TOM SMITH, Boonville soccer coach, after whom the high school's soccer pitch is named, was at the beach in Thailand in 2004 when the largest tsunami in human history roared ashore. Tom Smith survived it. Tom Smith has had two liver transplants. He has survived them. Last Thursday, Tom Smith was hit head-on by a drunk driver. Tom Smith survived the collision and will recover. Smith, 62, is recovering from the numerous injuries he sustained at Memorial Hospital, Santa Rosa. Smith was heading west on 128 about 7:30 last Thursday evening. He'd just returned from coaching a junior high soccer match. He was on his way to his Gschwend Road home near Navarro when Luis Alberto Guerra-Perez, 26, of Boonville, believed to have been driving drunk, unaccountably swerved his 1996 Ford Ranger directly into Tom's 1994 Toyota pick-up. The collision occurred near the drive-way of the Standish Winery, still known among old timers as the Day Ranch. Visibility was unimpaired; the highway is straight as a string for nearly a mile on that stretch of 128. Guerra-Perez, apparently uninjured, quickly left the scene of the accident in a white pick-up truck of a female acquaintance. She has not been identified. It was left to passersby, who included Greg Krouse of Philo, to slow traffic. Rescue workers from Anderson Valley's emergency services were soon at the scene. It took them almost 15 minutes to extract Smith from his destroyed Toyota which, as a 1994 model, pre-dated air bags. Smith, the husband of long-time Elementary School teacher Val Smith, and himself a former member of the Anderson Valley School Board, suffered a broken left hip; two broken left ribs; a broken left ankle; a broken right arm; a broken right wrist; a mangled right thumb, and multiple lacerations to his face. Guerra-Perez was quickly identified by local deputies Squires and Walker as a local resident. He was taken into custody at his home on Anderson Valley Way a little after 11pm and booked into the County Jail on numerous charges related to driving under the influence.
HUM BABY! The Anderson Valley High School Panthers head for Ferndale this Thursday to take on Ferndale in the first round of the Northcoast's small school baseball playoffs. The Panthers finished 7-3 in league play, a game out of first place. At Ferndale, Boonville will be led by all-leaguers Omar Ferreyra; Noe Benevides; and Garrett Mezzanato, with honorable mentions Xavier Francis and Sergio Guitierrez picking up the slack. The Panthers are coached by Ben Anderson.
WENDY READ CHECKS in with the latest from Lambert Lane: “In addition to being avail for baby blessings, house clearings, memorial services, rituals, and rites of passage ceremonies, I am now an ordained minister, so I can marry you legally as well! (Just call me Reverent!) I continue to offer massage and counseling and holistic health consultations. The Caretaker's Garden, Lambert Lane.”
ACCORDING TO JOHN SAKOWICZ, local public radio's go-to guy on big picture financial affairs, his stepson, Ryan Morris, and two other Ukiah High School seniors, Scott Cokeley and Andrew Zellman, are a mere three of 15 military academy appointments from Mendocino County this year, which means all 15 have been quite well prepared by their schools to meet the rigorously high standards of those schools.
YOO-HOO! Uncle John writes from String Creek (Willits): “Hey young feller, looks like a misprint or a geriatric slip, but the David Nelson Band is doing the Navarro fairgrounds June 26/27, rather than as reported. Also, it's Boris Garcia (not Forrest). Just in case you were rarin' to go.”
BORIS GARCIA is a well known music guy, I've since learned, and Dave Evans of The Navarro Store Presents also straightened me out on Boris's bona fides, remarking that news of Boris's appearance at Navarro has spread so rapidly people are calling from all over the country to make reservations!
ACE CRIME REPORTER Bruce McEwen was monitoring local events from his observation post at the Redwood Drive-In last Wednesday morning when what appeared to be a European Grapevine Moth (EGVM) landed on his sweater. The wine industry's latest insect foe seems to have confused the wine-friendly journalist with the grapevines it is said to destroy. McEwen quickly confirmed on-line that the modest little beast was indeed the dread EGVM. He'd brought the bug into the AVA offices where the jubilant editor had shouted, “Don't kill it, McEwen! Maybe we can breed it!” But the moth had not survived the trip across the street.
IT'S LOOKING like the County’s feeble efforts to eradicate the pest are already futile. I mean really, if the thing is flitting around downtown Boonville it would seem to mean it's here in numbers. Mass pesticide sprayings are on our horizon. Some of us remember the flap involving the Light Brown Apple Moth in the Bay Area last year. That one required a heavy-hitting UC Davis entomologist to point out that proposed aerial spraying wouldn’t work even though the chemically-dependent California Department of Agriculture was all for it. (Get out your moon suits.)
