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Letters (March 22, 2017)

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Dear AV and Beyond,

The AV Grange Variety Show has come and gone for the 26th time in as many  years. We are still tweaking tickets and seating trying to accommodate  everyone, an impossible task but still we try.  Following are some notes on "refinements" over the last several years. We  believe it's dialed in pretty well and now we just have to let all of you  guys know.

First, for those of you turned off or even away by the sardine like crowds  in the hall, thanks to the Fire Chief, THOSE DAYS ARE OVER. There are only  so many tickets sold and anyone with a ticket WILL get in. With the  limited ticket sales it's really quite roomy in there. So no more worry about being crammed in like a subway during rush hour.

Second, early tickets are available to performers to guarantee that their  parents or partners can get in. Then starting the week before the show a  limited amount of tickets are available in Philo at Lemons Market and in  Boonville at the AV Market. When the stores are out of tickets IT DOES NOT  MEAN THE SHOW IS SOLD OUT! We hold back more than 100 tickets each night  at the door. Even if tickets get sold out before the show we now have a  system in place where some of the early kid acts leave and turn their  tickets back in thus allowing those die-hards (bless you) admittance.

Third, we do not save the front rows for the seniors anymore, BUT, seniors  who ride the senior (community) bus get in first and may sit anywhere  they wish. For those hard of hearing the first row is NOT the best we are  informed by our sound experts, but the 3rd to 5th rows are best (just  look at the way the overhead speakers are placed and it becomes obvious).

Fourth, we always try to make the wait outside as, well, interesting as  possible. The last few years we've had food available both nights. Some  years we've had entertainment and some years interviews on Boont-tube.  This year we added a canopy for a little rain protection. Some folks love  the wait outside. It's a great time to buddy up with friends and  neighbors.

The show is a wonderful expression of this place and who we are. We at the  show are open to suggestions, and hey, we are looking for acts for next  year!

You all make it worth it,

Cap’n Rainbow & the Variety Show staff

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To: Mark Suchanek, Deputy District Director, Maintenance and Operations, Caltrans District 1, P.O. Box 3700, Eureka, CA 95502-3700

Re: Plan to increase the Philo speed limit.

Dear Mr. Suchanek:

Highway 128 through Philo is a Disney like ride — a sudden curve and dive through a treed corridor, across a bridge and up — up to a sudden plateau and Lo! Philo. 300 feet of cars and buildings, a surprising and exceptional "Main Street," especially on Fridays. On that last day of the work week you can find 20-25 cars maneuvering for an opportunity to enter or leave the roadway, jousting with impatient tourists who are hell-bent on enjoying the weekend. That is the southern approach.

The northern entrance to "Main Street" preludes with a gentle climb through a tunnel of native oaks and maples, a sunlit vineyard to the left and an iconic country church to the right — a sudden sliding fall to the rabbit hole — a twisting, onrushing view of winery, auto services, a motel, trailer park, some apartments, tasting rooms, restaurant, post office and grocery — all within a total of perhaps 600 feet of two-lane highway. This sharp descent requires diligent breaking to prevent serious acceleration. It can be chaotic and dangerous.

Philo is unusual in this scene and challenges that it presents to the driver. It is full of human and physical hazards. It would be prudent to leave the 30 mph signs in place.

Marvin Dutra


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It must have been about 20 years ago I traveled the washboard road East of Lone Pine, South to the Devil’s Pond, to enjoy a hot spring in Death Valley frequented by dead heads between tours on the West Coast. It was there I met Jack who could have been a character in a Tom Robbins seriocomedy as his pick up had an upright piano he played from the back of his truck inspiring musical outbursts. It so happened when I needed a ride home Jack was heading that way.

Jack was a John Galt type of guy. He was brilliant as the world was dull. Tuning pianos also meant disposing pianos he actually appreciated each as an art within itself. Former piano player’s emotions continued to resonate on strings and hammers as Jack heard them all to infinity when he tuned them as some strings never recover from the emotions they experienced.

