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Valley People (Oct. 19, 2016)

THE MAN found dead in the Upper Peachland, Boonville, last week has been ruled a suicide and identified as Leo Hartz, 39, of Shine On Farm, Philo. We understand that Mr. Hartz explained his decision to kill himself in a letter found with his body.

FOUR ESSENTIAL Boonville people, Eva Holcomb, Barbara Wentzel, Mike Shapiro, and Emil Rossi, are spending more time in hospitals than either they or us would want. Emil is quite ill, Mrs. Holcomb is, as always, cheerful and optimistic, as is Mrs. Wentzel. Mike, we haven't heard, but we all hope the best for both of them.

DEPARTMENT OF HOPE: We’re informed that the Hulbert Ranch, Philo, has indeed been sold. To the Hulberts. The two surviving Hulbert sisters bought out the male Hulberts, meaning it may be spared conversion to vineyard.

ASHLEY JONES is selling his Navarro place and also a home he owns in Alameda. Final destination, Oregon, where his daughter lives. A man of many parts, Ashley, a competitive swimmer in his youth, was a ground floor Navy Seal in the very early days of the Vietnam War. Here in the Anderson Valley the multi-talented Mr. Jones is active in theater and is known for his striking abstract paintings.

PLENTY OF RAIN — well over an inch — fell on Boonville Saturday in heavy, late afternoon downpours accompanied by blasts of winds straight off the Pacific. Some people in SoBo lost power when a kid ran into a power pole near Pennyroyal Farms, tipping the pole over but not downing any lines. The lad was said to have fallen asleep at the wheel in the 9am mishap. PG&E crews had the pole righted and repaired in a matter of a few hours. Mr. Asleep At The Wheel was not injured.

THE NAVARRO RIVER is flowing a transparent bronze tone - probably leaf tea. At the peak of each mini-storm it would rise to the "median daily statistic" and then drop precipitously to wait for the next. For the first time this year three frogs hopped out of my way as I wandered along River's edge - being at least something to show for the thousands of pollywogs in each of several colonies earlier in the summer. I believe the official fish count is low this year and that was evident this morning as I could find not one 3 to 6 inch swimmer below the Shenoa bridge. I stumbled across the third deer carcass of the year Sunday, a large doe. Dead deer along the River are a recent phenomenon that I associate with the draught as after 30 years of meandering the water way it has been only since the draught that I have discovered any at all. Was it last year or the year before or both that I found five? Some biologists call it blue tongue others deny that. The lower road between Shenoa and the River butchered by the Sonoma vineyardist Dane Peterson that bought a Congaree River parcel up adjoining Blackbird Farm weathered the storm series of 3 1/2" of rain but the scattering of straw won't stand well against a real extended pour. A notified Fish and Wildlife appear to be ambivalent to enforcing any code violation. Ho hum, just a little more silt for the River. (David Severn)

DOWNTOWN PHILO is a work in progress these days. The Last Resort is being re-tooled and, next door, at what was once the Philo Mill, property owners Gary and Virginia Island are clearing debris for what they aren’t saying. (The Last Resort was a drinking establishment active up through the late 1960s, one of many hard liquor drinking establishments in the Anderson Valley. With the Buckhorn closed us old bats have to drag our Old Crow home for our nightly belts.)

JOHN WOLFE was back in Ten Mile Court last week. Wolfe is the former Navarro man facing felony assault charges for punching Ann Knight, a Navarro grandmother, back in July. The DA, in the form of Kevin Davenport, was rightly holding out for felony battery, while Wolfe had hoped to bust down his vicious one-punch attack on the Navarro grandmother to a misdemeanor.

THE ONE PUNCH assault on Mrs. Knight occurred more than an hour after a concert at the Navarro Store. Mrs. Knight was seriously injured by Wolfe's blow and has required what amounts to reconstructive surgery. As she has testified, Wolfe's assault traumatized not only her, but her entire family, including her young grandson who is now old enough to know what happened to his grandmother but not old enough to understand the why of it, if there is ever a why in cases like this.

WOLFE had hoped for a much lesser charge of misdemeanor battery, and for a while it looked like his savvy attorney, Patrick Pekin, might have gotten that deal for Wolfe from Assistant DA Tim Stoen. Stoen was in the mix briefly in place of the unyielding Assistant DA Davenport. But Mrs. Knight's testimony so moved everyone in the room, including judge Clay Brennan, that Wolfe was found fully guilty of felony battery. He could get as much as five years in prison when he's finally sentenced.


THE KNIGHTS and Wolfe had been neighbors in Navarro, and Mrs. Knight and Wolfe had worked together at the Boonville Brewery.

WOLFE was removed from his job at the Brewery soon after his attack on Mrs. Knight, and he and his wife moved inland to the Ukiah area.

AT THE HEARING last week, Wolfe, according to spectators, came to court confident that he would be found guilty only of a misdemeanor. When it became clear to him that he was going down for a felony the tough guy started to cry. He’ll be back in Ten Mile Court for sentencing on Tuesday, November 15th at 9am. (See Mrs. Knight’s letter in this week’s paper.)

THERE is major community concern for the Navarro family camping in a cluster of derelict trailers in a redwood grove on the Caltrans margin just short of the Navarro Store. There are at least four children housed in the impromptu squatter’s village, and the concern has especially now that the rains have commenced. County authorities, we understand, are about to red-tag the dank compound.

MENDOCINO COUNTY is at its most beautiful in the Fall. My favorite beauty spot is the Indian Creek Bridge as you approach Philo from the south. Mike Kalantarian recommends Flynn Creek Road where the big leaf maples are in glorious color.

WORK DAY IN THE PARK! — We had a wonderful group of Mendocino College students in Phi Theta Kappa who organized and worked hard to clean up our community park next to the clinic last Saturday. Sueño Latino members along with Tara, the AVES garden coordinator and daughter Erin came too and we trimmed, pruned, weed whacked and cut back lots of weeds and grapevines. We'd like to remind everyone that we have this great resource that the school allows us to have on their property, but we depend on community groups like these to keep the park in good shape, along with community members who use it. Any trash produced needs to be taken out and we appreciate any extra cleanup that can be provided. Thanks to all of you for caring for our park! (Donna Pierson-Pugh)



Don't miss out, reserve your tickets now for the Oktober Fest Fundraiser, Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the big barn in Philo, next to the Anderson Valley Farm Supply. Tickets are limited so get them early. You can call the AV Senior Center at 895-3609 for ticket locations.

One Comment

  1. OlHighlander October 25, 2016

    Guy kills himself in the middle of harvest on a ranch he is leasing from the Elite Wine, lies dead in a cabin unnoticed for 5 days until somebody calls in a suicide. All while advertising on intstagram and hitting the Malibu Shores there ultra groove eco hip mendo vibe Chic. The Son of a wealthy well known east coast Dr.. Kills himself because life is so Fckd Up in the Hills of Peachland, so he gases himself???.. Only In Mendo Folks……..????? What if it was a dead Mexican???? Much bigger Story?????

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