OTHER AREAS of the US (and the world) live with the bug; they don’t try to poison it to obliteration. Although Mendocino County Ag Commissioner Tony Linegar said last week that there are less-toxic alternatives to spraying, he didn’t elaborate on what those methods might be. But on-line discussion groups say that non-organic growers are spraying with heavy doses of “Intrepid” and/or “Delegate” which come with warnings about low-to moderate toxicity to birds and fish.
THE ONLY SUPERVISOR to ask why the wine industry seems to suffer annual pest invasions was supervisor Pinches. Whether it’s the glassy-winged sharpshooter, phylloxera nematodes, mealy worms, or the pest du jour, the European Grapevine Moth, the Northcoast's wine industry seems to find a new enemy every year. Pinches wanted to make sure that Linegar didn’t hire any new biologists until federal quarantine money was in hand. The supervisor suggested that we can't afford to fight a new infestation every year. The supervisor didn't mention that the industry is well able to afford its own pest control programs, but here they always are looking for a handout.
ANNE FASHAUER writes from Greenwood Ridge: “Realtors Announce Scholarship Recipient! Aaron Farmer, the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the Coastal Mendocino Association of Realtors, is a married man and father of two who is attending the College of The Redwoods to finish his prerequisites. Aaron will be attending a paramedic school in the fall of 2010, enabling him to work part time as an EMT while he supports and spends time with his family with a little financial aid. Aaron’s goal is to eventually pursue a career in the nursing field as a flight nurse, knowing that many medevac companies require both paramedic and nursing licenses. Aaron's volunteer work as a firefighter/EMT on the local fire department and his work with the Mendocino County Search & Rescue allows him to help the community while simultaneously providing the needed training and experience to attain his long term goals. Congratulations to Aaron!”
PHILO’S Charley Paget-Seekins is a crew leader for a group of volunteers building schools in Haiti in the aftermath of that country's terrible earthquakes. Paget-Seekins arrived in Haiti in March; he's expected back in The Valley June 1st with a slideshow presentation on his work in Haiti. According to his mom, Diane Paget, when Charley volunteered to help people in the Gulf states rebuild in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, he connected with people who went on to help with the reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged Haiti. A resourceful young man with multiple skills, Charley does us all proud.
THE FRESHLY UPDATED local phone book is expected to go on sale on June 5, just in time for our Fire Department's 50th anniversary. Last we heard the phone books will sell for $15 per book with discounts if you buy more than one. We've always found the local directories invaluable, and still regularly consult the last one from way back in 2005.
TEEN CENTER coordinator Meade Williams and her board of directors asked that some “misperceptions” about the Center be cleared up, specifically the misperception that the Teen Center recently allowed some junior stoners to take advantage of their hospitality. Williams says that the Teen Center is not responsible for, say, the keen teens who show up drunk or otherwise mentally compromised. “Parents must understand that the Teen Center is not there to supervise the kids who show up there under the influence,” Ms. Williams explained. When Ms. Williams spots kids who are under the influence they are “disinvited.” Apparently, several head of the wayward young have been gathering in front of the Methodist Church in downtown Boonville while the Teen Center is open. The Teen Center is located behind the church. The wild ones also assemble near the vacant One Horse Coffee stand next door to the Redwood Drive In. All this proximity lends the impression that the wayward ones are somehow affiliated with, or the responsibility of, the Teen Center. “They are not under the control of the Teen Center,” emphasized Ms. Williams.
JAMIE LEE of Nash Mill, aka “Mr. Glean,” received approval from the Community Services District Board last week to conduct a garden project under the auspices of the CSD’s Recreation Committee. The class will convene at the Anderson Valley High School’s under-used Ag facilities where students will maintain the school gardens. Food grown by the garden project will be harvested for a canning workshop. Five students are expected to avail themselves of Mr. Lee's expertise.
FIRE CHIEF Wilson reported that the bike rodeo held earlier this month was “a great success.” More than 40 helmets were distributed among the 60 participating kids. (No, silly, the kids with smaller heads were not asked to share.) The Mendocino County Community Foundation donated $1000 and the Lions Club donated $225 to fund the event. Dave from Dave's Bike Shop in Ukiah provided the helmets at a discount price. Dave also contributed bike safety inspections. Volunteers from high the school, the fire department and community district staff ensured that everyone had a great time.
WANDA JOHNSON'S announcement that she's leaving her position as high school secretary for a job with Philo's Unicorn Youth Services has surprised many of us. Mrs. Johnson was in the fine local tradition begun in our time by the late Frances Lytle, a very smart lady who kept things together when all about her was confusion.
THE QUARTER million dollar Yorkville fire engine — the most expensive vehicle in the history of emergency services in relation to population served — is being assembled at the factory and is expected to be delivered to Yorkville sometime in July.