It was a musical experience of it’s own riding with Jack as the piano would play to the bumps in the washboard road. He didn’t have a radio in his truck which was interesting as I have never tuned in to radio. I’m allergic to white noise and so was Jack who had some very interesting ideas about megahertz and how radio was programming people with sound waves driving them insane. I had never thought about it. I liked the sound of nature. I have a communion with nature as it’s sounds are important information to me which radio interferes in not so nice a way.

Jack asked if I would like to go to where there is no white noise making a turn onto another washboard road driving about 40 miles to what might as well be the most pristine place on Earth as Jack explained the only thing pristine about life was death, like the piano, which he climbed into the back of his truck and played.

B.B. Grace

Fort Bragg

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To the Editor:

I am writing this to say what a shame it is that we have no decent doctors in the town of Ukiah. Where are any good doctors here in Ukiah? One who cares, really cares about their patients or anybody that walks through their doors, that follows through to make sure you get the care you need.

I recently went to ER as I could not get an appointment with my own doctor and my left knee was hurting badly. I am 72 years old and have a lot of arthritis throughout my body. They took an x-ray and I saw a doctor and he told me that he saw a lot of arthritis in my knee, and I told him that it was swollen, he said he did not see any inflammation. Well, there was. I know what my knee looks like and it was swollen. I asked if I could get a cortisone shot and he told me I could but I would have to see a pain specialist for that, why? Well, I called that pain specialist and they told me I could see him on July 31! She told me I probably would not get into any doctor before that. Well this doctor on the end of his name said M.D., D.O. The doctor I saw in ER had that same thing behind his name on my papers from the hospital so he must be a pain specialist also. So was I to walk around for five months on a knee that hurt like heck before I could get some help? Why, I ask could that doctor in ER not have given me a shot that day?

My own doctor, who I will not name, sent me to a pain specialist months ago, because they took so long to get back to me I took matters into my own hands (for my back) and went to have acupuncture done. In one month’s time, my back felt great, but I have to pay out of my own pocket as my insurance will not cover this kind of medical help, but if ER would have given me that shot my insurance would have covered it. So I wonder why am I paying for insurance when I cannot find a doctor to help me?

So I called the pain specialist my doctor had referred me to for my back, to try and get an appointment with him, but because he took so long to get back to me the first time, and I had told them that I was seeing an acupuncturist and to just cancel my appointment, he now will not see me because of the cancellation. So today I called Howard Memorial Hospital to see if I could get help from them, I was advised to go back to ER in Ukiah and insist that they give me a cortisone shot which they can do. I told her, yeah right, I doubt that was going to happen.

So back to acupuncture, who told me your knee is swollen, I told her no, the doctor in ER said it was not. She said it was. So I am now trying this to see if I can get out of pain.

About two months ago I went to my doctor in tears. I was very depressed in a very dark place and I asked for his help. He was to refer me to someone. That never happened. So for two weeks I stayed in my house crying, sleeping, not seeing anyone. Did anyone care? No they did not. My best friend from the Bay Area came and stayed with me for a week because I told her I did not want to be in this world anymore. She and I talked a lot. She took me out shopping and to dinner. She helped me more than any doctor could have. She took the time to listen to me. That’s what I needed, just to talk and get my feelings out in the open instead of caged up inside of me. At this point I have no faith in any doctor in this town. I am so mad I could scream! So I would like to not thank the doctor at ER, the pain specialist and my own doctor as they did not even attempt to help me when I really needed the medicinal help. But be assured when my medications run out, my doctor will refuse them until I make an appointment to see him. Isn’t that a joke? In the first place us Baby Boomers are given way too many medications for our own good. A pill for everything they think is right for you to keep you healthy. Yeah right. The little money I get from Social Security is now going to the acupuncture who are the only ones willing to help me. Many thanks to the community acupuncturist of Ukiah. I have friends here in Ukiah that do not even have a doctor because of the lack of good ones.

Linda Warden


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As someone who's long appreciated Zack Anderson's recollections as an Anderson Valley High School Panther, I will share a long-ago scene I witnessed as an assistant to long-time small school coach Duane Nelson (Laytonville, Willits, Lower Lake). Nelson, who was mentored by the storied Gene Waggoner, and his LHS Warriors, were engaged in a dogfight of a title game against the Potter Valley Bearcats in that team's wraparound standing room only gym. In the final minutes, down by a few points, a questionable foul against the Warriors brought him to his feet; his intensity and an array of faces — outrage, gobsmacked, disbelief! — could both entertain and infuriate hostile crowds, but mostly the latter. But, wow, did he know how to coach.

