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Valley People (Dec. 28, 2016)

ANDERSON VALLEY'S NEWEST CEMETERY lies on the Hill Ranch, Yorkville, and is the final resting place of its creator, Ruth Hill, descendant of an old Valley family. Mrs. Hill, however, graciously remembered the Ingram family, who first homesteaded the Hill Ranch, by memorializing the Ingrams in Ingram Cemetery.

THE BEAUTIFULLY rendered wrought iron entrance arch is the work of Ramon Avila, brother of Anderson Valley fire chief, Andres Avila.

THE ENTRANCE ARCH was erected last week and has already become a Valley landmark.

OUR NEWEST CEMETERY is managed by Clyde Doggett, the efficient manager of all The Valley's public cemeteries.

ANY RESIDENT of the Anderson Valley, or any person who claims veteran's status, is welcome to spend eternity on the little hill overlooking the Hill Ranch.

OUR AV UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT will now have to revise instruction to comply with Proposition 58, the bilingual education mandate passed easily into law in the calamitous recent elections. Fewer than 5% of California public schools now offer multilingual programs, though there are an estimated 1.4 million English learners, roughly 80% of whom speak only Spanish. The students enrolled in the Anderson Valley schools are overwhelmingly from Spanish-speaking homes.

BI-LINGUAL INSTRUCTION is a bad idea considering that more than 80% of all technological information is published in English, and a reasonable mastery of English is necessary to even the hope of well-paid employment. I hope to interview our capable school superintendent, Michelle Hutchins, as to how the local schools will adapt to the bilingual bomb dropped on them.

THE DECEMBER 16TH meeting of the Anderson Valley School Board "approved a Stipulated Expulsion Agreement for an 8th grade student with placement remaining at AVHS.

I THINK WE KNOW the lad who got the bounce. He does odd jobs for us at the paper. Smart, excellent worker. Does exactly what he's told. No fooling around. Of course we have an advantage over the schools; we can tell him to buzz off if he doesn't do as he's told. The school keeps him vaguely enrolled because, pain in the ass that he is to them, he's worth a nice sum from the state every year in attendance money.

BUT THIS KID is totally unsuited to the one size fits all education system, and is a perfect candidate for an apprentice program where he spent most of his day with one of the many skilled people in the Anderson Valley where he would be taught marketable skills. In fact most kids would benefit from an apprentice program focused on practical instruction which, believe it or not, we used to have in this county, way back before we lost our way.

(HISTORY NOTE: Back in the reign of Superintendent Wobbling Eagle, Wob saw to it that every kid, K-12, was marked present for an entire school year. The state of course immediately noted the improbability and our district had to refund a tidy sum. I believe Rebecca Brendlin at the high school office is the only person left in the district who worked for Superintendent Eagle. He went on to sabotage a couple more school districts, one in Sacramento, the other, as I recall, in Inyo County. Wob's administrative hijinks were so spectacular — he caused an unprecedented student-staff strike in Sacramento — that he was written up in several large-circulation newspapers. The state, belatedly realizing that the guy was not only spectacularly incompetent but probably nuts, finally yanked his credential.)

ONE HUGE prob with public ed is this: "Board Workshop for Strategic Planning." This kind of vague language is a sure indicator of even more unfocused blah-blah, typically delivered by a vaguely credentialed "expert." Really, what's the diff between strategic planning and plain old planning?


The Anderson Valley School District will not cooperate with any federal edict having to do with exportation of immigrants:

WHEREAS large immigrant populations are an integral part of community and there are no accurate numbers of how many undocumented children in Anderson Valley's public schools, approximately 75% are Hispanic or Latino Supreme Court prohibited denying children access to education based on their immigration status and 14th amendment President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed support for a policy of widespread deportation of "undocumented" immigrants from Latin America currently residing in the United States, causing immigrant communities to fear that their families will be separated, that their children's educations will be interrupted, and that their safety will be jeopardized ICE activities in and around schools, early education centers and adult school facilities would be a severe disruption to the learning environment and educational setting

SPECIAL THANKS to Vero Barragan of the school office for passing along the school board doings.

