THE SECOND DAY of 2017 began with snow on the hills of Mendocino County, and a couple of inches blanketed the Ukiah-Boonville Road beginning five miles up from Boonville. No signs of life in the snow-covered hills, but no signs of cannibalism, either.
NEW YEARS RAMBLE, Boonville. Firecrackers near Fairgrounds about 9pm, Mexican boomba-boomba music, not very loud, with an odd middle-eastern flavor, wafting up the street about 10pm. Four sets of six pistol shots near the south end of town between 11:50pm and midnight. (Time between series, about two minutes, just enough time to reload a six-shooter.) Dogs barked at midnight. A rooster crowed. Rifle shot about 11:55pm. Another rifle shot a minute later. What was that smell that drifted by momentarily? Pot? Fireplace? Midnight barbecue? Very little traffic. Nobody on the street. Christmas lights extinguished. Didn’t get as far down the street as Lauren’s, but if there was a party there, it was a quiet one.
PERSONNEL FILES: The personable Shaukat Ali of Pic ’N Pay is away in his native Pakistan with his wife and the kids. In his absence, the equally personable Irene Soto is filling in. Everyone calls Shaukat “Sean” because his given name is beyond most of us to pronounce. ‘Sean’s’ long-time assistant, the Nepalese Suresh, pronounced “Swish” by us locals, now works in Ukiah at the store on South State that used to feature the mill wheel, and that’s enough difficult name grinding for this week.
LOCAL HUNTER looking to take care of wild pig, coyote, crow and ground squirrel problems. I use archery as a method to hunt if you are not comfortable with firearms. Please call me at 707-813-1208. — Alex Williamson.
(Ed note: Alex is a Fort Bragg native and a totally reliable, responsible guy. The mighty AVA is happy to vouch for him.)
TOM McFADDEN, Boonville’s justly famed creator of finely wrought furniture, reminded me the other day that he’s the only person he knows of who owed Vernon and Charlene money when the Rollins’ fled their creditors for Oregon many years ago.
END OF THE YEAR AWARDS,
COACH OF THE YEAR: Luis Espinoza of Anderson Valley who is also a detective with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department. Espinoza, when he wasn't out fighting the losing local battle against crime, molded an inexperienced group of football players into a championship basketball team, and he did it without a single reliable outside shooter. Under a lesser coach the AV boys would not have enjoyed a winning season. But the coach got them playing a truly tenacious defense that forced their opponents into numerous turnovers, from which the Panthers bulled their way under the basket to layups. And they played as a team, always a sure sign of able coaching.
FUMBLE OF THE YEAR: The inert 15-person board of directors of the Anderson Valley Health Center for losing us our popular MD, Dr. Logan McGhan.
BEST BOONVILLE COMMERCIAL MAKEOVER; Live Oak Building, owner Tim Mullins.
WORST BOONVILLE COMMERCIAL MAKEOVER: AVA compound, owner Bruce Anderson. (Work in progress, trust me.)
BEST UNICORPORATED STRUCTURAL MAKEOVER: Chris & Stephanie Tebbutts' "Velma's Farm Stand" on Anderson Valley Way, Boonville.
MOST INTREPID RESTAURANTEUR: Lauren Keating of Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville, which celebrated 20 years in the competitive local restaurant business last fall.
MOST PROGRESSIVE RURAL DEVELOPMENT: Oak Leaf Cluster for Meritorious Optimism to Ms. Hanelt — ably assisted by CSD Board Member Kathleen McKenna — for her dogged pursuit of a municipal water/sewer system for downtown Boonville in the face of legions of local naysayers (including this newspaper). The State Water Resources Control Board recently allocated $1million for engineering the two related projects which have been talked about for decades before Ms. Hanelt got them moving. South Boonville now begins a long process for installing a safe water and sewage system.
MOST USEFUL GOVERNMENT DATA: The Navarro River Gage On-Line Data-Logger: both depth and flow. The best and simplest indication that the wine industry has trapped so much winter flow in Anderson Valley that the Navarro now has great difficulty even reaching the Pacific (especially when combined with larger than normal sand accumulations and high tides).
SURVIVOR OF THE YEAR! Senior Mendo Logger Dan Kuny who miraculously survived a tree falling on him in the Sierra Nevadas. Kuny is already back to work, rebounding from nearly fatal injuries.
RUNNER-UP: Lorenzo Rodriguez: Took five point blank rounds to the chest and head during his knife-wielding rampage in Philo, but was out of the hospital in three days in time to be arrested and sentenced to state prison.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Yorkville’s Ron Black whose uniquely creative concrete and glass sculptures are an absolute marvel.
DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: Craig Walker easily handled what crime occurred in Anderson Valley while covering shifts in Ukiah as well, one of which involved a tussle with a tweaker which put the deputy on light duty.
FREE ENTERPRISER of the year: Lisa Walsh of the Yorkville Market has singlehandedly revived commercial Yorkville, and community along with it.
THE REDWOOD DRIVE-IN'S DONUTS, as always, reign supreme in the donut-munching Redwood Empire.
LEAST WELCOME SYMBOLISM: The Boonville Fairgrounds’ new cartoon logo featuring a bunch of grapes riding a brahma bull.
MOST ANTICIPATED new restaurant: Lizzby’s in the old Lodge complex, Boonville. Runners-up: Whatever new eatery replaces the old Libby’s site in Philo; whatever pub-like enterprise replaces the Buckhorn Saloon, Boonville.
ODDEST NEW BUSINESS: OneTaste, new owners of the old Shenoa property on the Navarro River offering, at three grand a weekend, “orgasmic meditation.” And to think, fifty years ago the Anderson Valley economy was based on logging and farming. The new economy? Dope and booze.
MOST UNWELCOME building permit application: Blackbird Farms, Philo. LA-based fortune derived from public ed-funded charter schools wants a legal transient capacity of 190 persons accessed by a single-lane Ray’s Road on a site without water and fire safety for thirty people.