of Anderson Valley Pinot, and those who love Anderson Valley Pinot. There probably isn’t a local ordinance mandating the wearing of plaid in Anderson Valley, but you could have fooled me so ubiquitous are the shirts. (Huh?) This region of wonderful Pinot Noirs two hours north of San Francisco – you just head through Sonoma and keep going – is very, very far, in style and style from the manicured, spa-studded luxury of Napa. These are dirt-under-the-fingernails farmers, and though I didn’t actually spy a John Deere cap, I felt sure I’d encounter one climbing off a tractor any minute. I was overdressed in my East Coast chinos and denim shirt. I wasn’t wearing plaid…” Etc.

WE’VE LONG SUSPECTED one person writes all these things for all the English-language publications in the world, from the New York Times to the Borneo Tribune. Haul the thing out every couple of months, but make a line change here and there, not that anyone will notice or care if they do notice. But to sell it to some new sap like Forbes mag where they’ll pay upwards of a couple of grand for it and give the writer a free week in Anderson Valley, maybe change the paragraph about the cooling pinot fog “rolling in from the nearby Pacific” to “the temperate mists off Neptune’s balls provide a perfect climate for this versatile grape.” To make sure everyone knows Boonville is more or less rural, throw in a line about pick-up trucks and dogs asleep on porches.

THE FORBES PIECE so annoyed The Major he batted out the following comment to the magazine. Which they printed on their difficult-to-find comment line. Forbes has a very strict comment policy with about a dozen rules (some reasonable, some arbitrary). They also require you to “register” to comment — which The Major did, promptly receiving an email with a code allowing him to comment.

“A VERY NARROW REVIEW. No mention of the underpaid Mexicans who do the real work of grape growing and wine making, nor of their kids who make up almost 90% of the local student body. No mention of the huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides applied by most of the wineries mentioned, none of which are organic although we do have organic wines produced in the Anderson Valley. No mention of the water table depletion and river dewatering that goes into the hundreds and hundreds of huge ponds that the thirsty shallow rooted vines require. No mention of the giant wind machines that keep most of the Valley awake on spring night, the welfare of the grapes of course being so much more important than our sleep. No mention of the land speculation and housing shortage that the wine industry has brought to the Valley, making it very difficult for non-wine people (and wine workers) to own or rent a reasonable bit of shelter. No mention of the low-grade contempt the local wine industry is held in from most non-wine locals. No mention of the “poor us” attitude the wine industry takes whenever anyone is so bold as to complain about them on even minor matters. Otherwise: a great piece of ad copy writing! PS. Mary Elke, a nice lady featured in your piece, does not live in Anderson Valley, nor do the Cakebread owners, the Duckhorn owners, the French imperialists who own Roederer, the Jess Jackson family descendants, and most of the other larger vineyards and wineries. As long as they can get $40-$60 or more for a bottle of wine that costs — at most — $8 to produce, what do they care what the locals think?”

DAVID SEVERN WRITES: Welcome to the kickoff for the new face to our Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show.


A few months back it was voted on and approved. Now it flies as a banner in front of the Apple Hall. For all these past years of the Fair we've had Apple Jack on a snorting bucking Bronco waving his hat like a real cowboy — and beer was our drink of choice. Now we have a so far nameless bunch of grapes riding a bull and holding up a glass of wine while doing so. Real cowboys drink beer but they don't do it on the back of a bronc. The pretension of wine is such that not only can you stop at up to 30 roadside tasting rooms and still get in your car to drive to the next but also climb on the back of a bucking bull that by the way has the same half-lit smile plastered on its face as its rider. To all my friends on the Fair Board, you good ol' boys, the Okies and Arkies and scattering of Prune Pickers with dirt under your fingernails and callouses on your palms: you're selling out. You're selling out to the rich Wall Street crowd who own 90% of Valley grape crop, get insanely high breaks on their property taxes and don't even live here. I beg that you might rethink your actions and stick to your true roots as real people and not cave to the pretense of terroir.

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