KATHLEEN GAGNON COMMENTS: "You really need to get off of your high horse when it comes to education. At least get the facts correct before you go off half-cocked. Per the AV student recently expelled, you say “The school keeps him vaguely enrolled because, pain in the ass that he is to them, he’s worth a nice sum from the state every year in attendance money.” Guess what? Anderson Valley is a basic aid district. It gets no additional monies based on enrollment. As public schools are intended to educate all children, it takes a lot to get expelled. I refer you to the CA Administrator Recommendation of Expulsion Matrix at —

In order to get expelled, you have to be a danger to other students or teachers, or selling drugs on school property. Either your little apprentice is a psychopath or a little too “entrepreneurial” for an educational environment.

The parents of Mendocino are in general happy with the current reality-based education our children get. Perhaps in the future you should seek to improve your own relationship with reality.”

GERMAIN-ROBIN was recently named the best brandy in the world by people who drink a lot of brandy. It is produced in Ukiah, and may even still be produced in the hills west of the County seat where we once visited and enjoyed a few gratis belts of this wonderfully transporting drink.

I THINK I'd bought a bottle of Germain-Robin's very first batch, circa early '80s, at the Ukiah Safeway at a reduced introductory price of something like twenty bucks. I believe Safeway and a few other local Mendo stores were the only places you could find it. I pounded down that first memorable bottle with friends, all of us agreeing it was the right stuff, and by far the best right-ist stuff then produced in Mendocino County, an opinion I  immediately  shared with readers of Boonville's weekly newspaper.

DARNED if a free bottle didn't promptly appear by UPS delivery, as did free bottles the next couple years. With the appearance of each free bottle I dipped deeper into my bag of superlatives in the hopes of becoming an annual, maybe even life, recipient of free bottles of Germain-Robin.

BUT THEN WORD of G-R spread throughout the land, then throughout the entire world that this brandy, produced in Mendocino County by old style pot-distillation methods, was the very best produced anywhere, and the editor, stifling back a sob, remembers "Germain-Robin got so big so fast they didn't need the Boonville newspaper to spread the word anymore. No more freebies for Boonville." I've bought a nostalgic bottle every year since, and enjoy it over the holidays as much as I ever have.


THE SAME DAY I learned Billy Rickman was on his way back to state prison, I learned the Philo native had been picking up a few bucks as a cage fighter in casino matches. Which would make him our first pro fighter, although our community doesn't lack for amateurs. In a legendary non-commercial appearance in front of the Navarro Store, Billy wiped out at least half the biker gang sent after him to collect some money.  Always had a soft spot for the guy, whom I've known since he was a small boy, one of the nicest, most mannerly small boys one could imagine in our unmannerly times. He remained mannerly and industrious right up through high school, but after he left here he started getting in trouble, lots of trouble, drug-related trouble mostly. But everyone who knew Billy Rickman before, and lots of people who know him now, me included, keep on hoping he'll somehow recover himself.

ON TUESDAY, the CHP released their report on the serious collision last week at the big turn on Mountain View Road, just up from the high school. It happened about 9am on Monday morning the 19th of December. “Douglas Smyers, 54, of Boonville was driving his 1999 Toyota Corolla southbound on Mountain View Road approaching a curve. Beatrice Acosta, of Gualala, was driving her 2003 Toyota Corolla northbound approaching the same curve.  Due to the cold weather conditions, the roadway was icy. Mr. Smyers’ vehicle slid on the ice and collided with Ms. Acosta’s vehicle.” Both were reported to have suffered moderate injuries. Ms. Acosta was choppered to Ukiah Valley Medical Center and Mr. Smyers was rushed to the same hospital via ground ambulance. Neither car had passengers. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts.

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