The teams lined up at the free-throw line but Nelson's loud protests delayed the shot while one ref jogged over to explain the call and calm him, to no avail, and as the ref turned from Nelson and returned to the line, the coach made an energetic kicking motion in disgust — and hundreds of maddened fans watched as Nelson's dress shoe flew across the court and was stopped all a low block by his star forward, Josh Firks. The Bearcats fans were apoplectic, jumping and screaming and pointing at both the coach and Firks, who quickly hid the shoe between his own feet and assumed a wholly innocent face. The whole crowd made such a din that the shot was again delayed while the refs huddled at center court — but the din was such that they remained clueless. One ref jogged to the scorer's table and at that instant Firks used his leg like a hockey stick and slapped the shoe back toward Nelson, again unnoticed by the refs. The shoe slid under the team bench — and a moment later the ref was standing by Nelson, looking at his one-sock-only feet. He called the technical foul based on circumstantial evidence!

Nelson called timeout, told his team they were being robbed and "homered" out of the title — and the Warriors rallied for the win. I recall a sheriff's deputy getting us onto the bus and out of there.

I thought of this all two weeks ago while watching coach Josh Firks’ LHS Warriors take down the Mendocino High School Cardinals for the league title.

Neil Boyle

Fort Bragg

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Sidney Blumenthal (“a senior adviser to Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001,” as describe in a recent London Review of Books) neglected to mention one important thing in his piece on the Trump family: the past closeness of the Clintons and Trumps. Bill and Hillary were favored guests at Trump’s marriage in 2005 to Melania Knauss, going on to join the happy couple at the Palm Beach reception. Trump was a generous donor to the Clinton Foundation and made a substantial financial contribution to Hillary’s Senate and 2008 presidential campaigns. “I like him. And I love playing golf with him,” Bill said of his pal Trump in 2012. According to Blumenthal, Trump’s ascent to the presidency represents “the triumph of an underworld of predators, hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze… A world in which the Clintons gave every impression of feeling at home.

Harry Harmer

Eastbourne, England

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Thanks for the two linear yards of KZYX coverage in the last issue, adding to the miles over the years of howling from the Pit on that subject. At least it returns the AVA to its traditional heft of 12 pages instead of the apologetic 10. The problem is, in all the bitter ranting, there’s never a smile. I’ll not be voting Sakowicz back to the Board. His plan for release of the membership email list would only amplify the noise.

Gordon Black


Ed note: Gee, I dunno. The mere mention never fails to put me on the floor. However, some of us laugh less as we age, and you're what, 106? Double your helpings of carrot salad and see if that helps.

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A Nation’s Façade—

We say we are free, we say we welcome all, we say you will be treated equal and you have rights to which no one can take from you, yet we discriminate, we tell those who come to leave and never return, there are even those who wish to take rights from those who rightfully have them.

We are a nation with more enemies than allies we have become more of what we had fought against, an empire telling others that we have the better way of life that other nations should follow, those within this empire who recognize the lies and crimes are labeled enemies and liars who shouldn’t be trusted.

We are not a nation, we are more divided than before, we started off as the light at the end of a tunnel, hope for those who have none, but we have become a façade, for on the surface we say we are equal and fair to all but beneath that mask of beautiful lies we see the grotesque and ugly truth.

‘Fawkes,’ An AV High School Student


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Hello Again AVA,

I have been a loyal reader of your paper for over ten years. I fell in love with the realness and heartfelt stories you always print. I’m from Santa Cruz, but fell in love with Mendo on a business trip and will be a resident once again when I’m given my life back. Prop 57 will be kicking me out early since mine is a non-violent drug case. Yeah, there are a couple of us in State Prison for trying to win out there! I guess I’m leaning toward maybe being able to get back on your subscription and fan mail list. There are a couple of us hometown redwood boys that would truly be blessed with an AVA we could pass around. We were hoping, anyway…

Thank you for your time. Stay active in the raw real.


Jason Carucci


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